Way of the Dogg Review
Over the years we’ve experienced a handful of hip-hop crossover titles. Some have become classics (Def Jam: Fight for NY) while others manage to still give us nightmares (Rap Jam: Vol. 1). Snoop’s Way of the Dogg is a rhythm game similar to Elite Beat Agents, but instead of busting out moves you are participating in synchronized hand-to-hand combat to classic Snoop tracks. The end result is a title with an interesting concept that suffers from poor execution.
Channeling 70s Kung-Fu and blaxploitation flicks, Way of the Dogg casts you as the “best fighter in the city”, America Jones as he seeks out to avenge the murder of his love, Sierra. To do so, he must “find the beat that drives the fight” and seek out the mystical mentor Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg). The plot is extremely cheesy and forgettable. Which leads me to ask, why is Snoop teaching me how to fight? I was just informed that Jones was the best fighter in the city. Then again it could be worse, I could be learning Kung-Fu from Shaq. In addition, the game is called Way of the Dogg, yet Snoop is no longer a Dogg but a Lion. Shouldn’t it be called Way of the Lion? Regardless, the premise behind Way of the Dogg is the least of its problems.
After a brief introduction of how to execute basic combinations of button presses, your revenge driven journey will take you across 20 colorful, yet uninspired levels. AJ’s opponents consist of a cast of stereotypical characters ranging from “The Man”, a crooked cop, and a laughable amount of generic gangsters. While the action appears on screen, you will press the corresponding buttons in sync to classics like “Who Am I?” and “Murder was the case.” The track selections is the only high point (pun intended) about the whole experience. Fights are broken into sections, where depending on your accuracy and timing, you will either lose or gain health on a tug of war style bar that you share with your opponent. Depending on your skill-set, battles can be over rather quickly, or worse, drag on.
Thankfully the depression of buttons is pretty responsive, which comes in handy when you are facing some of the more intricate button combinations in later levels. But what good are responsive controls in a rhythm game, when the games lacks, well, rhythm? I have no clue how Snoop’s tracks are synced up to the on-screen button prompts. This makes Way of the Dogg feel more like a flashy QTE with Snoop’s songs playing in the background. Adding insult to injury is that since Way of the Dogg is rated T for Teen (which is odd because AJ is clearly shown holding a joint in-game and I doubt Snoop’s eyes are red because he is “tired”) each track is censored. The bleeping of explicit words not only takes away from the experience, but it’s also distracting and ruins the flow of your timing.
Halfway through the game AJ’s journey takes an unexpected turn when he acquires the ability to time travel. Aside from presenting you with an alternate storyline, the addition of time travel is just a cheap way to pad out the game and force you to replay the first half of the story over again. If you manage to stick it out and complete the hour long campaign, you can torture yourself by participating in a challenge mode or checking out the art gallery. Way of the Dogg does offer a two player versus mode, but it can only be played locally. The only integration of an online component is a leaderboard, where you can compare your level scores against friends and the world.
While other rhythm games a have managed to incorporate fun and engaging mechanics, I can’t find reason for shelling out $10 – even if you’re a fan of Snoop’s music. Way of the Dogg could have been so much more, but instead it’s a missed opportunity. Do yourself a favor and leave this title to the doggs.
Editor’s Note: Way of the Dogg was reviewed using a Xbox 360 copy of the game. If further investigation reveals any differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.
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