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Inversus photo
Inversus

Destiny developer is working on a neat new PC/PS4 side project


A multiplayer shooter
Feb 12
// Steven Hansen
Bungie's Ryan Juckett's day job as a gameplay programmer on Destiny hasn't stopped him from working on his own independent game. Inversus is a minimalist 1-4 player shooter coming to PC and PlayStation 4 in spring of this ye...
Super Smash Jokes photo
Super Smash Jokes

If Firewatch's Henry joined the Smash Bros. roster


THE EYES!!!
Feb 12
// Steven Hansen
Hey, those meaty paws could do some serious damage. Maybe a Little Mac-style brawler (also not fleet of foot). Or, hey, just bring back the Ice Climbers move set but texture them like Yellowstone National Park. Anyways, I didn't know the PS4 version of Firewatch was this messed up.
Q&A photo
Q&A

Podtoid questions: It's what's for dinner (and what we need)


Ask us questions, tell us no lies
Feb 10
// Steven Hansen
Let me tell you about questions: I like 'em, I love 'em, and I want some more of 'em. Podtoid 322: Football or Gay Porn? was a great 'cast -- that's shorthand we in the biz use to refer to a podcast. And do you know why it wa...
OG Pokestuff photo
OG Pokestuff

Japan gets merch based on original Pokemon sprites


Celebrating 20 years in style
Feb 10
// Steven Hansen
Some new, 20th anniversary Pokemon junk is going on sale in Japan this month. February 27, if you want to plan a trip around it. Playing up the re-releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow (and their subsequent themed 2DS models in J...

Tough, but fair photo
Tough, but fair

Hitman minimum PC requirements shouldn't kill you


Nor should the recommended
Feb 10
// Steven Hansen
The new Hitman boasts bigger crowds than most games, but it has some of the more reasonable minimum (and recommended, actually) required specs that I've seen in a while, according to the Steam page: Minimum: OS: OS 64-bit Wi...
First gameplay video photo
First gameplay video

See just how much the gameplay has changed in Valkyria: Azure Revolution


Guess it really ISN'T a strategy game...
Feb 10
// Steven Hansen
It's been clear from the get-go that Valkyria: Azure Revolution is a spinoff from the Valkyria Chronicles series that graced the PS3 and PSP. It is much more anime-y, there are overwrought swords and melee combat, as well as...

Hands-on: I like the new Hitman, and its episodic model

Feb 10 // Steven Hansen
[embed]339955:62169:0[/embed] Okay, so, that out of the way, yep, the Prologue does take you back 20 years to 47's entrance into the ICA (like a pimp, but for murderers) and first meeting with his British-accented handler out in some Siberian-looking snowy wilds. The amount of story there, besides peoples' surprise at 47's murder prowess, is minimal, and it's mostly about setting up training missions to help get people acquainted with the Hitman style. And they're actually really cool because instead of virtual reality or whatever, the missions are actual, constructed sets. For instance, there is a yacht infiltration, but the boat is landlocked and there are blue tarps around it on the floor representing water (all the people, too, are, I suppose, ICA staff acting a part -- not sure where the secret organization finds dozens of extras, but, whatever). Beyond that cool touch, they are legitimate Hitman-style missions, closer in size to older entries. The boat adventure tasks you with killing "The Sparrow," a legendary thief half-heartedly trying to go clean, while introducing distraction techniques, disguises, acquired weaponry/items. Various costumes will grant you access to various parts of the ship -- security will keep you from walking straight on, but you can go around, choke out a maintenance worker, and work your way into the ship's underbelly and up towards the waitstaff, then clobber one of those fools. And maybe then just take up position at the bar and pour The Sparrow's lady a drink laced with poison. Me, I snuck into the room where he was doing business and shot both him and his associate in the head. Second bit in the prologue involves a Soviet defector whom I was able to kill by disguising myself as a mechanic and fiddling with the ejector seat he was meant to test per safety rules in the jet he was making his escape on. Shot his ass right through the roof and walked slowly away while everyone freaked out. I keyed onto the option because Hitman will offer some guidance in the form of Opportunities. Generally, you'll overhear some dialogue (if you stop and listen at the right place, right time) that hints at a murder solution (or towards a murder solution, i.e. letting you know where a target will be and when). If you decide to track that opportunity, it leaves breadcrumbs to the next bit in the form of UI markers on the map. Hitman purists, however, can turn them off completely, and there's no shortage of ways to do a murder, especially when it really opens up with the first mission, Showstopper, which takes place in an enormous mansion in Paris during a fashion show. One fun solution in Paris (also offered as an opportunity): the German model headlining the show looks quite a bit like 'ol McFurrowed-Brow, hint hint, wink wink. There are two targets here, a power couple in the fashion world secretly dealing undercover operator names to highest builder on the sly. The fashion show is huge, brimming with several hundred NPCs, from reporters to wait staff to models to socialites, while the dual targets encourage you to do something cool and stealthy (so as to not raise alarms and get into a firefight before you can take out the second). In addition to Prologue and Paris, the initial $15 (or $60 if you're a gambling man) also opens up Contracts, player-made hits using the same sandbox, as introduced in Absolution. The feature was something of an afterthought in the latter but ended up hugely successful, played by over 40% of players. One cool addition is the Elusive Targets, which appear for a limited time (in real-world hours) and only afford you one shot at making the assassination, like real life. Your success or lack thereof is tracked in your profile. They'll be much harder to suss out, too, requiring some detective work (eavesdropping, etc). These high stakes missions could end up a surprise high point. There are also developer-designed Escalation missions. The first -- again, set in the same Paris sandbox with the story-mode targets still present -- required me to kill a certain, new NPC with a saber (which you can only acquire in a certain area). From there, difficulty ramps up as parameters are added. The next rendition requires killing the same man with a saber, but also hiding the body within 90 seconds after the kill. And as you can see we're getting into the realm of replay and re-use. Player-made Contracts and Escalation missions are effectively the same as the lone story mission, but with different goals. If all you want is to keep fulfilling tasks until the game is over, Hitman's set up might not be for you. But I think the series works best as a creative sandbox you have fun and experiment with, which is why the $10 release structure for new areas makes sense for me, so long as the new areas are varied enough in their killing options and layouts. I enjoyed skulking about the Paris level for a few hours and there are still experiments I'd like to try -- not to mention that I never did finish the mission with finesse (I always cocked up by the second hit for a noisy kill, subsequent firefight, and inelegant escape). That you can test the waters with the first $15 episode -- if you don't like it, you're unlikely to like any more areas -- is an alright option as far as I'm concerned.
Hitman hands-on photo
Hands-on Ste-view
Have you ever wondered just how Cueball McFurrowed-Brow became the famously good killing man of the Hitman series' glory years? Of fucking course not, which is why the need to string Hitman: Absolution together into some S&am...

NY Game Awards photo
NY Game Awards

And the winner of the Games Journalism Award...not a games journalist!


Ellison nabs NY Game Awards prize
Feb 09
// Steven Hansen
The 5th Annual New York Game Awards took place tonight in Arizona. Nah, nah. It was in New York. I fooled you for a second, though, I bet. The event is put on by the New York Videogame Critics Circle, which counts Samit as o...
Twitter photo
Twitter

Feminist Frequency makes new Twitter Trust and Safety Council


Among many members
Feb 09
// Steven Hansen
I love Twitter. Love it. But the quasi-public nature of it means it's kinda of like plopping down at a crowded beach. You don't expect fellow beach goers to come up to you and interrupt conversations between you and your fri...
It exists photo
It exists

Crimson Singles is Tinder, but for Destiny


Swipe right on their initiative
Feb 09
// Steven Hansen
Five days ago a user on the Destiny reddit page suggested, "Someone should make a Tinder app for Crimson Doubles." Over the weekend, that become a reality as reddit's sjmorrow and sicemsam teamed up over three days to make Cr...

Review: Firewatch

Feb 08 // Steven Hansen
Firewatch (PS4, PC [reviewed])Developer: Campo SantoPublisher: Panic Inc., Campo SantoReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $19.99 Henry is sad. Why else retreat to the woods of Wyoming to become a fire lookout? It starts in Colorado when Henry, plastered, tries to hit on a woman at a bar. She feels so bad for him she gives him a pity date that turns into a relationship. These bits are done purely with text and music, interspersed by full three dimensional segments of Henry walking out of an elevator into a parking garage and getting into his beat up, fire-engine red pickup. Not unlike Kentucky Route Zero, a high mark in the adventure game genre, Firewatch opens with opportunities for the player to partially define Henry's character. When your girlfriend Julia wants a dog, do you accept the beagle she falls in love with, or insist you get a German shepherd (for protection)? When she asks about children, do you ask her to wait? These choices are not superficial; they are real-life important. More than affecting the outcome of that relationship (you already know he is escaping to the Wyoming woods by the mid-80s), they take on personal meaning in how you sharpen elements of Henry's character.  Mixing these text-adventure-style segments with Henry's dutiful trek into the woods makes them more poignant because you already know how it ends. Badly. Yes. But with a surprising complication. Julia, by then Henry's wife, comes down with early onset Alzheimer's. I didn't expect to be hit that hard by two white text options, but the decision to keep minding her around the house 24/7 or put her in a home was not easy -- and I don't even know what she looks like. While Julia and the relationship are defined in broad strokes, the choice doesn't feel as abstract as choosing to save a character and let another die in The Walking Dead, for example. These are familiar, real-world issues. As Henry settles into his role as lookout, ascending his tower after an eight mile hike, he is met by the voice of Delilah, his boss, who communicates with him via walkie-talkie. This makes up the bulk of the gameplay: walking around, chatting with Delilah via radio. It is a welcomed evolution of the stationary choice-based dialogue trees (you use the triggers so you can walk, talk, and probably even chew gum at the same time). Their conversations are natural thanks to strong dialogue matched by each character's voice performance. Delilah's constant cursing and groan-inducing puns are met by Henry stammering "p-p-p-panties" on the way to keep those aforementioned nude teens from setting off any more fireworks in light of the extreme fire warning. The chemistry is natural as they alternate jabbing back and forth and opening up with one another, though still I found it difficult to bring up my abandoned wife the first few times opportunity arose. Silence is a viable dialogue option. Henry, though, is not just defined through player-guided dialogue. Everything about the production furthers his character. He is not a camera on wheels. You see shorts-clad legs when you look down or his large, meaty hands as he exerts himself clambering up a one meter lip. He is human, average, and the animation work reinforces that. Firewatch is filthy with telling details like these. Some pieces just add flavor (in the confiscated bundle of bottle rockets, one is called the Screaming Wife, and all have original artwork), but it all works towards a cohesive tone. [embed]339920:62167:0[/embed] Art director Olly Moss' color palette is not just pretty to look at. The exaggerated hues work towards the overall tone, from the warm oranges to vivid, dark evenings, while the stylized look is readable, moving away from obfuscating photorealism. I rarely got lost in the unfamiliar woods (though there is a paper map Henry physically pulls up and scribbles notes on). The area is designed and the story paced with just enough backtracking to breed familiarity with the territory, while the relative isolation still leaves it frightening, especially as the story moves away from potential drama-cum-romcom into a thriller.  Most impressive is the thematic cohesion. Firewatch is broadly about guilt, which metastasizes here as isolation-induced paranoia when things turn frightening. After day one on the job Henry comes back to his tower to find the place smashed into. The teens, maybe? Or that silhouette of a hiker spotted on the way back home? While Henry has Delilah on the radio, isolation is what drove him into the woods, perpetuating a cycle of guilt leading to self-imposed loneliness shared by the major characters. The same nagging doubt, decision-questioning, and fear is externalized in the second act as outside forces appear to be stalking Henry and monitoring the conversations between him and Delilah. At which point, incidentally, their carefree, innocent flirting now seems lurid. Something to be ashamed of for the still-married Henry. Let's not forget guilt, internalized anger that can lead to isolation. Ambient sound design shines brightest here, as everything from the weirdly strong rattle of a chain link fence to scurrying in the distance invokes fear -- especially after Henry is sucker punched unconscious on the way to do some fishing. It was here for me Firewatch accessed fear on a Hitchcockian level. No monsters. Only one encounter with some kind of assailant. Still the surveillance, the mystery, the vulnerability and the isolation left me wandering around always checking my six rather than frolicking through gorgeous woods. Music, art, and dialogue quickly established the forest familiar, giving me nostalgia flashes of camping as a kid and first stepping out of the car, dwarfed by redwoods, twigs crunching underfoot. Then that comfort is stripped away. The analog inputs (pulling up the walkie-talkie or map, spinning the same "1234" tumblers to unlock every single park lock box with Henry's paws) combined with unique animation and believable voice work help ground Firewatch, which manages both restraint and maturity in its story without ever going full mumblecore "walking simulator." The warmth of the budding relationship between two voices with natural chemistry is undercut by harsher realities and the drawn out segments of feeling stalked and vulnerable are legitimately stressful. The result is a tight, taut human tale well worth the trek.
Firewatch, with me! photo
A watched fire never kills you
The drunk, nude teens bathing in the lake at sunset summed up Firewatch neatly: "you're just some sad man out in the woods." Kids always know just where to cut. If you could translate the insult quadrant of their brains you'd...

THIS ISN'T A JOKE ON-LINE photo
THIS ISN'T A JOKE ON-LINE

BREAKING: Stanley Parable dev promises new 'MMO with poetry mechanics'


BREAKING NEWS THAT IS REAL, NOT A JOKE
Feb 08
// Steven Hansen
Responding to recent reports of Titanfall 2's promises for a single-player component that is "science meets magic," co-creator of The Stanley Parable and director of Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: ...
Corgi gun photo
Corgi gun

Why yes, yes there is a corgi gun in XCOM 2


Thank you based mods
Feb 05
// Steven Hansen
Shout out to the ravioli-date-owing boo Dalé and shout out to XCOM 2, which, damn, I want to be playing right now and shout out to JonTerp whose mod turns a gun into a cute-ass corgi. It fits fight up there with the th...

XCOM 2 cover: Cool or #darksiders2?

Feb 05 // Steven Hansen
Even original Doom guy had a sick ass crop top exposing his abs and a bunch of ankle-biting demons. And so we come back around to XCOM 2. It's a hell of a lot more interesting than Enemy Unknown's squad silhouettes and science-y blue. But I've been torn on it since the first time I saw it. It feels oddly like an artsy idea and less artful execution. The logos don't help, of course. The title typeface doesn't, either (but how do you make "XCOM2" look not stupid?). Does it look, I don't know, busy? Does the title up top draw away too much from the close-up symmetry of the design? Did you notice that the skulls have different facial expressions? Look close. This is decidedly Not How Skulls Work. There aren't supposed to be some mad eye sockets, some happy eye sockets. Granted, I've never seen my own skull and lived to tell about it (kills me every time) and I'm no bonologist, but it's kind of goofy. And, hey, goofy skulls otherwise intended for ominous portent? [Darksiders 2 comes sliding through the doorway on cue like Kramer] For those of you too young to remember, we had a glorious time with Darksiders 2 here at Destructoid. That game looked like a goth teen's middle school notebook. Handy might've had the definitive blog, counting all of the skulls in a small batch of screenshots (over 100!!!), but #darksiders2 continued as a hashtag ready to be loosed anytime a bleach-tipped, puka-shell-necklace-wearer finger blasted his girlfriend in a Chili's bathroom (thanks, Occams!). The hashtag still persists anytime something so specifically assaults the senses. Sometimes people use it to reference the game by the same name. That's where I'm at. I like the hustle on XCOM 2's behalf. I like the ambition. I like that it isn't boring as all get out. I can't say they nailed it. It looks a tad goofy, a tad off to me, but that's okay. Better than bland. The actual game has a lot more visual flair going on this time around too. PS: Someone count the skulls, please.
IS IT ART? photo
Good luck, Commander
While I would sell out any one of you reading right now to have spent the last week or two playing XCOM 2, our review copy must have been lost in the mail. It's out, probably dope as hell, and my guy Nic is on it working on t...

Content has changed photo
Content has changed

OK K.O!: Cartoon Network made its own, original game


Steven Universe x Regular Show collab
Feb 05
// Steven Hansen
How many Adventure Time games has WayForward done now? Thirteen? Twenty-seven? It makes sense. Its original anime like Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Steven Universe are hits. But why have someone else make the games when ...
WHAT!? photo
WHAT!?

GameStop is publishing a game AND 'not trying to be a publisher'


Got peas on my head don't call me a pea
Feb 05
// Steven Hansen
Hahaha. The new hotness from Insomniac (aside from the Ratchet and Clank tie-in) is Song of the Deep, a 2D, underwater metroidvania. It's $15 for PC, PS4, Xbox One. And GameStop, the retailer, is publishing it. But don't call...
Steam Chinese New Year photo
Steam Chinese New Year

Steam Lunar New Year Sale has thousands of discounted games


8,910 games on sale all week
Feb 05
// Steven Hansen
Steam has a massive new sale going on through next Friday, February 12, in honor of the Lunar New Year (known 'round San Francisco as Chinese New Year). You can get hits like Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 for only $90! The...
GDC awards photo
GDC awards

Bethesda's Todd Howard to receive GDCA Lifetime Achievement Award


Directed Fallouts 3-4, Oblivion, Skyrim
Feb 05
// Steven Hansen
Hot on the heels of Fallout 4, Todd Howard, director of later The Elder Scrolls and Bethesda's Fallout 3 and 4, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards in March. Fallo...
Nintendo sleep monitor  photo
Nintendo sleep monitor

Nintendo nixes plans to watch you sleep


Still into 'Quality of Life' field
Feb 04
// Steven Hansen
Nintendo no longer wants to watch you sleep and -- wait, did he write "nixes" in reference to shelved new Nintendo hardware ideas while the new Nintendo console is being referred to as the "NX"? What a clever writer, that fel...

F.A.N.G is a poopy pigeon in Street Fighter V

Feb 04 // Steven Hansen
[embed]338701:62136:0[/embed] You see the above image of F.A.N.G seemingly flapping about with his giant sleeves? He does that. Homie will literally go airborne and carpet bomb the entire horizontal plane with poison bombs like an awkward pigeon dropping shits on businessmen. Actually I love everything about F.A.N.G's movement, not just a special that looks like you modded a humanoid character model rigged onto a small bird's animations. Even his walk is a Looney Tunes style creep complete with hunched shoulders and craned arms like a goofy t-rex or Montgomery Burns. What I love less is my inability to use the character to annoy people. You see, F.A.N.G is a charge character, requiring second-long maintained button presses in various directions to properly execute moves and my slow ass just plays Ken in Third Strike so I'm screwed. Look at this hieroglyphic shit.  The only "charge characters" I want to know about are the digits of the credit cards I steal. The good news? I performed admirably with Chun-Li after years of disuse, enjoyed the hell out of Laura (like souped up Yoga Bro Ken and Chun-Li, her kicks are dynamite). Actually, question: is it more or less racist if F.A.N.G isn't Chinese? Because he looks like an XCOM Thin Man, but when I was playing as Chun-Li she noted that his favorite number, 2, was not written out in proper Chinese characters on his shirt and questioned if he's really Chinese at all. We might just have a really big Mickey Rooney Breakfast at Tiffany's fan who really wants to blow Bison for some reason.
First hands-on with FANG photo
Plus move list because I can be helpful
I know what you're thinking with Street Fighter V (PS4, PC) less than two weeks from release: everything is mined. There was the big reveal that Arcade mode will have standard text and art stories to be followed by a post-lau...

Doom trailer photo
Doom trailer

Doom is coming May 13 with a skeletal collector's edition


New demon-filled trailer and $120 deals
Feb 04
// Steven Hansen
Hello everybody, I am the harbinger of Doom, id Software's Bethesda-published reboot of the brutal first-person shooter shown off last year. Turns out Doom'll turnout worldwide on May 13. That's for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Th...
Ask something! photo
Ask something!

Get Confident, Stupid! Podtoid is recording and we need questions


Ask us questions, tell us no lies
Feb 03
// Steven Hansen
Hi, I'm Steven Hansen. You may remember from such Podtoids as Podtoid 321: Witness the Rise of Bombshell and The Christmas Ape Saves Podtoid. We all had a blast recording 321 and not just because it's like a countdown...to fu...
WHO DID THIS photo
WHO DID THIS

One of you best come get your Pikachu


A wholesome rat for families
Feb 02
// Steven Hansen
Who did this? I'm driving my friend home and there's just piles of trash in front of her house, and look at this shit, which one of y'all left your bean bag chair sized Pikachu all dirty on the street like that? Come collect ...
Free erotic visual novel photo
Free erotic visual novel

Win a free copy of that sexy lesbian ghost game


Kindred Spirits on the Roof
Feb 01
// Steven Hansen
Hey, how's it going? Remember Kindred Spirits on the Roof, the visual novel that, "focuses on a lesbian relationship between two ghost girls who haunt an all-girls academy and the unrequited feelings in their hearts, unabl...
Odin Sphere trailer photo
Odin Sphere trailer

Storybook time! Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir's first English trailer


Die art, die
Feb 01
// Steven Hansen
Now that Odin Sphere's Leifthrasir remake is out in Japan, Vanillaware can focus on the areas that really matter: the Americas. We're getting the 2D action-RPG on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita in the Americas on June 7, 2016 and so ...

Lupe Fiasco is going to kick Daigo's ass in Street Fighter V

Jan 29 // Steven Hansen
And, finally, onto our story, our ostensible reason for reading (you) and writing (me) this article, other than to put content online for pay, to pal around with my friends about music on a lazy Friday, but mostly to talk about Kanye lying about not liking his ass eaten. Rapper Lupe Fiasco's last album, a return to form, is called Tetsuo & Youth if you want to check the standard millennial nerd bonafides. He also he drops Lupin the III and Thundercats references in his verse on Kanye's "Touch the Sky" over a decade ago. Someone asked Lupe on Twitter if he watches EVO, to which he replied, "Only to study Daigo..." Mad Catz' Mark Julio -- who loved my recent dispatch from the Mad Catz Street Fighter V tournament, by the way -- asked Lupe if he was down to fight Daigo, who is sponsored by Mad Catz, in Street Fighter V. Lupe confirmed, "It would be an honor to lose to Daigo-San." Good week, all. See you Monday. [embed]337545:62043:0[/embed] [embed]337545:62044:0[/embed]
Rapper v pro gamer photo
This is Rocky VIII
Things are popping off in the hip hop world this week. Kanye lied about not liking his ass eaten after a deluge of tweet beef with Wiz Khalifa. Kanye eventually deleted the 20 or so tweets aimed at Khalifa, but they still ex...

Review: Bombshell

Jan 29 // Steven Hansen
Bombshell (PC)Developer: Interceptor EntertainmentPublisher: 3D RealmsReleased: January 29, 2016MSRP: $34.99 The most surprising thing about this 2016 heir to the Duke Nukem throne is how toothless it is. The Duke's puerile shtick is beyond dated as 2011's tragedy Duke Nukem Forever might remind us, but save for a rocket launcher called the "PMS" -- haha, menstruation! -- Bombshell is tonally distinct, and instead goes for a nerfed "ooh rah" à la Independence Day. It even opens with a Fourth of July alien invasion of the White House and kidnapped president (whose American flag eye patch is, admittedly, hilarious). The result is a milquetoast lead whose repeated, constant combat barks like, "I never thought aliens would land on the White House lawn" or "You're not worth the metal you're made of" or "Die, alien scum" do disservice to a solid acting performance. Making an old-school, character-led action game with a boring character is a huge misstep. In the opening cutscene, Shelly's jeep is blown up. It's on screen and blown up in a few seconds. There are two combat barks devoted to complaining about her lost car and they're totally unearned. I forgot there even was a car until roughly the 25th mention. At one point an enemy must've fallen off the map without dying because I had to hear his robotic droning about his shield every five seconds for the next 45 minutes.  [embed]337527:62042:0[/embed] In addition to being boring, Bombshell is a bit broken. I fell through the level and died three times. Shelly got stuck in place on a couple occasions, necessitating a restart to accompany the countless times she hitched on the environment. Enemies get stuck, too, or at least some choose to lay down arms and not attack until I kill them, anyway. Sometimes the map, which is uncovered as you explore, completely erases itself and leaves you with no sense of direction. The latter was far more annoying than I thought it could be, especially given that it was coupled with archaic level design. There are three distinct areas in Bombshell, including an ice stage, because this is a video game, and they're all designed like someone cracked a sheet of glass and traced the sprawling result. There are constant dead ends, fetch quests, and side quests that actually require backtracking to turn in. The mini-map, on the other hand, is incredibly useful because the camera is kept so tight that you will regularly run face-first into bullets if you navigate by watching Shelly move rather than watching the blips on the mini-map. Apparently fixed isometric perspective shooters were also missing a huge thing all these years: platforming. Most of my deaths came after falling into a pool of water or after walking over a nonsensical hole in the ground like some Wile E. Coyote shit, like the architect of the alien home world had a debilitating Swiss cheese fetish. But it isn't just that there is platforming, it's that it is floaty and unsatisfying. One of the reasons Shelly's lines bomb (besides that they're vacuous and repeated a hundred times) is that they're so disconnected from the character in the isometric view, and similarly there isn't anything to ground or give weight to her jumps. Even her walking animation is like a hockey puck on ice. That missing weight is a big part of why Bombshell's most redeeming factors, the twin-stick-style shooting, also falls flat. The weapons (rapid-fire machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower, and so on) have little stopping power. Enemies don't seem to react when shot, but instead absorb bullets like sponges until their HP empties and they limply rag doll to the floor. The first two worlds accost you with loads of pain-in-the-ass tiny enemies that poison (damage over time) or freeze you (slow movement speed) while the last just goes full bore and sends out six Gundam-sized robots at a time. I appreciated being able to see them more clearly than the ankle-biters, but seeing giant robot after giant robot go weak in the knees after getting hit with a laser beam was almost pathetic. Also, the last level theme (it goes alien, ice, metal) looks exactly like the end of Mass Effect 2 down to the Terminator-cribbed robots. Which reminds: Bombshell has some of the worst boss fights I have ever played. Sticking to conventions, they tend to be of the three-phase fare and toss regular enemies into the mix to make things more difficult. By the last form of the first boss I was out of ammo save for Shelly's default, infinite-ammo weapon. I beat it by standing pissing distance in front of the boss and holding the trigger for a few minutes while scrolling through Twitter. The same thing happened with the boss of the ice world, which decided it just wasn't interested in attacking me during its final phase. Every once in a while, during a taut firefight that actually necessitates mixing and matching weapons (the shotgun alt fire, a stun gun, is possibly too useful), there are glimpses of a solid shooter let down by everything else around it. As it stands, playing Bombshell for more than an hour at a time is like ingesting a sedative, save for flashes of rage as you fall through the map one more time or are asked to find six more crystals. [This review is based on a build of the game provided by the publisher.] 
Bombshell reviewed photo
Dud Nukem
"It's so hard to believe this is real. It's like a video game or something." A random soldier told me this in Bombshell and it's not the worst meta dialogue in the game. Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison is quick to complain about ...

Dark Souls 3 screens photo
Dark Souls 3 screens

Hot new Dark Souls III screens include eerie tiny king


New Dark Souls locations, characters
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
Ah, screenshots. Some real classic, old-school video game journalism. More than anything I want to know what it is that compelled Bandai Namco to put out new Dark Souls III screens on a Wednesday night. Maybe something's fun ...
New Kojima game EXPOSED photo
New Kojima game EXPOSED

Is Hideo Kojima making a Rip Hamilton game?


Possible leak for upcoming PS4 game
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
Former Konami employee and Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima has been on a 10-day-long honeymoon with PlayStation's Mark Cerny. The duo has been visiting Sony-affiliated studios like crazy, most recently David Cage's Q...
PODTOID QUESTIONS photo
PODTOID QUESTIONS

[Extremely My Sharona voice] P-p-p-p-podtoid questions!


Ask us questions, tell us no lies
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
You know what was great in Podtoid 320: Grandma is a Climate Denier? Questions. Questions from ya'll. Or y'all. Or voi.  Man do I want to answer some more of yous guys' questions. Anything other than listening to Brett...

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