hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Preview: Munchables, kinda like Pac-Man meets Katamari

Apr 29 // Dyson
Title: Munchables (Wii)Developer: NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.Release: May 26th, 2009 In a nutshell, Munchables has you playing as a very hungry protagonist whose planet has been taken over by onion-based space pirates (yes, they're space pirate onions). To save your planet from these pirates, you choose either Chomper or Munchy as your main character and proceed to eat your way through multiple levels and fight against eight main bosses to save the planet. As the title of the post suggests, there are some heavy influences from both Pac-Man and the Katamari series at work here. The main character that you play looks quite a bit like Namco's yellow pellet muncher. Not only that, but his main motivation is eating things -- hence the name Munchables, I'm assuming. Where the Katamari part shows up is the way in which the levels are navigated and cleared. The Katamari influence isn't as direct, though. Since you don't roll anything up or get immensely huge to complete a level, you may not see it. But clearing a level or area requires that you level up your character by running around eating items and enemies until your level gets large enough that you can move on to the next area. So instead of getting a great big Katamari at the end, you get a nice big experience level that allows you to move on to the next part. Increasing your character's level is important; like a Katamari's size limitation, you can only defeat things that are at your level or lower. Since every boss that you come across will be at a higher level than you are, the mechanic to defeat them is to lock on with the Z button and slam into them by pressing B. Slamming the higher-level enemies breaks them into smaller, lower-level ones, and so on and so forth. Once they become small enough to have a lower level than you, it's eating time.That's pretty much the game as far mechanics go. As far as looks, it has a sort of cutesy artwork style that has some Japanese influence in it. That may be the reason Munchables passed under the radar for me before; I thought it was a little kids' game at first. After playing it, though, I would say it may make a nice diversion between all the mini-games on the Wii. It also has a decent enough complexity to entertain grown-up gamers without being overly difficult for the kids, while simultaneously showing a quirkiness that may appeal to certain gamers. For example, the broccoli boss is called Brocco Lee, as in Bruce Lee. As in a piece of broccoli, with a black belt, in a Kung Fu suit. I said it was quirky.
 photo

So this game totally slipped past my radar when it was announced last year. At least, I was told that it was announced last year when I was asking about it. It's not terribly surprising that I didn't notice it, though. People...

 photo

Preview: Food Network: Cooked or Be Cooked


Apr 29
// Dyson
In a perfect world, either Dale North or Johnathan Ross would have been on hand to preview this game. Not because I didn't think it was cool, but because all they ever talk about when we're all together is food. And the Food ...

Preview: Tekken 6 is ... well, Tekken

Apr 29 // Dyson
Tekken 6 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Namco BandaiPublisher: Namco BandaiTo be released: October 27, 2009Now, like the newest Ferrari or Lamborghini, the latest edition of Tekken will always be the slickest, fastest, and sleekest version of Tekken to date. But it's still the same Tekken that you played back in the day. Even though you'll have console specific content, forty playable characters, breakable environments, motion blur, deeper customization than the previous Tekkens, and even the new Rage Mode (attacks become stronger when your health drops below 10%!) - you're still playing the exact same Tekken as before. Not like that's a bad thing, though, right? While Tekken 6 may just be more Tekken, and even though Tekken 6 is the 'slickest, fastest, and sleekest version' of Tekken to date; fans of the series already read the only two things about it that they needed to know for a purchase.It's Tekken, and there's a number 6 attached to the end of it.
 photo

I'm not really much of a Tekken player, but I've always seen the series as Namco's Lamborghini or Ferrari line of cars. With every iteration, nothing much really changes except for the style, and every time a new one comes ou...

Preview: Katamari Forever

Apr 29 // Dyson
Katamari Forever (PS3) Developer: NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. Release: Fall 2009[embed]130274:18991[/embed] So a long time ago, in a console generation previous to this one, I had personally grown tired of the all the mainstream types of games that were glutting the PS2 and its contemporaries. Not to say that there weren't titles out there that weren't fun and original for the three systems of the day -- it's just that there weren't enough of them. I was bored with gaming as a whole, and it stayed that way for quite some time.Later, and much to my surprise, the one console that seemed to be the most responsible for the slew of Legacy of Kain-3rd-person-whatever-rip-offs -- the PS2 -- had suddenly become the system of new and interesting titles. As you you know, titles like God of War took the system to new heights of popularity, but there was one game that I spent hours playing that helped to get me back into gaming. Yup, it was Katamari Damacy. The simplistic yet challenging gameplay, the bizarre characters and concept, and the intentionally quirky and over-the-top cuteness of the graphics all won me over as I pushed the Shrimpy Prince's Katamari through world after world in an effort to appease his psychotic father. Katamari Damacy was a game that I could, and still, play for hours on end. I was hooked on the game from the get-go, but as the series continued, I felt that it lost a lot of what made the first one so special. Don't get me wrong, I liked We <3 Katamari as much as the next bloke, but it didn't have the same pizazz its predecessor did (mostly just oddly placed loading screens). I never owned a PSP to play that system's version, and as excited as I was for the Xbox 360-exclusive Beautiful Katamari, it eventually let me down with its hollowed-out feeling. Which brings us now to the newest entry in the series, Katamari Forever. I'm not about to go all head-over-heels for the title just yet, but from what we were shown, and what we were told, there just may be hope for my beloved series. Katamari Forever returns to the roots of the originals -- not only as a new iteration in the series, but also a tribute to the things that fans loved before. Even though players will get new levels displayed in awesome 1080p, they will also get to play familiar levels from previous games with the updated Forever touch. Remember the ginger bread house? It's in there. Looking absolutely fantastic on the PS3, the world of Katamari comes to life in a way that just wasn't present in the Xbox 360 version. Everything on screen is just bursting with color all over, and the 1080p resolution makes a real difference in its presentation. I know that the original PS2 series were supposed to be low-budget fun, but seeing what the Katamari world looks like in HD done right is a treat and half. The insanity of the series seems to have returned in full effect with the latest story. The King of the Universe has apparently lost his memory, and his head, and it's the Shrimpy Prince's mission to rectify both issues. While that sounds like it may be on par with all the title's wackiness, it does go far in showing me that Namco is doing more to represent what made the original special, aside from the straightforward "roll shit up into a ball" mentality of Beautiful Katamari. Along with there being the new graphic filters to play the game in, we caught on to a few of the new play mechanics during the demo. Apparently, using the SIXAXIS controller allows you to jump. That's new! And the there's also a level that was called the "sprinkler level," where the Katamari is used to spread water all over the colorless level to bring back its greenery and fauna instead of just rolling things up into a ball. There was also mention of special items that are found in the levels that act like power-ups, giving the game a bit more strategy than before. So, it looks like I may be excited for another Katamari game again. While we didn't see everything there was to see, what we saw, I liked. As we get closer to the game's release date this Fall, we'll hopefully have more time to spend with the title. In the meantime, though, it looks as if the title is on the right track for fans of the series. But like I said, we'll see.If Namco does come through on this, and it looks like they may (fingers crossed), I might need to come over to your house and borrow your PS3. That's cool, right? Hello?
 photo

I tried to put something in the title about the upcoming Katamari Forever being a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and that in in being an exclusive it is making me slooowly come around to considering getting a PS3. But our character...

Preview: The Strike. HOT BASS FISHING ACTION!

Apr 21 // Dyson
The Strike (Wii/Xbox360)Developer: Piranha Publisher: Griffin InternationalTo be released: Fall 2009Having actually worked on a Bass fishing game before, I knew how absolutely horrible they could be. Let me rephrase that: Knowing how horrible the game that I worked on was, I knew that seeing The Strike could go in any direction. I had heard that the title was being developed for the both the Wii and Xbox 360, and that they were to both include motion controls. Not only that, but the game is licensed by Bass Pro Shops, so I was pretty sure that my previous fishing nightmares would not return to haunt me.I can firmly state after playing the demo for both the Wii and the Xbox 360 version, that there will be no nightmares. In fact, we had a blast playing The Strike on both systems. Since the game has the official license from the the Bass Pro Shops, it has every bell and whistle that you could possibly ask for in a fishing game. So much so, that after seeing that it even has mini-games, I kind of felt it was like the Madden Football of fishing games in a weird way. The title even uses actual real-life lakes as the setting of the game, and in each one the developer has even used the actual topography of the lake, so people who are into competitive fishing will notice the recreation and hopefully appreciate it. Now I'll be honest, I'm not exactly the fishing outdoorsy type. Although, as a kid I was dragged around and subjected to the many nuances of the sport of fishing. While this did nothing for me a child, I guess I can say that it at least helped me while playing The Strike with its motion controllers. The Wii version already uses the Wii Remote technology and a pretty spiffy case was made to house the Wiimote while taking advantage of the Wii's inherent controls. The Xbox 360 version, though, had its own controller that was built from the ground up, and it was actually the more technical of the two. The Xbox 360 controller had the same capabilities of the Wii's motion controls, but it also had its very own force feed back mechanics that replicated the tension of reeling in a large fish and would spin the reel back and forth like it would in the real world. Made by the developer's peripheral division (Psyclone) the 3rd party controller for The Strike may be the first controller available for the Xbox 360 that uses motion technology. Whose motion technology is it, though? When we asked about the reel controller and if it meant that there would actually be motion controllers for the Xbox 360, the answer given to us was: That while the controller was made in-house, part of the software (or a chip... I forget) that was used was licensed from Microsoft. So, if Microsoft has that laying around to be licensed... sounds like a good bet that there will be some announcements from Microsoft soon.  Anyway, even though the Xbox 360 version had the spiffier of the two controllers, they both responded exactly the same way when it came to motion detection. So although the player will have an only slightly less unique experience with the Wii controls, it won't actually affect how the game is played when trying to win your way trough the fishing competitions.As far as the differences of the systems game content, aside form the graphical differences, both versions include exactly the same content. All the lures, lakes, boats, mini-games, and customizable character items are exactly the same in both versions. The gang and I spent about a total of an hour playing both, and found that we were having just as much HOT BASS FISHING ACTION on either system. So if you're the type of person that is into fishing games, The Strike may be the one to erase all the nightmares (OK, just my nightmares) of the fishing games that have come before.
 photo

Honestly, the "HOT BASS FISHING ACTION" in the title of this preview has nothing to do with the way that the makers of The Strike are marketing their title. It would also do a disservice to game that is finally brin...

 photo

Destructoid exclusive: Bionic Commando concept art


Apr 14
// Dyson
There comes a time in every person's life where they get the inclination to lop off an arm, replace it with a kick-ass bionic one, and save the world. Luckily for the mothers of arm owners everywhere, Capcom has been providin...

Preview: Dead Space Extraction

Apr 13 // Dyson
Dead Space Extraction (Wii)Developer: Electronic ArtsPublisher: Electronic Arts:To be released: Fall 2009I wasn't actually joking about Dead Space being my favorite game of last year, so I was extremely interested to see what EA was doing with the franchise on the Wii. Would it be a straight port? What kind of controls would it have? What would Baby Jesus think about it? While viewing the demonstration, almost all the questions were answered. And while Baby J's opinion on the title is yet to be confirmed, I can tell you that Dead Space Extraction is looking to be pretty good so far.As you may have heard, the gameplay is similar to the approach that Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles used, where it's not really a shooter, but it's also not a free-roaming adventure. Actual movement of the character is controlled by the game at all times, but there are instances of choosing different paths through the levels, some easier or harder than others. There are areas, too, that do give the player extra camera movement, called "Camera Opportunities." These Camera Ops allow the player to explore the environments in certain rooms and through certain paths, so that the player can feel less like they're on rails and more immersed in the exploration aspects of the game.Just like the original Dead Space, the HUD is represented by on-screen markers as opposed to health bars and ammo count menus. For the Wii version, though, the gamer is placed in a first-person perspective, so information is displayed on the Wii Remote reticule instead of on the character's back. And, yes, you do use the Wiimote to aim and fire, but have no worries about it being a "gun game." You use the Wiimote to shoot, but it's also used for a new feature that has you carrying your own light source (the green glow seen in the picture below). This light will fade over time, and to bring its strength back up, the player will have to shake the Wiimote up and down. This may sound a little cheesy, but it was said to give the player the choice in harrowing situations of whether or not they would increase the light for better accuracy, or just keep fighting off the enemies. The player can also have the option of rotating any weapon in the game ninety degrees by just turning their wrist. For fans of the first game this will be good news since the only, and arguably most versatile weapon, in the first title that could do this was the plasma cutter. The timeline of the story places the events in Extraction before the original, and the moment when the marker was, duh, extracted from the planet's surface. Now, I'm not exactly clear as to whether or not this takes place on the ship from the first game or the colony, but by looking at the environments in the demo, it appears to be once again on the same ship.The level of detail used in the game will keep fans happy, too. While no one expects the Wii to do things that it just can't do, what it can do, it does very well.  As you can see from the above picture, the team responsible for Extraction has done a great job of creating the environments. There were a few things that I did notice, though. The contrast between the lighted area that you can see in front of the character compared to the extremely shadowy areas that surround him isn't as stark as it was in the 360/PS3 version. This took away from the claustrophobic feeling that the first game created, but I have a feeling that they may have just cranked the brightness for the demo so we could see the environments. Let's hope so!We didn't get a chance to see any of the co-op functionality, but from what I was told, it sounds like a true two-player game. The team wanted to make sure that if you were going to play with your friends, they would have something to do instead of some lame support role or something that just kept them busy (I'm looking at you, Super Mario Galaxy). Second players can share the first player's life bar and are equally invested in surviving, and they can also jump in and out of gameplay at any time. Overall, what we were shown looked fun and true to the level of detail that EA has committed to each of its Dead Space mediums (like the comic and film). With the promise that the game's content wasn't watered down for the Wii, and the fact that I honestly can't get too much Dead Space anything in my life, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more from this title in the future.
 photo

When Electronic Arts said it was going to bring Dead Space to the Wii, a lot of people thought that they were joking. As it turns out, they weren't, but the confirmation only brought about the usual two responses. The first a...

Hamza Bullets! Death Tank super tank 'shoop and haiku of death contest winners!

Mar 04 // Dyson
Now, for no apparent reason whatsoever, the haiku winners go first!Sup3rt3d: Star Wars is always good.Oh Luke SkywalkerSo near Death on Hoth but savedBy the Bacta Tankhoodoo: Def Leppard reference!Death becomes a gameAs the tank rolls closer stillArmageddon it?kittwalker: Wtf is a BBC Micro?I used to play Tanks, On my BBC Micro. Death Tank looks betterportastad: Death Becomes Her was terrible. Death Becomes Her, yahIt was a box office tankStraight to VHS  drfoongoggles: I had to look up the syllable count in "towards."Death rolling toward meIn shape of big, bad-ass tankI soil trousersAnd now for the Photoshop winners!Electro Lemon: What the fuck is this blue shit?! Eques-Ardor: It's how he rolls.the GAMEGOBLIN: Baby tank of death!  sirjester: Although you don't get the haiku thing, Bill and Ted's Death is win.   MechaMonkey: That fish is fucked! Those are the winners, folks! Please don't be too upset if you didn't get one of the codes, it was hard enough deciding on the winners as it was. Special nod to Wedge's shark tank 'shoop ... I wish you had put Death in it, but them's the rules! Email me at [email protected] to claim your prizes. Also, please use the same email you use to make your account, so we can verify that you are you. There some sneaky people on the Internet, and those bastards don't deserve the awesome of Death Tank.Great job to everyone that entered! 
 photo

Oh, Hamza Bullets, what can't they do? I know that they can help to pick out the winners of the Death Tank super 'shoop and haiku of death contest that recently ended. Sadly, the Hamza Bullets didn't win. Not because they are...

 photo

This creepy old man on the bus was saying to me that there is nothing more awesome in life than death and tanks. Since he was wearing a shoe for a hat and smelled of old fish, I told him to take a hike, but he was right.Tanks...

Preview: BattleForge's multiplayer

Feb 26 // Dyson
Just in case you were too lazy to read Samit’s article (and you should feel bad if you were, because he puts a lot of time into them), BattleForge is on online RTS that incorporates the idea of using tabletop gaming cards to represent the game’s different types of resources. Now, on to the multiplayer!The first round of online we played was pretty confusing. Having never ever played the game, it was kind of difficult to just jump right in and know what you were doing. I think others there were having the same issues, so it was suggested that we all try out the tutorial if we wanted to. That was a very good suggestion.While the lobby menus seemed pretty weird in some places, the tutorial taught you everything you needed to know in no time flat. Right away, I figured out exactly how to use the trading card style item management and exactly how to use it effectively in the game. Which is pretty cool, because most RTS games beat the crap out of the player with requiring them to build resources forever before ever getting to any sort of fun gameplay; building a tech tree, I believe it’s called. And it becomes apparent that BattleForge’s use of the trading card idea is more than just an aesthetic decision in reference to that. It functions in a way that gets rid of that whole tech tree business and lets you start playing and moving forward in the game at a quick pace. Getting ahead and building new walls, defenses and occupying new areas was accomplished within the first two minutes of the match. You knew exactly what to do, where to go, and how to use all your resources with no problem thanks to the easy to read trading card UI. Granted, I don’t want the game to come off as sounding too easy. The amount of times you can play a card, and the amount of time it takes to recharge each card, limits the amount of units you can put on the field at any given time. If you use all your, say, five of the available soldier cards, you’ll have to wait until the card replenishes again to replay more soldiers. This amount of replenish time doesn’t scale with the amount of energy you’re building; the time is always the same. This, as I was told, was to force the player to use their cards more wisely, and to keep them from spamming units onto the field. I feel that, although it’s a little different than other RTSs because of that, the idea helped to keep the game from feeling like it would be too easy. And while the game is ridiculously easy to get into and start playing, it’s apparent that there’s quite a bit of depth to this title that we barely even scratched the surface of in our couple hours of play.When I originally saw the concept of the title, I thought it would be just a weird card game spin-off and not a real RTS. But seeing the way that BattleForge blends the trading cards into the RTS genre, and not the other way around, I feel that this may end up being a really solid title for RTS fans. It's also a lot of fun for people who aren’t really all that into meticulous resource management and just want to have fun with their RTS game. I know that I had a lot of fun playing around with the battle system and its cool looking trading card-esque menu, so I may keep an eye on this game when it comes out March 24th. If you want to see it sooner, you can also check out the open beta that begins on Feb, 27, and see what you think. And, no, I don't know why the screen shots don't have any pictures of the trading cards in them. I can only give what I get, folks. 
 photo

The other day, I had a chance to spend some time on EA and Phenomic's upcoming real time strategy game, BattleForge for the PC. If you haven't heard of it before, shame on you -- go eat some glass. I'm just kidding, glass cos...

 photo

Hamza almost died so I could get you these Ride to Hell videos


Jan 13
// Dyson
Earlier today you may have heard about Hamza's life and death experience in the utter wastleland that is the California desert. Seriously, those ATVs are death traps, but it'll take more than that to kill Destructoid's numbe...
 photo

Ride to Hell Event: Deep Silver shows us how to be in a biker gang


Dec 28
// Dyson
Not too long ago, the fine folks at Deep Silver (the development house that is comprised of ex-Rockstar Vienna folks who are also working on the Wii title Cursed Mountain) decided to take myself and Hamza “I’m a F...
 photo

Developer Q&A: Deep Silver talks about their upcoming Wii title, Cursed Mountain


Nov 13
// Dyson
About a zillion years ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Martin Filipp, Developer at Deep Silver, and discuss with him the company's upcoming survival-horror title: Cursed Mountain. Deep Silver, if you weren't aware,...

Destructoid review: Legendary

Nov 09 // Dyson
Legendary (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PS3, PC)Developed by Spark UnlimitedPublished by Gamecock Media GroupReleased on November 5, 2008Played to completion on NormalUnlike most FPS games that are released, Legendary eschews the Man vs Alien rhetoric in favor of pitting the game’s main character (Deckard) against an army of creatures once thought to be myth. By opening Pandora’s Box, the main character immediately finds himself thrust into a disaster situation of incredible proportions. Without wasting any time or plaguing the player with slow and boring tutorial levels, the action begins almost instantly and keeps the player going at a breakneck pace throughout the game. With only one minor chapter in the game to give the player a break (Council HQ), Legendary keeps the action set to high by constantly keeping you moving from one “oh shit” moment to the next. While a good few of these moments are obvious and fairly scripted, the sheer quantity and variation thrown at you keeps the feeling of danger tangible for a majority of the game. The title does a very good job of creating tension in almost every aspect of gameplay by never letting you feel “safe.” Throughout the game, you are in constant fear of what may kill you next, while every new enemy that you come across one-ups the intensity of the last. (The Kraken battle is pretty cool.) Facing off against the mythical creatures is the main thrust of the battles you meet, with the addition of the obligatory “shadow organization” thrown in to play the antagonist role. While the enemy soldier AI seems to be relegated to preset patterns, and sometimes serves as a mere annoyance, the constant barrage of werewolves, griffins, and other mythical creatures tends to keep the player from feeling any sort of redundancy. Unfortunately, there are more than several moments in the game where a player will have no idea what to do, and will be routinely killed in a “trial by error” type of method to determine the next step in the game. Eventually, you start to figure out that the reason you're dying so often is mostly because rushing into every room and trying to blow everything away, à la every other FPS out there, does not make for a long life for Deckard. Legendary is set up as more of an action strategy shooter more than anything else, and thinking about your next move in that mindset will keep you alive slightly longer -- although you will get your ass handed to you on a regular basis no matter what. To help guide you, there's Waypoint feature used in the game that helps direct the player on where they’re supposed to go next, but a lot of the times it doesn’t work very well and will certainly frustrate you. Usually, these moments are accompanied by an action sequence that is purposefully brutal, and the repetitive dying without knowing what to do becomes incredibly annoying to the point that some may walk away. The first of these instances appears early in the game during the New York sequence. Upon the introduction of the Black Order soldiers while being pinned down on the city street, you are eventually led into a nearby building by a security guard who calls out to you. What triggers the security guard is still unknown to me. I died no less than 12 times in the same area trying figure out if I just had to wait, or if I had to kill all of the enemy soldiers. I still have no idea which of the two is the case. Meanwhile, the Waypoint falsely leads you around the level directing you to where you should eventually end up, thereby causing you to break cover and be killed very often. After that, you will soon find yourself doing some inappropriately placed 3D platforming in a warehouse filled with werewolves. While these points aren’t ubiquitous throughout the game, their appearance so soon into the experience may cause people to misjudge the entirety of the Legendary experience.Thankfully, someone decided to keep the platforming confined to just one part of the game, and the rest of the title seems to borrow quite heavily from games such as BioShock and Condemned 2 with regard to its execution and level design. I noticed that the strong influence of BioShock can be seen in the game’s puzzle mechanics, so much so that any player will think “Yep. That’s like BioShock.”While Legendary does borrow quite a bit from games that have preceded it, it does set itself apart by creating an intense action game that provides a quality experience. And while the graphics are certainly not of the highest caliber, the game’s slideshow-esque art style lends itself to the narrative well. There are the occasional in-game engine cut scenes, though, which are inexplicably unappealing. Fortunately, they are few and far between enough to not make too poor of an impact. The only true negative factor about them is the fact that they can’t be skipped. Considering how often you will die in Legendary, this seems terribly outdated.The storyline doesn’t break any new ground or have any huge plot twists (myth monsters + shadow organization = bad), but it certainly doesn’t disappoint. While you’re never really at a loss as to how the whole thing will end, getting there is a completely enjoyable, and nerve-racking, experience. My only complaint, though, is that there are no new options given to you upon completing the game. Even though the ending sets up a sequel, I would have liked to have seen the ability to play through the game again with unlimited ammo or some other feature appear that would entice another playthrough.All in all, I think that if you approach the game in the same way that you would approach a big summer blockbuster movie (fast-paced with lots of crazy action going on, not a whole lot of depth -- think Michael Bay), you'll find an overall enjoyable ride in the experience that Legendary provides. You're constantly barraged with the feeling of "Go! Go! Go!" from the minute you begin the game until you the time you complete it, and the adrenaline levels of your brain will be set to high throughout. However, it must be said that Legendary most certainly has its faults, one of them being the game has absolutely no replayabilty (WTF?). But it is worth your time to sit down and play through the game at least once. While I can't recommend that you purchase the title, I can say that a rental is definitely in order if you have the time. Legendary had its hiccups, but by the end of the show, I was more than pleased with the time I spent with it.Except for the minotaurs. Fuck those goddamn things and their goddamn ability to kill the shit out of you EVERY time. Score: 7.75  (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)[About this review: Unlike most reviews here at Destructoid, this review was written months prior to the game's release, and the version that was reviewed was purported to be the final build. At that time, there wasn't the ability to play the multiplayer features, so we waited until we had a retail build so that we could review the game in its entirety. It's sad to say, but I waited online for over 30 minutes with the retail copy in hopes that someone would jump into my created match, but no one, and I mean no one, was around for me to play against :( Regardless, I doubt that the one type of online play it provides will truly make any difference in the score. If I ever find anyone to play with and it does make a difference, I'll let you know. A plus, though, was that the game actually looked a lot sharper than the build I had played for review, so there is that!]
 photo

I'm pretty sure that everyone and their mother is playing a certain other game right now (rhymes with beers at four - poo), but, surprise, there are other releases that have come out that may be worth your attention, such as ...

 photo

[UPDATE] The Awesome Apocalypse now to support bewbs!


Oct 17
// Dyson
Not prepared for the impending Awesome Apocalypse? Find yourself lacking in 100% cotton garments of WIN and AWESOME? Fret not, my dear fans of RetroforceGO! The combined powers of retro, Splitreason, and Adam "The bitche...
 photo

Destructoid Discusses! iPod touch vs DS, also DSi


Oct 06
// Dyson
In the "news" that the iPod touch will somehow trump the Nintendo DS Lite as the portable handheld of choice, we decided to discuss the merits of both of the systems and how they would effect each other's markets. M...

Destructoid review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Sep 15 // Dyson
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3, 360 [reviewed], Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, mobile) Developed by LucasArts Published by LucasArtsTo be released on September 16, 2008 Not too long ago, I went to see Star Wars: The Force Unleashed at LucasArts' studio. In my preview, I mentioned that The Force Unleashed looked to be shaping up as a true Star Wars movie wrapped in a video game. From the opening Vader intro to the first boss fight, what was shown displayed top-notch production values along with a very positive nod towards satisfying any series fan. With the final release of the game, I can say that my opinion has not changed. From beginning to end, the attention to detail and presentation is absolutely phenomenal. Each and every cinematic that you see has an almost movie-like quality to it. The quality of the animation and the (believe it or not) outstanding voice talent combine to give the illusion that you are playing an actual movie -- not just any movie, but a Star Wars movie. The Force Unleashed seamlessly interweaves these gorgeous cut scenes into and out of gameplay so well that the usual marked difference between playing and watching becomes very pleasantly blurred.One of the reasons for this blur is that the same amount of effort used to make the cut scenes is also apparent during gameplay. While some games only look good in their cut scenes, The Force Unleashed looks great all the time. Whether it be the detailed environments, the costumes, or just the fluid movement of the unique in-game characters, no penny seems to have been pinched in making everything as visually stunning as it can be. But while the entire visual package is, bar none, some of the best I’ve seen in awhile, a game cannot rest on its appearance alone.  By now you may have noticed that everything about The Force Unleashed’s presentation is impeccable. Since I’m the one telling you that it is, I certainly won’t try and argue against myself in telling you that the game is almost a movie in its own right. As a movie, it’s amazing, but The Force Unleashed also happens to be a videogame. You know, something that is played. And it’s upon playing The Force Unleashed where certain negatives begin to show.As I mentioned in my preview (and as is unmistakable by looking at the game’s box), the entire thrust of The Force Unleashed's gameplay is centered on using, surprise, the Force. While I certainly had my issues when viewing the preview, I had figured it was just my newness to the controls. At the time of writing this, I’ve completed the entire game twice, and I still have issues with the Force controls. A type of floating lock-on determines what your Force powers will be used on. Where the lock-on "square" positions itself is dependent upon what’s in front of you and the direction that you’re facing. This sounds like it should work fabulously, but the AI that the lock-on uses needs some more work. The reason that it needs more work is because the lock-on will shift -- not only when you move, but when the enemy moves, too. Since the Force target square doesn't distinguish between the type of objects you can apply the Force to, consistent and accurate usage of the becomes a trying experience. Allow me to explain. Countless times throughout the title, you’ll be trying to use the Force Grip on an enemy that is right in front of you. More times than not, the enemy will move in a way that will change where or what your Force Grip will attach to. You would think that the next logical choice would be the other enemy that is right in front of you, but you’re wrong. Nine times out of ten, you’ll end up locking onto a crate, or even worse, a crate that isn’t even on the screen. Meanwhile, said enemy and his cohorts, who are still right in front of you, continue to shoot you in the face. This outcome is persistent throughout the title and is most frustrating during any sort of fast action or boss fights, of which there are many. The highest degree of frustration derived from this game also comes from the general use of Force powers during play. While you intentionally start off very limited in the usage of the Force, you eventually gain more experience and more abilities in its use. None of this will actually help you in the melee combat, though. Almost every enemy has attended the “school of cheapness” and has brought its diploma to The Force Unleashed.Enemies swarm, attack, and shoot you incessantly while you are in fighting range, and this makes using the more impressive (or even useful) Force powers somewhat impossible. When dealing with any group of enemies, I found that the best tactic for not dying over and over again was to find something to hide behind and whittle the number of enemies down by blindly throwing them, or throwing something at them, until their numbers were less fatal. The enemy AI is brutal to a fault, and takes away from the game’s intention of using the Force to deal with situations while relegating a majority of the combat to lightsaber melee tactics. I would also like to mention that the second boss battle is, by far, the cheapest boss battle I’ve played in the last ten years. Only upon the second playthrough (with almost fully maxed out Force powers) was he more manageable -- just a warning for your first time through.As you play, you will find yourself routinely irritated by the loose Force controls and the brutal and occasionally unbalanced enemy AI. You may also notice some inexplicable frame rate freezes during the game, especially while playing as Vader, but all other issues are minor and not worth mentioning.Now while it may sound like the entire experience is marred by these control issues, that is somewhat not the case. While these issues are persistent throughout the title and, in my opinion, certainly detract from the overall enjoyment of the game, those who are longtime Star Wars fans will be more than satisfied with their Force Unleashed experience. Without a doubt, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a masterpiece of storytelling and fits magnificently into the Star Wars universe. Unfortunately, as a video game, the gameplay issues in The Force Unleashed are extremely noticeable and hinder a lot of the enjoyment that is derived from the narrative. Score: 7.25 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
 photo

One of the many things that can tie a generation together is their shared memory of pop culture. One can easily distinguish another person from their generation by comparing such things as movie quotes, theme songs, cartoon k...

 photo

Destructoid Discusses! PAX 2008


Sep 08
// Dyson
In case you missed CTZ's post collecting all the community members' PAX stories, we thought we'd throw out one more "I <3 PAX" piece to cap off the glory that was PAX '08. Although the discussion doesn't contain ...
 photo

Destructoid Discusses! On the matter of videogame taste


Aug 25
// Dyson
Remember the Space Invaders vs The World Trade Center game that came out recently? We do, and it became the impetus for this week's installment of Destructoid Discusses! The gang takes the release of the controversial piece o...

Hands-on with Fracture multiplayer

Aug 21 // Dyson
At first glance, the action seemed overly chaotic. The more seasoned players were bouncing all over the level using the game's terrain deformation tricks, and all I could think of when seeing so many players rabbiting around was, "This looks like TF2." Not that that would be a bad thing, but I was initially disappointed by my first impressions since I was hoping for more. After several matches, and some sage-like tips from Senior Producer Dan Hey, I realized that, while the game initially appears to be a crazed and frenetic bounce-bounce-bounce fest, the truth is that the Fracture multiplayer is riddled with depth.  While the fast pace action that you expect from any multiplayer is there, Fracture's terrain deformation feature changes the playing field (no pun intended) by causing the player to think differently. Not only do you have to be aware of what's in front of and behind you, but also what happens to above and below you.  If you can, imagine standing on solid ground, then having that ground suddenly drop down from underneath you. Then, while you're trying to get yourself out of your new hole, the bastard who put you there throws a Vortex Grenade in for good measure. The Vortex Grenade, my friends, is a mini black hole generator that sucks in and destroys everything in its blast radius. Vortex Grenade: One hundred percent fun to have, one hundred percent pain in the ass to get hit by.In addition to the Vortex Grenade, there are three other grenades that can used both offensively and defensively. As we noticed from our play session, the more experienced players knew how to use these quite well. After about two hours, the rest of us caught up on our learning curve enough to put up a decent fight. Sort of. Unfortunately, two hours isn't enough time for a person to plumb the depths that Fracture's multiplayer seems to offer. Although, it certainly was enough time for a person to realize that they want to. Along with the deformation mechanic, Fracture offers large amount of familiar weapons and some new not so familiar ones. My personal favorite was the Black Widow, a remote detonating mine launcher that I used to trap unsuspecting enemies. Nothing feels better than blowing the crap out of unsuspecting flag grabber right as he's about to storm your camp ... sucka! So with all the fast paced fun combined with the terrain deformation aspect, I think that anyone who enjoys a good round of online multiplayer will be more than satisfied with what Fracture has to offer. And when the game comes out, you'll have more than enough game modes and maps to keep you happy. The tight lipped PR ninjas at LucasArts wouldn't say how many maps there would be, but I may have *ahem* *ahem* heard that there will be at least five when the game ships.   
 photo

[video]100593:217[/video] Not too long ago, myself and other journalists were invited down to the LucasArts studios for some hands-on time with their newest IP: Fracture. Sequestered in the rather dark and scary QA multi...

Destructoid review: Bionic Commando Rearmed

Aug 19 // Dyson
Bionic Commando Rearmed  (XBLA [reviewed], PSN, PC)Developed by GRINPublished by CapcomReleased on August 13th, 2008 (XBLA, PSN-JP)Released on August 14th, 2008 (PSN-NA, PC) First off, I was initially excited to hear the news of the Bionic Commando revival. Unlike most, I have a very special memory of the NES classic and I still play it every couple of months. Unfortunately, that level of familiarity with the title caused me to share Chad Concelmo's opinion of Rearmed when we both played it at GDC. Strangely, none of the press got a chance to play the single-player part of the game after GDC. They were only allowed to play the VR-like challenges and the four-person local multiplayer. Even when Brad Rice took a trip to Capcom Japan, he was only allowed to play the multiplayer. This, I felt, did not bode well for the single-player aspect of the game. After spending about three to four days with Bionic Commando Rearmed, I can emphatically tell you that I was wrong. While I'll never understand why Capcom wasn't as proud to show off the main part of the game before, it certainly wasn't because they had done a bad job with it.In regards to the single-player, Capcom has done an amazing job of finding a balance between old and new when recreating the game. A majority of the levels have barely changed as far as layout goes, but they now include new little areas where Capcom has hidden power-ups and other collectible items. As for the levels that have changed, they have only become more complete and fleshed out than they were in their previous incarnations. For example, the final level in the game is not only much, much longer than the original (took me two hours to beat), but was actually one of the hardest platforming experiences that I've played in awhile. This was actually very rewarding, considering I thought that the first part of the game was a little too easy. Unlike the original, there are no limits to the amount of times you can continue and there really isn't a true "game over" in the game. Because of this, I felt that the original's challenge was lost at first. But after completing the game, I realized that I experienced the same level of challenge, only in different areas. The cheap deaths and limited continues may be gone, but they have been replaced with more complex levels and harder platforming challenges. Speaking of the levels, I would be extremely remiss in not making a special mention of the soundtrack. Not being a person who normally cares about or even notices video game music, I was absolutely blown away by BCR's soundtrack. Never before in a video game have I actually hung out in a level just to keep listening to the music, but the tunes in this game kept me coming back for more. That's only some of the new goodness that's coming your way with BCR. Along with all the previously mentioned upgrades, the graphical overhaul is both beautiful and well done and, as I mentioned before, the title comes with multiplayer and challenge rooms.Now, the multiplayer is actually awesome. I'm not too big of a fan of such things usually, but the 1-to-4-player modes are a lot of fun and stay true to the spirit of the game. While they include a Deatchmatch mode and a mode called Last Man Standing (which is almost exactly the same as Deathmatch), the one that stood out as far as enjoyment went was the Don't Touch the Floor mode. Essentially, you eschew the whole kill-or-be-killed mentality of deathmatches, and you just try to knock your opponents off the platforms so that they fall into the floor-less oblivion in a very Smash Bros.-esque way.The challenge rooms were a mixed bag of enjoyment, though, and here's where we get into the not-so-fun parts of BCR. While the rooms are plentiful and provide some difficult challenges, the most challenging thing about them was the collision detection.When switching from a 2D model to a 3D model, certain changes are made to the way that collision detection works in a game. While most people won't even notice the difference, a person who plays the original as often as I do would. While trying to complete the challenge rooms, the exact same action could cause a death 2/10 times and it was strictly because of the inherent nature of 3D model collision detection. But, like I said, only someone who plays the original very often would notice this, and even if you are that type of person, all you have to do is make a slight adjustment in your play style to compensate. Once you do, the challenge rooms become far more enjoyable and add a large amount of replayability to the game. (The only reason that I'm mentioning this is because there are retro gamers out there who will also notice this, and all I can say is: stick with it.) My only other gripe about the game is the new bosses. Granted, the bosses (if you can even call them that) from the original were nothing to write home about. The newer ones, though, are extremely hit-or-miss. I won't ruin any of them for you, but I can only think of two that I felt meshed well with the game. The others were more of an exercise in the "I have a bionic arm! Let me solve this boss fight with it!" type of mentality. Also, the barrel-throwing thing is absolute bullshit, in my opinion. Just saying.Regardless of these issues, I think that the entirety of the game far outweighs its minor flaws. While the single-player experience is truly the high point of the $10 purchase, the multiplayer and challenge rooms act like the "sprinkles on the cupcake," giving the player more game than they should ever expect for $10. Not only that, but the level of quality that comes through in BCR shows that there can still be place for retro aesthetics and gameplay in today's market. Score: 8.5 (Negligible flaws. Otherwise very, very good; a fine example of excellence in the genre.)
 photo

The NES version of Bionic Commando isn't exactly the first title that comes to mind when people think of their favorite NES games. While it still holds a warm place in the memories of many retro gamers, the title's unique and...

 photo

Destructoid Discusses! Everyone loves Jonathan Holmes


Aug 18
// Dyson
Time again for this week's installment of the only conversation blog I know of: Destructoid Discusses! This week we started off with no topic, but then we were suddenly steered into the wonderful discussion of the latest and ...
 photo

Destructoid Discusses! Braid


Aug 11
// Dyson
It's time again for another late night posting of Destructoid's (semi) weekly conversation blog. Last week I suggested that we talk about review backlash, but we just ended up talking about Eternity's Child. So this week, I just decided to cut to the chase and make the subject the only game anyone is talking about: Braid.  Discuss!
 photo

Destructoid Discusses! Lazy reviewers? Or, maybe your game just sucks


Aug 06
// Dyson
You may have heard Jim report the other week, that the AIAS prez says that "game reviewers are lazy." I can certainly see how the whole world of game reviewing is not an exact science, but we're not here today to wa...
 photo

Street Fighter fans, your time is now


Aug 05
// Dyson
Think you're good at fighting games? If so, you should already have your bags packed and ready to go to the EVO 2008 World Finals. That's where all the really good Street Fighter and other fighting game heavyweights will be ...

Hands-on with Skate 2

Aug 05 // Dyson
Things have changed since the time of the first Skate. The city is now run by the large corporation that is rebuilding San Vanelona. As any good skate punk knows, big corporations hate skaters.What this means is that the authorities are no longer content with chasing you off or writing you tickets. Expect to be treated as full-on criminal for your skating antics with "The Man" physically taking you down if he catches you. Essentialy, that's the gist of the story. But, really, how much story do you need? The first Skate moved the control scheme away from long button combos to the analog stick, giving the game a more organic feel to it. Skate 2 continues in this direction by fleshing out the tricks, and finally allowing you to -- hooray! -- remove your feet from the skate board. Not only does this feature open up a slew of new tricks, it also allows for you to do footplants.By having the ability to remove one or both of your feet, the player can pretty much footplant on anything. Footplants, kind of like the manual in Tony Hawk games, will allow you to link one set of tricks to another. In addition to the footplants and the set of trick that you can do with them, you're also now able to do handplants. This is controlled by the shoulder button, but as you can see in the video, only helps to give the game a more truer skateboarding experience.Another way that the team is hoping to create a sense of realism is by making items in the game movable. Items such as picnic tables, garbage cans, and anything else that looks like it can be moved, can be placed by your skater on foot. As a person who used to skate, this is probably one of my more favorite features. As any skater knows, the world isn't designed for skating; and with this feature, you can move the table in front of that ramp and make your own trick, just like in real life. Finally, not to be satisfied by all the new gameplay enhancements, the Black Box crew also felt like giving you all new locales for you second run through San Verona. Yep. All the places to skate are, as I'm told, brand new to the game. So with all that goodness, it looks the fans of the first Skate can rest a little easier. EA Black Box seems to be hitting all the right stops, so far, and if they keep it up, the finished product will definitely be something to look forward to.
 photo

[video]98216:121[/video]Just the other day, it seemed EA Black Box came out with Skate. I remember playing it not all that long ago, and being pretty impressed by the analog only controls. I was a fan of the first few Tony Ha...

 photo

Destructoid Discusses! E3 equals meh? Maybe


Jul 22
// Dyson
Once again, back is the incredible ... The thyme animal ... The incredible Dyson G! Next-gen enemy number one ... FPS said freeze! And I got numb.Okay, so my poor attempt at quoting Public Enemy didn't go so well. In fact, it...

[UPDATE!] Overlord: Raising Hell contest winners announced!

Jul 15 // Dyson
Roryzilla's is seen above.RioMcCarthy:Video Cognito:ZombiePlatypus: sirjester:
 photo

Hey everyone! Remember that contest we ran the other week? The one where you had to come up with creative headgear from items found around the house for a chance to win a PS3 copy of Overlord: Raising Hell? Well, as usual, th...

 photo

Destructoid Discusses! Is the Wii a novelty item?


Jul 15
// Dyson
Once again, we'd like to bring the rest of the world into our nice little robot corner and give them a peek into our unedited internal conversations. Why would you want to read such things? Because we happen to be hilarious, ...
 photo

Hello Dtoid people! Once again, you now have the chance to scour the depths of your creativity in the hopes of getting some swag. This contest is based upon the ingenuity that was displayed by the comical minions featured in ...


Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...