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Review: Subject 13

Jun 29 // Caitlin Cooke
Subject 13 (PC) Developer: Paul Cuisset , Microids Publisher: Gravity Europe SAS Release: May 28, 2015 Subject 13 begins dramatically with your character, Franklin Fargo (yes, that’s his actual name), attempting suicide via driving into a river. As he descends into the water, a mysterious event occurs which transports him into an abandoned research facility inhabited by a strange disembodied robotic voice. Franklin (otherwise known as Subject 13) is encouraged by this entity to use his intellect to solve puzzles and make it out of the compound -- and thus begins the challenge. The gameplay has a nice balance to it, starting off with fairly simple concepts as an introduction but not taking too long to get your mind ticking. Most of the challenges are spin-offs of popular games and brain teasers like Reversi, Minesweeper, sliding puzzles, etc. If you aren’t a fan of these kinds of puzzles -- especially sliders since they make up approximately half of the puzzles -- then this game may not be for you. There’s also a bit of traditional point-and-click detective work along with finding items as you search for ways to make it past obstacles. The game’s inventory allows you to inspect, rotate, and zoom in on any item -- which adds additional complexity to the puzzles, as many of them require you to modify, combine, or inspect items to find solutions. If you get stuck, a hint is available at any time, however I found them to be simple and would often give me information I had already figured out on my own. Contextualized pointers are extremely helpful and help you determine if an object is movable, or requires an item to move forward. When solving more complex puzzles, the game transitions to a clear first-person viewpoint which makes the puzzles easy to work with and simple to back out of with the scroll of a mouse wheel. Luckily, there were only a few moments when I felt puzzle logic or solutions were obtuse and I needed to search for help online. While Subject 13 isn’t extremely long, the pacing is just right in terms of the story. Small plot elements are sprinkled throughout in “testimonies”, recordings from researchers who had lived in the complex. The mysterious voice that guides you throughout the game also occasionally asks questions to which you can respond and in turn receive background info on Franklin. Strange occurrences become more and more frequent as you progress, revealing more of the interesting details of the story. Eerie background music is perfectly stationed throughout, amplifying the mysterious setting. The plot and story elements seemed to borrow heavily from other games (ie Portal and Mass Effect come to mind), however Subject 13 is interesting in its own right. The only real downside to the story was the quality of the dialogue and voice acting -- unfortunately the latter wasn’t very good, and some of the dialogue came off as cheesy. The writing could have also used some proofing, as there were times when the dialogue didn’t match up with the subtitles, or just didn’t quite flow well. However it was a valiant effort for an indie game with only two voice actors. Being a puzzle fanatic, I really enjoyed Subject 13, but I was disappointed with a few elements. For example, sometimes the action wheel where you could view or take an item wouldn’t connect, depending on which angle you were viewing the object from. More than a few times I found that I missed clues because of this. I also felt it was a bit of a let down to make the last puzzle of the game an extremely large, glorified Minesweeper. I was hoping that with the ingenuity of some of the previous puzzles that the game would go out with a bang. That being said, Subject 13 as a whole is thoughtfully challenging. I can see it working really well for casual and hardcore puzzle fans alike as it intermingles timeless puzzles with original concepts. Despite the storyline having some slightly cheesy and generic moments, it was intriguing enough to keep me interested and engaged. Although it doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessors in the genre, it’s definitely worth a play if you’re a fan of exploration puzzlers. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
Subject 13 review photo
Logic always wins
Point-and-click puzzle adventures set in an abandoned world were always my favorite games to play growing up. There’s something exciting about uncovering the story of a desolate world via solving puzzles -- games like T...

Mafia III photo
Mafia III

Take-Two registers domains that imply a third take at Mafia


Maybe we'll hear more soon
Jun 29
// Brett Makedonski
Mafia II was a game with an interesting premise that was largely weighed down by the low-level chores the player was routinely asked to perform. Controlling the seedy underbelly of a city as a mobster is an exciting idea...
Star Fox x amiibo photo
Star Fox x amiibo

Star Fox Zero won't lock content behind amiibo


Well, not gameplay content, anyways
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Unlike some of the addled fringe elements of Destructoid, I do not partake in amiibo. Recent Nintendo releases like Splatoon and Yoshi's Wooly World have locked certain gameplay bits behind Nintendo's line of collectable doll...
Uncharted photo
Uncharted

The Uncharted movie project loses yet another director


Pictured in the background -- the movie
Jun 29
// Chris Carter
Let's start from the beginning. Back in 2009, it was announced that an Uncharted film was already in development. Famed hot-headed director David O. Russell was tapped to direct, and everything seemed to going swimmingly -- u...
Canceled Mario photo
Canceled Mario

Spikers: Canceled Mario was a volleyball/wrestling hybrid for Wii


Super Mario Spikers
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Next Level Games developed two fun soccer games, Super Mario Strikers, then a bunch of other junk before the excellent Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Somewhere after the Wii version of Strikers, though, it was working on some u...

Which is your favorite Batman: Arkham game?

Jun 29 // Chris Carter
[embed]294941:59268:0[/embed]
Batman photo
Don't say 'Origins!'
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Batman: Arkham Asylum, through and through, is just a good video game. It took a simple concept ("Be the Bat"), introduced the free-flow combat system and the Predator stealth...

Mana o' mana photo
Mana o' mana

Square working on new Final Fantasy Adventure


Mana o' mana
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy Adventure (Mystic Quest in Europe,Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan) turned into the Mana series with Secret of Mana. Unfortunately, its entries have been relegated to Japan-exclusive cell phone ga...
Early axis photo
Early axis

Nintendo considering its own early access system


Early axis
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Early Access. Everyone's doing it. Microsoft just announced the Xbox Game Preview at E3. Nintendo's Damon Baker told Polygon, "We don't have anything to announce, but I can say that we're certainly exploring options and capab...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Tekken teasing major announcement next week, console tease imminent?


7/7/77
Jun 29
// Chris Carter
Tekken 7 still hasn't been announced for consoles. It's assumed to be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One, and hell, it even listed those platforms in a console sizzle reel trailer a while back, but Namco Bandai hasn't confirmed a...
Gunman Clive photo
Gunman Clive

Both Gunman Clive games are coming to Wii U


Awesome news
Jun 29
// Chris Carter
The Gunman Clive series is a favorite among eShop enthusiasts. Consisting of just two games on 3DS, they're very simple experiences that can be beaten in less than an hour, but they're both cheaply priced, below the aver...
Kojima loves Mad Max photo
Kojima loves Mad Max

Kojima has seen Mad Max four times because he is right and good


Also a nerd
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain felt pretty complete to me when they let me play 14 hours of it, though I'm sure there's still work to be done. Regardless, whether Hideo Kojima is tirelessly crunching to finish realizing...
UK sales photo
UK sales

Batman: Arkham Knight has best 2015 week one UK sales


Beat out Witcher 3 and Arkham City
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
A reminder that Arkham Knight has "Batman" in the name and no volley of excoriating 7/10 reviews (or broken PC ports) can do it harm: Rocksteady's new Batman is the top-selling game of 2015 in the UK by its first week sales, ...

Review: Her Story

Jun 29 // Laura Kate Dale
Her Story (PC [reviewed], iOS) Developer: Sam BarlowPublisher: Sam BarlowMSRP: $5.99Released: June 24, 2015 From the first set of clips tagged murder, I had several options of which narrative thread to pull at first. Did I want to look for clips related to the victim's name first? Maybe I should try to track down the name of the person accused of the crime? Perhaps I wanted to go in a completely different direction and try to find references to the murder weapon on the database. Right from the start, several different avenues opened up and the number of narrative options to explore only expanded as I went deeper into the case. You can't organize clips you find chronologically or watch them in order without re-searching for them, meaning that a lot of the work of piecing the narrative together is down to you as the player. There's an in game application that will show you which pieces of the case you've watched and which you have not, but it's up to you to keep track of where each statement falls in the timeline of police interviews and how their placement fits together. Much of the mechanical challenge in the game comes from piecing the story together in a way that draws conclusions you're personally satisfied with. At around two hours in, I had seen enough that the game offered to let me see the credits roll, but I personally wanted to know much more of what was happening and ended up playing for around six hours on and off before I was truly satisfied with my understanding of the events. Others I know felt they knew everything they needed within half an hour. In terms of pacing, Her Story lasts however long you want it to in regards to narrative. Any time you feel the game is ready to end, you can draw your conclusions and walk away. Ultimately, Her Story is a really inventive way of exploring a narrative with an impressive number of twists and turns. Every time I thought I understood what was happening, a clip would become unearthed that turned my understanding of the case on its head. The story was personal, uplifting, dark, twisted, insightful, and unnerving all at once. I know we get a lot of talk of narrative-focused adventures as "not games," but this is a narrative that undoubtedly benefits from its open-ended interactive nature. If this isn't a perfect example of how video game interactivity can enhance a narrative, I don't know what is. Being able to unearth these twists out of order, rushing to understand what you've found, and bouncing tonally back and forth across a series of interviews truly is the perfect way to experience this skillfully crafted narrative. It's not a typical structure for a game, but the mechanics really do work in the context of the narrative. If you like the idea of an open-ended '90s murder mystery with no guarantee you'll find a solid answer to its mysteries, then I can't recommend this highly enough. Her Story is a spectacular video game, and one of the most gripping personal narratives I've experienced in some time. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
Her Story review photo
Let's solve a mid-'90s murder
Her Story is certainly not what you would call a traditional video game. Set entirely on a police computer database in the English town of Portsmouth, it breaks a lot of new ground in terms of blending its narrative and gamep...

Baldur's Gate photo
Baldur's Gate

Beamdog counting down to new Baldur's Gate


Oh gee I wonder what it could be
Jun 29
// Joe Parlock
Seems slightly strange to have a teaser countdown for a game we already know is coming, but that’s exactly what Beamdog seems to be doing with its already announced new Baldur’s Gate game. The website is showing a...
EVE Online photo
EVE Online

EVE Online at its lowest playercount since 2008


Space is getting a little bit smaller
Jun 29
// Joe Parlock
Everyone’s favourite spreadsheet simulator EVE Online might not be everyone’s favourite anymore, according to graphs made by EVE player Jestertrek. The graphs show that the amount of people concurrently playing t...
FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Final Fantasy XIV's Mac port isn't great


Moogles prefer the Surface over the iPad
Jun 29
// Joe Parlock
Players of Final Fantasy XIV are reporting major performance issues in the recently released Mac client. Low framerates, hanging launchers, and graphical errors are all being seen. On the official forums, and reddit, many pla...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Running of the Trolls raises $500 for The Trevor Project


These are the Trolls I like to see!
Jun 29
// Joe Parlock
This weekend Pride marches have been taking place all over the place, from London to Seattle... to Kalimdor. On Saturday, hundreds of World of Warcraft trolls marched across the game to help raise money for The Trevor Project...
Iwata on digital pricing photo
Iwata on digital pricing

Nintendo keeping digital prices up, hints at mild compensation


Tied to new membership program
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Nintendo's Satoru Iwata addressed the fact that eShop games are priced the same as their retail counterparts despite the cost savings of digital distribution. This comes from an investor briefing reported live by Nstyles and ...
Batmod photo
Batmod

Batman: Arkham Knight mod lets you play as 10 extra characters


Forget DLC
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
While the PC version of Arkham Knight was busted enough Warner Bros. stopped selling it on Steam (probably wouldn't have happened if Steam didn't just start allowing refunds), some users are making the best of a bad situatio...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes gets high on life with Ben Shostak


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jun 28
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: Shows over folks!...
IA/VT Colorful photo
IA/VT Colorful

Senran Kagura dev's new game isn't coming west


Music licensing to blame
Jun 28
// Kyle MacGregor
Marvelous' upcoming rhythm game IA/VT Colorful isn't likely to receive a localization.  Speaking with Siliconera in a recent interview, producer Kenichiro Takaki, best known for his work on the Senran Kagura se...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Game devs talk Shenmue 3, F-Zero, the TG-16, Neo Geo and more


Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Jun 28
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] What a wacky coincidence! ...
Devil's Third photo
Devil's Third

Itagaki pledges to release Devil's Third in the Americas


Those sunglasses hide a will of iron
Jun 28
// Jonathan Holmes
Devil's Third has been in development for half as long as some of our readers have been alive, and it shows. The game feels a lot like something that might have been big in 2008, mixing sword-and-gun action with unintentional...
This is Unreal photo
This is Unreal

Mario looks shiny and new in Unreal 4


Princess is in another castle
Jun 28
// Jed Whitaker
This fan-made mod of Mario in Unreal Engine 4 looks fantastic, and makes me want another 3D Super Mario game stat. I'm actually really surprised that Nintendo didn't announce at least some DLC for Super Mario 3D World&n...
CEO 2015 finals! photo
CEO 2015 finals!

Tune in to the final day of CEO 2015


All the fighting games you could want
Jun 28
// Patrick Hancock
CEO 2015 has been underway all weekend, and today is the peak of all the hype. Just about any fighting game you could ever want to watch will be streamed today with some of the best players in the world competing. The events ...
It gets better photo
It gets better

Batman: Arkham Knight PC gets status update, new patch


Console graphics obtained!
Jun 28
// Jed Whitaker
Rocksteady has posted the following update on the Steam Community for PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, which you can read below. Basically, they've acknowledged all the problems people were having and already release...
Beyond Good & Evil 2 photo
Beyond Good & Evil 2

Ubisoft: 'Too early' to talk Beyond Good & Evil 2


Another cagey non-update
Jun 28
// Kyle MacGregor
The long-awaited followup to Beyond Good & Evil was once again absent at E3 this year, prompting The Guardian to ask Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot if the title is actually still in development. “I can’t say the ...

Review: J-Stars Victory VS+

Jun 28 // Laura Kate Dale
J-Stars Victory Vs+ (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita) Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentRelease: June 26, 2015 (EU), June 30, 2015 (US) I may not be the most knowledgeable anime fan out there, but I'm always willing to try out a new series if it looks interesting. As such, I was pretty excited coming into J-Stars Victory VS+. I was hoping to experience well known characters I already knew, as well as finding new characters to get invested in and try watching going forward. Unfortunately, J-Stars Victory VS+ was a bit of a disappointment in that regard. The representations of characters I already knew didn't feel accurate and the hooks to get invested in new series just weren't there for me. So, as this is a fighting game first and foremost, let's talk about the fighting mechanics at play. Every character has one light attack button, a heavy attack button, a special attack button, a block and a dash. While these are tailored to each character, the movesets all feel very similar to play using. While it's cool to see Ichigo pull off a Getsuga Tensho and Goku a Kamehameha, both on a mechanical level act near identically. Every move is an approximation designed to fit a specific combat system's mold, which ultimately takes away some of what makes these characters unique. Defensive techniques like cancels are minimal, so if you wait for an attack animation to start then start mashing buttons you'll usually win. J-Stars Victory VS+ is not a game of skill, it's a game of waiting for any enemy to attempt anything slower than a light attack, interrupting with a light attack then button mashing while they remain locked in your combo. [embed]294934:59255:0[/embed] So, ignoring the fact the combat system itself lacks depth, lets look at how this functions as a pure fanservice game. Just looking at the numbers there is a lot here for fans of Shonen anime to love. There's representation from newer series like D.Gray-man as well as older series like Rurouni Kenshin and a whole host of series in between. There's even inclusions from my super niche sports anime, but only as support characters rather than full playable roster members. Damn, I was just about ready to praise this game for supporting my niche interests. So, let's talk about the modes on offer in J-Stars Victory VS+. There's J-Adventure, where you sail around the world on a tiny boat given to you by god to earn your way into a tournament of champions, where everyone involved seems perfectly fine with the fact god gave them a boat that couldn't get most of the places it needed to go and needlessly pads out the experience with narrative fluff between fights. This mode has four arcs, each of them near narratively identical. I couldn't see any reason players would want to go through all four of these, they're all equally padded and dull. Your other options are Victory Road which sets up special fights loosely themed around anime dream team fights, a standard Arcade mode which offers minimal challenge, local free battles and online free battles. None of these modes felt terribly coherent or fleshed out. On paper, the roster of nearly 40 playable characters is certainly impressive, but what makes these characters unique is rarely utilized fully. Each character's ultimate attack feels decidedly less visually impressive than comparable titles like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. The story mode offered on disk features static 2D images of characters that may say the odd single word to each other, but otherwise remain silent. Their dialogue feels terribly homogeneous, stripped down so that every character speaks with the same uniform voice. This doesn't feel like a series of characters clashing for the first time, rather it feels like one person in many different outfits badly acting out their alternative universe fanfiction. Where the games opening cinematic gave me hope for a visually impressive, fanservice heavy experience, the single player largely boiled down to watching static images talk to each other in a weirdly unemotional tone then fight for no adequately explained reason. It just wasn't compelling. Ultimately, J-Stars Victory VS+ only succeeds as numbers on paper, the game itself being largely disappointing. The roster have had much of what made them unique stripped down, stopping me getting truly excited about the characters I knew and preventing me getting a sense of which characters were worth me investing future time watching. The mechanics are shallow, the fanservice is surface level and it only succeeds in terms of its pure number of supported characters. Overall, I walked away rather disappointed. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
J-Stars Victory VS+ photo
Mash, mash, mash, mash, mash, mash......
J-Stars Victory VS+ is a game that's mechanically light, heavy on fanservice volume but that only ever skims the surface of the characters it includes. If you want an anime brawler that focuses on the sheer volume of anime ch...

Troops vs Women photo
Troops vs Women

Murder women in SJW Riot: Troops vs Women - in Video Game


'Terrorising men, just for being men'
Jun 27
// Jed Whitaker
An Indiegogo campaign for a new game called SJW Riot: Troops vs Women - in Video Game, in which social justice warriors -- who are apparently only women -- have "lost their mind, again, and are terrorising men" according to t...
Shantae: Risky's Revenge photo
Shantae: Risky's Revenge

Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut is better than the original


Now on PS4 this week
Jun 27
// Chris Carter
Let's take a little trip down memory lane, shall we? Back in 2002, WayForward released the original Shantae for the Game Boy Color. It wasn't a massive hit, but it quickly became a cult classic, and eventually lead to th...

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