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Borderlands players will probably dig Battleborn

Jun 12 // Jordan Devore
Sure, the copious amounts of loot are gone. And this isn't a wasteland -- it's the last star in the universe. But damn, Battleborn really will feel and sound familiar to Borderlands players despite having an extended cast of 25 playable characters. The roster has the diversity of a typical MOBA lineup, and the rate at which you're leveling up and acquiring new abilities matches that genre. First, Gearbox and 2K had us watch a group of people play a level to, uh, show us how it's done. Then we played that same level. Then we played it again. Then we played it a third time. The intention was to highlight the variation in characters, I guess -- and there's plenty -- but the format also reminded me how grating funny dialogue often becomes on repeated playthroughs. Our short slice of the campaign was set on a snowy area with suitably solemn music. It was mostly linear, with wider areas interspersed for larger engagements. I first chose a gentlemanly robot sniper who could call in an owl. He was great at safely taking down our primary foe -- alien monsters called the Varelsi -- from afar while my four co-op partners soaked up damage. After that, I picked a vampire-looking samurai with twin blades. He was ferocious, but I kept managing to lose my shields and then my health and then I needed to be revived. Sorry about that! I'm squishy! Even if I didn't quite get a handle on how to play him well, I still enjoyed the first-person slicing. On my third playthrough, I went with a witch who shot dark energy out of her four arms and could open portals from which hellish things would leak out. I liked her. Leveling up occurs regularly. Again, think Dota 2 or League of Legends. Instead of separate skill trees like in Borderlands, you're presented with a single either-or decision, one for each of your ten levels. You're able to choose between things like increased shields or higher weapon damage, and boost certain abilities over others. If you're like me, you'll wish you could just have every upgrade. As for mission objectives, the preview build was a lot of pushing forward, wiping out every enemy. Eventually, we had to protect a spider mech guy as he trundled along to his final destination where an inevitable boss battle took place. Along the way, we picked up shards from chests and fallen foes that could be spent on upgrading the mech's offensive or defensive capabilities as well as turrets during the final fight. Doing so seemed unnecessary, but I'm sure we were playing on one of the friendlier difficulty settings and that it can get real tough if you want a challenge. While I didn't get to see much of Battleborn, I'm more into it than I thought I would be as someone who isn't particularly crazy about Borderlands. I think it's the gunplay, which feels tighter here. There's also more care-free room for experimentation in terms of character selection and how you want to build them out. I'm unsure about the PvP, but I'll probably want to round up four friends to run through the story mode when this releases on PC, PS4, and Xbox One this year.
Battleborn preview photo
Hands-on impressions of the story mode
[Disclosure: Years ago, Aaron Linde used to write for Destructoid. He now works on Battleborn at Gearbox Software. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into this preview.] To sum up Battleborn ...

Name game photo
Name game

NBA 2K16's main character is named Frequency Vibrations


Doing the right thing
Jun 05
// Steven Hansen
Robert Summa just covered the news that Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing) is directing the campaign mode in the upcoming NBA 2K16. As some commenters pointed out, though, his story lacked a key fact that, really, deserves its ow...
NBA 2K photo
NBA 2K

Latest NBA 2K16 news is everything that is wrong with the NBA 2K series


And nothing will ever change
Jun 04
// Robert Summa
The 2K sports franchises used to have a stellar reputation. NFL 2K and NBA 2K long-served as safe havens from the inconsistency and frustration that EA's counterparts offered. While NFL 2K was put aside due to licensing deals...

Evolve free update photo
Evolve free update

Evolve's free new Arena Mode forgoes the foreplay


You're out of a job, Trapper
May 26
// Jordan Devore
As a hunter, my experience with Evolve often involved catching a glimpse of the beast, giving chase, and then losing its zigzagging trail ad infinitum until it came back all beefed up to wipe us out. If only there were some w...
2K photo
2K

Take-Two announces new 2K AAA project


...but doesn't tell us what it is
May 19
// Vikki Blake
2K is working on a new "soon-to-be-announced" AAA title. "Throughout the coming year, we will continue to execute our proven strategy of launching a select array of the highest-quality titles, led by new annual releases of NB...
WWE 2K15 photo
WWE 2K15

It looks like WWE 2K15 is coming to PC this spring


Modders on the ready
Apr 21
// Chris Carter
As announced on the WWE's blog, WWE 2K15 is coming to the PC later this year. It's a straight port of the PS4 and Xbox One editions, but apparently no modes will be lost in translation. Additionally, day-one buyers will net f...
2K Australia photo
2K Australia

2K Australia completely demolished


Complete closure, all jobs lost, nothing left
Apr 16
// Laura Kate Dale
Today is truly a sad day for the Australian game development scene as the country's final AAA game development studio, 2K Australia in Canberra, is being closed down. Most recently known for developing Borderlands: The Pre-Se...
Free BioShock photo
Free BioShock

Grab a free copy of BioShock Infinite on Xbox Live


At least play the opening sequence
Mar 16
// Jordan Devore
March is already half over (have you filed your taxes yet?), which means more free Xbox games. With an active Xbox Live Gold membership, you can now download BioShock Infinite for free on Xbox 360. Love it or hate it, there's...
Free Evolve DLC photo
Free Evolve DLC

Evolve's free map DLC is doing that 'Xbox first' thing


Two Broken Hill maps incoming
Mar 12
// Jordan Devore
It's great to see free maps in a multiplayer-centric game like Evolve, but -- there just had to be a but -- timed platform exclusivity? Considerably less good. When the maps Broken Hill Mine and Broken Hill Foundry debut on M...
Evolve photo
Evolve

2K does pay-to-win lite with Evolve app


Because who doesn't love pay to win?
Jan 30
// Robert Summa
Obviously, 2K loves money. I mean, they're a company, so that's what their primary function should be, right? Well, with video games it can be a little tricky. You can love money, but at the same, you still have to respect wh...
Borderlands 3 photo
Borderlands 3

Gearbox 'ready to start' Borderlands 3, begins hiring process


This could be you, apparently!
Jan 25
// Mike Cosimano
During the official Borderlands panel at PAX South, Gearbox chief Randy Pitchford confirmed the company was "ready to start" production on a new game in the franchise, later taking to Twitter with an open call to developers l...
The Behemoth photo
The Behemoth

This monster is so big it could barely fit into Evolve


So they made him DLC
Jan 13
// Kyle MacGregor
The Behemoth, Evolve's fourth monster, is a big boy. "He was literally made as large as we could make him," says developer Turtle Rock Studios. The dude is so big he can't even jump. Jumping is totally overrated, though. Lea...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

These are the most popular Borderlands characters


As decided by the fans
Jan 08
// Mike Cosimano
Per the official Borderlands Twitter account, Krieg, Claptrap, and Tiny Tina are the series' most popular characters amongst Borderlands fans. There's no clear indication which character received the most votes, but I wager C...

Review: WWE 2K15

Nov 20 // Brittany Vincent
WWE 2K15 (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Visual Concepts, Yuke'sPublisher: 2K SportsReleased: November 18, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The centerpiece of 2K15 is MyCareer mode, where you can make your own wrestler and take them from the NXT Training Center all the way to the World Wrestling Entertainment World Championship. While the RPG element of gaining VP points that can be used to teach your character moves is somewhat interesting, the matches themselves are by large one-vs-one grindfests which will devolve into spamming the same tactics to win each time. The game allows players to experience some historical rivalries focusing on John Cena vs. CM Punk and Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels. The cool thing about this mode is that if you recreate certain events as they really happened, you're rewarded with a cutscene. This feature adds a bit of pizazz and challenge to what would otherwise be a bland mode. [embed]283898:56406:0[/embed] The combat has undergone massive changes, however. Before 2K15, WWE games had been fast-paced in the action department, leading to some fun, yet inaccurate combat moments. This iteration slows the fighting down to a more realistic pace and the results are terrible. It feels like the worst aspects of Dark Souls and quick-time events all mixed together to form a system that tries to be tactical and ends up just being frustrating. Instead of quick slaps to the chest, the slowness of the combatants make it look as though they're trying to throw 25-pound weights at each other. It felt awkward and unresponsive, as well as a waste of the fluid animations and character models. There's no evasion or blocking to be found here, either -- the game instead relies on a time-based counterattack/reversal system. Unfortunately, there's very little indication of when exactly you need to hit the counterattack/reversal button on each attack, so it ends up being a huge ordeal of trial and error, memorization, and luck. If you end up getting attacked on the mat or pinned, expect to lose your first few times, as getting out of either of these situations depends on a timed button press as well. The new stamina system rounds out the terrible design decisions with already slow characters running out of steam quickly and becoming even slower. It seems what was meant to invoke a strategic reservation of stamina instead results in a boxing-like game of attrition in which you just try to keep away from your opponent until he wears himself out. This would be acceptable in an actual Greco-Roman wrestling game, but in the drama-filled, high-flying extravaganza of WWE it really detracts from the experience. There were some positive points in the game, though. For instance, I had a decent time building a custom character. Unfortunately, there are a lot less options when it comes to body type, clothing, etc, than even the old N64 games, so instead of a squat, top hat-wearing clone of The Penguin, I ended up with a kind of short, though still buff wrestler in overalls who could have been the Penguin's cousin, whom I affectionately named "Tinky Boy." Assigning my new character moves was easy in principle, with each move displayed on the screen so players can choose wisely. However, the move set was so large that it was a bit overwhelming and I ended up just going with the defaults for most of them. The entrance creator was also surprisingly robust, but the lack of music customization and background movie, as well as having to utilize other wrestlers' or generic tunes kind of took the oomph out of it. What turns the game from a decent but somewhat lacking wrestling experience to an absolute struggle is the constant loading. On the Xbox One version, it needed to load after nearly everything. When I was creating a character and wanted to change his hair the game loaded: before displaying the hair options, after applying the hair I chose, while opening the color customization menu, after applying the new color, and upon exiting the hair menu. This turned what is normally one of my favorite processes into an absolute nightmare. For a game that is not really all that spectacular to begin with, this was the killing blow. I will be the first to admit that I haven't played a wrestling game in quite some time. My memories of wrestling are of the cheesy but fun antics of Hulk Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page, Mankind, and the sort. To be honest, John Cena's angsty stare, which is plastered wherever the developers could find space for it, irritated me. However, I am certain that no matter how much things have changed, bad gameplay is the same now as it was then, and the questionable design decisions and performance of this game have a bargain-bin feel about them. If you're hankering for some good wrestling times, look elsewhere. This one's down for the count, even if you can play as Sheamus. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
WWE 2K15 review photo
Reckless rasslin'
Professional wrestling was a cultural phenomenon when I was younger. In the third grade, conversations at school were a general 50/50 mix of Dragon Ball Z fact repetition and which was better: WCW or WWF. When Hulk Hogan star...

Some kind of monster photo
Some kind of monster

NBA2K15 face scanner has borne creatures that beg for death


Spooky stories to tell in the dark
Oct 07
// Steven Hansen
At least Madden's glitches were funny. This is more like The Fly, or the chimera in Fullmetal Alchemist. 

I took a field trip to play Civilization: Beyond Earth's first 100 turns

Aug 28 // Steven Hansen
[embed]280195:55442:0[/embed] Firaxis released the above first fifty minutes of Beyond Earth with commentary from Firaxis' Pete Murray and David McDonough. It delves into setting up your Civ game, ending before a few turns have passed. There are a bunch of decisions to make early on, including picking your sponsor (affects bonuses you'll get throughout your game), colonists (to reinforce your sponsor choice or to try and balance things out). You can also choose from pre-determined planets geared for veteran Civilization players -- this definitely is quite a bit of "Civ 5 in space" -- or roll random planets of three categories: Terran (Earth-like -- large swaths of sea and land), Protean (one ocean, one large landmass), and Atlantean (small, connected islands you can sail between on gondola to support the tourism economy).  Going Atlantean was an easy decision, but then I had to keep clicking away at the randomizer to get a planet name I liked. I saw "Nye," a science name, but my finger was faster than my brain and I clicked again and lost it. I did the same for "Funk." However, I needed to lay claim to planet Funk and so I cycled through all of the randomly generated planets until it came up again.  I landed on Funk and began my great conquest of getting ravaged by siege worms. There are three basic affinities to align yourself with. Harmony thinks you should adjust and adapt to alien ecosystems. Supremacy thinks you should conquer them. Purity just wants to have its own little slice of old earth. It's more brute force than Supremacy, which turns to cybernetics and technology as humankind's key to survival.  One hundred turns is not a lot of turns to play out in Civilization. I barely got any trade routes going and didn't get to engage in much diplomacy beyond one gent that suggested we have open borders, to which I, aware that I would never reach his borders before my time expired, agreed to. Still, Harmony might be my preferred route. It is not advisable to go after local alien wildlife. If you do, it will get angry and kill you. Even if you don't, a Siege Worm might still decimate every single structure you've built before enough volleys of missiles from your city center shoos it off. Early on, you don't have a lot of choice but to coexist, so leaning in on Harmony makes sense. Then again, all of the affinities can be pretty isolationist early on as you just focus on domestic infrastructure, save for sending explorers to excavate fallen satellites and other wreckage.  The biggest difference Beyond Earth has over Civ 5 is the sprawling tech web (42:08 in the above video), which groups generalized ideas in extending directions (and more specialized, resource intensive subsets below them). That and the bonus for upping Virtues across the board, rather than filling them out sequentially. Also that you're in space this time and don't have to deal with Gandhi. 
Civ Beyond Earth preview photo
Space is the place
Civilization: Beyond Earth isn't just a missed opportunity for transmedia synergy by way of the family Smith's After Earth. It's a game about space. About space colonization, specifically, because the Earth is a goner (w...

BioShock on iOS photo
BioShock on iOS

BioShock jolts iOS devices today for $14.99


Rapture in your pocket
Aug 27
// Brett Makedonski
It's a novel concept to take some of the most revered console and PC games from less than a decade ago and put them on phones. Seriously, how have we come this far this fast?! The devices that sit in our pockets and are prima...
Firaxicon photo
Firaxicon

Civilization, XCOM dev doing its own fan convention


Firaxicon
Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
Firaxicon sounds like an expensive drug for lumberjacks. Or a bad sci-fi original film. But it's actually a new convention put on by Firaxis, developer of the Civilization games and the recent, real good XCOM reboot...
Deals photo
Deals

Play Borderlands 2 for free on Steam this weekend


Shoot and loot like it's 2012
Aug 21
// Jordan Devore
As part of a 2K sale on Steam this weekend, the publisher is giving folks a chance to play Borderlands 2 for free on Steam today through Sunday at 1:00pm Pacific. Borderlands 2 has also been marked down to $4.99 to own, or $9...
WWE 2K15 photo
WWE 2K15

The WWE 2K15 Collector's Edition is Hulkamania themed


You too can be a Real American
Aug 07
// Chris Carter
2K Games revealed the contents of the Collector's Edition of WWE 2K15 this week, and it's a doozy. In addition to getting a copy of the game (hey, not every CE has the game these days!), you'll also get a special Hulkama...
Evolve delayed photo
Evolve delayed

Shoot: 2K pushes Evolve to February 2015


October's release schedule is now *slightly* less crazy
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
As part of its financial results, Take-Two Interactive announced that Turtle Rock Studios' cool-looking shooter Evolve has been pushed from an October release to February 10, 2015. In a statement, 2K said the additional time ...

That BioShock teaser was an iOS port and it plays well (sort of)

Aug 04 // Steven Hansen
Now that Apple has gone ahead with some controller support, you can play BioShock with any compatible unit. I did so as I waded through the intro (and waded through freezing plane crash water), but I figured playing with the touch controls might prove a bit more informative. Not everyone has one of those pricey controllers.   After getting through the lengthy establishing bits and exposition and finding a plumber's discarded wrench, I finally got to smash some Splicer faces. Virtual joysticks will appear wherever you rest either thumb. I still managed to drift too far off sometimes, but I only felt mildly hampered. I moved less smoothly than I might with a controller, but it worked well. It's an option, anyway, leaving you stuck between it and expensive controllers.  The interface is pretty slick. On the right side, there's a big virtual button to use either your equipped weapon or plasmid (no dual wielding yet, remember). You can also switch between plasmids and weapons and search through trash cans for cigarettes and bodies for money. It all works well enough, retooled as it is. The problem with the touch controls comes in combat. You might adapt and get better at them. You might already be better at them than I am. But I had some difficulty in my right thumb being needed to both a) line up the shooting reticle and b) tap the big old "shoot" button. That bit of time in between is troublesome. If this were all puzzle solving, exploration, and Pipe Mania hacking, the touch controls would be a completely viable option for the iOS port. However, in the hour I played, I struggled shooting things accurately, which is a big deal for a shooter. I killed things good, thanks in part to some bullet magnetism that took shots over the shoulder and counted them a couple inches left or right, but the precise tactility of first-person shooting is lost here. It just feels a little less good when the game rewards you for being in the vicinity. It's a necessary change, though, because otherwise you would line up shots and lose them in the split second you stopped aiming to tap "kill," assuming you didn't move the reticle in that motion. Good thing targets are generally running at you, too, because keeping up with lateral movement isn't easy.  The port is novel (it's on my phone!), it's perfunctory, it's a reminder that BioShock was pretty cool, and with a controller you can basically match the original experience. The touch controls work about as well as they could, but can't overcome losing the precision in first-person shooting.
BiOShock photo
BiOShock
That BioShock teaser from 2K? It's not a new BioShock game. It's the first one, but on Apple devices. Hence the apple in the tease. Clever. Who called it? This is basically a full port of the PC version of BioShock,...

Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Borderlands multiplayer moving to Steam, SecuROM DRM is out


Steamworks support coming in a separate update
Jul 29
// Jordan Devore
The original Borderlands was one of the notable titles affected by the shutdown of GameSpy Technology at the end of May, but 2K said it would eventually use Steamworks in an effort to keep multiplayer going. That's still comi...
 photo
Thunder butts and meat popsicles
I got my hands on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel recently, and I've got some hot info on the new mechanics, and one of the new player characters, Athena the Gladiator. The game's new Stingray vehicle has a neat trick to it, the...

Deals photo
Deals

Classic X-COM games join the Humble 2K Bundle


Beat the average price to unlock them
Jul 15
// Jordan Devore
2K said it would add more games to its ongoing Humble Bundle featuring the likes of BioShock, The Darkness II, and Spec Ops: The Line and indeed it has. Folks who pay more than the average (approximately $8) will gain access ...
Deals photo
Deals

BioShock, The Darkness II, and more in this Humble 2K Bundle


Morbid curiosity has me interested in The Bureau
Jul 08
// Jordan Devore
If you want to jump straight to the new 2K Humble Bundle, here's the link. It's a tremendous value. This one is offering pay-what-you-want pricing for The Darkness II, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and the original BioShock....
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Handsome Jack gives out hot tips for surviving on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's moon


Most of them involve violence
Jul 03
// Darren Nakamura
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is only about three months from release, but there is still so much more to learn about it. Borderlands 2 antagonist Handsome Jack is here in a video previously exclusive to E3 attendees, to show ...
Civ: Beyond Earth photo
Civ: Beyond Earth

Sid Meierís Civilization: Beyond Earth will launch in October


There's a pre-order bonus too
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
Civilization: Beyond Earth looks like a pretty cool entry into the Civ franchise, and now we have a set release date -- October 24th, 2014, coming in at $49.99. Currently, PC is the only planned platform. There's also a pre-...
John Cena photo
John Cena

John Cena will be the cover superstar of WWE 2K15


I'm pretty sure you can see him
Jul 01
// Chris Carter
When WWE 2K15 hits the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on October 28th this year, it'll bring with it John Cena as its cover superstar. Cena is one of the WWE's longest running faces, keeping a positive image throughout his c...

Preview: Sid Meierís Civilization: Beyond Earth

May 20 // Dale North
[embed]275105:53951:0[/embed] I started out in an area called the Lush Biome where the idea was to take the explorer unit from my base and go explore, with the hopes of finding anything that could help us. But these guys are not a combat unit at all so they were quickly trampled by the green miasma-eating aliens that spawned up from a point just above my base. Angry at dying so soon, I sent my only combat unit up to take care of business, but they were quickly surrounded and whittled down to just a few members. It wasn’t but a couple of turns before my one little hex of nearly dead troops was surrounded.  Down but not out, I quickly generated new units and used my base’s defenses to hold the little guys off. That almost dead unit was able to level up and become stronger, too. I was eventually able to take out that troublesome alien spawn point, get a new explorer unit to start exploring nearby ruins, and even build up some defenses. Meanwhile, leaders of other factions were knocking on my door, and none of them were willing to play nice. If that wasn’t enough, I quickly got to a point to where massive Siege Worms were drilling underground and then coming up to attack my base. The plan I had to build a beacon to distract them and then take them out from behind was never going to be realized. Tactical satellite building? Psssh.  I was going to have to leave this demo session without achieving anything.  The three or four dozen turns I had to play Civ: Beyond Earth weren’t enough to dig down deep. I barely got to touch the massive web of a tech tree that the game brings. In this web you start out in the very middle with habitation and expand outward. Even with only a few moves I was able to branch out into some deep science fiction ideas. Computing could quickly move into things like transcendental math, terraforming, or synthetic thought. Going off on a completely unique path would be very easy in this game. Quests? Nope. Not enough time. Some popped up, but I had my hands full. Taking on these quests are how you’ll dig into the story and learn more about humanity’s new home.    I also didn’t get to interact much with any of the leaders or learn their affinities and preferences for humanity’s future. But from what I saw in my brief session, that stuff is pretty interesting. Some groups want humanity to preserve itself without the use of cybernetics, while others think that humanity needs to evolve into something like a native species. What’s clear is that none of them agree. Each’s factions beliefs are reflected in their talk, military units, and even their architecture. I would have needed much more time to begin exploring these approaches. Hopefully I can do that soon. But I was able to take out a single Siege Worm before my time was up. This is a city-sized beast that takes multiple units to take out — one we were directed to avoid. I took it down with desperate measures and felt a bit better about myself. In my game, humanity was probably still screwed. But at least I accomplished something on this harsh alien planet.   Civilization: Beyond Earth launches on PC, Mac, and Linux this fall. Civilization.com has relaunched with new information on Beyond Earth today.
Civ: Beyond Earth photo
I killed a worm and I liked it
I tried to help settlers colonize a new planet (Earth becomes uninhabitable after we screw it up in a big way) in our first hands-on with a pre-alpha build of the upcoming game Civilization: Beyond Earth early last week. I wa...


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