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And Destructoid's E3 Game of the Show is...

Jun 26 // Niero Gonzalez
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Konami isn't shy with what it has in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. With most titles, publishers tend to sit you down and let you play through a well-crafted chunk of game -- maybe 15 minutes before shuffling you off the station. That's the common preview experience. Not this time. Instead, Konami plunked three of our editors -- Jordan, Steven, and Brett -- down in chairs and let them have at The Phantom Pain from the very beginning. Jordan and Brett got a solid two hours in; Steven wound up with a staggering 14 hours. If this is some sort of vertical slice trickery, it's the most elaborate in the history of video games. Much more likely is that we got to see the final product (or very close to it), and Kojima's going out with a bang. The Phantom Pain has an open world that somehow doesn't feel all that open. Just ahead at pretty much all times are guards who are dead set on shouting things at you, throwing bullets with their guns, and just generally blowing the cover off this whole stealth operative you fancy so much. But, it's plenty open world in the sense that nothing seems scripted. You're given the reins (to a horse and the game), and the plan-of-attack is entirely up to you. The encounters often sprawl and there are just so many ways of doing anything and everything. For that to be pulled off with any degree of competency takes some seriously skilled design. That's not to say that our efforts were always executed with a degree of competency. The Phantom Pain has a way about it where you just sense that nothing you did was quite good enough. Sure, it got the job done, but that's not how real Snake would've done it. Botch job and all, it still has a neat "totally meant to do that!" air about it. Man, that kid makes fucking up look cool. Wait. Now, go ahead and jettison a guard away with a weather balloon -- err, your Fulton. That guy works for you now. And that horse you're riding? He poops when you want him to. Big Boss, indeed. All that stuff is indicative of what will surely make The Phantom Pain a great video game. Not only is it incredibly polished and detail dense, but it also has enough silly stuff to remind you that you're playing a game. There's plenty of weirdness to be found, and Kojima's tightly tethered it to the title's core mechanics. As we finished our play sessions, it was tough for us to imagine a game that would be more deserving of Destructoid's Best of E3 award. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain just plays so damn wonderfully. In hindsight, Konami wasn't going out on a limb by letting us have at it at our own pace; it did exactly what any publisher would do if it had something this special on its hands.
E3 Game of the Show photo
So many good options
We've hemmed. We've hawed. Destructoid's editors and judges have kindly suggested, boldly voted, bickered, scolded, stabbed each other with rapiers, revenge-slept with each other's illegitimate cousins, and finally have come ...

Banjo-Kazooie photo
Banjo-Kazooie

New Banjo-Kazooie shown at SXSW


Motion control for everyone, literally
Mar 15
// Jed Whitaker
Are you ready to have a sad? The SXSW Gaming Awards had Banjo and Kazooie on screen being flown through the air via audience participation with the use of motion controls. No new game has been announced from Rare just yet, th...

Here are Destructoid's Top 10 games from PAX East 2015

Mar 14 // Kyle MacGregor
Just Shapes & Beats Imagine a shoot-'em-up without the shooting. Just Shapes & Beats is just that, an addictive multiplayer experience about avoiding an incoming barrage of bullets headed your way. Enter the Gungeon We headed to PAX East with high expectations of Enter The Gungeon and came away even more excited about the top-down gun-fighting shooter -- if that's even possible. Downwell Downwell is a lo-fi platformer that really nails the gameplay. In fact, we had so much fun with it that developer Ojiro Fumoto commented on how long we stayed at the booth. Twitch gameplay bliss. Knight Squad Chainsawesome Games describes Knight Squad as Bomberman meets Gauntlet. What does that mean? An incredibly fun multiplayer game that grabs you and doesn't let go until the party's over.  Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, one player wears an Oculus Rift while another sifts through a real-life binder and walks them through the process of diffusing a bomb. Wow! Tumblestone Don't dismiss Tumblestone as "just another match-three" game. This is a truly intelligent puzzle game with mode variants that completely change the way you approach the genre. Affordable Space Adventures Affordable Space Adventures makes excellent use of the Wii U GamePad. Anyone who likes asymmetric co-op multiplayer should check this out. It feels like the game Wii U was made for. Severed Severed may have had a lengthy demo, but it left us craving more. Between its dark story, unique touchscreen inputs, and Drinkbox's signature art style, it's definitely something to keep an eye on. Necropolis Harebrained Schemes really took us by surprise with its new third-person action game,Necropolis. This is an absolutely gorgeous roguelike with thoughtful combat and personality in spades.  Axiom Verge Axiom Verge is certain to draw a lot of comparisons with classic Metroid titles, but it's so much more than just that. Come for the nostalgia, stay for a unique experience that stands on its own.
Top 10 PAX East photo
All the winners, in no particular order
PAX East ended several days ago, but its memory lingers on -- as does the sickness it bestowed on a handful of us poor Destructoid staffers. Much like how Jesus died for our sins, we risked our health for you, dear readers. S...


Tim Schafer open to revisiting Psychonauts

Mar 13 // Laura Kate Dale
With that out of the way, we got Tim to chat a little about his career over the years. First up on the chopping block was a question we had been dying to ask Schafer for a while. Just how did he expect people to get through his obtuse adventure game logic back in the day? I have no idea; people were smarter back then. Playing the games I sometimes wonder that myself. I think, "This puzzle's really hard, how are people supposed to get that?" Part of the reason is that back in the day [...] the thinking was "people are not going to finish this game." Sometimes we thought that. That's why we did the easy mode in Monkey Island 2, but the answer is for most of these puzzle the hints are there if you keep talking to people, if you keep digging down. Most of them are hinted at if you keep exploring all the dialog.  So we made the first half of Broken Age and the first half is always easier than the second half of a game. We were like "this is too easy." We made Grim Fandango and that's too hard. Adventure game fans are hard to please. Next up on our list of questions was one that readers have been trying to get an answer to for a while. Which of Tim's series means the most to him, and which would he most like to revisit? That's a tough question because of course every game is important at the time. There's things people don't expect when they ask me this like Kinect Party -- did you ever play Kinect Party? It was our lowest-selling game of all time. It's a Kinect game where little kids play with their grandparents together and it was really rewarding to see families playing that, it was just so rewarding, you know? The world of Psychonauts is so interesting because you can just keep creating more brains every time you meet somebody and wonder what the world inside their brain looks like. It also feels like the kind of unfinished story of Eddie Briggs [Brutal Legend] would be a great excuse to work with Jack [Black] again. It's hard because of how Grim ended. It was a really rich and full world but I feel like that character had such a complete progression that I feel like he's done with. I don't know if I want to go back down that road with someone who isn't Manny. All the other ones, a lot of them at least like Psychonauts you can just imagine. For Brutal Legend it's kind of already designed because we had to throw away half that game to get it done two years late. It's a lot easier to imagine going forward with that or Psychonauts. A recent hot topic brought sharply into focus by Peter Molyneux's Godus was the effect crowdfunding campaigns can have on audience's faith in developers. From pitching your game to fans for financial investment before development has begun to the pitfalls along the way, with Schafer himself previously facing the firing line from disgruntled Kickstarter backers, we wanted to know if he plans to continue crowdfunding his future projects and what effect he thinks Kickstarter failures have on the reputations of developers. There were so many great things to Kickstarter when it first exploded and we had that rush of not just money but also goodwill too. That love and support from the community told us that people want to play adventure games still and that was really important to us. Because everything's announced at the start of creating your game and not the end like we normally do, it makes more sense to be transparent like we were. That made us vulnerable to a lot of criticism because people could see "oh, the schedule's changing" or "You're doing this thing the way I don't want you to do it." The experiment's not over yet and I'd still call it an experiment, but being that exposed and vulnerable was difficult. There were some good things and toward the end there have been some bad things. My hope was that by being really transparent and showing all the ups and downs of game development, that people who play games would start to understand more of what goes on when making a game. But still, after all this time, it still seems like people get super mad about things that are totally normal. Things like schedules slipping happen on almost every project but people just don't hear about it because we don't usually show people.  I think developers have to learn like publishers had to learn before the warning signs when a game is in trouble and what is just going through the normal ups and downs of development. The question I personally wanted an answer to the most: when is Broken Age: Act 2 coming? Well we're in beta now and we're going to come out this spring. There's not much time left in spring. When's the last day of spring? It's coming out this spring which is very soon. At this point we pushed him on how soon was very soon? We confirmed basically that it's more than three days away still. Well, not this week. I've been playing the Vita version on the plane over here. It's finished, we just want to catch all the bugs. Finally, with all our serious questions out the way, we ended the interview on a slightly lighter note. Yes, you guessed it, we asked him about his favorite butts in videogames. We mainly learned that Tim Schafer rarely thinks about butts when designing a character. Favorite butt in videogames? Are there a lot of butts in videogames? I guess everyone has a butt but you don't often get to see them. I guess in third-person games you're running behind them. I'm now trying to do the interesting task of trying to visualize butts from videogames, they don't usually get a starring role. I'm now seriously worrying I've not been paying enough attention to butts in the games that I've made. Have we ever shown any butts in my games? Yep, you've stumped me with butts. Manny's butt in Grim Fandango is boney; it's basically just a pelvis in a suit.  In Costume Quest actually there was a cat that had a very prominent butt featured, so I guess that butt.
Tim Schafer interview photo
Schafer talks Broken Age, crowdfunding, narrative, and butts
Last night Destructoid attended the videogame BAFTAs in order to do some hard-hitting journalism. Speaking to Tim Schafer, who was in attendance to hand Shadow of Mordor the BAFTA for Best Design, we spent ten minutes discuss...

The Last of Us actress 'wasn't prepared for the positive' response to Ellie's sexual orientation

Mar 13 // Laura Kate Dale
[Small spoilers below for The Last of Us.] When asked if she would be interested in reprising the role of Ellie in a future The Last of Us sequel, she replied simply with an energetic "Oh fuck yeah!" before apologizing to the amassed journalists for her use of language. When pushed on the issue and asked how she would go about portraying an older Ellie, she cautiously told us: It just depends if they want to revisit the story again. Ellie could go either way, [Joel] lied to her so you don't know how she would take that -- would she be mad at him, would she be okay with, there's many places you could go. Interestingly, we also learned that while Ashley Johnson has done on screen roles in huge projects like The Avengers, she is still recognized more often for her work voicing Ellie. I probably get recognized for The Last of Us more than anything, which is crazy because it isn't physically my face. Last of Us has changed my life in so many ways and we shot it for over three years so, and including the DLC I guess four, so being part of something for that long and the experiences you have, the relationships you form, I wouldn't change it for anything, it's one of my favorite things I've worked on. Considering Johnson was up against some pretty tough competition for this years Best Performance award including Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker, we asked her how she felt about her win and if there were any nominees she expected would win the award instead of her. I feel good, I mean I'm kind of a little overwhelmed I guess, shocked and um, yeah. Struggling to find my words. Everybody up for the award was awesome obviously, that's why they were all picked out. For me Troy Baker, and I'm not just saying that because I know him, but his character in Far Cry 4 was so ridiculous and amazing. Melissa Hutchison, I'm such a fan of those games, she's just incredible. Obviously Kevin Spacey, he's a pretty good actor. Those first two in particular though they both really stood out to me. Even though Ashley Johnson had just won a BAFTA for her performance as Ellie, we asked her if there were any aspects of her performance that she looks back on and cringes. There are definitely times playing through Left Behind where I wanted myself to get out of the way. Ellie would just get right in the way and I'd be like "just fucking move." She'd start whistling randomly and Clickers are right there and it's like "Okay they're right there can you please just shut up because now they're definitely going to hear us." Just as our time talking with Ashley was coming to a close, we decided to ask her a couple of ending questions about Left Behind being a coming out story for her character. Firstly, we wanted to know how she felt watching players learn that her character is gay. Usually when I try to tackle any role I know early on in the process what the sexual preference of that character is because that can be a huge part of who they are. With Ellie it was something that wasn't ever really discussed. I think with Ellie growing up in this world it wasn't something that was every really necessarily brought up. When we finally got to the DLC and Neil Druckmann told me what he wanted to do, I was like yeah of course, that completely makes sense for who Ellie is and why her relationship with Riley was so important to her. I was surprised by the way people reacted. We didn't know how people were going to respond and I think I was more prepared for the negative comments. What I wasn't as prepared for was the positive ones. I've had so many men and women come up to me and told me things sometimes they haven't even told their parents. It has profoundly changed my life. We finished up the interview by touching on the critical reception that Left Behind had. I wanted to know if Ashley Johnson thought Left Behind would have won the BAFTA for Best Story if Ellie had been in a heterosexual relationship rather than a homosexual one.  I don't know, I think for me it's just hard to answer because now that's who Ellie is and that is what it is. I know that Neil didn't want to make that decision based on trying to make a crazy statement of get any kind of controversy. It was just a character based decision and I think that relationship did have a big impact on people. I don't know, but I'm really going to think about it. I think they definitely took some risks with the story. I think if you told most people Left Behind was just the story of two teenage girls hanging out and figuring out their place in the world, I think a lot of people wouldn't be interested in playing that. I think after the full game came out and players had a chance to connect with Ellie, I think they wanted to know more about who she was. I sat down with Neil and he told me what the story would be and he just sort of said to me "I think Ellie is gay, this is her story. I think Riley was her first love and that's the story that I want to tell" and right then I was like "Yeah, I'm on board, let's do it." I think in general the story is focused on their love and that relationship and the importance of that which excited me a lot.
Ashley Johnson Interview photo
An interview spanning high and low brow material
Last night Destructoid attended the videogame BAFTAs in order to do some hard-hitting journalism. Speaking to Ashley Johnson following her BAFTA win for Best Performance for voicing Ellie in The Last of Us and its story DLC L...

Writers Guild Award photo
Writers Guild Award

Big names dominate Writers Guild Award nominations


Two Assassin's Creeds, Alien, and The Last of Us DLC
Jan 13
// Brett Makedonski
Anyone that's of the belief that mainstream videogames are often devoid of great writing will need to look somewhere other than the Writers Guild of America for vindication. The organization's nominees for Outstanding Achieve...

2014's Game of the Year from 2006 because 2014 kind of sucked for games

Jan 09 // Steven Hansen
Because Clover Studios and my chance at happiness are dead, I want to take a moment to look back at 2014 instead of shoulder clasping and hand shaking even older ghosts. My "Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GotY 2014" awards started out as (and continued to be) a joke, but ended up going to games I really did like last year (Invisible Inc, Samurai Gunn, Transistor, Kentucky Route Zero). So 2014 wasn't bereft of good times. Especially because I can play Bushido Blade in any year, except for when I time travel to years before it was made.  But if there was a trend I noticed in my writing on or about the marquee titles of 2014, it's an almost comical nostalgia for 2006. For Clover (and that era Capcom), really. In one of the more personal, overwrought-titled things I wrote this year about San Francisco, punters getting kicked in the fucking face, and squeezing beauty out of money, I used Okami as the lead image.  My Halloween inspired take down of Resident Evil 5 (in honor of my friend Dale North, who also rightly thinks it bad) is a close look at how Capcom haphazardly aped--and broke--a finely designed game (Resident Evil 4) and got away with it because having fun in co-op is an easy way to ignore that a game is bad. The company was rewarded handsomely and we got Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6 out of the deal. This is why we need to expect more.  I cited the Resident Evil 4-Okami-God Hand trifecta more directly in my post about how Shadow of Mordor should've been a dating sim. It's there where I pinned down the underlying notion that was bothering me, a stale conservatism in big-budget design. I'm still baffled by the high praise Mordor received for tacking on one new system to a checklist of open-world action design. And misty-eyed over Chris Carter's more muted, "s'alright, I guess."  Maybe the climate for experimentation, exploration, and completely new mechanics/controls in big releases doesn't exist anymore as budgets skyrocket and the prettier titles need to be, "like blank but blank" for marketability. Maybe it never did exist. Clover was shut down.  I don't mean to be just sour. I want to credit Alien: Isolation, a more expensive game than the ones I gave funny awards to, though I still need to play it in full. Ubisoft made Valiant Hearts, smaller project that it is.  I want to hoot and holler my anticipation for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It may not be wholly different, but this, at least, is an example of different enough and I'll cling to it if I have to, if there's no spiritual Zone of the Enders, a "something else" at the end of the tunnel. There's the weird, at least. The idiosyncrasies that show a human made this. One lucky enough to be buoying his employer and, thus, given free rein to commission code and art assets for wolf puppies and proper rock climbing form and new ways to pop out of boxes and cool backwards elbow crawling.  Let's celebrate The New in this third Year of Luigi, especially in the big-budget space, because that's where moneyhats need direction, need to know we won't settle. Cool folk will make turn-based stealth games and waifu bartending sims and warm magical realist adventure games regardless. Recent, pre-2014 years have given me things like Tearaway, Gravity Rush, Portal, and Catherine. Just hoping that in 2015 Big Gaming gives me something else totally new to clutch and love fiercely like the mama bear I am. 
GOTY 2014 (2006) photo
Goddo Hando delivers a Reverse Hell Kick Granny Smacker to 2014
Yes, it's now 2015--though I'm still writing 2014 on all my checks!!!--but how can anyone do a definitive Game of the Year award until the year is officially over? Until that big dang ball drops down in The Big Apple, the Big...

PS' GOTYs photo
PS' GOTYs

PlayStation owners loved Destiny more than any other game in 2014


Dark Souls II won best PS3 game
Jan 08
// Brett Makedonski
We're well into the new year, but not everyone's put 2014 squarely in their rearviewmirror. PlayStation Blog just finished tallying the votes to determine which games Sony fans were most fond of last year. All PlayStation pla...
IGF 2015 photo
IGF 2015

2015 Independent Games Festival finalists named


A bunch of cool games are getting awards soon
Jan 07
// Steven Hansen
We're a couple months away from March's Game Developers Conference, where everyone has to travel to where I live (uh, the city, not my home) and I just get to roll out of a nice non-hotel bed and make my way to appointments. ...

Swery's 2014 games that I haven't completed, but think are amazing

Jan 07 // Steven Hansen
4: Dark Souls II Even though the previous game broke me, the addictive nature of the game drew me to buy this sequel. Obviously, this game created a lot of waves, and I decided that I had to play it simply to experience that cycle of bitter aftertaste, frustration, and then catharsis one more time. Hardcore users say this game was easier compared to the original, but it was still enough to break me again. Getting killed by a player who invades especially makes me want to throw my controller. This is unrelated, but while I've never met the director, Miyazaki Hidetaka, his personal name is the same as mine (Hidetaka), so I feel a sense of closeness to him. Why I quit playing: The frustration from the game crept into my real life. 3: Destiny It may not be too much to say that this was the year's most talked-about title. I was too busy with development to take part in the beta test, but I bought the Xbox One version on the day it came out. Unfortunately, though, it wasn't localized into Japanese. When someone asked me "Why did you buy it if you weren't sure," I didn't really have an excuse, but that's what happened. Of course, not only the story, but the menu was also in English as well, so I had trouble understanding the system. I was really behind compared to my friends who had already bought the PS4 version, and became a bit of a Destiny dunce. Then I got busy with D4's release and PR, so there was no way I was going to finish it. Why I quit playing: My friends made fun of me so much that I lost all my confidence. 2: Dragon Age: Inquisition I added this game only after preparing myself to get yelled at. Why? Because I haven't played it. Right after I bought it, I suddenly got bombarded with things I had to take care of, and then there was an update to the consumer version of Minecraft, and I became desperate just to play that. Then, I went on a trip overseas without even getting to play it. I'm still on that trip now as I write this list. So, if I haven't played it, how can I say it's amazing? Well... just by using my intuition. Or, my sense of smell, should I say? I'm not a writer or a critic. I'm just a creator, so I have the right to self-righteously purchase and play games how I want to. Simple, right? Why I quit playing: My first vacation in four years. 1: Drakengard 3 The continuation of the famous series that Access Games developed. In this game, the action and graphics were renewed, essentially reviving the series. Ally NPCs and dragon growth were added, and you don't need to know the entire series to be able to enjoy the game. However, the story wasn't any good. It's really unfortunate, but it's the truth. And the graphics could have been a bit better, I think. If we get another chance, I'd like to use what we learned here to make an even better game. Why I quit playing: Self-hatred and self-defense. Runner-Up: Kirby: Triple Deluxe The world will wash your heart clean. The characters were just so cute, I couldn't not buy it. But the game was too beautiful for my heart. It ended up blinding me. It was hard for me to keep staring at the vibrant Kirby as he ran all around. It makes me wish that I could make a game someday like this, but at the same time, it also fills me with despair. That's all. Thanks to everyone who read this, and thanks to everyone at Destructoid for giving me the chance to write this! I apologize to anyone who was offended by anything I wrote. This is a list filled with personal taste and bias, but regardless of how it appears, I think it's very important for people to organize their thoughts as words, which is why I wrote this. I'm hoping from the bottom of my heart that 2015 will be a big step forward for the game industry. I Love You All!! SWERY
SWERY's 2014 GotY photo
The director of Deadly Premonition and D4 looks back at 2014
[Swery is the man behind Deadly Premonition and D4. The latter has kept him busy over the last year, so he hasn't been able to finish every game he loves. But love is not finite, finished, and with an eyebrow game this o...

GOTY 2014: Best evidence that we should go full communism

Dec 31 // Steven Hansen
Honorable mentions Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (?): I can never remember what this game is called. I had "Armored Warfare" at first, but I don't think that's right. And yet, these games make those capitalist bucks, playing on jingoistic paranoia and military fetishization that dress enchanting feedback loops, rewiring your brain to think ReagThatch were good and some Mountain Dew would look good in your newborn's bottle. Maybe if Spacey had a MMF threesome we could overlook that -- perhaps in favor of the plastic-producing Skylanders or Disney Infinity -- but here we are, hoorah. Wolfenstein: New Order: Whoa, this flippin' "Nazi party" over here, they're some bad dudes! Definitely not any party I would want to be a part of, imo. Probably wouldn't be any Ecto Cooler there. If there's any argument for communism, well, look at the alternative. If these Nazis won the second Great War instead of the Communists, we'd be stuck in some militarized police state with government sanctioned killer robots, like in Wolfenstein. The Last of Us: Remastered: Nine $1 pieces of "special executions" DLC.  Execution animations should be a government promised and regulated utility like electricity, the Internet, and a healthy supply of Dario Argento movies. - Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a titleSteven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014: Best musicalSteven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum
GOTY Full communism photo
Which game scored top Marx?
I'm back, baby! You thought Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY awards were done at three, come sambuca con la mosca? That we want health, happiness, and prosperity, rather than four (death)? We're up all night to get unl...

Community Choice Award photo
Community Choice Award

Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 Community Choice Award!


And the winner is...
Dec 29
// Mr Andy Dixon
What a wild year it's been for us gamers. In spite of all the insanity this industry inevitably attracts, when we look back on everything that has happened over the last 12 months, I think there's one thing we can all agree o...

Destructoid's award for Overall Best Game of 2014 goes to...

Dec 26 // Jonathan Holmes
Someone once said that Bayonetta is a cross between '90s-era Madonna, Neo (from The Matrix). and Nomi Malone of Showgirls fame. That someone was me, which is why I'm more than proud to help name Bayonetta 2 Destructoid's overall Game of the Year for 2014. Bayonetta 2 had to fight to be born. Despite the relative popularity of the original game, Sega and Platinum struggled to justify the funding for a follow-up. Nintendo swooped in, securing the exclusive publishing rights for the sequel. In doing so, the company signaled to fans that it was opening its doors to third-party developers in all-new ways, and that it was willing to shed its "family friendly" image when it felt it was right to do so. The game hasn't been embraced by Wii U owners in the same way that Smash Bros. or Mario Kart 8 have, but that's sadly to be expected. What's important is the people who love Bayonetta 2 really, really love it. I'm yet to meet someone who has played through the game who didn't name it as one of their top titles of 2014.  What is it about Bayonetta 2 that inspires so much joy? For me, it has to do with the notion of "guilty pleasures," and how the game turns them on their heads. Videogames are often considered guilty pleasures. For some, playing a game instead of "doing something useful" is a form of rejecting authority. For others, they are a new form of fantasy that reject commonly held standards for class and appropriateness. There's also the fact that a lot of games today contain sex and/or violence. These are all things we're meant to feel guilty about in American culture. Bayonetta wraps them all up in a ball, erases the guilt from all of them, and maximizes all the pleasure. She takes joy in her physicality, her ability to dominate others, and in her own body in whatever way she sees fit. She rejects all outside judgments, from her father, her friends, and even God himself. She doesn't give a fuck, period, end of sentence. That ability to reject self-consciousness and fear of vulnerability allows her (and the player) to reach unimaginable heights of power. She takes you on a rambunctious, ridiculous thrill ride, smirking all the while, totally unconcerned with the sacrilegious absurdity of it all while encouraging you to feel the same.   Thanks to everyone for voting, and stay tuned for more Personal GOTY awards from our editors as the year closes out. 
Overall GOTY photo
... a game that will never stop
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Why do we love videogames? Some say it's the escapism, or the ability to wrap you up in a story that you get to help tell as it's being told to you. Others say it's the way they can bring fri...

The winner of Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 is...

Dec 24 // Jonathan Holmes
Jazzpunk and Transistor have nothing in common in terms of tone, but a lot in common in terms of delivery, or lack there of. Instead of sitting you down and telling you a story, they allow the player to inhabit a story, to actively turn the wheels of emergent narratives as they unfold around them. They don't deliver. They transport. Jazzpunk is an absurd comic romp where emergent punchlines are common rewards for effective gameplay. The player is made to feel like they are the ones creating comedy, as opposed passively receiving it. Likewise, Transistor doesn't exactly "tell" you a story. It talks to you, not at you. Sometimes you feel like you're leading the conversation. Sometimes it feels like you're following it. Most of the time though, it feels as though the story is unfolding parallel to your progress, growing with you at the same rate. You are not the audience in either of these games. You are on stage alongside them, interacting with them, creating something between you that's larger than the sum of your parts.  These are not choose-your-own-adventure games or fragmented "cut scene, gameplay, cut scene" experiences. These are games that work to make "story" and "play" one and the same. That's my guess as to why they earned the popular vote of Destructoid's staff for this year's awards. Congratulations to the teams at Supergiant Games and Necrophone Games for your wins. Next up, we'll look at games with the best world design of 2014.  [Disclosure: Jim Sterling, former Reviews Editor at Destructoid, did voice work for Jazzpunk. No relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the Game of the Year voting process.]
Narrative GOTY photo
...not just one game
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Any game can use cut scenes to tell a great story. That trick was impressive back when CD-ROMs were cutting-edge technology. Today, the expectation for story-focused games is to work towards ...

The award for Best Game Mechanics of 2014 goes to...

Dec 23 // Jonathan Holmes
I'd like to say that this was a close one, but it wasn't. OlliOlli did incredibly well considering it's a new IP only available on a select number of platforms, but in the end, nothing even came close to beating out Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I chalk it up to how well the game's moment-to-moment mechanics tie into the larger overarching self-directed narrative, forming a portrait of violence and survival that's a joy to experience from every perspective. It's taught and compelling on both a micro and macro level, simultaneously believable and fantastic, primitively satisfying and awe inducing.  On paper, it may not sound that special. Pretty much all you do in the game is play cat-and-mouse with a bunch of flesh eating jerks, but you could say the same thing about Pac-Man and that series is still going strong 30 years later. It will be interesting to see if Shadow of Mordor has the same kind of longevity. The Tolkien universe it's based on has been a mainstream hit in Hollywood for over ten years now, and people used to think those books were only for nerds so you never know.  Regardless of what the future holds for Shadow of Mordor, it is in this shining moment a Destructoid GOTY winner. Congratulations to the team at Monolith for their success, and tune in tomorrow when we announce the winner of best narrative design of 2014.
Mechanics GOTY photo
... a game that really rolls off the tongue
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] The idea behind the best mechanics category is to highlight games that you'd love to play even if they had stick-figure graphics, no multiplayer, no music, and no story. Some of them may be f...

Rust Cohle's GOTY games for 2014

Dec 23 // Rust Cohle Games
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Spike Chunsoft created Danganronpa to grow the hope that they could kill and you are reborn, but into the same despair that you’ve always been born into. It’s an allegory for society’s pressure on students. The world on their young shoulders; a fork in the road to hope or despair. In Danganronpa 2, two idols stand before you. The purveyor of despair, Monokuma. And the governess of hope, Monomi. You know me though, I don’t see the connection between two animals and a murdered anime kid. But hey, I’m from Texas. After I finished Danganronpa 2, I sat up all night looking through the windows up at the stars thinking: This is one story; the oldest. Despair versus hope. Despair has a lot of territory up there in the endless darkness of space, but Monomi taught me an important fact. You see, once there was only dark. Now it’s littered with stars, glimmers of hope. You ask me, hope is winning. Goodbye despair… Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4) Days are nothing. That’s what it’s like when you work cases: makes you miss out on a lot of releases. Days are like lost dogs. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn came out last year, but I lacked the constitution to subscribe at the time. But with the PS4 release, I refused to avert my eyes again. Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by rolling either DPS, tank, or healer. At least that’s what Square Enix wants you to believe. Instead I see propensity for squishy tanks, gold spamming bots, and folks putting what few bucks they do have into the mog station. Rolling a Miqo'te is the transference of fear and self-loathing to a feline vessel. It is cathartic playing as a catgirl. The shunning of Miqo’te represents humanity's innermost jealous of catgirls. We all want a fluffy tail. Instead all we can do is dream. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd Idol worship has existed since we could formulate thought. Certain anthropologists think that Cleopatra was the first: the original waifu. Project Diva reminds us that society would rather project our musicianship on digitized idols than build on our own talents. We reward Miku for authenticity in her music, because despite that she’s just a buncha’ code, the narrative hasn’t been twisted; the world is hers. Life’s barely long enough to get a "perfect" on one Miku song, so I focused on Clover♣Club. In those hours spent trying to master it, I realized something. All the failed notes, all the max combos, all the high scores, all the technical bonuses, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all a dream Miku and her vocaloid friends have – a dream about being a person, about being free of this song and dance we force these idols into. And, like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it: You. The Wolf Among Us Never has a game embodied the impunity that us police officers are imbued with. We can do dark things without consequence: huffin’ and puffin’, blowing away your sense of self and security like eraser shavings on a desk. The Wolf Among Us is an allegory for man’s animalism. We’re walking, talking, lying beasts pretending to be civilized, highly functioning organisms. Bigby, much like myself, faces moral quandaries on a day-to-day basis. Like him, I’ve reconciled my nature. A nature which binds me to the sentient flesh and social taboos of my surroundings. The only thing keeping most people civil is a promise of a higher power and the threat that we, the law, bring. Civility in itself is a fairytale. P.T. Time is a flat circle. I’ve echoed this statement before, but it hasn’t been so applicable to anything else. P.T. is Kojima and Del Toro’s answer to something that gamers have been craving. Perhaps it's an answer to their own lives. You can’t change your life, and that in itself is the secret to life: it’s terrible. You’re trapped by a nightmare you keep walking into. Everything we’ve ever done or will do we’re gonna do over and over and over again just to make that fuckin’ baby cry. There’s a cathartic narrative in believing that Lisa is anything more than a victim. She is eternity looking down upon us, begging to be heard. P.T. is about death and futility. There’s nothing to be gained by penance – only action. Maybe that’s why I’m still sitting by the telephone. Norman Reedus and I have both got dirt on our souls.
Rust's GOTY photo
Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Another year, another series of GOTY lists fueled by fanboyism and cognitive dissonance. We all know the AAA games get their fair share of nods and stick shakes. That's why I'm here to tell the world what my GOTY games are fo...

The winner of Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of the year is...

Dec 22 // Jonathan Holmes
[Image by Thormeister] Don't act too surprised. Like you might have guessed, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U won our award for Best Multiplayer Design, and for good reason. Eight-player brawls, the Smash Tour board game mode, the incredibly varied and interesting character roster, co-op in just about everything, and the weird "multiplayer against your toys" amiibo integration all added together to help Smash Bros. push past the always crowd-pleasing Mario Kart 8 and the young and plucky Towerfall: Ascension. That's not to say it wasn't close call. This one was a squeaker. If just one of our staff members had voted differently, either of the two runners-up could have taken the top spot. Congratulations to the teams at Nintendo, Bandai Namco Entertainment, and Sora for the win! Now about that rumored Ice Climbers DLC...
Multiplayer GOTY photo
...not a first-person shooter
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Counting up the votes for Dtoid's Best Multiplayer Design was exciting. I had no idea how the voting would go. Big games like Destiny, Titanfall, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare didn't do ...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014

Dec 20 // Steven Hansen
These are Destructoid's nominees for Best World Design of 2014. Alien Isolation  Bravely Default  Destiny  Dragon Age Inquisition  Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy  Five Nights at Freddy's 2  JazzPunk  Kentucky Route Zero 3  Persona Q  South Park: The Stick of Truth  Sunset Overdrive  Valiant Hearts [NOTE: Re-releases of games that contain minimal new content, incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to asses as stand alone experiences were not eligible for this year's awards. Due to time constraints, games released in December 2014 were also not eligible.] [Disclosure: Jim Sterling, former Reviews Editor at Destructoid, did voice work for Jazzpunk. No relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the Game of the Year voting process.]
GOTY Awards photo
Best of 2014
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] If we are the world, then technically this award is for all of us. Pat yourselves on the back. Only 12 games are being nominated, though, and only 1 will be winning the award. But it's an hon...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014

Dec 19 // Brittany Vincent
Best Mechanics of 2014 Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor  Titanfall  Sunset Overdrive  Dark Souls 2  Octodad: Dadliest Catch Shovel Knight  Bayonetta 2  OlliOlli  Woah Dave!  Geometry Wars 3  Super Time Force [NOTE: Re-releases of games that contain minimal new content, incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences were not eligible for this year's awards. Due to time constraints, games released in December 2014 were also not eligible.]
GOTY Awards photo
Best of 2014
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] You can have the greatest narrative in the world and sprinkle memorable characters and scenes throughout a game, but all of it's for naught if your mechanics can't shine through. As the great Irvi...

GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum

Dec 19 // Steven Hansen
Honorable mentions Alien: Isolation: Tall. Dark. Handsome. I know what you're thinking: Are we talking about the xenomorph in Alien: Isolation or Jeff Goldblum? Well, what makes you think those two are mutually exclusive? While it can be argued that the xenomorph is more inspired by H. R. Giger's design in the original Ridley Scott film, who's to say that precludes Giger from having been inspired by Goldblum? Have you looked at pictures of the original suit lately? It's Goldblum's physique etched in marble, down to the explanatory jazz hands. The great sculptors of yore all had their muses. Clearly Giger and Creative Assembly did, too.  Ether One: I imagine a lot of folks on this webpage know Goldblum for his roles in things like Independence Day and Jurassic Park--only '90s kids will remember these ones!--more than Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Earth Girls Are Easy. And that's fine. Those are as important to his oeuvre as Brundlefly. Ether One is a smartly designed story based around head-scratcher puzzle mechanics that give way to the same drunken lows and eureka highs Goldblum's Independence Day scientist felt. And then you blow up all the aliens at the end, it's so sick.  The Long Dark: It's not a retread of the "long, dark, and handsome" aesthetic. It's not because when faced with frigid, desperate conditions I just want to crawl into Goldblum's chest hair nest like Luke into a tauntaun. What we need is some representation of the lastest part of the Goldblum mythos, his "hipster" turn. He's billed on Portlandia despite being in something like 10% of episodes over five seasons. He's a Wes Anderson favorite. Campo Santo's Firewatch (with me) isn't out yet, Gone Home was last year. It's a real down year for "hipster" games, so Long Dark comes in batting clean up in garbage time. Just look at it, with its stylish aesthetic, fresh mechanics, and interesting title. Fucking try-hard. 
GotY 2014: Goldblum photo
Life finds a way
Someone once told me I talk like Jeff Goldblum. This is not true. I also don't look like Charlie Day, Peter Frampton, Bret McKenzie, Michael Sheen, or Dikembe Mutombo. But at least I appreciated the former (tip: don...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014

Dec 18 // Brett Makedonski
Actual Sunlight Always Sometimes Monsters Broken Age: Act One Consensual Torture Simulator Dragon Age: Inquisition Ether One Gods Will Be Watching JazzPunk Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day Transistor The Walking Dead Season Two The Wolf Among Us [NOTE: Re-releases of games that contain minimal new content, incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to asses as stand alone experiences were not eligible for this year's awards. Due to time constraints, games released in December 2014 were also not eligible.] [Disclosure: Jim Sterling, former Reviews Editor at Destructoid, did voice work for Jazzpunk. No relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the Game of the Year voting process.]
GOTY Awards photo
Best of 2014
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes for great narrative design. It's just something you know when you see. It's more than an outstanding story (although, that's certainl...

GOTY 2014: Best musical

Dec 17 // Steven Hansen
Honorable mentions Transistor: First thing's first: all the credit in the world to developer Supergiant for trying to make a musical that stars a mute character. Talk about post modern thinking outside the bun. It's like fielding an arm-less squad of basketball players, cerebral; gets in the other team's head, creates unforced errors. So crazy it just might've worked. I mean, it didn't, because Red was mute, but it was bold and artsy. Plus, the "hum button" still beats out a bunch of the aforementioned titles that didn't even write songs.  Jazzpunk: Avant garde as it is, Jazzpunk doesn't present with typified Broadway styling. It's more Karen O than Pat Benatar, more Daniel Johnston than U2 presents a Spiderman train wreck that kills its cast. While Transistor was a post modern take on the genre, Jazzpunk is post-post-modern, the musical deconstructed, like when the TV chefs turn meat into a foam with their alchemy sets.  Disorienting French New Wave jump cuts stand in for the inherently jarring transition to song and/or dance. The drug-induced missions reflect how in the modern era it takes a eight canine aspirin to even sit through a Broadway show long enough to neg the hot usher.  Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: This is inclusion by way of shuffling over a low bar. It's a serviceable musical, but we've been seeing this song and dance for years now, just with different actors and incremental changes. The rotund man is washed up and out of money. The ethnic man illicitly funds the rotund man's scheme to destroy America. They find a crazy Hitler sympathizer and buy the rights to his play. There's a moment telegraphed, "have emotions here." The play is a hit when they wanted it to be a flop. It's all just getting tired at this point, not sure why this keeps getting a theatre every year while no one will produce my musical wherein I have to wear a hat during winter and instead of looking like some sort of criminal, I look like a clown which everybody then mocks.
GOTY 2014: Musical photo
Not too many releases 'let it go' this year with the song and/or dance
What a dismal showing this year. Last year had Frozen, which tailed into this year, world without end, amen, with a long icy tail like Halley's comet. When are we going to have the "Let it Go" of videogames? We'll never ...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of 2014

Dec 17 // Chris Carter
Best Multiplayer Design of 2014 Towerfall Ascension Mario Kart 8 Sportsfriends Nidhogg Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Destiny Titanfall Super Smash Bros for Wii U Aban Hawkins and the 1001 Spikes Sportsball Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Ultra Street Fighter IV [NOTE: Re-releases of games that contain minimal new content, incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to asses as stand alone experiences were not eligible for this year's awards. Due to time constraints, games released in December 2014 were also not eligible.]
GOTY Awards photo
Best of 2014
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Friends can make any game worth playing. Growing up, couch play was a staple in my household. I would often have videogame themed birthday parties, inviting all of my buddies over to have fighting...

GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a title

Dec 17 // Steven Hansen
(dis)Honorable mentions  Shadow of Mordor. I know if you called it Sha-don't of Mordor people might've been clued in it isn't very good, but you can't just go around making up decidedly uncromulent words like "shadow" to fit your marketing agenda. It's embarrassing. "Shadow." What's that, a shady cow? I threw up less on my son's Lincoln Logs the first time I heard "swapportunity."  Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Wow. I can't believe this made it by legal/PR/dozens of unpaid interns and still hasn't been amended. Just look the other way until the story blows over, right? 24-hour news cycle will bury it soon enough. Well just because no one else was competent enough to catch it doesn't mean it'd get past my red pen and I'm going to keep banging on about it. Anyone who's spent their unemployment stipend making a Miller High Life fort before 1PM would notice the missing "e" in Octodad's shameless plagiarism of the hit Discovery show about angry crab dads. You want to copy the name to boost your brand with web SEO? Fine. But don't spell it wrong.  Titanfall: Uh, I think you meant TitanFAIL am I right folks?!
GOTY 2014: Illiteracy photo
Pronounce your way out of an anus
Might be your taste makers on this webpage made a Huge™ boner and left Samurai Gunn out of its 2014 game of the year plans. Because of its mid-December 2013 release, it was left out last year, too, and should ...

The five best indie games at PlayStation Experience

Dec 12 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]280326:55477:0[/embed] Salt and Sanctuary It's been long known that the closest thing that Microsoft had to a dedicated indie developer was Ska Studios. That's why it was such a jarring announcement when the team of James and Michelle Juett Silva announced that their next game, Salt and Sanctuary, would be a PlayStation 4 and Vita exclusive. After getting some time with the game, it's easy to say that it's poised to be a fine introduction to those that have stuck solely by Sony's side all these years. Spending any time with Salt and Sanctuary will lead anyone to draw the obvious parallel between it and the Souls games. That's not inaccurate in any way. Salt and Sanctuary is Ska's love letter of sorts to the From Software titles. Salt functionally acts like souls. Staying light and nimbly rolling out of the way of attacks is an advised strategy for success. Oh yeah, and it can be just as unforgiving as Souls if you don't take time to learn the mechanics and patterns of enemies. But that's not to say it's a clone of sorts. There's more that Salt and Sanctuary does to carve out its own identity. We only saw the first boss, so there's sure to be plenty of content to discover. However, the 2D direction sticks out, and the art style is so wonderfully Ska. Fortunately, Ska has a personal goal of shooting for a 2015 release, so hopefully PlayStation owners won't have to wait long to see what they've been missing. N++ Few games in recent memory have had that special platforming prowess that N+ did. The small black ninja and his floaty leaps and wall-jumping abilities were simply maddening when it came to just trying to collect some gold and reach the exit. You see, absolutely every danger in N+ proved to be immediately fatal. Dying over and over wasn't uncommon for most players. But all that made successful runs so much more special. N++ is that again, more or less. Except this time, it's as beefed up as it can possibly be. Developer Metanet Software says that this will be the last N+ title it makes, so it's leaving nothing on the table. One thousand levels, cooperative play, competitive multiplayer races and the possible inclusion of deathmatch -- anything that works well will be added. That's all fine because soaring across levels and dodging everything in sight has gotten no less enjoyable. Axiom Verge A cursory glance at Tom Happ's Axiom Verge, and it's immediately clear where he drew inspiration from. The retro, 16-bit action evokes memories of Metroid and Contra. It's the type of game that looks as if it's made in the spirit of some of the developer's most beloved titles. And, in that same vein, Axiom Verge does all it can to not hold your hand -- again, just like those games of old. Some of the obstacles can appear so obtuse, but are so rewarding once you finally figure them out. A wonderful melding of action, exploration, and puzzle-solving, Axiom Verge looks to hit that perfect harmony we fondly remember titles of several generations ago routinely hitting. To Leave To Leave is another wonderful platformer, but this one's more Flappy Bird than Super Meat Boy. Playing as a boy named Harm, you're tasked with the ultimate goal of leaving. That title's brazenly on-the-nose. Clutching a magic flying door (we didn't say it made sense), Harm navigates levels by tapping a button to elevate, and not tapping it to sink. The challenge lies within the fact that touching any wall leads to immediate death. There are also floating objects to collect that add time to the clock that's constantly winding down. Letting time expire results in having to start the level over again. That all sounds basic enough, but it raised an eyebrow when the developers said that some levels eventually take about an hour to clear. Add in the fact that puzzles are introduced and used often, and there's definitely quite the challenge in To Leave -- one that we didn't want to put down, much to the dismay of those in line behind us. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes Maybe the most thrilling game we played at PlayStation Experience came when we didn't even have a controller in hand. Project Morpheus-enabled Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was a riveting five minutes of bomb defusal, and all we had in front of us was a binder full of paper and a pencil in our hand. Paired up with someone wearing the virtual reality set, we had a list of constraints in front of us explaining how this bomb could be disarmed. We obviously couldn't see if there was a yellow wire, or what symbols were on the activation code pad, so we just had to do our best to repurpose the constraints into questions and commands for the defuser. "How many yellow wires are there?" "Describe the four symbols on the pad." "Okay, push them in this order..." It wasn't easy going, but the three-step process was eventually achieved. Those pulse-pounding few minutes were met with a sigh of relief when our partner said "awesome, we did it." And, we finished with a scant eight seconds left before everybody exploded. Lucky thing we kept talking.
PSX photo
In no particular order
With regard to games shown at last weekend's PlayStation Experience, Sony had two noticeable strengths: its first-party mega-titles and the projects of its ever-growing stable of independent developers. While PlayStation fans...

King's Quest photo
King's Quest

Sierra and Odd Gentlemen show off new King's Quest at The Game Awards


Once upon an astounding time
Dec 05
// Darren Nakamura
At the Game Awards tonight, the founders of Sierra Ken and Roberta Williams were honored with the Industry Icon Award for their work in the early days of videogame development. After Ken demonstrated his inability to adjust ...
The Game Awards photo
The Game Awards

Game Awards? In this economy? Watch them here!


I had to outsource this headline to Steven
Dec 05
// Jordan Devore
Geoff Keighley's not-affiliated-with-Spike Game Awards are tonight. Gosh, it really has been a year since he co-hosted VGX with Joel McHale. (Let us never speak of that again.) The show will be streamed live out of Las Vegas...
The Game Awards photo
The Game Awards

Xbox isn't revealing anything at The Game Awards 2014


Sometimes no news is news
Dec 02
// Brett Makedonski
There are a few dates every year that we can bank on new videogames being revealed. The first couple days of E3 are the best for this. However, in recent years, the annual December videogames awards show has proven to hold it...
Metal Gear Solid photo
Metal Gear Solid

MGSV: The Phantom Pain's online mode will debut at The Game Awards


New gameplay trailer for MGO will debut next week
Nov 26
// Alessandro Fillari
Next week is looking to be a pretty exciting time for gaming. With The Game Awards showing off world premieres of upcoming titles, and the PlayStation Experience doing the same, it's definitely going to be a busy and eventful...
The Game Awards photo
The Game Awards

Move over Spike, there's a new (Dew-free?) Game Awards


No more Doritos and Mountain Dew
Nov 10
// Steven Hansen
Max and I had fun last year getting drunk and making fun of the Spike "VGX" at a slightly slower rate than its own co-host, Joel McHale, tore into it.  Former VGX producer Geoff Keighley is now putting his weight behind ...

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