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Heroes Reborn photo
Heroes Reborn

Heroes Reborn gets two games, Gemini and Enigma

Throw cheerleaders at everyone
Jul 13
// Joe Parlock
I’d forgotten Heroes was even a thing. The first series was great, but then I remember Netflix had problems with the subtitles in the second season so I stopped watching. Apparently that was a good idea, as no one like...
10-year-old hero photo
10-year-old hero

Boy stops speeding car, credits Mario Kart for his skills

10-year-old Gryffin Sanders put his shell-dodging training to the test
Aug 05
// Tony Ponce
I don't remember the last time I read or watched a feel-good story involving videogames in the mainstream news. Hell, I'm having trouble finding news within game media outlets that doesn't paint a bleak or damning future for...

Aksys selling VLR watches for Hurricane Sandy relief

All proceeds go directly to Red Cross
Nov 14
// Tony Ponce
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is great. The sweet pre-order watch modeled after the in-game bracelet is also pretty great. If you missed the chance to score the watch for free, you now have the option to buy it directly f...

Champions Online gets massive vehicle update

Take to the skies
Nov 11
// Harry Monogenis
Champions Online has gone through some rather big changes since its launch back in 2009, most notably the one in 2011 which saw the MMO go free-to-play. Now there's another rather large update to the game, with...


Last year's most heartwarming game-related story was without a doubt that of Michael John Mamaril, the 22-year-old Borderands fan who lost his life to cancer. His friend Carlo sent an email to Gearbox Software explaining the ...


New Arkham City behind the scenes vid talks sound design

May 16
// Brett Zeidler
Rocksteady did absolutely everything right in Batman: Arkham City. This includes the stellar sound design; punching thugs makes a satisfying thud, bones make an earth-shattering crack, and even Batman's cape itself has a cas...

Watch copies of Shaq Fu get blown the f**k up

Feb 15
// Tony Ponce
Chad James of ScrewAttack is a big damn hero. He and his father took a truckload of copies of Shaq Fu, the infamous Shaquille O'Neal fighting game, to the gun range for some target practice. The video that resulted from that...

DCUO: Diary of a Green Lantern Corps reservist part II

Oct 19 // Fraser Brown
After a string of victories and more press than that media darling -- Superman, our emerald champion was well on his way to becoming the face of heroism. So when Queen Bee, ally of Braniac and supreme pest, built a HIVE base on the Moon to mine for exobytes (super power giving nanites), Zentarim was tasked with halting her plans. Along with a trusty crew of JLA hopefuls, our hero fought giants, terrorists and blew up a space ship, yet again. But just as the team was about to reach Queen Bee herself, they were thwarted by a hero's worst nightmare. A door that wouldn't open. I have now attempted the HIVE Moon Base Alert three times with Zentarim and I've yet to complete it. After clearing the second to last room, the door to the boss is meant to open. Sadly, it doesn't. Now, I consider myself fairly forgiving when it comes to bugs in MMOs. These games are huge and constantly evolving, things will slip through the cracks. However, there's no way to know that this particular instance is bugged until you reach the very end. When it happened the first time I thought it was a one-off and tried again, when that failed I tried it a third time because I'm an idiot. Mentioning it on the launcher or in game would go a long way towards preventing players from wasting their time. That is the most glaring bug I've encountered so far, but there are many other smaller ones which have made my experience less enjoyable. Especially when many of these bugs were present at launch. There's graphics issues in the inventory screen with characters not showing up properly, sound errors, broken quests, exploits that have existed since day one, a broken in-game mail system and whole plethora of other issues. Few of them are progress halting, but as they mount up they are starting to piss me off quite a bit. On top of that, there are other issues which, while not being bugs, are just as problematic. Things get thrown around a lot in DCUO and they usually end up exploding. When cars and barrels are being tossed left and right, luck plays more of a role than skill when attempting to avoid getting caught in the blast. Dodging is a pain in the arse. It's an action game, yet dodging is as slow and unresponsive as a tractor driven by a drunk. With stuns, roots and explosions going on all the time it feels more like a crowd control game than an action game. To make matters worse dodging uses up power, which is what you use for abilities, there's no separate pool for it. Zentarim was rapidly becoming the go-to guy for when shit hit the fan. It probably helped that he could literally summon a giant fan to blow that shit back. He saved the world from a demonic god, became the third wheel on a bromantic date between Green Arrow and Green Lantern, gave Sinestro something to be afraid of and rescued Superman on two separate occasions. When he rescued The Man of Steel for the second time he had to infiltrate the heart of the enemy, the foreboding Hall of Doom. After mopping the floor with mechanical menace Metallo and then Cheetah (like Catwoman but for furries) he finally confronted Lex Luthor. The bald super genius was lording it over his captured Kryptonian nemesis and didn't anticipate a bright green helicopter shooting his villainous ass. That's right, a helicopter. With that victory, Zentarim was finally invited to become a full member of the JLA. By level 15 things had started to get a bit stale. Each mission tends to be broken up into predictable phases, the first few being a mix of "defeat these guys" or "interact with these objects." The final phase is the most interesting as you enter an instance to defeat that mission's boss. There tends to be a bit more story and focused action, and the boss battles themselves are occasionally inventive. When I had to rescue Wonder Girl from Giganta, I had to destroy some crystals to break a spell. By touching a crystal I was thrown back only to bounce into another one. It was like a life sized pinball game, silly, but fun. The road to level 30 is a fairly short one. It's been described by some players as an extended tutorial which prepares people for the bulk of the game, the end-game content. But I find that to be disingenuous. The game already has an unskippable tutorial. Nobody should have to get through hours and hours of tutorials to get to the meat of a game. Because the leveling process is so short, anyone who has done it before is likely to rush through it. That leaves earlier missions rather empty. So other players, seeing how empty that part of the game is, either rush to 30 as well, or simply stop playing. Most of the pre-30 content is solo content, though. Other than the Alerts which you queue for or the occasional group boss you can do it all on your own, with no difficulty whatsoever. Considering how quiet the game is, that's a boon. However, I can't help but think that if the game encouraged people to group up more before 30 it would be a lot more lively. As a single player game DCUO is simply not very good. With his new position as full member of the JLA, Zentarim knew he had to up his game. No more flirting with Amazonian broads, no more bringing up all those times he saved Superman. It was time to get serious. Super serious. He clocked in hours on the VR combat simulator, learning his most famous opponents' and allies' skills, and traveled throughout the world and even beyond it, fighting new villains wherever they appeared. His appointment to the JLA didn't mean he had run out of things to learn. With every battle he grew more skilled and better equipped. The most important skill he learned was patience. Since many of his allies were barely functioning individuals, he learned to forgive them for their butchering of the English language and barely intelligible insults. I finally got some PvP in. About bloody time. PvP in DCUO is split into three modes -- Legends, Arena and open world. The Legends mode tends to be the one with the shorter queue and thus is the one I've had the most experience in, which is unfortunate because it's a novelty at best. The idea is that you take on the role of a recognizable villain or hero; you can play as either, regardless of what side you are on. Players start off with Harley Quinn for villains and Robin for heroes. By competing in the matches you earn points that can be spent on unlocking more characters or exchanged for other points for gear and items. While it can be an amusing time waster, it's not nearly as fulfilling as using your own character. There are three arenas in Legends; two are King of the Hill and the other is a Capture and Hold mode. Arena allows you to use your own character and pits you against a team of villains in a variety of settings, from Australia to the Moon and even Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Unlike Legends there's also a deathmatch and capture the flag mode. So far I've really enjoyed the Arena PvP, but I haven't done particularly well. Technically, you can participate quite early on. The only problem is that the queues are always empty. I wish I was exaggerating. In the three weeks I've been playing, my first Arena match was only a few days ago. Once again, the rush to 30 gets in the way of me enjoying the game. While people still queue for Legends they ignore Arena until they are max level. Since I'm not fond of Legends, I had very few points I could trade for other points to purchase PvP gear. So I've been consistently getting my arse kicked. I have to be incredibly careful since anyone with half-decent PvP gear can tear me a new one in a couple of seconds. Open world PvP is pretty self explanatory. It's obviously a lot more active on the PvP server -- I've yet to engage in any of it on my PvE server. On the rare occasions I actually see another person in Metropolis or Gotham, they are usually a hero. If they are of a more villainous persuasion they don't seem to be affected by my threats and posturing. Again, the issue of low server population and lack of people under 30 rears it's ugly head. I'm sensing a trend here. Upon hitting 30 heroes and villains can participate in some more goal orientated PvP, tied to missions. I tend to find these sorts of thing more entertaining when they have context. Pumped, psyched, generally more confident, Zentarim now faces his toughest challenges yet. All his hard work and tireless pursuit of justice have paid off. He's ready to face even more dangerous opponents, perhaps even Braniac itself. No doubt there will be another chance to save Superman again, too. I swear, that guy needs rescuing more than Jimmy Olsen. Next Issue -- Hard Alerts which will probably hurt, Raids and f2p shenanigans (hurry up SOE!)

(For the first part of my mission to rid Metropolis of crime, go here and for the third, go here) When last we saw Green Lantern reservist Zentarim the Space Cowboy, he was brooding about crime and preparing to kick evil in t...


Trust fund set up in honor of heroic Relic designer

Sep 09
// Jim Sterling
A few days ago we talked about Brian Wood, the Relic designer who sacrificed his life by steering into an oncoming car to protect his wife and unborn child. We've been informed that a trust fund has been set up to help his wi...

Relic designer killed saving family in car accident

Sep 07
// Jim Sterling
Relic designer Brian Wood died in a car accident on Friday, sacrificing his own life so that his wife and unborn child would survive. Wood swerved his car into an out-of-control Chevy Blazer that was on a collision course wit...

Interview: Jack Emmert from Cryptic Studios

Jul 13 // Ben Perlee
Starting off, how long has this game been in development, and where did the inspiration for the entire process come about?Jack Emmert: It's been in development since 2007, late 2007, and the inspiration for it came from the Champions Role Playing Game, the paper and pencil game that started back in 1981 and it's still going strong. It's a game I played when I was young, and really wanted to make that game that I played and loved when I was a teenager and bring it alive.What are we going to see from the Champions universe? I mean, how is this game in relation to, you know, actually rolling the dice?I would say that the actual rolling of the dice, yeah, not too similar cause what we wanted to do is create a console-like action game, but put it in the MMO. That's the sort of action, the fast-paced combat best suits the superhero genre. In terms of actual character creation, in terms of a lot of the way that certainly all of the storylines come right from the RPG. And certainly the way people build powers and create powers all come straight out of the Champions RPG. You had mentioned in the presentation that there is 18 power, sort of group classes, that characters can start off with and then they can build their own and basically create a character with a power from every single class?Yeah, you can create a power that's from every single framework, that's what we call them. We just gather them together into these things called frameworks, whether it's guns, flame, ice, or martial arts, and yeah, you can pick powers from anything you want. It's fine by us.How are you going to prevent the creation of copyrighted characters and images?So we created our costume creation system so that it doesn't have any of the IP pieces like symbols you would associate with Superman or Green Lantern or Captain America. The powers we made are also [the same]. We don't try to replicate Ironman's repulsor beams or Hawkeye's costume. We've done everything we can, obviously, learning from our experience to avoid that, cause those are DC and Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and are great IPs, and we don't want to step on their toes at all.We're not going to see a Superman-type character with one weakness?[Laughs] Well, Champions characters, going back to the IP, all have weaknesses to go along with their strengths, and that is definitely true. Nobody is beyond reproach. If you are very powerful, well that means you have a lot of weaknesses. I noticed when you had the presentation, there was a lot of soloing, a lot of single player type content. What's the group experience going to be like with this? Can you create an X-Men-type squad with a group of friends?Most certainly. You can create a of the interesting dynamics, which I don't think we touched on earlier, is the ability to choose a role. There are roles, support, offense, defense, you can change these on the fly even. And these different roles augment or enhance your powers in that particular area. So we can group together, and I can be the offensive guy, you can be the defensive guy, the tank, for instance. Or, in the next encounter, we can switch it around, and depending on which powers we have, we will be more or less effective in that particular role. We also have guilds, and we also have  large, in-depth instances called Lairs which groups can go into. We have open missions, where a whole bunch of people can work cooperatively in the persistent world. So in addition to soloing, we've obviously got a ton of group content for an MMO.I don't know if you can talk about this too much, but can you describe the sort of cross compatibility with the 360 version, or anything related to the 360? Can you say anything at all?I can tell you that our engine was designed with the 360 in mind, that it works just fine on that. As for any particular arrangements with Microsoft, I can't talk about anything yet.It looks like you are making this game to be fairly beginner-friendly, in a way, as you are making concessions. I mean, you have to two hours designing your character, you can just hit random, and you can change the controls from a typical MMO to something that's more friendly, like a shooter or an action game. Where did this decision come about?I think that started from City of Heroes. We wanted to make sure somebody can go from zero to hero in five minutes. We found that statistically, through a lot of studies that have been done, that the longer character creation lasts, the greater the chance of a character getting sick of it, so we wanted them to get in and have fun. That seemed to be the best recipe, and I think that we are going to do that with every game we do. Describe the PvP. I know that you can go into arena areas, and you can create your own in the city. I know that in some point in the demo, they created this force field sphere in the sky for aerial battles, and...That's dueling. Yeah, when you do a duel, this rocket comes down and projects a force field that limits the combat. When you get out of it, it breaks the dual, and you automatically lose, if you are the one that did it. So yeah, you expand it, and you fight in it, and that's pretty cool. That just happens, and you can watch that on the street. Then of course there's the Hero Games arena, which as you go up in level opens up different arenas. Then there's the apocalypse maps, which hopefully you'll get a chance to check out, where you'll be in a prison trying to take out the other guy's character.Those tend to feel a little different, almost like a dungeon crawler, and it seems like you are going for a different feel with those modes.We certainly are. With our special PvP maps, we want to go further and not just present a kill, which we have, in the arena stuff. The Apocalypse maps, as we call them, they are much more story based, there's objectives, there's a lot of interactivity that you can do.There's a created character I noticed called Cryptoid, and on his chest he had the Cryptic Studios' logo. How, or are, players able to put images on their own creations in the game?You know, funny you should ask, we just had a contest where people could submit emblems, and I think we took the, well, we were going to do the top ten, but there were so many, I think we took the top hundred. I don't know the details about that, but I figure we'll be doing that quite frequently, to be honest, because there was a lot of creativity and a lot of fun. You had mentioned user created content. I'm not quite clear on what that's going to entail. What are we going to see from creator's on the PC, and hopefully 360 version.Well, ideally we want to take versions of our own tools, make them more user friendly, and point them outwards.  Let people create their own missions, their own creatures, everything. That's some time down the line, that's not going to happen right away, but we are working on it right now.I know it's a bit early, as the game has seven weeks before launch, but what are your long-term goals for Champions Online?I definitely think that with Champions...continuing to increase the universe, expanding it outwards, to be able to incorporate different genres like Galactic Heroes,The Golden Age, being able to fight in World War II, I'd love to be able to do a companion game called Dark Champions which is more about anti-heroes. Those are just the top of my head of things we'd really like to do. You know, City of Heroes had a lot of plans, and we ended up doing it entirely differently.One last thing, would you please describe the Nemesis, the arch enemy system you have in there. How's that going to impact the storyline, especially if you kill your enemy early on?You can actually defeat your nemesis and create a new one. You can create up to like, 18, or you can keep the same one over and over again. It's really your choice. In a climactic battle you have against your nemesis, you can choose to resolve it, or you can let him continue on. So you can be like Batman, who never seems to kill the Joker, you can do that same sort of thing?You can be like Batman, or any other character who has a villain he can never get rid of.Are you going to have some sort of good/bad system, sort of...Currently, no. But we would love to do a true villain gameplay game, where villains are not just a different version, a different shade of the hero gameplay.Awesome, well thank you very for talking to us.

If you've spent any time on Destructoid today, you've probably noticed my preview of Cryptic Studios' latest offering, Champions Online. It is certainly an ambitious title for any studio, yet in the hands of the development t...

Preview: Champions Online

Jul 13 // Ben Perlee
Champions Online (PC, Xbox 360)Developer: Cryptic StudiosPublisher: AtariTo be released: September 2009 (PC) Xbox 360 TBA The Champions IP -- or those not nearly "nerdy" enough -- is a dice, pen, and paper-based role-playing game from the 1980s. The game gives players deep customization options, and Cryptic is really aiming to recreate those same options, but in a visual and action-oriented manner. The team wants you to be able to create any character you want, with any awesome superhero name you want (no more "Superdude1987"), and to have your hero look just as he or she should.How do they do this? Well, the create-a-character mode is really, really deep. With sliders ranging from how far back your muscles are cut, to how far your cheek bones arch, there must be close to a 50 or 60 sliders to design your dream hero. It's very, very deep, and I'm reminded of many of wrestling titles, offering deep customization... except it's in an MMO. Even the powers can be deeply personalized. Emanation points (where powers shoot out from) can be changed to different parts of the body, and the colors of those abilities can be changed as well. Most everything is completely customizable, and while Cryptic offers 18 basic power sets (i.e. fire, ice, supernatural, gadgeteering, martial arts, super defense, etc.), any power can be placed on the character. Do you want a dude named Freezerburn with fire/ice skills, an ice slide that's yellow, and green fire that shoots from his eyes? It's all possible in Champions.Even traveling in Champions Online is specialized. Teleportation, flight, hover boards, ice and fire slides, mechanical boards, digging, and a whole lot more are movement options at your disposal. Fun little features, like being able to do the Soulja Boy dance, aim to keep this game grounded in fun.However, your hero isn't the only character you will create. Champions Online will force you to design your hero's arch-nemesis, a boss character with just as much customization as your hero, integral to your individual storyline. Interestingly, you can be lame like Batmen towards the Joker, and let your nemesis live after every fight. Or you can be awesome and wipe him/her out. You'd like to kill your archenemy? Well, you'll get the chance to make a new one, up to 18 in total. I spent about 20 minutes with this mode, playing around to create (of course) Mr. Destructoid. In my moment of creativity, he was a gadgeteer/gun class, as only Mr. D could be so badass. Unfortunately, since I couldn't find the clothing options for anything other than “skintight,” and there isn't exactly a smoking robot head (although Hamza will be excited to know shark-men are very easy to make), the creation I came up with looked more like a Tony Stark/mecha love child. Oops.Gameplay-wise Champions Online has been designed to be an action MMO. Sure, the interface and controls are very typical for the genre (unless you use the control pad, or switch the controls to a shooter or action style), but the action much faster than your typical MMO. Attack commands issue almost immediately, and defensive action commands and maneuvers are very important for survival.I've been told that while the soloing stuff is a big portion of the game (and missions are scaled depending on the number of both NPC allies and other players), the higher level stuff is almost impossible to beat without a max squad of five players, and the drops (which are designed depending on your character types) are different depending on the number of fighters. PvP is an interesting affair. Players can have “duels” at any time, any place. Once a fight has been agreed upon, a rocket will drop down to the ground, either creating a battle dome for ground battles, of a sphere for aerial battles, and players can duke it out for funsies. Experience can be earned in PvP, and certain drops can only be gained in this mode. It's an “unsanctioned” battle that's compared to a sumo match, as once one player leaves the arena, the other wins.Also, there is a special mode called the "Hero Games." Portrayed like a UFC match, (but still consistent with the Champions canon), players can fight in officially sanctioned duals (much like the duals mentioned above), but made official events in the game world, as opposed to the random battles on the streets. Even more interesting than the "Hero Games" are the "Apocalypse" maps. This PvP game mode is not typical for MMOs. Rather than just duking it out, players of 5v5 have goals to win a battle. For example, the "Apocalype" map they had on display, "Stronghold Prison," was a 5-on-5 battle between villainous prisoners trying to escape and defensive heroes. Each side is charged with killing NPC heroes on either end of the prison. Complicating things are long corridors filled with turrets that shoot stuff to slows you down and limit your traveling skill. It's a very chaotic mode that relys on a lot of teamwork. Without it, you'll be like me, and die a lot. Champions Online impressed me. Graphically, it's a super colorful cel-shaded world that looks to offer a whole lot of action with a different change of pace, compared to many other MMOs. It seems that Cryptic reviewed their experience with making superhero MMOs, decided what needs to be improved, and went about improving it. With a solid action style, a desire to let you create any superdude you want, and the hush-hush 360 version (very exciting!), Champions Online might be the MMO to check out this September.

I'll be the first to admit: The idea of being a superhero has been a stupid little fantasy of mine many times in my life. Who doesn't want to be able to have amazing powers and do awesome things, preferably with a theme song?...

E3 09: hands on with DC Universe Online

Jun 04 // Colette Bennett
The only reason I quit playing City of Heroes is because I realized I wanted to forego pretty much all my real-life responsibilities to play it. MMO's are dangerous for those with a short attention span, and I've pretty much tried to keep clear of them since then to preserve what sense of productivity I do have. To be honest though, after hands on time with DC Universe Online, I don't think I can resist playing this one. Samit has already filled us in with a ton of info in his original impressions post, so I won't go back and repeat all that word for word. Just in case you've never heard of this game and have been living under Rumplestilskin's mustache for the last few years, it's an action-centric MMO which allows you to play as either a hero or a villain and interact with all your favorite JLA characters. I started out by playing through two basic missions: the first was a beat-em-up that allowed me to mess around with my ridiculously powerful skills such as swinging around a giant hammer, throwing earth spikes up through the ground and picking up colossal objects to throw at my enemies. After that, I got an antidote mission that sent me off to knock out some infected and then heal them. After you do that, they get up and help you to fight, which I thought was really cool.After I healed some infected, I headed deeper into the level and came across a huge boss, who I fought alongside Superman (and let me tell you how freaking awesome THAT was!). After he fell, you take his brain to a containment field, and best of all, you can use it along the way to beat on enemies with. The novelty of beating people with a massive mutant brain is just hard to describe, but I'm sure you imagine how great it felt to do it!When I got knocked out (and by the way, there is no death in the game -- heroes don't really "kill"), I noticed the choice to rally or flee. You have three chances to rally, which simply means to rejoin the fight, but after three knockouts you have no choice and you have to flee. Your tenacity will reward you at the end of missions with a headline, which comes in the form of a newspaper boasting your good deeds in bold letters on the front page. SOE is not sure if this feature is staying in yet or not, but I hope they keep it -- it really fits the feeling of the game well. DC Universe Online doesn't have a release date yet, and then version I saw is very much a work in progress, so a lot of things could change before it finally hits retail. What I played was really engaging and fun through, and I got the feeling this is an MMO you can play solo or wth your friends with equal ease (which is a huge selling point for me since I'm an RPG gamer at heart!). Now if I can manage to not get too addicted...  

Any DC fan was probably already drooling as soon as they heard that Sony Online Entertainment was working on an MMO featuring the characters of the DC Universe, but I found myself wondering what it might have to offer beyond ...


Prince of Persia voice actor recounts survival of Mumbai attacks

Dec 03
// Samit Sarkar
Last week, while Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving, a series of ten coordinated terrorist attacks hit Mumbai, India. Over 170 people have been confirmed dead thus far, and nearly 300 were injured in the tragic, brutal a...

'Heroes' game is official, will be published by Ubisoft

Jul 26
// Dale North
We've heard a bit of buzz this week, but now it's real: A videogame based on NBC's hit television show Heroes has just been officially announced. Ubisoft signed a licensing agreement with Universal Pictures Digital Platforms...

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