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6:00 PM on 09.05.2014

PAX Prime 2014: Robots and cosplayers and Dtoiders

There it is, ladies and gentlemen: your PAX Prime 2014 Dtoid group photo! It wasn't as big of a showing this year -- thanks a lot, PAX-tickets-that-sell-out-in-42-seconds -- but it sure was a pretty one. I know I say this eve...

Mr Andy Dixon



Fortified is a fun 1950s sci-fi take on base defense photo
Fortified is a fun 1950s sci-fi take on base defense
by Jordan Devore

Leading up to PAX Prime, Clapfoot released a trailer for its base defense shooter Fortified. It caught my eye for a few reasons, notably the '50s sci-fi movie theme and its general resemblance to Double Fine's Iron Brigade (formerly Trenched). There aren't too many games like it.

The build playable at PAX was fairly early in development but offered a decent enough idea of what to expect. Aliens are invading the city and you and up to three friends need to shoot them down, one wave at a time. I selected the character class with a jetpack, while my co-op partner had the unique ability to command soldiers around the battlefield. I think I made the right call.

We had the freedom to place defensive structures like machine gun turrets, a slowing device, and sandbags wherever we wanted within reason, and the shooting felt good -- surprisingly good. My favorite weapon was the rocket launcher, because it sent robot invaders flying all over the place. The physics were wobbly, exactly as you would hope. Again, think lo-fi science fiction.

With some proper maze-building techniques, we managed to funnel robotic spiders into a single lane so we could concentrate fire on flying saucers and other stragglers. The boss, a hulking robot, must have been inches away from our base before he went down.

I wasn't able to see the two remaining characters, upgrades, or any other levels -- I'm told they will more than likely all be set within a city -- but I liked what was playable enough to keep Fortified on my radar. The game isn't releasing on PC and Xbox One until next year, so there's time for more features and polish. In speaking with art director Adam Garib, it seems like the studio has a solid grasp on what's needed to flesh out the experience. Fingers crossed.

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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker shows off the pros and cons of the GamePad photo
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker shows off the pros and cons of the GamePad
by Brett Makedonski

Anyone who has played Super Mario 3D World knows what to expect from Nintendo's upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. That's because Captain Toad made an appearance periodically in his own levels throughout 3D World to lend a slower, more methodical style to the cat-suited platforming that mostly defined the game.

Nintendo realized that it may have a hit on its hands with the Captain, and thus Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was born -- a game comprised solely of those bits where the protagonist hunts his way through puzzling levels for coins and gems. It's a simple concept, and one that our own Darren Nakamura covered in depth in an E3 preview.

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Of course we checked out Far Cry 4's elephant booty physics at PAX photo
Of course we checked out Far Cry 4's elephant booty physics at PAX
by Brett Makedonski

Prior to this video being shot, Max may have taken a double dose of the assorted pills that truckers use to drive 36 consecutive hours. I can't be sure. It wasn't my day to keep track of him.

But, the point you should take away from this is how realistic that elephant's ass (probably) looks. With booty physics like that, it's no wonder Far Cry 4 ended up as one of our top games of PAX Prime.

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If you ever get to play Upsilon Circuit, the world will be watching photo
If you ever get to play Upsilon Circuit, the world will be watching
by Jordan Devore

At PAX Prime, I got my first and what could be only opportunity to try Upsilon Circuit.

You see, once it goes live, eight people will be able to play at any given time. That's eight people, total. And the "permadeath" here is actually permanent. You lose? Your turn is done.

While everyone else watches, waiting for their coveted chance in the spotlight to hack away at monsters and explore, they can directly influence the direction the game takes. The audience has control to, say, spec out players' skill trees, or spawn a deadly trap.

Legend of Dungeon creator Robot Loves Kitty is billing this as part online game show, part action-RPG. At PAX, I saw more of the latter than the former, but Upsilon Circuit's Max Headroom-esque digital host Ronny Raygon was set up on a nearby television to talk smack to attendees. He got into an argument with some kid about whose glasses were cooler.

Before you ask who would pay for something like this -- for a chance, maybe, to play once -- know that it's going to be free. In speaking with Robot Loves Kitty's Alix Stolzer, it sounds as if a large part of the monetization will be geared toward trolls or audience members who otherwise want to screw over the player characters, not help out. I told her that was a good idea.

It's still early days for Upsilon Circuit and there are a lot of unknowns, but what was shown at PAX gave me confidence in this somewhat crazy, definitely ambitious project. If the game catches on and finds a stable audience, it's going to be a fascinating experiment to take part in.

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Dead Island 2 PAX impressions photo
Dead Island 2 PAX impressions
by Jordan Devore

Having only seen Dead Island 2 and not played it yet, I'm in agreement with Max here. It does look like a decent-enough zombie game, and a much better take on the property than Riptide .. but it's still Dead Island. There comes a point at which you've simply had enough.

The southern California setting and warm tones are lovely, though. Big fan of those.

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Assassin's Creed Unity and Rogue PAX impressions photo
Assassin's Creed Unity and Rogue PAX impressions
by Jordan Devore

I'm not sure how Max had this much energy in the middle of PAX Prime to speak in front of a camera about Assassin's Creed -- for over eight minutes, no less -- but he did. What a champ.

Conceptually, I like the sound of chasing (and being chased by) assassins in Rogue, and the return of naval combat with enhancements is pleasing. Same goes for the great auks.

Still, between the two, I imagine folks tend to be more interested in Unity, what with it being current-gen and all.

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How Final Fantasy Type-0 came to PS4 and Xbox One photo
How Final Fantasy Type-0 came to PS4 and Xbox One
by Kyle MacGregor

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD wasn't on the show floor at PAX last weekend, but Square Enix did show off the action RPG behind closed doors.

During our meeting with the publisher, Destructoid touched base with director Hajime Tabata to discuss how different the game is from the rest of the series. We also learned about the Tabata's strong desire to create a MOBA.

Now let me tell you about the part where we delved into title's strange development history.

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I didn't think Dreadnought's hulking ships could be as fun as they are photo
I didn't think Dreadnought's hulking ships could be as fun as they are
by Brett Makedonski

A very specific connotation pops into your mind when you think about spaceship fighters. Your brain's flooded with thoughts of dogfighting ships zooming around, barrel rolling, and flipping end-over-end to fire unceasing space lasers at equally nimble opponents. That's not what Dreadnought is; not even close, in fact.

Dreadnought -- which is currently only slated for PC -- is a thinker's game, a title for those more adept at thinking two steps ahead rather than those that rely on their twitchy fingers. It's a chess match in space -- a chess match that trades in kings and queens for lumbering, massive ships that actually feel like they have weight to them.

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Never Alone may have stolen the show at PAX photo
Never Alone may have stolen the show at PAX
by Brett Makedonski

If Upper One Games’ Never Alone sticks out to you as one of the best examples of storytelling in recent memory, don’t be surprised. It sort of has an unfair advantage. You see, the tale it tells has only been passed down throughout several generations’ time. But, while its roots are in the past, the way it’s being told is unique and wholly original.

Never Alone is a puzzle platformer that’s about an old folktale of the Inupiat people -- one of seven major indigenous groups in Alaska. The project actually came about because the Inupiat’s tribal council wanted a way to pass their heritage down to the youths, who had become more enamored by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and of course videogames than they were with their own history. They reached out to E-Line Media to see if the educational game company would be interested in helping develop a game that would share a bit about them. The result was the creation of Upper One Games.

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The Behemoth's Game 4 is the strangest SRPG I've ever played photo
The Behemoth's Game 4 is the strangest SRPG I've ever played
by Jordan Devore

No, the next game from The Behemoth isn't a sequel to Castle Crashers. I mean, yeah, that'd be nice to have one day, but I'm loving how the studio is continuing to try new things. And its next project, the to-be-properly-named "Game 4," is most certainly a New Thing for the team.

It's a turn-based strategy role-playing game with the style and humor we've come to expect from The Behemoth. So, pretty freaking great. Will Stamper even returns from BattleBlock Theater to narrate again. What begins as a typical fantasy adventure with swords and shields quickly morphs into a tale of robots, vampires, and anthropomorphic cupcakes. Knights getting extracted via space shuttle? Yeah, something's not quite right here.

As shown in the teaser trailer, a space bear has crash landed into a planet -- your planet -- and the universe hasn't been the same ever since. Just chaos, left and right. I was fortunate enough to spend well over an hour with Game 4 at PAX Prime and in that time, far more questions were raised than answered. I laughed more than a few times, though, and really dug the combat.

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RollerCoaster Tycoon World is a return to form, features robust online modes and offline play photo
RollerCoaster Tycoon World is a return to form, features robust online modes and offline play
by Alessandro Fillari

Back at gamescom, Atari announced RollerCoaster Tycoon World, a new installment to the much-loved amusement park series. However, after a 10-year series hiatus from the PC and the debut of the polarizing RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, which was loaded with microtransactions and other annoyances, many had reservations about the potential for a brand new title.

But during a private showing of RollerCoaster Tycoon World at PAX Prime 2014, the developers along with the CEO of Atari, Fred Chesnais, were keen to show how it's a welcome return to what made the series great. Right from the get-go, the developers at Pipeworks and publisher Atari were adamant about the title being a little more accessible while still retaining the deep customization and park management system.

Still, returning to the classic formula was a challenge, and the folks involved were open to listening to the community about what they want for the next game.

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Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell was inspired by Disney movies photo
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell was inspired by Disney movies
by Jordan Devore

I've played and enjoyed all of the Saints Row games to date, but wonder how much longer this can last. How much more ridiculous can the series get, and even if there is room to up the insanity, do we even want that? Where Volition goes from here, I'm not sure.

Gat Out of Hell, a standalone expansion, will give the studio some breathing room to figure that out while keeping the series on store shelves. As will Saints Row IV: Re-elected, a "Game of the Year"-style re-release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Both are due out January 27, 2015.

I played a brief demo of Gat Out of Hell at PAX Prime over the weekend and spoke with studio creative director Steve Jaros about how the game is influenced by Disney films. Yes, really.

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11:30 AM on 09.02.2014

Gang Beasts out on Steam, fight your friends like a drunk on skates

Gang Beasts is fun as heck. That's probably why Double Fine picked it up. And now you can pick it up as it's come to Steam on Early Access.  I played it for a good while last week. Laughs and cries of exaltation we...

Steven Hansen



Hands on with Tales from the Borderlands photo
Hands on with Tales from the Borderlands
by Abel Girmay

Telltalle has been a busy beehive lately. Having wrapped up The Walking Dead Season 2 and season one of The Wolf Among Us, this fall will bring us right into the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands. Darren seemed positive on the game when he saw it at E3, but for a series like Borderlands that built its name more on its genre fusion gameplay than it's setting, I didn't know what to expect or hope for going into this demo.

After it was over, I came out with confirmation that Telltale is still the best at what it does.

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N++ is going to break me, but I'm okay with that photo
N++ is going to break me, but I'm okay with that
by Jordan Devore

One of the games I knew I had to check out at the Indie Megabooth this PAX Prime was N++. I liked its predecessor on Xbox Live Arcade a great deal, which is to say it infuriated the hell out of me but was satisfying beyond words when I managed to push through the challenge.

This is a platformer, the kind that gives you precise control of a more-than-capable character who can bounce off walls. As such, the levels can require perfection -- or something close to it -- while technically still being "fair." Evil, yes, but not unfair.

Your ninja has a distinct momentum and weight, which you'll get a feel for after a while as you're eased into new obstacles and enemy types. It's been ages since I played N+, so I was rusty. But since I only had time to play cooperative and race levels with another PAX attendee, that didn't matter too much. Just needed to be better than the other guy.

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