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Fez photo

Oh my gosh, this Fez vinyl!

The game has a new limited edition, too
Nov 25
// Jordan Devore
I was checked out for the day when I saw this vinyl set for Fez, or so I thought. It's so dang good! Disasterpeace is one of my favorite musicians working in games right now, and the Fez soundtrack is among his best work, eas...
System Shock photo
System Shock

I have high hopes for the System Shock remake

First images appear
Nov 25
// Jordan Devore
Night Dive Studios sure is keeping itself busy with the System Shock property. The company touched up the iconic Looking Glass title earlier this year for an Enhanced Edition release on PC and, as we recently learned, there a...
Jack the Ripper photo
Jack the Ripper

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's Jack the Ripper DLC is probably imminent, maybe

Achievement lists light the way
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
It has only been a month since Assassin's Creed Syndicate launched, but the first add-on might be lurking in the shadows, ready to strike any moment. The compelling Jack the Ripper DLC is the biggest expansion that...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

This is the best Battlefront brawl I've seen yet

And it doesn't involve Luke or Vader!
Nov 25
// Jordan Devore
Star Wars Battlefront isn't quite what I hoped it would be, but I keep coming back to it for a chance to see moments of pure, unscripted delight. It usually doesn't take long. This hilarious encounter captured by YouTube user Nick Nixon is a great example of just how goofy this game can get.
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light's next DLC gets jacked-up in price, but you can make the most of it

Season pass to the rescue
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
In a surprisingly transparent moment, Dying Light developer Techland has decided to be upfront about raising the price of the game's next add-on, The Following. Back in August, it was originally announced that the DLC would c...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege beta delayed six days before game launch

This can't be good
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
The open beta for Rainbow Six Siege isn't kicking down any doors yet. Despite being scheduled to being today at 10am Eastern, it's not available to play. Ubisoft has delayed it because of technical issues. Specifically, ...

Review: Mighty Switch Force! Academy

Nov 25 // Chris Carter
Mighty Switch Force! Academy (PC)Developer: WayForwardPublisher: WayForwardReleased: November 23, 2015MSRP: $9.99 The gist this time around is that series heroine Patricia Wagon, instead of finding a new line of work, returns to law enforcement in the form of a VR training module assisting new recruits. Academy isn't like past titles in that it's a zoomed-in, Mario-like platformer -- players will see the entire map all at once, similar to one of my all-time favorites, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. As a result, everything feels a lot more sprawling and involved, especially on a larger monitor or TV screen. Bullets go across the entire board, and maps can be "looped" a la Pac-Man, opening up deep possibilities when it comes to strategic planning that weren't possible in prior iterations. I feel like the "whole screen" gimmick is also far more fair when it comes to the time trial element of the game, as players no longer have to guess as to what's behind a specific turn, or play levels multiple times to learn the layout. I was skeptical of this approach at first, but ultimately came around to it after just two missions. Having said that, there are sparing instances where maps are mirrored, forcing players to do the same basic run twice, even while playing solo -- presumably, this is a side effect of the four player co-op function. Even with that small caveat, Academy remains engaging throughout. Series staples like crumbling blocks and catapults return, as do most of the same exact enemies from the previous games. Academy doesn't really do a whole lot of iterating beyond the multiplayer and zoomed-out angle, but in most cases, that's completely fine. There's 25 stages in all, with five labeled as "classic" bonus maps (all of which support co-op), and four arenas to battle it out in. [embed]322505:61251:0[/embed] While there is a degree of replayability in the game's versus mode, I don't think it would be too forward to expect the entire first game to be added in at some point. Also, the complete lack of online play for either mode can really put a damper on things after you've mastered every level, and there's no level editor in sight, which would have been perfect for this release. Despite my mostly enjoyable experience, it's clear why WayForward works primarily with consoles -- this PC-only game suffers from a lack of options and optimization. For starters, there are nearly no visual options outside of HUD scaling, and the way control schemes are handled is barebones at best. Only player one may use a keyboard, and the others (two through four) must wield controllers. It's odd, because I had controller issues even during solo play, to the point where the "switch" button wasn't recognized. If you're big into the Mighty series, you'll probably have a decent time with Academy. It's a bit too chaotic to be a worthwhile multiplayer party game if that's primarily what you're looking for, but the great gameplay from the past Switch Force games has translated over in a nearly 1:1 ratio, which is fine by me. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Switch Force review photo
Patricia Wagon rides again
WayForward could probably make Mighty Switch Force! games until the end of time, and as long as they retained the basic concept, I'd still play them. They're fun puzzle platformers in spite of their faults, and the memor...

Steam sale photo
Steam sale

Steam's autumn sale is different this year

Prepare to scroll
Nov 25
// Jordan Devore
Send help! It's that deal-filled time of year when I have far too many browser tabs open. As you might have noticed from the new storefront illustration, Steam began its autumn sale today (officially, it's the "Exploration Sa...
Disney Infinity 3.0 photo
Disney Infinity 3.0

Here's a first look at the Disney Infinity Force Awakens campaign

Use the expensive toys, Luke
Nov 25
// Chris Carter
Disney Infinity 3.0 is still chugging, thanks to the upcoming Force Awakens film tie-in Play Set that will launch next month. This is the second to last set that we know of that will be launching for Infinity. The ...
Republique photo

Republique gets a PS4 trailer, still isn't done nearly two years after launch

Five episodes
Nov 25
// Chris Carter
If you're interested in espionage narratives and stealth-based gameplay, Republique may be your huckleberry when it releases next year on PS4, with all five episodes bundled together. I enjoyed what I've played of the i...
Retro photo

Retro City Rampage sequel, 'Shakedown Hawaii' announced

Now 16-bit
Nov 25
// Chris Carter
Developer Vblank has announced a brand new follow-up to Retro City Rampage titled Shakedown Hawaii. It will be released on PS4, Vita, 3DS, and PC at some point, and updates the original aesthetic with 16-bit visuals. Th...
Kentucky Route Zero photo
Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero Act 4 is 'almost done'

It's (not) too late to love you now
Nov 25
// Mike Cosimano
Hey, quick question. Do you pronounce the word 'route' as "R-out" or "root"? I'm in the latter camp, myself. Anyway, independent developers Cardboard Computer released another 140-character progress update on the much-an...

Batman: Arkham Knight's Catwoman and Robin DLCs aren't worth playing

Nov 25 // Chris Carter
[embed]322485:61248:0[/embed] At some point there was probably a kernel of a good idea with the Catwoman’s Revenge DLC, but ultimately, it feels rushed like the others. There's almost nothing interesting about the premise: Catwoman, one day after the events of Knight, wants to steal money from The Riddler, who is in jail. We get it, Catwoman likes to steal things, and there is no added depth for either character, nor is there any satisfying conclusion, mostly because the core villain isn't actually present outside of an interlude under the guise of a "prison phone call." It took me about 10 minutes, all told, across two challenge maps (one Predator, one combat), with one very short 30-second puzzle involved. Flip of a Coin is slightly better, but not by much. In this episode, Robin takes on Two-Face at some point following the retirement of Batman, with the help of Oracle by way of remote assistance. There's a slightly interesting dynamic afoot during the DLC, where Oracle assures Tim Drake (whom she is dating) that he can not only measure up to Batman's legacy, but end up coming out of it better than Bruce did. The [albeit mostly played out] duality of Two-Face is also shown quite well with a location that's half destroyed, and half pristine. But again, like every other episode before it, the sheer brevity of the adventure halts any meaningful discussion or character advancement. Players will basically auto-pilot their way through two small Predator maps and two combat rooms for about 20 minutes, all of which operate in the exact same manner as Knight. Unlike Catwoman, Tim feels exactly like Batman gameplay-wise, minus the bullet shield gadget from Arkham City, which is only used briefly during a very staged encounter. To add insult to injury, the final boss fight with Two-Face isn't a fight at all, but a quick one-button QTE. There also isn't even an ending tying together Tim and Bruce's relationship or narrative -- it boots out immediately after the QTE. If this is the last Arkham game from Rocksteady, the poor Season Pass definitely assists in tainting its legacy. There's almost nothing here of worth nearly five months later, and certainly nothing even close to justifying the $40 cost.
Batman photo
Holy Season Pass, Batman!
As I've said before, Batman: Arkham Knight's Season Pass is probably the one of the worst pass prospects in gaming right now. Besides an alright Batgirl DLC, there's a heap of mediocre challenge missions, sub-30 minute "...

Tokyo School Life photo
Tokyo School Life

A couple of age-gated visual novels are on sale on Steam

Up to 40% off...the price
Nov 25
// Steven Hansen
You know, those weird ass god damn Clannad eyes got me thinking; I'm not sure about what, but I'll get back to you if I figure it out. Anyways, a couple more visual novels are on Steam and these ones at a more reasonable pric...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm's 360 day XP boost is $60

A 50% discount
Nov 24
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm's Black Friday sale is upon us today, which provides a 50% discount on everything in the game. But I couldn't find info on the supposed "deeply discounted" 360 day Stimpak (read: XP boost) so I decided to ...
Animal Inspector photo
Animal Inspector

Animal Inspector is like a cute Papers, Please

Well, if euthanasia is cute
Nov 24
// Nic Rowen
Did you play the dystopian Soviet nightmare Papers, Please and think “this is good, but I bet it would be better if I was accepting or rejecting cute pets instead of these dreary Eastern Bloc sad sacks.” If so, you're a lunatic. But, the good news is some other lunatic went ahead and made that game.
Heroes map photo
Heroes map

This Heroes of the Storm map is a lot to take in

Towers of Doom
Nov 24
// Jordan Devore
Prior to playing the new Heroes of the Storm map, Towers of Doom, my only real exposure to it was reading the all-too-brief objective summary during the loading screen. Thank goodness I was only training with the AI. This map...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

Battlefront's new free mode should be chaotic

Turning Point
Nov 24
// Jordan Devore
I'm far enough into Star Wars Battlefront's progression system that I have most of the unlocks I genuinely want (aside from the best Rebel and Empire characters, which is the final carrot on the stick). I've played every mode...
First Assault Online photo
First Assault Online

Ghost in the Shell shooter hits Steam next month

Team-based FPS
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
The wonderfully named Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online -- GITS:SAC-FAO for short -- is coming to Steam some time in December. It will also be available through publisher Nexon's launcher. GITS:SA...
Just Cause photo
Just Cause

The first hour of Just Cause 3 is predictably wild

See it now, or just wait a week
Nov 24
// Jordan Devore
It's common for media to share the "first __ minutes!" of a new game release, but I don't recall too many big-name developers partaking in that practice. Avalanche has put up the first hour of Just Cause 3. If you are concern...
Austrania photo

Xbox 360 shmup Strania - The Stella Machina sups on Steam

From Ikaruga co-developers
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
Who wants to read a Destructoid review from 2011? Strania - The Stella Machina has come to Steam today apropos of nothing (the product page notes it's developer G.rev's "long-awaited debut on Steam," by whom I do not know). ...

Explore and conquer the galaxy in Stellaris

Nov 24 // Steven Hansen
Stellaris (PC)Developer: Paradox Development Studio Publisher: Paradox Interactive Release: TBA So, conquest in space, again, with Stellaris. The Beyond Earth comparison isn't just based on the sci-fi theme, as director Henrik Fåhraeus explained to me last week, Stellaris, "is a grand strategy game masquerading as a 4X game." In that sense it's a departure from past Paradox successes and the upcoming, WWII-set Hearts of Iron IV. He explained in a blog post earlier this year, "The early game is thus characterized by exploration and discovering the wonders of the galaxy," until reaching the mid-game wherein, "there is not much left to colonize and your easy expansion grinds to a halt. At this point, the map stabilizes into the Stellaris equivalent of the world map in Europa Universalis." You begin as one planet directed by a set of cultural guidelines (shown off to us last week was an Individualist Xenophobic empire, which made for a good first encounter with another large empire during which the only dialogue option was, "Alien scum!") that has just discovered faster than light travel. You'll choose between slower , free-moving warp travel; hyperspace across straight lines; and wormhole travels, which requires wormhole stations to be built. [embed]322210:61231:0[/embed] As opposed to pre-canned societies, there are over 100 alien portraits that can be aligned with a variety of traits, so "you will never meet the same aliens again;" or, at least, those bug-eyed purple asshole from your third game might be an inquisitive, pacifist sect next time you encounter that alien art. There are a few other parameters to set, like how many large empires will populate the galaxy you're exploring, but there are also quick start and preset options that reflect Paradox's attempt to widen its appeal, "without compromising our level of depth and complexity." There is an in-game adviser, for example, full voiced to help guide burgeoning emperors (or democratically-elected fish-faced idiots, whatever). In fact, Stellaris is Paradox's first project with a dedicated audio director. Coupled with all the space-faring in a full-figured galaxy and it could prove a little more inviting than playing on a giant map if the grand scope of spaaace isn't too alienating itself. Other simplifications include ditching tech trees for a system, "more like a collectible card game where you draw three cards and pick one." Research into Physics, Society, and Engineering is dictated by your scientists' traits and immediate options are weighted to be most convenient to you at any given time, though sometimes rare research opportunities pop up ("space amoeba weapons" were mentioned). Game progression goes something like this. Start on your home planet, represented by squares arranged 4x4 wherein you can place population unites (and strive for adjacency bonuses, like XCOM's base-builder). Send your science ship around to survey the galaxy, including addressing strange anomalies. In the demoed instance, we were drawn to a distress signal much like our own. There was a 10% failure rate, which just means missing out on the anomaly, though there is potential for catastrophic failure. In this case, the crew of the discovered ship was dead by brain parasite and a trait of our surveying scientist is the only thing that saved our crew from succumbing. Instances like these are neatly thrown into a Situation Log and you can research them from there. Then you'll want to send out ships for colonization and build construction ships to take advantage of resources (habitable planets are rare and meant to be cherished). There's a detailed ship builder, but you can auto-build for the best, too. "I don't want the flow in this game to be too micromanagey," Fåhraeus said. Other systems will start looping back around later. The population of a colonized planet or even your native planet can splinter off into factions of warring ideology, leaving you to choose if you want to say, quash the insurrection with force or give rein to a splintered, population-supported political spin off group. Eventually you will make it to the aforementioned mid-game, where it's "more like Europa Universalis" and you're butting up against large, rival empires. If one scouts you, it has the option to research you before you research it, and make first contact. There are other, smaller civilizations you'll discover, too, some pre-industrial, some post-technology.  To counter past Paradox games' anti-climactic endings when "you reach a point where you know you won," and are just trudging along to victory, late game crises are introduced, revolving around things like dangerous technological advancements or sentient robot worker uprisings -- things that threaten the whole galaxy. And there's maneuvering to do there, too, like letting the killbots off your biggest threat while allying elsewhere, bolstering yourself for the impending man-vs-bot slaughter. Also, you can "uplift" alien wildlife and, say, create a planet of space-faring, extremely loyal dolphins to go space crusade in your name, amen. Stellaris is "coming soon."
Stellaris preview photo
In space no one can hear you scheme
Earlier this year, Paradox offered an alternative for the many disappointed by EA's botched SimCity two years earlier by publishing Colossal Order's excellent city-building-simulator Cities: Skylines. Now Paradox's internal s...

Minecraft screenshots photo
Minecraft screenshots

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 3 screenshots, we got 'em

Look at last
Nov 24
// Darren Nakamura
The third episode for Minecraft: Story Mode is out today, and it's actually not half bad. I think I took more screenshots this time around than in the first two episodes as a result. Going through these after the fact, it's o...

Review: Minecraft: Story Mode: The Last Place You Look

Nov 24 // Darren Nakamura
Minecraft: Story Mode: The Last Place You Look (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: November 24, 2015 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit After having found Ellegaard the redstone engineer and Magnus the griefer in the previous episode, the gang needed only to locate Soren the architect for the full original Order of the Stone to be accounted for. The journey to find Soren takes the party to some peculiar locations, most located in The End. However, since Soren is a master builder, the areas highlighted are more diverse than the typical darkness of The End. Between Soren's feats of engineering in the overworld and colorful constructions in The End, it's a nice nod to Minecraft proper players who are known to build some of the craziest things. Soren himself is a much more likable character than some of the other members of the Order of the Stone. Where Ellegaard and Magnus were basically insufferable (especially after they were brought together), Soren is quirky and at times genuinely funny. Voiced by John Hodgman, he's neurotic and paranoid, but still fun to be around. [embed]321869:61211:0[/embed] Overall, the quality of the writing has taken a half-step up from the previous two episodes. None of the jokes elicited any sustained belly laughs, but I did let out a few snorts and chuckles along the way. The Last Place You Look started up a running gag where Axel falls on top of Lukas repeatedly, which happens just enough to be comical without getting tired. Some of the seeds of drama sown in previous episodes have begun to sprout, and while it still maintains the kid-friendly narrative, it's finally beginning to feel like the events happening matter and Jesse has an important role to play. The greatest success of The Last Place You Look is that it allows the player to feel accomplished while still moving the narrative along. This is, after all, only the third episode in a five-episode season, so anybody who knows Telltale knows everything won't be resolved here. But even so, the climax of this episode feels like a high point for the team. Sure, they're not done with their mission, but they did something, at least. There's never really any downtime during this episode either. Though there are a few sections of walking around and talking or searching for clues, they all serve a purpose and generally lead to action sequences. The first action sequence in particular is probably the best so far in the series, melding the fantastic environments, a sense of danger, and the classic Telltale decision-making into a tight opening credit roll. One thing that might turn some off is the quiet lowering of the bar for success during the action sequences. Some of the quick-time events seem more demanding here than usual, but I noticed after I flubbed a button press or two, the resulting animation didn't seem to react accordingly. Perhaps it takes multiple failures in a single section to make a difference. More experimentation is necessary. As much as I may praise The Last Place You Look, it is with respect to the first two episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode. It definitely is an improvement, but an improvement from mediocrity is just okay. The comedy is slightly improved, but still doesn't hold a candle to that of Tales from the Borderlands. The characters are becoming easier to sympathize with, but they aren't are interesting as those from The Wolf Among Us. The drama is beginning to heat up, but it doesn't come close to what we saw in The Walking Dead. Perhaps it's unfair to compare Minecraft: Story Mode to Telltale's more adult-oriented series. This is built for a particular demographic, and it seems like it's really hitting with that audience. The Last Place You Look is more of the same -- and slightly better, if anything -- so those who have enjoyed the series thus will be pleased to just keep on trucking. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Minecraft review photo
Looking up
Minecraft: Story Mode didn't impress me with its first two episodes. Aimed at young players and Minecraft super fans, its writing didn't have a whole lot going for it past its Saturday morning cartoon plot and series in-jokes...

Clannad releases photo
Clannad releases

Clannad visual novel on Steam, briefly outsells Call of Duty

Cheap this week, too
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
Visual novel Clannad released on PC in Japan back in 2004 and since spawned various adaptations, including an anime series. Publisher Sekai Project ran a Kickstarter last year for an official English release that was funded ...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

A Stormtrooper smacking his head is one of Star Wars Battlefront's best easter eggs

So that's what the helmet's for
Nov 23
// Brett Makedonski
Stormtroopers are kind of a clumsy lot. For supposedly elite soldiers, they sure do miss often with their blasters. Oh yeah, a bunch of Ewoks outsmarted and defeated them, too. It seems like if Darth Vader wants something do...
Fallout update notes photo
Fallout update notes

You can nab the first Fallout 4 update on Steam

I thought you'd be bigger
Nov 23
// Jordan Devore
Bethesda has released a beta version of the first Fallout 4 update on PC, and if you were expecting a bunch of sweeping changes and bug fixes, well, give it some time. New Features Number pad keys can now be used for remappi...
Steam Machines photo
Steam Machines

One of the Steam Machines is already 40 percent off

Uhhh, that was quick
Nov 23
// Brett Makedonski
Less than two weeks after it hit the market, Syber is already discounting one of its Steam Machines by 40 percent. As part of a "one day only!" event, the Steam Machine I has a reduced price of $299 from $499. Syber has also ...
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

EA is handing out free Garden Warfare coins

Just log in for 80,000 coins
Nov 23
// Jordan Devore
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was one of my most-played games last year. What a fun shooter! I won't get back into it, but I don't see the harm in opening a few card packs. As a celebration for passing the eight-million-...
Just Cause 3 photo
Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3's PC specs are a little high because Rico has a lot to blow up

Explosions in the sky
Nov 23
// Brett Makedonski
With just little more than a week remaining before Just Cause 3's release, the required and recommended PC specs come parachuting in. Right on time too, as some players may find themselves needing to take advantage of some Bl...

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