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12:00 PM on 07.26.2014

The best stuff on Destructoid this week [7/26]

Let's get away for the weekend, just you and me. I know this little place on the coast. Nice restaurant, view of the water from the cliff side. We could probably sleep in the car in the parking lot and hang out on the beach a...

Steven Hansen




Video: Wilhelm is like a Terminator on rocket skates in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel photo
Video: Wilhelm is like a Terminator on rocket skates in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
by Bill Zoeker

Back with more impressions from playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I had some first-hand playtime with the cybernetic tough guy, Wilhelm the Enforcer, which I would like to relate to you with my mouth. Wilhelm may not be all he's cracked up to be, yet. But he's got a couple of interesting surprises.

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Video: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's new Stingray vehicle, Athena breakdown, and smart guns? photo
Video: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's new Stingray vehicle, Athena breakdown, and smart guns?
by Bill Zoeker

I got my hands on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel recently, and I've got some hot info on the new mechanics, and one of the new player characters, Athena the Gladiator. The game's new Stingray vehicle has a neat trick to it, there may be smart-targeting laser guns in this new iteration, most importantly, Athena is definitely a badass.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel releases in North America on October 14th, 2014; with the worldwide release following on the 17th.

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To dye for: Invisible Inc. is my kind of strategy-stealth game photo
To dye for: Invisible Inc. is my kind of strategy-stealth game
by Steven Hansen

A chasm in stealth games tends to be player skill and the supposed skills of super sleuth avatars. You're often eased into the situation, your lack of skill assumed, or you just fumble your way through -- especially with the recent trend of stealth-optional games -- feeling like Mr. Magoo. Or you're good at stealth games. It's one of the reason's they can hold up to replays. Coming back with mechanical knowledge and slinking through areas like the pro you're meant to be is exhilarating. 

Invisible, Inc. is meant to be replayed, but that familiarity and advance knowledge is not where you get your sense of empowerment, as everything is procedurally generated and, thus, different each time. 

Klei's founder Jamie Cheng sat down with me and showed me how "active stealth, by moving and doing rather than waiting," is a great fit for a turn-based system. 

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Fantasy Life is one of the easiest simulators ever to pick up and play photo
Fantasy Life is one of the easiest simulators ever to pick up and play
by Chris Carter

During a hands-on Nintendo event, I was given the option to play a number of upcoming games -- naturally, I gravitated towards Fantasy Life, which I've been waiting a few years to see in action overseas. Developed by the famous Level-5, Fantasy Life dropped in 2012 in Japan (and sold very well), and we've been asking for a localization ever since. Now we're getting it, as the game is set to drop on October 24.

The concept of Fantasy is dead-simple: you have 12 "lives" (jobs, essentially) to choose from, which derive from three principles -- combat, gathering, and creation. Although there is a core storyline that you can technically "beat," all 12 jobs have their own sub-story, and every job can fight in combat. In other words, it doesn't feel nearly as limiting as other simulators, so you can play the way you want to rather than shackle yourself to a certain archetype.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [7/12] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [7/12]
by Steven Hansen

You should watch Ping Pong: The Animation. It's why Lebron James realized he needed to go back to Cleveland, true story. But be warned, watching other anime after will be hard because it leaves you extra acutely aware of how mediocre and awful most anime is. Sorry, Beck.

There's only two World Cup games left to occupy yourself with, anyway. What else are you going to do?

Here's last week's post. Let's begin anew.

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

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Natural Doctrine is a brutal, sort of ugly turn-based strategy game photo
Natural Doctrine is a brutal, sort of ugly turn-based strategy game
by Steven Hansen

Sure, Natural Doctrine doesn't look great (well, the environments; it does look better in miniature on the Vita). It's a far cry from director Atsushi Ii's gorgeous minimalism in Patapon.

But Kadokawa Games' first internal venture can get a pass for looking a bit dated if the core gameplay can hold up, and it just might. Producer Kensuke Tanaka felt that JRPGs were "lacking in difficulty," that they didn't "make you think," NIS America representatives explained. Natural Doctrine is an answer to that.

However, NIS America was not able to answer why exactly the lead in a fantasy RPG of orcs, magic and lizard men is named Jeff. 

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Escape Dead Island is a single-player 'survival mystery' photo
Escape Dead Island is a single-player 'survival mystery'
by Steven Hansen

The next Dead Island game isn't Dead Island 2. Of course, Dead Island: Riptide already showed the series' disregard for numeration. Counting the early access MOBA, Dead Island 2 should be Dead Island 5. But Dead Island is doing things differently in order to "create a universe in this IP."

And from this comes Escape Dead Island, a single-player only, cel-shaded "survival mystery" that's "Groundhog's Day meets Memento." I wouldn't go that far. It's something different, though.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [6/28] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [6/28]
by Steven Hansen

Burn it all to the ground.

I'm making guacamole. 

Here's last week's post. Let's begin anew.

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

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Platinum is making a Legend of Korra game, and it's pretty awesome photo
Platinum is making a Legend of Korra game, and it's pretty awesome
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Yup, you read that headline correctly. Platinum Games, the maker of such fine titles as Mad World, Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising, The Wonderful 101, and more, is creating a game based on The Legend of Korra series. It's being published by Activision as a download-only title for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.

We all saw the reveal teaser yesterday, but now it's time I told you how the game plays. Platinum is aiming to ship this one out in the fall of this year, and based on what I got to play of the alpha build, the game is shaping up to be a pretty solid action brawler.

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Dying Light is less about zombies and more about movement photo
Dying Light is less about zombies and more about movement
by Brett Makedonski

What can be done freshen up the zombie genre at this point? Videogames, television shows, movies, comics -- virtually every pop culture medium's been infested by the craze, long ago hitting a saturation (and then oversaturation) point. So, how does a developer like Techland, who's most well-known recently for its zombie games, take the concept and still manage to make it its own?

Techland's creating a game about zombies, that isn't really about zombies. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, that's what it's doing with Dying Light. And who knows -- maybe that's the take on the undead genre that'll liven it up a bit.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [6/21] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [6/21]
by Steven Hansen

No longer tormented by the ants, I'm again able to stock Kahlua, which means my first white Russian in ages. With cream instead of milk, too. Now I'm going to go get tikka masala. Not bad.

I walked in on my friend playing Grand Theft Auto V last night. It was dark and he was wearing sunglasses. He's been  playing for eight straight hours today (mostly without sunglasses). When's the last time you played a game that long? I can't remember. X-COM, maybe. 

I started replaying Catherine but then E3 interrupted that. I should get back to that this weekend. You, meanwhile, should go outside instead of watching Japanese cartoons and browsing the net. Hug your mother (or I will).  

Here's last week's post. Let's begin anew.

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

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Kyoto Wild is a quick but thoughtful Bushido brawler photo
Kyoto Wild is a quick but thoughtful Bushido brawler
by Brett Makedonski

Teddy Diefenbach is a busy guy. He's one of the developers on the high-profile indie title Hyper Light Drifter, but when he isn't doing that, he's making more games. Kyoto Wild is his side-project, and Diefenbach says he's been working on it for about a year, but only really started focusing on it within the past month or so.

Kyoto Wild is a four-player weapon brawler with an isometric viewpoint that can be simultaneously frantic and methodical, brutal yet beautiful. One-hit kills, projectile weapons, and small maps ensure that no one sit out too long once dead and no taste of victory is too prolonged.

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Dreadnought's huge spaceships are a fairly untapped idea, but still feel familiar photo
Dreadnought's huge spaceships are a fairly untapped idea, but still feel familiar
by Darren Nakamura

The reveal trailer for Dreadnought pushes a lot of the right buttons for science fiction fans. It puts potential players into the right frame of mind and really sets up the scale of the endeavor. Combatants will not be darting around in fighters, they will be commanding huge, lumbering vessels that scoff at smaller ships. "Probably just debris, sir."

Despite the inherent coolness of taking control of a ship on the scale of a Battlestar, it is not something that comes up too often in games. In practice, it makes sense: the speed and control afforded by a smaller vessel is exciting, and that alone does not translate to huge ships. However, with its focus on tactical combat, Dreadnought makes it work, and it does so while remaining accessible to new players. Even though it treads less traveled ground in its subject matter, it features classes and tactics that will feel familiar to most gamers.

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The Talos Principle explores philosophy and lasers photo
The Talos Principle explores philosophy and lasers
by Darren Nakamura

Nestled in a parking lot across the street from the convention center in Los Angeles was Devolver Digital's phalanx of air conditioned campers. The publisher had a good mixture of highly anticipated titles like Hotline Miami 2 and Broforce, and more recently announced titles. The Talos Principle is one such game, and as usual, Devolver knows how to curate good content.

Though it is being developed by Croteam, which is probably best known for its over-the-top first-person shooter series Serious Sam, The Talos Principle has more in common with Portal. Its first-person puzzle platforming is not built off the most mindblowing ideas, but it is only part of the focus. The rest is on a deeply philosophical narrative, courtesy of Tom Jubert, who delivered a fantastic story in my favorite game from 2013: The Swapper.

Suffice it to say, I left the camper with fairly high expectations for this.

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I couldn't believe the size of Dragon Age: Inquisition's world photo
I couldn't believe the size of Dragon Age: Inquisition's world
by Brett Makedonski

Fantasy games have some of my favorite settings in all of videogames. Forests, mountains, chasms, rivers -- they all have a serenity and majesty about them that wonderfully adds to the sense of scale. It shouldn't surprise me that Dragon Age: Inquisition is poised to be incredibly huge and make nice use of the locations. At the beginning of a 30-minute presentation, I couldn't help but be amazed anyway.

The first thing I noticed in the hands-off demo was simply how big everything was. The open area that we started in seemed to stretch on forever -- mountains book-ending the sides, with a ton of detail in between, thanks to the use of the Frostbite 3 engine. Inquisition's executive producer made sure to make a point that everything we could see could be traveled to.

I wasn't out of my mind for thinking that it looked big. That area alone was larger than the entire play space of Dragon Age: Origins. Inquisition will be the biggest Dragon Age game to date. But, all that area isn't going to waste. Every location in Inquisition is part of a larger story.

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