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5:00 PM on 09.01.2014

N++ is going to break me, but I'm okay with that

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 wo...

Jordan Devore




Mighty No. 9 feels great, but the core concepts take some getting used to photo
Mighty No. 9 feels great, but the core concepts take some getting used to
by Chris Carter

Mighty No. 9 is probably one of the most anticipated games of 2015. After a massive Kickstarter, creator Inafune and developers Comcept and Inti Creates have kicked off a long line of products to hype it up, including Mighty Gunvolt and a potential cartoon.

After all that hype though we finally have a chance to play the game. I have to say, it has the feel of a Mega Man game, but a few aspects definitely took some getting used to.

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Geometry Wars 3 may look different, but it feels right photo
Geometry Wars 3 may look different, but it feels right
by Jordan Devore

There was some initial skepticism when it came to Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions and its so-called "3D action." For starters, it's been several years since the last games entered our lives to rekindle old leaderboard feuds. There was also confusion surrounding developer Lucid Games who, as it turns out, is made up of former Bizarre Creations staff.

Even if I hadn't known that fact going in, I like to think I would've picked up on it instinctively during a hands-on session at PAX Prime. Despite a few significant changes such as the shift from a flat playing field to planet-like 3D stages, Dimensions unmistakably feels like Geometry Wars.

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I could've been a pirate ship but I was a disco ball instead in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel photo
I could've been a pirate ship but I was a disco ball instead in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
by Brett Makedonski

As I sat down for my appointment with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I had to make my toughest decision at PAX Prime. Running through Claptrap's capstone abilities, I was faced with the following dilemma: Do I want to become a pirate ship or a disco ball?

I wasn't exactly jarred by the wacky prospect. I mean, this is Borderlands we're talking about, and even more specifically, this is Claptrap. But, you seriously expect me to just select between those two like it ain't no thang?

I went disco ball. I can't say I regret my decision.

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Opening a treasure chest as Ganondorf felt wrong photo
Opening a treasure chest as Ganondorf felt wrong
by Jordan Devore

During a Nintendo showcase event at PAX Prime, I wanted to say "screw it" and just play Hyrule Warriors for an hour (or more) but with only two demo stations available and lots of other nice games media types eager to check it out above other titles, that wasn't an option.

I also wanted to play as Midna because she looked badass in her character trailer, slapping fools left and right -- but that wasn't an option either, damn it. We were encouraged to try pummeling crowds of enemies as Ganondorf, what with him being new and all. Okay, sure. He's cool too.

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I swam around as a snake and then I don't know what happened in Bayonetta 2 photo
I swam around as a snake and then I don't know what happened in Bayonetta 2
by Brett Makedonski

Minor confession to make: I haven't played Bayonetta. Yeah, I hear it's good, but I just never got around to it. It happens. Heading into a quick hands-on session with Bayonetta 2, I figured my inexperience wouldn't matter much.

Wow, was I ever wrong. Now a few hours removed from the demo, my head's still spinning from trying to discern exactly what the hell just happened.

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Super Meat Boy Forever is harder than the original photo
Super Meat Boy Forever is harder than the original
by Kyle MacGregor

Team Meat's new project Super Meat Boy Forever made its first appearance today at PAX Prime in Seattle -- and it makes the original game look like a cakewalk by comparison.

The newly revealed title is an auto-run platformer in the vein of Bit.Trip Runner following our eponymous hero journey through obstacle courses laden with deadly traps. Players will need to navigate treacherous gaps and elaborate configurations of saw blades in hopes of reuniting with Meat Boy's beloved Bandage Girl.

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Now I know why Devolver picked up A Fistful of Gun photo
Now I know why Devolver picked up A Fistful of Gun
by Brett Makedonski

It takes a certain kind of appeal for Devolver Digital to add a title to its stable of games. While the indie-friendly publisher doesn't necessarily have an underlying style that unite all of its games, there is a common theme. They're all uniquely awesome in some way. A Fistful of Gun is the newcomer to Devolver, but it falls right in line as one might expect.

A Fistful of Gun is a top-down western arcade shooter that's all about execution, but maybe moreso about how you'll arrive at that execution. In predictable fashion, there are a bunch of bad guys on the screen, and you're tasked with shooting all of them. One hit kills them, one hit kills you. Where this game thrives is in the choice that it gives the player.

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Bullet-hell and rhythm fans will both like Harmonix's new game photo
Bullet-hell and rhythm fans will both like Harmonix's new game
by Brett Makedonski

Music has always been at the heart of what Harmonix does. From Rock Band to Dance Central to the extremely experimental Chroma, the studio's made sure that whatever the player's doing, they'll nod their head and tap their foot while doing it. Even when branching out as far as it is with its new project A City Sleeps, Harmonix never strays from its roots, and the game feels remarkably better off for it.

A City Sleeps is a game that Harmonix is dedicating only a fraction of its resources to. The team, comprised of only five people, was the group that was working on Chroma until the studio decided to indefinitely put it on the backburner. Not sure exactly how to mold something as ambitious as the musical first-person shooter, the team segued to something more manageable -- a twin-stick shoot-'em-up for PC.

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Costume Quest 2 is still cute, trying to be more engaging photo
Costume Quest 2 is still cute, trying to be more engaging
by Steven Hansen

Costume Quest, like every Double Fine game, is charming. It's a fresh-feeling, low stakes take on the JRPG genre, more Earthbound than Final Fantasy. Though, as Chad put it in his review, it's "RPG Lite," accessible for all ages.  

Double Fine doesn't want to sacrifice that, but does want to make Costume Quest 2's combat a bit more engaging. I was engaged with Paper Mario (or Final Fantasy VIII) style timed button presses that help your attacks do a bit more damage. Similarly, a well timed tap on defense will reduce the damage you take. This engagement, though, make things a bit easier so long as you can hit those button presses. 

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I took a field trip to play Civilization: Beyond Earth's first 100 turns photo
I took a field trip to play Civilization: Beyond Earth's first 100 turns
by Steven Hansen

Civilization: Beyond Earth isn't just a missed opportunity for transmedia synergy by way of the family Smith's After Earth. It's a game about space. About space colonization, specifically, because the Earth is a goner (wonder how that happened). 

Because of this space theme, we were brought out on an elementary school field trip to the Chabot Space & Science Center up in the bourgeois hills of Oakland (you know, where it's not "scary"). We were given a brief tour of the facility and taught some things (I can't make a high grade telescope by stitching together Ikea mirrors), thanks in part to the presence of actual scienceman Dr. Stephen Kane.

Kane was part of the team that discovered Kepler-186f, the 500-light-years-away, possibly-habitable-by-humans exoplanet. He also made a good joke about getting more space research funding by fabricating a new space race with China.

Anyways, after taking pictures of laminate Bill Nye cutouts and a weird little thief man that looks like Andy Dixon (maybe I'll stop tweeting leg pictures long enough to tweet it at him eventually), I played the first 100 turns of Civilization: Beyond Earth

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Shadow Realms, the new BioWare RPG, has a lot of strong and unique ideas photo
Shadow Realms, the new BioWare RPG, has a lot of strong and unique ideas
by Brett Makedonski

Anytime you sit in on an early look at a new videogame, the presentation's sort of structured the same. Throughout the introduction to the title, the developers always -- always -- pepper the speech with catchy phrases about the approach that they wanted to take, their influences, and what they want to elicit from the players.

BioWare's showing of its newly announced Shadow Realms at gamescom 2014 fell right in line with these expectations. What makes it noteworthy is the sheer amount that the studio hopes to accomplish. After listening and talking to developers from BioWare at gamescom, it's evident that they have big ambitions for Shadow Realms. It's a title that aspires to do a lot of different things in a lot of different ways, and it's unclear right now how some of it will be executed. But, there appears to be solid framework to build around for now.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [8/23] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [8/23]
by Steven Hansen

Some fine young patriots are planning to save games journalism with a protest at PAX Prime this year. I am disappointed I will not be able to be there in person to chronicle their ground breaking protest, which involves using web 2.0 ("social media," to lay persons) "hash tags" such as, "#gamesjournalism or...whatever other hashtag that spawns as this whole mess goes viral."

I just hope some of you will be there to lend support. Perhaps stock up on milk at local grocer's. These historically oppressed folks, brave as they are in speaking out, will likely see major opposition from the authorities (and other equality/diversity agenda havers). Expect to lather them good in layers of cow product to counter the teargas.

Stay safe, record everything. 

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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Alcohol-fueled benders are the quickest way to traverse Sunset Overdrive photo
Alcohol-fueled benders are the quickest way to traverse Sunset Overdrive
by Brett Makedonski

Go, go, go. Always on the move. That's all that we've seen of Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive since its initial 2013 reveal. Seriously, think back. Do you remember seeing any footage of the game where the oddball protagonist isn't running, jumping, or grinding along?

Chances are you haven't, because the developers have built Sunset Overdrive around the notion of motion. Standing still will get you killed, and maybe more criminally, it's just so damn boring. If you're going to let the player build any character they want -- say a cross between an '80s punk rocker and a Cold War-era Russian trooper -- that high-octane approach needs to permeate every aspect of the game, and it begins with the concept of momentum.

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Quantum Break piqued my curiosity, but it still has a lot to prove photo
Quantum Break piqued my curiosity, but it still has a lot to prove
by Brett Makedonski

Remedy Entertainment has made a living by following a tried-and-true formula: take a third-person shooter, support it with a catchy and innovative gameplay mechanic, and wrap it all up with an emphasis on narrative. Max Payne did it with stylish slow-motion dives while slinging bullets with pinpoint precision. Alan Wake used equal parts light and lead to fend off the evil that encapsulated Bright Falls. And, while Quantum Break's Jack Joyce doesn't lend his namesake to a title, he has his own methods to ensure that he'll be a memorable figure.

The difference between those two examples of Remedy's prior works and Quantum Break lies within the fact that the core mechanic of the latter inherently changes the protagonist. In fact, it's sort of what amounts to be a superhero origin story. At Riverport University, a fictional school in the northeastern United States, a time-travel experiment went awry, and as a result, Joyce found himself with the ability to manipulate time. That's all well and good apart from the fact that the failed experiment also tore the fabric of time and the world is coming to an end.

As Joyce tries to find a solution to the impending doomsday, he has two foes to combat -- an evil business enterprise and time itself. Monolith Corporation learned of Joyce's abilities and are looking to capture him to use for its own nefarious purposes. After all, it wouldn't be a videogame mega corporation without some sort of malicious intent. The divide between Joyce's pair of opponents symbolizes the divide that looks to mark the gameplay experience.

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Crookz puts a '70s heist movie spin on tactical gaming photo
Crookz puts a '70s heist movie spin on tactical gaming
by Dale North

A tactical game with a '70s heist movie theme? Finding something like that at gamescom is about as unlikely as finding a videogame trailer with porn star Ron Jeremy in it. But here we are with both. 

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