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6:00 PM on 04.23.2014

The next Skylanders borrows a little from the Pokemon series

The developers at Toys For Bob are back in the saddle with Skylanders Trap Team, the next entry in their hit toys-meet-videogame franchise. This time the hook involves you capturing villains and enslaving brainwashing reform...

Hamza CTZ Aziz


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Dyscourse really does take player choice into account photo
Dyscourse really does take player choice into account
by Darren Nakamura

While scoping out titles in the Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX East, I ran into long time Destructoid community member Andrew Benton, and we continued to look at games together. Dyscourse was on my list to play, so we both started up the demo on separate computers.

Though my experience with the choose-your-own-adventure style game was neat enough on its own, the real magic came afterward. After talking with Andrew, I learned that we experienced wildly different stories, despite starting in the same spot and being presented with the same challenges. It highlights Dyscourse's main strength: it varies significantly based on the player's choices throughout the many-branched narrative.

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Seven things I loved about playing Watch Dogs photo
Seven things I loved about playing Watch Dogs
by Alessandro Fillari

The delay of Ubisoft Montreal's new open world IP, Watch Dogs, surprised many. With only a month away from launch, and a rather bold marketing push for the holiday season, Ubisoft appeared ready, but then we found it wasn't. At all. It's not too often you see publishers holding back a game's release to further development, and it's certainly admirable of them to be so honest.

"The game wasn't finished," said lead game designer Danny Belanger rather bluntly. "You see all the content we have, there was a lot of different parts of it that were not at the level we wanted -- so it was hard, there was a lot of others reasons too, but at the end of the day, we didn't want to release the game in state we weren't happy with."

With its May release approaching, Ubisoft is ready to unveil its upcoming open world action title, and the publisher invited the press to get plenty of hands-on time with the game. As you can tell with title, I came away pretty pleased, though I have some reservations still.

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3:00 PM on 04.22.2014

Subnautica looks to be the Minecraft of underwater exploration

Subnautica is the next game from Unknown Worlds, the creators of the Natural Selection series. It's a sharp departure from their prior first-person shooter/real-time strategy hybrid offerings as Subnautica is an open-world un...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Extrasolar does exoplanet exploration, but it is more than meets the eye photo
Extrasolar does exoplanet exploration, but it is more than meets the eye
by Darren Nakamura

When I was talking to one of the developers of Extrasolar on the show floor at PAX East, I said something that I now regret. "This looks like something I would really like, but might not appeal to a ton of other people." He responded gracefully, simply saying that they have a healthy number of players, and a good percentage of players see it through to the end.

To be fair, the presentation of Extrasolar in the Indie MEGABOOTH was intentionally muted. There, it was shown as a simple exploration game on an extrasolar planet. The player tells the rover where to go, and after a set amount of time it sends back a photo. The intrinsic value of that alone was enough to get me started, and I urge others to sign up for it now to experience it as intended. If you need further convincing, then keep reading. Prepare for minor spoilers.

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Preview: Dropping fools in holes in Lords of the Fallen photo
Preview: Dropping fools in holes in Lords of the Fallen
by Steven Hansen

Thousands of years ago, people defeated god. They believed evil could be excised from humanity. Sinners were marked with tattoos and exiled. People also believe vaccinations lead to autism and that How I Met Your Mother is a good television show. Point is, people believe dumb, wrong things.

Fast forward to Lords of the Fallen's present and the demons have returned once more. The good, upstanding people of civilized life turn to the man who committed the most deadly sins, the man whose facial tattoos make Zell and Tyson cower.

That man is you, naturally. What, did you expect to play a shivering townperson? Maybe a frightened townperson simulator where you keep running away from relentless, disgusting demons and every time you die you just jump to the perspective of someone who isn't dead yet and you're just endlessly, brutally murdered until everyone is dead and the game is over. That would be a different game. This one is about punching monsters with big claws.

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Tales of Xillia 2 coming west this August, collector's edition detailed photo
Tales of Xillia 2 coming west this August, collector's edition detailed
by Steven Hansen

We knew Tales of Xillia 2 would be coming to the Americas before the first Tales of Xillia came out, but now we have a date, along with a bulky collector's edition. You can get your hands on the PS3 RPG on August 19 in North and South America.

You can also drop $130 on the collector's edition, which includes a figure of one of the new main characters, Ludger Kresnik, a replica pocket watch (it doesn't run), a cat key chain, a CD of selected tracks, an art book, and alternative costume DLC of characters from past Tales games.

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Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day: A confusing mess of things I like photo
Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day: A confusing mess of things I like
by Steven Hansen

I finally got to play Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day last week. The lovechild of Suda 51, Tokyo Jungle director Yohei Kataoka, Silent Hill sound director Akira Yamaoka, and a bunch of other Japanese development talent, I've followed Ranko Tsukigime closely. 

So I was excited to finally get to play it. But I couldn't talk about it until today. Despite the fact that it decided to up and release in Europe last week. Even though it doesn't have a firm North American release date.

Whatever. I'm going to go see Short Peace in theatres this Thursday at least.

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Namco takes Gundam Vs gameplay west with F2P Rise of Incarnates photo
Namco takes Gundam Vs gameplay west with F2P Rise of Incarnates
by Steven Hansen

The 2 on 2 Gundam vs. Gundam series is as big in Japan as that full-scale Gundam model in Tokyo. It's also big on the Destructoid Forum, in that one Gundam fan keeps explaining how it's the best fighting game and tries to get people to import it. I'm more of a Gundam Battle Assault 2 kind of guy.

Anyway, Namco is taking the format of Gundam Vs. and bringing it west with a new IP, the free-to-play Rise of Incarnates. Because the 2 on 2 format is a bit different for Western audiences, Namco went with a F2P model to build a player base.

And you know it's been developed specifically for the west for several reasons. First, the initial stage being shown off is New York, with the post-apocalyptic staple crumbling Statue of Liberty. Second, there is a blond character with big hair. He looks just like us, my fellow Americans, with his rock and roll nonchalance and red leather jacket.

Though he turns into a monster and there is a mad scientist who rides on a tidal wave of corpses.

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Preview: Grid Autosport's San Francisco needs steeper hills photo
Preview: Grid Autosport's San Francisco needs steeper hills
by Steven Hansen

Hot on the heels of last year's GRID 2, Codemasters is coming back with GRID Autosport, a "celebration of pure, unadulterated motorsport." This is going to be less of an arcade racer than GRID 2 ended up being, but without drifting too far into stodgy simulation either.

We'll see if the middle ground pleases anyone on June 24. It did please me, though, despite the insurmountable damage I did to all of the cars. I am a much better driver in real life.

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Prodigy ventures to places most hybrid board/videogames shy away from photo
Prodigy ventures to places most hybrid board/videogames shy away from
by Darren Nakamura

With board games continuing to increase in popularity, it is no surprise that there has been a lot of crossover between that space and videogames. Not only are a lot of board games being adapted or reimagined digitally, but some developers are trying to merge the two, creating games that function in both the digital and physical worlds at the same time.

Prodigy is one such game, but what really sets it apart from titles like Eye of Judgment or Golem Arcana is that it aspires to be more than just a board game about tactical combat with videogame flourishes. It looks to be equally inspired by traditional videogame RPGs, with elements like exploration and narrative focused on as well.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/19] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/19]
by Steven Hansen

[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.]

Some kids want to be astronauts or doctors or lawyers or hedge fund managers. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a garbageman. Kid me is much brighter than real me. I'd probably be making three times more money annually, have health benefits, and a retirement plan. 

And I'd have garbageman arms. Strong arms. Weathered and leathery. Not vein laced or ripped. Just thick. The sort of arms that could squeeze the life out of another human being if they needed to, but not with malice. With an exasperated sigh. With a rote understanding of doing what needs doing (and only if it did need doing). Forlorn, but with a stupid persistence for a lack of alternatives.

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

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The Darkest Dungeon gods were kind to me photo
The Darkest Dungeon gods were kind to me
by Patrick Hancock

Hot off its huge Kickstarter success, Darkest Dungeon is already in a playable-enough state to have a demo at PAX East 2014. Although the demo was only a short snippet of what's to come, it was easy to get a sense of the themes Red Hook is shooting for with this roguelike RPG. 

It looks great, it plays like a strategy-RPG, and its structure was likened to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This game is brilliant.

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Aaru's Awakening is all about movement photo
Aaru's Awakening is all about movement
by Patrick Hancock

I’ve been interested in Aaru’s Awakening ever since its announcement captivated me with its hand-drawn art style. It’s pretty hard to pass up playing a game that looks the way Aaru’s Awakening does. From there, one can only hope that the mechanics draw players in enough to make it an enjoyable game. After all, we’re talking about videogames here, not paintings.

Aaru’s Awakening has a solid set of core mechanics that really make the player feel powerful, yet vulnerable at the same time. After playing through the demo at PAX East, I’m glad the game sucked me in with its art.

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Read the writing on the wall with Invisible, Inc. photo
Read the writing on the wall with Invisible, Inc.
by Darren Nakamura

Turn-based tactical espionage. Those words were all it took to sell me on the idea of Invisible, Inc. Going into the PAX demo, I knew I would have to be cunning, thoughtful, and sneaky if I wanted to successfully steal intelligence and make it out alive.

As it turns out, I overestimated how cunning, thoughtful, and sneaky I am. Invisible, Inc. requires proper espionage; players who run in and try to blow stuff up like James Bond will not make it far. Even those who play cautiously will often find themselves in sticky situations, outnumbered and outgunned with no hope for a clean exit.

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I died an embarrassing amount in Hotline Miami 2 photo
I died an embarrassing amount in Hotline Miami 2
by Brett Makedonski

Anyone that has even the slightest bit of familiarity with Hotline Miami knows what defines it. The neon-swathed visuals, the gratuitous violence, the quick and unforgiving gameplay, and the blaring soundtrack all made the game as loved as it was. With regard to a sequel, any deviation from this formula would result in something that just wasn’t Hotline Miami.

So, Dennaton Games isn’t going to.

Judging by the build of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number that was at PAX East, the pieces are in place to give fans of the original more of what they want. The two stages on display showed off the exact style that many have come to know and love, but also expressed how Dennaton is ready to offer something a little new.

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