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Review: Betrayer photo
Review: Betrayer
by Steven Hansen

Awash on a beach amidst scattered boxes and waterlogged wood, Betrayer drew me into its chiaroscuro world immediately. Behind me was a blinding, blown out whiteness and an impassable expanse of sea. Ahead of me was intrigue, a mysterious red figure on the horizon, and a state of discontent.

Oh, it starts out strong, before I ended up feeling, well, betrayed. The unsettling, moody sense of exploration began getting replaced by typical, "gamey" systems and way more first-person shooting than I was hoping for. Betrayer is frustrating for its flashes of brilliance undermined by a death grip on conventions.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/5] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/5]
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.]

Yes, I missed the last two weeks for various reasons, but the checks are in the mail and I'm trying to make it up. Please don't take my baby from me. She's all I have. This every other weekend thing is already depressing enough. I can tell she hates coming over, too, away from her friends and her regular everyday life, but what am I supposed to do? Give her up?

I'd rather be "every other weekend dad" than a yellowing Polaroid.

Here's the last recap. Let's all try to be just a little better, because the world ain't going to be a little better to us. Let's try to be a little better to each other. Let's begin anew.

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn plays like a dream on the PS4 photo
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn plays like a dream on the PS4
by Chris Carter

The time has finally come for the last phase of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PlayStation 4 beta, which will carry over all of its data into the final release -- a release that's set in stone for next week (April 11th for early access, the 14th for everyone else).

Naturally, I took this opportunity to get back into the game in anticipation last week after leaving my level 20 Lancer in the frozen void close to launch, and I can't stop playing. I've already made a ton of progress on the PC version, and I'm absolutely addicted to the PS4 port -- it's just that good.

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Dumb Idiot Ideas: The Xbox Tattletale Program photo
Dumb Idiot Ideas: The Xbox Tattletale Program
by Bill Zoeker

Max had to leave early this week to go stay in a horse cottage and attend a zoo wedding or something, so we farted out Dumb Idiot Ideas pretty quickly. I had the idea: what if the Xbox One, with all of its voice recognition, had a parental control that alerted parents when their kids acted like dicks online? Shitty kids are probably the biggest reason I don't do more online multiplayer, and I know I'm not alone in wishing there were some way to curb that nuisance. Enjoy our thoughts, and Max's strained trash-talking.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

I've been hard at work playing Elder Scrolls Online this week (you can check out our initial impressions here), and now my low-level Imperial Dragonknight is sitting at a very formidable level 20. I've completed many dungeons, traveled to a heap of locations, and I've seen a ton of story-related quests.

So should you jump into Tamriel and pony up for the hefty $15 subscription fee? Well, it's complicated.

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SOMA is underwater horror with flashy monsters & average crabs photo
SOMA is underwater horror with flashy monsters & average crabs
by Steven Hansen

When I see the name SOMA, all capitalized as Amnesia developer Frictional is wont to stylize, I think of my dentist. Because that's its name. And it's not a scary thought. I never had frightening associations with dentistry, even when it was around the corner from where I lived in a dingy office above a fruit stand (before it relocated to the nicer SOMA area).

But I have little explanation or forethought for that anecdote. SOMA's underwater origin -- it was previously assumed to be set in an abandoned space station -- was also, "decided [on a] whim during a meet-up," between Frictional's co-founders.

It was a good whim. The ocean is a terrifying, unexplored place, particularly in games. It's not all Ecco the Dolphin down there. There are goblin sharks, damn it. And James Cameron putting around in his deep sea submersible. And the creepy, bioluminescent things that doomed SOMA's world like belief in laughable Randian philosophy doomed Andrew Ryan's.

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To Leave is one of the neatest games I played during GDC photo
To Leave is one of the neatest games I played during GDC
by Steven Hansen

GDC is full of neat games. There are sentai management sims. Body building cats. Hyper Light Drifter. But one of the neatest games I played during GDC is To Leave, which creative director Estefano Palacios says is the first indie game out of Ecuador. It's definitely the first one coming to PS4 and Vita. (Incidentally, check out the promoted cblog from last year, Gaming in Latin America).

Sony discovered the 12 person team's game as part of its Latin America, Incubation Program and has been "instrumental" in getting it exposure, flying Palacios out to GDC to rep the game, and technology, giving the team dev kits.

Palacios discovered me, hustling to take advantage of his good fortune, while I shambled, eyes glazed over, trying to remember where I was going and where I had been. I'm glad he did, because chatting with him and playing To Leave perked me right up.

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Child of Light is a return to classic JRPG wonder photo
Child of Light is a return to classic JRPG wonder
by Alessandro Fillari

Last year, the news of Ubisoft making an old-school throwback to the JRPG genre took a number of people by surprise. When Destructoid got the chance to check it out, there was a healthy amount of curiosity around it. Not too many people knew what to make of it, especially considering it was coming from the team that made Far Cry 3, which is a title that seems very far apart from it.

But after spending some time with Child of Light, about three hours to be exact, there might be more in common with these two titles than you think. I got the chance to talk with lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem, and saw what passion and a small team working on a unique throwback to JRPG titles managed to come up with.

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Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD
by Alessandro Fillari

As an institution within the videogame racing genre, Mario Kart has always been an example of what arcade style racing is all about. Focusing on simple, pick up and play gameplay, while still offering high level skill based action, the Mario Kart series has been going strong for over twenty years; and it doesn't seem like it'll stop any time soon.

Now, the series is finally taking its first steps onto an HD platform, and after spending about an hour of playtime with it, I just don't see how they can go back after this. I'm just going to come right out and say it: Mario Kart 8 is one gorgeous game.

As the first full HD release of the series, the developers at Nintendo went the extra mile with creating a game that is visually spectacular, but also the most content rich game of the series.

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DTOID News: Max's April Fool's 2014 Post-Mortem photo
DTOID News: Max's April Fool's 2014 Post-Mortem
by Max Scoville

I have to go to the zoo for the rest of the week because my step-sister is getting married (that's not a stupid joke, that's actually where the wedding's being held) so here's some funky-fresh two-day old news for you regarding April Fool's Day 2014, and the amount of harm it caused our collective psyche.

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Rockstar will add heists to GTA Online this spring photo
Rockstar will add heists to GTA Online this spring
by Jordan Devore

Rockstar has detailed what it has in store for GTA Online and while there's quite a lot of content planned, my eyes went straight for the line about the long-awaited Heist Missions. They're coming at some point this spring -- that's all the company was willing to say. Drat!

Next week, players will be able to create their own Capture Jobs if they're tired of making and playing Deathmatches and Races. There's also the High Life Update in the works -- it will allow players to own a second property with another garage, introduce the Mental State player statistic so we know how crazy our peers are, and add stuff like the Ballpup Rifle, the Dinka Thrust motorcycle, more cars, and additional high-end apartments.

Beyond this, Rockstar says holiday-themed content is scheduled for GTA Online as well and it'll be rolling out Story Mode DLC eventually. There's also a preview of upcoming changes to the game that will be delivered by way of title updates and dynamic tuning, viewable below.

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Amazon announces its $99 set-top box Fire TV photo
Amazon announces its $99 set-top box Fire TV
by Jordan Devore

Amazon has finally announced its long-rumored media device and it's available for purchase as of today. The $99 Amazon Fire TV supports expected streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Prime Instant Video, and Pandora, but games also have a presence on the box which sports an Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of memory, and a quad-core processor.

There a over a hundred games supported including Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8, and Amazon Game Studios' exclusive third-person shooter Sev Zero, with "thousands more coming soon." According to Amazon, many of these games are free and "the average price of paid games is just $1.85." Of course, that less-than-ideal gamepad is being sold separately for $39.99.

There are a few interesting gimmicks, but the one that sounds most intriguing to me is ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), a feature which predicts movies or television episodes you'll want to watch and prepares them for playback ahead of time to avoid buffering. I'm not really in the market for the Fire TV as a Roku owner -- and Amazon has a long way to go before it can pull me in with its gaming initiative -- but this looks like a nice little box. Maybe someday.

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Review: Mercenary Kings photo
Review: Mercenary Kings
by Patrick Hancock

Mercenary Kings is a Kickstarter success story that has finally made its way into the consumer’s hands. Combining elements from games like Monster Hunter and Metal SlugKings attempts to capture player’s hearts with its retro look and lighthearted feel.

Also you can make a gun that is a cat and goes "mew!" when you fire it.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

In many ways ZeniMax is fighting an uphill battle with Elder Scrolls Online. In an era increasingly filled with free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games are a tougher sell. Then you have the fact that Bethesda isn't involved in any capacity, and that this is ZeniMax's first ever MMO.

Yes, there are many things going against The Elder Scrolls Online, but based on my time with the live environment, it's still a serviceable game -- provided you're highly accustomed to the genre.

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Introducing 'Reviews in Progress' photo
Introducing 'Reviews in Progress'
by Chris Carter

For years now readers have been asking us to cover more MMOs and open-ended games, and we didn't always have the resources to do so. But starting this week all of that is changing, as we're now rolling out the new "Reviews in Progress" initiative, with the goal of covering larger games over an extended period of time. These projects are massive undertakings, but we're expanding our coverage to accommodate.

For larger games as a general rule, we'll cover the week of launch, then provide a recap of the first month, followed by a final scored verdict. You'll then be able to use all of these tools to decide whether or not a game is worth your time -- instead of waiting for one giant post.

The criteria for a final verdict will be stringent, and involve exploring a massive amount of content, such as endgame dungeons, as well as experiencing the game up to the maximum level cap. If we don't reach that mark we'll let you know the exact details.

We're kicking off the program with The Elder Scrolls Online this week. In case you're wondering, this isn't necessarily restricted to MMOs, but due to their nature that will likely be the central focus.

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How the 'new' Diablo III brought me back in photo
How the 'new' Diablo III brought me back in
by Patrick Hancock

I never thought I would actually say this, but I am enjoying myself while playing Diablo III. Keep in mind this is without Reaper of Souls, and is entirely about the newest patch -- Loot 2.0. After spending countless hours playing Diablo II and its expansion, my friends and I were incredibly excited for the next installment in the series.

And then I played it.

I could not have been more disappointed. I felt that the inclusion of the Auction Houses fueled many of the other game design decisions (drop rate, loot rarity) and made the game incredibly frustrating. I spent a healthy chunk of time going through the game’s campaign and leveling up my Witch Doctor, but eventually uninstalled the game with no intention to return.

And yet here I am, actually looking forward to playing more Diablo III.

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