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Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment photo
Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
by Chris Carter

Despite how you may feel about the polarizing second arc of Sword Art Online, fans generally have nothing but good things to say about the first arc. It managed to nail a lot of aspects of MMO culture, along with marrying the aspect of a virtual game of death into an interesting narrative full of mostly likable characters.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment manages to re-tell the end of the arc in videogame form, and even though it isn't the best RPG on the Vita, it's pretty much a must-have for hardcore fans of the series who always wondered what lurked beyond the 75th floor of SAO.

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Samus gets a new outfit in Super Smash Bros. and oh boy photo
Samus gets a new outfit in Super Smash Bros. and oh boy
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

The latest update from Super Smash Bros boss Sakurai details Samus and her new outfits. Blue and orange shorts and a small top, both of which were seen at the end of Metroid: Fusion and Metroid: Zero Suit, respectively. Here's what Sakurai had to say: 

"Looking at the number of days we have left for development, it would be an impossible task to create this... That's what I told my staff. But thanks to the determination of her female designer, these Zero Suit outfits got completed in time. From the ending of Metroid: Zero Mission, here's Samus in shorts!"

Interesting that Sakurai felt compelled to specify that the designer was one of his female staff members. Personally I would have loved an alt based on her Metroid: Fusion suit. Anyway, news about a videogame characters new outfits. Because videogames. 

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Some quick thoughts on League of Legends' Braum and Gnar photo
Some quick thoughts on League of Legends' Braum and Gnar
by Chris Carter

I've been covering every new League of Legends champion for over a year now, but ever since Braum dropped, I haven't had the chance to really get in and play as many ranked games as I would have liked due to a few other obligations.

But what better time to get back in than the release of Gnar, a new adorable champion that looks like he came straight out of a Disney movie (just like Fizz!). Here's some quick thoughts on the pair.

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Rediscover a Lara Croft you already know in Temple of Osiris photo
Rediscover a Lara Croft you already know in Temple of Osiris
by Brett Makedonski

Which Lara Croft do you prefer? Crystal Dynamics has two versions of her, splitting the iconic character into distinctly different properties. The recent Tomb Raider reboot and the scheduled follow-up Rise of the Tomb Raider paint Lara in a survivalist light -- someone that's fighting for her life more than anything else. That's all well and good, but you can't fault anyone that favors the other Lara; they're probably just used to her.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris continues what 2010's Guardian of Light began -- getting back to the Tomb Raider roots with a star that had no problem mowing down anything in her path to find more treasure. She’s brash, she’s ruthless, and, (ideally) she has a few friends helping her.

Guardian of Light is highly regarded by most -- an isometric, top-down twin-stick shooter that was a delight to play. With few complaints from the fans, Crystal Dynamics knew that Temple of Osiris wasn’t an effort that it’d necessarily want to revamp, but rather just improve. The two levels that we played at gamescom 2014 indicate that it's certainly poised to do just that.

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Review: Hohokum photo
Review: Hohokum
by Kyle MacGregor

Hohokum is amazing. It can also be awful. My time with it was often as captivating as it was arduous. Hohokum is everything right and wrong with videogames. It's equally worthy of condemnation and acclaim.

I adore this horrible thing.

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Pokémon Trading Card Game Online headed to iPad photo
Pokémon Trading Card Game Online headed to iPad
by Jonathan Holmes

Nintendo has said time and time again that they have no plans to start making games for other developer's hardware, and time and time again, analysts, editorialists, and enthusiasts have called them out for this decision.

Nintendo seems to think that the potential short term profit they could make from supporting other devices wouldn't be worth the long term devaluation of their own hardware that would come with it. Critics say that Nintendo's hardware has been so devalued by +15 years of little to no AAA third party support that it's time to face the sad facts and give up. 

It's not that black and white of a situation. There are ways for Nintendo to have their 3DS/Wii U cake and eat the other guys' install bases too. Case in point -- The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online for iPad, which according to Pokémon Master and YouTube personality @TheJWittz, is planned for release later this year.

Apparently he was strolling around the Pokémon Trading Card Game World Championship event being held this weekend and just stumbled upon a kiosk with 8 iPads running an all new virtual adaptation of Nintendo's classic card game. That's a weird way for Nintendo and/or The Pokémon Company International to make their biggest announcement of the year, but there you go.

Further details are scant at the moment, but JWittz was able to tell us that "It is an official app in works by The Pokémon Company International (TPCi). I'm not 100% sure on TPCi's relationship with Nintendo, but it is definitely official and not fan made in any way. It's an official display run on a TPCi-run event, with a TPCi employee and developer answering questions." He's planning on getting a video of the game up on his Youtube channel this weekend, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Nintendo confirms: Pokémon Trading Card Game Online comes to iPad this year [VentureBeat]

 

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Review in Progress: Firefall photo
Review in Progress: Firefall
by Chris Carter

Firefall is a game that has seemed to get a lot of press over the past few years, often for the wrong reasons. Whether it's word of troubled staff, protests, or delays, most Firefall news isn't good news.

But alas, as we all know, the true test of a game's strength is how it plays on its own merits, when it's fully released. After testing it out for a few weeks I can safely say that Firefall hasn't blown me away, but it has laid a decent foundation to build upon in the future.

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Here are Destructoid's top ten games from gamescom photo
Here are Destructoid's top ten games from gamescom
by Brett Makedonski

Gamescom is the largest videogame trade show in the world. Sound like a big deal? It absolutely is. Hundreds of thousands of people cram together in a convention center that's massive, but doesn't feel even close to huge enough. Need a frame of reference? This is the crowd in the main hall on Thursday -- what's supposedly the least busy of the three days it's open to the public.

Reciprocating the scale of the event is the size of the games that publishers have on display. That was the theme at gamescom 2014: Big. All the biggest titles are here, and given how close we are to the holiday launch season, they're looking the most polished that we've seen them yet.

In no particular order, these were Destructoid's top ten games of gamescom 2014, as explained by Dale North and myself.

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Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated photo
Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated
by Kyle MacGregor

A lot of people seemed disappointed when Sony closed its gamescom press conference without much mention of the PlayStation Vita. And it isn't difficult to understand why.

The struggling portable seemed like an afterthought yesterday. Anyone hoping for an exciting new Vita reveal was left wanting. Adding insult to injury, the system actually managed to lose an exclusive, as Tearaway was announced for PlayStation 4.

There was a single moment during the event that seemed indicative of Sony's approach to the handheld. Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell took the stage in Cologne, and showcased his upcoming project, Volume, a stealth title destined for PS4 and Vita next year. It's an independent game from a tiny, but talented developer. And it's cross-platform to boot.

Outside of cursory mentions like that, Sony's show was all about PS4. And why not? It's the newer and more successful system. Sony allocated its airtime wisely, highlighting its breadwinner, rather than choosing to fight an uphill battle. It made perfect sense, too, given Microsoft's strong showing earlier in the day. 

That's a rational outlook, though. Sadly for Sony, humans aren't always rational creatures. Vita owners felt spurned, and they made sure Sony heard about it.

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Both Metal Gear Solid V entries are coming to Steam photo
Both Metal Gear Solid V entries are coming to Steam
by Chris Carter

[Update: Konami has confirmed this news live at its gamescom conference. No release dates were given.]

For years, Metal Gear Solid fans have been asking director Hideo Kojima if and Konami would bring the games to PC. Traditionally the series has been a mostly console-only affair, but with Metal Gear Rising we saw that maybe the publisher was changing its mind in regards to the platform.

Well, if a listing on the official UK Konami site is to be believed, both Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain will be coming to Steam. When the former is arriving isn't quite known, but the latter will likely launch alongside of the console versions, if not slightly after.

This is great news for PC fans who have always wanted to give the series a go. Ground Zeroes is also perfect Steam sale material if you're on the fence.

Konami UK [Konami via NeoGAF]

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Life is Strange is a world you'll want to lose yourself in photo
Life is Strange is a world you'll want to lose yourself in
by Brett Makedonski

Gamescom is a noisy, crowded mess. Shoulder to shoulder with patrons that didn’t seem to care what they bump into, I trudged my way to my next appointment. As I stepped through the door to the meeting room, something unexpected happened. I was teleported from a loud convention center to a rebellious teenager’s room.

Seated at the foot of a twin-sized bed, I took in my surroundings. The top of a makeshift television stand housed a half-smoked joint, while a pair of dirty Converse rested underneath. Posters of influential punk rockers littered the wall, all askew. “Fuck” was scrawled on almost everything, but especially a tattered American flag.

I wasn’t in Germany anymore. I was in Arcadia Bay, Oregon. More specifically, I was in Chloe’s safe place -- the only spot in the world where a misunderstood teenage girl can be herself. I was inside the world of Dontnod’s newly announced Life is Strange, and it was a wonderful place to be.

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Command a tiger that can turn invisible in Far Cry 4 photo
Command a tiger that can turn invisible in Far Cry 4
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Far Cry 3 had some pretty wild moments. Like, remember when Vaas was dancing around on the stripper pole? Good stuff. Far Cry 4 will have some crazy segments as well, but these are a little more grounded to the core of the game. 

Scattered around Kyrat are hidden tankas that, once discovered, allow the main character to meditate and travel to Shangri-La to relieve the life of a legendary warrior. You'll be transported to a surreal world with floating islands and you are equipped with only a bow and arrow to take on the enemies of these environments. 

Oh, and you have a tiger that you can command to attack others. The tiger can also turn invisible. 

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Bloodborne is bleak and unforgiving photo
Bloodborne is bleak and unforgiving
by Alessandro Fillari

It seems like yesterday when we were all huddling around the mysterious WebM videos floating around the internet. Showing a strange and unknown game resembling a Souls title, many people didn't know what to make of it. The character looked unlike anything from Dark Souls or even Demon's Souls, and the weaponry looked even more bizarre. But the more we saw, the more intrigued we all became. Tentatively called Project Beast, the footage showed a world in chaos, very much like the previous Souls titles.

During Sony's E3 press conference, we finally got the official reveal of the game, now called Bloodborne, and what we saw was something far more bleak and depressing than anything the previous Souls titles could muster. Once more details began to surface, fans were curious to find many changes to standard gameplay.

But was this still a Souls game? Well, Destructoid was invited out to PlayStation HQ in San Mateo to play some of their gamescom offerings, and we got to spend some quality time with From Software's next title.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition plays like a solid mix of Origins and Dragon Age II photo
Dragon Age: Inquisition plays like a solid mix of Origins and Dragon Age II
by Chris Carter

I wasn't very happy with Dragon Age II.

Whereas Origins was a glorious return to old-school RPG sensibilities, Dragon Age II played like an action game that took place in the same universe. I liked the sequel for different reasons, but it felt like a wasted opportunity as it attempted to juggle some of the RPG elements from Origins while having some faults of its own, like re-used environments and a lack of scale.

If you felt the same way, Inquisition may be for you.

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BioWare announces modern fantasy story-based 4 vs. 1 multiplayer RPG Shadow Realms photo
BioWare announces modern fantasy story-based 4 vs. 1 multiplayer RPG Shadow Realms
by Darren Nakamura

At the EA press conference today, BioWare announced its next project, Shadow Realms. Jeff Hickman, the Studio General Manager discussed its inspiration in old school pen and paper role-playing games, before elaborating on how that applies to the videogame.

Set in a "modern fantasy" world, the heroes form teams of four to do battle against the forces of the Shadow Lord, who controls a range of evil creatures. The result is an online role-playing game with asymmetric multiplayer.

Of course, BioWare throws in its own twist, where story remains a significant component of the gameplay. The studio plans to release content for Shadow Realms episodically, so the community can experience the progression of the story as it evolves together.

Shadow Realms is scheduled to release for PC "late next year," but it is currently playable at gamescom, and interested parties can sign up for the alpha at ShadowRealms.com.

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The next Silent Hill is coming from Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro photo
The next Silent Hill is coming from Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro
by Jordan Devore

Oh that Hideo Kojima.

During Sony's gamescom 2014 press conference earlier today, there was bizarre, eye-catching announcement for something called "P.T." which was said to be playable immediately for PS4 via PlayStation Network. It was shown so quickly that many of us didn't think much of it. Whoops.

Turns out that P.T. is a playable teaser for the next Silent Hill from, get a load of this, designer Hideo Kojima and director Guillermo del Toro. The game -- which seems to be named Silent Hills, presumably because that's how Kojima rolls -- stars actor Norman Reedus.

The ruse was figured out by Twitch streamer SoapyWarpig, whose playthrough of P.T. can be seen here. Skip to around 1:16 for the unveil or simply take a look at the .gif below. As someone who hasn't been much into the series in recent years, this is one hell of a way to win me back.

[Via NeoGAF]

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