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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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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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California is not an island, but here are my Dead Island 2 impressions photo
California is not an island, but here are my Dead Island 2 impressions
by Dale North

You'll be able to explore Los Angeles, Santa Monica, some beaches, a golf course, and maybe even more in the final version of Dead Island 2. But what Deep Silver was showing at gamescom 2014 was pretty limited. I only got to run around a small, closed-off section of the Los Angeles suburbs. It was a short taste of what the Southern California zombie-slaughtering life is like. 

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H1Z1 is a lot more playable, still a ways out photo
H1Z1 is a lot more playable, still a ways out
by Steven Hansen

I stopped tallying at ten counts of the word "iteration" in the early goings of the SOE Live 2014 presentation for SOE's upcoming (PC, PS4) survival zombie sim H1Z1. Okay. I get it. That's why the game wasn't so hot when it was first shown off and why there's still work to do before it comes to Steam Early Access "soon."

"It kicked us in the butt," I was told of initial previews, which were not all that kind to the project (our own Wett Brett Makedonski called it "almost unplayable").

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The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise photo
The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise
by Brett Makedonski

Xbox's flagship franchise isn't something that Microsoft's going to stray from anytime soon. Why would it? If there was any doubt about Halo's lasting appeal, it was dashed with the E3 reveal of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Life was suddenly jolted into fans of the franchise as many that weren't on-board with the Xbox One resigned themselves to getting the console primarily to pick up the four-in-one package.

As The Master Chief Collection provides an experience that ties together the included titles, Microsoft wants to offer a means to tie together everything Halo that fans could possibly want. At the company's gamescom 2014 press briefing, The Halo Channel was introduced, and during a speed run meeting with 343 Industries, we got a better glimpse at what it'll be like.

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Until Dawn has hundreds of endings and thousands of branches photo
Until Dawn has hundreds of endings and thousands of branches
by Dale North

Supermassive Games' Pete Samuels and Will Byles held a behind-closed-doors session during gamescom to give us a better look into upcoming PS4 horror title Until Dawn. During that session they explained how their PS3 Move-only campy teen horror title transformed into a PS4 adult horror, starring top-tier actors and featuring high-end technologies.

Until Dawn is all about player choice, offering thousands of play paths that lead to hundreds of possible endings. A lot of this is tied to one of the game's mechanics called the Butterfly Effect.

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