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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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Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition photo
Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition
by Chris Carter

I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on a Dynasty Warriors game. It was a cold winter afternoon in 2000, and for whatever reason, one lone copy of Dynasty Warriors 2 was calling my name at a local Blockbuster. I picked it up and subsequently played for days on end -- I was hooked.

Now here we are fourteen years later with Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends (also branded the Complete Edition on the PS4 and Vita), with a brand new Lu Bu storyline, among other features. Like DW8 proper, fans will definitely want to pursue this one.

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DTOID News: Arkham Knights, Watchdogs, Goats and Ninja Turtles photo
DTOID News: Arkham Knights, Watchdogs, Goats and Ninja Turtles
by Max Scoville

Today, I can finally talk about my impressions of Batman: Arkham Knight, which I saw back and GDC. There’s some new stuff about Watchdogs that’s actually gotten my attention, Sonic has Zelda-themed DLC, Fulgore’s in Killer Instinct finally, Goat Simulator rules, and Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looks exactly as idiotic as a reasonable person would expect such a thing to be.

 

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The co-founder of Devolver Digital has some words for Peter Molyneux photo
The co-founder of Devolver Digital has some words for Peter Molyneux
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Yesterday, Destructoid ran a story in which designer Peter Molyneux shared his belief that the indie craze will disappear. Specifically, he said that what we're seeing is just a cycle, and that "it won't last."

Many people disagreed with Molyneux's sentiments, including Devolver Digital co-founder Mike Wilson. In an open letter sent to Destructoid, Wilson wrote that indies are making games "because they love it. They aren't competing in secrecy but rather openly collaborating, lifting one another up and inspiring one another. Gamejams!!! And while many of them are doing incredibly well financially, that's not the point, or certainly not the main point. Which we think is what is quite different than the past, at least to our eye."

Read on for the full letter from Mike Wilson.

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Impressions: Sonic Lost World The Legend of Zelda Zone photo
Impressions: Sonic Lost World The Legend of Zelda Zone
by Chris Carter

Sonic Lost World may not have met everyone's expectations, but two free pieces of Nintendo-themed DLC sits right with me. We already got a chance to play the 2D Yoshi's Island-themed add-on back in December, but now Link has teamed up with Sonic for a grand 3D adventure.

Just like its predecessor, the "Legend of Zelda Zone" is very brief, but it's a wonderful glimpse into what Sega and Nintendo can accomplish together.

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Arkham Knight has the right playground for Batman's new toys photo
Arkham Knight has the right playground for Batman's new toys
by Brett Makedonski

Rocksteady Studios has found itself in a somewhat precarious position with Arkham Knight. The team's two previous installments in the series are so universally revered that it begs the question "What can it do to live up to, and surpass, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City?" Rocksteady's opted to take the path of increasing the scope of everything and changing the formulaic approach to some of the series' conventions. It remains to be seen how well it'll work.

Arkham Knight is the first in the "Rocksteady Trilogy" (this term kept coming up, presumably to distance themselves from Arkham Origins) to give Batman free rein of Gotham City. The plot device driving this iteration is that Scarecrow has threatened to release a fear toxin so the entirety of the city has been evacuated. Well, except for all the thugs, criminals, and super villains that refuse to leave. They'll be Batman's punching bags en route to finding Scarecrow.

If this version of Gotham City sounds like semi-familiar territory, that's because it kind of is. The cynically analytical might say this walled-off playground full of baddies smacks of Arkham City with skyscrapers. The optimist might suggest that this added verticality is a welcomed progression for the series.

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Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls photo
Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
by Chris Carter

After the classic that was Diablo II, expectations for a follow-up were at an all-time high. Although it could never really meet those expectations, Diablo III was a fine hack and slash, and I ended up replaying it time and time again with every possible class.

But it wasn't perfect of course, since loot was designed around the ill-fated and ill-designed Auction House, putting a damper on long-term gear goals. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls may not reinvent the wheel, but it eliminates many of the problems from DIII proper.

And most importantly, the Auction House is gone all around!

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Video: Alt.Ctrl.GDC shows weird new ways of pushing buttons photo
Video: Alt.Ctrl.GDC shows weird new ways of pushing buttons
by Max Scoville

There was a wonderful spread of strange and interesting indie games at GDC, including a special exhibit called Alt.Ctrl, focusing on projects that made use of unusual controllers. Bill Zoeker screwed around with these for a bit before discussing what it's like to play a game with pedals, knobs, dials, cables, sleeping bags, and a receipt printer.

If you want to find out more, I dug up the websites for all of these games:

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