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Steven Hansen

Japanese commercial photo
Japanese commercial

Square only needs 15 seconds to sell Kingdom Hearts Unchained

Japanese commercial
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Oh, I get to look at a cute cat and then walk through an elaborate pop up book? Dope. Sold.
Pantsless Pokemon photo
Pantsless Pokemon

Machoke and Machamp don't have pants on, actually

Nor lil dicks!
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
I feel clowned upon. Damn near 20 years later and you want to tell me that Machoke and Machamp don't wear body-building speedos? That those perfectly placed black trunks are, according to Pokémon canon, just markings s...
Toy Story mod photo
Toy Story mod

Buzz Lightyear is a good look in Fallout 4

Fun with mods
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear has come to Fallout 4, which is probably beyond infinity from some perspective. This very spot on power armor can be put on Paladin Danse with a little bit or work (and a little download of the mod). The hood really does sell the ensemble. Don't forget it. Instructions are on the mod page (you'll have to manually give Danse the armor, but it's all pretty simple.
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni photo
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni

Lesbian weapon brawler Valkyrie Drive gets steamy trailer

Out next week on Vita in Japan
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, from Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki, is a game where girls kiss their partners to transform into battle weapons. It is coming to PlayStation Vita in Japan on December 10.

New look Street Fighter photo
New look Street Fighter

Street Fighter movie in black and white: 'Turns out it's actually a masterpiece?'

Bringing out the artistry in goofy film
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
This tweet by Glitch Ritual reliably turned up several times a day in my Twitter feed over the holiday weekend and so I must share it. It's a pretty simple trick with VLC player's settings (not a specifically made black and ...

Dragomon Hunter: Anime MMO fan service by way of Germany and Taiwan

Dec 01 // Steven Hansen
It doesn't clear anything up, but Aeria Games actually started in Santa Clara, California almost a decade ago. It expanded globally, including into Berlin, as a a publisher and online portal (maybe you noticed the logo playing Tribes: Ascend) before being purchased by multi-billion-dollar German media conglomerate ProSiebenSat.1 Media in 2014. But even before getting Katamari'd up, Aeria boasted over "40 million players" and turned enough of them into paying players to finance continued publishing. "They basically leave us alone," Vice President, Global PC Games Business Tom Nichols said of his parent company. Of course, the advertising deals that affords alone are helpful. "The German market is much easier for us especially in regards to competition, it's easier for us to be visible," Bousquet said. "It doesn't always means that its necessarily a success. There's still a high dependence on the games and their mechanics and if they appeal to this audience. For instance, anime games, they work okay, but the two big markets are really the English and French markets. Germany's not really into anime stuff." The extra advertising oomph, helpful in Germany when Aeria is peddling more regionally popular medieval fantasy is somewhat emblematic of Aeria's strength, which is packaging something up for consumption by a new audience. As Nichols explained, "What Aeria does is take games that have been successful in Asia and brings them to the west." [embed]307904:60138:0[/embed] So the aforementioned "most changes [to appeal to the western audience]" for Dragomon Hunters are not for a general western audience, but knowingly for, "a much smaller audience...much more niche within anime MMOs," and that is the ultra chibi style. It is for western anime fans. The Japanese Dragomon Hunter publisher -- no, it's not a Japanese game -- brought on well-known anime voice actors (from the likes of Bleach and Naruto) and the western landing page has a link to a video excitedly pointing to, "the original Japanese voices" in this French and American localization by a German company of a game originally developed by Taiwanese developer X-Legend. I chuckled about anime-game fans who threaten boycotts over digital-only releases or the lack of dual language audio. "It's a very special audience," Bousquet said. The original title is Dragon Slayer. Bland, but much less of an obvious, broken-neck nod to Monster Hunter (the game is slightly more action oriented than many MMOs) and Pokemon (collecting). "We thought it didn't fit the genre or didn't communicate what the game was about," Bousquet said. "Dragon Slayer sounds like a game title you've heard a hundred times. You have a basic idea of the setting, but you have no idea what the game is. We wanted a title that caught attention just from hearing it." That's one way to do it. "I know some people, the first time they see it, they kind of interpret it as, 'oh, this is a ripoff,' but we feel it's much more of a tribute and a nod [to Monster Hunter] than a ripoff. If you look at the game closer, there are some similarities and .... the idea of collecting materials from slain enemies and using them for crafting is not a new idea, but this is an MMORPG at its core. It's not an action, skilled game. It takes cues from this existing game style, but takes very few elements from that." Playing up the [anime life]style isn't restricted to the title. The translated script is reference filled for game and anime fans (the story is sparse, so it doesn't necessarily come in at odds with a greater tone). "[Dragomon Hunter has been localized by anime and game fans for anime and game fans. We're not shying away from being referential and doing a few nods here and there." But the biggest changes in Aeria's fourth collaboration with developer X-Legend (you can still play the first, Grand Fantasia) have been on the gameplay side. "Most of the Asian RPGs are very grindy, like super hardcore grindy, which is something we try to get away from a little bit and be more action-player friendly." There are "better drop rates" and everything can be bought with in-game currency (versus spending real money). The tendency for Asian players in these types of games is to try out different classes and explore all the game's options, whereas western audiences seek out of whatever's figured to be the strongest class and work towards maxing levels and the like most efficiently. The archive system for the over 100 in-game mounts (all of the enemies have a chance at dropping an egg upon death, at which point you can use the monster as a means of transportation) doesn't exist in the original, but was added because, "Americans and Europeans like to collect things." Historically true! Dragomon Hunter also features controller support, something developer X-Legend neglected to mention because of how much of a non-feature it was in Asia, but that's a bigger deal in the US. And while Dragomon Hunter doesn't lean as far towards pure fighting game as something like Blade & Soul, movement is ostensibly important. I didn't find it too necessary in the early goings, the few hours I played from level one, but watching some high-level co-op plays against much more imposing baddies and opting to steer clear of a big, incoming attack is a smart move. Otherwise there are classes to choose from, monsters to catch (or buy), and Hoppalongs, your companion rabbits you design at the onset after making your player avatar. They're super cute and can be classes to balance and pair well with your character. And of course there's the need to preempt "pay-to-win" complaints that inevitably crop up around free-to-play properties in the west."What most companies like ours were doing was looking at game monetizing and saying you know what, we have those whales -- those few people who are spending crazy amounts of money and that's enough, so let's just focus on those people," Bousquet explained. "But that means it's extremely difficult to get people into the game because you're bringing in new people who are not going to have fun. They're going to go in there and the paying players are going to have fun slaying them, and those [new] people are not going to stay. What we're trying to do now is only focus demonetization on convenience and those anime games it is very important and does resonate with an audience. If people want to buy their mounts, that's up to them. If they want to hunt them down and get them as drops from the monsters that they slay, anyone can do that." The aim is to reward "people coming in and logging into the game often enough and staying in the game," versus just reward those who are "paying money up front." For a fun counterpoint to Dragomon Hunter, there's the trading card game Immortalis Aeria published on mobile. It took a card game that was successful in Japan and replaced the art assets wholesale while keeping the original gameplay mechanics. The more western fantasy art style worked and the release has a big success for Aeria. The company has gotten good in predicting what will sell and how. This year's fantasy MMO Echo of Soul was the biggest launch yet. "There's nothing about the game that makes it really stand out in terms of, 'oh, this has an innovative feature,'" Nichols said. "The MMORPG genre is really crowded so it's hard to come up with a new feature that nobody has done before, but EoS is just really polished and has all of the features an MMO gamer would want." Aeria seems to know what MMO gamers want; it's a fair, mid-Mel-Gibson-era claim when you're still running your first-published anime MMO six years later and simultaneously launching your fourth from the same developer. And Aeria is diverse, blending anime and fantasy MMOs with shooters and mobile development all while reaching interntional audiences. "The Turkish market loves shooters. They don't spend a lot of money, but there's a lot of players," Nichols said. You can still play WolfTeam, a shooter that lets you transform into a powerful wolf (that aspect is most popular in Germany). [embed]323419:61324:0[/embed] As for the future beyond Dragomon Hunter? Nichols sees, "fewer PC MMOs and shooters coming out of Asia" because of the mad dash towards mobile, "as a result, our PC business is kind of stable. We're launching one or two games a year at this pace, whereas two years ago we were launching four games a year. The growth strategy for our business is coming from mobile. We have four games all set to launch early next year. Each one of those games was very successful in its native market in Asia. We're optimistic that a game that can be successful in Asia will be successful in the West as long as we make the art and style of the game appropriate for the Western market." But mobile is getting full up, too. "We're seeing some signs that some of the developers are shifting back to PC because the mobile market is so competitive," Nichols said. "I thought, Capcom and Konami, they're late, because they've been so focused on consoles." "Even huge companies like Supercell are doing TV advertising in Korea -- that never happened before in Korea." You might remember Supercell's $9 million Clash of Clans commercial that aired during this year's Super Bowl in the states, unless you mute commercials and use the time to thumb through your phone or grab a drink. "And all the Korean developers are like 'what the hell is this,' because they can't spend that much money." 
Dragomon Hunters preview photo
And it all makes some kind of sense
"Dragomon Hunter is one of the games where we've made the most changes [to appeal to the western audience]," Aeria Games' Product Marketing Manager Alexandre Bousquet tells me. That doesn't mean shaving the points off of spik...

'Kiss the Girls' feature photo
'Kiss the Girls' feature

Senran Kagura patch lets you kiss your anime girls

'Kiss the Girls' feature
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus has been out in Japan (PS4, Vita) since early this year (we're supposed to get it soon). Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson's Kagura was just added as a DLC character as seen in the video above. But ...
Real Revolver Ocelot photo
Real Revolver Ocelot

You deserve to see Revolver Ocelot spinning his guns

A weapon to surpass Metal Gear...
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
[Photo] Now that 2015 is officially over and there's definitely no more massive holidays to attend or anything like that everyone's going to start getting all retrospective and I'm going to kick it off by waxing nostalgic for...
BioShock & Borderlands photo
BioShock & Borderlands

Big PlayStation Now update means 4 PS3 games you've already played

BioShock and Borderlands come to Now
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Okay, okay, I don't want to presume. For the same reason that re-releases on current platforms are fairly innocuous (people miss stuff!), it's not at all a bad thing that five (four new) 2K games just joined PlayStation Now. ...
12 Deals of Christmas photo
12 Deals of Christmas

Metal Gear Solid V is half off on the EU PlayStation Store

Just like Snake's arm
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Putting the US PlayStation Phantom Pain price of $45 (25%) to shame, the European PlayStation Blog just kicked off its 12 Deals of Christmas and day one of deals is half off Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on either PS3 ...
The Cossacks are coming photo
The Cossacks are coming

Europa Universalis IV on sale in time for Cossacks expansion

Cheap EUIV ahead of 6th expansion
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
As we famously reported a couple months back: The Cossacks are coming, the Cossacks are coming! Well, those cock and ball sack hybrids have hit Steam as Europa Universalis IV's sixth major expansion. It will run you $20 -- n...
PS4 deals photo
PS4 deals

Sony has two new $300 PlayStation bundles

Star Wars Battlefront and Uncharted
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
PlayStation 4 bundles didn't seem too prevalent or kill-worthy this deals season (though it's possible I just missed them all), but it looks like Sony is formalizing that $300 Uncharted Trilogy bundle and adding a $300 Star Wars Battlefront PS4 bundle for a couple more weeks of December. The price will hold December 5 through Dec. 19, according to the PlayStation Blog.
Still DoA photo
Still DoA

Tecmo disavows Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 comment, still not bringing it west

Walk back, but not too far
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Comments made last week by a page administrator on the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Facebook went beyond confirming the game wouldn't come west. Replying to a different inquiry on the subject, a representative wrote, "Do you know m...

What're you playing? IS IT FALLOUT 4?

Nov 28 // Steven Hansen
I was playing Fallout 4 recently, but I think I’m going to leave it for a while for some decent mods and bug fixes to come out before heading back into it. Instead, I’ve been slowly trudging my way through my first run of Bloodborne (currently trying to beat the Shadows of Yharnam), as well as the recent PC rerelease Sonic Lost World. Playing something as grimdark as Bloodborne and then immediately hopping into a Sonic level based on colourful tasty treats can feel like being hit by a freight train sometimes, but both games are a lot of fun!  I can't stop playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. I think it might be a sickness. I know I have a tendency to fall in love with games (even crappy ones), but there's something so soothing and zen-like about exploring the Geothermal Valley and scouting for Survival Caches. It makes me not wanna finish; in order to delay the inevitable, I've taken to returning to old paths and gathering all the collectibles and finishing up all the Challenges. Besides the diving. Lara will not fecking dive for me. Otherwise I'm playing Destiny. I did leave it for Halo 5 for a bit, but there's still no better multiplayer experience. Like a booty call, I came crawling back to Bungie, a bunch of wilting flowers in one hand and shrugging off my jeans with the other.  I've been a bit restless with my gaming recently, so I've gone back to play a couple of games that I know I enjoy, having a little bit of comfort gaming in among the big reviews season. Revisiting Danganronpa 2, replaying To The Moon and even briefly jumping back in to Half Minute Hero. Other than that I've been sinking some time into playing Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires for Destructoid which should be getting some coverage toward the end of this week and playing the odd game of Peggle on iOS while travelling. I just want to get through all those challenge puzzles again. I'm so bad at playing video games, folks. I've got probably six or so hours clocked on Fallout 4, and after my save being erroneously deleted I think I might wait a month or two before coming back to it. Meanwhile I've been dragging myself kicking and screaming through a genocide run in Undertale, as well as putting a few runs into Sublevel Zero before I sleep most nights. I went on a shopping spree a week or two ago and grabbed a bunch of Dreamcast games, so I'm finally learning Street Fighter III: Third Strike as well as finally getting around to playing Jet Grind Radio for the first time. Oh, and that Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows DLC is dope. I've been in full-blown "gotta catch 'em all" mode with Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon and Yo-Kai Watch. I'm pretty much done with Yo-Kai Watch, but I'm still trying to beat some of those post-game bosses. They're really hard! I'll probably have to find a good place to grind if I ever want to beat them all. Apparently if I lived in the world of Pokemon, I would be a Mudkip. Who knew? I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't been able to recruit Cubone yet, but I'll manage (I guess). I like that Super Mystery Dungeon lets me see a side of the Pokemon that I don't often get to see. They all have personalities, quirks, and opinions and it's really fun to get to know them all. It's like that episode of the anime where they all wash up on a desert island and Ash's Pokemon end up hanging out with Team Rocket's Pokemon and you get to hear what they're actually saying to each other. Except in the game, you don't have to listen to all that "Squirtle Squirtle!" "Charmander!" "Bulba Bulbasaur!" nonsense. Thank god. At my real job, we're entering what is known as the busy season, aka hell month, aka all employees on suicide watch month. That's right, I work in retail. So after eight stressful hours of people telling me I ruined their Christmas or I made their children cry (both of which just make me laugh, laugh, laugh), I like to come home and play a game that really relaxes me; like Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. Nothing helps me get through the holidays better than pretending the people I'm slicing and dicing up in that game are the customers who annoy me so much. What's that Mrs. Stevens? Your Christmas is a bust because we ran out of Monopoly sets and you decided not to order until December 22nd? How about I make it up to you with a katana to the face? Oh Mr. Peters I'm sorry. You were supposed to get that package before Thanksgiving so you could give it to your daughter as a Thanksgiving gift, as if that should be a real thing? Eat boot, asshole! Baby life has kept me from playing any game solo for more than 30 minutes at a time, but I've been playing Nintendo Badge Arcade every morning while I'm in the bathroom (70 badges so far and I haven't spent a cent), and I've got a new record on Super Graviton in VVVVVV (19.43 seconds!). I also finally managed to get through Plague Knight's campaign in Shovel Knight, and was shocked by how sincerely touching many of the cut scenes were. When other people are around, we've been popping in Runbow, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, and Sportsball while swapping off turns keeping the kid happy. Juggling games and child care is like a game unto itself, and so far, I haven't lost any lives. Maybe I should go pro. My backlog's now ballooning to include the likes of Metal Gear Solid V, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, the last episode of Game of Thrones, Destiny and other games which I know are really good and fun to play, and it's all because of Fort Construction Simulator 2287 Fallout 4. About 30 of the 40-or-so hours the savegame timer is telling me I've had with Bethesda's latest have been spent with the game's gratuitously deep settlement system. On the one hand, it's dreadfully unnecessary and essentially cuts the legs out from under Bethesda's most accomplished main story so far (though that isn't saying a whole lot in the grand scheme of things). On the other hand, my Sanctuary Hills settlement is really coming along, in that romanticizing-shantytowns kind of way. Check it out below (complete with royalty-free music courtesy of Youtube's copyright enforcement thingamabob): [embed]322272:61236:0[/embed] I've spent every spare moment of the past two weeks as a post-apocalyptic hoarder in Fallout 4. Just like grandpa working on his train sets, the miniature model enthusiast in me has surfaced in a weird way and I've gone deep on the settlement building aspect of the game even though it's really, genuinely, terrible. All of my settlers have cute little ramshackle apartments, access to clean water, and all the laser guns they could ask for even though I'm still not sure what (if anything) they can do for me after 20 hours in. Please send help. After spending around ten hours getting the elderly Mama Murphy high as fuck in Fallout 4, I fell back into my own personal addictions: Halo 5: Guardians and Hearthstone. I can't help it, I just love opening card packs, as well as the rush of having close matches which both games provide. Recently played through the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands with my boyfriend which was surprisingly hilarious, plus it fed my newfound obsession of Hunter S. Thompson, as there is a character that looks and dresses like him.  Other times I'm lying in my bed with my Vita playing through Superbeat: Xonic for review obsessively, while loud techno and metal fill the air alongside my swearing.   I want to say I'm re-experiencing Undertale's charming pacifist run. A game chock full of so many secrets that I'd replay the entire game to see the things I missed like Sans' room or beating Thundersnails. Or I could say I'm replaying Bayonetta 2 and trying to unlock the other, extra hard secret characters like Rosa or Rodin. But I'm not. I'm playing Nintendo Badge Arcade. I put a dollar in to grab the Animal Crossing badges just now, because of course I will, I have the Isabelle and signboard 3DS theme. You can also never play too much Super Smash Bros. 4, especially with Cloud on the horizon. I recently finished up the latest Minecraft: Story Mode episode for review, and it was all right. I have a few games on my list to get to before we start working up our Game of the Year lists, like Undertale and Life is Strange, but I haven't started either of those. Right now I'm on vacation, away from my PC and consoles, so all I'm really playing is stuff on my 3DS and my phone. I've been getting through Hitman GO, which is dressed up like a cute little board game about murder. Also still chugging away at Ultimate Angler on the 3DS, because StreetPass games are always going to be the best. What am I playing? More like what aren't I playing, right?! But, can we talk seriously for a minute? I'm begrudgingly playing Fallout 4. Have a bunch of people above me already talked about Fallout 4? I haven't bothered to look, but I bet they did. You're probably reading this article while you take a break from Fallout 4. It's goddamn everywhere. I'm not sure I have a lot of nice things to say about it but I'm still playing it. I guess that counts for something. I think it's my favorite Ubisoft game ever. The missus and I are currently burning through The X-Files, just in time for the new mini-series in January. You know, I'm amazed at how well the entire show holds up (though, I say this as we currently work our way through Season 7, a.k.a. David Duchovny's last full season, a.k.a. it all goes to shit) and I've totally fallen back in love with Gillian Anderson, reigniting my first TV crush from all those years back. Not even her awful wig in those new trailers can diminish it, now! Anyway, as part of the binge, I played The X-Files FMV game in its intended place during Season 3; between Wetwired (where Scully goes coco-bananas due to broadcast signals) and Talitha Cumi (the finale where Mulder befriends that guy from The Invaders). As a game, it has all the hallmarks of why FMV failed, but also it works remarkably well in trying to emulate the show within such limitations; especially when it came out just as The X-Files loosened up, got cool, and put out its best work. Also, I'm currently playing through Breach & Clear: Deadline, which isn't too bad considering the Steam Sale price. It's a spin-off of a tactical shooter in the vein of Rainbow Six/SWAT/Doorkickers, but the fact it involves rushing zombie hordes makes a lot of your tactical decisions, and the very title, a tad redundant. But, hey, it's actually a fun little game if you're not too cynical about the planning and light RPG elements. Also, also I'm still playing PAYDAY 2 because I'm a monster on par with Hitler. If you've followed my quickposts of late, you know I have been on a huge Castlevania binge, which will be concluding soon with Rondo of Blood, Order of Ecclesia and then Symphony of the Night's Maria Mode. I also recently finished Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin. I've also been playing Child of Light, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. This will be my third time through Awakening, which is starting to become something of an annual tradition for me. It's just such a charming game and I usually lose Vaike along the way, but maybe he'll live this time. Sadly, I can't marry Tharja, but Nintendo will let me marry her prior incarnation in Birthright next year. Smash is the main obsession right now, though. Just unlocked Jigglypuff and I'm maining Zero Suit Samus, Robin and Pikachu so far. Mostly Zero Suit Samus since Samus is the best ever when she's not in Metroid Other M. Robin is an interesting challenge with the limited use of tomes and swords, I just have to get over Robin not looking like my Robin in Awakening. It's like seeing a Commander Shepherd, but it's not your Shepherd. I'm hoping Shovel Knight and Shantae get to join the fray through the Smash Ballot, too. If some sulky, spikey-haired, fake soldier with glowy eyes can get in, the Cerulean Spader and a bellydancing half-genie are fair game. I guess we'll see. My experience of Fallout 4 as read by SNL’s City Correspondent, Stefan: The hottest new experience in video games right now is Fallout 4.  This post-apocalyptic thrill kill club has it all. Ashes. Crab people. Mad Max Scarecrows. And just when you think you’ve seen it all…what’s that? Teddy Bear Night Light! (It’s that thing where you kill a Glowing One then cover it in teddy bears.) Thanks to The Old Hunters DLC, I'm back into Bloodborne. I left off months ago with a new game+++ save file, so I had to start fresh and work my way back up to even access the expansion, much less make any real progress in it. Far too many hours later, I'm so close to the end. I've done everything but take out the optional boss, and I can hardly imagine that ever happening without summoning a near-flawless co-op player. It's such an unforgiving fight! As much as it's a total slog and I've become exceedingly impatient, I'm too stubborn to give up. I also got one of those $20 PlayStation TVs and, after scrolling through the online system library, I'm now just playing old favorites like What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? and Patapon. Worth it. People can pretty much see what I've been playing through reviews, but in addition to the Bloodborne DLC and Xenoblade Chronicles X, I'm peppering in some Final Fantasy XIV and Destiny. The latter is really winding down though as Bungie hasn't introduced anything new in a while, and since my normal raid group is starting to get pissed at the triple-RNG involved in hard mode (getting the item, then getting the right level, and the right roll), they don't play as much. Beyond that my wife and I still play Pikmin 3's bingo versus mode on occasion, as well as Black Ops III via split-screen. Whenever I'm in the middle of college finals, I tend to gravitate towards games that can be played in the space between cram sessions. And every year since 2012, the game I pick to fill that void is the regular Call of Duty release. I am part of the problem.  Black Ops III is difficult to come back to after the similarly-themed Advanced Warfare. The gun sight that lit up enemies and the corner-friendly boost in Advanced Warfare were cornerstones of my almost 1:1 K/D ratio (impressive for someone who is normally very bad at shooters), and losing those tools in the transition to Black Ops III was a blow. Plus, as of Thanksgiving, we've officially hit the point where people have those maps memorized from every angle. Call of Duty's progression system continues to be immensely satisfying on a macro and micro level, culminating in a cycle that's difficult to escape when there's an upgrade perpetually right around the corner, so it's not like I'm going to quit any time soon. I barely have time to play anything else! I'm still playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Is it just me or does this game not have an end? Sure, I picked it up in the summer almost a full year after release -- but I'll be damned if I haven't given in to my completionist mindset trying to pick up every last shard. Is it worth it? Almost 100 hours into the game and at this point contemplating ways to conjure up a mass kool-aid suicide in Skyhold just to keep something -- anything -- moving along in the plot. That Cullen though. He's no Alistair, but you can't deny that fur mantle. BioWare - 3; Caitlin - 0 (let's not forget about Thane). Reporting live from Santa Teresa, New Mexico! This forced vacation has allowed me more game time than usual. On the way over here in the RV, I played Eldritch Horror and Dungeons & Dragons with my lady and her brother. On the digital front, I brought my laptop and I've been playing more Killing Floor 2 and some Downwell. If you think the latter game is difficult, try it on a bumpy ass RV with poor weather stripping. Before the trip, I finished Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I enjoyed, but might as well have been called Tomb Raider: The Exact Same Narrative Beats as the Last Time, or even Tomb Raider: Why are the Only Good Parts of the Story Buried in Shitty Audio Logs? Obviously, I have some thoughts about this. You'll be hearing from me soon. And gosh, I haven't even started playing Fallout. I might just wait until next year.  I've been eclectic. I jumped into some first-time-in-months Rocket League that dulled after winning at least 10 in a row. I turned on XCOM, got in that save where I was naming everyone after Destructoid staff, remember I'd fucked up last time I was streaming it, and proceeded to watch everyone I work with impaled and vomited on by chryssalids (only Caitlin and Darren survived by virtue of having been in the infirmary). Kicked around some Downwell but it wasn't pulling from the cloud save and knocking off rust sans Levitate style was taxing. Stopped myself from mindlessly playing more Resident Evil 4.  After all the hit 'em and quit 'ems I settled into some The Testament of Doctor Mabuse because I wanted to watch more Fritz Lang and fell asleep during Stromboli. All substitutes for Rififi and other Criterions not in Hulu's collection. I've also been watching that Jessica Jones program, the only superhero thing I've seen since Guardians of the Galaxy (and before that, the first Avengers, and part of some X-Men movie in the airplane window reflection of the guy in front of me). I appreciate the reduced scale and attempts at not sharing the same visual style as others of its ilk (all the action looks the same! They're all shot and edited the same!), I'm torn on always having "Basketball Jones" stuck in my head. - What in Sam Hill are YOU playing?
What'cha playin'? photo
With my heart?
Lord on a skateboard we did it, that's it, the year's over, there's nothing left to get through in 2015 (year 3 of Luigi). I'd like to thank everyone who got us this far and let's just coast into 2016, done completely with ho...

Tokyo School Life photo
Tokyo School Life

A couple of age-gated visual novels are on sale on Steam

Up to 40% off...the price
Nov 25
// Steven Hansen
You know, those weird ass god damn Clannad eyes got me thinking; I'm not sure about what, but I'll get back to you if I figure it out. Anyways, a couple more visual novels are on Steam and these ones at a more reasonable pric...
First Assault Online photo
First Assault Online

Ghost in the Shell shooter hits Steam next month

Team-based FPS
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
The wonderfully named Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online -- GITS:SAC-FAO for short -- is coming to Steam some time in December. It will also be available through publisher Nexon's launcher. GITS:SA...
Austrania photo

Xbox 360 shmup Strania - The Stella Machina sups on Steam

From Ikaruga co-developers
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
Who wants to read a Destructoid review from 2011? Strania - The Stella Machina has come to Steam today apropos of nothing (the product page notes it's developer G.rev's "long-awaited debut on Steam," by whom I do not know). ...

Explore and conquer the galaxy in Stellaris

Nov 24 // Steven Hansen
Stellaris (PC)Developer: Paradox Development Studio Publisher: Paradox Interactive Release: TBA So, conquest in space, again, with Stellaris. The Beyond Earth comparison isn't just based on the sci-fi theme, as director Henrik Fåhraeus explained to me last week, Stellaris, "is a grand strategy game masquerading as a 4X game." In that sense it's a departure from past Paradox successes and the upcoming, WWII-set Hearts of Iron IV. He explained in a blog post earlier this year, "The early game is thus characterized by exploration and discovering the wonders of the galaxy," until reaching the mid-game wherein, "there is not much left to colonize and your easy expansion grinds to a halt. At this point, the map stabilizes into the Stellaris equivalent of the world map in Europa Universalis." You begin as one planet directed by a set of cultural guidelines (shown off to us last week was an Individualist Xenophobic empire, which made for a good first encounter with another large empire during which the only dialogue option was, "Alien scum!") that has just discovered faster than light travel. You'll choose between slower , free-moving warp travel; hyperspace across straight lines; and wormhole travels, which requires wormhole stations to be built. [embed]322210:61231:0[/embed] As opposed to pre-canned societies, there are over 100 alien portraits that can be aligned with a variety of traits, so "you will never meet the same aliens again;" or, at least, those bug-eyed purple asshole from your third game might be an inquisitive, pacifist sect next time you encounter that alien art. There are a few other parameters to set, like how many large empires will populate the galaxy you're exploring, but there are also quick start and preset options that reflect Paradox's attempt to widen its appeal, "without compromising our level of depth and complexity." There is an in-game adviser, for example, full voiced to help guide burgeoning emperors (or democratically-elected fish-faced idiots, whatever). In fact, Stellaris is Paradox's first project with a dedicated audio director. Coupled with all the space-faring in a full-figured galaxy and it could prove a little more inviting than playing on a giant map if the grand scope of spaaace isn't too alienating itself. Other simplifications include ditching tech trees for a system, "more like a collectible card game where you draw three cards and pick one." Research into Physics, Society, and Engineering is dictated by your scientists' traits and immediate options are weighted to be most convenient to you at any given time, though sometimes rare research opportunities pop up ("space amoeba weapons" were mentioned). Game progression goes something like this. Start on your home planet, represented by squares arranged 4x4 wherein you can place population unites (and strive for adjacency bonuses, like XCOM's base-builder). Send your science ship around to survey the galaxy, including addressing strange anomalies. In the demoed instance, we were drawn to a distress signal much like our own. There was a 10% failure rate, which just means missing out on the anomaly, though there is potential for catastrophic failure. In this case, the crew of the discovered ship was dead by brain parasite and a trait of our surveying scientist is the only thing that saved our crew from succumbing. Instances like these are neatly thrown into a Situation Log and you can research them from there. Then you'll want to send out ships for colonization and build construction ships to take advantage of resources (habitable planets are rare and meant to be cherished). There's a detailed ship builder, but you can auto-build for the best, too. "I don't want the flow in this game to be too micromanagey," Fåhraeus said. Other systems will start looping back around later. The population of a colonized planet or even your native planet can splinter off into factions of warring ideology, leaving you to choose if you want to say, quash the insurrection with force or give rein to a splintered, population-supported political spin off group. Eventually you will make it to the aforementioned mid-game, where it's "more like Europa Universalis" and you're butting up against large, rival empires. If one scouts you, it has the option to research you before you research it, and make first contact. There are other, smaller civilizations you'll discover, too, some pre-industrial, some post-technology.  To counter past Paradox games' anti-climactic endings when "you reach a point where you know you won," and are just trudging along to victory, late game crises are introduced, revolving around things like dangerous technological advancements or sentient robot worker uprisings -- things that threaten the whole galaxy. And there's maneuvering to do there, too, like letting the killbots off your biggest threat while allying elsewhere, bolstering yourself for the impending man-vs-bot slaughter. Also, you can "uplift" alien wildlife and, say, create a planet of space-faring, extremely loyal dolphins to go space crusade in your name, amen. Stellaris is "coming soon."
Stellaris preview photo
In space no one can hear you scheme
Earlier this year, Paradox offered an alternative for the many disappointed by EA's botched SimCity two years earlier by publishing Colossal Order's excellent city-building-simulator Cities: Skylines. Now Paradox's internal s...

Clannad releases photo
Clannad releases

Clannad visual novel on Steam, briefly outsells Call of Duty

Cheap this week, too
Nov 24
// Steven Hansen
Visual novel Clannad released on PC in Japan back in 2004 and since spawned various adaptations, including an anime series. Publisher Sekai Project ran a Kickstarter last year for an official English release that was funded ...
Holiday toys photo
Holiday toys

Christmas Pikachu and other holiday Pokemon merch

From the Pokemon Center
Nov 21
// Steven Hansen
From the people that brought you Intern Pikachu, the Pokémon Center is doing a holiday line of Pokémon products. Deck the halls with Pokéballs of holly. Rudolph the red-nosed Deerling. Uh. Man, I really h...
PS2 emulation photo
PS2 emulation

Sony working on PlayStation 2 emulation for PS4

Could open up a huge, classic library
Nov 20
// Steven Hansen
The PlayStation 4 can play PlayStation 2 games. The same special Battlefront bundle that includes Super Star Wars also includes Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, not as ports...
First Valkyria trailer photo
First trailer and way more screenshots
So I jumped the gun yesterday when I said Valkyria: Azure Revolution and Valkyria Chronicles Remaster (PS4) news was petering off. Yesterday's plain, boring website is now home to a bunch of new screens, the first footage of...

Current gen RE6 photo
Current gen RE6

Resident Evil 6 re-release on PS4, Xbox One seems imminent

Korean rating board classification
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
Want to feel old? Resident Evil 6 (PS3, 360, PC) is three years old. The last mainline Resident Evil received a pretty mixed reception and the only new entry planned for next year's 20th anniversary year is the multiplayer sh...
Pretty good photo
Pretty good

No one's talking about Square's new Chrono Trigger inspired PS4/Vita RPG

It looks alright!
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
I guess a few years ago "new Chrono Trigger-styled RPG from Square" might've carried a bit more weight. Hell, a few years prior still and "new RPG from Square" would've carried a lot more weight. Maybe it's that the former "P...
Yandere Simulator photo
Yandere Simulator

Read erotic manga to up your seduction game in Yandere Simulator

Killing Japanese school girls
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
It's been a bit since we checked in on Yandere Simulator, the Hitman-like stealth game "about stalking a boy and secretly eliminating any girl who seems interested in him, while maintaining the image of an innocent schoo...
amiibo PSA photo
amiibo PSA

[Update] Amazon-exclusive Chibi-Robo amiibo on sale in 15 minutes

Pray for Mojo
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
[Update: Just 15 minutes until little Chibi Robo's up for sale.] Two hours is enough time to steal and recycle enough copper to buy the latest Nintendo doll going up for purchase, right? The stand-alone version of the Ch...
Japan Warriors poll photo
Japan Warriors poll

Persona or SMT Warriors? Atlus says 'get in touch with us anytime'

Or Final Fantasy Warriors?
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
A recent Famitsu poll asked fans what Koei Tecmo Warriors (or Musou) crossover they'd most want to see and Gematsu has the Sokuho@Hokanko translation of the results, as well as responses by those series' respective creators o...
Panty lines photo
Panty lines

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 gets rope tug and buoy hopping

And tan line tech
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
It's not just volleyball, clapping titties, and virtual reality you're getting with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3. No, no, no. As shown off in this new video, there's also tug-of-war and pool crossing minigames. The latter would be...
Blops Easter egg photo
Blops Easter egg

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Easter egg channels...Silent Hill?

Spooky scary mannequins
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
People are saying Doctor Whom and that's fine, that's fine -- "Angels," innit, governor? -- but it still reads Silent Hill to me because they're like mannequins (by way of I, Robot), even if Super Mario Boos might be closer....
Watch this wild business photo
Watch this wild business

I watched a Korean musical about an MMO and so can you

Including: the devil, modern day rap
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
As a prelude to the Blade & Soul World Championship, NC Soft put together a Blade & Soul musical. I suppose it wasn't technically about an MMO since it was the Blade & Soul story, but I'm really not sure about an...

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