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12:49 AM on 07.26.2010

Last Minute Destructoid Internship Audition

[embed]179863:31772[/embed]

Waited until the last second on this one, but I was able to make it today! If you watch the lighting, you can see the daylight fading away in each cut.

Much love for all you dtoiders who make doing things like this so fun and exciting. While I'm nervous about potentially having a job at dtoid, knowing that the video is being watched by the dtoid army takes away all of the stress.

PS, I promised Steamtoid that if I get the job I'll post nude pics. I wonder if that will help or hurt my chances... hmm.

Wish me luck!   read


12:45 PM on 07.11.2010

World Cup Contest: Less than 12 Hours Left!



Hey Dtoiders! We have some epic entries so far for my World Cup contest, mixing the beauty of video games and vuvuzelas into what may be the greatest works of art since Picasso. Sadly, today is the finals for the World Cup and also the last day to submit your entries for the contest!

Feel free to submit submit into the late hours of the night, but come tomorrow morning the contest will be closed! So far, I don't think we have enough international submissions to justify a big prize, but you never know what might happen in these final hours.



Here are the rules from my previous post:

Contest 1: Photoshop a vuvuzela into a screenshot of a dramatic or otherwise hilarious video game moment.

* First Place: Dragon Age: Origins
* Second Place: Jade Empire

Contest 2: Use a drawing program (like Paint), or hand-draw your favorite video game character with a vuvuzela. Bonus points for creativity, multiple characters, and context!

* First Place: Mass Effect 2
* Second Place: Mass Effect

How to submit: Just leave your image in the comments below, tweet it to me @bluexy, or if your prefer anonymity mail it to rory[at]gamerant[dot]com!

Bonus Rules:

* US Only Shipping - Sorry internationals, boxes are expensive to ship. Still, feel free to join in on the hilarity! If there's enough international participation, I'll add a bonus prize via Steam. I mean it, I'll spend $30 for a prize if you submit, internationals!
* One Prize Per Contestant - Feel free to enter for both contests as many times as you like, though!
* Contests Ends July 11 - After the World Cup is over, so is the contest! May be extended another week depending on participation.
* Rules Subject to Change - I know I'm forgetting something, but that covers the important bits I believe.

So get your entries in and win a great BioWare game! If you want to check out the competition visit my last blog will all of the previous entries in the comments: Clicky.

It's still anyone's game! BRING ON THE VUVUZELAS!   read


2:07 PM on 07.02.2010

World Cup Contest: Win Dragon Age or Mass Effect 2!



Hey Dtoiders, I'm super excited about the World Cup. So to commemorate the ridiculousness of the whole thing, I'm throwing a contest! I'll give you the details in just a moment, but first: What can you win?

Prizes for this glorious soccer contest include PC copies of Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, Jade Empire and Mass Effect! That's right, BioWare games! It has nothing to do with the World Cup, but that shouldn't stop you from entering!

Now here are the details you've been waiting for. What do you have to do to win one of these excellent games?



Contest 1: Photoshop a vuvuzela into a screenshot of a dramatic or otherwise hilarious video game moment.

* First Place: Dragon Age: Origins
* Second Place: Jade Empire

Contest 2: Use a drawing program (like Paint), or hand-draw your favorite video game character with a vuvuzela. Bonus points for creativity, multiple characters, and context!

* First Place: Mass Effect 2
* Second Place: Mass Effect

How to submit: Just leave your image in the comments below, tweet it to me @bluexy, or if your prefer anonymity mail it to rory[at]gamerant[dot]com!

Bonus Rules:

* US Only Shipping - Sorry internationals, boxes are expensive to ship. Still, feel free to join in on the hilarity! If there's enough international participation, I'll add a bonus prize via Steam. I mean it, I'll spend $30 for a prize if you submit internationals!
* One Prize Per Contestant - Feel free to enter for both contests as many times as you like, though!
* Contests Ends July 11 - After the World Cup is over, so is the contest! May be extended another week depending on participation.
* Rules Subject to Change - I know I'm forgetting something, but that covers the important bits I believe.

There you have it, Dtoiders! Looking forward to some amazing submissions!

Feel free to follow me on twitter, where I'll be updating everyone on the latest submissions @bluexy.

Note: Yes, I'm also running this contest on the site I edit/write for, but this is my personal contest. There is no expectation/requirement that you visit the other site. I'm just trying to give away my own stuff for free, in a fun way. Destructoid has always been my home and I couldn't not make the contest available here.   read


10:10 PM on 01.01.2010

2009: Too many great games!



Good news, everyone! There were so many amazing games in 2009 that it's practically impossible to make a top 10, or a list of awards that accurately captures just how incredible these games really are. Instead of revisiting games like Uncharted 2, Borderlands, or Batman: Arkham Asylum, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites that never received the attention they deserved.


Machinarium (PC)

If you take any enjoyment from adventure games then you have to play Machinarium. You'll be introduced to the robot world of Machinarium one step at a time, and every step will blow you away. From beautifully created backgrounds and sprite-work, to the small quirks each robot in the city has, the richness in detail will pull you in and you'll find yourself spending more time than you should exploring each scene with your eyes. You'll tromp through the game only looking forward, but it's when the game ends that you'll wonder about what's really going on in the city. So hopefully you'll play it again, much like I did.


Little King's Story (Wii)

It's an obsession of mine to build in video games. I've spent hours in ActRaiser maxing the population of every area, burning forests and destroying rocks so my people might grow another crop. Endless hours moving my buildings around in Dark Cloud 2 so I could get all of the little bonuses. So when Little King's Story starts off in what's basically a barn, but teases images of a giant castle, my eyes widened and I never looked back. It's reminiscent of Pikmin with human soldiers, and though it's never complicated it's still very strategic. The kingdom must be built, a barn is not fit for a king.


Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS)

Dragon Quest's infamous amounts of grinding has always kept me away from the series. After the first moments of the Heavenly Bride though, I couldn't put my DS down. You live the protagonist's life, experience his pain, his love, and fight a billion monsters along the way. While Heavenly Bride is completely average in regards to its mechanics, you can't help but care about what will happen next.


Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS)

Diabolical Box is in essence the exact same game as the original, with new puzzles, new characters, and a delightful story that will draw you in and never let you go. While playing the first game I spent the majority of my time searching out each individual puzzle, but with the sequel I just couldn't slow myself down from solving the larger mystery. I anxiously await the multiple sequels (and movie) coming down the pipeline from Japan, but hope they'll continue to create larger conflicts and characters that grow in a similar way to the Harry Potter books.


League of Legends (PC)

This Defense-of-the-Ancients style multiplayer game snuck up on me. When I tried playing DotA on Warcraft 3 I hated it. If you could join a game without being kicked for being a noob, or having to download a map, you'd still end up being punished by obsessive min/max-ers and their inate knowledge of what item would create an unfair advantage 5 minutes into the game. Demigod cut it down to a small list of characters and a few unhelful items, but was relatively unimpressive. League of Legends brings back the large list of characters, though each has more personality, but with their matchmaking service and the combat dynamics they've created made DotA accessible even to a noob like myself. Oh, it's free!


Plants vs. Zombies (PC)

Pure. Addicting. Fun. Zombies with safety cones on their heads, attacking a house that's protected by cute projectile firing plants. SO AWESOME! I've played through Plants vs. Zombies at least four times now, and it's still amazingly fun. It's so simple but so engrossing that every person on Earth, and those astronaut dudes too, should have this game installed on their computer. Or with the upcoming iPhone release, on your phone as well. We don't want zombies on the lawn. :3 <3<3<3 SUNFLOWER!

These are just a few of my favorites of the year, a year that had so many great games! Again, I can't really disagree with Destructoid or any other gaming site's "Top 10 Games of the Year" though I could never pick which is better than which. If you've got some spare cash and haven't tried some of these out, I can't recommend these more.

So have a happy New Year everyone! Will 2010 be better than 2009? I can't see how, but if it even gets close we're pretty fucking lucky!   read


10:14 PM on 10.23.2009

Nothing is Sacred: Henchmen



It's a rule. You can't be a boss without henchmen. Boss, by definition is a supervisor who exercises control over workers. I looked it up, IN THE BIBLE (Wikipedia)! Deities and gods need their zealots; dictators are much less intimidating without their armies; bullies wouldn't sock you in the gut without their retarded pals there to laugh it up; drug lords probably won't murder you, they'll send their cartel to do it for them (probably). In real life henchmen serve a purpose, at least to a certain extent.

In video games it's a different story. In video games, henchmen are there for the learning curve, they're there for buildup to a climax, they're there to extend gameplay. In video games, henchmen are completely goddamn worthless.




Look at these clowns. In Batman: Arkham Asylum what must be a billion of these completely sane hoodlums are transferred to Arkham due to a fire in the local Blackgate Prison. Naturally, five minutes into the game every single one of the bastards are released onto the grounds. They then spend the rest of the game standing in small circles with their gang members, maybe playing hacky sack, waiting for Batman to show up so they can get the shit beaten out of them. They're never remotely difficult, even on the harder difficulty, but they do fulfill my fantasy of punching a clown in the face. I guess they can't be all bad.

These are henchmen, and almost every game has them or something similar. Mario has goombas, Dragon Quest has slimes, Bioshock has splicers, Kung Fu had the guys with pink hair and also midgets. They all serve some sort of purpose initially, whether it's to teach you how to jump or kick, provide a mascot, or randomly scare the bejesus out of you. Why though, after serving that purpose, do they continue to enter the game over, and over, and over, and over? There are reasons, of course, some of them listed above. And those reason are acceptable to an extent. Things can be better though, oh yes, they can be better.

Join me as I explore some methods for removing henchmen from all future video games:

Replace them with: Puzzles! The soon to be released Ratchet and Clank game is splitting the game into what's said to be two different styles of gameplay. Ratchet's sections will be combat-centric action orgies, while Clank's bits will be filled with delicious puzzles! There's no doubt the game will be a lot of fun, but I believe a lot of that will be due to their mixture of gameplay styles (and 50% removal of henchmen!).

Replace them with: Story & Lore! Mass Effect is still one of my favorite games for current generation, but it's still filled with exorbinant amounts of henchbots! They fill uncharted planets and none of them matter a damn bit. In fact, it's almost preferrable to go to a planet and read it's description instead! What Mass Effect did so well is create unique and interesting bits of lore and hid them around the universe. So why not remove the henchmen and instead have a rock that used to be a dinosaur that died when it swallowed a bone from a nuclear blast that occurred a million years previously.

Replace them with: Nothing! Shadow of the Colossus had 16 bosses, a little bonus interactive story, and nothing else. It was a huge empty landscape with some fruit trees, lizards, a temple and a bridge. And it was amazing. The lack of henchmen and other distractions likely made us adore the Colossi even more, if that were possible.

Replace them with: MORE BOSSES! The multiple Mega Man series' have always been some of my favorites. The levels are well designed, tricky to play through, and the bosses are always exciting to fight. Say though, they take away about 10% of the henchmen, hell, 25%, and use that development time to make even more bosses. Hell, Mega Man Bluexy will be a game entirely composed of robot bosses, and they'll each be so impeccably designed that you can make it into a fighting game as well.



I'm not saying that the above replacements are perfect, but it's difficult to argue that any game needs more henchmen than necessary. Most games would be just as enjoyable, if not moreso, without repetitive henchmen sequences at all. So please do me a favor current and future game developers, tone down the cronies, there's better alternatives. Well, you can keep midget henchmen, those are always a tall order of awesome (that pun hurt real bad).   read


9:31 PM on 10.22.2009

I Give Up: Demon's Souls



It's the latest game to take Destructoid's community by storm. Demon's Souls has captured the hearts of retro gamers and modern action gamers alike. Stuffed full of swords, sorcery, huge bad guys and their larger bosses, Demon's Souls is unrelenting. The game will grab you by a sensitive area and never let go. You'll die over and over, throw your controller against the wall in frustration, and then find yourself thinking about strategies during the night. Extraordinary settings, realistic (and deadly) combat, and some great innovation piled on top of a level of challenge you've never encountered before will keep you playing for hours on end.

Not me though. I give up.



My experience started like most others': Charging into a crowd swinging your sword/axe/dagger like a motherfucker. Then quickly realizing that kind of exuberant play just won't cut it in Demon's Souls. I switched to a shield bearing class and cautiously approached every corner and doorway as if Nosferatu, Megatron, and Jared from those goddamn Subway commercials was waiting for me. It was tedious, it was slow, and it was probably going to give me a heart attack if I drank anymore coffee. At that point I didn't know why I kept going.

Truthfully, I was considering just returning my rental as I walked in to the gateway leading to the first boss. I walked out with renewed hope. That big blob with all those bastard shield blobs protecting it? Ya I trounced on that son of a bitch. And wow did it feel good. Bloodstains covered the floor from other fallen players who likely caught a thrown spear as they tried to munch on some healing herbs. Me though, I ran circles around that guy, got him stuck behind a pillar and mowed through his little bodyguards. I even let the poor, doomed thing wander around after I'd finished the little guys off. Stalking him around the room made it all the sweeter.

The game began anew the second day. Each of the 5 new areas were patiently trekked through as I wrote each separate challenge to my memory. Another boss fell before me, but I wasn't the same. Or perhaps the problem was that it was the same. I pushed on and encountered another boss, and couldn't conquer it. Then another boss I couldn't beat, and another. My third day, now into the work week, was spent studying online. Searching through FAQs and walkthroughs I researched methods to destroy the bosses I had lost to before. Tonight I dined on demon soup.

I didn't play that night, or the next night either. I haven't put the disk back into my Playstation 3 in a week now, and I won't be likely be playing it again.

No, at some point after my research I actually stopped to think about my experience with Demon's Souls. I just wasn't having any fun. Certainly though, I felt compelled to continue, to defeat the all the challenges ahead of me. To take in the beauty behind the desolute and broken world. I find it akin to hiking a tall mountain. It's almost more enjoyable after the hike is done and you're with friends drinking a beer, reminiscing about what a pain in the ass hiking that mountain was.

So I weighed that in my head, and found that I didn't want gaming to become a hike, a marathon. I couldn't enjoy Demon's Souls despite what I might think about it when it was completed. That's no insult to Demon's Souls as a game, or those who do enjoy it though. It's akin to the movie Requiem for a Dream, which I think is a masterpiece. I'm still never going to watch it again because it's practically torture.

Do I have to give up my hardcore gamer card? I give up. :)

  read


11:06 PM on 10.21.2009

Review: Machinarium



When we hear the mention of "Adventure Games" most of us will daydream back to a better time. A time filled with islands full of monkeys, a time of tentacled days, a time where kings and police quested, sometimes in space. We'd slap on our leisure suit and hit the road, maniacs driving full throttle. But as the year 2000 passed our genre became grim, veiled in myst, the longest journey ahead. As adventure games died out we faced Hell (on Wheels), but there would come a time again. A time where new developers would set our beloved adventure genre FREE(lance Police).

Whoops! See, I went and got all nostalgic again. Adventure game fans will understand my feelings, though. We've come through a drought these past nine years, and though the genre has found some of its best games intermittently since 2000, it's only now that releases are gradually becoming more frequent. New iterations of Monkey island and Sam & Max have rekindled many gamers' passion for adventure games. Unfortunately, though, original intellectual properties are still few and far between.

Enter Machinarium, an independently developed adventure game starring a small silver robot stuck in a crumbling mechanical slum. The painstakingly detailed environments and endearing characters and story should be enough to persuade any gamer to purchase this game. If those words alone aren't impelling, read on for my full review and why Machinarium is important to all adventure game fans as well as to the genre.



The first area in Machinarium is symbolic of the entire game, and more which I'll reflect on later. A flying robotic garbage machine dumps a load of scrap metal into what can only be a graveyard of machinery and robotic compatriots. You've been thrown away. Of course, the reason why is several puzzles away, but, despite the lack of initiative, you put yourself together. You give a small robotic rodent a lost stuffed animal in return for your leg, then you fish your missing arm out of a pool of water with a magnet and some string. Thus begins your journey through the world of Machinarium; putting broken pieces back together again.

What will first amaze you is the beauty of the world, despite the wear and tear that shows on everything. Items in the foreground are appropriately blurred despite their obvious detail, and background are often covered in haze or fog, hinting at unexplored areas within the city. The perfect example is what must be the town center. A rusted fountain sits in the middle of a circle of broken tile. The greater circle is lined with lightbulbs, some broken, and should you touch the ones that are still whole they might break as well. Here, you'll spend time helping a broken robot in a wheelchair fix his ailing leg, though after you heal him he'll return to his wheelchair.

And therein lies the secondary beauty of Machinarium: the mood and atmosphere. The game is thick with despondency. It's only as you travel through the town that hope and light begins to fill some of the darker areas. You'll give batteries to a guard whose small friend has run out of energy; you'll fix broken musical instruments; you'll return a radio to a forlorn robot; and, perhaps most vividly, you'll travel to an arcade where none of the machines work and one is broken completely. Nearby is a bicycle machine which you'll have to use to repower the arcade cabinets. After you're done though, the arcade will return to a powerless state.

And this entire mood is reflected through the musical score. Most of the music is extremely haunting, but also serene. Crickets in the background will mix with the raspy tones of a needle scratching an old album. It's all very pure. While some faster, more jovial songs will leave both yourself and your little robot dancing, the majority of the soundtrack is very morose.

It's only your small silver robot that contradicts the dejection you'll feel. During his idle moments, he'll dream of what can only be his girlfriend robot. Each small dream will leave you with a smile. The sketchy black and white thought bubbles that are used as communication in Machinarium will show your robot's words and thoughts, ultimately creating a level empathy with the characters. Early on, you'll run into enemy robots in the city, and you'll be angry at how they treat you and the other town folk. Despite that, though, the little robot never seems to aim for revenge. Instead he pursues a greater resolution, an ending that will surprise you but is yet completely fitting and natural. I'd love to hear what other players have thought of the way Machinarium ended.

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The controls are extremely simple and intuitive: click to move, click to pick up an item, drag an item to where you want to use it, there you go. The only spin is the ability of your robot to stretch to be taller or shorter, which can occasionally trick you into ignoring an important item that would normally be out of your reach. In practice, it's much nicer not having all of the items at ground level. Each level ends up feeling more full as a result, though it also requires you to be more aware.

In regards to item finding and where each item belongs, the game does a wonderful job of giving in-game hints. There's a hint bubble for each stage that will more often than not guide you in the correct direction. I'd recommend avoiding the hint bubble until you've no other recourse though, as they often spoil the solution. Beyond that there's a walkthrough book that will give you a detailed account of every step required for the area. The book asks you to play an annoying little game before it grants you access to the walkthrough, but it seems appropriate for giving away the game's secrets.

Beyond the standard of finding an item, then taking it where it will be used, Machinarium adds in some truly challenging puzzles. Nothing that should make you pull your hair out, but I found myself with a pad of paper and a pencil, attempting to organize my thoughts more appropriately, quite a few times. There's a particularly annoying board game where you have to get five stones in a row that will frustrate you initially. Damn robots are built for those kinds of fucking games!



What I've really wanted to touch on, though, is Machinarium's importance to the adventure genre. Being an adventure game nerd makes this little segue unintentionally snooty, but I think it's appropriate. I mentioned how the initial area of Machinarium is symbollic in more ways than one. Beyond that game, I think that scene represents Machinarium's role in the bigger gaming picture. A small robot in a graveyard of other robots, piecing himself together in pursuit of something important, something more. It's no stretch to say that most independent games, as well as most new IP adventure games, wind up in a junkyard. Machinarium itself seems to have been released with one foot in the grave, working with a scant $1000 marketing budget.

This game is different, though. Beneath its independent exterior and small budget, there's some high level productions values that went into this game. Not only is it worth the asking price, it's worth more on potential. Potential for these new developers, and potential for a budding new adventure game generation. While Monkey Island and Sam & Max are great games, I hold no faith in the executives behind the projects. They will not try and further the genre through their own games, let alone fund new adventure game IPs. Machinarium is deserving of your support on multiple levels.



Let me reign this in a little bit. I'm making a pitch to support this game on more than what the game is, but let me be clear. This is a great game. It's beautiful beyond what a 2D adventure game that was made in Flash should be. It's challenging, but not to the point of being exclusionary. And you'll have fun the entire way through it. Best of all, when you're done, you'll remember the game. And hopefully, 10 years from now you'll think back and smile.

Machinarium - 9/10 - BUY IT

  read


6:05 PM on 09.28.2009

Review: Katamari Forever



We've all played a Katamari game by now, because if you haven't played Katamari you're not a real person. So deeply and disgustingly ashamed of not having played a Katamari game you'd be more akin to a heartless monster hidden deep within a mountain, never to see the sun again. Luckily we don't have any such monsters around Destructoid!

BUT, if any of those monsters somehow wandered out of their filthy caves though, today is their lucky day. They can go out and buy Katamari Forever, the first iteration of the franchise to be released on the Playstation 3, the most monstrous of consoles coincidentally. The game will undoubtedly melt anyone's heart and fill it so full of love juices that they'll be forced to run naked in the streets exclaiming their joy and passion for everything, forever. Hell, that's probably how they got the tag-line “Forever” in the first place!

So if you've got an interest in what's new with The Prince and the King of All Cosmos, keep on scrolling, and you'll find my review of Katamari Forever.



Katamari is what it is, and it's never going to change in that respect. The original Katamari Damacy was intended to be the only Katamari, and though the lure of cash monies eventually won out, the sequels are all but clones. Spice up the graphics, create a bunch of new maps, add a new story, throw in some unlockable costumes and playable characters. You've got a Katamari sequel. Just like your favorite dessert though, it may look the same, it may taste the same, but it's still absolutely delicious.

While Microsoft called dibs on the first high definition Katamari (Beautiful Katamari), the series has never looked better than now. In stunning 1080p every cell-shaded detail shines magnificently. I spent the first fifteen minutes of gameplay sitting entirely too close to the television so I could pick up every little detail. After those fifteen minutes though, I came to the realization that the high definition graphics didn't really enhance my experience. If Katamari Forever was built on the graphics engine of it's PS2 ancestors, this game would suffer no ill consequence. It might even be true that it's lost some of that classic charm.

Should it be important to you that you see vividly all you roll up with your Katamari, the precision detail will help you out. King Cosmos' package has never bulged quite so... adjective (insert your own mad lib!). But those with Katamari experience know that it isn't what you roll up, it's how fast you do it! So beyond that one bullshit level where you have to amass a certain degree of temperature without picking up cold items, the graphics aren't pertinent to the gameplay. You'll still have no idea where the damn cousins and presents are until you roll them up accidentally.

And the gameplay, I'm happy to state, is still just as clumsy and fun as always. Push two sticks forward to roll, and if you want to turn, too bad. I'm kidding of course, advanced Katamari rollers will quickly recall the intricacies of turning your clod on a dime. A double stick click will turn your Katamari 180 degrees, and the alternating stick waggle sets up a dash move. New to Katamari Forever is the Prince Hop, where a quick snap of the controller upwards will have The Prince leaping through the air. Sadly, I could never get the damn thing to work consistently, especially when I needed it. I learned after I finished the game that you can also click a shoulder button to use the skill. Damnit.



The point of Katamari is still to roll up as much of the world as possible. The scope of the levels will increase dramatically as you get closer to the end, with a few surprises mixed in the bunch. From creating a snow man, to demolishing a giant robot, Katamari will keep things different enough so as to avoid repetitiveness. My favorite is still force feeding the sumo wrestler until he can defeat the much larger yokozuna. This is possibly a result of my unending battle with bulimia (JOKES). New to each map is a “King Shock” item, which will create a vortex that sucks in all edible items from the area around your clod.

After beating the game the first time, you'll begin anew in Katamari Dash mode, where your Katamari will roll exceptionally fast, and the time limit will reflect that. As you beat each level in Dash mode you'll unlock Forever mode on that map, and after that Classic mode. Forever is much as it seems, allowing you to explore a map at your leisure, while Classic returns you to the games roots and takes away the Prince Hop ability, and the King Shock items.

All of the missions you'll roll through are at the beckon of the King of All Cosmos, and new-to-scene RoboKing. This new robot tyrant is built to replace the King, who is deep asleep after a blow to the head. And thus, you are bounced between the real King's levels, which are memories from previous games, and RoboKing's levels to replace all of the stars in the sky. As you proceed through the game, you'll unlock movies that push the “plot” along. As usual, the plot is a lot of fun, but it's not as “wtf” as the first game (“Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!”), and it's not as back-story rich as the second game. How can you deny a giant robot King Cosmos though? You can't.

Even with the robot King, the odd shaped cousins, the mushrooms and red pandas, the true beauty of Katamari has always been the music. Katamari Forever's soundtrack consists of remixes of past Katamari songs. While initially that might be disappointing, you'll be happy to know that all of the remixes are excellent. If you want to know more about the OST, head over to Japanator and read Zac Bentz official recommendation: Japanator Recommends: Katamari Forever OST.

[embed]150300:23075[/embed]

Even though Katamari Forever turns out to be a generally solid incarnation of the franchise, you still have to sit back and ask yourself if this game adds anything the the series. Katamari Forever takes no risks whatsoever, and it isn't until you hear the Japanese title of the game that you realize the real point of this game. In Japan, Katamari Forever is titles Katamari Tribute. A game created for the nostalgic feelings that most of us share for the previous games. With the lack of new content I have to ask: are the game's producers are paying tribute to the game and it's players, or are theye asking you, the consumers, to pay tribute to them?

Either way, Katamari Forever is what it is. If you've never played a Katamari game before this iteration will blow your mind. You should purchase it and have a gaming experience unlike anything you've had before. The rest of us, the Katamari followers, have the tougher choice of whether to pay for more of the same. Should we hope our dedication to the franchise will be rewarded? I hope so, because with each “tribute” I play my enthusiasm is dwindling.

  read


3:24 PM on 09.21.2009

The Forgotten: Knights of the Old Republic



An instant message pops up from a close friend, “hey rory. looking at vidcards and wanted to know your brand name preference. ati vs nvidia?”

It's not the question that surprises me, but my reply.

“[Persuade] Nvidia has always been reliable for me, and there's some amazing deals showing up for cards in the 200 series. What's your price range?”

Hey wait a second, did I really just write that first bit? Either my skill in “Persuade” combined with my charisma modifier has afforded me new conversation options with this friend, or I've been playing too much Knights of the Old Republic.

In his next message there is no [Success] or [Failure] notation, and he either ignores or never notices my odd addition. Perhaps he's never played the classic Bioware game, or perhaps he's merely forgotten. I would remind him, but Bastila is waiting for me inside the Jedi Enclave.





Certainly Knights of the Old Republic hasn't faded into the past like so many '90s-or-earlier games, but there are different ways to be forgotten. Diminished by the lower quality Knights of the Old Republic 2; overshadowed by the more popular Mass Effect; and retooled into the upcoming high-profile MMO The Old Republic, Knights has gently fallen into the esteemed group of, “Bioware's Classics.” Not so bad of a resting place, but I'm not willing to let it go quietly into the the night just yet, and neither should you.

One of the progenitors of the now overly used moral choice system, Knights turned your everyday conversations into an inner battle between the light and dark sides of The Force. A system perfectly fitted for the setting of Star Wars, where every character is either good, evil, or still trying to decide where they belong.

Perhaps the inherent flaw in many modern moral choice systems is the distinction between good and evil. Yes, good certainly saves lives where evil would kill or destroy, but is there any meaning or background to either side? In Knights, and Star Wars beyond, you've got a history of Jedi protecting justice and peace, and the Sith opposing that, constantly searching for power and the means to control. Each side has meaning beyond the simple choices you've made in your conversations, and the people you've saved or killed. It's something Mass Effect or Prototype or any of the others haven't fully grasped yet, and something Knights thrives on.

The conversations you'll have throughout Knights aren't solely a means of measuring your morality though. Every character you encounter can reveal details about your surroundings, other characters, and important events, but only if you ask them the right questions. The rich background of every world you travel to can keep you engrossed for hours without even encountering combat. The stories your party members will tell are much deeper than the casual NPCs, though they'll require you prod them for information as you proceed through the main storyline. Moments such as the Twi'lek party member berating our Wookie friend for the disgusting smell of his breath will fill those empty times running around town.

It all comes together for an engaging, deep story line, which Bioware takes much pride in. CEO of Bioware Ray Muzyka states there are “key pillars” to every role-playing game. The fact that story is one of those pillars, and that Bioware will afford as much attention to plot and conflict as to combat is distinct among games. It's a sign of maturity and respect for the audience that you won't find often, despite it's selling power.

So when you pick up Dragon Age: Origins this fall, or Mass Effect 2 next spring. When you're reading up on any new information for Star Wars: The Old Republic, make sure to remember the game that came before. Pour one out for Knights of the Old Republic, which doesn't get mentioned in “Greatest game ever!” lists, but considering all these gems that have been made in Knight's vein, it should be. Hell, in fact:

[Persuade] Go buy Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic off of Steam RIGHT NOW for only $9.99. You really should own it.

[Lie] Plus it will make your sex life ten times better.

...

[Success!]

  read


9:06 PM on 06.24.2009

EA merges Mythic & BioWare - WTF?



Mythic: Developers of Dark Age of Camelot, and currently running the reasonable big MMO Warhammer Online.

BioWare: Developers of Baldur's Gate, MDK2, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Dragon Age. Currently making one of the most anticipated games of 2010, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

NOW THEY ARE ONE (kinda)! Yes, EA has decided to merge Mythic and BioWare into a new powerhouse MMO/RPG group. In what is supposedly a restructuring of MMO/RPG developers within EA, the Co-Owner of BioWare Ray Muzyka will take over as Group General Manager, while Mythic's co-founder and General Manager, Mark Jacobs, is... GONE. Yes, his last day is yesterday. Someone dropped the ball on spoiling that bit of information.

I can't say for sure, but it doesn't look like either of the companies will go through any excessive changes. There will just be a number of management changes, a new name for the division, and hopefully a little more organization between developers as a result.

Does this seem absolutely insane to anyone else? Think Marc Jacobs got the axe for Warhammer being underwhelming? I sure hope this doesn't mess up the release schedule of anything...

Source: Warhammer news   read


12:06 AM on 03.17.2009

Happy Birthday Destructoid - PAINT



I just wanted to say happy birthday to Destructoid in my own special way. I was jealous of everyone's fancy alphabet pictures and wanted to add something own my own. What's this that I found? PAINT PAINT PAINT PAINT. I invite everyone to paint something incredible for Destructoid and post it in the comments. As you can see, I set the bar pretty high... *cough* BRING ON THE PAINT.


BEEDOG


CHAD :D


HAMSA


JIM


NIERO


FRONZ


CHESTER


ANTHONY

PAINT PAINT PAINT. As underwhelming as my paint-ings are, Destructoid holds a special place in my heart. AS well as a special place in my pants. Here's for another three more years! To all my fellow community members: <3 Thanks for keeping Destructoid fucking awesome.   read


1:40 AM on 02.24.2009

Singularity Trailer [Gametrailers]

[embed]122642:17733[/embed]

The Unreal Engine 3 can create some damn amazing effects, so when you hear that Raven Software, the creators of HeXen, Soldier of Fortune, and the 2009 release of Wolfenstein, is using the engine for their new game Singularity... you can expect a high quality game.

Take up your Time Manipulation Device, conveniently attached to your left arm, and unravel the mysteries of, "Katorga-6," where the Russians have left some of their old toys and you have to prevent the next Chernobyl. As if nuclear fucking bombs wasn't enough though, you'll be sent back in time to fight the communists in their prime, and then sent to the future where you'll fight what must be the next step on the communist evolutionary chain, monster aliens. And behind it all a mysterious substance called, "Element 99," an energy source Stalin discovered and then quarantined.

This game looks mind blowing, to say the least. Does it have the depth to be memorable though? We'll have to wait until fall to find out.   read


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