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My name is Eric. I'm 33.
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The Buy it/Avoid it Report - back issues
#001 - Ilomilo, Uncharted 2, Infinity Blade, Pac-Man CE DX, Battlefield BC2: Vietnam, PixelJunk Shooter
#002 - Batman: Brave & Bold, DJ Hero 2, Dead Space 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Bulletstorm
#003 - Pokemon Black/White, PixelJunk Shooter 2, Monster Tale, God of War III, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Torchlight
#004 - Portal 2, Steel Diver, Sin & Punishment Star Successor, Pilotwings Resort, Crysis 2, Blocks That Matter
#005 - L.A. Noire, Alice Madness Returns, Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D, Shadows of the Damned
#006 - GoldenEye 007, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, AC: Brotherhood, Sword & Sworcery EP, Trenched
#007 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jetpack Joyride, Gears of War 3, The Binding of Isaac, Renegade Ops
#008 - Dark Souls, League of Evil, Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Super Mario 3D Land
#009 - The Buy it/Avoid it Report's Awards - 2011
#010 - Spelunky, Max Payne 3, Trials Evolution, Mario Kart 7, Escape Goat
#011 - Super Hexagon, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mark of the Ninja

The Play it/Avoid it Report - back issues
#001 - Bioshock Infinite, Darksiders II, Dead Space 3, Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider
#002 - Dishonored, DKC: Tropical Freeze, Grand Theft Auto V, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Rogue Legacy
#003 - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Mario Kart 8, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Sunset Overdrive

Secret Moon Base - episodes
Subscribe on iTunes - a podcast about video games and other stuff with my pals knutaf and Occam

Spelunky HD - blogs
Mega Guide - part one
Mega Guide - part two

The Binding of Isaac - blogs
Blood, Shit and Tears - a love letter
Instruction Manual - w/ tips and tricks for beginners

Social Network(s) - ugh
Twitter - @corduroyturtle
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The concept of difficulty is likely different for everyone. Personally, I want to feel a real sense of accomplishment when I beat a game. I thirst for near-impossible challenges and I certainly don't appreciate having my hand held. I want to feel like I've really earned it; like I've suffered. I've beaten the original NES Ninja Gaiden without dying. I've battled my way through Hell in Spelunky and defeated King Yama multiple times. I made Super Meat Boy my bitch. Though I know skill is a factor, I think the fact that I'm just really goddamn stubborn helps a lot too. Once I set my sights on something, I can accomplish just about anything. Eventually.

The latest challenge I set for myself seemed simple enough: Unlock all of the items in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. For those who are unfamiliar with the game, the items Isaac comes across are selected randomly from a pool of 'unlocked' items. Some are unlocked by beating the game a certain number of times or completing specific challenges. Others require the late-game bosses to be beaten with each individual character. This is something I did in the original The Binding of Isaac and I was looking forward to doing it again. Sure, it was bound to be difficult, but I absolutely had to see everything this big, beautiful game had to offer. No excuses.

What I didn't know at the time was there was a super-secret playable character hidden in Rebirth that required a series of obscure deaths in a specific order to unlock. Luckily, you can use Seeds for the first three steps, which is beyond helpful. This is something that was buried deep within the game; something that creator Ed McMillen hoped would take months, if not years, of piecing together clues to discover. Unfortunately for him, a few savvy gamers peered into the code of the game and figured it out in less than a week. Welp, that's the world we live in.

This character, known as 'The Lost', is a ghost. He can fly right off the bat and his stats are all pretty normal except for one tiny, little detail -  he has absolutely no health. This means that not only does he die in one hit, but a bunch of the items in the game have no effect on him or will kill him if you try to use them. As you can imagine, the idea of beating the game multiple times with a character who can die from something as small as a fly was not only daunting, it was terrifying.

Long story short, I did it. It wasn't easy, it wasn't fun and to be completely honest, I don't recommend it! But if you're like me and you just have to do it, I guess I have some tips for you. These by no means will guarantee your success but hopefully they'll shed a little light on the long, depressing road that lies ahead of you.

1) Do everything else first

There's a ton of stuff to do in Rebirth, and almost none of it requires playing as The Lost, so focus on all of that first. Seriously. Enjoy the game. Beat the Cathedral and Sheol paths with every other character on Hard. Complete all of the challenges. Fully upgrade the shop by plopping 999 coins into the donation machine. Unlock every possible thing you can before doing this. Not only will it allow you to get comfortable with the game, but you're going to want every possible item in the mix if/when you decide to tackle this nightmare.

2) The Lost does have some advantages

Wait, The Lost isn't a total piece of shit? Well, sort of. As I mentioned earlier, he can fly, which is a huge help. This allows you to grab any items you can see on-screen without worrying about spikes, pits or rocks that would normally block your path. You're going to want every bomb, key and chest you can get your hands on so this is huge. You also won't have to worry about the damaging effects of "creep", which is the poison trail that some enemies leave in their path. This also means that you can "hide" from certain enemies and attacks by hovering over rocks. This tactic is absolutely necessary for survival but just keep in mind that there are enemies that can also fly, and there are plenty of attacks that are unaffected by rocks, so you're by no means invinsible.

A somewhat pleasant side effect of having no health is it grants The Lost free admittance to all Challenge Rooms. Though they can be a huge risk, Challenge Rooms can have free items inside which are always nice. Plus, if you're carring a card or pill that allows you to teleport, you can grab the free stuff and immediate get the fuck out of there without having to survive the impending battle.

However, the biggest advantage The Lost has over the other characters is that he gets free Deals with the Devil. Devil Rooms will sometimes open up after boss fights and usually you have to sacrifice precious health to gain the items inside. But since The Lost literally has no health, everything is free! There are some really great Devil-exclusive items so grab what you can. Damage ups are a definite. Items that cause fear are also nice. Just be careful and remember that not all Devil items are helpful. The Razor Blade actually hurts you when activated, which will obviously kill you before you can enjoy the increaed damage. The Dark Bum, who is normally a welcome addition to any run since he can spawn soul hearts, offers no help to The Lost. In fact, since there's a chance he could spawn a enemy spider instead, he's actually a huge liability. Trust me.

3) Play on Hard at all times

Here's the thing, most of The Lost's items can be unlocked by beating the various end-game bosses on Normal. BUT, if you truly want to unlock every item in the game, you need to realize that one of those items is called Godhead and it requires that you beat all end-game bosses with all playable characters... on Hard. Since you definitely won't want to play as The Lost any more than you have to (trust me), you might as well knock out Hard mode right from the start. It's not as bad as you think. Playing as The Lost is already hard as fuck so you probably won't notice anyway.

4) Be wary of champion enemies

Since you'll presumably be playing on Hard, champion enemies will be more common. More often than not, these guys will have more health, as well as added quirk that can really be a pain in certain situations. Dark teal enemies will explode upon death, but light blue ones release an 8-way tear shot when killed. These two version have killed me countless times so it's good to keep your eye out for them so you can act accordingly.

5) Abuse the donation machine

If you followed my earlier tip of donating 999 coins to the Donation Machine, you can thank me now. Not only do fully upgraded shops offer more items to choose from, but certain extremely helpful items will only spawn in fully upgraded shops. Also, you can use the Donation Machine as an ATM when you're low on cash, as long as you have the bombs necesssary to make a withdrawl. I used this tactic so often that my savings went from 999 coins down to a measly 22 cents by the time I finally completed my Lost playthroughs. Not going to lie, I was scared. Anyway, here are a few shop-exclusive items that can help you out big time.

Black Candle - A passive item that prevents/removes curses for the rest of that run. Some curses cast darkness over entire levels, hide the map, or even disguise items as question marks until you pick them up. Since these happen randomly and are always a pain in the butt, the opportunity to avoid them completely is lovely.

The Candle, Red Candle - These are space bar items that can do massive damage if your aim is true. They also recharge every few seconds which means you can use them multiple times per room. They absolutely chew through bosses.

Stop Watch - A passive item that slows down all enemies in every single room. Need I say more? This obviously gives you more time to react to certain attacks but also slows down and shortens the range of enemy projectiles. It's somewhat rare but one of the best items in the game. There's also a Broken Watch item that sometimes grants the same effect, but also has the chance of actually speeding up the enemies in a room. Yikes. Maybe think twice before picking that one up.

Blank Card - A space bar item that mimics the effect of any card or rune you are currently holding. Though I wouldn't recommend this 100% of the time, it can be amazingly powerful under certain conditions. For example, if you're holding the Chaos Card, you now weild a throwable projectile that can kill any boss/enemy in the game immediately, and it recharges every 4 rooms! Insane.

There's Options - This item will let you choose from two items after defeating a boss, instead of being stuck with one. This is sort of a big deal when you consider that a lot of items offered after defeating a boss are just simple health upgrades, which do nothing for The Lost. It's nice to have options.

6) Guppy items are your friend

Collecting any combination of three Guppy items will cause you to transform into Guppy himself, which makes you super powerful. As Guppy, you spawn tons of blue flies as you do damage. Not only will blue flies follow you from room to room and kill enemies for you, but their damage scales to your current power level. As you get stronger, so do they. No matter who I'm playing as, I'm always fantasizing about transforming into Guppy. It's awesome.

Dead Cat, Guppy's Collar - Extra lives! These are basically necessities when playing as The Lost. No matter how powerful or prepared you are, certain rooms or difficult bosses will take you by surprise and all it takes is one small mistake to ruin a promising run and send you back to the main menu with nothing. You'll want the insurance of a few extra lives to save your ass in a crisis.

Guppy's Head - A space bar item that spawns 2-4 blue flies per room. It's far from being the best space bar item but if you have nothing else in that slot, it's certainly nice to have. An important sidenote is that it counts as one of the three Guppy items needed for the transformation regardless if you keep it on you or not. Just picking it up once is good enough. Nice.

Guppy's Tail - Drastically increases the number of red chests you come across, thus greatly improving your chances of seeing other Guppy-related items. The Left Hand trinket does sort of the same thing. Red chests can be risky, since the can also have troll bombs or spiders inside but that's just a risk you have to take. Be prepare for anything to jump out!

Guppy's Hairball - Arguable the least attractive of all the Guppy items. This lump of wet hair gets flung around your body and can damage enemies, growing in size with each kill. It's more of a distraction than anything, in my opinion but it's not totally useless. It can also sort of block projectiles sometimes.

Guppy's Paw - Nope, I was wrong. This one is almost totally worthless. For a character with health, Guppy's Paw can turn 1 red heart into 3 soul hearts. Pretty cool. For the Lost, it just gets him one step closer to the Guppy transformation which I guess is just fine. Remember, just like Guppy's Head, you don't have to carry this around forever. Just pick it up and put it right back down if you want to.

7) These can make your life a lot easier

Not all items in Rebirth are created equal. In fact, some are stupid good, especially when playing as The Lost. Besides the aforementioned Dead Cat which grants you with 9 precious lives, here are a few items that can really take a run from 'ok' to 'OMG this could be the one'.

Brimstone - This item turns your tears into a full-screen beam that can clear entire rooms in less than a second. Sure, it needs to be charged fully before it can be shot, but you can negate that a bit by charging it before you enter a room. Plus, it passes through all obstructions which means you can just point and shoot without worrying if things like rocks are in your way. Combine this with Spoon Bender (homing tears) and, holy lord, you don't even know.

Daddy Longlegs + Gnawed Leaf - Yeah, I know I said "single-handedly" earlier but if you're lucky enough to stumble upon this combo, you've won the lottery. Daddy Longlegs is really good on his own since he seeks out enemies for you and stomps the shit out of them. But combine that with the protection of Gnawed Leaf, an item that makes you invulnerable as long as you don't move, and you can basically clear rooms by doing nothing at all. I'm going to be honest with you, I've never actually gotten this combo myself, but I've read about it and I'm jealous.

Holy Mantle - This passive item negates one hit per room. It doesn't seem like a lot but when that's all it takes to end a run as The Lost, it's a really big deal. I can't tell you how many times I've been hit by a boss mere seconds before I could deliver the final blow. It's heartbreaking. If you come across the Holy Mantle, thank your lucky stars.

Mom's Knife - The ultimate killing machine. On it's own, it's already a force to be reckoned with, but when you combine it with damage upgrades (like Polyphemus) it has no equal. It absolutely obliterates bosses and can make your life a whole lot easier. It also has the added advantage of doing damage to anything it touches without having to be shot. Obviously you don't want enemies to get that close to you, but if they do, all you gotta do is carefully poke them to death.

Trinity Shield - This item protects you from enemy shots in whatever direction you aim it. It makes certain boss battles, like Mom's Heart, a lot less stressful. In all my hours of play, I've only seen it pop up twice, so don't hold your breath for this one.

8) Please don't pick these items up

This feels like it should go without saying but, y'know, I'm gonna say it anyway. Certain items are what I call "run killers". Others, while not necessarily the worst thing in the world, will definitely hurt you more than help. To clarify, it's okay (recommended, actually) to pick up any and all space bar items you come across since it will remove them from the pool of items that can show up later. Plus, these can be dropped when you come along something better. What I'm referring to here are passive items which have a permanent effect on your character after being picked up.

To do this properly, you're going to need to know what every item looks like, whether they are passive or not, and what their effects are. It's not easy. I've played these games for hundreds of hours and I still get Ipecac (explosive shots) and Chemical Peel (damage increase) confused from time to time. Here are some that I learned through painful trial and error to avoid completely when playing as The Lost.

Ankh, Judas' Shadow, Lazarus' Rags - These items cause you to transform into another character upon death, which is bad. For example, if you die and respawn as Lazarus, then go on to complete the game, you obviously won't get credit for beating it as The Lost. Also, don't quote me on this, but I think they can even take priority over the 9-lives item, meaning you would transform into another character and be stuck as them before you start dipping into your extra lives. Bad news. Basically, they offer absolutely no advantage to The Lost so don't pick them up!

Ipecac, Fire Mind, Dr. Fetus, Bob's Brain - These are items that change your tears into explosives, or in the case of Fire Mind, cause random explosions. Explosions are powerful but incredibly dangerous. Seeing as how the game is already hard enough when playing as The Lost, why add the constant threat of blowing yourself up? Take my advice and ignore these items. The ONLY situation in which it might be okay to pick one of these up is if you luck out and pick up Pyromaniac beforehand, which makes you immune to explosive damage. Even still, explosions push your character around and could possibly push you into something that could hurt you so....just don't pick them up.

Eve's Mascara, Ludovico Technique, Number One, Soy Milk, Strange Attractor, Tiny Planet - Maybe I shouldn't be lumping these tear modifiers all together but they've all single-handedly ruined decent runs for me in the past. The problem with these items is the disadvantages outweigh any advantages they might offer. Eve's Mascara for example increases damage, but slows down your tears so much that it's hard to hit anything. Same with Ludovico Technique, which gives you one massive tear that you can steer around on it's own, but very slowly. Tiny Planet is just a total disaster of an item, and Strange Attractor actually makes your tears magnetic, which is terrifying. Maybe you don't hate these as much as I do but you have been warned. Pick these up at your own risk.

Bucket of Lard, Tarus - These items reduce your movement speed. Not a great idea since you want to be able to dodge attacks as quickly as possible. Even though Tarus can grant you a few seconds of invinsibility after a certain amount of time, it's just not worth the overall decrease in speed.

Leo, Thunder Thighs - These items grant you the ability to crush rocks, pots and mushrooms that you come in contact with. Usually, this is a really handy, but as The Lost, this actualy removes the ability to hide within those items to avoid damage. On top of that, bomb rocks and some mushrooms can actually cause immediate damage, which will end your run. Not smart.

Guillotine, Isaac's Heart - To be completely honest, I avoid these items no matter who I'm playing as. The Guillotine causes your characters head to float around their body, which can make it hard to aim your tears accurately, and also makes it sort of difficult to keep track of where your body is exactly. It's weird. Isaac's Heart makes your character immune to damage (cool...?) but forces you to protect a heart familiar that follows you around. Anything that touches the heart will do damage to you, which will kill The Lost immediately. Definitely not cool.

9) Take your time

This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you, besides #10 I suppose. There is no reason to rush so make sure you're taking your time when you play as The Lost. Be patient. Wait for openings. Don't just bum rush everything and hope for the best. I had plenty of promising runs get cut short because I stopped paying attention to the little things and got careless. If you're going to do this thing, you need to be focused the whole time.

10) Don't die

Hahaha, yeah, that's not going to happen. You're going to die A LOT. Over and over. It'll feel like there's no hope. Just keep in mind that all it takes is one good run. Well, two if you want to get technical about it. No matter how badly you just did or how close you got, victory could be just around the corner. I had no idea when I picked up Sagittarius (piercing tears) in the first floor of the basement, after hundreds of attempts, that I would be claiming victory in the Dark Room less than an hour later. You really never know. Maybe this collection of tips will help you capture the ellusive Godhead item and you too can feel the immense sense of relief wash over you as you realize you'll never have to play as The Lost ever again...

 

...until Afterbirth comes out, that is. Fuck.









What's going on, Destructoid Cbloggers? Are you getting tired of me resurrecting this feature once a year? Tough shit! I played a few games that I want to talk about and I am going to use this platform to do so. If you've never seen this series before, check out the bottom of my sidebar for a list of past issues.

So I took the plunge and bought an Xbox One over the holiday season. Couldn't pass up a deal that came with an extra controller and year of Xbox Live for $350. Overall, I like it a lot more than I thought I would. Besides better graphics and all that jazz, some of the new features are really appealing. Being able to stream directly from the console is super cool, and being able to 'snap' stuff like achievements to the side is really handy. I love how quickly the system loads up, and the fact that it remembers exactly where I was in game when I powered down last. Also, did you know that every achievement you earn is basically a free wallpaper? Pretty slick.

Okay, enough of that. On to the good stuff. Here's what I've been playing lately.

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It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows me on Twitter or listens to my podcast, Secret Moon Base, but I friggin' love†The Binding of Isaac†like no other. I logged over 500 hours into the original and absolutely could not wait to get my hands on this sequel/remake. It's the sort of thing that I never ever thought would happen but I'm so very pleased to see it become a reality. The original game was brilliant in a lot of ways, but was sadly plagued with a shit-ass framerate and a somewhat rushed, hand-drawn†art style. Thankfully, both of those things are much improved in†Rebirth. I've heard of some slight issues on Vita, but as far as the Mac/PC version is concerned, the framerate is solid as Iraq. The new pixelated art style seems to be a point of contention for a lot of people, but you'll hear no such complaints from me.

As I mentioned above, this game sits somewhere between 'sequel' and 'remake'. Every item, enemy, character and boss is back, although a lot of them have been shifted around and altered. Some notoriously shitty items (like Lemon Mishap) are less shitty now, and others have been changed from trinkets to passive items, or from pick ups to trinkets, etc. For instance, you no longer have to sacrifice your trinket spot for the Polaroid (woo!) and the fucking Wiggle Worm is a trinket now rather than a permanent passive (thank god). Also, you can drop unwanted trinkets, pills and cards now! Am I dreaming? Another huge change is the store, which can be upgraded via the donation machine in the back. This is one of the few things that carries over to each run, and since some of the new unlockable shop items are absolutely fantastic, you'll want to get on this sooner than later.

One thing I'm not in love with, however, is the new soundtrack. For reasons I do not know, the entire original Danny B score was scrapped in favor of a more ambient one by Ridiculon. Now, it's not the worst thing in the world†but, overall, it's just too low-key and uninteresting in comparison. But I won't let that drag me down. This game is too fucking fun to get caught up on inconsequential shit like that. You want to hear something crazy? There's already an expansion in the works which promises to include even†more†items, enemies, bosses, challenges, playable characters and stages. Whew, that's a relief because if this game was in need of anything, it's more content. Jesus H. Christ.

Play it†if you enjoy totally normal activities like finding money in poop and crying on stuff to death.

Avoid it†if you prefer to spend your free time laughing and†interacting with friends and loved ones in this miracle we call life.

Let's be honest. You already know if you like†Mario Kart†or not. It's one of the few game series that's been around long enough and sustained a decent level of popularity throughout the years that, even if you aren't a fan, you've played it. Don't lie. You've accidentally hit a banana peel and watched in horror as numerous members of the Mushroom Kingdom laugh in your face as they zoom past you. You've enjoyed the warm comfort†first place for nearly three laps only to get demolished by the blue shell mere inches from the finish line. You've hit yourself with a green shell. We've all been there. When it comes to†Mario Kart, what separates the lovers from the haters is the ability to roll with the punches (or fireballs or whatever). You have to accept that you will get horribly fucked over at some point, but know that you will have the opportunity to crush someone else's dreams in the near future. It's the constant ebb and flow of emotion that makes†Mario Kart†"fun". You are never safe.

So anyway, there's a new†Mario Kart†for Wii U and it is exactly what you'd expect: amazing. Or terrible, depending on your feelings towards the series. There are 32 unique tracks. Some brand new, others returning favorites that have been tweaked or improved. There are a couple new items, like the boomerang and fire flower. The biggest change to†MK8†are the addition of anti-gravity sections. Some tracks will twist upside down or let you ride on the walls. Strangely enough, it's integrated in such a way that feels totally natural. One second you'll be underwater, then pop out on dry land, bust a hard left and take an anti-grav shortcut, then blast off a huge ramp and glide down to the track. It's incredibly satisfying, not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. This†is easy one of the most visually pleasing games I have ever played, no joke. The replay feature even lets you slow down the action so you can cower in fear as Luigi stares into the depths of your soul as he overtakes your position.

I went ahead and snagged the DLC bundle too, which is split into two separate paks. Both come with three extra characters, 8 tracks and a few new vehicles to customize. Some of these DLC tracks expand beyond the confines of the Mario universe and let you race around in other classic Nintendo worlds, such as F-Zero, The Legend of Zelda and Excitebike. All in all, I was very impressed. And since it was priced so reasonably (the bundle is only $11.99), I basically had no choice. I mean, did you friggin' see the Epona motorcycle? I'm not ashamed to admit that the screenshots alone aroused me sexually. If I were to have a single complaint, it would be that the character selection is seriously lacking in the obscure goon department. Where is Dry Bones? Petey Piranha? King Boo? Does anyone seriously use Toadette??

Play it†if you just can't get enough of this crazy, genre-defying series.

Avoid it†if you have definitely had enough of this stupid, dumb-ass series.

Pssst. Hey you, gamer. Over here. Do you like stabbing things in the body, neck and face? Well, I have some very†very†good news for you.†Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor†lets you stab an infinite hoard of filthy orcs in the body, neck and face non-stop for around 15-20 hours. How does that sound? "Can I decapitate them in slow motion?" Fuck yes you can. Bathe in steaming hot Orc blood as the recently emancipated heads of your victims fly gracefully through the air. "But sometimes I like to shoot arrows at them, too," you say. Fret not! Draw your bow and fire a barrage of arrows into the chest cavities and eye sockets of disgusting Orc warchiefs to your heart's content. They practically beg for it! "But sometimes I like to peacefully wander the countryside and pick flowers and stuff." Hmm, okay... I guess you can do that too, if you want. There is a variety of plant life that you can, err, harvest vigorously. Uhh...look out, plants! No one likes you!

Full disclosure: I'm the gamer in that scenario. I love silly, over-the-top violence, but I also appreciate having something to do that's not brutally murdering life-forms.†Shadow of Mordor†scratches both itches. After some tutortial nonsense, the game basically just drops you into a huge section of Mordor and lets you do what you want. There is a story, sure. Something about revenge, I guess. I found it completely uninteresting, but if you're into†The Lord of the Rings†you'd probably dig it. The naked goblin dude is in there for a bit and says "my precious" a lot. You guys are into that shit, right? There's also a ghost elf that pops out of your body from time to time who tells you where to go, which is helpful. I was too busy slaughtering Orc warchiefs to care, though I fear I may have gone a little overboard.

The big thing in Shadow of Mordor that everyone likes to bring up is the Nemesis system. Though I won't go so far as to call it revolutionary, it was pretty fucking cool. I sort of got addicted to discovering their fears and weakness by interrogating lower thugs and, later in the game, sending them death threats to increase their power and get better rune drops. I do have a bit of advice, though - don't do what I did and nearly max all of your skills before moving on to the second area. There are certain skills unlocked by playing story missions that are really interesting and change up even basic encounters in a major way. Some even involve *gasp*†not†indescriminately killing everything that crosses your path. I know, I was shocked, too! Oh yeah, the combat is lifted from the†Batman: Arkham†games and you can climb around like in†Assassin's Creed. Good stuff.

Play it†if you stopped reading after the first paragraph and rushed out to your local video game retailer.

Avoid it†if you kind of sympathize with the Orcs and even maybe wish you were one of Sauron's minions sometimes.

Before I popped the disc in, I guess I was in the dark as to what kind of game†Sunset Overdrive†actually was. I saw the previews and thought to myself "Yeah yeah, another open-world shooter. Been there, done that." But I was wrong as hell. In actuality, I had never been†here,and I had never done†this. At least, not all in one game, and it certainly never felt this damn good.†Sunset Overdrive†does what a lot of modern games inevitably do; borrows heavily from other successful franchises. Imagine a game like†Crackdown, with its massive city full of collectibles and power ups, then multiply that by the†grinding and combo system from†Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.†Now add†Rock Band's†extensive character creator and the crazy weapons from Ratchet & Clank and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Long story short, it's completely bonkers and an absolute fucking blast from beginning to end.

Once I got a hang of the intuitive combo system, traversing around the city just clicked. It's sort of like {spoiler} when Neo realized he was the One and saw the Matrix for the first time {/spoiler}. The city transformed before my eyes. Cars, awnings and vents became launch pads. Power lines, ledges and rooftops became grindable surfaces. Walls became sidewalks. I never had to touch the ground. I would actually get excited when a mission would tell me I had to go to the other side of the city. It's almost hard to believe but I can count the number of times I used the quick travel feature on one finger, and that was an accident. Sometimes my character would say "I'm really glad I can quick travel!" and I'd be like "Shut your goddamn mouth." There are some who might feel like there are too many things to collect in this game, but I am not one of those people.

Besides flipping and flying around with ease, there's also a lot to shoot at in†Sunset Overdrive. There are three factions of enemies - Scabs (humans), the OD (infected), and Fizzco Robots (yep, robots) - and each are weak to specific types weapons, which forces you to stay on your toes and swap often. This is great because there are a ton of weapons to choose from, and they can all be customized and leveled up. My aresenal changed all the time, save for a few favorites. The Roman Candle was just too freaking good! I should also mention that the character creator was a breath of fresh air. You are free to change your sex and body type whenever you want, and all clothing, hairstyles, and accesories work regardless. You can be a bearded lady. You can be a delicate beefcake. You can be a well-dressed, emo-gothic assassin with sugar skull face paint and an eye patch like me. Go nuts.

Play it†if you've been waiting your whole life for a video game that ignores all the boring realistic bullshit and takes full advantage of the medium.

Avoid it†if you really, really don't want to buy an Xbox One no matter how freaking cool this is.

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That's it, guys. Hope you enjoyed the glorious return of the Play it/Avoid it Report! The Cblog editor doesn't spell check (as far as I could tell) so just ignore any glaring spelling mistakes and I'll do my best to write another one before 2016. See ya next time.









 

 

Welcome back, fan of Secret Moon Base! Yes....it's been almost a year since our last episode. Yes, we are very sorry. Yes, we'll literally do anything we can to make it up to you. Hopefully that thing involves us recording our voices for 2 hours and providing you with a free digital copy via iTunes or our website, because that's what I'm offering you today.

And hey, is this the first time you're hearing of Secret Moon Base? Neato. We are a podcast that focuses (mostly) on video games, food, sex(?), humor and the power of friendship. The cast includes myself, knutaf, Occams and Mr Andy Dixon! We are all over 30 years old, which basically means we have over 100 years of video game playing experience combined! Not impressed? That's understandable! We actually met here on Destructoid years ago and have been friends ever since.

This episode is a reunion of sorts but we quickly get back in the swing of things. Occams has some strong words for Destiny's loot system, I talk about some issues I had with Batman Arkham Origins, knutaf confronts the P.T. demo head on, and Andy shares his thoughts on playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel way before the average gamer. On top of that, we chat a bit about PS4 vs Xbone (Wii U Master Race!) and talk about our favorite animals. Rivetting stuff!

#036 - Tina Turner Monkey

You can stream the episode from the link above, or subscribe to us on iTunes and take us with you!

We are going to try and record an episode once a month, so stay tuned for more SMB goodness in the near future. If you'd like to ask us questions or tell us what you really think, you can hit us up on Twitter @theSMBpodcast. See you guys next episode!

(FYI: knutaf's sandwich blog is real. For real.)

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Listen up, nerds. I know you're all clamoring to get your hands on this very popular character, but back off. He's mine. I am officially calling dibs on the Prince of Darkness himself, Bowser Jr.! Though there is absolutely no reason I should have to explain myself, I will, if only to pad out the word count of this blog.

 

CHECK OUT HIS RIDE

Look, this thing is basically the Swiss army knife of weaponized hovering clown vehicles. It has drill hands, saw blades, a freaking cannon and can deploy explosive robots! And the organizers of the Smash Bros tournament let him bring it with him! Hahahaha! He's basically cheating! That's a classic Bowser Jr. move, right there.

 

HIS DAD CAN BEAT UP YOUR DAD

Just look at that magnificent bastard. Shit, I wish he was my dad. I'd get to live in a sweet castle. We'd roll around in our airship "kidnapping" pretty ladies and blowing Mario's shit up. Coins out the ass. What a life. Bowser Jr.'s a lucky kid.

 

HE'S EIGHT CHARACTERS IN ONE

By calling dibs on Bowser Jr., I'm essentially calling dibs on EIGHT different characters. That's Bowser Jr., Iggy, Larry, Lemmy, Ludwig, Morton, Roy aaaaand Wendy. Man, the look on your face is priceless. While you guys were all fighting over Shulk and Jigglypuff, I went and pulled the oldest trick in the book!

 

HE'S A FUCKING TURTLE

Boom. This whole time you though he was a koopa, didn't you? Yeah, well, it's pretty clear you haven't been paying attention at all. I wish I didn't have to play the race card but it is what it is. He's a turtle. I'm a turtle. Turtles are amazing. Get fucked.

 

Well, that about sums it up! I feel like I should apologize for the whole "get fucked" thing. It just sounded good at the time. Anyway, see ya on the Battlefield, suckers!!

 

 

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Hello, Destructoid. Believe it or not, The Play it/Avoid it Report is back after an extended hiatus. I'm going to skip my traditional intro and dive right in. Let's do this.

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>> On paper, Dishonored may not seem like an entirely new concept. †Itís a revenge tale about a bodyguard-turned-assassin (yep) who must rescue a kidnapped princess (sounds familiar) while taking down a cast of evil tyrants (been there) by sneaking across rooftops (uh huh) and stabbing them in the neck (totally saw that coming). †What sets it apart and gives it a unique charm, however, is the decaying city of Dunwall. †Its streets are wrought with plague infested rats, an oppressive police force and scheming gangsters lurking in the shadows. †Hidden safely behind walls of light (bug zappers for poor people) lie the wealthiest of Dunwallís inhabitants. †Rich off of whale oil and drunk with corruption, these socialites get dressed up and throw extravagant parties in their mansions to keep their minds off the horrors that exist outside. †As for the middle class, well, there is no middle class.

Though not technically an open world game, Dishonored does set you loose in large, interesting environments where youíre free to explore and traverse as you see fit. †Ledges, rooftops, balconies, windows, ducts and poorly lit corners are everywhere, and a teleportation ability you acquire early in the game (called Blink) gives you the power to jump between safe points without being detected. †For someone who enjoys sneaking, itís an empowering feeling. †Youíll never be stuck searching for a ladder again. †If youíre not so sneaky, youíve got plenty of more violent options too. †On top of a some fairly standard weapons and gadgets, you can summon a bunch of bloodthirsty rats, blast people off ledges with wind and even freeze time so you can carefully line up the perfect headshot. †Youíre basically a god.

The first handful of missions in Dishonored are a treat. †Youíre often informed of a terrible person and then dropped off in their backyard with nothing more than a waypoint and your equipment. †Whether you choose to kill them or find a much more devious way of removing them from power is up to you. †Though it is tempting to sink your knife blade into their eye the moment you see them, the non-lethal options are immensely satisfying and often far worse a fate than simply dying. †Unfortunately, the story (and subsequent gameplay) takes an uninspired turn and the game ends with kind of a fart. †That being said, I enjoyed this game enough to play it to completion twice (back to back) which, for me, is very rare.

PLAY IT if you love games that encourage experimentation and respect you enough to let you make mistakes.

AVOID IT if hearing the screams of someone being eaten alive by a pack of diseased rats might possibly haunt your dreams for all eternity.

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>> This sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns brings back the Kong family to battle a horde of vikings who have used a magical ice dragon to freeze Donkey Kong Island and steal all their bananas, I think. I have no idea why a bunch of owls, walruses and penguins are interested in large amounts of fruit but, like any Nintendo platformer, the story doesnít matter. What does matter is that Tropical Freeze takes everything that was great about its predecessor (imaginative level design, interesting enemies and satisfying platforming) and kicks it up a notch. With no more motion controls to sour the experience, and no GamePad functionality shoehorned in, Tropical Freeze is pure, unadulterated platforming bliss.

This time around, Dixie and Cranky join the cast of playable characters and each have their own unique abilities. Dixie retains her floating ability from Donkey Kong Country 2, while Cranky can bounce on his cane (ŗ la Duck Tales) to negate spike damage. Though their assistance is never necessary for completing a level, it does effectively double DKís health and make certain challenges and secret areas much easier to reach. Swimming is also brought back, but vastly improved. DK and his buds glide through the water with a grace that would have been impossible to express on the SNES hardware. Itís little details like the way DK naturally twists through the water that make this game truly stunning to see in motion. And the music...oh god, the music. David Wise has completely outdone himself once again.

Speaking of details, Tropical Freeze is bursting with them. From the burning fields of an African savanna to a bustling juice factory full of dangerous machinery, each and every level feels totally fresh and exciting. And new concepts are thrown at the player constantly. In one stage, I went on a crazy minecart ride through a lumber mill which became a log flume mid-way through, then seamlessly transitioned back to rails. Another had me riding Rambi through an active tornado while avoiding lighting strikes and flying debris. On top of that, I found the boss fights to actually be challenging, which surprised me. I couldnít stop playing this until I had collected every single ďKONGĒ letter and puzzle piece, and now that Iíve unlocked Hard Mode, I canít wait to jump back in.

PLAY IT if you consider yourself a fan of difficult 2D platformers -- it literally doesnít get any better than this.

AVOID IT if it bothers you that the only non-pantless member of the DK family wears denim cutoffs.

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>> I can already tell this is going to be more negative than positive, but stick with me. Grand Theft Auto is a hugely popular franchise, made by a company who has a ridiculous amount of talent. In the eyes of most gamers, they can do no wrong. After all, what other game lets you steal cool cars, do drugs, bang hookers, run people over, rob banks, skydive, get tattoos, punch everyone, play a round of golf, get drunk, cross-dress and play the stock market? With such a giant world and so many things to do, whatís not to love? Well, for starters, itís pretty boring.

GTA V tries something new by letting you play three different protagonists. There's a crazy one, a cool one and a depressed one. They each have a different special ability and have their own story arcs, but to be honest, the story is uneventful, packed with pointless filler missions and ends on a real low note. A huge disappointment when compared to Red Dead Redemption or even Max Payne 3. The most touted feature -- switching between characters mid-mission -- is not only used sparingly (only a handful involve all three characters working together) but implemented in a way that doesn't allow you to experiment at all. Every mission feels very scripted, and if you don't switch to the right character at the right time, you'll typically fail and have to start over from the last checkpoint. In typical GTA fashion, most (if not all) of the supporting characters are horrible stereotypes or wacky parodies. Maybe I'm just getting older but they're not nearly as funny as they think they are and it's all starting to feel really stale. Like I said, they can do better.

My gripes with the campaign aside, there is fun to be had. The driving feels really tight and satisfying. The world itself is incredibly large, gorgeous and feels very real. There are distinct locales and enough square footage to really keep you entertained for a long time. One feature I really appreciate is the ability to actually hide from the police. Once you break their line of sight, you can hide in bushes or in alleys until your wanted level fades (which takes a weirdly long time). I tried the multiplayer once but was immediately kicked from the game. After all the negative things I read about lost character saves and questionable pricing of online items, I never bothered going back to it. Although the gun play is an improvement over the previous versions of the game, it still lags far, far behind other games in the genre. Say it with me now: They can do better.

PLAY IT if you'll kill or steal anything a game tells you to as long as they slap a waypoint on the mini map, put a gun in your hand and promise you a monetary award.

AVOID IT if you're tired of playing better-looking versions of creatively bankrupt game franchises.

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>> Iíve made my feelings of the original Wind Waker no secret; itís a brilliant game. Not only is it undoubtedly my favorite Zelda, but one of my favorite games of all time. So it should come as no surprise that when Nintendo announced it was getting an HD remake for the Wii U, I jumped for joy. I already knew the game would look absolutely stunning in HD, but the fact that Nintendo was going the extra step to fix some of the gameís faults made me even more excited. The end result doesnít feel like a re-release of a decade old game; itís a polished, tighter version of a near-perfect game that serves as a love letter to fans of the original, as well as a great entry point for those who never got the chance to play it the first time around.

The graphics in Wind Waker have aged incredibly well. The unique cel shaded look and Pixar-like animations translated beautifully to HD. Words like ďsharpĒ and ďcrispĒ donít do it justice at all; it looks alive. Fabric flaps in the wind, colors burst off the screen and the improved lighting engine made my heart swell. But there are many other improvements beyond the cosmetic overhaul. MiiVerse (the social aspect of the Wii U) is integrated into the game in the form of Tingle Bottles. While traversing the oceanic world, youíll come across these glowing green bottles drifting in the water and washed up on shores which contain messages from others players. These can be anything from written requests for assistance with puzzles to humorous selfies of Link in interesting situations. Their inclusion breaks up the seclusion of this single player game, and gives veterans an opportunity to help struggling players. I loved it.

The world in Wind Waker is quite large, but since most of that area is covered in water, sailing is your primary means of transportation. Personally, I loved feeling the mix of curiosity and anticipation when I saw uncharted islands appear on the horizon, but a lot of players complained that the sailing became tedious over extended periods of time. Thankfully, Nintendo addressed this issue by introducing the Swift Sail, an item that doubles the boat's speed as well as removes the need to play a repetitive song to change the direction of the wind. Itís an intuitive solution to one of the gameís only nagging problems. Well done, Nintendo.

PLAY IT if you cherish games that truly capture the feeling of exploration and discovery.

AVOID IT if you prefer the type of sailing that involves excessive amounts of pillaging, questionable prosthetics and scurvey-induced diarrhea.

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>> Games like Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac have already shown me how much roguelike elements can breath new life into well-worn concepts, so when I heard the name Rogue Legacy, I knew I was in for a treat. In spirit, Rogue Legacy is like Castlevania. Players choose from a pool of playable characters with different classes, spells and genetic quirks, and must traverse a dungeon full of evil knights, wizards and undead horrors in their quest for glory. Not only is the dungeon layout completely different every time you embark on a new quest, but things like items and enemies are randomized as well, meaning you never quite know what will be behind the next door. Itís an exciting but sometimes brutal experience that encourages experimentation and vigilance.

Death is very common in Rogue Legacy, especially when youíre first starting out, but the upgrade system in the game ensures that no run is a total loss. Any gold you collect is passed down to your next of kin and can be used to purchase skill upgrades (which affect all future characters), better classes, and even new equipment. Slowly but surely, youíll increase your players health, magic and attack power, which increases your chance of survival, which lets you collect more gold, which of course allows you to purchase more upgrades. Itís a pretty satisfying gameplay loop that cuts down on a lot of the frustrations of permadeath, but itís not without some problems of itís own. These become less of an issue the longer you play, but early on it can feel like youíre taking baby steps towards an unreachable goal.

There were a few other niggling issues that became increasingly more annoying the longer I played. Being forced to re-equip every single new character with armor and runes to suit their class before each run was a chore. I would have loved the option to save a loadout for each class. I also think they could have added more game-changing genetic quirks to the mix. Baldness and IBS are funny to see the first time around, but since they donít have any real affect on gameplay, they quickly become uninteresting. And since thereís a fairly small pool of quirks to begin with, they show up pretty frequently. Iím having a lot of fun with Rogue Legacy (currently playing NG++++++++) but I think Iím more excited about how much further they could take this concept with a sequel.

PLAY IT if youíre looking for something to satisfy your hunger for roguelikes while you wait for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth to drop and make all your dreams come true.

AVOID IT if you donít have the patience for games that force you to fail repeatedly before they get ďfunĒ.

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Thanks for reading, guys. I wish I had the patience to write a better outro but struggling with the Dtoid blog editor has nearly ruined my weekend. See ya next time!








I freaking love Super Smash Bros. It's one of my favorite fighting game series of all time, but as fun as the games are, the anticipation leading up to each new release is almost just as fun! The speculation! The suspense! The horror! Each new Super Smash Bros. title has a more diverse and interesting cast that guessing who will be announced next is almost a game in and of itself!

Now, of course, there are the more likely picks (Pac-Man) and obvious fan-favorites (Ridley) but since this is my blog, I can be as ridiculous as I want. So completely ignoring logic, rational thought, your opinions and licensing agreements, I am going to list my top 10 most wanted characters for the new Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS!

Here they are, listed from "No fucking way" to "You've got to be kidding me". Oh, and if you're dying to see which Tales character I picked, you can stop reading now. Just a heads up!†

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10) WALUIGI



- You know if a list starts off with Waluigi as the most likely participant, it's all downhill from there. Waluigi is Wario's brother, I think. Not really sure. He shows up in Mario themed sports and racing games and not much else. He's lanky (like me), tall (like me) and pretty damn annoying (...) so I think he'd be a great fit for Smash Bros. Although Peach already has some Mario sports themed attacks, I imagine Waluigi would have his share as well. Part of his problem is he doesn't really have his own identity due to his lack of involvement in story based games. Maybe Smash Bros. could do something interesting with him.

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9) PROFESSOR LAYTON



- Professor Layton games are insanely popular on the DS, so adding him to the roster actually doesn't seem all that crazy. The only problem is, he's not really a fighter. However, that hasn't stopped Sakurai in the past. Heck, look at the Villager from Animal Crossing and the Wii Fit Trainer! Of course Luke would have to show up in some form or another and Professor Layton's Final Smash would obviously be some kind of thing related to his giant pointing finger. I'll let Sakurai-san sort out the messy details, I just want to beat people up with puzzles!

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8) TYRANTRUM



- Look, I loved the Pokemon Trainer from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but I also love dedicated stand alone characters like Pikachu. I also love dinosaurs. Slap a beard on a Pokemon that's also a dinosaur and I'm beginning to wonder why this motherfucker isn't in all Nintendo games. See ya later, Mario. There's a new mascot in town. Look at this badass! Real talk; there are enough cool Pokemon to justify their own fighting game, but there's still plenty of room in the Smash Bros. lineup for more 'mon. Or just get rid of Jigglypuff. No one will care.

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7) CHIBI-ROBO



- I fell in love with Chibi-Robo!†back on the GameCube. Not so much his game (although it was pretty fun for what it was) but I just think his character design is classic. Also, since he's sort of like Inspector Gadget, he has a ton of potential to be an amazing Smash Bros. character. I think his energy mechanic could probably be implemented in a bunch of interesting ways. Maybe he could slap his plug into the ground to slowing reduce his damage percentage or use it to power up like Samus' charge beam. If anything, I think Chibi-Robo would be a fantastic replacement for R.O.B., who probably isn't coming back.

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6) YOSHIMITSU



- Since Namco Bandai (or is it Bandai Namco?) is lending a hand this time around, it's incredibly likely that a Namco (or Bandai) character will be making an appearance. Although Pac-Man is almost a shoe in due to his classic status, I think Yoshimitsu would be a better choice. Not on is Yoshimitsu a veteran of two popular fighting franchises -- Tekken and SoulCalibur -- but he's a freaking immortal alien samurai. He'd fit right in with the crazy cast and since he is now playable on Wii U in the fantastic Tekken Tag Tournament 2, I think he deserves it. Fuck Pac-Man, especially the version with arms and legs.

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5) MIDNA & WOLF LINK



- Twilight Princess may not have been a perfect game. It may not have been the best Zelda game. But it was responsible for bringing one of the best Zelda characters ever to life - Midna. Sassy. Abusive. Hilarious. Midna was, in my eyes, the perfect sidekick for Link. Everyone's favorite mute elf is much better off when he hangs out with someone who can do the talking for him or things get awkward pretty quick. Obviously, Midna would have to be riding Wolf Link to have the full Twilight Princess effect, but seeing as there are already two separate versions of Link announced for the game, this one is highly unlikely.

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4) HENRY HATSWORTH



- Yeah, I know. Henry who? Henry Hatsworth and the Puzzling Adventure is one of my favorite DS games and you've probably never heard of it. If that's the case, then you're missing out on a really unique puzzle-platformer hybrid with tight controls and plenty of difficulty. It also features some really imaginative characters and Henry turns into a giant teapot robot sometimes. If that's not a brilliant Final Smash waiting to happen, I don't know what is. TEA TIME! *cue heavy metal music*

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3) EARTHWORM JIM



- Okay, these picks are definitely starting to get into the "not in a million years" realm. Earthworm Jim is one of my favorite video game characters of all time but he hasn't been in a decent game since Earthworm Jim 2 on the SNES/Genesis. That doesn't mean I want to see him any less in Smash Bros., though. His wacky animations and sense of humor would fit right in with the rest of the eclectic crew, not to mention his stage would be amazing. I just really want a new Earthworm Jim game, guys. C'mon. Someone buy the rights and hire me on as a consultant. Let's do this.

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2) KRANG



- Chances are, if a single TMNT character somehow made their way into Smash Bros., it wouldn't be this bizarre-ass villain. It'd probably be Leonardo or some shit. Fuck that. Krang is a badass, and his mech-suit (I don't think it has a proper name) turns him into a giant badass. Just the thought of stomping around in a free-for-all match as one of my favorite TMNT characters makes me absolutely giddy. He was in a couple NES games back in the day, so this is totally viable. I haven't been keeping up with any of the new iterations of the cartoon but there's no way they're as cool as the original. My nostalgia is too strong for them. For the record, I'd also accept Rocksteady or Rat King.

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1) ULTRAMAN



- Not gonna lie, I know basically nothing about Ultraman. When I was compiling this list, I decided to search for Bandai characters to see what came up and apparently this dude had his own Super Nintendo game back in the day. That's good enough for me. Judging from most of the pictures I found, I'm a little concerned that he's always the size of a building but in my mind he's like Ant-Man and can change size. Look, let's be honest, this is never happening but I figured while I was making crazy predictions, I may as well throw a huge curveball at the end. Plus, he's pretty popular in Japan, right? There's a chance....

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That's all I got. Let me know if you liked any of my choices or why I'm an idiot for forgetting some Fire Emblem character I've never heard of. Later.