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Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Large shipment of UK copies of Splatoon stolen, GAME heavily affected


Check your email UK readers
May 27
// Chris Carter
Our Splatoon review just went up this morning, and a lot of people have been discussing the game in anticipation of Friday's launch. Unfortunately, a number of community members have brought a disturbing series of events...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Out of closed beta, Heroes of the Storm continues its weekly sale schedule


Anub'arak
May 27
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm is now readily available to everyone, and that means more weekly sales -- any purchases in the open beta will carry over to the full launch next week on June 2. This week the character on offer for 50...
Smash Derby photo
Smash Derby

This new indie project is described as Geometry Wars meets Smash TV


I want an HD Smash TV remake
May 27
// Chris Carter
Developer Fenix Fire has provided the first footage of Smash Derby, a game that's described as a mix between Geometry Wars and the retro classic, Smash TV. It's set for the PS4, Vita, and Xbox One platforms, and features loc...

Review: Splatoon

May 27 // Chris Carter
Splatoon (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No .2Publisher: NintendoReleased: May 29, 2015MSRP: $59.99 Players will start the journey as a measly level one squid in Inkopolis. You should learn the layout in roughly 20 minutes. It's not huge, but it has a lot of character, mostly due to the fact that other players are littered about the townside. No, this isn't quite like a Phantasy Star Online lobby with live players running around, they're more like static NPCs that draw upon the character's avatar, style choices, and Miiverse postings. If you're not keen on walking everywhere to play a specific mode, an easy-to-access map is located on the GamePad -- perfect. There is one annoying thing about the hub world -- the news station. Every so often at certain intervals, a fake "news" show will play, interrupting whatever you're doing. It displays the next set of levels that are up for multiplayer, and any other relevant events that are happening. A lot of you will probably think it's cute, and it is a neat idea, but sometimes they're literally repeating the same phrases on the same stages I've seen multiple times over -- it's not a dealbreaker, I just wish I could just skip through it. Shops, however, are anything but annoying, as I'm a full-on fashion addict. Whether it's the shoe, shirt, or hat boutique, I'm usually inside of a [digital] brick and mortar location ready to spend all of my cash on clothes I will never wear. These items are mostly cosmetic however, and even though they do have some stats attached to them, they're negligible at best. So if you aren't down with the idea of amassing clothes, you probably aren't going to be spending a lot of time in Inkopolis. [embed]291959:58680:0[/embed] It also must be said that the story mode isn't really linked to the hub world, which is mostly for multiplayer. Any acquisitions from the hub are strictly used in online play, though you can unlock some weapon blueprints in the campaign and you'll get a few bonuses to bring back after you complete the story. In other words, think of the single-player narrative as a staging grounds for playing online. The levels themselves are very well designed, and in line with a 3D Mario game -- which is definitely a compliment. There's a lot of variety found in every single stage, with mechanics like geysers, invisible paths, moving blocks, and a whole lot more. Gimmicks never outstay their welcome, and just as you've started to master a concept, Splatoon moves on to the next one. The pacing is superb. Boss fights aren't exactly innovative, as they all boil down to "kill the giant weak point three times," but they are fun to play. They remind me of less inspired Mario Galaxy or 3D World fights, even down to the enemy models. All in all you'll go solo for roughly 30 levels, which should last you 10 hours -- a little less if you rush, a little more if you go for all of the collectibles (which do a great job of worldbuilding, by the way). So how is the game actually played? By inking everything in sight, of course! Well, sort of. In the campaign you'll have access to just the Splattershot, which is like a rapid-fire rifle. You'll use your colored ink to defeat enemies and create paths, which can be crafted on most surfaces on the ground and most walls. By holding the L trigger you'll instantly morph into a squid-form, which isn't capable of attacking (outside of a special super ability), but can traverse quickly in ink. You'll have to master the art of offense as a kid and defense as a squid to really grasp what Splatoon has to offer. Other weapons essentially mirror other shooters (Splat Charger is a sniper rifle of sorts, there's also a grenade launcher and a light machine gun) outside of the Splat Roller, which is utterly unique. In my mind it's easily the most fun weapon to play with in the game, as you'll roll your way to victory, painting the town as you run and destroy enemies along the way. It seems broken at first glance, but it's actually pretty balanced, as skilled snipers and nearly anyone with a gun can counter it from high-ground, all the while earning points online (which I'll get to in a minute). Outside of the story mode there's also "Dojo," which is strictly a one-on-one offline affair, with one player using the GamePad, and another the Wii U Pro Controller. Your goal is to pop 30 balloons, and you'll have the ability to choose from every basic weaponset as well as five arenas. It's fun, but extremely limited, and felt like a momentary distraction from anything else. It was really disappointing once we realized that we can't play together online on the same console. As for the amiibo-centric mode, the only figure I had access to was the Splatoon Boy for the purposes of this review. It keeps the high going from the campaign, mostly because it is the campaign. Each figure features the same levels, but with a new weapon -- in the Boy's case, a Splat Roller. The rewards are mostly gold, with some cosmetic items and the rare weapon variant. So is it worth $35 to pick up the lot? Based on the Boy, I'd say "no," but it's a nice extra. Try the story first, and if you are really itching to play it multiple times, grab them.The main attraction of course is online play. The entire draw of Splatoon is simplicity in this regard. Matches are short, and they don't feature voice chat. In other words, even if you get spawn camped or dominated, matches are only a few minutes, and you don't have another team taunting you along the way. The core mode you'll be playing right off the bat is Turf War, which is a lot like Tony Hawk's Graffiti gametype -- kills don't matter, and the more you paint the battlefield your color, the higher your score at the end. Your personal score is how you level-up online, earn gold for clothes, and unlock the right to use new weapons. I enjoy lots of shooters, and in my mind, Splatoon has easily carved its own little niche around them. It's a more relaxing affair, both in terms of the zen-like qualities of the paint, and the online experience in general. It's refreshing to be able to try out new loadouts without fearing that they might not be viable, and the maps are fairly easy to learn as they are symmetrical. Don't worry though, there's plenty of room for advanced tactics, which the playerbase is already experimenting with just based on the Global Testfire events. My favorite trick that I discovered while playing online is to paint a wall while running from someone, quickly hide as a squid, and leap out from above as they turn the corner. Ranked play by way of the Splat Zones mode, unlocked at level 10, can be a respite from constant Turf War matches. Based on the current XP gain, it should take roughly a day's worth of playing to unlock, and although Nintendo automatically enabled it for my build of the game, a "certain amount of players" will need to reach 10 to play it. It's basically King of the Hill, with more of an emphasis on zone control and kills than Turf War. Your objective is to score as many points as possible while owning a point on the map, keeping everyone else out of the area. It's pretty great, but sadly, these are the only two current online modes. Nintendo has revealed that more are in the pipeline (Rainmaker and Tower are already confirmed), but for now, you'll have to deal with just two. Online play was smooth for me during the past two weeks of testing on pre-launch servers. I've played well over 100 games, and there were only a few sessions that were dropped during matchmaking. Once the game arrives we'll provide a launch-day report of the server situation, but for now, it's been wonderful. There are a few hangups with the way this component was designed though. When you're in the queue for a round, you can't quit -- not even with the home button. It's a bit odd, especially if you realize that you need to handle something in real life, as your only option is to turn the Wii U off. Additionally, you can't switch up your weapons while you're waiting for a game to start, as you can only do that in the previous menu. Also, after a match is completed, if you hit "yes" to quickly start a new match, you cannot change your loadout there either. It's odd, as nearly every other shooter allows you to do so, and it breaks up the pacing to constantly drop games (that you can't quit) to go try a new style. No voice chat actually isn't a big deal to me in unranked Turf War as it's going for a more casual type of gameplay, but it really should be an option in Ranked play. After all, Nintendo set up a grading system that sees your rank drop if you lose. I'd appreciate the ability to at least communicate with my team. Lastly, there's nothing implemented currently for AFKers (I guess Nintendo is relying on short matches to eventually weed them out), and there are limitations in the current build in regards to playing with friends. After matching up and playing a few games, the game will switch you around on opposite sides every so often. An update is coming later this year will allow friends to play together consistently -- odd. None of this really bothers me all that much, but I can see some of these problems being major issues for a lot of you out there. The thing that mostly bothers me about online play is that there's only a handful of maps and two modes at the moment. In some ways, Splatoon's online component is disappointing, and the lack of so many features will likely push other shooter fans away. But most of those shortcomings can be forgiven in my mind because of how damn fun it is. As a shooter it's refreshing, and as a 3D platformer it's up there with some of Nintendo's greatest creations. You'll quickly forget about the fact that you're playing Turf War over and over as you squid down an alley, leap across a gap, and shoot enemies in the air as you fall. All Nintendo needs to do is keep supporting Splatoon, because the foundation is fantastic. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. Nintendo also provided the Squid Boy amiibo.]
Splatoon review photo
A splash hit for Nintendo
If you think Nintendo hasn't been taking risks, you haven't been paying attention. Yes, most fans await the next Mario and Zelda announcement with bated breath during every E3 presentation, but the publish...

Darksiders II photo
Darksiders II

The PS4 version of Darksiders II is called the 'Deathinitive Edition'


#Darksiders2
May 27
// Chris Carter
As a part of the Monthly Remake and Remaster Global Initiative project, Darksiders II will appear on PS4 sometime this year. I'm actually pretty excited, as I found Death's journey to be quite the fun romp and wouldn't m...
Pokémon Shuffle photo
Pokémon Shuffle

New Pokemon Shuffle update makes the game slightly less sleazy


But it's not enough
May 27
// Chris Carter
One of the biggest problems with Pokemon Shuffle, beyond its exploitative item system, was the energy mechanic. In short, you could only play a scant five rounds at a time before you had to wait 30 minutes per round to rechar...
Guilty Gear Xrd photo
Guilty Gear Xrd

Guilty Gear Xrd is getting a follow-up called Revelator


Here's Johnny
May 27
// Chris Carter
I really enjoyed Guilty Gear Xrd on PS4. It was smooth, it looked beautiful, and mechanically, it was sound. But people really took issue with the limited cast, and wanted more. Arc System Works is partially addressing t...

Yep, Ultra Street Fighter IV on PS4 sure looks great

May 26 // Chris Carter
[embed]292798:58682:0[/embed] At this point there are 44 characters in all, and you can select a fighting style from every different iteration of the game. It's pretty comprehensive, but again, most people aren't going to dig into all of the configurations for every fighter. In other words, if you already have a previous version of Ultra, especially on the PC, you'll probably just want to stick with that, as it's proven to work well at this point. 1080p60 on a console is nice, and only the most trained veterans will be able to notice the minor input lag from the previous generation to the PS4 -- since it's going to be the new de facto build for tournies, you can only assume this will be patched soon, but nothing has been confirmed yet from Capcom. The menus are a bit slower compared to other versions, which seems like a bug -- still, it's not a dealbreaker unless you compete at a high level. In terms of my netcode testing, all of the matches I've played have been very smooth. My main issue has been finding games, which you can likely chalk up to a launch-day "wait and see" crowd. I can't predict the future in terms of the adoption rate on PS4, but so far I don't have any major issues to report. We'll update you if that changes. Oh, and as community member Beelz points out, PS4 USFIV is the standard for this year's EVO. Ultra Street Figher IV [PSN]
Ultra Street Fighter IV photo
But there's a few bugs to squash
[Update: players have been reporting various bugs with the PS4 version across the net. While I didn't encounter any of these in my roughly 20 hours of testing outside of the ones mentioned here, it's important to be aware of ...

MOBA photo
MOBA

What major MOBA are you playing right now?


I'm down with Heroes of the Storm
May 26
// Chris Carter
"MOBA" is often a bad word/phrase in video game circles. As a fan of them since 2005 I kind of just shrug it off though -- this genre is here, and it's popular, guys. Embrace it or don't play it!  My MOBA history has bee...
Yoshi photo
Yoshi

You too can create this unholy monstrosity with amiibo in Yoshi's Woolly World


Uh...nightmare fuel much, Nintendo?
May 26
// Chris Carter
My God, Nintendo, what have you done. According to Nintendo of Europe, "over 40 amiibo" can be used in Yoshi's Woolly World. You'll be able to create gross voodoo dolls dedicated to smiting your eternal enemies with a slow and painful death cute woolly patterns for characters in the game. Yeah, this is amiibo support I can get behind. Nintendo of Europe [Twitter]
Batman: Arkham Knight photo
Batman: Arkham Knight

Did you really think Batman: Arkham Knight wouldn't have pre-order costumes?


Of course it does
May 26
// Chris Carter
Because WB has to monetize every single facet of their games (hello pay-for-fatalities on top of a Season Pass and lots of paid costume DLC), Batman: Arkham Knight will also feature more pre-order bonuses beyond its $40 ...
2K photo
2K

2K Games is teasing some dystopian project called 'Advent'


Let the teases begin
May 26
// Chris Carter
Last night, 2K Games revealed a new teaser site for Advent, an upcoming project of some sort. It was announced by way of a tweet, but there's also a teaser website with a pamphlet involving in-game lore. Your guess is as good...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

Two new DLC updates arrive in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt this week


One quest and an alternate look
May 26
// Chris Carter
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a pretty lengthy game, and it's about to get even longer this week. In addition to a new "alternate look" for Yennefer, there's also a new quest coming called Missing Miners. Both will be free. It'...
Animal Crossing photo
Animal Crossing

Go rock this unofficial Splatoon outfit in Animal Crossing


You're a kid now
May 25
// Chris Carter
Do you still boot up Animal Crossing: New Leaf every once in a while? I'm a terrible neighbor -- I've probably caused a lot of woodland creatures to skip town because I never leave my house. For those of you who are stil...
Gauntlet photo
Gauntlet

That newish Gauntlet reboot is getting more updates at some point


It launched back in September
May 25
// Chris Carter
Remember that new Gauntlet reboot that launched late last year? It was actually pretty decent, though it's a shame that it's only on PCs currently and not consoles, where it would make a perfect couch co-op game for thos...
Kidrobot photo
Kidrobot

Remember those cute Kidrobot Mega Man figures? They're coming this summer


$11.99 in blind boxes
May 25
// Chris Carter
Some time ago, Kidrobot announced a line of 3-inch Mega Man toys. They were to be sold in blind boxes for $11.99 each, with a 5-pack for $59.99. Then...we didn't really hear anything for over a year. Now, thanks to Vinyl Puls...
Edith Finch photo
Edith Finch

'What Remains of Edith Finch?' has the potential to be quite the horror romp


Spooky
May 25
// Chris Carter
Sony has revealed a new trailer for What Remains of Edith Finch? and I'm digging the atmosphere. Apparently the narrative will focus on a series of short stories, all involving the death of different members of the Finch fam...
Net High photo
Net High

Yep, Marvelous was teasing social-oriented Net High with that time bomb site


On the Vita
May 25
// Chris Carter
Yep, that time bomb related tease last week from Marvelous was indeed related to Net High, an upcoming Vita game. It's set in the year "20XX" and involves a world where the "Neo Communications Act" has been implemented. Smar...
Bloodborne photo
Bloodborne

Bloodborne patch 1.04 arrives with some tweaks that make the game easier


Passworded co-op is now easier to play
May 25
// Chris Carter
Ah, Bloodborne. While I'm not quite sure how it ranks overall in terms of the Souls games (I need a few more years to ponder that), there's no doubt in my mind that I'll be returning to it periodically. A steady str...
SFV photo
SFV

Street Fighter V will be playable for the first time next month


At CEO
May 25
// Chris Carter
CEO (Community Effort Orlando) is an annual fighting game tournament held in Orlando Florida, and this year, they have quite a bit announcement in store for fans -- Street Fighter V will be playable for the first t...
Battlefield 4 photo
Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 (not Hardline) is getting an update tomorrow


A new mode
May 25
// Chris Carter
Despite the fact that Battlefield 4 launched back in 2013, it's still being updated. Tomorrow, players will get the spring update on all platforms, which includes the Gun Master mode. After an hour of downtime in the mor...
Pokemon Shuffle photo
Pokemon Shuffle

Pokemon Shuffle reaches 4m downloads, celebrate with Shaymin


Love that Shaymin
May 25
// Chris Carter
I've moved on from Pokemon Shuffle (Pokemon Rumble World is my jam now on 3DS), but it still continues to be supported by Nintendo in the form of the occasional special event. To celebrate four million downloads, they've...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Tanya will make it to Mortal Kombat X in 'early June'


Or his name ain't 'Boon'
May 25
// Chris Carter
Way before the game released (because that's how WB rolls), we knew the contents of the $30 Mortal Kombat X Kombat Pack. Jason Vorhees has already been released, but Tanya, who made an appearance in the game's story mode...
Project CARS photo
Project CARS

Project CARS boss: 'We're running at about 23FPS on Wii U'


Yikes
May 25
// Chris Carter
I enjoyed what I've played of Project CARS. It's geared towards simulation enthusiasts, but it's clear that the development team put a lot of heart into it. It's currently out for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but it's...
Valdis Story photo
Valdis Story

Valdis Story gets two new characters and a lot more in a free update


On Steam now
May 25
// Chris Carter
Valdis Story: Abyssal City is pretty great, and I'm very thankful that multiple community members put it on my radar last year. Now, courtesy of a free update (which should now be live on all platforms), you can enjoy two new...

Destructoid chats with Archie's Ian Flynn about Mega Man and Sonic's second 'Worlds Unite' crossover

May 22 // Chris Carter
Chris Carter: Why did you ultimately decide to create another Mega Man and Sonic crossover? Was there unfinished business with "Worlds Collide?" Ian Flynn: “Worlds Collide” was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, so we poured all our love into it. When we got the opportunity to revisit the idea in “Worlds Unite,” it was great to revisit the premise, but it begged the question: how do we top the last go-around? The answer, of course, was to go bigger, bolder, and with even more crossovers! C: Speaking of "Worlds Collide," how would you rate the sales of those issues in comparison to the regular Mega Man line? I: They were huge. People really responded well to “Worlds Collide.” Hopefully folks will be just as enthused for “Worlds Unite.” C: Did the decision to split them up between different comic lines work well? I: It did! It brought some extra attention to Sonic Universe and Mega Man. We made sure to make it very clear and easy to tell which issue readers needed to pick up next as they jumped from title to title. C: As you may know, there's been a polarizing reception to Sonic Boom, particularly when it comes to the games. How would you sell the inclusion of that subfranchise into the "Worlds Unite" universe? I: The games established the characters and world in that media, the comics and cartoons expanded upon that and have been very well received. The Boom characters help balance the franchise representation -- two types of Mega Man, two types of Sonic -- while also bringing some much-needed levity to an otherwise very dramatic adventure. C: As a follow-up, what went into choosing the additional Capcom universes to represent in "Worlds Unite?" There's massive amount of rich universes to pick from, so it must have been difficult. I: It was really hard to choose, because I wanted to play with all the toys! But we narrowed it down to those we thought would best mesh with Sonic and Mega Man. Resident Evil wouldn’t exactly fit the tone of brightly colored animal-people and robots, right? Capcom was very receptive and supportive. C: I'm really jazzed that the Red Arremer is making an appearance. What's your favorite non-Mega Man/Sonic character that will be joining the fray? I: It’s no secret that I’m a huge Skies of Arcadia fanboy, so having Vyse and the crew show up makes me happy. And I’ve always wanted to play around in the Street Fighter universe, and I had a lot of fun with those characters. C: Can you talk a bit about when the Mega Man X storyline will take place in regards to the game series? I: Everything kicks off some time after Mega Man X7. Axl is a member of the Maverick Hunters, and the Next-Generation Reploids have yet to appear. C: Finally, I asked this years back, but I'll ask it again! What are the chances of getting a standalone Mega Man X comic series? I: Unfortunately, a Mega Man X series is just not in the cards right now. C: Thanks for your time! The 12-part "Worlds Unite" storyline will begin on May 27 at comic shops across the country (and digitally), and will span roughly three months across issues of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Boom, Sonic Universe, and Mega Man. Feel free to peruse the gallery above for a ton of amazing artwork, preview pages, and cover art, some of which has never been seen before.
Mega Man and Sonic photo
It starts next week
Back in 2013, Archie Comics released a rather groundbreaking crossover -- "Sonic & Mega Man: Worlds Collide." It was a joint effort between Capcom and Sega properties, and brought the two iconic heroes together to battle ...

Don't Starve photo
Don't Starve

If you buy Don't Starve on Wii U soon, you'll get a free gift copy


Not bad
May 22
// Chris Carter
We already knew that Don't Starve was heading to the Wii U on May 28 (June 4 in Europe), but now we can confirm that developer Klei Entertainment has sweetened the deal a bit. If you buy the game for $14.99 before J...

Review: Destiny: House of Wolves

May 22 // Chris Carter
Destiny: House of Wolves (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: BungiePublisher: Activision Released: May 19, 2015MSRP: $19.99 (Season Pass $34.99) As I previously discussed, House of Wolves has been a mixed bag so far. Let's start with the good. Bungie has listened to fans when it comes to smaller quality of life changes. There have been incremental improvements overall like the ability to toggle the volume of the sound and music (thank goodness), fixes like the patch for the heavy ammo bug, and communication has been better since the debacle that came up before the launch of the last DLC. The loot system in House of Wolves is arguably the best part. It allows players, by way of items called Etheric Light, to upgrade their guns and armor all the way up to the new maximum statline. This includes all of your favorite vanilla Destiny guns like the Fatebringer, and any kind of Legendary armor, including that raid set you kept from Vault of Glass. It's no glamour system (Etheric Light is hard to get, thus implementing a grind of a sort), but it's far better than the previous loot mechanics, which forced you to re-level Exotics after having a chance to upgrade them once a week.Right now, I'm sitting on three max level 34s three days after launch, which, depending on your point of view, is either a good or bad thing -- and would be nigh impossible to do with vanilla Destiny or The Dark Below in week one. The problem with this new expansion isn't mechanics, it's content, and this "House" is practically vacant. [embed]292545:58616:0[/embed] The story might technically have a few more missions tacked onto it compared to the last add-on, but they're just as short and painfully recreated from previous assets. There's lots of bravado with the narrative, and the tie-in with the Queen is pretty cool, but half the missions are direct retreads disguised as DLC. One mission is literally just a Patrol quest. Like, the same exact Patrols on Venus you've done a million times, you just need to kill some Vandals for a few minutes. Another is almost a direct slap in the face -- as it's the exact same level as the first mission, just in reverse. As for the Strike, you can't just put a new hat on the Archon Priest and charge money for it. Another problem is that all of the old content is more than stale at this point. Most Destiny players have been playing the same old Nightfalls, using the same "cheese spots" for months on end. Where is the variation? Maybe as part of the newest House of Wolves patch we could get remixed bosses for existing Nightfalls to spice things up a bit? I'm not even asking for completely redone levels, just new boss tactics that offer something different instead of bullet sponges. Is it so much to ask that maybe Sepiks Prime glows blue or red instead of purple, and has a new power? The rewards have been remixed, but the actual encounters remain the same. I'm not going to run the same Nightfall for a chance at an Etheric Light. The worst part is that I'm already drained when it comes to the Prison of Elders, the "endgame" activity that Bungie dressed up and provided in lieu of a raid. I'm sorry guys, this just doesn't fly. Crota's End had it's fair share of hate, and some of it for good reason, but I remember very clearly how awesome it felt to drop into the unknown of that abyss on day one. Running through that totem relay with five other friends, racing into the light with Thralls at my heels, figuring out how to beat the bridge encounter -- all of it gave me a sense of wonder, just like the Vault of Glass raid did before it. Prison of Elders has none of that magic. It's soulless. As of today, I've completed the Prison eleven times in total across all three of my characters. It felt the exact same every time. The setup is as follows: you'll start off in an airlock, walk into a room (it's the same four rooms, literally the exact same ones over and over), and either kill enemies, or dismantle mines for three waves -- then move onto the next room. The red room will always feature the Kabal, the green room will always feature the Hive, and the two same-looking outdoor purple environments will host the Fallen and Vex. Sure, you may have to blow up a mine or stand in a circle to destroy it every two to three rounds or so, but ultimately, it's the same room with the same enemies over and over. All of the bosses so far are even reskins, adding insult to injury. At this point, it's clear that the name of the game is to clone assets and charge money for it. There's content, but it feels like a series of checkboxes rather than something meaty. Take the final boss of the static level 35 Prison of Elders challenge, the highest-level encounter available in the game right now. He's a reskin of the boss from the story (he is the exact same boss from the story), but now he kills you in approximately one hit because of Solar burn. The arena is a reskin of the same Fallen room that you've probably seen 10 times over at this point in the first week. There's around 50 adds in the room all shooting at you at once. Does this sound familiar? That's because it's pretty much every other boss fight in the game. There are a few nuances like mines (reskinned from the Prison challenges), and a poison debuff that needs to be passed around the party (or cheesed with a Warlock res), but it ultimately ends up being nothing more than "shoot the bullet sponge with the Gjallarhorn because that's the gun that works in every circumstance." I've completed the level 35 Prison twice (one with the above method and another normally),  and simply put, the two previous raids had far more depth to them. I've seen hundreds of variations when it comes to strategies for the Gorgon room, the Crota encounter, and the Templar. For 99% of the Prison of Elders, your best tactic is "stand in a corner and shoot." It's like the Nightfalls you've played 50 times over, but in most cases, even easier, and with less interesting locales and enemies. Trials of Osiris isn't much better. Because it's PVP-oriented though and thus inherently less predictable, it's not nearly as tiring as playing the same four rooms ad nauseam. It requires a premade group of three, at which point you'll battle through a gauntlet with no resurrection capabilities (outside of the Warlock) once the entire team is dead. Each "match" is won by the team who wins five rounds first. If you win a specific amount of matches (five is the minimum for anything good, so far I've earned up to six wins) without losing three matches, you can earn gear. If you do lose thrice, you'll have to re-enter the tourney and start all over. It's cool in theory, but the rewards are fairly shallow and the event only runs from Friday until the reset Tuesday morning each week. The loot table is basically a direct counterpart to Prison -- one gun per week, one armor piece per week, some cosmetic items, and a random mystery box. There's no real charm to it, you just grind out wins, and you get the gear that the NPC shows you in the Reef. Again, it's only available to play at certain times, which just feels like an incredibly odd choice. After all, why limit one of your only real pieces of new content to just a few days at a time? Surely Prison of Elders isn't supposed to last us until the weekend. It's also important to note that Trials is only running on one map per week. After the fifth round in the same arena, it started to get boring. It's a very cool idea that heralds in the first real competitive PVP mode to Destiny, but it needs work. I used to play Destiny every week with my large group of friends, who would often hang out in PS4 party chat as we ran through the two six-person raids, cycling people in and out. Not only has Bungie made the once massive scope of the game smaller with the two new three-person maximum events, but they've also lost the interest of many of my once-fervent comrades. Heck, to add insult to injury, Xur came today and only had old items for sale outside of helmet engrams -- I bought 20 of those and didn't get anything new. Destiny feels just as smooth as ever as a shooter, but at this point you should wait until after "Year One," as they are calling it now, to see if Bungie is going to come up with something new. I really hope the rumored "2.0" version of the game has completely new areas and enemies. But at this rate, we may even get a Destiny 2 announcement at E3, which will all but confirm the "beta test" status of the original game. Bungie took a rooster, slicked its hair back, and dressed it up as a human. House of Wolves is the Chicken Boo of video game DLC. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Destiny DLC review photo
Den of puppies
I am convinced that somewhere, all of the new assets for the Destiny: House of Wolves expansion were lost, forcing Bungie to restart the entire process all over again. Why else would almost the entire $20 premium DLC be a reskin?

Review: Nom Nom Galaxy

May 22 // Chris Carter
Nom Nom Galaxy (PC, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Q-GamesPublisher: Q-GamesReleased: May 12, 2015MSRP: $9.99 Nom Nom takes on the concept of capitalism head-on, with one major resource sought after across the galaxy: soup. You fill the shoes of an Astroworker on behalf of Soupco, a company hellbent on dominating the universe with market share. So hellbent, in fact, that you'll sabotage enemy competitors, and defend your base from deadly onslaughts. So a lot like real life. Jolly capitalism! It's a silly plot, but it sufficiently motivates you for the events that unfold over the course of the story. As for the gameplay, think Terraria. It's a platformer at its core, but it also features a hefty amount of exploration on uncharted planets, seeking out resources, building new structures, and battling the hostile inhabitants within. To survive you'll have to covet pockets of air and utilize weapons like a buzzsaw to chop up foes. The Astroworker also has a number of tricks up its sleeve, like the power to build ladders, and so on. It's pretty open-ended, even in story missions that have succinct objectives. Your ultimate goal in most cases is to build soup machines, gather ingredients, craft the soup, and then ship it out on soup rockets to the rest of the galaxy. A part of the HUD in the top-right corner is dedicated to tracking to your competitors, who are also working "behind the scenes" to ship out more soup than you. It all meshes with the story, and although it gives the proceedings a sense of urgency, it never evokes feelings of dread. [embed]292558:58618:0[/embed] Building out a base is often times an enjoyable experience, as you can design elevators to get around easier, and turrets to defend your base at specific chokepoints. Think of the latter strategy like defending the WWE Championship Belt -- sure, you're at the top, but now you need to keep it that way. It's definitely fresh and rewarding the first few times you do it, but by the 10th or so invasion, it starts to lose its luster. Exploration is often filled with new experiences, including boss fights, but base defense is usually a static affair. This is especially true in sandbox mode, where mission parameters cannot be met, bringing about an end to the cycle of repetition. In addition to the campaign there's also multiplayer on any given map, though I haven't had much success with getting it to work a week after launch on the PS4. Whether this is a result of poor netcode or a lack of community is up in the air, but suffice to say that you likely won't be enjoying this feature that often. There's also a selection of weekly challenges, from straight-up races to combat challenges. Races can feature gadgets like pogo sticks, and are actually pretty fun to play when you're not wrestling with the jumping physics. It's one thing to have weak jumps in an easy-going open world format -- another in a pinpoint-precision challenge. Since they feature online leaderboards and two-player co-op (four online if you can muster them up), they serve as a nice distraction. Nom Nom Galaxy isn't particularly exciting, but it's a whimsical little journey that does a decent job at world building. Despite the fact that people are probably clamoring for "more PixelJunk Monsters" as we speak, I'm glad that Q-Games continues to try new things. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Nom Nom Galaxy photo
The great soup war
You really have to give it to Q-Games. With the notable exception of PixelJunk Shooter 2, it has tried something different with pretty much all of its releases, from slot car races, to tower defense, to music visualizers. Not every game is a smash hit, but they all have something unique to offer, including the newly minted Nom Nom Galaxy. 







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