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Rodea: The Sky Soldier might be a bumpy ride

Jun 25 // Kyle MacGregor
Rodea: The Sky Soldier was initially conceived as a Wii game, but it came too late in the day for a system nearing the end of its life cycle. It needed to be reworked as a Wii U and 3DS title. The thing is, the Wii is a special console, and Rodea was developed with its unique attributes in mind. Motion controls are a tad different than standard inputs, and the transition between the two seems to have left an indelible imprint on Rodea's design. Taking to the skies in this aerial action game doesn't come as second nature. With the press of a button, Rodea lifts into the air and hovers for a moment as you aim where you want him to go. He can't fly indefinitely, though, and will fall to his death unless you find another object for him to bounce off within an allotted time frame. It seems like the type of interface that would work seamlessly with the Wii's IR pointer, but on Wii U GamePad, I found myself flying off at odd angles, often coming frustratingly close to objectives that seemed just out of reach. Perhaps it's the sort of thing that comes with practice, but in a brief demo on the E3 show floor, only got a glimpse at what sort of joys Rodea might have to offer.  Though it never felt intuitive, there were flashes when I managed to soar through the air with some semblance of precision. And in those fleeting moments I could really feel Yuji Naka's (Sonic Adventure, NiGHTS into Dreams) fingerprints all over the game, as I bounded from one floating isle to the next, collecting rings in this ethereal obstacle course. More than anything, my time with Rodea: The Sky Soldier made me oddly happy the Wii U version is coming tethered with a copy of the game on Wii. I'm not sure how much easier it will be to pilot on its original platform, but it feels like that's how it was intended to be experienced. Either that or flight isn't a skill easily mastered in a few mere minutes.
Rodea impressions  photo
Awkward aeronautics
My first flight with Rodea: The Sky Soldier wasn't a smooth one. But perhaps that's to be expected of a title that's seen such a turbulent development history. The project went dark shortly after its initial announcement in 2010, then underwent a change of platforms -- something that seems all too apparent after a few minutes with the final product.

Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

New Persona 5 trailer leaked (Update)


Steal back your future
Jun 24
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: And it's gone!] Persona 4: Dancing All Night just launched in Japan, where first print copies of the game come included with a Blu-ray featuring a new Persona 5 trailer. Make sure to watch it while you still can! G onitono [YouTube]
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It's not a mobile game factory just yet
Back when word broke regarding Tri-Ace's acquisition at the hands of mobile group Nepro Japan, the early speculation was the studio's days making games for consoles were over. Then, just a couple months later, Square Eni...

Tales of Berseria PS4 photo
Tales of Berseria PS4

First look at Tales of Berseria in action


Just a quick peek
Jun 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Bandai Namco just released the first footage of Tales of Berseria in motion, showing off a range of environments, including a tropical coastal locale, a temperate forest, and snow-coated cityscape. The publisher still hasn't...
Suikoden 3 photo
Suikoden 3

Suikoden III coming to PlayStation Network


PS2 Classic launches this Tuesday
Jun 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Suikoden III is slated for a digital re-release on PlayStation 3 this week, according to the PlayStation Blog's weekly listing of upcoming releases for North America. Earlier this year, a European rating for the PlayStation 2...

Persona 4 goes full Miku in Dancing All Night

Jun 20 // Kyle MacGregor
This is all a set-up for a rhythm game, where the spotlight shines on Atlus composer Shoji Meguro's infectious tunes, including some new tracks to go along with remixes of old favorites.  Persona 4: Dancing All Night's gameplay is reminiscent of Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series, which makes sense given the tiles were both created in part by the same studio, Dingo. Unlike the Project DIVA games, where the notes fly in from off-screen toward the center, Atlus is taking the opposite approach with Dancing All Night. Star-shaped objects appear and fly from the center of the middle of the screen toward six points on the outer edges of a ring, all of which correspond to parts of the D-pad and individual face buttons. As rhythm game veterans know very well, how you time your button presses as the notes fly into these zones will impact how well you score. There are various levels of difficulty to select between, so fans of the genre can challenge themselves while those just looking for a new Persona story can breeze through the stages with less resistance.  As you tap along with the beat, familiar faces like Kanji and Chie will groove out to the music on the Midnight Stage while Shadows look on the in audience. Eventually, the stages will culminate in a Persona summon, which I got a real kick out of. Seeing (the main protagonist) Yu's partner Izanagi jam out on a bass guitar put a big smile on my face. Atlus also showed us the game running on a PlayStation TV, which might be a tad more challenging than playing it in the palm of your hands on the Vita depending on how far away you sit from your screen. Since we were pretty close to the monitor during our demo, this required us to rely heavily on our peripheral vision, which added a layer of challenge. Whether it's an RPG, fighter, or rhythm game, more Persona is always a good thing in my book and seeing Persona 4: Dancing All Night in action this week at E3 has me no less excited about the game. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of it when it finally launches sometime this fall.
P4D preview photo
Just set it free and dance!
It's been months since the Investigation Team cracked the case and life is getting back to normal. That is, until members of Rise Kujikawa's J-pop group suddenly go missing. And, surprise, surprise: The rescue mission brings ...

Nier New Project photo
Spoilers?
Interviewing developers can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. For example, when I spoke to Nier producer Yosuke Saito and director Taro Yoko about their game the other day, the pair spent a good portion of the interview dodg...

How and why Platinum Games is making Nier 2

Jun 19 // Kyle MacGregor
"So, with the previous game, we got some feedback from our fans, not only in Japan but also from abroad, that for being an action RPG, the controls weren't great," Nier producer Yosuke Saito told Destructoid (through a translator) earlier this week at E3 in Los Angeles. "And that's one of the things we've really learned from the previous game." "When I thought about developers that are really known for great gameplay and design (in terms of gameplay implementation), there aren't that many," Saito continued. "But Platinum is one of them. They're known for great gameplay and development of gameplay engines and so we brought up this conversation dialogue and decided to make this collaboration project." "Honestly, in my personal opinion, the best action game developer in Japan has to be Platinum Games," Nier director Taro Yoko added. "So, being able to collaborate with them on this endeavor on the new Nier project is a great feat for us." But Platinum Games is known for action titles, not role-playing games. I wondered how different from its predecessor the sequel might turn out. Would it just be a straight-up action game? "It's more of a varied approach," Yoko replied. "It's not necessarily going to be the same way as before. I want to keep trying new things. And obviously with Platinum Games, they're renowned for their action game controls. So, we may do a little re-balancing and redesign in terms of some aspects, but we are considering a varied approach." [embed]294470:59163:0[/embed] What does that mean exactly? "Obviously Platinum Games are known for their quick, speedy combat. But if we go too far that direction, it gets too difficult for other people to really enjoy. So, since this is a JRPG we're trying to do that good balance with typical Platinum Games-style action elements with JRPG-element combat." "A lot of people think of action when they think of Platinum Games, but with this team they really showed a lot of respect to the original Nier. We actually have several fans of the previous game on the team, and through that respect they haven't completely deconstructed the old combat system or created a completely new one. They've taken the old combat system from the original and out of respect sorted of added onto it, added their own sort of flair here and there to improve upon what we already had and make a better game experience." It sounds like people needn't worry about this being a linear action game. "It's not going to be a game on rails so to speak," Yoko said when asked about the game systems. "It's not going to be one straight path. You are going to have room for exploration similar to the previous Nier." Yoko has long lived in Tokyo, but the director recently moved across the country to Osaka, where he is now embedded at Platinum's offices. So I asked him to talk about the studio, while also expressing some concern about the sheer number of titles Platinum is working on at the moment. "I don't know what Platinum Games was in the past. I've only been with them recently. I can't really comment on Platinum Games. But for my team specifically -- it's a very young team. For example, the game designer [Takashi Taura] is 29 years old." "So it's a very young, but passionate team. They have a lot of desire and passion for our project to do a good job. They're extremely skilled and very quick. Obviously we may do overtime here and there, but it's not like we're slave drivers necessarily. They love their job, they love being in the industry. Honestly I've been in the industry and I'm just amazed at the amount of skill and how efficiently this team works." We can look forward to seeing more of what the team has been up to sometime this fall.
Nier 2 interview photo
An interview with the RPG's creators
Nier isn't the sort of game you would expect to get a sequel, but that's exactly what's happening. Square Enix surprised (and delighted) folks the world over when it announced the new project at E3. That news alone would...

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The hottest booth babes of E3 2015


...bet it gets sweaty in there
Jun 19
// Kyle MacGregor
E3 is over. But before we get back to our normal routines, check out these steamy booth attendants.
NieR interview photo
Director explains how they came to be
Nier is a game of extremes. For all its strengths, it has as many weaknesses. One of the roughest elements of the experience is fishing. The whole thing is poorly implemented and just as badly explained. And one of them wasn'...

Mobile Tomb Raider Lara Croft GO feels lovely

Jun 18 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]294301:59143:0[/embed] At first glance, Lara Croft GO bears a strikingly close resemblance to Square Enix Montréal's first effort. It echoes the quiet, clean aesthetic of Hitman GO, while featuring similar turn-based puzzle design, but pushes the concepts further. Fresh elements like verticality quite literally add new dimensions to the experience, and go a long way to making this feel like a legitimate Tomb Raider. The characters are no longer static figurines, as the designers felt it wouldn't be natural for Lara, a character known for her athleticism, to be portrayed in such a rigid fashion. So while our heroine is still navigating an on-rails obstacle course, she's fully animated, looking very much at home as she climbs and scrambles around ancient, subterranean ruins. Perspective is also used to great effect, with the isometric camera allowing the developers to add little flourishes like a silhouetted beetle crawling along a tree branch in the foreground, or see a bridge appear in the distance when Lara toggles a switch. Square Enix Montréal is also keen on avoiding unnecessary hand-holding. The title's 40 levels (which are quite a bit larger than those found in Hitman GO) are based around trial and error. With each stage now divided into segments with checkpoints, new mechanics can be introduced and then used in rather sophisticated ways in short order without a loss of progress.  One example of this is terrain that will fall away when walked over or climbed across twice. Shortly after being introduced to this by falling to my death, I was using it to evade an enemy. Knowing a certain surface would crumble away, I used it to lay a trap for the giant lizard nipping at my heels.  Not all of the obstacles I saw were quite that compelling, though. While it was a rush to see an Indiana Jones-style boulder trap, the turn-based nature of the game makes this sort of scene less compelling than if were to play out in real time. Still, what I've witnessed thus far has me eager to see what else awaits in the full game. Lara Croft GO is coming to iOS and Android devices sometime later this year.
Lara Croft GO photo
Small in scale, but no less impressive
Square Enix Montréal possesses a genuine talent for artfully distilling series down to their essence. In 2014, the developer released Hitman GO, a turn-based deconstruction of IO Interactive's stealth franchise, w...

Star Ocean photo
SO5 producer on how new game came to be
During an interview with Destructoid today, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness producer Shuichi Kobayashi intimated the series was in a state of upheaval after the launch of Star Ocean 4. Kobayashi told me "nobody would ...

ATARI photo
ATARI

Atari seriously needs to update its E3 booth


C'mon guys
Jun 16
// Kyle MacGregor
This thing is positively ancient. 

Medieval fighter For Honor defies description

Jun 16 // Kyle MacGregor
While there is some sort of story mode to ostensibly explain why feudal soldiers from opposite ends of the planet are sharing a battlefield, Ubisoft is keeping quiet about the single-player campaign. Instead, the publisher has opted to thrust the multiplayer component into the foreground. And what a strange and alluring experience that is. On the heels of its E3 media briefing, Ubisoft whisked the press off to a tower in downtown Los Angeles to compete in a mode called "Dominion." There, groups of eight players skirmished in 4-on-4 matches with an emphasis on territory control. With three King of the Hill-style zones to vie for, it's set up an awful lot like an online shooter. And at a glance, it gives off a Dynasty Warriors vibe, with hordes inept minions fighting battles of attrition while player-controlled hero characters grapple over objectives that, you know, actually matter. Neither of those comparisons really nail what For Honor actually feels like, though. The combat system is far more intricate than Koei Tecmo's hack-and-slashers, at any rate. This is no mindless action game. Each and every encounter with the enemy requires a great deal of care.  For Honor is all about sword mastery; success or failure largely hinges on one's proficiency with a blade. Being overly aggressive is a good way to get flayed, as defense is of vital importance here. Predictable attacks are easily blocked and countered, and even knights, despite being clad in heavy plate mail, can be felled surprisingly quickly after a string of defensive miscues. In some respects this is more of a fighting game, where opponents feel one another out with pokes and jabs, hoping to discern the enemy's plan of attack and capitalize when given the opportunity. You really have to pay attention to where the enemy's weapon is positioned, be ready to counter it while working to read them, and get an opening yourself. I quickly found myself outmatched when going toe-to-toe with the developers on the other team. They seemed to move with lightning speed, feigning attacks and throwing me off balance, only to hit me from my unguarded side a moment later. Thankfully, strategy and teamwork play a central role. When I figured out I wasn't a skilled enough fighter to take enemies on by my lonesome, I focused my attention on sneaking up the flanks and capturing the objectives. Eventually, somehow, after flailing in the early going, our team came back from the brink of defeat to pull off an unlikely victory. (Maybe they let us win.) On top of that, players act as field generals, earning mid-game perks called "Feats" that allow one to call in ordnance support catapults and archers, or even inspire your cohorts to fight better. Knowing how and when to play these cards figures to play a key role in turning the tide of battle. For Honor is a fascinating fusion of genres that has me eager to return to the battlefield.
For Honor impressions photo
Whatever it is, I like it
Ubisoft Montreal's For Honor seems to borrow inspiration from as many places as it does warriors. The newly-revealed project sees medieval knights clash with samurai and viking raiders, warping time and space to bring together foes as distinct as the overarching experience that unites them.

Final Fantasy app photo
Final Fantasy app

Final Fantasy portal app coming this summer


Woo?
Jun 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Today at its E3 press conference, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy portal app, a resource that looks to "provide any and all information related to Final Fantasy." An English version is slated to launch on smartphones and tablet devices this summer. 
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

Square Enix trolls everybody with Kingdom Hearts mobile game


Unchained confirmed for the West
Jun 16
// Kyle MacGregor
There were audible shouts from the audience when Square Enix mentioned Kingdom Hearts during its E3 press conference. Then the game appeared and everything was deathly silent. The publisher announced Kingdom Hearts Unchained,...
Animal Crossing photo
Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer debuts September 25


Also, AC: amiibo Festival announced
Jun 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Today, during Nintendo's E3 showcase, the publisher took some time to talk Animal Crossing. The decorating-focused Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is coming to Nintendo 3DS on September 25, the company announced just be...
Star Fox Zero photo
Star Fox Zero

Platinum-developed Star Fox Zero jets to Wii U this holiday season


Do a barrel roll!
Jun 16
// Kyle MacGregor
It's happening, it's finally happening! Kicking off its E3 showcase today, Nintendo finally unveiled the next entry in the Star Fox series. The new project is called Star Fox Zero and it's coming exclusively t...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is mean to horses


Neigh!
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate made an appearance at Ubisoft's E3 press conference (Shocker, I know!). And one of the big additions to this year's game involves vehicle combat, some of which involves horses getting caught in the crossfire. Which makes me real sad. Go crash some trains or something, you monsters. Leave the poor ponies alone.
Ubisoft photo
Ubisoft

Ubisoft announces The Crew: Wild Run, coming Nov. 17


Start your engines
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
  The Crew is getting its first expansion come November 17 with Wild Run, Ubisoft just announced. The new content revolves around an event called "The Summit," a gathering where thousands of mechanics and drivers come to...
Need for Speed photo
Need for Speed

EA's Need for Speed reboot coming November 3


Hot racing action
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
The new Need for Speed, which is apparently twice the size of Need for Speed: Rivals, is coming November 3 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, EA announced today as part of its E3 media showcase. Need for Speed executive producer and...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

Stella Glow launches on 3DS this holiday season


Complete with that $49.99 'Atlus tax'
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Stella Glow is coming to North America this holiday season, Atlus USA just announced. The upcoming RPG is likely to be the swansong project for Luminous Arc developer Imageepoch, whose recent bankruptcy filing isn't expected to impact the title's release. Atlus is exhibiting Stella Glow at E3 this week, so expect some impressions out of us soon.
New Rare game photo
New Rare game

Rare announces 'most ambitious project yet,' Sea of Thieves


Ahoy!
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Rare just revealed its next project, Sea of Thieves, a pirate-themed Xbox One exclusive. Other than that details are pretty scarce at the moment. Prior to the showing off the game, which looks like it might be an MMO, a studio rep dubbed the title Rare's "most ambitious project to date."
Gigantic beta photo
Gigantic beta

Gigantic beta hits Xbox One, Windows 10 in August


Sign up now... or don't
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Motiga's upcoming MOBA Gigantic made an appearance at Microsoft's E3 presser today. Nothing huge was revealed, but if you're keen on checking it out, a closed beta is planned to take place this August across Windows 10 and Xbox One. You can sign up for a chance to test it here.
Comcept photo
Comcept

Keiji Inafune and Metroid Prime devs unveil Xbox One exclusive ReCore


Coming Spring 2016
Jun 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Well, this was certainly unexpected. Today at Microsoft's E3 showcase, the company pulled an ace from its sleeve, revealing a gorgeous new project with a compelling pedigree. It's called ReCore and its being co-develope...
Elder Scrolls Legends photo
Elder Scrolls Legends

Bethesda reveals The Elder Scrolls Legends


A strategy card game
Jun 14
// Kyle MacGregor
This evening at Bethesda's E3 media briefing, the company announced The Elder Scrolls Legends, a free-to-play strategy card game based on the worlds of Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online. Expect more details in the coming months, as the title's planned for a 2015 launch on PC and iPad.
Destructoid Podcast photo
Destructoid Podcast

Podtoid 297: E3 2015 Predictions, Tips & Tricks


Life is hard. Just have a beer, man
Jun 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or download it here. Welcome back to Podtoid! It's the calm before the storm, so to speak. The Dtoid staff is descending upon Los Angeles for this week's trade show -- but we...
HOT POCKETS at E3 photo
HOT POCKETS at E3

BREAKING: HOT POCKETS CONFIRMED FOR E3


#HOTPOCKETSFREEatE3
Jun 12
// Kyle MacGregor
There's been a lot of speculation whether The Last Guardian or a new Metroid game will make an appearance E3, but one thing we know for sure is HOT POCKETS® will be at the show next week. Yes, evil corporation Nestle will...
Nitroplus Blasterz photo
Nitroplus Blasterz

XSEED localizing PS4 fighter Nitroplus Blasterz


Coming to North America this winter
Jun 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines of Infinite Duel is coming west this winter, XSEED just announced. The PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 fighting game is developed by Arcana Heart and Aquapazza studio Examu, who released the title...
Bandai Namco photo
Bandai Namco

Tales of Zestiria officially confirmed for PS4, PC


Coming in October
Jun 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Bandai Namco's worst kept secret is now officially official. Today, the publisher confirmed the rumors are indeed true. Yes, Tales of Zestiria is in development for PlayStation 4 and PC. Alongside the previously announced Pla...

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