Another year, another Assassin's Creed.
Ubisoft hasn't shown any signs of slowing down on annual releases for the series, despite handily finishing its main story arc. Correctly identifying the best innovation of Assassin's Creed III as its naval combat, this latest title incorporates it as the defining feature and centers the narrative around pirate adventure in the early 18th century.
For those of you who have lost count, this is the third time that I've reviewed Cave Story, and the second time I've reviewed it on the 3DS platform. That may sound like a lot, but I've actually been slacking. This eShop-specific version of the game marks the fifth time that publisher Nicalis has put Cave Story (WiiWare, DSiWare, Steam/iTunes, 3DS retail, eShop) up for sale.
The more cynical among us may scoff and say that Nicalis is just milking Cave Story for the big money it brings in. That's not the case. Nicalis could get a lot more potential profits from spending time on publishing games that people don't already have access to.
No, the reason that Nicalis keeps re-releasing Cave Story is that the company's CEO Tyrone Rodriguez really loves Cave Story. I think he wants to marry it. For real.
There's good reason for that. Cave Story is one of the most re-playable, continually enjoyable games I've ever encountered. This new release is among the best, if not the best, version released yet.
Android owners can finally play one of the most enjoyable mobile games ever with the arrival of Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride. Best of all, it's free! You can download the game either through Google Play or the Amazon App Store.
You really have no excuse here. We gave Jetpack Joyride a 9 out of 10 in our review last year. And did I mention it's free? Because it's free. FREE!
You won't get very far on your escapades through the Internet without someone complaining about how much "games these days do nothing but hold your hand." This phrase is most often used when referring to gameplay, but the same can easily be said about how stories are told throughout the medium. There has been a large shift towards player-generated stories, which is absolutely fantastic, but linear storytelling has remained mostly stagnant.
At least, that is what I thought before I played Gravity Bone and, more recently, Thirty Flights of Loving, both created by Blendo Games. Thirty Flights of Loving will likely take you less time to play than reading this review, so I'll give you a head start: do yourself a favor and buy, play, and enjoy Thirty Flights of Loving.
It doesn't take much to really improve the gaming experience. Better seating, better lighting, better company, etc. are sometimes all it takes to go from an utterly insufferable trek through your simulated world of choice to a magical journey that will keep you coming back for hours on end.
Upgrading your audio setup is often one of the best ways to squeeze every bit of rich detail from a game. Better speakers can kindle a warmer affinity for the creaking, tired breaths of Rapture or give that extra edge over the competition. Astro claims that its new line of wireless gaming headsets can not only keep up with their wired cousins, but that can raise the standard for gaming audio quality.
For a while there, the 3D platformer was lost on Sony’s platform but then Insomniac found it. And, somehow, the Spyro guys made it better than the genre ever was on the PlayStation.
Along with Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch, Insomniac took lessons learned from the previous generation, spliced the traditional platformer with other genres, and churned out one of the best trilogies that games have to offer.
Due to its cartoon visual style, rich environmental detail, and ahead-of-the-curve tech, this is one of the best looking HD collections released yet. While the first Ratchet & Clank may be a bit too rough of a blueprint for new players, the following two are classics that deserve a place in everyone's collection.
Super Hexagon is a game that makes your eyeballs feel like they're being forcibly twisted against your will while still in their sockets. It is a game that makes your brain feel like it's being torn up and stitched back together by a drunken doctor in a back alley. It will even, at times, make you question whether you're enjoying the experience or it's simply the pulsating visuals sending you subliminal messages that trick you into revelry.
You will feel your mind bend as you replay levels over and over, experiencing both bliss that you've increased your record by a mere second, and anger that your reaction speed failed to save you from a crushing death. Best of all, you will come away from each play session feeling sharper, and more energized than you did before loading up Super Hexagon.
With the Guild Wars 2 headstart beginning tomorrow, many of you will be playing the game for the first time. Some of you may still be on the fence about whether to purchase it or not (hint: you should). If you haven't played in any of the beta weekends, or even if you have and just didn't have much time to explore, there are a number of things about Guild Wars 2 you need to know that aren't directly apparent.
We often joke about a "right way" and a "wrong way" to play games, but it's a concept that I truly believe applies to Guild Wars 2. It may look similar to other MMOs -- you'll see a few quests, some hotbars, traditional MMO classes -- but the fundamental mechanics stray significantly from most other games in the genre.
Unfortunately, the game itself doesn't exactly hold your hand. If you try to play Guild Wars 2 like World of Warcraft or the Old Republic, looking for connect-the-dots quest chains to grind out, there's a good chance you'll find yourself confused, frustrated, and wondering what the big deal is.
In 1999, I crawled out of Counter-Strike’s wretched vagina to become the man I am today. And, now, I’m tasked with rating the game. How does one even rate his mother?
In sixth grade, I would wake up for school at 5:30 AM, but then I started getting up at 4:30 just to get a couple rounds in before class. Call it dedication or a sickening obsession, but I was hooked on CS (nevermind my neighbor who broke into my house to play while I slept!) It was more than a game. It was my social hub, my iTunes visualizer, and my brief entryway into game design (which didn’t go very far.) It is and remains a standout multiplayer shooter that paved the way for things to come with Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Being eight years since the excellent Source remake, Valve has decided it’s time to give the game another facelift. What started as a Source port for consoles became a more ambitious project that included PC. While there are no radical departures in Global Offensive, it is without a doubt a reboot. Valve has just hit the reset button on the series, once again. As drastic and premature of a maneuver it may be, there is no denying that Counter-Strike remains an addictive and rewarding competitive shooter like no other.
Every now and then, a game comes along that seems to have the right stuff -- it's got an unforgettable visual style, a quality studio, a respectable marketing budget, and the kind of gameplay that should go over damn well with a crowd. Every now and then, a game can have all that and just be unlucky.
Darksiders was one such game. One of my favorites of 2010, Vigil Games' appealing (yet ridiculous) action title took the core of The Legend of Zelda and wrapped it in some highly original (and violent) clothes. It should have been a hit. It's criminal that it wasn't.
And if Darksiders II goes the same way, criminal won't even be the word for it.
Derek Yu's Spelunky made a name for itself as a freeware release years ago. Adapting concepts from roguelikes such as randomized levels and permanent death (lots and lots of permanent death), it uses a familiar 2D platformer base to offer gameplay that is both intrinsically enjoyable and always interesting.
To be frank, Spelunky could have been halfheartedly released on Xbox Live Arcade with only the most basic of features included, and I would have likely adored it. Instead, this version adds a new soundtrack, a fresh art style, support for cooperative play, and a ridiculous deathmatch mode, among other things.
It's as refreshing a game now as it was back then.
As I'm sure everyone who is familiar with my previous work on Destructoid is already well aware, I have a thing for portable electronics and laptops in particular. Last week, I was able to put Origin's new 11-inch "netbook" through its paces.
I played some games on a plane, typed up quite a few of the articles I put out on the front page, and basically used it as my primary computer for the week. It was a fun test that included a lot of real-world applications for something that is, ostensibly, a mid-high gaming laptop crammed into an 11-inch chassis.
Like the previous Origin laptop, this thing came in a wooden crate resembling something straight out of Indiana Jones. Inside there was a t-shirt, poster, cover, a bit of software, an external Blu-ray drive, and, of course, the tiny machine itself.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) titles have seen an enormous surge in popularity in recent years, and for good reason, but to date they've been restricted to the PC. These highly skill-based, competitive games offer the joy of killing players and computer-controlled enemies, with that one-more-round addictive quality when it either goes well, or when you demand satisfaction after a loss.
Now it's time for console owners to get a taste of the action in 2D with Awesomenauts, a title that marries MOBA tactics with the frantically competitive platforming action from the likes of Super Smash Bros..
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the company of a grid-based, first-person dungeon crawler in the year 2012. No, you are not dreaming. You've just been presented with Legend of Grimrock from the folks over at Almost Human. Whether this brings back fond memories of Dungeon Master or is completely new to you, I can easily say that this title delivers.
Personally, when I hear the term "dungeon crawler," I cringe a little. I think of games that are incredibly bland, repetitious, and uninspired. Luckily, Legend of Grimrock is none of these things. With clever puzzles, tactical combat, and secrets upon secrets, Grimrock takes an old-school feel and injects it seamlessly into the modern era.
What I’m concerned with is the aristocracy of the mind. It is our obligation to select -- through our experiences, knowledge, and heart -- what is eternal and what is worthless. [...] But if I don’t represent this ideology, then others will. Others who would prefer to distinguish between people and concepts based on vanity, rather than thought and humility.
The above text is taken from Sine Mora, one of the most aesthetically-pleasing, fun, and thought-provoking games to come out in some time. That it also contains the most brilliant, concise summary of a critic’s ethos is just the cherry on top.
Sine Mora may be playing within an age-old genre (the shoot-em-up), but it manages to progress this entire medium as a whole. Also, Sine Mora is a game in which a legless bison blackmails a rape victim with leukemia to kill hundreds of people.
In the estimation of this critic, Sine Mora is eternal and most definitely essential.
As things stand, the iPhone is the breeding ground for a new generation of game designers, lazier than any that has come before it. One that uses unnecessary leveling mechanics, generative elements, randomly-based variables, unlockables, and novelty controls to immediately touch the pleasure-centers of the brain, in the same way Micheal Bay or a bowl of sugar do. It all leaves me feeling empty, used, and a bit sickened in reflection.
When it comes to games, I crave absolute control, rules that are to be learned, and the ability to improve my performance every step of the way. ZiGGURAT gives me all this and an endless erection that has begun to frighten me.