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PSN sale photo
PSN sale

The PSN holiday sale has added new deals


Week two
Dec 15
// Jordan Devore
The second week of the PlayStation Network holiday sale is a step down, for my personal tastes, but maybe you'll see it in a different light. Jamestown+ is only a few bucks, though, so that has to get a nod. One of my all-tim...

Review: Nuclear Throne

Dec 15 // Jordan Devore
Nuclear Throne (Linux, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita, Windows)Developer: VlambeerPublisher: VlambeerReleased: December 5, 2015 (Linux, Mac, PS3, PS4, Vita, Windows) / TBA (PS3)MSRP: $11.99 This is a roguelike, and a brutally difficult, bullet hellish one at that. These games have an uncanny ability to push us to the brink of madness only to win us over, in the end, and form an unbreakable bond. I'm no stranger to that process. But with Nuclear Throne, it's far more of a love-hate relationship than I'm used to. A large part of what kept me going despite repeated, soul-crushing failure was the look and sound of the setting and the strange creatures who inhabit it. The overall vision here is superb, with mutants, monsters, robots, and even an inter-dimensional police force collectively forming a believable, lived-in world. You never develop a full picture of this post-apocalyptic wasteland, or what its future might hold, and that's a good thing. Vlambeer provides just enough hints to stoke imaginations without oversharing. As a mutant, your basic goal is to kill everything. And I do mean everything -- that's how you progress to the next level and, with persistence, reach the titular Nuclear Throne. Initially, you will fend off bandits, maggots, and scorpions in a desert area. They're all good fodder for learning the basics before the real scary stuff comes out. Depending on your character, your adventure starts with a basic revolver, but you will soon find more interesting guns with varying rates of fire, bullet spreads, and other quirks. [embed]326751:61527:0[/embed] It's a shame you can only hold two weapons at a time, because I never wanted to part with anything. They're all delightful to use, and once you've grown accustomed to the way combat flows, it's so gratifying. But ammo is finite and the maximum amount you can store of each type (bullets, shells, bolts, explosives, and energy) isn't very high. That's by design. You're meant to continually cycle weapons in and out to match the situation at hand as well as what's left in your ammo stockpile. It's a clever way to encourage adaptability and it also helps the game maintain a sense of excitement over hundreds if not thousands of runs. There are also melee weapons, which are just as enjoyable as guns if not more so. They can be supremely useful in the right situation. Most of them can reflect projectiles back at enemies and, with sufficient reach, even attack through certain walls. There is a major downside to getting up close and personal, though: more than a few enemies explode when they die, and some bosses will even try to bring you down with them. They'll probably succeed, too. Rads (experience points) are the other major piece of Nuclear Throne. They're a type of collectible dropped by slain enemies, and you need to be quick to nab them because they fade after several seconds. Once you've earned enough rads to level up your character, you'll be able to choose a mutation (perk). These grant powerful passive abilities like health or ammo regeneration, slower-moving enemy bullets, and better melee range. But you don't get to pick a mutation until you have successfully obliterated everything and exited the level, and they're presented in a random group of four. Depending on your character's specific strengths and weaknesses, or your personal playstyle, you may not like the choices available. Ammo and health pick-ups also expire shortly after dropping onto the field, which means even if you have carved out a secluded spot that enemies won't wander into, you can't afford to stay put. Nuclear Throne is adept at making you feel unsafe. You're utterly fragile in this game, with or without full health. Everyone and everything packs a tremendous punch, so one wrong move can be the end. Only a select few elements like unlockable characters are persistent across runs. Levels are procedurally generated with variable layouts and enemy placements, but there are consistent themes (desert, sewer, caves, lab, etc.) on the path to the Nuclear Throne. Unless you skip around by entering secret areas -- the underwater oasis is a personal favorite of mine -- the overall structure will be the same on every run. Bosses show up on specific levels, so when you get to level 5-3, you know Lil' Hunter is going to drop in and ruin your day. He's the fucking worst. With practice, you can heighten your skills and know how best to leverage a character's special abilities. You'll be able to rapidly scan and prioritize threats. You'll generally know what lies ahead and which weapons to hold onto. But that's not always enough. Sometimes, Nuclear Throne will just screw you over. And that's where it falls short. There will be times when you spawn into a level surrounded by enemies and explosive objects and immediately die. Sometimes, it's that exact scenario plus a boss in the mix. It can be unfair. Or, at the very least, uneven. I expect that in roguelikes to a certain extent, but it especially stands out as a problem here. Bad spawns aside, there is a weird jump in difficulty in the Frozen City. Every time I managed to clear that particular zone, I went on to beat the next few levels without much trouble and made it to the Nuclear Throne (the point at which you can fight a boss and end your run, or "loop" it). The first time I fought the boss, ten hours in, I brushed up against the thing, causing a game-ending error. It was another two hours before I got another chance and succeeded. I haven't been able to make it back yet to try looping (think new game plus), so I know I'm missing out on some weapons and bosses, and an even greater challenge. If I could do it all over again, I would probably opt for the PC version instead. Mouse and keyboard controls would have been a godsend while I was learning the ropes. On PlayStation 4, there is an aim assist option, thankfully, and you can remap the controls. I suggest playing around with those settings and switching the "change weapon" button to something other than triangle. For folks interested in playing local co-op with a friend, know that the brutal difficulty persists. It's set up in such a way that if one player dies, they need to quickly be revived, and both players lose part of their health. So it's not really any easier. In the end, I have come to love and loathe Nuclear Throne. It's one of the hardest, most rewarding games I've ever played. But as satisfying as it can eventually become, I think it is far too demanding for its own good. With additional polish and balancing, this could be a masterpiece in the genre. It's not quite there yet, but it's close. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Nuclear Throne review photo
You did not reach the Nuclear Throne
Nuclear Throne is not a game for people who get frustrated easily. My first few hours spent with this top-down shooter from Super Crate Box and Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer didn't go well. I struggled with aiming and...

Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Here's Deal 7 in Sony's European 12 Deals of Christmas Promotion


Syndicate Savings galore
Dec 14
// Vikki Blake
Today's 12 Deals of Christmas is Assassin's Creed-flavoured, with discounts available for the standard and Gold digital editions of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, as well as savings on the Season Pass. From now until 11.59pm GMT...
TowerFall Vita photo
TowerFall Vita

TowerFall Ascension hits Vita next week


Yep, there's Cross-Buy
Dec 12
// Jordan Devore
TowerFall Ascension is such a treat for local arena game fans. It's even better with the Dark World expansion, which is worth getting for the fantastic new co-op levels alone. Both are about to arrive on PlayStation Vita and ...
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Friday Night Fights - Stick Fighting


Game with the Stick Figure Community!
Dec 11
// Mike Martin
EDF and Helldivers all in one week. Wow. So much awesome it must be my birfday. But it's not. It's Christmas time stupid. My birthday was in October and none of you said shit. This is why we have ants.  So we find oursel...
PS2 games on PS4 photo
PS2 games on PS4

PaRappa the Rapper 2 hits PS4 next week


Burgers all day every day
Dec 10
// Jordan Devore
Sony has begun selling PlayStation 2 games on PlayStation 4 with Trophies and 1080p support. After that initial batch of titles, PaRappa the Rapper 2 is up next. It'll be available on Tuesday. It's unknown exactly how much th...
PSN sale photo
PSN sale

PlayStation Network's holiday sale is up


Week one
Dec 09
// Jordan Devore
Darren has been talking up Tales from the Borderlands for months now. I don't care much for Borderlands, but I have finally followed his advice and downloaded "Telltale's best series to date." What got me? A sale, of course! ...
The Tomorrow Children photo
The Tomorrow Children

The Tomorrow Children is holding a beta soon


Don't mind if I do!
Dec 08
// Jordan Devore
Q-Games has opened sign-ups for The Tomorrow Children's closed beta, which will run from January 21 - 23. North American players can register here, and European players can sign up here. You'll just need to provide your name, email address, and PSN ID, so it won't take long.
Max Payne photo
Max Payne

Max Payne rated for PS4, likely a PS2 emulation


ESRB listing hints at another PS2 add
Dec 07
// Steven Hansen
Sony recently announced that PS4 can play PS2 games, so long as you purchase them again from Sony for upwards of $10. They do work pretty well, but I can't imagine buying too many of them, especially when PS2 games aren't all...
PS2 games on PS4 photo
PS2 games on PS4

All those PS2 games run great on PS4, though they might be rougher than you remember


Also, PaRappa the Rapper 2!
Dec 06
// Steven Hansen
PS2 times were amazing. I mean, that's the era of that wild Clover clutch I never stop talking about (Okami, God Hand, etc). So news that the PlayStation 4 would be able to emulate PlayStation 2 games? Sweet! You can't use PS2 discs or PS2 Classics? They're all upwards of $10? Less sweet.

Playing as a wicked witch Beetleborg ballerina in Sony Santa Monica's Bound

Dec 05 // Steven Hansen
[embed]324089:61357:0[/embed] If the announcement isn't clear, Bound is a platformer. You play as a pregnant woman delving through her own memories to try and learn how to be a better parent. Her parents stifled her early interest in becoming a ballerina, thus the lead princes character you control in the game through metaphorical representations of the mind. The most striking thing about Bound isn't the art style and detritus-filled world, but the way your character moves. The team initially tried to animate the game by hand, but ended up going to an actual ballerina for motion capture in order to give emotion and realism to the movement. That means something as simple as a ledge shimmy becomes a piece of performative movement as the character effectively rolls across the wall, chest and back pressed against it alternately. While I often find myself appreciate unique quirks of movement in games, locomotion is typically a means to an end (get from point A to point B), so watching these deliberate and exact steps, while not the most efficient means of wandering about, is interesting to watch. The same goes for the ballerina's unique roll, or while holding R2 to dance to deflect enemies (in this case, random geometry from the world attacking her). There's a lot more from Bound to see, including more of the narrative beats, and the demo ended right before an encounter with an actual, giant monster, so I'm not sure how the dancing "combat" would work out in a more traditional sense (or if a fight ends up happening at all). So far, though, moving around the world is fun to watch and perform.
Hands-on Bound preview photo
Coming to PS4 next year
While, maybe, I won't find corroboration in my headline, those are the allusions I was drawn to playing the newly announced game from Sony Santa Monica and Plastic (Linger in Shadows, Datura), Bound. You play as a ballerina, ...

PS2 emulation photo
PS2 emulation

Eight PS2 games are headed to PS4 tomorrow


We'll have to double dip, though
Dec 04
// Jordan Devore
Yesterday, Sony inadvertently published a video for Level-5's role-playing game Dark Cloud ahead of its (unannounced) release on PlayStation 4 via emulation. Now, we have our confirmation. Eight souped-up PS2 titles are heade...
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Friday Night Fights - Enemy bugs approaching!


EDF! EDF! EDF! EDF! EDF!
Dec 04
// Mike Martin
You hear that? After 7 years... 7 full years of peace, quiet and other Earthy stuff. They are returning. THE FUCKING BUGS ARE COMING MAN! Definitely a job for the EDF. Earth Defense Force 4.1 is hitting next week on the 8th, ...
Bound photo
Bound

That Sony Santa Monica tease was for Bound


A modern art-inspired 3D platformer
Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
Oh, Bound! (Psst. What's Bound?) A few days ago, Santa Monica Studio teased a game announcement with an obscured clip of someone dancing. I couldn't make any sense of it, but as some of you smartly guessed, it's a new thing, ...
Grand Theft Auto photo
Grand Theft Auto

Guess which Grand Theft Auto game just magically appeared on PSN


Nah, not that one
Dec 02
// Vikki Blake
A year after the Xbox 360 release, a PlayStation 3 port of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has appeared on the PlayStation Store. There was no announcement. It wasn't there, and then suddenly it was. IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.&n...
BioShock & Borderlands photo
BioShock & Borderlands

Big PlayStation Now update means 4 PS3 games you've already played


BioShock and Borderlands come to Now
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Okay, okay, I don't want to presume. For the same reason that re-releases on current platforms are fairly innocuous (people miss stuff!), it's not at all a bad thing that five (four new) 2K games just joined PlayStation Now. ...
Black Friday photo
Black Friday

Black Friday PSN Deals in the UK


PS4! PS3! PS Vita!
Nov 27
// Vikki Blake
Here it is - the definitive list of the very best deals and discounts on the PSN store today. These offers have been taken from the official EU PlayStation Store website and feature digital deals, but other offers are also av...
PlayStation Network photo
PlayStation Network

Latest PSN sale celebrates co-op gaming


Which cat are you?
Nov 24
// Jordan Devore
Sony is holding a co-op game sale on PlayStation Network until next week, and if you're a new PS4 owner or will be one soon thanks to Black Friday sales, it's absolutely worth a look. Some of my favorite titles for the consol...
Deals photo
Deals

20% off one-year PS Plus membership courtesy of Newegg


Nov. freebie: Walking Dead S2 & Magicka
Nov 23
// Dealzon
Update: Newegg's deal is dead but you can get a 3-month cheap PS Plus code for only $10 at Walmart during Black Friday. Over the last few years we think Black Friday has morphed from a one-day after-Thanksgiving sale to a wee...
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Friday Night Fights - Destroy the Rebel scum!


Game with the Dtoid Community!
Nov 20
// Mike Martin
I got to play Battlefront at my brothers... It is not the best... It may not even hold a candle to the old ones (2 ftw!). Holy fuck though. The sound, the feel and the looks? Damn. I might have to take this brain-dead, hunk o...
Primal Carnage photo
Primal Carnage

Primal Carnage: Extinction EU/AUS release date confirmed


DINO TIME
Nov 20
// Vikki Blake
Primal Carnage: Extinction is coming to PS4s in Europe and Australasia next Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Though the price has yet to be confirmed, the game - which hits PSN two weeks after the North American release - sells f...
Uncharted photo
Uncharted

New update will 'visually improve' Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection


It also updates the credits. Rad
Nov 18
// Vikki Blake
A second patch for Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is bringing "various visual improvements." What, exactly, is being visually improved isn't detailed, but the patch will also bring "adjusted trophy requirements, adjus...
Super Star Wars photo
Super Star Wars

Reminder: Super Star Wars comes out this week on PSN


The SNES classic
Nov 16
// Chris Carter
As a reminder, Super Star Wars will hit the PSN this week (PS4 and Vita with Cross-Buy). It was part of a classic trilogy for the SNES, and was basically a re-telling of A New Hope, through the veil of an action pla...
Friday Night Fights photo
Friday Night Fights

Friday Night Fights - Ch-ch-ch-chaaaanges


Change with the Dtoid community
Nov 13
// Mike Martin
Well isn't this Hunky Dory? A nice little Friday. We have a new Call of Duty to play together. We have a new Fallout to play with ourselves (HA! HA!). We have herpes. Wait, that's just me. My bad. "So shut up and tell us what...
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Friday Night Fights - Jack and Sh**


Game with the Dtoid Community!
Nov 06
// Mike Martin
Whole lotta nothing going on today, eh? Maybe y'all should sign up to play some Black Ops 3 together! How about some Rocket League? I don't know. I'm exhausted, work has been crazy and I just want to take a nap. A sexy nap. A cheesy, sexy, dirty nap. With cheese. Shit. That's how we get ants though. ;)
PS4 avatars photo
PS4 avatars

PS4 users can now buy hilariously bad avatars


Your old PS3 avatars will transfer soon
Nov 03
// Jordan Devore
I've got the little futuristic frog guy as my PS4 avatar, so I'm set for life. But not everyone is down with him or the other freebies. Somehow, it has taken Sony until now to lend a helping hand. As of today, PlayStation 4 u...
PS Now photo
PS Now

PlayStation Now not dead, service adds over 100 games


But, you know, are they playable?
Nov 03
// Steven Hansen
I don't know anyone using PlayStation Now or even talking about PlayStation Now and the times I've tried it haven't really worked, but Sony keeps chugging along with its games-on-demand, subscription-based streaming service....
PS+ November photo
PS+ November

PlayStation Plus has a modest set of free games in November


PS3 has the best showing
Oct 30
// Steven Hansen
It's November, which means it's the month to gives thanks for all the "free" PlayStation Plus games released all year. Next month, in the spirit of Christmas, you can be greedy about the offering. And hey, this month ain't ba...
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Friday Night Fights - Fright Night Edition


Oct 30
// Mike Martin
Welcome to another spooktacular edition of Friday Night Fights! Hollowiener is upon us, and I'm excited to take my kiddos trick or treatin' and see some slutty costumes on moms. I had to miss Halloween last year due to surger...
PSN photo
PSN

Sony's Yoshida doesn't know if it will ever be possible to change your PSN ID


'I wish I knew!'
Oct 29
// Vikki Blake
PSN recently sent out an invite-only questionnaire that invited players to feedback on their most requested features. On that list was the option to change your PSN ID. Well, according to a recent Q&A with PlayStation boss Shuhei Yoshida, it turns out that changing PSN ID might not even be possible.

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