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Dungeons II takes a humorous approach to being the bad guy photo
Dungeons II takes a humorous approach to being the bad guy
by Alessandro Fillari

Being the bad guy has its perks. With an entire force of orcs, goblins, and other nasty creatures at your bidding, more gold you can count, and a near infinite supply of dark magic at your disposal -- it seems like you've got things pretty much handled in your conquest of the world. But fate seems to have other plans. And with a snarky disembodied voice mocking you and narrating your journey, it certainly looks like your quest for power will be a lot more difficult than you thought.

This is what you can expect in the upcoming sequel to Dungeons. During a private session at a press event by Kalypso Media, I got to spend some hands-on time with their upcoming Dungeon Keeping/RTS hybrid title Dungeons II, that aims to take a light-hearted and comedic approach to being the evilest villain in all the land.

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Crookz brings 1970s style and swagger to heist gameplay photo
Crookz brings 1970s style and swagger to heist gameplay
by Alessandro Fillari

What happened to the style and cleverness that came from heist thrillers? I remember watching films like Ocean's Eleven and Thief, that had little to no action or shooting. But now, these high-pressure and tense moments just seem like over the top spectacles. Due to the success of Grand Theft Auto and Pay Day building entire gameplay scenarios around such high-pressure and intense moments, it's likely that 'heist' is now synonymous with shooting and explosions.

But what about the methodical and low-key approach to pulling off such crazy scores? Well, that's what the developers at Skilltree Studios have in mind for their take on pulling off big scores. With Crookz, they seek to take a different approach to heist gameplay, while doing it in authentic and funky 70's style.

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Majestic Nights should be taken away in an unmarked van for its own good photo
Majestic Nights should be taken away in an unmarked van for its own good
by Nic Rowen

I dig espionage stories. Faceless government agents running amok, corporate interests dominating the nation's politics, scruffy retired spooks pulled in for "one last job"; I eat that stuff up.

So I was excited when I heard about Majestic Nights, a conspiracy driven, episodic adventure game set in a neon-soaked hyper-'80s, a la Hotline Miami. I was hoping for John le Carre meets Scarface. What I got was X-Files fanfiction meets a game I don't want to play.

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Halo 5: Guardians has left me oddly cold and worried photo
Halo 5: Guardians has left me oddly cold and worried
by Abel Girmay

I am not opposed to change. While certain circles of Halo fans find it popular to hate Halo 4, I've always appreciated what 343 Industries did with that game. Sprint was a logical next step to character movement, while loadout abilities such as shielding, dexterity, and promethean vision felt like natural additions to Halo's formula.

With Halo 5: Guardians, well, I'm not quite so excited with what 343 is doing. During my time with Guardians I often struggled to find that feeling of playing a Halo game.

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Mushroom 11 is the next great puzzle-platformer photo
Mushroom 11 is the next great puzzle-platformer
by Jordan Devore

Everyone I know who's tried Mushroom 11 won't shut up about how good it is. After clearing the first two levels today in a preview build, I'm joining them. 25 minutes well spent.

This is a puzzle-platformer unlike any I've seen before. You guide a green blob through a post-apocalyptic world -- up cliffs, through tunnels, over toxic sludge -- by erasing parts of it. Each time you click on the ooze, you'll trim its cells and fresh replacements will pop up somewhere else; do this enough and it'll start to move (though not always in the exact direction you want).

It's fun to aimlessly "push" the blob forward across the ruined world, but traversing obstacles requires careful planning, quick improvisation, or both. In one puzzle, I anchored the organism to the perimeter of a cave suspended above lava and chipped away at it in such a way that a makeshift limb stretched down and left toward solid ground without falling straight to its fiery doom.

A later section, a boss fight against a giant mutant spider, involved launching the blob off a seesaw and navigating up and around the creature's jabbing arms. Sequences like this are frenetic. You have to rapidly erase cells to maintain momentum but you can't overdo it; the blob won't rematerialize mid-air. Brute-force attempts at puzzle solving proved futile by the second level.

All that said, I'd recommend watching footage or, better yet, playing the game yourself next year on PC/Mac/Linux (pre-orders come with a preview). It's tough to convey what makes Mushroom 11 such a treat in text, but pick it up and you'll understand the appeal in seconds. Tell your friends.

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Here's how Halo: Combat Evolved's PC multiplayer looks on Xbox One photo
Here's how Halo: Combat Evolved's PC multiplayer looks on Xbox One
by Bill Zoeker

At a recent Xbox event, I got to play a bunch of multiplayer stuff in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. I was caught off guard when we were suddenly dropped into the online multiplayer for Halo: Combat Evolved's PC version, which was added to this Xbox One anthology to compensate for the original Xbox version's lack of online play. Naturally, when I posted this video on YouTube, there were a bunch of angry comments from people who got confused and thought of tricking them into thinking The Master Chief Collection was on PC to scam clicks because they have trouble comprehending sentence structure. Sigh. Anyway, Halo is cool.

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Resident Evil: Revelations 2 brings the mystery back to survival horror photo
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 brings the mystery back to survival horror
by Alessandro Fillari

There's certainly been intrigue surrounding Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Since its existence was leaked a few months back and several cryptic images of a derelict prison made the rounds, there has been speculation about what to expect from this installment. And, with the return of characters from other titles, there is evidently a larger focus on linking things back to the series' past.

Its predecessor, Resident Evil: Revelations, felt very much like a back-to-basics approach to the series, which earned a lot favor from fans. With the upcoming sequel, more characters from the past are brought back to the forefront and are drawn into a greater conspiracy. Obviously, this isn't entirely new for the franchise. However, with the greater focus on mystery in Revelations 2 and how Capcom plans to release the game in episodes, it could give the series a much needed change of pace. After Brett's hands-on time with the sequel back at Tokyo Game Show, he was left unsure of what to expect from the game. And, judging from my own time with it last month, that might be for the best.

This is one title you might want to go into blind.

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Crescent Bay gives me hope for the consumer Oculus Rift photo
Crescent Bay gives me hope for the consumer Oculus Rift
by Steven Hansen

I've had some fun with the first and second iterations of the Oculus Rift, but it's mostly a novelty I don't want to spend extended time in, especially if it's not a genre suited to the Rift. Anything in a cockpit works well, naturally, because you lose the need for incongruous simulated walking mechanics.

The Crescent Bay demo Oculus showed off at Games Connection Europe is a huge step forward, though there are still some issues, including movement. Crescent Bay ups the screen resolution, adds 360 degree field of view, and motion tracking. 

With Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe saying of the consumer Rift package, "We're getting very close. It's months, not years away, but many months," I'm a bit more comfortable with the notion, even if I'm still not sure what the Rift has to add to non-cockpit, traditional gaming experiences. 

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This War of Mine is a harrowing journey of survival photo
This War of Mine is a harrowing journey of survival
by Alessandro Fillari

War, what is it good for? For starters, it makes for easy entertainment in fiction. With the rise of war games over the last two decades, it's common to see these experiences as nothing but an over-the-top spectacle to show off explosions and the might of the military. But in recent years, we've begun to see more games that pay attention to the philosophical and existential conflicts related to war.

One of my favorite last-gen games, Spec Ops: The Line, subverted expectations by reintroducing the horror and dread that war imparts on those it touches. And with last summer's Valiant Hearts, which told the stories of men and women during World War I, I'm glad we're seeing more of the human and emotional side of armed conflict.

Back at PAX Prime 2014, I had the opportunity to experience another such title called This War of Mine. Meeting with the developers at 11 bit studios, I got to chat about the origins and intentions they have with their survivalist take on war.

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Whoa! Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is pretty fun photo
Whoa! Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is pretty fun
by Steven Hansen

Look, you can't blame me for turning a blind eye to Final Fantasy Type-0. Why hurt and labor and want over something you can't have? At least not a videogame, of which there are alternates and substitutes plenty.

Elliot Gay knew what was up. He played it on PSP. He sought out the unlikely HD remake, which we are somehow getting in the United States of America next spring, and played it at TGS.

What Square brought to Paris Games Week was a similar demo. Three playable characters partied up, a large area to run through. I'm just here to tell you what Elliot already knew. This game is pretty cool. Maybe Final Fantasy XV could be good.

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I still haven't beaten that Bloodborne TGS demo photo
I still haven't beaten that Bloodborne TGS demo
by Steven Hansen

Usually seeing a demo you played just a month ago means there isn't too much more to wring out. This is not the case with Bloodborne.

The Tokyo Game Show demo bested me. That same demo was playable today at Paris Games Week. Its stations were behind me when I was playing The Order for the first time. The two rectangle setups shared a side. The Order's demo area was strewn about with rope, like cartoonish, espiga colored rope. Fake ammunition belts and singular rounds were glued to the table and up against some walls were crates with weapon replicas.

The Bloodborne area was threaded with leaves and one large angel statue with bleeding eyes. These are opposite games, positioned opposite each other. After playing The Order, I turned about, more excited to try and get through a Bloodborne level I had already played.

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The Order: 1886 sure is, uh, cinematic photo
The Order: 1886 sure is, uh, cinematic
by Steven Hansen

I finally played The Order: 1886, Ready at Dawn's upcoming PS4, monster-filled, alternate-London-history third-person shooter here at Paris Games Week.

I still really want to like it. I like a lot of things about it. Well, mainly its aesthetic, both the technical marvel and the filmic look. But I was kind of bored playing the game. Maybe it didn't help I lacked story context, starting somewhere a few chapters in. There was no emotional manipulation for me to care about our squad making our way to one of our members who had been pinned downed, a feat I only realized we were doing after I did it.

And I felt no tinge of sadness for the other squad member that dies--good ole What'shisname--after a little scene where you drag his bleeding-out-body into cover, firing a pistol at a few swarms of enemies on the roof.

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8 things right and 8 things wrong with Smash Bros. Wii U photo
8 things right and 8 things wrong with Smash Bros. Wii U
by Bill Zoeker

I recently got my hands on Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo Wii U, and holy Bowser babies, are there a lot of new and expanded features! In fact, there is so much new stuff that I could hardly cover it all, so instead I am sharing my boiled-down list of the 8 most interesting things that I think Nintendo has done well for Smash U, and the 8 things I think could use some work.

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Resident Evil was a difficult game to remaster in HD photo
Resident Evil was a difficult game to remaster in HD
by Alessandro Fillari

With the rise of high-definition re-releases, many fans have likely made a wish list of titles they hope will eventually get the HD treatment. Whether they be classics from the '90s or 2000s, we're seeing a variety of games find new life in today's market. Unfortunately, not every title can make that transition to modern consoles, be it for technical or design reasons.

Thankfully, Resident Evil is an exception. During a special hands-on session with the game, I experienced what it was like to return the mansion in full HD, and even got to speak with members of Capcom staff to learn about the challenges they faced with Remastered.

They certainly had their work cut out for them.

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Metrocide is a thinking person's Hotline Miami photo
Metrocide is a thinking person's Hotline Miami
by Rob Morrow

Sydney-based independent studio Flat Earth Games has released its top-down cyberpunk-noir contract killing simulator Metrocide via Steam Early Access at the reduced price of $6.99. The final version of the game, which should be available in around six weeks, will cost $12.99.

To coincide with the title's Early Access launch, game creators Leigh and Rohan Harris have released a second developer walkthrough to demonstrate some of the more complicated hits you'll be tasked with completing in the third zone of the game, Hilldale.

In this latest video, viewable below, anti-hero T.J. Trench is far better equipped than he was in the last. Sporting a high-powered silenced rifle and remotely detonated explosives, T.J. can now take down targets from a safe distance, but there's a catch -- depending on the contract's criteria, visiting the crime scene may be necessary for cashing in on the reward. You may want to think twice before striking from a distance; it's going to be difficult to pick up that briefcase with several heavily armed police drones hovering over the body.

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Here's 26 minutes of Far Cry 4 gameplay with commentary photo
Here's 26 minutes of Far Cry 4 gameplay with commentary
by Bill Zoeker

Max and I got a chance to dick around in an almost-finished build of Far Cry 4, but unfortunately Max went home sick with an earache, so here's my playthrough, along with my impressions. And Max's dumb jokes.

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