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GC 10: An early look at Stronghold 3

Aug 18 // Ian Roberts
The first thing that impressed me was that the focus was on the core gameplay. Stronghold 3 will run on tech developed by outside sources as opposed to the internal development favoured for its predecessor. This, along with a streamline of in-game mechanics, will leave the development team free to strengthen the original's gameplay. With that established we were launched into the game and it soon became apparent the level of flexibility that will be available to players. With a castle constructed, players can fortify their possession by constructing battlements. It's the way in which they can be placed that is unique in that you can almost paint a labyrinthine construction to keep your foes at bay, with twisting snaking walls of solid stone should you so wish to do so. Stairs can be added that will allow your soldiers access to the battlements so that they can rain medieval death from above on those foolish to try and attack you. Gone is the grid based system of old as you are now free to position things with utter freedom. This can have consequences for your kingdom though. The amount of people present in your villages hovels is based on the distance to your castle. For example, a hovel some distance away will be a rotten shack capable of housing only one person. However, a hovel in close proximity to your castle will be a three floored structure that can hold up to ten people. Your actions as a lord will affect how you kingdom works on many different levels. The example that we were told was that a cruel and evil Lord will have a barbaric but unruly military compared to a benevolent Lord whose army will be noble and take less damage. Firefly are keen to use the Havok engine to create a battlefield strewn with debris and bodies. A castle we were shown was destroyed using catapults, causing it to crumble into pieces and roll down the hillside into the valley below. One catapult was shattered when it was too close to its target. The resulting detritus bounces off nearby buildings and landscape in a dramatic way that is sure to make any victory feel great and defeat feel crushing. The team at Firefly has listened to fan concerns and are promising a true Stronghold experience. It’s been a long time coming -- it looks as though Stronghold 3 will deliver a fun strategy game come April 2011.
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I had the pleasure of being shown a pre-alpha build of Stronghold 3 by the Director of Firefly studios, Simon Bradbury, this afternoon. He opened the demo by stating that he didn't feel Stronghold 2 was a bad game, rather that it tried to do too many things and lost focus of what made the first Stronghold game so popular. With Stronghold 3, however, the game is set to return to its roots.

Hands-on: Battle vs. Chess is not a simple game of chess

Aug 13 // Tara Long
Battle vs Chess (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, MAC, DS, PSP)Developer: Topware Interactive/Gaijin EntertainmentPublisher: SouthPeak GamesTo be released: September 2010 Now, I can’t speak much to the game of chess itself. Too much critical thinking involved for my tastes. So let’s focus on the details, shall we? Battle vs. Chess was implemented using Fritz11! chess software, and has 10 different levels of difficulty to accommodate players of any experience level. You can test your abilities against a computer in single-player mode, or face off locally or online in multiplayer competition with the friends you probably don’t have. The game uses the Elo rating system, the world’s official standard in chess rankings, to keep track of your scores. So whether you’re a casual user just looking to improve your game or an aspiring eight-time Chess Master, this will provide hours of entertainment and a learning experience all bundled into one sexy package. Undoubtedly the most valuable feature in Battle vs. Chess is the option to have hints accompany each turn (along with a detailed explanation of why a particular move is optimal), making the game a great investment for any beginner looking to procure mad skillz. For intermediate players, there are a handful of modes designed to challenge and improve your existing skills, such as gameplay with a limited number of turns or pieces. There’s even an option that transports you directly into the seat of former chess masters, allowing you to compete in games that mimic actual famous matches in chess history. Other notable variations include “Madness” mode, where the computer randomly distributes pieces across the board. Then there’s the “Tactic” mode, where players have the option to arrange pieces on the board however they like while still abiding by the traditional rules of the game. What really sets this one apart from just another chess emulator, however, is “Battle” Mode. This form of fantasy gameplay puts a combative twist on the classic game by transforming the board into one of eight virtual battlefields whose pieces end up duking it out for the contending spot. The twist here is that rather than peacefully advancing an opponent’s square, the pieces come alive using distinctly realistic animations and the players must fight using weapons or strength. Though an interesting spin on the classic game, I don’t expect this feature to elicit much from the player other than a fleeting “Huh, that’s cool.” It offers no real advantage in terms of technique or strategy, and frankly, if I wanted to play a fighting game I’d bust out my Sega Genesis and rock Streets of Rage like it was 1992. Regardless, Battle Mode is interesting if only for its inherent uniqueness. I could see it being more suited for group situations, but if digitally-generated chess is a frequent activity at your parties, chances are you have bigger things to worry about anyway.
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Listen up nerds, it’s time to take off your robes and wizard hats for a second ‘cause there’s a new game in town, and it answers to the name of Battle vs. Chess. If you’ve ever found yourself wonderin...

Hands-on: Getting Nail'd never hurt so good

Aug 12 // Tara Long
Nail’d (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC) Developer: Techland Publisher: Deep Silver To be released: October 5, 2010 Still not getting it? No problem, let’s put on our brainstorming underwear and suspend reality for a moment. You’re flying through the Andes Mountains at 140 miles an hour, snow-covered trees racing past either side of you in a blur. A thousand feet ahead lies a ramp, immediately behind which is a 2000-foot drop-off. Two seconds later, your wheels leave the platform and you’re suspended in thin air, free-falling over a giant lake half a mile below. The front wheels of your ATV just barely graze the edge of the cliff as you escape certain death by mere fractions of a second. You stabilize yourself and get back on the road just in time to slide past the finish line, as flocks of women approach you offering congratulatory blowjobs on your crushing victory. I may have made that last part up, but you get my point. To put it bluntly, this game takes the word 'extreme' to the XTREME. A handful of exciting features have been added since the last time we previewed Nail'd. Single-player mode offers your typical Tournament and Quick Event style races, as well as a nifty new Time Attack mode which helps you gradually improve your time by racing against the ghost of a developer or even yourself. Multiplayer mode allows you to play against your friends locally or online with up to 12 players, and scores are tallied on both a universal and state-wide scale, in case you’ve ever wondered how you stack up against other drivers in Vermont or wherever the hell you’re from. The scoreboard even keeps track of your total time spent in the air. The only obvious omission is the lack of character customization features, which the developers promise will be added before the release date. Apart from that, Techland’s Chrome4 engine did a great job of creating surprisingly realistic terrain with 16 tracks to choose from, spread out among four different locales: Arizona, The Andes, Yosemite National Park, and Greece. All 16 tracks are available from the get-go so you don’t have to unlock them and Techland does plan to release DLC tracks in the future. The incentive to keep your score up lies in unlocking new customization features for your bike, allowing you to one-up your opponents with something other than sheer force of will. Players also have the option of choosing between custom bikes or ATVS, the latter of which provides a marginal increase in control at the expense of a slightly slower speed. It looks intimidating at first, but is surprisingly easy to grasp once you throw yourself into the game. And because logic doesn’t exist in this world, speed is the number one priority for players. Your success in this game hinges not on points, but on your ability to harness the power of the turbo boost, which replenishes itself when players complete various obstacles like popping wheelies or flying through rings of fire. The game even has something called Boost Madness mode, wherein each player has an infinite supply of “boost juice,” as I call it. Add on top of that a bitchin' soundtrack and you've got a solid game in the works. Perhaps the most appealing quality, however, which Jim Sterling also favored in his hands-on time at E3, is the surprising amount of control you have over your vehicle, even while flying through the air. Steering in this game appears to be far less sensitive than that in similar style racers, allowing you to focus on something other than not bursting into flames every time you round a corner. In short, make sure you’ve got a pile of diapers handy, because Nail’d is set to release on October 5 and it’s safe to say you’ll shit bricks. If you’re already a fan of racing games, I suspect you’ll have even more to be pumped about with this one. Its lightning-fast speed and non-stop, in-your-face action differentiate it from any other racer on the market right now and ensure there’s never a boring second, making it a great game for even the classiest of parties. And word to the wise, don’t be surprised if your hands are a little sore after a few rounds. It’s all part of the Nail’d experience. (That’s what she said.)
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[Publisher's note: Meet our new previews editor, Tara Long. On her first day at the job, she already filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Destructoid. Please join us in giving her an inappropriate welcome. -Niero] Ever s...

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The environments of Two Worlds II


Jul 30
// Conrad Zimmerman
Two Worlds was a game I was probably never going to like. Neither a fan of fantasy genres nor having the time and attention span for lengthy role-playing games, it just wasn't built for me. Nevertheless, I still kept ey...

Exclusive: Two Worlds II trailers make fun of Two Worlds

Jul 23 // Jim Sterling
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Two Worlds wasn't too hot. I know it. You know it. The people who made the game know it. One person who definitely knows it is villainous henchman Sordahon, who gave up the life of a mysterious brooding thrall to become...

The choices and consequences of Two Worlds II

Jul 12 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Two Worlds II (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC [Previewed])Developer: Reality PumpPublisher: TopWare InteractiveTo be released: September 14, 2010 In the section I checked out, the hero entered a swamp -- which you quickly find out is kind of a big deal. It's been 15 years since anyone has been able to come into the area you're exploring due to a magical barrier that prevents people from entering or leaving. So yeah, big deal. You soon find out from the village priest that the barrier was put up by a witch, and you're asked to kill her in order to save the village. Just before you come across the witch, a cutscene takes place with an army of zombies surrounding the player. Things look pretty bad, but the witch suddenly appears and kills off all the zombies, thus saving your life. Turns out that the witch might not be evil after all. Approaching the witch gives you two options: kill her or let her plead her case. If you give the witch the chance to speak, she'll send you on a new quest that will uncover what actually took place 15 years ago. After this quest is completed, you'll then be given the chance to kill the witch again or work with her to end the real threat: the priest. The reason the barrier is up in the first place is because the witch is trying to protect everyone from the priest -- he's really a demon. Had you killed the witch, the barrier would have been destroyed and the demon would have killed everyone in the village. Whatever path you go with won't affect the ending, since there is only one. Rather, the choice system is about giving you different perspectives to the overall story. Siding with the priest will paint a pretty bad picture about the big-bad of the game. Side with the witch, and you'll see that the main villain of the game wasn't always a total dick. This also shows how the choices you'll be presented with won't be as simple as a dark path and a light path. It's more about your gut feeling and doing what you think is right in the moment.  A really awesome thing in Two Worlds II is how you don't have to deal with various character classes. Instead, you can swap on the fly from being a knight, mage, archer or another class with the press of a button. You'll be able to allocate different skill points to the different job types available and build characters as you see fit. I'm probably going to focus a lot of my skill points on my magic abilities, as the magic system is going to be very deep and fun. You'll be able to build magic spells with cards to create a seemingly endless amount of spells. One simple example is shooting a fireball. By adding a modifer to the card, you can shoot out three fireballs at once. Add more modifers, and you'll then be able to summon five fireballs that can track targets. Add yet another modifer, and you can have bees appear after the fireballs hit the target. An extreme example of the magic spells detailed to me involved a TopWare employee summoning a tornado. The person then applied a card to the spell so the tornado would move around wherever the character would walk. Applying another card then summoned random junk like crates to rain from the sky; the stuff would get sucked up into the tornado. As the player moved about, enemies would get sucked into the tornado, too, and get pummeled to death by all the junk.  This is just a simple look at a very, very deep game. There's more to be revealed, such as the multiplayer mode which features PvP battles and an eight-player co-op campaign that's separate from the main game. We're going to be seeing more of Two Worlds II in the coming weeks, so expect to see more on this RPG soon.
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Our initial preview of Two Worlds II saw TopWare and Reality Pump show off a game that looked nothing like its predecessor. The team learned from their mistakes and have created everything from the ground up for the seque...

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Developer TopWare Interactive visited the Dtoid HQ recently to show us some more of Two Worlds II. I got to talking about the game's narrative structure with TopWare's PR Director, Jake DiGennaro, when he revealed that a thir...

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Slipknot, Rise Against & more bringing tunes to nail'd


Jul 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
nail'd is the upcoming racing game from Deep Silver and Techland that gives a giant f*ck you to the laws of physics. A game as crazy as this should have a rocking soundtrack and that's just what we're going to get. Songs fro...
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Preview: Two Worlds II (it's actually fun!)


Jun 21
// Jim Sterling
There are children yet unborn who weep within the bellies of their mothers, knowing they are to be thrust into the same world that gave us Two Worlds. The original RPG from Topware Interactive is so atrocious, so unutterably ...

E3 10: Hands-on Nail'd

Jun 20 // Jim Sterling
Nail'd is essentially about quad bikes zooming through filth and getting into all sorts of high speed silliness. Realism has been thrown out in favor of unbelievably high jumps, riding on the roofs of trains, and going faster than anybody should. Its controls are standard, you don't have to worry about things like drifting, and altogether Nail'd comes across as a racing title for people who generally don't like racing games. It's pretty cool, actually.  I don't drive, and I hate worrying about realistic driving physics in my racing games. If I wanted a realistic driving experience, I'd get into a real car. Nail'd most definitely appeals to somebody like myself, a person who enjoys the speedy thrills of a racing title, but doesn't really want anything else.  Aside from the racing, the only other thing to be concerned about is a boost meter and the tricks required to fill it. Filling the boost is fairly simple -- you pull off certain easy tricks, such as jumping through hoops of flame, landing well after a big jump, or even landing on an opponent's head. The boost fills up pretty quickly, meaning you'll always have a reserve of extra speed nearby. It's pretty essential too, as Nail'd can wind up pretty difficult if you're not paying attention.  Steering is important, especially in the air, where you have to try and land without hitting anything dangerous. Crashing is a regular part of Nail'd, but the excess boost always gives you a fighting chance. With so much to avoid and watch out for, it's pleasant to note that the steering is really responsive and forgiving, again driving home the theme of not having to worry about anything other than the pure racing aspect.  My time with Nail'd was brief but encouraging. It's not the most refined racer out there, but it's very fast and it's pretty damn fun, which is what really matters at the end of the day. There's not really much else that needs to be said.
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I typically don't get along with "realistic" racing games, but I'll love any good racer that does something a little over-the-top. This is why I am somewhat drawn to Nail'd, a new bike racing game from Southpeak Interactive. It trades in realistic physics for sheer speed, and surprisingly it works out quite well. Read on for some hands-on impressions of Nail'd.

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Two Worlds II debut trailer is all epic n' stuff


May 27
// Jim Sterling
Two Worlds II is a game with a hard job. It's got to convince people it's worth buying despite its status as a sequel to the worst RPG made this generation. It's shocking to think Two Worlds ever got a sequel, but watching t...
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Here's who won the Dementium II/Astro A30 contest!


May 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Our second Dementium II and Astro A30 contest was a huge success. Every single entry was just beyond amazing. It was tough picking who would win but we were able to narrow down our choices down to Mitchell and Jenki. Congratu...
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This week we're giving away another copy of Renegade Kid's and South Peak's Dementium II. The survival-horror title is now out in stores and you can win yourself a copy, plus a signed poster for Dementium II and an Astro A30 ...

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We think Dementium II is trying to tell us something


May 11
// Jim Sterling
Southpeak just sent over a review copy of its DS horror game Dementium II, with a mysterious message attached. As you can see in the above image, it came packed with a diaper and a label that reads, "Seriously... just trust m...
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This week we're giving away Renegade Kid's and South Peak's Dementium II. The survival-horror title is hitting the DS tomorrow and you can win yourself a copy, plus a signed poster for Dementium II and an Astro A30 gaming hea...

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Two Worlds II coming out on September 14


May 03
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Two Worlds II, that sequel that no one asked for but is surprisingly looking really good, will be out on September 14 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game will have a simultaneous release here in North America, Ca...
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Shop smart, shop Dot-Mart


Apr 07
// Conrad Zimmerman
3D Dot Game Heroes doesn't try to hide what it is and I respect that. One can call it a Zelda clone and they'd be falling right in line with the marketing. Take this brilliantly funny European trailer as an example. The...
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This new Dementium II trailer is yucky


Mar 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
A brand new Dementium II trailer was released and it's pretty damn gross. The whole time you're looking at little screens sewed into someone's body. That's pretty messed up Southpeak and Renegade Kid. You guys are freaking s...
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New Dementium II screens are full of horror and violence!


Jan 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Dementium II is delayed so Southpeak and Renegade Kid have sent over some new screens to make up for the sad news! These aren't some p*ssy screenshots either! They're full of gore, horror and violence! Look at that guy with a...
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Dementium II delayed to April


Jan 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Due to some kind of manufacturing delay, Dementium II has been pushed back from its February 16 release. We can now expect the handheld survival horror title to come out on April 20, 2010. Jools Watsham, the creative directo...
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Section 8 'Seek and Destroy Map Pack' DLC available now


Jan 19
// Brad Nicholson
Remember Section 8? It’s TimeGate Studios’s twitch-FPS, featuring mind-melting swivel action and massive dudes in robot armor that drop from space planes. Keep that last fact in mind a bit longer, because now the...
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3D Dot Game Heroes coming to Europe!


Jan 14
// Jim Sterling
Every time we've posted a 3D Dot Game Heroes story, at least one reader asks the same question: Will it come to Europe? A fair question, since Demon's Souls is still due a European release date, and the PAL territory always s...
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Blood Bowl hits retail PC, Xbox 360 and PSP in 2010


Dec 29
// Jim Sterling
Just when I was wondering what on Earth happened to Blood Bowl, here comes Southpeak to announce that the Warhammer-flavored football game is due for a retail release in January 2010. Previously only available as a downloadab...
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Dementium II to terrify retail on February 16


Dec 17
// Nick Chester
SouthPeak has announced that Dementium II for the Nintendo DS will hit shelves on February 16. This means that it can finally stop sending me horrifying post cards in the mail. It's kind of freaking out my post lady.  S...
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Two Worlds II launched online advent calender with prizes


Nov 30
// Jim Sterling
You know what they always say: It's not Christmas unless Two Worlds II has launched an online calender. Now that Topware has done this thing, we truly know that the season of good will is here! Two Worlds II will be counting ...
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SouthPeak 'crosses the line' with TNA for DS, PSP


Nov 30
// Nick Chester
Already mentioned in some fancy financial report, SoutPeak Interactive has now officially announced TNA iMPACT!: Cross the Line for PlayStation Portable/PSPgo and Nintendo DS. Not much info is known about the game outside of ...
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Two Worlds II pushed back to Spring 2010


Nov 16
// Jim Sterling
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The latest victim of the big 2009-to-2010 exodus is highly-anticipated RPG sequel Two Worlds II. Greatly hyped for its innovation, graphical achievements and r...
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SouthPeak to publish TNA wrestling titles in 2010


Nov 11
// Nick Chester
As Midway Games crumbled and was eventually gobbled up by Warner Bros., the fate of franchises and licenses hung in the balance. Games like Mortal Kombat, Spy Hunter... we were all concerned. But for those concerned about the...
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Video interview: Dementium II


Oct 30
// Daniel Husky Lingen
 I won't lie, I've done my fair share of interviews in strange places, however this one takes the cake. In the basement of the Bright Dawn Treatment Center, I had the opportunity to speak with Aubry Norris, product marke...
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Dementium II debut trailer will chill you to the bone


Oct 29
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The debut trailer for Dementium II is upon us and it will creep you out. The video begins with scenes from the first game and then jumps over to the sequel. The Doctor, main bad guy of Dementium II, narrates the trailer as w...

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