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Live show: Chill Bros play Guitar Hero pro gamer Ecstacy

Feb 01
// Pico Mause
Want to see how a Guinness World record holder plays Guitar Hero?  Tune in! Put your Guitar Hero thrashing skills to the test against one of the world champions, Annie "Ecstacy" Leung. She joins us today on Jus...

Mindjack contest winners and gallery

Jan 29
// Niero Gonzalez
Last week we held a contest where readers altered photos of Mindjack for a chance to win the game.  After careful deliberation and kicking in various groins, our panel of editors picked out g4torturedsoul's animated Donk...

Destructoid Live is done, how'd we do?

Jan 24
// Tara Long
Update: And that's a wrap!  We hope you enjoyed our first ever YouTube live stream of the Destructoid show! Max and I talked about some of 2011's most anticipated games like Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, Portal 2, Duke Nuk...

Destructoid's MAGFest 9 Iron Chef team

Jan 05
// Matthew Razak
Destructoid, I present to you your MAGFest 9 Gamer Iron Chef team. Changston: Master of slicing, dicing and wearing sunglasses inside. Founder of Destructoid's Iron Chef Kickass Superteam (D.I.C.K.S.) 2011. Evil Cheese: Hands...

This Solid Snake GameBoy Color graffiti is sick

Jul 21
// Jim Sterling
I'm not normally a fan of even "artistic" graffiti, but I have to confess that this random discovery of Solid Snake's GameBoy Color sprite plastered to a wall is pretty damn fabulous. You might have caught this image on the I...

Z.H.P. trailer might be greatest trailer in the universe

Jul 16
// Ben Perlee
Just...just watch the trailer above. It's for the latest game from the team behind Disgaea: Z.H.P. ~Unlosing Ranger VS DarkDeath Evilman~. Damn skippy. See that? SEE THAT? That's the effing title of the game. It's stunning, ...

BloodRayne: The Shroud coming to 3DS!

Jun 21
// Jim Sterling
This is one of those stories that got buried under the slew of news that tumbled from E3, but I am nevertheless kicking myself for not hearing about it sooner. As a huge fan of BloodRayne, it gives me great pleasure to declar...

E3 10: E3 is over, thanks for joining us, more to come

Jun 18
// Matthew Razak
Well, it's done. E3 has come and gone another year, and what a year it was. Some crazy ass stuff went on at E3 this year, and while we'll be bringing you content for days to come thanks to it, it is time to move on and look f...

Bungie explains the "What the hell?" Activision partnership

Apr 30 // Nick Chester
"This came from way back in 2007, when Bungie became an independent company again," Staten tells me. In 2007 we started look at the future and really chart out what we wanted to do." This look to the future wasn't just about the next set of games or the next universe. Beyond that, it was a question of who they wanted to do it with. Internally, they spent time developing the ideas for the "next big thing creatively," while the business team team had put its feelers out, trying to decide potential partners. But it wasn't until nine months ago that the developer really "got serious" about moving ahead, having grown its idea big enough that it could really show potential suitors something solid. After talking to a number of publishers over the nine-month period, they finally reached a deal with Activision, the ink dry on this deal just this week. According to Staten, one of the key things the studio had wanted was control over its own IP, something probably every studio would love to have. Given Bungie's successful track record, it had a little leverage, and Activision seemed ready and willing to work with them on the deal they so desperately wanted. "As we looked at different partners," Staten explains, "lots of different people had different deals. They were all really interesting deals, but you know, Activision had an amazing deal. And it was amazing not just because it funded us for the next ten years creatively, but because they understood what mattered to us."What mattered was control over this IP, and Staten is quick to point out "We're still an independent company with this new deal. We own our own IP; we don't just control it, we actually own it."Leading up to the deal, Staten says the folks at Activision were "impressive" in their approach. They didn't just care about the deal, he explains -- they care about the creative idea and what Bungie was making. "They were really excited by our ideas," he says. "It's not every day that you get to sit down at your desk with the president of the most successful publisher in the world and have him asking some really insightful technical and design and artistic questions about what we're doing." "They would not have signed this idea if they weren't as excited as we are about the universe that we're creating," he adds. When one thinks Activision, one doesn't necessarily think "creativity." The publisher has found much of its success in retreading tried and true franchises over the years. It's a formula that has so far worked, yet some have criticized the publisher for its lack of bringing anything fresh to the table. Staten doesn't necessarily feel that's the case, however, pointing to Activision's partnership with Blizzard. "I don't think if you look at that relationship people would ever worry about Blizzard's creativity being compromised, right?" he asks. "We are in a very similar situation, except we're an independent company. But creatively, [Activision wants] to support a process that they now is already working extremely well. And they've always that their intent was not to come in and change the way we work. Their intent was to come in here and hep us do what we do better and protect our process.""This isn't something we just jumped into overnight," he explains. "This has been a long, nine-month -- almost a year long -- process. And Bungie wouldn't have done this if we didn't feel absolutely comfortable and excited about the ten years ahead."Staten understands that the recent Infinity Ward scuffles may have something to do with eyebrows being raised at the deal. He says "it's unfortunate we had to make this announcement right now in the middle of all this noise." But he says looking at the details of the agreement, you'll see that the long-term view makes a bit more sense. They're also excited about the new audiences Activision will help them reach. "At Bungie, everybody is a storyteller," he explains. "If you're an engineer or an artist or a designer like me, your bread and butter is telling great stories, providing these great experiences to people. And if you're a storyteller, you care a lot about reaching audiences, reaching the biggest audience you can.""We're not just telling it to one particular audience," he continues, "we're actually telling it to as many that want to listen and engage in the experience. So Activision absolutely brings that to the table, and that's incredibly exciting from a creative point of view."The idea of "telling it to as many that want to listen and engage" is an interesting concept, particularly since Bungie had been tied to Microsoft and the Xbox 360 for so long. While Staten won't talk specifics of its upcoming titles -- just that it's an action game in a brand new universe -- there's little doubt it's going multiplatform. "This isn't an announcement of a specific game on a specific platform," he reiterates. "This is an announcement about lots of great experiences on as many platforms that make sense." It'll be awhile before we know more about Bungie's new universe -- Staten tells me that its current focus is on Reach, and that we shouldn't expect any new info on its titles with Activision at this year's E3. Or even this year, period. But Staten assures me that the roadmap for the future of this new universe is already well in place."I think people can look forward to ten years of a lot of great experiences."

It's no surprise that Bungie has wanted to branch off and away from the Halo universe. Despite its strong support of the franchise, red flags were raised from the studio gained independence from Microsoft in 2007. Rumblings t...

Contest: Win some Capcom goodies!

Mar 28 // Hollie Bennett

Capcom Europe are a bunch of amazing people who feel exactly the same way I do about videogame communities. So they opened up a mystical cupboard in their offices and threw a bunch of goodies at me to give away here on Des...


Dtoid PAX East community plans for Saturday

Mar 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Friday PAX East was pretty amazing. I had an epic pie eating rematch with P.B. Winterbottom folks (video to come), the Frag Dolls party was amazing, The Protomen rocked the concert and we all a blast over at Uno. Today will b...

Review: Final Fantasy XIII

Mar 16 // Jim Sterling
Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360, PS3 [Reviewed]) Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: March 9, 2010MSRP: $59.99 Final Fantasy XIII has perhaps one of the worst introductions a Japanese RPG has ever had. Square Enix thought it would be a good idea to not tell the player what is happening, and as a result, the first ten hours of the game feels like a conversation that the player has stumbled in on halfway through. All the characters know what's going on, and talk as if the player should know, leading to a very alienating narrative that ensures the player never truly connects with it. When you finally do work out who is who and what's going on, however, you'll wish the game had stayed so vague. Story is crucial to any RPG, and let me tell you right off the bat that Final Fantasy XIII has perhaps the worst story of any main Final Fantasy game to date. Aside from being poorly delivered and only vaguely comprehensible, the characters have no personality or depth, the world is not immersive in the least, and the main villain's methods and motivations are so illogical and convoluted that it's impossible to take him seriously.  Even by Final Fantasy standards, the story is absolutely absurd. Let that sink in for a moment. The game is absurd by Final Fantasy standards! The story is terrible, but the dialog is worse. An average conversation in Final Fantasy XIII goes like this: "Pulse, Cocoon, L'sie, Fal'sie, Focus, Focus, Focus." Over and over again, the same stupid words. If you can get to the end of this 30+ hour saga and not be sick of those words, you're a strong man indeed. I wanted to vomit after just an hour of it. That's not helped by Vannile, whose Australian warblings and high-pitched wailing manages to make an already ludicrous story sound even worse.  The worst crime committed by Final Fantasy XIII's narrative, however, is the total lack of impetus provided to care. There's no depth to anything or anyone, and as a result, the player has no reason to be involved. Why should the player care about saving Cocoon, when Cocoon isn't fleshed out in any way? With only the occasional glimpse at Cocoon's society and culture, we have no motivation for saving it. The characters talk about saving their world as if it's important, but to the player, Cocoon's just a series of random locations awkwardly mashed together. Their hatred of various characters, and their empathy toward others, mean nothing to the player. Villains and allies are introduced and then forgotten by the in the space of a few minutes. Characters go on huge emotional spiels that mean nothing because the game doesn't want to waste time making that emotion mean anything, and huge amounts of dramatic FMV are wasted because Square Enix didn't pace the game properly and build to the game's many climactic moments properly.  The game has plenty of promising ideas. The central theme of inescapable destiny, interspersed with hints of racial prejudice and propaganda, could have been something excellent. However, not enough time is devoted to the exploration of these themes. Instead, most of the game is given over to having the characters whine about how hopeless their situation is every thirty minutes. That's when the game isn't introducing epic FMV cutscenes that contain no narrative value whatsoever, just because Square Enix's art department felt like publicly masturbating.  The game constantly gives off a sense that it's having way more fun with itself than the player, and that theme is continued in the brand new battle system. Battles ostensibly play themselves for you, mostly because Square Enix's new Paradigm System is so contrived and complicated that the player would be confused if he had to control it himself. Instead of manually inputting commands for all your characters, everybody -- including the player's character -- can automatically fight of their own free will. The player's job is that of a mid-management office boss, occasionally green-lighting the game's decisions and letting it get on with it.  To its credit, the battle system does a few things right. The Paradigm System allows characters to change classes mid-battle, and each class works with the other one to create a variety of battle strategies. For instance, you can have a melee-focused Commando work with a magic-wielding Ravager, backed up by a healing Medic in order to provide a mixed offense and defense. You can use Saboteurs to weaken the enemy with surprisingly effective status ailments while drawing enemy fire with a defensive Sentinel. There is some fun to be had in discovering which classes work best against which enemies, and keeping a variety of Paradigms to hand to deal with each threat.  The game also throws in a "Stagger" system to keep the pressure up. The more players attack an enemy, the more their "Stagger" meter goes up. When the meter is full, the enemy becomes considerably weaker and their attacks can be halted almost entirely. This can be a very satisfying system indeed, although it eventually causes even the most random battles to last longer than they should, since staggering an enemy is usually the only way to deal any noteworthy damage to its HP. Sometimes, the battle system can be entertaining, and a few of the boss fights in particular feel stunning in their scope and length. However, the new system also relies too heavily on trial-and-error, and players can expect to die a few times before nailing how certain enemies work. This is especially true of the Eidolon battles, that rank easily among some of the worst RPG boss fights in history. Players have a time limit in which to learn and then perform the various actions each Eidolon wants you to do. The first time you fight each Eidolon, you'll essentially be going through a practice run as you learn how to fight it before dying an irritating death. Square Enix even knows that its battle system is trial and error, since it gives you the option to retry fights at any point during combat, or after death.  Mostly though, the battles become tedious as the game sets about playing itself and concentrating more on looking impressive rather than feeling fun to play. Once you know when and where to switch Paradigms, your fingers start working on autopilot. Some of the later bosses, in fact, can take so long to beat that you'll be doing the same thing over and over again for upwards of twenty minutes, wondering why the game should even require your presence (the Proudclad boss stands as paramount proof of this).  The only truly interactive and intriguing part of the battle is Eidolon summoning, but wouldn't you know, they're all pretty much useless. Despite being able to perform a variety of visually stunning attacks, Eidolons do barely any damage to the enemy, and the Stagger meter empties as soon as they disappear, meaning they can come and go without contributing anything to the battle. Their only use is as a way to revive and heal the party, but it's a needlessly lengthy and pointless way to do it. Not to mention the fact that summoning costs Tech Points, and Tech Points are also spent on studying enemies to learn their weaknesses. Since that's considerably more important than wasting your time with Odin, there will barely even be any opportunity to summon. And the game forces you through six horrendous boss encounters for the privilege of obtaining these worthless wastes of time.  Despite the fact that the game is playing itself, the player is still forced to pay attention the whole time. It'll be your job to make sure the party's HP stays up, and with enemies always busting out hugely devastating attacks, it's a full-time job. Also, if the main player character dies, it's game over. Naturally, this leads to all sorts of fun once enemies bring one-hit kills to the table, or arrive in groups of six with a Haste spell and more attacks than you can deal with. Players can gain an advantage by sneaking up on enemies before a battle, but good luck with that. Most enemies have eyes in the back of their head and will see you coming long before you can initiate a battle. Some will even simply ignore the fact you snuck up on them and the preemptive strike won't be awarded, even though you started the fight without alerting anybody.  Player choice is stripped to a bare minimum as well. Most of the time, players can't even choose their own battle party until the end of the game, and are constantly having to re-organize their Paradigms after the game decided to wipe all the customization from the slate. Shops in the game are useless. There are no distractions from the main quest (and boy were distractions needed) until thirty hours into the game, and by that point it's a case of too little, too late. The only really deep area in which the player has any input is the weapon upgrade system, where raw materials can be used to level up weapons. Even then, however, it takes far too long to gather enough material and most players likely won't want to bother with it.  If one positive thing can be said for Final Fantasy XIII, it's that it looks gorgeous. Locations and characters alike are amazingly beautiful, and some hugely stunning vistas treat the eyes throughout the course of the adventure. Despite some rather intricate clothing on a number of characters, the total lack of clipping is amazingly impressive. Lightning's swaying cloak never once goes through her body, as cloaks in games most often do. Little details, like her sword holster bouncing off her legs while she runs, also add to the visual treat.  The music, unfortunately, is not as good. Everything sounds "nice" but nothing sounds memorable. FF XIII falls into the trap so many modern games do, focusing on sweeping orchestral music that provides an atmosphere, but no tune at all. For a series made famous by its classic melodies, it's sad that not even the music in XIII can provide some entertainment. While most people could remember every track from every previous Final Fantasy game, one will be hard pressed to recall a single one from XIII after a week. Even the famous Chocobo theme, brief though its appearance is, has been ruined with some ill-advised and embarrassing vocals.  But it's clear that the music, just like the story and the gameplay, took a back seat to the graphics. Final Fantasy XIII is visuals, visuals, visuals, with nothing of substance to back up the pretty colors. So many cutscenes are thrown in just to show off the landscapes, and FMVs are regularly thrown in just to be a glorified tech demo for the White Engine. XIII looks stunning, that much is true, but that's all it is. A looker. XIII is vapid, shallow, and intensely self-satisfied. All it cares about is displaying its peacock feathers and trying to distract us from the ludicrous plot with bright colors and audacious effects. Even the battle system is clearly putting graphics first, putting fast-paced visual acrobatics before substantial gameplay.  It takes more than graphics to make a game, and Final Fantasy XIII offers very little else other than eye candy. Ultimately, this latest addition to the Final Fantasy series is a pompous and masturbatory affair, created seemingly to promote the developer's ego first, and the player's enjoyment second. Every now and then its fights can approach satisfying, but mostly this is a dull, dreary affair that is too busy licking its own arse to look up and notice that everybody around it has fallen asleep. Written with all the skill of a three-year-old and paced with the eagerness of a virgin in heat, Final Fantasy XIII isn't just bad by Final Fantasy standards, it's pretty damn poor for the genre itself.  It's the worst main chapter in the Final Fantasy series to date, and if this is the future of the franchise, that future is incredibly bleak indeed.  Score: 4.0 -- Below Average (4s have some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst games, but are difficult to recommend.)

If you're a hardcore Final Fantasy XIII fan, prone to emotional outburts and so defensive of Square Enix's latest effort that you'll get upset by harsh criticism, then you're advised to not read this review. If you don't want...


Even more people downloaded the Bad Company 2 demo

Feb 19
// Jordan Devore
Following an earlier report on the massive success of the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 demo, DICE is back with some fresh new stats. The number of downloads has been upgraded from 2 million to about 3.5 million. Insanity, I tel...

No More Heroes 2 vids bring the butts, blood, and tigers

Dec 08
// Jonathan Holmes
You are not ready for No More Heroes 2. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you've seen before, or what you think you know; this game will pull the rug out from under you and then spank your ass with it. Hard. It loo...

What is Destructoid? It's this thing! We publish it. We love our readers. We have unleashed a string of contests so awesome that babies and whales are reportedly melting. But first, a matter of business. I'd like to remind ev...


New releases: Dragon Age, Lego Rock Band, Rabbids & more

Nov 02
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
This week's major release is Dragon Age: Origins for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It's the latest and greatest from Bioware and takes gamers to the past rather than the future. Oh, and it's going to let Brad Nicholson...

dTunes editor's week, day 9: Joseph Leray

Oct 29
// Joseph Leray
[dTunes is a community-organized blog showcasing the musical tastes of Destructoid's users. For two weeks, the editorial team is commandeering the series because, hey, we like music too. To further expand your horizons, make...

The biggest UT 2004 explosion you'll see today

Oct 09
// Jordan Devore
Disclaimer: this isn't nearly as good as the Crysis "Raining Men" video, or most of the other "spawn a bunch of objects, it'll be funny" CryEngine 2 videos, for that matter. However, it is certainly worth ...

This shirt is TOTALLY not Left 4 Dead related

Oct 06
// Aerox
Looking at the header image, you might think this shirt has something to do with a certain extremely popular Valve game. Let's be clear -- the girl in this ad is obviously not Zoey, and this medkit does not resemble any medki...

Super Street Fighter IV screenshots appear!

Sep 28
// Nick Chester
In an effort to write as many stories about Super Street Fighter IV before it's officially announced, here's another one -- French Web site JV247 has some images now! (Yes, that's their watermark on that image up there.)The s...

EA teases bringing back SSX

Sep 17
// Jordan Devore
During my time here, there has always been one game that seems to be met with universal praise whenever it gets mentioned, and it's a game you might not immediately think of: SSX Tricky. When the conversation turns to that of...

Inafune wonders: Could Capcom and Bungie one day team up?

Sep 14
// Jordan Devore
Keiji Inafune, who is known best for his involvement with Mega Man, Onimusha, and Dead Rising, recently stopped by Bungie's Seattle-based studio. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal in and of itself; what made the trip so...

Destructoid celebrates 10 years of the Sega Dreamcast

Sep 09
// Topher Cantler
Ten years ago today (9/9/99), the Sega Dreamcast made its debut in North America. For M. Bison, it was a Thursday. For the rest of us, it was the day that forever changed console gaming as we knew it. Bad timing? Yeah. Histor...

No More Heroes 2 details emerge, courtesy of Nintendo Power

Jun 28
// Joseph Leray
Whether or not you think Suda51 makes good games, it is an undeniable fact that the guys makes interesting games. That's enough for me to justify posting some new details about the sequel last year's No More Heroes, gleaned f...

Penny Arcade's Cardboard Tube Samurai a playable in Tekken 6

Jun 20
// Dale North
The Twitter feed tekkenbob, the official feed for Tekken 6, dropped an interesting twitpic today. Along with a tweet mentioning that he "got a sneak peek at something I can't talk about yet" was the above picture. W...

Desktop Tower Defense is back with a vengeance

Jun 19
// Jordan Devore
I was playing tower defense games long before (well, the Warcraft III days) Desktop Tower Defense became the hit that it is now, but even still I played the game for an unholy amount of time without growing tired in the least...

All PSP games will be downloadable by October 1 (Update)

Jun 10
// Jim Sterling
Sony is paving the way for its download-only PSP Go, ushering in a new era of downloadable gaming by claiming that "just about" every UMD game for the PlayStation Portable will be available for download on the PSN b...

Cursed Mountain official website launches, scares me proper

May 05
// Colette Bennett
You already know how I feel about survival horror games if you've read Destructoid or listened to RetroforceGo! for any period of time, so I won't gush all over again about how much I love to turn the lights out and get scare...

Rhythm Tengoku Gold's Laboratory of Love remixed

Apr 28
// Colette Bennett
We're enthralled with Rhythm Tengoku Gold at the Destructoid fortress, and in fact have been for some time. You may have noticed. In an effort to give voice to the adoration spilling from our hearts for Tsunku's masterpiece, ...

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