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Review: Costume Quest 2 photo
Review: Costume Quest 2
by Alasdair Duncan

The original Costume Quest was a seminal game for Double Fine; it was the first game to come out of Amnesia Fortnight, a two-week period of experimenting with small-scale games. Costume Quest's success led the way for Stacking, Iron Brigade, and other download-only games. 

Now, Costume Quest 2 is here just a few weeks before Halloween and it's delivering the same fun as the original. It may be a little too similar in some spots, but there are plenty of improvements to satisfy fans.

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Review: Driveclub photo
Review: Driveclub
by Dale North

Driveclub was supposed to be a launch day title for the PS4, but it was delayed for a while, pushing back until now. We got our hands on it at the E3 following the PS4 announcement last year and thought it needed more time in the oven, so a delay was actually welcome.

But that was a long delay. So, how much of a difference has a year made? 

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U launches November 21 photo
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U launches November 21
by Kyle MacGregor

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will launch in North America on November 21, Nintendo of America announced today. The fighting game will then release across Europe on December 5.

It will support amiibo compatibility at launch. The figures will be available the same day for $12.99 each. Twelve different models will hit shelves at first, with six more coming in December.

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Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system signals the true beginning of this generation photo
Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system signals the true beginning of this generation
by Nic Rowen

It's bad enough dying a humiliating death at the hands of some random orc, but "Azdush the Dung Collector?" Really? He couldn't have been "Azdush the Shield Breaker" or "Azdush the Invincible?"

I could have taken a bit of consolation dying to someone with a straight-up badass name like that. But The Dung Collector? I knew I'd never live it down, and his constant taunting certainly made sure of that.

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Review: Natural Doctrine photo
Review: Natural Doctrine
by Kyle MacGregor

Natural Doctrine is a strategy role-playing game with a sadistic side. It's a brutal and uncompromising experience, one keen on taxing players and pushing them to their limits with its intense difficulty.

The architects behind the title invite comparisons with Dark Souls, and have certainly built a similarly steep hill to climb. Natural Doctrine is enigmatic and soul-crushing, but lacks execution and awareness. Simply being tough as nails doesn't make an experience rewarding.

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Paris will be the true star of Assassin's Creed Unity photo
Paris will be the true star of Assassin's Creed Unity
by Brett Makedonski

Modern-day Paris is vastly different than the city that served as the backdrop to one of the most famous uprisings in history: the French Revolution. Some of the greatest locales of the revolution are now gone -- either on the cusp of being forgotten by society, or repurposed altogether. The exact spot where the guillotine was used to behead Louis XVI can be pinpointed by going to Concorde Square and counting one, two, three lampposts in. The Bastille, the prison that was infamously stormed and destroyed is, well, destroyed. It’s been reduced to a scant few blocks next to a metro platform where commuters mostly ignore it. What was the residence of royalty now houses other treasures such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.

Therein lies the challenge for developers of Assassin’s Creed games. How do they capture the mood and atmosphere of a city that’s so far historically removed from present time? The setting is always the star of Assassin’s Creed titles, no matter which installment in the franchise you’re playing. But, they have to tread carefully because a dull city makes for a dull game.

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [10/4] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [10/4]
by Steven Hansen

I'm playing a lot of ping pong this weekend. Remember Ping Pong: The Animation? It has saved anime. I'm in some unfathomable cabin with a pool, pool table, ping pong table, tequila, and just enough wifi to post this. My hair is alive with olive oil. Maybe it will attract the bears.

This weekend, you should call your mother. See how she's doing. Mine wants to hang tomorrow but I'm in the woods.

Hang out with your mom and watch Ping Pong: The Animation with her. Cook some food.

Here's last week's post. Let's begin anew.

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

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Review: Alien: Isolation photo
Review: Alien: Isolation
by Chris Carter

From the old school "20th Century Fox" opening to the first few seconds, Alien: Isolation wants you to know that it takes after the first film from the series it was based on. One alien, one spaceship, one chance at survival.

This is the game we should have gotten from Gearbox.

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Review: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS photo
Review: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
by Chris Carter

Super Smash Bros. and I go back a long way. When the first game was released in 1999, I didn't drive. Heck, I didn't even have a Nintendo 64 at that time. But I had a Smash Bros. addiction, and would spend hours upon hours at friends' houses, often staging sleepovers just so we could play more. It was probably the first game I ever put over a thousand hours into.

My Melee addiction was even worse. With wheels, I could drive to local tournaments and hone my craft. I had "training buddies" that I'd sit for hours and play with, trading new strategies along the way. I had groups who played all items on random levels, I had friends who played Final Destination no items only, and I had acquaintances who played a mix of both. However you shake it, Melee may be my most-played game of all time.

But when Brawl came out, a lot of the groups I had been playing with for all these years kind of fell off the map. They either continued to play Melee regardless, or just quit Smash entirely. It was an odd time seeing a franchise that I had enjoyed so much fall off like that in my personal circles, and from what I've seen over the past few years, I wasn't alone. It wasn't a bad game -- it just didn't set off that spark in me that 64 and Melee did before it.

Enter Smash 3DS. Not only has it rekindled my love for the series, but I have a feeling that once the Wii U version hits, living rooms will be smashing for hours all over again.

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If I made my own racing game... photo
If I made my own racing game...
by Dale North

With both Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2 hitting the streets this month my mind is fully in racing game mode. We racing fans are spoiled this month with two very nice titles, and I'm racing my days away in them. As of late I am this close to getting a speeding ticket IRL.

I think about racing games a lot. While I'm Destructoid's resident JRPG guy, I've always loved racing games. I've been playing them regularly since Pole Position (yeah, I'm old), and I'm perfectly open to racers of all sorts, from casual kart games all the way up to full-on simulations. 

But lately, after spending time with Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2, I'm hung up on what my ideal racing game would be. Both of them hit positive marks for me, but there are plenty of things I'd change or do differently. And I have some ideas of my own that no one has managed to work into a racer yet. 

So here's what my racing game would look like.

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Super Smash Bros. on 3DS is missing one thing photo
Super Smash Bros. on 3DS is missing one thing
by Steven Hansen

Tripping. Kidding. (Sort of).

Nintendo is good about making Super Smash Bros. entries distinct, even if, so far, that just drives the competitive crowd back to Melee. And in going beyond iteration, it's easy for a new Smash game to feel in some way not quite right (hence everyone that went back to Melee).   

I arbitrarily used a Simpsons screenshot of sad Darryl Strawberry as a temporary header for this post, which began as an innocuous enough thought: Super Smash Bros. (3DS) lacks any sort of character-specific modes, which is kind of a bummer. Of course, it's not entirely fair to compare a handheld Smash to previous console versions, but it's the first new Smash in years -- I couldn't help it.

As I stared at sad Strawberry and teased out these thoughts, I got more and more nostalgic -- using formative-era Simpsons might have contributed -- for past Smash (mainly the original and Melee) and what they had that 3DS Smash doesn't. Which is why the maudlin subheader.

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Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter photo
Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
by Alasdair Duncan

Perhaps the biggest surprise about The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is that the developers behind the game were members of People Can Fly, the studio responsible for Bulletstorm; the idea that some of the people who came up with the over-the-top and potty-mouthed first-person shooter would go on to also make this contemplative, supernatural mystery.

It's a beautiful-looking game where players are tasked with finding a missing youngster but are quick to find that there are dark things lurking behind the lovely surroundings.

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Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Ivory King photo
Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Ivory King
by Chris Carter

Dark Souls II was quite the ride. Although the game had its fair share of issues, I had a blast playing it, and a number of its zones now have a place in my list of all-time favorite Souls locations.

One of those areas includes the last piece of DLC, The Crown of the Ivory King, which brings back some of the powerful icy imagery from the Painted World of Ariamis.

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Review: Chariot photo
Review: Chariot
by Brett Makedonski

Local cooperative play is something that's been increasingly neglected in an age of videogames that pushes online connectivity seemingly first and foremost. It's ironic that titles like Destiny are the current benchmark for social experiences, when all communication is done through a headset. After all, it really doesn't get more personal than sitting next to someone on a couch and working (almost literally) hand-in-hand to achieve a goal.

Frima Studio hasn't forgotten these golden moments of yesteryear, and aims to recapture them with Chariot. The developers succeeded in their ambition. In fact, they pull it off so well, that you might find yourself short-changed when you don't have a partner in crime readily handy.

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Review: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax photo
Review: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
by Kyle MacGregor

It's still tough to believe a fighting game based on the Persona series exists, let alone is any good, but Persona 4 Arena certainly came as a pleasant surprise. Atlus and Arc System Works are two distinctive studios known for creating very different types of experiences, but somehow managed to meld their unique strengths into a stellar fusion.

It must have been a difficult task, trying to charm two disparate audiences at once, but the developers proved more than capable of surmounting the challenge. Now they've returned with a followup in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, hoping to make lightning strike twice.

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Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair photo
Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
by Brittany Vincent

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was an intelligent riff on the perils of high school -- you know, if you had thrown a murder mystery in between classes and the principal was a maniacal stuffed animal.

Its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, takes a beleaguered trope and turns it on its head. This is one "trapped on a desert island" story that takes things to another level entirely.

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