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Beards optional: Embedded difficulty decisions in Fire Emblem photo
Beards optional: Embedded difficulty decisions in Fire Emblem
by Anna Anthropy

[Destructoid likes to invite game developers to write editorials for us from time to time. Their opinions don't necessarily represent Destructoid as a whole, but they sure are interesting. Here is a fun one on how Fire Emblem handles difficulty scaling from Anna Anthropy, the developer of Frog Assassin and Dys4ia.]

I want to introduce you to my boys. This is Marcus, Old Marcus, and Seth. They're from the Fire Emblem games on the Game Boy Advance: from left to right, Fire Emblem (the first game in the series to get an international release), The Binding Blade (the game Fire Emblem is a prequel to) and The Sacred Stones.

But who are they really? Just some dudes with weird anime hair? (Except for Seth. Seth is a dreamboat.) They're actually DIFFICULTY MODES.

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Very Quick Tips: Homeworld Remastered Collection photo
Very Quick Tips: Homeworld Remastered Collection
by Jason Faulkner

Although Homeworld Remastered Collection is classified as real-time strategy, there are some elements that set it apart from its brethren. The 3D camera and movement add another whole axis to worry about that some may find disorienting, and the fairly strict strengths and weaknesses of the units may lead to defeat if a cohesive unit strategy isn’t considered.

These tips are geared primarily towards online multiplayer gameplay, but can also be applied to campaign or vs. the A.I.

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Review: Homeworld Remastered Collection photo
Review: Homeworld Remastered Collection
by Jason Faulkner

In 1999, I was 11 years old. It was a time when every video game purchase was a gamble. The best you could do was to read a review or watch a grainy, minute-long Quicktime video that you spent an hour to download on 56k while hoping your $50 wasn't spent in vain. I discovered some of my favorite games with just the blind promises of the back of a box. Starsiege: Tribes, Suikoden II, Half-Life, Giants: Citizen Kabuto and more were all stabs in the dark that paid off with hours of enthrallment in front of the glow of a CRT.

As a young sci-fi fan, all anyone had to do back then to wrestle my hard-earned money from my wallet was throw some spaceships on a box. More than likely, if my mom allowed me, I'd fall in love with the simple promise of being whisked away to the stars. Sometimes my gambles paid off, like with Star Trek: Klingon Academy and Freelancer, and sometimes I'd get a dud like Allegiance, which was a good game, but one whose servers had been shut down before I even bought it. However, none made a bigger impression on me than Sierra's Homeworld did. The top-notch writing and 3D playing field etched themselves into my memory and left me clamoring for a sequel. 

Although the story continued in Homeworld: Cataclysm in 2000 and Homeworld 2 in 2003, the series went dark and new copies weren't even available. THQ's bankruptcy in 2013 led to the franchise's rights going up for auction. After acquiring the IP with the winning $1.35 million bid, Gearbox announced it would be bringing an updated Homeworld and Homeworld 2 to a new generation in the form of the Homeworld Remastered Collection.

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Here's what's been happening in the Dtoid community photo
Here's what's been happening in the Dtoid community
by Mr Andy Dixon

You Dtoiders have been on an absolute tear lately! Not only are you kicking out awesome new community projects at breakneck speeds, but you're doing so with an enthusiasm and positivity that I haven't seen in years. Seriously, I am so f*cking proud of you all I just want to pick you up and keep squeezing you forever! (But I won't, because we all know how Of Mice and Men ends.)

Anyway, you're doing a great job, and I hope you keep it up! Here's some highlights from the last month.

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Experience Points .06: No More Heroes photo
Experience Points .06: No More Heroes
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about No More Heroes. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Final Fantasy XIV's Gold Saucer is amazing if you like Triple Triad or Chocobo Racing photo
Final Fantasy XIV's Gold Saucer is amazing if you like Triple Triad or Chocobo Racing
by Chris Carter

The Gold Saucer is finally a part of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and it's glorious. That classic music returns, as do the iconic Triple Triad and Chocobo Racing activities. It's amazing how much content Square Enix has added to its newest MMO over time, more than justifying the subscription fee. It is living proof that not every MMO has to go free-to-play.

I had a chance to take the Saucer for a spin this week, and was pretty happy with what I found. So long as you buy into the two big draws, you will be too.

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Review: Ironfall: Invasion photo
Review: Ironfall: Invasion
by Chris Carter

Developing a Gears of War-like cover shooter for Nintendo 3DS is unconventional, but that's just what VD-Dev did with Ironfall: Invasion. Featuring both local and online multiplayer, as well as an 11-stage campaign, the project seems fairly ambitious for the handheld, and as you'd expect, there are mixed results.

While multiplayer turned out well enough, the campaign is a mess.

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Review: The Deer God photo
Review: The Deer God
by Ben Davis

In a lot of ways, The Deer God is a love letter to nature. The idea was born from the developers' childhood memories of playing in the woods and seeing wild deer, and that admiration of the outdoors is quite apparent. The forests, fields, and other natural locations are simply gorgeous, and playing as a deer is as soothing as you might expect.

However, these tranquil moments eventually give way to some rather unfortunate gameplay decisions. I got a good sense of what the developers were going for, and in some respects they succeeded. But at times, it felt like they had too many ideas, or were trying to please too many people, resulting in a few areas of gameplay that fall flat or don't seem to fit in very well. It's still a very charming adventure, but it's hard to look past its flaws.

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Review: Pneuma: Breath of Life photo
Review: Pneuma: Breath of Life
by Brett Makedonski

Pneuma: Breath of Life is, through and through, a creationist tale. There's no theory of evolution, carbon dating, or Darwinism to cause debate. It's one god and the world that he brought into existence mere seconds earlier.

As it turns out, being the only inhabitant of a world is a dull affair.

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Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a quirky spinoff in line with series legacy photo
Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a quirky spinoff in line with series legacy
by Alessandro Fillari

Over the years, Atlus has become one of the more endearing presences in gaming. One thing fans appreciate is its tendency to switch things up. The publisher has a handle on the niche gaming scene, and it's reassuring to know that it recognizes when to branch out and try new things. With the upcoming spinoff for the Etrian Odyssey series featuring a partnership with Chunsoft, Atlus has got its eye on trying something a bit different with its favored dungeon crawler.

Moving away from the first-person view from past titles, Etrian Mystery Dungeon blends the two series' specialties together to make a nice mix of hardcore RPG action with roguelike dungeon exploration. During a special hands-on session with Atlus, I got some time to experience what EMD has to offer. Though the perspective has changed, the spirit of the series remains.

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Exclusive: Dot Arcade is a new full color videogame for Wii U photo
Exclusive: Dot Arcade is a new full color videogame for Wii U
by Jonathan Holmes

Two of James Montagna's most well known games are Adventure Time: Hey Ice King Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!! and Wonder Momo. These games sold because of their characters. Wonder Momo had built up a strong following through her comic strip on Shifty Look, and Adventure Time was a worldwide merchandising phenomenon by the time it first hit the market. 

I'd imagine designing a game that features beloved characters must be a double-edged sword. Expectations are higher, but so are potential for sales. The pressure is on to design something that does justice to the source material, but on the other end, its the source material that will inevitably be the star of the show, not the design decisions. 

Maybe that's why James has designed his first "solo project" on videogame consoles to be something almost completely abstract. The only literal depictions of in-game characters coming form virtual "marquee art" that appears on the side of the screen. All the action takes place between on a field of simple flashing lights. That's just one of the ways Dot Arcade hearkens back to a day long before Montagna was even born, when electronic games were more analog than digital, where actual light bulbs worked as individual "pixels" and the language of videogames as we know it was still largely unwritten. 

It's a little hard to believe Dot Arcade is real, but according to James, "The game is actually finished. It's ESRB rated, and completely Nintendo Lot Check approved -- I just have to decide the release date and let Nintendo know when to pull the trigger."

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Review: Aaru's Awakening photo
Review: Aaru's Awakening
by Conrad Zimmerman

Aaru's Awakening is an unrelenting challenge of a game, which places players in the world of Lumenox, a mystical land in a precarious state of balance between four deities who rule it, Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night. Now that balance is being disrupted, as Dawn sends a faithful warrior, Aaru, to travel the domains of the other gods on a quest to remake the world.

Dark and twisted lands await.

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Review: Roundabout photo
Review: Roundabout
by Brett Makedonski

For its first game, developer No Goblin seemingly subscribed to the K.I.S.S. school of thought: "Keep it simple, stupid." But, perhaps the studio misunderstood the acronym to mean "keep it simple and stupid." That'd explain how Roundabout revels in its own absurdity while revolving around a rock-solid gimmick: rotation.

Yes, the notion of motion is at the center of Roundabout. There is literally not a moment in gameplay where action is at a standstill. Even the most innocent, non-meaningful proceedings in Roundabout squarely feature its constantly spinning limousine -- a trademark that it rightfully relies heavily upon.

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Podtoid 287: Ya boy be hoopin' photo
Podtoid 287: Ya boy be hoopin'
by Kyle MacGregor

This week on Podtoid, oh hey, Podtoid is back from the dead. Also, Kyle MacGregor, Brett Makedonski, Laura Kate Dale, and Steven Hansen discuss hot new releases Life is Strange and The Order: 1886, Donski's strange amiibo addiction, and Steven's plan to start a basketball cabal.

Listen to the re;birth via direct download or do that iTunes thing if you're nasty.

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Very Quick Tips: Resident Evil: Revelations 2's Raid Mode photo
Very Quick Tips: Resident Evil: Revelations 2's Raid Mode
by Chris Carter

I'm thoroughly impressed by Capcom's efforts with Resident Evil: Revelations 2's Raid Mode. It's much deeper compared to previous efforts, augmented by a sleeker interface and a seamlessly integrated mini-story.

Because of that it may take a little bit longer to acclimate, so here are some tips.

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The first three rounds of Sid Meier's Starships are not enough photo
The first three rounds of Sid Meier's Starships are not enough
by Darren Nakamura

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth released to mixed reactions. I loved how it took the took the classic gameplay to alien worlds, and I especially appreciated its underlying narrative about the future of the human race. Other long-time fans of the series saw it as derivative of Civ V, with too little added and too much stripped out.

Like it or not, one thing that Beyond Earth has done is to lay the foundation for Sid Meier's Starships. It continues the story of the human settlements on an alien planet, far enough into the future that they are able to travel between stars in less time than the initial exodus from Earth took. The result: a series of skirmishes for control of a very tiny galaxy. Sure, why not?

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