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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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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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Review: Tappingo 2 photo
Review: Tappingo 2
by Ben Pack

As someone who has gone through several Picross apps on his iPhone, I was excited to hear about Tappingo 2, a puzzler for the 3DS in the same vein. Maybe this would be the perfect game for my long train rides.

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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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Review: The Sims 4 photo
Review: The Sims 4
by Chris Carter

As a growing gamer, Maxis was always one of my go-to developers at a young age. From the original SimCity, to SimAnt, to SimTower, the company was almost infallible in my eyes, and I ate up practically every simulation it had to offer.

But while Maxis had seen a great deal of success, it wasn't until The Sims that it truly crossed over into the mainstream market and exploded. Before FarmVille, before Wii Sports, there was The Sims, and it snared a lot of the non-gaming market over the years.

The Sims 4 tries to tap into that market yet again, but it doesn't really have anything to offer over its predecessor.

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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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Review: Gauntlet photo
Review: Gauntlet
by Chris Carter

Many, many fun hours were spent playing Gauntlet with friends. As one of the most ingenous arcade games of all time, Gauntlet Legends had a really cool mechanic that allowed you to save your progress at the same machine -- warranting multiple trips to the same location just to play it. The fun continued on with the console version of the game, and even further into Dark Legacy, my personal favorite. 

Once Seven Sorrows hit in 2005 though my interest kind of waned -- it simply wasn't a very good game, and the lack of a distinct art style didn't help it stand out among the masses of dungeon crawlers that were emerging out of the console market. But in 2014, Arrowhead Studios has done right by the franchise, and is ready to usher in a whole new audience.

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Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor photo
Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
by Chris Carter

Developing a licensed game can be extremely difficult. Not only does Monolith Productions have the Lord of the Rings film series to honor with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, but the developer also has to work in many aspects of Tolkien's other works to weave together a story that calls from multiple sources.

In that regard Monolith has succeeded in creating something believable, but in the process, the game itself didn't receive as much attention.

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Review: Forza Horizon 2 photo
Review: Forza Horizon 2
by Brett Zeidler

The original Forza Horizon impressed us back in 2012 with its ability to incorporate what we already loved about Forza Motorsport into an absolutely massive open-world sandbox racing game, while not completely ditching its simulation roots and easing new players into an arcade-simulation racer hybrid. It also helped that the game was really nice to look at.

Playground Games and Turn 10 are back with Forza Horizon 2, and I am so glad they are.

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Review: NHL 15 photo
Review: NHL 15
by Brett Makedonski

With regard to sports games, the most important facet of any given title should always be the actual playing of the sport. That's how NHL 15 is. It mostly shines when you're on-ice, leading the charge through the neutral zone or lining up a bone-crushing hit on an unsuspecting forward. Damn EA for making me want to say this, but with NHL 15, when you're in the game, you're in the game.

But, if that's all that really matters, why's it impossible to overcome the feeling that its off-ice issues drag NHL 15 down like a player that just got viciously hooked from behind?

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Review: Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed photo
Review: Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed
by Brittany Vincent

When you're faced with imminent danger, what's the first thing you do? Do you gear up to fight back? Do you see if you can land the first punch? Or do you take all of your clothing off? I'm guessing that's a pretty uncommon reaction, though it's something you'll get used to seeing on a regular basis within Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed.

The otaku-come-Yakuza special is actually Akiba's Trip 2 in Japan, and it's the first time the series has reached Western audiences, who may or may not have been ready for its bizarre machinations. But for those who were willing and able to take the trip, what awaited them was a strange and colorful world full of plenty to do and discover.

Oh, and a whole lot of underwear. 

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