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Hack n Slash

Slain! requires a surprising amount of restraint

Sep 04 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]309156:60249:0[/embed] The result of my urgency was death. Over and over it happened. Sometimes I rushed jumping over a pit and died. Sometimes I rushed into battle and died. The common theme here is that rushing leads to dying. I found out the hard way. Contributing to my death count was a jumping system that felt too rigid. Simple platforming quickly became a chore because the responsiveness of the jump button felt off. I fell into a pit that unceremoniously crushed me far too many times because it was too unintuitive to determine when exactly I needed to jump. Slain! will surely be difficult enough in its own right; it doesn't need to unnecessarily kill the player with sub-par mechanics. Still, Slain! undeniably gets its hooks in you, even through failure after frustrating failure. At one point, the representative tending to the game asked if I wanted him to clear a particularly pesky section for me. "No," I sharply shot back. "I got this." It's the type of game where you just know that you can get to the next checkpoint, and you're infuriated with yourself that you messed up that last run. Just take a methodical approach, and your chances will improve -- even if slow and steady doesn't exactly scream metal.
Slain! preview photo
Everything else is metal as hell
One glance at Wolf Brew Games' Slain! and it's immediately obvious where it draws inspiration from. This is hack-and-slash action from the '80s and '90s that takes no prisoners in its violent pursuit. The gore-fille...

Dragon Quest Heroes II photo
Dragon Quest Heroes II

Dragon Quest Heroes II debuts spring 2016

Features a new multiplayer mode
Jul 28
// Kyle MacGregor
Dragon Quest Heroes II is launching in Japan next spring, Square Enix just announced. The publisher announced the new action title back in April, not long after the first game's Japanese release topped charts with more than 5...

Review: Onechanbara Z2: Chaos

Jul 22 // Kyle MacGregor
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (PlayStation 4)Developer: Tamsoft CorporationPublisher: XSEED GamesMSRP: $39.99 (digital), $49.99 (retail)Released: July 22, 2015  Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, being the direct sequel to a game that never released on western shores, has a story that isn't easy to follow. Jumping into the adventure essentially in media res, you have to play a bit of catch-up, piecing together morsels of dialogue with information from loading screens and the accompanying art book to really get a good feel for what's going on here. In short, familiar faces Aya and Saki aren't exactly the best of friends with newcomers Kagura and Saaya. Coming from rival clans, Banefuls and Vampirics, the duos crossed swords in the prequel, but now find themselves forging an unlikely alliance to stem a worldwide zombie outbreak. The ensuing adventure isn't exactly riveting, but the localization team at XSEED did its best to ham up an otherwise banal scenario. Combat is clearly the main attraction here, which is an area where the series has made some progress since its last appearance in the West. The combat system is straightforward, but has a few wrinkles to it. In the beginning, the game essentially instructs the player to button mash, suggesting you hammer on the square and triangle buttons and see what works. A full list of attacks and combos can be found in the menus, more of which can be unlocked between missions and mastered in practice mode. Of course, the series' trademark blood meter returns. As you dispatch zombies, weapons will get progressively more crimson, necessitating periodic cleaning to remain effective. On the other side of the coin, enough carnage will send characters into a frenzy, causing a spike in offensive power at the cost of gradually diminishing health. You need to pay attention, lest suffer the consequences. The four protagonists can be tagged in and out of battle anytime, which players can use to their advantage in a number of ways. One character can set up a combo for another, and since all of them have vastly different movesets, this freedom opens up a lot of possibilities. For example, one of my favorite things to do was lock a group of enemies in one of Saaya's lengthy chainsaw attacks, then bring in another character to perform a devastating double team maneuver. Sadly, the solid mechanics are wasted on an ecosystem that isn't treated with anywhere near the same level of care. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos has a linear and repetitive mission structure that funnels players through corridors and locks them into arenas at regular intervals. In these arenas you'll need to kill every last zombie, as they respawn ad nauseam, until you're allowed to pass. Most of the enemies don't pose a threat on their own, but instead rely on sheer numbers to impose any sort of challenge. A lone zombie often won't attack for seconds at a time. They can also get hung up on terrain or spawn outside the combat zone, which leads to a frustrating mini-game of sorts where you're forced to play hide and seek with stragglers in order to proceed. This is exacerbated by the fact that basic grunts can blend in with their environments. The visuals are all over the place, ranging from pretty decent to downright abysmal, with the zombie hordes and background graphics obviously falling on the low end of the totem pole. The character designs and accompanying sexual fan service are on the other end of the spectrum. There are a variety of lewd outfits players can unlock, or purchase in the case of the shameless "Strawberries & Banana DLC costume," in which the heroines might as well be nude. It's pretty disheartening this is where Tamsoft decided to focus its efforts, rather than to improve the core game. This game feels like it has tunnel vision; it's a product where some aspects of the experience are given incredible attention to detail, while others feel like they were lifted from something found in a PS2-era bargain bin. Just as often as I found myself enjoying Z2:Chaos for its pulsing soundtrack or slick combat, there were times where it embarrassed, aggravated, or bored me to tears. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos could have been decent, but it seems content to revel in mediocrity. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Review: Onechanbara Z2 photo
Flirting with progress
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is a game that wraps its identity around sex and violence like few others. This is, of course, nothing new for the series. Styling itself after exploitation films, Onechanbara has survived for over a dec...

Onechanbara photo

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos hits Europe next month

Bikini zombie slayers return August 28
Jul 18
// Kyle MacGregor
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is coming to Europe sooner than anticipated. After NIS initially announced the sexed up zombie slaying game for an autumn release, the publisher has revised those plans, saying the PlayStation 4 exclusive is now targeting an August 28 launch. In the meantime, XSEED is bringing the title to North America this Tuesday, July 21.

Onechanbara photo

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos eviscerates PS4 July 21

Subheaders are the bane of my existence
Jul 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is coming to North America on July 21, XSEED Games just announced. After a brief hands-on session with the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive at E3 the other week, I'm actually looking forward to this...
#Darksiders2 photo

Darksiders 2 remake confirmed, has a punny name

A lot of Vigil team working on it
Jun 11
// Brett Makedonski
Closing in on four months later, we can finally confirm the February leak of a Darksiders 2 remake. Nordic Games announced a 1080p remaster for PS4 and Xbox One. It's cheekily named Darksiders 2 Deathinitive Edition, whi...
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

You can buy Dragon Quest Heroes in a treasure chest

There's also a Day-One Edition
Jun 02
// Jordan Devore
If you're committed to getting Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below -- I am, after playing two short levels -- then there are a couple of things to be aware of. The hack-and-slash game releases on Oc...
More Dying Light photo
More Dying Light

Dying Light dev cancels dark fantasy tale Hellraid

To make more Dying Light content
May 21
// Steven Hansen
Hellraid was announced as a Dead Island follow up in 2013. We finally got a good look at it late last year following a delay for current gen and PC exclusivity. It was meant to come out this year, but that's not happening, H...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Playism is localizing doujin games for PS4, Vita

Astebreed, Croixleur Sigma, and more coming west in 2015
Apr 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Good news for fans of Japanese indie games: Playism is bringing its wares to consoles.  We've known this was happening for a while, but now it's official. The company has announced plans to localize a number of Japanese ...
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos photo
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos

Onechanbara Z2 strikes a PS4 near you this summer

Unless you live in Europe, then it comes out this fall
Mar 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Those wily scamps at XSEED have done it again! Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is on its way to North America this summer, the little localization house that could just announced. On top of its digital release on PlayStation 4, the pr...
Bloodborne online play photo
Bloodborne online play

Sony Japan details Bloodborne online play

It's a lot like Dark Souls
Mar 07
// Jason Faulkner
In an update to the official Bloodborne website, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has detailed the various modes of online play that will be available.
Darksiders 2 photo
Darksiders 2

Darksiders II is just the latest in a long line of re-releases

'Definitive,' of course
Feb 13
// Brett Makedonski
Did you like the last generation of gaming on platforms of yesteryear? A lot of good stuff came out for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Legacy consoles are seemingly maintaining their relevance by the sheer number of re-releases ...
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

So what's the difference between the PS3 and PS4 versions of Dragon Quest Heroes?

I'll tell you
Feb 10
// Chris Carter
Dragon Quest Heroes will launch in Japan this year on both the PS3 and PS4 -- Square Enix is "interested" in a localization, but we haven't heard anything concrete yet. So what's the difference in terms of the generational ga...
Croixleur Sigma photo
Croixleur Sigma

Croixleur Sigma PS4 dated in Japan, here are some details

Next month for 1,500 yen
Feb 05
// Chris Carter
Croixleur Sigma is coming to PS4 on March 5 for 1,500 yen, and based on the details we have so far, I hope it gets localized. The expansion/update of sorts will have a full visual HD upgrade, as well as more characters, mons...
Bloodborne gameplay photo
Bloodborne gameplay

These first 18 minutes of Bloodborne make me feel all tingly

Got me feeling pee shivers
Feb 02
// Jason Faulkner
From Software's latest action-RPG looks to replicate the butthole-puckering tense gameplay that originated with its predecessors in the Souls series. IGN posted the first 18 minutes of gameplay (minus character creation...
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

Dragon Quest Heroes team interested in localization

Dual audio also on the table
Feb 02
// Kyle MacGregor
Speaking with Game Watch at the Taipei Game Show over the weekend, Square Enix producer Ryutaro Ichimura discussed a potential western release for Dragon Quest Heroes.  “I want to proceed thinking po...
Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors ships one million units worldwide, which is damn good for the Wii U

Jan 27
// Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors is a really good game, which is why I'm glad it shipped one million units globally. Koei Tecmo has recently announced the numbers, and although yes, that number is shipped, not sold, that's still great for a W...
Children of Morta KS photo
Children of Morta KS

Children of Morta Kickstarter launches today, looks phenomenal

Dead Mage's gorgeous 2D hack n' slash has left me awestruck
Jan 20
// Rob Morrow
Story-driven hack 'n' slash Children of Morta's Kickstarter campaign went live today and it looks absolutely stunning. I cover a lot of retro-inspired pixel-art titles in my work here at Destructoid, but what ...
Children of Morta photo
Children of Morta

Children of Morta coming to Kickstarter in January

I haven't been this pumped for a Kickstarter since Hyper Light Drifter
Dec 23
// Rob Morrow
Remember that gorgeous pixel-art roguelike hack-and-slash we posted about a couple months back? Well, if you liked what you saw the last time we covered the delightful Children of Morta, you're in for a treat! Dead Mage stud...
Zombie Vikings photo
Zombie Vikings

Stick it to the Man dev working on another gross game

Zombie Vikings
Dec 12
// Steven Hansen
The off-kilter Stick it to the Man! was a surprise charmer last year with a style and tone that evoked the likes of Rocko's Modern Life and anime of that era.  The studio's follow up is Zombie Vikings, a four ...
Joylancer photo
I might steal the uncle's joke, I have to admit
Jed's back with more of his ride through Joylancer: Legendary Motor Knight. Jed relates a story of his uncle's lame, perv-y jokes at Thanksgiving, admits he's lost his passion for collectibles, and just straight up forgets everything that's happened so far.

Joylancer photo
Get it? Like a B-hole
We have heard your cries for more beard, and they are not going unanswered. Today the second part of Jed conquering Joylancer is available for your quivering senses. So, feast your eyes on this Game Boy Color-esque hack 'n' slash adventure, while the beard commentates with his joyful lance in hand.

Joylancer photo
Get your motor runnin'
Jed's back with another retro-style indie game. Joylancer: Legendary Motor Knight puts players in an old school side-scrolling hack 'n' slash with Game Boy Color graphical sensibilities. Jed got to revving up his motorized lance and just absorbed the good vibrations.

Onikira: Demon Killer  photo
Onikira: Demon Killer

Onikira looks like a slicey dicey good time

Coming to Steam Early Access this Friday
Nov 13
// Rob Morrow
Onikira: Demon Killer, a lovely samurai-centric 2D side-scrolling beat-'em-up, is set to slash its way onto Steam Early Access on November 14. The game takes place in a fantasy feudal Japan, with the player assuming&nbs...

Hyrule Warriors' 'Master Quest' DLC is worth the price of entry if you're already addicted

Oct 17 // Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors: Master Quest DLC (Wii U)Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja, NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: October 16, 2014MSRP: $7.99 (part of the $19.99 Season Pass) Let's start with the additional campaign. Put simply, it's a prequel and a side-story to the events that unfold over the course of the narrative. You'll see Cia's rise to power, how she recruited Wizzro and Volga, and her interactions with the denizens of each of the "portal" worlds like Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess. It takes place over five missions, all of which re-use maps from the story mode but offer new scenarios. Where these maps really shine are with the game's Hero difficulty. They're some of the most challenging ones on offer, and you'll have to employ some actual tactical thinking to best them without a few retries. The first map in particular is really cool in that it features three armies, all of which are constantly warring as the battle rages on. It also gives you a great look into the character of Volga, who is easily the star of the new update. Link's new Epona weapon is surprisingly one of the best parts of the package. It functions very similarly to horses in the Warriors series -- outside of the fact that you can't actually get off said horse. Attacks range from charges (with the classic carrot icons from past Zelda games) and area-of-effect abilities. In other words, Epona can be used in every map without an issue and kicks a lot of ass. I really liked the added touch of the shadow aesthetic when using the Dark Link skin. [embed]282707:56003:0[/embed] The new map is titled the "Master Quest," and gives you another board to work through in Adventure Mode from square one. Although hardcore fans probably breezed through the first map without too much difficulty, Master Quest is going to put your skills to the test. Every piece of the map features a certain challenge requirement, like "no healing of any kind," or a time limit on your objective. This is on top of the fact that a lot of the levels are just harder in general, and some require the use and mastery of the new characters. In my mind this is a great way to do DLC, as it's a natural progression from the first map. I would have liked to have seen something drastically different like a monochrome or Game Boy Color-themed Link's Awakening map, but the missions speak for themselves. Having said that, if you didn't dig the first map, you probably won't bother to complete this one, and you should wait for the next DLC pack to hit -- unless you like the idea of costumes and 8-bit weapons for your troubles. Finally, the last part of the paid Master Quest add-on is two costumes for Cia and Lana. These are essentially holy-themed getups, and while Lana's isn't all that special, it drastically changes Cia's appearance from evil to good, which is something. Still, it's not nearly as enticing as a Fierce Deity or Toon Link skin, per se. While the three free extra characters aren't technically part of the DLC, buying Master Quest unlocks a few perks, like their higher-level weapons and the ability to use heart containers on them. They're also some of the most fun characters in the game by far. Cia's badassery speaks for itself. As one of the core villains of the game, she uses her magic abilities and her whip as weapons. She can throw energy balls, summon flying discs to attack groups of enemies, and even summon a small army of Dark Links to lay waste to the battlefield. She's an AOE-oriented character but still holds her own in one-on-one situations. She also feels completely unique, even from Lana. As a neat bonus you'll also get two extra costumes right off the bat, including a hatless skin and a skin without her mask. Volga took me completely by surprise, and ended up being one of my new favorite characters. He plays similarly to a polearm character from the Warriors games, which should make more than a few fans happy. His "dragon" aspects are also well done to the point where it doesn't feel like they're overdoing it, and wings and claws will sprout during specific attacks. In terms of raw power he's one of the stronger characters in the game, giving you an extra viable roster option if you're the min-max type. Wizzro on the other hand feels weaker at first, but he's a highly technical character that shines in co-op. What's cool about him is that the vast majority of his attacks are ranged, putting him in a class of his own. He's adept at juggling and has a very useful beam attack that can be aimed at single enemies or even groups. I really like how the developers allowed him to use some of the basic moves of the Poe enemies but keep his own style. Hyrule Warriors is on a roll. Not only does the base game have more gameplay than nearly anything released in 2014, but the DLC does a decent job of augmenting the experience. While I'd like to see a little more original content in future DLCs, the three characters alone will add hours of entertainment.
Hyrule Warriors DLC photo
It's not as new as I would have liked, but it keeps me going
Hyrule Warriors is a massive game. If you want to 100% everything, get every weapon, and max out every character, it could last you roughly 200 hours or more. I'm hitting the 100-hour mark myself, due in part to the new ...

Children of Morta photo
Della morta
I love this flowing, watercolor reminiscent pixel art. It benefits all the happy dancing in the trailer and the exaggerated, unrealistic movements sort of remind me of the animation style of Masaaki Yuasa (Ping Pong: The Animation).  Anyway, Children of Morta basically looks exactly like something I want to play real bad.

Review: Gauntlet

Sep 26 // Chris Carter
Gauntlet (PC)Developer: Arrowhead Game StudiosPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: September 23, 2014MSRP: $19.99 What I love about Gauntlet is that it doesn't mess around, even from the start. The entire menu screen is amazingly simple, and within seconds it's up and running with the introductory tutorial. For just a few minutes Gauntlet acquaints players with the four hero types available -- the Warrior (Thor), the Valkyrie (Thyra), the Elf (Questor), and the Wizard (Merlin). All of them have unique playstyles and fully support both gamepad and keyboard/mouse setups. Thor is probably the most stalwart of the cast, with light and heavy attacks, as well as a cyclone-spin special move and a bull-rush. He's the slowest of the bunch, but he obviously isn't lacking in terms of power. The rush ability is also a really cool way to either dash away defensively, or rush into a group. Thyra plays similarly, but she's more focused on speed and defense. In addition to a standard attack she can also throw spear projectiles, as well as toss her shield like Captain America into multiple enemies. Her biggest core ability is her shield block though, which allows her to take the brunt of enemy attacks and essentially focus as a makeshift tank in some instances. [embed]281594:55755:0[/embed] For those who prefer a twin-stick shooting approach, there are Questor and Merlin. Both use the right analog stick (or mouse) to aim projectiles, despite the fact that their weapons of choice differ. Questor also has a variation of a light and heavy attack in a ranged fashion, but he also has the most traditional dodge roll, as well as the power to lay mines on the ground for massive area-of-effect damage -- this can later be upgraded to fire arrow bombs. Those who enjoyed Magicka will want to try Merlin first. Using a small combination of three buttons (ice, fire, and electricity), he can mix and match spells to suit his needs. For instance, two ice presses will fire off a concentrated ice beam -- another combination might trigger a fire-based teleport -- and another will trigger an icy area-of-effect blast. All of these characters work well in tandem, and the ideal group composition is made up of all four heroes playing off each other. While I usually tend to just pick one character and stick with it during the duration of any given playthrough in a Gauntlet game, I couldn't help but play around with each style, liking them all in their own way. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd say Questor's playstyle resonated with me the most. I was really surprised at the skill progression system in the game, which is a lot deeper than I expected at first. There are lots of upgrades that can be obtained like the aforementioned arrow bomb, in addition to general stat boosts, more gold find, faster speed, and so on. You can also use gold to buy "Relics," tokens of power that can be trigger extra abilities during play, as well as a handful of new costumes. For the most part, this is the Gauntlet we all remember. There are hidden rooms, waves of enemies to defeat, monster portals to stop before the screen becomes overrun, bosses to master and figure out on the fly -- and of course, that damn exploding food. There are core spokes of the dungeon wheel that are static and never change, but the majority of the game is procedurally generated to give a different experience every time. Higher difficulties like Hard and Unfair present greater challenges with not only more difficult monsters, but the mechanic of forcing you to acquire "Skull Coins" with points, which are the only way to revive -- if you run out, it's game over. On the flipside you get a lot more gold for taking on the challenge, which gives you a nice sense of risk/reward. The only major issue I had with the game was the art style. Rather than draw inspiration from my favorite Gauntlet games like Legends and Dark Legacy, which have bright, exaggerated visuals, 2014's iteration is more akin to the classic series and the darker Seven Sorrows. A lot of the levels tend to blend together, and despite the fact that each role plays differently, the camera is so zoomed out that it's tough to really admire their character models. The new announcer also isn't nearly as iconic as the one in the console era. On other hand, everything is very clean. From the game's simplistic user interface to its smooth frame rate, it's easy to see where everything is without getting lost. Little touches like color sparks emanating from each class go a long way in terms of breaking up the chaos, and even with online play the game ran at a smooth pace. Speaking of online play, the system that's in place right now is that I'd call the definition of adequate, and lacks any real bells and whistles. There aren't elaborate lobby options (or drop-in joining), but it's easy to either invite or meet up with friends, or open up a game to the general public.I tested out how long it took to fill a sample size of 10 games after starting a new session, and there was an average of 60 seconds that passed before it was full. For reference, everyone has to pick a different character, so it's beneficial to spread your play between all four since each of them have a different leveling track. Even online, players share the same screen as if they were playing on a console on the TV. You could also spring for local co-op. Gauntlet is a polished game that does right by its predecessors. It's a great mix of both old and new school sensibilities, and despite the fact that the art style isn't as pronounced as it could have been, the actual core of the game is very sound. With the addition of online play to the series, this one will have legs for quite some time and deserves a spot in the Gauntlet pantheon.
Gauntlet 2014 reviewed photo
Arrowhead hits its mark
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 mac...

Gauntlet photo

Here are some early impressions of Gauntlet

How's Gauntlet? So, how's that Gauntlet? Hodor?
Sep 24
// Chris Carter
The Gauntlet series has always been one of my favorite go-to sources for instant fun. It was one of the first games I ever played with my wife, and it was the source of endless nights of enjoyment on the Nintendo 64 and PlayS...
Croixleur PS4 photo
Croixleur PS4

Doujin brawler Croixleur Sigma coming to PS4

Devil May Cute returns! Again!
Sep 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Croixleur Sigma is coming to PlayStation 4, Playism announced this week at Tokyo Game Show.  "We're hoping we can get a western release out as soon as possible," Playism marketing manager and localization editor Nay...
Hellraid photo

A bunch of skeletons explode in the first 20 minutes of Hellraid

Footage of the hack-and-slash title running on a new engine
Sep 18
// Jordan Devore
Techland's decision to delay Hellraid and move it to PS4, Xbox One, and PC seems to be paying off. That said, you may want to skip the first half of this 20-minute video -- it begins with the first level, which is slow to ge...

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