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Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons also coming to PS3, PC

Spread the brotherly love
Aug 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons just came out for Xbox Live Arcade to little marketing and fanfare this past week. We're here to remind you that's it pretty great though, and something worth adding to your XBLA collection. Or, ...

Review: Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons

Aug 07 // Brett Makedonski
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons (Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed], PlayStation Network, PC)Developer: Starbreeze StudiosPublisher: 505 GamesReleased: August 7, 2013 (XBLA), TBA (PSN, PC) MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points, $14.99 Brothers follows, well, two brothers as they embark on a quest to cure their ailing father. Despite speaking in a language of gibberish, it's easy to pick up on each's character traits. The blue one is older, stronger, respectful, and more emotionally mature. The red one is younger, mischievous, and nimble. As expected, they play off one another, and the game does a good job depicting them as incomplete parts to a cohesive whole unit. The most easily recognizable theme of Brothers is the bond between siblings, and Starbreeze turned this into the core mechanic of the game. The left analog stick controls the movement of the blue brother, the right analog stick controls the movement of the red brother, and the respective triggers function as each's action button. The pared-down control scheme offers a level of simplicity that's rarely seen in videogames, which would be nice if it worked fluidly. Unfortunately, the dueling-stick approach never becomes consistently comfortable. It isn't bad when the brothers are moving side-by side, but it's difficult to replicate when they're further apart. Throughout the three to four hour game, moments of Zen-like unity occasionally occur, which are quickly erased when the camera swings around and you've unwittingly made one brother run into a wall. [embed]258764:49747:0[/embed] Surprisingly, the control issues aren't game-breaking. In fact, they're relatively easy to look past. They constantly walk the line between "kind of irksome" and "frustrating", but never really cross it. It's completely due to Brothers' structure that this is the case. A more challenging game might not get a pass, but Brothers makes it evident that it's not here to challenge you. Rather, Brothers almost always moves along at a relaxed pace. You'd be hard-pressed to qualify its puzzles as such, because nearly all of them have an immediately obvious solution that's easy to perform and difficult to screw up. It's less about skill, and more about carrying out the requisite actions to further the adventure. It's possible to die, but if it happens, you likely won't make the same mistake twice. There's a bit in chapter four where the brothers are tethered together by a rope and need to climb around the outside of a structure. As one brother hangs on, the other pendulums laterally to the next hold. It's an uncomplicated section, and most will instantly identify the required strategy. However, when it comes to implementation, it's tough to not feel a sort of guilty cleverness if you move through the area too fast, almost as if you're somehow outsmarting the game.  That's how Brothers lures you in -- with its accessibility. It provides comfort with its simple puzzles, radiantly beautiful backdrops, and charming musical score. It's truly immersive, especially in the first hour or so (I'm convinced that a heads-up display would provide no greater disservice to a game than to this one). Then, things go off the rails. For a game that sets the tone with such serenity and a lackadaisical carefree attitude, Brothers turns dark and it does so quickly. I don't wish to spoil a single instance, but Brothers certainly crescendos throughout the entire experience, as it all becomes progressively more bleak and somber. Everything from narrative points to set pieces to isolated incidents that you weren't even necessarily supposed to find, they all ooze a positively depressing aura that seemed impossible from the outset. All of this is made considerably more notable by the fact that Brothers is a love story, or, maybe more accurately, a collection of love stories. Regardless of how melancholy things may get, there's always a love-induced spirit overshadowing everything, for better and for worse. Whether it's a pair of cave trolls reunited, a man absolutely wrecked by the death of his family, or even a couple of birds that have been uncaged and found one another again, Brothers never lets the player forget that love is the primary motif for this tale. That's precisely what makes Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons so endearing -- the undeniable contrast created by the highs and lows that come with the entire experience being driven by love. It's so strong that it even dwarfs the game's core mechanical flaws, making them feel trivial when they should sully the whole affair. It's a powerful venture that isn't necessarily about where you began or where you end up; it's about everything that happened in between. 
Brothers review photo
Family bonding
It all starts innocently enough with a pair of brothers making their way through town. Sure, there's a task at hand, but urgency isn't an issue. It should be, but it isn't. Soaking in the warm glow of the sun and playing with...

Terraria CE photo
Terraria CE

Terraria Collector's Edition comes to console

Pickaxe flash drive, vellum stickers, and a poster
Jul 30
// Darren Nakamura
Earlier this year, the Terraria Collector's Edition released for PC, and shortly afterward, the 2D dig-a-thon came to PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Now that the downloadable has been successful on those platforms,...

Chaos Rings now available on PS Vita, PS Mobile

Quietly available in North America as we speak
Jul 24
// Jim Sterling
The rather excellent, if originally pricey, phone/tablet RPG Chaos Rings has snuck its way onto the PlayStation Store, available for purchase on PS Mobile and PS Vita devices. Though only announced for Japan, it's already on ...
20 facts about the PS4 photo
Well maybe you knew about some of these things
With the PlayStation 4 launch right around the corner there is much to be excited for. Sony has already knocked most of our socks off with the price; the sexy new DualShock 4 controller; and all the love they're throwing at ...

Indies are the key to console gaming's future

Jun 05 // Tony Ponce
Hohokum (PS3, PS4, PS Vita) - Honeyslug / Richard Hogg To be honest, I wouldn't be able to envision any kind of future for consoles if indies had remained locked out. The current retail model is flat-out broken, only leaving room for the biggest blockbusters while squeezing out mid-tier productions. This is shouldn't be a new revelation to any regular Destructoid reader, but the topic will continue to be discussed as long as publishers refuse to alter course. What baffles me is how publishers believe that a new generation of hardware will magically solve all these problems, that more powerful machines will undoubtedly result in a revitalized ocean of innovation and profitability. The truth is that these new consoles don't address any of the real issues plaguing development and in fact may exacerbate them. Consider the best case scenario: Xbox One and PlayStation 4 release this fall and immediately match the launch window sales of PS2 and Wii, while every launch title breaks a million units in the same span of time. That's great, except the problem has never been that games aren't selling well enough, rather that publishers have grown accustomed to investing excessively in production and marketing and forecasting unattainable sales targets. And since average development costs are predicted to rise once again, those goalposts will move even further out of reach. Shovel Knight (3DS, Linux, Mac, PC, Wii U) - Yacht Club Games While it certainly may be possible to develop next-gen software without a significant increase in costs, nothing was exactly stopping studios from working smarter and more efficiently this past generation. They didn't because you can't make the next Call of Duty without pouring wads of cash into the money pit. Some companies do take manageable risks and hold sensible expectations, only to trip over themselves once they catch a whiff of "The Green." When THQ found success with the uDraw GameTablet on Wii, it decided to turn uDraw into a massive cross-platform brand, resulting in a crushing failure that invalidated the financial successes of other THQ properties. Since Dark Souls was a surprise hit, Namco Bandai decided to position the sequel as a "massive AAA title" -- Dark Souls II has yet to be released, but I somehow doubt it'll perform as expected. Is it therefore any mystery why some of the most prolific developers have chosen to go into business for themselves? Peter Molyneux formed 22 Cans, Warren Spector is investigating mobile development, Keiji Inafune has become somewhat of a gun for hire, three different groups of former Rare staffers went full indie -- the list goes on. The message is clear: If you desire true creative freedom, you must leave the industry proper. Divekick (PC, PS3, PS Vita) - One True Game Studios / Iron Galaxy Studios Thanks to more accessible development tools than ever before, we've witnessed an explosion of indie software on the PC market, which has almost completely embraced digital distribution. Through services like Steam,, Desura, and others, indies have been able to properly leverage the viral nature of the Internet to achieve a level of exposure that wouldn't have been possible via traditional brick and mortar channels. While unequivocal success stories have become rare in the retail console space, it's not uncommon to hear about indie triumphs, even in genres thought to have been tapped out. Games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Telltale's Sam & Max revival, and even Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden -- the sheer range satisfies not only nostalgia junkies but also gamers itching for the type of specialized experience that the big companies have shied away from. Most importantly, indies are often able to dictate their own prices, offering value in an environment where once we were expected to swallow $50 or $60 tags without question. At such prices, you may feel more inclined to make casual purchases without the worry of buyer's remorse. Since dev costs for such games are relatively small, indies can profit even after a few thousand sales; since most indies choose to self-publish, all that money goes straight into their pocket. In rare cases, an indie game will find astronomical success -- Minecraft has sold over 10 million copies on PC alone, putting it in the top 10 best-selling PC games of all time -- but that is the exception, not the norm. In fact, a phenomenal sales performance for a digital-only title may be considered underwhelming had it been a boxed release. That's why digital distribution is so appealing: The barriers to success are far easier to overcome. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (3DS, PC, Wii U) - FreakZone Games For all of Microsoft's present miscommunication, the company pioneered digital distribution on home consoles with Xbox Live Arcade and laid down a welcome mat for formerly PC-only devs to bring their wares to a new market. Early titles like The Behemoth's Alien Hominid HD and Metanet's N+ tested the waters and paved the way for more ambitious endeavors down the road. Across all the seventh-generation consoles, we've seen small developers make a name for themselves. Thatgamecompany scored with flOw, Flower, and Journey on the PlayStation Network; 2D Boy and Gaijin Games dominated WiiWare with World of Goo and the Bit.Trip series, respectively; and XBLA continued to expand, eventually receiving a console version of Minecraft, which quickly became the highest-grossing XBLA title ever. The significance of such games is not to be trivialized. Even if they don't necessarily pull in AAA sales numbers, greater content variety builds a healthy ecosystem in which success is not merely reserved for a small cluster of high-profile studios with money to burn. And as consumers dive deeper into the digital domain, the ease and attractiveness of indie games will incentivize the big publishers to address their own failings that much sooner. The overwhelming support for the OUYA Kickstarter campaign and the anticipation for Valve's Steam Box demonstrate that consumers value the relative ease and comfort of dedicated gaming hardware that plugs into the TV and offers access to the kinds of titles previously enjoyed on PCs and mobiles. The major console manufacturers would do well to serve this space with renewed effort going into the next generation. Blacklight: Retribution (PC, PS4) - Zombie Studios Sony has been ramping up its indie outreach over the past few years, which the company hopes can bolster not only the PS3 and PS4 but also the lagging PS Vita. At the Game Developers Conference this past March, SCEA Vice President of Publisher and Developer Relations, Adam Boyes, explained how Sony's former 64-step software submission process has been streamlined thanks to constant feedback from developers, with the goal to get new titles approved in a week or two rather than in months. On a surprising note, Boyes also revealed that Sony has not charged indies for game patches in over three years. Contrast this against Microsoft's policy to charge upwards of tens of thousands of dollars for XBLA patches, and it's clear to see which company has taken the more proactive approach towards developer relations. Perhaps the most attractive reason to develop on Sony hardware is the Pub Fund, a "good faith" agreement that provides indies with up-front royalties in exchange for limited exclusivity, through which Sony has been able to acquire titles like Hotline Miami, Blacklight: Retribution, and Guacamelee! With such benefits, it's not shocking to learn that indies prefer working on Vita over iOS or Android. [embed]254437:48929:0[/embed] Sony may have had a head start on the indie trail, but Nintendo is catching up quickly. Developing for WiiWare was less than ideal thanks to some backwards rules, such as requiring a separate office or having to hit a sales threshold before you could collect royalties. But over the past year, Nintendo has rewritten the book to make eShop development as pleasant as possible. NOA Manager of Business Development, Dan Adelman, also attended GDC this year and outlined Nintendo's eShop policies, which likewise streamline the approval process and allow indies to set their own release dates, prices, and discounts. On top of that, Nintendo won't require platform exclusivity for any reason -- a hitch that even Sony's otherwise wonderful Pub Fund demands. Using the Nintendo Web Framework, indies can build Wii U software using Javascript, HTML5, or CSS, with full access to the GamePad, Miiverse, and other hardware features. The idea is that software ought to be compatible across Wii U, PC, and mobile devices, eliminating one of the biggest hassles of cross-platform development. Because this is a recent shift for Nintendo, many devs are still ill-informed regarding the eShop. For this reason, Nintendo needs to aggressively court devs and attend more events like the recent iDÉAME in Spain. We are already starting to see the fruits of Nintendo's campaign, and I'm certain that both the Wii U and 3DS will soon be on equal footing with the PS3 / PS4 and Vita when it comes to indie support. CounterSpy (Mobile, PS3, PS Vita) - Dynamighty And then there is Microsoft, which doesn't seem too concerned about cultivating the kind of robust environment currently found on Sony and Nintendo machines. Microsoft President of Interactive Entertainment, Don Mattrick, insists that Xbox One will offer some form of independent creator program, but we won't know the details until at least E3. It would be a shame if the company that first extended the olive branch towards indies concedes the space to its competitors. The eighth console generation will be a transition period in which many of the old guard become even more wound up and and insular, cutting back on their yearly release schedules to try to maximize the profit potential of their shrinking output. As a result, they will further rely on "safe" ideas that do little to attract new consumers outside of their regular base. It'll thus be up to the digital storefronts to direct those underserved consumers towards a burgeoning catalog of smaller, original titles. I'm not foolish enough to think that any individual indie title will outperform the biggest names in the retail space -- not in the immediate future, at least. However, the PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U are all aiming to grow their online audience, which necessities a robust digital catalog. And as Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell implied, you never know where the next Minecraft will appear. A Hat in Time (Mac, PC, Wii U [pending]) - Gears for Breakfast What I predict we'll see in the coming years is one of the major publishers offering the use of its IP to an indie. This is something I could see Nintendo doing, considering all its third-party licensing partnerships in the past: Capcom with The Legend of Zelda, SEGA with F-Zero, Team Ninja with Metroid, Namco with Star Fox and currently Smash Bros., etc. Can you grasp the significance of a small, three-man team working out of a garage being trusted with one of Nintendo's legendary properties? Not only will that affirm what the enthusiast market already knows -- true talent can be found anywhere -- it will send a message out to every corner of the industry that the small dogs can stand on equal footing with the big dogs. The future should give major publishers every reason to sweat.
Indies are the future photo
Indies are better equipped to handle the transition into our digital tomorrow
The console market has become something of a paradox these past few years. Despite total console sales having exceeded 40 million units over the previous generation, and despite a wealth of powerful new IPs, we've witnessed a...


How to Survive is an isometric zombie survival game

Survive on an island filled with zombies
May 30
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
505 Games has announced How to Survive, a brand new IP developed by EKO Studios. The game strands players on a remote archipelago off the coast of Columbia in the aftermath of an unexplained accident, and forces players to su...
Castle of Illusion photo
Castle of Illusion

Sega really wants to get Castle of Illusion right

Remake comes with original directorís blessing
May 30
// Abel Girmay
It can't be easy trying to do justice to a legacy as large as Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Take in Mickey's rough patches in his last few games, and it's not hard to see why many fans would be so apprehensive to...

10 games bundled with all their DLC discounted on PSN

Assassin's Creed III, Persona 4: Arena, Metal Gear Rising and more
May 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The PlayStation Store is rolling out a new sales promotion that's packing ten different games with ALL of their downloadable content offerings. The Ultimate Edition bundles are all being offered at 65% off, with PlayStation P...
GoME DLC photo

Kili comes to Guardians of Middle-earth

More DLC for the console-based MOBA
Apr 18
// Harry Monogenis
Alright guys, we've got ourselves yet another downloadable character for Monolith's MOBA game, Guardians of Middle-earth. This time around, we've got Kili entering the fray. Classed as a Striker, he comes with some surprisingly good moves. Wound, for example, shoots an arrow that stuns Guardians and creatures, while Flare blinds then reveals hidden enemies. Anyone given Kili a go?

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a playable fairy tale

Apr 16 // Steven Hansen
[embed]251780:48153:0[/embed] Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons (PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360 [previewed]) Developer: Starbreeze Studios Publisher: 505 Games Release: Spring 2013 Fares told me that he hopes players take in the pithy, 3-4 hour game in one sitting and without considerable difficulty or challenge, emphasizing the experience over mechanical learning and good reflexes. The game, which might look like it would include some platforming, even automatically handles jumping for you. The control scheme is as pared down as possible. One analog moves one brother, the other analog moves the other. The left and right triggers act as your primary means of operation in the world in whichever ways are contextually appropriate. In the beginning sequence, for instance, you navigate the duo through a small village. You’re free to make a beeline for your destination and do nothing, or you can faff about and interact with the environment and the NPCs. Doing the latter tends to reveal different things about the different brothers, as each has unique interactions with the various NPCs. One might have an unintelligible conversation (in the game’s nonsense language), the other might cause mischief -- say, throw a bucket of water on an unsuspecting gentleman. In addition, there are some semi “hidden” interactions to seek out, many of which are tied to trophies and achievements. At one point you stumble upon a group of rabbits. The black rabbits collectively run from the lone white rabbit. Interacting with the white rabbit using the older brother does little, but the younger brother will dump the white rabbit in some coal, giving it a black coat, at which point it will freely join the others. You can also be a huge jerk and throw some little girl’s ball down a well. This is all done at a rather languid pace, though, and never too taxing. It’s hard to even call the present mechanics “puzzles,” given that the one and only solution boils down to “take either of the characters and press their respective button of interaction with the environment somehow.” Yet, while Brothers is ostensibly more about exploring and experiencing the world and its story than traditional “gameplay,” there was something somewhat pleasant about the pared down controls. The one button mechanic proved oddly soothing, as instances of having to alternatively push them almost felt akin to some sort of deep breathing exercise, as your singular focus is on the holding and releasing of these two triggers. There is possibly even something cleanly metaphorical about holding on and letting go as it relates to the story of this family, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Steam players will be afforded keyboard use, but “it’s really not how it’s supposed to be played,” Fares noted. I also can’t see it being any good that way anyway. The concept behind this, beyond a drive toward simplicity, Fares explains, is that he didn’t want to pad the game out. All the animations and encounters are unique, one off happenings. At one point, the pair navigates mines by alternatively riding machinery and clearing paths. At another, the two are faced with a snarling dog and leap between points of safety while the other distracts the dog. None of these simple encounters that could act as traditional mechanics are repeated. They’re just interesting things that happen and you progress. Despite the warmth and levity apparent in early screens and the portions of the game I was shown, I’m told the game gets darker as you progress, as fantasies are apt to do, particularly those of European lineage. Brothers draws influence from The Brothers Lionheart, a fantasy novel by Astrid Lindgren, Swedish author famous for Pippi Longstocking, among others. The music, too, carries a haunting, windy, Scandinavian influence. Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons is looking good and quite pretty. Part of me feels its aspirations are loftier than what it is, but it has me rather interested regardless. At the least, it should offer several hours of relaxing, explorative fantasy.
Brothers preview photo
Dogs and trolls and sheep -- oh my!
I caught wind of Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons by way of a short teaser trailer a while back (you can find it after the jump) and was digging the art style, but put it out of mind. As its spring release approaches, however, ...

Poor Darkstalkers sales photo
'We've not given up. But I'm disappointed in the opening sales'
Capcom senior VP Christian Svensson recently said that fighting game re-releases are dropping in popularity, and now the sales numbers for Darkstalkers Resurrection confirm his theory. After years of fans asking for a downloa...

PSN Sale photo
PSN Sale

Sale! PlayStation Store gets Spring Fever

Indie Cross-Buy discounts included
Apr 09
// Dale North
Sony has kicked off spring with their Spring Fever sale. This time around we're seeing indie games featured, which is nice. As an even nicer bonus, each title features Cross-Buy functionality, meaning that they'll work on bot...
Micro$oft photo

Retro City Rampage dev's Microsoft horror story

Developer says Microsoft cancelled his game and then released it at wrong price
Apr 08
// Allistair Pinsof
After a shaky relationship that put his career and game on the line, Retro City Rampage developer Brian Provinciano joins Jonathan Blow and Team Meat in talking mess about Microsoft. After developing RCR for over four years, ...
Injustice Demo photo
Injustice Demo

Watch us fumble through the demo for Injustice

We should really be better at this stuff
Apr 03
// Conrad Zimmerman
The demo for Injustice: Gods Among Us has released this week to Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network, so Jordan Devore and I decided we would give it a little look-see. What we found is that we're not very good...

Rain is another feather in Sony's cap of new IP

Mar 28 // Steven Hansen
The most affective part of Rain for me came early on in what I was shown. The invisible boy, hereafter referred to as the Boy, is wandering aimlessly around the city to a pensive, somber, delicately keyed piano accompaniment. He wanders into an alleyway, at which point he completely vanished from view. Yes, your player avatar is entirely invisible when you’re not getting wet, save for some initial footprints in dry areas, damp vestiges of the feet that should be seen. Going through this hallway invisibly, the Boy stumbles into all sorts of debris and obstacles, causing a cacophonic clack of tumbling crates and the like was surprisingly poignant. There’s something profoundly sad about his -- in turn, the player’s -- inelegant fumbling and stumbling around. While the Boy may be able to recognize his own existence when he’s invisible, he almost becomes nonexistent to the player, a fleeting remnant of what is there. Even when you’re initially scanning the ground for his footprints, you’re only ever seeing where he once was as you progress. There’s something to that metaphor. Not surprisingly, the idea of creating an entirely invisible protagonist has been quite a challenge for the development team. Even now as they currently work their way towards their 2013 release, director Yuki Ikeda has explained challenges still arise from their undetectable main character. Exposition text occasionally fades in and out of the screen in stark white offering some commentary on what’s going on as you navigate the Boy throughout the world. The portion I was shown saw the Boy following an equally invisible girl who always seems just out reach. It’s not all somber navel-gazing, though. At one point, two Tim Burton-esque, dog-like monsters get a whiff of the Boy and give chase. Like the Boy, they’re invisible, given form by the rain, so finding covered areas is the key to safety against them. You have to effectively lose yourself to save yourself. It’s like a 90’s alt rock lyric. Additionally, there was another chase scene, as well as a hints of organically integrated stealth-based gameplay and puzzle solving. Stealth makes sense, as you navigate covered (safe) and uncovered (unsafe) portions of the environment while the dog-likes patrol, snarl and snap. What I saw was a little facile; pattern recognition and sprinting between cover, but it works well enough. As for puzzling, one scene has you teetering across some scaffolding. The dog-likes bark menacingly below, chomping at the bit to get at you, eventually knocking it over. A little later, some scaffolding is blocking a path you need to take, and so you intuitively realize you should go in the other direction and lure the dog-likes smashing into the scaffolding to break it down. Hooray for human bait. There is a cool unrecognizable familiarity to Rain’s washed out cityscape. It doesn’t draw influence from a particular city, but influence from many different ones can be felt metastasizing in the cobblestone floors and Metamorphoses and Casablanca posters on the walls. Everything comes together with the music, though, as Ikeda has carefully chosen tracks from the overall score to fit into the style and pacing of various points of gameplay. it won’t all be pensive and somber, either. While it falls back on some traditional gameplay mechanics, I’m definitely excited to see more of Rain and explore it unique design feature, as well as its slightly nostalgic, rain-soaked world. I’m a sucker for rain.
Get wet with Rain photo
Rain, rain, don't go away
Keeping in line with the offbeat and interesting games that come from SCE Japan Studio, we have Rain. It’s being developed by Japan Studio, Acquire (Tenchu, Sumioni), and PlayStation C.A.M.P. (Tokyo Jungle, Echo Chrome)...

Game of the Year et al. photo
Game of the Year et al.

Journey kills at the Game Developers Choice Awards

More than half of the awards, including Game of the Year
Mar 28
// Steven Hansen
Game of the Year, Innovation Award, Best Audio, Best Game Design, Best Visual Arts, Best Downloadable Game. That’s 6 out of 11 total awards, and the game was ineligible for two of them (and I’m still not sure why ...
Magic: The Gathering photo
Magic: The Gathering

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers sneak peek

This summer Chandra is kicking ass and taking names
Mar 25
// Caitlin Cooke
Wizards of the Coast has announced the return of its Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers game series this summer. In addition to the usual platforms (iOS, PC, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network), the game is also being relea...
Bigotry photo

Sign a pledge against bigotry in the gaming community

Gamers Against Bigotry relaunches website
Mar 15
// Darren Nakamura
Most of us have had the misfortune of interacting with the hate speech-spewing jerks on Xbox Live or elsewhere while trying to enjoy a good game. The bigotry encountered online is obnoxious at best and hurtful at worst, and p...
Pierrot Le Fou photo
Pierrot Le Fou

PAYDAY 2 trailer here for the bankís money, yours too

Clowning around
Mar 13
// Steven Hansen
PAYDAY: The Heist always reminds me of Michael Mann’s brilliant, taut tale of thievery, Heat. The opening of The Dark Knight reminded me of Heat, too; a more somber Point Break, given the creepy clown masks. And now PA...
Walking Dead saves  photo
Walking Dead saves

Lost saves are a horror of the past in Walking Dead S2

TellTale discusses season 1's broken saves and what it's doing to prevent the issue in Season 2
Mar 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Many celebrated Telltale's Walking Dead series up to its season finale, despite the prevalent issue across platforms of users losing saves between episodes. Telltale CEO Dan Connors said, in an interview with Rock Paper Shotg...

Winning the console wars: Sony's not-so-secret weapon

Mar 02 // Vito Gesualdi
The Wii U's traditional pricing model is one of the reasons consumers have been slow to embrace it. See, the digital age has greatly affected how we value entertainment products. iTunes has taught us that songs are worth no more than a dollar (if we choose to pay for them at all), Netflix has taught us that thousands of movies are worth $7.99 a month. Though the publishers of $60 retail games have desperately tried to put themselves in a different category than $1 App store titles, it’s becoming clear that many consumers don’t make the same distinction, seeing the former as wildly overpriced. Nintendo’s Wii U is a reflection of the old way of doing things, an expensive new toy with expensive new games. Rather than learn a lesson from the abysmal first-year sales of their overpriced Nintendo 3DS console ($250 before a massive price cut), Nintendo launched the Wii U at $350, alongside a suite of $60 game titles. As a result, the Wii U is now selling worse than the GameCube did, with a pitiful average of just two games sold per console. With these numbers, many analysts are already predicting that the Wii U is a disaster Nintendo won't recover from. Meanwhile, game publishers who have been bold enough to challenge the traditional pricing models have experienced huge success. Valve’s popular Steam service continues to offer significant discounts on even newly-released games (as of writing, Tomb Raider on Steam is $44.99, as compared to $59.99 at retail), while the free-to-play market has gone from a fringe experiment to a recipe for printing money through microtransactions. Steam's sharp discounts on popular game downloads have put a dent in many a gamer's wallet. Point is, the simple promise of “better games” is no longer enough to convince people it’s time to plunk down hundreds of dollars on a new console, especially with the majority of consumers happy to tap away at casual fare like Angry Birds. Steam is especially noteworthy, with many gamers revealing they'd rather have a ton of cheap games than one marquee title, even if they don't have time to play everything they buy (I still have games from last year's holiday Steam sales that I've barely touched). It’s becoming clear that in order for traditional consoles to remain viable, there has to be a major effort made towards offering better value to the customer. Thankfully for Sony, they’ve already shown off a game-pricing model which is quite genius, and could stand to make them the clear winner of this console war: PlayStation Plus. I’ll admit to being rather skeptical when I was given a free one year pass to PS Plus at Sony’s E3 2012 press event, though in the months that followed I was blown away by the constant stream of quality games which continued to be offered through the subscription service. So many that I actually had to purchase a 500GB hard drive just to make room for the wealth of downloads. Perhaps most telling of the power of PS Plus is how it has completely swayed my opinion of the PlayStation 3 console. The PS Plus "relaunch" this past June offered up even brand-new titles like Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown. As a supposed professional in this here game industry, all manner of family and friends are constantly asking me for my opinion on which console they should purchase. For the past five years my answer was always the same: Xbox 360, a platform which had historically been cheaper than the PlayStation 3, with access to a library of games far superior to that of the Nintendo Wii. However, since my time with PS Plus, my recommendation has fully shifted to Sony’s console, simply on the basis of value. PS Plus is fantastic for new console owners, whose gaming budget is likely running thin after the purchase of the machine, extra controllers, HDMI cords and other needed accessories. A year subscription to PS Plus lets these virgin gamers compliment their purchase with an instant library of titles, letting them immediately dive into everything the console has to offer, while exploring various genres to discover just what sort of games they most enjoy. Take a look at just some of the awesome games which have been available since Sony’s relaunch of the service this past June, many of which prod gamers into trying out game genres they might have otherwise avoided: Action: Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Darksiders, inFAMOUS 2, Vanquish Adventure: The Walking Dead Episodes I & II Classic/Retro: Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Pac Man DX Championship Edition Family: Little Big Planet 2, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One Fighting: Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, The King of Fighters XIII Multiplayer: Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle Earth, Payday: The Heist, Dungeon Defenders Puzzle: Quantum Conundrum Shooter: Bioshock 2, Borderlands Sports: NBA Jam On Fire Edition, NFL Blitz  Hell, you could probably find just three games on that list you like and still have made back your $50 investment (without even factoring for all the free Vita games also offered). Meanwhile, on Microsoft’s side of the aisle, gamers are still paying $60 for simple access to online play and Netflix. My Xbox Live subscription came up for renewal recently and I happily let it lapse, a move I think more and more gamers will be making so long as Microsoft fails to provide the kind of value Sony is (while continuing to cheapen the Xbox experience with those obnoxious dashboard ads). Booting up my PS3/Vita and checking for free games is my new favorite pastime. In short, PS Plus is the right way to sell a console, providing the kind of value that consumers now expect from their entertainment. However, as great as the service already is, I think Sony is in a position to push it even further. Imagine if the PlayStation 4 console were sold in a similar manner to cellphones, with Sony taking a loss on the hardware and making up their costs by enrolling users in a recurring PS Plus subscription. Given the excellent quality of games and frequency of new releases that PS Plus has offered thus far, I can guarantee that I’d be first in line for this new machine, as would many gamers. Take it another step further and supplement the rotating selection of newer games with a consistent Netflix-style library of classic PlayStation titles. Want to boot up Mega Man Legends? Grand Theft Auto III? God Hand? Just connect to the service for a quick download, and you’re on your way. Sony has mentioned looking into different price tiers for PS Plus, and I'd be happy to pay for the top tier if it in any way resembled the above suggestions. If this image is making you drool, you're not alone. The biggest concern, and one which prevents the above scenarios from being feasible, is Sony’s announcement that the PS4 will not be backwards compatible, something which seems to be a major misstep. Sony has mentioned that older PlayStation titles may be made available sometime down the line, through either software emulation or cloud streaming. Though I personally believe that passing up on the chance to launch the PS4 along with the immediate library of games offered by PS Plus is insanely shortsighted, and my secret hope is that Sony has some sort of ace up its sleeve in this regard, perhaps even offering a small selection of free PS4 launch titles to PS Plus subscribers. Sony has confirmed that PS Plus will play a "prominent role" on the PS4, but it remains to be seen what that will mean.  In a perfect world, we'll never have to step foot in this horrible place again. Point is, this is Sony’s chance to truly shake up the market, offering potential gamers some seriously juicy values rather than simply pointing them at the tired wall of $60 titles. Sony should recognize that the brilliance of PS Plus could put them far ahead of the pack in this coming console war, and take full advantage of the groundwork they've lain out before either Microsoft or Nintendo jump on the game-subscription bandwagon. Or worse, before the console industry collapses entirely. 
Console War photo
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of value
This next generation of gaming is looking to provide the biggest industry shake-up in decades, with dedicated console manufacturers facing ever-growing competition from tablet devices, smartphones, and an upcoming wave of bud...

Sacred Citadel photo
Sacred Citadel

Sacred Citadel has RPG elements in it

Level up and find loot
Feb 28
// Joshua Derocher
Sacred Citadel is going to be a side-scrolling brawler with "crazy co-op" and now Deep Silver has released more about how the game will feature a lot of role-playing elements. Characters will level up, learn new abilities, fi...
Everything Everywhere photo
Everything Everywhere

PS4 has cloud-based backwards compatibility

PS1, PS2, PS3 games on PS4
Feb 20
// Josh Tolentino
Backwards compatibility of some kind has always been a feature of PlayStation platforms since the PS2. The PS2 could play PS1 games and for a solid chunk of time the PS3 could play both PS2 and PS1 games. The PS4 is set to ha...

Runner2: Still very much the Bit.Trip you know and love

Feb 19 // Kyle MacGregor
Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Mac, PC, PlayStation Network, Wii U eShop, Xbox Live Arcade)Developer: Gaijin GamesPublisher: Aksys GamesRelease: February 26, 2013MSRP: $14.99 When I first laid eyes on Runner2, I was a little skeptical. The retro-style visuals were a large part of what made the Bit.Trip games appealing in the first place. It seemed like an odd choice to eschew something so characteristic of the series in favor of a new graphical design. It's not like I thought the new style looked awful per se, but it was a far cry from the nostalgia-laden aesthetic that had won me over years ago. That said, it didn't take long for Runner2 to win me over. I had a very different reaction when I sat down to play the game rather than just looking at screenshots or video. It's difficult to fully explain, but the colorful new look really grew on me. And sometime over the course of the eight hours it took me to leisurely jog through Runner2's campaign, I came to prefer its vibrant and cartoon-like visuals over that of its predecessor.  More than anything else, though, the change brought the other parts of the equation to the forefront. The gameplay is as solid and engaging as it ever was, perhaps a tad more so, and fans of the original will be pleased to hear that the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Commander Video is still set in constant motion and requires the player's help to overcome the obstacles that have been placed in his path. Platforming is more nuanced this time around, as there are new and different aspects of the game's various environments that help keep things fresh and interesting.  Of course, like any Bit.Trip game, the music is still the star of the show. Runner2's soundtrack is similar to the chiptune-inspired beats of the original Runner, but it's not without subtle enhancements. Each of the game's five worlds has a distinct theme and the music very much corresponds to them. Perhaps the most notable example of this is the title's second world, where the songs take on a very Caribbean vibe. It's a nice touch that really goes the extra mile to nail that beachy atmosphere. The entire package just feels like a very natural progression for the series. Runner2 is familiar and inviting, but it definitely takes things to that next level. I'm excited for more players to experience its warm embrace when the game releases next week.
Runner2 photo
Jogging your memory
Four years ago, a colorful Pong-like rhythm game came out of nowhere to become something of a surprise hit on Nintendo's precarious WiiWare service. A gem hidden in the most unlikely of places, the title garnered a cult follo...

Persona photo

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment surfaces on ESRB

Pricey PlayStation RPG rated for PS3 and PSP
Feb 16
// Conrad Zimmerman
[Update: The commenters have brought up a good point, that this could also be a PSOne Classics release and not a localization of the Japanese PSP version. Of course, we'll let you know as soon as we do.] Another of those atte...
PS Plus Update photo
PS Plus Update

Closure free on PS Plus tomorrow, Critter Crunch $1.40

Mmm delicious rainbow vomit
Feb 11
// Kyle MacGregor
There's one deal on PlayStation Plus this week that just seems too good to pass up. Starting tomorrow, Critter Crunch will be available for only $1.40. At that price there's almost no excuse not to be regurgitating color...
Guardians of Middle-earth photo
Guardians of Middle-earth

Gloin-Hit! Monolith announces newest playable character

That's one mighty fine beard
Feb 08
// Jason Cabral
Monolith may be drip-feeding its MOBA DLC to their customers, but for those avid Guardians of Middle-earth fans, a new character is about to enter the battle. The newest addition to Guardians roaster is Gloin, father of Giml...

The next Zen Pinball takes us to the Star Wars universe

Feb 05 // Abel Girmay
Star Wars Pinball (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, PC, iOS, Google Play)Developer: Zen StudiosPublisher: Zen StudiosRelease: February 2013 Lets start with the big boy, Empire Strikes Back. Now while each board's layout is relative similar, they differ where set pieces and objectives are concerned. Unless you're a seasoned vet, pinball has a sort of chaos to it that makes it real difficult to actually master. Sure, it's real easy to keep the ball from sinking, but hitting precise shots with consistency is more than a challenge. Still, it's what you will need to do to get the most out of any board. If you do manage it hit the precise shots on the Empire board, you get quite the payoff at least. Hitting exact shots launch missions, of which there are five in Empire. Each mission is based off of an iconic scene from the film: Luke vs. Vader, the chase in the asteroid field, etc. Missions themselves seem to be mostly an aesthetic affair, though a damn good one at that. Depending on which mission you choose, the board becomes populated with character models acting out their respective scene from the film. Again, mostly visual, but it's still kind of cool to see Luke and Vader duke it out in a pinball machine. The Clone Wars boards operate similarly. Play pinball, launch a mission, and see a cool spectacle while playing pinball. The Clone Wars board actually enacts scenes that take place before the TV series, closer to the time of the original theatrical film release. The Boba Fett board shakes it up a bit, though. Each mission on the Boba board is essentially a bounty, with bit a sense of urgency to it as well. You gain points for successfully completed mission, and run the risk of failing if you haven't hit certain targets precisely within a certain time frame. The added urgency is meant to sell the idea that you are a bounty hunter racing against other hunters for the same prize, and thematically at least, it works well enough. When you put the fancy Star Wars dressing and amenities aside, well as they are, it's still pinball. And that, really, will be your determining factor. The new boards will be available to purchase through Pinball FX 2 on Xbox Live and Windows 8, Zen Pinball 2 on PlayStation Network (PS3/Vita cross-buy), Zen Pinball on iTunes App Store, Zen Pinball 2 on the Mac App Store, and Zen Pinball HD on Google Play later this month.
Star Wars Pinball photo
Ten boards spanning the Star Wars lore
There's not a whole lot of explaining needed when talking about pinball, unless you've been socially ignorant for the past forty years. There is a ball, and you must make sure that it doesn't fall off the board. Sometimes...

Crysis 3 Beta photo
Crysis 3 Beta

What do you think of the Crysis 3 beta?

The Dtoid community weighs in
Jan 30
// mrandydixon
The Crysis 3 beta launched yesterday on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and we want to hear your thoughts! This multiplayer-only offering contains samplings of both the Hunter and Crash Site modes on two maps: Airport an...

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