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Letting off some steam with the Code Name S.T.E.A.M. demo photo
Letting off some steam with the Code Name S.T.E.A.M. demo
by Cold William

Code Name S.T.E.A.M. is a new turn-based, third-person strategy game from Intelligent Systems, maker of the critically acclaimed Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series. It launches in North America for Nintendo 3DS on March 13, in Japan on May 14, and in Europe on May 15.

The basic premise of the game is that you are part of a crack-squad unit assigned to protect the earth from alien invaders. And all of this takes place in the 1800s (although no solid time frame was given in the demo), in London, and your boss is none other than Abraham Lincoln.

Oh, one more thing: Everything runs on steam. Sold yet?

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My first four hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt photo
My first four hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
by Alessandro Fillari

It's an exciting time to be into role-playing games. With the release of heavy hitters such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dark Souls II, Divinity: Original Sin, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Wasteland 2 in recent years, the genre has had a healthy supply of deep and involving games. But one such series, based on Polish fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, got a major foothold into the hearts of fans.

Originally released in 2007 for PC, The Witcher placed players in the shoes of Geralt, a monster hunter for hire, and became a sleeper hit for Polish developer CD Projekt Red. The studio released its follow-up in 2011 and has since become a juggernaut in the PC gaming community. Now, the company is readying for the conclusion to its wildly popular RPG series. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, its most ambitious title yet, ventures into vast open game gameplay while offering a rousing finish to the central character's story.

Though for the last two years, we've only gotten plenty of trailers and other bits of media on the game. The developers have been shy with allowing anyone hands-on time, but at a recent exclusive event held for retailers and members of the press, the folks at CD Projekt Red invited Destructoid out to play The Witcher 3. During my four-hour session, I dove head first into this open-world action-RPG, and saw just how Geralt of Rivia made the transition. So relax, clear your schedule, and let me tell about my experience with one of 2015's most anticipated titles.

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You might be tempted to call Ronin 'Kill Bill: the Videogame' photo
You might be tempted to call Ronin 'Kill Bill: the Videogame'
by Brett Makedonski

Devolver Digital has a penchant for picking up clever game jam submissions and giving them a chance to grow into fully-realized titles. Titan Souls is a fine example, and it would have never had any exposure outside of the tiniest of niche audiences; now, it's gotten enough funding and press that many eagerly await it.

One of the publisher's most recent pick-ups certainly has the moxie to follow the same path. Ronin is a smart, cerebral game -- one that requires care more than stick skills. A cursory glance invites comparisons to Gunpoint, but that'd be selling it short. Ronin melds real-time and turn-based play, a combination that results in an action puzzler of sorts, but with more emphasis on the latter than the former.

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DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition goes above and beyond photo
DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition goes above and beyond
by Alessandro Fillari

It's been just over two years since the release of one of last gen's most polarizing titles. Back in 2010, Capcom made a bold and wildly unexpected decision to hand one of its most-loved franchises to a Western developer, and ever since many people have been vocal about their opinion of DmC Devil May Cry. A common topic for debate among fans of the Devil May Cry series is the aftermath of Ninja Theory's attempt at rebooting Capcom's beloved action-brawler.

Was it worth it? Did it succeed in what it set out to do? And just what the hell was up with Dante's new look? While many of these questions are open for discussion, none of those belittle the fact that we're still talking about the game years later. And because of that, Capcom and the folks at Ninja Theory aren't quite finished with their reimagining of the franchise. With the surprise announcement of DmC: Definitive Edition last year, along with a revisit to Devil May Cry 4 on the way, it's clear Capcom has not forgotten about its devil-hunting trash-talker.

During a special hands-on session with the Definitive Edition, I got to experience DmC with a fresh coat of paint and a much-needed re-tinkering. And after seeing how this enigmatic brawler's makeover has turned out, this new outing might just make you a believer.

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I unboxed the New 3DS XL and tickled its sensitive nub photo
I unboxed the New 3DS XL and tickled its sensitive nub
by Bill Zoeker

After a Nintendo press event yesterday, I was sent home with a review unit of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. I figured it would be a good idea to record my opening of it so that I could share my trademarked cynical indignation with you all. So, sorry about that. But, you get to see what thing looks like right out of the box! Shiny toys!

It's a pretty standard package, with the glaring exception of the lack of an AC adapter. Nintendo gave IGN the predictable company line, "Rather than raise cost of New Nintendo 3DS XL by charging consumers for a component they may already own, we are giving them the option to only buy if they need an AC adapter."

Cool. You know, except that this device is an upgrade of an existing device, and people might want to sell the obsolete model. Not to mention, people who don't already own a compatible power plug will be praying there will be one in stock when they go to buy the New 3DS XL, and will probably get stuck with a shitty third-party knock-off.

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JumpJet Rex revels in old-school charm, hits Early Access January 14 photo
JumpJet Rex revels in old-school charm, hits Early Access January 14
by Alessandro Fillari

There's just something about the 8-bit and 16-bit eras of gaming. Even after decades, it's still a remarkable and enduring period that's managed to stand the test of time. With a slick focus on charming visuals and deeply refined gameplay, the classics of the time are still played today. And, with a sizable amount of fans clamoring for the return of such titles, it's easy to see why the endearing nature of 2D games holds strong. Honestly, games just felt more pure back then, and it looks as though some devs are looking to emulate the example set by games from the past.

Originally created as a quick title for GameJam 2014, the developers at Tree Fortress found something special about this peculiar T-Rex wearing jet boots, and decided to flesh it out into a fully featured title. Taking inspiration from classic games like Mega Man and Sonic, the talent behind JumpJet Rex wanted to offer players a new 2D platformer that's not only goofy fun, but also tough as nails.

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Harmonix returns to classic rhythm-action with Amplitude photo
Harmonix returns to classic rhythm-action with Amplitude
by Alessandro Fillari

Before the folks at Harmonix Studios put themselves on the map with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, it was known for the cult hits Frequency and Amplitude. Blending fast-paced rhythm-based action with mesmerizing visuals and an electronic soundtrack, players could tap their feet along with the beat while using quick reflexes to achieve the high score. Though the titles never lit the charts on fire, they garnered a cult following and were fondly remembered among fans of rhythm games.

With the success of Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Dance Central under their belts, the developers at Harmonix decided it was time to revisit the long-dormant series. Keen to show off an early build of the game in time for the upcoming PlayStation Experience event, the devs were confident they nailed their reboot of Amplitude.

And with the success of their Kickstarter campaign, they've definitely got an audience ready to check out the reunion with the long-missed series.

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Evolve is about more than just monster hunting photo
Evolve is about more than just monster hunting
by Kyle MacGregor

"Hopefully, nobody has any questions about Hunt," Turtle Rock co-founder Chris Ashton said, his eyes darting around a cloistered room flush with press. "We've been talking about that forever!"

Over the past several months, the humble, long-bearded design director has ceaselessly detailed this one fragment of the experience, holding his tongue about just about every other facet of the asymmetric game of pursuit. In that moment you could see it on his face, a shy glimmer of excitement to, at long last, reveal something new.

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Narcosis: Hallucinogenic, ocean floor terror photo
Narcosis: Hallucinogenic, ocean floor terror
by Steven Hansen

I said it when I checked out Amnesia developer's SOMA early this year, but we could do with some more games set underwater. It's a scary place. There are goblin sharks down there, damn it. And you don't even have to go deep down to terrorize. Jaws spooked a generation. 

The ocean is like space, but with more horrifying, alien, living organisms to kill you. Opposed to the flashy, bright monsters of SOMA, Narcosis is aiming for a (somewhat) more realistic terror. 

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The Talos Principle makes me feel smart and dumb photo
The Talos Principle makes me feel smart and dumb
by Darren Nakamura

Back at E3 2014, I got a brief chance to get my hands on The Talos Principle while talking to one of its writers Tom Jubert (FTL: Faster Than Light, The Swapper). In the presentation, Jubert explained the intended approach to discussing philosophy with the player, but I was only able to get through a few puzzles.

With its retail release scheduled in less than a month, I have had some more time to spend with Croteam's first-person puzzler. So far, it has made me think hard, both about the solutions to puzzles and its thoughts about sapience.

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If you like spaceships, Fractured Space could be your jam photo
If you like spaceships, Fractured Space could be your jam
by Steven Hansen

The makers of Strike Suit Zero are increasing the scale of their space battles with a new game, Fractured Space, which features 5 vs 5 matches between massive ships.

The newly minted Edge Case Games, comprised of Strike Suit's same Born Ready folks, had this to say: "Above all else we want to transmit a sense of scale to the player - the feeling of participating in a massive space battle inside their own titanic capital ship, blasting apart enemy ships and working together with other players to achieve a common objective."

I talked with Edge Case Games CEO James Brooksby at Game Connection Europe about, "the game that was in [his] head when [he] was 14." 

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Inside My Radio is a rad rhythm-platformer photo
Inside My Radio is a rad rhythm-platformer
by Steven Hansen

There are things to consider when it comes to playing music in public. Are you in an open space, perhaps a park, with enough distance between you and others so that your tunes don't dance on over into unwilling ears? Are you busking bad Dylan covers with your acoustic guitar? Is your music good? Mine is, which is why I drive windows down with confidence, going between Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Tribe Called Quest.

I mean, who could object to me playing this for the entirety of a two-hour car ride? No one, because I was driving alone. 

Here's a good and easy rule, though. Stop playing music on public transportation over your cellphone speakers. You are trapping people with your music, but also at horrible sound quality. I'd much rather someone be rocking a Radio Raheem boombox then sit through the equivalent of someone letting their ringtone keep on because they like the song. 

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Dungeons II takes a humorous approach to being the bad guy photo
Dungeons II takes a humorous approach to being the bad guy
by Alessandro Fillari

Being the bad guy has its perks. With an entire force of orcs, goblins, and other nasty creatures at your bidding, more gold you can count, and a near infinite supply of dark magic at your disposal -- it seems like you've got things pretty much handled in your conquest of the world. But fate seems to have other plans. And with a snarky disembodied voice mocking you and narrating your journey, it certainly looks like your quest for power will be a lot more difficult than you thought.

This is what you can expect in the upcoming sequel to Dungeons. During a private session at a press event by Kalypso Media, I got to spend some hands-on time with their upcoming Dungeon Keeping/RTS hybrid title Dungeons II, that aims to take a light-hearted and comedic approach to being the evilest villain in all the land.

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Crookz brings 1970s style and swagger to heist gameplay photo
Crookz brings 1970s style and swagger to heist gameplay
by Alessandro Fillari

What happened to the style and cleverness that came from heist thrillers? I remember watching films like Ocean's Eleven and Thief, that had little to no action or shooting. But now, these high-pressure and tense moments just seem like over the top spectacles. Due to the success of Grand Theft Auto and Pay Day building entire gameplay scenarios around such high-pressure and intense moments, it's likely that 'heist' is now synonymous with shooting and explosions.

But what about the methodical and low-key approach to pulling off such crazy scores? Well, that's what the developers at Skilltree Studios have in mind for their take on pulling off big scores. With Crookz, they seek to take a different approach to heist gameplay, while doing it in authentic and funky 70's style.

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Majestic Nights should be taken away in an unmarked van for its own good photo
Majestic Nights should be taken away in an unmarked van for its own good
by Nic Rowen

I dig espionage stories. Faceless government agents running amok, corporate interests dominating the nation's politics, scruffy retired spooks pulled in for "one last job"; I eat that stuff up.

So I was excited when I heard about Majestic Nights, a conspiracy driven, episodic adventure game set in a neon-soaked hyper-'80s, a la Hotline Miami. I was hoping for John le Carre meets Scarface. What I got was X-Files fanfiction meets a game I don't want to play.

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Halo 5: Guardians has left me oddly cold and worried photo
Halo 5: Guardians has left me oddly cold and worried
by Abel Girmay

I am not opposed to change. While certain circles of Halo fans find it popular to hate Halo 4, I've always appreciated what 343 Industries did with that game. Sprint was a logical next step to character movement, while loadout abilities such as shielding, dexterity, and promethean vision felt like natural additions to Halo's formula.

With Halo 5: Guardians, well, I'm not quite so excited with what 343 is doing. During my time with Guardians I often struggled to find that feeling of playing a Halo game.

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