Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Batman: Arkham Knight's Catwoman and Robin DLCs aren't worth playing

Nov 25 // Chris Carter
[embed]322485:61248:0[/embed] At some point there was probably a kernel of a good idea with the Catwoman’s Revenge DLC, but ultimately, it feels rushed like the others. There's almost nothing interesting about the premise: Catwoman, one day after the events of Knight, wants to steal money from The Riddler, who is in jail. We get it, Catwoman likes to steal things, and there is no added depth for either character, nor is there any satisfying conclusion, mostly because the core villain isn't actually present outside of an interlude under the guise of a "prison phone call." It took me about 10 minutes, all told, across two challenge maps (one Predator, one combat), with one very short 30-second puzzle involved. Flip of a Coin is slightly better, but not by much. In this episode, Robin takes on Two-Face at some point following the retirement of Batman, with the help of Oracle by way of remote assistance. There's a slightly interesting dynamic afoot during the DLC, where Oracle assures Tim Drake (whom she is dating) that he can not only measure up to Batman's legacy, but end up coming out of it better than Bruce did. The [albeit mostly played out] duality of Two-Face is also shown quite well with a location that's half destroyed, and half pristine. But again, like every other episode before it, the sheer brevity of the adventure halts any meaningful discussion or character advancement. Players will basically auto-pilot their way through two small Predator maps and two combat rooms for about 20 minutes, all of which operate in the exact same manner as Knight. Unlike Catwoman, Tim feels exactly like Batman gameplay-wise, minus the bullet shield gadget from Arkham City, which is only used briefly during a very staged encounter. To add insult to injury, the final boss fight with Two-Face isn't a fight at all, but a quick one-button QTE. There also isn't even an ending tying together Tim and Bruce's relationship or narrative -- it boots out immediately after the QTE. If this is the last Arkham game from Rocksteady, the poor Season Pass definitely assists in tainting its legacy. There's almost nothing here of worth nearly five months later, and certainly nothing even close to justifying the $40 cost.
Batman photo
Holy Season Pass, Batman!
As I've said before, Batman: Arkham Knight's Season Pass is probably the one of the worst pass prospects in gaming right now. Besides an alright Batgirl DLC, there's a heap of mediocre challenge missions, sub-30 minute "...

Batman photo

Batman: Arkham Knight's Catwoman DLC looks as bad as the others

Needs more Eartha Kitt
Nov 23
// Chris Carter
The Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass has been one of the most disappointing passes I've seen to date. In addition to a bunch of skins, there's a few okay to bad DLCs so far, and two more are coming up. Catwoman's ...
WB wins photo
WB wins

Broken ass PC versions didn't hurt Batman, Mortal Kombat sales

Arkham Knight, MKX do 5 million
Oct 13
// Steven Hansen
Both Mortal Kombat and Batman: Arkham Knight launched with busted, largely inoperable PC versions. In the case of Batman, it was so extreme that the game was delisted for sale on Steam and is still being patched and worked on...
The Following photo
The Following

The Following is the 'massive, story-based' Dying Light expansion

With dirt buggies and bows
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
Zombie free-running game Dying Light teased vehicles as a part of its DLC plan earlier this month. Indeed, Techland has confirmed that all-terrain dirt buggies are a big part of the, "feature-heavy, story-based expansion pack...

Drive photo

Techland's zombie free run Dying Light is

'Future content additions'
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
The official Dying Light YouTube uploaded this look back on the first six months of post-release support Techland and Warner Bros. gave Dying Light through its season pass and occasional free update. It's been a huge success...
Superman photo

Could this be a new Superman game from the Arkham Origins Developers?

Looks fairly legit
Jul 06
// Laura Kate Dale
Following the recent release of Arkham Knight, the Batman game that Rocksteady has been insisting is the final in its series, many have been wondering what it'll move onto working on next. Thanks to a heaping handful of refer...
Arkham late Knight photo
Arkham late Knight
A select handful of reviews for Batman: Arkham Knight have popped up on the net this morning. We don't have one up and we likely won't have one ahead of its Tuesday release. In fact, it's looking like I will be heading out to...

Batman CE photo
Batman CE

Batman: Arkham Knight $200 Batmobile edition canceled

'Greatly compromised' statue
Jun 18
// Steven Hansen
Ugh, what is this, Batmantoid!? I just wrote about how the exclusivity of the retail-exclusive DLC expires a few months after release, but there's one other Bat-thing to note, which is that WB has canceled the $200 edition wi...
BRASIL photo

Mortal Kombat X gets, uh, Brazil costume pack

Not the movie
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Ok, look. I did pay $.99 for a PSN avatar once. An Italian-flag-colored LittleBigPlanet sackboy back in whatever World Cup when LittleBigPlanet was still a thing. Probably 2002 or something. Still! Mortal Kombat X's Ed Boon t...
Oops photo

Huge Mortal Kombat X patch meant to fix PC problems deletes save data

May 05
// Steven Hansen
Yesterday, NetherRealm's Ed Boon promised "huge improvements" for the PC version of Mortal Kombat X, which does not work as well as the console version. This came in the form of an extensive 15GB patch, detailed here. Unfortu...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Spoiler-filled Arkham Knight trailer leaps from the shadows

So many cool looking things, my eyes can't take it
Apr 27
// Laura Kate Dale
So, the new Arkham Knight trailer has managed to climb out of the shadows and has left us unconscious face down in a pool of water. Man, there's a lot of cool spoiler type stuff to see here. Nightwing, Red Hood, Catwoman, Co...

My first four hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Jan 26 // Alessandro Fillari
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC [previewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: CD Projekt RedPublisher: CD Projekt / WB GamesRelease Date: May 19, 2015MSRP: $59.99 It's clear from the recent delay, and the numerous CD Projekt Red members present at the event, that they wanted the game to be at its best. Even though it's largely finished, the studio plans to spend the next few months finding and fixing bugs and tweaking the experience. "It's all very exciting," said senior environment artist Jonas Mattsson while reflecting on the development of Wild Hunt. "We're confident in our game, but you know, it's your baby, and we're very curious to see how people will react to it." Set some time after the events of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, we find Geralt of Rivia in dire straights. With the Northern Kingdoms in conflict and a marauding demonic force known as the Wild Hunt leaving destruction in its wake, the world has seen better days. With fellow Witcher and mentor Vesemir by his side, Geralt searches for his long-lost ally Yennefer, who might know the location of Cyri, a young Witcher who may be able to stop the conflict and save the world. Much like its predecessors, The Witcher 3 features a rich, dense plot that is backed by a considerable amount of lore. Referred to as somewhat of a realistic take on medieval fantasy by its developers, the key aspect of its approach to storytelling, which is loved by so many, is the focus on verisimilitude. Throughout his journeys, Geralt will encounter characters from different cultures and walks of life, all the while plotting his next move and earning some coin along the way. Similar to Game of Thrones, there is a clever balance of stoicism and macabre humor, as the people living in such troubling times have to keep a straight face and endure. Geralt embodies the anti-hero archetype, and his devil-may-care personality makes for an interesting foil for his world. "It's been a challenge, but we like a good challenge," Mattsson said of the open-world design. "We wanted to make sure that when we did an open-world game, it would be done our way. Not a generic open world, but a crafted open world with side quests and main quests would blend in seamlessly with natural exploration. It's not in the sense of 'side-quest number five is starting' and 'you got this amount of EXP points,' but it's more like this organic experience. For us, we achieved something quite unique." Without giving too much away, the prologue of Wild Hunt does well to get players up to speed with the gameplay and plot. During an opening tutorial set in Kaer Morhen, you're given a quick refresher on the controls, and reintroduced to returning characters. After about twenty minutes of exposition, you're thrust into the open world on the trail of Yennnefer. This will be appreciated by many, as the previous titles' tutorials were often criticized for being too drawn out. Straight away, the most impressive -- and most obvious -- aspect of Wild Hunt was its sharp, gorgeous visuals. Playing on a fully decked-out PC running the game on maximum settings, I got to see the title at its best. As impressive as the series' visuals are, Wild Hunt is several leagues ahead of what was released back in 2011. Not only was the terrain lush, and the world felt lived-in and active, but the voice work and motion-capture details were also astounding. The characters conveyed an earnest understanding of the situation, while at the same time showing humanity and emotion for the moment. It's some of the best work I've seen in a game in a long time. Being able to explore such a rich world freely and without limits was exciting, and the talent behind this adventure has made good on plans to allow players to do so at their own pace. Though the exact design of an open-world game seems to vary from developer to developer, The Witcher 3 felt bit more focused in quest design, while also offering a massive playground to explore. Instead of large hub areas that connect to each other through load screens, you'll be able to seamlessly travel from one major territory to the next. Though Skyrim is often seen as the standard for open-world gameplay, Wild Hunt feels unique in its approach and visual look, and blends a lot of different environments together. With wildlife to hunt, plants and other roots to collect for your alchemy (which allows you to craft potions and tonics), and many other dangerous foes and creatures populating the swamps, forests, dungeons, and many other locales, the world of Wild Hunt is one that keeps things interesting for players. With fast-travel available -- which can only be done when standing near sign posts -- and along with Geralt's trusty stead Roach, you'll be able to freely explore the bounds of the world with ease. Of course, with the world in chaos, Geralt must always keep himself several steps ahead of foes. Advancing upon the free-form combat from The Witcher 2, Wild Hunt refines the system to make it feel more dynamic and fluid. With his knowledge, combat prowess, and cunning as his greatest weapons, Geralt's arsenal of abilities can be freely used on the fly. For instance, your stamina bar, which controls sprinting outside of combat, allows for Geralt to use magic, such as blasts of fire and telekinetic energy, along with hypnosis and trap magic. He also makes use of bombs and other gadgets to take down foes at a distance. The crossbow in particular is useful for flying foes, and can even be used when fighting creatures underwater. There's a lot of respect and trust given to the players, and the developers were keen on letting them go at their own pace. In the starting territory of White Orchard, Geralt found word that the local garrison commander knew the location of Yennefer, but would only reveal it if Geralt and Vesemir could eliminate a large griffon terrorizing the country side. Of course, this is for the main story. If you choose to stray from the path and mingle with the locals, like I did, you'll discover side-quests and other oddities that could use your attention. As you perform quests and slay monsters, you'll acquire crowns and experience points. Crowns purchase supplies and other tools for Geralt, which he'll need for his adventures. With every level gained, you acquire skill points which can be spent on buffs for the Witcher. Unlike past games, you can allocate points and set skills without the need for Meditation, which is still used to restore health and move the passage of time. With every skill and buff acquired, you can place them in slots that make them become active on Geralt. Though you'll acquire more slots as you level, you cannot have every skill or buff active at once, so you have to build him out to your preferences. Beyond this customization, there's an increased number of weapons and armor types to find. Though previous games largely had you use a small pool of equipment that could be upgraded over time, Wild Hunt takes things further. With well over 100 unique types of gear ranging from swords, crossbows, and pieces of armor, you'll find Geralt quick to change his look. Moreover, there are varying types of gear, such as rare and legendary types that are found from exploration, questing, and advancing the main story. Though you are totally free to venture off to areas unknown, you might find that even Geralt will be unprepared for what he faces. "We have a unique version of the open world in our game," said Mattsson. "We don't want to restrict players to certain areas for the long term, but with that said there are many areas that can be completely deadly, because monsters do not scale. They will not level up with you. If you wander off to the wrong neighborhood, then you're going to get yourself killed. It's open world, completely, but you really have to be careful." There were many distractions and other events to uncover during my session. For instance, you can visit the notice board for side jobs to earn some extra coin, or you can visit the tavern to mingle with the commoners, some of whom will challenge Geralt to a game of Gwent. In this new mini-game, similar to Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering, players will use a deck of cards to battle the other player in a game of wits and strategy. It's a pretty addictive game, and the developers even plan on releasing a real-life version of Gwent for collector's edition purchasers. While exploring a small village, I came across a man in need of protection for his young daughter. Knowing she had a curse placed upon her by a wraith, he asks you to venture to an abandoned village nearby and exorcise the vengeful spirit. Once at the village, Geralt uses his skills for deduction and tracking to discover the source of the disturbance. I was expecting a simple track-and-kill-the-monster quest, but I ended taking part in a Sherlock-esque investigation with some exploration of the underground caverns underneath the village. It culminated in a battle with a Noonwraith, a spectral demon that summoned multiple phantoms for assistance. This totally caught me by surprise. Not only was this an entirely optional quest, but it was still very early during my session. "There are several points of interest scattered throughout the game," said Mattsson. "Whether they be a tower in the distance, some ruins, or even a house in the woods, there these areas throughout the game you'll see as you're questing or just exploring. If you explore the points of interest, you can be swept up in a unique side-quest. Of course, this is something we don't force upon you, if you're not interested then you can continue on your way. We have a fifty-hour main story, and another fifty hours of side-quests, in addition to time spent exploring the landscape, it's just crazy how much content is there." When I turned in the quest, I was given the choice of taking a reward from the man or allowing him to keep it for his family. Though Witchers are required to take payment of some sort for their services, there are several points where you have to a make a moral choice. Sometimes there will be consequences for taking or refusing a reward, and many decisions will come back to haunt you. After the end of the side-quest, I went back to the main story and followed the trail of the griffon. In order to prepare for his battle with the beast, Geralt had to acquire intel from local hunters to find its nest, in addition gathering some bait. Once those tasks were finished, I was ready to take it down. In the meeting spot with Vesemir, we readied our trap to force the griffon to the ground. It was one of the tougher battles during this stage of the story, and I had to utilize my parrying and dodge skills to withstand his massive strikes. Eventually he reacquired use of his wings and flew off. I jumped on my horse and gave chase, using my special sight (which can be used to find clues and collectibles) to keep track of his bloody trail. Keep in mind this was all within the open world, and I rode past several monsters while trying to keep up with the griffon. Soon after, I tracked the beast down and dealt a final blow, severing its head and delivering it for my reward. It was a tense moment, and very satisfying, particularly taken as part of the open world and not in an instanced location that would soon be forgotten. "Bigger doesn't always mean better. For us, bigger meant we had to be more ambitious about [designing the open world]," said the CD Projekt Red artist. "For us, The Wild Hunt made it a natural step for us to scale the world to suit the needs of narrative. If we tried to make it smaller [than its predecessors], then it wouldn't make sense. If we make it too big, it would be too empty. We wanted to give it the space it deserves, and we didn't want to compromise our vision." At this point, the developers let me move ahead several hours in the plot. We then found Geralt on the Skellige Isles to the west, where he is caught up in a murder-mystery plot following the most bizarre assassination attempt I've ever seen in a game. Suffice it to say, you'll never look at bears the same way again. The Skellige Isles were a totally different area compared to White Orchard.  In similar style and geography to the Scottish Highlands, Geralt's adventures took him to an entirely new region with its own culture and rich history. I barely even scratched the surface of White Orchard, and I was already trying to acclimate myself to this locale. And I mean that in the best way. This area felt altogether different from the previous territory, and though I knew I had some unfinished business in White Orchard, the pull of the Skellige Isles was too strong. Though exploring the world of The Witcher 3 was gripping, there were several issues I had with the experience. In my several hours with the title, I could see why the developers wanted to hang on to it further fine tuning. The folks at CD Projekt Red were adamant that we report any issue to them, and this press event also doubled as a QA testing period for those who were largely unattached to the game. I found myself caught in a lot odd bugs, some of which were humorous, like a man floating beside a horse, but others were nasty. Some folk at the event experienced game crashes, and I sometimes got stuck on terrain and had to revert to earlier saves to get out. Moreover, the new swimming gameplay, which was a great addition to the adventure, felt sloppy in execution as the controls were not so accurate and a bit touchy. With that said, I came away largely impressed. From what I played thus far, which was a small portion of a hundred-hour game, Geralt of Rivia has transitioned into the open world beautifully. It truly felt like I was on an adventure in a world that not only had variety, but a sense of a danger and possibility. While I was bummed that I couldn't see what the gameplay for Ciri would be like, I can understand that they'd like to keep that as a surprise. The recently announced PC specs might scare some people off, but with simultaneous releases on multiple platforms, there's plenty of opportunity to experience it in the coming months. And did I mention how massive this game world was? Just one territory seems larger than most games in the open-world genre, and the seamless design here is nothing short of extraordinary. With its release set for May, CD Projekt Red seems to playing it safe here in its last few months, which is smart. As ambitious and massive this game is, it's also the one title you don't want to see these developers screw up. If they manage to fix the major bugs, and hopefully tighten up the controls, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt could go down as one of the boldest and most satisfying titles the genre has seen in a very long time. [Disclosure Notice: The Witcher 3 was demonstrated at an event hosted by CD Projekt Red in San Francisco. The event took place at The Alchemist Bar & Lounge, where they offered us a nice spread of Italian cheeses and meat, along with a swag bag filled with The Witcher 3 apparel. It was a fun event, and was a nice opportunity to mingle with the developers of the game and other members of the press.] 
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt photo
Not all who wander are lost
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 ...

Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system signals the true beginning of this generation

Oct 06 // Nic Rowen
Like a bad penny, Azdush the Dung Collector kept coming back at the worst times. I'd be in the middle of fighting two other orc captains when he'd wander up full of piss and nerve and try to horn in on the fight. Or I'd be chasing down an orc fleeing the battlefield and bump into him, forcing me to choose between sweet satisfying revenge on the fresh-and-ready-for-a-fight Azdush, or finishing off my already weakened prey. He kept worming out of my grip and I kept shaking my fist at him and swearing "next time!" Eventually, as I cleared out the higher ranks of the orc power structure, he was promoted to one of the freshly vacant Warchief positions. Good for you buddy. I sent him a customary death threat as congratulations. I started filling in the little details in my mind, unconsciously creating a back story for my one-time murderer. Azdush's sudden and unexpected rise to power shocked everyone. His bizarre fascination with scat had made him an outcast even among the orcs, but a lucky swing propelled him from a nobody to a major player overnight. Azdush was living out a classic underdog story, like The Mighty Ducks! But with more skull-crushing and bloodletting than Emilio Estevez would probably have been comfortable with (probably). I was tickled by the idea that this vile, filthy dude, who literally picks up poop and keeps it, was able to ride my coattails into the upper echelons of orc society. I pictured other orcs reconsidering their stance on dung-collection as a hobby -- "Sure it's nasty, but look how it's working out for Azdush!" -- setting off an unhygienic and utterly ineffective trend among low-ranking but ambitious orcs. I was still mad that he, you know, killed me, but I also vaguely proud of him. Look at you go, Azdush! I couldn't bring myself to kill him. Even after I ruthlessly turned his bodyguards into my pawns and had them poised to assassinate him at my command. For better or worse, he was my pet monster -- a disgusting, pig-nosed, foul braggart who reveled in taking cheap shots, and was scared shitless (ironically) by Caragors. I made him, and even though I kind of hated him, I couldn't bring myself to end him. It must be the same way Batman feels every time he has the Joker dangling off of a building. Azdush the Dung Collector finally gave me the next-generation experience I've been waiting for. The Xbox One and PS4 have been out for almost a year now, and so far we've seen a lot of sequels of established franchises that are being released across all platforms (limiting how far the new systems can push them), and plenty of HD remasters of last-gen games. It's not all that surprising, new consoles generally need a year or two before the games start to showcase their full potential, but still, it has been a little disappointing. We've all waited so long for these systems it feels like we should be seeing new and exciting things, not just prettier versions of games we've played before. Even new IPs that were developed specifically to lead on the new consoles, like Titanfall, have cleaved closely to established formulas. I think it's reductive and snarky to call Titanfall "CoD with robots and jetpacks" but not entirely inaccurate either. To be honest, I didn't pay much attention to Mordor as it was being developed and hyped because it also looked like more of the same. An ArkhamsCreed game set in the Lord of the Rings universe. A neat idea that I could definitely see the appeal of, but not something I would consider groundbreaking, nothing I was hungry to tear into. But I was wrong, VERY WRONG! Thanks to its Nemesis system, Shadow of Mordor is the first game I've played that really feels like it's pushing into what these new consoles are capable of and where games could be going in the near future, and that has me EXCITED. I played Mordor for more than ten hours before I realized there was no quick reload button or way to start over at a checkpoint. I never noticed that basic feature was missing because I never felt to urge to take advantage of it. Sure, I was annoyed every time an orc took my head or skewered me on the end of a pike, but I was also interested in the story that was slowly taking shape with each dirt nap. I liked how the orc that killed me grew in power, and that I could look forward to repaying the favor. Or how the other captains capitalized on my time in the grave to hold lavish feasts or settle scores with rival orcs. I wanted to get back in there and dish out some steely vengeance. I wanted to single out the most ambitious or troublesome of the bunch for execution, or to forcibly convert them to my side and build the strongest orc army ever. I never wanted to hit reload or take a do-over, I wanted to keep going. In most games, failure is, at best, a waste of your time. You get killed, see the Game Over screen, hit continue, and try again like it never happened. In many games, death doesn't just waste your time, it will add insult to injury; you lose half your gold or ammo, or have to repair your gear. Or you can continue, but you'll get a shitty ranking at the end of the stage or even at the end of the game (thanks Metal Gear). In any case, if you're like me, you're probably going to be mashing through menus and starting over from the closest save file as fast as possible. We've been trained to do it. Mordor breaks the mold. In most games you want to play as perfectly as possible, but in Mordor, not only is death not the end, you'll probably have more fun if you take the occasional dive. You'll have more interesting encounters with orcs you've crossed swords with in the past, and the orc political map will move around more instead of falling into stagnation. Yup, they found a way to make death fun. How cool is that? Narrative content is expensive and time consuming. It takes a lot of effort to put together an awesome quest in an RPG, or a kickass action sequence in a shooter. It's one of the reasons so many games will crutch on meaningless fetch quests or sealed arena shooting galleries. Gameplay elements that are cheap and easy to put together and will pad the playtime of a title. It's why so many open-world games "that let you do anything" often feel boring and empty, because "let you do anything" is code for "kill everyone in the village and then reload from last save." Mordor's Nemesis system offers an interesting in-between. It builds procedurally generated content that feels like narrative. It's a way to let the game and the player build their own story outside of the main plot, without having to devote tons of development time to individual story hooks and set-pieces. It leads to all sorts of awesome personal moments and memorable characters (like my pal, Azdush), creating cool stories to swap with other players -- who will have their own tales to tell. It's a trick, a veneer of narrative pulled over the typical Arkham/Assassin's Creed exploration and combat, but it's one I don't mind falling for. It makes the game feel more alive, more interesting, and I'm excited to see how far they can take the illusion. It's new, it's different, it's something I'm not sure would have been possible on the last-generation systems, and to me, that's a breath of fresh air. I love any game that lets you cultivate relationships that change the way the story plays out, the more dynamic, the better. I put up with Alpha Protocol's many flaws because I enjoyed wooing spy ladies with my suave charm and creating lifelong enemies with somewhat less charm. It was mind blowing when Mass Effect let me take the choices and relationships I built in one title and carry them over into the next. I loved how the Dragon Age games would twist the knife and put you in situations where you had to choose between friends, and how their attitudes towards you could affect the outcome of those tense moments. But as cool as those games and the choices they offered were, they were always fairly obvious. They came from dialog trees, binary choices, or obvious piss-off moments ("Hum, is the battle nun in my party going to be upset when I desecrate the holy grail with dragon blood? Nah."). I'd love to see games take the groundwork built with the Nemesis system and run with it (and please, lets find a better name for it before we're referring to every game with a similar system as "Mordor-like"). It would be great if next year's games all found a way to neatly fold more relationship- and history-building moments into the gameplay itself, and feature fewer blatant "MAKE YOUR CHOICE" cues. Granted, the system at work under the hood in Mordor is fairly simple. You burn a guy, he's gonna show up later with burn scars and an attitude. If you chicken out and run from a Warchief? You can be sure he'll remind you of your cowardice next time you see him. It's pretty easy to peel back the layers of how the system works after spending some time with the game, and to be fair, orcs aren't the most nuanced bunch to begin with. But imagine what more iteration and a different setting could do for a mechanic like the Nemesis system like that. Mordor is only the first step, and while I'm totally in love with what it is laying down now, I can't wait to see the games that will be coming out two or three years from now that will expand on that system. Imagine an espionage game like Alpha Protocol that lets you threaten other agents and goons into giving you information or sabotaging a target. Missions that could be randomly interrupted by an enemy you made on a previous job, or a mysterious ally lending a hand in exchange for a favor. Or how about you transplant the orcs social power struggle system into a game like Bully, where no-name punk kids could climb to power one atomic wedgie at a time? (It isn't a huge jump to make, high schoolers are basically orcs when you think about it.) I want to meet more Azdush the Dung Collectors. Well, you know, hopefully not more disgusting, shit-flinging monster men, but other interesting characters born out of dynamic systems. Poop collection totally optional.
Shadow of Mordor photo
It's bad enough dying a humiliating death at the hands of some random orc, but "Azdush the Dung Collector?" Really? He couldn't have been "Azdush the Shield Breaker" or "Azdush the Invincible?" I could have taken a bit of con...


I couldn't kill this damned orc in Shadow of Mordor

Here's the bastard taunting me
May 29
// Dale North
Our first hands-on session with Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor had me going up against some orc bodyguards to take out their boss, a war chief. If you recall from my preview, there was one orc that escaped me. His name? ...

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham announced

Coming to...well, everything later this year
May 27
// Dale North
Warner Bros. and TT games announce Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham for release this fall. It's coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Wii U, PC, Vita, and 3DS. Phew! This is the next in line for the the super successful Lego B...

Voice cast for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor revealed

You know these folks
May 22
// Dale North
Upcoming game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be voiced by some of the best in the business. Troy Baker will voice lead character Talion, while Nolan North, Laura Bailey, Alastair Duncan, and Liam O'Brien hold down other ...
WB Games photo
WB Games

Humble WB Bundle adds Mortal Kombat Kollection

And some stuff for the publisher's free-to-play games
Nov 13
// Jordan Devore
Ooh. This is quite the score. The Humble WB Games bundle has added more games for customers who pay above the average, currently still under five dollars. That money now gets you: Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY and Batman: Arkha...
Middle-earth photo

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor announced

Cross-gen action/RPG prequel to The Lord of the Rings
Nov 12
// Alessandro Fillari
As the second film in The Hobbit trilogy is set to release next month, WB Games is gearing up for its return to Middle-earth. In the upcoming December issue of Game Informer, the publisher lays out its vision for this brand n...

Getting drawn into Scribblenauts Unmasked

Jul 21 // Dale North
Those that have played previous Scribblenauts titles know that part of the joy of the experience is playing around with hero Maxwell's notebook. Anything you write down (type, in this case with the Wii U GamePad's stylus) comes to life on the screen. Write in "corgi" and a cute little dog falls from the sky to play with. Put in "chainsaw" and Maxwell instantly has a pretty good weapon/tree cutter to play with. The joy for comic fans with Scribble Unmasked extends far beyond that as every character ever featured in a DC Comics book is in the game. I typed in Batman and got a list of 36 to pick from -- it's that extensive. Any or all of them can be brought into the game's world at any time. I actually put in "Justice League" and all of them were hovering above the ground, ready to be dropped in.  And if you're an info junkie, Unmasked is fun even before you drop your favorite superheroes in. A Wikipedia-like entry for each and every DC Comics hero or item is available for your reading pleasure. I learned a lot just by using the game's Bat Computer to filter and drill down into the available selection.  Starting off in the Bat Cave, I found myself spawning anything I could think of. I pulled in Green Lantern as a hero to play with, and then drew in a corgi pup to brighten up the place. When I was flying around to test out Green Lantern's powers, I think one of the bad guys in the stage killed him. I had Green Lantern pay him back for that.  Later, in visiting Gotham City, I started in on some missions that Maxwell had stumbled upon. One botched mission had a group of mismatched villains from the DC world ganging up on me , finally wiping me out. Another mission had me drawing in a bulldozer to help a citizen demolish a building, but I soon found myself distracted by the game's unlimited potential once again..  The game's hero maker function is a lot of fun. It lets you start with any superhero in the DC universe and then customize him to your liking. Or, if you're creative enough, make a hero from scratch. After searching through the huge list of available Supermans, I picked Man of Steel and played with the size slider to make him a bit smaller than the rest. In playing with the available stamps for limbs, heads, and other features, I found a cute bear head that I liked. I was able to pop off Superman's head and replace it with a bear head. With a few slides and clicks, I had a big-headed Bear of Steel to spawn into Gotham City.  And then, for no reason, I typed in "tiny Lex Luthor" and then pulled him into Gotham City. I then used Batman to kill him instantly. That's what's so great about Scribblenauts Unmasked. It's a proper game, but there's a game within it for your imagination. That quick break turned out to be a 30+ minute play session. Fans of DC Comics are going to have a blast toying with the endless combinations and possibilities this game provides.
DC fans will love this game
I took a break from the crowded show floor of San Diego Comic-Con to relax for a bit with the latest build of 5th Cell's upcoming game, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. Scribblenauts has always been one of those games that's easy to pick up but hard to break away from, but the new superhero twist in this latest game gives us even more to get lost in.

New Scribblenauts release photo
New Scribblenauts release

Scribblenauts Unmasked hits September 24, has Supermen

To scribble, or not?
Jul 10
// Steven Hansen
I have an idea. Let's take a game about wonder and creativity and advertise it using the most bland and boring superhero, Superman. Probably because he just had a big movie release. Even his name begs for an ounce of characte...

Take a look at Cyborg in Infinite Crisis

Cyborg goes pew pew with his cannon
May 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The latest character to join Infinite Crisis is Cyborg. Cyborg's abilities are detailed in this new trailer, and most of his attacks focus on him using projectile blasts with his arm cannon. Not much of a fan of Cyborg, but ...
Infinite Crisis photo
Infinite Crisis

Sha-ZAM! Infinite Crisis reveals a marvellous champion

Nice double-cape!
May 26
// Jason Cabral
I have always enjoyed the iconic heroes found within the DC universe, such as your Batman and Aquaman, but some it is always nice to see some light shed on lesser known top-tier hero. Captain Marvel, or Shazam as he is now b...
Dtoid Show photo
Dtoid Show

Arkham Origins, Blood Dragon Unleashed & Xbox Revelations

The Destructoid Show
Apr 09
// Max Scoville
Good evening, gentle Dtoiders, here's today's Tuesday-newsday Destructoid Show. Batman Arkham Origins has been announced in the places where all games are announced, the cover of Game Informer magazine. EA has been voted the...
Sinestro photo

Have no fear! Sinestro added to Injustice roster

Fear the pink-skinned space man, in the black and yellow jumpsuit...
Feb 25
// Jason Cabral
What better way to reveal a new character for your fighting game than by barely showing them off in a new trailer? The next match-ups for DC's Battle Arena have been announced: the Man of Steel is going toe-to-toe with the l...

Meow: Catwoman announced for Injustice: Gods Among Us

Aug 14
// Dale North
Well lick my paws and wipe my face! It's Catwoman. As you can see from the above videomeow, DC Comics' kitty girl, Catwoman, will be a playable character in upcoming fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us. You can also see that she's all about claws and scratching and pouncing. Nyan. She's crazy fast and not bad with a missile launcher. So yeah. Meow. What a purrrrrfect character for fans. 

E3: Body slamming men in tights from space in Injustice

Jun 08 // Allistair Pinsof
Injustice takes what worked so well in Mortal Kombat and adds in environmental damage and character-specific items. Sure, we've seen characters thrown through walls into new arenas in Dead or Alive. We've also seen crazy, character-specific gimmicks in BlazBlue. The combination of all these elements filtered through NetherRealm's level of polish and playability is what makes Injustice stand out. The first thing you'll notice is that it looks a lot like Mortal Kombat and it plays like it, too. This isn't a bad thing at all, but before you think this is another middling DC superhero game like Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, there are some things you should know. For starters, the game looks better with improved lighting and texture work; the costumes have a lot of detail and depth, looking convincingly lived-in and real. It probably would be enough to just be pretty, but Injustice is hoping to find a new audience of fighting game fans, not just please the old one. NetherRealm is attempting this in a couple ways. I've never seen a fighting game with as much spectacle and environmental interaction as Injustice. It's closer to Power Stone than Dead or Alive in this respect. Depending on the area of a stage -- which there are typically two to three of -- there are contextual environmental attacks you can attempt. Even crazier, the type of character you have will also alter the possibilities. For instance, Batman can take an opponent's head and bash it into a car nearby. However, Superman can then pick-up the car and toss it across the screen. There are a lot of these sorts of contextual attacks, which change the flow of combat. Some of them open up over time, like grenades that fall out of Batman's weapon arsenal once enough damage is done within its vicinity. Almost all of these attacks are accessible to all players, so the playing field is evened out. In other words, you won't be picking up a bazooka and spamming it, a la Super Smash Bros. Unlike MKvDCU, Injustice is a pretty gnarly game with some vicious attacks. When Solomon Grundy isn't pulling knives from his back, he's ripping out a tombstone from his guts and beating people with it. Then there are the absolutely insane super moves -- taking the place of Mortal Kombat's X-ray attacks -- that go above and beyond anything I've seen in a 3D fighter before. As Flash, the camera pans out to show the speedy hero run across the globe and then it zooms back in to show him use that momentum through a deadly uppercut. Likewise, Superman lifts his opponent into space and then pile drives him to the ground. Injustice has simplified Mortal Kombat's already accessible combat. Now there are only three attack buttons and a fourth button for character-specific weapons. Harley Quinn has a gift box with a randomized surprise inside, while Batman has batarangs and grappling hooks he can use to stun an enemy. For being such an early demo, Injustice felt great and had the same polish that made last year's Mortal Kombat reboot such a pleasure to play. Kicking an enemy through an office complex and into the next arena looks incredibly elaborate, but all these environmental moves are simple to pull off. It's just a matter of timing and placement, like everything else in a good fighting game. Balance is key to the genre and there is a good reason why most developers have shied away from this type of complicated contextual fighting environment. I figured all this stuff would be optional, only there for casual players who want a more heightened, cinematic fight. NetherRealm insists, however, that all of this is integral to the game and will likely not be optional. Instead, they plan to balance it all and make it work. If they achieve this, Injustice could usher in a new era of fighting games that appeal to mainstream action junkies while still capturing the interest of fighting game fans that have followed Ed Boon's work over the years.

I never thought I'd want to play a DC superhero fighting game, but then again, I never thought I'd want to play another Mortal Kombat after the series' decline in the '00s. Once again, NetherRealm is changing my mind. Injusti...


Sorry for your wait: New Injustice: Gods Among Us screens

Jun 01
// Dale North
Maybe you saw our preview this morning of upcoming fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us and wondered why we stuck you with placeholder images. Don't put that on me, man! The publisher took their sweet-ass time getting them ...

Preview: LEGO The Lord of the Rings

Jun 01 // Dale North
LEGO The Lord of the Rings (Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Traveller's TalesPublisher: WB GamesReleases: 2012  In a hands-off demo we saw the gang in a castle, where they've been looking for a key to be able to move on in their exploration. They were well on their way until silly Frodo fell into a water hole. As you can imagine, Gandalf was annoyed. Frodo's friends worked to get him out using the LEGO game mechanic that lets players build useful objects with collected blocks. In this case they needed to build a well, and Gimli was more than happy to help out by throwing hobbits into walls to find more blocks. Dwarves are handy like that. LEGO The Lord of the Rings has the entire Fellowship traveling together, letting players take over any character (or any two with co-op) to use their particular strengths in various situations. We only saw a few in action, though. As you'd imagine, Legolas has his bow and arrow, and Gimli has his axe and crazy strength. Sam has the ability to set fire to brown LEGO, which will help in solving puzzles and uncovering new paths for exploration.  Once out and safe, Frodo hears something in the distance. Probably orcs, right? The whole gang works to block the castle interior door with objects to keep the orcs from busting it down. They did this all by torch light, which showed off the game's slick lighting engine. The team worked hard to keep the door closed, but the orcs came in anyway.  Unfortunately, following these orcs was a huge cave troll, and he didn't want to go down as easy as the others. Taking this sub-boss down involved some simple puzzle solving; the player needed to stand on one of may points in the stage so that the troll would be tricked into swinging at him. A quick dodge by the player left the troll anchored to this point, leaving it vulnerable to attack. Legolas took point, waiting for its swing and running down its anchored chain to its face, and then shooting it in the eyes.  LEGO The Lord of the Rings will tell the story of the full trilogy, from Fellowship of the Ring to Return of the King. And, as anyone that has played LEGO Batman can tell you, the treat here is going to be how the story will be retold with the LEGO game's snarky sense of humor. This is one that both LOTR and LEGO fans should definitely keep an eye on.

LEGO hobbits! Why haven't we seen LEGO hobbits until now?  An early look at LEGO The Lord of the Rings showed the full Fellowship in LEGO form, with all speaking using the movie voices. You haven't lived until...

Preview: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Jun 01 // Dale North
Injustice: Gods Among Us (Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360)Developer: WB GamesPublisher: NetherRealmReleases: 2013  The first battle we saw had Superman going up against Solomon Grundy. Both looked to be a fair bit larger than your standard fighting game character, and the artwork for the characters and the stage leaned more toward photorealism than comics or animation. That's not to say that these guys took up too much screen space, but they definitely gave an impression of being bigger and badder, which actually works towards them being superheroes and villains.  Boon told us that one of the goals of Injustice was to make the stages as pivotal as the characters are. Superman and Grundy fought in the Batcave, where there were plenty of interactive points to change the balance of battle. Fighting actually causes damage to the backgrounds, and in this case some punches near containers for Batman's Batsuits caused them to break, releasing hand grenades that could be picked up by either fighter and used in battle. The far right side of the stage also featured a console with a large red button on it, and when a fighter is backed into this corner, the button gets pressed, sending missiles flying out to hit the other fighter. Consider yourself warned, corner trappers. The stages in Injustice all have multiple tiers. In the Superman vs. Solomon Grundy battle, a punch from the Man of Steel sends Grundy down into the floor, through it and into a lower level of the Batcave. There were even more background objects to use in this section. For example, Grundy used a floating power generator to attack Superman, bashing it over his head. The assault continues with a super move: Grundy grabs Superman, smashes him to the ground, pulls out a gravestone from his chest, and hits him over the head.  Superman's comeback super move was quite a bit more exciting. His eyes turn angry red, and then he picks up Grundy and punches him into space, sending him flying through the clouds and into the stratosphere. The view pans out into space, where we see Grundy start to sink down towards Earth at high speed. The view follows as he crashes through the roof of the Batcave back into the stage, where Superman finishes him off. The next demonstration, a fight between Batman and Wonder Woman, made the previous one seem tame. Batman has all his neat toys, like his grapple gun and Batarang, which he can throw forward or upward. Wonder Woman has two fighting states to make full use of her most popular equipment. Her lasso mode has her being more of a ranged fighter, but with her sword and shield she has some very SoulCalibur-ish, close-ranged moves.  In this stage, which was a wide open city street-style arena, Batman found himself backed into a corner where there just happened to be a car. He used that car to his advantage by taking Wonder Woman's head and bashing it into the car's body. Another option for him would have been to throw explosives into the car to blow up on his opponent. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, would have picked up the car to slam it over Batman's head.  For as good as the fighting was, the stage was really the highlight of the match. This city stage features three arenas: one street scene, another two blocks away on the top of a building, and the last in the reception area of a building. The fun lies in how you get to these areas of the stage, though. We saw Batman kick Wonder Woman at an upward angle, sending her out of the stage's first area, up into the sky, through several floors of a nearby skyscraper, out the other end of that building, and onto the roof of another. The fight continued there for a bit until Batman turned really mad. He used his grappling hook to grab Wonder Woman and slam her down through some 30 stories of this building, and we watched on, laughing, as she continued to plummet down in this cross section view until she hit the ground floor, where the fight continued. To finish her off, Batman kicked her backwards, sending her back to the stage's first area,  knocking her through other buildings' plumbing and pipes, with her knocking her head on several of them. Batman finally ends it by hanging her upside down with his grappling hook to kick her. While what we saw of Injustice was fantastic (and hilarious), there are still plenty of questions to be answered. We've only seen four characters of the full roster (Harley Quinn and The Flash have also been announced), and we have next to nothing on story details. Boon did let on that the story will explain how, say, Superman could take a beating from Batman. We'll have to wait for that, though.  So far, Injustice looks to be right in line with what any fan of the Justice League would want in a fighting game. Through it, the timeless "who would win in a fight between X and X" questions can now be answered definitively.  With a modified Mortal Kombat engine behind it, and its focus on ridiculous superhero-type super moves and crazy multi-tiered stages, Injustice: Gods Among Us could take fighting games to a new level. See what I did there? I'll get a chance to get my hands on Injustice next week at E3. Stay tuned.

[Update: New screenshots added.] Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fighting game that brings together the DC Universe characters for a beatdown festival that only world-class superheroes and villains could give us. Ed Boon himsel...


When you leave behind the dark and gritty feel of the current Batman games and add some tongue-in-cheek humor, gameplay and graphics you are left with Monolith's new game, Gotham City Importers. ...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...