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Hue photo
Hue

Hue uses color to solve its puzzle platforming


ROY G BIV
Jul 31
// Darren Nakamura
Making objects disappear and reappear at depending on visibility has been done before, but Hue multiplies that idea by a factor of four. Instead of it being a simple light/dark dichotomy, backgrounds in Hue can be one of eigh...
Witcher 3 photo
Witcher 3

Latest Witcher 3 patch makes it so you can hoard severed heads


Several severed heads
Jul 31
// Brett Makedonski
Look, not everyone's a lunatic with some sort of dark pit (un-amiibo) in their basement. Those people probably have a stockpile of severed heads already. The latest Witcher 3 patch is for those who don't possess a bunch ...

Neverwinter: Strongholds might get me back into the game

Jul 31 // Joe Parlock
Building your Stronghold [embed]296961:59747:0[/embed] With the goal of providing “interesting and meaningful experiences to guilds”, the process of creating and upgrading your guild’s stronghold is at the heart of the expansion. All buildable structures and upgrades are ultimately decided by the leaders of the guild, but those goals are worked towards by every member through the “Coffers” system. Coffers are the total resources available to a guild to help build up their stronghold, and they’re separated into three categories: materials, which are found in the lands surrounding your stronghold such as lumber; treasures, which are earned by playing through the campaign zones of the wider game such as the Dread Ring campaign; and stockpiles, the normal loot, gold, and astral diamonds players earn throughout the game. Finding these resources ensures creating a good stronghold for your guild isn’t just a case of the leaders fiddling with the UI; every member of the guild would have a role to play, be it collecting resources or planning out where structures will go.  Once there are enough resources to build a new structure in the stronghold, or to upgrade an already existing one, the guild leaders can then start the work of upgrading, while also setting the next goal for the guild to work towards. However, the amount of upgrades you can apply to a structure depends on the overall level of the guild’s keep. While structures have a maximum level of 10, the keep can grow up to level 20. However, structures can’t out-level the keep, so sometimes an effort must be made to upgrade the keep rather than simply rushing for all the new and shiny buildings. As players donate these hard-earned resources to their guild’s coffers, they are awarded guild marks with which they can buy new gear and items for themselves at the marketplace. It’s a way of incentivising altruism among the guild, and is one of the few times in the game players can make decisions for themselves that aren’t directly linked to the decisions of their wider guild. Another way the guild must coordinate in building their stronghold is in the new added boons. Boons are passive bonuses granted to players, and in Strongholds, structures can be built to grant the entire guild specific types of boons. There are currently four categories: offense, defense, utility, and Player vs. Player (PvP). The catch is not every type of boon would available for a guild at the same time, as there are only a limited number of boon structures that can be made. This requires decisions to be made about how players within the guild will be buffed. An example given would be a raiding guild may put more emphasis into PvP or offensive boons to increase their power. The boons in each category would be optional for each individual player, however what type of boon is available is up to the guild. It’s a neat mechanic, as now other players who you’d regularly play with have an active impact on how your character works, and how these buffs influence your character may well change in the future. Should the guild decide to change an offensive boon structure to a defensive one, the boons you previously had would no longer apply. It’s interesting, however I could also see it causing some conflict within guilds. The area given to a guild to build its stronghold on is the biggest zone Neverwinter has ever seen: it is three times bigger than the biggest previous one. The zone is split into multiple, smaller themed areas, each with their own enemies and quests. For example, there may be faetouched areas, or there may be areas that are more desolate, and different enemies may be encountered in each one. It’s nice to see some variance in the zone, as Neverwinter does have a problem of each zone being its own themed thing that gets boring sometimes: the snowy zone, the desert zone, or the city zone and nothing but that. Some areas will be sealed off and hidden until the stronghold has been built up and expanded on, but what’s interesting is that the future of the zone isn’t entirely known even to Perfect World yet. The strongholds system is planned to be expanded upon over the course of at least the next two expansions: Strongholds and a currently unannounced expansion after that. According to them, being “done” with building a stronghold simply isn’t possible, as new structures and boons will be made available in future updates.  While there is a storyline planned out for Strongholds and the expansion after that, the specifics of what sort of boons and structures will be included in them are apparently down to player feedback and community suggestions. New Player vs. Environment Content Building up a guild’s stronghold isn’t the only new addition to Neverwinter. Alongside it comes a new range of player vs. environment content, much like in the previous expansions before it. However, a lot of this will still directly help your stronghold grow. Firstly, the act of actually acquiring your guild’s new keep will be part of a quest line that changes as the stronghold grows. At first, your guild and a travelling band of Orcs will both arrive at the same time, causing there to be multiple skirmishes and missions available. Finding guards, protecting farms, and driving off Orcs to ensure that your keep is safe in the early days. As the keep levels up, new enemies will start to appear in the zone. For example, the second phase of the zone involves mercenaries appearing to try and steal the keep from you, giving you multiple quests involving dealing with them. The zone’s campaign appears to play out in much the same way as previous campaign zones such as the Dread Ring have, however there is also the added dimension of it being dependent on your keep’s level. Of course, there will also be a series of daily quests available from your stronghold’s steward too, and they will also help guide players to the next of their campaign quests. Greed of the Dragonflight That’s all pretty standard expansion stuff: more of what Neverwinter players will be used to. What’s particularly interesting is the major new boss fight that occurs in the Strongholds zone. Dubbed Greed of the Dragonflight, the boss is designed to be played by guilds of 40 or more players who must coordinate and plan out how to take down four powerful dragons simultaneously across the map. If one dragon is killed, the other three will flee shortly afterwards, requiring guilds to figure out which players are best suited to take on each dragon, and make sure all four of them die at the same time. Doing so will net the guild huge rewards, some of the most powerful items in the game, according to Perfect World. However, failure to nab all for dragons doesn’t mean nothing was gained. Due to some guilds not having enough players to take down all four dragons, there is a sliding scale of what rewards are given. The more dragons the guild can kill, the better the loot given. What I saw of this event reminded me of my favourite bit of Neverwinter: the timed boss events. Instances are great, questing is fun, but seeing the alert to head to an area of the map to slay as big-as-hell lizard was always really cool to me. It’s involving, it’s hectic, and it looks as though adding in the extra element of needing to size up who takes on which dragon will make it all the more satisfying when the guild succeeds. The difference between normal timed events and Greed of the Dragonflight is that it isn’t only a timed event. Due to a large amount of player requests, Perfect World is allowing guilds to trigger the event manually whenever they like, and so it could become a pretty big part of guild social life somewhere down the line. A New PvP mode inspired by MOBAs Player vs. Player in Neverwinter has been the centre of Perfect World’s attention for a while now: originally offering a fairly basic 5v5 arena mode, an open-world PvP was later added in Icewind Dale, and of course Strongholds will be adding even more for those who like stomping other players. The PvP added to Strongholds is a 20v20 Guild vs. Guild mode, which when I first heard about it reminded me a lot of Guild Wars 2’s World vs. World feature. However, it appears as though the new mode is being more inspired by the likes of Dota and League of Legends. This isn’t a compulsory feature, guilds must queue up to enter the mode. Once in the game, guilds will find their strongholds and surrounding lands “glued together”, with a river separating the two. The MOBA inspiration comes on the emphasis of controlling the various lanes between the two strongholds, while pushing forward and sieging the enemy guild. Perfect World has also catered to smaller guilds that might not have 20 players online at a time. When in queueing, if a guild has enough players to spare, they will be transferred temporarily to the other guild and fight for them instead. It’s a nice way of evening the playing field, but it will also be interesting to see where their alliances lie once the match is underway. It’s worth noting I didn’t get to actually see any PvP in action, due to the problems setting up a game with 40 players just to show me it would’ve caused. As such, all of this is only how it was described to me by Overmyer. Final Thoughts As previously mentioned, I’ve got a fair amount of experience with Neverwinter, however the lack of something to keep me interested once I’d finished the story quests meant I dropped out of the game soon after. Guilds have always been something in MMOs I’ve had an interest in, but never found the right match – I always ended up in quiet, inactive guilds where nothing ever happened. Strongholds looks like it wants to solve both of my problems, while giving me more of the solo content that got me into the game at first. I’m somewhat concerned that finding decent guilds might still be tricky, but maybe the new toys guilds can play with will convince people to give running guilds a go. PvP has never been a big interest of mine. I got into Rift’s quite a bit, but still eventually found myself going back to questing. Neverwinter in particular has been quite notorious for equipment you can buy in the store being perceived to be more powerful than stuff you can earn in-game, which always put me off PvP. However, if it’s true that the rewards from Greed of the Dragonflight are some of the strongest in the game, it could go a way to fix that problem. Overall, I’m excited. I’m definitely going to be going back into it just to see how all of these new mechanics change how people interact within guilds, if at all. Plus Dragonflight is a condensed version of everything I like about Neverwinter, which is great. Neverwinter: Strongholds will be released on August 11 as the next free expansion on PC. Neverwinter is free-to-play on both Xbox One and PC, with a PlayStation 4 version of the game coming in the future.
Neverwinter: Strongholds photo
An in-depth look at all the new stuff
On August 11, Perfect World will be releasing the latest expansion to their Dungeons & Dragons-based MMO Neverwinter, Strongholds. With its action-based combat, fantastic locations, and relatively simple mechanics, N...


ZombiU photo
ZombiU

How do you feel about Ubisoft's ZombiU and the current-gen remake?


I'm fairly apathetic towards both
Jul 31
// Chris Carter
I'm kind of apathetic towards this new ZombiU re-release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. I remember playing the game for the first time at a preview event, and being generally blown away by the Wii U GamePad's comfort factor wi...
Two new Worms games photo
Two new Worms games

Team17 is busy: Two new Worms games announced


Worms WMD and Worms 4
Jul 31
// Chris Carter
Wow, Team17 has a lot on its plate! In addition to helping with the production of Yooka-Laylee, it looks like it has two more Worms games in the works. The first is called Worms WMD, and will feature a new 2D cartoo...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Bungie shows off Destiny: The Taken King's Dreadnaught


It looks big, you guys
Jul 31
// Vikki Blake
Bungie has released a crapton of new Destiny images, including a selection of concept art designed to bring The Taken King to life. "Conceptually, we’ve dreamed of facing the Hive on their own ground for a long time," said community manager, DeeJ, on this week's update. "With the development of Destiny: The Taken King, we’ve had the chance to fully realize the Dreadnaught."
Unravel photo
Unravel

Adorable yarn adventure Unravel releasing in early 2016


I want him to live in my pocket
Jul 31
// Laura Kate Dale
Without a doubt, the star of E3 this year was Yarny, the adorable woolen hero of EA's upcoming faux indie release Unravel. He's just so gosh damn adorable, as is his nervously cute creator who we met at E3. For those of you j...
Destiny photo
Destiny

'We're committed to protecting Destiny against cheaters,' says Bungie


Crucible access been restricted for offenders
Jul 31
// Vikki Blake
Bungie is cracking down on Destiny cheats. "We’re committed to protecting Destiny against cheaters," writes community manager, DeeJ, in this week's update. "We know you want justice. We’ve seen the chatter. W...
Battlefront photo
Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront has a team deathmatch mode, too


Blast off! Up to the stars we go
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
There's an explanation for nearly all action in the Star Wars universe, but sometimes you don't want to lean on reasoning as an excuse to shoot first. Sometimes you do it because it feels right (and because you want to a...
Zombi photo
Zombi

ZombiU hits PC, PS4, and Xbox One next month


Is it too late?
Jul 30
// Jordan Devore
Early Wii U owners should know all about ZombiU. Depending on who you ask, it was a decent to great zombie survival game and a much-needed one at that. Years later, Ubisoft is bringing it to other platforms -- PC, PlayStatio...
Yooka-Laylee photo
Yooka-Laylee

Team17 is publishing Yooka-Laylee


Considering physical release too
Jul 30
// Laura Kate Dale
Yooka-Laylee, the Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor that did incredibly well on Kickstarter a few months back, is apparently getting published by Team17. Best known for the Worms series, it has also been publishing indie titl...
Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

Is 30 games in Rare Replay not enough for you?


What would you like to see added?
Jul 30
// Vikki Blake
Although Rare is packaging 30 of its biggest games together with the release of Rare Replay, turns out 30 retro Rare games might not be enough. During a special Twitch livestream, Rare's James Thomas said that whittling ...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Devs 'aren't trying to fix gameplay' with Gears of War remaster


But things are being smoothed out
Jul 29
// Brett Makedonski
Even though it'll release almost nine years after the original, Gears of War players won't feel a lot of difference between 2006's game and the remaster. Sure, they'll notice a ton of differences, but they won't feel&nb...

Windows 10 is now available, these are the gaming features you might care about

Jul 29 // Jed Whitaker
The start menu is back and why are we celebrating this!? A big complaint about Windows 8 was the removal of the basic start menu for the Metro system with live tiles, tailor made for touch screen devices. As most of us probably still use Windows with a mouse and keyboard it wasn't a great solution. It had some apps running in basically their own full screen only windows, thus defeating the purpose of... you know... windows. Thankfully Windows 10 fixes this by combining the old school easy-to-use start menu with the flash and flair of live tiles from Windows 8 Metro start menu. The apps now launch in their own resizable windows instead of full screen only, and plenty of them can be downloaded from the Windows Store for free. Windows Store for those of you who haven't heard of Steam The Windows Store includes plenty of games you can play with your Xbox Live friends and even earn Achievements, but most of them are just ports of casual mobile or Facebook-style games. However, you can find Project Spark on the Windows Store, which runs far better on PC than Xbox One. In the future you can look forward to the sexy free-to-play Gigantic which I quite liked at PAX East this year. Halo's Cortana is the new voice assistant you'll most likely ignore Cortana is to Windows as Siri is to iOS devices, that is to say she is a personal assistant that can be used via text or voice. Cortana is voiced by Jen Taylor, just like in the Halo series, and can do all kinds of tasks such as scheduling appointments, setting reminders, opening apps, and even chatting about Halo and Master Chief. I honestly haven't used Cortana too much but I don't really dig voice assistants, as they don't always seem to understand what I'm saying; even Cortana had trouble understanding me while using my professional grade microphone. Even on my iPhone I've literally only used Siri to call Buffalo Wild Wings instead of adding them to my contact list because I'm too lazy. Voice assistants seem more geared towards business than common folk like me. The Xbox app with game streaming from Xbox One is actually decent but lacks multitasking The Xbox app is free on Windows 10 and gives you access to all your friends, messages, achievements, clips and even allows you to stream games from  your Xbox One. Streaming from the Xbox One requires an Xbox controller (360 or One) be connected to the system which at time of writing can only be done via USB, though a wireless dongle is coming. The Xbox app also allows you to record gameplay and take screenshots of any game on your PC, whether playing on Xbox or not via a handy keyboard shortcut (Win + G) and pop-up toolbar. Game streaming works about as well as you'd imagine. I just played a match of Halo 2's SWAT -- a game mode requiring precision aiming due to requiring headshots for kills -- in which I came in the middle of the pack with over ten kills. There was a smidgen of noticeable lag at one point, but not enough to really affect the gameplay enough to matter. Video quality-wise there was a bit of artifacting but only if I really looked for it, even with both my desktop and Xbox One running on wired connections. Also the "Xbox record that" voice command won't work during streaming, so you'll have to use Xbox apps keyboard shortcut to record directly onto your PC that way. Supposedly better performance out of your current graphics card with DirectX 12 To save you all the geeky technical talk just know that DirectX 12 allows many graphics cards to have majorly increased performance in comparison to previous versions, meaning you might be able to play at higher resolutions with better settings on your current setup. For more details check out this informative video from AMD.  I personally haven't seen much real world increase in graphical performance, but I'm running on an Nvidia GTX 980 that could already max out all the games I was playing on Windows 8 previously. Perhaps you'll see some gains? Minecraft: Windows 10 beta is a thing that exists If you are one of those people who must have every version of Minecraft possible then good news, you can get the Windows 10 beta for free if you already own a PC copy of the game. Details on how to get the beta are at the Mojang site. I just attempted to do it and it is only allowing me to download the trial version, so your results may vary. This version of Minecraft allows you to play with up to seven of your Xbox Live friends at once and eventually even play with mobile players. I guess that is probably exciting for someone.  -- Windows 10 has plenty of other new features, most of which just let you do what you'd normally do more efficiently such as new ways to snap windows, a new task view, automatic updates, and the Microsoft Edge web browser that is probably the fastest browser currently on the market. Edge doesn't currently support extensions, which is keeping me from switching from Google Chrome at the moment. I've been using Windows 10 on my main system for quite a while now with no issues and with all my games and applications working as intended. Windows 10 is easily the best operating system I've ever used as it allows me to play, work, and relax more efficiently and effectively. It has been worthwhile for me.
Best Windows yet? photo
Pizzazz, pizzazz, Windows 10 is here
Windows 10 is now officially available, and those who have Windows 7 or 8 can upgrade for free, which is a pretty good price for what I consider the best version of Windows yet. Windows 10 packs a bunch of new features, including some nice extras for Xbox One owners. Here is an overview of new features you might care about as someone who plays games.

Yager photo
Yager

Fired Dead Island 2 team files for insolvency


After being dropped as developer
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
Yager (Spec Ops: The Line) was recently fired from developing Dead Island 2 by publisher Deep Silver as the companies' "respective visions of the project fell out of alignment." Last week, July 22, Yager Productions filed for...

Review: Blues and Bullets - Episode 1

Jul 29 // Laura Kate Dale
Blues and Bullets - Episode 1 (Xbox One, PC [Reviewed])Developer: A Crowd of MonstersPublisher: A Crowd of MonstersReleased: July 23, 2015MSRP: $4.99Rig: Intel Core i5-4690K @ 3.5 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, Windows 8 64-bit The first episode of Blues and Bullets does a really good job of setting up an incredibly creepy mystery right off the bat. A child locked in an underground cell, a creepy scraping sound that chills the bones, and an attempt to escape an inhuman beast. The opening minutes of the game are decidedly unsettling and, when juxtaposed with the ensuing grounded crime noir elements, really serve to give a narrative hook to work toward.  From there, we jump straight into some of the more mixed elements of Blues and Bullets' design. The initial noir crime elements of the game are painfully slow. From the walk speed which never increases above an infuriating crawl to the automatic camera whose angles often won't allow you to see where you're heading, you'll spend a lot of time guessing which way to go, being wrong, and having to achingly slowly trek back until you find where you're going. On the topic of speed, the dialogue in the game, while well written and performed, is also poorly paced. While the characters' lines are delivered well, there are often awkward gaps between lines of speech, or between a sentence and a reply. While the dialogue is well written, these pacing issues really detract from the flow of tension-filled scenes. [embed]296832:59723:0[/embed] The combination of awkward camera, dreadfully low walking speed, and stilted dialogue pacing made the first half of the narrative at times a chore to play, in spite of how much I wanted to enjoy it. That was a huge barrier, and one that would have turned me off if I were playing this for pleasure. Still, there were things in the opening act of Blues and Bullets that were pretty noteworthy, namely the inclusion of third-person shooter segments. The inclusion of sections that required ducking between cover, taking shots, switching out weapons, and planning an assault on a heavily guarded mob boss's home were particularly enjoyable. It's nice to see a point-and-click adventure game have more of these traditional gameplay elements, even if the aiming was, once again, painfully slow. While the black and white aesthetic of the world is generally striking, I was shocked at how poorly the game ran on a  decent spec gaming PC. For a game as visibly indie as Blues and Bullets, my PC frequently chugged, stuttered and flickered far more than I would have expected. In short, the PC version is horribly optimized. At this point, around half way through Blues and Bullets first episode, I was about ready to give up. Then, it finally started to catch my interest with a visually captivating, highly abstracted visual design segment. Narration became paired with giant looming words jutting from the ground, the word "hell" came accompanied by walls of flame and discussions of gunshots game paired with third person shooter sections darting back and forth between giant letters for cover. Suddenly, Blues and Bullets was doing something visually arresting. It didn't last long, but it caught my attention far better than the general tones of grey the world had been painted in. Following this, the narrative finally picked up by introducing a handful of those creepy occult horror themes from the introduction of the game. Walking around deathly slow is boring. Walking slowly around a room with a gruesomely mutilated human corpse feels far more tonally appropriate. Ultimately, Blues and Bullets shows a lot of promise, but this first episode alone is very hard to recommend. In its latter half it really starts to shine, with third person gameplay, creepy crime solving, and an intriguing cast of characters. It's just a shame so much of the early game was so painful to get through. The first episode ended on a truly gripping exchange that sold me on trying the second episode, but the first episode in a vacuum is at times more painful to play through that any new IP can afford to be. Definitely keep an eye on Blues and Bullets. If Episode 2 can start off with the same pacing and tone that Episode 1 ended on, we might have a really strong point and click adventure series on our hands. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
Blues and Bullets photo
A mix of fantastic and insufferable
Blues and Bullets is a crime noir episodic adventure game that jumps back and forth between artistically stunning and unplayably dreary more times than I care to count. Over the course of a few short hours the first episode h...

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...
Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

What's your favorite game from Rare Replay?


You have 30 choices
Jul 29
// Chris Carter
I got my hands on Rare Replay, and I've been playing it quite a bit for our review next week. It's crazy how addicting Blast Corps is, as I just completed it earlier this year on my N64, and was enticed to beat it y...
World of Tanks photo
World of Tanks

World of Tanks rumbles on to Xbox One today


Time to blow stuff up
Jul 29
// Laura Kate Dale
The cannons are prepped, the hatches are down, and the big wheel roller things have begun to turn, World of Tanks is finally rolling out on Xbox One today. For the uninitiated, World of Tanks is a game about using tanks to sh...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Microsoft plans to integrate PC to Xbox streaming


They already announced Xbox to PC
Jul 29
// Mike Cosimano
In an interview with The Verge, Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke to the possibility of streaming games from your PC to your Xbox One. The just-launched Windows 10 comes packaged with Xbox One to PC streaming functionali...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

Gwent cards won't carry over for The Witcher 3's New Game+


Plan accordingly!
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
While New Game+ isn't an option for The Witcher 3 yet, it will be soon. But before you commit to another playthrough, you should know what will and won't transfer. CD Projekt RED has answers. New Game+ will bump you to level ...

Review: Life is Strange: Dark Room

Jul 28 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange: Dark Room (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One[reviewed])Developer: Dontnod EntertainmentPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: July 28, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Interestingly enough, Dark Room largely betrays the pacing set forth by the previous three installments. Those chapters had a tendency to meander as Dontnod built the world and its characters. There wasn't anything inherently bad about that. Actually, now that the game's nearing its conclusion, it's paying dividends. We're invested in the story surrounding Arcadia Bay. Still, Dark Room is always tugging at your sleeves, trying to guide you somewhere. The stakes in this episode have been raised to a degree that doesn't lend itself to killing time. Urgency permeates the entirety of Dark Room. Rushing from one location to another advances the plot as things escalate steadily, and there's not always a chair handy to take a mental breather. As quickly as things move, a lot of the brilliance behind this episode comes in the form of finally tying together past events and seeing how they cause everything to shake out. There's some resolution, even if it's not full resolution. Dontnod has proven that it expertly laid the framework to affect future encounters. One particular instance comes in the form of another spat with a familiar antagonist. The branching paths can lead to several outcomes, none necessarily more optimal than the next. [embed]296752:59714:0[/embed] Another prime example is very un-Life is Strange, and maybe the only time Dark Room just sat still for a minute. Max has a board of clues that she must use to put together some damning evidence against someone. Putting on Max's sleuthing hat, the puzzle requires carefully finding related documents and grouping them in a sensible way. Odd as it may have seemed, this section nicely conveyed a sense of inter-connectivity and broke up the episode's breakneck speed. The rest of Dark Room's high points were the bleakest moments the game has seen, none of which should be discussed here. This episode doubled down on grim material and somber social issues. The absolute best thing Dark Room does is that it still somehow manages to present most of this (and the characters tied to it) from a complex perspective. It's not dealing in blacks and whites -- even though it's completely expected by now, given the nature of the subjects. The more time spent in Life is Strange, the more obvious it is that this isn't the game we may have originally thought. The supernatural won't overshadow the social issues. The rewind mechanic often doesn't feel like an option because you want to live with your decisions. Somehow, Dontnod resisted the urge to lean on these aspects, even though they'd be the easiest to lean on. The game's immeasurably better off for it. So, after another cliffhanger ending, we're left awaiting the conclusion and with no real idea where the narrative might go. Dark Room has been the most masterful installment in Life is Strange thus far, and it sets us hurtling toward the finish line. If the first 80 percent is any indication, it probably won't be a "happily ever after" ending. Only one thing's certain, though: that ever-present throat lump will be along for the ride.
Life is Strange review photo
Super Max
I played the fourth episode of Life is Strange with a lump in my throat. You know, the sort of uneasiness that puts a slight pressure behind your ears. The lump waned and grew with the chapter's crescendos and decrescend...

Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Pacifism is 'not necessarily a goal' for Fallout 4


It's a wasteland, after all
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
Officially, Fallout 4 players will only be able to romance human companions. They'll also have to resort to violence to complete the story; no perfect pacifist runs, from the sound of it. "You can avoid [killing] a lot," VP o...
Free Xbox games photo
Free Xbox games

Ground Zeroes, Metro series free with Xbox Live Gold soon


Solid showing
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
The Games with Gold lineup for August looks good. It's probably not enough to convince me to renew my lapsed Xbox Live Gold membership, but I seriously considered it for a minute there. On Xbox One, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground...

King's Quest developer talks silent film influences, possible Wii U port

Jul 28 // Chris Carter
Destructoid: Can you give us a bit of background on the history of The Odd Gentlemen and the acquisition of the King's Quest rights? This is a rather long story but I'd like to hear it from your perspective. Matt Korba: Many people have tried to bring back King's Quest over the years, in many different ways.  Our game and concept was built from the ground up, so besides public knowledge I don't know anything about the direction other teams wanted to take the series.  What I do know is that a little over two years ago, Activision was looking to fund and support a development team to reimagine King's Quest. They put out a call for ideas to various studios. I had been meeting with Activision since I was a student working on Winterbottom about possible collaborations, but it wasn't until King's Quest came along that we found a match.  King's Quest is my favorite series of all time so you can imagine how excited I was for a chance to bring the classic series back to life.  I met with Lindsey (our producer) and Evan (our art director) on the roof and we put together a pitch over a very long lunch for what we thought would be an interesting direction. It centered on King Graham as a very old man sharing stories from his past with his curious granddaughter Gwendolyn.  At the time we were only nine people, but Activision loved our creative pitch so much that they took a chance on us.  This rarely happens in the industry. It was a big risk for them because, they could have gone with a larger team, or a team that has shipped more titles on more platforms, but they decided to go with a small team that had the best creative (and the biggest KQ nerd). I am externally grateful to them for that. From there, Sierra was brought back, they fostered the growth of our company and here we are today.  What lead to the choice to include action sequences in this new rendition? I particularly liked how everything wasn't just a QTE. The original directive was to reimagine and update the classic series for a modern audience.  But, for us that wasn't a good enough reason to include small action sequences.   One of the most important parts of a good adventure game is pacing, and for us we are always trying to strike a balance between gameplay, story, and art.  If we were going to include anything it needed to serve that purpose. The action sequences help to break up the pacing and keep it interesting. When we put an action sequence in the game it usually has a puzzle element, branching choice, or a story point to it. We decided early on that if something can be played it should be, as opposed to watching a cutscene. This theory is not new to our game, the classic series mixed things up with action as well. The early games even had jumping and swimming controls. Remember climbing the beanstalk in KQ1 or the whale tongue in KQ4? The games felt pretty dangerous when you had to time a click just right before a wolf ate you or to throw a pie at an attacking yeti in KQ5, and of course using the arrow keys to avoid the paths of monsters added tension to the exploring.   Will we see the same cast of characters, notably the knights, pop up in other episodes? The game takes place over the lifetime of Graham.  That means that not only does much of the cast return, but they age as well. Players will get to control Graham from a young squire to a very old man.  Each chapter will also introduce new characters. How was it working with the voice cast? I noticed that all of them seemed to have a lot of fun based on the strong performances. It was an amazing experience. The fact that we got all those people still baffles me.  Our casting director Eric Weiss, did a phenomenal job of getting together a great cast. There were few occasions where we had placed a sample voice clip into our casting doc and Eric would just say "Why don't we just cast that person". To which we would say "Huh? We can do that"? We had done some small VO work in the past but this was definitely a huge learning process for the whole team. I think in general the cast got excited, because games like this don't come around everyday. This was a story filled with charm and humor, they wouldn't need to record 500 stabbing exertions or one line taunts. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for young Graham's mannerisms? I noticed that he seemed familiar when he'd get really excited about something. The inspiration for him was really only the classic series.  With other characters I can say, oh Groucho Marx inspired him, or Monty Python inspired them, but Graham was difficult.  We wanted to allow Graham to grow into a hero.  We didn't think it would be appropriate for a Graham to be a traditional "Bad Ass." We have seen enough characters like that already. We looked at the classic series and knew where we needed to take him, so we worked backwards.  I wrote this line early on to describe Graham and everything stemmed from there. "While other knights returned from their quests trailing bloody victories behind them, Graham returned with friendly dragons and yeti companions." Oh, and silent film, we pulled a ton of his physicality from the silent film greats; Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd.  Do you have any sort of timeline in mind for future episodes? We want to make sure the games are great and of high quality.  When we announce the schedule I think people will be impressed.  This is not a game you will have to wait a year in between chapters.   Was there any consideration in terms of developing for Wii U? If the game does well it can definitely end up there as well as some other platforms. But, we are still a relatively small team and 5 platforms at launch almost killed us! Just in case you haven't heard this yet, I feel like I need to make the case for the Land of the Green Isles (I saw the tapestry Easter egg on the wall in the castle). Is there a chance we may see them and some Alexander adventures in the future? Season 1 is focused on Graham's adventures, but if there is a demand for it anything is possible. That said some of your favorite charters just might be coming back in future chapters.   Likewise, if you can answer this question, where does the series stand on re-releases of the classic entries? This game is a big testing ground for many people.  If it can prove that there is still an audience for this type of game at this type of scale, then I think it opens many opportunities for us, Sierra, and other development studios as well.
King's Quest interview photo
'This game is a big testing ground'
As you could probably tell from my review, I was blown away by King's Quest: A Knight to Remember. I went in with very little in terms of expectations and at the end of it, I was looking at a Game of the Year contender. Spurr...

Review: King's Quest: A Knight To Remember

Jul 28 // Chris Carter
King’s Quest: A Knight To Remember (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: The Odd GentlemenPublisher: Sierra EntertainmentReleased: July 28, 2015MSRP: $9.99 per episode / $40 for the "Complete Collection" To be clear, this isn't a true continuation of the series, but rather, a "re-imagining" with the same characters, and some of the same events. For the most part, this new rendition is going to tell side stories that happened between the games over the course of five episodes -- A Knight to Remember is the first. There's plenty of fanservice scattered about to keep old fans happy, but newcomers won't be lost in the slightest in their first foray into Daventry -- it's a great balancing act. When I first booted up the game, it was seemingly taking a low-key Ico-like approach, which I really dug. The protagonist didn't talk much initially, and you're thrown into an unknown situation that sets up the rest of the tale. It immediately reminded me of a Don Bluth project, with beautiful scenery and interesting character designs. There are a few areas I encountered that had some screen tearing issues, but nothing that affected my enjoyment significantly, or crashed the game in any way on Xbox One. Slowly but surely the game opened up and started to become more talkative, at which point I immediately fell in love with it. The way the game is framed is through the narration of King Graham, who is telling his granddaughter the tales of his youth. Christopher Lloyd plays an older Graham to perfection, with plenty of "grandpa puns" and lots of heart. You can tell he's really enjoying it and isn't phoning it in like some stars might (Destiny), and in fact, the entire cast is one of the most organic collective of characters I've ever seen in a game. There's tons of great references to classic films like The Princess Bride with a welcome appearance from Wallace Shawn, and even direct references to characters like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. While I don't want to spoil the surprises, they're done with the utmost respect to the source material, and never approach the level of an annoying forced meme. It helps that the game's animations are incredible, and it's hard to not laugh out loud when you see Graham frantically running with his arms flailing about like Disney's Ichabod Crane. In fact, I've never laughed so hard at a game in my life -- trust me when I say that's not an exaggeration. I particularly like how the game handles death with the Grandpa Graham narration mechanism, which even makes failure funny. There's also a few hilarious references to characters "remembering that" from Telltale games, and a clever use of the narration technique in other ways. For instance, there's one part where you're walking on a log, and after going over it again, Graham mentions that it would be repetitive if he had to explain that bit over and over to his granddaughter, so it transports you to the other side. It's convenient and charming in the same breath. One thing I need to mention is that the game is not as hardcore as past King's Quest titles, which is to be expected. The narration element sort of clues you in sometimes to the solution (which again, is done very well), and I really like how the game focuses in on objects you are currently trying to use a piece of equipment on, to eliminate any nasty instances of pixel-hunting. There's also plenty of choices to be had that change the story in smaller ways, like leaving tips in a collection plate in any empty store, or bigger conundrums that promise more of an impact in future episodes (stay tuned to future reviews to see how this plays out). While the first hour or so of the roughly five hour adventure is rather linear, the game opens up significantly after that, with a large sandbox that isn't as massive as a classic adventure game, but big enough to roam around in. There's also some third-person obstacle dodging, mild on-rails platforming, and several first-person aiming sequences. There's a few quick-time events but they are very few and far between, which is a nice touch, as modern adventure games use them as a crutch far too often. Of course, A Knight to Remember also has several puzzles as well as some memory work involved, which are well executed. So yes, it's much more involved than your average Telltale game. I wish King's Quest: A Knight to Remember was a bit more taxing, but I loved everything about it. If this series does well I hope we get to see the adventures of other family members like Alexander, and additional areas like the Land of the Green Isles. Right now though, I'm going through withdraws for the second episode already. Move over Telltale, there's a new adventure king in town. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
King’s Quest review photo
A kingly modern classic
Not all revivals or remakes instill a sense of nostalgia within me. For instance, if we ever got that sequel to Kabuki Quantum Fighter we were promised in the original's credits, I wouldn't be all that excited. But King'...

Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Square Enix CEO on Tomb Raider exclusivity: 'It wasn't an easy decision'


Uh...
Jul 28
// Chris Carter
Finally! We now know the exact details on the Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity deal that Microsoft worked out with Square Enix -- it took them long enough. But even with this information, the backlash that began with ...
FF Type-0 HD photo
FF Type-0 HD

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will have DOTA 2 bonuses, 'exclusive loading screen' on PC


Haha what
Jul 28
// Chris Carter
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies bet...

Life is Strange: Episode Four Achievement guide

Jul 28 // Brett Makedonski
Dark Room: Finish Episode 4: Dark Room This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the fourth episode. Easy peasy. Ambient: Take optional photo #1 in Episode Four: Dark Room The first photo op takes a while to get to. It's available as soon as Max has control of her camera again. Take a picture of Chloe while she's working hard at her computer. Time-Lapsed: Take optional photo #2 in Episode Four: Dark Room Fortunately, we don't have to wait as long for the second photo as we did for the first. Once in step-douche's garage, go take a gander at the bird's nest that's hiding behind the plank. Move the plank to the side and take a picture for Max's Arcadia Bay Wildlife Series. Make sure to move the plank back when you're done; drill sergeant David doesn't like people messing with his stuff. Balance: Take optional photo #3 in Episode Four: Dark Room You know that ominous totem pole in the corner of the Blackwell Academy courtyard? Well, now there's an ominous pile of stones in front of it. Go ahead and take a picture of the "Blair Witch" rocks for this episode's third Achievement. Rangefinder: Take optional photo #4 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one's also in the Blackwell courtyard. Go talk to Samuel -- he's sitting on the bench -- about animals, squirrels in particular. He'll throw a nugget of food, which attracts one furry friend. Use the box of food next to Samuel to lure another squirrel over. When they're snacking together, take a picture of them. Gamma Value: Take optional photo #5 in Episode Four: Dark Room Once in the boys' dorms, take the hallway to the right and look out the window. There are some footprints that Max finds photo-worthy. Dioptic Power:Take optional photo #6 in Episode Four: Dark Room Before long, you'll end up on the beach. This episode's sixth photo is the third beached whale from the right. Snap a picture for some of the saddest Gamerscore you'll ever earn. Fisheye: Take optional photo #7 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one requires some quick reflexes and possibly a rewind or two. Off to the left of the barn is a bird posted up on the fence. Take a quick photo of it. If our feathered friend flies away, reverse time until he sits still long enough for a picture. Manually Exposed: Take optional photo #8 in Episode Four: Dark Room The next one's owlfully easy to find. There's an owl hanging out in the corner of the loft in the barn. Once you're up there, do what Max does best. Slideshow: Take optional photo #9 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one's inside the End of the World Party. Go around the outside of the pool and up to where the VIP booth is. Go into the unmarked door. When in there, take a photo of Justin at the sink with his lower half lined up with the skeleton graffiti. Tripod: Take optional photo #10 in Episode Four: Dark Room In the pool area of the End of the World Party, move off to the right side and look up and out the windows. Find a place where you can line up a nice double moon shot. Wait. Double moon?! Shutterbug: Take all optional photos in Episode Four: Dark Room This one will unlock as soon as you pick up the last optional photo. Two Achievements for the price of one!
Life is Strange photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
We're inching ever-closer to the conclusion of Life is Strange. As we get nearer to knowing what the narrative holds for Max and Chloe, we find a bit of familiarity in the Achievements. Like always, episode four Dark Roo...

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided photo
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex Mankind Divided dev 'rectifies' issues for non-lethal play styles


'Supporting all different play aspects'
Jul 28
// Vikki Blake
The decision of whether your foes live or die in Deux Ex: Mankind Divided -- particularly in your boss battles -- will once again be yours and yours alone.  Talking to OXM, Deux Ex: Mankind Divided directo...

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