“If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!” – Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Temple
As you might be aware by now, Darkest Dungeon is a visually striking, turn-based role-playing game featuring roguelike elements with a very clever twist. Unlike conventional RPGs, Red Hook's incorporates a unique system of psychological pressures and their subsequent side effects that run parallel and eventually intertwine with your party's development, creating an entirely new experience each time that you roll a new game.
As your party gains in experience by adventuring through these darkened and harrowing lands, you'll follow the familiar routine of periodically upgrading their particular abilities and equipment, making each character a little more effective at what they do as you progress. What makes Darkest Dungeon so singular is that second set of mechanics I mentioned: the Affliction system.
It's not too often we see a major publisher humbled. With the announcement of Battlefield Hardline last year, EA and Visceral Games were ready to release another entry in the epic and grandiose Battlefield series. But soon after, they decided to hold off, and push the rather ambitious title back to 2015. After taking in its criticisms and lumps from the original beta release, they figured this was one one title they didn't want to botch.
Moving the battlefield away from the military setting, Hardline brings the combat to the cities and streets across the U.S. as the police and criminals battle for control. As the first Battlefield game not set in a military conflict, the developers at Visceral Games wanted to make sure they knocked it out of the park. And in order to do so, they had to put players first and listen to what the community wanted.
In a special preview session with their second upcoming beta, playable on February 3-8, EA invited Destructoid out to get some early hands-on with it, where we had a chat with Battlefield Hardline's executive producer Steve Papoutsis. During our talk, we learned what they took in from its initial beta, and how important it was to give the best of what the series is all about.
You ever wonder what it's like to be a character in a videogame? Most people would think of something pleasant like Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog, not someone from Resident Evil or Silent Hill. But what would it be like to be in a game that's currently in development? One that's constantly in flux, similar to the classic Daffy Duck cartoon Duck Amuck. Would you still be you one year from now after several changes have been made? And who the hell is making all these changes?
That's a scenario former developers from Arkane Studios and Irrational Games want to tackle. At PAX Prime 2014, the developers of the newly-formed studio Question brought an early build of The Magic Circle, a game within a game. Players got to experience the results of a chaotic game development period in all its gory details as they tried to set things right. It made quite an impression at the Indie Mega Booth, with attendees calling it "punk" and a neat "retro" title.
We've been keeping our eye on this title ever since. Given special access to the current beta build of The Magic Circle, Destructoid had the opportunity to experience a sizable chunk of Question's upcoming existentialist adventure title.
Trendy Entertainment has already bestowed Dungeon Defenders II upon its most invested fans. In fact, they've had it for more than a month now. "Invested" is the only way to describe those people -- both financially and mentally -- as that's what it takes to pay an Early Access fee for a game that will eventually be free-to-play.
But, those same fans get the privilege of seeing Dungeon Defenders II along as it's molded through the development cycle, and better yet, they'll get to help shape it too. Early adopters are "rewarded" with influence points that allow them to vote on future game features. It's unknown how far their reach has extended thus far, but someone's doing something right with Dungeon Defenders II.
If you were to take booths' popularity at PAX South and plot them on a heat map, most of the obvious candidates would stick out. Twitch would be red hot, as it constantly had a flurry of people swarming to watch their favorite streamers. Dreadnought would be lit up too, because it was one of the largest displays and the crowd seemed to take a liking to it.
But, there would be one outlier far back among the indie titles. Knight Squad, made by Chainsawesome Games, had a constant throng of people mulling about at all times. You wouldn't expect it given the location, but it was a party back there. Once you had a crack at the game, you'd understand why -- because Knight Squad is an incredibly fun multiplayer game.
I got the opportunity to play a decent chunk of Revelations 2 last year, and I was pretty impressed with how the mystery was being brought back to the series. Dabbling into episodic gaming, this installment is set to be released through four episodes; one will release every week from February 24th to March 18th. It's a pretty experimental, and unique take on Resident Evil, and that might be just what the franchise needs.
But just before its debut next month, the folks at Capcom invited me out to get another crack at their experiment. And during my session, I got reacquainted with an old buddy from the series' past, and even got to take the new and improved Raid Mode for a test run.
Code Name S.T.E.A.M. is a new turn-based, third-person strategy game from Intelligent Systems, maker of the critically acclaimed Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series. It launches in North America for Nintendo 3DS on March 13, in Japan on May 14,and in Europe on May 15.
The basic premise of the game is that you are part of a crack-squad unit assigned to protect the earth from alien invaders. And all of this takes place in the 1800s (although no solid time frame was given in the demo), in London, and your boss is none other than Abraham Lincoln.
Oh, one more thing: Everything runs on steam. Sold yet?
It's an exciting time to be into role-playing games. With the release of heavy hitters such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dark Souls II, Divinity: Original Sin, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Wasteland 2 in recent years, the genre has had a healthy supply of deep and involving games. But one such series, based on Polish fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, got a major foothold into the hearts of fans.
Originally released in 2007 for PC, The Witcher placed players in the shoes of Geralt, a monster hunter for hire, and became a sleeper hit for Polish developer CD Projekt Red. The studio released its follow-up in 2011 and has since become a juggernaut in the PC gaming community. Now, the company is readying for the conclusion to its wildly popular RPG series. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, its most ambitious title yet, ventures into vast open game gameplay while offering a rousing finish to the central character's story.
Though for the last two years, we've only gotten plenty of trailers and other bits of media on the game. The developers have been shy with allowing anyone hands-on time, but at a recent exclusive event held for retailers and members of the press, the folks at CD Projekt Red invited Destructoid out to play The Witcher 3. During my four-hour session, I dove head first into this open-world action-RPG, and saw just how Geralt of Rivia made the transition. So relax, clear your schedule, and let me tell about my experience with one of 2015's most anticipated titles.
Devolver Digital has a penchant for picking up clever game jam submissions and giving them a chance to grow into fully-realized titles. Titan Souls is a fine example, and it would have never had any exposure outside of the tiniest of niche audiences; now, it's gotten enough funding and press that many eagerly await it.
One of the publisher's most recent pick-ups certainly has the moxie to follow the same path. Ronin is a smart, cerebral game -- one that requires care more than stick skills. A cursory glance invites comparisons to Gunpoint, but that'd be selling it short. Ronin melds real-time and turn-based play, a combination that results in an action puzzler of sorts, but with more emphasis on the latter than the former.
It's been just over two years since the release of one of last gen's most polarizing titles. Back in 2010, Capcom made a bold and wildly unexpected decision to hand one of its most-loved franchises to a Western developer, and ever since many people have been vocal about their opinion of DmC Devil May Cry. A common topic for debate among fans of the Devil May Cry series is the aftermath of Ninja Theory's attempt at rebooting Capcom's beloved action-brawler.
Was it worth it? Did it succeed in what it set out to do? And just what the hell was up with Dante's new look? While many of these questions are open for discussion, none of those belittle the fact that we're still talking about the game years later. And because of that, Capcom and the folks at Ninja Theory aren't quite finished with their reimagining of the franchise. With the surprise announcement of DmC: Definitive Edition last year, along with a revisit to Devil May Cry 4 on the way, it's clear Capcom has not forgotten about its devil-hunting trash-talker.
During a special hands-on session with the Definitive Edition, I got to experience DmC with a fresh coat of paint and a much-needed re-tinkering. And after seeing how this enigmatic brawler's makeover has turned out, this new outing might just make you a believer.
After a Nintendo press event yesterday, I was sent home with a review unit of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. I figured it would be a good idea to record my opening of it so that I could share my trademarked cynical indignation with you all. So, sorry about that. But, you get to see what thing looks like right out of the box! Shiny toys!
It's a pretty standard package, with the glaring exception of the lack of an AC adapter. Nintendo gave IGN the predictable company line, "Rather than raise cost of New Nintendo 3DS XL by charging consumers for a component they may already own, we are giving them the option to only buy if they need an AC adapter."
Cool. You know, except that this device is an upgrade of an existing device, and people might want to sell the obsolete model. Not to mention, people who don't already own a compatible power plug will be praying there will be one in stock when they go to buy the New 3DS XL, and will probably get stuck with a shitty third-party knock-off.
There's just something about the 8-bit and 16-bit eras of gaming. Even after decades, it's still a remarkable and enduring period that's managed to stand the test of time. With a slick focus on charming visuals and deeply refined gameplay, the classics of the time are still played today. And, with a sizable amount of fans clamoring for the return of such titles, it's easy to see why the endearing nature of 2D games holds strong. Honestly, games just felt more pure back then, and it looks as though some devs are looking to emulate the example set by games from the past.
Originally created as a quick title for GameJam 2014, the developers at Tree Fortress found something special about this peculiar T-Rex wearing jet boots, and decided to flesh it out into a fully featured title. Taking inspiration from classic games like Mega Man and Sonic, the talent behind JumpJet Rex wanted to offer players a new 2D platformer that's not only goofy fun, but also tough as nails.
Before the folks at Harmonix Studios put themselves on the map with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, it was known for the cult hits Frequency and Amplitude. Blending fast-paced rhythm-based action with mesmerizing visuals and an electronic soundtrack, players could tap their feet along with the beat while using quick reflexes to achieve the high score. Though the titles never lit the charts on fire, they garnered a cult following and were fondly remembered among fans of rhythm games.
With the success of Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Dance Central under their belts, the developers at Harmonix decided it was time to revisit the long-dormant series. Keen to show off an early build of the game in time for the upcoming PlayStation Experience event, the devs were confident they nailed their reboot of Amplitude.
And with the success of their Kickstarter campaign, they've definitely got an audience ready to check out the reunion with the long-missed series.
"Hopefully, nobody has any questions about Hunt," Turtle Rock co-founder Chris Ashton said, his eyes darting around a cloistered room flush with press. "We've been talking about that forever!"
Over the past several months, the humble, long-bearded design director has ceaselessly detailed this one fragment of the experience, holding his tongue about just about every other facet of the asymmetric game of pursuit. In that moment you could see it on his face, a shy glimmer of excitement to, at long last, reveal something new.
I said it when I checked out Amnesia developer's SOMA early this year, but we could do with some more games set underwater. It's a scary place. There are goblin sharks down there, damn it. And you don't even have to go deep down to terrorize. Jaws spooked a generation.
The ocean is like space, but with more horrifying, alien, living organisms to kill you. Opposed to the flashy, bright monsters of SOMA, Narcosis is aiming for a (somewhat) more realistic terror.
Back at E3 2014, I got a brief chance to get my hands on The Talos Principle while talking to one of its writers Tom Jubert (FTL: Faster Than Light, The Swapper). In the presentation, Jubert explained the intended approach to discussing philosophy with the player, but I was only able to get through a few puzzles.
With its retail release scheduled in less than a month, I have had some more time to spend with Croteam's first-person puzzler. So far, it has made me think hard, both about the solutions to puzzles and its thoughts about sapience.