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SMITE's Xbox One alpha is off to a great start photo
SMITE's Xbox One alpha is off to a great start
by Chris Carter

There aren't a whole lot of fully featured MOBA games on consoles. While a handful of them exist, some faring better than others, there's going to be a bigger push this year with games like SMITE and Gigantic heading to the Xbox One.

Although I heartily enjoyed my time with SMITE on PC, I didn't stick around for an extended period of time, instead opting to head back to League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm.

That may change when SMITE hits Xbox One later this year, based on what I've played of the alpha build.

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Harmonix Music VR could supplant Audiosurf for me photo
Harmonix Music VR could supplant Audiosurf for me
by Darren Nakamura

Audiosurf is more than seven years old now (wow), but it still holds a place as a desktop icon on my computer. I still play it regularly. The thing is, I almost never play it on any setting other than Casual with Mono. It is the thing I go to when I want to turn off my brain for a bit and just enjoy some music along with some pretty colors.

I got a chance to try out Harmonix Music VR at PAX East this past weekend, and it looks like it could fill that role perfectly. There is even less to concentrate on, but the step into virtual reality makes it more engrossing. I could see myself coming home from work, putting on the headset, and just chilling with it to decompress.

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Mortal Kombat X brings back some familiar faces for Story Mode photo
Mortal Kombat X brings back some familiar faces for Story Mode
by Alessandro Fillari

It's been less than a year since its reveal, and we're already rapidly approaching the release of Mortal Kombat X. After its predecessor essentially rebooted the franchise with a return to 2D-style combat, many fans got a newfound love for the series. And though Mortal Kombat (2011) took some liberties with the lore, as it was both a reboot and sequel simultaneously, it left off in a place that had fans anxious to see what could happen next. Lucky for you, Destructoid just got a taste of what's in store.

During GDC week, Warner Bros. Interactive held a special hands-on session with the first chapter of Story Mode, along with a sampling of the versus mode and upcoming mobile game app. Though I've played quite a bit of this series in my time, I knew I could use some help discussing the franchise's lore and history. So I decided to bring along Dtoid's resident Mortal Kombat expert Abel Girmay, who's already played quite a bit of MKX, for a back-and-forth discussion about the game and how Johnny Cage has still got the stuff.

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Cosmochoria is a perfect blend of serenity and chaos photo
Cosmochoria is a perfect blend of serenity and chaos
by Patrick Hancock

Cosmochoria is a Kickstarter success story that is now about to see the light of day. It's a mix of exploration and tower defense all wrapped up in a warming, yet occasionally stressful package. There's a strong sense of wonderment to the randomly generated universe, and the art style is totally cute.

My time with Cosmochoria at PAX East brought a huge smile to my face, and if it wasn't for an upcoming appointment, I would have played for probably an entire hour or so!

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Sega brings back OutRun with style for the 3D Classics Series photo
Sega brings back OutRun with style for the 3D Classics Series
by Alessandro Fillari

One of the great things about Sega's ongoing 3DS Classics series is that it allows retro games from the publisher's past to find a new audience. And given its rich and diverse history of quirky and fan-favorite titles, there's plenty to remaster for quite some time.

One of the upcoming remasters is Sega's legendary racing title OutRun. Though it was already released overseas last year, western audiences are finally able to get their hands on the title on March 12 (that's tomorrow!).

But before you do, why don't you take a minute to learn just what went into this port. I managed to get some hands-on time with the remaster, along with a quick chat with Sega producer Yosuke Okunari, who had quite a lot to say about its transition to new hardware.

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Tumblestone is the most intelligent 'match three' game I've ever played photo
Tumblestone is the most intelligent 'match three' game I've ever played
by Patrick Hancock

The first impression of a game matters a lot at PAX. If people aren't intrigued almost immediately, they may never play the game at all. My first impression of Tumblestone was "oh cool another match-three game." I don't play many of them, so I barely had any interest.

However, knowing that Tumblestone and The Bridge, a brilliant indie puzzle game, share the same developer, I just had to give it a chance. Thank goodness I did, too, because it was easily the most intelligent game on the show floor.

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Harebrained Schemes nails it once again with Necropolis photo
Harebrained Schemes nails it once again with Necropolis
by Rob Morrow

As I explored the opening area of Harebrained Schemes' third-person action roguelike Necropolis at PAX East 2015, I discovered an inviting treasure chest. Upon opening it, I realized too late that I wasn’t alone in that first room. While my back was turned, a shadowy, crystalline figure called the Grine had seized the opportunity to launch a flurry of attacks at my unprotected rear; all the while, my character stood there helplessly locked in place throughout the chest’s opening animation.

It was at this point in the Necropolis demo that the game made complete sense to me. In that singular moment I felt as though I’d been here many times before. Not here in the literal sense of playing the demo beforehand, of course, but here in that the game’s unspoken rules were so familiar to me that it felt like coming home. And what a treacherous home it is.

It’s become passé to compare titles to the Souls games, but in this particular instance, I feel the comparison is completely justified. Anyone familiar with From Software's work will know, almost instinctively, what will be expected of them when they pick up the controller. The control scheme (light and heavy attack buttons, shield, jump, and evasion) and stamina system are very much in line with what we're used to in those titles, with a couple of notable deviations.

Necropolis doesn't feature a parrying system, for starters. Instead, your character can use their equipped shield to perform a bash maneuver as well as block incoming attacks. However, stamina is drained when doing so and should be used sparingly in battle. For example, if you try to hold off enemy attacks with the shield indefinitely, you'll soon wear yourself out as your enemy lands each attack, thereby leaving your character susceptible to taking damage.

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Heat Signature is the best game I saw at GDC photo
Heat Signature is the best game I saw at GDC
by Mike Cosimano

Gunpoint ultimately had very little to do with guns. It was a smartly designed puzzler with an immensely satisfying core set of mechanics and witty dialogue. But the title never came into play; pointing guns at people always went poorly for me. Tom Francis, the writer-turned-designer behind game, promises his new project will have a relevant name. From what I played at GDC, that seems to be the case.

It’s called Heat Signature, it’s Hotline Miami meets FTL, and it’s easily the best thing I saw all show.

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3D Realms: Bombshell is the only one who could kick Duke Nukem's ass photo
3D Realms: Bombshell is the only one who could kick Duke Nukem's ass
by Brett Makedonski

3D Realms is keenly aware of what players know it for. Sure, there are plenty of titles in the publisher's history that should stand out, but for all intents and purposes, the company might as well re-name itself The Duke Nukem Guys.

In the case of its next project, Bombshell, 3D Realms is absolutely looking to distance itself from the Duke tropes -- at least as far as this game is concerned. Despite a lot of thematic similarities (oh hey, aliens took over again), Interceptor and 3D Realms have created a hero in Bombshell (Shelly Harrison is her proper name) who is a polar opposite from Duke in a lot of ways. Interceptor CEO and 3D Realms vice president Frederik Schreiber said that the two probably wouldn't get along too well. Then, Schreiber went so far as to say "Bombshell is the only one who could kick Duke's ass."

She's come a long way since our introduction to her last year. 3D Realms fully fesses up that the first take was premature. There was pressure to reveal Bombshell before it was ready. 3D Realms was trying to do something -- anything -- to take eyes off the lawsuit with Gearbox and to prove it was more than just The Duke Nukem Guys. The result was a trailer that was almost universally poorly received. That was more than enough of a cue to go back to the drawing board.

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Severed is full of one-handed vengeance photo
Severed is full of one-handed vengeance
by Caitlin Cooke

There’s something serene about exploring a desolate place for the first time. Too often in games I find myself dropped into an environment, expected to pick up the pieces quickly to achieve a goal and left with little time to absorb. 

Severed is the opposite of that. Despite playing a demo version, I felt like I lived in a different world while I walked through a desert into the remains of a home and out to a haunting forest where enemies appeared more like riddles and less like a forced mechanic. This is the kind of world I like to play in.

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Windows 10 makes it even easier for gameplay videos to go viral photo
Windows 10 makes it even easier for gameplay videos to go viral
by Brett Makedonski

The latest generation in gaming has brought with it an emphasis on sharing. Screenshots and gameplay videos can be relatively easily captured and uploaded for anyone's audience to see. It's a smart way to drive interaction -- whether it's to share an unbelievable kill streak in Halo, or something as irreverent as a lunatic stabbing goats in the butt.

With the announcement that Windows 10 will, in part, contribute to the "Xbox ecosystem," it really opens the door to the accessibility and possibility of sharing content. In what was called a "platform demo" at GDC in San Francisco last week, we got a first-hand look at how simple Windows 10 will make this process.

Available for any game played on Windows 10 (even non-native Xbox titles) is a Game DVR that operates similarly to the "Xbox, record that" function of the Xbox One. Mapped to the Windows + G command, the DVR captures the past 30 seconds of gameplay, regardless of what's playing.

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Firewatch has topless teens, meaty hands, and mystery photo
Firewatch has topless teens, meaty hands, and mystery
by Steven Hansen

I've been firewatching out for Campo Santo's new 'exploration mystery' since hearing about the talent behind it. Artist Olly Moss, Mark of the Ninja designer Nels Anderson, and season one The Walking Dead writers and designers Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin. It's an exciting crew.

And then I saw the dang thing in its trailer and had to wonder why more games don't make use of a distinct tonal color palette, instead defaulting to an obfuscating attempt at photorealism that just drowns everything out. Compare BioShock to a "realistic" shooter; the Arkham series to Shadow of Mordor. It's just nice to see someone use color, and purposefully.

Because while Firewatch is gorgeous, it is also grounded. It is a story about people -- Henry and his supervisor Delilah -- and I felt that the moment I started controlling Henry. Not a blank player analogue or a camera on wheels. I saw Henry's inelegant, meaty paws stretched out in front of the screen still wearing his wedding ring despite divorce. Telling details are important.

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Affordable Space Adventures is the Wii U experience I imagined in 2012 photo
Affordable Space Adventures is the Wii U experience I imagined in 2012
by Darren Nakamura

When Nintendo first unveiled the Wii U, my mind raced with ideas for games that could be created with the two-screen interface. A lot of the cool stuff that the DS did could be transferred to the big screen. Better yet, titles like those that made use of Game Boy Advance-to-GameCube connectivity could surface in a more accessible format.

In practice, it has taken a while for developers to do really interesting things with the GamePad. A lot of the most lauded titles would work fine without the second screen. Affordable Space Adventures is one of the few Wii U titles that feels like it could not be done on another platform. It plays to the console's strengths, finally producing the type of experience the Wii U was made for.

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Hands-on with Cuphead: Equal parts charming and challenging photo
Hands-on with Cuphead: Equal parts charming and challenging
by Steven Hansen

Cuphead has existed in a state of unreality to me since its E3 reveal. Despite seeing footage of the game, it remained in my mind a concept. One that I was in love with, mind. 1930s style animation. A character whose head is a cup. I love it.

But because I've never played a game that was completely hand-drawn on a lightbox to look like a 1930s anime, there was always some weird disconnect between what I saw in the trailer, on-screen, and connecting it to inputting commands on a controller.

This disconnect was mended when I saw a giant corner dedicated to Cuphead at Microsoft's ID@Xbox event last week at GDC. I press a button, Cuphead jumps.

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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a brilliant asymmetrical game photo
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a brilliant asymmetrical game
by Patrick Hancock

In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a game originally developed at a game jam, one player wears the Oculus Rift and sees a bomb that needs to be defused but doesn't know how to defuse it. Their partner only has a binder. Like, a real binder -- no Oculus Rift involved. The binder has all the steps needed to defuse the bomb, but the reader can't actually see the bomb.

It's a game about communication, and it is wonderful not only to spectate, but of course to play. It's really the only game on the PAX East show floor that keeps me coming back for more.

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I nuked the God of Lightning in Mayan Death Robots photo
I nuked the God of Lightning in Mayan Death Robots
by Patrick Hancock

There's been a lot of games that try to copy the success of titles like Worms or Tanks, but often come off feeling too derivative. "Yeah, it's like Worms, but not quite as good" has definitely left my lips a handful of times. Needless to say, I was a little cautious heading in to Mayan Death Robots after hearing such comparisons.

Thankfully, Mayan Death Robots is a unique twist on something that definitely owes its roots to Worms but truly feels like its own experience with innovations. It's exciting to play and exciting to watch, plus you can be a giant robo-monkey and throw banana bombs.

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