Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was a surprise hit for me. I had never been a huge Tomb Raider fan, but its focus on puzzles, asymmetric cooperative multiplayer, and replayability drew me in. It's hard to believe that was already four years ago.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (abbreviated as Lara Croft: TOO, which any word nerd will appreciate) picks up the torch from Guardian of Light, adding four-person multiplayer, new puzzle mechanics, and updated visuals. It has a great formula for success, but it slips a little in execution.
Want to feel old? January 2014 was just about one year ago. That's one whole season of a TV show or a complete Earth's orbit around the sun. Way back then--I can hardly remember it in the shadow of the god awful year--the Destructoid staff did a list of our most anticipated games of 2014.
And what suckers we were! Most of the damned things didn't even come out. Chris was right to go with sure-thing Dark Souls II. It would've been hard to mess up (or not release). And a few folks who picked things way back in the first Year of Luigi (AL) didn't follow up for various reasons, but be assured that Patrick Hancock was definitely happy with Super Smash Bros.
It was a weird year of games, though, rife with big-name delays, big-name flops, and lovely games that came out of nowhere to end up being the most fun (like Invisible Inc.) Maybe 2015 will do right by us (or us by it). For now, let's look back.
Devil May Cry returns next year but not with an all-new installment. I know, I know. But this is the age of higher-res re-releases, after all. Capcom will launch DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition ($39.99 / €39.99) on March 17, 2015 and Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition (price to be announced) in summer 2015 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
No more talk about how 30 frames per second feels right for DmC; the Definitive Edition runs at a smooth 60 frames per second. The updated game includes all the DLC, a higher difficulty setting, a 20-percent-faster Turbo Mode, Hardcore Mode, popular community mods, and new character skins like Devil May Cry 1 Dante and Classic Vergil. DmC has also been rebalanced.
If you only care about DMC4, not DmC, skip to 1:45 for a quick word from Vergil. Capcom isn't sharing much about the new special edition and notes it'll say more "in the coming months."
The odd concept of melding a host of characters from Square Enix’s seminal Final Fantasy series, Disney’s perennial film favorites, and a cast of original personalities, seemed as though it was destined for failure. I mean, who would want to hear Donald Duck’s honking lisp while sharing the screen with the likes of Cloud Strife or Sephiroth?
Being a Square fan, I had to try it out though, and not only did I fall in love with the games, but I rediscovered my love for the Disney franchises of my youth. Although it took almost four years for a sequel to be released, Kingdom Hearts was and is a series that has stuck with me. Then, when Kingdom Hearts II was released in early 2006, I bought it immediately.
Closing out the incredibly tense Capcom Cup, Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono surprised the audience with a live demo of Street Fighter V. With the audience giving them their full attention, Mike Ross and Combofiend, both legendary players within the fighting game community, took the stage to compete in the world's first public match in Street Fighter V.
Like I was saying to the creators of Pocket Rumble, the minutia is what will make or break a fighting game. All the little moment-to-moment experiences in a given round of combat have to come together to create a vast psychological landscape. That big picture is easy to take for granted unless you take the time to pick it apart now and again.
For instance, winning or losing a fight doesn't have to be about how the game defines victory. The player can define victory on their own terms if they choose to. Using the old Dan/Servbot/Amingo team in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and knocking just one of the opponent's characters out of the match is the peak of competitive fighting game majesty for some. For others, taking on all comers with Pichu and surviving a three-minute battle in Super Smash Bros. Melee is the zenith of videogame achievement. Setting a goal and reaching it. That's what winning is all about, regardless of how the game or anyone else judges you.
Maybe the Wii Fit Trainer's unorthodox crawl animation in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U will become the next great disrespectful fighting game handicap. Doing a quick set of push-ups while in the middle of a super-powered combat scenario really sends a message. It's a message about priorities, about how seriously you take your opponent, and the importance of doing whatever the heck you want. It's beautiful. So beautiful that I had to write a song about it.
With regard to games shown at last weekend's PlayStation Experience, Sony had two noticeable strengths: its first-party mega-titles and the projects of its ever-growing stable of independent developers. While PlayStation fans finally got the chance to go hands-on with the publisher's biggest names like The Order: 1886 and Bloodborne, it was the indies along the length of the entire side wall where the true gems could be found.
In that sense, PlayStation Experience stepped right in line with all the year's other conventions; in relatively small crowds, players got to move from station to station, and fell in love with new games that they knew little-to-nothing about. Checking out the giant booths is all fine and fun, but ask anyone and they'll tell you that talking to passionate indie devs about their games and playing it at their small, humbling exhibits is the glue that holds community shows together.
These were Destructoid's favorite indie games at PlayStation Experience.
Having basically played the new Destiny expansion The Dark Below nonstop since launch, I've experienced everything it has to offer. That in itself is an issue, because although I have played more than the average person, to exhaust the content this early isn't a good sign.
While Destiny feels just as great as ever, perhaps even more-so due to the design of a few mechanics herein, I can't help but feel underwhelmed just like I did back in September.
At every Sony event this year, the portable rhetoric was identical -- the Vita is getting games, but they're ports, or in rare cases, multi-platform releases of existing games.
As an original Vita and 32GB memory card owner since day one, I will be the first to tell you that I love playing it when I feel compelled to do so. I'm so glad that I was an early adopter and got to keep that OLED screen, as it's one of the best portable experiences I've ever had. I enjoyed exclusives like Tearaway and Gravity Rush for months on end. It was awesome.
Then the games stopped. The Vita still gets the occasional unique game like Toukiden: The Age of Demons, but for the most part, it loses exclusives these days. I'm not against ports and sometimes the Vita is my preferred method of playing them, but the platform is not sustainable without system sellers and exclusives.
My, how time flies. Today, we're 21 years removed from the launch of one of the most influential videogames ever, Doom. It may not have been the original first-person shooter, but it was certainly the most important one in my life. Well, indirectly.
That prestige actually goes to Final Doom. Back in fourth grade, I made a new friend. We went to his house one day after school. The first thing he wanted to do was to boot up his computer and show me Final Doom. I remember being blown away by how awesome it was.
We weren't taking legit runs at Doom, mind you. IDDQD, IDKFA, and IDCLIP made sure that we could run wherever we wanted and kill whatever we wanted with absolutely no problem. Cyberdemons and Arch-viles fell by the hundreds. And, there was always a squeemish glee to watching a Cacodemon die in a messy pile of gloop.
Destiny was released earlier this year, and like many hyped games, it failed to deliver on its promises. The good news? It was still a well crafted shooter, and practically everything involving the actual gameplay was excellent. In fact, I find it hard to go back to other shooters now -- that's how good Destiny feels.
Unfortunately, the folks over at Bungie made a number of design choices that prevent players from consistently having fun. There was also backpedaling over the past few months -- some of which led to changes to the raid -- that brought even more glitches alongside of the update.
So far in my testing, The Dark Below plays out similarly. The core of the game is still intact, but there's a lot of weird choices that prevent it from reaching its potential.
Another year has come and gone and holy sh*t were a lot of videogames released in 2014. Did you folks play any this year? I played a few, but mostly I just watched Netflix because it has achievements now.
Anyway, some of you were bound to have played a videogame or two in 2014, and if so, we want to hear which one you thought was the best! To participate, just vote for your personal game of 2014 in the poll below, and then let us know your choice in the comments so we can all argue about it because, well, this is the Internet god dammit.
In the coming weeks, the Dtoid staff will be unveiling our own awards (we're doing things a bit differently this year, so stay tuned for details!), after which we will count up the votes and unveil the official Destructoid Game of the Year 2014 Community Choice Award!
I've been to a lot of videogame conventions this year. From the relatively small BitSummit to the monstrosity that is gamescom, I've pretty much seen them all. I didn't think this past weekend's trip to Las Vegas would result in me saying this, but for better and for worse, I think Sony's PlayStation Experience was my favorite convention of the year.
Part of what makes that so surprising is that the event itself was surprising. Nobody really knew what to expect from the PlayStation Experience. How big would it be? What would the booths look like? Would third-party publishers show up in force? Would it be a ghost town? No one knew.
The doors to the show floor opened up just as Saturday morning's keynote ended, and we finally got a glimpse at the mysterious PlayStation Experience. At first, it was bustling. Everyone coming off the high of the keynote, and they just wanted to play some games. Attendance was probably at its peak in those moments. It didn't feel packed, but there was certainly a steady flow of people at all times.
As Chris mentioned when the trailer debuted at PlayStation Experience, Uncharted 4 looks, "very Uncharted." There are Nolan North quips at everything you see. The dark and dingy cave gives way to a sun-washed, cinematic vista as three birds fly by right as your eyes adjust to the sun.
The climbing, too, looks same as it ever was, save for the addition of a centuries-old, apparently indestructible soft-rock-climbing dagger. And a grappling hook, which was at least used once.
But while the base mechanics are familiar, the layout, at least as it appears in this trailer, is different, and that's why I'm a bit more excited for A Thief's End after being less impressed with Uncharted 3.
Yeah, thanks asshole. I've already done this like two dozen times. You might have noticed I rode up to your mission marker ON a Caragor.
“WHEN UN' ORC IS DOWN, THA'S WHEN YOUR CARRRAGOR CAN POUNCE ON EM!”
DIE IN A FIRE.
I loved Shadow of Mordor. You know, unlike some people. I could ignore the generic revenge-driven plot, put up with Gollum's shenanigans, and embrace the hell out of the unique cast of orcs the game generated for me. Hell, I even loved the Arkham-style combat and the kill-crazy orc murder sprees it enabled. I'm not sick of that brand of carnage yet, not by a longshot.
But the game committed one unforgivable sin – It was still tutorializing basic mechanics well into the back half of the game. Every time it happened it was enough to make me want to pitch the game into Mount Doom's lava basement.
Wattam is a new PS4 exclusive from Robin Hunicke (Boom Blocks, My Sims) and Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy, Tenya Wanya Teens). The game was inspired by Takahashi's experiences playing with his two year old son, as they wondered "what if all toys lived, and connected by themselves?" Sounds a lot like amiibo and Skylanders, though knowing Takahashi, it's unlikely that Wattam will end up going in that direction.
We'll be finding out more about Wattam when 2015 rolls around. Hopefully Funomena doesn't stretch out the reveals for too long.