How weird was it seeing that reveal trailer for Plant vs Zombies: Garden Warfare at last year's E3? Plants vs Zombies was known for its focus on strategy and quirky humor, so it was a pretty surprising move for the developers...
Crusader Kings II is going strong since its release two years ago. Last year saw the release of a Linux version, The Old Gods expansion (which lets you start playing 200 years earlier in history), and The Sons of Abraham expansion.
Now, Paradox is readying another massive expansion, The Rajas of India. As the name implies, you will now be able to rewrite history as an Indian ruler; the entire Indian subcontinent is opened up. This doubles the landmass of the base game.
That's a lot of map -- map that you'll get as a free update to the game, but if you want to control an eastern territory and show those colonialists what's what, you'll need the expansion. And why wouldn't you want it?
The Hearts of Iron series focuses on the World War II period of world history and has a much more concentrated focus on combat than other Paradox strategy games. If you were interested in Crusader Kings II or Europa, but felt overwhelmed or bored by some of the headier mechanics, this may be the grand strategy game for you.
Magicka: Wizard Wars has been available through Steam's Early Access program since October and it's been seeing updates at least once a week. Updates ranging from small bug fixes, to big new additions. A lot of these updates are thanks to the fan interaction, as Paradox works closely with their community to shape their game.
With Wizard Wars in particular, the developers have received 20,000 messages so far with recommendations and suggestions. Granted, only about 40% of those messages were actually useful feedback, but it's not a bad percentage given the way Internet anonymity can be sometimes.
Duel Mode, created to fill the need of a training mode, is one of the big additions coming to Wizard Wars. It serves as a way for players to go head-to-head with other players with nothing else to get in the way.
Back in October, I got the chance to sit down to chat with members of Eidos Montreal after a lengthy session with the new entry in the Thief series. Since the reveal in 2009, the game has gone through many different iterations and changes. From an obnoxiously named THI4F and a proposed and tested third-person action game; this new take on the series has been through the ringer. As such, fans have been skeptical of whether a new entry can work.
The Thief series is known for being one of the pioneers of the stealth genre on the PC, and fans of the series have been looking forward to seeing its return. As somewhat of a soft-reboot for the series, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix are in an interesting position to re-introduce fans to Garrett, the Master Thief -- along with new players looking for a new game with a different approach to stealth gameplay.
Well, after spending about 4 hours playing this new take on the series at a media press event; I can safely say that I came away quite impressed with what Eidos Montreal have in store. The scope and adaptive take on stealth is dense and complex, and even may impress those who wrote off this new take on a classic series.
In 2013, the highly anticipated TowerFall hit the Ouya platform -- and so began the thousands of voices clamoring for a port to any other platform. As of late last year creator Matt Thorson reported that he had only sold around 5,000 copies of the game on Ouya, due in part to the Ouya's low install base and even lower propensity to actually buy anything on it.
Now it's 2014, and the Ouya exclusivity deal has expired. It's time to see what TowerFall can really do with the souped-up re-release on PC and PS4, appropriately called TowerFall Ascension. If the preview build I've been playing is any indication, it's going to be one of the strongest games of the year.
In 2010, Konami took a chance on the obscure Spanish development studio MercurySteam to create a reboot for one of the most adored and quoted game series ever. While Castlevania: Lords of Shadow went on to become a popular seller and was admired for its storytelling and action, it was a also a polarizing entry among fans of the series.
Now, the developers are back with their next and final title in the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series -- and they fully intend on leaving their mark on the franchise. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is daring, shows the clout that the developers earned from their previous outing, and also marks the first time we'll get to play as the infamous Dracula.
Destructoid was invited out to play the first few hours of the game, where we also had some time to chat with game producer Dave Cox. We got to see firsthand what it took to bring this iconic character to life, and how the developers at MercurySteam plan to make the series relevant again.
Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes was a great concept. It launched way back in 2011 on the Xbox Live Indie store for a whole dollar, and remains one of the best games on the marketplace to this day. But the folks over at Nicalis knew that it was meant for something greater -- enter 1001 Spikes.
This confusingly named follow-up is set to rock on the Wii U, 3DS, Vita, and PS4 sometime this year, and if what I've played of an updated version is any indication, it's worth the wait.
Have you ever been hunted? I haven't (in a videogame or, thankfully, real life). Some games make veiled attempts to simulate the sense, but as long as you learn and know the correct order of operations, they usually don't take much to best. Alien: Isolation made me feel as if I was being hunted for the first time ever. It competently thrusts you into the role of the prey, and as a result, it is completely f*cking terrifying.
Before my 40 minute hands-on demo with Isolation, key developers from Creative Assembly gave a very short briefing on the studio's intentions with the game. First and foremost, it wanted to get back to the roots of survival horror by making a game based on the original survivor horror movie, Ridley Scott's Alien. In the developers' eyes, the best way to do this was to "re-Alien the Alien."
What they meant by this is that they wanted players to always have the Xenomorph on their minds, regardless of the situation. A "low frequency, high impact" approach to brushes with the Alien was their aim. They cited Hannibal and Jaws -- two fixtures of horror movie culture -- as examples of incredibly effective characters despite having very little screen time. However, perhaps their most effective strategy to re-Aliening the Alien is including only one Xenomorph in Isolation.
There we were. The same notion on everyone’s mind, whether they liked it or not. Members of the press conflicted in their reluctant eagerness to address, key developers dreading the topic altogether. It clouded the air, enough to make everyone slightly uncomfortable with its inevitability. It was the Xenomorph-impregnated elephant in the room.
“How did the reaction to Aliens: Colonial Marines affect your work on Alien: Isolation?”
I’ll be the first to admit – the question is wholly unfair. Creative Assembly has been working on Isolation for more than three years now. It had a very distinct vision for its game long before anyone knew how Colonial Marines would turn out. Still, it needed to be asked. Fair or not, Isolation will be directly compared to Colonial Marines by both critics and fans alike.
After months of rampant Internet speculation, Sega has finally revealed that Alien: Isolation is the new title in the Alien(s) franchise, and that it's being developed by Creative Assembly, the studio behind the Total War series. True to its non-plural namesake, Isolation will be a survival horror game in the same vein as Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece.
Alien: Isolation tells the story of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the movie series' protagonist, Ellen Ripley. Amanda has been plagued since childhood by the mysterious disappearance of her mother after the loss of the Nostromo. Amanda, now a Weyland-Yutani employee herself, is tipped off that a space station has recovered the audio log detailing the events of the Nostromo. She journeys with a team to the space station, only to find that a Xenomorph has gotten there first and is wreaking havoc.
Digital Storm showed us their newly announced Steam Machine this morning in a pre-CES meeting. Their Bolt II is small, sleek, premium option for those wanting to get into what Valve is putting down. This particular offering supports both Steam OS and Windows 8 to give you the best of both worlds.
Daylight? More like Darklight. Because it's so fu*king dark in here and I can't god damn see and there are fu*king ghosts everywhere god damn it Hamza why did you make me preview this game.
This is what I remembered a few minutes into Zombie Studios' Daylight: “Horror games scare me. Why am I playing this, oh my god, why am I playing this?”
Daylight aims to address the issue of scares in games being one and done. With procedurally generated levels, which can scale depending on difficulty (more floors, dead ends, and so on at higher difficulties), and a variety of scare tactics, it could be successful at consistently providing different experiences, encouraging multiple playthroughs and experience sharing.
I only played through a small portion of the game, so I don’t know how it will hold up over an entire playthrough, let alone multiple. What I do know is that the bit I played had my heart racing faster than any game I can remember playing.
Sensory deprivation can be relaxing. It can also be terrifying in extreme measures, like the sound proof acoustic chamber that causes its guests to hallucinate. Wearing an Oculus Rift is a little bit like that. Especially in a first-person game like the upcoming PC and PS4 spook tale Daylight.
I put the Rift goggles over my eyes and I could see, but I couldn’t see. It didn’t dawn on my at first, because I was ostensibly looking at something, through Daylight’s first-person surrogate. Then a big pair of headphones was draped over my head and the chipper daytime noise and electronic pop music from the other room was drowned out by sounds pulling me into this ghost tale.
If you've ever wanted to tear across a fantasy realm with a roving band of criminal misfits, you might be able to live out your dream in Daedalic's tactical role-playing game, Blackguards. You might recall that I wasn't particularly sold on what Daedalic considers villainous, as the first few character profiles the developer released seemed pretty tame.
After sitting through a hands-off demonstration in London earlier this month, I'm more convinced, seeing quite a bit of lechery, greed, drug abuse, and being promised a whole lot more. Daedalic assures me that you can do far worse, and it's not about choosing to be good or bad, but rather deciding quite how terrible you'll be.
Most of what I saw during my hour with the game was combat. It combines traditional role-playing systems and turn-based combat amid a field of hexes with environments riddled with interactive potential. Each conflict I viewed exploited the battlefield differently, reminding me more of tabletop role-playing games than traditional tactics games like Heroes of Might and Magic.
4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) space strategy games have been all over the place, and recently we've had Sins of a Solar Empire to tackle the real-time side of the genre. It's been awhile since we've had a good turn-based galactic empire builder, and Horizon is hoping to scratch that itch for you.
Earth has made first contact with aliens, and it's time to expand and become a part of the galactic community. Meet your neighbors, colonize planets, and wage war for total domination. It has a bit of a classic '90s PC game vibe, with chunky 2D graphics during gameplay and low-quality 3D cutscenes, but fans of 4X space games should feel right at home with that.