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11:00 AM on 08.19.2014

Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

Despite how you may feel about the polarizing second arc of Sword Art Online, fans generally have nothing but good things to say about the first arc. It managed to nail a lot of aspects of MMO culture, along with marrying the...

Chris Carter


Updated! Panel details revealed:

Hironobu Sakaguchi Reflection: Past, Present, Future of RPGs

The father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has announced his PAX Prime 2014 panel where he will discuss his history developing role-playing games, along with revealing more about his new RPG, Terra Battle. Find out more info at PAX Prime website.






Review: Hohokum photo
Review: Hohokum
by Kyle MacGregor

Hohokum is amazing. It can also be awful. My time with it was often as captivating as it was arduous. Hohokum is everything right and wrong with videogames. It's equally worthy of condemnation and acclaim.

I adore this horrible thing.

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Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated photo
Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated
by Kyle MacGregor

A lot of people seemed disappointed when Sony closed its gamescom press conference without much mention of the PlayStation Vita. And it isn't difficult to understand why.

The struggling portable seemed like an afterthought yesterday. Anyone hoping for an exciting new Vita reveal was left wanting. Adding insult to injury, the system actually managed to lose an exclusive, as Tearaway was announced for PlayStation 4.

There was a single moment during the event that seemed indicative of Sony's approach to the handheld. Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell took the stage in Cologne, and showcased his upcoming project, Volume, a stealth title destined for PS4 and Vita next year. It's an independent game from a tiny, but talented developer. And it's cross-platform to boot.

Outside of cursory mentions like that, Sony's show was all about PS4. And why not? It's the newer and more successful system. Sony allocated its airtime wisely, highlighting its breadwinner, rather than choosing to fight an uphill battle. It made perfect sense, too, given Microsoft's strong showing earlier in the day. 

That's a rational outlook, though. Sadly for Sony, humans aren't always rational creatures. Vita owners felt spurned, and they made sure Sony heard about it.

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Here's everything that happened during Sony's 2014 gamescom conference photo
Here's everything that happened during Sony's 2014 gamescom conference
by Jordan Devore

Sony's gamescom showing went by quickly, with announcement after announcement and more than a few new intellectual properties put on display for the first time. Really, though, it's still From Software's Bloodborne that has me most wanting a PlayStation 4. As for the PS Vita, the handheld was practically non-existent at the press conference. Poor thing!

If you missed out on the stream or simply couldn't keep up, here's what went down.

News:

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Natural Doctrine is a brutal, sort of ugly turn-based strategy game photo
Natural Doctrine is a brutal, sort of ugly turn-based strategy game
by Steven Hansen

Sure, Natural Doctrine doesn't look great (well, the environments; it does look better in miniature on the Vita). It's a far cry from director Atsushi Ii's gorgeous minimalism in Patapon.

But Kadokawa Games' first internal venture can get a pass for looking a bit dated if the core gameplay can hold up, and it just might. Producer Kensuke Tanaka felt that JRPGs were "lacking in difficulty," that they didn't "make you think," NIS America representatives explained. Natural Doctrine is an answer to that.

However, NIS America was not able to answer why exactly the lead in a fantasy RPG of orcs, magic and lizard men is named Jeff. 

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Behold, the winner of our E3 2014 Community Choice Award! photo
Behold, the winner of our E3 2014 Community Choice Award!
by Mr Andy Dixon

Last week, we asked you to weigh in on your favorite games of E3 2014. And weigh in you did! There were approximately eleventy bajillion votes cast and hand-counted by yours truly, making this one of the most popular E3 awards we've ever held. Thanks to all who voted!

Now, before we unveil the winner, I'd like to congratulate this year's entire massive list of E3 standouts. There were more great games on display this year than I could ever hope to play, ensuring everybody has something to look forward to in 2014 and beyond!

And now, without further adieu, the winner of Destructoid's E3 2014 Community Choice Award is...

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Destructoid's Best of E3 2014 winners! photo
Destructoid's Best of E3 2014 winners!
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

E3 was all about the games this year. With the console launches out of the way, game developers have been able to focus on making great games, and we saw a ton of that at E3 2014 this year. 

We shared with you our nominees for game of the show and about a dozen other categories. Now it's time to find out what games have won our Best of E3 2014 winners!

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Yoshida notes that the Vita is being used more and more as a 'companion' photo
Yoshida notes that the Vita is being used more and more as a 'companion'
by Chris Carter

I picked up the PlayStation Vita at launch, and still have no regrets. Ludicrous proprietary memory card prices aside (man was that a disaster, and the prices are still too high), I really enjoy Sony's newest portable, but it's become increasingly harder to get excited for it when Sony has nothing to show for it at E3.

Speaking to Game Informer, Sony president Shuhei Yoshida shines some light as to why the company didn't go guns blazing with the Vita during E3. He notes, "It’s still an independent platform you can play on. There are games for Vita, especially in Japan. However, more and more people use it as a companion device for PS4 and we are very happy that people are using it as such. We are bringing PlayStation Now to PS Vita. We are making it more of a total ecosystem, with PS4 as the central device."

He also didn't discuss any new titles coming from any major franchises, which isn't a great sign for the near future at least. So for now, it seems as if using your Vita in conjunction with your PS4 (remote play and the upcoming PlayStation Now) is the best way to use it.

I hope you have a PS4.

Sony’s Yoshida: More Vita Owners Using Handheld As Companion Device [Game Informer]

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Vote now for Destructoid's E3 2014 Community Choice Award! photo
Vote now for Destructoid's E3 2014 Community Choice Award!
by Mr Andy Dixon

E3 has been all about the games this year, which means it's been a very good year to be a gamer indeed! Now that all the major press conferences have come and gone and the majority of the big reveals have made their marks, it's time once again for you to pick your favorite game of the show!

Below is a lengthy list of the games that will soon be joining your libraries. Which one are you the most excited for? Check the box and cast your vote! Then after you're done, go argue about your choice in the comments.

If you need a refresher about any of the games below, click here to check out our continuing E3 Unfiltered coverage. And stay tuned next week when we unveil the winner of the Destructoid Community Choice Award for E3 2014!

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Destructoid's Best of E3 2014 nominees! photo
Destructoid's Best of E3 2014 nominees!
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

E3 2014 is all about the games this year. The consoles launched last year, so now it's time for everyone to put up or shut up with their lineups that will make the new-gen worth it.

We nominated a ton of game s for Destructoid's E3 awards, spanning 13 categories. We even brought back the best fighting category as there's a lot of fighting games this year! We'll be announcing winners early next week after we've recovered from E3, but in the meantime you can see all of our top picks from the show below.

And remember, we also have a community choice award where you can vote on your favorite game of E3 yourself.

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Who won E3 2014? photo
Who won E3 2014?
by Jordan Devore

Finally, a spare moment to take a breather. It's been nonstop madness since Monday morning, not that I'm complaining -- I adore the energy of E3. Hope you're having fun.

So, which company won this year's show?

Microsoft kicked the week off with a solid press conference featuring games -- The Master Chief Collection, Phantom Dust, Crackdown, and Scalebound, to name a few -- and not much else, as promised. A respectable but not necessarily stellar showing. It helped that Kinect is now optional.

Next was Sony, and while its press briefing went on for far too long as per usual, the games themselves delivered: Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, LittleBigPlanet 3, No Man's Sky. That said, gosh, not much in the way of PS Vita love. Some Gravity Rush 2 would've been nice.

Finally, Nintendo aired its prerecorded Digital Event this morning, which I found to be a nice mix of silliness and fun-looking games. That's all I ever want from Nintendo, anyway. For games, we had Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi's Woolly World, Mario Maker, and talk of a new Zelda. There's also amiibo toys for Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and other titles.

Who won? It's a total cop-out, but I'd say we all did.

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo had new software to get excited about for their respective consoles. We're a customer base with a diverse taste in games, and we're always wanting more -- especially when it comes to "surprise" announcements -- but this has been a good E3. Very good indeed.

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MLB 14 looks great on PS4, but comes with load times slower than baseball photo
MLB 14 looks great on PS4, but comes with load times slower than baseball
by Steven Hansen

I was mostly satisfied with MLB 14 The Show's initial PS3 and Vita release. Hitting ahead of the PS4 version led to some (perhaps overdue) improvements, from the UI overhaul to PS3/PS4/Vita cross saves to a universal The Show profile to franchise carry over into the next years' installments.

Coupled with little touches like a new dynamic camera angle, the addictive weekly challenge, and even more gameplay options (Quick Count and Player Lock), it felt like a worthy send off for the best baseball series of the last generation.

The problem, of course, is when the PS4 version hits (now), none of this is new. It just looks better. And somehow loads slower.

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Galak-Z is like Spelunky by way of Macross  photo
Galak-Z is like Spelunky by way of Macross
by Steven Hansen

Galak-Z has gone through some changes since we first heard about it. The space shooter from 17-bit Studios (Skulls of the Shogun) has jumped on the roguelike train. I mean space train. Damn. I messed that up. 

I messed up plenty playing Galak-Z as well. It took a while just to unlearn Luftrausers flying controls, though that constant fear from imminent danger remains from a multitude of enemies. Peons, Gundam-esque mecha, space spiders. 17-bit's Jake Kazdal explains that Galak-Z has the best AI around.

It's certainly aggressive, with a little bit of wiliness.

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I died an embarrassing amount in Hotline Miami 2 photo
I died an embarrassing amount in Hotline Miami 2
by Brett Makedonski

Anyone that has even the slightest bit of familiarity with Hotline Miami knows what defines it. The neon-swathed visuals, the gratuitous violence, the quick and unforgiving gameplay, and the blaring soundtrack all made the game as loved as it was. With regard to a sequel, any deviation from this formula would result in something that just wasn’t Hotline Miami.

So, Dennaton Games isn’t going to.

Judging by the build of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number that was at PAX East, the pieces are in place to give fans of the original more of what they want. The two stages on display showed off the exact style that many have come to know and love, but also expressed how Dennaton is ready to offer something a little new.

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Review: Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars photo
Review: Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars
by Dale North

Serina is objectively the Best Girl.

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Review: MLB 14 The Show photo
Review: MLB 14 The Show
by Steven Hansen

I was ready for last year’s The Show to be its PS3 swansong, I was feeling it. It’s not that it wasn’t good. It was as good as it ever was. But there were signs of age. The same old horrifying fan models in the stands with crooked limbs and dead faces. The same bone dry commentators. It felt like the right time for The Show to be transitioning to PS4.

But this is sports, or at least sports games. When is the last time someone went out while they were ahead in sports? But hey, if the Red Sox can give David Ortiz -- a designated hitter in 2014; an endangered species – a $16 million contract extension for what he’s meant to Boston over the last 12 years, I can give The Show on PS3 another ride for being the only good baseball series. Especially since the PS4 versions isn’t even out yet.

I mean, I owe the Giants’ first World Series to a platoon of antiquated weirdo journeymen and a weirder, sappier story than Space Cowboys. This isn’t just “another year, another Show,” either. This is a franchise in clear transition to the next generation, which has benefited the current generation.

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