Last year, the news of Ubisoft making an old-school throwback to the JRPG genre took a number of people by surprise. When Destructoid got the chance to check it out, there was a healthy amount of curiosity around it. Not too many people knew what to make of it, especially considering it was coming from the team that made Far Cry 3, which is a title that seems very far apart from it.
But after spending some time with Child of Light, about three hours to be exact, there might be more in common with these two titles than you think. I got the chance to talk with lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem, and saw what passion and a small team working on a unique throwback to JRPG titles managed to come up with.
As an institution within the videogame racing genre, Mario Kart has always been an example of what arcade style racing is all about. Focusing on simple, pick up and play gameplay, while still offering high level skill based action, the Mario Kart series has been going strong for over twenty years; and it doesn't seem like it'll stop any time soon.
Now, the series is finally taking its first steps onto an HD platform, and after spending about an hour of playtime with it, I just don't see how they can go back after this. I'm just going to come right out and say it: Mario Kart 8 is one gorgeous game.
As the first full HD release of the series, the developers at Nintendo went the extra mile with creating a game that is visually spectacular, but also the most content rich game of the series.
[Update: Frima Studios has reached out and informed us that it miscommunicated its statement about not being able to clear the game solo. The game can be beaten singleplayer, but only about 80 percent of the optional paths are accessible without a cooperative partner.]
Of all the titles on display at IGN's independent games mixer at GDC, I couldn't help but be intrigued by one in particular. It was kind of tucked away in a corner, but that didn't mean that it wasn't getting its share of traffic. That's because it immediately looked cute, colorful, and challenging -- three criteria that certainly help indie games flourish. At first glance, it seemed like the kind of game that could win your heart in an instant.
The game in question is Chariot, a co-op platformer by Frima Studios. Chariot's centered around a princess that's out to take her recently deceased father to the resting place of his choosing. She does this by lugging his casket through perilous ancient caves in an effort to please him.
In recent times it seems as though games in 'retro-style' are on the rise. Perhaps this is nostalgia at work for a bygone era of gaming, or maybe there's an endearing spirit and honesty from gaming's past that still resonates with people. One such title that believes in the later is Hyper Light Drifter. After an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, the developers have been keeping things pretty close to the vest since it was funded.
During GDC, IGN hosted their Media Indie Exchange event to show off new and upcoming titles from independent developers and on-hand were the developers of Hyper Light Drifter with a new build. After getting some much appreciated hands-on time, we spoke with Heart Machine's Alex Preston, got to learn how the development of Hyper Light Drifter has been going, and how you can incorporate retro games into modern game design.
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.
Last year, after a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Black Forest Games was able to take what started as a Mario rip-off with the Great Giana Sisters and turn it into a unique, beautiful platformer. After being one of the first Steam Greenlight games released, as well as popping the title on to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is now available in Mario's home base.
I recently got to play a solid few hours of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and was able to do whatever I wanted, outside of the select core missions Ubisoft wanted to specifically show off. There was a lot to do, but I wanted to focus specifically the open ocean world and how you'll be interacting with it here.
Why? Because it was easily my favorite new feature for the Assassin's Creed series due to it being something fresh and different. Plus I liked ramming my big ship into tiny little ships because I'm the best pirate ever.
I played Super Mario 3D World at E3 this past year and for whatever reason it just didn't interest me at all. Yeah, it's neat and it's about time they made a 3D Mario game with mulitplayer, but the demo made it feel like yet another New Super Mario Bros. game. You know, the series that has been rehashed four times now if you count New Super Luigi U.
Technically those games are great -- don't get me wrong. And they're fun to play in co-op for sure, but something about them just never made me want to finish them. They didn't have the spirit of pretty much all of the earlier Mario games that made me fall in love and 100% each and every one of them.
I wanted to give Super Mario 3D World another chance though, and the hands-on time I got with the game yesterday has completely sold me on it. That spirit I was referring to before is undoubtedly present with the latest Mario game.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will of course bring back the ever growing multiplayer versus mode, and like always, we can expect plenty of new content. New maps and characters are a given, but the biggest surprise with this iteration is Game Lab, a feature that lets you create your own modes.
You're able to take any of the six existing game modes and make it your own. There's up to 200 parameters you can change, everything from a match's time limit, turning off stuns, enforcing melee kills only, etc. From here players can share these custom modes with others, and if a mode gains a lot of popularity then Ubisoft will add it to the public playlist for all to enjoy.
There's a ton of different things that players can alter, even going as far as making the versus mode near identical to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer mode that fans are still playing to this day.
Yeah, you read that headline right. Trust me, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it too, but sure enough, a Japanese-style role-playing game from Ubisoft. Even stranger, Child of Light is by writer Jeffrey Yohalem and creative director Pat Plourde, two of the main people behind Far Cry 3.
Child of Light is a 2D action JRPG made on the UbiArt Framework engine, the same engine that's made that last two wonderful-looking Rayman games. The team is looking to make a love letter for JRPG fans, those that fondly remember the golden age of Squaresoft, with influences from Final Fantasy to Grandia.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen some pretty bizarre events occur. From off the wall historical conspiracies, conducting time travel by way of DNA, and ancient precursors looking to destroy humanity; it's amazing to see how they manage to up the ante with each game. Even after the third numbered entry’s seemingly conclusive finale, Ubisoft have got no plans to stop their best selling franchise now.
Just prior to Gamescom, Ubisoft invited Destructoid out to their San Francisco office to play the latest build of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Along with a new setting, main character, and storyline, this new entry has some bold plans for the franchise. And judging by my hands-on time, Black Flag looks to be the series’ most open-ended and innovative title to date.
Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer has finally been revealed, and I got to capture some footage during my hands-on time. Three maps are shown off here, as well as some of the stuff you can summon from the Assault and Support packages.
I cover the basics of what I got to experience, but for a more in-depth look check out my hands-on preview of the game.
Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer has finally been revealed, and it's the biggest overhaul Infinity Ward has done since the first Modern Warfare. What I got to play at the reveal event was pretty fun, but then again that's not shocking as I've always enjoyed playing the series' multiplayer.
And I think that's how things boil down here. If you've enjoyed Call of Duty's multiplayer in the past, then you'll like Ghosts' just the same. If you've never been into the series before, well, there's nothing too different here that will suddenly pull you into the experience.
That's not to say there aren't some cool new changes that refresh things just a little, but on the whole, there's nothing huge that will make you think twice about giving this one a go.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag takes us to the age of pirates, and because of that Ubisoft's Singapore studio was tasked with creating the full on ocean simulation. I spoke with lead designer Sebastien Berton who walked me through four of the major new features we can expect to go along with all this.
First up, there's harpooning! Yes, you can go throw a bunch of harpoons into sharks, you monsters. You're rewarded for the wildlife you hunt, as animals will get you vital upgrades for your character similar to Far Cry 3's system. With the sharks in particular, you'll first hook into them with a harpoon tied to a rope. One connected, you'll be pulled through the ocean and you have throw more spears at them until they finally die.
Next we learned a little more about how the underwater system works. It's a first for the series, and everything in the water is a threat to you while you search for treasure. You have to find pockets of air to stay under longer, and sharks can mess you up really easily as you can't fight back.
Sebastien also briefly touched on hidden caves players can find, and how the fort system has been upgraded in Black Flag. Check out the interview for the full details, and check out our past previews for more on the next bigAssassin's Creed.
A common pattern for when a successful single-player IP has turned into a series is to tack on a multiplayer bit of some form. Unfortunately, when this happens, the multiplayer portion is often a half-assed attempt thrown in...
Activision’s Skylanders franchise has always smelled of a money grab to me. Copperish, like the smell of old pennies scrounged up by hard-working parents so little Linda Anne can have all the newest and coolest Skylanders characters while mom and dad work three jobs amidst recession. Jim Sterling is rather partial to the plastic lot, however, so they can’t be all bad, right?
In fact, they’re not. The new Skylanders: Swap Force is indeed rather cute and pretty fun. Vacuous, but quaint enough.
Skylanders is videogames as toys; or, Toys: The Videogame. I guess I forgot that videogames practically were, once upon a time. It’s no less inane and gimmicky and capitalistic than the stupid garbage we pestered parents for 20 years ago, but it’s a heck of a lot more polished and less likely to break like the slot cars I took around hairpin turns too quickly causing them to go flying off the track. Plus, what can be more embarrassing than having paid money for pogs?