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Preview: Aban Hawkins & the 1001 Spikes photo
Preview: Aban Hawkins & the 1001 Spikes
by Chris Carter

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.

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Impressions: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (Wii U) photo
Impressions: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (Wii U)
by Ian Bonds

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.

Arguably, this may be the best version yet.

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The open ocean makes Assassin's Creed feel fresh again photo
The open ocean makes Assassin's Creed feel fresh again
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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.

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Super Mario 3D World is an absolute blast to play photo
Super Mario 3D World is an absolute blast to play
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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.

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Create & share custom matches in AC IV's multiplayer photo
Create & share custom matches in AC IV's multiplayer
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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.

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Yes really: Child of Light is a JRPG from Ubisoft photo
Yes really: Child of Light is a JRPG from Ubisoft
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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

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Hands-on with Assassinís Creed IV: Black Flag photo
Hands-on with Assassinís Creed IV: Black Flag
by Alessandro Fillari

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.

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2:30 PM on 08.16.2013

Gameplay video of Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer

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.

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Hands-on with Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer offerings photo
Hands-on with Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer offerings
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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.

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Harpoon sharks and explore the sea in Assassin's Creed IV photo
Harpoon sharks and explore the sea in Assassin's Creed IV
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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 big Assassin's Creed.

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8:00 AM on 07.31.2013

Batman: Arkham Origins multiplayer mode revealed

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...

Casey Baker



Skylanders Swap Force is surprisingly more fun than evil photo
Skylanders Swap Force is surprisingly more fun than evil
by Steven Hansen

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?

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Getting drawn into Scribblenauts Unmasked  photo
Getting drawn into Scribblenauts Unmasked
by Dale North

I took a break from the crowded show floor of San Diego Comic-Con to relax for a bit with the latest build of 5th Cell's upcoming game, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. Scribblenauts has always been one of those games that's easy to pick up but hard to break away from, but the new superhero twist in this latest game gives us even more to get lost in.

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Sonic Lost World has a casino world called Frozen Factory photo
Sonic Lost World has a casino world called Frozen Factory
by Dale North

Sonic games have to have a casino world, right? We got an early look at a newly revealed world in Sonic Lost World on the Wii U called Frozen Factory here at San Diego Comic-Con. Despite the name, it's a full-blown casino zone.

Remember Casino Night from Sonic 2? What a great stage (with great music), right? This one looks to be just as fun.

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Preview: The Wonderful 101 from the beginning photo
Preview: The Wonderful 101 from the beginning
by Dale North

Nintendo has a Gaming Lounge here at San Diego where you can play all of their upcoming games, including upcoming Wii U game The Wonderful 101, but we had the chance to go behind closed doors to see something new. We were able to play The Wonderful 101 from the very beginning, giving us a good luck at the game's opening and first few missions.

It's bus-punchingly good.

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Wii U delay brought way more content to Rayman Legends photo
Wii U delay brought way more content to Rayman Legends
by Steven Hansen

Rayman Legends is finally almost here. The delay of the Wii U version after the announcement of PS3, 360, and Vita ports seems worlds away, but I'm finally about to embark on the evolution of the gorgeous, 2D platforming goodness I fell in love with in Rayman Origins. Better still, this past half year of extra development time has brought about a lot of additions to the game that we wouldn't otherwise have seen.

Series creator Michel Ancel called Legends "the biggest Rayman game ever," as well as the most polished. There was trepidation even at Ubisoft Montpellier when the game got pushed back because, Ancel noted, the team "didn't hear about how [they] would be able to use that time." Turns out, they were able to cram quite a few more things into Legends, along with churning out several excellent ports.

In addition to the addictive Kung Foot minigame I posted about earlier, Legends has gained "Invasion" levels, an antagonistic appearance by Dark Rayman, new 3D bosses, and complete remasters of the team's favorite levels from Rayman Origins.

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