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Wolfenstein: The New Order is as middling as I feared photo
Wolfenstein: The New Order is as middling as I feared
by Abel Girmay

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a videogame that has guns in it, and you use these guns to kill people. That's about as remarkable a statement as I could rack my brain for after spending three hours with game.

As much as some Wolfenstein fans may want to greet The New Order with fanfare and anticipation, I have to say folks, there just doesn't seem anything noteworthy to this newest title. With the exception of a few moments, Wolfenstein: The New Order feels like a phoned-in, by the numbers first-person shooter.

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Why Titanfall will be my next big gaming obsession photo
Why Titanfall will be my next big gaming obsession
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

It was the beginning of 2013 when I finally just got tired of the competitive aspect of first-person shooters. It's been my favorite genre ever since the GoldenEye 64 days, but over the last few years I've just been losing more and more interest in them. That's not to say there haven't been some great competitive FPS games of course. PlanetSide 2, Tribes: Ascend, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Halo 4 were some of the last ones I really got into, and while they were great, they just weren't able to hold my interest for long.

And outside of playing them for the purpose of coverage on Destructoid at preview events, I didn't even touch Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4's multiplayer after they launched. Playing the preview builds was enough for me, a "been there, done that" sort of feeling.

Titanfall, though -- it's the game-changer for me. I've played it in shorts bursts at E3 and PAX, but last week I got to go hands-on for several hours, and feel confident in saying it makes me feel as if I'm rediscovering the genre like I did in the Nintendo 64 days.

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The Toymaker returns in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 photo
The Toymaker returns in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

The Toymaker was first introduced in Mirror of Fate, and he returns for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Dracula is looking for the Mirror of Fate, and when the Toymaker is about to present one clue pointing to the mirror he gets floor molested and turned into a big jerky boss fight.

I'm actually really looking forward to Lords of Shadow 2, it's just something about this boss fight that kind of turned me off. I think it's the lack of music. What's up with that? Is Konami worried about getting flagged some weasel claimer?

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Enemy Front is a fresh approach to World War II shooters photo
Enemy Front is a fresh approach to World War II shooters
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Back in 2011 CI Games announced Enemy Front, a World War II shooter that was being worked on by Stuart Black who was the guy responsible for Black. It's funny how over-hyped that game was looking back.

Anyway, Black left at some point in 2012 and since then Enemy Front was completely reworked. It's still a World War II shooter, but instead of just being another colorless run-and-gun shooter like Call of Duty, the developers at CI have taken more of a fresh approach to the genre that made me think of it as a nice cross between Bad Company and Far Cry 3 during my hands-on time.

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Preview: Dark Souls II photo
Preview: Dark Souls II
by Alessandro Fillari

As one of the most celebrated and admired games of the last generation, the Souls series from the developers at From Software has many admirers and critics. Many swear by its uncompromising and hardcore gameplay systems and design, while others view it as unfair and unnecessarily difficult. Regardless, it's safe to say that the series, particularly Dark Souls, has garnered a lot of attention for the once niche developer.

With the next entry only a little more than a month away, many of its devotees are itching for their next chance to venture into the world of Dark Souls. During Namco Bandai's media event held earlier this week, Destructoid got the chance to try out an hour of the game and experience what From Software has in store for the curious and hardcore alike.

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Lords of the Fallen won't be a walk in the park photo
Lords of the Fallen won't be a walk in the park
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

A couple of weeks ago I wrote up this little story asking for CI Games to show us some real gameplay footage of Lords of the Fallen. Well, there's still no footage but at the very least I got to see the game in action earlier this week in person and boy was I impressed.

Visually the game looks like it's truly taking advantage of the new gaming hardware. In fact the screenshots don't do the game justice. From the character designs, to the levels that you'll be traversing in a similar style to the Zelda series, it all has a ton of detail that brings this medieval fantasy to life.

What I'm really looking forward to is the combat. The action-RPG is more strategy rather than a hack-and-slash, and you really have to experiment with each fight to see what works. Going in blindly swinging will just get your ass kicked, especially against the bosses that can take you out in one hit sometimes. That should tell you something especially considering that most fights will typically be one-on-one battles. 

"We wanted to try to make it feel as if Tekken or Street Fighter was imbued inside every one-on-one [fight]," executive producer Tomasz Gop told us. That said it's not trying to be a completely hardcore game as there will be a lot of tools to help you experiment and not get totally frustrated. "I think it's a tactical kind of game," Tomasz commented. "Very advanced in terms of combat, but at the same time we're trying to make sure that it's not a treadmill kind of experience."

Most of what I saw was pretty much covered by Destructoid in the past if you want to learn a little more about the combat system and character customization. I do want to give you a deeper dive, but not until we get some actual hands-on time. Otherwise, Lords of the Fallen will be out this Fall for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare photo
Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
by Alessandro Fillari

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 at PopCap Games to bring such an interesting twist to their hugely popular franchise. As a fan of the series, I was mostly curious to see how it would translate from a tower defense style game to an online focused shooter.

But strangely enough, the transition worked out surprisingly well. And then some. Using the Frostbite 3 engine, PopCap Games took a chance and made its first foray into 3D, bringing along many of its characters from the series. EA invited some the press out to try a new build of the class-based shooter Garden Warfare and it turns out it's still just as strategic as ever.

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Preview: The first four hours of Thief photo
Preview: The first four hours of Thief
by Alessandro Fillari

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.

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is bold and uncompromising photo
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is bold and uncompromising
by Alessandro Fillari

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.

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Alien: Isolation captures the mood of Ridley Scott's film photo
Alien: Isolation captures the mood of Ridley Scott's film
by Brett Makedonski

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.

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Alien: Isolation is nothing like Colonial Marines photo
Alien: Isolation is nothing like Colonial Marines
by Brett Makedonski

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.

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Alien: Isolation is the new game in the Alien franchise photo
Alien: Isolation is the new game in the Alien franchise
by Brett Makedonski

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.

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Max: Curse of Brotherhood should prove an endearing romp photo
Max: Curse of Brotherhood should prove an endearing romp
by Steven Hansen

I quite liked the first Max and the Magic Marker. It was a cute little 2D game that let me draw things and crush enemies with them. I was surprised to hear of a sequel, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, especially as one of the only smaller games Microsoft trumped up at its E3 conference this year.

Of course, this isn't exactly a small game. In fact, it's practically an entirely different game, and not just because of the jump to 3D graphics. Gone are your freewheeling drawing powers, replaced by a series of contextually based drawing puzzles.

There's also a villain that looks like a cross between Destructoid's Conrad Zimmerman and some sort of decrepit slug monster.

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Defending earth against new threats in XCOM: Enemy Within photo
Defending earth against new threats in XCOM: Enemy Within
by Steven Hansen

If you haven’t played the eXcellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you should. However, now there is a caveat to that. You should play it, but you should probably wait until November 12 to do so because that’s when the Enemy Within eXpansion comes out

Those who own Enemy Unknown on PC or Mac will need to plunk $30 down on the expansion and start a new XCOM campaign to eXperience the content. Console owners can nab a bundle of Enemy Unknown, all its DLC, and Enemy Within for $40, which is a particularly lovely deal if you haven’t picked the game up yet.

While things like new enemy types and cybernetic/biological modifications for your soldiers are cool, I recently got to go hands-on with some meatier content that has me satisfied XCOM fans should enjoy this shadowy expansion.

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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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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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