A cursory glance at Upper One Games' Never Alone, while sure to impress, won't do it justice. Its appeal is obvious, but its intention is buried shallow under a light dusting of snow. But, it's that intention that transcends Never Alone from another gorgeous 2D platformer to a game of great importance.
Never Alone is the rare example of a title that aims to bring culture to its audience without forcing it upon them. It skirts the oft-annoying "edutainment" category by being a game first and foremost, but is nevertheless adept at instilling a sense of curiosity about history and beliefs of the people on the screen. The execution is undeniably flawed at times, but not enough so as to undo what it strives for -- to teach, and to make that process enjoyable.
Grand Theft Auto V was one of my favorite games of last year, mostly due to the insanely fun Heist missions in the campaign, and the detailed sandbox of Los Santos. It suffered from some of the same trappings as every GTA and the online portion left much to be desired, but I had an enjoyable time overall.
Although I received it late, I got a copy of GTA V for the Xbox One early this morning and dug right in. So far, I haven't found any real problems with it.
Far Cry 3 was one of my favorite games of 2012. It didn't stray too far from the normal sandbox conventions set before it, but gallivanting around beautiful island vistas and flying about with wingsuits was pretty damn fun.
For some that wasn't enough, though, and for those folks, Far Cry 4 won't be enough either. But for me, it's still pretty damn fun.
Assassin's Creed IV was a turning point for the series. While a lot of fans were disappointed by the pointless Revelations and the polarizing Assassin's Creed III, Black Flag delivered everything you could possibly want from Ubisoft, and then some. Fans embarked on quite the adventure with Edward Kenway, and many newcomers even described it as "a pirate game that happens to be Assassin's Creed."
Assassin's Creed Unity doesn't live up to the new standard set by Black Flag, but it's a journey worth taking if you're already into the series, and proves that the franchise is still sustainable.
Dragon Age II felt like a great action game that was outsourced to a lesser developer. It lacked the polish BioWare typically puts into its titles, and almost the entire affair felt like a gigantic step back from everything Origins had established. What was once a promising franchise that reminded me of the glory days of RPGs such as Baldur's Gate became a shadow of its former self, with lazily re-used assets and no sense of scale.
BioWare went back to the drawing board with Inquisition, the third Dragon Age outing, and the game is all the better for it. It feels like a culmination of its predecessors' strengths, with all of the bells and whistles that come with current-gen hardware.
I am not opposed to change. While certain circles of Halo fans find it popular to hate Halo 4, I've always appreciated what 343 Industries did with that game. Sprint was a logical next step to character movement, while loadout abilities such as shielding, dexterity, and promethean vision felt like natural additions to Halo's formula.
With Halo 5: Guardians, well, I'm not quite so excited with what 343 is doing. During my time with Guardians I often struggled to find that feeling of playing a Halo game.
There's certainly been intrigue surrounding Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Since its existence was leaked a few months back and several cryptic images of a derelict prison made the rounds, there has been speculation about what to expect from this installment. And, with the return of characters from other titles, there is evidently a larger focus on linking things back to the series' past.
Its predecessor, Resident Evil: Revelations, felt very much like a back-to-basics approach to the series, which earned a lot favor from fans. With the upcoming sequel, more characters from the past are brought back to the forefront and are drawn into a greater conspiracy. Obviously, this isn't entirely new for the franchise. However, with the greater focus on mystery in Revelations 2 and how Capcom plans to release the game in episodes, it could give the series a much needed change of pace. After Brett's hands-on time with the sequel back at Tokyo Game Show, he was left unsure of what to expect from the game. And, judging from my own time with it last month, that might be for the best.
This is one title you might want to go into blind.
Although Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was a noble effort to remaster the original game that brought first-person shooters on consoles into a post-Goldeneye era, I couldn't help but feel a bit underwhelmed by the overall package.
I enjoyed the idea of replaying the original, but there weren't enough bells and whistles to keep me interested for a lengthy period of time. Enter the Master Chief Collection, which not only gives you the remake of the first game, but a fully-featured remaster of Halo 2, as well as Halo 3 and 4.
I never thought I'd see the day when four major Halo games are under one roof [disc], but here we are. With promises of full 1080p support and 60 frames-per-second across every game, Halo: The Master Chief Collection follows through where it counts, and is now the new standard for remakes.
After the disappointing Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision needed fresh ideas, and Sledgehammer was just the developer for the job. Even before it delivered its first game, a weight has been lifted off of Infinity Ward and Treyarch's shoulders. No longer does it need to turnaround a Call of Duty every other year, and there is more time to figure out how to make the series fresh again.
As a result, Sledgehammer has a lot riding on Advanced Warfare, the newest game in the series. It has everything going for it -- a fresh futuristic theme, the same core multiplayer gameplay everyone knows and loves, and the talented Kevin Spacey running the show with the campaign.
The gambit paid off, even if it won't bring back in those who have sworn off the series.
[Update: Contest over! Winner (as chosen by RANDOM.ORG) is Lego Master! Thanks to all who participated!]
Our friends at Microsoft have provided us with an absolutely beautiful Xbox One Sunset Overdrive bundle to hand out to one lucky reader! Included in this special edition package are the following items:
Special edition white Xbox One console and wireless controller
Full game download for Sunset Overdrive
Day One Edition downloadable content including the Nothin' but the Hits gun, Fizzie outfit, and Hardcore! Hammer
Standard Xbox One chat headset
Special edition Sunset Overdrive packaging
For a chance to win, leave a comment below describing what your ideal mutant would look like... and how you'd go about blasting them into smithereens! Limit one entry per person, and the contest is open to anyone with a US mailing address. You have until Tuesday, October 28 at 11:59pm to enter.
Good luck! And remember, our Huge members get automatic entry into all contests (and double entries if you decide to enter manually), exclusive beta code giveaways for upcoming games, ad-free browsing, and more! And most of all, your $3 a month helps directly support the site you love. Try us out!
After booting the game up, it's apparent that Sunset Overdrive is the result of Insomniac Games going back to its roots. Before the developer was called upon to release the shades-of-brown-tinted Resistance and Fuse, it was known for the bright and exciting Spyro and Ratchet & Clank franchises, which were among the PlayStation's finest offerings for gamers of all ages.
Not only is Sunset bright and exciting, it's actually a good game too.
With the rise of high-definition re-releases, many fans have likely made a wish list of titles they hope will eventually get the HD treatment. Whether they be classics from the '90s or 2000s, we're seeing a variety of games find new life in today's market. Unfortunately, not every title can make that transition to modern consoles, be it for technical or design reasons.
Thankfully, Resident Evil is an exception. During a special hands-on session with the game, I experienced what it was like to return the mansion in full HD, and even got to speak with members of Capcom staff to learn about the challenges they faced with Remastered.
One of the biggest surprises of 2014 had to be the announcement of a Legend of Korra game, published by Activision and developed by Platinum Games. Yes, that Platinum Games -- the current master of action titles.
It's only been a few months since the reveal of said Korra game, and already it's out on just about every platform imaginable outside of the Wii U. While the core result is indicative of Platinum's seal of quality, it feels rushed in many ways.
[Disclosure: Nick Chester, who is currently employed at Harmonix, previously worked at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]
Fantasia holds a special place in my heart. My wife and I both grew up playing instruments, and whenever a song comes on from the film, we get to share a little moment as Disney fans. Yes, PhilharMagic is one of our favorite attractions at Disney World.
So when I heart that Harmonix was making a Fantasia game, I got excited -- until I heard that it had at least one song by Drake in it. Of course, my full judgment was reserved for the finished product, and I found it to be a magical experience overall.
Although it had a few issues in terms of content, Killer Instinct on Xbox One was actually a good game at launch. Since then, I've taken a look at both Spinal and Fulgore, and found them to be a great addition to the already well balanced cast.
After Double Helix flew the coop, the game's fate looked rather iffy until developer Iron Galaxy took over the mantle. The changing of the guard would leave anyone on edge, but IG has done well by Killer Instinct with the Season 2 update, bringing in two new characters and a brand new UI.
I grew up happily playing Shinji Mikami's games, and he's probably one of the most influential directors/producers that ever lived. I remember the first time I played Resident Evil, the day I bought Devil May Cry from EB Games, and the exact moment when my friend showed me God Hand.
All in all Mikami has worked on over 20 major games that have impacted the industry in some way. Even if The Evil Within is one of the worst in the bunch, it's still in good company.