January has come and gone, but that doesn't mean there weren't some great games to play. Just look at all the amazing "indie" games that hit the PC this month.
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Republique was quite the ambitious Kickstarter project. With big names like Jennifer Hale and David Hayter attached, not to mention the million dollar budget, to say this stealth adventure promised quite a bit is an understatement.
Having played the first of five episodes, I can safely say that most of the lofty goals have been met, but there is a bit more that's yet to be seen.
Plants vs. Zombies launched in 2009 on the PC and absolutely changed the face of tower defense games. It was a cultural phenomenon, inspiring even the most infrequent of gamers to play for hours on end, popping off one zombie's head after another with reckless abandon.
But the original game was also a premium purchase, and with $20, you got every bit of content right away. The sequel, Plants vs. Zombies 2, offers up a very different approach -- it's free-to-play only, and, at first, it's launching exclusively on iOS devices.
Everything about this approach has disaster written all over it, but somehow, Plants vs. Zombies 2 actually pulls through mostly unscathed.
After a pretty tantalizing teaser, Square Enix was all set to announce the anticipated follow-up to the successful Deus Ex Human Revolution -- and much to the ire of fans, it ended up being a mobile exclusive.
It's not all bad news though, as Deus Ex: The Fall actually works pretty well considering the platform, and offers up a lighter, more portable version of Human Revolution. That said, it would have been a much better experience on a dedicated portable -- or at the very least, anything offering tactile controls.
May was largely a quiet month for new game releases. Despite what felt like a slower schedule, especially coming off of a rather absurd April, here on Destructoid we did have a pair of 10s with the portable Donkey Kong Country Returns 3Dand captivating, clay-fueled puzzler The Swapper. Quantity isn't everything!
One thing is for sure, May presented us with an eclectic group of titles. Take a look at some of the genres represented in this breakdown of everything we covered.
Watch Dogs has been on everyone's radar ever since its surprise debut at E3 last year. It's an open world game, but what makes this one so unique is that you play as Aiden Pearce, an expert hacker who can control the connected city of Chicago right in the palm of his hands.
Anything that's electronic or connected online can be controlled with ease, and with this power Aiden will use whatever means necessary to get revenge on those that have wronged him. At the same time, Aiden becomes sort of a vigilante for the city of Chicago, and your actions will have an impact upon the game's world.
Those of you worried about story spoilers need not fear, as Ubisoft ran us through a live demo that merely consisted of exploring the open world environment to show us just how much future Chicago can offer players.
This review recap is brought to you by Daft Punk's Alive 2007, which fueled the incessant copying and pasting efforts needed to put one of these together. I don't feel like I've blinked since I started working on this, but it's worth it!
April was notable in that most of what we covered was smaller-scale and released through digital channels rather than at retail. We had Dead Island Riptide, sure, but there was also the likes of Don't Starveand Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Speaking of which, did you notice that video reviews are back? There's going to be plenty more of those on the way.
Which games released in April, if any, decimated your free time?
Not content with taking the Doodle Jump formula and simply placing Sonic in it with Sonic Jump, Sega has tapped a new mobile avenue, the 3D endless runner. Surprisingly, this sub-genre is the one that actually suits Sonic the most -- perhaps more than any IP ever could.
But as you can imagine, with the problematic and pushy nature of in-app-purchasing, Sega's handling of the franchise in general, and some developer's inability to translate quality into the mobile arena, a whole heap of things could go wrong.
What a month! Now that March is well behind us (and we remembered to take a look back to ponder), I feel confident in saying that between BioShock Infiniteand Tomb Raider, and yet another Gears of War, we are well into this year of big-budget gaming.
Take a look at everything we reviewed in March -- there's a lot! What was your jam? What did you miss out on? I still need to grab copies of HarmoKnightand Luigi's Mansion for my 3DS. The poor guy has gotten dusty and now only I'm to blame for it.
What is it that makes fishing such a compelling mechanic to developers? Ridiculous Fishing helps to answer that question. It's takes all of the moment-to-moment experiences associated with fishing (calm, anticipation, surprise, disappointment, pride, shame, epiphany) and turns them all up to appropriately ridiculous levels of intensity. That's why it's the best fishing game.
When the makers of Alien vs. Predator: Evolution saw the negative press and subsequent fallout regarding Aliens: Colonial Marines, they must have laughed. I imagine them bellowing obnoxiously, roaring their gleeful approval that no matter what their game will be like, there's no way it could be considered anywhere near as bad.
Sadly, these hypothetical developers are wholly mistaken. Evolution is ironically titled, as backward and inefficient as it is. It manages to do the seemingly impossible and rival Colonial Marines in its awfulness. Just when Aliens fans thought things could only get better, along comes Angry Mob Games to demonstrate that, no, the franchise isn't done being pissed on yet.
It's been a couple years since Zen Studios first took on the Marvel license and subsequently released expertly crafted tables centered around the biggest characters and story arcs in the comic book giant's vast library. Each table outdid the last, and it seemed like there was no way they could do any better with the next tables. Then they did.
After fifteen tables and no signs of slowing down, the studiohas done a brilliant job with the Marvel license, so what would the next logical step be for the masterminds at Zen? Well, Star Wars Pinball, of course.
All this Grand Theft Auto anniversary talk makes me feel old. It feels like just yesterday I was listening to Michael Jackson, swerving around as Tommy Vercetti, and taking in the sights of Rockstar's faux-Miami setting.
I think a lot of people missed out on Vice City because it came out so soon after Grand Theft Auto III, and that's a shame. Just like Grand Theft Auto III on mobile devices before it, this new anniversary edition honors the franchise's legacy: so long as you're willing to put up with touch controls.
Baldur's Gate will forever be regarded as one of the classic PC RPGs. A lot of people never experienced it back in 1998, and it's not exactly the best-looking game anymore. To complicate things, it can be a pain to get the old game to run on newer machines, even after GOG.com began selling the title.
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition not only remedies these issues, it also adds a good amount of new content, making it way easier to recommend to someone who previously missed out.
Apple's supply chain has grown so big that we'll never see the 'one more thing' kind of surprise again. For example, they announced this morning that 100 million iPads have been sold to date.
You won't be surprised to hear that Apple announced the iPad Mini at their press conference today in San Jose, California. As expected, it's a shrunk down standard iPad, now sized at 7.9 inches, with the same 1024 x 768 resolution as the original iPad. The Apple A5 chip is doing the heaving lifting inside for this little guy. It weighs just .68 lbs, and is as thick as a pencil. A reduced width bezel makes it holdable with one hand.
It will be available in both white and black, with slate or sliver backs, like the new iPhone 5. It also uses the new Lightning connector, and has the same 10-hour battery life.
The iPad Mini Wifi 16GB model will be priced at $329. 32GB and 64GB are priced at $429 and $529. Pre-orders start this Friday, with the WiFi models shipping November 2.
The 4th generation (non-mini) iPad uses the Apple A6X chipset, doubling the performance for CPU tasks and graphics performance. Wifi performance is now 2 times faster, too. The Retina display returns. Price is exactly the same as always, starting at $499 for 16GB base model.
A developer talking passionately about its game, a journalist receiving answers to questions without fail, and nothing in between keeping either side from doing what they set out to do. This is how it should be, but it rarely ever is these days.
Games have become more than entertainment. They are now multimillion dollar investments that can sink a company with 1,000+ employees or propel a humble one to graze the Fortune 500. Marketing, press representation, media tours, exclusive deals, sponsorships, trade show booths, partners, podcasts, blogs, downloadable content schedules, and social media presence have become part of the song and dance that is bringing a game to market in 2012.
But, over there -- way over there -- is a small studio called Stoic that is making a game like it’s 1999 again.