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7:00 AM on 02.24.2015

The first three rounds of Sid Meier's Starships are not enough

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth released to mixed reactions. I loved how it took the took the classic gameplay to alien worlds, and I especially appreciated its underlying narrative about the future of the human race. ...

Darren Nakamura




PC Port Report: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty photo
PC Port Report: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
by Darren Nakamura

Like Chris, I had my first taste of Oddworld when it was new, back on the PlayStation in 1997. Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus were two of my favorite titles from that era, so when Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty was announced, I was pretty stoked to revisit the adventure through RuptureFarms and the surrounding areas.

To my chagrin, the PC version would not launch for many months after the PlayStation 4 version. At the very least, the wait is justified; New 'n' Tasty runs beautifully on my aging computer, and it features some of the bells and whistles that come with a Steam release too.

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Review: Blackguards 2 photo
Review: Blackguards 2
by Darren Nakamura

A few weeks ago, I called Blackguards 2 "deep, unfriendly, and buggy." I had put several hours into the tactical role-playing game, but hadn't seen enough of the story to comfortably put out a review.

Fast forward to today, and my original assessment requires a bit of tweaking. Within the first two weeks of its release, Daedalic put out two huge patches, each aiming to fix the stability issues that plagued Blackguards 2 at launch. The patches did introduce their own issues, but for the most part I would describe it now as only deep and unfriendly. Two out of three ain't bad.

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Starr Mazer adds Transformers composer Vince DiCola, high profile crossovers photo
Starr Mazer adds Transformers composer Vince DiCola, high profile crossovers
by Darren Nakamura

Starr Mazer came out of the gate with an impressive roster of artists working on its soundtrack. Despite having a huge list of talent to pull from, developer Imagos Softworks has added another composer sure to pull on some nostalgia strings. Vince DiCola, composer of the 1986 Transformers movie soundtrack, has joined the team of contributors.

Over the past couple weeks, Starr Mazer has also announced crossover projects with other high profile Kickstarter titles. The inclusion of Children of Morta, Hyper Light Drifter, and Shovel Knight has been known, but the video above collects the interactions together, along with the announced voice cast. Paradise Lost: First Contact has also announced a crossover, though it is not featured in the video.

Below, a new trailer has been cut together, and it features the scene that made people interested in the point-and-click/shmup mashup in the first place. Yes, I want to jump off a ledge and have my remote-controlled spaceship catch me on the way down.

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Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Lost Lords photo
Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Lost Lords
by Darren Nakamura

I would not last a day in Westeros. My best hope would be to spend some time in Oldtown to train as a maester, and even though it would help to protect me from personally going to war, I would probably be too close to the political intrigue underneath it all.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Lost Lords is out, and now some of the seeds sown in Episode One are ready to harvest. As it turns out, I made all of the wrong decisions in Iron From Ice, and I continue to make all of the wrong decisions. With the path it is currently on, my version of House Forrester is doomed.

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Review: Nihilumbra photo
Review: Nihilumbra
by Greg Tito

There's a nugget of a solid game here in Nihilumbra. Unlike many of the PlayStation Vita's offerings, it uses the touchscreen in a novel way that doesn't feel tacked on or forced. And the puzzle-platforming is supported well by an ethereal art style, score, and sound design.

You just have to wade through a jumble of pseudo-philosophy to get to it.

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Review: Grim Fandango photo
Review: Grim Fandango
by Steven Hansen

Grim Fandango didn't need a remaster as much as it needed a re-release. Many, myself included, have found it difficult to track down a copy to play. We've had an entire digital catalog--GOG.com--devoted to getting good, old games up for sale on a digital storefront, but no Grim Fandango?

The touch-ups are appreciated. You can switch between the original and remastered look at the touch of a button. The latter has some nice dynamic lighting and new character models, but I stuck mostly with the former for its more vibrant colors. The in-game commentary is a nice touch. The non-tank controls are welcomed (as is the cheeky trophy for playing with tank controls).

No bones about it, though, Grim Fandango holds up on its original merits as a stylish, humerus adventure.

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel illustrates the danger of nebulous season passes photo
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel illustrates the danger of nebulous season passes
by Darren Nakamura

Over the weekend, details came out of PAX Australia regarding the first downloadable Vault Hunter for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. At first, it looked to me like a commendable gesture for a series that receives a lot of criticism on its downloadable content policy. To include a new character in addition to the originally promised content for those loyal enough to buy a season pass seemed worthy of applause. However, that image was based on a misinterpretation of the official blog post's line that references "all four of the upcoming add-on content packs," and a few other (incorrect) assumptions.

As it turns out, the Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack is DLC #1 for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (November 11 is upcoming, after all), and I could only feel more disappointed by that revelation if I had actually purchased this iteration's season pass. My condolences go out to those who did.

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Review: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth photo
Review: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
by Darren Nakamura

"Civilization, but set in the future on an alien planet." That is really all Firaxis and 2K needed to say to get people excited for the next entry in the long-running turn-based strategy series. There is a fair amount of new ideas to be found here: new systems to explore, new technology to research, and new obstacles to overcome.

But even with everything new, Civilization: Beyond Earth is still Civilization, but set in the future on an alien planet. And it is exactly as good as that sounds.

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Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel photo
Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
by Darren Nakamura

[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, one of the writers for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I can imagine that mantra circulating the 2K Australia office as the team worked on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Gearbox had a huge hit on its hands with Borderlands 2, and there is not much reason to mess with a winning formula.

To be clear, a lot of what matters is new. The story, playable characters, environments, dialogue, and physics are all new. Despite that, it all feels very familiar. Where a number of core systems were significantly upgraded between the first and second games in the series, The Pre-Sequel's additions are much less pronounced.

One odd aspect of some of the new content that this entry brings to the vault hunting universe is that it feels more like Borderlands than Borderlands 2 in some ways, for better and for worse.

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Review: Costume Quest 2 photo
Review: Costume Quest 2
by Alasdair Duncan

The original Costume Quest was a seminal game for Double Fine; it was the first game to come out of Amnesia Fortnight, a two-week period of experimenting with small-scale games. Costume Quest's success led the way for Stacking, Iron Brigade, and other download-only games. 

Now, Costume Quest 2 is here just a few weeks before Halloween and it's delivering the same fun as the original. It may be a little too similar in some spots, but there are plenty of improvements to satisfy fans.

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Civilization: Beyond Earth makes weekends disappear photo
Civilization: Beyond Earth makes weekends disappear
by Darren Nakamura

The Civilization series is famous for playing out in unplanned marathon sessions, where "one more turn" quickly turns into five more turns, which turn into another hour, before the player finally looks away from the screen to see that it is starting to get light outside. Knowing this, I'm not sure what I was thinking starting the preview build of Civilization: Beyond Earth on a Friday night.

By the time I finished for that session, I had played for eight hours straight and it was then four in the morning. Then I went to sleep, woke up four hours later, and started playing again, eventually logging almost a full day's worth of play time in a single weekend.

Yes, this is still Civilization through and through, but there are some new concepts included that impact gameplay in significant ways. Though there are clear connections, Beyond Earth is far more than just a reskinning of Civilization V.

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Review: Wasteland 2 photo
Review: Wasteland 2
by Alasdair Duncan

[Disclosure: I backed the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and as such received an Early Access copy of the game.]

Wasteland 2 is one of the projects that saw success in the wake of Double Fine's Broken Age. Just a month after Tim Schafer's adventure game project blew past its funding goal, Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment also saw their Kickstarter pull in millions of dollars.

Despite the original Wasteland dating back to 1988, there were more than enough fans who wanted to see a sequel made. So Wasteland 2 exists in a strange position where the fans who remember the original played a very different game than the one that's been delivered in 2014.

While PC RPGs have changed a lot over the years, Wasteland 2 is still very old-school in a lot of ways -- some good, some bad -- and remains true to its intentions and origins.

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I have a feeling Massive Chalice is going to be great photo
I have a feeling Massive Chalice is going to be great
by Steven Hansen

We've heard little from Massive Chalice in the year and change since its successful crowdfunding campaign that took in over a million dollars following Double Fine's even more successful campaign for Broken Age.

Just like that, though (imagine I snapped my fingers), it exists. It is at PAX and playable if you're there. If you're not, the video below features Brad Muir walking you through the PAX demo. Third option: I played the dang thing myself last week and will tell you all about it. It is good. 

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Review: Gods Will Be Watching photo
Review: Gods Will Be Watching
by Alasdair Duncan

Gods Will Be Watching is a tough game. It puts the player in positions that they'd rather not be in and asks them to make difficult choices. In order to succeed at a mission, you may have to do unthinkable things, betray your morals, and become a monster just to survive a little longer.

It's also tough in another sense: the game is bloody hard. 

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Valve's Steam Machine program and controller pushed back into 2015 photo
Valve's Steam Machine program and controller pushed back into 2015
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Valve's Eric Hope took to the Steam forums today and announced that they're delaying the release of the Steam Machine program and the Steam controller into 2015.

"We’re now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers. It's generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements. Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014."

Hope noted that they're eager to get Steam Machines out there, but their number one priority is making sure they create the "best gaming experience possible."

How this will exactly impact the release of the SteamOS or all of the Steam Machines various PC makers are working on is unclear at this time. 

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