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 Infinite and Tomb Raider, and yet another Gears of War, we are well into ...
I love the SimCity series. I played the first one for countless hours growing up, and my younger years were filled with endless play sessions of SimCity 2000 and 3000. I wanted to like the latest SimCity. The visual style looks great, and it seemed like a good idea to streamline some of the games more radical detail.
Sadly, SimCity has some weird design decisions, and the worst problem with it is the fact that you always have to be online to play. This might be overlooked as a minor annoyance, but the servers aren't up to the task of handling the player load. I've had a hard time getting online to play, and it's made judging it as a game difficult.
We tossed it out there to you to see what you wanted us to do, and you responded loud and clear that the game deserved to be reviewed in its current state. You are why we review games, and you are the ones that care about our opinions.
Things might get better in the future for SimCity, but right now it's bad and unplayable at times. This review is based in part on time spent before release when I was able to connect, but mostly my opinions are formed on the actual retail version of the game.
Our review for SimCity is coming, but server issues are making the game unplayable. I'm sure you're already aware of the need to always be online to play, but it goes a lot deeper than just a DRM issue. Data isn't stored locally, so server issues can destroy save games and potentially cause the loss of dozens of hours of gameplay. Amazon has even pulled the game from their digital store.
SimCity has a big focus on region gameplay, where cities can be connected with up to fourteen other cities. This concept is interesting and has some promise, but it just fails to work correctly with the way the servers are right now. Basically, the game is broken, and not worth buying at all right now.
InXile's newest roleplaying game and spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera, has been seeking funding on Kickstarter for well under a day. After three hours, it had already secured half of its $900,000 goal. It's now fully backed.
Sitting pretty at $935,000 at the time of writing this (and likely a whole lot more when you start reading), I think anyone wondering if people really care about Planescape: Torment any more have their answer. I suspect that the project won't struggle to reach its stretch goals either, meaning that the extra writers and art that inXile mentioned desiring will become a reality.
I spoke with Kevin Saunders and Colin McComb from inXile a day ago about the project and their experiences with Kickstarter, so keep an eye out for that later today. They were cautiously optimistic about the potential success of their latest crowd-funding attempt, and now they're probably feeling pretty damn good.
This giant mod is really a whole new game built with StarCraft II's tool set. It's a masively-multiplayer online game featuring classes, character customization with skills and abilities, raids for players to tackle together, and player vs. player content if you don't feel like working together.
StarCraft Universewill be free to play if you own StarCraft II. Just search for it on Battle.net in the mod section.
One of the very first games I ever owned that truly showed me the joy of gaming was SimCity 2000 for the Mac. I lost hours of my life managing the shit out of my various towns, altering the land to best serve my capitalist needs, and repeatedly failing to save Oakland after the firestorms.
I never got around to the other Sim City games after 2000, largely due to becoming primarily a console gamer. Now that I own a beast of a PC rig, there's no way I can pass up the new SimCity, even with as intrusive DRM measures as there are.
Last week, I got to visit Maxis's offices just east of San Francisco where I finally went hands-on with the city simulation title. I've certainly kept up with all our coverage, but it didn't really prepare me for what I was about to experience. I went in with the strategy I used to use when creating my utopias in SimCity 2000, but quickly found out that my old plans wouldn't cut it. While a bit jarring to my sense of nostalgia at first, I quickly found myself getting sucked into the experience.
Seduce Me won't be releasing on Steam, but perhaps it's not all bad. When the self-described "erotic strategy game" was taken down from Steam Greenlight, a bunch of outlets covered the removal, calling attention to a title we might have otherwise overlooked. It is available now for PC/Mac directly from No Reply Games, should you be in the market for this sort of thing.
The developers behind Seduce Me, Andrejs Skuja and Miriam Bellard, both used to work at Killzone maker Guerrilla Games. Just goes to show that you can't be too quick to judge based on first impressions. While I have no personal interest in this game, I'm glad to see the pair branch out to genuinely work on a genre that isn't exactly known for its excellence.
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.
Epic Mickey is easily among the more tragic wastes of potential we've seen in the videogame industry. It first whipped fans into a frothy lather of excitement when concept images were shown, displaying a twisted and macabre take on the Disney universe, promising a truly dark Mickey Mouse adventure.
The more the game developed, the more this premise was neutered, as Disney's sugary overseers refused to take the brave steps needed to realize those early visions. By the time Epic Mickey came out, it was nowhere near as remarkable as it could have been.
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, however, is quite remarkable indeed ... but only because it's so rubbish.
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.
[Update: As noted by GameSpot, Riot Games has since come out to confirm that the offline mode for League of Legends won't be playable from home or LAN centers. VP of eSports Dustin Beck said that "We built an offline solution for the Finals for the pros to be protected from internet connectivity issues."]
These past few weeks must have been particularly hectic for Riot Games. Despite some technical problems, the League of Legends season two World Playoffs continued after a delay, and now we are all set for the Finals this weekend. Here's hoping that everything goes smoothly.
At a Q&A session, Riot CEO Brandon Beck said that a LAN (i.e., "offline") version of the immensely popular MOBA is in the works for hosting tournaments and should be used tomorrow at the big event. It's unclear if such a client will ever release to the public.
Regarding a possible Mac client for League of Legends, Riot said during the Q&A that "We'll have some news soon on that front."
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.
After reaching level 60, getting my ass kicked one too many times in Inferno, and ultimately finding the real-money auction house to be more effort than the payoffs were worth, I quit playing Diablo III. It seems Blizzard has been listening to fan feedback and will be greatly improving the end-game content.
Patch 1.0.4 is set to introduce the Paragon System, which has 100 new levels you can put experience toward upon hitting 60. Each Paragon level will improve core stats like Strength and Intelligence "in amounts similar to what you'd gain from a normal level" while also offering 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find.
Under this new approach, Blizzard will be capping Magic Find and Gold Find at 300% before taking Nephalem Valor into account. You'll hit that cap at Paragon level 100, rendering items with those properties increasingly unnecessary as you progress. No more gear swapping!
"The time to reach the upper Paragon levels approximates the long-term time investment required to get a level 99 character in Diablo II," says Blizzard. To help, Nephalem Valor will also give off a 15% experience bonus per stack. Welp, looks like they got me. I need to play more Diablo III.
[Destructoid is grabbing its rail gun and heading to Dallas, Texas this weekend for QuakeCon. Stay posted for game news, previews, and strange happenings from the infamous LAN room.]
Turns out those 17 years spent begging on your knees, like the dirty Nazi-monk you are, paid off!
Rise of the Triad, the zany 1995 first-person shooter helmed by post-id Software Tom Hall, will receive a sequel developed by Apogee Software and Interceptor Entertainment. This reboot will be available on PC and Mac (via Steam) later this year.
The developers are staying faithful to the original with five playable characters, a single-player campaign, and chaotic multiplayer. Even dog mode and the Excalibat will return! You can also play with the original sounds and music. Though nostalgia is a major goal of this release, the game is being made in Unreal Engine 3 and will feature a heavy metal rendition of the original soundtrack.
World of Warcraft's fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will be arriving on September 25, 2012. Alongside this news, Blizzard has opened up presales for standard digital ($39.99) and digital deluxe ($59.99) versions of the game, which will be available to play the moment Mists of Pandaria is unlocked.
For the extra $20, players are getting the Imperial Quilen flying mount; the Lucky Quilen Cub pet; an exclusive Diablo III banner sigil and accent; and exclusive StarCraft II portraits: the infested orc and the night elf Templar.
If it's a goodie-filled retail copy you're after instead, there's a $79.99 Collector's Edition with the aforementioned digital items, in addition to a behind-the-scenes DVD and Blu-ray, a 20-orchestral-piece soundtrack, a 208-page The Art of Mists of Pandaria book, and a Chen Stormstout mouse pad.
It may have started later than anticipated, but this year's Steam summer sale has commenced, so everyone be quiet and go scan the home page for savings like you've never scanned before.
Daily deals will run today through Sunday, July 22 and this time we've also got "flash sales" to keep up with. These are discounts that are available for less time than even the dailies; the first batch includes Deus Ex: Human Revolution ($7.49), Mafia II ($7.49), Rayman Origins ($14.99), and SpaceChem ($2.49).
Beyond that, Steam is letting users vote on which games they'd like to see go on sale. If you're having trouble viewing specific game pages or even logging in to the website, you aren't alone. Also, remember to pace yourself so you don't overpay for something that ends up being a heavily discounted daily deal.