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3:00 PM on 02.26.2015

Y2K is a surrealist fantasy told through the lens of a Murakami-loving hipster

Y2K began with protagonist Alex Eggleston returning to his his hometown from college. I watched him gaze out of bus windows until the scene shifted to him sharing a seat with a man in a panda costume. This was jarring enough to give Alex reason to look completely shaken and offended, and as the jaunty soundtrack suggested, should have felt super quirky and weird. It didn't.

Brittany Vincent




We've got to go to Mars in Offworld Trading Company photo
We've got to go to Mars in Offworld Trading Company
by Jason Faulkner

In a future where corporate greed has depleted the Earth's resources, humanity has taken to space to acquire the goods needed for survival. The asteroid belt was supposed to be the great salvation, an almost limitless bastion of metal and minerals which could be used to prop our depleted world up. However, the same corporations that harvested the Earth dry laid claim to all the most bountiful asteroids, forming a syndicate that continued to subjugate even the most powerful of the world's governments. That's where you come in. In one last great experiment in capitalism, you'll be claiming stake in the New Martian Colonies, the last place within humanity's reach that hasn't been claimed by the hand of the syndicates.

Offworld Trading Company is being produced by Stardock, developed by Mohawk Games, and headed by Soren Johnson, Civilization IV's lead designer. It's a real-time strategy where there are no armies to move, units to build, or cities to conquer. Instead your fight is purely financial; sell high, buy low, and bankrupt the competition. It's still in Steam Early Access, but the main gameplay modes are already all there. There's a dynamic campaign in which you'll play through a series of scenarios to make your way to the top of the Martian economy. They've also integrated a fairly intuitive set of tutorials that help get you into the game quickly, as well as take you through the advanced mechanics if you need the extra help. Multiplayer is also fully integrated, although when I checked there weren't a ton of people playing the game yet.

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The first three rounds of Sid Meier's Starships are not enough photo
The first three rounds of Sid Meier's Starships are not enough
by Darren Nakamura

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. Other long-time fans of the series saw it as derivative of Civ V, with too little added and too much stripped out.

Like it or not, one thing that Beyond Earth has done is to lay the foundation for Sid Meier's Starships. It continues the story of the human settlements on an alien planet, far enough into the future that they are able to travel between stars in less time than the initial exodus from Earth took. The result: a series of skirmishes for control of a very tiny galaxy. Sure, why not?

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Saving the newly erected Ass from poop water in Cities: Skylines photo
Saving the newly erected Ass from poop water in Cities: Skylines
by Steven Hansen

Paradox is sticking with, "let’s talk about our product on its own merits" tact with its upcoming city-builder from developer Colossal Order, but I am under no such nice-marketing guide (nor do I know tact, as this post will confirm).

Cities: Skylines is looking to be what busted ol' SimCity should’ve been.

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In the world of Sorcerer King everything is terrible photo
In the world of Sorcerer King everything is terrible
by Jason Faulkner

This turn-based fantasy/strategy with city-building elements is super enjoyable. Even in Steam Early Access, it's got a surprising amount of polish, more so than several AAA games I can think of. I have encountered no gamebreaking bugs, and the main problems right now seem to be stat balance and unimplemented art.

If you enjoyed the RPG elements of Heroes of Might and Magic and the city-building of Civilization, there's a lot to like in this game's eclectic blend of gameplay. However, if turn-based gameplay isn't really your thing, Steam's $39.99 price tag may be a bit too steep. 

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Mortal Kombat X introduces online factions and brings back the Challenge Tower photo
Mortal Kombat X introduces online factions and brings back the Challenge Tower
by Abel Girmay

Two more months. Just two more months.

That's what I have to keep telling myself while agonizing over the release of Mortal Kombat X. As someone who logged nearly 7,000 matches into the last Mortal Kombat, and still plays Injustice from time to time, any new info is good news, and NetherRealm has recently dropped a lot of details on the game's online modes.

Let's dig in.

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Breach & Clear: Deadline is a surprisingly good action-RPG photo
Breach & Clear: Deadline is a surprisingly good action-RPG
by Jason Faulkner

The original Breach & Clear was a tactical strategy title in the vein of the XCOM or Rainbow Six series. It was fairly surprising when its sequel Breach & Clear: Deadline turned out to be an open-world tactical action RPG with zombies, which is probably a new genre and you heard it here first. I was skeptical of the idea at first; I mean tactical and zombie games are usually worlds apart in gameplay style, but after 30 minutes or so of play those fears were laid to rest.

The events of the game take place during an outbreak of "zombies" who are not zombies, but hyper-evolving parasitic worm infested human bodies. You play as a team of highly trained soldiers who make it their mission to protect the remaining humans of Harbor City, and stop the infestation at its source. Plot isn't a strong suit in Deadline, but the execution is quite a bit of fun, and sometimes it's nice to not have to concern yourself with an epic tale.

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Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is more than just a remaster photo
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is more than just a remaster
by Alessandro Fillari

I'll be the first to say it: it's going to be the year of Souls. With the release of Bloodborne only a month away, which looks to redefine the experience along with its wonderful change of setting, From Software has been busy as of late. But that's not stopping the studio from re-releasing its previous title Dark Souls II for new audiences on new hardware.

Recently, the developers released an update for existing versions of Dark Souls II for all players, adding in an invasion faction, characters, and even new encounters. Of course, this is to ease them into what Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin has to offer. Though there's been little information about what to expect from this revisit, the folks behind the title had a lot to say about it.

At a special Bandai Namco Games event last week, Destructoid got to go hands-on with the new and improved version of Dark Souls II and chat with Bandai Namco global producer Atsuo Yoshimura. Though many see it as simply a remaster, From Software thinks of it as much more.

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Battlefield Hardline goes all in with final beta release photo
Battlefield Hardline goes all in with final beta release
by Alessandro Fillari

It's not too often we see a major publisher humbled. With the announcement of Battlefield Hardline last year, EA and Visceral Games were ready to release another entry in the epic and grandiose Battlefield series. But soon after, they decided to hold off, and push the rather ambitious title back to 2015. After taking in its criticisms and lumps from the original beta release, they figured this was one one title they didn't want to botch.

Moving the battlefield away from the military setting, Hardline brings the combat to the cities and streets across the U.S. as the police and criminals battle for control. As the first Battlefield game not set in a military conflict, the developers at Visceral Games wanted to make sure they knocked it out of the park. And in order to do so, they had to put players first and listen to what the community wanted.

In a special preview session with their second upcoming beta, playable on February 3-8, EA invited Destructoid out to get some early hands-on with it, where we had a chat with Battlefield Hardline's executive producer Steve Papoutsis. During our talk, we learned what they took in from its initial beta, and how important it was to give the best of what the series is all about.

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The Magic Circle tackles game development with clever satire photo
The Magic Circle tackles game development with clever satire
by Alessandro Fillari

You ever wonder what it's like to be a character in a videogame? Most people would think of something pleasant like Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog, not someone from Resident Evil or Silent Hill. But what would it be like to be in a game that's currently in development? One that's constantly in flux, similar to the classic Daffy Duck cartoon Duck Amuck. Would you still be you one year from now after several changes have been made? And who the hell is making all these changes?

That's a scenario former developers from Arkane Studios and Irrational Games want to tackle. At PAX Prime 2014, the developers of the newly-formed studio Question brought an early build of The Magic Circle, a game within a game. Players got to experience the results of a chaotic game development period in all its gory details as they tried to set things right. It made quite an impression at the Indie Mega Booth, with attendees calling it "punk" and a neat "retro" title.

We've been keeping our eye on this title ever since. Given special access to the current beta build of The Magic Circle, Destructoid had the opportunity to experience a sizable chunk of Question's upcoming existentialist adventure title. 

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Knight Squad was the most fun I had at PAX South photo
Knight Squad was the most fun I had at PAX South
by Brett Makedonski

If you were to take booths' popularity at PAX South and plot them on a heat map, most of the obvious candidates would stick out. Twitch would be red hot, as it constantly had a flurry of people swarming to watch their favorite streamers. Dreadnought would be lit up too, because it was one of the largest displays and the crowd seemed to take a liking to it.

But, there would be one outlier far back among the indie titles. Knight Squad, made by Chainsawesome Games, had a constant throng of people mulling about at all times. You wouldn't expect it given the location, but it was a party back there. Once you had a crack at the game, you'd understand why -- because Knight Squad is an incredibly fun multiplayer game.

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Resident Evil: Revelations 2 brings Barry Burton and Raid mode center stage photo
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 brings Barry Burton and Raid mode center stage
by Alessandro Fillari

Capcom has been on quite a roll lately. With the announcement of Street Fighter V, new releases in the Devil May Cry series coming, and the recent success of its HD Remaster for Resident Evil, it seems like the once troubled publisher has found its way back to the hearts of fans. And with the reveal of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 late last year, it has plenty more in store for fans of the survival horror series.

I got the opportunity to play a decent chunk of Revelations 2 last year, and I was pretty impressed with how the mystery was being brought back to the series. Dabbling into episodic gaming, this installment is set to be released through four episodes; one will release every week from February 24th to March 18th. It's a pretty experimental, and unique take on Resident Evil, and that might be just what the franchise needs.

But just before its debut next month, the folks at Capcom invited me out to get another crack at their experiment. And during my session, I got reacquainted with an old buddy from the series' past, and even got to take the new and improved Raid Mode for a test run.

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My first four hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt photo
My first four hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
by Alessandro Fillari

It's an exciting time to be into role-playing games. With the release of heavy hitters such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dark Souls II, Divinity: Original Sin, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Wasteland 2 in recent years, the genre has had a healthy supply of deep and involving games. But one such series, based on Polish fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, got a major foothold into the hearts of fans.

Originally released in 2007 for PC, The Witcher placed players in the shoes of Geralt, a monster hunter for hire, and became a sleeper hit for Polish developer CD Projekt Red. The studio released its follow-up in 2011 and has since become a juggernaut in the PC gaming community. Now, the company is readying for the conclusion to its wildly popular RPG series. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, its most ambitious title yet, ventures into vast open game gameplay while offering a rousing finish to the central character's story.

Though for the last two years, we've only gotten plenty of trailers and other bits of media on the game. The developers have been shy with allowing anyone hands-on time, but at a recent exclusive event held for retailers and members of the press, the folks at CD Projekt Red invited Destructoid out to play The Witcher 3. During my four-hour session, I dove head first into this open-world action-RPG, and saw just how Geralt of Rivia made the transition. So relax, clear your schedule, and let me tell about my experience with one of 2015's most anticipated titles.

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JumpJet Rex revels in old-school charm, hits Early Access January 14 photo
JumpJet Rex revels in old-school charm, hits Early Access January 14
by Alessandro Fillari

There's just something about the 8-bit and 16-bit eras of gaming. Even after decades, it's still a remarkable and enduring period that's managed to stand the test of time. With a slick focus on charming visuals and deeply refined gameplay, the classics of the time are still played today. And, with a sizable amount of fans clamoring for the return of such titles, it's easy to see why the endearing nature of 2D games holds strong. Honestly, games just felt more pure back then, and it looks as though some devs are looking to emulate the example set by games from the past.

Originally created as a quick title for GameJam 2014, the developers at Tree Fortress found something special about this peculiar T-Rex wearing jet boots, and decided to flesh it out into a fully featured title. Taking inspiration from classic games like Mega Man and Sonic, the talent behind JumpJet Rex wanted to offer players a new 2D platformer that's not only goofy fun, but also tough as nails.

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Evolve is about more than just monster hunting photo
Evolve is about more than just monster hunting
by Kyle MacGregor

"Hopefully, nobody has any questions about Hunt," Turtle Rock co-founder Chris Ashton said, his eyes darting around a cloistered room flush with press. "We've been talking about that forever!"

Over the past several months, the humble, long-bearded design director has ceaselessly detailed this one fragment of the experience, holding his tongue about just about every other facet of the asymmetric game of pursuit. In that moment you could see it on his face, a shy glimmer of excitement to, at long last, reveal something new.

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Narcosis: Hallucinogenic, ocean floor terror photo
Narcosis: Hallucinogenic, ocean floor terror
by Steven Hansen

I said it when I checked out Amnesia developer's SOMA early this year, but we could do with some more games set underwater. It's a scary place. There are goblin sharks down there, damn it. And you don't even have to go deep down to terrorize. Jaws spooked a generation. 

The ocean is like space, but with more horrifying, alien, living organisms to kill you. Opposed to the flashy, bright monsters of SOMA, Narcosis is aiming for a (somewhat) more realistic terror. 

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