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12:00 PM on 04.16.2014

Review: Steins;Gate

Time travel is infinitely more interesting once you leave the trappings of the TARDIS or any one of those familiar (some would say hackneyed) science fiction mainstays behind. Steins;Gate, the visual novel that inspired a ...

Brittany Vincent


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Review: Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming photo
Review: Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming
by Kyle MacGregor

The original Half-Minute Hero was a very special and intriguing game. It boiled down an entire genre to its barest essentials, reducing the interminably long JRPG to just thirty seconds of gameplay.

Both a heartfelt tribute and pointed critique, the bite-sized adventure brimmed with self-referential humor. It trot out just about every trope in the book, firing on all cylinders with a lengthy series of inside jokes and clever witticisms. Smart, familiar, and charming; it appealed to both fans of the genre and detractors alike in a way that so few games do.

Humor often has diminishing returns though. Even the funniest quip can lose some of its luster the second time around. And in that regard, Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming isn't quite as remarkable as its predecessor. Luckily, the deconstructionist RPG has upped its game in other arenas.

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Below is a hardcore game that you'll want to take your time with photo
Below is a hardcore game that you'll want to take your time with
by Brett Makedonski

Ever since Below was teased at Microsoft's E3 press briefing last year, it's been one of the titles that I've been most intrigued by. The art style and the fact that Capy Games was the developer were the two main reasons for my interest. Okay, those were the only reasons, because pretty much nothing else about Below has been revealed.

Capy's finally showing Below off at PAX East, and it is nothing like I expected it to be. That aside, my excitement remains completely intact.

When I see an artistic indie title, I subconsciously assume that it's an inviting game. It might not necessarily be easy, but something that anyone can eventually get the hang of. Below doesn't look to be like that, as it's a procedurally-generated rogue-like that's meant to appeal to the hardcore demographic.

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Live Show: We've got the full PAX build of Hyper Light Drifter photo
Live Show: We've got the full PAX build of Hyper Light Drifter
by Spencer Hayes

If you haven't heard of Hyper Light Drifter then you better pay attention because you're in for a treat. If you have heard of the gorgeous Kickstarter success story you also better sit down -- we're about to blow your mind.

Attendees at PAX East will be treated to one of the first ever public showings of the game, but I'm not going to PAX East. What does that mean to you, Destructoid faithful? Well it means that we've worked a little magic and we're going to be streaming the entirety of the public build. This is the longest that the game has ever been shown on Twitch.tv and that's kind of blowing my mind.

Don't get up yet, because I'm not done yet: We're also having the developers on the show to answer any and all questions you may have. It'll be just like going to PAX but a little lonlier and probably a little more sober. It all goes down today at 2:00PM PDT on Dtoid.tv. This is going to be a show to remember. 

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes the shooter looter to the moon photo
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes the shooter looter to the moon
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is official. The latest entry in Gearbox's shooter looter takes place between the original Borderlands and Borderlands 2, hence the Pre-Sequel moniker. The new game is based on the Borderlands 2 engine as well, and will be sticking to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

You'll be able to play as one of four new -- yet familiar -- characters as you work for Handsome Jack during his rise to power. Oh, and a majority of the game takes place on Pandora's moon. And you get jet packs. And laser guns. And ice weapons. Oh my.

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Review: The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile photo
Review: The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile
by Chris Carter

In some ways, Telltale's Wolf Among Us has topped its already stellar Walking Dead franchise. Although it doesn't feature a true post-apocalyptic setting, it still manages to feel bleak and hopeless in its own way. It also helps that almost every character is memorable, and the situations, harrowing.

The last time we saw Bigby Wolf he had just made a break in the case, and was hot on the trail of the murderer that had been plaguing Fabletown. While the follow-up isn't really as exciting as its predecessor, it still features the same likable and intriguing world -- and at this point, it's clear that the final episodes are going to be one hell of a ride.

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An early look at the PC version of Dark Souls II photo
An early look at the PC version of Dark Souls II
by Alasdair Duncan

How many times have I died in Dark Souls II now? 12, 14... 16?

Truth is I've already lost count of how many times I've taken a blade to the chest or an arrow to the face. Whenever I think I'm making progress, something takes me by surprise and I'm back to square one but I have to persevere, I need to keep pushing on. I have to learn about the enemies, their patterns, their routines. 

I swear I'll make it out of the tutorial area at some point.

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Pay what you want for Little Inferno, Super Hexagon, and more photo
Pay what you want for Little Inferno, Super Hexagon, and more
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

We've partnered up with the fine folks at Humble Bundle, along with a bunch of our indie pals, to present to you a very special Destructoid-curated Humble Bundle! Pay what you want and you'll get Little Inferno, Super Hexagon, and Natural Selection II along with each of their soundtracks.

Pay $6 or more and you'll also receive Critter Crunch, Hotline Miami, and PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate (plus soundtrack). Both Critter Crunch and PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate are making their first appearance in a bundle with this promotion too.

All the revenue raised here will go to the developers behind each game, and you can also choose to have some of the money go towards two great charities: Child's Play and Watsi.

The Humble Bundle presented by Destructoid will be live until April 10 at 11AM Pacific. We'll be giving away some codes for this collection over on our Twitter and Facebook pages, plus we'll livestream all these games on our Twitch channel throughout the entire promotion run starting today!

Six great games, six wonderful developers, and two great charities. Thanks again to the crew at Humble, and developers Unknown Worlds, Capybara Games, Terry Cavanagh, Tomorrow Corporation, Q-Games, and Dennaton Games!

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Review: Betrayer photo
Review: Betrayer
by Steven Hansen

Awash on a beach amidst scattered boxes and waterlogged wood, Betrayer drew me into its chiaroscuro world immediately. Behind me was a blinding, blown out whiteness and an impassable expanse of sea. Ahead of me was intrigue, a mysterious red figure on the horizon, and a state of discontent.

Oh, it starts out strong, before I ended up feeling, well, betrayed. The unsettling, moody sense of exploration began getting replaced by typical, "gamey" systems and way more first-person shooting than I was hoping for. Betrayer is frustrating for its flashes of brilliance undermined by a death grip on conventions.

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn plays like a dream on the PS4 photo
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn plays like a dream on the PS4
by Chris Carter

The time has finally come for the last phase of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PlayStation 4 beta, which will carry over all of its data into the final release -- a release that's set in stone for next week (April 11th for early access, the 14th for everyone else).

Naturally, I took this opportunity to get back into the game in anticipation last week after leaving my level 20 Lancer in the frozen void close to launch, and I can't stop playing. I've already made a ton of progress on the PC version, and I'm absolutely addicted to the PS4 port -- it's just that good.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

I've been hard at work playing Elder Scrolls Online this week (you can check out our initial impressions here), and now my low-level Imperial Dragonknight is sitting at a very formidable level 20. I've completed many dungeons, traveled to a heap of locations, and I've seen a ton of story-related quests.

So should you jump into Tamriel and pony up for the hefty $15 subscription fee? Well, it's complicated.

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SOMA is underwater horror with flashy monsters & average crabs photo
SOMA is underwater horror with flashy monsters & average crabs
by Steven Hansen

When I see the name SOMA, all capitalized as Amnesia developer Frictional is wont to stylize, I think of my dentist. Because that's its name. And it's not a scary thought. I never had frightening associations with dentistry, even when it was around the corner from where I lived in a dingy office above a fruit stand (before it relocated to the nicer SOMA area).

But I have little explanation or forethought for that anecdote. SOMA's underwater origin -- it was previously assumed to be set in an abandoned space station -- was also, "decided [on a] whim during a meet-up," between Frictional's co-founders.

It was a good whim. The ocean is a terrifying, unexplored place, particularly in games. It's not all Ecco the Dolphin down there. There are goblin sharks, damn it. And James Cameron putting around in his deep sea submersible. And the creepy, bioluminescent things that doomed SOMA's world like belief in laughable Randian philosophy doomed Andrew Ryan's.

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To Leave is one of the neatest games I played during GDC photo
To Leave is one of the neatest games I played during GDC
by Steven Hansen

GDC is full of neat games. There are sentai management sims. Body building cats. Hyper Light Drifter. But one of the neatest games I played during GDC is To Leave, which creative director Estefano Palacios says is the first indie game out of Ecuador. It's definitely the first one coming to PS4 and Vita. (Incidentally, check out the promoted cblog from last year, Gaming in Latin America).

Sony discovered the 12 person team's game as part of its Latin America, Incubation Program and has been "instrumental" in getting it exposure, flying Palacios out to GDC to rep the game, and technology, giving the team dev kits.

Palacios discovered me, hustling to take advantage of his good fortune, while I shambled, eyes glazed over, trying to remember where I was going and where I had been. I'm glad he did, because chatting with him and playing To Leave perked me right up.

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Review: Mercenary Kings photo
Review: Mercenary Kings
by Patrick Hancock

Mercenary Kings is a Kickstarter success story that has finally made its way into the consumer’s hands. Combining elements from games like Monster Hunter and Metal SlugKings attempts to capture player’s hearts with its retro look and lighthearted feel.

Also you can make a gun that is a cat and goes "mew!" when you fire it.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

In many ways ZeniMax is fighting an uphill battle with Elder Scrolls Online. In an era increasingly filled with free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games are a tougher sell. Then you have the fact that Bethesda isn't involved in any capacity, and that this is ZeniMax's first ever MMO.

Yes, there are many things going against The Elder Scrolls Online, but based on my time with the live environment, it's still a serviceable game -- provided you're highly accustomed to the genre.

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Introducing 'Reviews in Progress' photo
Introducing 'Reviews in Progress'
by Chris Carter

For years now readers have been asking us to cover more MMOs and open-ended games, and we didn't always have the resources to do so. But starting this week all of that is changing, as we're now rolling out the new "Reviews in Progress" initiative, with the goal of covering larger games over an extended period of time. These projects are massive undertakings, but we're expanding our coverage to accommodate.

For larger games as a general rule, we'll cover the week of launch, then provide a recap of the first month, followed by a final scored verdict. You'll then be able to use all of these tools to decide whether or not a game is worth your time -- instead of waiting for one giant post.

The criteria for a final verdict will be stringent, and involve exploring a massive amount of content, such as endgame dungeons, as well as experiencing the game up to the maximum level cap. If we don't reach that mark we'll let you know the exact details.

We're kicking off the program with The Elder Scrolls Online this week. In case you're wondering, this isn't necessarily restricted to MMOs, but due to their nature that will likely be the central focus.

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