Back in October, I got the chance to sit down to chat with members of Eidos Montreal after a lengthy session with the new entry in the Thief series. Since the reveal in 2009, the game has gone through many different iterations and changes. From an obnoxiously named THI4F and a proposed and tested third-person action game; this new take on the series has been through the ringer. As such, fans have been skeptical of whether a new entry can work.
The Thief series is known for being one of the pioneers of the stealth genre on the PC, and fans of the series have been looking forward to seeing its return. As somewhat of a soft-reboot for the series, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix are in an interesting position to re-introduce fans to Garrett, the Master Thief -- along with new players looking for a new game with a different approach to stealth gameplay.
Well, after spending about 4 hours playing this new take on the series at a media press event; I can safely say that I came away quite impressed with what Eidos Montreal have in store. The scope and adaptive take on stealth is dense and complex, and even may impress those who wrote off this new take on a classic series.
In 2010, Konami took a chance on the obscure Spanish development studio MercurySteam to create a reboot for one of the most adored and quoted game series ever. While Castlevania: Lords of Shadow went on to become a popular seller and was admired for its storytelling and action, it was a also a polarizing entry among fans of the series.
Now, the developers are back with their next and final title in the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series -- and they fully intend on leaving their mark on the franchise. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is daring, shows the clout that the developers earned from their previous outing, and also marks the first time we'll get to play as the infamous Dracula.
Destructoid was invited out to play the first few hours of the game, where we also had some time to chat with game producer Dave Cox. We got to see firsthand what it took to bring this iconic character to life, and how the developers at MercurySteam plan to make the series relevant again.
Have you ever been hunted? I haven't (in a videogame or, thankfully, real life). Some games make veiled attempts to simulate the sense, but as long as you learn and know the correct order of operations, they usually don't take much to best. Alien: Isolation made me feel as if I was being hunted for the first time ever. It competently thrusts you into the role of the prey, and as a result, it is completely f*cking terrifying.
Before my 40 minute hands-on demo with Isolation, key developers from Creative Assembly gave a very short briefing on the studio's intentions with the game. First and foremost, it wanted to get back to the roots of survival horror by making a game based on the original survivor horror movie, Ridley Scott's Alien. In the developers' eyes, the best way to do this was to "re-Alien the Alien."
What they meant by this is that they wanted players to always have the Xenomorph on their minds, regardless of the situation. A "low frequency, high impact" approach to brushes with the Alien was their aim. They cited Hannibal and Jaws -- two fixtures of horror movie culture -- as examples of incredibly effective characters despite having very little screen time. However, perhaps their most effective strategy to re-Aliening the Alien is including only one Xenomorph in Isolation.
There we were. The same notion on everyone’s mind, whether they liked it or not. Members of the press conflicted in their reluctant eagerness to address, key developers dreading the topic altogether. It clouded the air, enough to make everyone slightly uncomfortable with its inevitability. It was the Xenomorph-impregnated elephant in the room.
“How did the reaction to Aliens: Colonial Marines affect your work on Alien: Isolation?”
I’ll be the first to admit – the question is wholly unfair. Creative Assembly has been working on Isolation for more than three years now. It had a very distinct vision for its game long before anyone knew how Colonial Marines would turn out. Still, it needed to be asked. Fair or not, Isolation will be directly compared to Colonial Marines by both critics and fans alike.
After months of rampant Internet speculation, Sega has finally revealed that Alien: Isolation is the new title in the Alien(s) franchise, and that it's being developed by Creative Assembly, the studio behind the Total War series. True to its non-plural namesake, Isolation will be a survival horror game in the same vein as Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece.
Alien: Isolation tells the story of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the movie series' protagonist, Ellen Ripley. Amanda has been plagued since childhood by the mysterious disappearance of her mother after the loss of the Nostromo. Amanda, now a Weyland-Yutani employee herself, is tipped off that a space station has recovered the audio log detailing the events of the Nostromo. She journeys with a team to the space station, only to find that a Xenomorph has gotten there first and is wreaking havoc.
I quite liked the first Max and the Magic Marker. It was a cute little 2D game that let me draw things and crush enemies with them. I was surprised to hear of a sequel, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, especially as one of the only smaller games Microsoft trumped up at its E3 conference this year.
Of course, this isn't exactly a small game. In fact, it's practically an entirely different game, and not just because of the jump to 3D graphics. Gone are your freewheeling drawing powers, replaced by a series of contextually based drawing puzzles.
There's also a villain that looks like a cross between Destructoid's Conrad Zimmerman and some sort of decrepit slug monster.
If you haven’t played the eXcellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you should. However, now there is a caveat to that. You should play it, but you should probably wait until November 12 to do so because that’s when the Enemy Within eXpansion comes out
Those who own Enemy Unknown on PC or Mac will need to plunk $30 down on the expansion and start a new XCOM campaign to eXperience the content. Console owners can nab a bundle of Enemy Unknown, all its DLC, and Enemy Within for $40, which is a particularly lovely deal if you haven’t picked the game up yet.
I recently got to play a solid few hours of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and was able to do whatever I wanted, outside of the select core missions Ubisoft wanted to specifically show off. There was a lot to do, but I wanted to focus specifically the open ocean world and how you'll be interacting with it here.
Why? Because it was easily my favorite new feature for the Assassin's Creed series due to it being something fresh and different. Plus I liked ramming my big ship into tiny little ships because I'm the best pirate ever.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will of course bring back the ever growing multiplayer versus mode, and like always, we can expect plenty of new content. New maps and characters are a given, but the biggest surprise with this iteration is Game Lab, a feature that lets you create your own modes.
You're able to take any of the six existing game modes and make it your own. There's up to 200 parameters you can change, everything from a match's time limit, turning off stuns, enforcing melee kills only, etc. From here players can share these custom modes with others, and if a mode gains a lot of popularity then Ubisoft will add it to the public playlist for all to enjoy.
There's a ton of different things that players can alter, even going as far as making the versus mode near identical to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer mode that fans are still playing to this day.
Strider was…well, it wasn't a big deal at Tokyo Game Show 2013. It could be found at a couple of places on the show floor, but you had to look for it. But I didn't need any fanfare or huge signage to want to try it out. I mean, who doesn't like Strider? Or at least the idea of Strider.
The franchise games and their spiritual successors have been all over the map (though I really dug Moon Diver). This one, while still a side-scrolling slasher, also comes from a different area of the map. Double Helix's Strider moves like a ninja, but he moves and fights even faster than the fastest ninja ever dreamed. Shinobi would look like a turtle in comparison.
First, you need to watch this trailer for Valiant Hearts: The Great War before reading anything about it.
This isn't your typical war game, as Valiant Hearts is going beyond the disconnected action tropes of "good versus evi...
Yeah, you read that headline right. Trust me, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it too, but sure enough, a Japanese-style role-playing game from Ubisoft. Even stranger, Child of Light is by writer Jeffrey Yohalem and creative director Pat Plourde, two of the main people behind Far Cry 3.
Child of Light is a 2D action JRPG made on the UbiArt Framework engine, the same engine that's made that last two wonderful-looking Rayman games. The team is looking to make a love letter for JRPG fans, those that fondly remember the golden age of Squaresoft, with influences from Final Fantasy to Grandia.
That's right! The Vita darling is going all HD for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC early 2014. Development started shortly after the Vita release thanks to how the fan base reacted so positively to it after the E3 reveal...
Spencer Hayes and I got some quality time with Techland's Dying Light and we both came away pretty surprised from the experience. The game features a day and night cycle, and the day time stuff we played was pretty average. We knew what to expect, especially after playing games like Dead Island, another open world zombie game from Techland.
But then the night time stuff came up and holy crap the game gets super intense. More importantly, Dying Light becomes way more fun. The zombies transform in runner style zombies like the ones from Left 4 Dead and they become relentless in chasing you down. My heart was seriously racing as I tried to escape the horde, so they've certainly nailed down the horror aspect.
I've heard a fair bit about Max: The Curse of Brotherhood this year. This spiritual successor to Max and the Magic Marker sounded great, but it somehow was just off my radar, lost in the shuffle among the new games and consoles we're constantly hearing about.
I'm glad I had a chance to spend some time with Brotherhood at PAX Prime this past weekend. It's now on my radar, and I liked it so much that I am already planning a straight-through play marathon upon its release.
Super Time Force, in the state that it's being shown at PAX Prime, is a product that has been refined and shaped by player feedback along all steps of the development process. Capybara Games first showed the game at PAX East 2012, after a mere couple months working on the project. As conventions came and went, the developers used information gleaned from watching people play Super Time Force to perfect it.
Anyone would be hard-pressed to say this method hasn't worked, because Super Time Force is really damn good.
Super Time Force follows a cast of characters that are on a mission to right all the wrongs in the history of time -- both past and future. For instance, the crew embarks on a quest to prevent the extinction of the dinosaurs. They also travel to the future to download Internet plug-ins, because as studio head Nathan Vella told me, "Downloading new plug-ins is pretty much the worst thing ever".
Exactly how they do all this is the game's hook. The team's ability to manipulate time permeates the core experience. The side-scrolling Contra-like shooter expects you to die -- several times over in fact. That's why everything's a one-hit kill. After each death, the player can seamlessly rewind the level as far as they want to re-attempt the bit they just failed. As this happens, you play alongside your former characters up until the point that they die.