Ever since its 2007 debut, the Assassin's Creed franchise has been presented as a one-sided affair. Chronicling the persistent struggle between the Assassins and the Templars, Ubisoft has always framed the story casting the former in a positive light. Assassin's Creed Rogue has a new take on that formula, which, in some ways, makes it the most refreshing, thought-provoking, and introspective installment in the series to date.
Dragon Age II felt like a great action game that was outsourced to a lesser developer. It lacked the polish BioWare typically puts into its titles, and almost the entire affair felt like a gigantic step back from everything Origins had established. What was once a promising franchise that reminded me of the glory days of RPGs such as Baldur's Gate became a shadow of its former self, with lazily re-used assets and no sense of scale.
BioWare went back to the drawing board with Inquisition, the third Dragon Age outing, and the game is all the better for it. It feels like a culmination of its predecessors' strengths, with all of the bells and whistles that come with current-gen hardware.
There's certainly been intrigue surrounding Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Since its existence was leaked a few months back and several cryptic images of a derelict prison made the rounds, there has been speculation about what to expect from this installment. And, with the return of characters from other titles, there is evidently a larger focus on linking things back to the series' past.
Its predecessor, Resident Evil: Revelations, felt very much like a back-to-basics approach to the series, which earned a lot favor from fans. With the upcoming sequel, more characters from the past are brought back to the forefront and are drawn into a greater conspiracy. Obviously, this isn't entirely new for the franchise. However, with the greater focus on mystery in Revelations 2 and how Capcom plans to release the game in episodes, it could give the series a much needed change of pace. After Brett's hands-on time with the sequel back at Tokyo Game Show, he was left unsure of what to expect from the game. And, judging from my own time with it last month, that might be for the best.
This is one title you might want to go into blind.
After the disappointing Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision needed fresh ideas, and Sledgehammer was just the developer for the job. Even before it delivered its first game, a weight has been lifted off of Infinity Ward and Treyarch's shoulders. No longer does it need to turnaround a Call of Duty every other year, and there is more time to figure out how to make the series fresh again.
As a result, Sledgehammer has a lot riding on Advanced Warfare, the newest game in the series. It has everything going for it -- a fresh futuristic theme, the same core multiplayer gameplay everyone knows and loves, and the talented Kevin Spacey running the show with the campaign.
The gambit paid off, even if it won't bring back in those who have sworn off the series.
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.
With the rise of high-definition re-releases, many fans have likely made a wish list of titles they hope will eventually get the HD treatment. Whether they be classics from the '90s or 2000s, we're seeing a variety of games find new life in today's market. Unfortunately, not every title can make that transition to modern consoles, be it for technical or design reasons.
Thankfully, Resident Evil is an exception. During a special hands-on session with the game, I experienced what it was like to return the mansion in full HD, and even got to speak with members of Capcom staff to learn about the challenges they faced with Remastered.
One of the biggest surprises of 2014 had to be the announcement of a Legend of Korra game, published by Activision and developed by Platinum Games. Yes, that Platinum Games -- the current master of action titles.
It's only been a few months since the reveal of said Korra game, and already it's out on just about every platform imaginable outside of the Wii U. While the core result is indicative of Platinum's seal of quality, it feels rushed in many ways.
[Disclosure: Nick Chester, who is currently employed at Harmonix, previously worked at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]
Fantasia holds a special place in my heart. My wife and I both grew up playing instruments, and whenever a song comes on from the film, we get to share a little moment as Disney fans. Yes, PhilharMagic is one of our favorite attractions at Disney World.
So when I heart that Harmonix was making a Fantasia game, I got excited -- until I heard that it had at least one song by Drake in it. Of course, my full judgment was reserved for the finished product, and I found it to be a magical experience overall.
I grew up happily playing Shinji Mikami's games, and he's probably one of the most influential directors/producers that ever lived. I remember the first time I played Resident Evil, the day I bought Devil May Cry from EB Games, and the exact moment when my friend showed me God Hand.
All in all Mikami has worked on over 20 major games that have impacted the industry in some way. Even if The Evil Within is one of the worst in the bunch, it's still in good company.
Back in 2012, Far Cry 3 turned out to be a surprise hit for Ubisoft. It became the bestselling title of the series, appearing on many game of the year lists, and also created a rather excellent spin-off title. But with the announcement of Far Cry 4 back in May, many fans were pretty psyched to have a new game exploring another exotic locale, but also surprised to see something come so quickly.
With the reveal and release happening within six months of one another, it all seems like it has been going too quickly, and we've never really had the opportunity to digest something substantial for the game. Thankfully, Ubisoft agreed and allowed some extended hands-on time with the upcoming open-world shooter. After experiencing some time with the game's open-world, I can say that November is certainly going to be interesting month with this title coming to market.
[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.
It's really not all that long until Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out, and you've already made a grave mistake. You didn't call dibs on Claptrap. Know how I know that? Because I'm writing this post right now. If you called dibs, I'd be doing something dumb like whatever dumb thing you're doing in your dumb life this very second.
Two years ago, Chris, Tara, Conrad, and Andy each called dibs on a Vault Hunter for Borderlands 2 before I ever could, and so I was never able to play it. All I could do was sit there looking at my copy, wishing I had called dibs first. I will not make that same mistake twice.
I have dibs on Athena. Simply put, Athena is the best. Don't worry, there are three other perfectly okay Vault Hunters for you to choose from. You should be all right, I guess. Anyway, here's why Athena is the best and I call dibs on her.
Toys For Bob has found some rather interesting ways to evolve the Skylanders franchise. While the conceit the first time around was simply interactive toys, the developer mixed things up with giants on the second go, and with a mix-and-match concept (my personal favorite to date) after that.
Trap Team is the fourth iteration of the series, and the gimmick this time around involves tiny plastic pieces that essentially function as little Ghostbusters tools to ensnare enemies. While the core game is still as strong as ever, the trap mechanic isn't all that exciting.
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.
From the old school "20th Century Fox" opening to the first few seconds, Alien: Isolation wants you to know that it takes after the first film from the series it was based on. One alien, one spaceship, one chance at survival.
This is the game we should have gotten from Gearbox.