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9:30 AM on 04.14.2014

There Came an Echo does voice control right

Set up in the Indie MEGABOOTH is one of the few zen locations at PAX East: There Came an Echo's sound dampening booth. In it, Iridium Studios head Jason Wishnov is showing off the tech behind the voice-controlled realtime str...

Darren Nakamura


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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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Hyper Light Drifter's co-op mode will have you dying over and over photo
Hyper Light Drifter's co-op mode will have you dying over and over
by Brett Makedonski

Hyper Light Drifter is on the top of a lot of people's lists of most anticipated games. For good reason, too. The quick-paced, action-RPG with a retro aesthetic looks like it's going to be an absolute pleasure to play. If you're not familiar with it, Alessandro wrote a preview of the build we saw at GDC.

Heart Machine has a new experience to show off for PAX East. Hyper Light Drifter has a cooperative mode that we hadn't gotten to try before. It's basically a horde mode with endlessly spawning enemies. However, unlike most co-op endeavors, your partner could very well be more trouble than he's worth.

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A head in the poles: Project Totem is platforming fun photo
A head in the poles: Project Totem is platforming fun
by Steven Hansen

Press Play proved it can make a platformer with Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, but it wasn't meant to test your muscle memory and invite speed running. It was a colorful adventure with some charm and plenty of stopping for to draw with the magic marker.

With it's newest project, Press Play is dialing up the pure platforming with a minimalist design and some nasty platforming hazards. Nasty meaning cool. The point is I got into a heck of a comfortable groove with Project Totem and maybe you should too when it comes out.

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Huge open world and endless customization define The Crew photo
Huge open world and endless customization define The Crew
by Casey Baker

The developers of The Crew have an unusual take on their new IP that features fast cars, deep customization, and miles and miles of the United States to traverse across and race within. Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections insist that despite its trappings that would suggest an open world racing game in the same vein as the latest in the Need for Speed series or Forza Horizons, The Crew is actually an MMO RPG.

When first presented with this concept at a recent Ubisoft event, I was a little skeptical that a racing game could be classified as such, given that it doesn't necessarily involve giant monsters and upgradeable weapons, and certainly bears no fantastical setting. However, after getting an hour long hands-on with the new game and witnessing the number of ways that this separates itself from its ilk, I could definitely see how it could be deserving of this different classification.

In The Crew, your vastly upgradeable and customizable car is your weapon. The giant monster you perpetually battle is the road, in several different kinds of events and spanning a seemingly large storyline across five enormous regions of the United States.

And like all MMO RPG's, The Crew is so much better with friends.

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Child of Light is a return to classic JRPG wonder photo
Child of Light is a return to classic JRPG wonder
by Alessandro Fillari

Last year, the news of Ubisoft making an old-school throwback to the JRPG genre took a number of people by surprise. When Destructoid got the chance to check it out, there was a healthy amount of curiosity around it. Not too many people knew what to make of it, especially considering it was coming from the team that made Far Cry 3, which is a title that seems very far apart from it.

But after spending some time with Child of Light, about three hours to be exact, there might be more in common with these two titles than you think. I got the chance to talk with lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem, and saw what passion and a small team working on a unique throwback to JRPG titles managed to come up with.

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Arkham Knight has the right playground for Batman's new toys photo
Arkham Knight has the right playground for Batman's new toys
by Brett Makedonski

Rocksteady Studios has found itself in a somewhat precarious position with Arkham Knight. The team's two previous installments in the series are so universally revered that it begs the question "What can it do to live up to, and surpass, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City?" Rocksteady's opted to take the path of increasing the scope of everything and changing the formulaic approach to some of the series' conventions. It remains to be seen how well it'll work.

Arkham Knight is the first in the "Rocksteady Trilogy" (this term kept coming up, presumably to distance themselves from Arkham Origins) to give Batman free rein of Gotham City. The plot device driving this iteration is that Scarecrow has threatened to release a fear toxin so the entirety of the city has been evacuated. Well, except for all the thugs, criminals, and super villains that refuse to leave. They'll be Batman's punching bags en route to finding Scarecrow.

If this version of Gotham City sounds like semi-familiar territory, that's because it kind of is. The cynically analytical might say this walled-off playground full of baddies smacks of Arkham City with skyscrapers. The optimist might suggest that this added verticality is a welcomed progression for the series.

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Chariot is a great indie platformer with one royal hook photo
Chariot is a great indie platformer with one royal hook
by Brett Makedonski

[Update: Frima Studios has reached out and informed us that it miscommunicated its statement about not being able to clear the game solo. The game can be beaten singleplayer, but only about 80 percent of the optional paths are accessible without a cooperative partner.]

Of all the titles on display at IGN's independent games mixer at GDC, I couldn't help but be intrigued by one in particular. It was kind of tucked away in a corner, but that didn't mean that it wasn't getting its share of traffic. That's because it immediately looked cute, colorful, and challenging -- three criteria that certainly help indie games flourish. At first glance, it seemed like the kind of game that could win your heart in an instant.

The game in question is Chariot, a co-op platformer by Frima Studios. Chariot's centered around a princess that's out to take her recently deceased father to the resting place of his choosing. She does this by lugging his casket through perilous ancient caves in an effort to please him.

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Making multiplayer music in Fantasia: Music Evolved photo
Making multiplayer music in Fantasia: Music Evolved
by Dale North

Harmonix revealed a multiplayer mode for Fantasia: Music Evolved at GDC last week alongside some new songs and levels. I jumped in front of a Kinect sensor to try out the new mode, and it wasn't long before I was flapping my arms to the beat. 

Can't you hear that boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bass?

 

 

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Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing photo
Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing
by Alessandro Fillari

In recent times it seems as though games in 'retro-style' are on the rise. Perhaps this is nostalgia at work for a bygone era of gaming, or maybe there's an endearing spirit and honesty from gaming's past that people still resonates with people. One such title that believes in the later is Hyper Light Drifter. After an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, the developers have been keeping things pretty close to the vest since it was funded.

During GDC, IGN hosted their Media Indie Exchange event to show off new and upcoming titles from independent developers and on-hand were the developers of Hyper Light Drifter with a new build. After getting some much appreciated hands-on time, we spoke with Heart Machine's Alex Preston, got to learn how the development of Hyper Light Drifter has been going, and how you can incorporate retro games into modern game design.

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Sentai studio sim Chroma Squad could be my XCOM replacement photo
Sentai studio sim Chroma Squad could be my XCOM replacement
by Steven Hansen

I played a lot of XCOM last year, between running through Enemy Unknown late and Enemy Within. The blend of on the ground, turn-based combat and back home base management simulation hooked me.

Chroma Squad is basically that. Except you're directing a Sentai with actors in colorful spandex dancing around lots of explosions and turtle and plant monsters.

It's pretty great.

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Breaking New Ground: Metal Gear Solid V's Tactical approach to Open World photo
Breaking New Ground: Metal Gear Solid V's Tactical approach to Open World
by Max Scoville

Considering that the series just celebrated its 25th anniversary, it might seem a little odd that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is only the fifth game in the series. However, if you’re counting Peace Walker, it’s the sixth, and the seventh if you include Portable Ops, too. If you're counting every game with the words "Metal Gear" in the title, it's something like the thirteenth game in the series.

Plenty of other game franchises would've retired or rebooted by now (and plenty have) but somehow, this one manages to consistently reinvent itself, all the while staying within the confines of the same universe. Ground Zeroes makes some of the most drastic changes the series has seen in over a decade, while still managing to feel familiar.

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Preview: Murdered: Soul Suspect photo
Preview: Murdered: Soul Suspect
by Steven Hansen

The last few times we've written about Murdered: Soul Suspect, the discussions centered around next gen ports. Well, that and the protagonist's unfortunate choice of head wear and other accoutrements. I mean, the fedora is somehow not the most egregious fashion choice. Wallet chain? 

But now I've gotten a chance to play and have a bunch of different things to complain about.

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Preview: Trials: Fusion is daring and really bizarre photo
Preview: Trials: Fusion is daring and really bizarre
by Alessandro Fillari

The year was 2009. Back when the Xbox 360's XBLA Summer of Games was all the rage, a small little downloadable title called Trials HD came out of nowhere and won the hearts of players. With two sequels, and several million copies sold, Trials has been a staple of downloadable gaming scene and has garnered a loyal and devout following.

Now, with another title on the way, the developers at RedLynx and Ubisoft have gone all in and made Trials: Fusion the most content rich and expansive title of the series. With over 150 developers working on the title across three different studios, Ubisoft plans to give fans and newcomers alike a crash course in making a splash with this bizarre and challenging puzzle racer.

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Wolfenstein: The New Order is as middling as I feared photo
Wolfenstein: The New Order is as middling as I feared
by Abel Girmay

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a videogame that has guns in it, and you use these guns to kill people. That's about as remarkable a statement as I could rack my brain for after spending three hours with game.

As much as some Wolfenstein fans may want to greet The New Order with fanfare and anticipation, I have to say folks, there just doesn't seem anything noteworthy to this newest title. With the exception of a few moments, Wolfenstein: The New Order feels like a phoned-in, by the numbers first-person shooter.

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Why Titanfall will be my next big gaming obsession photo
Why Titanfall will be my next big gaming obsession
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

It was the beginning of 2013 when I finally just got tired of the competitive aspect of first-person shooters. It's been my favorite genre ever since the GoldenEye 64 days, but over the last few years I've just been losing more and more interest in them. That's not to say there haven't been some great competitive FPS games of course. PlanetSide 2, Tribes: Ascend, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Halo 4 were some of the last ones I really got into, and while they were great, they just weren't able to hold my interest for long.

And outside of playing them for the purpose of coverage on Destructoid at preview events, I didn't even touch Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4's multiplayer after they launched. Playing the preview builds was enough for me, a "been there, done that" sort of feeling.

Titanfall, though -- it's the game-changer for me. I've played it in shorts bursts at E3 and PAX, but last week I got to go hands-on for several hours, and feel confident in saying it makes me feel as if I'm rediscovering the genre like I did in the Nintendo 64 days.

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