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Evolve impressions: How did we feel about the Kangaroos? photo
Evolve impressions: How did we feel about the Kangaroos?
by Max Scoville

A couple of weeks ago, Hamza and I got a chance to screw around in Turtle Rock and 2K's Evolve. Hamza wrote up his thoughts on the game right here, and I got to interview one of the developers about the game.

But how did Hamza and I really feel? Well, watch the dang video.

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Preview: It's four versus one in Turtle Rock's Evolve photo
Preview: It's four versus one in Turtle Rock's Evolve
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Turtle Rock is best known for creating the Left 4 Dead franchise. The series was a big hit for Valve, and after a lot of tribulation over the years -- everything from getting acquired, shut down, reformed, and losing their last publisher -- the studio is back in partnership with 2K Games to offer another engaging cooperative experience in the form of Evolve

Evolve sees four players taking on the role of human hunters, while another player is in control of a giant alien beast that gets stronger over the course of the match. This isn't going to just be a straight up shooter, as teamwork and skills are key to winning a match.

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Lords of the Fallen won't be a walk in the park photo
Lords of the Fallen won't be a walk in the park
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

A couple of weeks ago I wrote up this little story asking for CI Games to show us some real gameplay footage of Lords of the Fallen. Well, there's still no footage but at the very least I got to see the game in action earlier this week in person and boy was I impressed.

Visually the game looks like it's truly taking advantage of the new gaming hardware. In fact the screenshots don't do the game justice. From the character designs, to the levels that you'll be traversing in a similar style to the Zelda series, it all has a ton of detail that brings this medieval fantasy to life.

What I'm really looking forward to is the combat. The action-RPG is more strategy rather than a hack-and-slash, and you really have to experiment with each fight to see what works. Going in blindly swinging will just get your ass kicked, especially against the bosses that can take you out in one hit sometimes. That should tell you something especially considering that most fights will typically be one-on-one battles. 

"We wanted to try to make it feel as if Tekken or Street Fighter was imbued inside every one-on-one [fight]," executive producer Tomasz Gop told us. That said it's not trying to be a completely hardcore game as there will be a lot of tools to help you experiment and not get totally frustrated. "I think it's a tactical kind of game," Tomasz commented. "Very advanced in terms of combat, but at the same time we're trying to make sure that it's not a treadmill kind of experience."

Most of what I saw was pretty much covered by Destructoid in the past if you want to learn a little more about the combat system and character customization. I do want to give you a deeper dive, but not until we get some actual hands-on time. Otherwise, Lords of the Fallen will be out this Fall for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare photo
Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
by Alessandro Fillari

How weird was it seeing that reveal trailer for Plant vs Zombies: Garden Warfare at last year's E3? Plants vs Zombies was known for its focus on strategy and quirky humor, so it was a pretty surprising move for the developers at PopCap Games to bring such an interesting twist to their hugely popular franchise. As a fan of the series, I was mostly curious to see how it would translate from a tower defense style game to an online focused shooter.

But strangely enough, the transition worked out surprisingly well. And then some. Using the Frostbite 3 engine, PopCap Games took a chance and made its first foray into 3D, bringing along many of its characters from the series. EA invited some the press out to try a new build of the class-based shooter Garden Warfare and it turns out it's still just as strategic as ever.

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Preview: The first four hours of Thief photo
Preview: The first four hours of Thief
by Alessandro Fillari

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.

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Alien: Isolation captures the mood of Ridley Scott's film photo
Alien: Isolation captures the mood of Ridley Scott's film
by Brett Makedonski

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.

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Alien: Isolation is nothing like Colonial Marines photo
Alien: Isolation is nothing like Colonial Marines
by Brett Makedonski

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.

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Alien: Isolation is the new game in the Alien franchise photo
Alien: Isolation is the new game in the Alien franchise
by Brett Makedonski

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.

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Max: Curse of Brotherhood should prove an endearing romp photo
Max: Curse of Brotherhood should prove an endearing romp
by Steven Hansen

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.

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Powerstar Golf: full of RPG-like systems, cloud features photo
Powerstar Golf: full of RPG-like systems, cloud features
by Dale North

Xbox One golf launch title Powerstar Golf didn't gel with me the first time I played it, but after seeing the depth of some of its systems last week I feel better about it.

Its RPG-ish leveling system and cloud-based competitive features sound like something I could really get into. 

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FIFA 14 adds layers of realism to the pitch photo
FIFA 14 adds layers of realism to the pitch
by Tim Sheehy

From what I understand, FIFA 14 is one of the earliest games to be shown consistently running on Xbox One hardware, rather than being demonstrated on PC-based development kits. That being the case, I expected a solid performance from the game from the get-go, and while the build I played wasn't the final product, it really felt close enough.

Rather than offering up the full 33 licensed leagues, my experience with this build featured several well known clubs from around the world. Playing on pro-difficulty, I choose to play a full-length match as the English Premiere League's Manchester City against the AI's Real Madrid -- unfortunately, Manchester United was not available -- to take place at Old Trafford. The demo was initially set up for head to head matches with human opponents, but I was assured the AI was properly in place, and fortunately they were right.

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Call of Duty Ghosts performs smoothly on Xbox One photo
Call of Duty Ghosts performs smoothly on Xbox One
by Tim Sheehy

Despite the less-than-stellar reception it's received in the press, Call of Duty: Ghosts remains one of the most anticipated launch titles in the Xbox One line-up. Not because the game itself, so much as the power of its brand.

During my time with the title, I wasn't able to experience a single-player campaign. Instead, we were given the opportunity to experience a fully-unlocked multiplayer mode. Having played a fair amount of Call of Duty throughout the years, I felt that I'd have a pretty good handle on things, but I honestly wasn't prepared for the level of customization I encountered.

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Crimson Dragon is neat, messy, and not entirely on-rails photo
Crimson Dragon is neat, messy, and not entirely on-rails
by Steven Hansen

For some reason, Crimson Dragon feels like the weirdest Xbox One launch title. Maybe that can be attributed to the spiritual Panzer Dragoon sequel's tumultuous development (from 360 Kinect exclusive to budget, $20 Xbox One game).

I didn't get try out any of those carry-over Kinect functionality that's been talked about, like the ability to barrel role by leaning my body -- news that would make the early Mario Kart-playing me "woah" in amazement. Thankfully, the controller worked just fine.

Well, except for the really lazy, floaty reticule. I don't know if ii's supposed to be that dragons are unwieldy means of transport or what.

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Peggle 2: gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme photo
Peggle 2: gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme
by Dale North

We learned the sad news this week that PopCap's Peggle 2 won't make launch day. But it's still "launch window" and it's still awesome in the way that only Peggle should be, so I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the near-final version I played last week. 

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NBA Live 14 fighting for relevancy photo
NBA Live 14 fighting for relevancy
by Steven Hansen

Sports, television, videogames. NBA Live 14 is the Xbox One trifecta. The NBA Live series has long been dormant, finally reviving itself on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this month. 

The key word I kept hearing was "relevancy," which is appropriate. It's something the series needs to regain. EA's ambitions, however, are not to just make a basketball that can compete with 2K at a fundamental level.

Leveraging a partnership with Synergy Sports, NBA Live boasts a constantly evolving game that will reflect the real life NBA season with hours of actual games being played. Really living up to the Live name, I guess.

Oh, and there's a TV show.

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Dead Rising 3: One hell of a comeback photo
Dead Rising 3: One hell of a comeback
by Dale North

I won't spend as much time on Dead Rising 3 as I did with some of the other Xbox One pre-launch previews as we've covered it a fair bit in the past. We first saw it at E3 and thought that it looked and sounded rough. But our Tokyo Game Show preview from a few months later had us feeling better about it. I was most relieved to see that Dead Rising 3 embraced the spirit of the first game at gamescom. It's absolutely bonkers and makes no apologies for that. 

I feel even better about it now that I've spent a fair bit of time playing it last week. 

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