The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/5]

It’s getting harder every day

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[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

Yes, I missed the last two weeks for various reasons, but the checks are in the mail and I’m trying to make it up. Please don’t take my baby from me. She’s all I have. This every other weekend thing is already depressing enough. I can tell she hates coming over, too, away from her friends and her regular everyday life, but what am I supposed to do? Give her up?

I’d rather be “every other weekend dad” than a yellowing Polaroid.

Here’s the last recap. Let’s all try to be just a little better, because the world ain’t going to be a little better to us. Let’s try to be a little better to each other. Let’s begin anew.


What Twitch Plays Pokemon and True Detective teach us about modern storytelling – Steven Hansen

I like to write this sort of thing and, if you humungous liars are to be believed, voi gente like to read this sort of thing. In a perfect world, it’s all I’d be writing. So give it a read. I talk about authorship, crowd canons (less cool than crowd cannons), how memes are bad, a really good TV show, a really weird technology, the endless white noise surrounding contemporary art, and more. Read it. I’ll count it as your good deed for the day, just this once.

I was into Twitch Plays Pokemon (Red) for its novelty, for the creativity is spawned: songs, comics, and other bits of art. But its crowd-sourced canon is infinite monkeys on infinite keyboards. Except eventually writing memes instead of Shakespeare. Because time is finite and there are constraints. The same ones that let it finish Red in only 16 straight days. Because the monkeys can’t just fling shit for six years between typing “up” and “a.”

Introducing ‘Reviews in Progress’ – Chris Carter

I’m a traditionalist. I like my eggs warm, my collars blue, my sex orgies catered, and my consumable media to be finite. But games aren’t headed that way. Or, at least, there is a growing subsection of games going their own way. And it’s not just the endless, horrible MMOs. There’s Early Access and videogames in all states of completion and addition. To address this, Chris will do more work. What a sap.

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.

Symphony of the Night came together by ignoring past Castlevania games – Steven Hansen

Igarashi hasn’t been away from Konami long, so right now there are no concrete plans for him to make a new game, but he is going to. We’ll see how soon. “We’re seeing less of these types of games [Metroidvania] and many fans are waiting for next one. Now that I’ve gone indie, I’m able to create things as I wish,” he said. As opposed to what, “the company wishes.”

Very Quick Tips: Deception IV: Blood Ties – Chris Carter

Yeah, Deception IV has bee out for like a week and a half now, but Chris “Rumpelstiltskin” Carter is better at games than you, so shaddup and just listen to his tips for dropping almost naked women onto horses as they moan in pleasurable pain.

Farts ‘N’ Crafts: Teens fighting an Angry, Flappy Bird – Max Scoville

There’s something weird going on in the background of that video.

Dumb Idiot Ideas: The Infinite Power of The Cloud – Max Scoville

Dumb Idiot Ideas: The Xbox Tattletale Program – Max Scoville

How the ‘new’ Diablo III brought me back in – Patrick Hancock

Patrick “Tegan and Sara” Hancock was pretty adamant about how Path of Exile was totally better than Diablo III, but apparently Blizzard has gone and fixed up the whole thing with its recent expansion.

Yes, the game still requires an Internet connection, which is terrible, but the bigger picture here is that Blizzard made the changes that the consumers want to see. Now, I’m no idiot. I know it’s no coincidence that Blizzard made the game the way it should have been only slightly before their new expansion came out. As a consumer though, I’m enjoying Diablo III more than I ever thought I would, and if I decide to buy Reaper of Souls, it would be to show my support for a game that I’d like to see more of.

This week’s Humble Bundle is presented by Destructoid! – Hamza Aziz


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

The progression is glorious. This isn’t Super Meat Boy sort of rapid repetition that encourages white knuckle runs as fun. These white knuckle runs can send you back to the beginning of the game. Now, there are checkpoints of sort in the world. You’re not replaying the whole game after each death, but it’s a tense set up and that sees you failing early and often. And then you keep on keeping on, getting better at wresting yourself from the slop.

Barkley 2 developers hope to release in late 2014 – Alessandro Fillari

Combat now takes place in real time. X114JAM9 can amass an arsenal of guns that all have unique properties and special attacks. For instance, during my brief period of play, I acquired a 3D printed machine gun that fired bullets that returned to me after hitting its mark for health recovery bonuses. In addition to that, an enemy dropped a flintlock pistol that fired shots in a short 360 degree radius. The developers claim that the game features procedurally generated weapons, and players can even customize and create their own weapons after finding the necessary parts.

Grey Goo aspires to get to the roots of the real-time strategy genre – Brettt Makedonski

Petroglyph hopes to get back to the golden age of RTS games with Grey Goo, and that might happen by creating something that’s supremely different. Balanced gameplay, three unique factions, and putting an emphasis on “strategy” rather than “real-time” is the technique that Petroglyph’s going to employ. That’s crazy enough to work, because out of the gate, it’s poised to be a game that’s endearing to fans of the genre.

Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing – Alessandro Fillari

Heart Machine wasn’t shy about sharing its influences. The Legend of Zelda, Diablo, and even the more modern Phantasy Star Online have been a massive influence on the gameplay aesthetic and makeup. It is a skill based game that focuses more on player reflex, timing, and quick thinking. While the staples of RPG gameplay are present, such as character growth and stat boosts, the game is about skill at heart.

Nero: First-person visual novel is part Journey, part Myst – Dale North

Just on mood and setting alone, Nero looks like something I’d definitely be into. Their teases on its story were highly effective on me. We’re hoping to get some time to explore on our on soon.

Double Fine’s Hack ‘N’ Slash is like Zelda, but you hack the game – Steven Hansen

Like Zelda, this game has rocks to be pushed. A rock with a port, however, you can jam your sword in and change certain values that cause it to function differently than is typical. If you set the movement space negative, for instance, you’ll find “pushing” the blocks actually turns into a pull, at least functionally speaking. In that sense, it’s as much a puzzle game as an action game, and there are sometimes multiple solutions or extraneous options to wade through.

Sony’s Project Morpheus: An impressive first showing – Dale North

Sony has had a very strong first showing for their Project Morpheus VR platform. It’s clear that they’ve been working behind the scenes for some time now, and that this offering isn’t just a me-too product. Overall, I’ve been more impressed with what I’ve seen right out of the gate than I have with any of the numerous Oculus Rift showings I’ve attended. The device looks better, fits better, and seems to have more immersive and higher-quality demos to share.

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

Chroma Squad‘s backbone seems in place, and the lovely pixel art and other trimmings are there as well. Now, leading up to the summer release window, it’s just a matter of system refinement and balancing that’s integral to the genre.

Arkham Knight has the right playground for Batman’s new toys – Brett Makedonski

One of the more noteworthy features of the Batmobile that we were shown is the ability to eject Batman, and use the momentum to send him flying up and forward at an incredible rate. That doesn’t mean that you leave your car behind, however. At any given time, the Batmobile is just a press of a button away, and seconds later it’ll reappear.

Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD – Alessandro Fillari

One thing that I really appreciate is the attention to detail. Throughout each race, there were callbacks and references to everything in Mario and Nintendo lore. It felt like a giant, and pardon the cliche, love letter to the whole series. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been this jazzed with a Mario Kart title in a long time, and playing this title made me really look forward to seeing more.

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

I came away from Child of Light very surprised, and intrigued. It was a game that was definitely seeking to recall elements of nostalgia and wonder from our youth, but at the same time bringing a perspective imbued with wisdom and insight that comes from age.

Hands-on with Ultra Street Fighter IV’s Decapre – Ben Pack

Other changes include six new stages adapted from SFxT, new online modes such as training or team battles, general gameplay tweaks like being able to use two character ultras instead of one, and a new move called red focus. Ultra Street Fighter IV is set to release in Japanese arcades in April, on consoles in early June, and PC sometime in August. The game can be bought as a digital upgrade for $14.99, or on disc with all previous DLC included for $40.

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

Except this was darker and every step I made was loud and obnoxious, which was terrifying. Sound design is so important to horror and with A Machine for Pigs‘ sound designer in tow, SOMA has some good sounds. Dropped into this dark world without context — sitting, in real life, in a dark room illuminated only by a television — each clumsy step felt like I was ringing a dinner bell for potential monsters to gobble me up.


Bravely Default’s success has Square refocusing on ‘heavy JRPGs’ & ‘core’ audience – Steven Hansen

Then, Matsuda appears to have had the startling realization that Square games used to just sell by being Square games. “On the other hand, there are games like the JRPG we made for the Japanese audience with the proper elements, Bravely Default, which ended up selling well all around the world.” And sell well it did.

This is assuredly music to many of your ears: “For the new games we’ll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we’ve been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs. I believe that way, we can better focus on our target, which will also bring better results.”

Amazon announces its $99 set-top box Fire TV – Jordan Devore

Amazon has finally announced its long-rumored media device and it’s available for purchase as of today. The $99 Amazon Fire TV supports expected streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Prime Instant Video, and Pandora, but games also have a presence on the box which sports an Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of memory, and a quad-core processor.

Rockstar will add heists to GTA Online this spring – Jordan Devore

Rockstar has detailed what it has in store for GTA Online and while there’s quite a lot of content planned, my eyes went straight for the line about the long-awaited Heist Missions. They’re coming at some point this spring — that’s all the company was willing to say. Drat!


Ciao, amiche.

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