A top-down, twin-stick action game? Not that unusual. A Pikmin-esque game in which the player controls an ever-growing mob inspired by the culture of ancient Greece? That’s a new one. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got my hands on Devolver Digital’s Okhlos on the PAX South show floor, but the madness of mob violence quickly won me over.
Two decades ago, 3D Realms revolutionized the first-person shooter genre by releasing Duke Nukem 3D for MS-DOS. After years of controversy and being used as a scapegoat for critics asking for stricter handling of Mature games, Duke 3D is remembered as the highest point of the character's history. Based on the ups and downs the Duke Nukem video game franchise has experienced, that isn't exactly saying much. Nevertheless, Duke Nukem 3D moved the genre forward for all the right (and wrong) reasons.
Nine years ago, we saw the end of what everyone considers "Vanilla" World of Warcraft. Three years after the successful launch of World of Warcraft, Blizzard finally stepped in and released something that we all knew was inevitably going to happen—an expansion. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness got the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos got The Frozen Throne expansion, and StarCraft got the Brood War expansion over the years; it would make sense that Blizzard's multi-million dollar journey into the massively multiplayer online role-playing game scene would have one as well. Little did we know that we'd be venturing into the Dark Portal one more time.
We know a mature game by the things that rating systems tell us. Mature, PEGI 18, etc. These are labels defined by mostly surface things: blood and gore, suggestive themes, language and the like. But any child can see blood. Any child can hear bad language. Conversely, That Dragon, Cancer doesn’t have any of those things. Yet it may be the most mature thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s an invite to walk beside a family through the deepest waters of hope, despair, faith, humanity, loneliness, togetherness, joy, and sadness. You can’t give this to a child. You can’t expect someone to grasp this episode without the strength, patience and awareness to see, hear and feel what is meant to be conveyed. For my experience, it was almost perfect.
Arcade Sushi's Gift Guide for the 2015 holiday season continues. This time around, we've assembled all kinds of goodies you should leave under the tree (or in the Steam account) of a PC gamer.
What began in 1998 as a space-themed variant on the sword-and-sorcery of Warcraft has become a gaming phenomenon, with a successful sequel and more expansion packs and gaming tournaments than you can shake a pylon at. Now, Legacy of the Void, the final expansion pack to Starcraft II, closes out the story which began nearly two decades ago, forcing players to push their actions-per-minute to the brink if they want to save the universe from the looming threat annihilating everything in its path (and pwn every Zerg-rushing noob this side of Korhal).
Dungeons & Dragons is essentially the grandaddy of most western RPGs. This pen-and-paper RPG is still going strong with expansions and spinoffs being released regularly even today. Since the dawn of video games there have been countless attempts at recreating the physical D&D experience in a digital form. The Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights series of games have been good approximations of the classic D&D experience, for example. Sword Coast Legends however seeks to recreate an often unexplored facet of this pen-and-paper RPG: the dungeon master experience.
It’s not often that I stare at a game’s menu screen for a few moments just because it looks so good. That’s exactly what I caught myself doing the first time I loaded up Civilization: Beyond Earth with the Rising Tide expansion installed. The way light reflected off the rippling waves of the vast ocean was beautiful and soothing; what I didn’t know from those first few moments was how that body of water would change Beyond Earth for the better.
The movies of the 1980s taught us many things, but in particular there were two key takeaways. One is that montages are awesome and make even the most mundane things cool when set to the right music. The other is that there is no greater adventure than the one you embark upon with your closest friends. Taking inspiration from the golden age of teen cinema, where movies like The Goonies, Explorers and Stand By Me ruled, Minecraft Story Mode sends you on a grand adventure through the voxel-based world. While putting a story to Minecraft might seem counterintuitive to the core game's design, the team at Telltale has proven they can make a great story out of anything. And yes, that now includes Minecraft.
I've often thought about what it would be like to actually take part in the Battle of Hoth. In The Empire Strikes Back, we saw only a glimpse of the chaos that ensued once the Imperial Army found the Rebel base on the icy planet, and didn't truly get an idea of the conflict that broke out. It makes sense considering the films follow such a small cast of characters, and can't just spend hours on showing the ins and outs of one space battle. That's why I was excited to dive head first the galactic civil war with Star Wars Battlefront later this year. At least, until I played a little bit of the beta this week at New York Comic Con. Now, don't take that to mean that I've lost all my interest. Quite the opposite, in fact. I'm just not all that interested in living out the Battle of Hoth from the Rebel perspective anymore. While the films and comics and books have always talked about the strength and power of the Imperial side of the conflict, you don't truly grasp how daunting a task it must have been for the Rebel Alliance to pull out such tremendous victories until you're planted firmly in their boots. It's impressive that any of the ships escaping Hoth made it out of there alive, especially if any of those Rebel troopers fought as poorly as I did.