Tales from the Borderlands lets you stop and smell the chaotic roses

Being terrible at first-person shooters is one of my worst-kept secrets. I'm uncoordinated, my reflexes are slow and I can move my in-game characters about as gracefully as a cat in a sack race. In my panic to try to not get shot and clear levels as effectively as I can, I often miss details of the game world. I gloss over environments. I don't pause to think of the backstory. From the moment I'm thrown into the game, it's go, go, go. According to Kevin Bruner, the founder and president of Telltale Games — the studio behind The Walking Dead game and The Wolf Among Us — I'm not alone. Bruner says that in first-person shooters like Gearbox's Borderlands, players tend to only experience a slice of the game world because they're moving so fast. When players are plunged into a world of...

Super Meat Boy Forever is an endless platformer, not a little 'throwaway game'

Team Meat's mysterious new project, first revealed as A Voyeur for September, is actually an auto-runner called Super Meat Boy Forever that follows in the steps of its classic Super Meat Boy series, co-founder Tommy Refenes told Polygon today at PAX. The game features a the titular meat man himself as he dashes through levels. Along the way, players avoid saws and hop over gaps by touching the game's screen. Precision control exists in the game through a new ducking mechanic; when you're in the air and you duck, you also fall more quickly to land on different platforms. "It's not a little iOS throwaway game," Refenes said. "We want to do a full-fledged game. "There's a certain flavor to iOS games where it's just enough and there's not a real complete, cohesive experience. [Super Meat...

Ambitious, beautiful multiplayer space combat game GoD Factory: Wingmen launches today

GoD Factory: Wingman is a four vs. four mutiplayer shooter where you customize your ship and work with your team to take down the other team. It's had a storied path through development, with an unsuccessfull Kickstarter leading to a publishing deal with Bandai Namco, and the game has finally been released on Steam for $19.99. It also looks pretty great, and supports the Oculus Rift, if you're into that sort of thing. Nine Dots founder Guillaume Boucher-Vidal shared the cost, both financially and mentally, of starting your own independent studio in a recent story, and GoD Factory: Wingman is the end result of all that hard work. "Having your life in a purgatory state for three years is a very long time, especially considering all the hours put into such a project. I've been told...

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor trailer gets cozy with vile Orc

Ratbag is a sniveling, whining wretch, a scumbag, even by Orc standards. In this new trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor we get to meet Ratbag and learn about his relationship with heroic human protagonist Talion. In the Monolith game, due to be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on Sept. 30 for consoles and Oct. 2 for Windows PC, players create feuds with their enemies, even as they climb through the Orcish ranks. To find out more about the game, take a look at Polygon's new preview.

MMOs help kids learn English faster, says new study

Students of English learn the language faster when they play video games, especially MMOs, according to a new report. The study at the University of Gothenburg and Karlstad University, Sweden, looked at a group of sixth graders and how they interact with English in non-educational situations. Researchers found that those students who play a lot of English-language games gain a vocabulary advantage compared with those who do not play or only play a little. They found that people playing MMOs had the greatest advantage, for the obvious reason that multiplayer online games facilitate conversation, and English is the most widespread language online. "As a player you simply have to be able to understand what's being said, to read English and to interact yourself by both writing and...

Costume Quest 2's tricky twins are back on their beat

Double Fine released a PAX trailer for Costume Quest 2 today, and announced an exclusive costume offer for anyone who pre-orders the game on Steam. Coming to Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U this October, the creepy turn-based combat and exploration game puts players in control of twins Reynold and Wren as they set off on a trick or treating adventure. They'll fight evil characters in Halloween costumes that grant them superhuman powers. "It's probably our most requested sequel, besides Psychonauts," said Double Fine's Greg Rice in a recent Polygon interview. "People have been asking for it forever. I think it's that every Halloween you're reminded about the game. We have a lot of people who are coming back to us saying they replay it...
Top Games
  • Watch Dogs
    • Platforms: Win, 360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Ubisoft
    • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
    • Release Date: 2014-05-27
  • Destiny
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Activision
    • Developer: Bungie
    • Release Date: 2014-09-09
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
    • Platforms: Mac, Win, iOS, Android
    • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
  • Dark Souls 2
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, Win
    • Publisher: Namco Bandai
    • Developer: From Software
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
All Games

Top Hearthstone player joins Blizzard to help work on the game

Blizzard has hired a top competitive Hearthstone player as an associate designer on the game. Ryan 'Realz' Masterson announced on Twitter that he is joining the company. Masterson is a top competitive player of the virtual card game, as well as Magic The Gathering, and a noted Twitch streamer. Hot Off The Press - I have accepted a position as Associate Game Designer (Hearthstone) with Blizzard Entertainment. A new chapter begins... — Ryan Masterson (@Realz_HS) August 27, 2014 "This is a truly exciting opportunity for me," stated Masterson on a Reddit post. "I hope my association with the continuing development of Hearthstone will serve to comfort fellow ladder grinders, competitors, and players at large that one of us is behind the scenes looking out for the interests of...

How Double Fine handles menopause and incest in family-driven RPG Massive Chalice

Double Fine's turn-based strategy game Massive Chalice is heavy on bloodlines. Set during a conflict that spans several lifetimes, players can't get too attached to a single character, or even a generation of characters. Death is inevitable. If the battlefield doesn't claim you, old age will.Massive Chalice is built on not finding, but creating, new blood. Players match and marry characters with varied genetic and personality traits in hopes of creating powerful new warriors. But though the game's pool of pairable characters is far smaller than what we're used to in everyday life, Double Fine was careful to rule out one potential problem — incest. The developer discussed allowing players to marry characters within those lines or perhaps even add a trait that pertained specifically to...

First-person Solitaire will drive your grandparents insane

Now you can play Windows Solitaire in first-person. Sort of. Solitaire.exe is the latest creation from Camp Cult. The group describes itself thusly on its Patreon page: Camp cult, at the core is the collaboration of Cale Bradbury and Kelvin Put. Cale has been creating gifs on the daily for the last year, and has a copious collection of free games, and interactive visualizers. Kelvin has educated him self in the school of game design and development as a 3D artist but as of late can be found indulging his curiosities in various other forms of visual and interactive media. Camp Cult launched the page and the game last night. In Solitatire.exe, you walk through corridors of playing cards, which are knocked down when bumped into. In the sky floats the classic Windows desktop. Click...

How Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor turned me into a vengeful psychopath

In Monolith's Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, death might be temporary, but grudges last forever.I'm waiting less than patiently for the hero, Talion, to return to the land of the living — again. It's the third time I've died during my demo. I'm told this isn't unusual. But if persistence can be considered a virtue, I'm nearing saintly levels thanks to the game's Nemesis system. The Nemesis system is Monolith's way of making enemies more than faceless foes. Orcs have unique names and ranks that shift as the game progresses; if Talion fails to kill them in battle, they'll remember his face. Running into them again will trigger new tactics and taunts, and they're likely to have grown in strength. It's a system that provides an endless wave of foes that want to kill me, and I really,...

Here is how to become a genius detective in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

The latest gameplay trailer for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments gives you a glimpse at how the investigation process will work in the game. As part of the investigation, players will be able to analyze the face of those they interrogate for details that could lend themself to personality traits and clues. This ranges from details of what they are wearing, which could indicate how fastidious they are, to items they have on hand. The game features six cases that conclude in nine possible endings based on the choices Holmes makes throughout. Additionally, developer Frogwares has developed the game in Unreal Engine 3, a change from its typically used in-house engine, which will allow for greater detail in scoping out the crime scene and the characters Holmes meets. F...

Valve taken to court by Australian consumer commission over Steam refund policy

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is suing Valve in federal court over the company's refund policy on Steam, alleging that Valve "made false or misleading representations regarding the application of the consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law." According to a release from the ACCC, Steam's refund policy is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law. Even though Valve doesn't have a physical presence in Australia, the company is still selling to its residents, and the law applies to "any business providing goods or services within Australia." "It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts and during sales," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. "Under...

The pitch versus the reality: what one of gaming's biggest Kickstarters looks like now

Uber Entertainment asked for $900,000 during the Planetary Annihilation Kickstarter back in 2012, and the company ultimately raised over $2.2 million to develop the ambitious real-time strategy game. The original trailer had something to do with that, showing the scale of the game's conflicts and its overall ambition. Let's watch the original video again. Not bad. The game dramatically overshot its funding, but also missed the planned July 2013 release date. The game was delayed, went through the Early Access program on Steam and is finally launching, two years later, on Sept. 5. Uber has also released a brand-new launch trailer to show what we can expect from the finished version of the game, which will be playable at PAX this weekend. "One of the most successful Kickstarter...

How one indie got Sony and Microsoft to support cross-platform content

Cross-platform play: It's the feature gamers always ask about, with Xbox fans wishing they could play with PlayStation people and vice versa. That doesn't appear to be something either Microsoft or Sony is interested in, but the companies' new attitudes on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One allowed one indie studio to deliver the next best thing — cross-platform sharing of users' creations.User-generated content, like custom maps for a shooter, can often be uploaded to the internet and shared with other players — but only if they're on the same console as you. That has been standard for the past decade, with rare exceptions such as Unreal Tournament 3, where players on PlayStation 3 could use maps, mods and skins that others had created on Windows PC. But games in which you can create...

Harmonix is making a musical shoot 'em up called A City Sleeps

Rock Band and Dance Central creator Harmonix is making a musical shooter — no, not that other musical shooter. The developer's latest game, A City Sleeps, looks like a shoot 'em up developed in the style of Cave or Treasure, but with the studio's trademark musical hook. A City Sleeps is a twin-stick shooter for PC that gives players control of Poe, a "dream exorcist" who can "enter the minds of sleeping hosts to rid their dreams of demons." Using a sword named Heartstrings and a gang of ghost familiars as sidekicks, Poe battles colorful enemies through dreamscapes while dodging bullet hell-style swarms of projectiles. Her ghost familiars can possess inanimate objects in the world, which will then assist her in battle. The game features an original soundtrack, Harmonix says, that...

Creators of Metro 2033 say PS4 is more powerful, tease open-world game

4A Games chief technical officer Oles Shishkovstov says the developer behind the Metro series is working on an open-world title. In a lengthy interview with Eurogamer, he also goes into great detail about programming for both of the current gen game consoles and discusses how ongoing improvements to their toolsets will contribute to their next game. 4A Games and publisher Deep Silver recently released updated versions of both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light. Each is being sold separately and bundled together in a package called Metro Redux. The updates represent a total remaster, a kind of director's cut, and have taken the Ukrainian studio more than a year to complete. Metro Redux is available on PC, as well as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While both console versions of Metro...

Titanfall's newest game mode ditches the Titans and AI bots

The next update for Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall will introduce a new game mode that's surprisingly basic: no Titans, no AI infantry, just 16 human pilots going at each other in team-based deathmatch. Titanfall's sixth major game update will add Pilot Skirmish to the list of featured game modes. The mode is an 8-versus-8 battle between pilots and, due to the difference in player count, Respawn says, won't be among the modes playable in Titanfall's Variety Pack playlist. The update also makes Marked for Death — the mode introduced earlier this year in which one player from each team is targeted for assassination — a permanent game mode. Respawn says the "enduring popularity of the mode" convinced them to bring it on full-time and add a Marked for Death playlist and custom Marked...

Five Nights at Freddy's is a childhood-ruining nightmare factory

Part of me always thought I'd meet my end at the hands of the Rock-afire Explosion.That nightmare is realized in Five Nights at Freddy's, an indie horror title that launched on Steam earlier this month. You're the night manager of a Showbiz Pizza Place knock-off, tasked with protecting ... what, exactly? The pizza? Whatever your charge is, it's not worth the hazards that come with the position, like, for instance, psychological trauma and also death. Check out the Overview video above, and maybe don't turn your speakers all the way up.

Is Civilization: Beyond Earth any good?

Civilization: Beyond Earth is a lenticulated trick of light, like those pictures of ghosts you see in trashy bars; one moment a pre-Raphaelite beauty, the next a snarling corpse.For a while, it seems like a whole entity, glowing with vitality and life. But then, it shades into a bony darkness, an incomplete thing that whispers of Frankenstein-like stitching. There can be no doubt that this game is essentially Civilization 5, except set in the future, on an alien planet. And yet, playing for the first 100 turns earlier this week (a PR-restriction at a press event) repeatedly, I found myself entirely amenable to the game. If you look for similarities with Civ 5, you will find them in the core of the game's mechanics. It is the same experience, in that your role is to build cities,...
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