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Found 12 results

  1. From humble beginnings as a Kickstarter project to becoming one of the biggest indie darlings of 2016, Hyper Light Drifter has quite the history of defying expectations. Gorgeous pixel art animations and vistas, dialogue-less storytelling, and a fantastic soundtrack by Disasterpeace came together to tell a gripping tale about a lone wanderer in a sci-fi apocalypse. While all of the pieces come together for a solid game, do they gel well enough to create something considered one of the best games of all-time? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: A Link to the Past 'Chamber of the Goddess' by Disasterpeace (http://ocremix.org/album/33/25yearlegend-a-legend-of-zelda-indie-game-composer-tribute) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. From humble beginnings as a Kickstarter project to becoming one of the biggest indie darlings of 2016, Hyper Light Drifter has quite the history of defying expectations. Gorgeous pixel art animations and vistas, dialogue-less storytelling, and a fantastic soundtrack by Disasterpeace came together to tell a gripping tale about a lone wanderer in a sci-fi apocalypse. While all of the pieces come together for a solid game, do they gel well enough to create something considered one of the best games of all-time? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: A Link to the Past 'Chamber of the Goddess' by Disasterpeace (http://ocremix.org/album/33/25yearlegend-a-legend-of-zelda-indie-game-composer-tribute) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Hyper Light Drifter released several months ago on PC to a mostly positive reception. Now the stylish indie darling is coming to consoles. Heart Machine put a lot of effort into crafting a subtle, tight experience that doesn't overstay its welcome and rewards those who can master its combat. Check out our review for a more in-depth look at what makes Hyper Light Drifter so special and check it out on console tomorrow if you haven't had a chance to play it (it really does control well with controllers).
  4. Hyper Light Drifter released several months ago on PC to a mostly positive reception. Now the stylish indie darling is coming to consoles. Heart Machine put a lot of effort into crafting a subtle, tight experience that doesn't overstay its welcome and rewards those who can master its combat. Check out our review for a more in-depth look at what makes Hyper Light Drifter so special and check it out on console tomorrow if you haven't had a chance to play it (it really does control well with controllers). View full article
  5. A wanderer collapses in the night, surrounded by a broken world torn by war and littered with the bones of giants. Gorgeous pixel landscapes and animated sequences mesh to create an impression of a coming doom that has happened before and will happen again. However, even in a shattered world heroes can rise, braving the ruins of glories long past to uncover technology and hope, a way to avert the coming end. This is Hyper Light Drifter, a top-down action-adventure title from indie studio Heart Machine. As the nameless drifter, players must venture forth to battle monsters, solve puzzles, and become master of the four regions which surround the one safe haven that still seems habitable for the few remaining peaceful people who inhabit the world. In many ways, Hyper Light Drifter plays like a unique combination of The Legend of Zelda series with a dash of Dark Souls tossed in for good measure. Much like a Zelda title, players need to explore vast dungeons riddled with bloodthirsty monsters and traps. Thorough exploration is well rewarded and observant players will find tons of secret nooks and crannies that hold hidden gear bits that can be used to upgrade the drifter's gear and techniques. These treasures are hidden in ways that make those who find them feel clever, but few will be able to find all the secrets of Hyper Light Drifter like the golden keys or glowing power sources. Initially, players will need to make do with a simple slashing sword attack and a laser pistol along with a dash, but the opportunities to unlock more moves and tools soon open up. By the end of the game, most players will have a charged slash, the ability to knock back projectiles, and even a slashing light dash. Every tool in the player’s arsenal will need to be used to solve puzzles and proceed through levels infested with enemies. The comparison to Dark Souls comes in the way that each combat encounter plays out very deliberately. Often players will find themselves strategizing on how to best take on a room full of enemies. Reckless play can easily lead to death, while methodical approaches to every fight are rewarded. There exists a certain economy of time in Hyper Light Drifter that limits the actions of enemies and the player. This makes understanding what enemies are capable of doing, how they move, imperative alongside understanding the drifter’s abilities. Each slash takes up a definite amount of time; each dash puts the player a set distance in a given direction; a certain number of slashes restores a set fraction of projectile ammo, etc. Once a player can instinctively understand these rules, the combat gradually gains speed and what once seemed to be a slow game of tactics becomes a fluid storm of action as the player seeks out the most efficient means of clearing an area of enemies. Of course, this approach to combat also has some downsides. A mistimed slash can lock the player into a second of animation that can’t be cancelled in favor of a dodge if an enemy makes an unforeseen attack. There were many times when playing that I wished I could cancel my action to avoid incoming danger. To be honest, I’m unsure if this slight irritation comes directly from the way Heart Machine believed combat should flow or it stems from a desire to have smooth, unbroken animations. The focus on creating an economy of time also leads to an issue with button timing. A perfect example of this can be found in the way Hyper Light Drifter allows players to chain together dashes for faster, longer dashes. With each additional dash, the timing required for the next dash shortens slightly. I found it almost entirely impossible for me to successfully chain more than three or four dashes together, frequently stalling out (which can prove to be a problem when your life depends on chaining together those dashes). The mechanics of Hyper Light Drifter are practically perfect in most other respects, so these complaints are rather small, but can lead to some significant frustration over the course of a full playthrough. One aspect of Hyper Light Drifter is utterly perfect, though. The aesthetic manages to remain captivating and gorgeous from beginning to end. Any given screenshot of the title would look at home in a frame on someone’s wall. It easily contains some of the most gorgeous pixel art that I have ever seen. Surreal animated dream sequences, fantastic beasts, breathtaking landscapes, the motivation to visually devour more of this world will be more than enough to motivate most players to fully explore it. Hyper Light Drifter depicts its neon, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world as dirty, grimy, and barely clinging to life amidst piles of death. Corpses and bones are commonplace, but still civilization and light remains to those few who press on with the task of living. Monsters roam the lands and sow chaos as they prey upon the few sentient lifeforms left alive. The bodies of great giants litter the world, limbs frozen mid-battle. Below the earth in mechanical labs, the colossal hearts of long-dead experiments still beat, hinting that perhaps those giants of war aren’t truly gone. The fortunate strength of Hyper Light Drifter’s aesthetic allows the entire narrative to unfold visually. There are cryptic messages left throughout the world written in a cypher that players who have cracked it claim give some small details about the world, but those messages will remain a mystery for most. Players encounter characters who tell stories of great battles, lost loved ones, and small hopes for a brighter future through still frame images. Through these visual insights, touching moments connect players to the setting of Hyper Light Drifter and motivate players emotionally. Many of the characters who tell their stories don’t provide material aid to the player, but they give faces and stories to the world and make it worth fighting for. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://music.disasterpeace.com/album/hyper-light-drifter" href="http://music.disasterpeace.com/album/hyper-light-drifter">Hyper Light Drifter by Disasterpeace</a> The mesmerizing soundtrack from Disasterpeace conveys a sense of sinister mystery and dread as players explore. Each new area seems to ratchet up the tension with very few lighthearted breaks in the soundscape. It does some really fascinating things with silence and a minimal style that really adds to the overall character of Hyper Light Drifter. The visual and audible aesthetics build on one another as players delve deeper into the secrets concealed by the old world ruins. Now, all of that being said, Hyper Light Drifter left me feeling conflicted. It is undoubtedly beautiful, mechanically very sound, and well made, but I’m not sure if that is enough. To be clear, I loved my time with it and I think anyone who looks at it or sees it in action will have a great time. However, I’m not sure if it has the staying power to remain firmly rooted in our collective gaming consciousness. There is something about Hyper Light Drifter that, much like its protagonist, feels fleeting. This might be a deliberate choice from Heart Machine, as that transient impression works in Hyper Light Drifter’s artistic favor, but might also lead to it being forgettable. The subdued nature of the title leads to a solid theme, but there are few highs or lows that will lodge it forever in a player’s mind. No shocking revelation or emotionally charged battle to prod us into remembrance, just the image of an ailing drifter near a fire in the middle of a dark world as the flames sputter into embers. Conclusion: For some, Hyper Light Drifter’s competence, aesthetic, and soundscape might be enough. It’s well designed and gorgeous and fun – a very well-rounded and solid experience. However, I think Hyper Light Drifter will also leave people wanting more both in terms of how long the game is, it clocks in at four dungeons and around seven or eight hours, but also in terms of meaning. Most will enjoy their time within the devastated lands of Hyper Light Drifter, but some people will struggle to attach personal meaning to the experience. The artistic cohesion that Hear Machine has put together is incredibly impressive and well worth the time it takes to experience. Those who wish for more beyond the tense melancholy of dangerous exploration and the rough interpretations of a wordless, surreal story might need to seek out other worlds and stories. For those who can accept it as it is, Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful, haunting, tense, and fittingly transient as an artistic work. Hyper Light Drifter was reviewed on PC and will soon be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One View full article
  6. Jack Gardner

    Review: Hyper Light Drifter

    A wanderer collapses in the night, surrounded by a broken world torn by war and littered with the bones of giants. Gorgeous pixel landscapes and animated sequences mesh to create an impression of a coming doom that has happened before and will happen again. However, even in a shattered world heroes can rise, braving the ruins of glories long past to uncover technology and hope, a way to avert the coming end. This is Hyper Light Drifter, a top-down action-adventure title from indie studio Heart Machine. As the nameless drifter, players must venture forth to battle monsters, solve puzzles, and become master of the four regions which surround the one safe haven that still seems habitable for the few remaining peaceful people who inhabit the world. In many ways, Hyper Light Drifter plays like a unique combination of The Legend of Zelda series with a dash of Dark Souls tossed in for good measure. Much like a Zelda title, players need to explore vast dungeons riddled with bloodthirsty monsters and traps. Thorough exploration is well rewarded and observant players will find tons of secret nooks and crannies that hold hidden gear bits that can be used to upgrade the drifter's gear and techniques. These treasures are hidden in ways that make those who find them feel clever, but few will be able to find all the secrets of Hyper Light Drifter like the golden keys or glowing power sources. Initially, players will need to make do with a simple slashing sword attack and a laser pistol along with a dash, but the opportunities to unlock more moves and tools soon open up. By the end of the game, most players will have a charged slash, the ability to knock back projectiles, and even a slashing light dash. Every tool in the player’s arsenal will need to be used to solve puzzles and proceed through levels infested with enemies. The comparison to Dark Souls comes in the way that each combat encounter plays out very deliberately. Often players will find themselves strategizing on how to best take on a room full of enemies. Reckless play can easily lead to death, while methodical approaches to every fight are rewarded. There exists a certain economy of time in Hyper Light Drifter that limits the actions of enemies and the player. This makes understanding what enemies are capable of doing, how they move, imperative alongside understanding the drifter’s abilities. Each slash takes up a definite amount of time; each dash puts the player a set distance in a given direction; a certain number of slashes restores a set fraction of projectile ammo, etc. Once a player can instinctively understand these rules, the combat gradually gains speed and what once seemed to be a slow game of tactics becomes a fluid storm of action as the player seeks out the most efficient means of clearing an area of enemies. Of course, this approach to combat also has some downsides. A mistimed slash can lock the player into a second of animation that can’t be cancelled in favor of a dodge if an enemy makes an unforeseen attack. There were many times when playing that I wished I could cancel my action to avoid incoming danger. To be honest, I’m unsure if this slight irritation comes directly from the way Heart Machine believed combat should flow or it stems from a desire to have smooth, unbroken animations. The focus on creating an economy of time also leads to an issue with button timing. A perfect example of this can be found in the way Hyper Light Drifter allows players to chain together dashes for faster, longer dashes. With each additional dash, the timing required for the next dash shortens slightly. I found it almost entirely impossible for me to successfully chain more than three or four dashes together, frequently stalling out (which can prove to be a problem when your life depends on chaining together those dashes). The mechanics of Hyper Light Drifter are practically perfect in most other respects, so these complaints are rather small, but can lead to some significant frustration over the course of a full playthrough. One aspect of Hyper Light Drifter is utterly perfect, though. The aesthetic manages to remain captivating and gorgeous from beginning to end. Any given screenshot of the title would look at home in a frame on someone’s wall. It easily contains some of the most gorgeous pixel art that I have ever seen. Surreal animated dream sequences, fantastic beasts, breathtaking landscapes, the motivation to visually devour more of this world will be more than enough to motivate most players to fully explore it. Hyper Light Drifter depicts its neon, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world as dirty, grimy, and barely clinging to life amidst piles of death. Corpses and bones are commonplace, but still civilization and light remains to those few who press on with the task of living. Monsters roam the lands and sow chaos as they prey upon the few sentient lifeforms left alive. The bodies of great giants litter the world, limbs frozen mid-battle. Below the earth in mechanical labs, the colossal hearts of long-dead experiments still beat, hinting that perhaps those giants of war aren’t truly gone. The fortunate strength of Hyper Light Drifter’s aesthetic allows the entire narrative to unfold visually. There are cryptic messages left throughout the world written in a cypher that players who have cracked it claim give some small details about the world, but those messages will remain a mystery for most. Players encounter characters who tell stories of great battles, lost loved ones, and small hopes for a brighter future through still frame images. Through these visual insights, touching moments connect players to the setting of Hyper Light Drifter and motivate players emotionally. Many of the characters who tell their stories don’t provide material aid to the player, but they give faces and stories to the world and make it worth fighting for. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://music.disasterpeace.com/album/hyper-light-drifter" href="http://music.disasterpeace.com/album/hyper-light-drifter">Hyper Light Drifter by Disasterpeace</a> The mesmerizing soundtrack from Disasterpeace conveys a sense of sinister mystery and dread as players explore. Each new area seems to ratchet up the tension with very few lighthearted breaks in the soundscape. It does some really fascinating things with silence and a minimal style that really adds to the overall character of Hyper Light Drifter. The visual and audible aesthetics build on one another as players delve deeper into the secrets concealed by the old world ruins. Now, all of that being said, Hyper Light Drifter left me feeling conflicted. It is undoubtedly beautiful, mechanically very sound, and well made, but I’m not sure if that is enough. To be clear, I loved my time with it and I think anyone who looks at it or sees it in action will have a great time. However, I’m not sure if it has the staying power to remain firmly rooted in our collective gaming consciousness. There is something about Hyper Light Drifter that, much like its protagonist, feels fleeting. This might be a deliberate choice from Heart Machine, as that transient impression works in Hyper Light Drifter’s artistic favor, but might also lead to it being forgettable. The subdued nature of the title leads to a solid theme, but there are few highs or lows that will lodge it forever in a player’s mind. No shocking revelation or emotionally charged battle to prod us into remembrance, just the image of an ailing drifter near a fire in the middle of a dark world as the flames sputter into embers. Conclusion: For some, Hyper Light Drifter’s competence, aesthetic, and soundscape might be enough. It’s well designed and gorgeous and fun – a very well-rounded and solid experience. However, I think Hyper Light Drifter will also leave people wanting more both in terms of how long the game is, it clocks in at four dungeons and around seven or eight hours, but also in terms of meaning. Most will enjoy their time within the devastated lands of Hyper Light Drifter, but some people will struggle to attach personal meaning to the experience. The artistic cohesion that Hear Machine has put together is incredibly impressive and well worth the time it takes to experience. Those who wish for more beyond the tense melancholy of dangerous exploration and the rough interpretations of a wordless, surreal story might need to seek out other worlds and stories. For those who can accept it as it is, Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful, haunting, tense, and fittingly transient as an artistic work. Hyper Light Drifter was reviewed on PC and will soon be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
  7. I played through the preview build of Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter not once or twice, but four times. The abandoned laboratory called me back again and again because one playthrough wasn’t enough to see every area in the build. Each run through the test tubes swirling with dark pixelated horrors revealed fresh paths, more enemies, and new weapons. Thorough investigation revealed secret paths to keys that would open a special door holding the bloodied body of a fallen wanderer very much like the titular Drifter. The molding halls into the depths of the facility led me to glimpses of far off giants, long dead and decayed, but still unnervingly present. One of the highest compliments that I can pay Hyper Light Drifter is that it captures the unique blend of disturbing unease and excitement of Super Metroid, but repackages it as an isometric action title with a gorgeous pixel art aesthetic. It is beautiful, creepy, and fun. Hyper Light Drifter was previewed on PC. The preview build I played began in an open area outside of an alien laboratory. This gave me a chance to experiment with the controls. I quickly found that the Drifter has a laser sword, the ability to dash short distances, and can use his robot companion to check inventory. Continuing into the facility I encountered a prone skeleton with a laser pistol close by its boney hand. The pistol was still in working order so it quickly became a part of my arsenal. In addition to the laser sword, the Drifter may only have two items equipped at any given time. A large door with four locks prevented progress through the main lab, but a side passage offered a way forward. That’s when I encountered Hyper Light Drifter’s first enemies. The Drifter has a limited amount of health and can usually only take five or six hits before dying. This makes every enemy encounter a tense exercise in patience and reflexes. Even the grunts, green, goblin-like creatures, can quickly whittle down health if you’re not careful. Every new area is accompanied by an auto-save, which is handy because death should be expected. There is a measured timing to how combat works. Enemies telegraph their attacks, giving time to dodge or counter their advances. However, it is important to remember that the Drifter’s attacks also have a strange timing to them. While the laser sword is a powerful tool, it can only quickly strike three times before pausing. Special weapons like the pistol, shotgun, laser cannon, or remote controlled bomb rely on slowly regenerating energy for their use. They also have their own timing to how they work. After some time is spent mastering combat, battles take on the cadence of a dance. It feels empowering, smoothly moving from enemy to enemy, but also sad. The beautiful artistic style that Heart Machine has employed is a pleasure to look at, but it also shows the capacity for great violence. Taking a great deal of damage causes the Drifter to leave puddles of blood while walking. Defeating enemies leaves their blood and bodies scattered around the battlefield. Successfully landing a series of attacks without taking damage charges a critical strike which can decapitate foes. The mechanics are fun, but the visuals feed into the grotesquely melancholy atmosphere. There is weight to combat. Exploration seems to be a core component of Hyper Light Drifter. Numerous paths can be taken to reach the end of the preview build. Each path introduces different challenges and experiences. Diligent explorers will be able to unearth powerful weapons like the laser cannon and new cloaks for the Drifter. Unfortunately, exploration can also be frustrating. The dashing mechanic while certainly useful in combat, is primarily used to traverse gaps in the terrain. These pitfalls are instant death to anything that falls. Due to the angle of the camera, sometimes the edges of platforms are hard to see or covered by taller piece of the environment. This wasn’t a huge problem when I was going through the preview build the first time, but when I was trying to find secrets and hidden crannies. A number of times I fell out of the stage through walls. It is a cheap way to die, though at least a few of those deaths could be attributed to the fact that the game isn’t complete quite yet. Even without the enemies or platforming challenges, wandering the environment is a lesson in how much mileage a game can get out of a great ambient score. It feels alien, at times beautiful, but often strange and disconcerting. Sometimes it can seem more like mechanical heart beats than music. It succeeds in setting you on edge. Overall, the slice of Hyper Light Drifter sent to me by Heart Machine had me excited at the prospect of the full game. Every element in the build I saw was an essential part of the whole experience. It was able to convey meanings and emotions without the use of dialog. Outside of the initial loading screens and the pause menu, there wasn’t any text or voice work present in Hyper Light Drifter, but it still succeeded in being a compelling game with a world that left me itching to explore and understand. Who is the Drifter? What are these monstrous behemoths and what killed them? Perhaps we’ll have our answers when the full game releases. Hyper Light Drifter's release date has been pushed back into early 2015. View full article
  8. I played through the preview build of Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter not once or twice, but four times. The abandoned laboratory called me back again and again because one playthrough wasn’t enough to see every area in the build. Each run through the test tubes swirling with dark pixelated horrors revealed fresh paths, more enemies, and new weapons. Thorough investigation revealed secret paths to keys that would open a special door holding the bloodied body of a fallen wanderer very much like the titular Drifter. The molding halls into the depths of the facility led me to glimpses of far off giants, long dead and decayed, but still unnervingly present. One of the highest compliments that I can pay Hyper Light Drifter is that it captures the unique blend of disturbing unease and excitement of Super Metroid, but repackages it as an isometric action title with a gorgeous pixel art aesthetic. It is beautiful, creepy, and fun. Hyper Light Drifter was previewed on PC. The preview build I played began in an open area outside of an alien laboratory. This gave me a chance to experiment with the controls. I quickly found that the Drifter has a laser sword, the ability to dash short distances, and can use his robot companion to check inventory. Continuing into the facility I encountered a prone skeleton with a laser pistol close by its boney hand. The pistol was still in working order so it quickly became a part of my arsenal. In addition to the laser sword, the Drifter may only have two items equipped at any given time. A large door with four locks prevented progress through the main lab, but a side passage offered a way forward. That’s when I encountered Hyper Light Drifter’s first enemies. The Drifter has a limited amount of health and can usually only take five or six hits before dying. This makes every enemy encounter a tense exercise in patience and reflexes. Even the grunts, green, goblin-like creatures, can quickly whittle down health if you’re not careful. Every new area is accompanied by an auto-save, which is handy because death should be expected. There is a measured timing to how combat works. Enemies telegraph their attacks, giving time to dodge or counter their advances. However, it is important to remember that the Drifter’s attacks also have a strange timing to them. While the laser sword is a powerful tool, it can only quickly strike three times before pausing. Special weapons like the pistol, shotgun, laser cannon, or remote controlled bomb rely on slowly regenerating energy for their use. They also have their own timing to how they work. After some time is spent mastering combat, battles take on the cadence of a dance. It feels empowering, smoothly moving from enemy to enemy, but also sad. The beautiful artistic style that Heart Machine has employed is a pleasure to look at, but it also shows the capacity for great violence. Taking a great deal of damage causes the Drifter to leave puddles of blood while walking. Defeating enemies leaves their blood and bodies scattered around the battlefield. Successfully landing a series of attacks without taking damage charges a critical strike which can decapitate foes. The mechanics are fun, but the visuals feed into the grotesquely melancholy atmosphere. There is weight to combat. Exploration seems to be a core component of Hyper Light Drifter. Numerous paths can be taken to reach the end of the preview build. Each path introduces different challenges and experiences. Diligent explorers will be able to unearth powerful weapons like the laser cannon and new cloaks for the Drifter. Unfortunately, exploration can also be frustrating. The dashing mechanic while certainly useful in combat, is primarily used to traverse gaps in the terrain. These pitfalls are instant death to anything that falls. Due to the angle of the camera, sometimes the edges of platforms are hard to see or covered by taller piece of the environment. This wasn’t a huge problem when I was going through the preview build the first time, but when I was trying to find secrets and hidden crannies. A number of times I fell out of the stage through walls. It is a cheap way to die, though at least a few of those deaths could be attributed to the fact that the game isn’t complete quite yet. Even without the enemies or platforming challenges, wandering the environment is a lesson in how much mileage a game can get out of a great ambient score. It feels alien, at times beautiful, but often strange and disconcerting. Sometimes it can seem more like mechanical heart beats than music. It succeeds in setting you on edge. Overall, the slice of Hyper Light Drifter sent to me by Heart Machine had me excited at the prospect of the full game. Every element in the build I saw was an essential part of the whole experience. It was able to convey meanings and emotions without the use of dialog. Outside of the initial loading screens and the pause menu, there wasn’t any text or voice work present in Hyper Light Drifter, but it still succeeded in being a compelling game with a world that left me itching to explore and understand. Who is the Drifter? What are these monstrous behemoths and what killed them? Perhaps we’ll have our answers when the full game releases. Hyper Light Drifter's release date has been pushed back into early 2015.
  9. Taking a lesson from last year, when Sony publicly mocked their DRM restrictions and announced a console that was $100 cheaper, Microsoft’s press conference was one designed to be as safe as possible. I say safe because how much more secure can you get than by opening with the next installment in the one of the most successful video game franchises of all time? We saw a gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where guys with cool sci-fi gadgets do things that we’ve seen guys in first-person shooters do hundreds of times before. It probably won’t be the video game equivalent of Shakespeare, but I know I’m at the very least intrigued to see how multiplayer incorporates all of the cool near-future technology showcased in the trailers and demos. Again, all DLC for Advanced Warfare will be available on Microsoft consoles. Next up, Turn 10 Studios took the stage to announce that Xbox One exclusive Forza Horizon 2 will release on September 30. Also, the new Nürburgring track will be made available this month for owners of Forza Motorsport 5. The track has been recreated down to subcentimeter levels of fidelity. Evolve made its own appearance with a new gameplay trailer focusing on the classes and introducing a new type of monster. Xbox One owners will have first dibs on both the Evolve beta and Evolve’s DLC. Just behind Call of Duty, the next safest bet in the industry is a new Assassin’s Creed game. Which is just what Ubisoft showed off at Microsoft’s press conference with Assassin’s Creed Unity. The title will be exclusive to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will feature 4-player co-op. If the idea of sneaking and assassinating in the midst of the French Revolution with three other friends gets you excited, this might be the perfect game for you. As someone who has little interest in the Call of Duties and Assassin’s Creeds of the world, I wasn’t feeling particularly compelled or excited about the games so far, but the newest trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition made me do a double-take. I’m getting more excited than I probably should be for this game, but I can’t help having faith in BioWare and in the potential that the Dragon Age franchise has always shown. Once more, it seems that Xbox users will be getting some exclusive access to “premium content.” There are no details as of yet what will be contained in that DLC. Sunset Overdrive had a stellar appearance with many winks and knowing nods to the audience in a scripted sequence lampooning traditional shooters. This was followed by a live gameplay demonstration that was well-executed and impressive. Then there was a goofy teaser for a Dead Rising 3 DLC pack that I am not going to write out because it is long and purposefully obnoxious. Harmonix briefly took the stage to discuss how Disney Fantasia and Dance Central Spotlight are coming to consoles this fall and were then quickly ushered off the stage so that Microsoft could divulge some more information on Fable Legends. I haven’t played it, but my reaction to Fable Legends was one of complete and utter boredom. The game has a few interesting ideas (a group of players take on the role of heroes while another player becomes the villainous mastermind who attempts to thwart their progress), but those ideas seem to be piled under layers of uninspired fantasy. Then there was the obligatory, “Project Spark is still a thing, guys! Remember how cool that concept was!?” The trailer was fine; it looked great. However, I’ve played a bit of the game and it is hard to muster much enthusiasm for a great game creation kit that is mired in overpriced microtransactions. *Warning, what follows is riddled with sadness* Another trailer followed Project Spark, this one for a small indie game titled Ori and the Blind Forest. Will it be one of this year’s indie gems? Possibly. Will it make me cry if I play it? No …sniff… *muffled sob* One of the biggest announcements of the press conference was that on November 11, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will release. The collection contains Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 on one disc with everything unlocked. Custom playlists will combine the great moments from all four games into one epic smorgasbord. Halo 2 is also receiving the full anniversary treatment that Halo: Combat Evolved received for Halo Anniversary Edition. The original version of Halo 2 will be included alongside the revamped version. In addition to all of that, the original multiplayer that fans fought so hard to protect will be brought back. For multiplayer, every map ever released will be available in 1080p and run at 60fps on dedicated servers. Over 100 maps. That’s a lot of maps. The collection will also include Halo Nightfall, a live action prelude to Halo 5: Guardians. Speaking of Halo 5, purchasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection also nets you access to the Halo 5 beta in December. All previous games Microsoft had talked about up until this point will be released by the end of the year. The second half of the show focused on games coming in 2015 and beyond. Most of the releases talked about were indies (and there is nothing wrong with that, just not a ton of information on the individual games). Then there was the surprise reveal of Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot. We see Lara getting some much needed therapy after the traumatic events of the previous game and then raiding some tombs. Ahhhh, nostalgia! There were a few other moments after that, like the announcement of the Phantom Dust reboot, some hilariously scripted gameplay from The Division, and the reveal of Crackdown 3, but what got me most excited was the Xbox One exclusive from Platinum Games titled Scalebound. It looks goofy, different, has giant monsters, and the ideas on display seem like they would be a lot of fun in the hands of the developer who brought us Vanquish and Bayonetta. Honorable indie mentions: That’s it from Microsoft. On the whole, this conference was much better than last year, which is a win for the company, but I can’t help but feel that this was one of the safest press conferences in the five years I’ve watched the show. What do you think? Awesome? Just right? Meh? View full article
  10. Jack Gardner

    E3 2014 - Microsoft's Press Conference

    Taking a lesson from last year, when Sony publicly mocked their DRM restrictions and announced a console that was $100 cheaper, Microsoft’s press conference was one designed to be as safe as possible. I say safe because how much more secure can you get than by opening with the next installment in the one of the most successful video game franchises of all time? We saw a gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where guys with cool sci-fi gadgets do things that we’ve seen guys in first-person shooters do hundreds of times before. It probably won’t be the video game equivalent of Shakespeare, but I know I’m at the very least intrigued to see how multiplayer incorporates all of the cool near-future technology showcased in the trailers and demos. Again, all DLC for Advanced Warfare will be available on Microsoft consoles. Next up, Turn 10 Studios took the stage to announce that Xbox One exclusive Forza Horizon 2 will release on September 30. Also, the new Nürburgring track will be made available this month for owners of Forza Motorsport 5. The track has been recreated down to subcentimeter levels of fidelity. Evolve made its own appearance with a new gameplay trailer focusing on the classes and introducing a new type of monster. Xbox One owners will have first dibs on both the Evolve beta and Evolve’s DLC. Just behind Call of Duty, the next safest bet in the industry is a new Assassin’s Creed game. Which is just what Ubisoft showed off at Microsoft’s press conference with Assassin’s Creed Unity. The title will be exclusive to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will feature 4-player co-op. If the idea of sneaking and assassinating in the midst of the French Revolution with three other friends gets you excited, this might be the perfect game for you. As someone who has little interest in the Call of Duties and Assassin’s Creeds of the world, I wasn’t feeling particularly compelled or excited about the games so far, but the newest trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition made me do a double-take. I’m getting more excited than I probably should be for this game, but I can’t help having faith in BioWare and in the potential that the Dragon Age franchise has always shown. Once more, it seems that Xbox users will be getting some exclusive access to “premium content.” There are no details as of yet what will be contained in that DLC. Sunset Overdrive had a stellar appearance with many winks and knowing nods to the audience in a scripted sequence lampooning traditional shooters. This was followed by a live gameplay demonstration that was well-executed and impressive. Then there was a goofy teaser for a Dead Rising 3 DLC pack that I am not going to write out because it is long and purposefully obnoxious. Harmonix briefly took the stage to discuss how Disney Fantasia and Dance Central Spotlight are coming to consoles this fall and were then quickly ushered off the stage so that Microsoft could divulge some more information on Fable Legends. I haven’t played it, but my reaction to Fable Legends was one of complete and utter boredom. The game has a few interesting ideas (a group of players take on the role of heroes while another player becomes the villainous mastermind who attempts to thwart their progress), but those ideas seem to be piled under layers of uninspired fantasy. Then there was the obligatory, “Project Spark is still a thing, guys! Remember how cool that concept was!?” The trailer was fine; it looked great. However, I’ve played a bit of the game and it is hard to muster much enthusiasm for a great game creation kit that is mired in overpriced microtransactions. *Warning, what follows is riddled with sadness* Another trailer followed Project Spark, this one for a small indie game titled Ori and the Blind Forest. Will it be one of this year’s indie gems? Possibly. Will it make me cry if I play it? No …sniff… *muffled sob* One of the biggest announcements of the press conference was that on November 11, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will release. The collection contains Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 on one disc with everything unlocked. Custom playlists will combine the great moments from all four games into one epic smorgasbord. Halo 2 is also receiving the full anniversary treatment that Halo: Combat Evolved received for Halo Anniversary Edition. The original version of Halo 2 will be included alongside the revamped version. In addition to all of that, the original multiplayer that fans fought so hard to protect will be brought back. For multiplayer, every map ever released will be available in 1080p and run at 60fps on dedicated servers. Over 100 maps. That’s a lot of maps. The collection will also include Halo Nightfall, a live action prelude to Halo 5: Guardians. Speaking of Halo 5, purchasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection also nets you access to the Halo 5 beta in December. All previous games Microsoft had talked about up until this point will be released by the end of the year. The second half of the show focused on games coming in 2015 and beyond. Most of the releases talked about were indies (and there is nothing wrong with that, just not a ton of information on the individual games). Then there was the surprise reveal of Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot. We see Lara getting some much needed therapy after the traumatic events of the previous game and then raiding some tombs. Ahhhh, nostalgia! There were a few other moments after that, like the announcement of the Phantom Dust reboot, some hilariously scripted gameplay from The Division, and the reveal of Crackdown 3, but what got me most excited was the Xbox One exclusive from Platinum Games titled Scalebound. It looks goofy, different, has giant monsters, and the ideas on display seem like they would be a lot of fun in the hands of the developer who brought us Vanquish and Bayonetta. Honorable indie mentions: That’s it from Microsoft. On the whole, this conference was much better than last year, which is a win for the company, but I can’t help but feel that this was one of the safest press conferences in the five years I’ve watched the show. What do you think? Awesome? Just right? Meh?
  11. Jack Gardner

    Hyper Light Drifter Deatiled

    Indie developer Heart Machine's foray into a world of pixels and adventure is aiming to be more than the sum of its parts. At fist glance, Hyper Light Drifter appears to be a pixelated, stylish take on the classic Zelda formula that's been a go-to template for game designers for decades. However, Heart Machine hopes to differentiate itself by implementing some of its own concepts, like a narrative expressed through visual design and an atmosphere conveyed by a canny soundtrack. From what we've seen of the development so far, Heart Machine seems to be on the right track. The approach to combat centers on the idea that the player should feel empowered when stepping onto the battlefield. Fighting should feel like it has weight with strong visual and audio cues resonating throughout a combat scenario. While conflicts should be fast, brutal affairs, Hyper Light Drifter is also attempting to satisfy its audience on a tactical level. There are many different enemy types that behave differently on the battlefield. Some adversaries will dodge or deflect attacks, others will attack en masse, and others will command legions of weaker creatures. In one of my favorite developer statements, Heart Machine had this to say regarding their game's emphasis on visual narrative, "We chose to recognize that gamers are smart." Hyper Light Drifter eschews text blocks, heavy handed exposition, and confusing UI in favor of a sleek, less-is-more approach. The idea is that the player should be immersed in the world and not be continually called out of it to consult maps and decipher their stats screen. Quests and dialogue will be conveyed in storyboard-like sequences that use color and music to effectively convey their meaning across language barriers. The soundtrack of Hyper Light Drifter is being handled by Disasterpeace, the artist behind the soundscapes of Fez and Runner2. The sound will work together with the visuals to create a mounting aura of anxiety as players venture deeper into the ravaged world of ancient technology better left forgotten. Hyper Light Drifter has come a long way from its hugely successful Kickstarter campaign last year. We can barely wait to get out hands on Heart Machine's creation and delve into the secrets of the future-past. Hyper Light Drifter is slated to release later this year on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Vita, and Wii U.
  12. Indie developer Heart Machine's foray into a world of pixels and adventure is aiming to be more than the sum of its parts. At fist glance, Hyper Light Drifter appears to be a pixelated, stylish take on the classic Zelda formula that's been a go-to template for game designers for decades. However, Heart Machine hopes to differentiate itself by implementing some of its own concepts, like a narrative expressed through visual design and an atmosphere conveyed by a canny soundtrack. From what we've seen of the development so far, Heart Machine seems to be on the right track. The approach to combat centers on the idea that the player should feel empowered when stepping onto the battlefield. Fighting should feel like it has weight with strong visual and audio cues resonating throughout a combat scenario. While conflicts should be fast, brutal affairs, Hyper Light Drifter is also attempting to satisfy its audience on a tactical level. There are many different enemy types that behave differently on the battlefield. Some adversaries will dodge or deflect attacks, others will attack en masse, and others will command legions of weaker creatures. In one of my favorite developer statements, Heart Machine had this to say regarding their game's emphasis on visual narrative, "We chose to recognize that gamers are smart." Hyper Light Drifter eschews text blocks, heavy handed exposition, and confusing UI in favor of a sleek, less-is-more approach. The idea is that the player should be immersed in the world and not be continually called out of it to consult maps and decipher their stats screen. Quests and dialogue will be conveyed in storyboard-like sequences that use color and music to effectively convey their meaning across language barriers. The soundtrack of Hyper Light Drifter is being handled by Disasterpeace, the artist behind the soundscapes of Fez and Runner2. The sound will work together with the visuals to create a mounting aura of anxiety as players venture deeper into the ravaged world of ancient technology better left forgotten. Hyper Light Drifter has come a long way from its hugely successful Kickstarter campaign last year. We can barely wait to get out hands on Heart Machine's creation and delve into the secrets of the future-past. Hyper Light Drifter is slated to release later this year on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Vita, and Wii U. View full article
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