Ludwig Kietzmann

    Ludwig Kietzmann

  • There is No End

    Joystiq will not grow to be much older than ten years. That's a massive expenditure of time, if only to receive an unfinished creation in return. I, and my best friends in the world, leave Joystiq unfinished. We leave it as it was always going to be.

  • Fable just the first step in getting more Xbox One games on Windows

    It's easy to forget the Xbox's place inside the Windows empire. The bespoke platform is hinged on games and entertainment, looming over the console world but still living in its own fiefdom under Microsoft. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One are seen as instrumental to the software giant's goals, but their reach is about a billion behind that of Windows. Microsoft wants to dismantle the barriers within itself now, unifying games, productivity and phones under the banner of Windows 10. The Xbox One will host new universal apps – programs designed to run on both Windows devices and Xbox architecture – alongside a Windows 10 update later this year, but that's a lesser gesture compared to what Microsoft announced on Wednesday during its Windows 10 event. Even having the Xbox and its games there, on stage, represents a change in the Windows message. Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, took that stage to announce a PC version of Fable Legends, the latest entry in developer Lionhead's long-running and lovably lighthearted fantasy role-playing series. Not only is the game coming to Windows PC players, but it's coming in a way that allows them to play and chat with Xbox One players through Xbox Live. According to Spencer, it's the first game of several first-party Xbox games coming to PC.

  • Screamride: For those who dream of disaster

    It's only fair to start this with an apology to Screamride, which joins us just as every second game gets to be called a 'roller coaster ride,' usually because it has a car chase, some explosions, and at least one scene of the protagonist going NO NO NO N- [explosion cuts off the rest, but an additional NO is strongly implied]. Screamride, in contrast, is actually about roller coasters: riding them; building tightly coiled tracks for them; destroying them in fiery catastrophe. It's so in love with pleasing disaster that it's likely to be wrongly categorized as 'cinematic action game.'

  • The timely tweaks in Majora's Mask 3D

    The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask will be nearly 15 years old by the time it returns in remastered form in February, coinciding with the launch of Nintendo's New 3DS XL. First released for the Nintendo 64, the unorthodox adventure has since steeped in praise for its strict structure and melancholy premise. Traveling back and forth through time, the hero of Majora's Mask helps the doomed inhabitants of Clock Town escape their final 72 hours, just days before they're crushed by an evil head from outer space. It's almost the saddest Star Trek episode.

  • Magicka 2: Worst. Wizards. Ever.

    The wizard is an authority of the arcane, enrobed as if to protect countless secrets and tricks from unworthy eyes. Sometimes the wizard comes with a beard, which just screams wisdom (especially when tugged hard enough), and sometimes the wizard comes with a hefty book in hand. Sorry, did you say book? Please, this is a TOME. If the wizard demands respect, the Magicka series of video games just couldn't be bothered to give it. Cast as incompetent, catastrophically clumsy killing machines, the faceless wizards of Magicka have their hearts in the right place. It's the fireballs that are in the wrong place. Meanwhile, lightning is zapping a fellow wizard instead of a monster horde and, hey, you over there - maybe go easy on the spell that tends to immolate us all?

  • Magicka 2 (Dec. 2014)

    The worst wizards ever return in Magicka 2, this time coming to PC and PS4.

  • Best of the Rest: Ludwig's picks of 2014

    ATTENTION: The year 2014 has concluded its temporal self-destruct sequence. If you are among the escapees, please join us in salvaging and preserving the best games from the irradiated chrono-debris. Jazzpunk Jazzpunk is likely to be misunderstood, or impossible to understand, by design. You could say explanation comes as an insult to its eccentricity. The gist of it is that you're a spy completing missions in a surreal, robot-dominated world, the kind you might dream up after dozing off in the middle of a late-night Leslie Nielsen movie marathon. And while the convoluted wordplay wouldn't feel out of place in a Zucker spoof - in Japan, for example, you're asked if you prefer kimonos or kistereos – the barbs of reality are what really make Jazzpunk stick. Take its odd vision of dystopia, which is regularly mocked through one-off minigames (like a first-person shooter dubbed ... Wedding Quake). Here, you can put on a special visor that lets you see and blast nonsensical Wi-Fi passwords as they dance in the air around you. I mean, that's weird, but ... think about it. The concept is kind of weird to begin with, right here on Earth. Taken as a form of escapism, then, Jazzpunk is silly without taking you too far from the truth.

  • Joystiq Top 10 of 2014: Alien Isolation

    ATTENTION: The year 2014 has concluded its temporal self-destruct sequence. If you are among the escapees, please join us in salvaging and preserving the best games from the irradiated chrono-debris. I'm suspicious of Alien: Isolation as I play it, waiting for the leather shoe to drop and seeing a meddling executive come chasing after it. It's just a cartoon in my head, sure, but these games are made or broken by how well they can bend to the needs of the creator, the desires of the publisher and the expectations of a varied audience. A low-action survival game with a persistent stalker isn't usually where video game aliens end up - not even THE alien. You start questioning everything. There are too many jagged parts for a blockbuster game, too many harsh pitfalls for the easily frustrated player, too much smart enthusiasm for what is truthfully a tarnished property. And on top of that it's supposed to be an intimate horror game from Creative Assembly, the studio best known for giving you a god's view in the Total War strategy games. And yet few studios could have been as suitable as Creative Assembly, for fanatically recreating not only the look of 1979's 'Alien', but instilling the same vulnerability and paranoia that must have clung to the film's lone human survivor, Ellen Ripley. Alien: Isolation puts her clever daughter in a similar predicament, inherits a horrible monster with a matryoshka doll of mouths, and proves that authenticity is key not only in historical fact. Whereas Total War unfurls the history books as best it can, Alien: Isolation is devoted to recreating the timeless truths of Ridley Scott's film: its look, its unpredictable killer and the sigh of relief we share with those who survive.

  • Evolve tests creature features in open beta on Jan. 15

    Evolve is doing another round of online testing to ensure a roaring launch in February, with 2K Games announcing an open beta to run January 15-19. The beta will test Evolve's giant goals on Xbox One with a curtailed selection of monsters – the "Goliath" and "Kraken" – along with 8 hunters and 12 different maps. (And as with all monster products, there's a premium: you must be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber to gain access.) Ferocious opposition and considered team play are both valued in Evolve, which pits one beastly player against 4 human-controlled hunters on a wild planet. Though the game hinges on the different permutations of Muldoons and monsters, it does have a campaign variant (playable offline and solo in the full game) called "Evacuation," which will enter the Xbox One beta test on January 17th. "Evacuation" offers a skeleton of a story, with sequential mission outcomes affecting the conditions of the next until the planet of Shear is evacuated. If you win consecutive rounds as the monster, for instance, few people escape and the hunters get thrashed. Unlocks in the Xbox One beta will carry over to the final game. 2K Games says "closed technical tests" for Evolve will also be conducted on other platforms, though not to the extent of the Xbox One beta (so, no "Evacuation" there). PC players can encroach upon the poaching as of January 16, provided they have invites to the "Big Alpha," or have Left 4 Dead or BioShock Infinite in their Steam libraries. PlayStation 4 owners, meanwhile, can start on January 17th with a Big Alpha invite and PS Plus subscription in hand.

  • Evolve (Wraith Monster)

    Face the Wraith of Evolve's new monster, the Wrath! Wait, no, other way around...

  • Let's unbox the 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4

    Swathed in sleek nostalgia, the 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 simultaneously represents Sony's modern ambitions and its off-grey beginnings. It's a promotional item, a physical brand ambassador and a $500 cultural artifact all rolled into one. So, it's the sort of thing that calls for an unboxing gallery on a video game website. Of course, Joystiq will be giving this pristine PlayStation away soon. The package has been slightly touched during photography, but it's just half the prize: the eventual winner stands the chance of lifting an eyelash from it, cloning one of us, commandeering our lives and receiving the 30th Anniversary PlayStation 5 for an unboxing gallery in 2024! Isn't that exciting?!

  • PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Unboxing

    We unbox the 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4, a nostalgic Kutaragi-infused twist on Sony's latest hardware.

  • Get a closer look at final retail Amiibos

    The taxidermy of fictional characters is big business, especially if you have a cast as colorful and as prone to pugilism as Nintendo's bunch. We've toyed with the retail versions of Nintendo's starting Amiibo lineup for our Smash Bros. review (now updated with a score) and took some shots for your scrutinizing pleasure. Does Pikachu fancy himself a leader now?

  • Amiibo (First Wave for Smash Bros.)

    Close-up shots of the first wave of Nintendo's Amiibo figures.

  • 'Far Cry 4': The Joystiq Review

    Far Cry 4 is about a man returning home to scatter his mother's final earthly form. Only he gets distracted, goes mountain climbing for a bit, helps dismantle a despotic regime, fights a tiger, runs in circles looking for an ancient scroll, lands a gyrocopter on someone's house and develops a caustic vendetta against nature's sweet-sounding fur demon, the honey badger. This doesn't make him an absent-minded son so much as the protagonist in an excellent open-world game. Like the vessel enshrining his mother's ashes, Ajay Ghale can't accomplish anything without a player to move him, lugging him up and down South Asian mountains in pursuit of peril and the next exotic vista. And like Ghale, you get in so deep after a while that it doesn't really matter what brought you there in the first place. Click here for more

  • The new dance in Halo 5: Guardians

    Despite likening the beta test as "coming out of the house half dressed," 343 Industries and Microsoft will use December as a showcase for Halo 5: Guardians – at least the multiplayer part. With almost 2 years of work done and nearly another year to go before launch, Halo 5: Guardians is going to be a learning experience for just about everyone: first for seasoned Halo players coming to grips with new abilities and a far more responsive output of 60 frames per second, and then for its developers, who will have weeks of data and feedback to get Halo in suitable shape on Xbox One.

  • Mario Kart 8 update adds Amiibo support

    A downloadable Mario Kart 8 update, meant to steady the game for the initial volley of DLC cars and tracks, will also enable simple support for Nintendo's Amiibo lineup. A select number of characters from Nintendo's new toy army will unlock corresponding outfits for your Mii racer. Tapping the Kirby statue on the Wii U gamepad, for instance, will unlock a pink puffball-themed outfit for your Mario Kart Mii, complete with a helmet designed to resemble Kirby looking back at you, smiling in the face of a blue shell coming up. Mario Kart 8 will also have unlocks for Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Captain Falcon, Samus, and Fox McCloud. The Amiibo update will happen alongside the November 13 release of Mario Kart 8's first DLC - a pack of 8 tracks, 4 vehicles and 3 new characters, including Link and Tanooki Mario. The Amiibo toys, meanwhile, are coming out alongside the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. on November 21. For more on the Amiibo and how they work in Smash, check out my impressions here.

  • 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare': The Joystiq Review

    You get just a novel snippet of peace in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. In this shooter's future, technology has trumped terrorism, rooted out the last evil masterminds and flexed its bionic muscles in total defiance of lead-footed politicians who'd rather talk than get things done. "The world is running out of bad guys," your partner says, hopeful but tragically unaware that he's basically describing a video game glitch. Call of Duty never runs out of bad guys. This one gets points for honesty, though, in that there is no pretentious cover-up of why the good guys beat the bad guys (or why the plot finds them easily interchangeable). In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, you win because you have better guns, stronger sights, super abilities and superior movement. Whether it's in the rich and varied multiplayer mode, or the frantic, thrill-a-minute single-player campaign, you're constantly relying on cool weapons and combat data to make taking lives easier. Advanced Warfare front-loads the benefits of power in a franchise that has always made technology the exalted, almost fetishized solution to every problem. And you know what? It's more fun when it admits as much. Click here for more

  • Super Smash Bros. Amiibo figures are part trophy, part protégé

    Nintendo is getting into the figurine game with a lineup called "amiibo" (disregard for capitalization included). Set to cooperate with several different games, most prominently this holiday's Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., the Amiibo statues capture the company's fanciful characters in a cute, tangible form. "Capturing" might be too strong a word, though, because it implies more fiction than there really is.