Time Warp – D:OS thoughts

June 29, 2015

Welcome to the newest feature for the blog (which means this will be the only time it is used); where I blog about an older game you have either already played or have no interest in playing. Should be really riveting stuff, so get excited!

I want to like Divinity: Original Sin more than I do. Which isn’t to say I don’t like it, but at the same time I can’t play it for more than an hour, and while I’m overall interested in whats happening, the game works really hard to make me care less with its humor and immersion-breaking bits.

Let me get this stuff out of the way first; The graphics are very good, sometimes amazing (standing on a cliff and looking at the area below is very well done), but I wish there was some in-game indicator for what the terrain is. Sometimes it can be hard to spot a pool of water, which is rather important when you are throwing around lighting spells. Sound is mostly good, although as mentioned the goofy voiced dialog can at times be distracting or a negative. No crashing, game loads up quickly, has mod support, etc, so all good on that end.

The combat is a lot of fun, although can be a bit taxing. I’m more than fine planning things out for a larger battle or a boss fight, but doing all of that for EVERY encounter can feel a bit much at times. There is also something a bit off with the numbers behind the action, as a lot of times I don’t take much damage at all, but then for some reason (crits, specific element damage, bad status effect) a character will just get trucked almost instantly. Resurrection scrolls seem to be rather plentiful, but still it would be nice if things were a bit smoother.

My main issue with the game however is the setting/humor. D:OS to me seems to be stuck in an awkward middle ground, where it has mostly serious content that fits the setting, but throws in just enough jokes or immersion-break self-references to pull you out of that setting anytime you start to really feel invested. Either go all-in on being a jokey RPG, or keep the meta-jokes down so they aren’t always so in your face.

Finally, while I can see where min/maxing characters could result in a lot of fun and powerful combinations, the game feels as though you almost HAVE TO min/max to get a lot out of it. Combat is clearly geared towards combos, so if you happen to run a party that can’t combo easily (or the combo you do have a certain enemy is immune to), its not only an uphill battle, but you feel like you are playing the game ‘wrong’. I think if every character had more access to elemental damage, but the overall impact was toned down a bit, the game would feel better. Right now a lot of the encounters feel more like a “do you have this combo” check than a strategic puzzle to figure out.

Again, I am enjoying the game overall, its a fun RPG with a lot going for it, but it’s not on the same level of Pillars of Eternity IMO. D:OS gets 80% right, where I felt PoE got 95%.


Fallout 4 info and the mobile game

June 15, 2015

As most of us predicted, given it was up for pre-order on Steam, Fallout 4 is coming later this year. The full 2+ hour E3 presentation can be seen here (talking starts at 26min, Fallout 4 around 1hr), and you can get pre-hyped with the Fallout mobile game (yet another reason why Bethesda is like Old Blizzard, the Fallout app is #1 right now on the apple charts, unlike the release of HS).

Can. Not. Wait.


Darkest Dungeon mini-review

June 13, 2015

Darkest Dungeon is absolutely kicking my ass. Some times things turn ugly on the first run, before I even open the various buildings. Either I’m doing something (a lot of things) wrong, or the game is just brutal. Fun game though, and doesn’t feel like a ‘traditional’ rogue-like.


GTA: Real GTA

May 4, 2015

Guessing you have seen this already as its being linked all over the place, but just in case, this video of GTA using real people and a drone as the camera is A+ work.


GW doesn’t want my money after all

April 23, 2015

Great, a Total War game without mod support, yay!

I was actually going to write today about how I fear for my wallet with TW: Warhammer, because if there was ever an IP to milk DLC, it’s freaking Warhammer. $10-$15 army DLC, $5-$10 magic item packs, $20 campaigns, etc. And what would have really sucked is I bet most of it would have been a good buy. I mean if you are telling me that having access to, say, Skaven is going to cost me $10, I’m giving you $10.

But in classic Games Workshop fashion, they have already screwed up another Warhammer game with this idiotic decision. Pro-tip: If you assume your future customers can’t be trusted, you won’t have a lot of future customers. And relax with ‘protecting the IP’. While Warhammer is an awesome IP, it’s not some sacred treasure that must be defended at all times. If the LotR IP can be bastardized as heavily as it is thanks to Turbine and LotRO, I think some mods for what should be a popular game won’t really cause irreparable damage.

Moving this from pre-order to “wait for the $20 ‘all DLC included’ Steam sale. Nice work GW.


Fine fine, take my money

April 22, 2015

So it’s not Mount and Blade: Warhammer, and certainly not “tabletop on your PC” Warhammer, but sure, I’ll give you money for Total War: Warhammer, I guess…


Dungeon of the Endless review

April 22, 2015

I picked up Dungeon of the Endless a few days ago, ironically right AFTER it was available for a free weekend on Steam. It’s a rogue-like game somewhat similar to Faster Than Light (FTL), set in the Endless universe (Endless Space, Dungeon, and Endless Legend). I’m good for about one rogue-like every few months, and Dungeon is a solid entry.

The basics of the game is that your ship crashed into a planet, somehow 15 floors deep in a dungeon, and using a crew of up to four, you must move up and eventually out while transporting a crystal. The crystal is a power source, and power is a critical gameplay element here. The game itself is a hybrid of a few genres. You can place resource generating units in cleared and powered rooms, you can place turrets and other defenses on nodes in powered rooms, and your crew levels up, gains equipment, and has special abilities. The elements all work together to create a fun game.

The basic gameplay is also an interesting twist. Each ‘turn’ starts when you open a door. If monsters spawn, either in that room or in previously discovered but not powered rooms, you go into the combat phase, where your turrets and crew fight off monsters as they try to kill you, your defenses, or the crystal. You can pause the game at any time, so while combat has a bit of a frantic/panic pace, it’s never really twitchy, which I appreciate.

Once all the monsters are dead, the combat phase is over and you go into freeform mode. This is an unlimited time period (until you open another door to start the next turn) where you can move around, build stuff, spend resources, and manage/upgrade your crew. Again I like the relaxed pace with no time limit here, as it puts a greater focus on thinking and strategy, rather than the usual rogue-like go-go-go style.

There are more details, but those are the basics. The key takeaway for me is that Dungeon feels like a rogue-like where you have significantly more control over how things play out, rather than the game coming down heavily on how the dice rolled and hoping for a favorable outcome. And perhaps I’m just terrible at these games, but even on the easiest setting I still can’t beat it (which unlocks more ships ala FTL), though each game I do progress a bit further and refine my strategies, which ultimately is the ‘good stuff’ of a game like this.

If you remotely enjoy rogue-like games, and especially if you liked FTL, Dungeon of the Endless is a good way to kill some time.


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