PC Gaming

Tabletop Simulator on Sale

Fri, 2016/01/29 - 8:12pm -- Orion Pax
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PC Gaming

Given some of the recent interest in Tabletop Simulator, I thought I'd let everyone know that the Humble Store has the game on sale for 50% off, bringing the game down to $9.99 until Monday, February 1, 2016, at around 12pm EST.

When you purchase from the Humble Store, you'll receive a Steam Key that you can redeem/add to your library Good

https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/tabletopsimulator_storefront

Event Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 12:00pm

Pax Presents: Member's Choice

Wed, 2016/01/13 - 9:25am -- Orion Pax
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PC Gaming
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I'm doing my best to get back into gaming a few hours a week as my time permits.  If anyone is up for a game on Friday night, or even just to hangout on TeamSpeak for a bit - I'd be happy to see and play a game with you all Good

Drop my a comment below if you have a game in mind, but I'd been considering:

  • Sonic Racing
  • Castle Crashers
  • Dungeon Defenders
  • SpeedRunners
  • or just about anything else Wink
Event Date: 
Friday, January 15, 2016 - 8:30pm to 10:00pm

Lego Worlds: Early Access Now Available

Tue, 2015/06/02 - 8:10am -- Orion Pax
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The rumors about Lego Worlds have been swirling around the Internet for the last couple of years - but as of June 1, 2015 - the game is officially a real thing Wink  On the surface, the game looks like it will similar to Minecraft - no real surprise there.

Lego Worlds Early Access is currently available via Steam for $14.99.  While online mulitplayer is not available as of the publish time of this post, it is coming soon.  Only time will tell how well this game develops for it's 2016 release, but here's the highlights from the Steam Store page:

Why Early Access?
“LEGO Worlds will be a fully open-world, creativity-driven game so we want to ensure that we provide it with the utmost care and attention as we expand on our ideas. So much of this game will be about building and sharing and by sharing our plans with the community, we hope to incorporate their feedback and build an experience together that fans of LEGO and this genre of video games can enjoy.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“The current plan for LEGO Worlds is to be in Early Access through 2015 at which point we hope to have our full list of features in place. We’ll evaluate a release candidate in early 2016, but we won’t consider the game complete and ready for release until we believe our community feels we have delivered a great game.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
We plan to add the following features through a series of regular updates:

  • Like/Dislike system for tailoring World Generation
  • Procedurally Generated Underground Cave Networks
  • LEGO ID integration to allow for sharing and uploading of in-game builds
  • Additional Biomes
  • Painting Themes
  • Pre-Generated Towns/Villages/Settlements relevant to the Biome
  • Updated AI Behaviors to provide organic feeling to free-roaming creatures and characters
  • Red Brick Extras
  • Full liquid behaviors
  • Additional Minifigure Characters and Creatures
  • Additional Vehicles and Pre-Built Models
  • Additional Weapons
  • Cut/Copy/Paste chunks of landscape
  • Underwater Gameplay (including Vehicles, Creatures and additional sea life)
  • Character Customizer
  • Online Multiplayer

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

The Early Access build currently features:

  • Procedurally Generated Worlds
  • Terrforming and Building tools
  • Discoveries and Unlocks
  • Rideable Creatures and Vehicles
  • Day/Night Cycle

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
“Yes, the game will be available at a reduced price during Early Access”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
“We’ll be actively monitoring the Community Hub here on STEAM and look forward to feedback and suggestions for the game. We'll also be offering people a chance to experience the Development of a LEGO title for the first time, and several members of the team will be providing some interesting dev diaries over the coming months.”

H1Z1

Tue, 2015/02/17 - 4:28pm -- muffnman
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Well hello and greetings to you all. It has been sometime since I've talked or played with many of you in game but keep you all in my thoughts regularly. On that note I have started pc gaming again and was introduced to H1Z1 which is currently in its alpha phase and is an absolute blast to play. I am currently running on the Solace PvP server with a few friends but the more the merrier and would love some old friends to come and join us. With that hope you are all doing well and will talk sometime in the future.

INtire

Tue, 2014/12/09 - 10:08am -- CT
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No

So this past weekend, I was up in Tallahassee and with a bunch of friends, we built a video game. It was part of an online competition, we were given the theme of “Entire game on One Screen”.

We went through a bunch of ideas and a lot of work/school interference but we made a complete game.

It’s called INtire and we put it together starting on Friday night and submitted it Monday night. There’s a Windows EXE and a web based version.

Enjoy it and let me know what you think!

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=42150

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Thu, 2014/11/27 - 6:06pm -- Samuel Tow
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Playing this game was like watching a wrestling match between two developers. In one corner you have Gritty Realism Angsty Drama, weighing in at grey and depressing. In the other corner, you have Clown Shoes Madcaps Fun, weighing in at Stupid Jetpack Hitler in his moon base. At first it starts out pretty even, with both developers trading blows and swinging the game in their favour. But then mid-way through the game the budget runs out, Fun takes a folding chair to the head and the rest of the game sees Drama wailing on it with trash can lids and steel ring steps. Then he hits fun with his illegal finisher - the Shit Ending - and the match ends in disqualification as the credits roll and I wonder why the Frankenfurter I paid Pay-Per-View money for this.

That... Might need a little clarification.

Introduction:

Wolfenstein: The New Order is an "alternate history" FPS, a sort of spiritual successor to the original Wolfenstein which more or less ignores both Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein - the remake with the same name as the original just to make my life more difficult talking about it. While it opens with a failed Allied attempt to stem defeat in WW2 in 1946, most of the game takes place in 1960 where the Nazi have taken over the world. It's told in several "chapters," each of which is basically a self-contained level which counter-intuitively strips away your guns. The game has a fairly small selection of weapons, most of which can be dual-wielded and a very... Weird cover mechanic. It also has a map, a feature not seen in FPS games since... Descent, as far as I can remember. It's a run-and-gun shooter which occasionally throws a variety hour at you, is my point.

Graphics and Design:

Graphically, Wolfenstein looks good for the most part. I don't know what engine it uses (though I want to see Unreal) but the result is pretty good texture resolution and high-fidelity models. Character animations are top-notch, though I highly suspect they're motion capture. Factial animation leaves something to be desired. A lot of weird lip-flaps happen that don't always match the audio and people trying to emote end up looking like serial killers. I played L4D2 the other day, and I have to say that facial animation in even THAT bears The New Order. Can't recall seeing any particularly impressive particle effects, either. Unreal Engine games tend to have these clouds of particles in them (think Batman: Arkham Origins) which aren't present here. There's a strangely token wall-cutting mechanic which allows you to laser-cut fences and some metal plates, though it's somewhat... Awkward and rarely used. A lot of places also seem to have cover destruction, though this appears to have been built into the maps themselves.

Style-wise, though, Wolfenstein has a very stark and unique aesthetic. I say "uniqne," but I mostly mean "unique for alternate history stories." The Nazi-occupied future is decidedly oppressive, with large concrete buildings, clean empty streetes with frequent checkpoints, black soldiers in face-concealing gas masks, all of this drawn up against a retro-futuristic "zeerust" backdrop of CRT monitors and typewriters, supercomputers controlled by punch cards and old vintage furniture. The game spans a surprising array of locations, as well, from WW2 forts to prisons to a U-Boat to a god damn this-is-for-real Nazi moon base and so on. I'm disappointed to say, though, that a lot of the game's later (and far more interesting) locations barely get used before you're whisked away to the next one. Guns are particularly cool, with a kind of blocking, over-engineered design despite obviously being based on WW2-era firearms down below. Those too, however, peter out very early on.

The game's visuals tell the tale of a game which ran out of time or money or packed lunches or something so the latter half of it had to be trimmed down considerably. You go from a beginning with many large, expansive and very visually distinct locations to very small, very quick leves in rapid succession. The game starts with an island, then Berlin, then London then... Berlin again. What? While the guns are cool, you'll see most of them by the first third and that's it for the rest of the game. Enemy variety builds up little by little but then peters out and you're left fighting the same guys in different-colour uniforms. You start earning supposedly important, named companion characters but they're rushed and don do anything. There's a major recurring villain yet nothing comes of her. The game look ACES right out the gate, but it doesn't stay that way for the entire duration.

Gameplay and Systems:

Gameplay in Wolfenstein is reminiscent the good old "golden year" shooters and seems to sit somewhere between Quake and Half-Life. Most of the game plays out like a traditional shooter - you're plopped down into locations full of enemies and encouraged to kill them all before you proceed. A very curious dual-wielding mechanic allows you to dual-wield almost every weapon in the game if you can find two of it. This is balanced (in theory at least) by slowing you down, hampering your aim and removing your ability to use iron sights. Yes, Wolfenstein does have the repugnant "iron sights" mechanic, but this only works when wielding a single weapon. When dual-wielding, the "iron sights" button actually fires your right-handed gun while the regular fire button fires the left-handed one. Holy hell! I finally found another game with actually GOOD dual-wielding! I mean besides Advent Rising.

All weapons have two firing modes, though you don't get access to those right out the gate. Pistols can have silencers, rifles have under-barrel rocket launchers, the "laser" thing can switch between being a weapon and a cutting tool and so on. This is somewhat awkward, however, as you have separate mode switch button that takes a second per gun to switch over... Exactly like in Advent Rising, and it sucked there, too. What this means is you'll usually either stick to one firing mode and not bother with the other, or you'll end up dual-wielding two guns each set to a different mode. I personally had one bullet-firing rifle and one rocket-firing rifle at the same time in my playthrough. That works pretty well for the most part.

A "cover mechanic" exists in the game, but it's weird. There's a "lean" button which... Does a bit more than it says, for the fact that you can "lean" up and down, usually to peek above or under cover. How this works is the game will try and detect when you're near a wall. Holding the lean button and pressing a direction will sort of shimmy you to the side and peek out. This can move you quite a long way and avoids Soldier of Fortune's problem of having to position yourself in the perfect leaning location. It is, however, bothersome and largely unnecessary when I can bloody well shift my own damn self a step to the left if I want to peek in and out. Why games keep insisting on implementing leaning and cover as systems rather than letting players do this through their basic controls is beyond me. And it's not like you can avoid it, because the game's "progression" system requires it. Oh, right, about that.

Wolfenstein has a very rudimentary progression system which essentially tasks you with doing challenges to unlock mostly insignificant buffs. A lot of the weapon challenges are about killing specifically from cover. Some are fairly straightforward, like performing a set number of stealth kills. Some, on the other hand, are outright assinine, like asking you to kill enemies with their own dropped grenades. In the end, these challenges are a pain, they barely matter and I hate them.

Last on the list of systems is "stealth," because it's barely a system. This is stealth in its most rudimentary form. You sneak around, backstab people and if they see you it's all over. A twist on the system is the presence of "commanders" - unarmoured weak targets you want to backstab. Doing so reveals collectables on the map, and some of those collectables are straight-up gun upgrades. But there really isn't much to this system. Sneak up behind people and hit the button prompt.

Essentially, the game's actual gameplay is... Pretty much very good. Weapons feel meaty and you can dual-wield everything, cover matters but you don't have to use it and there are enough firefights to keep you interested. If only the story were as good...

Story and Characters:

The basics: You are William J Blascowitz, a US army soldier and immortal Nazi killing machine. After failing to kill General Deathshead and end WW2, an explosion blows shrapnel into your head and paralyses you for 14 years. During this time, you're in an insane asylum, trying to expel the shrapnel by thinking about it really hard. You wake up just in time for a Nazi purge to kill everyone sans the pretty lady who took care of you. You wake up, stab a Nazi in the neck with the steak knife from your food tray, grab his gun and start gunning down armoured Nazi soldiers by the literal hundreds. Slow down, BJ! Even Steven Segal needed a healing montage after his coma before he could start killing people! From there, you're sent on what I can only describe as little vignettes mostly connected to each other by a theme of killing nazi in increasingly sadistic ways.

And here we veer into one of the game's major problems - a tonal clash. BJ's narration keeps trying to be grim and gritty, talking about all the horror he's seen at the hands of the Nazi and talking about how much he wants to kill Nazi, and there's a series of voice recordings of a woman who recalls the pleasure she took in killing Nazi in ways to make the Final Destination movies feel tame... And we're suppose to sympathise with that? I mean, sure, Nazi are like zombies in that we don't feel bad about killing them, but there's a fine line between shooting Nazi as enemies in a game and essentially "torture porn." That the game is so tonedeaf as to present many of its principal protagonist as the kind of pyschopathic torture-murderers as would make ideal villains in a slasher flick is... Unpleasant, let's just say. Especially since this is treated like such a good, positive thing. Yeash!

But then I can dual-wield double-barreled auto-shotguns and shoot the limbs off of giant robots, all the while I'm trying to find nuclear launch codes in the Nazi Moon Base powered by the tech from an ancient Jewish clan of inventors. Wait, you lost me there. Was I supposed to emotionally involved in a war drama? Because I ended up running around like a little kid, enjoying an over-the-top campy shooter! The whole thing is a joke, or at least feels like one at times. The ridiculously excessive action, the giant screen-filling dual-wield guns, the badass one-liners... This is Duke Nukem territory! And it's not like the writers weren't aware of this. This one time I was swimming through the sewers, and BJ kept saying stuff like "I dove into a well, but it wasn't as deep as this." "I swam the English channel but it wasn't as cold as this." "I swam through refuse, but it wasn't as foul as this." That's the kind of gritty dialogue you'd find in the movie Airplane! where the character's melodramatic prose is set up against the backdrop of slapstick hilarity. So very often, the game comes across like a parody of action shooters and Call of Duty style emotionally-manipulative tripe... And yet so very often it isn't...

Up until the mid-point of the story, roughly speaking, Wolfenstein manages to maintain a good balance of drama and Duke Nukem. I genuinely cared about the fates of the people involved and allowed myself to be immersed into this world, while at the same time enjoying the high-octane action and laughing at headshots. A heavy scene would be followed by a goofy scene or an outrageous action set-piece. Then mid-way through it switched gears. Now I started listening to characters' murder fantasies but it's OK because they're Nazi, a lot of named characters died for no reason, the guns got real boring after a while and the levels became dull and uninspired. All I was left with was this nasty taste in my mouth like I was playing outright revenge porn stripped of any charm, fun or content until the actions of the "heroes" became very much indistinguishable from the actions of the villains. And you REALLY do not want to do this in a game where the villains are the fucking NAZI!

Overall:

This game is bloody expensive, let's open with that. 50 Euro on Steam is just not - in any way - worth the price of admission. Maybe if you really really want to drown an Nazi in his own piss (not even kidding with that one) that might be worth full price, but be serious now. Counter-intuitively, I'd actually suggest playing around half the game and then stopping. Play until you rescue the Jewish inventor from the death camp and just walk away. You'll leave with a much more pleasant experience.

The reasons to buy Wolfenstein are actually many and varied. It's a very competent, very fun shooter in a day and age where we don't get a lot of those. It's not Call of Duty, it's not Unreal Tournament - it's a game somewhere in-between. Besides, it's cool and stylish as all hell. Seriously, if the thought of dual-wielding double-barrelled auto-shotguns doesn't get you excited just on principle then you need to re-evaluate what you're doing with your life. The voice actors are pretty good, the game looks very pretty and it's an older-style shooter. You lack regenerating health, you can carry all the weapons in the world on you at one time and you can even climb to a limited degree.

However, I can easily see skipping it. The game feels unfinished. It feels like the developers got hit with something roughly mid-way through production and just had to rush the latter half of the game out the door on a deadline. The ending sucks like I can't describe, it comes out of nowhere and is very, very unsatisfying. The characters start off well-written and powerful but end up hollow, token and outright reprehensible by the end... And they seem to flip on a dime. This really does feel like it switched lead developers or switched studios part-way. Finally, the game's just mean. I know they're Nazi, I know we hate them and want to kill them and that's fine. But I'd honestly rather not indulge in murder fantasies because THAT makes me feel like I need a shower afterwards. The story just does a bizarre turn mid-way and it never recovers.

I honestly can't recommend Wolfenstien: The New Order at the price it's going for currently. It takes SUCH a dive towards the end it's just not worth the money. Like I said - just half of that game MAY be worth 50 Euro, but not the whole package. If you really really have to have it, wait for a discount, and I mean a SERIOUS discount. I wouldn't pay more than about 20 Euro for it. I would have said 30, but THAT ENDING literally took 10 Euro off my estimate as compensation for how much it pissed me off.

Sorry. I thought this would be a great find.

Lichdom Battlemage, or "how not to make a game"

Mon, 2014/09/08 - 9:06pm -- Samuel Tow
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After playing Lichdom Battlemage for a few hours, I feel sick. And I don't mean that in a funny-haha way, I'm literally woozy from the awful camera controls. This game... It reads like a list of all the things you SHOULDN'T do in a game. At every single decision point, the developers made not just the wrong choice, but also the one which will assault their players all but physically. I generally don't like to write reviews before I've finished a game, but I WILL NOT finish this one. I stopped when I realised I'd moved on to a new chapter without noticing, and was faced with the prospect of doing crafting AGAIN. No. I'm done.

I'll do this as a list of everything the game does wrong, but first a little introduction. What is this thing?

Introduction:

Lichdom Battlemage is a first-person magic-casting game with an emphasis on random loot drops and spellcrafting. It's rendered in the CryEngine 3 and tells a story I can't really follow and don't really care to follow, either. There's really not much more I can say about it than that, for there IS not much more to it than that. Not even exaggerating here. So let's get to what's wrong with the game.

Visuals:

This game looks BAD. Oh, sure, it uses the CryEngine 3 so it has decent model quality and texture resolution, as well as some nice-looking spell effects. But people's praise of its visuals is entirely unwarranted. The game's marred by staggeringly awful world design, for one. It started me off in a brown village and quickly descended me into catacombs. I then spent the next three or four hours running through samey-looking brown catacombs until you see them in your sleep. Every place I went to looked exactly like every place else, constantly turning me around and making me wish for some variety. After the world's worst boss fight (I'll get to that) I was teleported to a grey mountain pass, instead, and proceeded to spend the next three or four hours in samey ice caves and snowy passes, making a brief visit to a brown village. Everywhere I went looked exactly like everywhere else. I got the sinking feeling that I'm playing Quake, and I mean the original one.

Character design is uninspired, as well, not helped by a sorcerer with broken physics on his sleeves. Cound Shax (the villain?) has a somewhat interesting design, but the two player characters are dull and brown. The game seems to have around 12 enemy models spread around roughly 5 unique critter types (via a lot of model swaps) that you'll be fighting constantly, over and over and over again. Despite using the CryEngine 3, this is a rigidly linear game. Every location has one way in and one way out. Occasionally the path may branch, but it leads down a corridor to a secret and some minor treasure, they're back on the linear path. And the linear path is sequence of corridors dragging you by the nose from one arena encounter to the next, blocking you off with forcefields until you kill everything which teleports in from nowhere in wave after wave. There is nothing to look at but a succession of arenas linked together by boring corridors, populated with ugly monsters.

Combat:

Half of what you do in Lichdom Battlemage is fight, so it's a shame this is one of by far the worst combat systems I've seen in a decade - pretty much since Enclave, and that's saying A LOT. Broadly speaking, you're given three "sigils" (elements of magic) and a shield. Each sigil has a single-target attack, an AoE and a "nova" which triggers when you parry an enemy attack or use a "charged" teleport. Each of these can be attuned for damage, control or "mastery" which seems to be just soft control. The shield allows you to block, parry and teleport short distances. What magic you bring is subject to battle, but once you've selected it, that's what you have to fight with. And the fighting itself is just tedious.

In an effort to make combat needlessly complicated, the game makes direct damage spells worthless for the most part. They only deal real damage if "combined" with a hold which "stores" damage for other spells to cash in, or with "masteries" which... Do pretty much the same thing. What this means is you'll end up swapping your spells constantly, between freeze and fire and... Actually, I almost never used Mastery because it didn't do much. But it creates a hectic environment of constantly switching spells. Even the weakest, most mundane enemies require you to freeze them before you can do meaningful damage.

Worse, you're slow and sluggish and your enemies spam attacks. A "fast" attack animates in around two seconds. A "charged" attack needs to charge for about three or four. An AoE charges up for over six seconds. All the while, skeletons are beating your head with swords. You have three health bars, but that doesn't account for much when even a basic enemy takes out 3/4 of one health bar per swing, they swing quickly and repeatedly and attack you in large groups. They also run faster than you can, and that's not counting the ranged enemies who plink away at you constantly from afar.

Your shield is next to worthless. Blocking does very little beyond applying damage reduction to incoming attacks, and even then not all that many. Instead of 3/4, a blocked enemy attack hits you for around a third of one health bar. So you're still going to lose health bars even while blocking. And you can't block attacks with special effects. They still apply. Your only other choice is either dodge (which my chosen block didn't have) or parry, the so-called "fortified block." Parrying an enemy attack protects you from damage and fires off your Nova. In theory, anyway. There's a delay of around half a second between when you THINK you raised your shield and when the game thinks you did, so you'll get hit a lot. Oh, but if you raise your shield too early, you don't get to parry and eat a freezing pulse to the face.

Let me put it this way - you can die from full health to zero in less than two seconds, killed by enemies you didn't see or surrounded by enemies who attack and move much faster than you do. It's possible to play without taking too much damage with the correct use of blocks and holds and such, but you're put in a situation where failing ONE action that you have less than a second's worth of warning about and around a second's worth of window of opportunity to do can kill you INSTANTLY. This brings me to...

The boss fights:

Nowhere does the CRIPPLED combat system shine stronger than against bosses. I fought this demon thing who appeared to have a zillion hit points, sprinted much faster than I could ever hope to move and took out two and a half of my three health bars with one attack - an AoE that he doesn't have to aim and hits practically anywhere in the arena, and which still takes out a health bar if you block but don't parry it. And that's when he doesn't decide to be fancy and do the "combo" where he does this attack three times in a row, in rapid succession. And you fight this boss among constantly spawning "lesser" enemies, each of which can shave off one of your three health bars in less than a second if you don't notice them in time.

I died roughly 50-60 times against that demon, usually in one of two ways. Either I'd get ripped up by an archer, turn to freeze him and then the game decides I should die. From two full health bars, I simply die because behind me, the demon ground-pounded and killed me instantly. Or else I'll be fighting the demon for a solid 4 minutes, chip away 3/4 of his endless health bar... I'm doing great, I'm parrying his projectiles, I'm keeping him back with staggers. Then the game decides I should die, the demon punches the ground, my block delays and I die instantly. I died like that over 20 times alone. The reason I say I spent "three or four" hours in the catacombs is because I spent AT LEAST an hour on that one boss.

Oh, and every time the game sent me back to the last checkpoint, I had to sit through the same damnable conversation my character had with the villain - his cries of losing his patience neatly mirroring my own - then sit and watch the little scripted sequence where the demon breaks out, and that's after walking a really long road to get from the checkpoint to the fight. Every. Single. Time. You can't skip it because it's not a cutscene, it's just a part of the event trigger. "Haven't you said this before, Captain? This time, you die!" Oh, save me...

The second boss wasn't much better, either. A large demon who has a single attack - red magic projectiles which slowed me on impact, whereupon he would teleport next to me and attack in melee. The red projectiles cannot be blocked and they're homing so I could never really dodge them. They COULD be parried and - luckily - so could the demon's attack once he teleported in. I mostly died from the critters he spawned to waste my time. This one I beat in about a dozen tries over roughly 20 minutes, but it's still a boring slog of a fight chipping away at a stubborn health bar. The worst aspects of gameplay.

Crafting:

I freely admit that I'm biassed against crafting systems in general, so I was never going to like this one. But Lichdom Archmage found a way to make crafting even WORSE. Spells are crafted from three components - a sigil (fire, ice, lightning, etc.), a "shape" (single-targer, AoE, nova) and an "attunement" (damage, control, mastery). Thing is, loot is random and most of the time I ended up not having the "stuff" I needed to craft the magic I needed to upgrade at all. When I did have it, the stuff had the wrong secondary effects or had them in the wrong quality - always something missing. And ready-made magic never drops. You can only ever get components.

The interface is a mess, too, never showing you an inventory of what you have until you start crafting, with the inventory being a vertically-scrolling list like in a god damn iPhone game. Say I want to build a Fire Missile Damage, but find that my Missile item can be upgraded. Well, an upgrade system exists where you can sacrifice two items to "improve" a third. But now I have to back out of my selection, remember in my head that my Missile item is the Apprentice's Missile of Destruction, find it in the other list and upgrade it, then go back into crafting and recreate the whole spell again... Only to realise I want to upgrade my Damage item, too. *sigh*

And the items have so many properties, many of them random. Critical chance, critical damage, Apocalyptic chance (basically a critical on a critical), Apocalyptic damage, Mastery gained/used, control duration, etc. This is a recurring problem of mine with loot-heavy games, in that I have no means of judging whether an item I'm making is objectively better for my playstyle than the item I currently have, so I end up guessing. In fact, I rage-quit when I realised that I was getting level 3 magic and would have to go through the process of upgrading my spells AGAIN. To hell with that.

Plus, if you want to swap out your sigils - say you want to use Force instead of Fire - you lose progress. Sigils level up as you use them, gaining stat boosts. These stat boosts are lost when you unequip them, even if you re-equip them after the fact. Not that I'd want to, given the garbage that are the other sigils, but still - why?

Story:

Ugh... Of all the aspects of the game, this had the most promise. VERY few fantasy games tell the story of a mage. Oh, sure, the game may allow you to pick the mage class, but it'll still treat you like a basic fighter in storyline. I was looking forward to play a Battlemage, smiting my foes with arcane might... That didn't happen. My character started off as a jeweller, the bad guy killed her and sold her sister into slavery, then an ACTUAL mage brought her back to life with magical cufflings to seek revenge. Right off the bat, I'm not a Battlemage because I'm not a mage to begin with. I'm a just a peasant with a magical artefact. I wanted to BE the old wizard, but nope. That would be too much fun.

For another, magic in Battlemage is frikkin' BORING! It's the same magic I've seen in every other game. You start with fire - no choice. You then get ice, no choice. You then get Lighting or Force, but force magic doesn't do damage. In fact, it doesn't do much of anything, other than slow and immobilise. Then you get "corruption," i.e. parasites. Then you get Domination, i.e. mind control. *sigh* Really? Elemental and natural magic? Where are my energy blasts? Where's my black magic? Where are the abilities to tap into other realms of existence and call on the magics from therein? It's the same old boring line-up of fire-ice-lighting. UGH!

And the story itself is repugnant. Yet again, we've stuffed a woman in a refrigerator, sacrificed an innocent character to advance the story of the protagonist. Can we not come up with better ways to motivate characters? Because of this, the exchanges between my protagonist and her partner read like Monopoly cards. "Bad news. The valley is crawling with the Undead." "OK." *eyeroll* Look, I LOVE Jennifer Hale as a voice actress, but even she can't save a script THIS rancid. At one point, I literally witnessed a dialogue which read like this: "Don't worry, they're dead. But we have to move, and there are more of them ahead." End scene. Why did this even need to exist? It doesn't tell me anything, it isn't interesting, it's just dead space.

And the villain... OK, I get it, he's evil! Can we stop proving it, please? He starts the game acting like a sleezeball, killing one woman and kidnapping another to sell as a slave. Then he kills everyone in the town. Then he sets forth the undead. Then his men talk about how much they enjoy kicking puppies and hate the smiles on babies' faces. Then it turns out he's a cannibal, as you walk past a shack with flayed-open human carcasses hung like pigs in a slaughterhouse. And his Captain constantly uses the words "bitch" and "whore" to refer to women. WE GET IT! HE'S EVIL! The fucking Church of Unitology wouldn't take this guy! Jumping grandma on a stick, have some god damn moderation!

Technical issues:

If the rest weren't bad enough, the game's technically flawed, as well. The first few times I tried to run it, it hung on a blank screen, not responding so I had to kill it. After a reinstallation and trying to run the 32bit executable instead of the 64bit, I alt-tabbed out of the hung game to look for a solution online. Mid-way through reading a post on the subject... The game ran. Really? So I killed it and ran the 64-bit executable again. The game took FIVE MINUTES to load anything. No loading screen, no graphics, just a blank screen with Windows insisting it's not responding. Five minutes...

This got me to the main menu. I fixed up some options reset my resolution and started a new game. This resulted in a loading screen which lasted for another two minutes. Seriously? So I picked my character, sat through a clip art cutscene, then the game loaded for another two minutes before it let me play. Yeah, seriously. One time I thought I'd missed a secret location, so I tried going back to a previous save point via fast-travel. The game loaded for around two mintues... And then put me on the exact same spot as I was travelling from. By mistake, I'd chosen to fast-travel to the same waypoint I was at (something that I shouldn't be allowed to do if this game weren't horrible), so the game apparently decided to load... All the stuff that was currently already loaded. Utter farce.

And the game runs like crap, too. Sure, it's the CryEngine with all the bells and whistles, but I have an nVidia GeForce GTX780. "Oh, you have an nVidia card?" the game remarks. "Sorry, I'm optmisied for AMD." Oh, OK, so that's your excuse for a five-minute loading time and running me at 30-40 FPS at the best of times? Does that excuse the horrid mouse acceleration issues, too? Yeah, there's some kind of mouse smoothing or acceleration, causing my character to turn a fraction of a second after I've actually turned the mouse. This makes me seasick, almost to the point of throwing up. And no, it's not vertical sync - I turned that off. THIS is what made me physically ill. This lack of synchrony between mouse movement and on-screen response. And there are no controls for this at all. That's just how the game is.

Conclusion:

I hate Lichdom Battlemage. It's one of the worst games I've played in a LOOONG time, and I'm the guy who bought and played Dark Matter and Crevures. It does absolutely everything wrong, from a confusing, cumbersome crafting system which gives you no real feedback on whether you're doing well, to a stuff combat system which often likes to kill you from full health over split-second mistakes, to an uninspired visual style which lacks the actual "style" thing, to a story that's both insulting and bad. And the game costs 37 Euro on top of that. Kiss my pucker.

If all you ever wanted out of life was to play Heretic in the CryEngine 3, then you may like Lichdom Battlemage, you poor, unfortunate person. For everybody else, save your money for something more enjoyable. Like, I don't know... Getting a colonoscopy.

E3 2014: What are you excited about?

Tue, 2014/06/10 - 7:42am -- Orion Pax
Frontpage News: 
No

So E3 has wrapped up its first day, and I know the hype around this media expo might not be what it used to be, but I still find myself enjoying the spectacle of it all Wink  And while much focus of the show might be on console based games, I was super excited about one reveal yesterday:

Grim Fandango is coming back!  Initially an exclusive time-release for the PS4 and the PS Vita, game designer Tim Schafer confirmed via Twitter that the game will also be coming to other platforms soon Good  I'm super excited about this release/remastering, as I missed out on the game when it was released (didn't have a PC anywhere new/powerful enough to handle it), and never picked it up before it ceased being published/available.  For more info, you can check out this quick article from Polygon: http://www.polygon.com/e3-2014/2014/6/9/5795458/grim-fandango-ps4-ps-vita

Anything else you're excited about?

 

Sid Meier's Civilization 5

Thu, 2014/02/13 - 8:32am -- Orange Dragon
Forums: 
Frontpage News: 
No

Hey Gang!

So I'm getting back into Steam and have just discovered Civilization 5. Humble Bundle is running an amazing sale for those who may be interested in trying this game out. If you pay above the average (around $10) you get Civ5 and the first expansion plus 2 DLC bundles. If you pay $15 or more you also get the second expansion. Plus there are six other Sid Meier games in the bundle. 

https://www.humblebundle.com/

I got into the game to be able to play with a friend's son and have been surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. I figured that the multi-player aspect would be right up Adversity's alley. 

 

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