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Found 95 results

  1. Developer Harebrained Schemes walked away from their completed Kickstarter today with the support of over 30,000 people and $1,204,726. With that kind of cash on hand, here's hoping they don't attract any less than scrupulous runners! Toward the beginning of this year, the minds behind Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall launched their Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, a turn-based tactical RPG in the same vein as its predecessors. Set in a setting where cyberpunk meets high fantasy, Shadowrun: Hong Kong will focus on the the criminal undercurrents of a dystopian Hong Kong full of neon lights, scheming corporations, and the runners who risk their lives to make a living. Not only did Harebrained Schemes reach their initial Kickstarter goal, they raised a little over welve times what they originally asked for from backers, allowing for a greatly extended list of features. These features include: Enhanced player controls Animatic scene transitions An additional character: Racter, a robotics expert who manipulates an advanced combat drone. More animatic endings A side mission for Gobbet, an Ork shaman who adheres to the path of Rat. Better sound Another additional character: Gaichu, a former red samurai and master swordsman. Enhanced cyber abilities A side mission for your dwarf hacker companion, Is0bel. Expanded magic system A side mission for Gaichu A revamp of the virtual world with which hackers interface. An additional 4-5 hour long mini-campaign as a follow-up to the core campaign. Even with all of these additional features, Shadowrun: Hong Kong is reportedly on track for a mid-2015 release, with an expected release date sometime in August. Congratulations to the team at Harebrained Schemes. I thoroughly enjoyed both Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Here's hoping that they can keep the magic alive for the third time around!
  2. Developer Harebrained Schemes walked away from their completed Kickstarter today with the support of over 30,000 people and $1,204,726. With that kind of cash on hand, here's hoping they don't attract any less than scrupulous runners! Toward the beginning of this year, the minds behind Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall launched their Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, a turn-based tactical RPG in the same vein as its predecessors. Set in a setting where cyberpunk meets high fantasy, Shadowrun: Hong Kong will focus on the the criminal undercurrents of a dystopian Hong Kong full of neon lights, scheming corporations, and the runners who risk their lives to make a living. Not only did Harebrained Schemes reach their initial Kickstarter goal, they raised a little over welve times what they originally asked for from backers, allowing for a greatly extended list of features. These features include: Enhanced player controls Animatic scene transitions An additional character: Racter, a robotics expert who manipulates an advanced combat drone. More animatic endings A side mission for Gobbet, an Ork shaman who adheres to the path of Rat. Better sound Another additional character: Gaichu, a former red samurai and master swordsman. Enhanced cyber abilities A side mission for your dwarf hacker companion, Is0bel. Expanded magic system A side mission for Gaichu A revamp of the virtual world with which hackers interface. An additional 4-5 hour long mini-campaign as a follow-up to the core campaign. Even with all of these additional features, Shadowrun: Hong Kong is reportedly on track for a mid-2015 release, with an expected release date sometime in August. Congratulations to the team at Harebrained Schemes. I thoroughly enjoyed both Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Here's hoping that they can keep the magic alive for the third time around! View full article
  3. Covering the early years of video game development, Jeanette Garcia and Daryl Rodriguez's World 1-1 explores the formation of the video game industry from the perspectives of the people who made it all happen. It contains dozens of in-depth interviews with the people who often get overlooked when talking about the old guard of game designers: Warren Robinett (Adventure), Owen Rubin (Space Duel, Major Havoc), Dona Bailey (Centipede), Al Alcorn (Pong), and more. A full list of appearances can be found here. Many of these people you might never have even heard of, since older titles never rolled credits. A digital release is planned for January 15 through VHX, where the film will be available in both downloadable and streaming form. Following its official release, World 1-1 will be shown at various conventions and expos, though no concrete schedule has been announced as of yet. A physical release is planned sometime within the next few months on both DVD and Blu-ray. More information on upcoming events and the film's physical release should become available in the weeks ahead on both the World 1-1 Facebook page and website.
  4. Covering the early years of video game development, Jeanette Garcia and Daryl Rodriguez's World 1-1 explores the formation of the video game industry from the perspectives of the people who made it all happen. It contains dozens of in-depth interviews with the people who often get overlooked when talking about the old guard of game designers: Warren Robinett (Adventure), Owen Rubin (Space Duel, Major Havoc), Dona Bailey (Centipede), Al Alcorn (Pong), and more. A full list of appearances can be found here. Many of these people you might never have even heard of, since older titles never rolled credits. A digital release is planned for January 15 through VHX, where the film will be available in both downloadable and streaming form. Following its official release, World 1-1 will be shown at various conventions and expos, though no concrete schedule has been announced as of yet. A physical release is planned sometime within the next few months on both DVD and Blu-ray. More information on upcoming events and the film's physical release should become available in the weeks ahead on both the World 1-1 Facebook page and website. View full article
  5. Covering the early years of video game development, Jeanette Garcia and Daryl Rodriguez's World 1-1 explores the formation of the video game industry from the perspectives of the people who made it all happen. It contains dozens of in-depth interviews with the people who often get overlooked when talking about the old guard of game designers: Warren Robinett (Adventure), Owen Rubin (Space Duel, Major Havoc), Dona Bailey (Centipede), Al Alcorn (Pong), and more. A full list of appearances can be found here. Many of these people you might never have even heard of, since older titles never rolled credits. A digital release is planned for January 15 through VHX, where the film will be available in both downloadable and streaming form. Following its official release, World 1-1 will be shown at various conventions and expos, though no concrete schedule has been announced as of yet. A physical release is planned sometime within the next few months on both DVD and Blu-ray. More information on upcoming events and the film's physical release should become available in the weeks ahead on both the World 1-1 Facebook page and website. View full article
  6. In an unlisted year end YouTube video, the creator of Mega Man says that Comcept has finished the core game of Mighty No. 9 and are now entering the porting and promotional phases of development. In the video, Inafune wishes everyone a happy new year and talks about how hard the team at Comcept has been working to bring Mighty No. 9 to the public. Comcept's initial Kickstarter asked for $900,000 to make the spiritual successor to Mega Man, but the company received over $4 million in crowd funding. Usually receiving several times the amount of money asked for in a Kickstarter campaign results in delays, but Mighty No. 9 looks to be chugging smoothly along toward its spring 2015 release.
  7. In an unlisted year end YouTube video, the creator of Mega Man says that Comcept has finished the core game of Mighty No. 9 and are now entering the porting and promotional phases of development. In the video, Inafune wishes everyone a happy new year and talks about how hard the team at Comcept has been working to bring Mighty No. 9 to the public. Comcept's initial Kickstarter asked for $900,000 to make the spiritual successor to Mega Man, but the company received over $4 million in crowd funding. Usually receiving several times the amount of money asked for in a Kickstarter campaign results in delays, but Mighty No. 9 looks to be chugging smoothly along toward its spring 2015 release. View full article
  8. RPGs like Wasteland 2 are difficult to pull off without a misstep. They typically have very large ambitions and the larger that they become, the more options that they offer players, the more likely they are to fall short. Trying to account for every way a player might want to interact with a given scenario is a shotgun approach to game design and it is tricky to master. They also tend to be very structurally spread out. The core narrative seems to have importance than the numerous vignettes that players may or may not encounter. Key decisions have the potential to significantly alter events that players come across and lead to different gameplay experiences, meaning that reviews of this type have to be taken with a few more grains of salt than usual. It isn’t impossible to break these types of games down, just a bit harder and a bit more dependent on how the game was played. With that said, let’s roll up our sleeves and get started. The original 1988 Wasteland almost single-handedly made video games about wandering an irradiated, post-apocalyptic world cool. Wasteland predated the beginning of the Fallout series by almost a decade, but became lost in the mists of time. Then in 2012, InXile Entertainment launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $900,000 to develop a true sequel to the 1988 title. Within two days that goal had been reached and by the time the campaign drew to a close a total of around $3,000,000 had been secured to fund development. After two years the result is a staggeringly large RPG with astonishing amounts of detail. In a livestream interview with Joystiq, creative director Brian Fargo stated that if you took all the text written for the game, all of the dialogues and descriptions, the word count would surpass all of that of the entire Harry Potter series. Think about that for a minute: The developers wrote over seven novels worth of text in addition to making a game. Some of you might be a bit skeptical of Fargo’s claim, but having poured 75 hours of my life into Wasteland 2, I believe it. Out of those tens of thousands of words arose the tale of the Desert Rangers, post-apocalyptic cowboys who strive to establish law and order for the residents of the habitable portions of Arizona; an Arizona that has been cut off from the outside world by deadly radiation clouds. Strange animals roam the wastes like mutated honey badgers or giant rabbits posing an ever present threat to those new to wandering the parched lands of Arizona. However, as is the case in an un-irradiated world, the most dangerous creatures in the wasteland are your fellow human beings. Player begin with a team of Desert Ranger recruits that have been tasked with looking into the death of Ace, a fellow Ranger who was gunned down while tracking down the source of a mysterious radio signal. And… well, that’s about as much as I can say before what players experience could conceivably be different from the choices I made. There is no set course in Wasteland 2. Instead, there are numerous vignettes that can be explored at will with only a small number of essential scenarios that need to be dealt with before the main narrative is allowed to progress. After leaving the starting area to tackle the initial task of investigating Ace’s death, players receive calls for help from two different settlements that have found themselves in imminent danger. Choosing to help one over the other leads to sweeping consequences for a large portion of Wasteland 2. Players who are more inclined to explore can encounter smaller side missions, too. The diffuse structure of the narrative leads to a very erratic core narrative. Some of the episode are truly engaging and ask players to make difficult choices, while others feel more like a slog of going through the motions rather than an enjoyable experience. The meat of Wasteland 2 is the turn-based tactical combat. Each character under the player’s command has a certain number of action points that are determined based on their attributes. The more action points they have, the more stuff they can do on their turn. It is a relatively simple system that is pleasantly complicated by alternate firing modes for guns, crouching, and headshots, all of which have different action point costs associated with their execution. The result is a mostly satisfying strategic title that can concoct some difficult scenarios to keep players on their toes. What really bogs down the experience are good ideas that have been executed poorly. A great example of this is any time an NPC follower is picked up that acts independently when in combat. The AI governing their behavior makes mind-bogglingly awful decisions, which can be really frustrating when you are trying to complete an objective that requires them to be alive. They’ll shun cover and brazenly stand in front of several enemies armed with miniguns and grenades without a second thought. It is frustrating to do everything as tactically correct as possible only to have an NPC derp its way into oblivion. Two more great ideas that don’t quite live up to their potential are inventory management and melee combat. Managing inventory becomes problematic because you will often find weird items that may or may not have a purpose later in the game. This reinforces the compulsion to hold onto a variety of random crap that might randomly be useful. Ammo has weight, but you probably want to keep that in your inventory if you feel like living through enemy encounters. Do you like being healed? Yes? Well, that takes up inventory space, too. The amount of stuff a character can carry in their inventory is related to their strength attribute, which is very unfortunate since strength means almost nothing in a game full of ranged weaponry. There are skill categories for blunt weapons, bladed weapons, and unarmed fighting, but none of those routes feel like they pay off in the slightest. Why leave cover to get in close to an enemy when he has five or six ranged friends for backup and you can do two or three times as much damage with one sniper from a mile away? Strength improves melee attacks, but not enough to make them feel like a viable option when compared to all of the cool shotguns, heavy weapons, energy cannons, sniper rifles, and assault weapons. This is all the more unfortunate because you will need a character with high strength just to carry your junk around and they’ll end up feeling like dead weight. By the time I reached the end game I had to stop for five to ten minutes to get my characters’ inventories sorted out every time I acquired something that weighed more than five pounds. Wasteland 2 also features permadeath. If a character loses all of their health, they’ll fall unconscious. If they continue to take hits, they’ll die and exit the party permanently. For a player like me, that just means that losing a party member means reloading an earlier save. I imagine that most players will react similarly since losing a character can be effectively crippling, especially if they were relied on for their non-combat skills like lock picking or demolitions. It is a tangible loss that isn’t easy to replace and is punishing for the rest of the game. My golden standard for permadeath in strategy games was set by XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Losing a soldier was certainly a blow to the missions that followed, but unless it was on the highest difficulties, it wasn’t something that left a campaign crippled. The permadeath served to make XCOM harder, yes, but it also strengthened the emotional attachments players developed for their soldiers. They took on the role of their commander and felt responsible for their soldiers’ fates. Unlike XCOM, a disconnect exists between the player and the characters in Wasteland 2. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; many games are fantastic without inviting the player into the fiction as a character. The tradeoff seems to be that if you are going to have that sort of distance between the player and the characters, then you need to have engaging characters in which the player can feel emotionally invested. Wasteland 2 only partially succeeds at this. The four Desert Ranger recruits that begin the game can be customized by the player or picked from premade backgrounds. They then all proceed to be silent protagonists, a decision that renders them inert and emotionless. Luckily, the supporting cast of recruitable NPCs does some serious heavy lifting. Characters like Scotchmo, the shotgun wielding hobo with a heart of gold, or Rose, the scientist with a prosthetic arm who dreamed of becoming a Ranger, go a long way toward giving the journey through the wastelands a dash of characterization; saving it from becoming just another generic romp. However, level design is the biggest quagmire that painfully slows the experience of Wasteland 2. There is an awful lot of backtracking through large levels. I kid you not, I eventually picked up a book so that I could have something to do while my characters ran through the same area, repeatedly going back and forth between to NPCs that I needed to talk with. Perhaps more than any other thing that I’ve talked about so far is what dampened my enthusiasm for Wasteland 2. It is not awesome to spend two or three minutes wandering through a level that you’ve already thoroughly explored to get from point A to point B. Fast travel within locations or quick exits from thoroughly explored areas would have been a fantastic addition. Related to the level design is how the camera interacts with the environment. Many tactical games have a fixed camera, but creating a fixed perspective can lead to obstructed vision for players. Wasteland 2 tries to avoid that problem by including multiple camera angles that players can switch between. While a good idea on paper, it quickly becomes disorienting. It can even get you turned around in areas that have been explored. To top it off, even the rotating camera can’t save all of the battles from the challenges of objects obstructing commands. A number of times I noticed characters who were caught at awkward angles in a bit of object that was supposed to provide cover. These incidents were few, but they still popped up from time to time and provided some frustration. With everything that I’ve gone over, you might think that I found Wasteland 2 to be a negative experience. On the contrary, I enjoyed the majority of the time I spent with the Desert Rangers. There are so many things to discover and so many ways to solve the situations that are happened upon. The sense of freedom is enjoyable and it’s nice that entire enemy encounters can be skipped at times if a character possesses the appropriate skills or items. The elements of exploration and discovery are in full force. On top of that, Wasteland 2 has a great sense of humor. At one point my party ran across a solitary man in the wastes who began following us while spouting a lengthy, ridiculous one-sided conversation about all the places he had been and seen. There is a faction of people who live in the wasteland who base their society off of a book of etiquette while also being more than happy to resort to violence. At one point, I found the treasure of the Sierra Madre. There is a world of references that prove to be good humored nods to famous movies, books, and video games and jokes that poke fun at the same. And there is just so much game. I put 75 hours into the game before I saw the credits roll, but I skipped many sidequests that I knew about and I’m sure I skipped other bits of the game that I never even discovered. I enjoyed the game despite its numerous imperfections. At the heart of Wasteland 2 is an earnest effort of staggering proportions and it isn’t hard to appreciate that in the final product. Note: I'm about to go into a topic that might be a bit uncomfortable for some of you out there. If that is the case, feel free to skip down to the conclusion. That being said, there was an issue that I found deeply disconcerting in Wasteland 2’s narrative: The treatment of sexual violence. This is something that video games are notoriously terrible at depicting in a way that is tactful. While I don’t doubt for a minute that Wasteland 2 has nothing but good intentions toward its players, this was something that stood out to me as needing to be called out. There are a number of parts in the game that deal with people who have been enslaved and abused sexually. From a writing standpoint, that would be fine if there was a reason for it, if there was a purpose to including that content. However, from what I saw, this sexual assault is never the focus of the scenarios in which it appears. It might help if I give an example to illustrate what I mean. At one point, Wasteland 2 takes players into a prison that has been converted into a headquarters for a gang that wants to start being what passes for a government. As players make their way through the town that’s just outside the prison, it becomes clear that the people who live there have become indentured as unwilling workers on a nearby farm. Many of the other residents are living in poverty and starving to death. Later, it is possible to return to negotiate with the leader of the gang and help him see the error of his ways and how they’d been going about trying to help people in the worst possible way. That all makes sense, right? It establishes the gang as bad guys, but later it turns out they just had no idea how to go helping people without innocents getting hurt by their efforts. What doesn’t make sense is also including a section of the gang’s camp where slaves are kept like animals and raped repeatedly. What possible purpose does that serve? None. There is no justification for it. The worst part is that it is never mentioned in any of the dialogue that I saw when speaking with any of the gang members or their leader. The focus was meant to be on the farm that the indentured workers were forced to cultivate. The area of the gang’s camp dedicated to rape was rendered as something that was barely worth consideration. This isn’t an isolated incident either. There are several instances of sexual violence invoked casually. InExile was trying to make a gritty game, a mature game, and of course that led to including lots of f-bombs, a number of prostitutes, and segments of sexual violence. People will try to mitigate it by saying that the occurrences of that brand of violence aren’t as explicit as they could be, the camera is distant, the violence isn’t directly shown, but the ugly truth of it is that it is still lurking there in the shadowy underbelly of the game as an implication. The lack of importance tells me that the writers of Wasteland 2 didn’t think when it came to this topic. It is as if the game threw up its hands and said, “Well, OF COURSE, this happens after the end of the world, especially when you are trying to portray the apocalypse in a mature way!” That might sound like a defense, but there is no reason to include scenes of sexual violence in the name of “maturity” or a “grittier experience” when the game in question cannot or will not maturely address the important topics it casually brings up. Nor is grit of such terrible importance to your game when you include a large number of mutated honey badgers as enemies. If you are a developer and are considering including sexual assault in your game, I believe you have a human obligation to try and treat it with the gravity it deserves. Like everything else in your game, there should be a reason that sexual violence is included and that reason shouldn’t be to titillate your players or serve as a momentary distraction. Conclusion: At the end of the day, I am attempting to critique an experience that took up more than three days of solid effort on my part and contained more text than seven books. How does someone even begin to try to do that justice? While Wasteland 2 certainly has a number of issues that relate to its core mechanics, design, and narrative, I enjoyed a lot of my time in its world, especially when it allowed itself to be a bit more lighthearted. The combat is satisfying, though sometimes frustrating. The narrative oscillates from being very good to being really not great from scenario to scenario, but generally errs on the side of quality. Wasteland 2 succeeds at being the game that its backers desired, while also paving the way for a renaissance of games made in this style. However, for as much as I enjoyed its strategic gameplay and unexpected turns, there were many flaws that detracted from my enjoyment on an intellectual level. Wasteland 2 is a solid RPG with enough detail to satisfy even the most rabid of lore-hounds, but I hope that InExile learns to address sensitive topics with a bit more humanity in their future endeavors. View full article
  9. RPGs like Wasteland 2 are difficult to pull off without a misstep. They typically have very large ambitions and the larger that they become, the more options that they offer players, the more likely they are to fall short. Trying to account for every way a player might want to interact with a given scenario is a shotgun approach to game design and it is tricky to master. They also tend to be very structurally spread out. The core narrative seems to have importance than the numerous vignettes that players may or may not encounter. Key decisions have the potential to significantly alter events that players come across and lead to different gameplay experiences, meaning that reviews of this type have to be taken with a few more grains of salt than usual. It isn’t impossible to break these types of games down, just a bit harder and a bit more dependent on how the game was played. With that said, let’s roll up our sleeves and get started. The original 1988 Wasteland almost single-handedly made video games about wandering an irradiated, post-apocalyptic world cool. Wasteland predated the beginning of the Fallout series by almost a decade, but became lost in the mists of time. Then in 2012, InXile Entertainment launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $900,000 to develop a true sequel to the 1988 title. Within two days that goal had been reached and by the time the campaign drew to a close a total of around $3,000,000 had been secured to fund development. After two years the result is a staggeringly large RPG with astonishing amounts of detail. In a livestream interview with Joystiq, creative director Brian Fargo stated that if you took all the text written for the game, all of the dialogues and descriptions, the word count would surpass all of that of the entire Harry Potter series. Think about that for a minute: The developers wrote over seven novels worth of text in addition to making a game. Some of you might be a bit skeptical of Fargo’s claim, but having poured 75 hours of my life into Wasteland 2, I believe it. Out of those tens of thousands of words arose the tale of the Desert Rangers, post-apocalyptic cowboys who strive to establish law and order for the residents of the habitable portions of Arizona; an Arizona that has been cut off from the outside world by deadly radiation clouds. Strange animals roam the wastes like mutated honey badgers or giant rabbits posing an ever present threat to those new to wandering the parched lands of Arizona. However, as is the case in an un-irradiated world, the most dangerous creatures in the wasteland are your fellow human beings. Player begin with a team of Desert Ranger recruits that have been tasked with looking into the death of Ace, a fellow Ranger who was gunned down while tracking down the source of a mysterious radio signal. And… well, that’s about as much as I can say before what players experience could conceivably be different from the choices I made. There is no set course in Wasteland 2. Instead, there are numerous vignettes that can be explored at will with only a small number of essential scenarios that need to be dealt with before the main narrative is allowed to progress. After leaving the starting area to tackle the initial task of investigating Ace’s death, players receive calls for help from two different settlements that have found themselves in imminent danger. Choosing to help one over the other leads to sweeping consequences for a large portion of Wasteland 2. Players who are more inclined to explore can encounter smaller side missions, too. The diffuse structure of the narrative leads to a very erratic core narrative. Some of the episode are truly engaging and ask players to make difficult choices, while others feel more like a slog of going through the motions rather than an enjoyable experience. The meat of Wasteland 2 is the turn-based tactical combat. Each character under the player’s command has a certain number of action points that are determined based on their attributes. The more action points they have, the more stuff they can do on their turn. It is a relatively simple system that is pleasantly complicated by alternate firing modes for guns, crouching, and headshots, all of which have different action point costs associated with their execution. The result is a mostly satisfying strategic title that can concoct some difficult scenarios to keep players on their toes. What really bogs down the experience are good ideas that have been executed poorly. A great example of this is any time an NPC follower is picked up that acts independently when in combat. The AI governing their behavior makes mind-bogglingly awful decisions, which can be really frustrating when you are trying to complete an objective that requires them to be alive. They’ll shun cover and brazenly stand in front of several enemies armed with miniguns and grenades without a second thought. It is frustrating to do everything as tactically correct as possible only to have an NPC derp its way into oblivion. Two more great ideas that don’t quite live up to their potential are inventory management and melee combat. Managing inventory becomes problematic because you will often find weird items that may or may not have a purpose later in the game. This reinforces the compulsion to hold onto a variety of random crap that might randomly be useful. Ammo has weight, but you probably want to keep that in your inventory if you feel like living through enemy encounters. Do you like being healed? Yes? Well, that takes up inventory space, too. The amount of stuff a character can carry in their inventory is related to their strength attribute, which is very unfortunate since strength means almost nothing in a game full of ranged weaponry. There are skill categories for blunt weapons, bladed weapons, and unarmed fighting, but none of those routes feel like they pay off in the slightest. Why leave cover to get in close to an enemy when he has five or six ranged friends for backup and you can do two or three times as much damage with one sniper from a mile away? Strength improves melee attacks, but not enough to make them feel like a viable option when compared to all of the cool shotguns, heavy weapons, energy cannons, sniper rifles, and assault weapons. This is all the more unfortunate because you will need a character with high strength just to carry your junk around and they’ll end up feeling like dead weight. By the time I reached the end game I had to stop for five to ten minutes to get my characters’ inventories sorted out every time I acquired something that weighed more than five pounds. Wasteland 2 also features permadeath. If a character loses all of their health, they’ll fall unconscious. If they continue to take hits, they’ll die and exit the party permanently. For a player like me, that just means that losing a party member means reloading an earlier save. I imagine that most players will react similarly since losing a character can be effectively crippling, especially if they were relied on for their non-combat skills like lock picking or demolitions. It is a tangible loss that isn’t easy to replace and is punishing for the rest of the game. My golden standard for permadeath in strategy games was set by XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Losing a soldier was certainly a blow to the missions that followed, but unless it was on the highest difficulties, it wasn’t something that left a campaign crippled. The permadeath served to make XCOM harder, yes, but it also strengthened the emotional attachments players developed for their soldiers. They took on the role of their commander and felt responsible for their soldiers’ fates. Unlike XCOM, a disconnect exists between the player and the characters in Wasteland 2. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; many games are fantastic without inviting the player into the fiction as a character. The tradeoff seems to be that if you are going to have that sort of distance between the player and the characters, then you need to have engaging characters in which the player can feel emotionally invested. Wasteland 2 only partially succeeds at this. The four Desert Ranger recruits that begin the game can be customized by the player or picked from premade backgrounds. They then all proceed to be silent protagonists, a decision that renders them inert and emotionless. Luckily, the supporting cast of recruitable NPCs does some serious heavy lifting. Characters like Scotchmo, the shotgun wielding hobo with a heart of gold, or Rose, the scientist with a prosthetic arm who dreamed of becoming a Ranger, go a long way toward giving the journey through the wastelands a dash of characterization; saving it from becoming just another generic romp. However, level design is the biggest quagmire that painfully slows the experience of Wasteland 2. There is an awful lot of backtracking through large levels. I kid you not, I eventually picked up a book so that I could have something to do while my characters ran through the same area, repeatedly going back and forth between to NPCs that I needed to talk with. Perhaps more than any other thing that I’ve talked about so far is what dampened my enthusiasm for Wasteland 2. It is not awesome to spend two or three minutes wandering through a level that you’ve already thoroughly explored to get from point A to point B. Fast travel within locations or quick exits from thoroughly explored areas would have been a fantastic addition. Related to the level design is how the camera interacts with the environment. Many tactical games have a fixed camera, but creating a fixed perspective can lead to obstructed vision for players. Wasteland 2 tries to avoid that problem by including multiple camera angles that players can switch between. While a good idea on paper, it quickly becomes disorienting. It can even get you turned around in areas that have been explored. To top it off, even the rotating camera can’t save all of the battles from the challenges of objects obstructing commands. A number of times I noticed characters who were caught at awkward angles in a bit of object that was supposed to provide cover. These incidents were few, but they still popped up from time to time and provided some frustration. With everything that I’ve gone over, you might think that I found Wasteland 2 to be a negative experience. On the contrary, I enjoyed the majority of the time I spent with the Desert Rangers. There are so many things to discover and so many ways to solve the situations that are happened upon. The sense of freedom is enjoyable and it’s nice that entire enemy encounters can be skipped at times if a character possesses the appropriate skills or items. The elements of exploration and discovery are in full force. On top of that, Wasteland 2 has a great sense of humor. At one point my party ran across a solitary man in the wastes who began following us while spouting a lengthy, ridiculous one-sided conversation about all the places he had been and seen. There is a faction of people who live in the wasteland who base their society off of a book of etiquette while also being more than happy to resort to violence. At one point, I found the treasure of the Sierra Madre. There is a world of references that prove to be good humored nods to famous movies, books, and video games and jokes that poke fun at the same. And there is just so much game. I put 75 hours into the game before I saw the credits roll, but I skipped many sidequests that I knew about and I’m sure I skipped other bits of the game that I never even discovered. I enjoyed the game despite its numerous imperfections. At the heart of Wasteland 2 is an earnest effort of staggering proportions and it isn’t hard to appreciate that in the final product. Note: I'm about to go into a topic that might be a bit uncomfortable for some of you out there. If that is the case, feel free to skip down to the conclusion. That being said, there was an issue that I found deeply disconcerting in Wasteland 2’s narrative: The treatment of sexual violence. This is something that video games are notoriously terrible at depicting in a way that is tactful. While I don’t doubt for a minute that Wasteland 2 has nothing but good intentions toward its players, this was something that stood out to me as needing to be called out. There are a number of parts in the game that deal with people who have been enslaved and abused sexually. From a writing standpoint, that would be fine if there was a reason for it, if there was a purpose to including that content. However, from what I saw, this sexual assault is never the focus of the scenarios in which it appears. It might help if I give an example to illustrate what I mean. At one point, Wasteland 2 takes players into a prison that has been converted into a headquarters for a gang that wants to start being what passes for a government. As players make their way through the town that’s just outside the prison, it becomes clear that the people who live there have become indentured as unwilling workers on a nearby farm. Many of the other residents are living in poverty and starving to death. Later, it is possible to return to negotiate with the leader of the gang and help him see the error of his ways and how they’d been going about trying to help people in the worst possible way. That all makes sense, right? It establishes the gang as bad guys, but later it turns out they just had no idea how to go helping people without innocents getting hurt by their efforts. What doesn’t make sense is also including a section of the gang’s camp where slaves are kept like animals and raped repeatedly. What possible purpose does that serve? None. There is no justification for it. The worst part is that it is never mentioned in any of the dialogue that I saw when speaking with any of the gang members or their leader. The focus was meant to be on the farm that the indentured workers were forced to cultivate. The area of the gang’s camp dedicated to rape was rendered as something that was barely worth consideration. This isn’t an isolated incident either. There are several instances of sexual violence invoked casually. InExile was trying to make a gritty game, a mature game, and of course that led to including lots of f-bombs, a number of prostitutes, and segments of sexual violence. People will try to mitigate it by saying that the occurrences of that brand of violence aren’t as explicit as they could be, the camera is distant, the violence isn’t directly shown, but the ugly truth of it is that it is still lurking there in the shadowy underbelly of the game as an implication. The lack of importance tells me that the writers of Wasteland 2 didn’t think when it came to this topic. It is as if the game threw up its hands and said, “Well, OF COURSE, this happens after the end of the world, especially when you are trying to portray the apocalypse in a mature way!” That might sound like a defense, but there is no reason to include scenes of sexual violence in the name of “maturity” or a “grittier experience” when the game in question cannot or will not maturely address the important topics it casually brings up. Nor is grit of such terrible importance to your game when you include a large number of mutated honey badgers as enemies. If you are a developer and are considering including sexual assault in your game, I believe you have a human obligation to try and treat it with the gravity it deserves. Like everything else in your game, there should be a reason that sexual violence is included and that reason shouldn’t be to titillate your players or serve as a momentary distraction. Conclusion: At the end of the day, I am attempting to critique an experience that took up more than three days of solid effort on my part and contained more text than seven books. How does someone even begin to try to do that justice? While Wasteland 2 certainly has a number of issues that relate to its core mechanics, design, and narrative, I enjoyed a lot of my time in its world, especially when it allowed itself to be a bit more lighthearted. The combat is satisfying, though sometimes frustrating. The narrative oscillates from being very good to being really not great from scenario to scenario, but generally errs on the side of quality. Wasteland 2 succeeds at being the game that its backers desired, while also paving the way for a renaissance of games made in this style. However, for as much as I enjoyed its strategic gameplay and unexpected turns, there were many flaws that detracted from my enjoyment on an intellectual level. Wasteland 2 is a solid RPG with enough detail to satisfy even the most rabid of lore-hounds, but I hope that InExile learns to address sensitive topics with a bit more humanity in their future endeavors.
  10. Many of you might not know that, in addition to writing for Extra Life, I record a video game podcast called The JIM Show with two dashing gentlemen. Most of the time it is just discussion of the latest video game news, sharing our thoughts on the games we're playing, and embarrassing ourselves in front of microphones. However, sometimes we have interesting guests on the show. We've had indie studios like Tangentlemen or Brain & Nerd on to talk about the trials of going independent. We've had talented writers like Harold Goldberd, Nathan Meunier, and Walt Williams on to discuss their work. Heck, we even had a filmmaker, and one of the co-founders of Naughty Dog on our show. What I'm trying to get at here is that while we are mostly goofballs, sometimes we do actually have insightful and interesting talks about video games. This week our podcast was graced with the presence of Eric Trowbridge, the founder of indie studio Apixal and who is currently going through a Kickstarter campaign for Phoenix Dawn. We invited him on because he was clearly very passionate about making games; he quit a job of eight years to try and make his dreams a reality. At the time we interviewed him, his Kickstarter was $10,000 short of its goal with five days left. The day after we recorded with him he'd met his funding goal and there are still two days left in his campaign. All this is leading up to me saying that we had a great time talking with Eric and it was really inspiring how determined and dedicated he is to his project. Our conversation with him provided a window into the stressful lives of developers who turn to Kickstarter for funding. If that sounds interesting to you, you can listen to the podcast embedded below, download it from our hosting site, iTunes, or get our podcast app through the Amazon app store. Music for this episode is a remix of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, 'Forever Yours' by the fantastic Tim Sheehy. More great music like this can be found over on OCRemix.org (FOR FREE). Head over there and check out a place flowing with musical talent! Let us know what you think of the show and if you like seeing this kind of thing in the comments. View full article
  11. Many of you might not know that, in addition to writing for Extra Life, I record a video game podcast called The JIM Show with two dashing gentlemen. Most of the time it is just discussion of the latest video game news, sharing our thoughts on the games we're playing, and embarrassing ourselves in front of microphones. However, sometimes we have interesting guests on the show. We've had indie studios like Tangentlemen or Brain & Nerd on to talk about the trials of going independent. We've had talented writers like Harold Goldberd, Nathan Meunier, and Walt Williams on to discuss their work. Heck, we even had a filmmaker, and one of the co-founders of Naughty Dog on our show. What I'm trying to get at here is that while we are mostly goofballs, sometimes we do actually have insightful and interesting talks about video games. This week our podcast was graced with the presence of Eric Trowbridge, the founder of indie studio Apixal and who is currently going through a Kickstarter campaign for Phoenix Dawn. We invited him on because he was clearly very passionate about making games; he quit a job of eight years to try and make his dreams a reality. At the time we interviewed him, his Kickstarter was $10,000 short of its goal with five days left. The day after we recorded with him he'd met his funding goal and there are still two days left in his campaign. All this is leading up to me saying that we had a great time talking with Eric and it was really inspiring how determined and dedicated he is to his project. Our conversation with him provided a window into the stressful lives of developers who turn to Kickstarter for funding. If that sounds interesting to you, you can listen to the podcast embedded below, download it from our hosting site, iTunes, or get our podcast app through the Amazon app store. Music for this episode is a remix of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, 'Forever Yours' by the fantastic Tim Sheehy. More great music like this can be found over on OCRemix.org (FOR FREE). Head over there and check out a place flowing with musical talent! Let us know what you think of the show and if you like seeing this kind of thing in the comments.
  12. Pier Solar and the Great Architects, the HD remake of 2010 original that was exclusive to the Sega Mega Drive, is due on September 30th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Ouya, and PC. Pier Solar HD is a direct result of a successful Kickstarter campaign that ran back in 2012. In addition to a release on PS4, PS3, and PC, WaterMelon will also be releasing the RPG on Xbox One, Wii U, and Sega Dreamcast, though the release dates of those versions will be announced next month after they've received certification. I'm gonna be honest, I've been looking forward to playing Pier Solar HD for a long time. Never having had a Sega Mega Drive, I wasn't able to play the original retro release of Pier Solar which made me sad as a big fan of classic RPGs. This news really makes me happy! View full article
  13. Pier Solar and the Great Architects, the HD remake of 2010 original that was exclusive to the Sega Mega Drive, is due on September 30th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Ouya, and PC. Pier Solar HD is a direct result of a successful Kickstarter campaign that ran back in 2012. In addition to a release on PS4, PS3, and PC, WaterMelon will also be releasing the RPG on Xbox One, Wii U, and Sega Dreamcast, though the release dates of those versions will be announced next month after they've received certification. I'm gonna be honest, I've been looking forward to playing Pier Solar HD for a long time. Never having had a Sega Mega Drive, I wasn't able to play the original retro release of Pier Solar which made me sad as a big fan of classic RPGs. This news really makes me happy!
  14. Every now and then I go through the numerous gaming Kickstarters to see if there are any interesting projects worth talking about. It turns out that there are a fair number of intriguing projects looking for public funding at the moment and I thought I'd share a bunch that might be worth your attention. Age of Grit For those of you who have never played Skies of Arcadia, it was a fantastic RPG that dealt with sky pirates and while most of the battles took place between the main characters and various enemies on foot, it also featured exciting battles between airships. Age of Grit seems to be trying to tap into that same veing of airship-on-airship combat. Players take on the role of a airship captain in an alternate reality where the world is a cross between the Wild West and the most imaginative of steampunk fantasies. Gameplay revolves around managing the amount of steam required to operate the various systems and weapons equipped to the player's airship. The story centers on the struggles of the crew of said airship trying to keep it flying for as long as possible through honest (and sometimes not-so-honest) means. It reminds me a lot of Firefly, one of my favorite television shows. With 8 days left in its campaign and less than $200 away from its $12,000 goal, it is very likely to hit its base funding target. Band Saga Billed as a musical action Rogue-like, Band Saga follows the adventures of two friends who set out to become superstars, but are quickly wrapped up in an intergalactic struggle for their very lives. As players progress through the game, each new city performed in will create a new level for players to blast their way through and each level completed will unlock a new musician for the band. Every playthrough will have a randomly generated soundtrack that will be available for download within the game. The official soundtrack has already been released for streaming and download. The soundtrack also includes a 22 page comic detailing the events leading up to the game illustrated by Gina Chacón. <a href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp" data-mce-href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp">Band Saga LP by Rekcahdam</a> The project has 14 days remaining and around $19,000 until it reaches its minimum fundraising goal. Broken World Set several generations after large-scale nuclear war, Broken World is a tabletop RPG that aims to tackle the end of the world with a bit more levity than most other games. According to James Claus-Nesbitt, the game's creator, "there should always be a silver lining of humor, no matter how bleak a situation may seem." Broken World places an emphasis on freeform creative problem solving rather traditionally rule heavy turn-based combat. With numerous player classes, mutations, and irradiated horrors/wonders awaiting in the wastelands of the apocalypse, Broken World certainly has my attention. Also, Claus-Nesbitt is a professional illustrator and that means the rule book will contain numerous pieces of artwork to lend the game world a bit of extra flavor. With 15 days left in its campaign, Broken World has already exceeded its $3,000 initial goal and has begun to take on stretch goals. Currently enough money has been raised for additional illustrations for the Drifter's animal companions, an fully illustrated chapter of boss creatures, an editable .pdf version of character sheets to facilitate online/digital play, over 200 more mutation moves on top of the 100 previous skills, triple the amount of items with more illustrations, and a bunch more extra stuff. The next funding tier will add several pre-made adventuress to ease beginners into the game's system. Extrasolar: Season 2 The first season of Extrasolar is available for free if you want a better idea of what the second season has in store. However, as you might guess, a free game doesn't really cover development costs for additional seasons, so the team turned to Kickstarter to help them realize their dream. Extrasolar is a game about uncovering mysteries and conspiracies while controlling a robotic rover that has arrived on an alien planet. The rover can take pictures that players can then mark for analysis. The messages and information players receive serve to draw them deeper into the mysteries surrounding the planet of Epsilon Prime. Extrasolar can be played from any browser enabled device, meaning players can access it on their phones, tablets, or computers. The team behind Extrasolar, Lazy 8 Studios, might be recognized from their indie hit Cogs or from their big budget tie-in BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the neatest thing about Extrasolar is that it is built to be a close to scientifically accurate as possible. The team even collaborates with scientists. For example, biologist Jane Van Susteren worked with the team to present the scientific elements of their game to as close to reality as possible. Extrasolar has 21 days left in its campaign and is a little under $70,000 away from meeting its targeted funding goal. Flagship Combining a first-person perspective with large scale, real-time strategy combat, Flagship puts players in command of an admiral aboard the flagship of a fleet of spaceships. Players will need to be able to manage their fleet, colonize worlds, provide for their people, and expand their influence throughout the galaxy. Flagship explores a bleak future where humanity has been driven from Earth and entirely exists aboard their space faring-vessels. Space holds many different planets, nebulae, stars, and black holes to investigate and colonize, as well as hostile alien races seeking to annihilate humanity. Capturing planets, researching new technologies, and using experience to level up your ships will be key to surviving. Also, Oculus Rift support has been included from the ground up. Even though the footage of Flagship is pre-alpha and clearly has a long way to go before it is finished, it already looks pretty great and the concept is definitely intriguing. Flagship has 28 days left before its Kickstarter comes to a close. It seems to have a long way to go before it meets its funding goal as well, with roughly £11,600 of its £95,000 goal raised so far (that's roughly $19,000 of their $155,000 goal). Judged The concept of Judged is pretty simple: Players take on the role of a trial-lawyer who has recently become a judge and desires to be appointed to the State Supreme Court Justice. Players are then tasked with discerning the truth in the cases that are presented to them and delivering verdicts that won't be overturned down the line. An overturned ruling will hurt the judge's chances at realizing their dream of becoming a State Supreme Court Justice. In a pleasant change of pace, the game itself seems to be finished already and the Kickstarter is merely to cover the costs of bringing in pixel artists to redo the placeholder artwork, cover Kickstarter fees, and hiring a programmer to port the game to mobile platforms. With 16 days remaining, Judged has already exceeded its modest $2,000 funding goal and first stretch goal, which will allow players to customize their judge. The next stretch goal will introduce Jury Trials into the mix. Moon Hunters "How will you be remembered?" asks the team at Kitfox Games in the opening moments of Moon Hunter's Kickstarter promo. Moon Hunters is about building your character's mythology with every decision determining how your character will be remembered by their tribe. Players take on the role of an adventurer trying to solve the mystery of the missing moon in an ancient world full of gods, magic, and monsters. Players can adventure through the world solo or with up to three friends. Moon Hunters will require multiple playthroughs to fully discover the mysteries that surround the missing moon. While normally this would mean starting from scratch each time the game begins, Moon Hunters keeps players previous playthroughs alive by carrying on the myths generated by previous characters. It's a cool concept. Furthermore, it is a cool concept backed by fantastic in-game artwork. To better understand how Moon Hunters will function, you can check out Dungeons of Fayte, a free local co-op action RPG with town-management elements. Similar gameplay and design has been used in Moon Hunters. Moon Hunters has already raised nearly three times its funding goal and has gone on to meet eight stretch goals that have added new in-game factions, characters, a cooking system, online multiplayer, and a PlayStation 4 version. The next stretch goal is to port the single player to the PlayStation Vita. With 8 days left for the Kickstarter, the Vita version is likely to become a reality. Noct If wandering a grim, future version of Earth that has been covered in darkness and monsters sounds like fun to you, Noct might be right up your alley. Noct is a top-down multiplayer survival horror shooter with some light RPG elements and permadeath. Dying in Noct means you begin from the beginning. As you explore the wastes, random world events will pop up that can either be beneficial, like a weapons cache, or detrimental, like a gargantuan Eldritch horror. The entire game is viewed as if from a thermal imaging satellite, which lends Noct its signature black and white aesthetic. The project has met its goal with 7 days to go in its campaign. Pathologic Pathologic isn't actually a new game. It is a remake of Ice-Pick Lodge's first game from back in 2005 which, while it garnered no small degree of acclaim, was unfortunately only available in Russian. The team has since decided to revisit that earlier title and make it available to a wider audience in English while applying their experience from the last nine years in game design to improve their original work. In Pathologic, players are trapped in a town that is in the process of being infected by a mysterious plague of unknown origins. The disease is highly infectious and deadly, crippling victims both physically and mentally. As one of three doctors, players have twelve days to explore the town, divine its history and the relationships of its denizens, and defeat the plague. One of the core aspects of Pathologic is that players will never be able to save everybody. There simply isn't enough time to save every person from the plague and time quickly becomes the most valuable resource available. While trying to save the villagers, it is also important to take your character's susceptibility to the plague into account. Is it worth saving a life if the doctor, who could save others, is also put in jeopardy? With 19 days remaining in its Kickstarter and $210,000 out of its $250,000 goal raised it seems likely that the project will be fully funded. Phoenix Dawn In Phoenix Dawn, players take on the role of a young sorceress named Phoenix in an RPG adventure. The low poly artistic style of Phoenix Dawn contributes to its truly breathtaking paper mache aesthetic. The gameplay relies on mastering fifteen different spells and combining them in unique and interesting ways to obtain more powerful spells. these powerful spells are important to understand as they will be indispensable in battle against the forces of the White Witch and the and demon, Lazarus. Every dungeon found throughout Phoenix Dawn will be randomized for a unique experience every time it is played. Using tools like Metal, Test Flight, and Unity 5, Phoenix Dawn will be playable on iOS devices as well as PC and Mac computers. Phoenix Dawn has raised $17,640 our of its $33,000 goal and has 11 days remaining. That leaves it in a bit of a precarious position regarding its prospects of achieving full funding, However, it is still worth checking out, since its creator, Eric Trowbridge, claims that he will make the game even if it isn't funded by Kickstarter; it will just take him a longer time to do so. What do you think of the Kickstarters that are going on right now? Any others that you think deserve some attention? Let us know in the comments! View full article
  15. Every now and then I go through the numerous gaming Kickstarters to see if there are any interesting projects worth talking about. It turns out that there are a fair number of intriguing projects looking for public funding at the moment and I thought I'd share a bunch that might be worth your attention. Age of Grit For those of you who have never played Skies of Arcadia, it was a fantastic RPG that dealt with sky pirates and while most of the battles took place between the main characters and various enemies on foot, it also featured exciting battles between airships. Age of Grit seems to be trying to tap into that same veing of airship-on-airship combat. Players take on the role of a airship captain in an alternate reality where the world is a cross between the Wild West and the most imaginative of steampunk fantasies. Gameplay revolves around managing the amount of steam required to operate the various systems and weapons equipped to the player's airship. The story centers on the struggles of the crew of said airship trying to keep it flying for as long as possible through honest (and sometimes not-so-honest) means. It reminds me a lot of Firefly, one of my favorite television shows. With 8 days left in its campaign and less than $200 away from its $12,000 goal, it is very likely to hit its base funding target. Band Saga Billed as a musical action Rogue-like, Band Saga follows the adventures of two friends who set out to become superstars, but are quickly wrapped up in an intergalactic struggle for their very lives. As players progress through the game, each new city performed in will create a new level for players to blast their way through and each level completed will unlock a new musician for the band. Every playthrough will have a randomly generated soundtrack that will be available for download within the game. The official soundtrack has already been released for streaming and download. The soundtrack also includes a 22 page comic detailing the events leading up to the game illustrated by Gina Chacón. <a href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp" data-mce-href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp">Band Saga LP by Rekcahdam</a> The project has 14 days remaining and around $19,000 until it reaches its minimum fundraising goal. Broken World Set several generations after large-scale nuclear war, Broken World is a tabletop RPG that aims to tackle the end of the world with a bit more levity than most other games. According to James Claus-Nesbitt, the game's creator, "there should always be a silver lining of humor, no matter how bleak a situation may seem." Broken World places an emphasis on freeform creative problem solving rather traditionally rule heavy turn-based combat. With numerous player classes, mutations, and irradiated horrors/wonders awaiting in the wastelands of the apocalypse, Broken World certainly has my attention. Also, Claus-Nesbitt is a professional illustrator and that means the rule book will contain numerous pieces of artwork to lend the game world a bit of extra flavor. With 15 days left in its campaign, Broken World has already exceeded its $3,000 initial goal and has begun to take on stretch goals. Currently enough money has been raised for additional illustrations for the Drifter's animal companions, an fully illustrated chapter of boss creatures, an editable .pdf version of character sheets to facilitate online/digital play, over 200 more mutation moves on top of the 100 previous skills, triple the amount of items with more illustrations, and a bunch more extra stuff. The next funding tier will add several pre-made adventuress to ease beginners into the game's system. Extrasolar: Season 2 The first season of Extrasolar is available for free if you want a better idea of what the second season has in store. However, as you might guess, a free game doesn't really cover development costs for additional seasons, so the team turned to Kickstarter to help them realize their dream. Extrasolar is a game about uncovering mysteries and conspiracies while controlling a robotic rover that has arrived on an alien planet. The rover can take pictures that players can then mark for analysis. The messages and information players receive serve to draw them deeper into the mysteries surrounding the planet of Epsilon Prime. Extrasolar can be played from any browser enabled device, meaning players can access it on their phones, tablets, or computers. The team behind Extrasolar, Lazy 8 Studios, might be recognized from their indie hit Cogs or from their big budget tie-in BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the neatest thing about Extrasolar is that it is built to be a close to scientifically accurate as possible. The team even collaborates with scientists. For example, biologist Jane Van Susteren worked with the team to present the scientific elements of their game to as close to reality as possible. Extrasolar has 21 days left in its campaign and is a little under $70,000 away from meeting its targeted funding goal. Flagship Combining a first-person perspective with large scale, real-time strategy combat, Flagship puts players in command of an admiral aboard the flagship of a fleet of spaceships. Players will need to be able to manage their fleet, colonize worlds, provide for their people, and expand their influence throughout the galaxy. Flagship explores a bleak future where humanity has been driven from Earth and entirely exists aboard their space faring-vessels. Space holds many different planets, nebulae, stars, and black holes to investigate and colonize, as well as hostile alien races seeking to annihilate humanity. Capturing planets, researching new technologies, and using experience to level up your ships will be key to surviving. Also, Oculus Rift support has been included from the ground up. Even though the footage of Flagship is pre-alpha and clearly has a long way to go before it is finished, it already looks pretty great and the concept is definitely intriguing. Flagship has 28 days left before its Kickstarter comes to a close. It seems to have a long way to go before it meets its funding goal as well, with roughly £11,600 of its £95,000 goal raised so far (that's roughly $19,000 of their $155,000 goal). Judged The concept of Judged is pretty simple: Players take on the role of a trial-lawyer who has recently become a judge and desires to be appointed to the State Supreme Court Justice. Players are then tasked with discerning the truth in the cases that are presented to them and delivering verdicts that won't be overturned down the line. An overturned ruling will hurt the judge's chances at realizing their dream of becoming a State Supreme Court Justice. In a pleasant change of pace, the game itself seems to be finished already and the Kickstarter is merely to cover the costs of bringing in pixel artists to redo the placeholder artwork, cover Kickstarter fees, and hiring a programmer to port the game to mobile platforms. With 16 days remaining, Judged has already exceeded its modest $2,000 funding goal and first stretch goal, which will allow players to customize their judge. The next stretch goal will introduce Jury Trials into the mix. Moon Hunters "How will you be remembered?" asks the team at Kitfox Games in the opening moments of Moon Hunter's Kickstarter promo. Moon Hunters is about building your character's mythology with every decision determining how your character will be remembered by their tribe. Players take on the role of an adventurer trying to solve the mystery of the missing moon in an ancient world full of gods, magic, and monsters. Players can adventure through the world solo or with up to three friends. Moon Hunters will require multiple playthroughs to fully discover the mysteries that surround the missing moon. While normally this would mean starting from scratch each time the game begins, Moon Hunters keeps players previous playthroughs alive by carrying on the myths generated by previous characters. It's a cool concept. Furthermore, it is a cool concept backed by fantastic in-game artwork. To better understand how Moon Hunters will function, you can check out Dungeons of Fayte, a free local co-op action RPG with town-management elements. Similar gameplay and design has been used in Moon Hunters. Moon Hunters has already raised nearly three times its funding goal and has gone on to meet eight stretch goals that have added new in-game factions, characters, a cooking system, online multiplayer, and a PlayStation 4 version. The next stretch goal is to port the single player to the PlayStation Vita. With 8 days left for the Kickstarter, the Vita version is likely to become a reality. Noct If wandering a grim, future version of Earth that has been covered in darkness and monsters sounds like fun to you, Noct might be right up your alley. Noct is a top-down multiplayer survival horror shooter with some light RPG elements and permadeath. Dying in Noct means you begin from the beginning. As you explore the wastes, random world events will pop up that can either be beneficial, like a weapons cache, or detrimental, like a gargantuan Eldritch horror. The entire game is viewed as if from a thermal imaging satellite, which lends Noct its signature black and white aesthetic. The project has met its goal with 7 days to go in its campaign. Pathologic Pathologic isn't actually a new game. It is a remake of Ice-Pick Lodge's first game from back in 2005 which, while it garnered no small degree of acclaim, was unfortunately only available in Russian. The team has since decided to revisit that earlier title and make it available to a wider audience in English while applying their experience from the last nine years in game design to improve their original work. In Pathologic, players are trapped in a town that is in the process of being infected by a mysterious plague of unknown origins. The disease is highly infectious and deadly, crippling victims both physically and mentally. As one of three doctors, players have twelve days to explore the town, divine its history and the relationships of its denizens, and defeat the plague. One of the core aspects of Pathologic is that players will never be able to save everybody. There simply isn't enough time to save every person from the plague and time quickly becomes the most valuable resource available. While trying to save the villagers, it is also important to take your character's susceptibility to the plague into account. Is it worth saving a life if the doctor, who could save others, is also put in jeopardy? With 19 days remaining in its Kickstarter and $210,000 out of its $250,000 goal raised it seems likely that the project will be fully funded. Phoenix Dawn In Phoenix Dawn, players take on the role of a young sorceress named Phoenix in an RPG adventure. The low poly artistic style of Phoenix Dawn contributes to its truly breathtaking paper mache aesthetic. The gameplay relies on mastering fifteen different spells and combining them in unique and interesting ways to obtain more powerful spells. these powerful spells are important to understand as they will be indispensable in battle against the forces of the White Witch and the and demon, Lazarus. Every dungeon found throughout Phoenix Dawn will be randomized for a unique experience every time it is played. Using tools like Metal, Test Flight, and Unity 5, Phoenix Dawn will be playable on iOS devices as well as PC and Mac computers. Phoenix Dawn has raised $17,640 our of its $33,000 goal and has 11 days remaining. That leaves it in a bit of a precarious position regarding its prospects of achieving full funding, However, it is still worth checking out, since its creator, Eric Trowbridge, claims that he will make the game even if it isn't funded by Kickstarter; it will just take him a longer time to do so. What do you think of the Kickstarters that are going on right now? Any others that you think deserve some attention? Let us know in the comments!
  16. From the forges of Kickstarter rises an RPG that embraces player choice. Undoubtedly Larian Studios finest work to date, Divinity: Original Sin is a throwback to the PC RPGs of old, albeit with a modern coat of paint. Larian’s latest title can stand proudly alongside the likes of Baldur’s Gate or the original Fallout. For my review of Divinity: Original Sin, I’m just going to relay the events that occurred within the first five hours of booting it up. One of the neat aspects of Original Sin is that you can play with strangers or friends in a two player co-op mode which you can switch into at any time. I grabbed a colleague of mine and we hopped into the world of Rivellon. We both created our own Source Hunters, intrepid individuals tasked with tracking down and destroying the corrupting power known as Source. After character creation, we were sent by the order of Source Hunters to the coastal town of Cyseal to investigate a high-profile murder suspected of involving Source. Unfortunately the coastal town happened to be under attack by orcs, so after a beautiful animated cutscene we were dropped off on the shoreline a short distance from Cyseal. On our way to conduct our investigation, we learn that Divinity: Original Sin has some of the most entertaining sneaking animations ever devised. As we neared the coastal city, we encountered two drunk guards who mistook us for orcs. Luckily we convinced them that we were too human to be orcs and that was that… or it would have if one of us had thought to ask them if we could cross their bridge. For our transgression onto the sacred planks of their bridge, we were thrust into unwilling combat which ended with two dead guards on the beach. Later we would backtrack to that location and discover that one of the guards that came to relieve them of duty was freaking out over their murder. Whoops! We, being cool and collected Source Hunters, proceeded into Cyseal as nonchalantly as possible. While there, we died repeatedly trying to steal supplies from the town guard. It turns out that while it is entirely possible to steal everything in sight or kill everyone in the game, it really isn’t advisable to do so. After learning our lesson the hard way, I discovered that my character could talk with animals, a skill which I proceeded to use to get my fortune told by a prescient cow. While I was chatting up the local fauna, my companion ran off to explore the city proper. From what he told me a few minutes later, he had discovered a talking skull that he then proceeded to irritate until it called the town guard and had him arrested. Luckily, there was a demon in the prison to whom he traded a point of constitution to teleport him out of jail. It was around this time that we discovered a gravestone that dared us to dig up the remains that were buried below. We happily obliged and in repayment we were incinerated in a blast of fire. Reloading, we continued our exploration, vaguely remembering that we had come to solve a murder. We ran about town, eagerly exploring any nooks and crannies we encountered. While my friend was on the other side of Cyseal chatting up a wizard who enjoyed being a cat, my Source Hunter barged into the local physician’s clinic where he helped the young assistant try to heal one of two sick men. Upon resolving the moral conundrum posed by limited healing supplies, my companion and I were whisked away to THE FREAKING END OF TIME. While we were there, I kid you not, we met a time traveling imp historian named Zixzax. This was such a bizarre and unexpected turn of events that the two of us laughed for a good three or four minutes. Is this starting to sound insane yet? Clearly, Original Sin’s greatest strength lies in the freedom it affords to players. Every mission and scenario can be solved multiple ways or bypassed entirely. During one quest where I was supposed to infiltrate an evil cult and had to solve their initiation puzzles, I got frustrated and just killed all of the evil cultists and took the amulet I needed to progress in the story from their leader’s corpse. On one sidequest to break a character out of prison, rather than go to the trouble of finding the key to the cell, I simply teleported said character out with magic. Original Sin rewards a player’s creativity. Pretty much any solution you can think of has the potential to work and it rarely feels unfair when a plan fails (i.e. failing to pickpocket a McGuffin off of a goblin shaman because your skill was too low and starting a nearly hopeless fight in the middle of a goblin war camp). While the aforementioned freedom is definitely the main draw of Divinity, it is a double-edged sword. The unwillingness to restrict or funnel players leads to multiple instances of directionless wandering. There were several times when I felt lost because I either missed a line of dialogue or the game was being coy about where to go. You won’t always feel the burden of a lack of direction, but when you do you’ll feel completely stumped. Luckily, the narrative of Divinity: Original Sin isn’t anything over which you should get excited. The murder the Source Hunters come to investigate ends up being a more complex mystery than they could have guessed and that larger affair escalates until the stakes really can’t get any higher. This isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. It is a competently executed tale of swords and sorcery (or as Original Sin puts it “sourcery”). Basically, the entire undertaking feels like it would be right at home as a pre-made Dungeons and Dragons adventure. The character creator allows for a number of different backgrounds, beginning powers, and visual tweaks. The abilities you take in character creation only matter for the first few hours, until you begin to find new abilities and level your appropriate skills. One of my Source Hunters began as a lady raised by wolves and was only proficient with earth magic; she ended the game as a crossbow sharpshooter who could also summon earth elementals. The flexibility of leveling is important, because it is almost a guarantee that you’ll have to branch into skill sets outside of your beginning pool of abilities. I started the game with a character who knew Geomancy and another that was well versed in Pyrokinetics. Later we recruited an expert Hydrosophist (water mage) who dabbled in some Aerotheurgy (air magic) along with a lady who could wield a nasty battleaxe via her Man-at-Arms proficiency. That left Scoundrel, Witchcraft, and Expert Marksman skills untaken. Then there are all of the skills that affect things outside of what abilities you can use in combat. There are skills for each weapon type, four different defensive skills, as well as social, crafting, and thievery skills. Beyond the general freedom of Divinity, the turn-based combat system is what will keep your interest throughout your adventures in Rivellon. Most of the moves are what you would expect: lighting, fireballs, freezing pillars, poisoned darts, etc. However, the way these abilities interact with the environment is what makes combat feel truly unique. Sure, you can summon a pool of oil to slow a group of enemies, but you can also hit the oil with a fire spell and engulf your enemies in flames and blinding smoke. If you create a poisoned cloud around a group of enemies, fire will cause it to explode. Ice spells can create slippery ice slicks that trip up opponents. Clouds of mist, pools of water, or even copious amounts of blood can be electrified to stun careless foes. While a lot of fun to play around with, using these secondary effects to your advantage can mean the difference between victory and defeat. The terrain effects reveal one of the major weaknesses of Divinity: Original Sin. Unlike other recent tactical, turn-based games *cough* XCOM *cough*, the camera is fixed to a few certain angles. This wouldn’t be a problem, except it can sometimes make it hard to see where the terrain effects are located behind smoke or gas clouds. This can lead you to make fatal error like sending one of your Source Hunters or their allies over an ice slick, rendering them prone for two or three rounds of battle. While this wasn’t a constant issue, it was still a big enough problem that I had to reload several times throughout my playthrough. There is also another reason why players should be wary of the camera: Hidden objects. Imagine that you are trying to finish a quest and have reached a dead end. You were pretty sure you went in the right direction, but you end up backtracking and trying to find where you went wrong. You do this for over an hour. Eventually, you discover that you had missed a tiny button that was concealed on a portion of wall that was barely visible from the best angle afforded to you by the camera. This happened to me multiple times. You can chalk it up to the design attempting to be more retro, but I just found it incredibly irritating. As for the co-op, it is very much serviceable and it is really fun to experience an adventure like this with a friend by your side. I wouldn’t recommend playing with random strangers, simply because of the absurd level of trolling that unknown players are capable of within your world. For example, important conversations periodically take place between the two Source Hunters, conversations that alter the course of Divinity’s events. The Source Hunters must decide on a course of action, either by naturally agreeing or by arguing. Arguments are settled by a digital game of rock, paper, scissors. Some of the decisions result in the killing off of important characters or how you’ll tackle the next segment of a quest. It is fine to disagree with a friend, but a stranger mucking around in your game world just isn’t as much fun. One final note is that while most of the technical bugs have been fixed with patches by now, there are still a few lingering issues. The one I encountered that all but crippled my game was during the final boss fight. Overall, Original Sin looks great. It is bright and colorful or drab and moody when it needs to be. My computer had no problems running it at max settings until the final boss. For some reason, there are tons of particle effects that are being blown around by some sort of world-shattering wind and it caused the fight to slow to a crawl. I was barely able to successfully give orders. Even dropping the settings to their lowest point didn’t help. I eventually got through the fight, but it was quite a slog. Just beware that there are a few issues that could cause crashes or severe slowdown. Conclusion: Overall, Divinity: Original Sin is a fantastic, wonderful, silly, funny, ridiculous adventure that goes on for a very, very, very long time. Just keep in mind that the camera is a fickle creature and that you should save after you succeed in doing pretty much anything. Other than that, don’t expect the story to reinvent the wheel. Grab a buddy who will stay by your side for the long haul and save the world in whatever way seems best. Divinity: Original Sin was reviewed on PC and is now available.
  17. From the forges of Kickstarter rises an RPG that embraces player choice. Undoubtedly Larian Studios finest work to date, Divinity: Original Sin is a throwback to the PC RPGs of old, albeit with a modern coat of paint. Larian’s latest title can stand proudly alongside the likes of Baldur’s Gate or the original Fallout. For my review of Divinity: Original Sin, I’m just going to relay the events that occurred within the first five hours of booting it up. One of the neat aspects of Original Sin is that you can play with strangers or friends in a two player co-op mode which you can switch into at any time. I grabbed a colleague of mine and we hopped into the world of Rivellon. We both created our own Source Hunters, intrepid individuals tasked with tracking down and destroying the corrupting power known as Source. After character creation, we were sent by the order of Source Hunters to the coastal town of Cyseal to investigate a high-profile murder suspected of involving Source. Unfortunately the coastal town happened to be under attack by orcs, so after a beautiful animated cutscene we were dropped off on the shoreline a short distance from Cyseal. On our way to conduct our investigation, we learn that Divinity: Original Sin has some of the most entertaining sneaking animations ever devised. As we neared the coastal city, we encountered two drunk guards who mistook us for orcs. Luckily we convinced them that we were too human to be orcs and that was that… or it would have if one of us had thought to ask them if we could cross their bridge. For our transgression onto the sacred planks of their bridge, we were thrust into unwilling combat which ended with two dead guards on the beach. Later we would backtrack to that location and discover that one of the guards that came to relieve them of duty was freaking out over their murder. Whoops! We, being cool and collected Source Hunters, proceeded into Cyseal as nonchalantly as possible. While there, we died repeatedly trying to steal supplies from the town guard. It turns out that while it is entirely possible to steal everything in sight or kill everyone in the game, it really isn’t advisable to do so. After learning our lesson the hard way, I discovered that my character could talk with animals, a skill which I proceeded to use to get my fortune told by a prescient cow. While I was chatting up the local fauna, my companion ran off to explore the city proper. From what he told me a few minutes later, he had discovered a talking skull that he then proceeded to irritate until it called the town guard and had him arrested. Luckily, there was a demon in the prison to whom he traded a point of constitution to teleport him out of jail. It was around this time that we discovered a gravestone that dared us to dig up the remains that were buried below. We happily obliged and in repayment we were incinerated in a blast of fire. Reloading, we continued our exploration, vaguely remembering that we had come to solve a murder. We ran about town, eagerly exploring any nooks and crannies we encountered. While my friend was on the other side of Cyseal chatting up a wizard who enjoyed being a cat, my Source Hunter barged into the local physician’s clinic where he helped the young assistant try to heal one of two sick men. Upon resolving the moral conundrum posed by limited healing supplies, my companion and I were whisked away to THE FREAKING END OF TIME. While we were there, I kid you not, we met a time traveling imp historian named Zixzax. This was such a bizarre and unexpected turn of events that the two of us laughed for a good three or four minutes. Is this starting to sound insane yet? Clearly, Original Sin’s greatest strength lies in the freedom it affords to players. Every mission and scenario can be solved multiple ways or bypassed entirely. During one quest where I was supposed to infiltrate an evil cult and had to solve their initiation puzzles, I got frustrated and just killed all of the evil cultists and took the amulet I needed to progress in the story from their leader’s corpse. On one sidequest to break a character out of prison, rather than go to the trouble of finding the key to the cell, I simply teleported said character out with magic. Original Sin rewards a player’s creativity. Pretty much any solution you can think of has the potential to work and it rarely feels unfair when a plan fails (i.e. failing to pickpocket a McGuffin off of a goblin shaman because your skill was too low and starting a nearly hopeless fight in the middle of a goblin war camp). While the aforementioned freedom is definitely the main draw of Divinity, it is a double-edged sword. The unwillingness to restrict or funnel players leads to multiple instances of directionless wandering. There were several times when I felt lost because I either missed a line of dialogue or the game was being coy about where to go. You won’t always feel the burden of a lack of direction, but when you do you’ll feel completely stumped. Luckily, the narrative of Divinity: Original Sin isn’t anything over which you should get excited. The murder the Source Hunters come to investigate ends up being a more complex mystery than they could have guessed and that larger affair escalates until the stakes really can’t get any higher. This isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. It is a competently executed tale of swords and sorcery (or as Original Sin puts it “sourcery”). Basically, the entire undertaking feels like it would be right at home as a pre-made Dungeons and Dragons adventure. The character creator allows for a number of different backgrounds, beginning powers, and visual tweaks. The abilities you take in character creation only matter for the first few hours, until you begin to find new abilities and level your appropriate skills. One of my Source Hunters began as a lady raised by wolves and was only proficient with earth magic; she ended the game as a crossbow sharpshooter who could also summon earth elementals. The flexibility of leveling is important, because it is almost a guarantee that you’ll have to branch into skill sets outside of your beginning pool of abilities. I started the game with a character who knew Geomancy and another that was well versed in Pyrokinetics. Later we recruited an expert Hydrosophist (water mage) who dabbled in some Aerotheurgy (air magic) along with a lady who could wield a nasty battleaxe via her Man-at-Arms proficiency. That left Scoundrel, Witchcraft, and Expert Marksman skills untaken. Then there are all of the skills that affect things outside of what abilities you can use in combat. There are skills for each weapon type, four different defensive skills, as well as social, crafting, and thievery skills. Beyond the general freedom of Divinity, the turn-based combat system is what will keep your interest throughout your adventures in Rivellon. Most of the moves are what you would expect: lighting, fireballs, freezing pillars, poisoned darts, etc. However, the way these abilities interact with the environment is what makes combat feel truly unique. Sure, you can summon a pool of oil to slow a group of enemies, but you can also hit the oil with a fire spell and engulf your enemies in flames and blinding smoke. If you create a poisoned cloud around a group of enemies, fire will cause it to explode. Ice spells can create slippery ice slicks that trip up opponents. Clouds of mist, pools of water, or even copious amounts of blood can be electrified to stun careless foes. While a lot of fun to play around with, using these secondary effects to your advantage can mean the difference between victory and defeat. The terrain effects reveal one of the major weaknesses of Divinity: Original Sin. Unlike other recent tactical, turn-based games *cough* XCOM *cough*, the camera is fixed to a few certain angles. This wouldn’t be a problem, except it can sometimes make it hard to see where the terrain effects are located behind smoke or gas clouds. This can lead you to make fatal error like sending one of your Source Hunters or their allies over an ice slick, rendering them prone for two or three rounds of battle. While this wasn’t a constant issue, it was still a big enough problem that I had to reload several times throughout my playthrough. There is also another reason why players should be wary of the camera: Hidden objects. Imagine that you are trying to finish a quest and have reached a dead end. You were pretty sure you went in the right direction, but you end up backtracking and trying to find where you went wrong. You do this for over an hour. Eventually, you discover that you had missed a tiny button that was concealed on a portion of wall that was barely visible from the best angle afforded to you by the camera. This happened to me multiple times. You can chalk it up to the design attempting to be more retro, but I just found it incredibly irritating. As for the co-op, it is very much serviceable and it is really fun to experience an adventure like this with a friend by your side. I wouldn’t recommend playing with random strangers, simply because of the absurd level of trolling that unknown players are capable of within your world. For example, important conversations periodically take place between the two Source Hunters, conversations that alter the course of Divinity’s events. The Source Hunters must decide on a course of action, either by naturally agreeing or by arguing. Arguments are settled by a digital game of rock, paper, scissors. Some of the decisions result in the killing off of important characters or how you’ll tackle the next segment of a quest. It is fine to disagree with a friend, but a stranger mucking around in your game world just isn’t as much fun. One final note is that while most of the technical bugs have been fixed with patches by now, there are still a few lingering issues. The one I encountered that all but crippled my game was during the final boss fight. Overall, Original Sin looks great. It is bright and colorful or drab and moody when it needs to be. My computer had no problems running it at max settings until the final boss. For some reason, there are tons of particle effects that are being blown around by some sort of world-shattering wind and it caused the fight to slow to a crawl. I was barely able to successfully give orders. Even dropping the settings to their lowest point didn’t help. I eventually got through the fight, but it was quite a slog. Just beware that there are a few issues that could cause crashes or severe slowdown. Conclusion: Overall, Divinity: Original Sin is a fantastic, wonderful, silly, funny, ridiculous adventure that goes on for a very, very, very long time. Just keep in mind that the camera is a fickle creature and that you should save after you succeed in doing pretty much anything. Other than that, don’t expect the story to reinvent the wheel. Grab a buddy who will stay by your side for the long haul and save the world in whatever way seems best. Divinity: Original Sin was reviewed on PC and is now available. View full article
  18. Following a successfully funded Kickstarter and a subsequent launch as an Early Access title through services like Steam, Habitat will be coming to PlayStation 4 owners as a downloadable title. Habitat tasks players with creating a new home for the residents of Earth as they flee the untenable remains of our homeworld. The only remaining solution is to piece together bits and pieces of debris that now orbit the planet. Players will lead a team of engineers as they manage the population and environment of their growing space station. On top of the day to day management of the station, players will need to protect it in the event of an attack by using whatever means are at their disposal including: missiles, lasers, and particle accelerators. “Since development began on Habitat, it has always been our wish to bring our space survival simulation to as many platforms as technologically possible,” said Charles Cox, founder of 4gency. “We are incredibly excited to announce that Habitat will be launching on PlayStation 4 in 2015 and can’t wait to see how the creative PlayStation community reacts to Habitat’s gameplay mechanics.” There is no solid release date for Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit, other than the entire year of 2015. If you are set on checking it out in an unfinished state, Early Access is currently available on PC through Steam, Amazon, Humble Store, GameFly, Gamer's Gate, Green Man Gaming and Nuuvem for $14.99. I don't know about you, but I am very interested to see the final version of Habitat. Any game that lets you strap rockets to the robotic head of the Statue of Liberty and fly around in space is definitely worthwhile in my book.
  19. Following a successfully funded Kickstarter and a subsequent launch as an Early Access title through services like Steam, Habitat will be coming to PlayStation 4 owners as a downloadable title. Habitat tasks players with creating a new home for the residents of Earth as they flee the untenable remains of our homeworld. The only remaining solution is to piece together bits and pieces of debris that now orbit the planet. Players will lead a team of engineers as they manage the population and environment of their growing space station. On top of the day to day management of the station, players will need to protect it in the event of an attack by using whatever means are at their disposal including: missiles, lasers, and particle accelerators. “Since development began on Habitat, it has always been our wish to bring our space survival simulation to as many platforms as technologically possible,” said Charles Cox, founder of 4gency. “We are incredibly excited to announce that Habitat will be launching on PlayStation 4 in 2015 and can’t wait to see how the creative PlayStation community reacts to Habitat’s gameplay mechanics.” There is no solid release date for Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit, other than the entire year of 2015. If you are set on checking it out in an unfinished state, Early Access is currently available on PC through Steam, Amazon, Humble Store, GameFly, Gamer's Gate, Green Man Gaming and Nuuvem for $14.99. I don't know about you, but I am very interested to see the final version of Habitat. Any game that lets you strap rockets to the robotic head of the Statue of Liberty and fly around in space is definitely worthwhile in my book. View full article
  20. The Kickstarter campaign for a new turn-based strategy RPG from the creator of XCOM has come to a close, breezing by its goal by a cool $30,000. 5,051 people pledged $210,854 in financial backing for Julian Gollop's Chaos Reborn. The game aims to provide a deep, fast-paced, tactical experience with player progression, multiplayer, and co-op. It has been greenlit on Steam and seems to be on track for an early 2015 on PC, Mac, and Linux. You can try the current online build or get in on some of the cool backing reward tiers for yourself on the Chaos Reborn website. View full article
  21. The Kickstarter campaign for a new turn-based strategy RPG from the creator of XCOM has come to a close, breezing by its goal by a cool $30,000. 5,051 people pledged $210,854 in financial backing for Julian Gollop's Chaos Reborn. The game aims to provide a deep, fast-paced, tactical experience with player progression, multiplayer, and co-op. It has been greenlit on Steam and seems to be on track for an early 2015 on PC, Mac, and Linux. You can try the current online build or get in on some of the cool backing reward tiers for yourself on the Chaos Reborn website.
  22. For All To Play has taken to Kickstarter to fund their development of a game with no need for visuals, Grail to the Thief: An Interactive Audio Adventure. Designed to be played and enjoyed by both the visually impaired and ocularly enabled, Grail to the Thief is a text adventure that conveys all of its information in an audio format. All dialogue is voiced, while sound effects, music, and ambient sound convey additional details about the in-game environment. Grail to the Thief iterates on the traditional text adventure formula by giving players access to a number of options in any given scenario. This eliminates the tedium and frustration of experimenting with typed commands and allows players to enjoy the story, which draws inspiration from the likes of Zork, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the movie Time Bandits. I could try and summarize the plot, but I'll let the developers do it for me in their own words: The game stars Hank Krang, a dirty thief from the near future, who recently had a self-aware time machine called the Time Excursion Digital Interface, or TEDI, fall into his lap after a poker game. He has decided to use this technology to go throughout time, stealing priceless artifacts. On his first adventure, Grail to the Thief, Hank travels to Arthurian times in search of the Holy Grail. Now if that isn't a plot I can get behind, I don't know what is. Grail to the Thief, if fully funded in the next 25 days will be released on PC, Mac OS X, and Linux, with stretch goals for mobile, a playable female character, and Spanish localization. Interested parties can play a prototype of Grail to the Thief in either Chrome or Opera web browsers by following the link foralltoplay.com/prototype. To support pledge money in support of the project, head over to their Kickstarter page. It is amazing to see how far games have come in recent years with more projects being undertaken to accommodate players who might not otherwise be able to play and enjoy games. Hopefully, we will be seeing more games take less able gamers into account as we move forward as an industry. View full article
  23. For All To Play has taken to Kickstarter to fund their development of a game with no need for visuals, Grail to the Thief: An Interactive Audio Adventure. Designed to be played and enjoyed by both the visually impaired and ocularly enabled, Grail to the Thief is a text adventure that conveys all of its information in an audio format. All dialogue is voiced, while sound effects, music, and ambient sound convey additional details about the in-game environment. Grail to the Thief iterates on the traditional text adventure formula by giving players access to a number of options in any given scenario. This eliminates the tedium and frustration of experimenting with typed commands and allows players to enjoy the story, which draws inspiration from the likes of Zork, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the movie Time Bandits. I could try and summarize the plot, but I'll let the developers do it for me in their own words: The game stars Hank Krang, a dirty thief from the near future, who recently had a self-aware time machine called the Time Excursion Digital Interface, or TEDI, fall into his lap after a poker game. He has decided to use this technology to go throughout time, stealing priceless artifacts. On his first adventure, Grail to the Thief, Hank travels to Arthurian times in search of the Holy Grail. Now if that isn't a plot I can get behind, I don't know what is. Grail to the Thief, if fully funded in the next 25 days will be released on PC, Mac OS X, and Linux, with stretch goals for mobile, a playable female character, and Spanish localization. Interested parties can play a prototype of Grail to the Thief in either Chrome or Opera web browsers by following the link foralltoplay.com/prototype. To support pledge money in support of the project, head over to their Kickstarter page. It is amazing to see how far games have come in recent years with more projects being undertaken to accommodate players who might not otherwise be able to play and enjoy games. Hopefully, we will be seeing more games take less able gamers into account as we move forward as an industry.
  24. Julian Gollop is perhaps best known as one of the creators of the original X-COM and, more recently, as the creative director on Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. However, his next project takes him back. Way back. Chaos Reborn is the sequel/update to Chaos: The Battle of Wizards which released in 1985. It is a turn-based strategy game in which players test their tactical prowess in magical deathmatches between wizards. Wizards are capable of great feats of magic, but rely most upon summoned creatures to battle enemy wizards. Every battlefield will feature procedurally generated terrain, requiring adaptable, on-the-fly strategies. Chaos Reborn will also offer multiplayer, co-op, and single-player RPG modes. Players begin as simple apprentice wizards, but will be able to work their way up to the rank of wizard lords, wizard kings, demigods, and eventually gods. Attaining higher ranks will open access to a new game mode which will insert AI versions of player characters into other player's Chaos realms. The AI character's accomplishments in other player's worlds will net the AI's master gold and experience. Exploration will be an important part of Chaos Reborn. Exploring could reveal new spells, equipment, or opportunities to conquer the realm being explored. The final game will include over 80 spells and 24 creatures. Some of these magics and monsters will be old favorites from the original '85 Chaos. Equipment can be upgraded by entering their inner realms, dungeons with strange properties and denizens. A new turn-based strategy RPG from the mind behind the first X-COM with modern sensibilities and multiplayer? Wizards and magic? Monsters and gods? Yes, please! Ken Levine supports the project, too, which is just icing on the cake. The Kickstarter has 14 days left and is more than half-way to its goal. I'm incredibly excited and hopeful that this project will be successful. View full article
  25. Julian Gollop is perhaps best known as one of the creators of the original X-COM and, more recently, as the creative director on Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. However, his next project takes him back. Way back. Chaos Reborn is the sequel/update to Chaos: The Battle of Wizards which released in 1985. It is a turn-based strategy game in which players test their tactical prowess in magical deathmatches between wizards. Wizards are capable of great feats of magic, but rely most upon summoned creatures to battle enemy wizards. Every battlefield will feature procedurally generated terrain, requiring adaptable, on-the-fly strategies. Chaos Reborn will also offer multiplayer, co-op, and single-player RPG modes. Players begin as simple apprentice wizards, but will be able to work their way up to the rank of wizard lords, wizard kings, demigods, and eventually gods. Attaining higher ranks will open access to a new game mode which will insert AI versions of player characters into other player's Chaos realms. The AI character's accomplishments in other player's worlds will net the AI's master gold and experience. Exploration will be an important part of Chaos Reborn. Exploring could reveal new spells, equipment, or opportunities to conquer the realm being explored. The final game will include over 80 spells and 24 creatures. Some of these magics and monsters will be old favorites from the original '85 Chaos. Equipment can be upgraded by entering their inner realms, dungeons with strange properties and denizens. A new turn-based strategy RPG from the mind behind the first X-COM with modern sensibilities and multiplayer? Wizards and magic? Monsters and gods? Yes, please! Ken Levine supports the project, too, which is just icing on the cake. The Kickstarter has 14 days left and is more than half-way to its goal. I'm incredibly excited and hopeful that this project will be successful.
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