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Found 36 results

  1. Released in 2000 for Dreamcast and 2003 for GameCube, Skies of Arcadia has proven itself to be one of those RPGs that really stuck with me over the years. When I was growing up, I didn’t see many RPGs in my house. Through sheer bad luck I somehow missed most of the great SNES RPGs, Super Mario RPG notwithstanding. For as much as I appreciate my N64, there was definitely a dearth of RPGs in its library compared to its 16-bit predecessors. The PlayStation and Dreamcast were unheard of in my home at the time, barely existing on the periphery of my young consciousness. Imagine my surprise when I picked up Skies of Arcadia: Legends for the GameCube over a decade ago and found myself wrapped up in a fantastical adventure full of heroes, villains, monsters, and sky pirates. To date, I think I spent more hours inside of Skies of Arcadia than any other traditional RPG with the exceptions of Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect series. Skies of Arcadia built an appreciation for RPGs in my heart, supplanting platformers as the genre that held the most sway over my gaming tastes. The dreamlike quality of its setting helps to set Skies of Arcadia apart from anything else out there. Arcadia's world consists of large islands and continents statically suspended in the sky. There are six major empires, both thriving and long gone, one for each moon that orbits their planet. The only way travel, commerce, and warfare between the different land masses can be achieved is through the use of air ships. Throw pirates, weapons of mass destruction, evil empires, and long lost magic into this setting and you have the makings of a great game. What I am trying to say is that Skies of Arcadia is a game about flying pirates being awesome and for that reason alone you should consider unearthing a copy. I haven’t made any secret that I heartily recommend Skies of Arcadia, but I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t have any imperfections. It falls victim to a number of RPG clichés in its storyline: amnesia, collect several magic maguffins, an escalating hierarchy of evil henchmen, etc. However, it is a testament to the quality of Skies of Arcadia that despite those clichés much of it feels fresh and exciting. I will be the first to admit that I could certainly be looking at this game through rose-colored glasses, but I think it is one of those rare titles that makes proper use of clichéd story elements. The clichés don’t feel out of place or misused. The narrative flows naturally from one point to another, and part of that flow includes a few well-worn video game tropes. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to make it feel fresh. Though many of the characters end up fitting into archetypical molds, they’re written well enough that players actually begin to develop empathy for their predicaments. One of my favorite examples of this is the captain of a small fishing vessel named Drachma. Captain Drachma is encountered early in the adventure and he initially serves as a gruff father figure. Over the course of the game Drachma is revealed to be motivated by a desire to avenge the death of his son (and the loss of his arm and eye) at the hands of a great skywhale named Rhaknam. He is so committed to this that he eventually buys a giant prow harpoon for his ship, with which he hopes to kill the beast. It is a pretty blatant reference to Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab, but it isn’t used as a joke. Instead, the backstory does what a backstory should do; it gives the player a new perspective on the previous words and actions of that character. Graphically, Skies of Arcadia has not aged well. It sometimes looks like a polygonal mess. What polygons it does have are very colorful and inviting which still do it credit and keep the game feeling light hearted and fun despite some of the darker content that crops up throughout the adventure. Despite the dated graphics the mechanics are solid and serviceable, while the narrative remains as compelling as ever. One of the biggest problems that plagued the original Dreamcast release was the absurdly high rate of random encounters. While that was fixed somewhat in the Legends port, battles are still a frequent occurrence. The general gist of the combat is that characters can attack, cast spells, use items, or guard. As these things are done, more SP points build up that can be used for special moves. Later in the game players unlock different super attacks that change depending on the party composition, each with its own cool cinematic. There is also the option to simply unleash the entire crew of your ship which has a variety of effects depending on who players have recruited. It is a simple system overall, but one that is definitely enjoyable. To traverse Arcadia, you need to fly your air ship through the overworld. Throughout the game, players will pilot a variety of different vessels, each with their own abilities and equipment that can be upgraded. Exploration is limited by the type of vessel that is being flown. Early on, there are certain areas that the ships available lack the ability to travel through, like wind currents and high pressure areas. This is not to say that searching out nooks and crannies is discouraged. Exploration can really pay off for persistent and observant players. You can discover rare locations or treasures granting a sizable reward. Thoroughly exploring areas can lead to optional boss battles or even new crew members to recruit. Perhaps the best feature of Skies of Arcadia is the ability to engage in ship-to-ship battles. In these cinematic battles, attacks and evasions can be ordered at opportune times to optimize damage output and escape enemy fire. The system allows players to plan out an entire round of maneuvers weighed against the likelihood of the enemy taking offensive or defensive actions. If the fight continues for a long enough period, a meter will fill and you gain the opportunity to unleash a brutal super attack that deals enormous amounts of damage. These skirmishes are few and far between, typically only occurring against large monsters or other ships. Players can outfit their ship with different decks, armor, cannons, torpedoes, etc. Each change will greatly affect how the ship performs in combat. More powerful cannons can typically only fire once, while smaller, less powerful cannons can fire multiple times in one turn, and torpedoes fire once with a delayed damage burst. Who is crewing the vessel also affects the ships performance, granting different bonuses to the ship’s offensive, defensive, or healing abilities. I’ve honestly never seen a combat system like it before or since, which is a shame because I’d be happy to see it as a central system for an entire game. Skies of Arcadia is not a perfect game, but there are a lot of aspects that deserve more recognition. Often when player mention RPGs from around the turn of the century, I hear names like Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Paper Mario, but almost never Skies of Arcadia. It holds a special place in my heart for being a fantastic introduction to the world of RPGs. Not only that, but there are no other games with ship combat like Skies of Arcadia. If you are in the market for an older RPG you couldn’t go terribly wrong seeking out Skies of Arcadia: Legends. The story is the stuff of solid adventure.
  2. I don’t think it is an understatement to say that Destiny’s story is bad. A number of videos and articles have popped up criticizing the loose and hollow plot in the week since its release. Having reviewed Destiny myself and being similarly frustrated by its abysmal narrative, I was prompted to revisit Fire Emblem: Awakening, a game that successfully accomplishes the type of storytelling that Destiny so spectacularly lacks. Destiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter with RPG and MMO elements for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Fire Emblem: Awakening is a turn-based strategy title for the 3DS. Destiny strives for the most impressive graphical qualities possible, while Fire Emblem: Awakening contents itself with strangely styled 3D graphics and an anime aesthetic. Clearly, Fire Emblem and Destiny have very little to do with one another in terms of visual style or gameplay or… much else, really. However, both are games that make an attempt to have a narrative and that is where I’m most interested in comparing the two to illustrate how a great game can successfully tell a story that resonates with its players. It should tell you something that this is a fairly good approximation of Destiny’s plot. One of the important things to keep in mind when talking about video game narratives is that writing a video game is completely different than writing a screenplay or a book or an internet article. The main difference stems from player agency, the choices players make as they play. This throws off the traditional format of linear narratives that we’ve grown accustomed to experiencing in movies, songs, and literature. While all of that might seem obvious, the fact of the matter is that there aren’t many places that can properly teach how to write a video game outside of the traditional ideas about story structure. It can be tempting to say, “Just write better,” when you see a game that isn’t very compelling. It turns out that “just write better” isn’t terribly helpful. I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of how to write a video game, but what has become clear to me over the last few years of writing about video games is that the ones that are loudly praised tend to be games that effectively fuse their gameplay with their narratives. Crafting a game where a player feels like their actions in the moment-to-moment gameplay matter to both the immediate experience and to the larger narrative, imbues everything with additional tension and sense of purpose. Successfully pulling that off makes the game better than the sum of its parts. Destiny doesn’t ever do this. Its gameplay and story are completely separate. And you know what? That’s fine! Many great games have terrible stories and solid gameplay to fall back on. Look no farther than every Mario Bros. game ever or many of the recent Call of Duty titles. However, would it be fair to assume that games with great gameplay as well as a meaningful narrative are preferable to games with just enjoyable gameplay? I think most of us would answer in the affirmative. Fire Emblem: Awakening does just that. The Fire Emblem series has been around for almost 25 years. In that time, there have been eleven main entries (thirteen if you count remakes) in the series, though North America has seen less than half of those. The turn-based gameplay takes place on a variety of different maps with varied terrain and enemy placement. As players progress through these maps they’ll have opportunities to recruit new characters with different abilities and skills to their army. If this sounds familiar, that’s because there are a number of game series that offer similar core experiences like Advanced Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics. Secretly, Fire Emblem: Awakening isn’t about the turn-based battles at all. Sure, they make up the core experience of the game, but the battles are a complex and entertaining front for the support conversations between characters. It has been a longstanding tradition in Fire Emblem games that the units players recruit into their armies all have names, motivations, backstories, and freely interact with one another as they spend time together in combat. Support conversations are windows into those character interactions. In addition to unlocking entertaining dialogues, characters that have become friends gain stat bonuses for fighting near one another. This relationship mechanic has been a part of the Fire Emblem experience for a long time, so why did I specifically call out Fire Emblem: Awakening for making support conversations the core of the game? From the prologue mission and through the opening tutorial missions, Fire Emblem: Awakening makes it clear that fighting together is important to both the gameplay and the narrative. The game tacitly encourages players to seek out support conversations by rewarding with meaningful stat gains in the tactical segments. Whereas previous entries in the series included support conversations as a side activity, Awakening goes out of its way to explicitly point out their importance. As players progress through missions of increasing complexity and difficulty, the relationships between characters mature, but the specter of death is never far away. Fire Emblem has had permadeath ingrained into its code since the very beginning. Once a character falls on the battlefield they are either permanently maimed (if they figured prominently into the narrative) or they die. Though Awakening does give players the option between a permadeath-free mode and classic mode, classic is the way it was intended to be played. I say this not as some elitist snob who thinks that only “real” gamers play with permadeath, but as someone who thinks that the narrative stakes get much higher when you know that any mistake you make could cost you the life of a beloved character. It is the same principle that Jake Solomon, lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is encouraging when he suggests that players name their soldiers after friends and family. Furthermore, Fire Emblem: Awakening asks the player to insert themselves into the game by creating an avatar. The avatar is unique in that it can have support conversations with every recruitable character, meaning that the player is virtually guaranteed to have some investment into the characters he or she find interesting. None of this would work if the support conversations weren’t well written and nuanced, which they are. It is easy to dismiss many of the characters at first glance because they seem to fit rather simple molds, like the cocky warrior Vaike or the clumsy and shy Sumia. However, through their interactions with other characters we get a chance to dig deeper into their characters and perhaps catch a glimpse of why they are the way they are (other than because someone wrote them to be that way). We learn throughout the hours spent on Fire Emblem: Awakening that our army is the opposite of the faceless entities we see in many other games that deal with sweeping conflicts. If we dig into the actual story of Awakening, we find a work of genre fantasy. Players are meant to be hooked from one battle to the next on an increasingly urgent quest to avoid war and prevent global catastrophe. It isn’t complex and it isn’t something that avid fantasy readers/movie-watchers won’t have seen multiple times before. However, the support conversations flesh out the less interesting elements of the story and make it feel new in a way many of us haven’t experienced before. If the story is the skeleton, the support conversations are the tendons and muscles. *Spoiler Warning* It could be said that I am drastically inflating the importance of support conversations in Fire Emblem: Awakening. However, what I think really seals the deal is that the support conversations are inexorably tied to the ending of Awakening. After defeating hordes of foes and learning the intimate details of your comrades, the avatar is revealed to be the vessel of an evil bent on the destruction of the world. The only thing that keeps the avatar from following through on that motivation is the thought of destroying his or her friends. The relationships formed through the support conversations are what ultimately save the world because those connections have become concrete things as opposed to abstract concepts. *End Spoiler* Let’s recap: Awakening’s main plot is a fantasy storyline that would feel right at home in a genre novel page-turner, but it is elevated by the designed focus on the support conversations between the numerous characters who join the player’s army. These relationships are encouraged by tangible gains like stat boosts. Tension and emotional attachment exists due to the ever-present threat of permanent death aimed toward the members of the player’s army. The avatar the player creates helps to invest the player into the relationships they find interesting, further increasing the connection to said characters. Ultimately, the relationships formed throughout Awakening are brought into the story with everything riding on the line. From the beginning of Awakening until its final moments, players are both tangibly and emotionally involved in the story because the gameplay and narrative are so closely bonded together. It results in a more resonant game than previous Fire Emblems, which is why I’d argue many regard it as the finest entry in the series to date. I compare the storytelling and characterization of Awakening to what I saw in Destiny and I can’t help but think that my time was better spent laughing, smiling, and tearing up on my 3DS. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a third playthrough of Fire Emblem: Awakening to complete. View full article
  3. I don’t think it is an understatement to say that Destiny’s story is bad. A number of videos and articles have popped up criticizing the loose and hollow plot in the week since its release. Having reviewed Destiny myself and being similarly frustrated by its abysmal narrative, I was prompted to revisit Fire Emblem: Awakening, a game that successfully accomplishes the type of storytelling that Destiny so spectacularly lacks. Destiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter with RPG and MMO elements for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Fire Emblem: Awakening is a turn-based strategy title for the 3DS. Destiny strives for the most impressive graphical qualities possible, while Fire Emblem: Awakening contents itself with strangely styled 3D graphics and an anime aesthetic. Clearly, Fire Emblem and Destiny have very little to do with one another in terms of visual style or gameplay or… much else, really. However, both are games that make an attempt to have a narrative and that is where I’m most interested in comparing the two to illustrate how a great game can successfully tell a story that resonates with its players. It should tell you something that this is a fairly good approximation of Destiny’s plot. One of the important things to keep in mind when talking about video game narratives is that writing a video game is completely different than writing a screenplay or a book or an internet article. The main difference stems from player agency, the choices players make as they play. This throws off the traditional format of linear narratives that we’ve grown accustomed to experiencing in movies, songs, and literature. While all of that might seem obvious, the fact of the matter is that there aren’t many places that can properly teach how to write a video game outside of the traditional ideas about story structure. It can be tempting to say, “Just write better,” when you see a game that isn’t very compelling. It turns out that “just write better” isn’t terribly helpful. I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of how to write a video game, but what has become clear to me over the last few years of writing about video games is that the ones that are loudly praised tend to be games that effectively fuse their gameplay with their narratives. Crafting a game where a player feels like their actions in the moment-to-moment gameplay matter to both the immediate experience and to the larger narrative, imbues everything with additional tension and sense of purpose. Successfully pulling that off makes the game better than the sum of its parts. Destiny doesn’t ever do this. Its gameplay and story are completely separate. And you know what? That’s fine! Many great games have terrible stories and solid gameplay to fall back on. Look no farther than every Mario Bros. game ever or many of the recent Call of Duty titles. However, would it be fair to assume that games with great gameplay as well as a meaningful narrative are preferable to games with just enjoyable gameplay? I think most of us would answer in the affirmative. Fire Emblem: Awakening does just that. The Fire Emblem series has been around for almost 25 years. In that time, there have been eleven main entries (thirteen if you count remakes) in the series, though North America has seen less than half of those. The turn-based gameplay takes place on a variety of different maps with varied terrain and enemy placement. As players progress through these maps they’ll have opportunities to recruit new characters with different abilities and skills to their army. If this sounds familiar, that’s because there are a number of game series that offer similar core experiences like Advanced Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics. Secretly, Fire Emblem: Awakening isn’t about the turn-based battles at all. Sure, they make up the core experience of the game, but the battles are a complex and entertaining front for the support conversations between characters. It has been a longstanding tradition in Fire Emblem games that the units players recruit into their armies all have names, motivations, backstories, and freely interact with one another as they spend time together in combat. Support conversations are windows into those character interactions. In addition to unlocking entertaining dialogues, characters that have become friends gain stat bonuses for fighting near one another. This relationship mechanic has been a part of the Fire Emblem experience for a long time, so why did I specifically call out Fire Emblem: Awakening for making support conversations the core of the game? From the prologue mission and through the opening tutorial missions, Fire Emblem: Awakening makes it clear that fighting together is important to both the gameplay and the narrative. The game tacitly encourages players to seek out support conversations by rewarding with meaningful stat gains in the tactical segments. Whereas previous entries in the series included support conversations as a side activity, Awakening goes out of its way to explicitly point out their importance. As players progress through missions of increasing complexity and difficulty, the relationships between characters mature, but the specter of death is never far away. Fire Emblem has had permadeath ingrained into its code since the very beginning. Once a character falls on the battlefield they are either permanently maimed (if they figured prominently into the narrative) or they die. Though Awakening does give players the option between a permadeath-free mode and classic mode, classic is the way it was intended to be played. I say this not as some elitist snob who thinks that only “real” gamers play with permadeath, but as someone who thinks that the narrative stakes get much higher when you know that any mistake you make could cost you the life of a beloved character. It is the same principle that Jake Solomon, lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is encouraging when he suggests that players name their soldiers after friends and family. Furthermore, Fire Emblem: Awakening asks the player to insert themselves into the game by creating an avatar. The avatar is unique in that it can have support conversations with every recruitable character, meaning that the player is virtually guaranteed to have some investment into the characters he or she find interesting. None of this would work if the support conversations weren’t well written and nuanced, which they are. It is easy to dismiss many of the characters at first glance because they seem to fit rather simple molds, like the cocky warrior Vaike or the clumsy and shy Sumia. However, through their interactions with other characters we get a chance to dig deeper into their characters and perhaps catch a glimpse of why they are the way they are (other than because someone wrote them to be that way). We learn throughout the hours spent on Fire Emblem: Awakening that our army is the opposite of the faceless entities we see in many other games that deal with sweeping conflicts. If we dig into the actual story of Awakening, we find a work of genre fantasy. Players are meant to be hooked from one battle to the next on an increasingly urgent quest to avoid war and prevent global catastrophe. It isn’t complex and it isn’t something that avid fantasy readers/movie-watchers won’t have seen multiple times before. However, the support conversations flesh out the less interesting elements of the story and make it feel new in a way many of us haven’t experienced before. If the story is the skeleton, the support conversations are the tendons and muscles. *Spoiler Warning* It could be said that I am drastically inflating the importance of support conversations in Fire Emblem: Awakening. However, what I think really seals the deal is that the support conversations are inexorably tied to the ending of Awakening. After defeating hordes of foes and learning the intimate details of your comrades, the avatar is revealed to be the vessel of an evil bent on the destruction of the world. The only thing that keeps the avatar from following through on that motivation is the thought of destroying his or her friends. The relationships formed through the support conversations are what ultimately save the world because those connections have become concrete things as opposed to abstract concepts. *End Spoiler* Let’s recap: Awakening’s main plot is a fantasy storyline that would feel right at home in a genre novel page-turner, but it is elevated by the designed focus on the support conversations between the numerous characters who join the player’s army. These relationships are encouraged by tangible gains like stat boosts. Tension and emotional attachment exists due to the ever-present threat of permanent death aimed toward the members of the player’s army. The avatar the player creates helps to invest the player into the relationships they find interesting, further increasing the connection to said characters. Ultimately, the relationships formed throughout Awakening are brought into the story with everything riding on the line. From the beginning of Awakening until its final moments, players are both tangibly and emotionally involved in the story because the gameplay and narrative are so closely bonded together. It results in a more resonant game than previous Fire Emblems, which is why I’d argue many regard it as the finest entry in the series to date. I compare the storytelling and characterization of Awakening to what I saw in Destiny and I can’t help but think that my time was better spent laughing, smiling, and tearing up on my 3DS. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a third playthrough of Fire Emblem: Awakening to complete.
  4. To give you the best idea of what Galactic Civilizations III is like, imagine Sid Meier’s Civilization V set in space with the ability to design your own spaceships. If that sentence doesn't get you salivating at the possibilities, you might have to go rewatch Star Wars. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the latest build of Galactic Civilizations III and lead the human race into the future. Making sure that humanity survives to dominate the stars isn’t the easiest task, especially in the current build available from developer Stardock Entertainment. While it is certainly playable and quite enjoyable, the limitations of its beta state become immediately apparent when beginning a new game. Though the final game will include eight playable races as well as the option to create a custom race, the current build is limited to four: the Terran Alliance, the Drangin Empire, the Altarian Resistance, and the Iridium Corporation. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Terrans are great at exploring during the early game, while the Altarians are adept researchers and quick to adopt new technology. The other major limitation to the beta is that the only victory condition available is conquest. The final retail build will include diplomatic, scientific, and influence victories alongside conquest. Upon loading into a new game, everything seems fantastic. Fans of Galactic Civilizations I and II will feel right at home with the interface, while newcomers might feel a bit out of their depth and require a bit of a learning period before knowing the ins and outs of the numerous menus and orders. The first hour or so of gameplay feel refined and mostly finished and it is fun to expand to new worlds and see what you might find drifting among the debris in deep space. Survey craft can pick apart debris to find advantages for your race in the form of money or even operational ships. The first encounter with an AI civilization shows that Galactic Civilizations III is still very much incomplete. Not only is diplomatic victory impossible, but the diplomacy system hasn’t been implemented at all. This leads to every civilization attacking you on sight, which makes it difficult to fully explore the complex and interesting technology tree down any of the routes besides military. While researching the secret to building larger and larger ships, players will be able to design new types of spacefaring war machines. The ship designer is quite entertaining. It offers players premade designs or allows them to build their ships from scratch. Once the base body has been finished and outfitted with a variety of extra pieces give some character to the design, players can outfit it with weapons, armor, shielding, engines, etc. The system is incredibly flexible and I can easily see some Galactic Civilizations III players putting hours into creating new and unique ships for their fleets. The one thing that I will stress heavily from what I saw during my time leading the Terran armadas is how slowly the game moves. For me that’s great, I love slow, tactical experiences, but I understand that sort of experience isn’t something everyone enjoys readily. I spent nearly six hours with Galactic Civilization III and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what the final version will be like. I have yet to see how science, influence, or diplomacy victories will work or explored how it could be feasible to research those parts of the tech tree. However, the time I spent in space is just enough to whet my appetite for the final product. Galactic Civilizations III is currently in beta on PC. It has no official release date. People can gain entrance to the beta via Steam for $44.99. I would not recommend purchasing the beta unless you are a hardcore fan of the Galactic Civilizations series and willing to deal with technical bugs and unfinished game systems. For more information on how the Galactic Civilizations III is progressing, be sure to check out the Stardock YouTube Channel to see their weekly progress videos. View full article
  5. To give you the best idea of what Galactic Civilizations III is like, imagine Sid Meier’s Civilization V set in space with the ability to design your own spaceships. If that sentence doesn't get you salivating at the possibilities, you might have to go rewatch Star Wars. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the latest build of Galactic Civilizations III and lead the human race into the future. Making sure that humanity survives to dominate the stars isn’t the easiest task, especially in the current build available from developer Stardock Entertainment. While it is certainly playable and quite enjoyable, the limitations of its beta state become immediately apparent when beginning a new game. Though the final game will include eight playable races as well as the option to create a custom race, the current build is limited to four: the Terran Alliance, the Drangin Empire, the Altarian Resistance, and the Iridium Corporation. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Terrans are great at exploring during the early game, while the Altarians are adept researchers and quick to adopt new technology. The other major limitation to the beta is that the only victory condition available is conquest. The final retail build will include diplomatic, scientific, and influence victories alongside conquest. Upon loading into a new game, everything seems fantastic. Fans of Galactic Civilizations I and II will feel right at home with the interface, while newcomers might feel a bit out of their depth and require a bit of a learning period before knowing the ins and outs of the numerous menus and orders. The first hour or so of gameplay feel refined and mostly finished and it is fun to expand to new worlds and see what you might find drifting among the debris in deep space. Survey craft can pick apart debris to find advantages for your race in the form of money or even operational ships. The first encounter with an AI civilization shows that Galactic Civilizations III is still very much incomplete. Not only is diplomatic victory impossible, but the diplomacy system hasn’t been implemented at all. This leads to every civilization attacking you on sight, which makes it difficult to fully explore the complex and interesting technology tree down any of the routes besides military. While researching the secret to building larger and larger ships, players will be able to design new types of spacefaring war machines. The ship designer is quite entertaining. It offers players premade designs or allows them to build their ships from scratch. Once the base body has been finished and outfitted with a variety of extra pieces give some character to the design, players can outfit it with weapons, armor, shielding, engines, etc. The system is incredibly flexible and I can easily see some Galactic Civilizations III players putting hours into creating new and unique ships for their fleets. The one thing that I will stress heavily from what I saw during my time leading the Terran armadas is how slowly the game moves. For me that’s great, I love slow, tactical experiences, but I understand that sort of experience isn’t something everyone enjoys readily. I spent nearly six hours with Galactic Civilization III and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what the final version will be like. I have yet to see how science, influence, or diplomacy victories will work or explored how it could be feasible to research those parts of the tech tree. However, the time I spent in space is just enough to whet my appetite for the final product. Galactic Civilizations III is currently in beta on PC. It has no official release date. People can gain entrance to the beta via Steam for $44.99. I would not recommend purchasing the beta unless you are a hardcore fan of the Galactic Civilizations series and willing to deal with technical bugs and unfinished game systems. For more information on how the Galactic Civilizations III is progressing, be sure to check out the Stardock YouTube Channel to see their weekly progress videos.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. Developer Klei has a knack for creating games with distinct visual flair, like Mark of the Ninja and Don't Starve (which is free this month for PS+ members). The title they are currently working on, Invisible, Inc. (formerly known as Incognita), follows in those games' footsteps, with a striking, shadowed art style that captures the feeling of covert actions. The new trailer released today shows off Klei's first attempt at turn-based gameplay and it looks pretty solid, which is a good sign in an Alpha build. Players control a team of special agents as they infiltrate facilities and carry out mission as sneakily as possible. If this looks interesting to you, you can purchase early access to Invisible, Inc. on the Klei website. (Note: while the early access will be through Steam, you cannot purchase access to the Alpha through Steam. It must be bought on the Klei website.)
  9. Developer Klei has a knack for creating games with distinct visual flair, like Mark of the Ninja and Don't Starve (which is free this month for PS+ members). The title they are currently working on, Invisible, Inc. (formerly known as Incognita), follows in those games' footsteps, with a striking, shadowed art style that captures the feeling of covert actions. The new trailer released today shows off Klei's first attempt at turn-based gameplay and it looks pretty solid, which is a good sign in an Alpha build. Players control a team of special agents as they infiltrate facilities and carry out mission as sneakily as possible. If this looks interesting to you, you can purchase early access to Invisible, Inc. on the Klei website. (Note: while the early access will be through Steam, you cannot purchase access to the Alpha through Steam. It must be bought on the Klei website.) View full article
  10. Following an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign (which raised over seven times what developer Stoic Games asked for) and several months of development, the gorgeously animated The Banner Saga is finally coming to PC and Mac. The meat of The Banner Saga is that of a turn-based strategy game set in a world of Norse mythology, giants, and sorcery. However, the single-player campaign will be similar to a, quoting from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, "ultra high-stakes game of Oregon Trail," with every step in the overworld potentially bringing a new event or enemy encounter for players to deal with and live with the repercussions. After receiving their Kickstarter funds, Stoic Games released a free multiplayer version of their game that showcased the vibrant visuals of the full game as well as the gameplay in a PvP setting. This trial version/demo was called The Banner Saga: Factions and can be downloaded and played here. Following the release of Factions, the studio went quiet, until now. The Banner Saga's first installment will release on PC and Mac on January 14, 2014. To hammer that point home, Stoic has released a ned trailer heralding their game's impending release, which you can view below. View full article
  11. Following an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign (which raised over seven times what developer Stoic Games asked for) and several months of development, the gorgeously animated The Banner Saga is finally coming to PC and Mac. The meat of The Banner Saga is that of a turn-based strategy game set in a world of Norse mythology, giants, and sorcery. However, the single-player campaign will be similar to a, quoting from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, "ultra high-stakes game of Oregon Trail," with every step in the overworld potentially bringing a new event or enemy encounter for players to deal with and live with the repercussions. After receiving their Kickstarter funds, Stoic Games released a free multiplayer version of their game that showcased the vibrant visuals of the full game as well as the gameplay in a PvP setting. This trial version/demo was called The Banner Saga: Factions and can be downloaded and played here. Following the release of Factions, the studio went quiet, until now. The Banner Saga's first installment will release on PC and Mac on January 14, 2014. To hammer that point home, Stoic has released a ned trailer heralding their game's impending release, which you can view below.
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