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Found 15 results

  1. So you want to play Monopoly, huh? Good luck with that. Though a great game, it’s a notoriously tough sell with friends and has only become less appealing over time. Why would we, broke millennials, want to spend hours playing with phoney money when we could laugh our sorrows away with, say, Cards Against Humanity? Is mortgaging Baltic Avenue going to help pay off my student loan? To be fair, Baltic Avenue couldn’t buy a single Community Chest card. I still love Monopoly, however, and am always looking for ways to tric-*ahem*-convince others into slinging properties for a night. I’ve largely failed at this in the past decade or so, but I’ve learned valuable lessons about making it happen–by any means necessary. If you too hope to trade bills with Papa Monopoly (that’s the old dude’s name, right?), follow my patented tips on making Monopoly night a reality. Plan Ahead Trust me when I tell you that no one wants to play Monopoly on a whim. You may as well ask your friends if they feel like climbing Everest in the middle of your get-together. Planning a dedicated Monopoly night in advance eliminates the knee jerk reaction to refuse and it respects everyone’s time. Players can clear their schedule, have time to get excited, and pen farewell letters to their loved ones. God only knows when they’re returning home once the game starts. Assemble a Feast Food can make anything more tolerable. Turn your Monopoly session into a potluck! The sting of losing cash on Richard’s ill-gotten utilities feels less potent with a mouth full of Swedish meatballs. Or, if you want to guarantee future Monopoly nights, supply all of the grub yourself! People will line up to play if they know they’ll get to chow down for free. It’ll hurt your wallet but you’ve got to spend money to make not-money. Choose a Rage-Resistant Play Setting When people joke about board games ending with someone flipping the table they’re talking about Monopoly. I’ve witnessed it first-hand when a three-day long game (yes, really) ended with a “friend” sending the board flying. The floor may seem like the perfect counter to this, but it’s actually more prone to game flippage. Tables might be the meme, but few are bold enough to actually turnover another person’s furniture. Like, are you going to pay for my now three-legged table? If you’ve got one of those fancy kitchen islands, that’s perfect. Your nice granite top is not only a permanent fixture of the building but, as previously mentioned, the surrounding food will help quell any volatile emotions. Put on a Movie About Money and Business This is purely optional and kind of dumb, but some might argue the same about playing Monopoly in 2018. I think having a relevant film play in the background of your session would really up the ambiance. Maybe Wall Street–the first one, please–or something recent like The Big Short. If nothing else, it’ll help take your guests minds off the fact that they’ve sacrificed their entire night to Old Man Monopoly. Volunteer to be the Banker No one wants to be the Banker. Though not a difficult job, being in charge of the money simply means more work. You’re lucky to have gotten this far. Don’t push it by forcing the possibility of fumbling with cash on your friends. Bite the bullet and prepare to spend the night dealing out $500 bills. Just kidding. We all know those orange notes barely get touched. Be Open to “Street” Rules I’m admittedly a hard-nosed traditionalist when it comes to board games. I prefer play a pure, by-the-book game instead of implementing “street” or house rules. You know, the made-up decrees everyone seems to know despite believing only you and your inner circle invented them. These include adding houses without building a monopoly or the popular Free Parking jackpot rule. Sticking to the traditional rules can get in the way of more casual players who just want to throw dice, move the little Scottie dog around, and have a stupid good time. So ease up, Rulemeister, and let everyone have their incorrect fun. Create an Easy-to-Achieve Endgame Winning Monopoly requires one player to bankrupt everyone else on the board. Since that can take roughly an eternity and a half, you may want to consider changing that. A common solution is “first to X-amount of money wins”. Maybe the victor can be the person who completes a certain number of laps around the board. It could even be whoever owns the most property once they’re all bought up. Whatever goal you concoct, just make sure it makes the light at the end of the tunnel brighter than a supernova. Have Fun! At the end of the day isn’t that what Monopoly is about? I mean, historically no, but isn’t that what we like to believe Monopoly is about? This list is all about finding ways to have a grand time with the people you tolerate and perhaps even like. After all, board games have a way of bringing us all together. We should try to preserve their emphasis on fun camaraderie and healthy competition–no matter how inherently frustrating the game may be. If it means awarding $500 bucks and a railroad to pass Go while Blank Check blares in the background, this will all be worth it. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. So you want to play Monopoly, huh? Good luck with that. Though a great game, it’s a notoriously tough sell with friends and has only become less appealing over time. Why would we, broke millennials, want to spend hours playing with phoney money when we could laugh our sorrows away with, say, Cards Against Humanity? Is mortgaging Baltic Avenue going to help pay off my student loan? To be fair, Baltic Avenue couldn’t buy a single Community Chest card. I still love Monopoly, however, and am always looking for ways to tric-*ahem*-convince others into slinging properties for a night. I’ve largely failed at this in the past decade or so, but I’ve learned valuable lessons about making it happen–by any means necessary. If you too hope to trade bills with Papa Monopoly (that’s the old dude’s name, right?), follow my patented tips on making Monopoly night a reality. Plan Ahead Trust me when I tell you that no one wants to play Monopoly on a whim. You may as well ask your friends if they feel like climbing Everest in the middle of your get-together. Planning a dedicated Monopoly night in advance eliminates the knee jerk reaction to refuse and it respects everyone’s time. Players can clear their schedule, have time to get excited, and pen farewell letters to their loved ones. God only knows when they’re returning home once the game starts. Assemble a Feast Food can make anything more tolerable. Turn your Monopoly session into a potluck! The sting of losing cash on Richard’s ill-gotten utilities feels less potent with a mouth full of Swedish meatballs. Or, if you want to guarantee future Monopoly nights, supply all of the grub yourself! People will line up to play if they know they’ll get to chow down for free. It’ll hurt your wallet but you’ve got to spend money to make not-money. Choose a Rage-Resistant Play Setting When people joke about board games ending with someone flipping the table they’re talking about Monopoly. I’ve witnessed it first-hand when a three-day long game (yes, really) ended with a “friend” sending the board flying. The floor may seem like the perfect counter to this, but it’s actually more prone to game flippage. Tables might be the meme, but few are bold enough to actually turnover another person’s furniture. Like, are you going to pay for my now three-legged table? If you’ve got one of those fancy kitchen islands, that’s perfect. Your nice granite top is not only a permanent fixture of the building but, as previously mentioned, the surrounding food will help quell any volatile emotions. Put on a Movie About Money and Business This is purely optional and kind of dumb, but some might argue the same about playing Monopoly in 2018. I think having a relevant film play in the background of your session would really up the ambiance. Maybe Wall Street–the first one, please–or something recent like The Big Short. If nothing else, it’ll help take your guests minds off the fact that they’ve sacrificed their entire night to Old Man Monopoly. Volunteer to be the Banker No one wants to be the Banker. Though not a difficult job, being in charge of the money simply means more work. You’re lucky to have gotten this far. Don’t push it by forcing the possibility of fumbling with cash on your friends. Bite the bullet and prepare to spend the night dealing out $500 bills. Just kidding. We all know those orange notes barely get touched. Be Open to “Street” Rules I’m admittedly a hard-nosed traditionalist when it comes to board games. I prefer play a pure, by-the-book game instead of implementing “street” or house rules. You know, the made-up decrees everyone seems to know despite believing only you and your inner circle invented them. These include adding houses without building a monopoly or the popular Free Parking jackpot rule. Sticking to the traditional rules can get in the way of more casual players who just want to throw dice, move the little Scottie dog around, and have a stupid good time. So ease up, Rulemeister, and let everyone have their incorrect fun. Create an Easy-to-Achieve Endgame Winning Monopoly requires one player to bankrupt everyone else on the board. Since that can take roughly an eternity and a half, you may want to consider changing that. A common solution is “first to X-amount of money wins”. Maybe the victor can be the person who completes a certain number of laps around the board. It could even be whoever owns the most property once they’re all bought up. Whatever goal you concoct, just make sure it makes the light at the end of the tunnel brighter than a supernova. Have Fun! At the end of the day isn’t that what Monopoly is about? I mean, historically no, but isn’t that what we like to believe Monopoly is about? This list is all about finding ways to have a grand time with the people you tolerate and perhaps even like. After all, board games have a way of bringing us all together. We should try to preserve their emphasis on fun camaraderie and healthy competition–no matter how inherently frustrating the game may be. If it means awarding $500 bucks and a railroad to pass Go while Blank Check blares in the background, this will all be worth it. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Last week, the NeoGAF community spotted something peculiar. Nintendo had filed a trademark in Europe for something that looks exactly like an N64 controller. Not only that, but the image appears to be in the same style as the minimalist versions found on NES and SNES Classic packaging. The filing even lists "video game apparatus" several times pertaining to the trademark's purpose. This trademark filing seems to indicate that Nintendo has plans to launch a miniaturized version of the N64, possibly as soon as next year. Take this with a grain of salt, however. When it came to the SNES Classic, rumors spread only a couple of months before its announcement. This trademark, if it is for a future N64 Classic, would be a tremendously early sign of something that might not even be confirmed until June of 2018. There has been some speculation that the trademark might be for the release of more N64 titles via digital distribution. That doesn't quite line up with the wording of the trademark which seems to imply a physical device. The SNES Classic releases September 29 and will ship new units until the end of 2017. After that, if this trademark is accurate and the pattern from this year holds, Nintendo will shift production over to the N64 Classic. What do you think? Would you be as excited for an N64 Classic as the previous two micro consoles from Nintendo? View full article
  4. Last week, the NeoGAF community spotted something peculiar. Nintendo had filed a trademark in Europe for something that looks exactly like an N64 controller. Not only that, but the image appears to be in the same style as the minimalist versions found on NES and SNES Classic packaging. The filing even lists "video game apparatus" several times pertaining to the trademark's purpose. This trademark filing seems to indicate that Nintendo has plans to launch a miniaturized version of the N64, possibly as soon as next year. Take this with a grain of salt, however. When it came to the SNES Classic, rumors spread only a couple of months before its announcement. This trademark, if it is for a future N64 Classic, would be a tremendously early sign of something that might not even be confirmed until June of 2018. There has been some speculation that the trademark might be for the release of more N64 titles via digital distribution. That doesn't quite line up with the wording of the trademark which seems to imply a physical device. The SNES Classic releases September 29 and will ship new units until the end of 2017. After that, if this trademark is accurate and the pattern from this year holds, Nintendo will shift production over to the N64 Classic. What do you think? Would you be as excited for an N64 Classic as the previous two micro consoles from Nintendo?
  5. The resurgence of point-and-click adventures in mainstream gaming has been one of the more welcome surprises of the last few years. Daedalic Entertainment, a longtime champion of the genre, have released their most recent adventure, a beautifully realized journey that takes players through a dreamworld between life and death. During an air raid on their hometown, 16-year-old Noah and his young sister Renie take refuge within a bunker. However, they quickly find that the bunker isn't what it appears to be. It contains a portal to the world of Silence, a fantastic world full of its own set of dangers. The two siblings learn this the hard way when Noah loses Renie in Silence and embarks on a journey to find her once more. The journey of the Noah and Renie represents only a small fraction of Silence. Separate from the war raging outside the bunker, another war threatens to rip Silence asunder. The brother and sister soon find themselves wrapped up with the various warring factions in events that could doom the newfound world. Silence releases today for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac.
  6. The resurgence of point-and-click adventures in mainstream gaming has been one of the more welcome surprises of the last few years. Daedalic Entertainment, a longtime champion of the genre, have released their most recent adventure, a beautifully realized journey that takes players through a dreamworld between life and death. During an air raid on their hometown, 16-year-old Noah and his young sister Renie take refuge within a bunker. However, they quickly find that the bunker isn't what it appears to be. It contains a portal to the world of Silence, a fantastic world full of its own set of dangers. The two siblings learn this the hard way when Noah loses Renie in Silence and embarks on a journey to find her once more. The journey of the Noah and Renie represents only a small fraction of Silence. Separate from the war raging outside the bunker, another war threatens to rip Silence asunder. The brother and sister soon find themselves wrapped up with the various warring factions in events that could doom the newfound world. Silence releases today for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. View full article
  7. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts.
  8. There's a brand new translation out for a game Hideo Kojima wrote and directed all the way back in 1994. Policenauts released for the PC-9821 over two decades ago and was remade for the 3DO in 1995 before migrating to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The Konami title was never released outside of Japan and might have remained unknown to Western audiences if not for the surprise release of an unofficial fan translation released in 2009 in honor of Kojima's 49th birthday. Policenauts tells the story of Jonathan Ingram, one of the five police astronauts who have been assigned to, Beyond Coast, the first functional human space colony. After a disastrous incident that leaves him cryogenically frozen in space for almost a quarter of a century, Ingrambecomes a private investigator on Earth until an encounter with his ex-wife who implores him to travel back to Beyond Coast and unravel the mysteries of her new husband's disappearance. While it's certainly some hardboiled sci-fi, the meat and potatoes of Kojima's work for the better part of two decades, Policenauts seems practically restrained and restful compared to the completely bonkers twists and turns of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. So, if there was already an unofficial translation released seven years ago, what's with the headline? The 2009 translation was for the version of Policenauts that released on the original PlayStation. However, Policenauts on the Sega Saturn has become what many fans of the game consider to be the definitive iteration of the title. It includes additional scenes and extras not seen in the PlayStation version, as well as boasting higher quality pixel art. The newest fan translation from this year covers the Saturn version's extras. You can find both the PS1 and Saturn translations on the Policenaut's community page. For those looking to play the translations, there's some bad news. It's a bit tricky. Luckily, the translators recognized this and include some streamlined instructions and multiple options for those who might be moving into uncharted territory to apply the translation patches. Unlike recent fan-made games that have been cancelled, these translations do not include distribution of Policenauts itself. If you want to experience some early Kojima, or just want to scratch the nostalgia itch for a solid point-and-click experience, consider checking out Policenauts. View full article
  9. LifeSalubrity

    RetroFest

    until
    Good Morning Everyone! The Akron Extra Life Guild is hosting a recruitment booth for RetroFest, located at the Holiday Inn on 4520 Everhard Road NW in Canton, OH on Saturday, May 14. Tentative hours are 10 AM - 6 PM. Parking is available on site. We need people to man the booth, register interested gamers, pass out flyers & answer questions about Extra Life. Please reply to this thread with your name and the shift(s) you can cover. We can be flexible with shift times, just let us know what you need. Thank you! For details about RetroFest: https://www.facebook.com/events/510300779150300/
  10. In partnership with Arc System Works, the owners of the River City franchise, Natsume has announced that the latest in the long running side-scrolling beat-'em-up series will be coming to 3DS systems across North America in the near future. Most players will be familiar with the franchise from the classic beat-'em-up River City Ransom for the NES and its update that released on Game Boy Advance. The series has spun off numerous times in Japan to include additional entries, fighting games, and even volleyball titles. This latest entry comes as part of the 30th anniversary of River City Ransom in Japan. "We know there's a loyal fanbase of the River City series in North America who have been asking for more of these addictive games to play!" said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume. "Whether you're a longtime River City fan or new to the series, there's plenty of side-scrolling action to love." River City: Tokyo Rumble takes place in the middle of a city-wide gang invasion. Players follow the story of Kunio, a high school student with a short fuse as he works various jobs, levels his abilities, and use punches, kicks, soccer balls, iron knuckles, and chains to free the city from the powerful gang that runs it all. There other playable characters for players to experiment with from the long history of the series, too. Tokyo Rumble also has the option to face-off against opponents in Rumble mode or even dodgeball. Though they haven't given a release date, River City: Tokyo Rumble will be making a playable appearance at E3 2016, June 14-16.
  11. In partnership with Arc System Works, the owners of the River City franchise, Natsume has announced that the latest in the long running side-scrolling beat-'em-up series will be coming to 3DS systems across North America in the near future. Most players will be familiar with the franchise from the classic beat-'em-up River City Ransom for the NES and its update that released on Game Boy Advance. The series has spun off numerous times in Japan to include additional entries, fighting games, and even volleyball titles. This latest entry comes as part of the 30th anniversary of River City Ransom in Japan. "We know there's a loyal fanbase of the River City series in North America who have been asking for more of these addictive games to play!" said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume. "Whether you're a longtime River City fan or new to the series, there's plenty of side-scrolling action to love." River City: Tokyo Rumble takes place in the middle of a city-wide gang invasion. Players follow the story of Kunio, a high school student with a short fuse as he works various jobs, levels his abilities, and use punches, kicks, soccer balls, iron knuckles, and chains to free the city from the powerful gang that runs it all. There other playable characters for players to experiment with from the long history of the series, too. Tokyo Rumble also has the option to face-off against opponents in Rumble mode or even dodgeball. Though they haven't given a release date, River City: Tokyo Rumble will be making a playable appearance at E3 2016, June 14-16. View full article
  12. Teased way back in the days of 2013, the remake of the 1989 Amiga classic Shadow of the Beast has resurfaced. The Sony-published title puts players in control of Aarbron, a beast on a quest of bloody vengeance on a distant, magical world. However, a number of features have been outlined that weren't known before. The game touts a smooth 60 frames-per-second and the team at Heavy Spectrum is working hard to make sure that the response time allows for the most enjoyable experience. The world of Karamoon features a variety of environments (not just the desert many might remember from the teaser!) and a wide variety of creatures to fight. The remake includes a robust upgrade tree and a variety of artifacts that will allow players to gain the upper hand in combat. Matt Birch, founder of Heavy Spectrum, also talks about the challenges of managing difficulty. There are easier modes that will allow players to explore the combat system and experience the story, but Birch says the true difficulty is Beast mode. Shadow of the Beast hits the PSN for the PlayStation 4 on May 17.
  13. Teased way back in the days of 2013, the remake of the 1989 Amiga classic Shadow of the Beast has resurfaced. The Sony-published title puts players in control of Aarbron, a beast on a quest of bloody vengeance on a distant, magical world. However, a number of features have been outlined that weren't known before. The game touts a smooth 60 frames-per-second and the team at Heavy Spectrum is working hard to make sure that the response time allows for the most enjoyable experience. The world of Karamoon features a variety of environments (not just the desert many might remember from the teaser!) and a wide variety of creatures to fight. The remake includes a robust upgrade tree and a variety of artifacts that will allow players to gain the upper hand in combat. Matt Birch, founder of Heavy Spectrum, also talks about the challenges of managing difficulty. There are easier modes that will allow players to explore the combat system and experience the story, but Birch says the true difficulty is Beast mode. Shadow of the Beast hits the PSN for the PlayStation 4 on May 17. View full article
  14. The Isle of Nex, an isolated land of mystery and monsters, has a will of its own. Four prisoners wash ashore, guided through the rocky shoals by a mysterious intelligence. The nature of the convicts’ crimes, even their previous identities, no longer matter as the group of four attempt to survive and escape the deadly designs of the island’s master. It is a simple set up, certainly one that has been used countless times before, but Legend of Grimrock 2 squeezes every bit of traction out of that familiar scenario. The island presents itself as a giant puzzle for the player to solve, a puzzle surrounded by deadly traps and hungry monsters. Legend of Grimrock 2 is a fascinating look at what game designers can do with relatively simple tools. The gameplay harks back to an older era of PC gaming when the Might and Magic series was in its prime. The entirety of the Isle of Nex, from its dungeons to its sunny landscape and beaches, exists on a colossal grid. Every move players make take them from one square to the next or rotates the camera onto a different face of the square. For those who aren’t prepared for this kind of a world, simply navigating the terrain can feel very bizarre. It takes a while to acclimate to the combat system as well. Two party members make up the frontline, while the remaining two support from the backline. Each character has two hands in which they can equip weapons. Both hands can be clicked to perform an attack with the weapon in that hand. It isn’t the most intuitive system, but I found myself enjoying it quite a bit after a while. Due in part to how strange movement and combat can be, Grimrock 2 feels very different from anything else available right now. While combat can be an exciting prospect, especially when new monsters appear or a boss is encountered, Legend of Grimrock 2 shines when it comes to puzzles. That’s an impressive achievement for a game whose puzzles primarily consist of switches, pressure plates, and block pushing. From that description you’re probably rolling your eyes at the mere prospect of more video game puzzle clichés. You would be right to be skeptical; those tools used in trite and frustrating ways. However, Legend of Grimrock 2 manage through creative design choices to make these generic obstacles fun. There were times when I genuinely felt stumped, only for the solution to smack me in the face an hour later (puzzle based on Rock-Paper-Scissors really had me baffled). Particularly difficult puzzles might include a cryptic riddle that provides a hint as to how to proceed. Whenever a puzzle is solved and a new path opens, Legend of Grimrock 2 gives a strong sense of accomplishment as well as the itch to see what is around the next corner. I played through the first Legend of Grimrock, which took place entirely within one gigantic dungeon. I was curious how developer Almost Human would handle the transition to more open and natural environments. I’m happy to say that Legend of Grimrock 2 is gorgeous. The outdoor levels exist on a day-night cycle with various lighting conditions that spice up the visuals nicely. It is a bit bizarre when the natural world conforms to the grid patterns that really only make sense in dungeons, but that bit of dissonance dissipates rather quickly. The major boon of having outdoor areas is that the developers were free to create large, sprawling levels. Yes, there are still enormous dungeons, but it is nice to be able to take a break from those and explore a noxious forest, a haunted cemetery, or a sunny beach. There are a variety of different environments that each house unique enemies. From irritating giant frogs that steal equipment to terrifying ogres that can wipe your party with a single successful charge, indie developer Almost Human went to great lengths to make sure there is always something new waiting to surprise and challenge players. Anyone comparing the sequel to its predecessor can see that while the gameplay is virtually identical, the developers have added more of what made the first game such a successful indie game. There are more environments, more puzzles and traps, more monsters, more classes, more treasures, more game all around. Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, but it also keeps video games engaging. There are some holdovers from the first game that feel a bit out of place. For example, the scream that characters make when they die remains the same, as do a number of other sound effects. A few of the monsters make return appearances, like the giant crabs and green slimes. I could even swear that some of the wall textures are reused from the first game. However, none of those things are really terrible or game breaking. Legend of Grimrock 2 offers a really fantastic amount of customization. There is even an option to skip character customization altogether if it isn’t your thing. There are tons of unique classes that players can choose from when beginning their adventure, like the farmer class, which levels by eating food instead of fighting monsters. Each character can choose one class, two unique traits, and assign two skill points during character creation. After the game has begun, players can’t go back and switch their class or character perks. However, each character gains a skill point with every level and those points can be used to specialize characters into unique niches depending on the needs of the party. While I enjoyed playing around with different mixtures for my party, I found that having two high health, high defense characters in the frontline and two ranged damage dealers in the back row worked best. I eventually settled on minotaur barbarian, a dual-wielding lizardman knight, a human battle mage, and a ratling alchemist proficient with firearms. I think that last part bears repeating: I created a humanoid rat man that makes bombs and shoots guns. Beyond character creation, players can make Legend of Grimrock 2 more difficult by enabling a number of optional restraints. Old-School Mode eliminates auto-mapping and forces players to either hone their memory or grab graph paper and a pencil to make their own maps. Ironman Mode restricts saving to the healing crystals scattered throughout the world. Single-Use Crystals permanently deactivates healing crystals after they’ve healed your party. I found most of these modes to be cripplingly difficult, with the exception of Ironman Mode. Beware if you’re the masochistic type and unfamiliar with this style of game; don’t ruin the experience for yourself. Conclusion: Traversing Nex and uncovering its secrets is a fantastically old-school adventure with current-gen graphical polish. Legend of Grimrock 2 consistently entertains in creative and clever ways. The story isn’t terribly interesting, but the puzzles provide the motivation to delve deeper into the island’s many mysteries. The gameplay won’t be for everyone. There is a definite learning curve for combat and movement can feel a bit jerky due to the tile-based nature of the game. For those who can overcome those obstacles, there is a truly exciting undertaking that dips into fantastic unknown depths. Legend of Grimrock 2 is currently available on PC
  15. The Isle of Nex, an isolated land of mystery and monsters, has a will of its own. Four prisoners wash ashore, guided through the rocky shoals by a mysterious intelligence. The nature of the convicts’ crimes, even their previous identities, no longer matter as the group of four attempt to survive and escape the deadly designs of the island’s master. It is a simple set up, certainly one that has been used countless times before, but Legend of Grimrock 2 squeezes every bit of traction out of that familiar scenario. The island presents itself as a giant puzzle for the player to solve, a puzzle surrounded by deadly traps and hungry monsters. Legend of Grimrock 2 is a fascinating look at what game designers can do with relatively simple tools. The gameplay harks back to an older era of PC gaming when the Might and Magic series was in its prime. The entirety of the Isle of Nex, from its dungeons to its sunny landscape and beaches, exists on a colossal grid. Every move players make take them from one square to the next or rotates the camera onto a different face of the square. For those who aren’t prepared for this kind of a world, simply navigating the terrain can feel very bizarre. It takes a while to acclimate to the combat system as well. Two party members make up the frontline, while the remaining two support from the backline. Each character has two hands in which they can equip weapons. Both hands can be clicked to perform an attack with the weapon in that hand. It isn’t the most intuitive system, but I found myself enjoying it quite a bit after a while. Due in part to how strange movement and combat can be, Grimrock 2 feels very different from anything else available right now. While combat can be an exciting prospect, especially when new monsters appear or a boss is encountered, Legend of Grimrock 2 shines when it comes to puzzles. That’s an impressive achievement for a game whose puzzles primarily consist of switches, pressure plates, and block pushing. From that description you’re probably rolling your eyes at the mere prospect of more video game puzzle clichés. You would be right to be skeptical; those tools used in trite and frustrating ways. However, Legend of Grimrock 2 manage through creative design choices to make these generic obstacles fun. There were times when I genuinely felt stumped, only for the solution to smack me in the face an hour later (puzzle based on Rock-Paper-Scissors really had me baffled). Particularly difficult puzzles might include a cryptic riddle that provides a hint as to how to proceed. Whenever a puzzle is solved and a new path opens, Legend of Grimrock 2 gives a strong sense of accomplishment as well as the itch to see what is around the next corner. I played through the first Legend of Grimrock, which took place entirely within one gigantic dungeon. I was curious how developer Almost Human would handle the transition to more open and natural environments. I’m happy to say that Legend of Grimrock 2 is gorgeous. The outdoor levels exist on a day-night cycle with various lighting conditions that spice up the visuals nicely. It is a bit bizarre when the natural world conforms to the grid patterns that really only make sense in dungeons, but that bit of dissonance dissipates rather quickly. The major boon of having outdoor areas is that the developers were free to create large, sprawling levels. Yes, there are still enormous dungeons, but it is nice to be able to take a break from those and explore a noxious forest, a haunted cemetery, or a sunny beach. There are a variety of different environments that each house unique enemies. From irritating giant frogs that steal equipment to terrifying ogres that can wipe your party with a single successful charge, indie developer Almost Human went to great lengths to make sure there is always something new waiting to surprise and challenge players. Anyone comparing the sequel to its predecessor can see that while the gameplay is virtually identical, the developers have added more of what made the first game such a successful indie game. There are more environments, more puzzles and traps, more monsters, more classes, more treasures, more game all around. Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, but it also keeps video games engaging. There are some holdovers from the first game that feel a bit out of place. For example, the scream that characters make when they die remains the same, as do a number of other sound effects. A few of the monsters make return appearances, like the giant crabs and green slimes. I could even swear that some of the wall textures are reused from the first game. However, none of those things are really terrible or game breaking. Legend of Grimrock 2 offers a really fantastic amount of customization. There is even an option to skip character customization altogether if it isn’t your thing. There are tons of unique classes that players can choose from when beginning their adventure, like the farmer class, which levels by eating food instead of fighting monsters. Each character can choose one class, two unique traits, and assign two skill points during character creation. After the game has begun, players can’t go back and switch their class or character perks. However, each character gains a skill point with every level and those points can be used to specialize characters into unique niches depending on the needs of the party. While I enjoyed playing around with different mixtures for my party, I found that having two high health, high defense characters in the frontline and two ranged damage dealers in the back row worked best. I eventually settled on minotaur barbarian, a dual-wielding lizardman knight, a human battle mage, and a ratling alchemist proficient with firearms. I think that last part bears repeating: I created a humanoid rat man that makes bombs and shoots guns. Beyond character creation, players can make Legend of Grimrock 2 more difficult by enabling a number of optional restraints. Old-School Mode eliminates auto-mapping and forces players to either hone their memory or grab graph paper and a pencil to make their own maps. Ironman Mode restricts saving to the healing crystals scattered throughout the world. Single-Use Crystals permanently deactivates healing crystals after they’ve healed your party. I found most of these modes to be cripplingly difficult, with the exception of Ironman Mode. Beware if you’re the masochistic type and unfamiliar with this style of game; don’t ruin the experience for yourself. Conclusion: Traversing Nex and uncovering its secrets is a fantastically old-school adventure with current-gen graphical polish. Legend of Grimrock 2 consistently entertains in creative and clever ways. The story isn’t terribly interesting, but the puzzles provide the motivation to delve deeper into the island’s many mysteries. The gameplay won’t be for everyone. There is a definite learning curve for combat and movement can feel a bit jerky due to the tile-based nature of the game. For those who can overcome those obstacles, there is a truly exciting undertaking that dips into fantastic unknown depths. Legend of Grimrock 2 is currently available on PC View full article
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