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Found 11 results

  1. It can be easy to forget the hype machine leading up to a potential big release. When Destiny was first announced, the excitement was palpable. Bungie's promotional images and appearances played up how big the Destiny universe would be. It was a bold new frontier full of alien threats, unknowable constructs, and visually striking heroes. The story seemed larger than life, promising the kind of broad space opera that captivated the world with the release of Star Wars. Accordingly, Destiny's initial trailers adopted a tone fitting those expectations. The first gameplay reveal from E3 2013 offered glimpses of the game Bungie had so carefully crafted, backed by a reverent voice over with a building orchestral score. We saw broad vistas that offered adventure and imposing enemies that threatened us. This experience would surely be something monumental; it would change games forever. Of course, that's not what happened. Destiny turned out to be a highly polished game with some glaring flaws that couldn't deliver on the full promise of what our minds had imagined (as few games truly do). Over the years, Bungie has slowly worked to claw back that dream, adding features, fixing flawed systems, expanding the story, and more. This ongoing development helped Destiny retain its player base. I suppose that's why the drastic shift in tone in the reveal for Destiny 2 has me scratching my head. Revealing a new game in a series not known for its comedy with a joke trailer is unusual to say the least. The trailer and its accompanying teaser are fine and functional, but the tonal shift is something I think warrants a little bit of a think. The trailer for Destiny 2 is a very far cry from how Bungie had initially pitched the franchise. Nathan Fillion reprises his role as the Hunter Exo named Cayde-6 in both the teaser and the trailer proper. Fillion adds a comical punch to what had once been played very straight and earnest. I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of Destiny taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach to its previously self-serious lore, but it does seem rather at odds with the story and tone thus far, especially given that Destiny 2's inciting incident sees humanity all but wiped out and its last line of defense scattered throughout the system. If we continue to see this style of marketing in the lead up to E3 and beyond, it is very possible that Bungie and Activision have decided to steer Destiny's sci-fi epic into more of a Borderlands-like jaunt for loot and humor. If that's the case, it's entirely possible that the developer and publisher have been seeing the reach of Destiny-related social media. We could be seeing an entirely different type of game from what Destiny's player base has come to expect from the quality of life adjustments and expansions to the original Destiny. How that potential revision of the Destiny brand might go over with long-time Destiny fans remains to be seen. Destiny 2 releases September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  2. It can be easy to forget the hype machine leading up to a potential big release. When Destiny was first announced, the excitement was palpable. Bungie's promotional images and appearances played up how big the Destiny universe would be. It was a bold new frontier full of alien threats, unknowable constructs, and visually striking heroes. The story seemed larger than life, promising the kind of broad space opera that captivated the world with the release of Star Wars. Accordingly, Destiny's initial trailers adopted a tone fitting those expectations. The first gameplay reveal from E3 2013 offered glimpses of the game Bungie had so carefully crafted, backed by a reverent voice over with a building orchestral score. We saw broad vistas that offered adventure and imposing enemies that threatened us. This experience would surely be something monumental; it would change games forever. Of course, that's not what happened. Destiny turned out to be a highly polished game with some glaring flaws that couldn't deliver on the full promise of what our minds had imagined (as few games truly do). Over the years, Bungie has slowly worked to claw back that dream, adding features, fixing flawed systems, expanding the story, and more. This ongoing development helped Destiny retain its player base. I suppose that's why the drastic shift in tone in the reveal for Destiny 2 has me scratching my head. Revealing a new game in a series not known for its comedy with a joke trailer is unusual to say the least. The trailer and its accompanying teaser are fine and functional, but the tonal shift is something I think warrants a little bit of a think. The trailer for Destiny 2 is a very far cry from how Bungie had initially pitched the franchise. Nathan Fillion reprises his role as the Hunter Exo named Cayde-6 in both the teaser and the trailer proper. Fillion adds a comical punch to what had once been played very straight and earnest. I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of Destiny taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach to its previously self-serious lore, but it does seem rather at odds with the story and tone thus far, especially given that Destiny 2's inciting incident sees humanity all but wiped out and its last line of defense scattered throughout the system. If we continue to see this style of marketing in the lead up to E3 and beyond, it is very possible that Bungie and Activision have decided to steer Destiny's sci-fi epic into more of a Borderlands-like jaunt for loot and humor. If that's the case, it's entirely possible that the developer and publisher have been seeing the reach of Destiny-related social media. We could be seeing an entirely different type of game from what Destiny's player base has come to expect from the quality of life adjustments and expansions to the original Destiny. How that potential revision of the Destiny brand might go over with long-time Destiny fans remains to be seen. Destiny 2 releases September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
  3. What's up Guild!? I've been all over the place lately and I apologize that I haven't had the chance to be active and posting, but here we are. First, some business stuff, don't forget our meeting is Tuesday, August 23rd at Oogie Eastern Hills and we want to really get down to business and start talking fundraising and plans for the next couple months. Also, for those that purchased t-shirts, THANK YOU!!!! If you missed out, or consciously abstained, that's cool too, but we should have another opportunity in the future to buy that Extra Life swag before the 24 hour marathon. Moving away from business, I wanted to post this and ask the guild what they would like to see over the next couple months before we hit our marathon? That's a very open ended question, but as far as the guild goes, what do you want to happen between now and November 5th? Game nights? Training? Meet-ups? Tournaments? Other stuff? You tell us, because if we can all work together then in the words of Ed Harris, "I believe this is going to be our finest hour!"
  4. Adventure game fans, there is a new puzzle/thriller set in space for your consideration out on PC. The 5-8 hour experience places players on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in the middle of a seemingly abandoned space station trying to find its missing crew members. The mystery of the station and its former inhabitants only deepens as players explore the objects and messages left behind. The game takes place in an alternate timeline in which the Soviet-U.S. space race never ended, each country continued to try to out perform the other in the field of space exploration. One of the hooks of P.O.L.L.E.N. is that almost every object that can be seen in the environment can be interacted with or picked up. Any one of these things could be useful to solving puzzles or uncovering more secrets. The devs at Minefield Games state that they drew a lot of inspiration from films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris to create the technology seen in P.O.L.L.E.N. and it really comes through visually and helps objects to pop in the environment. Though a nearly finished VR beta is ongoing, complete VR support for the title is coming in the near future. Players can expect to see P.O.L.L.E.N. on the PlayStation 4 with HTC Vive support later this year, though no definitive date has been given yet.
  5. Adventure game fans, there is a new puzzle/thriller set in space for your consideration out on PC. The 5-8 hour experience places players on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in the middle of a seemingly abandoned space station trying to find its missing crew members. The mystery of the station and its former inhabitants only deepens as players explore the objects and messages left behind. The game takes place in an alternate timeline in which the Soviet-U.S. space race never ended, each country continued to try to out perform the other in the field of space exploration. One of the hooks of P.O.L.L.E.N. is that almost every object that can be seen in the environment can be interacted with or picked up. Any one of these things could be useful to solving puzzles or uncovering more secrets. The devs at Minefield Games state that they drew a lot of inspiration from films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris to create the technology seen in P.O.L.L.E.N. and it really comes through visually and helps objects to pop in the environment. Though a nearly finished VR beta is ongoing, complete VR support for the title is coming in the near future. Players can expect to see P.O.L.L.E.N. on the PlayStation 4 with HTC Vive support later this year, though no definitive date has been given yet. View full article
  6. Jack Gardner

    Review: Tharsis

    In one of the developer diaries, Zach Gage, the system designer at Choice Provisions, talks about the decision to make die rolls the foremost mechanic in Tharsis. In that particular video, Gage states that he wanted to make a game where, “the dice are the arbiter of [the player’s] life.” To Choice Provisions’ credit, Tharsis accomplishes exactly that. Tharsis puts players in control of the first manned mission to Mars. The astronauts under the player’s command were sent to investigate a mysterious signal coming from the Tharsis region of the red planet. However, mere weeks from their destination, the crew of the Iktomi meet disaster. Their vessel rockets through a field of micro-meteoroids, destroying their food supply and killing two crew members. The game tasks players to lead the surviving astronauts to Mars while facing down the dangers posed by the damage done to the ship and the dwindling scraps of food that remain on board. On top of that, every playthrough is randomized, leading to completely different experiences with every attempt to reach Tharsis. It’s a catchy premise and one which certainly caught my initial interest. However, the way in which Choice Provisions executed on that premise leaves something to be desired. Imagine you are playing slots at a casino. You are pulling the lever, watching the results mix around on the machine, sometimes winning, more often losing. Along comes the owner of the casino with an offer: You can participate in the grand slot game of the night! In order to win, you have to successfully combine the right slot results over the course of ten rounds. Each round, the required slot results change at random while the casino reduces the number of slot machines you can use. I have basically just described Tharsis. You see, Tharsis revolves entirely on digital dice rolls. Every round represents another week in space and each astronaut can move to one module of the spacecraft and make rolls to perform tasks, fix broken systems, or use special abilities. However, each week new problems arise that will cause more damage to the ship, the health of the astronauts, or the number of dice available to the crew. These disasters can be fixed with dice rolls added together to hit a target number. If the ship runs out of health, it explodes. If a crew member loses their last remaining point of health, they croak. On top of that, the crew loses one die for every action taken. Juggling health, dice, and the structural integrity of the ship is a delicate act of probability weighing. One false move could mean almost instant death for the entire mission. Tharsis shines best during that balancing act. Unfortunately, much like in the earlier comparison to a casino game, Tharsis is heavily weighted against the player. Two to three new events happen each round and all of them are bad. Any attempt to repair the resulting malfunctions carries with it the risk of to freezing certain dice results so they can’t be rerolled, completely taking certain rolls out of play, or damaging the crew member working on the fix. Combine these stresses with an ever decreasing dice pool for each astronaut (barring some exceptionally lucky rolls in the right areas) and the frustrations become clearer. Choice Provisions attempts to alleviate those frustrations via a mechanic with which players can save and spend die rolls for certain boosts like additional die or ship repairs. These boosts revolve in groups of three and are generated at random. Sometimes they can be immensely helpful and other times they merely represent the hollow hope of survival. If the dice situation becomes extremely bad, players can resort to cannibalism to keep surviving crew members alive and rolling large dice pools. I dearly wish Tharsis had any amount of character development. Who are these astronauts? Why should I care about them? It sucks when a crewman dies, but it sucks because I don’t get their dice anymore, not because I care about them in any other respect. Cannibalizing these people should be horrible, but it instead feels like a very mechanical decision done for dice with little to no thought about the digital humans stuck in that situation. Having characters we can care about would only serve to deepen our investment in the game and the sense of importance each dice roll possesses. On the aesthetic front, Tharsis consists mainly of the Iktomi, close ups of the crew in their helpfully colored space suits, and some animatics. While the animatics are visually engaging, the ship and crew appear bland in comparison. The audio in Tharsis is slim, but serviceable. When it plays, the music draws you into the desperate atmosphere of the doomed ship. Meanwhile the voice acting effectively conveys emotion and mounting intensity as the crew approaches their destination. The small budget shows, but it does what it needs to regarding the visuals and audio. Conclusion: I can’t shake the feeling that there is something really great in Tharsis despite the amount of frustration it gave me. Perhaps with additional ways for players to save their good fortune for the harsh events and poor rolls that inevitably occur along with general rebalancing could save this game. The potential exists for Tharsis to create a more engaging, exciting experience with an expanded array of random events and character development. The core concept of the dice being the arbiters of life and death is a good one, but maybe one or two bad rolls shouldn’t be a death sentence. Tharsis would be a great hit as a co-op tabletop experience in the same vein as Pandemic. I can see a group of friends really enjoying themselves while taking a morbid trip to Mars, casting lots to see who should be cannibalized to give the others a shot at successfully completing the doomed journey. However, as a video game it feels almost hopelessly stacked against the player, leading to a frustrating time with none of the distractions or house rules that a group of friends can provide. I can’t in good conscience recommend it at the price of $15. Tharsis is available now on PC and PlayStation 4
  7. In one of the developer diaries, Zach Gage, the system designer at Choice Provisions, talks about the decision to make die rolls the foremost mechanic in Tharsis. In that particular video, Gage states that he wanted to make a game where, “the dice are the arbiter of [the player’s] life.” To Choice Provisions’ credit, Tharsis accomplishes exactly that. Tharsis puts players in control of the first manned mission to Mars. The astronauts under the player’s command were sent to investigate a mysterious signal coming from the Tharsis region of the red planet. However, mere weeks from their destination, the crew of the Iktomi meet disaster. Their vessel rockets through a field of micro-meteoroids, destroying their food supply and killing two crew members. The game tasks players to lead the surviving astronauts to Mars while facing down the dangers posed by the damage done to the ship and the dwindling scraps of food that remain on board. On top of that, every playthrough is randomized, leading to completely different experiences with every attempt to reach Tharsis. It’s a catchy premise and one which certainly caught my initial interest. However, the way in which Choice Provisions executed on that premise leaves something to be desired. Imagine you are playing slots at a casino. You are pulling the lever, watching the results mix around on the machine, sometimes winning, more often losing. Along comes the owner of the casino with an offer: You can participate in the grand slot game of the night! In order to win, you have to successfully combine the right slot results over the course of ten rounds. Each round, the required slot results change at random while the casino reduces the number of slot machines you can use. I have basically just described Tharsis. You see, Tharsis revolves entirely on digital dice rolls. Every round represents another week in space and each astronaut can move to one module of the spacecraft and make rolls to perform tasks, fix broken systems, or use special abilities. However, each week new problems arise that will cause more damage to the ship, the health of the astronauts, or the number of dice available to the crew. These disasters can be fixed with dice rolls added together to hit a target number. If the ship runs out of health, it explodes. If a crew member loses their last remaining point of health, they croak. On top of that, the crew loses one die for every action taken. Juggling health, dice, and the structural integrity of the ship is a delicate act of probability weighing. One false move could mean almost instant death for the entire mission. Tharsis shines best during that balancing act. Unfortunately, much like in the earlier comparison to a casino game, Tharsis is heavily weighted against the player. Two to three new events happen each round and all of them are bad. Any attempt to repair the resulting malfunctions carries with it the risk of to freezing certain dice results so they can’t be rerolled, completely taking certain rolls out of play, or damaging the crew member working on the fix. Combine these stresses with an ever decreasing dice pool for each astronaut (barring some exceptionally lucky rolls in the right areas) and the frustrations become clearer. Choice Provisions attempts to alleviate those frustrations via a mechanic with which players can save and spend die rolls for certain boosts like additional die or ship repairs. These boosts revolve in groups of three and are generated at random. Sometimes they can be immensely helpful and other times they merely represent the hollow hope of survival. If the dice situation becomes extremely bad, players can resort to cannibalism to keep surviving crew members alive and rolling large dice pools. I dearly wish Tharsis had any amount of character development. Who are these astronauts? Why should I care about them? It sucks when a crewman dies, but it sucks because I don’t get their dice anymore, not because I care about them in any other respect. Cannibalizing these people should be horrible, but it instead feels like a very mechanical decision done for dice with little to no thought about the digital humans stuck in that situation. Having characters we can care about would only serve to deepen our investment in the game and the sense of importance each dice roll possesses. On the aesthetic front, Tharsis consists mainly of the Iktomi, close ups of the crew in their helpfully colored space suits, and some animatics. While the animatics are visually engaging, the ship and crew appear bland in comparison. The audio in Tharsis is slim, but serviceable. When it plays, the music draws you into the desperate atmosphere of the doomed ship. Meanwhile the voice acting effectively conveys emotion and mounting intensity as the crew approaches their destination. The small budget shows, but it does what it needs to regarding the visuals and audio. Conclusion: I can’t shake the feeling that there is something really great in Tharsis despite the amount of frustration it gave me. Perhaps with additional ways for players to save their good fortune for the harsh events and poor rolls that inevitably occur along with general rebalancing could save this game. The potential exists for Tharsis to create a more engaging, exciting experience with an expanded array of random events and character development. The core concept of the dice being the arbiters of life and death is a good one, but maybe one or two bad rolls shouldn’t be a death sentence. Tharsis would be a great hit as a co-op tabletop experience in the same vein as Pandemic. I can see a group of friends really enjoying themselves while taking a morbid trip to Mars, casting lots to see who should be cannibalized to give the others a shot at successfully completing the doomed journey. However, as a video game it feels almost hopelessly stacked against the player, leading to a frustrating time with none of the distractions or house rules that a group of friends can provide. I can’t in good conscience recommend it at the price of $15. Tharsis is available now on PC and PlayStation 4 View full article
  8. The alpha version of Galactic Civilizations III is hitting Steam on March 27. What kinds of galaxy-altering actions should you expect to be able to do in the most recent build of the game? Galactic Civilizations III is a turn-based strategy game, kinda like Sid Meier's Civilization, but in space with aliens and lasers. The video shows off the way ships will move across the galaxy to explore, colonize, and wage war. While the military aspects of the game seem to be fully implemented or nearly finished, the alpha will be missing several key features like diplomacy, ship designer, and colony development. These features should be added soon as the game moves into beta and inches closer to final release. Strategy fans, keep your eyes on this one. Fun fact: the guy narrating this video, Adam Biesenner, is awesome. View full article
  9. The alpha version of Galactic Civilizations III is hitting Steam on March 27. What kinds of galaxy-altering actions should you expect to be able to do in the most recent build of the game? Galactic Civilizations III is a turn-based strategy game, kinda like Sid Meier's Civilization, but in space with aliens and lasers. The video shows off the way ships will move across the galaxy to explore, colonize, and wage war. While the military aspects of the game seem to be fully implemented or nearly finished, the alpha will be missing several key features like diplomacy, ship designer, and colony development. These features should be added soon as the game moves into beta and inches closer to final release. Strategy fans, keep your eyes on this one. Fun fact: the guy narrating this video, Adam Biesenner, is awesome.
  10. EVE Online, the MMO famous for tales of thievery, betrayal, and massive wars, has a series of graphic novels based on actual events set into motion and carried out by its players. Oh, and the entire run of the story is available for free until June. EVE: True Stories, "Thieves Among Us," is set to be a four issue run. It tells the story of the dismantling of EVE Online's galactic super-power known as the Band of Brothers as seen from the perspective of the player Haargoth Agamar, who was instrumental to the empire's collapse. Developer CCP worked closely with Dark Horse to bring in talented writers and artists onto this series and their work shows. CCP only interfered to make sure that ship models and the language used was accurate with the EVE Online setting, otherwise writer Daniel Way and artists Tomm Coker, Alejandro Aragón, Federico Dallocchio and Daniel Warren Johnson were given free artistic reign to interpret the story. The result is one of the most interesting video game comic series to be released in quite some time. Certainly the first to be based on player events within an MMO. The final installment in "Thieves Among Us" will be released on April 2. From now until June, CCP has allowed the comic to be free through Dark Horse digital, meaning it can be read for free online, or via Android or iOS apps. When June swings around, the series will release as a physical hardcover of all four issues in stores and the digital versions will be available for purchase as e-books. If you're interested in reading the comics, head over to Dark Horse Digital. You'll have to make an account, but they give you a bunch of free comics for joining, so it isn't such a bad deal. For those interested in reading more interesting stories from the EVE universe, check out CCP's True Stories forum where they have collected insanely interesting stories from their players. View full article
  11. EVE Online, the MMO famous for tales of thievery, betrayal, and massive wars, has a series of graphic novels based on actual events set into motion and carried out by its players. Oh, and the entire run of the story is available for free until June. EVE: True Stories, "Thieves Among Us," is set to be a four issue run. It tells the story of the dismantling of EVE Online's galactic super-power known as the Band of Brothers as seen from the perspective of the player Haargoth Agamar, who was instrumental to the empire's collapse. Developer CCP worked closely with Dark Horse to bring in talented writers and artists onto this series and their work shows. CCP only interfered to make sure that ship models and the language used was accurate with the EVE Online setting, otherwise writer Daniel Way and artists Tomm Coker, Alejandro Aragón, Federico Dallocchio and Daniel Warren Johnson were given free artistic reign to interpret the story. The result is one of the most interesting video game comic series to be released in quite some time. Certainly the first to be based on player events within an MMO. The final installment in "Thieves Among Us" will be released on April 2. From now until June, CCP has allowed the comic to be free through Dark Horse digital, meaning it can be read for free online, or via Android or iOS apps. When June swings around, the series will release as a physical hardcover of all four issues in stores and the digital versions will be available for purchase as e-books. If you're interested in reading the comics, head over to Dark Horse Digital. You'll have to make an account, but they give you a bunch of free comics for joining, so it isn't such a bad deal. For those interested in reading more interesting stories from the EVE universe, check out CCP's True Stories forum where they have collected insanely interesting stories from their players.
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