Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'tactics'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Extra Life News
    • Extra Life Updates
    • Best Practices
    • Community Content
    • Why I Extra Life
    • Fundraising
    • Contests
  • Gaming News
  • Features
  • Podcast

Discussions

  • Extra Life Discussions
    • General Extra Life Discussion
    • Local Extra Lifers
    • Fundraising Ideas
    • Live Streaming Tips & Tricks
    • Official Extra Life Stream Team Discussion
    • Extra Life JSON Code Discussion & Sharing
    • Extra Life United
    • Extra Life Q & A
  • Articles & Extra Life Announcements
    • Announcements
  • Official Extra Life Guilds
    • Guild information and Discussion
    • Canada
    • Northeastern US
    • Southeastern US
    • Central US
    • Western US
  • Gaming Discussions
    • General Gaming Discussion
  • Other Stuff
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Recent Posts

Calendars

  • Extra Life Community Calendar
  • Extra Life Stream Team
  • Akron Guild
  • Albany Guild
  • Albuquerque Guild
  • Anchorage Guild
  • Atlanta Guild
  • Austin Guild
  • Bakersfield Guild
  • Baltimore Guild
  • Birmingham Guild
  • Boston Guild
  • Burlington Guild
  • Buffalo Guild
  • Calgary, AB Guild
  • Morgantown Guild
  • Charlottesville Guild
  • Chicago Guild
  • Cincinnati Guild
  • Cleveland Guild
  • Columbia, MO Guild
  • Columbus, OH Guild
  • Dallas Guild
  • Dayton Guild
  • Denver Guild
  • Des Moines Guild
  • Detroit Guild
  • Edmonton, AB Guild
  • Fargo-Valley City Guild
  • Fresno Guild
  • Ft. Worth Guild
  • Gainesville-Tallahassee Guild
  • Grand Rapids Guild
  • Halifax, NS Guild
  • Hamilton, ON Guild
  • Hartford Guild
  • Hershey Guild
  • Hudson Valley Guild
  • Houston Guild
  • Indianapolis Guild
  • Jacksonville Guild
  • Kansas City Guild
  • Knoxville Guild
  • Lansing Guild
  • London, ON Guild
  • Los Angeles Guild
  • Milwaukee / Madison Guild
  • Minneapolis / Twin Cities Guild
  • Montreal / Quebec City Guild
  • Nashville Guild
  • Newark Guild
  • NYC & Long Island Guild
  • Oakland / San Francisco Guild
  • Omaha Guild
  • Orange County Guild
  • Orlando Guild
  • Ottawa, ON Guild
  • Philadelphia Guild
  • Phoenix Guild
  • Pittsburgh Guild
  • Portland, OR Guild
  • Portland, ME Guild
  • Raleigh-Durham Guild
  • Richmond Guild
  • Sacramento Guild
  • Salt Lake City Guild
  • San Antonio Guild
  • San Diego Guild
  • San Juan, PR Guild
  • Saskatchewan Guild
  • Seattle Guild
  • Spokane Guild
  • Springfield-Champaign, IL Guild
  • Springfield, MA Guild
  • St. Louis Guild
  • Syracuse Guild
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg Guild
  • Toronto, ON Guild
  • Vancouver, BC Guild
  • Washington DC Guild
  • Winnipeg, MB Guild
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Events
  • Extra Life Akron's Events

Categories

  • Broadcasting Toolkit
  • Multimedia Kit
  • Extra Life Guild Tool Kit
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Files
  • Extra Life Akron's Files

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Hospital


Location


Why I "Extra Life"


Interests


Twitter


Instagram


Twitch


Mixer


Discord


Blizzard Battletag


Nintendo ID


PSN ID


Steam


Origin


Xbox Gamertag

Found 18 results

  1. HOF Studios, a small, four-person team based in Atlanta, has been working on Depth of Extinction for the past few years. Fueled by a nostalgia for classic '90s tactics titles like XCOM: UFO Defense and drawing from more modern strategy titles like XCOM 2 and FTL: Faster Than Light, HOF Studios has created a game that makes use of those familiar mechanics to tell a new, challenging tale that delves deep into the unknown depths of Earth's oceans. Depth of Extinction takes place thousands of years in the future. An apocalyptic event shrouded in mystery caused the sea level to rise drastically, plunging most of humanity into its freezing bottom. The remnants, known as the Creators, rebuilt society as best they could, before quietly fading from history. Their advanced technology still litters the planet, leaving great power open to plundering and abuse. The most stable civilization formed out of the ashes of the apocalypse is The Republic. Denizens of The Republic have long relied on Creator machines to live in the new world. However, those machines have begun to fail, leaving it vulnerable to high sea marauders and a rumored army of killer robots. To survive, The Republic needs to send out its bravest warriors to explore the unknown and discover solutions to its mounting problems. Of course, solving the issues facing The Republic will put players into violent conflict in the outside world. To that end, players can customize their soldiers from eight classes and outfit them with over a hundred different pieces of armor, weapons, and special items. Players will have to contend with random encounters with the ever present threat of permadeath looming over each and every action while they move through the . Mike Stumhofer, the founder and lead developer at HOF Studios, released a statement reflecting on the release of Depths of Extinction: I started playing tactics games in the ‘90s with the X-COM franchise. It’s funny to think that I’ve had a long-running love for the genre for a couple of decades now. My favorite game at that time was Terror from the Deep. Depth of Extinction is essentially a spiritual remake of that game with a fresh take on the modern XCOM gameplay mechanics – including random encounters. Most games focus on creating threats to humanity like aliens, zombies, vampires or other monsters. Our game is grounded in something more realistic. The greatest threat to humanity is humanity itself. Our characters don't know what caused the fall or how we got to where we are, but we know that the root of the evil was humanity itself. Depth of Extinction is now available on PC. 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. HOF Studios, a small, four-person team based in Atlanta, has been working on Depth of Extinction for the past few years. Fueled by a nostalgia for classic '90s tactics titles like XCOM: UFO Defense and drawing from more modern strategy titles like XCOM 2 and FTL: Faster Than Light, HOF Studios has created a game that makes use of those familiar mechanics to tell a new, challenging tale that delves deep into the unknown depths of Earth's oceans. Depth of Extinction takes place thousands of years in the future. An apocalyptic event shrouded in mystery caused the sea level to rise drastically, plunging most of humanity into its freezing bottom. The remnants, known as the Creators, rebuilt society as best they could, before quietly fading from history. Their advanced technology still litters the planet, leaving great power open to plundering and abuse. The most stable civilization formed out of the ashes of the apocalypse is The Republic. Denizens of The Republic have long relied on Creator machines to live in the new world. However, those machines have begun to fail, leaving it vulnerable to high sea marauders and a rumored army of killer robots. To survive, The Republic needs to send out its bravest warriors to explore the unknown and discover solutions to its mounting problems. Of course, solving the issues facing The Republic will put players into violent conflict in the outside world. To that end, players can customize their soldiers from eight classes and outfit them with over a hundred different pieces of armor, weapons, and special items. Players will have to contend with random encounters with the ever present threat of permadeath looming over each and every action while they move through the . Mike Stumhofer, the founder and lead developer at HOF Studios, released a statement reflecting on the release of Depths of Extinction: I started playing tactics games in the ‘90s with the X-COM franchise. It’s funny to think that I’ve had a long-running love for the genre for a couple of decades now. My favorite game at that time was Terror from the Deep. Depth of Extinction is essentially a spiritual remake of that game with a fresh take on the modern XCOM gameplay mechanics – including random encounters. Most games focus on creating threats to humanity like aliens, zombies, vampires or other monsters. Our game is grounded in something more realistic. The greatest threat to humanity is humanity itself. Our characters don't know what caused the fall or how we got to where we are, but we know that the root of the evil was humanity itself. Depth of Extinction is now available on PC. 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. Microsoft is tripling down on their blockbuster Gears of War franchise with three new games with widely disparate takes on the universe of chainsaw bayonets and tough-as-nails heroes. Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5. There's no escaping the immense popularity of Funko Pop! figurines, and the first new Gears project is a mobile spin-off which replaces the tough-as-nails characters of the Gears of War universe with the adorable, big-headed trinkets. No gameplay details were offered on Gears Pop!, but it will surely be refreshing to see a bizarrely more family-friendly take on the ultra-violent world of Gears. Gears Tactics didn't receive a proper trailer, but a brief snippet of footage was shown on stage. A turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics can be immediately described as Gears of War meets XCOM, and it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about that. Gears Tactics will be a Windows exclusive. Finally, the main event of the Gears segment, and arguably the entire Microsoft conference, was Gears 5. For the first time in the series, the main character is a woman, Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. As usual, the game will support two-player split-screen co-op, as well as single-player and online multiplayer. The trailer featured a welcome focus on character relationships and the mutual distrust between the Kait and her partner, suggesting this will be a more personal Gears story than ever before. If all goes according to plan, Gears 5 will feature explosive action and palpable drama in equal measure. All three of these Gears titles are slated for 2019. View full article
  4. Microsoft is tripling down on their blockbuster Gears of War franchise with three new games with widely disparate takes on the universe of chainsaw bayonets and tough-as-nails heroes. Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5. There's no escaping the immense popularity of Funko Pop! figurines, and the first new Gears project is a mobile spin-off which replaces the tough-as-nails characters of the Gears of War universe with the adorable, big-headed trinkets. No gameplay details were offered on Gears Pop!, but it will surely be refreshing to see a bizarrely more family-friendly take on the ultra-violent world of Gears. Gears Tactics didn't receive a proper trailer, but a brief snippet of footage was shown on stage. A turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics can be immediately described as Gears of War meets XCOM, and it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about that. Gears Tactics will be a Windows exclusive. Finally, the main event of the Gears segment, and arguably the entire Microsoft conference, was Gears 5. For the first time in the series, the main character is a woman, Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. As usual, the game will support two-player split-screen co-op, as well as single-player and online multiplayer. The trailer featured a welcome focus on character relationships and the mutual distrust between the Kait and her partner, suggesting this will be a more personal Gears story than ever before. If all goes according to plan, Gears 5 will feature explosive action and palpable drama in equal measure. All three of these Gears titles are slated for 2019.
  5. 3Mind Games might not be a developer many have heard of before now, but that could change in the near future. The studio has just announced their first game titled The Protagonist, a narrative-oriented RPG that offers turn-based tactics and divergent story paths in an original sci-fi universe. The team at 3Mind describes the gameplay as a mix between XCOM and Divinity: Original Sin. If that's not enough to get your attention, I don't know what will. The Protagonist stars a galactic special agent who operates under the codename ANGEL. The military force of Terra has come into conflict with the KL-T, a mysterious fleet of robotic ships and soldiers. On a mission to infiltrate and destroy a major space station claimed by the invading KL-T, ANGEL finds herself knocked unconscious and awakens in the space station's infirmary at the heart of the space station with no memory of what has happened. With the station in full lockdown and hostiles around every corner, players have to decide how to escape from the heart of this imposing enemy stronghold while piecing together what happened. Along the way, players can recruit allies who may or may not be loyal to ANGEL's mission. How you treat party members and other NPCs can either benefit you in the long run or hinder your progress or unlock new routes and opportunities. Those who aren't attentive during conversations could be in for some nasty surprises. The Protagonist uses a combat system called Martial Arts Combat System (MACS). This system allows players to customize their hand-to-hand combat abilities. The customization is intended to be so deep that players will be able to create new combos and then share them online with other players. 3Mind Games formed out of development veterans from major studios in the industry like EA and Ubisoft. They're hoping to capture the spirit of Mass Effect inside an indie game package that could roll over into a long-running series. The first trailer for The Protagonist shows ANGEL in action alongside her companion RADICAL, an explosives specialist. The Protagonist will release for PC sometime in 2019.
  6. 3Mind Games might not be a developer many have heard of before now, but that could change in the near future. The studio has just announced their first game titled The Protagonist, a narrative-oriented RPG that offers turn-based tactics and divergent story paths in an original sci-fi universe. The team at 3Mind describes the gameplay as a mix between XCOM and Divinity: Original Sin. If that's not enough to get your attention, I don't know what will. The Protagonist stars a galactic special agent who operates under the codename ANGEL. The military force of Terra has come into conflict with the KL-T, a mysterious fleet of robotic ships and soldiers. On a mission to infiltrate and destroy a major space station claimed by the invading KL-T, ANGEL finds herself knocked unconscious and awakens in the space station's infirmary at the heart of the space station with no memory of what has happened. With the station in full lockdown and hostiles around every corner, players have to decide how to escape from the heart of this imposing enemy stronghold while piecing together what happened. Along the way, players can recruit allies who may or may not be loyal to ANGEL's mission. How you treat party members and other NPCs can either benefit you in the long run or hinder your progress or unlock new routes and opportunities. Those who aren't attentive during conversations could be in for some nasty surprises. The Protagonist uses a combat system called Martial Arts Combat System (MACS). This system allows players to customize their hand-to-hand combat abilities. The customization is intended to be so deep that players will be able to create new combos and then share them online with other players. 3Mind Games formed out of development veterans from major studios in the industry like EA and Ubisoft. They're hoping to capture the spirit of Mass Effect inside an indie game package that could roll over into a long-running series. The first trailer for The Protagonist shows ANGEL in action alongside her companion RADICAL, an explosives specialist. The Protagonist will release for PC sometime in 2019. View full article
  7. Harebrained Schemes, the studio behind the digital revival of Shadowrun as a turn-based strategy RPG, has returned, and this time they aim to revitalize mechanized turn-based strategy with Battletech. The company touts the project as "the first turn-based tactical mech combat PC game in over 20 years" which seems like a bit of a stretch, but Harebrained Schemes' track record with turn-based strategy is reason alone to get excited. Battletech casts players as the leader of a mercenary company that uses mechs to wage battles for whoever has money. Out on the edges of civilization, players will have to negotiate contracts for their crew, keep everyone alive, and also put a dethroned monarch back onto her galactic throne. Harebrained Schemes began working on Battletech after a successful Kickstarter raised well over its $250,000 goal to raise almost $2.8 million. The studio has a history of vastly successful crowdfunding campaigns, with each of the last four games finding additional funding on Kickstarter. The fact that backers have continued to support them over several releases indicates that they're incredibly good at pitching interesting game concepts and ultimately delivering satisfying experiences. Battletech will release on April 24 for PC. View full article
  8. Harebrained Schemes, the studio behind the digital revival of Shadowrun as a turn-based strategy RPG, has returned, and this time they aim to revitalize mechanized turn-based strategy with Battletech. The company touts the project as "the first turn-based tactical mech combat PC game in over 20 years" which seems like a bit of a stretch, but Harebrained Schemes' track record with turn-based strategy is reason alone to get excited. Battletech casts players as the leader of a mercenary company that uses mechs to wage battles for whoever has money. Out on the edges of civilization, players will have to negotiate contracts for their crew, keep everyone alive, and also put a dethroned monarch back onto her galactic throne. Harebrained Schemes began working on Battletech after a successful Kickstarter raised well over its $250,000 goal to raise almost $2.8 million. The studio has a history of vastly successful crowdfunding campaigns, with each of the last four games finding additional funding on Kickstarter. The fact that backers have continued to support them over several releases indicates that they're incredibly good at pitching interesting game concepts and ultimately delivering satisfying experiences. Battletech will release on April 24 for PC.
  9. The studio behind the Blood Bowl franchise, Cyanide Studio, has announced that they will be making a turn-based tactical game out of the classic Warhammer 40K board game. So, what's a space hulk? These behemoths are essentially giant lumps of stuff that have mashed together after travelling through Warhammer 40K's version of faster-than-light travel. They can be a single, massive ship or dozens of ships and asteroids all stuck together for untold millennia. They're typically twisted by the experience, leading many who enter space hulks to either never return or emerge changed for the worse. In particular, there are a race of being found in space hulks known as Genestealers who can pose an existential threat to any being they encounter. Space Hulk was first adapted to video games back in 1993, received another game in 1995, and then sat dormant for over a decade until the release of the tactical indie game Space Hulk in 2013. Since that initial heart beat, we received Space Hulk: Deathwing in 2016 which abandoned tactics to focus on frantic FPS gameplay. Now it seems that Cyanide Studio wants to bring the series back to its tactical roots. Space Hulk: Tactics will house two campaigns from opposing sides. Players can choose between playing as the Terminator Space Marines tasked with exploring and cleansing an enigmatic space hulk or as the Genestealers attempting to wipe out the intruders into their domain. Cyanide Studio has said that both campaigns will have a heavy focus on narrative; I'm not sure how that will work on the Genestealer side, but I'm interested in finding out. The big addition to Space Hulk: Tactics is adapting the board game with the addition of cards that help to customize and upgrade your soldiers prior to each mission or match. They'll help players survive and possibly turn the tide of battle in a moment of desperation. There will also be an online competitive multiplayer mode, a map creation tool, and the ability to share maps online. Space Hulk: Tactics will release sometime in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For those of you itching for more info, publisher Focus Home Interactive will be holding a press conference later this month to discuss the title at length. View full article
  10. The studio behind the Blood Bowl franchise, Cyanide Studio, has announced that they will be making a turn-based tactical game out of the classic Warhammer 40K board game. So, what's a space hulk? These behemoths are essentially giant lumps of stuff that have mashed together after travelling through Warhammer 40K's version of faster-than-light travel. They can be a single, massive ship or dozens of ships and asteroids all stuck together for untold millennia. They're typically twisted by the experience, leading many who enter space hulks to either never return or emerge changed for the worse. In particular, there are a race of being found in space hulks known as Genestealers who can pose an existential threat to any being they encounter. Space Hulk was first adapted to video games back in 1993, received another game in 1995, and then sat dormant for over a decade until the release of the tactical indie game Space Hulk in 2013. Since that initial heart beat, we received Space Hulk: Deathwing in 2016 which abandoned tactics to focus on frantic FPS gameplay. Now it seems that Cyanide Studio wants to bring the series back to its tactical roots. Space Hulk: Tactics will house two campaigns from opposing sides. Players can choose between playing as the Terminator Space Marines tasked with exploring and cleansing an enigmatic space hulk or as the Genestealers attempting to wipe out the intruders into their domain. Cyanide Studio has said that both campaigns will have a heavy focus on narrative; I'm not sure how that will work on the Genestealer side, but I'm interested in finding out. The big addition to Space Hulk: Tactics is adapting the board game with the addition of cards that help to customize and upgrade your soldiers prior to each mission or match. They'll help players survive and possibly turn the tide of battle in a moment of desperation. There will also be an online competitive multiplayer mode, a map creation tool, and the ability to share maps online. Space Hulk: Tactics will release sometime in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. For those of you itching for more info, publisher Focus Home Interactive will be holding a press conference later this month to discuss the title at length.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. Sometimes it can be hard for the average video game enthusiast to find interesting video game art to adorn the walls of their abode. Luckily, there are skilled artists in various corners of the internet willing to sell their work for a fair price. Etsy is one such corner. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Etsy is basically the arts and crafts hub of the internet. People make clothes, furniture, jewelry, art, etc. and put it up for sale on the site, usually at quite a reasonable price. Given the popularity of video games, it isn't at all surprising that a significant portion of the Etsy artists and craftspeople decide to put out products inspired by some of their favorite video game titles. As you scroll through these awesome artistic renderings, bear in mind that these represent a small fraction of the work available on the main site. Click on the images for a better look at the artwork, or visit the linked Etsy pages for more details. BioShock - Minimalist by CaptainsPrintShop - $20 BioShock - Watercolor by CaptainsPrintShop - $20 BioShock Infinite Poster from WestGraphics - $18 BioShock Infinite Elizabeth by WilliamHenryDesign - $20 Doom II Poster from Kitschaus - $30 Fallout - Minimalist by CaptainsPrintShop - $20 Final Fantasy Tactics Poster from Kitschaus - $30 Ico Poster from Kitschaus - $20 Journey Poster from Geeky Prints - Price ranges from $4.99 to $51.99 depending on print size Mass Effect Series by WilliamHenryDesign - $25 Mega Man Screen Printed Poster by InspirationxCreation - $19 Mega Man Buster Cannon by AndrewHeath - $10 Metal Gear Solid V - Snake by 2ToastDesign - $19.95 or $39.95 depending on size Minecraft - Life Goals by MrSuspenders - $39.95 PITFALL Atari 2600 Retro Vintage Classic by RobOsborne - $20 Pong-inspired 8-bit Poster by minimalpixels - $16.77 Portal - Hello by DirtyGreatPixelsUK - $16.77 or $33.54 depending on size Portal - The Cake Is A Lie by WestGraphics - Price ranges from $18 to $50 Secret of Mana Poster from Kitschaus - $20 Shadow of the Colossus by bigbadrobot - Price ranges from $17 to $38 depending on size Shadow of the Colossus from Kitschaus - $25 Smash Bros. Link vs. Mario by NukaColaFan - $11.99 Sonic the Hedgehog by VICTORYDELUXE - $6.99 Star Fox by NukaColaFan - $14.99 Street Fighter Character Sakura Alpha In Cubes by BITxBITxBIT - $30 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from Kitschaus - $20 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker from Kitschaus - $35 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker by PoppyseedHeroes - Currently unavailable, but it still looks incredibly awesome! TRON poster from adamrabalais - $20 Yeah, I know this isn't a video game per say, but it's close enough in my book. XCOM Classic Ironman by MrSuspenders - $39.95 Let us know which ones were your favorites!
  14. Sometimes it can be hard for the average video game enthusiast to find interesting video game art to adorn the walls of their abode. Luckily, there are skilled artists in various corners of the internet willing to sell their work for a fair price. Etsy is one such corner. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Etsy is basically the arts and crafts hub of the internet. People make clothes, furniture, jewelry, art, etc. and put it up for sale on the site, usually at quite a reasonable price. Given the popularity of video games, it isn't at all surprising that a significant portion of the Etsy artists and craftspeople decide to put out products inspired by some of their favorite video game titles. As you scroll through these awesome artistic renderings, bear in mind that these represent a small fraction of the work available on the main site. Click on the images for a better look at the artwork, or visit the linked Etsy pages for more details. BioShock - Minimalist by CaptainsPrintShop - $20 BioShock - Watercolor by CaptainsPrintShop - $20 BioShock Infinite Poster from WestGraphics - $18 BioShock Infinite Elizabeth by WilliamHenryDesign - $20 Doom II Poster from Kitschaus - $30 Fallout - Minimalist by CaptainsPrintShop - $20 Final Fantasy Tactics Poster from Kitschaus - $30 Ico Poster from Kitschaus - $20 Journey Poster from Geeky Prints - Price ranges from $4.99 to $51.99 depending on print size Mass Effect Series by WilliamHenryDesign - $25 Mega Man Screen Printed Poster by InspirationxCreation - $19 Mega Man Buster Cannon by AndrewHeath - $10 Metal Gear Solid V - Snake by 2ToastDesign - $19.95 or $39.95 depending on size Minecraft - Life Goals by MrSuspenders - $39.95 PITFALL Atari 2600 Retro Vintage Classic by RobOsborne - $20 Pong-inspired 8-bit Poster by minimalpixels - $16.77 Portal - Hello by DirtyGreatPixelsUK - $16.77 or $33.54 depending on size Portal - The Cake Is A Lie by WestGraphics - Price ranges from $18 to $50 Secret of Mana Poster from Kitschaus - $20 Shadow of the Colossus by bigbadrobot - Price ranges from $17 to $38 depending on size Shadow of the Colossus from Kitschaus - $25 Smash Bros. Link vs. Mario by NukaColaFan - $11.99 Sonic the Hedgehog by VICTORYDELUXE - $6.99 Star Fox by NukaColaFan - $14.99 Street Fighter Character Sakura Alpha In Cubes by BITxBITxBIT - $30 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from Kitschaus - $20 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker from Kitschaus - $35 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker by PoppyseedHeroes - Currently unavailable, but it still looks incredibly awesome! TRON poster from adamrabalais - $20 Yeah, I know this isn't a video game per say, but it's close enough in my book. XCOM Classic Ironman by MrSuspenders - $39.95 Let us know which ones were your favorites! View full article
  15. 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.)
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
×