Divinity: Original Sin is the latest game in the Divinity franchise, setting itself up as a prequel to the previous titles. You play as a pair of Source Hunters and it’s your job to save the world, I think. I haven’t been paying attention to the story very well so don’t expect a lot of that in this write-up. I’m going to focus on the gameplay—the glorious, bloody gameplay.

The important thing you need to know about Original Sin is that it’s like a modern version of Baldur’s Gate. Combat is turn-based with an action point (AP) system similar to classic Fallout. Actions such as attacking and spellcasting cost points. The more points you have, the more actions you can do per turn.

What makes Original Sin’s combat stand out is how it plays around with elemental and status effects. For example, you can drop oil on your foes to cause Slow, reducing their AP, then light that oil on fire, causing Burning, a damage-over-time effect. Fire plus poison causes explosions in this game, so poisoning a target that’s on fire often yields impressive results. The variety of things that you can do removes the act of simply hitting the other guy repeatedly until he dies. Crowd control abilities such as knockdowns and stuns are also present, contributing further to the large amount of options that you have when you fight.

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Watch Dogs: Is the Hate Deserved?

You’ve probably read all the buzz about Watch Dogs but in case you haven’t, here’s the short version: there’s a lot of hate for it. This weekend I decided to try it out and see if that hate is well-deserved or not.

First of all, I’m among those who suffered random crashes to desktop on the PC version. I noticed that it was eating up a lot of memory, which would in turn crash when it couldn’t take any more. So scratch trying the game out on PC.

Next stop: Xbox 360. No stability or performance issues there. The game was playable and stable. I did find one major bug though. One of the side missions refused to acknowledge completion so I ended up creating my own workaround for it. Specifically, a gang hideout mission ends by either killing all the bad guys or moving away from the mission area. I did the former but got no completion notice. After reloading and retrying, the same thing was happening. I decided to try the latter. I knocked the target out then walked away from mission area. Success! I then went back and killed everybody anyway.

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Deception IV and Hearthstone

I’ve been keeping an eye on Deception IV ever since I first read about it online. I played one of the older versions back on the original Playstation and, while I don’t remember finishing it, it was memorable enough for me to want to experience it again.
 
The simplest way to describe Deception’s gameplay is to call it a hybrid trap/puzzle game. Your goal is to kill your enemies using traps. The puzzle half comes in when you use the traps in a manner that would make Rube Goldberg proud. For example, you can use a bear trap to pin your enemies in place, then hit them with a giant axe to knock them to a spot where you can cut them with a buzzsaw. The entire point of the game is to use traps to inflict as much pain as possible. When you get the hang of it, your inner sadist will be laughing with glee.
 
A couple of friends have been trying to get me to play Hearthstone for a while now and I finally decided to give it a shot when it was released on iPad. I’ve been playing semi-regularly ever since. I like the accessibility and fast pace. Like all CCGs, there’s a lot of luck involved so it’s hard not to get upset when the RNG isn’t on my side. But losing due to randomness is nothing compared to defeat caused by error. I’ve lost several matches due to a single mistake. I guess that’s the cost of the game’s pacing.

Five Bosses

Purples, Blues, Yellows. They were everywhere.

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Diablo III Reaper of Souls: Monk Unity Build

Welcome to my first (and hopefully not the last) guide for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. The build I’m going to introduce here focuses on Unity, one of the new passive skills in RoS.

The core skills of this build are:

  • Unity
  • Mystic Ally: Fire Ally
  • Mantra of Conviction: Collateral Damage

Why Unity?

All of the new monk passives buff your DPS. Among them, Unity is the most straightforward. It works as long as you have a group with you. I find Momentum to be too gimmicky and Mythic Rhythm too conditional.

How does Unity work?

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As you can see, it buffs your DPS by 5% per ally while also raising their damage by the same amount.

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Diablo III: 3 Days Into Reaper of Souls

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls was released earlier this week and I’ve been clawing my way through it with my monk. I’m saying clawing because it feels like I’m fighting for every bit of DPS that I can get, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I started going through the expansion content I found myself humbled. I was getting my ass kicked by regular monsters because I was using the same difficulty that I’ve grown accustomed to in vanilla D3. I took things down a notch and things generally became more manageable. I was still having trouble with certain bosses and fight mechanics but at least I wasn’t racking up a huge repair bill.

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Lightning Returns: Combat Tips

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Stagger

Similar to the past FFXIII games, you still do the most damage when your target is staggered. To do this, the general rule is to hit them with physical attacks to extend stagger time then follow-up with magic attacks to actually stagger them. By the time you run out of ATB for your spells, your opponent should be staggered. If not, then nearly so.

You can tell the stagger status by the pulsing wave that appears on their health bars. The more violent the oscillation, the closer the target is to staggering.

If you’re having a tough time dealing with a particular monster, hitting R2 or RT will bring up Libra, which will give you info about your target. Stagger information is at the bottom of that screen.

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