Replaying Independence War 2

Replaying Independence War 2

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Commentary, PC | 0 comments

Watching (and then re-watching) Guardians of the Galaxy has led me to revisit an old space sim game called Independence War 2. What makes the game stand out from other space sims is its use of Newtonian physics. I’m linking the Wikipedia article because I don’t want to explain it here, but let’s just say that the physics of the game makes it difficult to pilot spacecraft, let alone engage in dogfights with them. It makes the gameplay challenging, sometimes infuriatingly so, but it’s also what it makes it rewarding.

I-War 2 is among the games that I never finished back in the day. Playing it again now has made me realize how much of it I got wrong. One of the major mistakes is how I engaged in one of its major themes: piracy. In the old days I used to hang out around ports and hubs, waiting for transports with lots of cargo. That rarely happened, and when it did the transports were accompanied by 2-4 escort ships. I had trouble taking even one of them out so fighting four was out of the question. I’d usually end up looking for transports with no escorts and they’d only have 1-2 cargo pods, maybe 3 if I was lucky.

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Etrian Odyssey IV: It Bites Back

Etrian Odyssey IV: It Bites Back

Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in 3DS, Commentary, featured | 0 comments

Etrian Odyssey IV is a dungeon crawler RPG from ATLUS. And similar to most games from ATLUS, EOIV is hard. Hard like a rock covered in concrete. I like how it takes your hand and guides you through the character creation process then feeds you to the hounds when you get to the first dungeon. Well, not hounds exactly. They’re more like giant purple bears that chase you around only and kill you with one swipe only to get distracted by wood. Thankfully literal wood, not metaphoric. And when you die, you’re reloaded back to town. You’re alive, sure, but you just lost everything since your last save.

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A Quick Review of Divinity: Original Sin

A Quick Review of Divinity: Original Sin

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Commentary, featured, PC, Reviews |

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?

Watch Dogs: Is the Hate Deserved?

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in featured, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 |

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

Deception IV and Hearthstone

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Commentary, featured, IOS, PC, PS3 |

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.

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