tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
I posted this to my WoW community forums, but I thought [livejournal.com profile] okojosan might like to read this as well. :)

Cut because long and WoW-y )
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
It was an awesome Monday! Fandral in Firelands finally coughed up my firecat toy so Tufteh can be a firecat all the time instead of having to farm the seeds from the raid, and...

Cut for image! )
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
A bit silly maybe but why not. -_- I foresee that I'm going to have a need for this.

Cut for length! )
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (SCIENCE!)
Time to noodle a bit about character creation! As most of you know, MMOs try to limit the number of skills and abilities with which players are confronted to a minimum at start time. So there should only be a few decisions that players need to make at the outset, and they should be non-threatening decisions-- there should be no wrong answers.

Cut for length! )
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
For various reasons, I find myself pondering MMOGs and superhero RPGs every now and then. For instance, I think 'wouldn't it be neat to work a superhero MMORPG into a story about virtual reality that crosses the line into actual reality.'

Lately, perhaps since I've been watching assorted Marvel movies, I recalled that while I played on an X-man themed MUSH a long time ago, the whole X-theme hasn't really been tapped into in MMOG form. There's a Marvel Heroes MMORPG, but rather than playing your own hero, you get to choose from a rotating cast of iconic heroes. That's one way for Marvel to protect its brand, but it really doesn't fly for me as an opportunity to 'play yourself'.

But that made me wonder-- how much control do people really want over character creation?

Avatar customization is obvious. City of Heroes was justly famous for its character creator. But...

Powers? City of Heroes only let you choose from major archetypal powers, and from optional power pools, and then these powers could only be allied in set ways-- ice blasts and shields, for example, rather than free-form creation of ice. Allowing free-form use of powers would be a major game-changer, and likely game-breaker-- what happens if you freeze the water in a human body?

Background? What I'm curious about here is how much people want to be able to define their own backgrounds, versus having it set by the game. City of Heroes handwaved this, letting people write freeform text and simply categorizing superheroes by their 'origin type'-- magical, scientific, technological,et cetera. An X-men-based VR MMOG might specify all players had to be mutants of some kind, giving them 'origin stories' to play through which would clearly explain to them how their character was viewed by the world, a la the Dragon Age origin stories. How much control over your character's origin would you want, versus having your origin be supplied by the game, along with plot threads and known NPCs that might show up?

I'm not proposing to run a superheroes RPG just yet but I do wonder what my friends would want in a VR MMOG.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (SCIENCE!)
There's a very modest amount of story, enough to keep things going, but this game is very tightly focused on its core gameplay: you are presented with a modest number of things generating widgets; you assemble a number of devices to roll, push, rotate, sometimes destroy and sometimes weld together, these widgets until they form the desired output, and then you push the finished device out the door.

That's it in a nutshell! Where this game does much better than SpaceChem is that you are no longer constrained to a tight matrix. You can make huge sprawling devices, in three dimensions no less. Correspondingly, you are also rewarded (in terms of seeing where you rank on a histogram of solutions) by building faster solutions, smaller solutions, and solutions using fewer blocks. Also even though you have a relatively simple set of devices, over time you'll discover that these devices can combine for much more sophisticated functions. Some people have even implemented simple calculators with the factory mechanisms.

If you like puzzles and things that go whirr, buzz, and clank, then you should definitely check out Infinifactory. Definitely a five star game for me.

Cut for image! )
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
I blame [livejournal.com profile] dracosphynx. Started playing Puzzle and Dragons. It's a fun take on match-3 games, with the addition of collecting characters. I have Light Courier Fuu and Dark Courier Kurone, both catgrrls. Yay!

If you're playing and want to be friends on there, my PAD ID is 390,735,364. Just make sure to let me know your user name on the comments so I know the friend request is from you!
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
Hey, a Kickstarter game actually came out and was good!

J.U.L.I.A>: Among the Stars just came out, and being in a mood for some science fiction adventuring, I fired it up.

First of all, this is not a shooter or RPG. You won't be picking up weapons and shooting aliens.

This is a game all about exploration. It's similar to traditional point-and-click games, but it's different enough in presentation that it feels fresh and immersive. There's lots to explore, but every location is meaningful; you won't be roaming across miles of open territory wondering where the plot went. That said, there was one puzzle that seemed impossible to solve where I had to cheat a bit, but there were lots of other good puzzles that yielded to old-fashioned brainwork.

I really enjoyed it; it ticks off the exciting 'Space: the Final Frontier' vibes that Waking Mars did, making you feel like you're roaming a star system and uncovering its secrets.

Game length is about 8 hours. It's $20 at the moment, so for the budget conscious, you might want to wait for a sale and pick it up then, but I don't regret backing it on Indiegogo.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
It's been a long road and an entire year since Siege of Orgrimmar came out, but we got it done!

Cut for gaming geekiness and image. )
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
I played through Papo & Yo recently.

Cons: short game (3 hours), grim underlying theme (alcoholism and abuse)
Pros: the game feels really fantastic, in the sense of magical realism. Puzzles are fun, probably on the easy side, but you have so much fun playing with the various interactive gizmos that's not a problem. You play this to experience, not to stare frustratedly at the screen until it all snaps together.

We explore a Brazillian town filled with chalk drawings that bring the town alive, literally, pulling out stairs or making things spring into action. Entire buildings can be moved around like playing blocks. Monster, your erstwhile companion, appears a third of the way in and is interesting in the way he acts as a sort of mobile obstacle.

Given how short the game is, I'd suggest checking it out only if it's on sale, but if you're up for a literally 'magical reality' game, this is a pretty impressive experience.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
Oh my goodness. This is such an excellent adventure, with ALL THE FEELS. It's one of those rare things, a sequel that is better than the original game.

The only catch is that you won't really get the full nuances of the game if you haven't played the first one. But in general, I liked it a lot better and didn't need to resort to a walkthrough as I did in the original Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav game; sometimes I got stuck for a while but when I figured it out, I felt pretty darn smart.

There are no quicktime-action style bits. While set in a fantasy milieu, this isn't going to be basic swords-and-sorcery; you'll frequently have small spells that can affect your surroundings in subtle ways, such as Geron's own repair/damage things spell, and these get used in creative ways that make sense in context.

This is truly an epic storyline, told over 10 hours of gameplay or so, and while we begin with Geron's quest to help Nuri, the woman he loves, it quickly enters into another story, told five hundred years ago from the point of view of a princess, Sadja, out to make a name for herself fighting in the wars against the demons. What happened to her? To save himself in the present, Geron must uncover the mysteries of the past. There are revelations, there are plot twists, there are surprises and reversals, and yet at the end everything will fit together as neatly as a clockwork watch.

5 stars, but only for a discerning audience that is experienced with point-and-click adventures.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
When THQ went bankrupt, they sold all their IP off. Gearbox, makers of Borderlands and Aliens: Colonial Marines, acquired the Homeworld license.

Now Atari is out of the picture... and Stardock, makers of Sins of a Solar Empire and Fallen Enchantress, has acquired the Star Control license.

Both are quite competent developers, but neither are the group of developers that originally authored the IPs. For Homeworld, that would be Relic, or maybe Blackbird Interactive, created by Homeworld developers out of Relic. For Star Control, that would be Toys for Bob. So it's going to be interesting to see what both developers make out of these highly celebrated and yet long fallow epic space game trademarks.

I'll certainly be keeping an eye on them both!
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
Now and then I review a game that significantly impresses me. Sleeping Dogs is one of those. Unlike my usual "indie" fare, this is definitely a Triple-A game with a huge budget, developed by United Front Games and published by Square Enix, but the way it feels is like you're inside a Hong Kong action film. It begins with the protagonist, Wei Shen, returning from an apparently disappointing venture to the United States to the squalid Hong Kong neighborhood where he grew up. You are there, there are all sorts of little flavor bits that make it clear you're in an exotic locale. It's like they took a slice of movie Hong Kong and put it into your computer!

You'll spend a lot of time with martial arts and 'free running' at the outset, but past a certain point the game opens up and from there you can play it rather like GTA4; that is, you can acquire a number of vehicles and drive about the city recklessly, picking up side quests or following the main story as you choose. Later on you'll be able to pick up firearms, but they aren't a standard part of your armament -- no DOOM/Quake-style carrying about of multiple firearms and ammo here! One downside is that the game can be pretty brutal and gory in places, and the storyline is definitely not something you want to explain to your children while playing it. Think 'grimdark Hong Kong action', not 'fun Hong Kong kung-fu comedy'.

There's a checkpoint system of a sort: when you embark on one of the missions, if you screw something up (i.e. you accidentally kill an innocent or you get too far away from the target you're chasing) then you can 'revert to last checkpoint' which is handy. You also get a total of four save slots, plus an autosave slot. The story itself is linear, though, there are no branches to the plot. (also, no wrong decisions to make)

I finished the game finally last night and I thought I'd give people a shout-out that this is worth a looksee, next time it comes up on sale on Steam. While it was clearly developed for controllers, it handled well enough with a mouse and keyboard that I didn't have any real problems completing the races I tried.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
Yay! Planescape Torment's spiritual sequel is being worked on.

It won't involve the D&D Planescape universe but it will be set in a 'similar' sort of setting, Numenera, apparently a Kickstarter success itself. The name 'Torment' is apparently no longer under trademark as well, so it's likely they'll be grabbing 'Torment' as part of the spiritual sequel's name. It will involve a healthy number of people who worked on the original Torment.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (SCIENCE!)
Waking Mars is a science fiction game that really feels like you're in a science fiction story, not playing yet another re-branded platformer or shooter.

You're a jetpack-equipped astronaut investigating deep caverns in Mars... Seems like the previous (robotic) mission detected signs of life, so you were sent as a follow-up. Things Happen from there and now you must master the secrets of Martian life to survive and escape.

Aesthetics-wise, it's a 2D game similar in presentation to Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, but it is its own thing. There's a lot less fighting for one thing, you don't need awesome reflexes or anything for this. Instead, you get to figure out your way around the caverns. There are some irritating constraints since some forms of life you can't pick up and use so you have to work with what you get, but once you figure out what's going on, the whole thing makes sense.

This game really does a lot with relatively little-- they didn't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy cut scenes, though they do have voice acting which really helps bring the characters out.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
Hero U: Rogue to Redemption is being done by the folks who made the PC classic game series "Quest for Glory". I find what they're talking about doing in this new game very interesting. I hope they'll get a last day surge and manage to hit their limit, but that last hundred thousand dolloars looks pretty hard to get.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
I've never played Journey but it has cropped up quite a bit in gaming articles around the web. Now I find this rather lovely comic. Aww kitteh!
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
If you played the Broken Sword games, you might be interested in their attempt to crowdfund a new installment in the series.
tuftears: Lynx Wynx (Gaming)
I quote: Think "The Dig", if Ben from Full Throttle gut-punched Boston Low and commanded the mission in his place.

Jack Houston and the Necronauts.

Three days left and they're stalled about 4k short of their finish line. Kind of frustrating, it looks like an interesting game.

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Conrad "Lynx" Wong

August 2017

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