After the highs of the Mass Effect trilogy, being tasked with taking that universe further is a daunting order. An incredible space opera spanning three games with The Normandy's crew isn't something easily uncoupled from expectations into future games - or any Bioware title for that matter. Mass Effect: Andromeda's greatest challenge is surviving the series' towering legacy, and it is here that both its greatest successes and failures are found.
Andromeda's story, characters, environments, and sound are Mass Effect to their very core. Taking Ryder as far away from Shepard as possible gives the game the distance it needs to start somewhat fresh away from some of the minutiae of the trilogy. However, the goodwill built up by the Tempest's crew and the journey into Andromeda is significantly damaged by struggling performance and a jarring lack of polish in places.
For all the hyperbole around rough animations online and for all the complaints I've had to raise in this review, it bears saying outright - Mass Effect: Andromeda is a good game.
It needs to be repeated over and over, as with any luck most of the worst offenders to its quality such as crashes can and will hopefully be patched. The facial animations melt into the background as the story immerses you - and it'd be silly to pretend that the trilogy didn't have any of that 'Bioware jank' going on - it's just more immediately noticeable here. Perhaps this console generation shift has moved the quality goalposts further than Bioware were able to reach in this title.
The back half of the game is certainly a drastic improvement on the early parts, and the way it wrapped up certainly boosted my impressions of the game. I'm particularly fond of Andromeda's tone. It's hopeful, and feels more bright-eyed than the trilogy. Where the trilogy games each wrap up with the feeling that chapter is closed, Andromeda encourages you to return post-game and continue the adventure - because in a new galaxy, there's lots of exploring to do.
Andromeda has a spirit that I don't want to see squashed by technical failures and a few questionable design decisions. Andromeda is ambitious and above all else it has heart - the deeper I got into the game, the more glued to it I became. Had it been anything less I would've sat my controller down and given up, but the journey most certainly made the struggle worth it.
Ryder's tale feels like a solid beginning to something new. It needs more than a little polish, and probably some extensive work under the hood, but Andromeda has reassured me Mass Effect can exist without the Citadel, Earth, Shepard or even Ryder. This new galaxy left me with more questions than answers, but I'm okay with that. I hope another entry to the series means more exploration into every corner of humanity's new home.
Mount & Blade II - Dev Blog
Posted: Mar 26, 2017, 03:13 pm by RPGWatch
Mount & Blade II developer blog has some interesting information on quests and how the relationship system will work.
One aspect of Bannerlord that featured in the write-up is quests, which is what we're discussing in this blog entry. As a sandbox game, the essential function of quests in Mount & Blade is different to that of a linear or story-based RPG. Our goal is to use quests as a way to encourage the player to interact with the sandbox, and help form the player's relationships in the world.
As in Warband, completing quests for NPCs will increase your relation with that character. This however, takes on a new dimension in Bannerlord, as that relationship can have a more profound impact on your character, and the decisions you make. As an example, when you go to a town to recruit soldiers, instead of simply receiving a number of local recruits, the town's NPCs act as recruiting agents, or middle men, through whom you receive a supply of troops. The higher your relation with a specific NPC, the greater the number of soldiers they will make available to you.
This places inherent value on your relationship with a specific NPC, giving you a reason to complete quests for them, and enhance your capacity to recruit soldiers quickly, from a single location. Consider, also, the way this invests you in an NPC's safety and well-being; when that NPC is at risk, so too is your supply of soldiers. This link, between quests and the sandbox, is what provides interesting gameplay, as your character's connection to the world grows, making allies and enemies. In this sense, the impact of a quest is often more significant than the reward it offers.
A crucial change, in the nature of the quests themselves, is that the majority of quests, in Bannerlord, have multiple potential outcomes. As an example, when a character in a town tasks you with clearing out some thugs, who are occupying a local alley, upon meeting the gang, you are presented with a counter offer: go back to the quest-giver, extort money out of them for questioning the gang's authority and keep the profits for yourself. You can even clear out the thugs, as requested but instead of handing control back to the townsfolk, install your own men in the alley and begin a new criminal operation.
Pixel Privateers - Review
Posted: Mar 26, 2017, 03:13 pm by RPGWatch
Capsule Computers has reviewed the squad based tactical RPG Pixel Privateers:
Pixel Privateers Overview
Pixel Privateers is a squad based tactical RPG that features a vast universe to explore and plenty of loot to discover. The game emphasizes robust customization options with an interactive ship and deep skill trees. Players can opt to explore the universe alone or invite friends along to fill out their squad.
The plot of Pixel Privateers is a pretty standard sci-fi adventure with plenty of different factions attempting to stake out their little corner of the galaxy. The writing is decent and is rather light hearted for the most part. The story serves as a pleasant backdrop to Pixel Privateers that gives the gameplay a little bit of cohesion, but is no where near the game's main attraction.
Pixel Privateers is a solid little loot grinder that is complex enough to keep a player's attention. While the mission objectives are a bit predictable, the epic boss fights and co-op support more than make up for it. While the game's controls has a few quirks that requires a bit too much micromanaging at times, the game presents an enjoyable squad based RTS experience that is easy to learn and scales well to a large variety of skill levels.
Score: 8/10 - Great
Monster Slayers - Released
Posted: Mar 26, 2017, 03:13 pm by RPGWatch
Monster Slayers - a card based rogue-like - has been released on Steam:
Developed by Nerdook (Reverse Crawl, Vertical Drop Heroes), Monster Slayers is a complete reimagining of the free web-based hit of the same name, which has been played over 4 million times on gaming portal, Kongregate. A rogue-like deck-building RPG adventure, Monster Slayers uses an innovative card-based battle system and lets you customize a deck to suit your play style. Create a new hero to join the Monster Slayers Guild and choose your path through the perilous Northern Valley as you follow your quest to defeat the legendary Harbinger and become a true Monster Slayer.
Video Review by Cosmic Engine:
Battle undead goblins, lion outlaws, mighty dragons and other monstrous foes using a unique card-based combat system
Strategically shape your deck as you acquire new cards from merchants, treasure chests, and allies
Collect fame from each run to unlock new abilities that can be used by future heroes
Every playthrough is different: levels, enemy encounters and loot are randomly generated
Choose from six different classes: Rogue, Ranger, Knight, Barbarian, Cleric, Wizard
Recruit companions to join you on your quest and make use of their special abilities
Equip your hero with stat-boosting loot to improve the chances of victory
Fight for your place at the top of the Monster Slayers leaderboards
Inspired by the much-loved deck-building RPG, Dream Quest, created by Peter Whalen (Hearthstone)
Stonekeep - On Steam now
Posted: Mar 25, 2017, 08:53 pm by RPGWatch
The dungeon crawler Stonekeep is now available on Steam:
About Stonekeep: Immerse yourself in an epic experience more powerful and realistic than anything you've imagined. Using innovative technology Stonekeep draws you into its dark reaches so completely you'll forget it's just a game. Your feet will walk the ancient corridors. Your hands will wield weapons of metal and magic. You'll battle disembodied foes, rescue your allies from evil, liberate a massive dragon from bondage and discover an experience more realistic than you expected.
Step into the mystery of Stonekeep and begin a quest through dark corridors, treacherous sewers and subterranean realms of faeries, magic and the living dead. You'll discover a world where darkness reigns and where you become part of a detailed story line that unfolds at your command. Defeat evil, reclaim your immortal soul and experience an adventure you will never forget.
Reader's Choice Role-Playing Game Of the Year in 1996 (Computer Gaming World)
Journey through many fantasy locations like Fairy Land or a goblin-infested castle
Created by Christopher Taylor, one of the designers of Fallout and Fallout 2
Witcher 3 - Polish Witcher Trivia #2
Posted: Mar 25, 2017, 02:52 pm by RPGWatch
Gamepressure has an interesting article about Witcher lore:
Polish Witcher Trivia #2 - Hearts of Stone and its plot built around a Polish legend
After last part's Bruniwch and its relation to Polish literature, this week we're taking a look at the plot of Hearts of Stone and how it is built around a classic Polish legend.
Since you enjoyed the first part of our Polish Witcher Trivia series, it's time for a follow-up. For those of you who don't know what's going on, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has certain Easter eggs that are clear for the Polish audience, but players from other countries may have trouble understanding them. Two weeks ago I talked about Brunwich and its relation to Polish literature. This week, we're looking at the main plot theme of The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone and how it is built around a poem by Adam Mickiewicz - Pani Twardowska (Twardowski's Wife).
As we progress through the story, we come to a realization that Master Mirror is a powerful person, but we still don't know his true nature. The mysterious man admits that he signed a certain pact with von Everec and the agreement can be fulfilled only when Gaunter O'Dimm grants three of Olgierd's wishes and they stand together on the Moon. So let's take a closer look at Adam Mickiewicz's poem (as translated into English by Dorothea Prall Radin), which was inspired by a legend of Jan Twardowski and see where it gets us.
But before we get started, please note that the Beamdog Client is not our "next big thing" we've been working on for so long, only part of it. Watch out for more news on that soon!
The new Beamdog Client will run any product made by Beamdog, and we encourage you to try it out with your Enhanced Edition games. Just download, install, log-in, and point the new client at your existing games using the Find Existing Game button.
Why use the new Beamdog Client? Lots of reasons! In addition to easy updates, the new Beamdog Client features DRM-free versions of your purchased games, easy-to-access forum links, quick links to the latest versions of online game manuals, and better connections to support. Plus, buying directly from Beamdog helps us support the games you have and make more of the games you love!
Sharp eyed users will notice the new Beamdog Client supports products on Mac (we've specifically designed it to work well with Sierra) and Linux. Though Linux users will see an empty list where games should be, perhaps that's a sign of things to come in the future.
We'd like for our fans to use the Beamdog Client in the language of their choice. French, Polish, and German are just the start. Watch for more languages in future updates.
Siege of Dragonspear Collector's Editions Now Available!
Did you miss the Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Collector's Edition pre-order? We're excited to share that a LIMITED number of Collector's Editions are now available for purchase!
Choosing the right binary options broker can be very time-consuming. 7binaryoptions.com makes it much faster and easier.
Battle Brothers - Review @ AWNT
Posted: Mar 25, 2017, 08:43 am by RPGWatch
A Wargamers Needful Things has reviewed the tactical RPG Battle Brothers:
Battle Brothers, from Overhype Studios, is a game which took me by surprise in the best way. The first time I sat down with it and started playing, my only thought was "How has no one made a game like this before?!" This is one of those occasional titles which reminds you why you started playing video games in the first place. In case you haven't guessed yet, I really enjoyed the game. Read on to find out all the details, or just go buy the game now.
In Battle Brothers, the player takes on the leadership of a small company of mercenaries making their way in a low-fantasy world. The world, and everything in it, is randomly generated each time you start a campaign. Towns, each of different size and containing different amenities, are scattered across a world divided between a few noble houses. There is also a massive area of the world map which is completely shrouded in mystery at the beginning of your campaign. One will immediately be reminded of Mount & Blade when beginning their wanderings through the world, and if you played that classic, you will feel right at home here. Between these towns runs a network of roads cutting through forests, grasslands, deserts, swamps, and mountains. Trade caravans, squads of soldiers, and even other mercenary bands travel the roads. Lurking in the shadows on every side are groups of baddies, waiting to strike the defenseless peasants. This is where your mercenary company steps in to make some coin.
Even with all the content in he game, it's clearly a candidate for more of everything, you really couldn't have too much variety here. More quests, character backgrounds, events, enemies, world ending disasters, and weapons are always welcome. Some areas I would love to see expanded in a patch or DLC down the road would include deeper interactions with towns, more options for running the company itself, a more complex perk system, or even introducing more fantastical elements like magic or taking a step forward in tech (why not both?).
If you have read this far and are still interested in the game, I strongly urge you to go buy it. This is easily my favorite game of the year so far. Not because it has flashy graphics or an amazing storyline, but because it ticks so many boxes of what I want a game to be. It is fun through and through, and feels polished from the moment the game begins.
Release Date & Music Trailer
Our Action-RPG Shiness will arrive to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 18 April 2017 as revealed in today's Music Trailer.
The game's universe was born over 20 years ago from the pen strokes of Samir Rebib, our Artistic Director. In today's trailer, we invite you discovering the magical lands and characters of the Lightning Kingdom, accompanied by an entrancing, original soundtrack.
This gives you a first taste of the tracks that will accompany you along your journey. We have pumped all our energy and passion into Shiness, and in less than a month a child's dream finally becomes an indie-RPG with a bold personality... and enchanting music!
Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 18 April 2017.
Pre-orders for PC are open on Steam, and include the Official Shiness Manga, the Original Soundtrack and 15% off the game's price.
General News - Chris Avellone Interview
Posted: Mar 25, 2017, 08:43 am by RPGWatch
@Glixel they interviewed Chris Avellone about his career and what he thinks about various RPG things.
But when I sit down to play Planescape: Torment, I know I'm going to be reading a ton. I don't think that game is any weaker for it.
Well, Planescape's probably an example I'd point to where we never could have done what we wanted to do - like, showing characters' expressions - with the animation budget that we had. Nor could you actually even see it on the scale those characters were [drawn].
Ultimately, we had to describe a lot [using words], and that was a lot of fun. I think Planescape got a little bit of a pass because every NPC you talked to generally knew something about your character. That ended up motivating you to play through it. You're like, "I'll discover something powerful about myself if I keep talking to this person."
So you think the dialogue kept you going by making you feel grand and important?
Yeah. I think Planescape is perhaps one of the most selfish power fantasies I've ever written. Everything revolves around the player character.
Planescape: Torment is often cited as one of the best-written games ever made. How do you feel about the place it occupies in the canon?
Speaking as someone that thought they were going to get fired over that game, I'm extremely gratified by the reception. QA thought it was a very strange game, which is something you really never want to hear from QA. I wasn't sure what the reception was going to be. It was a lot of long hours with a small team. It's really cool that people responded strongly to it.
When did you realize that you would not, in fact, get fired?
Six months later, I'm like, "Oh wow, now I have some breathing room. It seems like I bought some time."
A lot of the games that you've ended up working on as a freelancer are isometric RPGs in that vein.
Actually, very few of the freelance projects I'm on are isometric RPGs. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the only one that comes close. I don't know how much more I have to add to the genre right now. I spent the last 10, maybe 15 years working on that style of game. What I'd like to do is see what other genres have done with storytelling and then, when I go back to isometric RPGs - which I eventually will - see how can I take the elements those other genres have figured out about story, and bring that into the isometric RPG, to make the experience even stronger.
So you're certain that you'll go back to isometric RPGs? Is that stuff in your bones?
Yeah. I may just go back to the pen-and-paper route. The idea of gazing down at a battle mat and moving your miniatures around - that's something I've always really enjoyed. As long as that's not the only thing I'm ever doing, as long as I'm trying to learn in other ways. That's what makes me happy.
I think the advantage of different genres is that, as a designer, you end up creating mechanics and systems that are designed to enforce that genre.
We as an audience fetishize choice in games - we love being able to choose what our characters are going to say. Do you think that propagating that has come with any negative side effects?
I almost worry it's a technical limitation. Sometimes, it's hard to decide why a player is doing something, and that's why dialogue is important. It gives the player character an opportunity to go, "Here is why I'm doing this." It's otherwise almost impossible to tell.
When we were doing Alpha Protocol, for example - it was an espionage RPG - we didn't focus on a morality meter. We just focused on what the outside world would think of your actions, and then we'd use that as consequences despite why you're really doing it. Because that felt more "secret agent-y." I think that applies to a lot of games. You [as a player] have to make an internal choice. You know why you're doing it. The world may not understand, but that's why you have to make the hard decisions - because you know more than the outside world does.
LOST ALPHA - DEVELOPER'S CUT Release Announcement
"If you only knew where I've just been and what I've seen". You remember this one? Well it was a long road up until now, but there is finally a sun shining over us brightly. After almost three years, we can confidently announce the release date of Lost Alpha Director's Cut. Let's talk about some other things first though.
Deadlines. We all love them, right? No, really, they suck. But a deadline has to be set for every project, or else it will never be finished. Setting up the deadline is as critical as meeting it. We have a large team of game enthusiasts with years of experience in development. However everyone is doing this project in his free time, and as the years passing by, the less free time we have. Just wanted to mention that it took us so many years to make this DC because we barely had the time for it. It's not a completely new game, it's however the game we had in our mind. Initially, we planned to release the game today, on the 10th anniversary of the release of Shadow of Chernobyl outside of the US. Sadly however, this can't be done, which smoothly brings us over to...
The bugs. Yes, we also love bugs, right? Who doesn't? Well, some people do, but exotic cuisine isn't the scope of this project. Bugs are the bane of software developers, and bugs have plagued us from the beginning of development, and even onto the initial release of LA. We admit that the release version wasn't as stable as we wanted it, but it was a rushed decision after the unexpected leak, and that's precisely why we're giving ourselves just a bit more time - to squish the greatest bugs, so DC will be a more polished game than vanilla Lost Alpha was. But in case some bugs manage to escape unnoticed, we plan to update DC post-release, likely also adding some new content. We have 2 new levels in production, and many new features, which we will uncover later this year. Speaking about stuff we have done so far, here is an updated changes log: click here!
The release date. Yes, what everyone was waiting for. The final release date for Lost Alpha Developer's Cut is the 26th of April 2017, 31 years after the tragic events in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant transpired, which many years later inspired the guys at GSC Game World to create one of the greatest game franchises ever. So that's it for today. See you in slightly over a month! Feel free to contact us via e-mail email@example.com, or on Facebook (search for dezowave page and lost alpha group)! By the way, the last screenshot is from one of our new levels in production.
Lords of Xulima II - About the Sequel
Posted: Mar 24, 2017, 08:23 pm by RPGWatch
Numatian Games explains the difficulty level of their Lords of Xulima sequel:
The Sequel: More casual or more hardcore? Greetings!
Recently, there have been some hot discussions in the forum about if the sequel of Lords of Xulima would be more casual to attract more potential buyers or more hardcore to please the old-school fans. So we would like to talk about this topic and clarify this aspect before the rivers of blood flood the forum.
First, don't confuse Accessible with Casual
A game can be more casual or more hardcore independently of their accessibility level. Lords of Xulima is big, challenging and deep, with lots of mechanisms and possibilities but, it is very accessible. It is very easy and simple to play (move the avatar, talk with NPCs, disarm traps, level up, combat...). We dedicated a lot of work to achieve that level of simplicity of playing. On contrast, old-school games seemed much more hardcore than they actually were because of their obscure and awkward interfaces.
We will always try to make the games as accessible as possible so any player can play it, but with the same level of challenge and depth as they were originally designed.
So how will the sequel be?
Let's just say that in Numantian Games, we will always focus on creating deep and challenging games. It is our seal and always will be. So, of course, it won't be a casual game and it won't have casual options to disable mechanisms of the game. We will use the same method for casual players: a low difficulty mode, but they will have to play the same game with the same mechanisms (food, traps, encounters...) as any other player.
Indeed, the game will be even more challenging, more open, with more depth, more options to evolve the party, and many more secrets. There will be a special ending that will be a truly hardcore experience and more special rewards for the higher difficulties.
Rage, Blood and Ragnarok. Vikings - Wolves of Midgard Unleashes Today
Join the Ulfung wolf clan in an epic battle for survival as Kalypso's brutal combat focused Action RPG launches across Europe
Sharpen your axe, make your blood sacrifice to your deity and prepare to embark on an epic and brutal adventure as you journey to the Shores of Midgard, a world based upon the mythology and bloody history of the Vikings. Take on the endless evil forces by becoming either a Viking warrior or shieldmaiden and master several weapon styles and magical abilities as you battle increasingly challenging enemies and boss encounters. Combat styles include sword and shield, two-handed hammer, staff, bow and dual-wield axes, and by collecting resources and special runes on your adventures you'll be able to use the game's in-depth crafting system to upgrade your equipment. Dedicated explorers will also be able to find legendary weapons and armors as well as Artifact weapons tucked away in each of the levels to unlock the most powerful gear in the game. Alongside items and materials, the other key resource you'll be harvesting is blood, used to level up and earn Gift points, which in turn unlock special powers called 'Gifts of the Gods'.
To celebrate the launch of Vikings - Wolves of Midgard Kalypso has prepared a short featurette video showing some of the brutal combat and epic boss battles you will encounter on your journey to stop Ragnarok - the end of days.
Downloads currently hosted on SP: 1157
Adventurers currently exploring SP: 163
Forumites currently online:
Has Sorcerer's Place been useful? If you'd like to show your appreciation for our hard work on the site, and help us pay the bills the site generates every month, please consider helping support SP. Thank you!