Last week, I told you a little bit about my first steps into the wonderful world of the Level-5 Guild01 games. At the end, I asked you about some of the other games in the series, and whether or not they would be worth buying as well. In particular, I asked whether I should give Crimson Shroud a shot even though I’m mostly unfamiliar with Dungeons and Dragons or tabletop games in general.
But either none of you poopyheads has ever played Crimson Shroud, or you were simply too goshdarned lazy to tell me about it. Considering the later would be an unforgiveable Destructoid sin punishable by playing 24 hours of Dungeon Keeper iOS, I’m going to assume it was the former and just leave it at that.
Still, because even after last week’s Recaps I still didn’t have much to go on, I was faced with a dilemma for the ages. To buy Crimson Shroud, or not to buy? Seeing as I just spent two paragraphs introducing the topic, I bet you already know what I ended up deciding. Last Monday, I decided to take a leap of faith for once in my life, and shell out €3 for Crimson Shroud….
And I haven’t regretted it in the slightest!
I have about 5 or so hours in this game by now, and I’m enjoying it quite a lot. Simply put, this game is just oozing charm out of its every pore. The dialogue, which is provided through text by an omniscient narrator channeling his inner Dungeon Master, I find to be very well written. It almost comes across as a visual novel akin to 999 or Virtue’s Last Reward. I can’t honestly say that Crimson Shroud’s write is quite on that level, but it’s definitely close enough for my tastes. It’s a good thing too, because this game contains quite literally no animations (just static images), so unless the story was well told you wouldn’t have any clue what was going on.
As it stands, though, the visuals and the text complement each other quite well indeed. What’s cool about the visuals, for example, is that every single character is represented by a statue. As in an actual tabletop game statue or figurine, complete with pedestal and all. They don’t so much move as hop around a little bit, and most of the time not even that. While this could have gone horribly wrong, I find that the statues have a lot of charm and personality to them, which as I said is only further complemented by the excellent writing that brings it home. The 3D is also used to great effect, making the characters appear more “real” and much less static than you’d think would be possible for a pair of statues. It’s something unlike you have ever seen in a video game, and I can tell you that it’s quite fun to see in “action”. If nothing else, I recommend Crimson Shroud for this aspect alone.
The combat system is alright, but nothing spectacular. You have a Warrior character, a Rogue character and a Mage character, who all obviously have their strengths and weaknesses. Other than that, combat is your standard turnbased fare of selecting your attacks, magic or (de)buffs and hoping that you kill the bad guys before the bad guys kill you. But actually, that’s not quite doing the game justice. For such a small RPG, the combat system in this game has surprisingly many features and strategy to it. For example, if you use magic from different elements in a row (which the enemy can either contribute to or disrupt) you gain additional dice. During every action, you can select a number of the dice you have collected this way, which you can then assign to boost either accuracy or power of your move. Provided, of course, you roll a good score! There are several things like that which both add to the tabletop charm this game already oozes with, and make the gameplay a little more interesting than just being your standard JRPG. I find it to be quite fun, so recommended!
- Also, you roll the dice by actually rolling them on the touchscreen. Someone deserves a medal for that idea.
Still, all is not well in the land of Crimson Shroud, as there are some problems with it. For me they were far from gamebreaking, but it’s still something I feel the need to point out to those of you who may have already become interested in buying it. First of all, the game’s plot and worldbuilding suffers a little from being such a small and short game. There are interesting concepts here, such as sciencefiction-esque technology that can replace arms and eyes (even allowing you to see “smells”), a race of magically gifted humans and the granting of magic to mankind by either the devil or God (nobody really knows). The full extent of these points aren’t always addressed by the game, and it is heavily hinted that there exists a huge world outside of what we get to see, but the developers simply aren’t able to do anything with it because it’s such a small project. It sometimes makes it difficult to figure out who’s who, what they want and why we should care. I really do feel that there’s good stuff in this game, but it would’ve been so much better if this story could be fully explored on a bigger scale as a retail 3DS title or something.
Gameplay-wise, the only gripe I currently have is that the game doesn’t always make it clear what you have to do next. Sometimes revisiting areas you’ve already been before leads to new options in conversations or even to the characters finding Key Items they simply “missed” the first time round. So unless you decide on a whim to check back on an earlier area, you might very well be stuck for a while. At one point, you even need to obtain a random drop from a certain enemy in order to progress, but the game doesn’t tell you that you have to do this, nor does it tell you what the item in question even is. Personally I did get past this area, but I have no idea how I did it. I figure I must have obtained that item somewhere along the line, but I still have no idea which of the many items in my hoard of crap was the one I needed. So again, you might get stuck and/or frustrated at that point.
Still, the above two points couldn’t spoil the fun I had with Crimson Shroud, and neither should they spoil yours. If you like JRPGs and tabletop RPGs, this game is nothing short of a loveletter aimed directly at you. If you simply feel like playing a less long and thus more approachable JRPG that oozes with the charm of rolling dice and moving statues, this game is for you. At 3 bucks in the current 3DS eShop sale, I wholeheartedly recommend picking it up.
Well, I did it. Or maybe it's actually the second time I've done it but it still feels good.
I bought my girlfriend some underwear.
Mind you despite going to Vicky Secret, I didn't buy anything lacy as shit. Actually, I got her a pretty comfy bra. But I didn't go to that massively PINK place where they emblazon PINK on girls' asses for comfy. In actuality, this gift for her is a gift for me. My birthday is fast approaching on March 11 and this has got to pay dividends. STOCK MARKETING FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.
A thong? Look, let's just say I am a civilized barbarian. If I'm going to crush my enemies, I'm going to do with honor. I ain't gonna stab them and twist it while I'm at it. So I'm not going to put my girlfriend through wearing one of those things.
I actually learned what hip huggers are. Panties curved so that they're still panties but you see a lot more cheek. I learned something that day.
Actually, I'd always wanted to see my girlfriend wear boyshorts style panties. They look friggin cute on her anyways. But there's such a charming way about boyshorts on a girl. So playful and cute!
I got her a Perry plush from Phineas & Ferb. You know, that green platypus that sometimes wear's a fedora and kicks some old guy's ass because he's kind of evil? Green, has a beaver tail, bugged out eyes, makes weird noises? Basically me. Weird. I got $20 on the Nintendo eShop because she knows me. Only question is, what should I spend it on?
I haven't played Mario & Luigi Dream Team yet. I know its got mixed reviews but it's still Mario & Luigi after all. I wonder what else is there on the e-nevermind I'll just get Dream Team.
But if you have a better idea, I'd be open to it. What am I gonna do? Play Bravely Default?
Do to a bit of a mix up, I'll be covering for MacManus. I think he got caught in a timewarp or something, because he did Monday's CAPS this week. (At least someone did, right? HAHA. The last couple Monday's should be up soon.)
They were not numerous, and mostly pocast posts. Phew! S'go.
I wonder what it feels like to be one of the grunts.
When you see the pilots outfitted in their top-of-the-line gear - the jumppacks, the kinetic redistribution body suit, the advanced helmets with IR tactical feeds, the collapsible assault rifles and rapid fire micro-rocket launchers, knowing that they have a multi-ton robot waiting on their beck and call for an orbital drop – how does it feel to be stuffed into a cramped drop pod with 5 other random dudes? When they shove a rusty rifle with all the accuracy of a rental paintball marker into your hands and tell you that your body armour is "confidence"? I mean, they know it can't end well right? Do they ever request that the Spectre robots get dropped into the battle first? If the robots are billed as "disposable", what does that say about the poor shumcks they drop in BEFORE them to soak up artillery fire? It really seems like a raw deal.
These are the questions I ponder while scrapping the red mush of a former grunt off the fist of my Titan.
The internet really boiled down the discussion about the AI troops in Titanfall quick didn't it? The beta has only been out for a short time, but we already have our narrative and strawmen ready to go. The doddering old timers and limp casuals who have the gall to like the NPCs on one hand, and the bloodthirsty 13 year old "xX420BluntzXx" of the gaming world who have nothing but disdain for such cheap populace diversions on the other.
And people wonder why developers never try anything new?
The main criticism I see levied against the NPC grunts is that they are too harmless to meaningfully factor into the game. You have to go out of your way to get yourself killed by them, which essentially renders them moot. Players who spend time taking them out to "help their team" are accomplishing little else but painting a bullseye on their back for the infinitely more lethal human controlled Pilots. There is a belief that the AI troops only exist to validate "bads"who want to pantomime at contributing to the team despite a glaring lack of skill.
In a way, I suppose this is true. But in a much more accurate way, it's completely wrong. And I don't know why people don't get it.
The AI troops are essentially the same as creep waves from a MOBA. They don't exist as an actual threat, but as a tricky resource to exploit. While the direct helpfulness of killing grunts is dubious, the benefit of getting a Titan sooner by racking up a good number of points off them should be clear to anyone. Of course it's always going to be better to take out a real player character (just like in DOTA), but failing that, you might as well do what you can to tip the odds in your favour as much as possible, IE, farming creeps/grunts to get your skills/Titan faster than the other guy. Once you're in a Titan, it's worth going out of your way to stomp a few extra grunts since that will power up your core ability faster (the firepower enhancing Damage Core in the Atlas' case) and give you a dramatic advantage when you run into an enemy Titan.
When it comes to the sturdier robot Spectres, there is even more reason to target them. While again, the Spectres aren't exactly threatening, they do pose one significant problem – they target Titans. They don't do much damage of course, but their tiny little weapon blasts stop a Titan's shields from regenerating. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to withdraw from a fight to regen only to be harried by a group of android fuckwits. It's worth the extra effort to get rid of them, and if you can swing it, it's worth hacking a group of them. They don't do much, but anything you can do to put momentum on your side is a solid course of action.
I suspect that this isn't a hard concept to understand. I don't think I'm somehow the only one with the razor sharp acumen and sagely wisdom to crack the Da Vinci Code of the game. I'd wager that 80% of the trolls cluttering up comment sections across the web understand the practical benefit of the NPC troops, both in terms of gameplay and public perception (while the grunts do add to the game, it is reasonable to assume that Respawn was looking for ways to draw in a broader, less-FPS dedicated, audience by providing some easy targets), they'd have to be staggeringly stupid not to (although it IS the internet...)
So why is this such a hot topic? Why are commenters carrying on this kayfabe of actually giving a shit about a non-issue? That's actually a far more interesting question that bleeds into all sorts of areas - the exclusionary nature of "hardcore gamer" identity, collateral damage of the console war (diehard Sony supporters MUST find criticisms for the one genuinely exciting Xbone exclusive), the insanely negative nature of online gaming communities that is scaring off devs and stifling conversation, and so on.
It's weird. I'm not even interested in defending the game design (even though in my personal estimation it's a pretty slick addition to the genre), I'm just fascinated by the number of people who are being intentionally, vocally, obtuse about the point of what seems to be a rather obvious and superfluous inclusion.
In the weird melting pot of modern game design - where shooters borrow stat progression and character building from RPGs, where RPGs take ideas from rhythm games, and action games veer closer and closer to fighting game technicality – I would never have thought that an FPS taking a pinch of flavour from MOBAs would be the breaking point.
Especially when we've seen it before (Monday Night Combat must get terribly jaded that nobody remembers it. Maybe it can sit at the bar and sulk next to Brink, the first FPS to try and weave story elements into multiplayer).
Sometimes it gets a little exhausting to pay attention to the gaming community.
Hey dummies! These recaps are a day late because of Titanfall. Because I played Titanfall for the first time yesterday. A lot. I know the feelings toward the game have been more than a little mixed here in the Dtoid community but I for one am in love.
It's been a long time since I've gotten into a shooter, let alone a multiplayer only competitive shooter but Titanfall just offers everything I could want from such a game. You don't have to play obsessively to feel like you're actually competing with other players. You also don't immediately die every two seconds, and best of all, you have a giant ass mech to pilot!
The game just does such a great job of making you feel like a complete badass as well. There's nothing quite like running a long a wall and jumping between buildings only to jump from one, land on an enemy mech, and then hijack his shit and destroy the enemy team!
The team behind the game has also done a great job of crafting a world that feels like Halo meets COD but somehow original all at the same time. Having your commanding officer pop up on your screen to let you know that your titan will be ready soon really gets you immersed in the world.
I could go on and on but really all you need to know is that this is a fantastic shootman game that has giant punching mechs that shoot rockets. I'm going to be preordering this on my next paycheck and I'm gonna go play some more of it right now. If you are also playing feel free to shoot me an Origin invite, crackityjones205
Hope you all had a good Valentine's Day Weekend. I know I did. Wanna know why? Cause my date was Kevin fucking Spacey.
I can't get over how good House of Cards is. I love it, and normally I detest political dramas. Never liked The West Wing, loathed Commander in Chief, and utterly abhorred Franklin & Bash.
But House of Cards man. Maybe it's that Breaking Bad has given me a taste for a good anti-hero, and I mean a GOOD anti-hero. Piss off Low Winter Sun.
I'm only halfway through the new season and I can't believe all that has happened. My roommates are just now at the end of the first season and the difference between where I am and where they are would have been three seasons worth of plot developments on any other show. It's dense, it's fairly fucked up, and Spacey pretty much does the best southern accent ever. I love it.