The specter of Diablo looms large over the action-RPG genre; most games borrow heavily from Blizzard's seminal game and those games' success is usually judged on how close they stick to the formula and how well they execute on that.
While it's tempting to praise a game for breaking away from some of the genre's conventions in order to make itself stand out from the crowd, Sacred 3 has stripped away so many of the things that make an APRG fun. Stats? Pretty much gone. Loot? Almost none. A really enjoyable combat system? Nope.
Oh, and there's people talking wince-inducing garbage over the whole thing.
Steel Empire is a game that not many people were able to experience, sadly. As a child, you likely only had access to either a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, which cut out a ton of potential classics for you to play and cherish as time's cold embrace passed you by.
I was very lucky to experience it for a few brief days attending a friend's house many years ago, and now, thanks to the magic of porting, everyone can give it a go on the 3DS. As long as the price point isn't too rich for your blood, you should jump on this opportunity.
Gods Will Be Watching is a tough game. It puts the player in positions that they'd rather not be in and asks them to make difficult choices. In order to succeed at a mission, you may have to do unthinkable things, betray your morals, and become a monster just to survive a little longer.
It's also tough in another sense: the game is bloody hard.
A pastime needn't necessarily be transcendent to make for an experience enjoyable. So long as there's a hook, something to keep one captivated throughout the journey's duration, it's easy enough to look beyond some frayed edges and just enjoy the ride.
In the case of Battle Princess of Arcadias, the hook never really manifests. The action role-playing game casts out some nice ideas, but none are quite compelling enough to really reel one in.
When many Warcraft fans hear the name Naxxramas, it conjures up memories of late nights and pizza, while taking on the tough-as-nails raid in World of Warcraft (or as I know it, Naxx). It was one of the most enjoyable areas of the franchise lore-wise, as it focused on some of the more nefarious villains in the series' realm.
Archlich Kel'Thuzad returns as the big bad in Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas, but you won't be able to fight him right away. Yep, that's right, each "wing" of the DLC will unlock over the course of five weeks, and although the first wing is free, each wing will cost in-game currency or real money.
It's an interesting way to deliver DLC, and so far, it's more than enough to get me back into Hearthstone.
Chemistry is governed by a definite set of rules. Opposite charges attract, like dissolves like, matter is always conserved. There are more rules than just those, but one of the great things about the study of matter and its interactions is that if one truly understands the rules and laws governing chemicals, he can predict outcomes given a set of preconditions.
In that sense, Sokobond has even more in common with chemistry than it lets on. Though it boasts that no chemistry knowledge is required to play, it too runs on a specific set of rules, and any player who internalizes those rules can find success in-game. As a fortunate side effect, any who spend time connecting atoms in Sokobond might just learn something about chemistry too.
The last episode of The Walking Dead was probably my favorite one yet -- and that's including all of Lee's tale from the first season. Clem has made the switch from tough to full-on badass depending on your choices, and it's clear that she is fully a part of some of the horrific life-or-death choices in the world.
Clem can no longer hold onto her innocence and fall back on her young appearance -- at this point, many decisions have been made that cannot be taken back, and the rest of the group is starting to notice it. That hook right there is what makes Amid the Ruins such a great tale, even if it doesn't have the same wow factor as its predecessor.
2014 has been very good to me, but Dark Souls II is one of my favorite games of the year. Many debates have raged on as to whether or not it's as exceptional as its predecessor (Demon's Souls is better than both), but having played it prior to launch without any hints or guides, I heartily enjoyed getting lost in its labyrinthine tunnels and deadly arenas.
The Crown of the Sunken King DLC expands that goodness by about five to ten hours depending on your skill level, and even if it's one of the less remarkable levels in the game, it's still worth playing.
Splatoon might be getting a lot of hype for Wii U squid battling, but it is not the first game featuring a squid squad to grace the console. Earlier this year, Squids made its jump from iOS to the Wii U with Squids Odyssey, and it even blazed a trail for cross buy on Nintendo systems.
Squids combines two disparate gameplay elements: tactical role-playing and skill-based slingshot physics. Squids Odyssey takes the original game, the sequel Squids Wild West, and adds in even more levels, characters, and hats into an impressively large package. That said, the package seems better suited for mobile than home console.
One of the first games I ever played on PlayStation was Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. I remember opening up the jewel case, adorned by a creepy looking creature with his mouth sewn shut, with no idea of what to expect. Over the course of the next few weeks I became acquainted with that creature called Abe, and slowly made my way through the difficult puzzle platformer at a slow, but steady pace.
2014's New N' Tasty is basically a recreation of that same experience from 1997, for better and for worse.
The last time we left off in our assessment of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3, I had experienced most of the tertiary level content, ready to face off against the big boss Ramuh himself in his true form, alongside of playing more Frontlines PVP and of course, more hunting.
Over the past week and a half I've tried just about everything there is to try, and I found that overall, it's getting people to do a diverse array of content -- as opposed to 2.2 which generally funneled people into a few venues. It's not the most balanced patch, but it adds a ton of stuff to do other than grind out end-game tokens, and I'm sure that makes a lot of former subscribers happy.
One Piece games are kind of up in the air at this point in terms of quality. Just when I thought Pirate Warriors had solidified that seal of quality from the franchise, Romance Dawn snuck up and stole most of that good will.
Thankfully One Piece Unlimited World Red is not only a much more valiant effort by a completely separate developer (Ganbarion), but it avoids the trap of having to re-explain the story all over again, as Red is an original tale.
One thing you can't accuse Chilean developer ACE Team of doing is ploughing the same, well trodden ground as other indie devs. Its debut hit Zeno Clash combined a surrealistic art style with first-person, melee combat, while the studio's follow-up title, Rock of Ages, combined Super Monkey Ball with a Monty Python-esque romp through classical history.
Abyss Odyssey is the studios' third original title and again, its setting is unique from anything else I've seen in videogames. The structure of the game different, too -- a combination of procedurally-generated levels, 2D platforming, intricate combat systems and online, community-driven progression. It doesn't always fit these elements together seamlessly but when it does, Abyss Odyssey still has that "just one more go" factor.
MMOs are constantly evolving beasts. Particularly in the subscription realm, developers are always searching for ways to keep players hooked, usually in the form of major updates -- big content patches that help ease the wait between even bigger expansions. The latest MMO to get an overhaul is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which is seeing its "Defenders of Eorzea" patch this week, bringing up the current version of the game to 2.3.
If you're like me, then you'll have staggered out of a pub, wandered home, and then tried to fill in the blanks but, like a favorite song of mine says, it's just the best bits that are colored in.
I can't honestly say there's been nights out where I've drawn a total blank but I know my mates and co-workers have repeatedly needed me to fill in the blanks ("You mean you don't remember swearing at the boss, then throwing up in the corner?") and that's never fun.
Caroline, the protagonist in 4PM -- a short interactive story from developer Bojan Brbora -- is having one of those days. What happened last night, why is the room spinning, and shouldn't she be at work?
When I was a kid, I loved watching Gundam Wing and the original Mobile Suit Gundam on Cartoon Network. The mecha genre has always been a personal favorite of mine so I tried to capture the same feeling while playing a video game as I had watching Gundam anime and pretending that I was Heero Yuy or Amuro Ray.
With interest in Gundam on the rise in the US after the Cartoon Network runs, some of the games were finally localized for North America. I thought I’d finally be able to play through the stories I loved so much, picking up Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo as soon as it came out and the disappointment I had in that game resonates with me today. It sure didn’t feel like I was in command of the mobile suit that won the One Year War. I felt like I was in control of a robot-shaped RC car.
Luckily, I was finally able to find the game that would finally reproduce the warm and fuzzy feelings that viewing Gundam for the first time did so long ago, and who would have thought it would have come in the form of a Dynasty Warriors game?