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LONG BLOG

Cblogs of 02/06/14 + The Fateless Swiftmage-isms

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Were you expecting more Pokémon? I bet you were expecting more Pokémon. Well, it’s not quite that. Make no mistake, I’m still massively addicted to cramming elemental warriors in tiny balls to have them slavishly obey my every order, but another game came around that got me at least just as addicted.

That game is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.



For those of you who missed it, last week this game was on sale on Steam, for the first time in fuck if I know how long (not to mention that I’m not even sure who has the rights to this game anymore; who authorized this?).  Now I’m normally not into WRPGs for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, I had been waiting for this game to go on sale for the longest time. Why? Because if the things I had heard were right, Kingdoms of Amalur would be a WRPG unlike any of its kind, one that fixes the greatest problem I tend to have with the genre.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a WRPG where the combat is NOT SHIT.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not faulting anyone for liking WRPGs as a genre, but you can’t honestly tell me that the combat is the highlight in most WRPGs. Sure, Skyrim is probably great for its huge world, massive number of sidequests and all the customization options, but its combat? Not so much. Tried some of The Witcher and Divinity II: both have the same problem. They’re probably good, but definitely not for their combat. Fable, Gothic? Same deal, as far as I know. The only exceptions I can think of are Mass Effect, Fallout and Borderlands, but that’s cheating because they stole all the good parts from shooters anyway.  

So basically, Kingdoms was the one WRPG I was waiting for, and boy did it pay off. In fact, this game went further in making its combat satisfying than even I had thought it would.

You see, if and when I play RPGs, I like to be a Mage character. There’s just something about slinging fireballs and lightning bolts around that’s incredibly satisfying to me, at least much more so than any sword. There is one problem with most Mages, however: it’s all fun and games until an enemy gets all up in your grill. And they will come all up in your grill because there’s no way you’re going to have enough mana to take out an enemy horde before it gets to you, and that’s not even taking into account Cooldown time. At such a time, you’re stuck bashing people’s head in with your staff, a tactic that is usually only slightly more effective than politely asking them to leave.

Not so in Kingdoms of Amalur. In this game, Mages and Rogues can fight on equal terms with any Warrior, albeit using different weaponry and being less durable. Mages’ staves, for instance, aren’t simply for bashing people’s heads in anymore. In this game, each staff has an elemental effect that has great spread and range and can do a significant amount of damage. It’s definitely not second best to a sword or axe anymore. Second there are scepters, which are your ranged weapons of choice (unless you do something rather unique, which I’ll come to later). Finally, there are the chakrams, and these things are fucking rad is what they are. Basically, they’re magical ringshaped blades that you throw in front of you to make what may as well be a whirlwind of sharp metal. It’s hard to describe, but take my word for it that they’re cool as all hell. Which, obviously, is why I’m using them.



But Kingdoms allows you to go further than even that. It is no doubt common in WRPGs that you can mix and match skills and abilities in any way you desire. You can buff your Mage or make your Warrior faster. In Kingdoms, however, you can indulge in any class combination you desire; you wouldn’t simply be making a slightly faster Mage anymore, you’re making a full-on Rogue/Mage who is equally skilled in sticking a knife up some dude’s backside as in making him explode with his mind. This mechanic opens up some neat possibilities that other games don’t usually have. I mean, in how many games can you be a Rogue/Mage or Warrior/Rogue?

Myself, I went with a Rogue/Mage build, with an ever so slight emphasis on Mage. I’m investing rather heavily in Rogueish bow-based skills, because BOWS, and in the Mage’s spells and Chakram damage. By now, what usually happens to the enemy is the following: I see him from a distance, pump his ass full of arrows (thereby also poisoning him), hitting him with some magic, and should he have the strength left to get anywhere near me killing him with the Chakrams. Chakram combat is really fast, and combine that with some shortrange teleports and the enemy won’t even know where to look half the time. I love it.

I’m officially dubbing this class the Swiftmage, because they're fast buggers who'll kill you before you even get a lock on them. I don’t care what the game says it’s called. I also know that name sucks, but then there's nothing you can do to stop me, is there?

Finally, as for the story there isn’t much to say yet. I’m not all that far into the story yet, being sidetracked by OCD sidequests all the time, but I liked what I saw so far. At least the basic premise of the game; that everyone’s fates are already set in stone except yours, is very promising. As "the Fateless", it allows you to do things other people couldn’t ever do, and it allows you to mess with the story to save people from their foretold death or killing them when they should’ve lived. You not only get to save lives, you get to give people lives they never should’ve had. I’m not sure if this will be explored further later on, but it has promise in spades. I hope it pays off.

I did encounter a weird little thing in the story though, although I admit that it was technically my own fault. You see, very early in the game you meet a mysterious Dark Elf Dokkalfar, who has “plot-relevant” written on her forehead (well, that and “fanservice”). The thing is though, by sheer happenstance, this woman looks EXACTLY LIKE MY CHARACTER. That is to say, the character I made in the Editor at the start of the game is just...HER.



I mean, really look at us!



If I lost the bitchin’ facial tattoo and like five layers of clothing I’d BE HER.

Of course, the game expects me not to notice anything, and how could it do anything else? Alyn Shir seems to be made up off the same Character Editor parts as I am, and I just so happen to have chosen exactly the same ones for my character as the devs did for theirs.

Apparently me and the Kingdoms devs have an eerily similar taste in Elf women. I don’t know if I should find that disturbing or strangely reassuring.

* - I love these "video game lifestory" blogs. Major Grimbly's isn't all that pleasant all the time, but that just makes it all the more amazing how much of an influence video games have had on his life.

A - We don't always appreciate what we have here as gamers. The past, while nostalgic for good reason, has nothing on the present.

A - SSG Gambit shares some thoughts on where Nintendo went wrong with the WiiU, but reinsures us all that they're not going anywhere anytime soon.




- Also, this game be pretty




- Alyn Shir? Or me after getting that tattoo removed and apparently my fashion sense with it? We may never know....

R - A straight-up review for an old game. It's alright though, because it's X-men.

R - And a review for a not-old game: White Knight Chronicles. Realtalk: I cannot BEGIN to tell you how much I hate the term "white knight", so this game already lost me there.




- Oh, and then there's these guys. There's not much to tell about them as of yet, but I may have kinda sorta accidentally/deliberately killed a bunch of them to become their queen. I swear that wasn't my fault.

R - Blizzard is releasing a new pet on their store to aid charity...great right? But what if they ARE the charity!?




- Finally, buttshot. And also Chakrams again.



- ShadeOfLight
May you always find water and shade

FPotD
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About CblogRecapsone of us since 11:27 PM on 07.02.2008

About Cblog Recaps

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Current "Bloggers Wanted" assignment

Villains that did nothing wrong

Villains in all media, not just video games, can end up being a dime a dozen. Far too often, a villain's motives boil down to "I am a bad, and so I do bad things. Fear me." While this format has worked for countless stories, at this point in my life (the ripe old age of 20) I’ve become jaded and grumpy, finding myself rolling my eyes when I see yet another antagonist wreaking havoc with no background or reasoning presented as to why they’re being such a butthole.

What’s far more interesting to me is when a villain’s motives or actions come across as justified, perhaps leaving you rooting for them to defeat the protagonist [insert Elder God Tier villain meme here].

My favorite example of this would be Meruem from the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter. While he doesn’t necessarily fit the exact mold I laid out above, he’s easily one of the most dynamic and curious villains I’ve ever come across. For the sake of not spoiling what is perhaps one of the most exciting, action-packed, and tear-inducing arcs in anime history, I won’t delve into the details of what makes Meruem so great. Instead I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen Hunter x Hunter to set aside some time and plow through the series. Really, it’s that good.

But hey, that’s just how I feel. I’m sure there are folks out there who prefer their villains to be simple. If I ever met one of these theoretical people I might have a panic attack, but I’ll deal with that should the time come. I’m sure after some deep breaths we would get along. Maybe we could even snuggle, should my husband allow such an event to transpire.

All said and done, we arrive at the topic of this month’s Bloggers Wanted: Villains that did nothing wrong. Due to communication errors, this entry in the hallowed halls of Bloggers Wanted is a tad late. Regardless, all you have to do is head over to the Community Blog section of the site, and whip up a Cblog about a villain who you feel was secretly the good guy all along.

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