Tag: RPG

Dragon’s Crown: Questing on the go

Dragon’s Crown is a hack and slash, beat ’em up, with some RPG elements mixed in. The eye catching artwork is the bait but the fast and furious gameplay is the real draw. Prepare to fight your way through horizontally, scrolling worlds, building up your experience points and weapon stash as you progress. The combination of proper preparation and button-mashing resonates with me.

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E3 2012: home viewing guide

Once again, it’s that time of year to gaze upon the oracle of gaming-to-come, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). My NeverEnding Story of trying to get inside is still being written. The gatekeepers to the kingdom of gaming (the E3 committee Sphinxes’) have thwarted even my most “Atreyuian” moves towards the gates.
Nevertheless, E3 2012 is happening June 5-7th with major keynote addresses starting on Monday, June 4th. You’re viewing choices have grown (slightly) this year over last, with more network choices and dedicated streams over the Internet. Televised on Spike TV and sister Viacom Media Networks, including MTV2; MTVU; VH1; Tr3s: Música y Másand will all air the coverage simultaneously. Check your local listings for their correct channels. The Microsoft keynote will be airing for the first time on XBox Live through an app called: Playbook 360. I’m starting to wonder if by attending E3 you actually risk not seeing everything; and the best move may be getting all the information in one massive media download.

It’s interesting to ponder what’s in store and its affect on how the industry is fairing. E3 has high expectations associated with it, namely first look at new consoles. While I personally don’t think we will be seeing any new hardware besides the Wii U, there are some highly anticipated games we can expect to hear about.

The Gamedae E3 2012: Home Viewing Guide is below.


GAMEDAE E3 2012: Home Viewing Guide
A Guide to Where and When to get the most of E3 from your Couch.
UPDATED AS NEW URLS BECOME AVAILABLE

FRIDAY JUNE 1st (Weekend before the expo)

10:30 PST / 1:30am EST || Konami Pre-E3 Show

SUNDAY JUNE 3rd
 || Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 2012

MONDAY JUNE 4th (day before the expo opens)

9:30am PST / 12:30pm EST || XBox: Entertainment Evolved
  • Expectations: Halo 4, Fable: The Journey, the newest Call of Duty and a Spotify-like Music Service
  • On XBox Live through an app called: Playbook 360.
  • TV: Spike TV and sister networks
  • WEB: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/e3
1pm PST/ 4pm EST || Electronic Arts: The Download at the Orpheum Theater in LA
  • Announced Featured Content: SimCity, Crysis 3, Battlefield 3, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13 and other unannounced projects
  • TV: Spike TV and sister networks
  • WEB: http://www.ea.com/e3 & GameTrailers.com
3pm PST/ 6pm EST || Ubisoft
   
5:30pm preview, 6pm PST / 8:30pm preview, 9pm EST || Sony

TUESDAY JUNE 5th (First day of Expo)

9am PST/ 12pm EST || Nintendo All-Access
  • Expectations: New Mario Launch game, Wii U redesigns, release date and price
  • TV: Spike TV or MTV2 networks, watch the presentation live with no commercial interruptions
  • WEB: the Nintendo All-Access @ E3 2012 website at http://e3.nintendo.com
1pm PST/ 4pm EST || E3 Conference Coverage
  • TV: E3 2012 LIVE continues on G4
WEDNESDAY JUNE 6th (Second day of Expo)
3pm PST/ 6pm EST || E3 Conference Coverage
  • TV: E3 2012 LIVE continues on G4
6pm PST/9pm EST || Nintendo Software Showcase
    •  WEB: http://e3.nintendo.com/

THURSDAY JUNE 7th (Third day of Expo)

3pm PST/ 6pm EST || E3 Conference Coverage

dragon age: origins

PLATFORM: PS3

RELEASE DATE: 11/2009
DEVELOPER: BioWare
PUBLISHER: EA
ESRB RATING: M
Progress: On my second playthrough
I have been growing my Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) beard again this past weekend. This game is so long you have time to grow a few weekend-warrior-type beards with this fantasy based role playing game (RPG) released by EA. A blight is steering down on the the world of Ferelden. The Humans, Dwarves, Mages and Elven people are all threatened by hordes of Darkspawn. As one of the last remaining Grey Wardens you must unite the people in time to face the blight and the dreaded archdemon behind it.

DA:O is truly as deep an experience as you want it to be. From the very first screens, you make choices as to what your experience will be with DA:O. You can choose your race, gender and specialty right away. Choosing to play as a warrior will give you a more hands-on battle experience while choosing to be a Mage will allow you to launch powerful spells from afar. Also, the non-player characters (NPC) in-game will treat you differently based on your race and specialty. Even the gameplay is customizable letting you choose the order that you complete quests in allowing the story to unfold at your pace. Lots of additional DLC material let you add more depth to the story in an already vast world.

DARKSPAWN
Saving is key to a successful DA:O journey. As a general rule with RPGs, I like to keep a rotation of five saved games. Good points to save are after major plot changes and before going into battles you feel you may lose. After I have five going I generally save over the oldest as it is least likely I’ll want to backtrack that far into the game. This is very important, especially in a game like DA:O where your decisions throughout affect how future parts of the story will unravel. For example, saying the wrong thing to one of your allies may cause them to leave your team, or trusting the wrong person may lead to consequences down the road. Part of the draw with a game like DA:O is exploring all the different plot points and replaying by choosing a different path and seeing a different side to the story.
My first playthrough was 61 hours in length. I chose to be a human warrior, a very simple choice. After 61 hours I’ve grown quite attached to the characters in my party. Stand outs include Alistar, the whiny would-be king, Morrigan, the devilish Mage and Leliana, a rogue who was raised by the chantry. There are many more but the ones I’ve mentioned you can actually start romantic relationships with, providing you are in good favor with them.
MORRIGAN
There are some bugs that really messed up my experience. Long cut scenes with no audio. Awkward boss battles that ended with mis-ordered cut scenes. NPC starring off or running into walls. There are some humorous bugs too, I once used a fire spell on a thug and ended up in a conversation with a guy on fire (Much like the banner I chose up top). All these bugs, while frustrating, did not bother me as it would in most games. I almost feel with a game as open ended and as long as this there are bound to be a few hiccups.
Big shout-out to the Dragon Age Wiki, without which I would probably have had to take notes throughout the game. I don’t condone walkthroughs unless it is a last resort but this site is a handy reference. The cast of NPCs is very large; there are so many, it is easy to lose track of who is who. Most have small roles that they play in the numerous side quests you can partake in and often, you can run into a character you were introduced to previously without remembering who they are. The game does feature some very in-depth glossaries and maps called codexs that you can also refer to. I found having my laptop on the DA Wiki page to be handy to keep the game moving along while doing research.
DA:O really left an impression with me on many levels. The story, while slightly predictable, never let me down. Ideas of race, religion and the consequences of your choices are all relevant. Like I said before, this game can be a deep as you want, you could blaze right through skipping over cutscenes and hacking your way to the bosses or you can sit back, develop your character and learn more about the vast story of Ferelden laid out before you.
B+
“enchantment? ….enchantment!”

rift: planes of tolara by zoidberger

PLATFORM: PC

RELEASE DATE: 03/2011
DEVELOPER: Trion Worlds
ESRB RATING: T (for Teen)
Progress: Lvl 50 Bahmi Cleric-Warden

Unpolished features, massive bugs and server crashes are all things we have come to expect when a new MMORPG hits the market. In a genre dominated by what is actually available and working at launch, Rift stands out as being 100% playable on day one. The game play in Rift is not revolutionary, in fact you can make the point that is has nothing new to offer. What developer Trion Worlds did was take already existing facets from multiple MMOs and improves on them; Rift proves that a game new to the genre doesn’t need to reinvent it to be great.

Rift is set in the world of Telara, the focal point of different planes (worlds). You play as one of two factions opposing the death god Regulos, whose actions have caused rifts to open on your world threatening to destroy all who inhabit it. You play as an Ascended: a resurrected soldier with the task of defeating the forces of Regulos. As an ascended you get to choose between the Guardians or the Defiants. The Guardians are made up of the Mathosians (humans), High Elves, and Dwarves. On the Defiants side you choose from the Eth (humans), Kelari (Dark Elves), and Bahmi (look like giants).

The User Interface is very polished and looks visually amazing

Once you choose your faction and race its time to choose your “calling”. Callings are the class system in Rift, you choose between Warrior, Cleric, Rogue and Mage. As you level up you start to unlock points in your “soul system” which lets you add an unreal amount of customization to your class. This is where Rift starts to shine compared to other MMOs, with the soul system you are able to branch off into many subcategories for your class. I play a Cleric, a spell casting class but within my Cleric class I can choose to sub spec into one of 9 subclasses. Without a doubt this is the most customization of your character I have ever seen in an MMO. You also are not limited to only picking one soul tree, Rift allows you multiple specs which allows you to switch from one soul to another at a moments notice depending on what the situation calls for.

Although overwhelming at first glance, it’s actually pretty easy
to start speccing into your desired gameplay style

Rift‘s gameplay may not be anything ground breaking but once again it’s incredibly polished for a new MMO. The quest system is your standard “Kill 20 of these monsters” and “My daughter has been kidnapped and I need your help to get her back” quests but that’s not to say they aren’t immersive. As you quest through the different areas in Telara you get a very nice mixture of areas, from forest and mountain areas to desert and snow areas. The great thing about Rift is at any moment while you are questing a rift invasion or a world rift can open at any moment. A rift invasion is a smaller rift in which enemies come in waves and you are encouraged to help push them back. Rift succeeds in the sense that you actually care about stopping an invasion, you are rewarded with items and by purging the area you get to continue doing whatever it was that you were doing. A world rift on the other hand takes that to a whole other level. The skies darken, the ground trembles as a rift opens, as waves of monsters are unleashed to destroy anything and everything in their path. After you defeat the monsters a “mini boss” type monster appears which is considerably harder than that of a normal rift. Anyone that is in the area and helps take part in the slaying of the mini boss is rewarded with higher-level items and currency.

Not all enemies are so easy to look at

Adding to the huge world of open world PVE are the group dungeon and warfronts in the game. I mean what are MMOs without the group experience of 5 man dungeons and PVP? The dungeons in Rift are properly tuned not too hard so that a casual like me can’t complete it, and for the hardcore they are able to enter these dungeons at max level (50) as an “expert dungeon”. My favorite dungeon at the moment is The Iron Tombs; the complexity of the encounters and the mobs is impressive for such an early level dungeon. For those who want to kill fewer boars and more players they are able to enter Warfronts, Warfronts are the battlegrounds of Rift where warfare between the two factions takes on games of capture the flag and resource capping. The maps are fairly balanced with nice choke points and terrain strategy (always take the higher ground, duh), as with all MMOs you are reliant on other players so it can be frustrating to see AFKers and people who are less capable at the PVP aspect of the game.

A rift is truly a sight to behold

If I had to describe Rift in one word it would be “complete”. I have never played such a polished MMO right out of the box. With the open world rift invasions, the solid 5 man dungeons and the competitive PVP Warfronts it’s hard not to always be busy doing something in the game. Tolara is an immersive world, the player customization is robust, and the quest system has a nice leveling flow to it. I recommend Rift to veteran MMO players as well as those new to the genre, it has a little bit of everything with a world that is ever evolving.

B+
Fire is bad, don’t stand in it, don’t get near it, in fact don’t even look at it.

demon’s souls

PLATFORM: PS3
RELEASE DATE: 10/2009
DEVELOPER: FromSoftware
PUBLISHER: Atlas
ESRB RATING: M
Progress: 0%
Demon’s Souls recently made the PlayStation “hit list” meaning: it’s been giving Greatest Hits status. Greatest Hits labeling means a lower price tag and usually a resurface of active players online–not that this game needs it. This game was originally released in Japan and its fans have been spotted all over in North America. DS has cult followings both online and around the world wide web with numerous web pages like this and this and that, where players gather to trade walk-throughs, item knowledge and strategy.
Demon’s Souls is set in medieval times, where you face armored knights, ogre hoards, dragons and of course demons. It is a very action oriented take on, the sometimes slow, Role Playing Game (RPG) genre. The medieval setting is done very well with all the dirt and blood you may expect from the time. Players have access to various RPG characters classes as you may have expected, each one with their own intricacies. However you choose to start out, you begin at the foot of a castle with heavy, clunky armor and a sword. A glowing spot on the floor, left by another online player, reads “the real Demon’s Souls begins here.”

Online is handled very differently in this game. You can leave (limited) messages to other players, who are playing the same levels as you. Or one can join up with a “ghosted” player, who will lead and assist you. Trust me when I say, this game is overly complicated and I’m sure I have missed some key aspects.

While online play may be complicated, the fighting mechanics are among the best I have ever played. What could make more sense than L buttons controlling your left side R buttons your right? With the controls nailed down to precision, every move counts. Timing your attacks right and picking your battles goes a long way in this game. Eventually, you acquire potions and oils that will give you more skills to help you advance. I will say this game is a challenge. While the controls are tight, the unforgiving combat engine may be too much for most casual gamers.
You have next to no chance of beating this game or even getting started. This is by far one of the hardest games available. Which leads me to my major gripe with this would-be “masterpiece.” There are no check points along the way. Each level begins anew. You get 25 minutes into besieging the castle, surviving impossible battles just to get mobbed on a bridge and sent back to the beginning. I consider this to be a huge game flaw that could easily have been avoided with an option to have save points (or not) that the player can toggle on and off. Novice and many seasoned players need and want save points because they are eager to see the story and graphics unfold before them. Some seasoned players, those with a masochistic playing style, enjoy a game with no save points so they can feel that special satisfaction when finally conquering a level without a save.
This outlandish game flaw has greatly affected my grade for this game. Demon’s Souls is just crushingly hard and with no way to save or hit a check point, it is useless to me. Beautiful graphics and a sick fighting style are wonderful just let us get to use them. Maybe one day I will head back to this daunting castle for revenge but for now I’ve sold my copy.
D
I really wanted to like this one

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