Posts tagged ‘RPG’


In the immortal words of Paul Phoenix…

by wfgodbold

Bring it on, ya aliens! (also, be careful; the embiggened screenshots may have mid-game thpoilerth)

I’m about ready to wrap up my first* playthrough of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and you’ll be happy to know that Earth has been saved from the alien menace.

This time.

Firaxis’s update makes XCOM play a lot like Valkyria Chronicles;** your soldiers can move and then shoot/defend/item/grenade/etc. Different classes (assault, heavy, sniper, medic) use different weapons and have different special abilities. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of who does what – in X-COM, I had to change the characters’ names to indicate what they were best at, which led to soldiers like Col. Wolfgang Krauser 70TU 80AIM.***

The red armor is three times faster than the usual armor.

The strategic layer is more streamlined, too. I would have preferred being able to have multiple available teams (if you build multiple Skyrangers) so that you don’t have to choose between missions. More UFO attacks wouldn’t hurt, either. As the game progresses, it seems like you do a lot of waiting at the geoscape for something to happen (whether it’s an abduction, a terror mission, a council mission, or a UFO). In the original X-COM, the longer the game went on, the more frequent the UFO attacks became, until you ended up getting overwhelmed.

I know 1994 was a different gaming era, but I think that really added to the tension.

Taken as a whole, the updates are generally good. The game is still hard, the aliens are still unforgiving, and your soldiers still die heroic (and sometimes, unheroic) deaths. I’ll probably play Classic next, and then I might even give Impossible a try.

I let a third of the civilians die and it rates my performance as “Good.” Yeah, this is X-COM.

You know, when I have copious free time (which means I can pencil it in for December, I guess).

*For certain values of “first.” I restarted my Classic difficulty Ironman game several times while trying and failing to get a grip on the changed systems, before finally caving in and dropping the difficulty back to Normal (though still Ironman).

**Which played a lot like Sakura Taisen, which in turn played a lot like X-COM: UFO Defense. The circle is now complete!

***Yes, I know Wolfgang Krauser is an SNK character. It seemed like most of the random soldiers I got ended up being German with random German names, and this was all I could think of.


To my great shame…

by wfgodbold

Aftermath of our inaugural battle.

I’ve not yet posted regarding my first Dungeons and Dragons experience*. Four of my friends from undergrad and I have used Google+‘s video chat hangout feature twice in the past month to run a couple of D&D games (only the DM and one other friend had played before (at all)).

I was surprised; the game was more like a co-op turn-based strategy game than anything else. We used MapTool (by RPTools) instead of an actual table, and just have to trust that we’re being honest about our dice rolls**.

We’re also using the D&D Essentials books (instead of the “real” 4E books); between those of us who never played, and those of us who hadn’t played in years, it seemed like the best idea.

Our party consists of “Pelt,” an elven rogue with a mysterious past; Seamus Grimesson, “The Wretched Dwarf,” a knight with a taste for rancid ham**** sandwiches; Docke Kilmar, functioning alcoholic and misanthropic human mage; and Helgarrolfinathdon “Helg” Hammerfoot, a dwarven warpriest possessed of heroic patience.

We’re not really taking the role-playing part of the game that seriously (it’s more like the PA D&D podcasts than a serious game); it’s mostly a way for us to hang out for  3-4 hours every couple of weeks in spite of being separated by hundreds of miles.

It’s a good way to spend a few hours (it’s certainly more fun than I’d thought it would be); I can definitely see how it can turn into a money sink, though (all those sourcebooks and miniatures and everything aren’t exactly cheap). At the rate we’re progressing, we’re not likely to need any of that stuff until 2015 at the earliest. It does make for a nice break from the law school grind, and doesn’t require nearly the time investment that most video games do.

Investigating rumors of a death cult

*I’ll let you figure out if I’m ashamed that I was playing D&D, or if I’m ashamed that I hadn’t yet played D&D. Or if I’m merely ashamed that I took almost a month to post about my shame.

**Amazingly, I’ve yet to roll below a 19. I must just be lucky***.

***No, not really. 😦

****Or any other meat that happens to be around. Including freshly slain kobold.


Blizz, you could learn a thing or two from Runic Games…

by wfgodbold

Torchlight II will feature online multiplayer, LAN multiplayer, and offline single player.

And it will do all of this at the low low price of $20.

That beats the hell out of the $60 I’m sure Diablo III will cost (or $90+ for the inevitable collector’s edition), and it doesn’t even require a permanent internet connection.


Underground Shrine (地下神殿)

by wfgodbold

Record of Lodoss War didn’t start off as the novel series its anime adaptations were based on; those novels were based on actual role-playing sessions the author and some of his friends took part in (using the Sword World RPG system).

The series follows the adventures of Parn (who begins as an unskilled teenager, but eventually becomes a strong knight) and his stereotypical band of adventurers (really; he’s accompanied by a thief, a dwarven warrior, a priest, a mage, and a high elven shaman) as they face off against the forces of Kardis (the goddess of destruction) and the Grey Witch (who has been manipulating the politics of Lodoss Island for generations).

Ryo Mizuno, the original author, eventually spun off a separate series in the same world as Lodoss (Rune Soldier), set on the main continent instead of the cursed island. It’s more tongue in cheek than Record of Lodoss War is, but is still entertaining.


Truth in Webcomics

by wfgodbold

Gabe and Tycho have a point:

Especially regarding the tendency of gamers to raise holy hell complaining about all manner of slights and problems, only to buy the game the instant it releases, anyway.

Fortunately, Runic Games is planning on bringing Torchlight II out this year, and presumably you’ll be able to play the single player component without a persistent connection (the first game had no multiplayer, so it wasn’t an issue). Torchlight played almost exactly like Diablo II (in fact, it was created by a bunch of former Diablo II developers who ditched Blizzard to make their own company). Runic’s customer service also blows Blizzard’s out of the water.

Who knows when Blizzard will finish Diablo III? While I’ll be tempted to buy it, I’m going to do my damnedest to at least hold out until it’s discounted. They took what would have been a day one purchase and ruined it (and I say this as someone who’s played Diablo II off and on since its release (which was back in ’00)).


One part Valkyrie Profile, one part Bamco, and one part anime…

by wfgodbold

And you get Heroes Phantasia (at this point I think the Japanese aren’t being hip, but instead just don’t know how to spell fantasia…), a crossover anime RPG where your party is comprised of four characters, each mapped to one of the four controller buttons.

It’s going to be ridiculous. And awesome. And I can’t wait.

The characters will be drawn from at least these ten series: Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, Read or Die, Sgt. Frog, Blood+, Rune Soldier Louie, Scryed, Mai-Hime, Slayers Revolution, Darker than Black, and Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor.

And it’s going to control like Valkyrie Profile, one of my all-time favorite games. If I can’t get a true sequel to Valkryie Profile: Silmeria (VP: Hrist, where are you?), this will make a worthy substitute.

FFS, it’s Super Robot Wars without the robots and in an RPG! What’s not to like!

Click through for more screens!


No Diablo III gamer is an island

by wfgodbold

Blizzard’s sequel to their smash-hit Diablo series is going to require an always-on internet connection, even for single player.

That’s fine most of the time, but for people who are often in locations where they don’t have a persistent connection (like if you want to play on a plane), you’re going to have to play something else.

I am intrigued by the idea of cash-based auction houses. I guess their experience with Diablo II and WoW taught them that people are going to figure out how to spend real money on stuff, so Blizzard might as well sanction it and get a cut. The beta review makes it sound like they’ve done a good job, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

To paraphrase Ian Malcom, “The market finds a way.”


Uncharted Worlds

by wfgodbold

Ah, Mass Effect. Bioware’s magnum opus (I guess?).

I hated it.

Actually, hate is too strong of a word. I thought it was very mediocre. The setting was boilerplate SF, complete with blue alien chicks, evil robots, and annoying alien councils that hate and look down on humanity.

I’m convinced that Bioware has a template they use when they plot out their games; it played out almost exactly like Knights of the Old Republic did, only with different cardboard characters plugged into the nondescript SF (and without lightsabers, of course).

The loading times were atrocious; you regularly had to wait more than a minute between areas for everything to load, and instead of fixing this in Mass Effect 2, they actually managed to make some of the load times worse (in my defense, I bought ME 1 for $20, and ME 2 also for $20; after Jade Empire, I resolved never to pay full price for a Bioware game again. After quitting ME 2 because of the load times, I’ve resolved never to buy a Bioware game again.).

The music was okay, though. Good thing, too; if I’d had to listen to awful music while waiting for planets to load, I’d have snapped the disc in half.


I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire

by wfgodbold

Fallout 3, Bethesda’s revival of the classic post-nuclear-holocaust RPG borrows quite a bit from their Elder Scrolls game style, and less from the turn-based gameplay Black Isle Studios built the first two games in the series around.

After creating the main character, and playing through a short orientation section (set in the character’s childhood and adolescence), the game jumps forward to his (or her) late teens, when the player must leave the Vault in search of his father.

The Fallout games are all very much in the style of what everyone in the 50s believed a nuclear-powered future would be like, from the pulp sci-fi style rayguns to Robby the Robot style robots to Cold War style propaganda and posters.

Unlike the first two games, which were set in California, Fallout 3 is set in the ruins of and around Washington, D.C. (dubbed the Capitol Wasteland). While wandering around, sometimes the player will come across radios, and can listen to this song by The Ink Spots:


Magic Taborea

by wfgodbold

Runes of Magic is a free to play MMO; I haven’t played it. I take care of all of my MMO OCD needs with World of Warcraft.

That doesn’t mean I can’t pick music from it! Or at least inspired by it.

Magic Taborea is a track on Tribe of Force, Van Canto‘s third album; they’re a German metal group that performs power metal songs without accompaniment.

Except for a double bass drum, I mean. Other than that, it’s all done with their voices. They call it “Hero Metal a capella.”

There’s a thin line between crazy and awesome, and Van Canto does a good job of putting one foot on either side.

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