Gaming Melting Pot

Some people might have wondered why I stopped writing game reviews. Well, I didn’t stop playing games; it’s that I didn’t finish all the games I bought since the start of the year. Not because they were bad, but because I keep buying new ones. I spent well over $300, but some of it went to Kickstarter projects that won’t be released anytime soon. I’m also waiting for Guild Wars 2 (playing Beta Weekend once every month or so), Divine Divinity Dragon Commander, Dishonored, and a bunch of indies to release. Also, too much Skyrim and Mount & Blade: Warband are to blame.

[fancy_header bgColor=”#3ba6cb”]Kickstarters[/fancy_header]

I’m not sure if people have heard of this big crowd-funding website (say hi to Amazon). Well, they have a bunch of indie game developers searching for some financing in exchange for rewards. Some of the biggest Kickstarter successes are actually games (RPG PC games too). I backed a couple already; hopefully they deliver. Because you could spend hours looking at projects, I suggest looking at Rock, Paper and Shotgun’s weekly Katchup for games or using Kicktraq to browse for anything. It’s much better than the one used on the official Kickstarter website. I currently have two games that haven’t finished their campaign: Dead State and Skyjacker. The first one is about a zombie apocalypse and survival, while the second one is all about spaceship porncombat and being a space pirate.

Dead State is already funded, no real surprise here; it’s made by known game makers who left their bigger salaries in a big developer house to create an independent studio. I actually knew about this game well before it was a Kickstarter. I also love its interface that has the texture of old notebooks. Also, zombies!

As for Skyjacker (official website), I stumbled upon it while searching for space games. It was also referenced at some point in another Kickstarter I was following. I love spaceships and I love space combat. This game seems to have really pretty spaceships. It’s a genre that is dead now, you know, because the ev0l publishers don’t think they sell well enough. The last games in this genre were Darkstar One and Freelancer. I hope this game succeeds with its funding, because I want to play a space combat game again. The development team is mostly Russian though; they are the only ones who keep making these types of game. Expect lots of sexism and macho dialogue. Especially in a world of pirates. Oh well, I can live with this”¦ spaceship porn.

There are some videos (Russian above, there is one in English too) and an alpha demo as well. The voiceovers are placeholders and, of course, the enemies were made easier to show them blow up in all their glory. In the demo it takes 4-5 missiles to take down a ship.

[fancy_header bgColor=”#3ba6cb”]The games I played since January![/fancy_header]

Kingdom of Amalur, from 38 Studio. Anybody living in Rhode Island should know who they were. They’re dead now, lack of funding and probably some mismanagement while doing a MMO. The good news is that I know two of the devs found housing in an indie studio (Crate Entertainment, who are making Grim Dawn). KoA isn’t a bad game, I actually liked it until I found myself about 30 hours in and got bored. The game would have been much better with a real open feel and not the MMO funnel system it had. It also needed a patch that will never be born now. *sad face*

Game of Thrones RPG, from Cyanide. This one is actually awesome if you liked Dragon Age: Origins in a low-budget suit and with a more linear feel. It’s a full story RPG with a great story. I stopped playing it because I was almost done (happens often to me; I just don’t want a good thing to end). Cyanide did an awesome job with the setting and the gameplay is competent. There are a few quirks with the camera and some places in the world feel a bit bare bones, but  it is a nice effort from the small French studio. Warner Bros. is actually publishing their next co-developed game called Of Orcs and Men where you play a big bad orc and his squishy goblin acolyte. Looks fun as well, but I really need to stop buying games.

Legend of Grimrock, from Almost Human. It’s a puzzle rogue like game. Totally retro in term of gameplay (think Eye of the Beholder), but it has awesome art direction and uses all the “next-gen” lightning gimmicks, which makes all the difference in a deep dark dungeon full of monsters. I just don’t always feel like playing this type of game and I usually don’t play them too long either. So my party is stuck at level 5 right now.

Mount & Blade Warband, from Paradox Games & Taleworlds Entertainment. I bought it on sale for a super low price and I don’t regret it. The best combat game ever. Horses feel like horses, melee weapons feel like melee weapons. I’m just missing magic. My only problem with the game is that I don’t care about becoming a vassal, merchant or king. So after a while I get bored with playing it because I have no goal beside cracking skulls. I’m also using the Floris mod, which gives a major improvement to pretty much all features of the game. Now I wish a story RPG implemented similar combat. Also, the developers are working on Mount & Blades 2 as I speak.

[fancy_header bgColor=”#3ba6cb”]Now let’s talk about Skyrim and mods[/fancy_header]

I’ve been playing way too much Skyrim lately, especially when you consider that I don’t go past level 10 on my characters (re-startisis, an evil affliction) and that I install way too many mods (standing at 67 right now, but I did reach 86 at some point. This doesn’t count textures packs). Although, I believe that any PC Skyrim owners should at least install the following mods:

SkyUI and Categorized Favorites menu: Vanilla Skyrim menus are just atrocious. I actually can’t believe Bethseda didn’t learn from Oblivion here, unless they didn’t care because they know fans will do better. Anyway, both these mods only change the layout of the menus. SkyUI touch the inventory, icons and fonts, while Customized Favorite Menu turns the favorite list of doom into Categorized list of doom. It just make it faster to find that one spell you need right now. It is also customizable.

Bandolier – Bags and Pouches mod: Just because increasing Stamina to bring more loot home is annoying for a spellcaster. There’s also a version that reduces the strength effect on these. It also look amazing on your character or NPCs.

Piratelords Loot Adjustments: Piratelords is an old modder. He made a couple of nice mods for Morrowind and now he makes it worth it to look into barrels and sack in Skyrim! Like it was way back in the days that I was paying Morrowind. In fact, it may be a bit too worth it right now. I expect a balance patch at some point.

Unofficial Skyrim patch: Do I have to explain this one?

Wearable Lantern: Warriors and thieves don’t have to lose their shield, two-handed or off-hand weapon anymore with this wearable lantern. A must when using Realistic Lightning. The bug one is ultra cute too. ;)

Apocalypse’s Spell: The best spells package out there.

Of course, I also recommend using Wrye Smash, BOSS and SKSE (required for SkyUI) with all of these and I also use a bunch of “prettifying” mods and “add more monsters” mods as well.

One reply on “Gaming Melting Pot”

Ooh, I might have to try the Game of Thrones RPG. I adored DA:O, having played through it five times since I got it about a year ago (replaying a game that much is unheard of for me). Granted, I probably played it so much because it wasn’t as linear as some, and I love seeing the different options/responses in choose-your-own adventure games, but I love Game of Thrones and I love DA:O, so why not?

I tried the Kingdoms of Amalur demo. I was not impressed at all. It felt like they had airlifted aspects from numerous game interfaces without putting it together in cohesive whole. Not only that, the opener sucked, and I didn’t give a shit about the story.

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