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Tuesday - June 23, 2015
Monday - June 22, 2015
Sunday - June 21, 2015
Saturday - June 20, 2015
Friday - June 19, 2015
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Picture Watch

Eschalon: Book I
Box Art

Poll Watch

Did The Witcher 3 Live Up to the Hype?
Absolutely
58%

For the most part
23%

Really don't know
11%

Maybe a bit
2%

No Way
6%

Vote

Recently Released

Jul: The Amber Throne
Jul: Legends of Eisenwald
Jun: Barony
Jun: Masterplan
Jun: Enchanted Cave 2

Expected Releases

Jul: Antharion
Jul: Interstellaria
Jul: Victor Vran
Jul: Unsung Story
Jul: Kyn

Tuesday - June 23, 2015

General News - 8 Gamer Archetypes

by Myrthos, 12:17

Gamasutra has a blog where 8 gamer archetypes are described that are needed for break-testing your game.

  • The Arse. This is the player who likes to hurt others, the very opposite of me. Very conflict oriented. If it’s possible to attack the Arse will attack. If it’s possible to mess with other players the Arse will mess with them. The Arse will go for the weaker player, going for the maximum hurt rather than trying to beat on the leader. Yeah, nice guy.
  • The Coward. Turtler galore. This is the guy who won’t attack even if the enemy’s is sleeping with his pants down and his head up his butt. The Coward doesn’t care. It’s obviously a trap; too risky. The Coward will just huddle in his corner building his defenses, not risking anything, anytime (I’ve had designs where the Coward would win, resoundingly – bad game design).
  • The Builder. This is pretty much me. The guy who’ll tech Every. Single. Time. This is the guy who’ll build the resource engine on the expense of everything else. Which works great against the Coward but less so against the Arse. Which is fine, since we’re pitting extremes against each other. And in the instances where the Builder wins over the Arse we know that the building strategy works a lot better than the messing strategy. Time to rebalance.
  • Shorty. Mr. short-sighted is short-sighted, always going for the easiest gain in any situation. Strategy? Who needs it. If it’s there and it’s cheap, grab it!
  • Mr. Plan. The plan is pretty hard to play. This is the player I have the most trouble with, being rather tactical and short sighted myself. When I play a Mr. Plan I set out a set of objectives at the start of the playtest and write them down. Then I check every action against those objectives. If they don’t take Mr. Plan closer to his objectives I don’t do them, no matter how tempting.
  • The Grudge. Grudge is a grudge player. This is the player who starts out as another type and, once provoked, will relentlessly go for revenge. Effectively Grudge is a Coward/Builder/Mr. Plan or Short who in mid game turns into an Arse against one other, specific player. If the Grudge wins, or if the object of the Grudge’s hate loses badly then the game needs some checks and balances.
  • The Specialist. The Specialist focuses on a single aspect of the game to the exclusion of all else. It can be combat, it can be massing gold, it can be VP racing. Whichever it is, if there’s a way to break the game with it the Specialist will do it.
  • Random Rick. Random Rick plays randomly. Take a look at all the actions available and roll a die. That’s it. Random play. If Random Rick wins your deep strategy game then there’s some major flaw you haven’t seen. Works best with simpler games. Note that Random Rick can be a way to test for age dependency in a game. If Random Rick can win then the game is better suited to be played by small kids.

General News

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Unknown
Genre: RPG
Platform: Unknown
Release: In development

Details

E3 - The 10 Best Games You Probably Missed

by Myrthos, 12:14

Here is another '10 Best Games' list. This time it is about the games you might have missed at E3, although we gave the RPGs on the list some attention. The list consists of:

  • Unravel
  • Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition
  • Until Dawn
  • The Banner Saga 2
  • Chasm
  • Relativity
  • Transformers: Devastation
  • For Honor
  • Sword Coast Legends

 

E3

Details

Master of Orion - Preview @ theEscapist

by Hiddenx, 07:48

John Keefer (theEscapist) about the Master of Orion remake:

Master of Orion was a 4X strategy game before the term even existed. Created by Microprose in 1993, it gained great reviews and a large following, prompting two sequels and framework for the future of the strategy genre.

So when Wargaming.net acquired the rights to the game in an auction of Atari assets in 2013, fans of the series were a bit confused, given the nature of the World of Tanks developer's current stable of games.

"There was fierce competition," said Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi, "It was expensive, but we got it. And we wouldn't have made the bid if we didn't have clear goals for it. We wanted a nostalgic feel to it. We wanted to bring back the legend."

NGD Studios in Argentina will be developing the game, but Kislyi said that many members from the original team, including the art director and music composer, are back to bring the game's vision to the present. "We are asking them that knowing what they know now, would they have done things any differently."

(...)

Trailer:

loading...

E3

Details

Sword Coast Legends - Preview @ theEscapist

by Hiddenx, 07:43

John Keefer takes a look at Sword Coast Legends:

(...)
Neverwinter Nights
can attribute its longevity to players wanting to create their own campaigns, but this version appears so much easier to use. We got to watch as one of the developers from n-Space used the tools to create and customize a town, rural and forest settings, and of course a dungeon. Templates can be created, everything is drag and drop, and just about everything can be customized.

In the brief scenario that was set up for us, we learned that an associate has gone missing. The developer, who was actually playing the dungeon master, created a contact in town, chose the race, class and name of the contact, and was able to create triggers that could begin or end quests. He also created a potion vendor in town, giving that vendor a cart for a bit of ambiance, and creating the inventory that the vendor would carry.

He then opened a new forest tile set complete with a rundown shack. Our quest would take us to this location, where cultists would be waiting for our party. He set up a trigger zone outside the shack that would start the attack once a party entered the zone. He also dragged and dropped the location of where the attackers would come from, the type of attacker and even any special attacks or spells the attacker would have. Inside the shack, we would find the body of our contact, which was also customized to end a quest and begin a new one. The body was also created to be examined, so we could see how he was killed.
(...)

 

Sword Coast Legends

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Monday - June 22, 2015

Serpent in the Staglands - Review @ RageQuit

by Hiddenx, 21:30

The Greek site RageQuit has reviewed Serpent in the Staglands (Google Translation) - some snippets:

The Serpent in the Staglands places us in the fantasy world of Vol borrowed several elements from Transylvania Middle Ages. We take the role of a god named Necholai, who decides to take mortal form and participate in the celebrations of mortals for moonlit festival. But when it comes time to return to the world of the gods, an insurmountable wall magic prevents the passage through the portal he had created. Our ally is the Erlein, the priest of the temple (dedicated to us please!) Where we are, and also the only one who knows our real existence. After our evacuation and proposes some loyal allies leaves us with our mortal form on a trip to Staglands for the discovery of truth. As a simple trader and a fragile body, stranger among strangers, we begin an adventure with no return ...

(...)

Initially it will create a special impression lack log and quest book that recorded information and quests. Instead we have available at any time a journal in which you can make notes. The game leaves us completely alone. He takes us by the hand to show us who NPC gave us the quest, we should go and what we must do. You will find notes, maps with directions, hidden messages ... from there but the search and finding the next step is purely our own case. The journal (or even better a piece of paper and a pencil!) Will become our second nature. It may sound unreal perhaps even "primitive" - ​​especially for the younger players, but personally loved this particular mechanism.

The "deficiencies" does not end here. In the Serpent in the Staglands there is neither map (okay laddie gamer who melt in your computer with the Witcher and Dragon Age, you can stop here reading this article). In the areas we move the party we simply can not do a rudimentary zoom while moving from one area to another is through the world map by click on the numbered square that desire. Naturally these numbered squares do not know what because the corresponding map has names and suggestions. The information we acquire are and our unique compass: Corem learn that the city is in the south but not to what the map is square. Then we find a treasure map with a huge X bit further north from Corem. We estimate about falling and begin exploring. The feel of a real open game world was never, ever as unique as here.

(...)

The game is huge and requires full dedication and use of information that we discover. Every new place we visit which has something to offer: a new enemy, an original object, a special NPC to hire our team. There is no right or wrong way to play the Serpent in the Staglands. Even the "special" building a character will never bring us to a dead end since there are more than one solutions to address situations and obstacles. Can we pull enemies into the city to help us battle the guards (with the risk of dying forever unlucky various NPCs ... death is permanent in the world of Vol!), Kill characters that appear to us suspects discovering strange notes on their corpses to place traps, play gambling winning money, take part in competitions between guilds ... the Serpent in the Staglands offers a wonderful and free world to move and act! I can write tens of hours or more small details I discovered the game during my involvement with it. To mention enemies brought very smart diving into holes to occur later in other, neighboring or strange prostitutes I met in a brothel and asked to pay for their freedom in return offer the exceptional rogue-like abilities? Every corner of the Serpent in the Staglands hides secrets you discover and difficult decisions that need will receive. For every decision, however there is the implication ... do not forget it ever!

(...)

Final Score: 90/100

Good:

  • Huge, magical and truly open world.
  • Long duration.
  • Excellent rule system in the development of the characters, the magic and combat.
  • Real hardcore old school RPG ...

Bad:

  • ... That automatically means that younger players should stay away!
  • Several bugs (thankfully corrected very soon).

 

 

Serpent in the Staglands

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Witcher 3 - More DLCs

by Aries100, 20:31

From the Witcher's Facebook site comes news that there will be 2 new DLCs released for this game this week:

Two new FREE DLCs coming out later this week are:
- new quest - "Contract: Skellige's Most Wanted",
- Skellige Armor Set.
Last week's missing DLCs will be also released with this upcoming pack.

You can discuss this on the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt forums here.

Witcher 3

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Rampant Games - Solving the Brute Force Problem

by Gorath, 14:52

In a new old blog post Rampant Coyote brought one of his most successful entries up-to-date. He talks about cleaning out dungeons with a brute force approach instead of searching for creative solutions. Part of the problem is player expectation, another part game design which does not enable (or reward) alternative solutions.

A quote from the new half:

First and foremost, the game design has to have an open-ended approach to meeting goals. A lot of modern design is built around the idea of scripted, cinematic experiences — to the point where we even have “quick-time events” where the player really just mashes buttons to keep the movie rolling. This is the exact opposite of what we’re talking about here: We want the player to be clever, not to let him watch how clever the designers were. The idea has to be “The player meets an objective” rather than “the player completes activity X, Y, and Z.” While the following suggestions suggest concrete ways of meeting this design goal, they’ll be useless unless they feed into the overarching vision. While a lot of it is pretty scripted (at least in the early version that I played – and it sounds like this is a big part of the reason it’s been so slow reaching completion), Iron Tower’s Age of Decadence has really taken this perspective across the board.(And before anyone says anything… yes, mea culpa. Frayed Knights is not designed this way, although it has some elements of this. But I’ve got a bunch of ideas for what I’d like to do after the series is done that do take this approach).

Rampant Games

Details

Shenmue 3 - Reddit AMA With Yu Suzuki

by Gorath, 14:39

Mr Suzuki posted some interesting infos in his Reddit AMA. Here's a brief excerpt:

wonkah666
When creating Shenmue 3, will you use any assets at all from 1 & 2? Or do you have to start all over from scratch because SEGA still owns the first two games? 

Yu_Suzuki
The assets from 1 & 2 will get a lot of use.

GuppyBerkley
Love your work! You are a pioneer in this industry! As for my question:
How much game elements/features will we be missing in the game if the campaign doesn't reach the $5 million mark?

Yu_Suzuki
I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality. At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world.

 The Shenmue 3 Kickstarter is currently at 3.5M$ with 25 days to go.

Shenmue 3

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Unknown
Genre: Unknown
Platform: Unknown
Release: In development

Details

Fallout 4 - On Frame Rate And Mod Support [Update]

by Gorath, 14:32

Digital Spy talked to Todd Howard about Fallout 4 at the E3. Here's what he said about frame rate and resolution:

"It is 1080p on everything," he said, before confirming that it would run at 30fps and not 60fps.

On everything ?!

Regarding mod support:

"But, you know, it will come out on PC first. So early 2016, the creation mod for the PC, and then we're going to make that work on the Xbox One, and then we're going to do the PS4 version."

Unless Sony shoots mod support down. They have the last word.

Update:
Bethesda confirmed what most members suspected in the comments

Bethesda Softworks @Bethblog 
Fallout 4 is 1080p & 30fps on Xbox One and PS4. Resolution and FPS are not limited in any way on the PC.

Fallout 4

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Black Geyser - Early Gameplay Video

by Myrthos, 12:55

The website of Black Geyser has recently been updated with amongst others a video showing some gameplay in the current state of development.

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Black Geyser

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Earthlock - Developer Update

by Myrthos, 12:50

Missed this one before, but almost a month ago there was another development update for Earhlock: Festival of Magic, which provides a progress report of various topics.

Team expansion
In the last month we have gotten a new team member, Øyvind Mathisen, who is helping out with sound implementation. Now Jory and Øyvind will make sure we will get the proper sound effects into the game. 

We have almost completed the process of hiring a much needed new environment artist as well. 

Character design and production
We are also preparing the first bulk of 3d characters to be produced by Original Force. We will elaborate on this as we get the results back, but in the mean time here is a sample of one of many NPC character designs.

Combat design
Thomas has been going over all the combat mechanics, stats and abilities and is making great progress. 

Overworld and level design
Fredrik and Bendik have completed blocking out the entire game now. All the scenes are in and getting filled with props and content. There is still a lot to do, but we have a very good feel with the scope of the game.

Story and Comic Book
Magnus has been sparring with the team, and is tweaking the story so it is becoming even better. He is starting preproduction on the story for the next game; Earthlock: The Final Memory.

Emerson has also completed the comic book now. We are super pleased with the results and look forward to sharing that with our backers who opted in for that.

We feel really happy about progress but we are still not quite ready to invite any external people to play test yet. We will let you know as soon as we are ready.

Earthlock

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: J-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Pantheon - New Race Revealed

by Myrthos, 12:44

A couple of days ago a new race has been made public for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, named Dark Myr of Syronai's Rest.

"The Myr hail from the planet Issul. The race was born at a time when Issul’s oceans were dying. Wars between ancient leviathans had erupted beneath the waves, in battles so fierce even kingdoms on land were destroyed. But the gods of Issul did not stop the calamity - they fought each other instead of giving aid. At last, one humble goddess named Syronai begged the spirit of Issul for answers. Manifesting herself in the depths, Issul gave Syronai a sacred gift: power to bring forth a single, new creation. With this gift Syronai fashioned the Myr, a race with kingly hearts and furious might. The Myr struck against the leviathans with abandon, breaking them from war and driving the terrors back into their abysses. With the oceans freed, the gods came together to bless and rule over the Myr. Songs beneath the sea declared that the Myr carried "the heartbeat of Issul herself" and the race flourished under a unified pantheon. Yet of all the gods, Syronai remained their first love.

Pantheon

SP/MP: Massive
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: MMORPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Original Sin EE - Porting Done Right

by Myrthos, 12:28

HardcoreGamer feels that the way Larian Studios is porting Divinity Original Sin to the console is how it should be done.

Overall, despite the learning curve and arguable setbacks their uncompromising console port entails, Larian Studios has done a great job so far bringing a classical PC-style RPG to the console. In fact, after my time with the game, I would say I almost prefer playing with a controller. Sure, some things get longer to navigate to but when it works, it works well. Many controls are still up in the air too, so some problem controls may not be set in stone just yet. Touting much more content and a new ending, Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is looking great and better in nearly all ways than the original. I look forward to sinking just as much time, if not more, into it as I did with the old version when Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition comes out for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC/Mac/Linux later this year.

Original Sin EE

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Unknown
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Acaratus - Medieval Steampunk Alpha Trailer

by Arhu, 09:36

A new trailer for tactical turn-based CRPG Acaratus was published earlier this month, showing alpha footage from the game.

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Acaratus is (..) set in a medieval steampunk world where you build your own mecha units (aka battle suits).

You customize them to your play style by adding attachments and building a deck of ability cards. Then explore the vast randomized world map and fight it out on gridbased battles! It's a mashup between Heroes of Might and Magic and Hearthstone

Features 

  • Deep tactical turn-based gameplay with medieval mechs
  • Explore a vast randomized map with random encounters and surprises
  • Construct your battle suits with modular attachments.
  • Find collectable cards that fit your play style.
  • Fight it out against other players in the battle arenas

The game is going to hit Steam Early Access in February, 2016.

Website: www.acaratus.com

 

Thanks Couch.

Acaratus

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Steampunk
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Niche Gamer - A Brief History of the European CRPG

by Arhu, 08:49

There's a fairly comprehensive article on Niche Gamer dealing with the history of European style CRPGs examing why they appeared in the first place and how they relate to their American and Japanese style siblings.

Two excerpts:

European CRPGs are, as anyone who has played any within the past 15 years can tell, markedly different than their American-made counterparts. This difference is seen most strongly in the combat and world navigation systems, which are often very hard to grasp or lack the kind of feedback and ease-of-use that most gamers have been taught to expect. Lacking instantaneous fast travel options, quest markers, and having melee attacks that are often difficult to pull off without hours of practice, many mistake them as having been poorly designed. In reality, they are merely emulating the style of CRPG that existed in the 1980s. A style that, unlike America, Europe did not abandon.

(..)

Though Gothic didn’t outsell Morrowind, it did manage to create a strong interest for more of the games in the states. Enough of an interest for several European-based publishers to take a risk and begin sending their games stateside. Thanks to Gothic’s success, and the European CRPG renaissance it kicked off, several of the most beloved CRPGs of the 2000s were made by developers who were not from North America or Japan.

Niche Gamer

Details

Dark Souls III - E3 Interview & Preview

by Hiddenx, 07:38

Interview at Polygon:

The Souls games have about as picky an audience as they come. How can Dark Souls 3, the franchise's next installment which was announced at E3 2015, satisfy the divided fans of the first two titles? Also, is archery going to be terrible again? We talked with Bandai-Namco's Michael Chang and Nicholas O'Leary to find out.

and a preview by DaveControl:

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Thanks Couch for the link.

Dark Souls III

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Sunday - June 21, 2015

Hero-U - Supplemental Kickstarter Ends Successfully

by Hiddenx, 22:51

The second Hero-U Kickstarter has succeeded, too:

Hero-U Funded Again – Thank You!

Lori, I, and our entire development team would like to thank everyone who contributed to and shared either of our Hero-U Kickstarter campaigns. Your pledges will give us a solid base for improving and finishing the game. Our total funding between the two Kickstarter campaigns, PayPal donations, and Humble Bundle pre-orders will be slightly under $500,000 (about $450,000 after subtracting fees).

If you pledged to the 2015 campaign, your credit card should have been billed for the amount of your pledge. If you received notice that there is a problem with your payment, please work with Kickstarter and your credit card company to resolve the issue quickly. We were very proud of the backers of our 2012 campaign in that almost everyone honored their pledges – honor and honesty are prized attributes for Heroes!

Chris Fong and I are working with BackerKit to make sure all of you will receive all the rewards we promised. We have a complicated campaign in that we’re combining pledges made in two Kickstarter campaigns, PayPal donations, and Humble Bundle pre-orders. The folks at BackerKit have been very responsive and assure us they will help us make everything correct.

A Stronger Team Thanks to You

Thanks to the successful Kickstarter, we’ve been able to upgrade Aaron Martin (3D environment artist) and Al Eufrasio (animator) to full-time status. We may add an additional animator later if needed.

We are also happy to announce that Judy Feng will be joining the development staff as a part-time contract programmer. Judy is a skilled and experienced programmer who will be helping us out while also working another full-time job. The extra development power will make sure we can do a good job with the custom sections of the game such as the Poobah card game.

Hero-U

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Adventure-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Pillars of Eternity - Review#3 @ RPG Codex

by Hiddenx, 20:54

The Codex seems to be facinated by Pillars of Eternity. After Darth Roxor and Decado a third one is now released. This time Vault Dweller and Grunker analyze the game:

It’s a better Baldur’s Gate, with more depth and role-playing that goes beyond playing dress up. Still, it’s Baldur’s Gate, not Torment, Fallout, or even Mask of the Betrayer. Presented with the first and possibly the last Great Opportunity to do something memorable, Obsidian did what they’ve always done – played it safe and went after the BG fans, long abandoned by Bioware.
(...)

Pillars of Eternity stays true to the spirit of Baldur’s Gate, which is a nice way of saying that it’s a combat heavy game with crappy combat but pretty backgrounds. I’m happy to report that the backgrounds are spectacular and the combat is every bit as crappy as you remember.
(...)

The system's "flatness" is also its greatest weakness, however. The version of D&D that Sawyer is trying to emulate here is its 4th Edition. This system compromised on the fundamental difference in feel between classes to instead use uniformity and universal rules to provide balance instead: while some builds were better than others, all builds were useful. In contrast, earlier editions of D&D have classes which are so underpowered compared to others that comparisons are meaningless. In many ways, PoE completely succeeds in the objective to shed itself of this problem, but it comes at a price: you consistently feel that the changes you make to the characters are fairly miniscule. A huge part of this is thanks to the universality of the abilities the character system bestows upon you. Because most of your abilities continue to be relevant throughout the game, you are rarely that excited to gain new abilities and spells. You might be exited to get access to a new level of Cipher spells for example, since some of these are certainly a step up in power compared to your earlier abilities, but you have no reason to care when you gain further Cipher spells from that same level. Since the Mass Charm that worked so well for you in the last 20 encounters will work equally as well in the next 20, switching tactics is, for the vast majority of encounters, reduced to a matter of style. In dire cases, even gaining access to high levels of spells will yield no excitement, as you sometimes completely disregard newly learned abilities in favor of spamming that Level 2 AoE immobilize you’ve grown so fond of. In other words: you could switch from the aforementioned Mass Charm to a damaging AoE spell and knockdown... but why would you want to?
(...)

Pillars of Eternity

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

XCOM 2 - Impressions @ RPG Site

by Hiddenx, 18:42

Alex Donaldson (RPG Site) likes XCOM 2 and considers it as Strategy RPG:

Rebel Yell: XCOM 2 Impressions

It only took a few minutes from XCOM 2's announcment before somebody uttered the fateful words in the RPG Site staff channels: "Should we cover it?" For me, the answer was immediately yes - I always felt our decision to skip coverage of the original XCOM reboot was a mistake - and now we can right that.

But why? Well - when you actually look at it, XCOM's turn-based, grid-driven gameplay featuring permanent death, statistics, hidden dice rolls and skill trees at the forefront isn't that dissimilar to the greats of the Strategy RPG genre - and so here we are.

What a time to start coverage, too - XCOM 2 looks more than a little brilliant.
(...)

Most of the improvements in XCOM 2 appear to be evolution rather than revolution - the game looks and moves slicker, while small touches - such as what appears to be a lot more mission-relevant dynamic dialogue from squad members each recorded with the appropriate geographical accent for that character - make the game feel that much deeper.

As alarms blare, I catch a glimpse of a few new elements for this release. Panicked, the human guards unleash a dangerous new snake-like alien beast to help combat the team - and later, I see that same enemy taken down with the sword, a new and appropriately improvised weapon for the more budget-constrained XCOM soldiers.
(...)

We also didn't get to see any of the mission preparation, some of where XCOM's larger RPG elements come in to play - but even with those facts noted, it was hard not to be impressed by XCOM's E3 demo. Where the previous game and its expansion played it relatively safe by recreating beloved elements from the classic, XCOM 2 seems to take the best of the series and twist it in an interesting new direction that leaves me excited to see more of what's new and different.

Seemingly slicker, smarter and cooler, XCOM 2 seems to be pressing all the right buttons. We'll be able to find out if it does so as well as its predecessor when it lands on PC - and PC only - come November. XCOM 2 is coming for PC this November.

 

XCOM 2

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Matt Chat - Richard Bartle Interview #1

by Hiddenx, 18:21

This time Matt Barton interviews Richard Bartle the co-creator of MUD (=Multi-User Dungeon) - the grandfather of all MMOs:

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Matt Chat

Details

Enchanted Cave 2 - Rogue-like released for PC/Mac

by Arhu, 13:01

The Enchanted Cave 2, sequel to a popular roguelike flash game from 2010 by developer Dustin Auxier, has recently been released for PC  & Mac.

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The Enchanted Cave 2 is an RPG with heavy roguelike elements featuring a randomly generated 100-floor dungeon of monsters and treasure. During a run you'll find both normal treasure and special items called artifacts, with the difference being normal treasures last for that run only, while artifacts and other stat increases, exp, and gold you keep permanently to use on future runs when you successfully escape. The paid versions differ from the flash with 20 more floors + extended story, 4 playable characters, a new game+ feature, longer and higher quality music, higher resolution, and of course more npcs, items and monsters.

Features

  • Randomly-generated floors of loot, monsters, and minibosses
  • Secret areas hidden in the walls of the cave with loot + plot details
  • A thriving town of tourists and eager explorers to talk to and trade equipment
  • Over 300 items, equipment, spells, and crafting ingredients
  • A soundtrack by the legendary Grant Kirkhope

 

Reviews

Review @ RPGFan, 81%

The Enchanted Cave 2 is absolutely worth a look. It's a huge step forward from its fun but flawed predecessor and features a ton of new features, abilities, skills and more to keep you playing.

Review @ TouchArcade, 4.5

The Enchanted Cave 2 is one of those games that pulled me in to the point that I lost track of time, unable to resist taking just one more dive into the cave. It's impressive that it manages to be a relatively gentle example of a dungeon crawler while still having enough teeth to keep from becoming a grind.

Review @ Hardcoredroid

Overall, Enchanted Cave 2 offers loads of loot, dungeon strategies, and the tensions of a roguelike, without the punishing forced replaying found in many roguelike games.

 

The game's free version is available as a flash game on Kongregate. The premium version includes playable characters to choose from, more NPCs, items, monsters, spells, longer music, fullscreen support and is available for PC and Mac on Steam, as well as for Android and iOS. 

Enchanted Cave 2

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Roguelike
Platform: PC, Mac
Release: Released

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Find of the Day - Broederbund: What makes a good game?

by Hiddenx, 11:17

Brenda Romero tweeted the Author's Guidelines by Brøderbund Software from 1984:

What makes a good game?

It's no secret what makes a game stand out as a winner.

Here are some of the key elements we consider when adding a new game to our line:

  1. The game should have increasing levels of difficulty.
  2. There should be plateaus for the player to reach, each with a qualitative difference, new elements brought into the play, new 'twists' and challenges.
  3. When a player suffers a defeat, it should be due to his own actions. Never escalate the difficulty simply by programming in random events a person can't respond to.
  4. The game should project a"personality". A good way to do this is to work with identifiable objects rather than abstract shapes.
  5. The game should maintain a consistent point of view. Events and displays should add to the sense of reality, not confuse it.
  6. The game should make full use of the specific computer's technical capabilities - sound color and graphics.
  7. Most important of all, the game should be original, unlike anything else on the market.

RPGWatch

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Quest Heroes - Raw Gameplay Footage

by Hiddenx, 10:10

Quest Heroes ist a tactical dungeon crawler with a board game flavor. The devs released a video that shows the current development state of the game:

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CORE FEATURES

● A rule set totally compatible with real life board-gaming. We will release a free print-and-play version at a later stage of the development process.

● A not-so-serious medieval fantasy world in which, for instance, the mayors are exploiting zombies to clean out their sewers and sending adventurers to teach them a lesson when they go on strike (even the dead feel entitled to at least one day off per week).

● You manage a pool of heroes: before each quest, you select the members of the party.

● Ultimate party-building freedom. If you'd rather have an adventuring party made up of three wizards and a thief instead of the traditional warrior-archer-dwarf-wizard combo, then go for it! It's totally up to you.

● No frustrating class-based gear limitations. Characters can equip and use any weapon or equipment as soon as they have the required stats, regardless of their class.

● Permadeath. However, there are resurrection scrolls (extremely rare, and usable only right after the death) and you can pick up a dead character's gear, so nothing is ever completely lost.

● Heaps of magic, monsters, missions, skills and items... indeed.

● Randomly generated quests.

● Multiplatform: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS.

Join the devs on Twitter to show your interest in the game and help them to find a publisher.

RPGWatch

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Dungeons 2 - Review @ Brash Games

by Hiddenx, 09:34

Steve Dutfield (Brash Games) has reviewed the Dungeon Sim/Strategy RPG Dungeons 2:

(...) You get to build a fabulous intricate network of tunnels, where you can place a brewery, treasury, tinkering workshop, hospital, guard-room and many more plus a host of others you unlock as you progress. As you do you mine gold to buy/upgrade and gather troops and harvest magic to unlock and wield spells to buff your progression and devastate your enemy’s.

To protect your lair is the brute force of the orks, the hired muscle who protect you from attackers who earn experience for levelling up with each kill they make. With each new level they acquire they get a fancier new name, harder to kill and hit harder. For added protection you get to place a guard-room that alerts you to danger and traps which when strategically placed cause devastation, slow them down or blow them into bits.

While all this is going on the game is sprinkled with humour, especially from the dry talking narrator who quotes lines from made up hero’s, books or just informs you about story related anecdotes. It’s actually a great little accompaniment to a well put together, fun and enjoyable game. You will get held back at some points as each level starts off quite slow as you have to build up and establish a new dungeon each time but once you’ve built up a solid force, upgraded a few rooms, levelled up the orks and increased the population you can pretty much steam roller your way through the level.

The main aim of the game involves taking your rag tag militia into the bright, vibrant world outside your cave filled with babbling brooks, colourful flowers, windmills and nature. All of which is trampled underfoot and replaced with lava flowing pools, poisonous swamps and destruction as you hack your way to the objective in the form of capturing a location, rescuing a new ally or killing a hero. This game places you in the evil side of the camp like that older game Overlord and it’s a refreshing change to beat back the pathetic, neatly dressed good guys. (...)

Final Score: 8/10 - Very Good

Dungeons 2

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

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Witcher 3 - Review @ gamesTM

by Hiddenx, 08:31

Another favorable review for The Witcher 3 - gamesTM:

The Witcher 3 surprised us. Sure, we had been primed to expect to find ourselves let loose in a gargantuan open world, but we can’t be the only ones who, calloused by the characteristic bombast of triple-A marketing, were at least a little cynical about how the fantasy we were being sold ahead of release would look in reality. As it turns out, the game is startlingly close to being everything CD Projekt Red claimed it would be.

That’s most obvious when it comes to the game’s sheer scale. Travelling through thick forests and open plains, small villages and huge cities, you gradually begin to appreciate how staggeringly colossal Wild Hunt’s world is. To say we are impressed by the scale of The Witcher 3 doesn’t quite capture what it is that makes it so brilliant, however. The fact that a game is big does not in and of itself make it compelling. The trick is to leverage that scale in such a way that it impacts on your relationship with the world that you’re exploring in a meaningful way – that is what Wild Hunt achieves and that is what makes it such a fantastic game. (...)

Final Score: 9 - Unquestionably a Game Of The Year contender

Witcher 3

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

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Saturday - June 20, 2015

Dragon Wars - Review @ The Escapist

by Hiddenx, 14:30

At the end of of May Dragon Wars was re-released at GOG. Stew Shearer has reviewed the game:

One thing that I'm really interested in (especially after writing up the history of a whole bunch of them) is old school CRPGs. A lot of my curiosity comes from the fact that I haven't really played many of them. Setting aside the fact that I was born at the tail end of the genre's golden age, I just never had much interest in them when I was younger. After all, why would I waste when my PC time playing RPGs when I already had Final Fantasy on consoles? (Remind me to kick my 15 year old self.)

It makes me sad because, the more I learn about them, the more fascinating I find them and the era that produced them. It was a pioneering time where developers were striving not just to make products, but to adapt complex worlds and rules into gaming experiences unlike anything ever made before. The ambition of that period alone is something that I find to be inspiring. (...)

Luckily, Dragon Wars wound up being a fun and, in places, impressive RPG. Dropping the player into the world of Dilmun where magic has been outlawed, it begins with the player party being placed under arrest under suspicions of spell casting. Thrown into the prison slum of Purgatory, the player has to find a way to escape, bring peace to the land, and defeat the evil wizard Namtar. The story itself is pretty basic as far as fantasy titles go. You're the good guys and there's a baddie. Go forth and smite. That said, it's well-written and the text does a great job of illustrating the game's world where technical limitations prevented the graphics from doing so.(...)

What perhaps sets Dragon Wars apart from other RPGs of this era is just how much effort has gone into giving you choices as to how you proceed and complete the game. Take the opening section where you have to get out of Purgatory. Rather than forcing you into one set method of escape, the game gives you five completely different paths out of the slum that range from selling yourself into slavery to disguising your party as dead bodies to get tossed into the sea. The game, overall, does a great job of giving you moments where there's more than one solution to your problems. (...)

Dragon Wars

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

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Soma - Preview @ theKoalition

by Hiddenx, 09:40

Stephanie Burdo (theKoalition) : Some first impressions from Soma:

SOMA Preview – 10 Seconds Before Death

Frictional Games, the developer behind Amnesia demonstrated SOMA at this year’s E3. The demo followed the same gameplay trailer that had been released by the team earlier this month. The begin portion of the previous gameplay trailer was removed and replaced with a more intriguing conclusion. As I left the PlayStation 4 demo, I had many questions, all of which I cannot wait to have answered after SOMA’s release.

You play as Simon, a man roaming about an abandoned science facility. Simon has a special ability; he is able to hear the last 10 seconds before someone’s death. Similar to the earlier demo, you encounter a wounded mech claiming to be a man named Carl. As I roamed the halls I found a deceased male with the same name as the mech I had just encountered, which left me feeling…confused.

I used the code on Carl’s identity badge to log into the staff computers, opening a door to the main power system. Next to the power switch there was a note that warned me of the repercussions that would follow powering on the system, “there is no turning back”. Following the actions of the earlier demo, I decided to power up the system and take my chances. In doing so, I unknowingly released a frightening and quite frankly, very noisy creature. (...)

Gameplay:

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Soma

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Adventure-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

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E3 - The 10 most exciting PC games @ PCWorld

by Hiddenx, 08:52

PCWorld's top 10 games of the E3:

Another year, another E3 gone by. Between the conference’s first-ever dedicated PC event and the slew of newly revealed PC games hiding among the console announcements at Day Zero’s massive showcases, this was easily one of the most exciting E3s for PC gaming fans ever.

Forget Xbox. PlayStation? Pfah. PC gaming is the real cutting-edge of gaming, and here at PCWorld we covered more than fifty titles prepared to grace computer screens. Even crazier, that wasn’t even all of them. Heck, AMD even announced its new flagship Radeon Fury X graphics card at E3 this year.

In such a swelling sea of games, it’s good to highlight a chosen few that stood out from the rest. These are the PC games that got us personally excited at E3 2015, in no particular order. What were your favorites? Drop a line in the comments.

Top 10

  1. Fallout 4
  2. Master of Orion
  3. Ghost Recon Wildlands
  4. Sword Coast Legends
  5. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  6. King's Quest
  7. Pillars of Eternity: The White March expansion
  8. Need for Speed
  9. Shadow Warrior 2
  10. Soma

HONORABLE MENTION:

  1. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5
  2. Rock Band 4
  3. Mass Effect Andromeda

 

E3

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Friday - June 19, 2015

Steam - Some things you should know about it

by Hiddenx, 21:03

Sales and genres

I will start by saying that Steam’s own genre categories aren’t really useful because a lot of games have to be assigned to several genres and the list is limited. User tags, on the other hand, are a bit too vague to be used for analysis, but much more useful when you’re trying to find a game to play.

The average game on Steam does not sell really well, at least not since 2012. While we all heard about breakdown success of some big titles, it doesn’t apply to your average title. “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” has about 8.6 million users on Steam, “Grand Theft Auto V” sold about 2.2 million copies in less than a month, but how does the average game on Steam perform?

It is a bit better if you check the genre distribution with RPGs selling 55,000 copies on an average while Early Access games (that is a genre by Steam’s definition) only sell around 9,000 copies. And while free to play games look lucrative with 330,000 owners on an average, when you consider a rather optimistic conversion rate of 10 percent, you will end up with about 33,000 paying users – not really different from the average paid game on Steam.

Steam

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