RSS

Tag Archives: Pc

Bound by Flame – Demons make everything better

Bound-By-Flame-Logo

Ah, the realm of fantasy games… A place where elves are frolicking happily through the forests and use intruders who dare to question their obvious distinct gender as arrow-pincushion, where magic is more or less the source of wonders and evil and where the undead wander around, raiding the lands with their armies and leave destruction in their wake.

What nice nostalgic…Wait.

0

They have huge rotting skeleton gigants?

We are having an undead apocalpyse in the medivial fantasy world?

What are you mages doing over there? Is that a summoning ritual? What? You are going to summon an ancient demon out of the depths of hell?

And there I dared to wonder just for a moment how an army of brainless undead could come that far. *sigh* When something is already burning and on the verge of annihilation…just summon a demon into our plane. What could go wrong? But to literal hell with logic. There are undead out there, you are the hero. Now grap that sword and start slaying. This is what you were paid for.

You are just another ordinary mercenary of a band of mercenarys, after all.

That is, until the summoning ritual went foul and the demon has to search for a body and you just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. (Like always)

Congratulations, you are now being possessed by an evil being trying to take over your body. (And no, there is no exorcist in sight)

Speaking of body, let’s start who you are, what you are and who you can become. Your name, or less the name you will be called by, is Vulcan, a newly recruited mercenary and a specialist in explosives (or what the lore says at least). Your ever standard hotheaded, cussing, rough soldier, mind you, and you will be a standard hotheaded, cussing, rough soldier, disregarding if you are female or male as the dialogs of him/her/it imply.

My first thought was, why not? Soldiers don’t have to be nice, they can cuss as long as they are good with the blade. Good by me. Very limited customization (five different heads and five different haircuts to chose from per gender choice). Alright, I will survive it.

You have experience with the greatsword and dual blades, being able to harness and hone those skills by level and points. Greatsword for balanced damage and defense stats, and later on for rechargeing your health while dual blades are fast, do a lot of damage but not really good for defense and are better for dodging attacks. Through the demon, you get another skill tree, named pyromancy which enables fire magic.

And only fire magic. While other people might find this annoying, as long as the story can justify it, I’m also fine with just fire magic. What’s better than setting moving corpses on fire? I always was a fan of the the flamethrowers in zombie games…*clears throat* Alright…on with the script.

Bound-by-Flame-PS4-reveal-trailer-provides-game-overview-620x350

The skill trees enable additional enhancements like being able to stab the enemy faster with the dual blades, the spells being less expensive or upgrade them into more powerful ones.

You can also build traps and place them around the areas, use a crossbow and make and combine other things from materials and ingrediants, like potions, bolts and so on. Additionally to the usual the skill tree, you can spend specific…titles with points from the level up like “tough” that ups your hit points when you “buy” it or alchemist which makes your potions are more useful or assassin which raises your critical with dual blades. To unlock these, you not only need point but also such things as kill/make a specific amount of things.

With those things you are ready to take on and slash your way through the hordes like a possessed…You get the idea, but the answer is yes…and no. The combat is action oriented, quick and you can switch between greatsword and dual blades and shoot magic, meaning you can try slashing your way through the monsters, but at most times this won’t work. They will kill you just as fast as you think this way of thinking will work in Dark Souls.

And no, it isn’t as hard as Dark Souls. You just have to plan what you are doing what isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can sneak around, place traps, etc. to thin the numbers which gives combat more depth, but it is by far not perfect. The camera can be annoying sometimes, on higher difficulties it is more apparent that the “action” isn’t as well rounded and balanced as one might think, but this is up for personal taste. The AI of companions is…let’s say as intelligent as those mages deciding to summon a demon into this world would be a great idea. They die quickly, but they try to stand their ground.

Graphics…Although I don’t really care about that point, I still want to mention that the Ps4 edition of the game looks like it belonged on Ps3 or below. Just that I mentioned that.

Which leaves the story.

Yes, we have heard the story of the heroic mercenary before, yes, the undead raiding isn’t something new either, yes, we are already used to magicians doing something stupid, summoning demons or mess things up. Even the possessed hero is nothing new. If people find this generic, yes, at some point even good fantasy RPGs are generic, but the exel on another point.

Presentation.

How the story is told, what role you have, how the world is represented around you. Are the people relatable? Do you feel represented by the hero and the decision that are made? How do the writers play with what we know about fantasy stereotypes? Does your decision influence anything? Is the atmosphere fitting?

In some games the surrounding tell you the story. In this game, story telling and build up of story is done by dialog. And…That is one of the greatest weaknesses of the game according to my opinion. And that is something I hadn’t had for a very long time. Yes, I came across dialog in games that are…pretty standard and uninteresting, but this is just…I don’t even know how to warp this up in words. It is standard, although it decides to be self-ironic sometimes or even sarcastic, but more often it is…stating the obivious or strangely over-the-top or being overall uninteresting to listen to. And this is fatal when you have to make decisions in an rpg that should have an impact on you in some way.

Maybe it is just me, but when you have such a story with potential and then having something like that…Well, it is up for the taste, I guess.

The story as a whole? Well, short moral of the story is that magic is mostly the source of evil. The Big Bads which leads the undead? Immortal Sorcerers (*coughs* liches) also called the Ice Lords (*cough* Frozen Throne). The thing that got you possessed? Magic.

images (1)

The demon who wants to hijack your body even grants you one ability. MAGIC.

More power for more control over your own body and it shows, as you become more demonic in appearance which is a nice mechanic. It tries to be interesting, it tries to be grim and the morals are twisted, but sometimes it just tries to hard or not at all. For example the demonic possession stuff has a lot of potential but you are served with a or b decisions and you can use magic without consequences at all.

The atmosphere is pretty solid. Nice music here and there, the background, lighting, water effects are nice as well as the enemy designs….overall nothing bad.

To round it up a bit:

The combat system is quick and dynamic, nothing groundbreakingly good or bad. The crafting system is actually really nice, you can sneak, you can ambush and you can set traps everywhere. There are problems with the camera, It has some nice ideas, to say at least.

The story is…It could be so much more, but fails to deliever at the basics. There are so many possibilities open for a possessed character which are simply not used. It doesn’t need to be over-the-top complicated or dark to keep being interesting. Some games even deliever without dialog and let the atmosphere speak.

My opinion to the fact that the company is a smaller one and with that the budget? I don’t expect it to be Dragon Age, or a new Witcher or Skyrim. I really am at a point to not expect anything at all from a game. It tries; I won’t deny that. Combat is solid, setting is passable, but the dialog…When I see all the indie and kickstarter games out there which  have a lower budget and deliever much more interesting things, I can’t say it is an excuse.

Was it worth the hunt? At the normal price? No. I get better meals to a cheaper price. When it gets a discount? Maybe… It is overall medicore. Not a steak, not a piece of tough leather, but if an rpg fails to keep my interest for the story or any , I have to let it go by.

Until the next hunt,

TheNocturnalHunter

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Pc, Ps4

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Black & White 2: Let’s hunt some Aztecs

Black_&_White_2_Logo

After a long slumber you descend from the higher plane to grace your people with your magnificant presence once more. Your conciousness welcome you in Eden, the planet which once depended on your wisdom and guidance and help you to fresh up your memory about your abilities and help you to choose your entity of physical power, a creature.

Finally, they lead you to an island. It is the mainland of the Greeces, a nation who still lives faithful you and your belief and, to this day, await your presence with growing anticipation. Then the island in sight, a prayer reaches you, a plead full of need, You follow it, finding a woman who kneels in front of a monument that was build in your honor, pleading for you to listen. Your gaze turned, looked upon the houses who broke down in a burning blaze, trapping and buring people beneath it. Soldiers fight, despreatly trying to defend their home from the enemy who sweeped over the city like a swarm of locusts, leaving nothing than corpses and destruction.

“We were run over by the Aztecs! Please help us!”

As their God, you take action and try to strike down those who dared to lay hand on your people. Suddenly a vulcan emerged of the burning ground, destroying with its lava everything in its path. The conciousness urges you to let go of the invaders and concentrate on saving as much people as possible. After only having saved a handfull of your believers, the creature of the enemy summoned another vulcan, making it unable to rescue more.

The once mighty God of Gods was forced to flee to another island. It was peaceful, the chaos lying behind as you look down on those who still firmly believed in you. How many people found their death on that day, you don’t know, but one half of your conciousness demands revenge for those who couldn’t be saved while the other indirectly agreed in silence.

The Aztecs will be held accountable for this and your hand will bring the divine punishment to them. They angered a God and now they will be regretting their actions soon enough.

screen-shot-2010-07-25-at-9-04-53-am

They will pay for this…

*clears throat* (sorry, not the best of my intros…I’m feeling unwell at the moment) This story plays a few centuries after the first one (I think), people have involved, living a good amount of time without divine help. Even a few of them, especially mortals who are in a leading position, don’t believe that you are, in fact, a God (at first) and think that everything in the first game was just a legend, including the prophecy which predicts that a God will help a nation who was on the brink of extinction. (And I find the fact funny, that albeit that you are a divine theoretical immortal being, you are still a slave of fate.)

Despite the first game, your enemies are human. The Norse and the Japanese are allies of the Azects and before you can make the latter suffer for their deeds, you have to draw the other opposing partys onto your side. (I don’t really count the Egyptians to them, since they are always on the side lines) How you convert them is your decision. Either impress them or raid their countries or do both.

Black White 2

“Impress” and “conquer” work differently than the first game. To impress you build a magnificent city with temples, public baths, parks and so on. People will then abandon their old home to come to your city. When you conquer, your army (yes, people are now smart enough to create weapons) goes to another village and take down the town centre. If they succeed, the village is yours, including the people. So, either you focus your believers on one point (namely your main city) or spread them on different villages. Whatever you do, your town changes with your alignement. If you are good, people are happy, there are flowers everywhere and the buildings are white. If you are evil…the land is bare, people are unhappy and scared and the overall atmosphere is darker.

But back to one  of the new features. The fact that you have your own army. They can level up, (recruit to veteran) and there are archers, swordsmen and catapults. They give you some security if they are enemies outside your walls, patrolling and waiting for a catapult to break your defenses down.

181037649_08cacb6a9a

Yeah, you have walls. Yeah, you need said walls if you don’t want enemy soldiers to hold a picnic in your city. You can either take them down with a catapult or with a creature. Have I mentioned that the enemy also have creatures although they are not Gods? But don’t worry, the AI of the computer is at its highest peaks more annoying than really threatening. Just don’t try to go headless Knight Templar on the main captial of the opposing side. It doesn’t end well often.

bandw2

To impress, you need to build monuments and buildings like temples, luxurious houses and so on. I should mention that you won’t get a huge temple of power like in the first game. Instead, you have a town centre where you can see what your people need and what alignment you are.

I think that this is some sort of a downgrade to the prequel, and personally, I can’t understand why they took it out. Was it so hard to create a bigger Greece temple with rooms in it? I don’t know. Besides that, B&W2 offers more variation when it comes to buildings. You can create villas, prisons, skyscrapers, country houses, taverns, baths, etc. At the beginning you just have a very tiny line-up of buildings, but you can buy new ones by spending tribute in the menu.

Tibute is, so to speak, the reward for side quests and quests and you can spend it on different skills, miracles, buildings and troops. This is not a bad idea, although I kind of missed the ability to choose between good and evil in most of the quests. Concerning buildings…buildings impress less the more you build the same type of it in your city and how close you build them together. Some of them enhance your production of corn or metal which makes city planning a little more strategic than in B&W.

goodAltar

Since you are a God, you have an altar where your minions *clears throat* people pray to create miracles like fireballs, water, heal, meteors etc. In this game, you can convert people to pray at the altar day in, day out without them collapsing from hunger.  What I appreciate, is that you can use some of them in two different ways. For example the water miracle. Either water your fields or splashing it on the enemy soldiers to slow them down. Or the fire miracle, either  throw a fire ball or create a fire wall to stop people from advancing. What I don’t like, is, that you buy miracles with tribute.

When you buy buildings, okay, when you enhance some abilities like the ability to use gestures, alright. But miracles are something you should earn. Just like in some mini-quests in B&W where you choice influenced the miracles you get as reward.

imagesLet the Siren sing…

Other than normal miracles, there are epic ones. They are a huge buildings and are just like an altar, but take more time to generate miracles. You can summon a hurricane, make the earth shake and convert enemy soldiers through the song of a siren.

1484_0

With the creature-business…I also have some sort of a split opinion. On the one hand you can handle them easier, making them do job through different leashes and you can see, what a creature has learned in the menu. On the other…I somehow really liked the tamagochi thing in the prequel. I won’t deny the AI had flaws, but it gave you a feeling of raising a creature from a small pup  with no idea about the world to a force that has to be reckoned with. If you sent your creature to another village for the first time, it fills you with pride if it used the tactics you had taught him. In B&W2…it is more robotic and bleak. And you just use it as soldier and gatherer…not as a messenger of your belief.

On this point I should mention that a creature doesn’t learn miracles anymore. You have to buy this ability with tribute. Money rules even Eden, it seems.

There is one addon for this game. Battle of Gods. Exactly what is says on the tin. The Aztecs summon an undead God to take revenge. Said undead God can use miracles as well and will pester you with it. One thing I enjoyed is, that you can kill undead soldiers with healing spells, but besides a more challenging enemy, that was it.

black&white2battleofthegods-01What a stubborn nation…They don’t even stay dead.

Conclusion? This prey tasted a little bit…bad. Not throwing up bad, but still bad. There are some improvements, like city building, army and how the city looks like through your alignement and the enemy is much more aggressive than in its prequel. But it took major steps back in points I found myself to enjoy in the B&W. The temple is gone, the creature is robotic and didn’t have a personality.

Story wise, it was an interesting beginning, but all in all was medicore. The story isn’t really the focus here, it just exists to explain why you battle them. Side stories are creative and really funny at times. Should I say it ? It felt more like a very light version of Anno (I feel sorry for this series to compare it with B&W2. Anno is a good game, but I lack a better comparison.) with miracles and a creature than really a God-Simulation. I concentrated more on building a city (and especially how to build it) than really on being, well, a God. I didn’t impress anyone with miracles or punished them for something. The only thing I have burned down were, the enemy soldiers and creature, when they came to close.

I have nothing against changes in a game or a shift of focus. But even when B&W wasn’t the best game of all times, it came up with interesting ideas which didn’t deserve to be downgraded like that.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Pc

 

Tags: , , ,

Black & White – Let’s hunt Gods

bw2

In the beginning was one single prayer echoing through the void, desperately searching for something who will heed the call and will help this forsaken soul. And amidst this clenching darkness something awoke, flared to life, to follow this plea, born from the despair of humankind. The light descended to the mortal plane, flickering and vividly glowing to fulfill their wish. They praised it for its mercy, they named it a savior…

They called you God.

But if you are a blessing or a cure for those who awoke you from your slumber, is a question only you can answer. You are God and you decide which path you will follow. Are you the embodiment of light or bringer of darkness? The savior or the tormentor? This is up to you.

This is your story. (For the love of…Auron, out of this commentary! Go back to your own game!)

*clears throat* My deepest apologies about the downright cheesy introduction. Let’s get to business, shall we? You (aka God) just saved a boy from his fate of being fish food and his parents are more than thankful for this deed. So, they want to introduce you to the other villagers…

…Which are already dancing around a stone and building a temple for your grace…Wow…that… escalated quickly.

The world you landed on is called Eden. A peaceful land without weapons, people living leisurly like normal people do (eating, building, procreate…) …if it weren’t for the Gods who are ready to literally lighten the place up to just gain more influence. Yeah. And you are not really an exception.

The main goal of the game is to gain influence and eliminate everyone who tries to steal yours (i.e. other Gods). When the last follower of you is gone, your temple becomes touchable and when it’s gone…well, Game Over.

Besides that, the main story speaks about the Creed (not the one from Assassin’s Creed, mind you. Yes, there are more Creeds than one, Altair. No, you are not allowed to stab me.).
A power with is seperated into three pieces and it is rumored to be so powerful that it could kill a God with the snap of your finger. Guess, what the mightiest God Nemesis has and what are you going to do. You got this information  from a former subordinate of Nemesis and he wasn’t very pleased as he heard from this…not at all. He showed up and tried to kill you, but you could escape through a portal. This is the point where your real journey starts.

Nemesis

Nemesis…yeah…Exactly what it says on the tin, Archenemy

I mentioned a temple before. Yes, you have your own personal temple which grows with every village you take over and it depicts your alignement in the game. You can also enter that building and go in different rooms like a bestiarium, a library, a room with pictures where you can save, a map etc. Unfortunately, in the sequel you just have a town centre building which provides you with information….
This is also the place where your followers build their altar to dance and pray to you and enable their miracles through the power of prayer.

As a God, miracles are your spells and a very important aspects, since you can use them to convert people to your teachings, attack, defend and reduce the needs of your own people. Yeah, I mean reduce, because your people always need something…

Village_Store

This is your village store. See the flags? They tell you what your people need…and there starts the vicious circle.

When they have enough food, they want to procreate, when they procreate then they want more buildings, which leads them to demand wood. And then they start to want more food…
And then your conscience annoys you about not fulfilling their needs. Yeah, you have a conscience.

WhiteyBlackey


Whitey and Blackey (?) here are your spiritual advisors and provide you with information what the good/bad solution for a quest/problem is, among other things as annoying you about the needs of your villagers. They also have a good jokes for different occasions. They are a part of you…Talking about a case of multiple-persona-disorder…Nobody said, you are a mentally healthy God.

Talking about mental condition, let’s get on with the alignement system. You have a devil and an angel (?) as your spiritual advisors, so you can guess, which sides they represent. It’s your choice to with side you lean to. Use more “good” wonders and do good deeds (which includes to not hurt anyone, even the enemy) and after some time your temple will look like this.

5.quite.good.temple

White temple with a rainbow and clear sky, nice, isn’t it?

When you prefer to squish people with rocks, sacrifice them and lighten them up just for personal amusement, yeah…that’s the other side.

Evil_Temple

I’m the only one who finds it amusing, that evil is always a little bit… spikey?

At the beginning you are neutral and it is hard to maintain this state. Once I killed a few villagers by accident (Yeah, right…Be quiet, sarcastic little brain-voice.) and the first spikes curled up my nice white tower. After spent hours to get to be a good God, now this. Yeah. What I have experienced, you can become evil quite easily.

Now you have followers and a temple and can use miracles. The only thing that is missing is your creature. The creature as physical entity of your strength can…Let’s cut it short, shall we? The creature is a huge (compared to villagers)  tamagochi. You feed it, you teach it things and it has a mind(?) on it’s own. And it can grow as tall as a mountain. At the beginning you can choose between a cow, an ape and a tiger. They have different skills. The Ape learns faster, the tiger is a better fighter (but dumb) and the cow is something inbetween. If you don’t want those creatures at the beginning, you can unlock other creatures at different mini-quests.

tumblr_ll6vs4IlDb1qjmujco1_500

Yeah, the little tiger on the front is your Creature at the beginning…The lion…is older…and a “little” bit more stronger

Your creature can also have an alignement, but you can have a good creature even if you have the blackest soul on this planet. And the creature will sometimes think that you are a saint, even if its living in a spikey tower. Have I mentioned that the creature isn’t always the brightest being on Eden? This can lead to some frustrating moments when for example the Tiger eats someone who is quest-important. Evil solution. Yeah, thanks helper.

But the Creature becomes essential later on. You can only perform miracles in a certain space, indicated through a red (sometimes other coloured) circle. That is the room you have influence on, but your creature can go outside it to another village and can perform miracles to impress people.  You can also send it to fight another Creature of another God if it’s strong enough.

There is also a multiplayer…but only if you have a lot of time. The AI of the other Gods…They aren’t really bright. More annoying than really demanding, for multiplayer and the main game alike. I never came in a though spot because of them.

The hunting Conclusion? It was fun, even when the AI wasn’t the best. There were a few bugs and glitches which prevented the completion of certain quests, but the quests themselves were different, had their own story and were entertaining with a good reward at the end. And although the Creature isn’t a genuis, it is fun to see it grow. The main story…it isn’t a great, but passable. You just really want to kill Nemesis at the end.

I would say, overall, it was a nice experience, they put the love in different details and jokes, but it had its fault. Not the greatest game but a good stepping stone for future generations, because (as far as I can remember), after Populous, there wasn’t really a game which was a memoriable one with this whole God-Genre thing.

…I have the feeling I should review the sequel as well…but…well…if you want.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Pc

 

Tags: , , , , ,