Icenaire is in peril, wraiths and the living dead torment
what few survivors are left and doomsday cultists threaten to unleash dark
forces upon the world. Only you stand in their way, armed with your trusty
- Frozen Doom: I find it refreshing every time someone goes for a wasteland setting that is not a barren brown landscape. The frozen wasteland in Vambrace: Cold Soul is incredibly oppressive and the signs of life lost and frozen in time is just amazing for the atmosphere of the game.
- Our Elves are Different: One thing I really enjoyed about the writing in Vambrace is how nuanced the fantasy races are. At firs they seem to readily fall into known tropes and clichés but the more you interact with them, take on sidequests and learn about the delicate political balance in town, the depictions gain a lot more depth and even the darkest of Drow has a noble soul and something to share.
- Bland Class Design: Aside from the protagonist, you can recruit other team members to go up to the surface with you to loot or pursue mission objectives but the classes themselves aren’t all that interesting, with only two abilities to them, a main attack and a charged Flourish. Overall, the classes feel samey, and not even the variable attributes on characters makes them stand out or feel like the right choice for any given situation. Worse still, you never feel like there’s synergy between members of the group.
- Poor Progression: As you complete chapters in the game, you’ll unlock Perk Points for your vambrace, which raise your statuses, but that’s about it when it comes to progression. Classes don’t have upgrades, there are no additional paths or abilities, so there’s very little incentive in trying to keep a party alive, other than losing any of them meaning you most likely have to cancel your current expedition, return to base, recruit a new team and then start over from scratch. Hell, it’s more than likely you’ll get rid of your early companions as soon as others with higher combat stats pop up.
- Unnecessarily Punitive: If you return from an expedition you lose all progress, and I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine is with the gated crafting tables, the fact that companion death means their equipment goes with them, the incredibly high cost of healing supplies, and just how many negative effects enemies and traps can stack on you. The weight limits are also ridiculously low, to the point you’re often considering if you should get rid of healing items or loot. It’s game design that feels like it’s just there to inflate difficulty, not because it adds anything to the experience.
- Single Save: There’s only the autosave, no manual save option. In a game where the loss of one companion can be completely fatal as you lose precious equipment (and crafting is a gigantic pain in the rear), not being able to set a separate save file before the expedition is a major glaring flaw for me.
A drunken guard lets in a dark stranger into town and in doing so he inadvertently steps into an epic time-spanning and twisting adventure that will definitely hammer in the importance of his Guard Duty. Continue reading Review: Guard Duty
I love fairy tales, as much as I love myths. They’re some of our oldest forms of storytelling. They’re full of lessons and warnings, a bit of wisdom retained after the entertainment. They are also almost universally terrifying, despite the best effort of sanitising them by filmmakers and entertainment companies. So, it was refreshing for me to see a TV series not only tap into these wonderful stories, but tap into the horror aspect, reimagining it for a new audience, giving us a vision of the world that was full of awe and terror. I can’t tell you enough, how much I love Grimm. Continue reading Series to Binge – Grimm
I liked the first season of the Shannara Chronicles, I thought the plot was great, performances were strong and it had some fantastic twists that I didn’t see coming. Season 2 on the other hand was a profound disappointment. Continue reading The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 – Review
Some time ago I received a preview key for an action RPG called Tanzia by Arcanity Inc., which opted for an MMORPG feel and control scheme for its action. From the few screenshots and videos I’d seen before giving it a try, it looked pretty interesting, with a strange blue character blasting things to bit on a tropical island.
Now that I’ve had a chance to play around with the Early Access build, I can say that there’s a lot of potential in the title, but it’s too rough to enjoy right now, with some bizarre design decisions that make the action feel like a slog instead of a fun time. Continue reading Preview – Tanzia
It’s been a while since I posted my last short story, or even a proposal for one. I’ve been busy, stressed, ill, dealing with issues and many more excuses you really don’t want to know about.
In the past couple of weeks though, as things have cleared up, I’ve managed to finish up a first version of one of the stories I proposed oh so many moons ago: The Song, a Sci-Fi Noir story. The bad news is that I’ve decided to do something else with that particular story as soon as I’ve put it through a few revisions and test reads. I’ve never submitted a short story for publication in a magazine, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do but I’ll admit that it terrifies me. I don’t know if I’m even half the writer needed to pull that one off. But you know, fear is the mind killer after all, so I won’t let that stop me. Continue reading Resuming Fiction!
A long time ago (in a galaxy far far away), I began my series of articles on writing a novel, detailing the steps to follow to write your story, how to prepare and break down your tasks in a way that works…for me. And last week I mentioned I was preparing a D&D campaign on my original world, Telia, which I’m building along with some of my players, as they’re incredibly creative people.
One of the things I spent time explaining in that little writing series was the planning stage, and particularly on the world building. In building this D&D world I’ve come to realise the major difference between doing so for a novel and for an RPG campaign. Continue reading Campaign Preparations – World Building
My son, if you’re reading this, then it’s your turn and I’m not around to take your place.
But despite the pleas I’m sure you’re hearing now, urging you to hurry and join the rest of the hunters, I beg you not to follow them, not yet, not until you read this. For in these pages you’ll find something you’ll need if you are to survive the night in the woods, if the spirits and monsters don’t devour you first. Continue reading The Witch of the Wilds
He’s back, green and mean and sexier than ever. It’s Styx, the Master of Shadows and now he’s set his eyes on something more dangerous than amber. This is Styx: Shards of Darkness.
Continue reading Review: Styx: Shards of Darkness
According to the latest census by the Summersalt Ministry of Commerce and Security—it makes sense in Summersalt, but nowhere else—the city-state is home to more than 700.000 beings, with humans being the majority. This census is the most accurate report on Summersalt population, if you forget that it ignores all mutants, saltbabies, horrors and aberrations born in the depths and slums, most of them from exposure to some form of raw salt.
Twenty percent of the population make up the upper neighbourhoods, where the Trade Princes, nouveau riches, big merchants and old school nobility live. But among them is a family with enough skeletons in their closet to beat the census by at least twice its reported amount, and enough secrets to burn the city itself a few times over. Continue reading Summersalt – Tracer