Boss Fight Design – The Checklist!

Boss Fights are a staple in gaming and no matter the genre, there’s a good chance you’ll have an encounter with some big bad that needs some righteous punishment, with brute force, ingenuity or some well-aimed tool.

This is not a top anything for bosses, but more of an analysis of what bosses should and shouldn’t be like. Too many a time I have played games where the bosses are unsatisfying, or they don’t have a specific theme or are nothing more than glorified minions. Continue reading Boss Fight Design – The Checklist!

Rezzed 2016 – Versus Evil and The Indie Room

Rezzed is a gaming event and there are AAA titles on show, but ultimately it’s about indie developers and their products and much like last year, the number of amazing titles was simply astounding. From the ones independently published to those in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, they all had something new and interesting to offer to our beloved industry.

One of the stops on my first day was the Versus Evil room, as they had not only The Banner Saga 2 there, which I previewed recently—and the reason I’m not including it in today’s write-up—but also a couple of new games I wanted to try. After that, I went to what would become my usual haunt during the following days: The Indie Room, where they collected most of the indie developers that weren’t part of another group, such as the Square Enix Collective sponsored developers.

Here are the games I saw while visiting the Versus Evil folks and the massive indie room! Continue reading Rezzed 2016 – Versus Evil and The Indie Room

Influential Sequels – Assassin’s Creed: The Kenway Saga

Last week I spoke of the characterisation in the Assassin’s Creed series and since then, thanks to a very generous if not controversial Steam Sale, I managed to complete my collection of the main series, meaning I bought Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Syndicate.

As I played Rogue, and having written the article last week, I started to think about the many Assassin’s Creed sequels and spinoffs and realised that the Kenway Saga is perhaps the most influential sequel in the series or at least tied with the Ezio Trilogy. They added new elements to the gameplay, expanded on the universe and created characters that we’re still talking about today. I’m a massive Ezio Auditore fan, he’s still my favourite character in the series and perhaps the most influential of all protagonists in Assassin’s Creed, but as a whole, I think the Kenway Saga tops Ezio’s in innovation, risks and variety.

Let’s take a look at what the Kenway Saga brought to the series, what it added to the mix. Continue reading Influential Sequels – Assassin’s Creed: The Kenway Saga

Assassins, Templars and Bartenders – Characterisation in Assassin’s Creed

I’m now playing Assassin’s Creed II as one of my LawfulGeek Plays series on YouTube. It’s my favourite game of the series and I have a thing for Renaissance Italy. I love the characters, the historical figures, the references mixed in with the series’ alternate history, all of it. I love that there’s a lot to do but without the overload present in future Assassin’s Creed titles.

During the first episode, I discussed why I thought Desmond Miles was a fantastic character. I went on and on about it for about five to ten minutes. Since then, I’ve been wondering about the rest of the characters in the series. I once wrote a small piece on them, and with more characters now to talk about, why not do it again, but this time analyse what makes them good or bad and how they could’ve been better!

So let’s get to it! Continue reading Assassins, Templars and Bartenders – Characterisation in Assassin’s Creed

Top Five Bad Tropes in JRPGs

Yesterday I spoke of the best things in Japanese Role-Playing Games aka JRPGs. I spoke of the scale, the length of the video games and how complex they are no matter their audience. But not everything about JRPGs is good and there are some common elements that annoy me to no end, so this time around I’m listing the five things I wish JRPGs stopped doing! Continue reading Top Five Bad Tropes in JRPGs

Five things I love about JRPGs

A couple of days I go wrote about the common elements in RPGs that I wasn’t really fond of, and JRPGs—that is Japanese RPGs—popped up a few times, both for good and bad reasons. Some people disagreed with my statements and we had a lovely discussion about it, but I realised today that no one argued the JRPG points.

So in contrast to the, mostly negative, overview of RPGs I gave on that article, I thought maybe we should take a closer look at JRPGs. What are its virtues and vices? If the phrasing seems familiar, then you probably read a similar article I did on adventure games some time ago. If you haven’t, go check it out, it’s a good one.

For today, I’m focusing on the positive aspects, the virtues of JRPGs. And to keep the list succinct, I’ll just explore the five things I like the most about JRPGs. Tomorrow, I’ll speak about the five I dislike the most! Continue reading Five things I love about JRPGs

Role Playing Grumbles – The Worst Tropes in RPGs

UPDATE: I went on a bit of a rant with the Powerless Power-Ups section and didn’t make my point very clear. I’ve now edited that.

I’ve been playing RPGs for a long time. I wouldn’t say I started playing this genre as a child, I really didn’t. I got seriously into RPGs with Final Fantasy VII when a friend loaned it to me—though that isn’t my favourite title in the series—and since then I’ve gone through dozens of titles in the genre in a variety of platforms, from the original NES to current gen systems. And my interest in RPGs goes beyond video game but also into tabletop. I play D&D and many other games—though not as many at the moment, sadly.

Role-playing Games, like any other genre have common elements between them. Some of these tropes are very good and even form the basis of the RPG genre in itself, but there are others that I wish I could forget and force others to do the same so we may never see them again in any video game.

This article is about the latter, the sins. Though as a disclaimer, I’ll say that this is my opinion only. They’re my beliefs. Continue reading Role Playing Grumbles – The Worst Tropes in RPGs

Star Wars Legends – Remembering the Expanded Universe – Characters

This is the last entry in this week of Star Wars. It’s strange, I had never before attempted a multi-part feature, didn’t know how to structure them. It took a new Star Wars film, a new continuity and the loss of the one I loved to bring this out of me. Guess I have to be thankful to Disney then.

This is the article I’ve been waiting to write, where I tell you about the characters in the Expanded Universe that made it such as special place for my imagination. Reading their adventures, following them on their journeys and controlling their actions in video games were a blast. I saw these people grow, evolve, become better men and women, or fall to the depths of depravity. These characters showed that the Star Wars saga is not about black and white good and evil but the millions of shades of gray that exist in the galaxy. From Sith falling in love with Jedi to good men going on a rampage for vengeance, the characters in the Star Wars Expanded Universe made it all relatable, believable and sparked new stories or continuations in my mind.

Some of these you’ll remember. Some are very familiar to you, but if you don’t know your Star Wars Expanded Universe, you won’t know them as I do. So sit back, grab a drink and let’s go meet some scum and villains! Continue reading Star Wars Legends – Remembering the Expanded Universe – Characters

Star Wars Legends – Remembering the Expanded Universe – Worlds and Locations

The Star Wars Expanded Universe not only had new stories, new characters and new concepts. It didn’t just kill off major characters, set others on the warpath, down the super fun slide of evil into the Dark Side or blow up countless worlds with the Suncrusher. It also gave us new and wondrous worlds, mysterious locations with deep histories that not only affected the characters in their stories but also influenced events in the distant future, sometimes even explaining possible plot holes in the films and even works by other authors.

Today, as part of this look into the wealth of information and lore in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that just isn’t official anymore, I’m going to take you to new worlds you might never have heard of. Some you might but not in the right context, nor would you know more than their name. Finally, there’s a weird one, but we’ll get to Zonama Sekot later. Continue reading Star Wars Legends – Remembering the Expanded Universe – Worlds and Locations

The Proper Way – Language in Journalism

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the work I do in The Mental Attic and other outlets, be it a geeky piece on GeekOut South-West, a preview on KickstartVentures or any of the other sites I write for on occasion.

One thing that I’ve thought of repeatedly is language, as in what kind of language is appropriate for articles? Is it right to use profanity or rude language in an article or does that diminish your arguments? Are abbreviations or common “text-speech” allowed? Can we use pure numbers or do we have to word the amounts out (30 or Thirty)? For today, I’ll focus on profanity. Continue reading The Proper Way – Language in Journalism