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.
I love X-COM, which I think I’ve stated a few times. When the chance presented itself to back the new game by Julian Gollop. the creator of the very first game in the series, UFO: Enemy Unknown and the first set of classic X-COM games—before the Firaxis remake—I jumped at the chance and became a backer for Phoenix Point.
Last week, the cool guys at Snapshot Games sent me a press early access version of the backer build coming out today, so I could take a look and see just how the game is shaping up. Below you’ll find a video of my latest session, up to the point when the game crashed on me. A minor issue with a preview build when the game is this fun.
But before we get to it, let’s discuss what’s new, what I liked and what I think they could improve on before the final release: Continue reading Backer Build Preview – Phoenix Point
I love a good RPG, as I’ve mentioned several times in the past, from JRPGs to action RPGs, as long as the story and characters are nice and the game is not soul-crushingly boring or frustrating, I’m all for it. So, I jumped at the chance to play The Tower of Time, the name alone being more than intriguing enough. So, what did I think about this title? Read on.
Continue reading Review: Tower of Time
The sun is dying and when it goes, it’ll take all of us with it. To survive, we need to set up a colony in a nearby moon and build the star-bridge that will take us to a new home. We don’t have much time until the sun goes Hypernova though.
Continue reading Review: Hypernova – Escape from Hadea
A city built from the ashes of the old world, its nobles living in decadence while the poor starve and survive by joining gangs and killing those that oppose them. This is the setting for Children of the Zodiarcs.
Continue reading Review: Children of the Zodiarcs
The Kingdom is burning, the people run for the hills as the guards do their best to fight the overwhelming enemy force with very little success. Now, in their darkest hour, only the princess and her mysterious powers can save them. This is Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire.
Continue reading Review: Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire
The Sundr is down, Bellower defeated and with him, a loved one lost. The apocalypse still rages on, the serpent devouring everything in its path. You must only take your clansmen, your varl and your warriors to Aberrang for safety. It’s the next chapter in the story of the Banner Saga. Continue reading Review: The Banner Saga 2
The world ended, as it tends to happen in the future, and aside from a giant overcrowded metropolis there are just badlands, criminals, mutants and cyborgs, death and pillage everywhere. It’s no wonder they gave it such an apt name: Bedlam!
Continue reading Review: Skyshine’s Bedlam
I didn’t play The Banner Saga when it first released but when I did I loved the world. At first I thought it a generic Scandinavian world but while it does have Norse Myth elements, it brought enough to the table to make it a unique fantasy world, one on the verge of collapse, near the end of its run, where the sun doesn’t set anymore, the land is breaking and ancient and deadly creatures emerge from the depths.
I loved the world but I struggled with the strategy elements. It took me a while to understand the balance between breaking enemy armour and going for hit point damage. Also had issues spending Renown for everything. By the time I knew what I was doing I was in a bad situation and things got worse the more I went on. I could never finish the game on my first playthrough to be honest.
That’s why, before I previewed The Banner Saga 2, I went back and cleared the first one as fast as possible. Continue reading Preview: The Banner Saga 2
One of the games for which I saw the longest queues in the Rezzed section over the course of my EGX adventure was Tears of Avia, a tactical RPG with anime-ish elements. It’s currently on Kickstarter. I passed by the stall and looking over people’s shoulders I saw bits of the gameplay and it was a style I was familiar with and knew I liked, a style all of you who ever played Final Fantasy Tactics will also recognise. Continue reading EGX Highlights – Tears of Avia