TERA: Corsairs’ Stronghold Update Adds Pirates & Booty Galore (Arr!)

 

Okay, the game that got me to stop playing so much Diablo III is getting another big update. TERA isn’t quite perfect, but it’s often really gorgeous to look at and does do excellently at keeping me occupied in that theme park on steroids manner a good MMO does. The newest update is Corsairs’ Stronghold, a 20 vs 20 battleground map where you’ll need to fight with or against other players to secure or destroy an Archstone. I see that this map can be soloed, but I’m gathering that will be pretty darn tough to do if you’re trying to face off against 20 AI players (or even live ones) all by yourself.

Yes, a review is in process for this game, but I’m in the midst of figuring out the story content, which is tricky because the game allows you to play freely enough that you can miss a chunk of the plot by merely doing side missions and other diversions.  The nice thing is the game is free to play across all the systems it’s on, with the exception of those pesky keys required to unlock strongboxes. I didn’t realize this because in the beta. keys were rewarded for certain milestones. I haven’t spent a dime on the game at all, but at Level 65, I kind of have something like 1000 strongboxes (eep!) and am thinking hard about paying to unlock a few. My poor wallet is snapping at me every time I dawdle over that buy button on the store page, though.

 

 

So, we shall see what happens, I suppose. But know that my wallet has a mighty growl that can curl paint off a wall. In the meantime, did you know I’ve posted way too many videos about this game on my under-watched YouTube channel? I don’t do commentary at all, so fear not – you don’t have to hear my warbling and waxing poetic. Just pop by, watch a few and subscribe if you like what you see.

-GW

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LET IT DIE: A Valuable Lesson In Letting Go On A Few Fronts

Oh, it’s been nuts here of late, but I’m still alive. This year has been a busted Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride on crack (or maybe this), so my brain is in the process of processing a ton of stuff. Got a big backlog of stuff to get to, but I’ve managed to slide into a few new things to kick my creativity back into place. Or in English: LET IT DIE is helping out a lot. To wit:

“Violence is a very horrible thing. That’s what you’re learning now. Your body is learning it… You felt ill this afternoon because you’re getting better. You see, when we are healthy, we respond to the presence of the hateful with fear and nausea. You’re becoming healthy, that’s all. By this time tomorrow, you’ll be healthier still.”

Thank you, Dr. Branom! I’ll be back later with a cheerier post, folks.

-GW

Lost Reavers Beta Hands-On: Fun, But Needs Some Old West Tweaking

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LOSTREAVERS_keyartWhile it hasn’t sold in the numbers Nintendo has liked to have seen, the Wii U isn’t dead just yet. Bandai Namco’s online-only action shooter/RPG-lite exclusive Lost Reavers popped up last Friday as a public beta until April 26 (the final version goes live a day later) and after some extensive playtime, the jury is in on the gameplay (solid and accessible fun), but out on the lack of certain features that make these online games hugely popular and more enjoyable to western audiences. Let’s start with what works before commencing with the constructive criticism, as some things can and should be ironed out once the final release is out.


 

While the “plot” is thinner than a sheet of rice paper on a recently paved road run over by a dozen brand new steamrollers, it’s not *why* you’ll be playing at all. The game is a throwback to a simpler arcade style of play: Run through maps killing monsters and picking up drops before making to a relic room where that prize is retrieved by a single player and carried to an exit warp while the others protect hm or her. Most maps are relatively short and can be completed in less than five minutes to closer to ten minutes each with a good set of teammates. The Unreal-powered visuals are okay and occasional lag and bug issues (that will hopefully be squashed before launch) aside, the game runs at what looks like 30fps most of the time. While it’s a third-person game, each of the four classes plays differently and the heavy gunner guy has the only optional first-person view. My own preferences are the third person furthest view camera because it allows for seeing more of what’s around you, but there’s also a second third-person view that adds a targeting cursor as well as a lock-on function that should help casual players get used to things quickly.

Continue reading

Lost Reavers Killed My Productivity Today (Thanks, Bandai Namco!)


 

So yeah. I only planned to give that Lost Reavers beta a try for oh, about an hour or two. I got online at noon (after a few attempts at logging in after midnight failed because the beta wasn’t ready for its close up), and the next thing I know it was 6:47 and anything else I had planned earlier was toast. More in-depth impressions to come tomorrow. It’s fun and really easy to get into but REALLY needs an offline solo and up to 4-player co-op mode so even MORE people can play it.

Back in a bit. My eyeballs need a break, I’m at level 16 and there’s a big, bad boss that needs to be dealt with (later this evening, perhaps?)

Path of Exile: Ascendancy: So Much For Anything Resembling Free Time

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After years of ignoring it because of it’s lack of an offline mode (which is still a sticking point for me, but hey – I’m flexible), I’m finally giving the award-winning (and time chomping) action/RPG Path of Exile a try. This ends up being somewhat amusing because my inbox tells me (thanks Michael!) that a new expansion is coming March 4th, 2016 in the form of Path of Exile: Ascendancy. Which also means given the reviews I’ve seen from players who’ve sunk (*eep!*) thousands of hours into the original game, yours truly may never even see that newer content given the short amount of time per session I’ve mapped out for myself. Yes, I’m conducting another goofball experiment, folks. This time it’s playing a game that’s made to be a time-eater in small sessions and seeing how that goes. I predict it won’t go well given my love for these sorts of games. On the other hand, I’m limited by time and bandwidth so my 30 minutes per session is going to have to be adhered to or else this site is toast because I’ll never get anything done on the posting front.

That trailer above with it’s many ACME brand traps (that actually work!) gives me an idea of what to expect. but as noted above, I’m not going to be seeing this stuff for quite some time. I think Grinding Gear Games won’t mind my slow boat trek through their game, given that their already massive user base is keeping them busy with these updates and I’m just a small fish in a bigger ocean. That said, I bet a shiny new penny that getting their game ported to consoles at some point would be an instant smash, particularly if it went the Diablo III route and features offline play and/or even some means of couch co-op. You know, for those cases where the internet is all colicky or gets mucked up by some black-hatters looking to prove a point.

Anyway, the experiment begins this week at some point. This should be interesting to say the least given how addictive these games can be and my current workload.

Like Freedom, “Free” to Play Isn’t Free At All

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See that screenshot above? That’s the otherwise fun Fat Princess: Piece of Cake locking up on my poor Vita for the fourth time in the middle of a tough board (Mission 42, to be exact). A big fat BOO to that nonsense. As a free to play game I haven’t yet spent a dime on, it’s not bad at all (random freezes during play aside). On the other hand, as I refuse to buy into the micro-transaction model and complete online connectivity to receive daily rewards the game has been designed around, I’ve hit a huge roadblock in my progress that shows the failings of the F2P model in nearly any game it’s implemented in. If you’ve played the game, you know that it’s around the Happy Hills map (Mission 54, to be more precise) where the game comes to a complete stop for anyone not willing to shell out for additional content or able to connect online for certain random bonus items.

Yeah, yeah. “Everyone “should” have an always online connection these days!”, right? Wrong, and even if thy did, the fact that far too many games, free or not, are linked to this model means there’s less common sense among game developers and publishers who aren’t paying attention to that “small”amount of their potential audience they’re not getting a dime from thank to the shady business model that’s taken over the industry. South Park nailed it perfectly:

(thanks, macyosos8!) 

Now, are there any decent “free” to play titles? Yes indeed. I’d recommend Rubicon’s spectacular and completely FREE Combat Monsters in a heartbeat, although the persistent online connection needed makes it not attractive at all if you live in an area with spotty connections or simply don’t want your data tracked. That said, the developer does F2P right because you can indeed play the game for ages and not drop a dime on anything. Stuff that does cost money is priced fairly, makes sense (as in there’s NO pay to win content) and the dev team has polished it all up with a pretty addictive and thrilling game experience.

That said, It seems that the days of buying a retail or online product, registering it and never having to hear a peep ever again about your purchase or have your gaming life poked into are gone for good… but they aren’t. As long as you can grab an older not connected to the internet console or handheld and play games you like without being prodded in the pocket for payment, you’re good to go. Of course, you’ll be missing out on the shiny, shiny draw of somehow spending money on something that was advertised as “free” to play. But that’s one of those things that probably needs to to a high court to decide what the heck that word actually means in this day and age.

Nintendo Goes Mobile With DeNA: It’s The End of an Era, The Beginning of Another

EDIT! The funny thing is, I just re-read (or more precisely, completed reading) an article on this and it seems that Nintendo IS in total creative control on the developement front with their mobile lineup. DeNA is helping out with the behind the scenes backend production stuff. This bodes well for anyone concerned that Nintendo is shifting their licenses to a company that will slap a pay wall around any fun and sap wallets on a regular basis. My mistake! Oops. Well, let’s see what’s coming when it arrives, right? Right.

 

Yikes, what a big fat news item to wake up to. Anyway, it was pretty much a given that this sort of thing would happen (particularly if you read a few industry sites over the last year or so and started putting pieces of news together), but what does it all mean at the end of the day for longtime fans? More games to play and on platforms they never expected to see them on, most likely. Now, I’m sure Nintendo didn’t “sell out” their franchises to DeNA (or GungHo Online for that matter, see previous post). And I’m sure they’ll have final say in what gets out there. I do know that DeNA’s games, while criticized for their pay walls, happen to do well at getting people to play them and some of the more popular ones emulate gameplay elements found in Nintendo’s Pokemon series (which was created for them by GameFreak). Anyway, I’m just not going to say a peep more about this deal until I see what games are coming and how they’ll get to the fans. I know the most die-hard loyalists don’t want to see the words “free to play” attached to anything Nintendo does. But the sad thing is, this seems to be the wave of the future (yuck) and an unavoidable means of reliable revenue. Ah well…

Marvel Mighty Heroes Teaser: Your DeNA Just Got An Adrenaline Shot

Here’s a BIG kick in the pants for a Monday, courtesy of the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Okay, not really. it’s actually a brand new mobile game on the way from the folks at DeNA and developer ngmoco. Their upcoming F2P game Marvel Mighty Heroes looks to bring fast-paced tactical co-op action to iOS and Android devices soon. That teaser video above should get you fans motivated enough to pre-register for the game, but I’ll drop the press release below the jump if you need a tiny bit more convincing. Continue reading

Godzilla Strike Zone Trailer: A Little Free Fun While You’re Waiting…

Interestingly enough, had that new Godzilla film been made about ten years ago, gamers would be playing some new (and possibly rushed to make the film’s release window) game like this with longer levels and perhaps some sort of added multiplayer features. The days of paying fifty bucks for licensed movie games is over, I’d say and so, you get Godzilla Strike Zone for free on PC as a web browser game, on iOS though the App store and on Android through Google Play. Is it any good? Well, that depends on your definition of “good”, folks. It’s fun to play and loud and not very long overall, so I guess that counts as “good” in my book. Granted, you don’t need to know a thing about Godzilla old or new to dive into this and nope, you can’t ever beat FREE in my book even if a game isn’t all that hot. This one’s not going to task your brain in any way shape or form, but I’d recommend playing with headphones or ear buds, as you’ll rattle some windows if you have the volume up too much.

The Collectables Blasts Onto iOS Devices Today: Crytek’s Got You Good On A Few Fronts…

 
I was certainly surprised that I’d like a mobile game as much as Crytek’s The Collectables (as I’m not a fan of touchy-tappy gaming at all) when I saw it a few months back, but thanks to the combination of fantastic visuals and easy to get into gameplay (Okay, and stuff blowing up every few seconds), I can say this one’s worth a try. There’s also an addictive card collecting element (thus the game’s title) and some more fun to be had here, but this isn’t a review and I’m keeping it short because I think you should take this for a spin and see what you think. So, yeah- go do just that, I say…