Tag Archive: Review


Review: Wanderlust: Rebirth

So, hell has semi-officially frozen over. Yes, it’s true. I’m doing an actual review. Kind of. Saying it right now; no, there will be no score at the end. It’s a retarded trend that is plaguing the industry that you can attach a numerical value to how much someone subjectively enjoyed a game. There is no objectivity to it. So don’t go in thinking I’m going to sum this all up with a number, because that’s not how I roll. There will be words though. Lots of words.  Second, this is mostly because Wanderlust happens to be a fairly short, enjoyable game that I’m able to do this. Don’t ask for reviews on other, bigger games unless you want the love-child of insanity and a college thesis. Right, we’re done with that, we can look at the game itself.

Gameplay:

Control is very simple, movement being WASD and then using the arrow keys to use abilities for three of the four playable classes. Each one has a fairly unique play style with a couple of different styles. If you’re sadistic or boring Alchemists and Warriors can just stand behind enemies and spam basic attacks to wrack up massive combos and give the various wildlife some serious lower-back problems. Warriors can spec in to tanking or just bludgeoning things to death. Alchemists can be the back-stabby rogues or use a variety of potions to blow-up and debuff enemies. Clerics have the hilarious ability to heal and damage with basically anything they do. Specializing for one or the other makes it better, of course, but it’s hilarious to see my friend’s Cleric who was built solely to heal our party through missions run around beating everything to death with the power of healing. And no, not just undead things. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen someone heal a bear to death.

I wish I could be that cool.

Special mention goes to the Elementalist, the mage with the most ridiculous gameplay of the four. Unlike the other three, the Elementalist can only ever have 2 spells active (used with Right/Left mouse instead of arrows, you have to aim spells), but every spell is composed of runes that have varying cooldowns and combinations. Fire can inflict Burn, which sets and enemies Frost resist to zero. Boulder is a line-shot that penetrates and hits everything in a line. Every element you can pick from has a summon-able pet once you put in enough points to that skill.
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Oh boy. Oooh boy. I’ve been  waiting on this. The newest addition to League of Legends, provided by the one and only Meddler of Riot Games. I was eagerly awaiting this champion, because Meddler also made Ziggs. Dying to know if that was a one-off or if he’d keep up the same quality of work. And did he ever nail. Meddler’s now sitting with Xypherous a favorite designer, and that’s about the biggest compliment I can give. Now, with that out-of-the-way, let’s take a look at how Varus actually functions, and break down his playstyle.

Varus, The Arrow of Retribution:

(Passive) Living Vengeance: Varus gains attack speed for a short time after killing a target. Minion kills grant Varus 20% attack speed for 3 seconds. Champion kills or assists double this, giving Varus 40% attack speed for 6 seconds.

Piercing Arrow:  (first cast) Varus draws his bow back, charging up a powerful shot. Range and damage are increased as you charge, up to a cap. If the spell is held for too long, Piercing Arrow is cancelled and refunds half its mana cost. (second cast) After charging, Varus fires a long-range attack, dealing damage based on how long the skill was charging, up to a cap. This ability does diminishing damage the more targets it passes through.

Blighted Quiver (Passive ability): Varus’ arrows apply blight to any target hit, along with a small amount of bonus magic damage. Blight stacks up to three times, and can be proc’d by any of Varus’ other abilities, dealing a percentage of the target’s maximum health as magic damage for each stack of blight.

Hail of Arrows: Varus fires a hail of arrows at target location, desecrating the ground under it. Enemies on desecrated ground suffer a move speed penalty and receive 50% less healing.

(Ultimate) Chain of Corruption: Varus fires off a tendril of corruption, binding the first champion hit. This corruption will spread to any nearby enemy champions, rooting them in place if the tendril makes it to them. This effect can continue to spread until all no targets are available, but can not spread to the same champion more than once.

Varus excels at poking and long-range harassment, even more than most other carries. His Piercing Arrow ability has the single largest range of any non-ultimate skill shot when fully charged, and hits like an absolute truck at full charge. Varus has an insane amount of tricks up his sleeve, allowing for truly impressive play. With proper vision, Varus can easily snipe red or blue buff, dragon, or even Baron Nashor with a well placed Q, easily granting himself and his team a large advantage. Hail of Arrows applies a decently sized area that slows enemies and reduces healing, making it an essential skill against enemies with sustain, such as Soraka or Dr. Mundo. His ultimate can easily change a team fight, spreading out and binding an entire team if they clump together.
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TERA (belated) Tuesday: Archer Class

So this was delayed because of my little whinge on Tuesday, because that’s kind of my thing. I like picking apart games, especially ones that annoy me to figure out why. But now that I’ve got all that ou of my system, I can move back to enjoying the game. Seriously, despite all that I’m still playing the game happily. So next time will (finally) be all the things I enjoy about the game. But for now… the Archer!

Archer:
Role: Damage
Difficulty: [***]

The Archer is TERA’s answer to a long-range sniper class, although it’s a bit wonky. It does feel like you get to play a long-range sniper if you would so desire, but they still have the same basic attack range of the other classes. However, this is toyed with in an interesting way; quite a few of the Archer’s skills do increased damage the closer you are to the target. Which would make sense, being that you’re shooting straight ahead, so that arrow is as strong as it’ll ever be right as it leaves the bow. Alternatively, magic. Magic did it. For a good comparison, consider this: The Archer is the physical version of the Sorcerer, only where the Sorcerer has insane burst and crits, the Archer deals steady ad consistent damage.

Skill wise, Archers get a few fun things to play with. The classic “hail of arrows” and “piercing shot” are all here, and you get those pretty early on. But, do remember what I said before, most of your ranged skills do more damage the closer you are, so knowing how close to be to something is the key to perfect use of your skills. The targeting on Arrow Volley can be a little weird at times, but the skill is still alright for aoe-clearing. Like a certain other game I could name (or twelve), Archers in TERA also gain access to several traps to help out. These come in various flavors, ice-burst slow, big area fire, and so on, and can be fun to use and set up in a chain. Thankfully they also have a close-range smack with a chance to stun, giving you all the time you’ll need to hop away from the fight, rounding out their already fun skill kit.
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TERA: The Ugly

So, today marks the head-start event for TERA and will, presumably, be the last time we get spammed beta invites from En Masse, so I figured now would be the perfect time to start up a new three-part series, similar to what happened with rift. This will be called the same thing, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. So why start with the worst category? Well, because TERA has a lot of problems. So this isn’t the game for everyone, and if any of this sounds like a deal breaker already, then go ahead and skip the game. It won’t get much better. However, just because I’m about to verbally assassinate the game doesn’t mean I’m not going to play it. Far from it. The combat truly is great enough for me to deal with these issues. Mostly.

Now, you might be thinking, “Kana, what could possibly be that wrong with the game?”, and the answer always comes back to the same thing, time and time again. This is a game designed from the ground up and maximum level play and only max level play. Every major complaint I or anyone else has ever had has been BS’d around by the community going, “oh, it’s that way for the high level players!”

Last time I checked, the Korean and Japanese players got their own server, and won’t be coming over here. So why is it that this game still has such a terrible design even though no one is even at the level to exploit it? I’m talking about things like…

Wrecked Economy:

There are a lot of things to do in TERA with your character. Glyphs, Crystals, crafting, dyes, armor remodeling, and even more. And TERA wants you to do absolutely none of it until you get of your lazy bum and go grind a few dozen levels. I came out of the Island of Dawn with close to two-hundred pieces of ore, to practice weaponsmithing with. I almost broke my newbie character doing it. You might think, “well, don’t buy expensive recipes then!” The recipe I was using? Yeah, the game gave that to me for free. I wasn’t making weapons, I was just trying to smelt all that ore. And that took almost all my money. Crafting recipes are even more ludicrously expensive, and all rely entirely on the player flat-out buying most of the components anyways.

So yeah, it’s a good thing this isn’t an rpg or anything, or it would be troble trying to convince myself my character has any skill what so ever when she has to continuously buy half the pieces to a weapon instead of just making them herself. Feels like cheating when I keep buying metal handles and shield pieces.  Seriously, what was the point of getting all that ore if the game was just going to break my bank and then still not do anything with it?
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TERA Tuesday: Priest Class

Okay, confession time. I hate healing. I like healers, don’t get me wrong. Having someone pull my ass out of the fire is great, and I’ll never underestimate a healer’s contribution to the team. But I hate playing one. Vehemently hate playing them. TERA probably takes this feeling and makes it even worse, so that’s your warning for this. Figured it’d be better to get the bad out of the way now so we can focus on the more fun Mystic later. If you want to see my first impressions (spoiler: it’s not pretty), keep reading. If you like healers and like playing them in this, skip on down to the bottom where I have the late game/crystal stuff.

Priest:
Role: Healing
Difficulty: [*****]

The Priest is exactly what you’d expect for a class with the name of ‘priest’, only these don’t ever really get the chance to go around exorcising little girls or yelling about brimstone and fire. Though I guess you could role-play that with a friend who’s willing to play an Elin for the whole package. Priests have the biggest healing package of the two healers (the other being Mystic), and focus on support by keeping allies alive. There are various spells in their arsenal, and most of them involve keeping your little red bar as high up as possible for as long as possible. For everything else, there always is… the basic attack I guess.

Priests are a slow burner of a class, you won’t start getting any decent skills until you’ve nearly left the Isle of Dawn. By that time though, you’ll have at least 3 different heals up your sleeves. A self-cast, near instant ‘panic’ heal for yourself (that you’ll use a lot), a “pool” of light you can summon a few feet away that heals allied units standing inside of it over time, and a lock-on heal dual-target heal for precision moments. As for combat skills… there isn’t much to say. They feel weak and worthless, so grab a friend to kill for you. Otherwise you’ll be beating on mobs for a long time when going solo.

Combat is almost an embarrassment. Priests have to be the single worst class in the game for fighting anything. And you might think, “well, duh, it’s a healer!”, but I’m talking about a level of incompetence you can only imagine. The basic attack has a relatively long wind up and travel time, and it doesn’t track enemies. Nearly every other ranged character has some small measure of auto-correct in their attacks, usually to guarantee a hit after you’ve locked on and fired at a moving target. But the Priest doesn’t, so shooting at anything moving quickly becomes an exercise in frustration. The little area of effect you get is also weak and has a fair cooldown, so coupled with the very weak attack makes the whole class feel like you’re trying to kill with a pool noodle. Combat often devolves into a very boring slug-fest,  where just spamming the basic attack and occasionally using your panic heal is the best solution to everything. Like I said before, get a friend, preferably someone else not playing a priest or you might both die of frustration and/or boredom.

Crystals are a bog-standard choice. If you’re leveling, get health and mana regeneration. You’ll need literally nothing else, since nothing will be able to kill you with that self-target heal having no cast time and almost no cooldown. Glyphing for damage is a borderline waste, but if it keeps the tedium at bay, go for it. Otherwise if leveling with a friend, just glyph healing and pray they don’t get bored carrying you to the point you can do instances. Total mana is also a decent enough choice, with the class having a relatively early gotten mana-regen skill on a short cooldown. Health regen and damage reduction/bonus are just wasted on this class though.

So there it goes. Priests are a slow burner and a masochistic experience to play leveling up. They have no damage, single or multi-target, and no armor, so healing is about all they have. Late game they’re probably the best healer just because of the control they bring, consistently being able to keep health bars up and preventing party death with little involvement from the other players. If you like healing already, go for it. But if you’re wanting to try healing or looking for an alt, I can’t recommend this class in the slightest.

See you next week for the Mystic! For real this time, too.

 

Jedi Academy, a review/retrospect

Hey there! DDdreamer here with another look at a game I like. This time I’m gonna delve into one
of the classics of computer gaming: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.
Released in 2003, the game quickly aquired a following that persists
to this day.

However, does the game still hold up in
2011? Is it still a good game? With these questions (and a desire to
see what all the hallaballo was about) I played through the entire
game in three days.

I’m gonna divide my thoughts of the
game into four different categories: Sound, Visuals, Gameplay and
Story. Towards the end, I’ll make a summary of my general thoughts of
the game.

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Sea of Dreams

Right then, BioShock 2. Now, before the caustic hate goes out, let’s start off with some caustic love. BioShock 2 was very much what I was hoping for in many ways, and being back in Rapture was a blast. Voice acting could have been improved, but I’m biased on account of having to hear southerners every time I walk outside. The whole experience was still as visually stunning as I had expected and immersive as I’d hoped. All in all BioShock 2 was a great game by itself and probably going to be one of ‘Games of the Year’. But there is the problem, BioShock 2 isn’t a stand alone game. It’s a sequel to BioShock. This is where things start to fall apart, and BioShock 2 falls much farther than before.

BioShock was a fantastic game that drew me in and never let me back out until the credits started rolling, and considering how decrepit and insane Rapture was, that was no small feat. I felt like I wasn’t some gamer, but that I was inside the city, just trying to survive long enough to get the hell out. That I was caught up in the battle between Ryan and Atlas not because I wanted too, but because I had too as a means to escape. And because Ryan was a jerk. But that was later on. BioShock 2 on the other hand, you know exactly what you are doing and where you are. There is none of the chaos and decay of before except for that you leave in your destructive wake. You were often in touch with Atlas, but he was more of a guide, either suggesting where to go or begging for help to save his family. Atlas, not Fontaine, stick with me people. He was a human in need, also caught up in the madness of Rapture’s fall. Sinclair on the other hand is hardly hurting for anything, he’s been loaded from the plasmid business and wants to go to the surface just to exploit them too. Hardly a sympathetic character. Tenembaum makes an appearance for all of two levels at best, before disappearing and all but saying ‘This is Sinclair, he is my replacement. I’m on vacation now.’ The good path I took didn’t even have Tenembaum talking to me, it was Elanor instead. The very person I’m supposed to be rescuing.  That was another thing, plasmids/ADAM aside, Elanor just talks way too much. It’s hard to think she’s ever in trouble when she’s shooting something off every time you do something. Would have been more believable if a Little Sister had been waiting for you to tell you a little bit, maybe even team up with you. There was a lot with the characters that either went against how we were supposed to feel about them or just flat out replaced it. Time for a few examples;

-Sinclair; Not very sympathetic until the end. This guy was pretty much a tame Fontaine. Why did Tenembaum simply vanish and expect us to save all the Little Sisters without any word from her? Heck, the only incentive you get at the very beginning is from Sinclair and hes wanting you to waste them all for adam.

-Elanor
;  Less talking. Seriously. Yes, your my little one. I get it. I want to save you. I want to hurry less when you seem fine just because you can talk directly to me at every moment. Her ability to take control of Little Sisters could have easily filled this better, giving us the impression that something more was involved with the Sister in question, but not actually letting us on until later when Elanor revels it was her. Speaking of Sisters…

Big Sister; Too. Many. Period. And they suffer the same problem as Big Daddies in the first game, they are simply too easy later on. It would have been a scarier encounter if you never killed one until the very end at least. Having to fight off some unstoppable force of Rapture would have been better than killing them over and over. And they just spawn too much. When ever you turn in your Sister, one spawns in. Why are we being punished for playing the game? Outside Electrobolt and Insect Swarm I almost never used any other plasmid except for giggles or experimentation. Make them unkillable (Large hitpools, run at a fixed % or time limit), but able to be knocked around and stunned. It’s a fight of survival, a Big Sister is the personification of Rapture, of its power. You can’t kill Rapture, you can’t win. You can only survive. You have to survive the Big Sister longer if you play evil paths, maybe almost kill one before she runs, stealing satisfaction. Maybe Big Sister spawns more often when you play a dark path. There was a lot of potential for the Big Sisters as well, but most of it went into the ‘Big Daddy Replacement’ department as our main killable enemy. She just existeded as a badass enemy to kill for some paltry loot and progress the story. Thats not to say one Big Sister is all you get, there could be several as long as they A) Are running place to place or just did something like kidnap your Sister and booked it, screeching the night away or B) Be watching you from outside or somewhere unreachable. Either one to give you a sense of dread and get you ready for a fight, even if the fight never comes. Rapture is always watching you, are you ready when her anger boils over?

Alex the Great; Alex is no Sander Cohen. Hes not really relatable, nor do you interact much. Except for his cameras flying around screaming at you. Now, he was a blast to fight against, since to him you are just some errant employee. That was fun, but you never get to really interact with him. And no, flowers don’t count. The Quadtick was fun, if slightly disturbing, as it should have been. Alex didn’t really have much, and seemed to be in the dark about what he himself had said before. By the time I was done with the whole thing, Gil had asked for death enough that I just flipped the switch and walked off. Bring characters closer to home, not sitting in a jar eating pudding and yelling at us while hardly knowing what it is we’re doing. Especially when he said it in the first place, and he had control over much of the security systems at first.

Sofia Lamb; *sigh* Now I have to be nice. Sofia. Lamb. Hands down one of my favorite people in Rapture. She is the root of it all. Bringing a religion to the vacant city, turning everyone into her own cult to support her dreams of utopia, but at the same time taking the brief moments to talk to you. Not as an enemy, but a simply misguided soul. Of course everything falls apart later, but until  the end, she was entirely well done. Side note- If there is now some state sponsored religion in Rapture, why did all the splicers stop singing the ‘Jesus Loves Me’ song? That really brought home how much Rapture had fallen in the first one. A little more than cultist shrines would have been nice. Or maybe they still sang it but I just couldn’t hear it over the melodious sound of *drill*.

The other major problem with Rapture was… well, Rapture itself. This place was cracking leaks and colder than a witch’s tit 10 years ago. Why does it look the same? Rosies aren’t that good at keeping it together. The place should have been more decayed, fused more with the ocean around it. One of the best moments is when you fall through several floors in a building until you hit a flooded pipe system you can walk through. The whole city just seemed too… clean. Which should have been hard for Rapture to pull off overall. Being outside was put up as being one of the highlights in BioShock 2, being with the ocean that surrounded you in BioShock, but that only happens once, maybe twice. When an angry Big Sister knocks the windows out, and when you come over a hill to view Rapture in all it’s splendor. Other than that, the ocean felt entirely interchangeable with a damp hallway. Nothing of significance, but it could have been so much more.  A little more freedom would have really opened the ocean. Even if you end up in the same place, two or three paths would have broken up the monotony and given a bit more replay value. Also more of the adam slugs. Randomly. Flooded building would have also put you and the ocean together, while showing how far the city has and is falling. Decay and death is a good thing here, and the little pockets of life you find around the Lamb Religion serve to highlight that darkness.

Those are the two main things that would have really sent BioShock 2 flying high, even as a sequel to BioShock. As it stands BioShock 2 was a great game, but a bit of a disappointment compared to the predecessor. The only character who really lived up to her ancestry was Sofia Lamb, the new version of Ryan and Fontaine combined. Well, she was better than what that sounds like. There was so much potential, couldn’t fit everything in one post, maybe more about the Big Sisters and Splicers in another post.