Monthly Archives: September 2017

Elite Dangerous: Horizons: The Thargoids Are Back

Elite Dangerous Horizons - The Return

The fifth major update for the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season is here, and with it comes a returning threat: The Targoids! 2.4: The Return thrusts players into combat against the ferocious foes, and Elite Dangerous will never be the same. This will be part of an ongoing arc started with 2.4: The Return, and will continue throughout the Horizons season with story events that will see commanders thrust into battle against the Thargoids for the first time in gaming’s modern age. A new and horrific dynamic is coming to the Elite Dangerous galaxy. In coming months the Thargoids’ influence will be felt throughout Elite Dangerous, and players will be forced to develop new tactics and technologies of their own to counter the Thargoid menace or see humanity’s grip on our sectors of the galaxy recede.

For those who do not remember, the Thargoids came in the 80s, in the open-world space adventure: Elite. The eight-sided craft is iconic, and it will be interesting to see how they are dealt with in a more modern setting. 2.4 is available on all platforms today and is included in the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season pass.

Rule with an Iron Fish Review: Taking the Bait

By Jaime Skelton (MissyS), Editor-in-Chief

 

I have a deep, dark gaming secret: I love fishing. Fishing games, fishing minigames, fishing mechanics  – if you tell me a game has fishing, you’ve hooked my interest. From researched and realistic to cute and silly, I’ll take the bait of video game fishing almost every time. Unfortunately, many fishing games end up floating belly-up, proving to be nothing more than a slow grind into nothingness. Rule with an Iron Fish, by Kestrel Games, manages to keep sail by offering RPG mechanics, a story, and more puns than you can shake a rod at.

Rule with an Iron Fish Review ScreenshotA new “friend.” I’ve seen enough hentai…

The story begins with you and your twin becoming lost at sea after a kraken attacks your ship. Separated and in uncharted waters, you make your way to Buccaneer Bay, a small pirate villa, to seek assistance. Before you know it, you’re tangled in quests to fish at the local islands, all while working toward hunting down the wicked Kraken and rescuing your twin.

While this would make for a cute backdrop to an otherwise dull fishing game, Rule with an Iron Fish takes the story further. Every character you meet has personality, their own stories to tell and goals to achieve. You’ll even see letters from each character as they send messages to you and to each other. There are dozens of main quests and side quests to complete to aid your new fellow pirates, who slowly become more family to you than the twin you have lost. The world is also filled with groan-worthy jokes and puns.

Rule with an Iron Fish Review Screenshot A typical response to whenever I tell a pun to a friend.

The fishing mechanic in Rule with an Iron Fish is relatively simple. You bait your line with worms, and cast it into the water where you target with your mouse. When a fish becomes interested, a colored circle will appear around the hook, colored red to green depending on how close the fish is. Once the circle grows small and green, you can click again to hook the fish and instantly reel it in. Rare fish also require you to play a small mini-game, in which you must press the arrow keys (or WASD) in the same direction shown on screen. Thankfully, this mini-game is generous on its time limit, so you don’t have to be a QTE champion to succeed. Every fish you catch grants you gold instantly (no need to sell them to an NPC), along with experience.

Like most fishing games, there are multiple types of bait, hooks, and lines to help you succeed. Unlike other games, these are cumulative bonuses, and you are free to choose the equipment that you visually like the most without having your fishing performance suffer. Rule with an Iron Fish adds onto this with more crafting in the form of ships and food.

Rule with an Iron Fish Review 20An Island for every party! … or well, every ship, at least.

As you play through the story, you will unlock plans for additional ships which usually grant access to new fishing areas. These plans must be completed by collecting the necessary crafting materials while fishing. These appear in floating chests or floating bubbles in different areas, which can be clicked on to be collected and saved for future use in an infinite, “store all” inventory.

Food comes in the form of five different recipes, each with a different benefit. To take this food with you, you must craft it from its components – which come from farming. You are given a small plot of land that can grow 12 plants (or worms) at once, which take ten minutes real time to grow. Thankfully, there’s no punishing mechanic that makes your crops rot if you forget about them.

Oh, and there’s a bunch of hats and pets too, because why not?

Rule with an Iron Fish Review 29Loyal companions to find pirate spit for you.

In addition to your standard fish and collect, there are also fishing battles, duels with NPCs. Rather than racing them to catch more fish, however, you bring out your pirate side and try to prevent them from catching fish. This includes throwing bombs at their fishing line to break it, using a net to scoop up the fish they dynamite out of the water, and destroying attack drones that try to interfere with you. Winning these duels also nets you experience and crafting materials.

Where does this experience go? Like any RPG, your character can progress through levels, growing stronger and gaining improved fishing skills. This includes additional fish in the pond, improved hook sink speed and catch speed, and bait attraction radius.

Rule with an Iron Fish Review ScreenshotA happy town full of happy pirates.

Overall, Rule with an Iron Fish is charming, funny, and keeps you wanting to continue just a little longer. While the game becomes increasingly more of a grind as you get into the last part of the game, side quests give you objectives to work toward that take away the feeling that you’re just pushing for those last bits of completion. If you love fishing video games, puns, and casual but engaging gameplay, Rule with an Iron Fish is worth picking up on Steam.

Final Verdict: Great (4/5)

Rule with an Iron Fish Screenshots:

Note: A game key was provided for review purposes.

Atari Reveals More Details About The Ataribox

Ataribox Updated Info - News

The Ataribox is the upcoming console from the company that revolutionized home console gaming and they’re coming back to the scene with this combination of 80s woodgrain and modern technology! Ataribox has a unique modern design, influenced by iconic Atari products such as the Atari 2600. Technology-wise, it is powered by an AMD customized processor with Radeon Graphics technology. Ataribox will offer games and more: bringing a full PC experience to the TV, it will also include streaming, applications, social, browsing, and music.

“With Ataribox, we wanted to create an open system, a killer product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible. Atari games and content will be available as well as games and content from other providers,” said Fred Chesnais, Atari Chief Executive Officer. “We also wanted to launch Ataribox with our community, and reward our fans with exclusive early access, special editions, and include them as active participants in the product rollout.”

It will be available first through Indiegogo’s crowdfunding this fall, with a global launch slated for Spring of 2018. The expected price range will be 249-299 USD, depending on which edition/memory configuration desired. One of the biggest draws for the Ataribox is that it’s an open system. It’s not closed off like most consoles are; users will have free access to customize the OS how they see fit and Atari fans around the world will have access to this incredible technology.

Fighting Fantasy Legends Review: A Trip in Time

Fighting Fantasy Legends - Combat

by Jason Parker (Ragachak)

As a much younger man, I adored the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” books, but what really caught my attention was the “Fighting Fantasy” series. It used stats like Hit Points and Attack Dice, so it took the experience a little further. It was what truly fostered my love of RPGs, as I found these books right around the same time I found Dragon Warrior 1. These two forces combined, and I was hooked forever. Being able to absorb myself into a small novel that I flipped around in, fought bad guys and collected treasure? That was probably the greatest thing for me. So when I heard that the Fighting Fantasy books were coming to a video game format (mobile and Steam), that made me ridiculously happy. In fact, I did an interview with one of the members of the team putting it together.

Fighting Fantasy Legends - Story

There’s not a lot of dialogue. You have to figure it all out.

Fighting Fantasy Legends takes place in the world of Titan, where a majority of the books took place. This game is set across the events of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, City of Thieves, and Citadel of Chaos. I read at least one of those three as a lad, but I did not remember any of the content within, so it still felt like a nice, fresh adventure. I don’t think it would matter either way because it’s not just City of Thieves, it’s the other two books at the same time!

So, let’s delve into how this works. Nomad Games put a lot of work into this, and kudos to them for it. Starting the game is very simple: you choose a difficulty (only Adventurer at the start; you can unlock Hero/Legend later), then you pick your avatar: Dwarf, Barbarian, Elf. I’ve never understood why games use races as character classes, but here we are. Then you choose a name from a list. You don’t get to write your own name in. It doesn’t matter which you pick because you customize what you want in terms of stats and special skill.

Fighting Fantasy Legends - skills

You have plenty of options for character creation though.

You have SKILL which represents your expertise in combat, and represents how many attack dice you start off with. LUCK is … well, how lucky you are, and how you deal with luck-based challenges and how many dice you have to deal with them. Then you have special skills, from which you can select one. Everything from “More EXP”, “1 more gold piece every time you find gold”, “Unaffected by Curses” (which in hindsight, I should have used instead of EXP) and a few others. They aren’t major boosts to the character, but they are helpful, so take whichever you feel will benefit you the most. You start with 8 points in each stat and 20 HP, but adding to your pool of Attack/Luck Dice will detract from your total Stamina. You can cap those dice at 12, which gives you 12 stamina. That’s … very dangerous, I recommend against it. Personally, I capped my Damage Dice, but took away from my Luck dice, because I never won those in earlier attempts anyway. More on that in a bit.

Fighting Fantasy Legends - Quests

So. Many. Quests. No quest markers…

You don’t start off with any real direction other than being told to “Go to Port Blacksand” to talk to a Wizard. Nicodemus the Wizard will help you get started on your quest. You’re going to get a lot of Quests throughout your journey, but you have to find your own way. There’s no minimap, no real direction. You just have to explore. Exploring a town like Blacksand can be incredibly frustrating though. You cannot backtrack. Did you accidentally click on the wrong street, or go down an alley to find what you’re seeking isn’t there? You have to continue moving forward through town, leave town, and come back in and do it all over again. This became infuriating to me until I found that I can use this to level my character, increasing the power of my dice and farm gold through events that always happen. In the streets, you’ll see glittering spots with a Question Mark, which trigger random events drawn from a deck. They could be great for you, or they could be a cursed item or a plethora of other things. But there are events that always happen in town, like encounters in abandoned houses, or a group of children playing stickball. If you pay attention where these are, and you win the skill challenges, you can rack up some serious gold – and you’re going to need it. This is a city that is incredibly treacherous, and without spoiling anything, I will warn you of this: Be cautious. Be very cautious. You have many options on how to proceed, whether you just fight the guards and make your way into the city, or try guile. I’ll leave the story at that because that’s where it begins; but you’re in for a long journey, and one worth undertaking.

Fighting Fantasy Legends - Skill Test

One of the rare checks I passed.

Each of your dice has one Fist or one Clover on it, representing Skill and Luck respectively. That means you have one chance per die for each encounter, and challenges will take various amounts of the die. I’ll tell you honestly that I failed every single Luck challenge until I found an item that guaranteed I’d win them. When you level though, you can add a point to one of these die, making it a little better each time. So you probably do want to spend some time fighting lots of enemies or completing challenges to increase your power. Combat takes this same approach. You and the enemy have X Hit Points/Stamina, and you roll all of your Skill dice, and the enemy rolls all of theirs. Any “Fists” mean you take one damage, and the same goes for the enemy. There are some instances where enemies will deal double damage though. There are occasional items you can throw for damage, like Throwing Daggers.

Fighting Fantasy Legends - Curse Remove

More often than not I just… had to stay cursed.

Should you die (and you will, pretty often at the start), you land outside of Port Blacksand, with 1 hp. Both of your die take a penalty (like a curse) which places an X on your die, and if you land on those X marks, it counts as a miss. You can restore the penalty by resting in an inn in a town, and you can remove curses from Luck dice from a Fortune Teller. This can be a definite drawback if you lose all of your gold to thieves, or have to buy items. More than once, I was stuck with 1 hp, because I had no gold. I’d go into town and try and find a way to make some cash, or make it to one of the skill challenges, only to die again, receive another penalty, and be set back even further. I recovered, but it took a few runs of town, and it was frustrating, because there are a lot of fights, even in Port Blacksand. So be aware that you can be slowed down pretty easy. In spite of this, it’s incredibly fun, and it’s a faithful adaptation of these books. You’ll spend a lot of time wandering, trying to remember where things are, completing quests, and resting. It’s not going to be a game you are likely to complete in one sitting. It’s got challenge, which might feel unfair sometimes. But that’s how the books were! It’s incredibly accurate in this way.

 

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Hero in the Making: 4/5 (Great)

Fighting Fantasy Legends is probably Nomad Games’ best work. It’s a thorough recreation of the Fighting Fantasy franchise, lovingly crafted, keeping the same charm and insane difficulty the original works had. However, there are a few things that really hold it back. For a game that’s based on books, there’s surprisingly little dialogue, and the dialogue that’s there is pretty simplistic. I was hoping for a bit of conversation, or some manner of communication in the game. I wasn’t expecting voice acting but I did expect more.

Beyond this, the mechanic of removing curses from your Luck Dice are very expensive at 10 gold. Healing and removing damage from your Skill dice is only 1 gold, but Luck dice costs far more and you have to survive a trip through town to do so, hoping you don’t lose even more on your Luck dice. And if you have cursed items, that means you have to spend even more gold. That kind of imbalance really frustrated me, but the excellent gameplay and exploration made up for it.

Other than those minor frustrations, the game is wonderful. It is a game that you will die in (a lot). The incredible difficulty seems to be popular these days, so I think fans of challenging RPGs that have never heard of the Fighting Fantasy franchise will get just as much out of it, as the long-time fans looking for in-jokes and easter eggs (they’re there)! I do hope to see more of these, in the form of expansions, DLC, or being able to make your own adventures for your friends to tackle.

Pathfinder Adventures: New DLC: A Fighter’s Tale: Valeros

OnRPG- New DLC Released for Pathfinder Adventures - A Fighter’s Tale_ Valeros -

“A Fighter’s Tale: Valeros” is the current DLC for Pathfinder Adventures and is available now! It has a week-one launch discount of 2.99, and then for 4.99 on iOS, Android, and Steam. It’s focused around Valeros, and offers five scenarios, and has storyline details their past which is now coming back to haunt him. A new character (Tontelizi) comes with it, as well as 30 new cards (available for use in Rise of the Runelords) and five new reward items built around Valeros himself.

EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone is the First Fully Cross-Platform/Reality Game

OnRPG_ CCP Games Launches EVE_ Valkyrie – Warzone, The First Fully Cross-Platfor

Today, CCP Games released EVE: Valkyrie – Warzonetaking the thrill and skill of competitive online space combat beyond VR to PlayStation 4 and PC gamers as the first fully cross-platform, cross-reality videogame. All current owners of EVE: Valkyrie will receive Warzone as a free upgrade, expanding it to become “Warzone”.  Pilots are not required to use a VR Headset, but that is definitely an option. But for those who do not have VR or do not care to use it, they can play the same game without it.

EVE: Valkyrie was born in virtual reality and is now reborn for everyone” said Andrew Willans, Lead Game Designer at CCP’s Newcastle Studio. “With the introduction of Warzone, it’s a great time for all players to get involved in the gritty-but-glorious celestial arenas of EVE: Valkyrie.”

Warzone includes all the content and upgrades to the original EVE: Valkyrie since launch, but also introduces a next-generation fleet of iconic ships: Such as the “Shadow (Covert-class) and each has their own role and style of combat within the grand battle. With new weapons, Ultra abilities and a new progression system per ship, players will have more access to the game as a whole and to how they wish to experience it.