I’ll be travelling today, so you all get a big list of links and the opportunity to talk about pretty much anything. Because that, Dragons and Dragonettes, is how we roll on this site.
Ian “Tiberius” Frazier’s upcoming RPG title, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, is beginning to get more press attention, mostly of the positive sort. Naturally, combat in the game is getting a lot of attention:
Using one button to use my firey staff of death (note: this is not the staffs name) and then laying in the pain with my daggers at close range, I found that the Boggarts were dying very quickly. I needed a further challenge, so I hit the start menu to see what the games difficulty was set to. It was on Casual, so I ramped it right up to hard and let me tell you, hard mode is -really- hard. I found myself being owned by simple woodland creatures, like wolves and bandits, and was forced to seek refuge elsewhere. I soon found myself in the front of this kind of tower, library thing with barricades around it and a whole platoon of soldier looking people. So I did what anyone who wanted to get the most of the combat in this game would do, I switched on a mode that allows you to attack civilians and other friendlies and engage with them in combat.
Combat in this title feels very similar to Fable and other similar Action RPGs, such as The Witcher 2. When I first engaged with this troupe of soldiers, I found myself getting owned quite easily and was forced to scoff health potions as my health waned. This forced me to think about the fight more tactically and engaged in a tactical retreat and engaged, after a fair distance, the fastest unit to approach me. After a long, but satisfying, firey, yet, eviscerated fight, I found myself ready to enter the building before me.
You’ll essentially want to have a gamepad connected to your PC to get the most out of the multi-weapon combat. When using a keyboard & mouse, players can use a primary attack (left mouse button by default) and magic (right mouse button by default), but are forced to use the mouse wheel to scroll to the secondary weapon (be it a bow, magic-infused staff or daggers). Conversely, if you use an Xbox 360 controller, for example, you’ll be able to use primary attack (X) secondary attack (Y) and magic (holding a trigger + A, B, X or Y) in a free-flowing manner. This allows greater control over your primary and secondary attacks, which are incredibly useful during combat. Granted, the keyboard grants direct access to submenus via single hotkeys and spells can be bound to numbers 1-9—functionality that the limited buttons of a controller cannot offer—but this still seems like an oversight given the emphasis on fast-paced combat.
Okay, so that second excerpt isn’t such a positive review, at least from a PC gamer’s perspective. Although, to be fair, the controls for Dungeon Siege 3 were similarly lambasted as being PC-unfriendly, and I found I had no problem whatsoever controlling that game. So…colour me skeptical.
One review also had this to add about the Destinies system in the game:
One of the features I enjoyed in this game, was the Destinies system. Essentially, what the system does is it allows you to change your class based on how you want to play. The more you level your character and distribute points, the different kinds of classes you can unlock. Each class has their own combat efficiencies, but I found my favorite to be the Rogue Destiny. This destiny made my attacks with daggers much more effective and matched my playstyle much better than any of the other available Destinies at the time.
Someone I periodically talk with on Twitter evidently also got a chance to get a look at the game, and praised it as being consistently strong with some exceptional standout moments.
Mass Effect 3 producer Casey Hudson was challenged (on Twitter) by a fan over the amount of combat-focused previews that were being released for the game:
@CaseyDHudson @masseffect seems trailers are about combat. Worried story might be sacrificed for CoD crowd? Please say I’m wrong.
Hudson’s reply was both instructive and enlightening:
@MPMonroe88 @masseffect Nah, combat’s just easier to show and is spoiler free. The story is the series’ best so far – we’ll show more soon.
BioWare have been trying to keep a solid lid on Mass Effect 3 spoilers, so the approach of showing material that really won’t spoil the plot at all does make sense. Because if it’s a shock to you that you’ll be fighting husks or Cerberus soldiers in ME3, you have not been paying any attention to the series at all thus far, and probably don’t care anyway. And to be fair, I suspect that the same is largely true of the Reckoning previews we’ve been seeing. Combat is easier to show, and frankly looks better in a trailer anyway. And none of the game’s plot gets spoiled!
…this quote struck me as interesting:
Reason why The Old Republic might be interesting: last time a company with that much exp. making RPGs did MMO, we got Ultima Online.
He may well have a point. I’ve played two beta weekends of The Old Republic so far, and am in the middle of a third now. And I quite agree with Sergorn: it’s a great game. It has a compelling look and feels convincingly like you’d expect the galaxy far, far away to feel. Gameplay is pretty solid, my griping about being unable to attack with the left mouse button nonwithstanding. Voice acting is generally good, and sometimes great.
And the story! Some of the side quests are fairly cookie-cutter, but the main plot (at least for the Jedi Consular character I’m playing) is really quite excellent. This is a game that will be difficult to put down.
Bethesda have announced that they will continue to release regular full-scale updates for the game, plus incremental updates to fix issues as they are identified, starting in 2012.
Expect that the PC version of the game, thanks to Steam, will get them earlier and perhaps more often.
Tonight’s post brought to you by ban Halo weapons!!!