Something, Something Game News – A recap: Dead space games and and even deader orcs

I’ve been a little lax this week on getting the blog up, but I’ve been pretty busy working on a game for which its Kickstarter will be launching soon. The past 10 days have also seen several game releases that I’ve been trying my best to review. I’ll likely have a review up tomorrow, and I’ll work on a few more posts over the next few days so I can be back to my regular blogging schedule next week.


Don't forget to help fund my "start-up company" so I can retire early. Sitting on my ass, here I come!

Nevertheless, I couldn’t let this week go by without a few honorable (and dishonorable) mentions:

Along with recording some voice-overs and composing a few background tracks, I’ve also been playing the shit out of WB’s new release: Shadow of Mordor. I have a full review in the works, but at this point I can tell you that it’s the most fun you can have decapitating the villainous Uruks of Middle-Earth since… well there aren’t really any other games that let you do it with such fervent variety. This title could have been called “1000 Ways to Kill Orcs.”


It's ok, he wasn't using that head anyway.

However, the big highlight (for me) came with Transverse already giving up on their shifty crowd-funding campaign. As I had noted in a previous rant, Transverse came on the heels of other big, crowd-sourced space titles, did so without a drop of originality, and handled it with the grace of a wild boar figure skating while being fucked in the ass by a mute donkey. How’s that for imagery?

After a little more than two weeks, Piranha Games had only managed to fund about $12,000 of their intended $500,000 initial goal. Meanwhile, Star Citizen was just recognized by Guinness as the most crowd-funded thing ever. Time to go back to the drawing board, PGI.


Of course, PGI emptied their forums in a predictably fascist move. No hilarious meltdowns to read. :(

Otherwise, I hope you guys are all having a good week and I’ll be posting regularly again by Monday!



Because South Park.

Game Review – Gauntlet™

Game review – Gauntlet™
Platform – PC (exclusive, for now)
Developer – Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher – WB Games

Release date – 23 Sept, 2014

Rating – 8/10


Because fuck making things easier on you.

Gauntlet is one of those legacy franchises that never fades away. Before there was Diablo, there was Gauntlet in all of its 8-bit glory. The premise is simple: Pick from a Wizard, Warrior, Elf or Valkyrie and stomp around in dungeons to find gold and kill monsters. There have been many incarnations of Gauntlet over the years, but the original arcade machine still stands out the most to me. I will say, however, the N64 release of Gauntlet: Legends was fantastic.

Nearly 30 years later, we have what can effectively be called a “reboot” of the franchise. No fancy title, no new characters. Pick your class and lets go dungeon diving.


Get ready for a frantic romp with a classic level of difficulty. I.E. Expect to die a lot.

Gauntlet is definitely a back-to-basics title. The graphics aren’t amazing, but get the point across. There’s no complicated story, although there is a surprising amount of voice work and banter among the few characters in the game, which does a lot to enhance the atmosphere. There isn’t a vast plethora of items to collect, and instead they have rather steep prerequisites and prices to unlock. Personally, this adds a more rewarding level of satisfaction when finally gearing out your character with the best items, rather than constantly finding duplicates in massive piles of loot. Not that I’m opposed to massive loot piles, it’s just a nice change of pace from what has become a standard in modern dungeon crawlers and ARPGs.


Want this tome? All you have to do is beat the game on the hardest mode.

Each character has an array of abilities with a unique style of play suited for its class. There may only be 4 classes to choose from, but none play at all alike. The Elf is a ranger with mostly ranged abilities and is well designed for speed and accuracy. The Valkyrie is probably the best balanced between melee and ranged attacks, with a rather Captain America style shield throw. The Wizard is the most interesting, as he has a spell combination system not unlike Magicka (makes sense, Arrowhead originally developed Magicka). You press two elements (Ice then Fire, for example) and it arms a particular spell to use, ranging from lightning bolts, and fireballs, to shields and freeze beams. As expected, he’s pretty handy for crowd control. The Warrior is unfortunately, the weakest character because he has only rather basic melee attacks, and this is a game where you do not want to be caught in the middle of a crowd. I honestly hope they decide to tweak him later on, as he is both somewhat boring and difficult to use compared to the others which seem far more thought out.


A PC exclusive designed to play best with a controller? Blasphemy!* *Sarcasm

A strange and immediately noticed feature is this title’s dedication to being played with a controller. As the developer currently has no plans™ to port to console, it does seem odd that such a game would lean heavily into controller support. However, with its co-op features implemented so well, it starts to make a lot of sense. It is indeed a rare game on PC which allows for simultaneous local and online co-op play. This would really only make sense by plugging a controller (or 4) into the same machine. Since most of the PC gamers I know have at least a Logitech F310 (the 510 and 710 are pretty great, as well) or something similar, it’s actually quite a welcome feature for quick and easy multiplayer Gauntlet.

The only snag is that you cannot drop into an already created game. All joining must be in the lobby. It’s something that could receive some attention in the future, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker at this point. Especially not with how fun co-op play is, which even throws in a few extra competitive elements, and compares your scores to others via leaderboards.


Some clever chaps even have names with "penis" in them.

Gauntlet is a return to classic dungeon crawling with just enough modern flare to bring it into the 21st century. It has that arcade machine appeal which is often lost on the PC audience. In an age where multiplayer gaming has become rather impersonal, it’s great to see co-op games which encourage you to play with friends rather than sit in sterile lobbies.

With a little bit of character balance tweaking (seriously, fix the warrior), and what would be an extremely welcome ability to drop-in to co-op play, this game nearly has the potential to bring back Gauntlet as a franchise. It’s tons of fun for a $20 game.



P.S. Did you know that tips are shown during the loading screen?

Game Review – DG2: Defense Grid 2

Game review – DG2: Defense Grid 2
Platform – PC, Mac, Steam OS/Linux, XBONE, PS4
Developer – Hidden Entertainment

Release date – 23 Sept, 2014

Rating – 8.5/10


You will forever crave raspberries.

I have been a huge sucker for tower defense since the days when they were free flash games on Newgrounds. Since the advent of the mobile marketplace, there have been a huge flood of clones and clones of clones with micro-transaction stores, overused themes and reused assets. However, there have been a few gems among the sea of mediocrity, and this game’s PC exclusive predecessor, Defense Grid: The Awakening was indeed a rare diamond. It never felt like a quickly assembled time-killer. It was a full-featured title with dozens of maps, modes, upgrades and even a clever plot-line.

When Defense Grid 2 showed up for pre-order, I wasted no time jumping into Early Access. Unfortunately, it was little more than a demo with a couple of maps and no upgrades, so it was hard to make a critical judgement of how the finished game would look and for that matter, impossible to compare it to it’s predecessor. So, how does it stack up now that it’s been released?


Lasers now 140% prettier.

Right away, there is a massive visual improvement. For such a widely cross-platform title, it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s catering to any particular hardware than what you’re playing it on. It looks great, plays great, and fits right into the modern generation.

The maps are impressively designed with lush details, intrinsically capable of producing atmosphere and mood. The environment feels like it’s part of the  multi-directional pathways, instead of a complimentary after-thought. The main campaign is long and engaging with a clever story and several characters. The characters all have unique voice talent with what seems like hours of recording. Each map has nearly a dozen modes which can be played alone, with a friend or competitively both online and locally.


Each map is painstakingly layered. Someone spent some time and effort on this stuff.

They actually improved on the original formula. It still feels a lot like the original, but it’s not the same game twice. While the towers are mostly the same, there are new ways to use them with the simple addition of what is called the Boost Tower. When placed under any standard weapon tower, it can have various effects including boosting the damage, revealing stealth enemies and improving your score. On top of that, each tower has multiple upgrades which you can choose from before battle allowing you to tweak for every scenario.


You will also unlock a variety of commanders, each with his or her own special ability.

The path designs are truly Defense Grid in their unique combination of both set paths, and open grids allowing for a flexibility of gameplay unseen in most tower defense titles. Yet again, DG2 includes a new dynamic to the maps by providing sections which you can spend credits to add or move around.  Some may expand the path, while others simply give you a few extra squares to place towers. This might be my favourite new feature, and I can’t name another TD game with dynamically changing maps. Kudos for that one.

I should also be named an international felon if I failed to mention the “DG Architect” map editor feature. You can construct a map from the ground up and includes most, if not all of the in-game assets. All the trees, concrete and lava you can imagine.


Yes, it's as complicated as it looks.

DG2 is a fantastic reminder that even when a genre becomes saturated with garbage, there is still room for a shining example to burst from the sewage pipe. Hidden Entertainment has done just that with a sequel superior to its parent in nearly all ways. Between the varying selection of upgrades, modes and map alterations, you never have to play the same map the same way twice.

If you love tower defense, Defense Grid 2 will keep you busy for a long, long time.



P.S. The loading screens are works of literature.

Game Review – Marvel heroes 2015

Game review – Marvel Heroes 2015
Platform – PC (Exclusive)
Developer – Gazillion Entertainment

Rating – 8.5/10


When you see it...

I tend to be cautious and easily bored when it comes to games with a free-2-play model. They are often grindfests with a lot of flash, but also the intent of boring you just to get some money out of your pocket to advance more quickly. I’ve also witnessed many subscription-based titles convert to free-2-play because they didn’t have enough confidence in their original strategy. Personally, I don’t think subcription models aren’t worth using anymore, I just feel they need developers with the confidence and stride to actually execute. Considering the fact that so many games which began as subscription and switched to free-2-play have fallen apart faster than a drunken Palin. (City of Heroes comes to mind).

However, being a bit of a Marvel fan, seeing a fair number of positive reviews and at the recommendation of a few friends, I decided to jump into Marvel Heroes 2015. I never played the previous edition, so I have no basis for comparison, but all of my sources suggest it’s an improvement.


The sheer staggering number of available looks for Iron Man alone was enough to get my wallet out.

If you like Marvel superheroes, you will love this game. No, really. Each playable character has personality; from the impressive variety of voiced quips and remarks, to the many well-designed and detailed costumes. Heroes and villains will banter as they pass each other or while in combat. The maps and locations are well representative of their comic inspired settings. All in all, it’s a great exemplar to the Marvel universe.


Diversity is the name of the game. (They've since added Rogue and Star-Lord, too)

While it is a bit of a grind to get new characters (without spending real $$$ of course), there’s a pretty wide range of stuff to do. There are a few team-based events and raids, there’s not much you can’t do by yourself with many of the characters. You can follow the main story, or you can do individual maps via Terminals which allow you to pick a location to your liking. Many of these instances have daily rewards as well, along with the random daily bonuses for completing the assigned missions, plus you get a reward just for logging in once a day. Furthermore, there are week long events which occur nearly every week, constantly cycling new locations to find the best loot and bonuses. You will quite often find potions which boost your experience gain and item find percentages, making finding things a rather explosive experience.


I was using explosive in the literal sense. Loot bombs are a common occurrence.

Character creation is surprisingly complex, and I mean that in a good way. You can make your Iron Man into a missile launcher, a beam weapon, a melee artist or a combination of those. You tend to be best off specializing in one for maximum effect, but there’s no one way to play each character. Additionally, there are so many slots on each character for subtle customization and gearing up, you’ll be hard pressed to find two characters fit out exactly the same, even if they’re going for a similar build. Plus, there is the Omega skill tree, which allows you to continue adding small bonuses to each character long after you have reached max level. I actually prefer playing my max level characters, because there’s always a little more tweaking to be done.

Not to mention the “Team Up” heroes you can acquire, which follow you around like a sidekick, and also have a limited amount of customization. The possibilities are nearly endless, and that’s quite an achievement for a game using existing, well established characters.


Each of those 14 icons is a whole tree of interesting little bonuses.

Finally, the gameplay is fun. Yes, it’s a fairly clicky, hotbar-surfy type dungeon crawler, but many of the abilities are well rendered and executed. You feel like a superhero. It’s easy to see why this game has been getting good reviews. It caters well to its audience. It’s a bit buggy sometimes, and could use a cork for some of the memory leaks, but the developers are always active and working, as is evident by the weekly events and updates. The free-2-play model is used well by keeping players engaged and not forcing them to grind just to make progress. Leveling is relatively painless, especially once you have a few characters to 60 (there is a stacking experience bonus up to 200% BEFORE you apply potions and other bonuses), and loot is constantly thrown at you.



The only annoying thing you may find yourself having to pay for is extra storage space for all that loot (yes, you can only buy extra space with real cash… that’s where they get ya), but spending $10-15 for a little extra space seems like a pretty fair trade off, since there’s not much else you feel you need to drop money on. Everything else is cosmetic.

As a result, you have a free-2-play game that encourages you to play frequently, but doesn’t shake you down just so you can avoid feeling like your working to get some satisfaction out of it. Gazillion has done an impressive job with a popular franchise without needing the oversight of a mega-corp publisher.



P.S. Did I mention I like Iron Man?

Game Review – Planetary Annihilation

Game review – Planetary Annihilation
Platform – PC (exclusive)
Developer – Uber Entertainment

Released: Sept 5, 2014

Rating – 6.5/10


Get ready to spam.

Planetary Annihilation is among the first and second generation of highly successful Kickstarter games to achieve official release status. Unfortunately, unlike it’s generational peer Divinity: Original Sin, I find myself wishing they didn’t release yet. This game does a lot of things incredibly right, but requires more foundation and less superficial to be truly deserving of its early adopters’ expectations. (and money)


248% extra win.

Let’s start with the price of entry as an early adopter. Those who supported the kickstarter were able to get beta access for $40, but when the game first appeared for pre-release on Steam, it was $90. That’s a steep point of entry for any game. Eventually it was whittled down to $50, but we’re still in the realm of “AAA” prices. If I’m paying that kind of money on a new game for PC, it better be loaded with content. Luckily, I was able to get in several months ago when a bundle site (I believe it was BundleStars) was offering it at $25.

For a beta, I was actually quite impressed. Single player was a bit empty, and there were certainly some features in need of polish, but the core game was there, and multiplayer worked surprisingly well. For $25, I couldn’t complain, especially not for a beta. However, we’ve now passed release day, and I don’t feel like much has changed — except for my opinion of Uber Entertainment.


Yes. That's $10 for a single item in a game that may have cost you $90.

Where the hell do these people get off having a cash shop in a game for which some paid $90?  A game by the way that has barely changed since I first started playing the early release. It really sickens me when games reduce themselves to this if they aren’t running a free2play model. I paid for the game. Give me all of the features of the game. Maybe bundle them all as one DLC, for $15-20… but cash shops in paid titles feel sincerely cheap to me. You already got my money. Stop asking me for more while I’m playing.

Did I also mention that there’s no way to play this game offline? Yeah, it’s one of those “always online” lobbies, even though you can play through a whole single-player campaign without ever talking to anyone. Anyone else understand why new games are doing this? Me neither.


But seriously, planets are weapons in this game.

Don’t get me wrong, this game is amazing. There’s no other RTS quite like it once you experience the immense scale of planet smashing.

Many will compare it to old titles like Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, and it does share similarities in it’s style of “spam warfare.” Honestly, its similarity to them is what I consider a bit of a detriment, because it tends to become less about tactics and more about speed and efficiency. I wish base building were a little slower and perhaps required a few more steps in between building super structures.


Everything burns. Everything.

However, all that is left behind when you have multiple planets in a system buzzing with activity. You get a pretty wide array of units at your command able to traverse the varying terrains of each planet. You’ll be building factories, wiping out enemy units, moving around satellites and resources, all while feeling rather omnipotent. Especially when you unlock the deathstar-esque super weapons. If nothing else, this game effectively provides the sense of grandeur you might expect from using celestial bodies as target practice.


It was blocking my view.

My biggest problem with this game is how vacant the single player campaign feels after having higher expectations during the beta. At the heart of any good strategy should be a deep, involving single player campaign. Multiplayer works fine in this game, but it gets repetitive and it felt finished a long time ago. When the biggest addition to the official release was a cash shop and a map editor, I was unimpressed.

As a whole, this title gets big points for style. I wouldn’t even say that the game suffers particularly in any area of execution. But it needs tweaking, and it plainly lacks content for how much hype it was getting. Get rid of the cash shop, give me more single player, and let me play offline for fuck sakes. With some significant improvements, (but mostly simple changes) this game could easily be an 8 or a 9.

I like it, but I think it could be much better.



P.S. You always should have built more factories.

Game Review – FTL: Faster Than Light

Game review – FTL: Faster Than Light (Advanced Edition)
Platform – PC, Mac, Linux, iOS
Developer – Subset Games

Rating – 9/10

You will never experience a more gratifying sense of vengeful fury.

One thing you will find about me is that I am a big sucker for sci-fi. I don’t even take sides when it comes to Star Wars and Star Trek — I love them both (Ok, I tend to lean towards Lightsabers, but don’t tell Picard). However, it seems that Star Wars has always received far better treatment in the past when it comes to games emulating universes. Not only is there an assortment of great licensed content (KOTOR, Shadows of the Empire and Jedi Academy/Outcast, just to name a few), but some truly inspired works of sci-fi worthy to be called successors. Hell, Wing Commander even featured Mark Hamill.

But when it comes to Trek, it’s mostly been a long line of disappointment.

So, naturally, when a space game comes along featuring strategic crew and ship command over FPS blasting, fantasy-style RPGs, and balls-to-the-wall dogfighting (not that any of those things are particularly bad, just often overused), I perk up in the hopes that perhaps, some sci-fi fans have created a game favouring tactics and decision making (aka, the role of a ship captain). FTL not only does exactly that, but does it in a way that is fun, exciting and effectively resurrects the idea that a good game needn’t be long if it ecstatically invites you to play it over and over again.


Extingushing flames while running out of oxygen is just a day in the life. FIRE THE LASERS.

Don’t be fooled by its visual simplicity. It’s a game developed by a two man team, and its graphical appeal doesn’t stray past flash-based browser games, but it more than makes up for it with raw content and game-play. There is a significant variety of ships with multiple configurations each (many of which are unlocked by completing the game under varying conditions), as well as a wide array of upgrades, weapons, and crew randomly dropped in your path as you progress.

Combat is real-time, and involves making all kinds of decisions like which doors to open and close, which weapons to fire, where to send crew and which damaged systems to repair, all the while trying to prevent your enemy from escaping (unless if course, you’re the one trying to get the fuck out). Thankfully, they let you pause combat to take a breath and survey the horror which has been laid upon you.

While the story is quite linear and you only get to pick one ship per play, no two plays are ever alike, even if you consistently play the same ship and configuration.


Half the fun is picking your ship at the beginning.

The linear progression seems like it would get repetitive, but it doesn’t. The randomly generated maps and star charts consistently give you new experiences as well as the ability to choose your path to the end. Plus, the enemy is chasing you the whole way, giving you a sense of urgency. You don’t have time to linger and explore the whole area. You must be decisive, and that’s one of the little things really going for it.


It's kinda like reading a book where you know how it starts and how it ends, but everything in the middle is up to you.

At the same time, the game is completely unforgiving. It’s hard. Really hard. Even if you do everything right, there’s no guarantee you’ll make it to the end with what you need to beat the big boss. Half the challenge of the game is ensuring you upgrade your ship adequately along the way. You’ll need enough weapons to defend yourself, enough technology to endure the journey, and the crew to run everything. Sometimes, you’re happy just to get to sector 8 alive — because If your ship blows, you start again from the beginning. Even on Easy mode, one careless move means you’re back to the title screen. For me, this gives the game a level of rewarding and satisfying play unmatched by the trend of die-res-die-res repetition found in many so-called “AAA” titles. A real sense of loss gives the game a real sense of challenge and an even better sense of accomplishment when you get to the end.

Can it be frustrating sometimes? Absolutely. But we also feel most passionately about the things we enjoy most, even if it sometimes comes out a little… hostile.


And he recommends it.

FTL provides more hours of game-play in a compact package than many $60 games with a massive budget and graphics engine. They even threw in a free expansion which not only provided more reason to play again, but managed to significantly improved on an already dynamic and diverse experience. I really can’t say enough about how much I enjoy this little game. I find myself drawn back to it again and again because there aren’t many other games like it. It’s found itself in a unique position of filling a gap left by many and attempted by few. It may not be perfect, but I anticipating it inspiring more games like it in the future, while making its mark in history as having done so.

Bravo, Subset Games.



P.S. Mods are fun.

Game Review – Mario Kart 8

Game review – Mario Kart 8
Platform – Wii U (exclusive)
Developer – Nintendo

Rating – 9.5/10


Vengeance, thy name is Luigi.

Mario Kart is one of those legacy franchises that has become ubiquitous with the Nintendo brand, and I am no stranger to its siren call. I’ve played every single one since the original nearly 25 years ago on the SNES, and own nearly all of them as well. I’m also very good. And by good, I mean comes-in-first-online-consistantly good. In Mario Kart 7, I beat all circuits on all difficulties with a 3 star rating on the first play through. I have to warn people I play with, because I’m just going to win nearly ever time. It’s not a brag, it’s simply that Mario Kart is my game. I know the tracks, I know the tricks, and if I had the opportunity to play the game professionally, I would.

So when I tell you that Mario Kart 8 is the culmination of everything I could possibly expect from such a title, you will fully understand my sentiment.


Kart took a cue from Galaxy and it paid off.

How can such an old series simply continue to shine in the way only Nintendo seems to be able to pull off? Well, it starts by paying attention to what the fans like. It has the most customizability of any Kart game in the franchise, and that really gives you the most sense of individuality of any of them so far. You can even upload your own Mii. It allows you to cater to your own style of racing in a way that lets you feel the road as you like, but without overwhelming you with options which have you tweaking for hours. It’s a well balanced system that leaves nothing feeling particularly over or underpowered.

Next come the maps. I’m always hesitant to suggest that any developer is capable of reinventing their own formula, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that Nintendo has indeed done so, I cannot deny that the tracks are truly spectacular. All of the new circuits are gorgeous eye-candy, and extremely fun to boot. Even the classic tracks and circuits have received varying face-lifts (some are almost exactly the same, while others have taken some significant liberties that don’t seem much like their original predecessors at all), but in ways that only improve them. I was trying not to be overly impressed due to my long-term bias towards the franchise, but I simply couldn’t help myself. Every track has that vibrant charm only Nintendo can execute with such precise consistency.


Think you're good at Kart 64's Rainbow Road? Think again.

There’s nothing much revolutionary coming from items and powerups, but there are a few new ones that really stick out. There’s a boomerang and it is a lot of fun to fling around. There’s a “Super Horn” which creates a large area of effect shockwave around you capable of knocking out just about everything including that pesky Blue shell. But the new stand out item for me is the Piranha Plant, which both boosts you ahead faster, while also chomping on anything that gets in your way, including projectiles and other players. There’s also an 8 now, to replace the former Lucky 7, which has a similar effect.

The one thing particularly apparent about this game, however, is the challenge it presents in 150cc mode and online play. I was taken aback by the difficulty level, even with my experience, and that’s not a bad thing. You have to fight to get into first, and there’s no guarantee you will hold on, because the other racers are most certainly relentless in their pursuit.


I'm not saying 150cc is hard... I'm saying it's like trying to open a can of beans with a rusty spoon held between your butt-cheeks.

It’s fast, it’s difficult, and you will love every minute of it. But don’t take my word for it… Recent figures are showing over 1000% increase of Wii U sales since the release of Mario Kart 8, pushing it past the Xbox One and catching up to the PS4. This merely proves Nintendo’s commitment to first-party content, and this game is no anomaly in that department.

If you like Mario Kart games, get it. If you like racing games, get it. If you like Nintendo games, get it. If you like games with a real sense of challenge and replayability, get it. Hell, there’s almost no reason not to get it if you consider yourself a gamer, whether casual or hardcore, young or old. You will not be disappointed.


P.S. Luigi will haunt your dreams.

Game Review – Divinity: Original Sin

Game review – Divinity: Original Sin
Platform – PC (exclusive)
Developer – Larian Studios

Rating – 10/10


This game review brought to by animals with more personality than your co-workers.

Since I want to give you some insight into the types of games I play, I’m going to start with some reviews for games I personally play a lot. Let’s start this off with a bang.

For all you Steam users out there, it’s no secret that Divinity: Original Sin has been a popular title for several weeks now, even while it was in Early Access. Since I have been a little too enthusiastic with my purchases of unfinished games in the past, I figured I would wait until official release of this one. Being the Steam junkie I am, I was also going to wait for it to go on sale as I often find games aren’t worth $40+. However, this game has been receiving nothing but high praise from the RPG community, and has been widely heralded as the Baldur’s Gate 3 fans have been waiting for. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed my friends list filling up with people playing D:OS, including one of my close friends who was raving about it. I had to bite.

Was I ever not disappointed.


ffs... Two characters to create? I'm the kinda guy who spends an hour just molding the face.

Simply put, Divinity: Original Sin is a masterpiece. It’s hard to describe just how engaging and enthralling this title is. It doesn’t hold your hand, yet the world unfolds before you as if turning the pages of a book you can’t put down.

It is a role-playing game in the truest sense. Fans of the classic turn-based combat system will absolutely love it. It brings the environment and the elements into play in with intense, destructive, and decisive battles which will leave you feeling satisfied after almost every fight. I’m not talking about a few crumbling scenery pieces, either. You can set the whole map on fire, and put it out by making it rain until there are puddles. Then, you can freeze the puddles and cause those standing on the ice to slip and fall. Control of the elements becomes very important in combat as well as in solving puzzles and disarming traps.


One well-placed lightning bolt into a pool of water = a pile of stunned orcs. Don't have any of your own party in the water, though...

The overarching story is interesting without being invasive, and even pretty funny at times. The voice cast is clever and cheeky; full of colorful and memorable characters.


Such a tragic way to go.

While it’s not a grand departure from other RPG stories, it’s no less compelling. It nods to its predecessors, and then embraces its fans with a dense, sprawling world of seemingly endless exploration and discovery. There are monsters of every size and composition. You almost never know what to expect going into each new battle. Sometimes you reign victorious with ease. Other times, you feel like the game has unleashed a wrath of anger and torment upon you, completely changing your perception of battle or it may simply wipe out your entire party in a single, fuck-your-decision-making-skills moment.


Um... Shit.

Did I mention it’s dense? I’m talking, core-of-a-dying-star, dense.  Trying to find and unlock every cave and crevasse in this game is an adventure unto itself. Just when you think you’ve carved a slice off of this game’s grandeur, it turns around and shows you it’s but a small chip off the corner. Character customization is endlessly diverse, and your bottomless inventory is merely a testament to the amount of collectables and crafting available.


Do I do good for the leadership bonus, or do I do evil for the sneaking bonus? Hmm....

If the value of a game is based on $ per hour played, then $40 for Divinity: Original Sin might be the best deal of your life. I’m 100 hours in, and I’m roughly halfway through to the end. I’m sure it has been completed in much less time… but I like to be thorough, what can I say? This game provides the environment in which one can enjoy being “he who must explore every corner,” and rewards you for it. Larian Studios has set the bar a little higher for the gaming industry.



P.S. Talk to the animals.

Obligatory first post.


Because memes.

Well here I am, another gamer putting up a blog in the hopes of creating some sort of existence in the digital world. Fun, right?

I do, perhaps think of myself as more than a gamer on occasion. I work in the game industry as well as play. I have a pretty banging PC tower (obligatory hashtag, #pcmasterrace), but I don’t entirely hate console peasants. I still own nearly every Nintendo console ever made… but maybe I’m not a purist because I don’t have a Virtual Boy. I guess I’m just not that nostalgic when it comes to failed experiments.


 Yeah... no.

So why am I writing this blog when there is already a sea full of blogs and “legitimate” game review sites? Well, for one thing, I’m pretty tired of a lot of the publications out there. When I see IGN give some wretched, old franchise regurgitation from one of the big 3 publishers (don’t worry, we’ll get to them later) a 90 on metacritic, while the user score sits somewhere around 2.0, it makes me want to stab myself in the eyes with a fire-poker burning with the heat of a thousand suns.


Fair warning... Activision is high on my shit list.

Also, don’t get even get me started on how grossly overrated these so-called “next generation” consoles are (nevertheless, I will eventually get started). We’re getting close to a year since release and there are still no titles worth the price of entry. Suddenly, everyone’s faith in Nintendo is returning because they give a shit about making quality titles even with their vastly older franchises with more brand power than the Pope.


Remember when the blue hedgehog was Mario's biggest competitor? Now, he lives in his eStore.

I will also likely preach about the church of Valve and their rather exemplary contribution to the industry. I guess it helps when your CEO/Founder is the biggest stereotype basement gamer nerd I can possibly imagine — and I honestly mean that in the best possible way. He’s clearly a guy who gives many of the fucks you might expect from such a character. He cares about his company name, and he cares about the industry as a whole. Not to mention his most popular and lucrative title is not only free to play, but has professional gaming tournaments with $10 million prize pools. While I’m not personally a big fan of DOTA 2, it’s hard not to get carried away in the grandeur of it all. Much respect to the Gabe.


“It’s not a sport. " - John Skipper, President of ESPN

So, I’m a little passionate. This is the internet. Please try not to take it too seriously. You can call this a place to vent, a place to show off, and a place to pretend like maybe I know about things and even influence other people in some minute way. Maybe provide an example for how people should appreciate developers who actually care about making good games over high profits, or share with my fellow gamers in the love of this grand institution of artwork and skilled programming. Or… perhaps just say, “fuck it,” and post memes because they cater to the lowest common denominator of primate decision making and therefore incite the fastest consumer response!

Either way, it’ll probably be fun for at least one person. Me.



P.S. I hate you if you don't love this movie.