Legend of Dungeon Review

Legend of Dungeon is a rogue-like developed by Kitty Loves Robot. There is nothing special about your character that you play, and dying will always cause you to start over as a fresh character. You can choose whether or not you play as male or female, but that is the only thing you can edit other than what is already in the options menu. Gathering experience from defeated enemies will cause you to gain levels, which increases your max health and damage that you do.

There are 26 levels in Legend of Dungeon, each having randomly generated rooms, a set type of enemies, and the chance of treasure and boss enemies. A requirement is not needed to progress onto the next level, you just have to find the staircase that leads down. It is highly recommended to completely finish a level before continuing on as the enemies and everything else does get harder.

Each level will have a random number of rooms that you can explore. They are all randomly generated and can either be completely empty of have lots of treasure and enemies present in them. There will be a number of doors in them that connect to other rooms on the same level, though it isn’t possible to know where they will take you. The room that you just came from will cause its door to have a red glow to it, so there is at least some kind of navigation help at your disposal.

Other than the basic layouts of rooms, you will experience a lot of environment changes and hazards in many of the rooms. There will be lava pits that can have important items on a small island inside of them, switches and floor panels will cause certain things in the rooms to move and open, and there will always be items in alcoves that are impossible to reach, as no switches were created to allow you to reach them.

As you progress though Legend of Dungeon and reach lower levels, you will encounter many different types of stronger enemies. At first you will just run into simple snakes and bats, but then you will come across tons of undead and demonic creatures. There aren’t necessarily bosses in the game, but sometimes a boss like enemy will spawn somewhere in a level and you can definitely tell that it is a lot stronger than everything else around you. All enemies have a chance to drop basic items and special equipment that is specific to them, such as skeleton masks from skeletons.

Killing enemies and opening boxes, as well as just being scattered on the ground, will cause a wide variety of items to appear. Gold coins, experience, and apples are the most common things you will find and they are all over. Potions with varying effects can be beneficial or detrimental to you, though their effects are never specified. Weapons and armor can also be found, though you generally can only equip one piece of armor at a time and the weapons aren’t always better than your sword. Both types of equipment have random stats, since two skeleton masks won’t always have the same armor stats.

You will start the game with a basic sword, which is stays fairly strong but eventually you will want to eventually find a replacement for it somewhere. Your strength goes up every time that you level so even if you have a weak weapon it will always get stronger. There are odd and unique weapons to find, such as a scythe with really long length and high damage, or a spell book that can spawn skeletons under your command.

Other than the basic mode that you start out with, there are a few other modes you can play on when you want to do something new. Impossible mode basically causes much stronger enemies to appear earlier than they normally would, which will be quite a challenge for you. You can generate dungeon seeds, which will cause the dungeon to look roughly the same each time you play them.

It is possible to play Legend of Dungeon with up to four people, which basically allows four characters to traverse the dungeon. This mode is only available locally which means there is no way to play with others online (currently). It doesn’t become harder to play with more people, and it almost feels like a requirement if you want to get very far into the game. Your screen isn’t split into multiple parts, and will just zoom out if each player moves too far from each other. The biggest difference between multi player and single player is that if one character dies, it will wander around as a ghost and if you collect enough spirit orbs you will be able to resurrect.

The options menu is basic but has everything that you need, such as resolution, volume sliders, and the ability to rebind every button. The graphics are simple, but the way that the game handles lighting is fantastic and causes some rooms to look amazing. There is only one song in the game, but it changes every time that you play the game which is a unique feature.

Gold determining where you are placed on the high scores list doesn’t seem like it is the most accurate way to determine how well a player does. You can easily find 500 gold before going past the third level, and some people don’t even find 1000 by time they reach the 10th level. The inventory system could be a lot better, as it can get very clunky when you start to collect a lot of different items.

The gameplay and everything is fairly basic, but that fact that you lose everything when you die and the luck factor might deter people if you want an easy game to play. You will lose all progress of your current game if you decide to quit the game, but you can return to the main menu and return back to where you were if you need to get up to do something. In general though, it isn’t the type of game that you can play in short periods of time.

Anyone that likes a challenge and doesn’t mind lots of luck involved in their gaming, Legend of Dungeon is a good choice. Since you lose everything when you die, there isn’t much to accomplish other than trying to reach the lowest level.

Legend of Dungeon costs 10 dollars and if you are interested in the sound track you can also buy it for 5 dollars. If you enjoy rogue-likes and have friends that like them as well, Legend of Dungeon is worth buying for the low cost.

Aarklash: Legacy Review

Aarklash: Legacy is a squad based tactical RPG developed by Cyanide Studio. The combat in Aarklash: Legacy is in real time with the ability to tactical pause whenever you wish. You can queue up abilities with the shift key which will allow you to chain abilities together so you don’t have to manually do each one when it is ready. It is possible to click on the portraits on enemies and bosses to see exactly what kind of stats and abilities they have, as well as if they have any buffs or debuffs. If one of your Wheel Swords go down in combat, you can easily click on them with another hero to revive them, but they won’t be successful if they’re being attacked.

In total you will run into 8 different characters you can add to your party, who are all called Wheel Swords. You can only have four of them in your party at a time, but you can freely choose who you want most of the time, since sometimes you will be forced to split into two groups. Luckily, even if they aren’t in your current group, they will still gain experience from battles. All Wheel Swords have a unique set of stats and attack types, resource pools, back stories, abilities, and passive bonuses and disadvantages. An example is Wendaroo who is a physical ranged Wheel Sword that uses healing magic, and can’t be silenced but must damage allies in order to gain mana instead of regenerating it over time.

Each Wheel Sword in Aarklash: Legacy has a total of 4 abilities, which can be enhanced later on with skill points. These abilities are all unique amongst each other and do more than just simply deal damage or heal allies. Except for one Wheel Sword, all abilities will have a cooldown as well as costing resource points such as mana or even health. A few abilities have the chance to affect both allies an enemies, which means you need to be careful since it is possible to heal enemies and damage allies. Example abilities are an area of effect knockdown which will interrupt everything around you including allies, and the ability to transfer buffs that are on enemies to yourself.

After party members have learned all of their skills, leveling up will start to earn them skill points. Since the max character level is 20, you will only get a total of 17 points per hero to use, which means you can only fully level up at most two skills at one time. You are able to apply these points to the four abilities that each character has, making it stronger, more efficient, and gaining special properties. It is possible to reset your points at any time which allows you to easily adapt for the current situation, as area of effect abilities won’t do you much for large boss fights. As you go down the ability tree, there will be branches that you have to decide on since you can’t go every direction at one time. An example is a simple healing ability that can later either heal both the target and caster, or become a channeled spell that continuously heals the target.

The only items that you will run into are four types of jewelry, such as rings and relics. Each type is completely equal to all of the others, you are just simply allowed to equip one of each onto each member of your party. They have differing values of rarity which of course increase the stats on them, which range from junk, magical, rare, and epic. Each rarity rank will increase the number of stats on them, from one being on junk and up to six on epic pieces. Stats can range from simply increasing the max hp, and increases magic damage by a percentage. When you are running out of space to carry jewelry, or just want to simply get rid of the pieces you will never use, it is possible to recycle pieces that add up on a counter. After the counter is filled, a random epic rarity piece of the last jewelry type that was recycled is created in your inventory.

As you explore the world of Aarklash: Legacy, you will run into groups of enemies consisting of many different types. Whether you are fighting humans or the undead, there are generally three types of units such as melee, archers, and spell casters. All enemies have the chance to drop an item of some kind, but it doesn’t happen too often. As you progress through the game, the same types of enemies will appear but with stronger stats, and even sometimes adding additional abilities that you need to learn about, so it is somewhat refreshing to see similar enemies.

While you’re adventuring through the world of Aarklash: Legacy, you will come upon large bosses at times. These bosses are unique and will act very different compared to everything else you will run across. It is wise to click their portrait and learn about all of the abilities that they use, since knowing how to prevent abilities like the automatic killing of your party is essential to victory. On defeat you will be rewarded with experience and a large pile of jewelry, usually containing at least one epic piece.

When you reach the second act of Aarklash: Legacy, you will start to encounter many different types of puzzles. Most of them are required in order to progress farther, but they aren’t too difficulty and just require a little bit of thinking. You will run into the same types of puzzles over and over, but they get more difficult and add in different elements at times however. Example puzzles are walking through a hallway with projectiles that will teleport you back to the start if you touch them, and creating shapes with switches to match an example shape given to you.

Most of these types of games just have you running around as a single character, or groups of characters in turn based combat. Aarklash plays a lot like Dragon Age: Origins in that you are able to pause the game and give orders to everyone, though nothing is able to be automated. It also feels a lot like a single player MMO raiding game, since the boss fights require a lot of coordination and you only have to rely on yourself.

All of the important options that you would need exist in Aarklash: Legacy such as rebindable controls, volume sliders, and graphical options. There is a unique gameplay option that you can turn on which will automatically pause the game when certain conditions occur, such as start of combat or one of your party members go down in agony. Graphical quality is quite standard with nothing bad or amazing about them. For some reason, the game randomly causes your GPU to go up and down in temperature for no apparent reason, and may cause weaker computers to overheat(just guessing). Everything is voice acted, though the quality of it could have been better, especially when the dog/kangaroo hero growls and snarls.

Especially on higher difficulty, it feels like you have to pause way too often, and thirty second cooldowns feel like five minutes. There’s nothing negative about being able to pause the game and coordinate all of your attacks, but since nothing happens automatically except for basic attacks, you will have to be constantly giving your party the same orders over and over. Other games like Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Age series had ways to let your party automatically use abilities while you can still manually give orders.

You will accumulate tons of jewelry to equip on your heroes, and eventually it can take a long time to equip your heroes, especially when you have 8 of them. Although it’d be best to manually do it, a “Equip Best” button could easily shorten the amount of time it takes to outfit everyone. Even though every hero that you can use in your party is unique from one another, some are just plain better than others and when you can only have 4 in a group at once and everyone gains experience even when not in your group, there’s just no reason to use some of them. There is one time where you are forced to split into two groups though, which is nice when you want to experience even the weaker wheel swords.

You can easily put the game into normal or easy difficulty if you don’t want a challenge. Even so, you will still need to know what types of abilities enemies and bosses can use as well as your own party. You will eventually run into puzzles, but they aren’t too challenging as long as you use your head a little bit. You can save at any time and the battles don’t last very long so anyone with a tight schedule can easily enjoy Aarklash: Legacy.

When you put Aarklash: Legacy on hard or even Ragnarok difficulty, you are in for quite the challenge. Enemies will be doing a whole lot more damage and fallen comrades will take even longer to resurrect if you can even get to them. Giant bosses are possibly the best thing you can look for, since it is a lot like doing a raid in MMOs but only with you in command. Other than possibly finding hidden bosses and treasure chests, there currently is nothing in the preview version that involves collecting or completing other than the main story. Achievements are available however, though they don’t affect the game in any way. Haven’t solved the game yet, but you can easily expect to get well over 12 hours of entertainment from it, depending on the level of difficulty and how often you have to reload.

Aarklash: Legacy is priced at 21 dollars and there is currently no DLCs announced at this time. If you are a big fan of commanding a small group of heroes around and using strategy and tactics to get past the hardest of obstacles, Aarklash: Legacy is well worth your money to buy.

Space Hulk Review

All types of combat within Space Hulk comes down to dice rolls, no matter how well equipped your terminators are. In general, close combat is all about whoever gets the highest dice roll, while shooting guns require you to get a certain number for it to actually kill. Genestealers are generally allowed to roll three dice each time that they get into close combat with one of your terminators. The number of rolls that they are allowed to do can be decreased by certain conditions, such as putting the game on easy or if they are going against a terminator equipped with a shield. All sergeant terminators will always add +1 to their best rolls while in combat, and weapons like the hammer can add an additional bonus point. The different types of guns and equipment, and the librarian psychic abilities all incorporate their own ways of rolling dice.

The units that you will be controlling during the course of Space Hulk are the terminators. There are basic terminators, sergeants that get a slight bonus in combat and allow you to reroll your CP, and librarians that have a few psychic abilities at their disposal. All terminators can perform 4 actions every turn. If you still have left over action points, you can order them to go into defensive mode which will let them reroll their close combat rolls when attacked if they lose the first roll, or overwatch mode which will cause them to automatically fire when enemies move in front of them. Each turn will randomly give you 1-6 CP, or command points, that you are able to use between any of your terminators. Having at least one sergeant still alive on the level will allow you to reroll your CP, such as when you only get one.

There are a variety of weapons that your terminators can have equipped on them, differing in how their dice rolls work. The storm bolter and assault cannon roll either two or three times, and require a certain number for kills to be registered. A bunch of melee weapons exist, such as the power fist that doesn’t do anything special and comes equipped on most terminators, to the hammer and claws that either add bonus points to their roll or can do additional rolls. Special weapons such as the heavy flamer allow you to cover large areas with flame killing everything inside, or the force axe that allows your librarian to cast psychic abilities such as increasing your CP or puting down an area of effect to kill genestealers.

There is only one type of enemy in Space Hulk, along with a stronger variation of it. Genestealers are simple melee only aliens that can do two more actions than your terminators. Broodlords are stronger than their genestealer counterpart, from being able to get bonus points on their rolls and being immune to fire and psychic abilities. They are all very weak if you can manage to shoot them from afar, but are very dangerous when they get close because they are able to roll the dice a lot of times in just one attack.

Most levels in Space Hulk are relatively the same. They incorporate a spawn location, narrow hallways, and small rooms at times. The objective on each level is generally just reaching a specific area and you’re done, while others require multiple objectives. Genestealers enter the level through areas on the outer edges, while you are usually teleported into the middle of them.

Multiplayer in Space Hulk Works by letting one person be the terminators, and the other person the genestealers. This can be done over the internet, or locally with other people on the same computer. Other than someone being able to control the genestealers, there isn’t anything else special about multiplayer.

The available options in Space Hulk involve volume sliders, very basic graphical options, options that affect gameplay elements, and sadly no way to rebind your keys. Even if you max out the graphic options, they aren’t pretty compared to modern games. The anti-aliasing feature doesn’t seem to even work, since everything is still all jagged. There appears to only be one song in all of Space Hulk, and it will only play while you are in the main menu. This means that you get to listen to nothing but terminator foot steps and guns going off the whole time during combat. Your goals for a mission will be spoken to you when you first look at the overview of it, while also explaining the important areas of the level. Your terminators will make combats while moving or engaging in combat, but there aren’t very many variations of them and you may end up hearing the same ones over and over.

Pretty much everything that exists within Space Hulk feels unfinished. Graphical options don’t appear to currently affect the graphics, and there’s only one song in the game which is the main menu. Gameplay feels very sluggish and your clicks don’t always register. Even if everything in the game felt polished, the actual combat and gameplay still needs a lot of improvements. When you only have one type of enemy that does nothing but gets close and melees, the various weapons at your disposal seems pointless when a simple gun does just as much good when you set overwatch. The difficulty settings need a rework, since no matter how hard or easy you make the game, it is still all about dice rolls. Simply putting the difficulty on easy won’t prevent your assault cannon terminator from being destroyed on his first move. The fact that terminators die any time that they lose a roll makes the fact that they wear heavy armor almost pointless, especially with how slow they move. If they were in normal soldier armor, they could easily run to the exit on each level while being able to shoot the genestealers before they ever get into close combat.

It is based on an old board game of the same name, but that is no excuse for a video game years later to abide by the same rules. This fact wouldn’t be so bad if everything else not regarding dice rolls was better from graphics to slowness of the game. With that logic, releasing 30 year old games that got perfect scores in the past would mean they would automatically get perfect scores again, when they shouldn’t.

Even if you put the game on the easy difficulty setting, you will still have to deal with a lot of luck with dice rolls. Just make sure you turn the timer off, or else you will only be allowed to spend 2 minutes deciding to do on each turn. So in essence, the game itself isn’t hard, you just have to know how to get the best dice rolls to stay alive. As you progress into the campaign, the levels will take longer to complete. You can expect most levels to take 10-30 minutes, depending on how quickly you can order the terminators around. The slow movement of your units doesn’t help the long level situation by any means.

Putting the game into hard mode does add a few layers of difficulty, but just like on the easy setting most of what happens in the game still comes down to what numbers are rolled. Less CP, the chance to jam, and a forced marine timer are what you can expect on the harder settings. The only current thing in Space Hulk that you can complete and collect are various banner customization options that you unlock from simply completing the main missions. There are also achievements that are specific to each level that you can try to accomplish, such as not letting any terminators die.

Space Hulk costs 30 dollars along with a 2 dollar piece of DLC which adds different colors to the genestealers. In its current state, it is hard to justify 30 dollars for Space Hulk. You should only buy the game if you are a big fan of anything Warhammer 40,000 related. It is actually based exactly on an old board game called the same thing, but it just doesn’t translate well into a modern video game.

Cloudberry Kingdom Review

Cloudberry Kingdom is a jumping and platforming game developed by Pwnee Studios. You will start out with the basic hero named bob, who just has a single jump and basic physics. Depending on what mode or levels you are doing, you will have the opportunity to play as different heroes that have a unique style of play. Tiny and fat bob are just different sizes for him, with tiny letting you jump a lot higher and fat bob can’t jump very well. Rocket and double jump bob both affect how he jumps, rocket giving you a jet pack and double jump is exactly that. Some annoying variations are wheelie, bouncy, and hero in a box, where they make it hard to do jumps correctly. Spaceship is possibly the most unique one, since it places you in a ship and you must fly to the other side of the level without touching anything, even basic ground. Phase bob causes you to constantly change sizes, from really small to really big, so you need to be careful where you are currently standing.

Most levels in Cloudberry Kingdom are randomly made, with their difficulty depending on how far you have progressed in the current mode. Not only are the levels random, but their difficulty will even scale on how well you are performing, allowing even the least skilled players to have fun. No matter how they look or are designed, they all have one thing in common; they allow you to almost always have forward motion and you will rarely need to move backwards or slow down. Each level will have some coins on them to collect, awarding you differently depending on which mode you are playing. The design of each level takes into consideration which hero you are using, gaps will be much wider if you are able to double jump or have a jet pack for example. If you are playing a level that you really like, you can use the save level option in the menu to be able to play it again at anytime through the free play mode.

Other than basic land, there are a variety of types of other platforms that function differently and you will need to know how they work. There are floating blocks that will drop if you stand on them too long, blocks that will cause you to bounce, and even ones that will fade in and out in a rhythm. Moving blocks, elevators, and pendulums will cause you to time your jumps accordingly. Clouds will cause you to slowly fall through them, giving you just enough time to jump out of them.

There are many hazards to watch out for while playing Cloudberry Kingdom. Simply touching any of them will be the end to your hero’s life. There are spiky balls swinging around on chains, spikes placed on different surfaces that pop out at times, and falling spiky balls from the sky. Lasers will shoot from the bottom to top of the screen, flames will spin around on surfaces, and saws will try to cut you as they also swing around. Serpents and fire balls will try to jump out of the floor to catch you as you jump along the path. Flying bugs will let you land on them, squishing them and giving you the ability to jump again.

If a level ever feels too hard, you can opt to use one of three abilities that are designed to help you get past them. Each ability costs a certain number of coins, which you have collected while playing. You won’t have to spend any if you use them in free play however. AI, costing 5 coins, will give the computer control over your character, which will show it completing the level for you, but it won’t count as you doing it. The orb ability, costing 40 coins, causes a blueish orb to follow a drawn out path, which you can follow as it goes along the path. Slow motion, costing 20 coins, will of course slow the game down for you to complete the level.

The story levels in Cloudberry Kingdom are the most basic ones, that just simply require you to get to the door on the other side. These are the only levels that aren’t randomly made, since they were designed to ramp up in difficulty in a certain way. There are no time limits and you have an unlimited number of lives. As you progress through them, they will slowly get harder and you will play as a different hero every 10 or so levels.

There are 4 different arcade modes, each putting a different twist on the basic gameplay. All of these modes involve you collecting coins to earn points so you can rank on the leaderboards. Escalation is just like story mode, except you stay as the same character and have a limited number of lives, though you can earn more for every 25 coins. Time Crisis has a time limit involved, and you can increase the timer by collecting coins, up to a max of 20 seconds. Hero Rush will give you a random hero each time you complete a level. Hybrid rush is like Hero Rush where it gives you random heroes as well, but it will sometimes combine multiple heroes such as fat rocket wheelie.

It is possible to completely customize how you want a level to be designed, as well as designing your own hero. You can choose how long the level is, how many checkpoints are in it, whether or not a spike wall is chasing you, and the types and frequency of playforms and hazards are present in it. Upon completion of a free play level, you can generate another one with the same settings if you so desire. If you were to max out every setting, it will create a level that is probably only possible if you were to use the AI ability, as it has to be done perfectly. Creating your own hero to use involves editing everything about his physics, from jumping to falling, and even the size of him. Having double jump or rocket set as a baseline, you can also choose how many jumps he has or how much fuel in the rocket.

If you want to play with some friends locally, they can plug in controllers to join in on the jumping with you. Even though you can use WASD or the arrow keys on the keyboard, it seems that only one person can use the keyboard. Every mode can be played in multiplayer, even the story levels. Multiplayer basically puts everyone’s character on the current level and you all will have to try beating it. You can still die in the same ways, though the level doesn’t get reset until everyone is dead or someone reaches the end. If one player gets left behind and the screen goes past them, they will die from that. Levels with checkpoints will revive dead players as they are touched. A special bungee mode exists within free play that causes all players to be connected by a stretchy rope, causes mayhem if you stray too far from another.

Everything that you do in Cloudberry Kingdom is stored as a statistic that you can view at any time. You will see basic information such as the number of times you’ve died and to what, and how many coins you have grabbed. Other statistics such as average length per life and the number of jumps you have done.

All the basic options exist, with sound and music volume sliders, resolution, and the ability to edit your keys. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to bind the space bar to the jump button, since that is how it is used in other jumping games. The graphics are nice colorful and cartoony, but aren’t ugly because of their simplicity. There is a variety of music that will play during the levels, and their quality sounds much better than a lot of video games.

There’s nothing wrong with the unlimted randomly generated levels, but because of that the levels all have the same feel to them. Other jumping games, like Super Meat Boy and Dust Force, have carefully crafted levels that have their own unique theme and layout. Other than that, nothing else stands out bad about Cloudberry Kingdom.

All game modes will start out easy, but will get harder as they go. This means that if you don’t like challenge in your games, you might not make it very far in all the modes. You can custom make yourself easy levels though. All random levels will even scale their difficulty on how well you do, meaning that they will stay relatively easy if you are having trouble. Even so, you will have to eventually improve to advance into the harder levels. Story mode saves your progress after completing each level, though everything else pretty much requires you to play until you run out of time or die too much. Level wise, it shouldn’t take you over a minute to do each one assuming you don’t die a whole lot in doing so.

Anyone looking for a great challenging platforming game will love Cloudberry Kingdom. The levels will get harder with how well you are doing and of course how far you have advanced in the current mode. Leaderboards will keep you on your toes while you try to beat the best in the world. Arcade has a bunch of modes to unlock as well as the different types of heroes you can use on them. Escalation and Time Crisis require you to play them as the normal character first, while you can unlock the others by completing a certain amount of levels. Different arcade modes require you to have a high enough player level, which is the total number of levels you’ve completed during the story and arcade.

Cloudberry Kingdom costs 10 dollars and if you pre-purchase it within the next day you will also get the soundtrack. If you enjoy other jumping games, it is well worth buying Cloudberry Kingdom with the amount of content it comes with at such a low price.

Expeditions: Viking Review

Turn-based combat has never stood out to me on its own. In strategy games like the Civilization series, it’s an efficient way to solve zero-sum military situations. In squad combat as seen in the XCOM games, it can make for tense and unpredictable tactical scenarios, where a few moves can completely turn the tide of battle. These applications are tried and true, but usually garnished with minimal backstory and thin character development (if any) – and as a player who’d rather be wooed by great stories than contests of skill, they haven’t held my attention thus far. Then, as if out of nowhere, Expeditions: Viking appeared, a diamond in the rough waiting to be enjoyed by story seekers everywhere.

You play as the son or daughter of your village’s recently deceased “thegn,” or leader, and are immediately exposed to a driving source of conflict in Viking: pride. Your father hasn’t done the best job leading your clan, according to some clan members and leaders present at his funeral feast, and a few even question your right to the throne. It quickly becomes obvious that not everyone is ready for leadership to simply be handed down to the late thegn’s son.

In conversations, several options usually appear after any given statement or inquiry from an NPC, and the player’s decisions actually change the outcome of conversations. For example, if asked what you think of another clan and your opinion lines up with the person you’re talking to, your relationship with them might improve. Brash decisions can lead to personal or clan-wide conflicts or even full-fledged combat. The opening of the game demonstrates this system very well by having the player speak to several clan leaders with varying views of the main character and the late father, while using the mother’s guidance to discourage the player from stirring up trouble. Of course, trouble inevitably shows up, forcing the player into combat. Picking apart the game’s beginning sequence makes it sound fairly systematic: talk to people, say what you think they want to hear, and deal with conflict when you have to. In execution, however, everything that happens in Viking is seamlessly interwoven using well-written dialogue and convincing characters. The motives of everyone’s actions are generally easy to relate to, or at least understand, and the characters therefore seem very human. Now, don’t get me wrong: the combat and action elements are what given Expeditions: Viking its substance. But in its narrative, its relationships – where many strategy games seem to falter – it quickly and persistently develops meaning behind its gameplay, and to me that’s what makes it worth playing.

Down to the nitty-gritty: in Viking, a leader is only as good as his word – and his word is only as good as his strength in battle. Some conflicts can be resolved with diplomacy, but most are ended with the sword, and Viking attempts to add some fresh twists to the trusty turn-based hex-tile combat system. Each warrior has action points that can be spent on movement or skills – normal attacks don’t consume these points, so warriors can cover big distances in order to meet their opponents and strike a blow. Some skills consume all action points; meaning, once a warrior moves, several of their skills become unusable. Attack/defend events factor in warrior’s stats in strength, endurance and finesse (offense, defense, and critical chance respectively) as well as equipped items and proficiency with those items. This is where the RPG aspect of Viking plays a role: as characters level up, their strength, endurance, finesse, perception and sense stats can be raised. The first three directly influence proficiency with various weapon types, and perception greatly affects accuracy with bows, making it a primary stat for archers. Interestingly, these stats also have other effects, some even outside of combat. A shield-wielding warrior, for example, will want endurance, not only for its boost to total hit points, but for its base damage reduction and block chance. The sense stat, which affects mental resistance and stamina, also appears in dialogue sometimes and can allow the player to persuade others. Perception can also reveal things during conversation that can help the player determine a course of action.

Building characters to hone in on specific strengths (my character is an archer with a focus on the sense stat, labeled “healer” because of my skill selections) is key to building a powerful team, as is using warriors to their strengths. The “attack of opportunity” feature makes this easier to do, as moving away from an enemy while adjacent to their hex (or trying to run by them) gives them a free hit. Warriors setup for strength and endurance can rush to engage stronger opponents and soak up damage, and they’ll be less likely to disengage and attack supporting warriors. Playable battle areas are quite large, so using archers to lay down damage and melee warriors to soak up damage can become a matter of using the map to your advantage. The game also features a cover system, with half-cover and full-cover scenery influencing whether warriors can be hit by arrows or fire from behind cover – and it’s all based on line of sight, which is why archers are the funnest characters to use in my opinion.

The core pillars of a strong game have been well established in Viking – and then some. The combat feels tactile and violent. Hitting an enemy will lock the camera on their head temporarily so you can see its damage. Killing blows cause characters to ragdoll and collapse with heavy thuds, before they continuously bleed on the battlefield. Rich environments filled with realistic natural and man-made scenery elements and cover obstacles make every scene a feast for the eyes. Small details like snow flurries (and fire particles that will be blown in the direction of the snow), rich ambient noises and carefully-crafted scenery (every one in a while a bird will fly by, right in front of the camera) make the world feel alive and in motion. Whether its systems remain balanced and rewarding in the long-term remains to be seen – and a few more voice-overs wouldn’t have hurt – but all in all, Expeditions: Viking is simply captivating. After hours of scrapping, surviving, and sometimes even thriving, I keep returning for more.

Shadowrun Returns Review

You may choose to be male or female in Shadowrun Returns, though there are no advantages or disadvantages to being either. There are 5 humanoid races to choose from, which are humans, elves, dwarfs, orks, and trolls. You can customize what your character model looks like as well as the portrait. There is an option to make it so your model will reflect the chosen portrait, though you can toggle it off to design one of each that you like. Each race starts with a bonus to one of the many different skills, as well as each having different maximum limits to the skills. Orks and trolls can get high strength and body but low intelligence and charisma, while elves can achieve great charisma but not very good strength. You may choose an archetype to start off with, which starts you out with different sets of skills to get you started, or choose the none option to make your character from scratch.

There are 6 base skills to increase, which all branch down and allow you to learn sub skills. Body increases your health and chance to take less damage. Quickness allows you to use ranged weapons and dodge physical attacks. Strength determines how strong your melee attacks are and the effectiveness of thrown grenades. Intelligence is important if you wish to use robots in combat or use a deck to infiltrate computers, as well as increasing how much medkits will heal. Willpower allows you to use magical spells and adept abilities with your fists. Charisma unlocks different dialogue options for you to choose from, as well as being able to summon spirits during combat.

Instead of experience points, you will earn Karma at times throughout playing the game from completing objectives. Combat and defeating enemies themselves won’t earn you anything though. Because of this, you will need to make sure you complete all optional objectives so you don’t fall behind. You can apply the Karma that you earn on your skills, costing the same amount of what the next skill level is. If you are wanting to get level 9 charisma, you will need to spend 9 points in order to do so. There is a limited amount of Karma available to get during the dead man’s switch campaign, just under 200, so don’t plan on being able to max out your character.

The combat in Shadowrun Returns has you and the enemy team taking turns moving your characters around and attacking each other. During your move, you can opt to either stand out in the open or behind cover which will give you a defense bonus. All weapons and spells have a certain range in which they are the most effective in, and being closer will generally cause you to be more accurate with your attacks. Each character starts each turn with some action points, which are spent on each move distance and attack. If you have enough Karma spent into certain skills, you may have unlocked special abilities to be used with your weapons, which modify how your attacks act. A shotgun can just do a normal shot, or a special kneecap shot that decreases how much damage it does but can cause the enemy to have less action points on the next turn.

If physical combat is your type, there are four categories of guns, melee weapons or fists, and even grenades to choose from. Pistols, sub machine guns, shotguns, and rifles are the guns that you can choose from and all have special modes of firing to unlock such as aimed shots with more accuracy. Melee weapons such as knives, bats, and swords exist and allow you to dish out lots of damage when up close and personal. Fist are what you can use when you have no weapons, and they even have a large set of special spells meant for them if you choose to become an adept. Grenades are consumable items that can damage large areas of enemies, but can sometimes miss their initial target.

There is a large variety of spells within Shadowrun Returns, existing within three categories. The basic mage spells range from simply doing damage to healing the last instance of damage that hurt a teammate. Adpet spells compliment your fists and body greatly, increasing your punching damage or causing you to move farther on each move. Shaman spells employ a lot of buff and debuff spells along with indirect damage spells such as creating walls of fire that hurt characters if they decide to travel through them. Most spells will have a cooldown that prevents them from being used multiple times in the same round. At a certain magic skill level, you will be able to see ley lines that you can stand on which will make your spells more efficient.

Certain areas have special objects that you can click on to summon a spirit from if you have the necessary skills to do so. These spirits have their own set of spells as well as a basic attack. Every turn prompts you to choose from 1 to 4 action points to give the spirit, more increasing the chance that the spirit will break your control and start attacking anything at will. Higher charisma and spirit control skills will allow you to reduce the chance that a spirit will be able to break away from you.

Riggers can decide to bring along drones with them instead of weapons. These drones will passively follow the character until you decide to activate them. Upon activation, the character will have one less action point to use per turn, while allowing you to fully control the drone. Most drones just have basic attacks while others can do mortar attacks and even heal.

When you are in safe areas there are generally stores to sell you goods. The currency you will use is called Nuyen and you can get it from completing the main objectives and selling important items you find during your adventure. There are stores for any type of player, with weapon and armor stores, magic and decking stores, and even a store to buy cyberware. Most stores also include a consumable section, such as medkits and grenades. Even if you’re full, it is wise to buy a stockpile of consumables since you can store them in your stash for later. You can look at what is currently in your stash by clicking on the locker which is located in your home base, or just by starting a mission as it will allow you to equip items out of it before you start.

Certain areas allow you to deck, which basically lets you project a persona of yourself into a matrix like world. Only characters that have the decking skill may enter the matrix, and the ones that stay out have to protect the real bodies of the ones that go in. While inside, you will have access to any of the decking abilities that you have unlocked, such as healing yourself or other programs and dealing damage in an area of effect. You can even buy consumable programs to use inside of these areas, which create units that you can control. The goal while decking is to reach the terminal that allow you to take control of them, such as opening a door or taking control of a turret in the real world. All enemies in the area must be defeated in order to use these terminals however.

It is possible to buy upgrades and augments for your body called cyberware. These allow you to gain different bonuses such as armor and hit chance. Buying these cyberwares will cause you to lose essence, which will cause your spells to take longer to go off of cooldown. This means that it is best to only buy cyberware on characters that are mainly physical damage dealers and not ones that rely on magic.

About halfway through the game, you can begin to hire a wide selection of different Shadowrunners to help you on your missions. They range from all the combat types and races that exist in the game, and come equipped accordingly with equipment and spells. It costs Nuyen to hire them, but you are generally supplied with enough money to do so. Every mission requires you to rehire Shadowrunners even if they were previously hired, though their equipment will always be updated with the newest and greatest upgrades. When your mission starts, it is possible to equip your team with consumable items that you may have stored in your stash.

The largest part of Shadowrun Returns involves conversations with other characters and selecting what you want to say to them. Most options have the same results, though some allow you to earn money or get an optional mission. Some conversations will have special options to choose, which require you to have a certain level of charisma or other skills, which generally give you a nice reward or getting through an area much easier.

Whether you’re just wandering around or in combat, you can’t ignore your surroundings as there are things to find. Many objects can be examined, either giving you a clue about something or possibly letting you take an item to use later. If you pick up an item that you can’t hold, you can either send it to your stash or switch it out for something in your inventory, which will be sent to you stash as well. There are lots of people and characters to talk to, often giving you little objectives to complete or clues to your current one. Some areas are only accessible if you have the correct skills, such as hacking doors and safes as a decker or summoning spirits on the other side of doors to open them for you, or just simply finding a key or tool somewhere else.

At any time you may opt to rewind your current saved game to an earlier state. This will take you to any loading screen that you have been to previously, keeping your character and items exactly how they were. This will allow you to get out of tough situations that you are stuck in, or simply want to explore your favorite areas again.

Shadowrun Returns comes along with modding tools and an editor to make custom campaigns, also called UGC or User Generated Content. Everything that is created this way can be shared using the Steam Workshop, allowing everyone to see what masterpieces you have made. There are some things that you can’t change however, such as new skills and actual gameplay mechanics. New weapons, spells, and just simply altering already existing content is of course possible to do. Some things that aren’t even in the main campaign are available in the editor, such as random loot and random encounters. Hopefully in the upcoming months we will be able to see great creations by people in the community.

The options available to you bare, but there isn’t anything major missing from them. You can select your difficulty, whether or not the camera follows you, basic graphical options such as anti aliasing and resolution, as well as the sound levels. Graphics themselves portray to you a gloomy and dark atmosphere in Seattle. There is no voice acting at all in the game except for some minor grunts during combat. Music changes whether or not you’re in combat and there are a selection of songs to prevent you from listing to the same ones over and over.

It takes too long for the action in the game to start, since you will be spending most of the first half of the game exploring the world and occasionally running into short fights. It completely does a 360 later on though, where you will be spending short amounts of time actually exploring and talking to people, and most of your time in long fights. The design of combat and exploration areas become lazy early on, since you go from exploring and fighting in open areas with extra content to complete to predominantly combat areas that have you fighting down hallways with no secrets to find. One example is having to get to the top floor of a building, and there are multiple ways to do so depending on your skills and dialogue choices. After that, it becomes very linear.

The dialogue is very well written and you are given lots of choices to choose from, but most of the time everything happens the same no matter what you choose. Even with the amount of “choices” of what you can say to the characters in the game, the actual outcomes are pretty linear.

A lack of manual saving isn’t a big deal in the main campaign, since you will find loading screens fairly often in the first half of the game. Later on though the combat can get pretty long and you will definitely be wanting the ability to save when you can. Hopefully when people start creating custom campaigns for Shadowrun Returns they take into consideration the fact of not being able to manually save, or else they can expect low ratings. The above negatives are in regard to the main campaign “Dead Man’s Switch” that the game comes out with, and not about the actual game itself. This means that these issues may no longer exist when the community is given enough time to create campaigns themselves. Even this in itself is a negative, because it almost makes it seem like the developers are just relying on the community to make great content, instead of themselves.

The combat is the only aspect of Shadowrun Returns that could pose a problem to anyone playing. If this is the case, it is possible to drop the difficulty of combat down whenever you want. Everything else has no difficulty involved, since it just involves exploring the world or talking to characters in dialogue screens. At first you will be going through different areas fairly fast which means it will autosave more often. Later on however, combat areas will get longer and longer with no way to manually save, meaning you will have to make sure you can play for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Shadowrun Returns won’t present much of a problem for anyone unless you decide to increase the combat difficulty. Everything else that doesn’t involve combat isn’t very difficult, since it is just picking dialogue choices and solving minor puzzles. There is nothing in Shadowrun Returns that is unlockable, you just simply play through the game. Other than the main story missions and objectives, there are at times optional objectives you can do, but they aren’t anything major. Replaying the game as a completely new class does allow you to enjoy different routes through the game, since there are certain options you can only choose when you have the right skills.

Shadowrun Returns costs 20 dollars, or you can opt to buy the digital deluxe version for 35 dollars. The digital deluxe includes the soundtrack along with an illustrated PDF detailing the story of Shadowrun as well as concept art from the creation of the game. For 15 extra dollars, the digital deluxe version just doesn’t seem worth it unless you like those kinds of extras, since most deluxe versions of games also come with actual content as well.

It is well worth purchasing Shadowrun Returns if you enjoy the turn-based strategy gameplay, engaging dialogue with the choices that you can make, or even if you’re just looking forward to all the creative new content that members of the community will make with the Shadowrun Returns editor.

Neverwinter Review

The generic races that you expect in MMOs are in Neverwinter like the human, elf, and dwarf. Theres also two half races which are half-orc and half-elf. Although not unusual, halflings are also available. The only unique races in the game are the Tiefling which look like a red skinned demon, and an exclusive race called the Menzoberranzan Renegade. All race picks come with three perks that slightly increase certain aspects of the character, such as 5% more dmg or 1% money gain.

There are currently only 5 classes to choose from though more will be available in the future. They are mostly generic, like the rogue and cleric, but the control wizard is probably the most unique one of them all. All classes are mostly designed to fit only one role in the game, but the control wizard can somewhat fill two since they get a lot of damaging spells as well as a lot of control spells to either freeze or debilitate even large groups of foes.

Your character has 6 attributes to roll points into, depending on your race and class. All races give bonus attributes, while your classes determines which ones are your primary and secondary stats. It is very important to get a good roll since these attributes give you vital base stats that you will always have. Appearance is of course customizable, and it is very thorough with being able to customizable pretty much everything about your looks. You can lastly choose a god to follow and your backstory, but this has nothing to do with your in game stats and is only there for roleplaying.

Most of your time spent leveling will be through doing solo dungeons following the main story, instanced areas that are made for one person while also teaching you how dungeons will be like. There aren’t any large open world areas that most MMOs have, though there are smaller “open” areas that have limited quest hubs but not anything spectacular. In between doing all of these, you will also be able to queue for PvP or skirmishes/dungeons, and PvP even gives experience which doesn’t happen in most of these types of games. Experience appears to be scaled when you do these and simply killing enemies don’t give a whole lot of experience on their own. This, along with the fact that PvP gives experience means that if you’re bored of doing all of the solo content you can just queue your way all the way to endgame fairly fast.

The crafting aspect in Neverwinter is one of the least crafting-like activity in any MMO. You have five to choose from, and they consist of mostly making queues to get something done, while sometimes actually requiring an ingredient to be used. Eventually you will be able to have 9 queues going on at once, and after you’ve done them for a while you will unlock some useful things to make.

Lore is told to you through the main quest chain that you follow while doing all the solo dungeons and small zones. The best thing about quests and lore in Neverwinter is that there isn’t a whole lot to read, and the actual important stuff is voice acted after you make it to certain points in the quests, so you can continue on fighting and exploring while it is being explained to you. People who just click through quests to get them done will actually be able to listen in on whats happening without completely missing out on everything.

Instead of a free moving mouse that you can use to click on everything, combat locks your mouse to a cursor and it is where you aim all of your abilities. All classes will only be able to use 7-8 abilities at a time, making combat less hectic but also less strategical. Except for a few oddities, most abilites and attacks will lock you in place so you can’t move around freely while attacking. Instead of mana and resource bars, you only have to worry about the cooldowns that abilities have, with some special requirements for others. You will have an action bar fill up from your abilities and when it is full you can use one of your powerful abilities once until you fill it up again. Depending on your class, you will have a special bar that will fill or deplete when you use it, giving you even more ways to utilize your select few skills to use.

If you can’t think of what you want to do at the moment, you can check out what the current task is. Tasks are mini quests that cause certain activities to have better rewards such as more glory earned from PvP or extra money and experience from dungeons. There is only one of these active at a time, though there won’t always be one active at the given moment. These can encourage players to do more than just the same thing over and over.

Dungeons are the main focus of the PvE in Neverwinter. Whether you’re in a group or doing a solo dungeon, the base elements are still the same in both. The unique traits about dungeons here is that they instill a want to explore. They may be linear for the most part, but there are alcoves and tunnels leading to other areas that may contain secret chests or resource points that each class is able to get access to. Traps are another thing that you may run into, and they can sometimes do large amounts of damage if you’re not careful, luckily some classes can detect and even disarm them so you may pass. You will run into lesser bosses along the way in each dungeon, while the end boss is actually unique and has cerain strategies you will need to look out for to complete successfully. When you finally finish a dungeon, there will be a reward chest at the end with money and sometimes items.

This is one of the most unique things that separates Neverwinter from every other MMO that is out there. They have included a way for people to “mod” the game by giving you the tools to create your own story driven quests. Anyone can do this, but only the dedicated ones will bother with this and even then only a small amount of them will be of any worth. When a foundry quest has been completed by someone, they can put it into the game and anyone can play it while rating it for others to see. You will even get experience and othe rewards from completing these player made quests.

The most bare aspect in Neverwinter appears to be PvP. There is currently only one gamemode and a few different maps of it to go around. Capturing and holding points is how PvP is currently being played, and it will quickly go stale for most people unless they like the actual combat involved. Unless you’re level 60, when you queue for PvP you will be upscaled to the max level in your bracket, so if youre 23 you will be playing as a level 29. After winning or losing a match, you will gain experience and glory, which can be traded in for nice gear when you reach level 60. There is currently no special attribute on this gear that will make you better in these matches, though they do have high health ratings which also mean that you will see a lot of tanks wanting to get this gear.

Since there are currently no raids in Neverwinter, all you have to do is the tiered dungeons. These are all of the previous dungeons that you have done while leveling but set at a level 60 scaling, and simply harder in general as well. Other than these dungeons, you can start PvPing in level 60 only games as well as checking out the foundry for anything that would make a good endgame challenge.

More and more MMOs are getting rid of hotkeys and becoming more action oriented, especially when they add in dodge mechanics. Tera and Guild Wars 2 both share some similarities with Neverwinter. If you enjoyed the fixed mouse cursor and dodging in combat in Tera you will Like Neverwinter.

The basic options for these kinds of games exist, such as customizing how your ui looks. MMO graphics have never been the most amazing graphically when it comes to games, but they aren’t always ugly because of it. Neverwinter graphics are fairly standard when it comes to MMOs and there isn’t anything standing out about them. Everything has its sound effects and music, but the best part of the sound in Neverwinter is that almost all quest objectives are voice acted so you can continue to adventure while listening to the story, instead of sitting for a few minutes reading pages.

These are probably just beta complaints, but there are a few things that Neverwinter could do without. PvP is very plain and bare since theres currently only one game mode and a select number of maps to play it on. Class balance in pvp definitely needs to be looked at, since if a rogue is anywhere near a healer they are pretty much dead yet any other class a healer can safely live around. End game consists mostly of 5 man dungeons instead of raids, and being able to bring in your companions means that hardcore players won’t be as challenged as they would like. Crafting could be better like how it is done in other games, instead of a simple queue you start for something to get done. Although they are indirect ways, there are ways to make Neverwinter a pay to win game, such as unlimited revival scrolls or powerful companions. Only having a very small amount of abilities to be used at once during combat restricts all of the tactics that you might have otherwise been able to do, instead of just being able to do damage in different ways. When equipment drops in dungeons and you have to roll for it, anyone can need on any piece even if they can’t wear it, which means a lot of the time you won’t be able to get gear specifically for you even if you’re the only one of that class in the group. It being a beta isn’t bad, but when there’s still plenty of problems and exploits in it along with a real money store already, it makes it seem like they’re more focused on making money than making the game better.

Unless you’re doing endgame dungeons, you will have no problem with fitting in and learning how to do everything in Neverwinter. One thing that helps is that you don’t have many abilities to worry about while fighting, so you can pay more attention to the battle and not which of your 50 spells are on cooldown. The fact that you and everyone else in a group being able to bring companions makes even the hardest dungeons a lot easier, especially if you bring ones that heal you. PvP can be either hard or easy since it is all about who is on each team, and usually whoever has the most people in area will win. Skirmishes, PvP, and the solo dungeons that you do while leveling will take at most 20 minutes to complete. Fully fledged dungeons could potentially take an hour or even longer to do, especially if your group ends up dieing at the boss fights. So even if you don’t have time to do a dungeon on an evening, there is still other rewarding activities to do.

Other than the end game tiered dungeons, everything else is pretty easy. The dungeons that you run through while leveling don’t even require a tank and you can just have your companion tank it anyways, and since you can only use a max of 7-8 abilities PvP isn’t very deep strategy wise. Once again being able to bring in companions during any PvE content make 5 man dungeons feel like you’re doing them with 10 people. Just like every other mmo, there are tons of achievements to obtain from the different areas of gameplay. Other than that, there are five classes to master and many dungeons to run with lots of gear to gather.

Neverwinter is a completely free to play game, with the usual microtransactions that accompany these types of games. Since it is part of the Perfect World Entertainment line of games, their currency called Zen can be used within all of their games so you may already have some available. Zen costs rougly one dollar per hundred, and the most expensive items can cost up to 4000 zen, so be ready to spend 40 dollars on some items. If buying separate amounts of Zen is not your thing, you can currently buy one of the three available founder packages that contain lots of bonus in game items along with Astral Diamonds that you can exchange in game for zen. You can also exchange the Astral Diamonds that you earn in game for Zen with the exchange window in game, but the astral price per zen will slowly but surely go up over time.

There is barely any in-game advantage to buying items because 99% of it is cosmetics, though you could consider some things to give you an advantage. Mounts can be bought, and since you can use them in pvp you will be able to move around a lot quicker than others before they are able to save up 5 gold to buy their own. Enchanting items aren’t 100% guaranteed, but you can buy some expensive items in the store that can guarantee your item will be enchanted without destroying anything, meaning you can completely skip the RNG factor. Although only usable in PvE, you can buy some companions that will help you in battles and they have some mean looking stats. There are also scrolls of revival that you can get that will revive you on the spot, so if you’re rich you can just buy a ton of them and not worry about wiping on the hardest bosses. Overall though, there is no major reason to not play Neverwinter when it comes to being able to buy power with real money, especially when most of the advantages are in PvE content.

The founder packages range from 20 dollars, 50, and all the way up to 200 dollars. The 20 dollar package isn’t even worth looking at, since it just gives two items that barely help with leveling along with a bag that gives you 12 inventory slots, but nothing else at all of value. A better deal is the 50 dollar pack, since it includes a mount and dog companion that you get from the start, along with a ton of Astral diamonds (600000) and other little bonuses such as another character slot. Only bad thing about this pack is that the amount of diamonds you get is barely worth anything when you get into the inflated market, and it would actually be better to just purchase 50 dollars worth of Zen which will go a long way. The 200 dollar pack will most likely be too much for most people to spend on a single game, but if you are planning to play this game for at least a year this price is well worth it, since you get a ton of cool and exclusive mounts and companions along with 2,000,000 Astral Diamonds, with even more miscellaneous bonus items and perks. Probably the most exclusive thing about the 200 dollar founder package is that it will give you exclusive access to the Menzoberranzan Renegade playable race, which look like a type of elf.

Defiance Review

Defiance is a third person shooter open world MMO that is based on the SyFy show of the same name, and is developed by Trion. Creating your character is more about what they look like and nothing to do with what skills they can use while playing. You can play as a male or female human or Irathient character, only differing in what they look like. Face and skin color are the only things that you can customize, and the starting outfit you get is based on your background. Everyone comes equipped with a shield and the same amount of health. Shield and health will both regenerate if you have not been hit by anything after a set amount of time.

Instead of the normal leveling system of other MMOs, where you go from level 1 to 50 or so, Defiance uses the EGO system that simply tracks your progression through the game. You will start at 20 and the cap is around 5000 EGO rating. Leveling your weapon and vehicle skills, completing pursuits, simply leveling your character up, and other things, will all contribute to your EGO rating. The rating itself won’t make you any stronger, though at certain ratings you will earn more inventory slots and the ability to enter co-op dungeons.

Quite possibly the only thing that doesn’t get stale about Defiance, the huge selection of weapons available to you can keep you busy deciding what is best. There are a variety of types of guns, that range from pistols and machine guns to infectors and BMGs. Each type of gun can even come in multiple different variances, such as shotguns that shoot grenades and rocket launchers that split apart after the initial blast and creating more blasts. All weapons can have randomly assigned bonuses on them, such as more melee damage or higher accuracy. The rarity of guns that you find affect them the most, since they will have more bonuses and a lot of mod slots. Weapon strength does not improve as you go through the game, and they only vary based on the bonus that are present on them. Nano effects can also be found on weapons, randomly triggered effects that apply when they hit an enemy, such as fire that does damage over time or the syphon effect that will heal you or recharge or shield.

Every time that you level up, you will gain an EGO Unit that you apply on your EGO grid. You must first choose one of four EGO powers, which are decoy, overcharge, blue, and cloak. After that, you can begin to unlock the perks that surround them. All perks are very different from one another, and rarely give passive bonuses that apply at all times. This means that different combinations of perks can create new styles of play, such as getting all the crouching perks that increase your critical damage and decreasing the damage you take will make a sniper role fitting. Each perk can be leveled up three times, and it is possible to unlock other EGO powers.

Very early in the game you will acquire your first vehicle, an ATV of some sort called a runner, and you can eventually get rollers which look more like cars. There are various models of each type of vehicle, each having a different color scheme and set of stats. Every vehicle has the ability to boost, helping you reach your destination faster. Running over enemies is possible, but hitting the larger ones will cause your vehicle to be destroyed and you without shields.

Every type of gun and vehicle will have a skill assinged to them. Simply using each weapon and vehicle in the way they’re intended will earn experience towards the next level. Every time that you level a skill up, a bonus will be applied to that category from now on. Bonuses can range from higher damage and faster reload on weapons, to more hp and faster speed on vehicles. You can only gain weapon skill experience if the gun you are using hasn’t filled its mastery bar yet.

While playing Defiance, you will accumulate currencies such as Scrip, Ark Salvage, and Key Codes. Scrip is your basic money that can be used to purchase merchandise such as weapons and vehicles. Ark Salvage is another common currency that is used in some stores but mainly to upgrade and mod your weapons. Key codes allow you to purchase Lock Boxes that contain a random assortment of weapons, and they are obtained through Arkfalls, co-op missions, and most pursuits.

Many different enemy factions within the world of Defiance exist and each have their strengths and weaknesses. Mutants are basically humans that have mutated somewhat because of the Arkfall events, and they consist of gun wielding souldiers, cleaver wielding berserkers, and large Bio-Men with chainguns and grenade launchers. Raiders are another group of humans, that have rocket launchers and riot shield users, along with their large elite the Tanker only vulnerable to his back. 99ers could be classified as humans, but they’ve modifed 80% or more of their body so they’re essentially cyborgs now, and besides gun users they also have flamethrowers, a large grenade tosser, and the goldrusher who goes into a berserk mode when his health gets low. The Dark Matter is a group of people who are highly technological, able to deploy barricades and even mechs to help their cause. Inflicted are people who were exposed to a plague and has basically turned them into zombies, with the strongest type enclosed in a protective shell. Scrappers are robots that have formed from the wreckage of the great Arks, all being large sturdy hulks that can either fly or bombard the area with blasts. Hellbugs are menacing insects with great maws that try to swarm you with their larger and larger melee warriors, though they do have flyers that shoot at you and even tentacles that will rain down mortar shots. Most enemies can come in an elite variety, which just makes them stronger than normal.

Whether you’re doing story, side, or dynamic events, they all have the same basic mission objectives. Missions typicially instruct you to go to a certain area and find data recorders, rescue people, turning off turret generators, or just simply killing everything. They might not be like the quests you get in other games such as killing X pigs or collecting Y teeth, but they can still get quite repetitive.

You will recieve special contracts from the various factions of Defiance to complete on a daily or weekly basis. They are automatically obtained and will reset when the day or week has come to an end. Daily contracts generally want you to kill a random 20 type of enemy in a specific area, and weekly contracts generally want you to kill a random 100 type of enemy in an area as well. Completing these will earn you reputation, which is also a special type of currency that allows you to buy the rarest types of weapons, as well as letting you actually see their stats before hand. There are also special titles that you can earn if you can save up 1000 reputation from each faction.

Arkfalls are the large world events that happen every once in a while. They consist of an Ark Core that has fallen and you will need to rush there to either destroy it, or the enemies that have been attracted ot it. There are different versions of Arkfalls based on the faction of enemies present, and there are generally two of each type. Smaller Arkfalls just consist of a single core, while the much larger Arkfalls have multiple cores present spread out in a large area. After destroying all the smaller ones in a major Arkfall event, a final area surrounded by multiple Ark Cores will appear along with a boss in the middle of them. When you complete either a minor or makor Arkfall event, a reward screen will appear with all the experience and money you have earned, as well as equipment.

Even though the game Defiance takes place around San Fransisco and the SyFy show takes place around the former city of St. Louis, there are a few tie-ins between the two. There are episode missions that you can complete where you will run into familiar faces, such as Josh and Irisa Nolan. Most of this content won’t always be available, only for a time after the episode airs, and a lot of the tie-ins won’t make sense to you unless you’re watching the show as well.

Other than just missions to do out in the world, you can run into a variety of Activities to complete as well. These activities will let you earn a bronze, silver, or gold trophy which will reward you accordingly. You can find time trials, hotshots, and rampages. Time trials will place you on a vehicle and you will have to follow a set course through rings and hope you can do it fast enough to earn gold. Hotshots give you a gun and you have to kill enough enemies and get a big enough combo to earn enough points before you die or run out of ammo. Rampages are like hotshots, except you pretty much have unlimited ammo and have a time limit as well to worry about, though you can still easily die.

Instead of achievements, you have pursuits to go after in Defiance. Each pursuit is a list of related objectives that you need to complete in order to finish the pursuit. The objectives can range from finding a set of data recorders, doing certain tricks in your vehicles, or completing all the different objectives during a co-op mission. Most pursuits just simply increase your EGO rating by 5, while other special ones can reward you with outfits and titles to display on your character.

At certain EGO levels or progress through the main storyline you will unlock various co-op missions that you can enter. Each one groups you with 3 other players and you must work your way through an area with a specific faction of enemies to defeat the boss at the end. Other than the special boss at the end, co-op missions are exactly like all the other missions.

All PvP will take place in matchmaking, as there is no open world PvP of any kind. There are currently three smaller maps that are either about capturing points or team death match. One very large map that allows 64 Vs 64 players is available, but because of its size you can expect the waiting period to be very long. Other than the PvP modes being the same that exist in other games, the main unique thing about them is that they use your character directly with a few minor changes. You can use the same weapons that you use out in the world, as well as perks. Your vehicle cannot be used however, though there are a few spawned vehicles that you can use.

There isn’t necessarily a start to the endgame in Defiance, since you are pretty much always doing the same thing throughout the story. Though when you are done with the main story missions, everything else can just be considered grinding. You can go around and finish all of the side missions and activities, play co-op or PvP matches with other players, complete major Arkfalls as they appear, achieve the various pursuits, do daily and weekly contracts, and level all of your weapon and vehicle skills. There is no type of progression, as everything is unlocked around 500 EGO rating, so you won’t be doing raids with other players to get stronger to do even tougher raids.

Not necessarily similar, but Defiance does feel like a mixture of a bunch of known games. The shooting and gun aspect feels a lot like Borderlands, along with the vehicles. It being open and having vehicles is a lot like Firefall as well. Random Arkfall events are like the rifts in Rift. The activities that you can find out in the world are from a lot of different open world games over the years, such as Red Faction: Guerilla.

Since the game was a console port, there is a large lack of options. The basics are all there, such as sound and key remapping, but there are simply only 3 settings for graphics. Graphics themselves don’t look too bad, but the lack of customizing them might make it hard for some people to optimize the game well for their computer. Sound and music have no complaints about them, all enemies have lines they say to each other in combat and music changes on your situation. Though actually, your EGO that talks to you can become quite repetitive at times, such as when it tells you when a weak spot on an Ark Core has opened up every 5 seconds.

A lot of the game still feels like it was made for a console, which should never exist on a game for the PC. There are only three graphical settings, and the in game UI is navigated oddly. People don’t even bother using chat in game because of all of this. You will rarely ever run into another player while playing Defiance, so you will always be doing the missions solo, with Arkfalls and co-op missions being the only times that you will see other players running around. Arkfalls are very easy to complete with the mass of players that show up, and it is simply impossible to fail them. The Arkfalls themselves have almost no variety to them, and you will end up doing the same ones over and over. The lack of real endgame content is what will turn most players away, as the only thing to do when you’re done with the main story is just grind your skills and find better guns.

Except for possibly the later story missions, pretty much everything that you can do in Defiance is easy. Co-op missions get blasted through by groups especially if someone has a BMG, Arkfalls have so many players at them that they are impossible to fail. PvP might be the only thing that you could consider to be hard since it puts you against other people that are better than you. All the missions and everything that you can complete on your own don’t take very long to accomplish. Most of the co-op missions are fairly short and will only take a little while longer to complete. Even the large Arkfall events aren’t very long, they give you a time limit of 30 minutes or so yet it is generally done in only 15 minutes.

There isn’t really anything in Defiance that is overly difficulty or having a high skill ceiling. Co-op dungeons are fairly short and groups just blast through them anyways. The large Arkfall events are beyond easy especially when you have everyone on the server in one place at once. PvP is your best bet if you want something challenging. After beating the main story missions of Defiance, you would have been unlocking a ton of side missions and activities that you can do. There are also a ton of pursuits for you to pursue, from finding all the data recorders, doing spins in the air with runners, or just completing all the co-op missions, defiance has a lot for you to do.