Trouble Thinking

July 21, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Days 9 & 10

Filed under: Game Reviews — Tags: , , , — Durandal @ 10:47 am

What to get in these last few batches of sales?

Day 10

-Batman Arkham City: Yep, yes. Well worth the $10. Not as much of an innovation or improvement on Asylum as it could have been, but amazing.

-Dawn of War II: There’s a big following for these games, but they’ve always struck me as the dumb cousin of the Company of Heroes games. There’s just less satisfaction to be garnered. I’d give it a go if you like the universe a lot. $7.50

-Torchlight: Preorder Torchlight II instead. It’s worth it, but preorder Torchlight II because that will be even more worth it. $3.75

-Indie Bundle X: Nah, just buy Machinarium. It’s an adorable little adventure game. The other stuff on offer here just isn’t all that much fun after the first few minutes.

-Quantum Conundrum: A slightly different Portal with more FPS jumping puzzles and less innovation. Which is to say it’s probably still great but also eh. FPS jumping puzzles, ugh. $9

-Prince of Persia (2008): I liked it! It’s got a lot of troubles, like how it basically surgically extracts a lot of the challenge of the older games, but it’s beautiful and charming and engaging. Worth $2.50 definitely.

-Fable 3: I loved Fable 2, but I never bothered with Fable 3. I think the moral-choice BS and the ultimate goal of establishing a large savings account never jibed with my idea of fantastical adventure. If it were as big a leap forward as 1->2 I’d care more but nah. Plus please man, still originally priced at $50? Fuck you. $12.50

-Evochron Mercenary: In the tradition of space games like the X series, you’re a mercenary in a big, kind of empty galaxy looking to make your way in the world. These things always depend too much on dogfights to interest me. $6.25

-Arma II: Hey, you can play Day Z! Grab it if that sounds fun. $18

Day 9

-Driver: San Francisco: I’m seriously considering this weird game. It’s an open-world driving action game, where you race and stunt-jump and generally cause chaos with a car. What really interests me is that you play as a coma patient who can leap to new bodies, but only other drivers. So you can slow down the person you’re chasing by leaping into some civilian cars and making them T-Bone in front of your quarry. That’s so weird! I want it. $7.50

-Magicka: Yes! Grab this. It’s weird, it’s fun as hell particularly with friends, it’s pretty and funny and it has the best implemented magic system I’ve had the joy of figuring out. Completely worth $2.50

-Red Orchestra: Heroes of Stalingrad: If you’re itching for WW2 action, go for it. It’s only worthwhile if you’re into the multiplayer, but it looks pretty solid. Plus, I like things that focus on the Russian front, they get too little play. $5

-Dungeon Defenders: Cute fun with friends, if you’re all into tower defense games. I find Sanctum easier to do with strangers, but these things usually wind up fun if you’ve got the requisite pals. $3.75

-Civilization V: Yep. It’s not perfect, but it’s a dang good world-conquering game, and if you get it cheap now you can probably afford the new expansion if it turns out you really dig it. $7.50

-FEAR 3: Eh. I mean if you really really are hard up for a new FPS, sure. But it’s a horror game without any horror. Maybe if you have a friend who’s willing to buy it as well. Then you could check out the co-op mode, the only new idea they had. $5

-Crysis 2: I’d get Crysis 1 for $6 instead, it seems like a better time in a more open environment. But Crysis 2 got decent reviews. For some reason neither of these games really appeal to me though, they seem fluffy and indistinct. Tech demos labeled “SHOOTER”. But whatever, better choice than FEAR. $12

-Deus Ex Human Revolution: Absolutely buy this, it is entirely worthwhile. It doesn’t quite deliver on being the original only better and smarter, but it gets so damn close. It’s a lot of content, a lot of ideas, a decently told story, and a lot of very entertaining stealth and gunplay. Get this now. $7.50

-Indie Bundle IX: This is the one! This is it! Get it! So gooood. Jamestown is a great old-school shmup with a fun theme, Capsized is a fun, weird sort of metroid-y platformer, Revenge of the Titans is great Tower Defense, VVVVVV is an amazing open-world platformer with a great hook, and Zeno Clash is a surreal fighting game that’s well worth the entry fee. $10

July 19, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Days 7 and 8

Filed under: Game News — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 6:17 pm

More games! NEVER ENOUGH GAMES

-Gratuitous Tank Battles: Have not heard great things. Get Gratuitous Space Battles instead, wait on this until you’re really certain. $7

-Indie Bundle VIII: Man these things have been a mishmash. Hoard, not worth it, Swords and Soldiers seems fun looking, Demolition Inc is interesting but flawed… I mean it’s just such a mishmash. I can’t imagine someone interested in all of these. Worth it if you want all of them? But, you won’t. $10

-Krater: Interesting, but flawed. Get if you like flawed weird gems. It’s kind of an old-school RPG, only a bunch of shit isn’t working the same, usually for the worse? That makes it sound terrible, just try the demo it’s probably worth it if you like the demo. $7.50

-The Witcher 2: Yes. Yes now, yes get it get it now it’s the best fucking RPG. It’s so good, so good. They even updated it for free with a bunch of extra shit just because they love us. It’s fun, engaging, reasonably complicated, it manages a bunch of shit people keep whining about games being unable to do. $16

-Alan Wake: I’ve heard middling things. Nice high-production-value game, decent but repetitive action and a mildly interesting but mostly wasted narrative. I wouldn’t bother unless you’re really intrigued. $7.50

-Fallout New Vegas: I’ve heard amazing things, go for it! Fallout 3 was actually pretty fun, worthwhile. It’s one of those games I never actually finish finish though which nags at me forever so I’m not into it, you should give it a shot though. $5

-Amnesia The Dark Descent: Fun! Go for it. One of the only scary games, even if people keep acting like it’s the most frightening thing in the world, and it just ain’t. $5

-Sniper Elite V2: I’ve heard decent things. Kind of inherently repetitive though. I wouldn’t bother for $25, it’s a series of pot-shooting exercises.

-Plants vs. Zombies: Fun times, not worth $10, definitely worth $2.50

 

Yesterday’s Deals:

-STALKER: YEP. Get it, now. Yep. It’s a fun, weird, strange shooter/RPG that just you cannot get any other way. Nothing else is quite like it, you need to give it a shot now. $3.75

-Age of Empires Online: NO. $2.50

-Thief Deadly Shadows: The whole series is such a touchstone, this is a necessary purchase. At least Deadly Shadows, the latest best-looking one. I’ve heard it’s less interesting than the early ones, but it’s probably worth not seeing super early-gen 3D $2.50

-Super Meat Boy: The best platformer, yes. $3.75

-Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion: Instead, grab the Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity deal, it’s only $5 and you’ll get essentially the same dang game. Pony up for Rebellion if you’re really into it. $25

-Total War Mega Pack: Eh. They’re big, impressive, but I’ve never really felt that much for them. Fights are huge and impressive but not nearly fun enough, and the strategy AI isn’t quite smart enough to be fun. $12.50

-Indie Bundle VII: Dungeons of Dreadmor is definitely worth it, the rest I’m not certain about. I’ve seen Vessel and it seems like a good puzzler, and Avadon is from Spiderweb Software, who make good shit. Yeah, go for this one. $10

-L.A. Noire: Supposed to be wonderful, but like Alan Wake it’s leaning more production values than actual gameplay. Unlike Alan Wake, the gameplay it does have is interesting and reasonable uniquely focused on investigation and interrogation. Go for it at $5, come on.

-Carpe Fulgur Collection: Only get Reccetear, but get Reccetear. It’s a weird sort of almost Diablo clone, but you also run a cute little item shop oh man it’s the best. $5

July 17, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 1:47 pm

Alright today isn’t super amazing but alright here we go:

-Grand Theft Auto IV: Eeeeeh. Grab Saints Row 2, or 3. Or anything. Don’t get GTA, it’s a snoozefest. $5

-Call of Duty: Black Ops: NO. And fuck, $20! Fuck you guys.

-Stronghold 3 Gold: Everything I’ve heard says nope, even people who were super excited about it. :(. $14

-Limbo: It’s… kind of… it’s worth $2.50. It’s atmospheric, but I wish the puzzles were more puzzle, less trial and error. But it’s worth giving a shot for that price.

-Company of Heroes: Get the first one, only the first one, if you haven’t tried it. Great single-player RTS, fun multiplayer if anyone is on. $2.50

-Indie Bundle VI: Spacechem is an absolute must in this. If you dig ticket to ride, just get the pack so you can get both for $5 off, but the test is dross, so get Spacechem alone if you’re not into that. $10

-Train Simulator 2012: I’ve heard oddly good things. You buy it, I’m not buying it. $3.50

– Spec Ops: The Line: If you were thinking about Call of Duty, get this instead. At least they tried. $35

-Wargame European Escalation: Horrid name aside, I’ve heard it’s one of the better new RTS games. Poor thing can’t compete with the big names though. $20

Must Have Flash Deals:

Double Fine Pack! Totally worth it for $7.50 if you don’t have any of them, and all worth it alone.

July 16, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 10:27 pm

Hey! Here is the lowdown on what to purchase, you need it. I trusted you for Day 4 and look where that got us.

– Age of Empires 3: This is a weird one. I mean it isn’t as though it’s bad or anything. I just can’t think of an RTS fan these days who seriously considers Age of Empires as a touchstone. That said, having played around with the demo I enjoyed it. If you don’t dig Starcraft or Supreme Commander, give it a shot! $10

-Rage: I feel like this got pushed to the wayside because it didn’t really do anything new or interesting. But it did do corridor shooting well. So if you have a jonesing for killing waves of enemies that run straight at you… get Serious Sam: BFE. But also this, if you have extra. $10

-Indie Bundle V: I’d get this one. Tiny Bang Story is what happens when describe Katamari to a terminally dumb person, but the rest are critically acclaimed and quite interesting. Greed Corp is also fucking hard, but the good kind. $10

– Iron Front: Liberation 1944: Nah. I mean it’s 33% off an let’s be honest, you’ve never heard of it. Fuck these guys. $20

-Men of War: Vietnam: It’s a tough series to get into, but particularly if you dig the multiplayer it’s this big sprawling war-movie of a war game. It’s worth checking out an earlier cheaper title even if you don’t get this. $9

-Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: A classic, but one of those classics that only assholes tell you is fun to play at this point. It’s fine, it’s fine. Worth a couple bucks if you’ve never played. But seriously find something new. $2.50

-Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: No, you’ve had enough. Everyone had enough. Do not bother. $13.50

-Dear Esther: If you’re the sort of person who would buy this, at least buy it on sale. $2.50

-Metro 2033: YES! Get it. It isn’t perfect but by god it’s like a linear companion piece to STALKER and it is so worthwhile. It’s just a great fucking game. Do it, make them more successful. $5

Flash Deal You Need:

Amnesia The Dark Descent: Half as scary as people make it out to be, still 15 times more scary than any horror game in the past 10 years. Give the Penumbra games a look too, same people made them. $5.

July 14, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 3

What to get, what to ignore? Listen to me, I’ll tell you … more!

-Tropico 4: Get Tropico 3 for $2.50 instead. Just about the same exact thing, fun little Sim City sort of game where you’re an island dictator. Good times! $7.50

-Two Worlds II: Silly name aside, I’ve heard good things about this game from a bunch of people. It seems solidly in “flawed gem” territory. Give it a go if you’ve either already played or can’t afford Skyrim. $7.50

-Frozen Synapse: Buy this game, buy it now. It’s great, interesting, very worth a shot. Simultaneous tactical turn-based combat is an underappreciated genre. $5

-Indie Bundle III: Well, if you’ve still not got braid, obviously. I also dig Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. Runespell, Bunch of Heroes, and Bit.Trip Beat are also on offer, but I’ve not heard a ton about them, Runespell I think was eeeeh. Kind of seems like these packs always have a few duds. $10

-Skyrim: I’ve heard it’s good! If you’re into open-world RPG action, it’s the king at the moment. $30 is a bit steep during a big sale, but now’s the time to grab it if you want it, it won’t be lower than $30 for a long time.

-Dirt Showdown: I cannot comment at all on racing games. Sooo… do what you will. $25

-Borderlands: Great fun, good with friends, a bit samey and has both the best and the worst loot (I spent half the game with one gun, because it was the best gun I rolled all game), and the worst ending. But grabbing it and the expansions would be great if you’ve got some friends to play with. $5

-Orcs Must Die!: GET THIS. It’s an excellent tower-defense/action game that maintains a high level of fair challenge the entire way through, gives you reason to make use of all the tricks available, is nicely strategic, and the right side of funny. Great game, for $3.75 you’re an idiot if you don’t pick it up.

-Dead Island: I have heard it described as a solid dungeon-crawler with Zombies but… I mean I don’t know. I think it’s probably fine, this is just the game where we all decided Zombies were played out. Probably a bunch of fun if you still think Zombies are neat! $10

Flash Deal You Need:

Nah, not today. They’re all fine but not setting the world on fire.

July 13, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 2

What to buy, what not to buy, you need help I know”

-Payday: The Heist: If you’ve got friends to play it with, I’ve heard it’s a very fun L4D clone. Probably worth a look for you and your pals at $5.

-From Dust: I got it! It got acceptable reviews that mentioned a few issues, but nothing major. For $3.75 obviously worth a shot.

-Anno 2070: Unless you really really need a near-future Anno, I don’t know that I’d bother. The other Anno games are great, and still cheaper than $25.

-The Binding of Issac: Is amazing. For $1.25, you’re going to get a lot of game. I’d go for it.

-Tribes: Ascend Starter Pack: No! You don’t pay for free games. Let other people finance FTP with their $5, you’re no rube.

-Indie Bundle II: Is not setting my world on fire. Maybe E.Y.E alone? It’s very weird, worth a look if you’re into that, but the pack might not be worth $10.

-Warhammer 40K Space Marine: Fun and simple third-person shooting. A bit repetitive, but it’s just a ridiculous, gory good time for the majority of play. Well worth $7.50.

-Sonic Generations: Well, if you’re one of the people who were waiting years for a decent Sonic Game… yay! This is it. If you’re anyone else, feel free to continue forgetting who Sonic was. $10.

-Max Payne 3: I’ve heard good things about the shooting mechanics, but honestly grab Space Marine and wait for the price to drop below $30 if you must shoot things in third person.

Flash Deal You Need:

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light: The best Lara Croft game, and one of my top fun-givers of the past few years.

July 12, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012: Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Durandal @ 6:05 pm

What should you buy? You should buy the things I damn well tell you to but. To wit:

-Crusader Kings 2: Probably worth a go if you’re into big turn-based strategy games. It’s got a great system whereby you actually guide a dynasty of rulers, meaning your current beloved king can age, die, and leave squabbling bastards fighting for the remnants of a once-great empire. It’s pretty cool! $10

-Total War Shogun 2: A Total War game. So you know, strategic map, battles with giant armies that look cool. Apparently improved strategic and battle AI, certainly looks incredibly pretty, not a bad price at all. $7.50

-Portal 2: Fucking, right. You’re reading about it but don’t know it’s worth $5. Sure.

-Might and Magic Franchise: Some people have loved all of them, most loved 4 most, I believe, the newest one has gotten no particularly poor reviews but didn’t set the world on fire. Niche enough that you probably know if you want it. $25

-Indie Bundle 1: A shitload of good games. If you own fewer than 3, buy this. $10

-Call of Duty: MW3: Do not even think about this, bucko. No! There are neater things. Have you heard about Spec Ops: The Line? They apparently did some neat shit with the storytelling. Modern Warfare for $30? Christ, you can play TF2 free. No.

-Ridge Racer: Unbounded. I have actually not got a single opinion on this, $25.

-Terraria: For $2.50 it’s probably worthwhile. Like sideways minecraft with way more items. Neat procedural shit and a whole lot of it.

-Legend of Grimrock: I’m getting it! $6 for a pretty sweet looking old-school dungeon crawler. Everything happens in real-time, but square-by-square. It’s very neat looking, it’s gotten a shitload of positive reviews, and it seems just the right mix of very tough and very fair.

Current Flash Sales:

Probably won’t keep up with these every 8 hours but:

-Mafia 2: Some people loved this, but mostly only if they weren’t expecting GTA: The 30s.$7.50

-Spacechem: The Best Puzzle Game, $2.50

-Rayman Origins: Has received undiluted praise from all corners. If you like platformers, grab it. $15.

-Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Very, very good. Get it. $7.50

July 11, 2012

Endless Space: Spacey Good

Endless Space came out last week, it’s made by Amplitude Studios and is pretty neat! It is a great Space 4X that you should give a try because it’s like $30 and what like you’re really so flush with Space 4X games that you can’t afford to try another? I mean I guess Sins of a Solar Empire, sort of, but that really boils down more to RTS mechanics than 4X mechanics.

But let’s talk a bit more about Endless Space and why it’s worth a shot.

Endless Space is a game about taking control of an alien race (or plain old humans if you’re boring), and guiding them from humble beginnings in their home system to becoming a massive Galactic Empire. You begin with a single colonized planet, a colony ship, and a scout ship. To accomplish galactic domination, you need to do several things. First of all, you need to Explore the galaxy, finding out what planets are nearby, what routes connect to them, where the wormholes are (as we all know wormholes are pretty common in Game Space) and whether or not there are any nearby alien races. As you explore, you’ll find new planets that look just as good as home, if not better. That’s where you drop the Colony ship! You basically keep doing this at each new planet that looks decent. At first you can only colonize reasonably temperate planets, but you’ll unlock the ability to colonize asteroids and gas giants later. At first your new Outposts will be a bit low-producing, and they won’t expand your imperial influence, but over the course of around 30 turns at first and 10-15 later Outposts turn to Colonies that may eventually outstrip even your home system in production.

As you Expand further, you’ll find new resources to Exploit. In Endless Space resources are divided into those that are necessary for production of certain improvements and ship systems and those that provide useful benefits for your imperial economy. Access to a resource allows any connected system to use them, as well as allowing you to trade any excess to other races. If you manage to get 4 or more of any resource, you get a unique bonus, like +60% to the movement speed of your ships. As you grow, you’ll research new technology, which will allow you to build new structures that usually serve to either increase your production or increase your influence, with some having unique effects based on the layout of your system (+2 production per colonist on Gas Giants for instance). When you inevitably meet other races, you can talk them up a bit. You always start in “cold war” which means that so long as you’re not in each other’s respective influence areas you can fight, take over Outposts, generally be dicks without consequence. You can choose to make Peace official, though, and eventually start trade agreements and alliances. Pretty standard Civ-style diplomacy.

And that’s it! Explore, Expand, Exploit resources, research and conduct diplomacy and oh also murder like most of the people you meet. Combat in Endless Space is interesting. It’s a compromise between the Civilization style of just having stacks hit each other with rules governing who wins, and the Master of Orion method where you actually control fights. You design ships by choosing from different size “platforms” and then attaching whatever modules (usually weapons and shields) that are going to be most useful. Then you produce one ship at a time, stack them together in groups of 5 (with research you can increase that number) and send them to different systems. If there’s an enemy ship stack in that system, you blow them to hell. If you take manual control of the fight, you see a nifty automated space battle that you can use “cards” to affect in 3 stages. Each card counters some other type of card, so you can play Barrier (increases ship armor and health) to counter Sabotage (decreases accuracy), and you come out of it shooting straight and nice and well protected for that battle stage. There are three stages, and three weapon types with each weapon favoring a certain stage. Kinetic weapons do well up close, lasers at medium range, and missiles hit very hard right at the end of the first stage. All fights take place at systems, there’s no intercepting fleets en-route. You can, however, prevent someone from leaving a system by setting a fleet to “intercept” at that system. It doesn’t mean they need to attack, or you do, but it does mean that they can’t move their ships unless they take out the intercepting fleet.

So all this hangs together pretty damn well! There’s really not much else to say, if that sounds like fun to you you will definitely like the game. There are a few weird issues that I do think they could do with fixing up. First, the game isn’t “turn-based” in the sense that each player gets to move, then the other, it’s actually simultaneous turn-based. So it can be hard to tell when a thing is going to happen. You might see enemy fleets seem to move during your own turn because you’ve taken a ship off Intercept and suddenly that move order from last turn is viable and the enemy leaps right out of the system where you thought you had them trapped. There’s also an issue with the combat, in that the enemy AI doesn’t seem to quite make decisions fast enough to fight effectively. It heavily favors Kinetics and Missiles, which means that if you take the cheapest lasers, and put them all on the cheapest ships, you can usually overwhelm their ships (as you might be defenseless, but so are they against lasers) with fleets of shitty craft. Building up to the super-cool Dreadnaughts doesn’t necessarily grant enough of an advantage. Dreadnaughts don’t have any real unique ability to overwhelm smaller ships or provide fleet bonuses or anything, so they wind up being the equivalent of 6 shitty ships, which are all cheaper and can be thrown up once a turn. But this does seem like something that can be fixed with a few data changes.

The other issue is that frankly diplomacy is too easy! You basically can just be a nice neighbor, and suddenly you’re on your way to victory because it’s 3 against 1 in any war. There’s no real conflict unless you’re directly next to each other early on, fighting for planets. I wouldn’t mind slightly more in-depth consequences of allying with someone, or manners of frustrating your enemies beyond simply denying them the pleasure of your company.

Also, I haven’t actually played Multiplayer yet, so I can’t comment on that.

The nice part is that between the Games2Gether voting system and the forums, they seem to be addressing these issues pretty quickly. So basically, definitely buy this game if any of the previous description appeals to you at all. It’s pretty as hell, it’s fun, and the issues with it are pretty minor at this point.

 

Edit: Oh and it is $30, so for goodness sake it’s a dang budget half-price game. Can you believe that? Look at the screens and say that looks like a budget game. It’s beautiful.

July 4, 2012

Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 is Good.

So I’m a fan of the comic Penny Arcade. I’ve played all three Penny Arcade games, and this is the first one I can recommend to people who are not fans of the comic.

Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3(OTRSPOD3) is what you remember RPGs being like on the SNES, but with most of the horrible bits surgically extracted. I say surgically extracted, because the genius-types at Zeboyd Games have managed to remove all the little cruft that you thought was integral to an old-school RPG without damaging a dang thing. In fact, when they sewed it all back together it wound up being a lot more wonderful than the Final Fantasy standard model.

The gameplay is solid as hell, with battles usually being nicely-paced affairs. Each character has a certain speed rating, and that determines how quickly they’ll take their next turn. Until you start to really specialize, this usually boils down to a few of your characters going, then a few of the enemies. It gets more interesting as the game progresses and, for instance, your insanely-fast character is able to throw a heal down on a critically injured ally in the time between the enemy selecting their action and actually attacking.

You begin with a single “class”, which provides a small set of skill-attacks to perform and often some passive bonus to a stat. As you progress, unlock both more classes and eventually 2 extra slots which allow you to mix and match for an extensive skill collection. You rarely use anything but skills to attack, as the skills use MP that counts up rather than down as the battle progresses. So every turn you can use a skill costing 1 MP, or do a normal attack or defend and wait for your 2 MP skill. Until the late game, few skills cost more than 2, and some even cost nothing.

During fights, you can also use items, which heal, cure sickness, damage enemies, etc. Rather than purchasing “a potion” and slapping 99 in your inventory, you purchase a use. So if you’ve bought 5 potion uses, you can use a potion 5 times every battle, with them being restored (along with health) after every fight. I cannot tell you how much better an idea this is than the RPG standard-bearer of having to purchase a cruise ship’s worth of supplies to dole out over fights, greedily hoarding each one because who knows when you might need them? It removes none of the tactical decision-making, but makes the game a hell of a lot less annoying.

Speaking of annoying: no random battles! You see every enemy on screen, and you can decide who to engage when. In a move I’ve been wishing for since I was introduced to the genre, they’ve removed the grind. That isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of battles, there are hundreds! But instead of being a stunning number of randomly-generated beasties repeated over and over until you’re leveled enough for the next area, they’re more a series of timed puzzles. You’ve normally got maybe 10 turns max to kill someone before they get you due to each turn increasing the Enemy Power bonus, so you tend to figure it out or croak quickly. And if you do croak? No problem! You’re only kicked back to where you were, no lost progress. It’s the first RPG where I’ve spoken to people about “that one fight with 2/2/2 Swipewriters/Visor Misers/Fleshreapers” instead of a boss. Because that’s it, that’s the one fight with that enemy configuration. It’s incredibly smart and exactly what every game of this sort should have figured out long ago.

The writing is also top-notch tongue in cheek shit the way I like it. Enemy designs and descriptions are all funny, as are the classes and skills. I would say the dialog is probably not necessary for enjoyment of the mechanics, but it’s well considered and a pretty good Cthulu-ish storyline of vast cosmic malevolence and hidden motives.

The only real issues I have are with the manner in which Zeboyd accidentally recreated the horrible old menus at the same time they recreated other aspects of the old-school. The menu system is servicable, but unintuitive. Nothing auto-saves, ever. Which can be a problem in an RPG, no matter how often you’re reminded to save often. You cannot view all the classes easily, you can only select the “view” command on classes that are equipped. Many skills are stat boosters, but you have no way of telling how much they actually do, because stats aren’t displayed in any manner during a battle. There’s no real explanation of the keyboard controls, which left me randomly pecking to find that “q” opens the entirely separate “quit menu”. A lot of little UI issues could do with improvement. BUT Zeboyd knocked this one out of the park. It’s officially some of the most fun I’ve had with the genre, which says a lot when technically you’re making a parody. It’s the “Shaun of the Dead” of RPGs.

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