Reviewing all the games you've never heard of.

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Hey everyone. Lets take a break from playing games and talk about something for a little bit. 

We’re going to talk about the travesty of videogame justice that is the Wii U.

Now to clarify, I’m not saying the Wii U is bad. In fact far from it. I appreciate Nintendo’s originality, and did with the Wii. Although this situation is far different. It’s not what nintendo has done. Its what they haven’t done. 

The wii U offers something we dream about often. A screen on my controller?! thats bizonkers. Lets take this a step further though. Few people understand the implications of this, the possibilities that open up, and the magnificent wondazzlement that could be had, if Nintendo doesn’t fuck this up. 

Now Imagine this. You’ve been a fan of tabletop games since you were a kid. You have learned the true art of storytelling. You have learned to crunch your share of numbers over time, leveling up your character at the end of a session, adding up all those combat modifiers and dice rolls, and character sheets. You’ve often amused yourself with the idea of a D&D videogame, and sure enough there are many, but they just aren’t the same as playing the Role-playing game. Surely being in the D&D universe is different from actually being the hero of a story your friend crafted, so carefully just for you and your buds. And it is. Much different.

D&D games suck. theres no way around it. Sorry if you enjoy them, but they’re just awful. but imagine how cool it would be if there was a D&D game for the wii U? The possibilities are endless!

Imagine crafting a dungeon on the Wii U pad, as your friends go along with controllers beginning a quest which you typed just minutes before everyone arrived. They meet an NPC. A woman which you customized. not only did you customize her appearance, you customized her stats too, down to her base attack modifier, and her special skills. She tells the heroes that she is collecting on a debt they owe her, and she asks them to save her father who has been captured by orcish slave drivers by entering a tomb and looting a valuable statue which she can then sell for gold in exchange for her fathers freedom (little does the party know that they will be betrayed!) Mike, always the “kill” guy, (you know the one) decides he’s had enough of this, and so he walks his warrior over to her and hacks away at her. Well, you hadn’t prepared for that, but it doesn’t matter. D&D for the Wii U comes with a Improv system, which allows you to generate map pieces, dungeon pieces, NPC’s, Enemies, and even staple plot hooks immediately. In fact, if you wanted to you could just hit the random campaign button, and it would make a whole one-shot campaign for you. 

But no, you enjoy the challenge of improvisation. Otherwise you wouldn’t have invited Mikey. 

"Haha! Alright" you say, casually. you were expecting that from Mike anyway.

"well she dies, and you guys are free to do whatever you want."

You’ve created a small town for the beginning of the campaign, but now its vital that there are actually things to do in it, because the one thing you had counted on to be the main quest is dead. No matter! You use the wii U pad and swing the screen overtop your Town and hit the “new Quest” button as your players are exploring the houses and points of interest in the town, and start a new one; this time catering to the party’s interest in killing things.

You hit the “Kill Enemy” quest and randomize an enemy, specifying that you would like him to be a level 6 orc, so that party will have a bit of trouble with him. You quickly create a random “dungeon.” You set it to be an outdoor dungeon, feeling that an orc might hide in a forest or something. You set the Navigation difficulty to challenge rating 3 and the enemy density to challenge rating 4, because you know the party likes to beat shit up. The game pad says “please wait” and its done. with a finger you draw a connection between your town, and the new map, and unlock it. On the screen the words “a new path is available!” flash across the screen, and a white blip on the party’s minimap indicates the new area is to the north. Quickly, you set up a random human NPC to give the players the quest before they reach the exit. because you don’t have time to input text you just click the “GM” button in the text box. It goes away, and you sigh a sigh of relief as you finished just in time for your players to see him. They speak to him.

Instead of dialogue, the words [refer to DM for quest instructions] flash upon the screen once or twice, as cinematic shots of the 4 party members fade in and out. Each character has been customized by the players themselves and stored online, so they can access their character from anywhere. But unlike most games D&D Wii U only features local multiplayer. Its nice though, because it means you get to actually go on an adventure with your closest friends.

Anyway, all your friends turn to you, eagerly awaiting what this man might be saying. you look at your pad, and select the emotion you want the man to display. You select “Panic” and the camera changes to the man mouthing out words, and jumping around and waving his arms in a frenzy. you say, in a weird funny voice:

"Oh help! An orc raids us constantly by night! we no longer have food with which to play our tribute! you warriors simply must destroy the foul beast for us! We will forever in your debt!"

"thats more like it Johnny!" Your friends scream; they like a good challenge.

You tell them they can find the orc in the northern forest, but his location is unknown by the villager you just created. Suddenly, a little voice chimes in.

"Maybe we can ask some towns people for clues?" Says Maggie, who is obviously unsure of herself. She has never played before, but she expressed interest so you made her a character.

Mikey, is clearly ready to go, but the other party members congratulate Maggie on such a good idea, and help her look for clues. Easy-Peazy. All you have to do is make another random NPC. After a while of talking to the stock townspeople who say all things your “programmed” them to say about your town, and your world, they find the one you made, and decide to head out to the forest.

This is actually really fun to write. If people want me to continue to see what imagined game mechanics there would be if I had the world my way, send me a message! haha.

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Ah, its been a while. Lets just skip the intros and just talk about this awesome game.

So, you’re probably a twenty-something nerd-type if you’re reading this. You also probably really have absolutely nothing to do, if you’re reading this. But either way, you grew up with the classics. Sonic, Mario, Earthworm Jim, Metroid, Castlevania. You’ve played them all. They were your childhood. And nothing is better than your childhood. Sure, Nintendo always releases these “re-imagined” type games for their new consoles, and yeah, they’re kinda fun. But really they aren’t comparable to that first gasp of air you inhaled after beholding the wonderful world of the original game for the first time. So why do developers insist on re-doing their old golden age games? It just isnt the same. 

Here at Arcen Games, however, they’ve thrown out the formula, and decided to do things a little differently. 

A Valley Without Winds is a game that was designed to be reminiscent of an old arcade style platformer/shooter, with the luster of modern mechanics and features. Now you’re probably saying something like “But Niche, LOTS of games do that! in fact I can name twelve right now as a matter of —” SHUT. Your mouth. Listen. Okay, actually you’re right. But Arcen took a mechanic that is incredibly popular among indie game devs recently. Something called “Procedural Generation.” As you play the game, the levels are put together randomly right in front of you, meaning no two levels are going to be exactly the same, or even remotely similar for that matter. This was first popularized by Swedish game developer Notch, at MOJANG who you probably know from Minecraft. Ever since his game took off, other devs have been grabbing desperately at this procedural generation thing, trying to make it their own.

The Spirit of Exploration!

A Valley Without Winds does it differently than most of these games. While Minecraft and Terraria are games about crafting and building, A Valley Without Wind is about platforming, exploring and fighting.

You’ll start the game for the first time and create your world, just like you would in Minecraft or whatever, and the first thing you see is a screen displaying 4 characters. Oh cool, my character is randomly generated too! Actually, it is pretty cool. they can all have different stats, and while you start off with 6-7 character models you will unlock more as you play the game that not only look like they’re from alternate time periods, but also have different innate properties that every character from that time period has. So all that stuff is pretty cool, but back to the game.

So after you name your character, you spawn in this icy frozen wasteland. You use wasd to walk, or at least you assume you do, since its a computer game, and you trot on over to a treasure chest because, what, you don’t like treasure? Open that shit up, and you have your first spell! yay!

Okay, so lets talk about this here. In terraria, you can make weapons, walls and furniture. In Minecraft you can make houses, Furniture, and weapons.  In AVWW, you craft fucking magic. And theres so many different spells that have different elements, behave differently, and have different effects. finding new spells is half the fun of the game. This first one is called….like, flame burst or something, iono. But you get that, and you try it out and its like Fwoosh! then you realize you can burn down trees. Hell yeah. So after about 15 minutes of that, you’re like: Alright gimme the real stuff. so you go the the right, into the next screen.

You beat some slime up, and you explore a building and get these neat-o enchantments. Enchantments are comparable to armor on Minecraft, except they do cooler things than just add to your defense. They can make you move faster, Jump higher, fall quicker, fall slower, shoot more rapidly, shoot projectiles quickly, add to your mana, add to your health, add to your attack, add to your light radius, add to your earth power, Gaaah. Its SO MUCH. ITS SO COOL. 

So anyways, you set off after finding your settlement, and you look at the map of your continent. So there are a bunch of continents, and your continent is being ruled by an evil overlord, which is in some way killing, or harming someone in some way….? uh, its not really clear. But you don’t really care, you just wanna bring that motherfucker down.

But you can’t just charge right into his keep —actually you could. But you would probably die. You have to kill his 4 lieutenants first to weaken him, and then send some of the survivors you rescued to go on missions to weaken him. And to do that you need many resources. Resources that you’ll have to explore, scavenge, and scour the various plains of “Environ” for.  

AVWW gets a “Yes” out of 10 from me. The movement is fast paced, and frantic. Killing enemies makes me feel like I accomplish something, and look really cool in the process. The controls are tight, and everything just feels exactly like it should. The story, albeit rather weird and poorly conveyed, is still interesting. The plethora of spells and abilities is almost staggering at first. In fact, my first reaction to this game was just dumbfounded. There were so many things I could do, where do I start? But if you take that first step, it really just comes down to what you want to do, and you do it.

If anything, this game is good to kill a few hours. I expect that most modern gamers won’t be as into this game as I will. The graphics aren’t a selling point, The story isn’t a selling point, and whatever. But it is a fun game, that I deem worthy of investing my time in. 

So until next time, send me some messages about game you want me to do, any system. and please help share this around and stuff. Later!

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You took a game, and named it A Valley Without Winds, Arcen. Many players, (myself included) took a gamble on buying your game priced at $15 with a metacritic score of 53 (an unreasonably low score, in my opinion.) That turned out to be easily my favorite game. You made something wonderful that managed to captivate me even with a story-line that was weird and disoriented, and gave us something wonderful. 

However, your sequel to the game is improperly titled, I think. You disrupted the “feel” of your game simply by changing the control scheme. Think about this: There are many types of movement in video games. There’s direct control, which speaks for itself. There’s indirect control, which is MOBA type games like DOTA. And there’s probably more. The control scheme you use determines the relationship between the player and their character. Am I the character? or am I some force simply directing the character to move. Your control scheme has a great impact on how players perceive your game. And you took the controls you did have, which were crisp, fluid, and simple to learn, and you changed it to something clunky, weird, and unapproachable. 

I consider myself a seasoned gamer when it comes to consoles and computers alike, but lets just go over my internal thought process as I played your sequel.

*Game opens*
"Oh ♥♥♥♥, a cutscene! Well thats a new feature right off the bat, lets get this train chugging"
*cutscene ends*
"♥♥♥♥, I’m IMMORTAL!? ♥♥♥♥ing sweet! yes! its time to wreck some Mother♥♥♥♥ers"
Alright, lemme just go left. 
.
.
Go left…
if I can-
If I can just-
….GO LEFT!
"Oh…they changed the controls. I mean thats fine, lemme just change ‘em to whatever I want right?"
*Esc*
Alright…Settings…
Wheres my…my…
*slams wireless mouse*
Wheres my cursor…
"Whatever, I’ll just use the movement keys.
*S,S,S-Oh ♥♥♥♥ what?!*
OKAY! so, my default that I’m used to being down is now confirm. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH CONFUSION!?”
*minutes later*
Alright, controls mapped… but Now I have keys…doing two actions, and…aw whaaaa?-

This is how I spent the first 10 minutes playing before I decided I would just keep playing AVWW1. You’ve ruined your audiences opening conceptions of the game, their perceptions of their character, and hell, even you’re intended audience itself just by changing these controls. I desperately WANT to experience what you have in store for this game, but you guys have got me on a cliff side with my girlfriend hanging for dear life on the edge, but you’re like: “Ah-hah! you can save your girlfriend, BUT WE”VE SAWED OFF HER LEGS!” and she wants to die anyways. You made a truly wonderful thing, but you sawed off its legs, is what I mean.


Its fine if you want to gear your game to console players, but here’s the thing: you made a PC game. Not a console game. As one user in this thread put it: Your audience is 100% likely to own a keyboard and a mouse. But how many of them have USB gamepads? not nearly as many. 

I know you’re game is in beta, so I’m not going to really mention the other things I had problems with (besides the animations…I felt like my character was some dopey cartoon character) but I know you guys can do better than this. 

Now, I know you want it to have that Classic SNES type feel, with the controllers, and the NOT acute aiming, but think about it. So many people loved the way it was in your first game, so why change it so drastically?

Well, hope you read this, and I want to stress that I’m not like…angry at you over making controls different or anything. Good luck!

EDIT: Some other things I spent time ranting about.

It would have been a much better marketing strategy to put a game like this on Xbox live arcade, or the PSN store and sell it under a different name. The main problem I have with this isn’t that the controls are different from normal computer games. Its that the controls are drastically different from the prequel, which were flawless in my opinion. As I stated above, it disrupts the atmosphere and overall feel of the game and the players relationship to the player that they had established in the last game. 



Mouse aiming isn’t even the number one issue here. I mean, in the first ten minutes of play, it would have been nice to have a cursor, and its one of the things I noticed first, but upon a further inspection of the game, It’s missing alot more than tight controls. Its in beta, but I’ve compiled a list of things I find important.

-Every time I enter a “Stage” I just go through it and kill the windmill thing. That’s boring.

-Artwork is a step down from the last game. Looks like a flash game now.

-Level design is simplistic and uninteresting. I attribute this to the beta.

-They claim that by changing the controls so drastically they are making the enemies more balanced, because now there is only one control type. But so far, I just spam my ability that is the strongest and kill the ever-loving f*ck out of the entire screen. I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything at all.

-Animations look awful. That skinny blonde guy character? He looks like some kind of frumpy looney toon. That badass guy in the full armor jumps like a ♥♥♥♥ing ballerina. Why would you make the characters that we, the players are identifying with look so F*cking stupid?

-movement is now reduced to a slow crawl. monster fights are much less intense, less frantic, and less satisfying. This speed works Okay for games like Megaman, where fights can still be fast paced, but this is simply lost in Valley 2. I can literally sit in front of an enemy firing at me, and just hold the fire button to block all its shots and kill it.

-Strategic gameplay lacks explanation. I mean, I sorta get it, but the person who is new to games, or the Valley series will just be sitting there outside of his own mind.

-much, much more.

Love ya, Arcen! =D

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Jedi Academy is a game developed by Raven Software. Its the third installment in the Jedi Knight series, and takes place some time after the events in Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast in which you follow Kyle Katarn and his exploits agains Desann and the dark jedi. In this game however you play as a character customized by the player who is to become the pupil of Katarn. The game is a first person and third person shooter, and theres a small amount of guns and utilities which you can equip yourself with throughout the game however the most versatile and useful weapon is the jedi’s ultimate tool: the lightsaber. you also have the ability to learn different force powers that many will recognize from the movies, such as “The jedi mind trick” or “Force Choke” one of my personal favorites. The player is given access to all of these powers light and dark, and can upgrade their effectiveness by completing missions. The story was pretty cool, and gave players the ability to become a jedi. When I first picked up this game years ago i was like: “seriously?! I get to be a jedi!?” like…me?! AH! its was an experience. and more importantly, it was ME who was the jedi I was playing. Not Kyle, not Luke skywalker, ME. Games that allow the player to create his own character or avatar become much more personal than games that you play as another character. This kind of attachment to a character is something that many games no longer offer. I mean seriously, this guy with the lightsaber is ME and all of those bad guys are people I have to kill. Its not: Oh, you play THIS GUY “Cloud” and HE has alot of problems he has to overcome and become a better person in the end blah blah blah (not that I dont enjoy some Final Fantasy). 

Something that I overlooked in my first playthrough of the game was the truly unique fighting styles that were offered with the lightsaber. Depending on which direction you move, your character will swing his lightsaber in a different direction, which I never fully understood until I started playing multiplayer. 

Oh yeah multiplayer. Lets talk about that. If you can just…gimme a minute here. Jedi academy multiplayer did not simply blow my mind. IT BLEW MY MOTHERF*CKING MIIIIIIIIIND!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUph092Wyec

Oh yeah. for sure. Not only is there all the intense FPS action that many people crave, Jedi Academy’s saber system had players searching for servers in which Lightsabers were the only weapon available to them. This had players creating their own mods specifically for the saber combat, the most notorious one being Jedi Academy Plus. Many servers became social servers in which people gathered and just talked over some epic duels between two players. Many clans started to form and many not only had “ranks” but also had Master/Padawan systems, extremely similar to the training that takes place in the movies. The saber system even allowed for many techniques to be utilized and masters would pass on the ancient teachings of old to their padawans such as the powerful ‘Yellow fan” or “Red poke” 

The most amazing thing about Jedi Academy is that since its release in 2003 PEOPLE ARE STILL PLAYING IT. While the numbers have been reduced over time obviously, its still a relatively strong community. You just dont see that in games anymore. Seriously, try playing Halo on your PC. No not the new one, the FIRST one. Theres few servers left in the states, and most of them seem to be in mexico or something for some reason.

Here’s why: Halo pits teams of players agains others right? thats cool, thats good even. Team games are awesome. But the thing Halo did not provide that Jedi Academy did is an almost personal relationship between players. Jedi Academy was a place I went to just escape from reality for a bit and socialize and learn with other players. It was involving, and very very personal, maybe even intimate. But when I’m playing Halo, or COD all I’m really worried about is killing strangers who apparently know more about my own mother than I do.

Well, I think I’ve splurged enough. I’ll be sure to post some pictures in an edit. and as always I HIGHLY recommend checking out this game. Hell, just get it, its like 10 bucks now or something. 

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I just installed windows on my mac using bootcamp! after 27 hours of needlessly defragging 2 different hard drives 3 times collectively, my windows partition is running like a beaut! Games that I’ve installed are: Tribes:ascend, Jedi knight: Jedi Academy, Halo Combat evolved, and a few others that escape me for the time being. First off, I absolutely LOVE Tribes. But I’ll probably be more inclined to review Jedi Academy in full, because honestly, I think its the epitome of niche gaming. The struggle of a dying community, the nostalgia that all players seem to share, the sheer skill thats involved, it speaks volumes to the condition of the gaming community today. Some games are left in the dust, and some games are hyped to the point where they can do no wrong. But eventually that dust begins to settle, and when it does it forms a very small, but tight community of players. Jedi Academy is one such game.

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Getting some pictures, and trying to beat it. Hopefully that last one happens. keep screwing myself on last the boss.

gamefreaksnz:

harebrained:

“Earthworm Ash” by Harebrained.

USD$10 for 24 hours only

Earthworm Jim Puzzled me as a child. It was a hard game for 6 year-old me on my dusty old sega genesis. This was much different than playing Sonic the Hedgehog, in which all I had to do was press right, and jump occasionally. If you’re up to the challenge, this game has a pretty hard difficulty, and is pretty much worth it. And if you’re REALLY feeling a challenge, Warner Brothers made a show out of this game that aired for two seasons.

gamefreaksnz:

harebrained:

Earthworm Ash” by Harebrained.

USD$10 for 24 hours only

Earthworm Jim Puzzled me as a child. It was a hard game for 6 year-old me on my dusty old sega genesis. This was much different than playing Sonic the Hedgehog, in which all I had to do was press right, and jump occasionally. If you’re up to the challenge, this game has a pretty hard difficulty, and is pretty much worth it. And if you’re REALLY feeling a challenge, Warner Brothers made a show out of this game that aired for two seasons.

Source: harebrained

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  Here we are. Our first day on the UAC Mars facility. Where such things as teleportation, the creation of water, and all manner of weapons and utilities exist. But we’ve come at a strange time. The civilians and workers that live in the compound have been hearing strange noises lately. Whispering from the dark chasms and depths seems to haunt all people, and everyone is on edge. A mechanic has gone missing, and as a new recruit for UAC Mars Security, you’re getting sent to check his last known location.

Apparently the platforms that fold out of the walls are more cost-effective than a regular-ass bridge.

If I can just gush for a moment…I LOVE the doom series. Although it wasn’t my “time” When I first got a hold of these games, something clicked. One might say it started me on the horror genre. When I heard that Doom 3 was actually a thing, you better believe I was all up on it, whatever that means. 

                                          Behold my vacuum

Doom 3 is a burst of nostalgia, horror, and fast paced first-person combat all wrapped up in a perfect little hellish parcel. For being released in 2004, the game plays amazingly. The players run speed is perfect for that fast gameplay, The arsenal of weapons is designed to replicate the models in doom classic with a modern spin, and the enemies have been revamped as well, into something that gave me night terrors often. Doom 3 was one of the first actually scary games I experienced. It made me jump, it made me disturbed, and most importantly it made me go “eeeeeewww.” 

                                                  Ewwwww…..

Time for some features.

When I was talking about fast gameplay earlier, I really meant it. When you first start out the game, they throw a couple zombies at you, a few Imps whatever. But after a while, it gets incredibly frantic. Imp after Imp after Imp the entire way through the level, and you’re just like “BAM- SHOTGUN! BAM- SHOTGUN!” switch to plasma rifle and pew the fuck out of that pinky that just spawned. This whole time you’re running up to the enemies as close as you can blasting them, and listening for the electricity/thunder noise that signifies a spawned monster.

                           Okay, so its MOSTLY fast-paced.

Doom 3 also features an in-depth story, as strange as that sounds. I mean, you could argue there was a story in doom classic, but it was mostly go through and blow the fuck out of everything. Theres actually characters, and dialogue, and a plot- All things I would never expect to see in a doom game. In addition to the main plot, there’s also these PDA’s you can pick up from dead civilians and workers, allowing you to peer into their lives, their situation, and the hidden things that happen behind the scenes. 

  This is actually the only asian facial model. What are you trying to say id Software?

Last thing I have to mention is the horror quality. Some new horror players might jump a lot. I have to admit it even as I was revisiting it, certain parts got me, usually when I was turning around and didn’t expect something to be there stalking me. But the horror that doom seems to specialize in is just…yucky things. Yucky. Seriously, some of this stuff scarred me when I was younger, to the point where I know EXACTLY when a specific part is coming up (Namely, that one with the guy on the ceiling. If you know what I’m talking about, odds are you’re scarred too.) 

                                       ”Dont mind me, bro.”

I loved this game, and it really started me on the horror genre when it comes to gaming.  If you’ve never played this, I highly suggest picking it up and giving it a try, especially if you DONT LIKE HORROR. Yes, I’m not kidding. If you’re a ‘fraidy cat like I was, forcing yourself to play this game will start something for you. Just be sure to play in the dark with headphones. Preferably in a basement.

I could make several funny jokes concerning this door and your mother, but I won’t

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…Take funny pictures from reddit too. Its really not that hard.

If you remember this, then you are scarred too. You’re with friends now, its okay.
I’m playing through Doom 3 again, so you can expect a review on that. If you havent guessed by now, part of my own, personal niche is horror.

If you remember this, then you are scarred too. You’re with friends now, its okay.

I’m playing through Doom 3 again, so you can expect a review on that. If you havent guessed by now, part of my own, personal niche is horror.