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161  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Robocop! on: February 26, 2014, 03:18:40 AM
Oh, THIS is what's most sorely missing in the new, unimproved Robocop (thanks to the Internet Movie Firearms database)

Beretta 93R (as the "Auto 9") icon_cool
162  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Robocop! on: February 24, 2014, 09:43:47 PM
This article reminded me of the movie (still haven't seen):

Robot cops rule! Humanoids take over streets of Kinshasa to tackle traffic chaos
How do you solve the problem of choking road traffic in one of the world's bustling megacities? You bring in the robot cops.
In Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, two humanoid robots have been installed in high-traffic areas to regulate the flow of vehicles and help drivers and pedestrians traverse the roads safely.

Standing eight feet tall, the robot traffic wardens are on duty 24 hours a day, their towering -- even scarecrow-like -- mass visible from afar. They are powered by solar panels and are equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras that record the flow of vehicles.
The humanoids, which are installed on Kinshasa's busy Triomphal and Lumumba intersections, are built of aluminum and stainless steel to endure the city's year-round hot climate.

Featuring green and red lights, Kinshasa's robot cops are designed to merge some of the functions of human officers and traffic lights. The anthropomorphic robots can raise or bend their arms to stop passing vehicles or let others pass, and are also programmed to speak, indicating to pedestrians when they can cross the road.
Alas, no cool sidearms or rotary cannons.  icon_smile They seem closer to X-MENs' Sentinels...

I almost talked myself into seeing a $15.75 IMAX show Sunday. I checked and about 6 people had bought tickets about an hour before it was to start in the afternoon. Me thinks a lot of studios didn't expect The Lego Movie to pulverize them in a "dead" movie month (Feb.).

imho, the lesson forgotten from Verhoeven's film is it wasn't a big budget movie (it was $13M in 1987 though in my mind it's always about a $30M-$40M-looking film) and its box office was relatively good ($53.4M) for such a cheap film but not a blockbuster by any means.

In retrospect, I would've loved if Neil Blokamp (District 9, Elysium) had taken a stab at a Robocop reboot. He seems adept at making a modest budget seem massive, even if I found Elysium rather disappointing, and he might've done something clever with the political angles.
163  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: House of Cards on: February 21, 2014, 07:25:30 PM
I found the 1st episode stuff amusing because I had just...
Spoiler for Hiden:
read an interview with the performer about how much said performer loved doing the show and presumably was eager to continue doing it. Certainly sounded like someone who didn't expect the show to suddenly turn into The Walking Dead, so to speak. icon_eek

I looked it up. Said performer knew for years, and the interview stuff was just an act.  icon_razz
164  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Bands You've Never Seen In Concert But Wish You Could/Had/Will on: February 21, 2014, 04:36:57 PM
In summer 2007 I visited my best friend in Boston, and we got to see the Police on their fine reunion tour at Fenway Park, of all places. I still haven't gotten to see a baseball game there, only The Police. Sting's son (!) was the opening act. My brother got to see them in about 1980 or 1981 in Charlottesville, VA, well before they had become big in the states.

The same friend had planned to see Led Zeppelin in late 1979 at the Capital Centre in Largo, MD, but was of course derailed by drummer John Bonham's death just months before the show. So I'm sure he would tell you Led Zeppelin.
165  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Unsettling Feeling of Work Lulls [Update: Laid Off] on: February 20, 2014, 10:52:23 PM
I got laid off twice by a small newspaper company in August and November 1991.

Our staff was dumb not to see the warning signs. Our company president and publisher had started asking us to wait a couple days before we cashed our bi-weekly paychecks (pre-direct deposit era). Warning sign.  Roll Eyes  And various people heard rumblings about our move to a new office park perhaps not being the best financial move. We moved from a ratty, crummy, smelly but cheap building to a spiffy, clean, new, probably outrageously expensive to lease building. And somehow our mostly young (mid-upper 20s) staff just had no clue whatsoever, especially me.

So when the publisher called me (assistant editor), the associate editor, the sports editor, and the photographer into his office and told us he was letting us go and to clear out our desk that same night (a production night for our then twice-a-week newspaper), we were just bowled over. At least, I was.  icon_eek Our editor had already gotten his walking papers and left, and they kept one veteran reporter, she was devastated.

I'd only had a week or so to process it when the same publisher called me and asked me back, saying he needed someone who knew how to layout the paper. Some months later they concluded I wasn't creative enough because, well, I only knew how to layout the paper the way the previous editor taught me to. I wasn't "creative" enough.  Roll Eyes I kept my job for a while but they added reporter duties (always I've been a better writer than editor, a problem with me to this day). The creative guy they hired was, to me, a lazy "do nothing" who liked to twiddle his thumbs at his desk waiting for his creative "muse" to hit him, while I continued to do a lot of thankless grunt editorial work he declined to "dirty his hands" with.

Then the week before Thanksgiving 1991, the publisher called me one evening at home. I had covered a school board mid afternoon meeting and went home, planning to return to the office to write a story. He informed me he was laying off me, the new editor, the ad director (the ad director was not a wimp like me, and apparently threatened a lawsuit over his layoff) and some others. I naively offered to return to the office to write a final story, and he informed they were changing the door lock combinations as he spoke.  disgust He asked me to wait a day before returning to clean out my desk, so I took a box in on a Thursday, said some melancholy goodbyes to a few editorial and production staffers. They still retained the veteran reporter, who bid me a tearful goodbye.

I did finally land a job, but it took until April of the following year. Got a few week's unemployment which I then blew by turning down a job at another newspaper because it appeared to be equally screwed up. The previous person in the job had gotten a job at a paper I previously worked at, and she urged me to not work there.

I digress. You don't care about all that crap I know.  icon_smile My only lesson from that aging (23 years ago, can't believe it!) experience is yes, by golly, if you have the slightest inkling your company's in trouble, or wants to flip things upside down, then check in with any pals/contacts who might have job openings (LinkedIn can be helpful if used right), post your resume on sites you think will have matching job postings, etc. Don't wait, and don't think, "Oh, it'll work out." If you hear rumblings, something is probably going to happen and always better to be prepared.
166  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Steam "Early Access" you do it? on: February 19, 2014, 06:09:24 PM
I avoid Early Access stereotyping. Some games in early access clearly are crude alphas with some promise of enhancements/improvements over time. Some are pretty polished games where you only get to play a small-medium chunk of the game. Some are kickstarter projects that have been around quite a while and moved into Steam Early Access to get feedback from a wider player base.

I always see Steam forum posts bellyaching about not wanting to be "unpaid beta testers," but the reality is a lot of the early access projects are by smaller teams and dev houses that can't afford a large, professional testing team. And God knows we've all played lots of half baked $59.99 msrp release games that play as if nobody tested them at all. Nobody's forced to play early access, so I'd steer clear if the whole "playing something that's not done yet" angle ticks one off.

Have been extremely pleased with playing these games during Early Access:
-Door Kickers
-Grim Dawn
-Assault Android Cactus

All three titles are updated regularly, if not crazy-often regularly. You can see the devs are invested in them, and at least to some extent pay attention to player feedback. I'd be leery of early access titles that haven't been updated in ages, or where devs seem to be consistently ignoring player feedback.

To me, the Divinity game that's currently in early access is an unoptimized, prematurely released mess, and the latest update has caused it to lockup repeatedly. I gifted it to a Steam bud who likes co-op stuff, but we both agreed it's a mess, and I shouldn't have bought or gifted it.  icon_neutral Not to mention the gameplay has very little to do with any of the previous Divinity titles (whether the 3rd person game before this, or the older isometric Diablo-style titles, and while it's technically turn-based combat (which I love), I would steer people over to Blackguards or The Banner Saga first..

I guess the lesson is "buyer beware" and sift through player feedback carefully before you sign onto one of these things.
167  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Banner Saga on: February 16, 2014, 05:06:33 PM
Here's some of the special abilities for the various classes. Lot more than this, I just got screenshots for these.  icon_smile

Hunter: Mark of Prey

*I love the visuals on this. The tricky part is lining up a target so you have at least a couple of other friendlies adjacent to it who can do an auto-attack after your Mark. Hunters also have a basic bow attack, and a pretty strong melee axe attack - a very versatile class.  icon_cool

Raidmaster: Stone Wall

*Makes you "tanky." I'm a bit unclear on how long the effect lasts.

Thrasher: Bloody Flail

*Pretty fun, flailing animation. Per the description, has a random effect of slashing at an enemy's armor or strength (health).

Eagle Eye: Thread the Needle

*Not always easy to line up enemies in a straight line, and this damages friendlies on the target line too. I mistakenly took out one of my own guys this morning. Well, it's hard sometimes to tell who's who.  icon_razz

Skystriker: Rain of Arrows

*To me the ability name is sort of ill-fitting. This is more of a one-square "trap" arrow that stops a target and keeps it from doing anything else on that turn. I haven't really mastered using it and have found Skystriker awfully fragile, so I just haven't ranked her to the point that she can fire 2 or 3 arrows (and then live up more to the ability name)
168  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: February 16, 2014, 06:03:22 AM
I meant to share some character portrait pix. imho the armor by about chapter 3 gets pretty cool and if you can save up the dough, you can get some cool looking armor sets:

Cavalry Armor set (w/ a "shell" shield)

same w/ 2 hand, back side

Kuslikian lamellar set (don't ask me to spell it again!  icon_razz)

*The armor sets usually don't require more than 4-5 pieces so sometimes you can mix another type in and still have a set - in this case the chain mail headgear. Kuslikian is crazy expensive, and I don't even know if it's worth it, just wanted to get the pieces together.  icon_smile
*This Hunter belt (4 storage slots) is crazy expensive at vendors (50), and hard to find. I wanted Takate to have it as he's the only character I'd funneled some points into the traps usage talent. Also good for mages, as they just don't ever have too many astral potions.

Bosparan set

same w/ 2 hand weapon

*The set helmet is available either as "Karima's Helmet," which includes this bronze face mask; or as Bosparan Bronze helmet, which doesn't mask the character's face.

All the above sets are metallic so you probably wouldn't equip mage types with it as it hinders their Astral (mana) regeneration ability. My two mages use a pretty motley mix of cloth and leather clothing stuff.
169  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: February 16, 2014, 05:38:45 AM
fwiw, I finally posted a review/guarded recommendation on Steam after passing the 50 hour play mark:

A bit rambling, stream of conscious. Per my habits. icon_smile I did try to go in depth on what I love, and summarize some things that drive me crazy in the game too.

Daedelic outlineds its plans for a major 1.3 patch that sounds like it will revamp much of the game to address various concerns and complaints. A cynic would probably ask why they didn't figure all that out during Early Access. But better late than never. I've thoroughly enjoyed it after some initial exasperation - and much of the changes in 1.3 should address that.

Our intentions for Patch 1.3:
Hi Blackguards players,

with the help of a lot of very good feedback from you - thanks for that - we have decided for some changes we would like to make to the game with next patch. Our impressions are that the communication of the ruleset / understanding the rules, being able to make choices based on detailed feedback and some re-balancing are what the game would benefit the most from.

Thus, you will see some bigger alterations to the gameplay with the next major patch 1.3. The most important of those are:

Hit chances will now always be visible.
By everyone and against everyone. With every ability. - This is inteded to allow you to make better choices at any time and no longer have to guess what you hit chances are, no matter if you skilled 'Warcraft' or 'Animal Lore' or not. Those talents will be reworked accordingly to give better passive stats against opponents of the corresponding type, so that investing AP into them will still be worth it.

A mouse-over text will show you whether a certain character is still able to parry in this turn or if the parry is already gone. Blue = can parry. Red = can't parry. - It's a very important game mechanic that a character is only able to parry once a turn. Characters who cannot parry are only able to evade, which is in most cases less likely to succeed. Exploiting this mechanic allows for a much more tactical approach in battle, so it should help you to have a better overview on who's more vulnerable right now.

Detailed battle log.
- You'll be able to optionally activate a 'verbose' kind of battle log that will show you the dice rolls the game made, so you are able to investigate in retrospective what exactly worked and what did not. Based on that feedback you should be able to make better skill and item choices for you characters.

Skill (talents, spells, abilities) descriptions will be reworked to show the exact benefits and disadvantages.
- This is yet another change to allow you to make better choices, especially before investing AP into a certain skill, but also when using one.

More clear item descriptions, better comparability.
- The way item stats are shown will get a complete overhaul to allow for better stat comparison and understanding.

Autosaves between follow-up battles.
- It was often requested that saving the game between two follow-up battles should be possible. We'll adress this by auto-saving the game before any battle now.
Equipment changes in flashback fights.
- Some players mentioned that flashback fights were really tough because they didn't get the equipment their characters we're skilled for. This will be solved by granting players the needed skills and weapons temporarily.

   Reworked skills
 - Alongside the changes to the talents 'Warcraft' and 'Animal Lore', the abolish poison spell 'Clarum Purum' is too weak because poison can simply be applied again and again if the attacker hits, forcing the caster to cast 'Clarum Purum' again and again to no significant avail. 'Clarum Purum' will thus be reworked to grant posion immunity for some turns, based on the spell's level.

 Some balancing changes regarding items and spells.
- We'll provide details in the patch changelog.

We're sure you'll like the upcoming patch. We cannot say when the patch will hit at the moment, but stay tuned as we will announce it once we know for sure.

Thanks for your feedback and, most of all, playing Blackguards!
Io for the Blackguards Team
170  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Banner Saga on: February 14, 2014, 02:03:51 PM
After passing the 50-hour mark in Blackguards, I wanted a little change of pace so finally got this last night. Put 3 hours into it. Lot of fun, very addictive. While there's a lot going on, it doesn't feel painfully micromanaging to me. And aside from assigning one buff-equipment per character, no inventory to speak of (Blackguards is a constant inventory minder).

While some basic concepts echo Blackguards' turn-based combat (which made it pretty easy for me to get into Banner Saga quickly), it's also very different. Doesn't seem to be any ability to heal (no healer, no potions etc.) and to this point haven't gotten any spellcaster types in Banner Saga. Blackguards focuses on the environment in maps playing a role, much of the time, and with Saga it's very much the battle tactics focused on rather than the environment (during combat).

A few pics:

Very cool look (this is one of many Camps), though sometimes I struggle a bit to pick out what to click on the camp screen (text not always as easy to see as on this one).

Animation's very cool. While it gets a tad bloody, this isn't, say, Age of Conan or Game of Thrones - you spend a lot of time battling robots that seem to be from a Hanna Barbera cartoon.  icon_smile

Sometimes the start point is surrounded. You can reposition characters' starting points within a preset starting field of squares.

I'm still grasping what character is best suited to do what. Have to pay attention to the armor/health ratings; sometimes a fearsome looking character has very little armor rating to start. Most enjoy Rook's (Hunter class) "marked" attack, which causes adjacent friendlies to auto-attack the target too if in range.

The classes are really cool and distinct:
171  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here come the remakes of mediocre 80's movies on: February 12, 2014, 05:27:46 PM

Quote from: th'FOOL on February 11, 2014, 03:59:27 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on February 11, 2014, 03:56:34 PM

I never did see About Last Night,i did see,and own on DVD St Elmo's Fire,which also starred Rob Lowe and Demi Moore

I remember, uh, a particular scene in About Last Night that I REALLY liked when I was a teenager...
A few critics thought Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins were the more fun to watch pair, and wished the movie was more centered around them but of course mid 1980s, Lowe and Moore were seen more as the star power. As a middled aged guy, I kind of wish they'd bring back Moore and Lowe today, as they are now, and revisit the characters.

The 1986 film was loosely based off a play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and so much of the criticism back then was the movie not living up to the play:

I'm not sure there's anything wrong with remaking movies that were modest successes are not terribly memorable. If you try to remake a classic, then all you get are complaints, the deck is already stacked against you (see Robocop opening today). If you try to put a spin on something that was just so-so in its day, then you might actually be given more room by audiences to succeed.
172  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4 on: February 10, 2014, 09:02:49 PM

Quote from: Toe on February 10, 2014, 08:28:43 PM

I thought it was pretty awful episode myself, mainly due to carl's horrible acting. I was hoping he would get bit, but then realized he might have trouble even pulling off a zombie with any believability  icon_razz. I felt michonne's flashback was also pretty weak in terms of writing and, especially, acting. but I did at least appreciate the character exploration as she one of the few interesting characters around these days. I think I might try watching a syfy series before TWD instead of True Detective next time, heh.
Yes, the show is now called "Carl at 15," not "The Walking Dead"   icon_biggrin

imho, lots of excellent child actors become awkward, gawky, overly self conscious "actors" as they transition into their teens. It's called "puberty" and I sort of feel bad for someone who has to go through that age on a crazy popular TV show. I just didn't find it necessary for them to spend a half hour telling us Carl is a surly, clumsy, teenage knucklehead. I think they could show that to us in about 5 minutes, which would then call less attention to a young actor's awkwardness as performer.

The funny thing about Michonne is on the post-show talk show, the way she and director-co exec producer Nicotero explained it sounded very thoughtful and dramatic and character-developing to me. But when I was watching it earlier, I honestly didn't know why she was doing the things she was doing (didn't help I missed the dream sequence while I was driving home). She just seemed to go batshi* for no particular reason. Once I understood what she and the director/showrunner were going for, it made more sense to me. So either I'm dumb (could be icon_razz) or the script was a bit too vague in explaining her behavior.
173  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: February 10, 2014, 05:47:04 PM
For what it's worth, once you get past the 9-battle map (intermissions after each 3) gladiator stuff and "win your freedom," the next chapter on the world map opens up quite a bit. Lots more side quests, and lots of things you can tackle in different orders, and far fewer, grueling "3 battle maps in a row with no break" stuff.

I definitely have found Easy mode more enjoyable, still challenging.

Learned a few things:
-L18 is the max number for weapons talents.
-The magic skill to remove poison is invaluable but you need a lot of points in it to successfully remove level 2, 3 higher poison effects.
-I got frustrated trying to remember what towns have a healer, a trainer etc. so I've started scribbling lists of that. I think it mighta helped to list certain icons by towns on the world map. Same thing with some of the quests -- like they'll tell you to return to so-and-so to turn something in but include no info on what town to return to; so I might scribble up a list of towns and the NPCs in each. I've looked online and the only fan wiki I've seen doesn't have that level of helpful detail.

-Certain chapter 3 and later enemies are 100% resistant to certain things. Like skeletons are immune to poison damage, zombies are immune to piercing damage (includes arrows, fencing swords and spears) etc. Probably something's immune to fire damage but haven't run into it yet.

Once you realize this, it pays to specialize certain party members into a backup weapon or alternate magic attack specialty (like a spear guy might want to pick up maces [bashing dmg] or swords [slashing dmg]; a poison-mage might pick up at least one lightning or fire attack). Otherwise, you risk in certain battles that a character might not be able to do ANY damage at all and become essentially useless attack-wise though a mage type could at least do some buff/debuff spells instead.
174  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Elder Scrolls Online on: February 07, 2014, 09:53:05 PM
There may or may not be a stress test this weekend that someone like me may or may not participate in.

It's under NDA and all that rot. I'm just playing along.  banned
175  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: February 07, 2014, 01:57:37 PM
When you're left talking about a game alone, you have to be imaginative.  smirk

And, thank ye gods, the video walkthrough tip worked. Our long national lice nightmare is over! Cabbage Patch I also forgot the "V" key highlights any environmental stuff you can interact with it.

I sent all my party members on beelines to "lice portals" to close them, used the "healing goblets" a bit, and the map I was stuck on really wasn't very hard at all, I just didn't understand what it wanted me to DO.

I do question having the very next battle map be...
Spoiler for Hiden:
more lice.  retard

And it's frustrating the storyline requires you:
Spoiler for Hiden:
lose the hunter/buffer mage who joined your party

Screenshot below, I don't think it spoils anything - I'd rather folks not get stuck on it and ticked off like I did just out of lack of understanding it. Just know if you reach this map, go after the "lice portals" immediately, don't sit around trying to bug-fight.  icon_razz Using the "healing goblets" if you need to. You might keep one member in the vicinity of the "damsel in distress" just in a case a stray lice tries to go over and nibble her.
176  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron on: February 07, 2014, 05:30:48 AM
Aaaand, because The Avengers doesn't already have enough characters, with Warwitch and Quicksilver coming aboard...

Paul Bettany to Play the Vision in Marvelís ĎAvengers: Age of Ultroní
Paul Bettany, best known in the Marvel world for voicing Jarvis, Tony Starkís helpful A.I. system, will be playing the Vision in Marvelís ďThe Avengers: Age of Ultron.Ē

Production starts next month, with director Joss Whedon and cast members like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. The Vision was an android created by the robotic villain Ultron, who was meant to be one of Ultronís henchmen but who instead turns against him and becomes a hero.
When I was reading The Avengers as a teen in the early 1980s, Warwitch and The Vision were husband-wife. Kinda doubt that'll be the case for the movie.
177  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Subway to remove chemical from bread on: February 06, 2014, 06:41:46 PM
I had a Veggie Flatizza (the Subway folks look confused unless you say "pizza", clearly not attuned to their own marketing) for lunch today. It was crispy and OK. I think if they'd let us sprinkle a bit of Romano cheese and some crushed red paper for flavor, it might sparkle a bit more. The manager wanted to grill me on my thoughts on it, I guess not many folks are ordering it and she's skeptical about it.

I meant to tell her, "Except for the yoga mat-shoe sole after taste, it's great!"   icon_razz

While I agree Quiznos' stuff is far tastier, I stopped eating there due to the crazy over the top sodium amounts in virtually everything they offer. Only way around it a bit is to get their smallest size sandwiches and I just didn't find that filling enough. I don't fixate on low sodium, which at times is just impossible eating out, just on something moderate (say, under 900 mg, vs. 1800, 2500 etc., very common at fast food/deli places). Even supposedly healthier places like Panera, their deli meats are so soaked in salt, the sodium levels can be just crazy.

I admit though I spent maybe the first 45 years of my life not even paying any attention to any of that stuff and my health stayed OK.  icon_smile
178  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Hacked at the Olympics (Or: Why the press is useless) on: February 06, 2014, 06:38:07 PM
I'd be a helluva lot more worried about the reports that bathrooms where the press are staying warn them to not flush used toilet paper and instead put it in the trashcan by the toilet. puke
179  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: February 06, 2014, 05:56:07 PM
Me: "So you're still stuck on that Louse with the crab lice creatures?"
Myself: "Yes. What the hell am I supposed to do on #9 of the 9 hordes?"
I: "I checked YouTube, and a walkthrough video from beta suggested you should be more aggressive on that map and try to reach the "lice portals" to put the lids on them. Of course, we had already exited the game in disgust by that point."
Me: "Damn. I feel pretty stupid now. It'd be nice if it'd let you save your game after doing the first 8 maps of the Hordes sequence."
Myself: "Also, those little goblets you didn't think were of any importance? Scattered all over some maps w/ no explanation?"
I: "Yeah?"
Myself: "According to that YouTube walkthrough video, you CLICK on a goblet to get a 15hp HEAL!!!! As often as you want. Note these differ from the larger goblets that on some maps dump a sort of lava flow."
I: "Oh ****. Once again, this game doesn't give you enough information to even know what's available."
Me: "OK, great. Why are we still playing this damn thing? Steam says we have 32 freaking hours on it!"
Myself: "We like to... punish ourselves."  icon_razz
180  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Subway to remove chemical from bread on: February 06, 2014, 04:14:30 AM

Quote from: rittchard on February 06, 2014, 12:51:22 AM

Now all I can think about is that how many shoe soles and yoga mats I've eaten.
Just look at it this way -- we've all been doing yoga all this time and we didn't realize it!   bowdown

Now go tell me what industrial chemicals are in their Flatizzas before I try one  icon_smile
181  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Captain America: The Winter Soldier confirmed on: February 05, 2014, 04:19:54 PM
In case you prefer animated GIF snippets of the Super Bowl trailer...

Captain America, Transformers And More: Your GIF Guide To The Best Super Bowl Trailer Moments
182  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Captain America: The Winter Soldier confirmed on: February 03, 2014, 10:25:37 PM
An international trailer also released (this retains the previous North American trailer's early Cap-Black Widow chit chat, and adds a couple glimpses of other female characters such as Emily VanCamp as agent Sharon Carter, and a bit more flight action with The Falcon - is at least what I've noticed when viewing it):

International trailer

Hayley Atwell  The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you. is credited in this (the movie, not the trailers), and I'm not entirely clear if she wears aging makeup (her character would probably be in her 90s now) or if she's seen in flashbacks.
183  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Captain America: The Winter Soldier on: February 03, 2014, 07:21:01 PM

Quote from: DarkEL on February 03, 2014, 05:54:40 AM

Quote from: leo8877 on February 03, 2014, 03:44:37 AM

Quote from: disarm on February 03, 2014, 03:40:55 AM

I didn't see the trailer during the game either. Any idea when it supposedly aired?

I didn't see it either

Yeah it was right between the end of the pre-game show and beginning of the actual game.  You can see it here

I was already pretty amped about this movie and this trailer pushed it over the edge (except the line about how to tell who's a bad guy... that even caused my daughter to roll her eyes).
Thanks -- that explains it. I zoned out and started channel surfing when the pregame show started making me glaze over.  icon_razz

Cap will never be [at least until some idiot reboots the character as such  Roll Eyes] a Spidey|Iron Man/Tony Stark-style wisecracking machine so I suspect the script doesn't give him too many trailer-friendly laugh lines. icon_smile

I'm hoping AMC and/or Regal does a bit of a movie marathon -- perhaps Captain America, Marvel's The Avengers and a midnight show of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier -- on opening week. After AMC's Dark Knight and Indiana Jones marathons in 2012, I haven't gone to any since. It would give me a good reason to take a day or two off, depending on the showtimes. Bring your own!
184  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: February 03, 2014, 06:50:55 PM
With the female warrior on the Easy campaign level it seems a bit less frustrating to me. I'm also gradually grasping a bit of the prerequisites for "learning" skills with the trainers (ones with the "graduation cap icon"). This requires looking pretty closely at the skill descriptions to look for red things that indicate you don't yet meet a certain prerequisite.

So at least the Dwarf and my gal each have Knockdown melee attacks now, and the Hunter (bows/spears) you get later on has finally learned a second bow attack.

I am back on that seemingly endless Gladiator set of battle maps now. It's really just the final couple I'm worried about in terms of running out of astral energy (mana) and health potions and what not. Turns out I'm only in Chapter 2 of the campaign so there's so much of the game I've yet to reach.
185  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Games you wish you could get into but can't on: February 03, 2014, 05:02:27 PM
For me it was Civilization. I bought one of the earlier iterations and simply Could Not Get Into It. For many gamers, it's like the greatest PC game ever, and it just never clicked with me.

Half-Life 2 perhaps as well. I loved Half-Life to death in spite of my legendary  icon_razz first person and sometimes third person shooter motion sickness problems. With HL2, I bought it opening week for something like $64.99 at an EB store, and promptly got lost in the train cars scenario. For whatever reason, it didn't click with me even if the masses and critics found it Best Shooter of All Time.

If you want to get really creaky, some legendary games like System Shock (the first; loved the 2nd); and Ultima Underworld were games I bought in my early PC gaming days that didn't click with me either.

This whole thread illustrates the folly of Metacritic. Lots of my favorite games are something like 33, 44, 56 whatever on Metacritic. If you totally let other gamers and critics decide what you should play, you'll never know what you miss out on.  icon_smile
186  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie]The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on: February 03, 2014, 03:43:07 AM
While I saw the rebooted film and liked it OK, I just had no desire to see it again (you regulars here know geek me will see certain comic book and sci-fi films 3 times in 3 nights if I'm crazy about it  icon_smile). What sort of bothers me is I thought the CGI would get better and better but to me most of the SFX sequence look even more CGI-ish than Raimi's films. And yeah I'm that old fart who really doesn't think the Sinister Six is a good idea. I think one great, memorable A-villain and maybe one lurking B-villain is a good thing (see Spider-Man 2, or Iron Man, or even Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back).

I've never been a fan of "cram so many villains into the movie that the super hero becomes an afterthought in his own movie" mentality. And this just wreaks of it. OTOH, Sony's nuts about it and confident enough to slot it in prime time summer release territory (if they didn't, it'd be pushed into February 2015  icon_razz like a lot of "zero confidence" dreck plowing into theaters all this month). So, I'm no soothsayer and maybe I don't know squat. Just my rambling, beady eyed impressions.  icon_razz
187  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Captain America: The Winter Soldier confirmed on: February 03, 2014, 03:23:35 AM
Except for Seahawks fans, what a terrible Super Bowl and such blah ads. The Cap 2 trailer aired but I sure didn't see it.... So here's a link! icon_cool

ĎCaptain America: The Winter Soldierí Super Bowl Trailer ó Watch
While I enjoyed it, I do think the full Comic Con cut of the elevator fight is far cooler than these trailer snippets of it. And for some reason I preferred the previous trailer's less orchestrated score.

I'm still worried the Winter Soldier's going to sound like Bane (cue mumbling jokes icon_razz), but he remains silent in the trailers. banned
188  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Captain America: The Winter Soldier confirmed on: January 31, 2014, 05:58:17 PM
Collider posted excerpts from group interviews with Chris Evans on the set (it's from last year probably, and presumably the embargo gets lifted as they move closer to the release date):

Chris Evans Talks CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, Wearing the New Suit, Relationships with Other Characters, and Working with Robert Redford
*I saw nothing spoiler-y, fwiw, Kevin Feige wasn't present so Chris probably need to self-monitor his answers to questions.  icon_smile
Can you talk a bit about the new fighting style?
Evans: Thatís what we were all saying. I remember when we were first talking with the Russos Ö Has anyone here played the Captain America video game?
Evans: I love it. [laughs] And I donít like video games. And I love it because I love the way Cap moves, he moves so well and he just beats ass. [laughs] Itís like, thatís how this guy needs to be moving. This isnít just the guy whoís been given the ability of speed and power, heís been training. Heís been put throughÖ heís got the frame of mind to absorb this information, so you can only assume with training and his ability, the guy should really be dangerous. And we should show that. Itís not just, ďTake Jason Bourne and make himĒ you know. If Jason Bourne can do it, Cap should be flying through these things. So we had a bit of fun turning up his power, turning up his speed. So the fights are a lot more grisly and impactful, and in my opinion, cooler.
What I liked about the video game is the shield use. In the hand-to-hand combat, you got to use your shield.
Evans: Yeah! Absolutely! Shield use and acrobatics, too. I mean, he was flipping off things and spinning and jumping and using his environment, it wasnít just punch, punch, kick, kick. Thatís fine but this has to be more than The Bourne Supremacy.
I'm not sure which game he means (probably doesn't mean Marvel Heroes  icon_smile).
189  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Captain America: The Winter Soldier confirmed on: January 31, 2014, 05:56:52 PM
This is one of many movies debuting a new trailer during the Sooper Bowel.

I do agree that teasers for upcoming trailers? Just getting a bit ridiculous... soon to be followed by "teasers for the teaser"...  Roll Eyes

Teaser for the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Super Bowl Spot Debuts
*During the showdown they're saying:
"What did you DO with Joe Johnston???"
"He wasn't cutting edge enough, dude!"
"Who the HELL are the Russo Brothers anyway?"

-They did some location filming in DC as I recall, so it is fun to see the Winter Soldier walking by one of our Metro subway stations here.  icon_smile
-Interesting to see the Winter Soldier using an M4 while his presumed partners use bullpup rifles. I recognize that strange looking assault rifle from the Door Kickers early access game on Steam, but the name escapes me?

Saw some new posters/photos too. This one focuses on Cap (another one highlights Black Widow):
190  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie]Captain America 3 on: January 31, 2014, 04:21:44 PM
Sorry, wrong thread!  icon_smile
191  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gaming Trend to speak at SXSWi 2014 with Richard Garriott? YES! It's happening! on: January 30, 2014, 07:42:48 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on January 25, 2014, 04:56:31 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on January 24, 2014, 04:10:56 PM

Tell "Dick" to Bring Back Tabula RasaTM! But this time with a recognizable IP behind it. Something everyone loves. Furbies or Teletubbies? Maybe both.  The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you. icon_razz
Telefurbies, got it.  I wonder if that game is a sore spot for him...
I've read him chat about it a bit in some past interviews. I think in retrospect the game's development was just way too expensive (it wasn't using the Unreal engine etc., as I recall, it was a new game engine from the ground up, ala Hellgate: London) for it to survive with only a modest subscriber base. And 2007 was really before F2P generally took over the MMO market.

Would be cool to hear some updated thoughts from on it though.

Damn, did I really buy the collector's version of Tabula Rasa? I did.  icon_razz
192  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Bitcoin explained on: January 30, 2014, 06:18:23 PM
I don't see how Bitcoin's "public ledger" is any less vulnerable to hacking, fraud and everything else in the news today than any other currency or payment system  (if that's what it is). If the selling point is a synched public ledger, I just don't quite understand how that's more secure than other systems or how users won't eventually find a way to "game" the system. I think the moment anyone tries a system that's equivalent to a new currency, from day 1, users will look for holes and ways to take advantage of it. An unfortunate aspect of human nature...

And like Punisher, I still don't get it  confused, apple metaphors or not. Maybe cheese slice or cookie metaphors would work better for my tiny mind.  icon_razz
193  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] The Raid 2: Berandal on: January 30, 2014, 02:13:05 PM
According to Fandango, this has a peculiar Tuesday release date in the U.S., on March 18. Mark your calendar.  icon_cool

If some else already mentioned that, consider it a reminder  icon_smile
194  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie]Captain America 3 on: January 30, 2014, 12:26:01 AM
Ha  icon_smile Word is the early screenings response was so strong, Marvel wants the Russo bros back. I look forward to finding out myself in 2 months  icon_cool

I was definitely skeptical though in retrospect I didn't initially understand Jon Favreau as Iron Man director choice either. Given how Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens turned out, maybe Iron Man was a cool aberration for him.
195  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: January 29, 2014, 06:48:59 PM

Quote from: rittchard on January 29, 2014, 06:18:34 PM

Along the same lines as BJ mentioned, it was interesting the only review on the Mac App store was a 1-star bitching that the game was too linear and not a real RPG with grinding, etc.  It seemed fairly clear to me that this is much more along the lines of a Strategy/Tactics (FFT) game as opposed to a more generic RPG.  

Anyway, I tried the demo last night and liked what I saw.  To answer my own earlier question, you do get to choose the sex and class of your "main" character, and there are 5 choices of visual look for anyone who cares about that stuff.

The custom creation is definitely daunting and a little confusing, you get something like 9000 points to play with, and there are so many choices it's crazy.  I think it's following along religiously with whatever pen and paper system it was from, which I'm sure fans really appreciate.  For more casual players the system is a bit too much, but certainly I appreciate the customization potential.
Ah, right about the sexes, I missed that, sorry. In fact, I restarted AGAIN, with a female warrior.  Fabulous

I'm still not clear about the numbers for the weapons abilities. I mean, if I'm 14 at one hand swords and 11 at two hand swords, I have no idea how that translate into effectiveness, % chance to hit, dmg, no clue. For me the game's missing a certain info layer to support us in making good choices. I mean, I can keep pouring points into a certain melee weapon ability, but it never seems to improve my % hit chance so I still do a lot of exasperating missing. Maybe that should go into Agility or Strength or whatever, but if so, I still don't understand what points into the weapons accomplishes.

While the main quest stuff is pretty much straight line, there are some side quests of note. I apparently missed this entire Dragon thing where you eventually track down a nice weapon that your dwarf is fond of (good but not great, no special attributes per se). There was some temple side quests thing involving multiple locations but my Hunter couldn't find a way over to that side of the world map.

And another map where you click on chests to get loot (you want to hold off clearing the map until you click on all the chests), I just realized last night I had missed one chest there with my other character.

I will say I'm not a big fan of the "louse," crab-like enemies. Not much fun to fight and some maps just drown you in those things which can get tedious in a turn-based game esp. when chances are, only your mage has an AOE attack that can whittle large bunches to size.

What I'm trying to do on latest replay is to see whether I can pile up enough potions, perhaps traps, to get through the brutal mid section of the game. Which is, trying not to spoiler things, about a 9 battles (intermissions after sets of 3) marathon. I need to figure out some way to stockpile either potions or just plain cash so that I'm not staggering through that. Also, I'm trying the "Easy" difficulty mode though I haven't seen a dramatic change from how it played at normal.
196  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: January 28, 2014, 05:09:24 PM
Strategy Informer weighs in, mostly displeased (6/10) though like me they basically say you'll either love this or you'll hate it. I'm not sure there's much in between.  icon_neutral
Blackguards is a game that either has been built for you or it hasnít. There arenít many games that I struggle to review because I personally didnít get on with it and yet I know that itís built for a very specific sub-set of player, but Blackguards was definitely one. I was attracted to the game by the description of it as an RPG with turn-based combat based on The Dark Eye universe.

After two enjoyable adventures set in Germanyís answer to D&D I was looking forward to seeing what Daedalic could do with the more naturally-fitting genre for a fantasy role-playing tabletop set. What I didnít expect was for Blackguards to be all combat. Itís basically a board game.
The turn-based combat, as mentioned, is the entire thrust of the game. Thereís no exploring, very little choice, no talking things out, if you click somewhere on the map 99% of the time youíll get a combat encounter. You have got to ask yourself right now if this is what you want from an RPG. While you occasionally have choices to make there are no consequences so thereís very little actual role-playing, itís all either going into battle or preparing for your next battle. Again, if youíre happy with this then great, fair play to you. I personally found that the whole game got very tedious very fast.
I don't disagree. But I think that's why this game should be categorized as a tough, challenging tactical strategy game, NOT as an RPG. This reviewer clearly wants something other than the game delivers though it seems a little odd that Strategy Informer has a guy who wants more RPG than strategy from Blackguards.  confused

From an expectations standpoint if you want an RPG you should run away from this game imho. OTOH, if challenging, varied turn-based squad-size battles on hexagon maps to the point of exhaustion at times thrill you, this could be your game. But, maybe wait for a deeper cost-cutting sale. icon_smile Then when you get exasperated, you won't go "Damn Blackjack! Convinced me to waste $XX on this crap!"

By varied, I mean that the game might have your party of five battling 10 enemies on one map (with the environmental damage/trap opportunities evening things up); or you might have your main hero going in a one on one dual with a baddie on a small map; or you might have to choose two of your party members to duel two specific enemies; or you may have your full party battling a giant creature who looks like he can squash you like a grape (hint, don't assume you need to kill a huge enemy "to win").

So I guess you could argue the combat is ever present and repetitive in terms of the game having so much of it; but for me, there's a good variety/diversity in the sizes of maps, the sizes of the forces involved (yours/theirs), the traps and/or environmental damage opps on the map etc.
197  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: January 28, 2014, 04:24:00 AM

Quote from: Lee on January 28, 2014, 03:37:36 AM

Thanks for the write up Blackjack. I downloaded the demo, but haven't tried it yet. Read some of the reviews and the forums as well, it sounds a little rough around the edges. Curious if the devs are working  and smoothing things out (better tutorial, bugs, interface issues).
I really can't think of any bugs I've encountered at this point. Well there are enemy BUGs in the game.  icon_razz

imho the tutorial splash screens are OK, but some way to manually pull them back on screen would be nice. And maybe a tutorial that was more animated/integrated into the game (that is, some blinking arrow pointing at a screen button and telling you to click it, rather than a static tutorial image screen) might be more helpful.

For my part, I just am NOT a fan of linking 3 straight battle maps and giving you no respite for healing or buying potions etc. I'm finding the game does this more and more often in the campaign. While the battles are never crazy long, the fact is you can't save during them at all. So connecting 3 means if you get sick of the third one and quit, next time you'll just have to start it all over again. And if someone dies on one connected map, then on the next one they start with exactly 1 HP.

Actually this in keeping with German games I've liked going back to Blue Byte's Incubation in 1997 -- they just seem to really like kicking your teeth in on difficulty sometimes.

I can say they keep it fresh with the environmental damage stuff. Just played one that had this Rube Goldberg like series of rotating, basically flamethrowers. I didn't even know what I was doing and somehow they rotated just right to incinerate enough of the enemies to give me a chance.

If I have any advice on buying equipment in this it's buy every single damn potion you can get your hands on and equip as many as you can if you even suspect (you don't really get hints) you're going to start in on a three-consecutive-map series of battles. Then you'll have a fighting chance. Alas, I blew all mine by the 2nd one most recently and by the third one I was simply toast.

I really do dig the game but I feel like I can only recommend to folks with a masochistic streak.  icon_smile What's interesting though is how often the environmental stuff and traps can make a map much easier than it looks at first glance. Or I had this one that involved three massive beasts that could mash my heroes into the ground practically. It looked hopeless but after a few replays, my battered (it was one of those "on the 2nd of 3 battle map deals, or maybe it was on the 3rd of 3 maps) party staggered through it. Often the game rewards everyone focusing on one target while trying to stay out of range of others.
198  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: January 28, 2014, 01:34:03 AM
A few pics:

As I mentioned, the screens where you distribute Adventure Points can be a bit intimidating. "I do what, to do what? What?"  icon_razz
While Niam is ostensibly a mage, she's basically a hybrid hunter/mage with some decent bow/spear skills and some useful buffs/debuffs on the spellcasting side.

The little shield and sword icons indicate if you want a melee weapon to be more towards parrying, more towards attacking, or balanced in between.

These optional tutorial screens are gradually spread through the game to gradually teach you stuff. Useful, but I kind of wish I could pop them back on screen at will for reference (maybe you can).

While it's hexagon rather than square grid (XCOM Enemy Unknown), the principle is sort of the same -- the brighter hexes indicate where you can move and still attack or use an item; the lighter ones indicate where you can move to but no longer take an action. However, as I mentioned, you can move a few hexes one way, then decide to move a different way etc. without using up your turn. You can also choose to "wait" on a turn to let another character move.

An archer (Hunter>Bows) is less effective at melee range so it pays to kind of plop them in a spot where they can reach enemies but not be reached with melee attacks.
The one thing that bugs me about all the character cards at the bottom is I would really like all the friendlies (often you fight alongside AI-controlled characters, guards etc.) on the LEFT side and the enemies on the right. I understand maybe they feel like that'd clutter the screen but I don't like having them all mashed up on the left side, eventually all mixed up in terms of enemies and friendlies.
199  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: January 27, 2014, 09:00:20 PM

Quote from: rittchard on January 27, 2014, 06:51:07 PM

Funny I was just reading about this late last night.  Looks like it would be right up my alley.

Couple of questions off the top of my head:

- are there combat bonuses to having multiple people positioned around an enemy?

- are the protagonist characters limited to the 5 they show on the website?  you mention a "main" character, do you get some choice as to what he/she looks like if you go for advanced customization, or is your "main hero" pretty much fixed (sounds like you can choose which of the 3 classes you want for it)?  It's not a big deal but all 5 of the characters just seemed kind of unappealing to me.
As far as bonuses or flanking bonuses (as in XCOM Enemy Unknown), I really don't know. I will try to look into that tonight and see what I find out.

Spears can attack from two hexes away, bows seem to have bonuses based on hex range (like between 3 and 8 hexes, something like that). I don't really have any awesome melee or bow skills just yet; eventually you can fire a salvo of arrows, or hit muliple hexes in melee I think.

There's a neat "opportunity attack" any character can eventually learn. This basically lets you take a free, automatic-attack at any enemy as they move by you on a turn. I have a tough time avoiding this because I just don't think enough about my movement route.

One difference from, say, XCOM Enemy Unknown is you can move hexes in baby steps without "consuming" your movement turn. Like, if you have a movement radius of about 8 hexes (radius you can move, and still perform an attack or action), you can move two hexes one way, move two hexes another way, one hex another way, etc. It's not, "oh you moved two hexes and stopped, now your movement turn is over." This becomes critical on later maps that sprinkle spike traps everywhere, and don't give you a "straight line" movement opportunity.

Your party gradually grows from 3 initially (including your "main") to 5, possibly more. I met one character that only got to play with for one mini-mission (my main and this other character), and I'm not clear on if this other character might join my party at some point.

The reason why I de-emphasize RPG is you really don't fully customize cosmetic appearances in this, beyond hairstyle (for your main) and how different armor/weaponry looks. I haven't yet tried the "advanced" choice for the main character so I don't yet know if that includes more extensive cosmetic changes. This is a bone of contention for some in forums.

I just don't worry about it much, as intricate visual customizing is not something I'm used to doing in tactical squad-type strategy games. Eventually the armor variety in this at least allows different looks and you can cover up someone's head with a helmet if you don't like the face.  icon_smile The storyline is based on all these characters by name (my "Ricky Ranger" name tends to look silly by the other characters' more eloquent names  icon_razz), so it makes sense to me they don't appear to allow name customizing beyond your main hero.

I'll share some screenshots later. I would say the game's animations and backdrops tend to look cooler to me than the character models (though the tiger character models later as enemies seem very cool.).
200  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PC] Blackguards (turn-based tactical strategy/RPG) on: January 27, 2014, 06:14:26 PM
Official site (German developer Daedalic Entertainment):
About the Game
What happens when the only hope of a threatened world lies not with heroes in shining armor, but in the hands of a band of misfits and criminals? Blackguards, a new turn-based strategy RPG, explores this very question. You will discover over 180 unique hex-based battlegrounds within a dark and mature story of crime, drugs, and murder.

Play as a warrior, mage or hunter and customize your character's skills as you see fit. The challenging campaign delivers a story of doubt, treason and loss. You decide the course of the story at key turning points and determine its outcome.

Key Features
More than 180 unique battlemaps provide ever-evolving and novel challenges.
Make sure you have plenty of snacks, as this dark fantasy adventure has 40+ hours of exciting play time.
Lead up to five characters in your party to glorious victory or devastating defeat.
Enjoy enchanting hand drawn backdrops. They're beautiful even when your party members get their asses handed to them.
Your choice of spells, skills and abilities determine your battlefield tactics. Aggressive? Defensive? Tactical? It's your call how to tackle each challenging encounter!
Use interactive objects like bee hives or barrels to your advantage in combat, or blow yourself up by carrying a torch into flammable swamp gas.
Dish out some serious damage with 40 special abilities and more than 90 spells... or find yourself on the other end and get obliterated.
You can try a playable demo on Steam. I would say that the full games' maps eventually become larger, downright massive at times (though they vary the size/layouts quite a bit). As I recall, the demo has some early maps where the grids are very tiny.

I bought this on Steam while it was in Early Access, and it just released the other day. It's generally more hexagon-grid turn-based strategy battles than RPG.

I wasn't initially enjoying it, but when I finally restarted the campaign for maybe the fourth time with my main set up as a Hunter (bows and spears), it finally "clicked" with me. I put in almost 17 hours in it over the weekend and have generally had a very good time.

What I initially found intimidating is understanding how to distribute the "adventure points" (you can use them on four different tab fulls of abilities, skills, talents, arms talents). And also what constitutes a "level" vs. what's just the number rating for something. Still not fully sure I understand all that in spite of the game's many optional tutorial screens.

Also, for a long time I felt like I couldn't get more than crap equipment. This proved troublesome when I made my main a warrior as the first couple party members you get are preset as a dwarf warrior and a mage. You could of course remake those into something else moving forward but it seems like a waste of their initial set up (I don't know any way to "respec" from zero). It seemed like a hunter or perhaps a 2nd mage was a better compliment to those first couple you get.

Later in the campaign, fully developed heroes join your party, including:
Spoiler for Hiden:
-a female hunter that has points in bows and spears, and can cast a variety of buff/debuff spells
-a male hunter who seems very spear-specific and seems equipped for dual wield melee too
-a poison-focused spellcaster comes into play, but I'm not clear if she becomes a regular party member per se.
You can choose advanced customization so that you can start your main hero from scratch. I think the lack of that option was a bone of contention during early access.

As far as the battle maps go, while the character models to me seem so-so, the battle maps are hand drawn and pretty cool. Later on, when you fight beasts and animals, imho those character models are nicer than the human ones for some reason.

You can scroll your mouse wheel back to get more of a top-down view (the default view is a sort of zoomed in isometric view), which makes the battle map look like, well, Panzer General.  icon_smile

While the game autosaves after most battles, it does encourage you to save and quicksave often. While you can use rest on the main towns map, or pay to rest at an inn to restore health/astral (mana) points, the campaign eventually starts chaining battles together (sometimes as many as 3 in succession), which I've found straining since you can't pull stuff out of your party's loot inventory during a battle. So if you limp through the finale of a multi-battle map battle, you'll be in dire straights in the next connected one.

I can vouch that at least for me the game has been rock solid reliable over 17 hours of play (no crashes, lockups, freezes etc.). It's not what I'd call an eye candy game so if you need that, then don't bother with it. If you're into turn-based, chess-like strategy battles that are varied and generally don't take too long (except maybe on the ones with the invulnerable, enemy-healing crystals - don't get me started  icon_razz), you may dig this. I just warn that the interface (despite tutorials) was at least for me awfully intimidating and confusing for a while.

As far as the RPG aspects, there's a lot of chatty conversations between battles but it's easy enough to click through all that.

Anyway, blah, blah, blah. If it interests anybody, ask me any questions.  icon_smile
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