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Archive for the ‘rpg’ tag

The incompetent thief

Posted on 4th Sep 2012 at 07:22 by David Hing with 26 comments

David Hing
When Adam Jensen's first act as a freshly augmented trans-human super-spy was to nonchalantly squat-walk into the storage area of a building site and knock over a pile of construction supplies, alerting the nearby patrolling guards to his location, I realised I'd been here before.

As he hopped around with one foot lodged in a bucket proclaiming "I never asked for this" at the bemused mercenary who had come to investigate, the pattern unravelled itself before my eyes. In every game that gives me the chance, I always end up playing the stealthy option. Badly.

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Meet Heather Poe

Posted on 17th Apr 2011 at 10:38 by Joe Martin with 25 comments

Meet Heather Poe Someone I Want You To Meet

This is Heather Poe. She’s a young woman, living in Los Angeles and attending college there, though it isn’t her hometown. She’s kind, happy, eager to please and a little bit geeky. She’s also one of the best features of one of my favourite games, Troika’s Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.

You find Heather in the hospital, where she’s been rushed into the emergency room for some strange neck wound. As a newly turned vampire yourself, you know that there’s more to this story than meets the eye, but your heightened senses also tell you that she’ll survive her undead encounter if she just gets some fresh haemoglobin. Unfortunately, there isn’t a doctor to hand and the hospital is criminally understaffed.

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The Best Thing at GamesCom 2010

Posted on 20th Aug 2010 at 21:03 by Joe Martin with 22 comments

Joe Martin
GamesCom 2010: I've seen a lot of games in the last four days. A lot. I've sat through a lot of presentations, jotted down a novels worth of notes and stifled a lot of yawns. In the coming days and weeks I'll be mentally sorting the wheat from the chaff, but right now there's one which, I feel, deserves a little pat on the back.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings looks amazing. Graphically, artistically, mechanically; it's impressive on all fronts, standing alone as easily the best game I've seen in the last week – and, as I say, I've seen a lot of them recently.

It's the sheer quantity of titles I've surveyed that gives The Witcher 2 the edge though, I think. There's only so many times you can sit on a backless bench, the air filled with Eau de Journo and watch a tired, probably hungover developer go through the same hyperbolic speech he's given a hundred times in the last three days before the games start to run together.

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iPhone Review: Siege of the Necromancer

Posted on 16th Aug 2010 at 13:13 by Joe Martin with 3 comments

Joe Martin
As an adaptation of the old Gamebook model, Siege of the Necromancer gets a lot of things right. It lays itself quickly and clearly, providing bookmarks and cheat modes for those who want to just sprint through with no risk of death, but also boasts an achievement board and unlockable art gallery to encourage replays. The RPG rules are simple and to the point, the automated dice rolls quick and no-nonsense. It looks good too, with configurable fonts and nice little sound effects to enhance the mood.

Despite being a new series from an unknown developer, Siege is heavy on the nostalgia too. The basic starting point of a man returning home to his family to find the town overrun by goblins is immediately evocative of a hundred Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure books – a feeling that only increases as you journey through the later chapters. Picking a route through Myr Castle was especially reminiscent of classics like The Legend of Zagor, for example.

Unfortunately, while Siege of the Necromancer definitely gets these broader issues right, it's all too often spoiled by poor writing that speaks of authors desperate to put their fingerprints on what should have been unapologetically based in the tropes of the Fantasy genre. Small tweaks to spelling and jargon, such as changing Goblins to Goblyns, Ogres to Ogryns and Gold to Pestados, feel like differences for differences sake.

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I Hate Jade Empire

Posted on 23rd Jul 2010 at 10:54 by Joe Martin with 29 comments

Joe Martin
You might think the poor combat, terrible graphics and lack of stats were what made Jade Empire such a bad RPG, but you’d be wrong.

No, what really kills it is how terribly boring it is. It’s dreadful, really; duller than an inflatable knife - and it’s not just simply tedious either. Jade Empire’s banality can be divided into two separate levels of boredom.

Firstly, there’s the plot itself, which is so predictable it’d be enough to make anyone think they’d become clairvoyant. You play an orphan who has been raised by the teacher of an awesome Kung Fu school that sits unmolested in the rural outskirts of the standard Wuxia setting. Apparently you’ve never questioned about your parentage until the day that Master Li ominously lets you know you have an important destiny.

Oh, sorry, not ominously, obviously.

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Free Games I Like: Minecraft

Posted on 13th Jul 2010 at 15:25 by Joe Martin with 8 comments

Joe Martin
Am I late in discovering Minecraft? Judging by the fact that development started in 2009 and that Minecraft has over 23000 registered players, I’m willing to bet that I am late in discovering it. Doesn’t matter. It’s still awesome.

Minecraft isn’t technically a free game – it’s a free playable alpha of an indie game that’s still in production. It’s playable online, in a browser, in both singleplayer and multiplayer formats.

Best described as a minimalist, retro sandbox, there’s no real aim to Minecraft, at the moment anyway. All you do is run around a world carved out of rudimentary, regularly sized blocks, fending off critters and bashing holes in things or piling up blocks. It’s the bashing and piling which forms the focus of the game.

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Atheism in Dragon Age: Origins

Posted on 28th Jun 2010 at 11:22 by Joe Martin with 58 comments

Joe Martin
I’m playing Dragon Age: Origins in my spare time at the moment. My character is a Common Elf Rogue and I’ve had a hard time getting back into it since our review. That’s partly to do with the fact that I’m just not as enamoured with swords and sorcery as I used to be (nowadays I prefer lightspeed and lasers), but it’s also that I have a problem with the way the in-game theology is presented to players as a foregone conclusion.

I’m anxious for this not to become a real-world religious debate, but I will say that I’m an atheist and that that’s something I wanted my Elf, Jacob, to share. It seemed to make sense that a Common Elf character should be atheist too – the history of the Alienage Elves has them completely detached from their old gods and culture, while also being relegated to second-class citizens by a Chantry-led society. An Elf in an Alienage wouldn’t have grown up with the Dalish religion, but would likely have been spared the attention of the Chantry too – at least, that’s if the Origin story is anything to go by.

Dragon Age’s fictional religion obviously plays a big part of the story, with the Chantry cast as alternately oppressive and supporting of society and constantly near the centre of attention. Whether you’re helping rogue mages resist what could be seen as religious persecution or collecting ancient texts for Chantry scholars, the religion of Andastre and the Maker is pretty much unavoidable – and when it’s like that, I don’t have a problem with it. Just as in real life, I’ll let people believe what they want as long as they don’t try to make me do the same. It’s on that last, italicised clause that Dragon Age and I start to have problems…

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iPhone Review: Chaos Rings

Posted on 4th Jun 2010 at 10:59 by Joe Martin with 8 comments

Joe Martin
Square Enix has been one of the best major publishers on the iPhone, bringing some solid ports of the early Final Fantasy games, as well as some more original games exclusive to the iPhone. Chaos Rings sits neatly between those two ideas; since it’s basically a Final Fantasy game exclusive to the iPhone.

Well, OK, it’s not technically a Final Fantasy game – it’s lacking the FF prefix and there’s probably all sorts of smaller stylistic changes I’m not familiar with, but as far as a layman is concerned it’s basically the same. It’s stuffed with random encounters, old-school turn-based combat and characters with strange names, stupid hair and a penchant for muttering to themselves like old alcoholics.

Crucially too, while the boiled down description of ‘it’s just Final Fantasy on the iPhone” may sound like a bad thing, in reality it really, really isn’t. Chaos Rings is actually quite brilliant.

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Bit-Tech Reader Releases JRPG

Posted on 10th May 2010 at 14:47 by Joe Martin with 26 comments

Joe Martin
A long-time member of the bit-tech forums, KayinBlack, sent me a message the other day with a very special announcement in it that I thought I’d share with you. He’s released a game.

Well, kind of. The game is still in the midst of development and Kayin is hard at work on the later stages, but he’s finally got to a stage where he’s confident enough to release a playable, fully featured demo of his creation – a SNES-style JRPG called Fatal Optimisation.

Fatal Optimisation’s story is, as you’d expect of a Japanese RPG, a long and complicated one which isn’t easily summed up in a few lines in a blog post – all of which makes it a good thing that Kayin has been developing the story over on the game's official site. He’s plotted it out in great detail, posting snippets and chapters on his blog in a way which will give you a glimpse into what’s still to come.

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What Makes A Mature Game?

Posted on 8th Feb 2010 at 13:57 by Joe Martin with 16 comments

Joe Martin
When I first joined bit-tech a few years ago I was fairly new to the journalism game and naïve in my responses to many things. Since then I’ve learned a lot more about the industry and one of the things I’ve been watching lately is the way that developers rush to label their games as ‘adult’ or ‘mature’ experiences.

We really delved into the story with Game X,” you might hear a developer say. “We really wanted to explore the fiction and make it as mature as possible.

It sounds good in theory and maybe I’m just being jaded and grumpy, but every time I hear someone label their title as having “a really mature story” or somesuch then alarm bells in my head start to ring. All too often the phrase is just a mask and the reality is that the game is, rather than being actually mature, tangibly immature.

When PRs and developers label a game as ‘mature’ what they really mean more often than not is that they’ve added swearing, boobs and gore beyond what the story and gameplay strictly require. Usually it’s part of an effort to appeal to a pubescent, sweaty-palmed audience too and the game is appealing more to adolescent lust rather than the wisdom that goes with maturity.

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Styx: Master of Shadows Review

Styx: Master of Shadows Review

Styx's interesting approach to stealth is hindered by a lack of polish.
Mod of the Month October 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month October 2014 in association with Corsair

Six up and coming modding projects straight from our forum

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