Nippon Ichi has had a tough couple of years–and I daresay it’s from not focusing on what they do well, and what they do well is make Disgaea (and Phantom Brave), so they are staking everything on the new iteration of the game. Given that sometime a few years ago, some new consoles came out that allowed more colors and better graphics, NI has finally gotten around to redrawing their sprites a bit bigger than what we’ve seen on the PS2 or PS3 so far. Stuff looks great– a full compare here. I’m worried about this game– not because it won’t be good, but because it will finally push me over the edge to get a PS3 along with the worry that my non-gaming responsibilities have finally added up to the fact that I can no longer put the time in to actually enjoy a good old SRPG…
If you’re suffering with no games on your Mac (something that has been an eternal problem), and want to try a pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre alpha of a game that is largely unplayable, Dwarf Fortress may be of interest. While in it’s unplayable state, the game is free, and it’s probably still better than the abortive Elemental War of Magic. This post is pretty much for Matt.
Elemental: War of Magic is now about one week old and up to v1.06 and is no where near balanced or complete, but hey it doesn’t really crash anymore. This game is getting glowing reviews from hard core fans because in the future it will have good mods and will be patched by the developer to deliver on the idea that it is the spiritually successor to Master of Magic. What the flying fuck is wrong with people? $50, that is what you just paid for the hope that the game is functional some day. Bullshit.
Put simply, this game plays like a jokeshop of broken concepts. To prove how broken the game is I played several games where I purposely upgraded my military only and won handily over the computer. I ignored the other 4 tech trees completely, save for getting level 1 diplomacy for road building. I only cast summon spells and won. I didn’t use something like 50 or so other spells because they are completely POINTLESS. The only thing you need to win are superior numbers of units, that’s it. A player putting more points into magic is just wasting capital, military trumps magic EVERY FUCKING TIME.
3 years to make this game. The developer spent 3 years to make a shitty CIV clone with useless features.
So here is the feature list from the Elemental website along with my comments to help explain the reality behind this turd:
“A strategy game in an RPG world.”
The most limited RPG world because of the worst balancing problems EVER! You start the game with one “super” unit, your sovereign. This character has 8-10 stats you can lv up over the course of the game as you win battles. BUT only one stat allows you to gain mana and thus cast more spells per turn, breaking your choice of what to lv up. So you just put all your points into the mana stat every time you level. And then magic is really useless except for the summonable units, so what the fuck? BROKEN, zero RPG elements. You can give your character items, in fact you can give them UNLIMITED rings and necklaces that provide bonuses for combat. But who cares because you never really want to use your RPG style characters in combat, its MUCH better to just use the military units. BROKEN.
“Randomly Generated Maps.”
As far as I can tell this is true and works. The game has two modes for viewing the map, a 3d view and 2d view. You’ll quickly stop using the 3d view because of movement issues, you’ll think that you’re telling your units to move to one area, only to find you can’t click there or some other type of interface bullshit failure. So you switch to 2d view, which actually looks cool and works well, with minor “hey is that a spot I can move, click click click click, no, no i can’t move there? what the fuck? okay i guess i can’t move there”.
“10 Unique Factions.”
Doesn’t fucking matter! You can win with military only quickly and effectively every time, no diplomatic enemy will ever out diplomacy you. No AI will use magic to fend off your unit stack EVER. Factions = Fucked.
“In-Depth unit and character design.”
Character design that is unnecessary and clunky in implementation. Seriously you never need to design a custom unit ever.
Fail! You only need to do one or two tac battles early on. once you get your unit stack up to 600+ attack you can beat anything without having to waste time in tac battles. There’s nothing of benefit in tac battles, zero.
“Rich, story-driven campaign developed by Random House’s Del Rey.”
AHAHAHAH this is a complete fucking joke. The campaign is boring and initially full of bugs. There is no sense of urgency in the campaign, so you can just sit back and build up your unit stack and once again steamroll through the fights with increasing boredom.
No. Magic sucks, diplomacy is a jokeshop, RPG elements are meaningless, only military matters. There is so little to replay for it’s sad.
“Single player or Multiplayer (up to 16 players).”
Pretty sure multiplayer is still disabled/unimplemented I think. And if does work, who the fuck would want to try to play this busted ass unit stack vs. unit stack mess?
“Plays on very low end hardware.”
The maximum number of people can see how unbalanced and devoid of fun the game is.
“Takes advantage of the latest hardware.”
? To do what? What does it do on my new fast computer that is great? I had to turn of 3d map mode just to be able to see the map clearly and move my units around, the game forces you to play “low rez”, how is that taking advantage of the latest hardware?
“Massive modding support.”
Who cares about this now. I paid $50 for a fun, working game now.
“From the people who brought you Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire.”
I should have known Elemental was going to be all concept and zero delivery. I tried to play GC and couldn’t because it felt like shit. SoaSE, I tried to play the tutorial and got so fucking bored I quit. I’ve done that 3 times, what a bunch of fucking ass taco.
I looked into the release notes from Anathema and there are no new splat books supported, but bug fixes and updates to the existing splats (Solar, Dragon Blooded). This is a start, again, and still one I’m excited about as a GM. Frankly, I’d love to see and update with Fair Folk, as I fundamentally do not understand how they interact when in creation– outside creation in the Wyld it’s really easy to understand shaping combat with the graces, but how they get hordes of hobgoblins and behemoths into creation to fuck shit up is really difficult to piece together with the Splat Book.
It’s been a long time– a brutally long time since Exalted’s fantastic character editor had a new version to include some of the post-Dragon Blooded splat books and expansions. I am very excited as it’s a really tough row to hoe to get some of the new character types built up, and as a GM, I have to generate tons of NPC’s (as they have a tendency to get squished a lot) and while I really like using Ed’s Exalted, the actual character sheets it generates are really quite bad and depressing, especially seeing how complete the rest of it is. Anyway, here is a link to the Anathema dev site.
Competition makes products better. Competition between awesome and awesome makes?! That said, I’ve watched the torchlight 2 vid only twice and haven’t done the frame by frame analysis that will inevitably be done– what it looks like though so far is that the screen has been opened up and, of course, they went out of their way to show off the outside areas in the game. Looks fantastich.
Looks like Blizzard’s D3 team are taking the crafting system seriously– something I miss a lot in Torchlight (and am spoiled by D2 Zyel in)—with the introduction of the artisan. Given that Diablo is at it’s core an item management game, this is an interesting twist that reminds me of leveling up the shops in Disgaea or Makai Kingdom.
Q: What do the artisans offer?
This is my favorite quote: “I think it’s probably important to mention here that we’re not aiming with our multiplayer to provide the perfectly secure, cheat free MMO multiplayer experience. The idea here is that you can play Torchlight with your friends, and you can modify that if you want to make the game with your friends all the better.”
That said, they could get some Zyel up in there!
Penny Arcade and some various others have actually recorded (and presumably took the time to edit) sessions of their D&D playing to offer up on wizards.com as podcasts. I have listened to about 10 minutes of one and it’s exactly what you’d imagine– cracking jokes that only the people sitting around the table will understand, and then beating these jokes to death over the span of time– with a little gaming thrown in for good measure. Here is the link. I’m not sure what to think of this– it seems like something you’d want to bash your head in with a rock rather than sit through, but I figured this is a chance for my wife to listen to Will Wheaton play D&D for all that’s worth.
A rather bland, but telling interview about the upcoming D&D board game series. I really do not believe the R&D story about just ‘wanting to do it.’ I think it came down to marketing saying “we must compete with Descent.” Regardless, I’m stoked these are coming out as the last good D&D-Heroscapesque board game released in the USA was…never?