Posts Tagged ‘RPG’

The RPG Scrollbars: Heroes. Don’t. Craft.

Few game mechanics right now make me ‘urrrrrrrrrrgh’ quite like crafting. Bloody, bloody crafting. I hate crafting. I hate that just about every game I pick up can’t wait to introduce its crafting system to me, with its long shopping lists of finnicky items to find, and about as much care for being believable as all those shotguns and medikits Lara Croft used to find littering ancient tombs. Crafting is the worst, and unlike something like the escort missions of old, it manages to be the worst regardless of how much it actually ends up wasting your time.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Usborne Origins

Earlier this month, Usborne re-released something very special – its iconic 80s books on game programming. Talk about nostalgia in PDF format. I remember these so well, particularly the two that my junior school had back in the day – Write Your Own Fantasy Games and Write Your Own Adventure Programs. They’re a genuine slice of UK game development history, not so much because of the very simple games that they contained, but the basic message that it was even possible to write your own.

Well. The BASIC message, at least. These were more primitive times.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Praise The Ur-Quan Masters

There aren’t enough SF RPGs, and of those, there aren’t enough that prioritise what I want from them – the feel of being in an impossible universe full of infinite possibilities, not simply being in a futuristic showroom with a lot of tech manuals. It’s why I loved Mass Effect so much, why I got on so well with Anachronox despite hating basically every actual mechanic it merely thought it understood from JRPGs, and why the likes of Eve and Elite Dangerous just aren’t my mug of Romulan Ale.

And then of course, there’s Star Control II. I’ve been playing it for a couple of reasons of late, partly for work and partly because it’s one of the few games that will run on the Macbook Air I’ve been travelling with over the last week, and…

…it really is a wonderful game universe, isn’t it?

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The RPG Scrollbars: Roles We Take, Roles We Choose

Not for the first time, I’ve spent quite a while recently pondering the nature of roles – more specifically, mechanical role versus narrative role. When we think of RPGs, what we’re usually thinking of is the latter. You play the role of the Hero, but in a universe that’s typically designed to let you define that however you like. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s a key difference between that and stepping into the shoes of someone more specific. Geralt in The Witcher 3 for instance is – spoiler alert – a Witcher. Every encounter revolves around that, every system involves it, every decision has, whether it’s by your choice or Geralt bringing it up, a mercenary element that reinforces that asking for money in exchange for your services is expected and not, as is often the case, the first step towards douchery and getting the Evil ending.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Hearthstone. The two things are linked.

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Should You Play Torment: Tides Of Numenera’s Beta?

Turns out you can’t play Torment: Tides of Numenera [official site] with your eyes closed. So much for my big plan to try and avoid spoilers. It’s simultaneously one of the RPGs I’ve been looking forward to the most, and the one I’ve deliberately learned the least about. Planescape Torment fans should need no explanation as to why, but though I apparently have no self-control, it at least puts me in position to tell you whether the current beta is worth your time now or whether you should wait.

Let’s get hands on with the only game this year allowed to use any variant of a ‘mysterious amnesiac’ story without being pelted with rocks and rotten fruit.

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The RPG Scrollbars: If Knightmare Was A PC Game

You’re probably going to die. A lot. Knightmare is one of the first games to truly combine the random element of modern 80s hits like Rogue, combined with the deeper storytelling promised by hot games like next year’s thrilling looking Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny. But how does it actually play on your PC? Or more likely on Amiga and ST, where it probably has much better graphics and audio. One day they will pay.

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Wot I Think: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Originally released on PS3/Xbox 360 back in 2012 and then updated to Dark Arisen in 2013, Dragon’s Dogma [official site] is a tough game to pigeon-hole. It’s a bit Dark Souls, a bit The Witcher, a bit Skyrim, and a bit Shadow of the Colossus. But is it a bit good, especially coming to us after a generational upgrade? Here’s Wot I Think.

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