The next game my friend and I transitioned to was Greywater – an isometric role-playing game in the vein of Diablo. If Project Land Mineded was the most technologically proficient game I played, then Greywater had the strongest art direction and implementation. The steampunk influences were readily apparent at first glance and the art style was complimented by a 19th century backdrop of a highly polluted city – hence the name, Greywater. It also seemed like there was a lot of story and character development already present in the playable demo, more than any other game I played at the show.
That said, I actually didn’t play much of the game as I didn’t gel with the control scheme. I might not be recalling correctly, but I believe movement and attacks were done via the keyboard while menu navigation was with the mouse. I would’ve preferred most everything but movement be done with the mouse. I also didn’t get a good sense of feedback when attacking enemies. I couldn’t tell if I was damaging them or missing completely. I wish I’d played more of Greywater in hindsight as Team Sweepy placed second in the game showcase and won the gallery show. Congrats to them!
If you wanna follow their progress, you can do so via their Tumblr or Twitter.
Well, this week’s post will be less exciting than last week’s. Not just because I didn’t take a trip in the past week, but because I’m taking a summer class and it started! The class I’m taking is Ethics in Organization and it’s purely online. I’m taking it with a teacher I’ve had before (one that I really like) so I halfway know what to expect. The textbook for the class is interesting because it’s full of true-story case studies. I always enjoy working on case studies that are based on real events, and working on ones based around ethics (or people’s lack of ethics) is pretty cool.
It looks like I’ll be writing a lot for the class. The first assignment took seven pages to complete (including a cover page and a works cited page mind you) and I still have to write a few more pages over a case study, discuss another case study with fellow classmates via a forum, and take a quiz. Those four assignments carry through each chapter and each week, so at least I know what I’m in for. It’s going to take a lot of effort to do well, but I’m up for the challenge.
Beyond that, I started mindlessly playing Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II on the GameCube. I’ve sunk three hundred hours into this game since receiving it in April 2003, and I return to it every now and then. My main character is level 105 (out of 200) and I’d like to reach the level cap before I die. Now it’s worth mentioning that I’ve never played it online. I (and others) find that the game is very addicting and the loot lust that the game offers is matched only by a Diablo game. Anyways, I’ll continue playing it off and on forever, but I found it a good use of time while listening to the plethora of E3 podcasts out there.
Speaking of E3, I might do a recap of the event, but if I don’t I’ll just tell you now that I thought it was lackluster overall. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed reading and listening to other’s coverage of it, such as Writer of Words, SlickGaming, ExplicitBaron, and LVLs.
The third game to be released in the DeathSpank series is The Baconing, and it’s my first experience with the comedic action-role-playing series. It was released last week for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and on the PC via Steam; I played the PSN version. The Baconing was developed and published by Hothead Games with the exception of the XBLA version, published by Valcon Games.
Having become bored without foes to fight, DeathSpank tries on his Throngs of Virtue and inadvertently creates an evil version of himself that begins wreaking havoc and already the game is making callbacks to a previous game in the series.
The demo had me fighting through groups of enemies and meeting unusual non-player characters who issued quests to me. Although the demo was linear, the rest of the game should be fairly expansive and open to replaying stages.
When enemies, objects, or NPCs where on the screen, I could target them and a circle would surround them. If I was targeting an enemy or an object I could attack with one of the four weapons I had assigned to the face buttons. If it was an NPC, I could begin a conversation. I was given options as to how I wanted to respond in conversation and I was surprised to see that all of the dialogue was voice-acted.
I played the demo on normal and it seemed pretty tough, although it just threw me into battle without really explaining much. The menus seemed expansive and I was overwhelmed with information, at least considering I was playing a brief demo. The humor in The Baconing seems similar to that of a cartoon; DeathSpank was loud and boisterous and the dialogue was pretty funny. The world was very colorful and there was a lot of detail to the stages.
The Baconing appears to be a fun action-RPG similar to Diablo, but if it’s your first experience with the series like it was mine, the first game, DeathSpank, might be a better option.
Well I think I’m done with Record of Lodoss War. I’ve been playing it off and on for about two weeks now and I’ve had it. It’s a frustrating game where death is frequent; I must’ve saved every three minutes in the seven hours I’ve logged, and you know what I’ve just realized? There isn’t a good enough sense of payoff for me to continue playing, so I’ll stop.
Record of Lodoss War is an action RPG, developed by Neverland and released on the Dreamcast in early 2001 here in the US. The game is based off of a Japanese anime/manga and having no previous experience I’m unaware how, if at all, this relates to the source material. Judging from the setup though, it seems that the game is meant as a side or alternate story. You control The Hero, who has been brought back from the dead. A bad dude has been doing some bad stuff, like deciding to revive an ancient beast that will do his bidding and destroy, destroy, destroy. This is why The Hero has been resurrected, you see, in his past life he was a great warrior and a wise wizard believes he’ll be able to stop this evil. This wizard, Wart, initially sets you up to take over a goblin settlement which then becomes home base, a safe spot to return and do some blacksmithing. The Hero’s quest is ultimately to stop all the bad guys and as far as I proceeded on his quest, I met a few allies and visited a couple of towns and plenty of dungeons. The story seemed dense with detail and it would appear that knowing more about the source material would lighten the load but regardless, the story didn’t capture my interest.
Talking about the gameplay, Record of Lodoss War shares a lot with Diablo. You control The Hero in real time, explore dungeons, do some blacksmithing, etc. Battling enemies usually ended up a frustrating experience. I’d line up next to an enemy and start wailing away on the attack button, watching my health bar and if it got too low, I’d drink a potion. In the event that I ran out of potions, which happened all the time, I’d use the Recall spell to warp back to home base, refill, and warp back to then rinse and repeat. In the event that I was overwhelmed with enemies, which also happened all the time, the game slows down to a crawl and at this point it becomes easy to get trapped in a corner and die. This process led to many deaths and loss of progress, as I thought I’d be okay and go awhile without saving only to run into a strong enemy or get overwhelmed; this process was frustrating, but necessary to advancing.
Equipment and loot is a big part of dungeon crawlers and Record of Lodoss War disappoints. In my time with the game, I rarely happened upon loot dropped by enemies and the loot that I found in dungeons, I generally passed on. At the home base is a blacksmith to whom you can take your equipment and add ancient inscriptions which add stat boosts and special attacks. Adding these effects seemed helpful, if only incrementally and overall the blacksmith wasn’t much assistance, nor was there much depth to blacksmithing. Without this sense of continually upgrading my character, I’ve lost the will to continue playing the game and whenever I’d battle enemies and have it take forever to defeat them, I felt weak, as if I’d been cheated on the equipment available to me. Exploration wasn’t fulfilling either, the few dungeons I’d been in seem very gray, in fact the game as a whole feels very gray. The game has gotten to be more frustrating than fun and even if I had some connection with the source material, I can’t imagine I’d want to continue playing based solely on the story Record of Lodoss War presents.
At this point the price for Record of Lodoss War is relatively expensive; a quick search of Amazon and eBay says you’ll have to pay around twenty-five dollars for a used copy. The manual contains great information, but there isn’t anything outstanding about the overall package. Others might have more patience with Record of Lodoss War, but if you’re searching for an RPG for the Dreamcast, or just an older RPG to check out, there are many better options.