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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dwelvers PC Review - 8.5/10

Dwelvers is a dungeon management game. Dungeon management is kind of like an RTS except all your troops (or in this case minions/monsters) all follow their own agenda unless otherwise instructed to. The goal of the game is to mine into other dungeons, kill other monsters and heroes in order to have the biggest and best dungeon ever. The game is in its pre Alpha state but the product itself is finished enough to give me a decent review.

The Good:
I never thought I would have this much fun with a game like this. I always wanted to play Dungeon Keeper but I could never find it on Steam or anywhere else. While I believe this game doesn't have as much content, you could consider it a spiritual successor at least. Your main objective is to basically just mine through the small area you've been given. Within your area, you construct various pens and rooms to satisfy or strengthen your minions. The biggest problem you'll be faced with is the fact that you'll need to keep building more beds and such to satisfy your troops throughout the massive dungeons otherwise they'll have to walk back miles to get back to the main dungeon's first room.
The game has a good amount of strategy to it. Your troops can die but they can either be brought back to health just by sleeping in a bed or even become ghosts who can still fight for you. You get new troop types by killing other, newer monsters. Taking over enemy locations will allow you to build those places in certain cases. I've only found two, though I suspect this number may go up once the game is fully finished.

The Bad:
The game doesn't really explain much. Sure, there is a tutorial mode, but I shouldn't have to play it in order to know basic things. For example, every time you build something it costs materials. However, those materials need to be picked up manually by your troops. You can easily become overwhelmed with tasks once you've gotten a pretty good ways through the game. Resources to build these things are not infinite apparently. The one big problem I faced was trying to get more wood... however, there is no wood in the game at least not in this build. Does wood come from vines that are sometimes in the walls? If so, that is finite as well, or as far as I've seen. Apart from digging into my floors, I just can't find any more vines. After a while of messing around, I found that there is a mining block you can build over certain blocks. However, even that takes wood to build so build it too late and you can't build it. Even then I have no idea if the vines are even being mined. My wood count doesn't go up in the slightest and it doesn't look as if the vine is being mined at all. I think you're supposed to trade with other tribes but the game told me that after I had already exhausted my resources in order to build a trade station.
Speaking of not explaining much, I have no idea how to get more troops or get newer troops. Sure, I said that you get them by killing newer monsters but that doesn't always work. If you want to build a kitchen and a bar you need a Piggeh, a special type of monster for that. To get one you need to build a bed for it and they will just appear/be made. One time, I mined into a labyrinth, which I never found again after that playthrough. In that dungeon, there were these minotaur like creatures. After I killed them, nothing happened. I didn't get to make them or have them made for me. So I just didn't care after a while and then the game spits out one for me without any notice. A few times, a lot of my troops will complain they are hungry despite the fact I have a place where they can eat as well as a farm that gets the food. Am I missing something?

The Meh:
This is one of those games where you need to be using a mouse and not a track pad. Unfortunately, I have a laptop so I'm stuck using my USB mouse. I say need because you need to use the scroll wheel to move the camera 360. If you don't, prepare to A) not be able to finish the tutorial and B) constantly have your view obscured. You won't be able to see past walls unless you tear them down, which is bad if you accidentally bring enemies back to your base because they'll trash the place much easily now that nothing is impeding them. If this game could have a 'lower wall' tool like in The Sims, that would be greatly appreciated. At the very least, a few walls would be nice.

This is... actually a really good game. While I have a few gripes, its nothing to keep from playing/enjoying this game. For 15 bucks, its not a bad buy. The state the game is in may be incomplete, but there's enough to get me wanting to play it a little bit more.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Witcher 3 PC Review 10/10

The Witcher is (presumably) the last game in an RPG trilogy. Each game has done it's own unique take on the RPG genre. The first game was a slow, methodical, PC exclusive game. Its combat was rich, complex and very non newbie friendly. The combat was overhauled in the second game when it was released for 360 to draw in new players though it still stayed somewhat off putting when compared to other games like Elder Scrolls in terms of simply being able to pick up the game and play it without knowing the subtle nuances of every single detail.

The Good:
Another game that reminds me I need to update my graphics card. This game is beautiful in just about every way. From the striking scenery to the character models, this game does it's best to make sure the world feels real. The game still runs but its choppy at the lowest settings for my PC. Then again, 'still runs' is better than doesn't run at all.
It has been a few years but from what I remember of the second game, but from what I remember I can say that the combat has been improved. Wards feel properly like awesome magic while sword play is balanced through dodges, blocking, counters and the like. Its less mashing either the quick or heavy strikes and more skirting around opponents to get the best advantage and using your magic properly to affect the outcome of battle with as little damage gained as possible if possible. The enemies vary drastically as well. Men use various tactics but nothing too surprising in terms of what you'd expect a human to be able to do. Monsters on the other hand are the exception. Sure, you might understand how they work after a few times battling them, but they always seem to surprise you. Maybe the jump from out of the ground or even just circle around the marshes and uneven terrain to get the jump on you. You also have to be careful around them considering fighting something like a drowner or even a wolf is no easy task and should be handled with utmost caution if you don't wish to die. Basically, combat is good. Best I've seen in the series in fact.
One of the things I wasn't too happy with in the previous titles was the story. Well, I suppose the lore is a better way to say it. You were told about some things but you never really had the full picture. I know I never really finished either of the first two titles, but I shouldn't be left wondering about simple facets of the world when I'm halfway through the game. I'd hear about important characters through single sentences or characters that had pivotal moments for other characters in vague details. It wasn't bad, it just felt like I was the odd man out in a conversation I was desperately trying to interject myself into. Here, a lot more is talked about. "Where are the other witchers?" I asked myself while playing the second game. Now, I can see more than one witcher as well as their base. I always wanted to know what the Wild Hunt was and now I know... kind of. At the very least I can see what they look like.
Exploration seems to be key but you can be punished for running into enemies that are far above your level obviously. Then again, if your skill triumphs over the enemies you can pretty much do as you please. Apart from that you can also go underwater and apparently other enemies can be in the water with you as well. I've only seen drowners so far and, true to their name, they try and drown you. Areas vary from forests, marshes, bogs, cities and just about everything in between. There's a lot of varied places you can go to and they're visually stunning enough so that you're not always going to be bored.

Honestly, I have nothing much else to say. The game just hits all the right spots and I've enjoyed myself so far despite the choppiness I've had to deal with, but that's my computer's limitations. Its a really great RPG and it seems every other reviewer thinks so as well. Buy it if you like challenging RPGs and rich stories.
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