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Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Current Time 6:38:14am

 Design Director, Stuart Jeff gives us an overview of development studio Sparkypants and their upcoming RTS game Dropzone!


Neocore's, Viktor Juhasz talks about the upcoming RTS game set in the Warhammer 40K Universe, Inquisitor Martyr.

Technical Product Manager, James Lang talks about the new and improved A50 Wireless Gaming Headset from Astro

Xavier S H reviews the Xbox One version of Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. A review code was provided for this report.

Age of Decadence Review - PC
Developer: Iron Tower Studio  Genre: RPG

by: Luke Horn - 10/30/15

So you want to be a hero? Think again – heroes end up dead – at least in this game. The Age of Decadence is set in a Romanesque world where the moral and ethical fabric has deteriorated and one is forced to become the Byronic hero. It doesn't take one long to realize you have to make hard choices because the wrong ones will quickly put you in a pool of your own blood. You can't save everyone and you definitely can't be the valiant heavenly hero.


As a character, you are cast into a deadly world where society has fallen apart after a long era of war and destruction. There are several backgrounds to choose from which directly affect your character's ties and influences in society. However, you are not stuck to certain skill and attribute trees based on your choice. This was a positive aspect of the game. A negative aspect of the game was the lack of character physical customization. You are given few choices on appearance – given today's capability to do so, this was disappointing.

Your character starts with little to his name and must quickly find ways to advance. My beginning choices centered on deception and assassination as I chose to play a thief, which fit nicely into such a dark and violent world. The combat system is turn based and works well with the hard core RPG world the game is depicting. You may choose to fight often or simply roleplay your way through many situations. I found myself using deception and charisma as staples to my survival. This allowed me to avoid being killed in combat – because in this game death is always just around the corner. The skill tree is robust and provides a rich gaming experience. It melds nicely with the game and allows the player to enhance his/her abilities without undermining the strategy one must use in order to succeed. There are around 23 skills to choose from and the way you can use them varies. When you add this to the detailed crafting and alchemy focus, it gives the player a well-rounded game to play.

The world that has been created is vast and complicated. The combat system is turn based and is far from a simple 'Hulk smash' style. Each combat you enter into needs to be well thought out and strategy must be used. During each round of combat you receive action points and you need to spend them wisely in order to come out alive. Do not approach this in a hack-and-slash manner or you will end up meeting your god sooner than you like.

One of the draws of the game is its complex dialogue and choices your character can make. This really gives the player a unique experience. You may play it multiple times and the gaming experience stays fresh.

There are some disappointing aspects to the game. The graphics are lackluster and provide little excitement to the game. As gaming is such a visual experience, I wanted more from this side of the world. I want beautiful landscape and haunting battle scenes. The movement is often more complicated than it needs to be. I constantly found myself trying to reorient my views and center things on my character. It slowed the gameplay down a good bit for me.

However, this game provides hardcore RPG players with a plethora of options and its choices are complex and do not disappoint when it comes to the roleplaying aspect. It has a post-modern feel in the non-linear format that it uses and challenges one to think before they act – which is refreshing. The graphics left me unsatisfied from a visual aspect. However, the designers had other things in mind when they created this game. The wit and cleverness of the game allows one to easily forget the graphics. At its core, The Age of Decadence is more a Shakespearian play in the park than a Hollywood depiction of Beowulf. It is a buy for me. 8 out of 10. A review code was provided for this review.

Xavier S H reviews Xbox One version of Blood Bowl 2. A review code was provided for this report.

Armello Review - PS4
by Luke Horn - 09/18/15

In a golden age of science fiction, RPGs and board games such as Pathfinder and Munchkin, Armello has found an ever growing niche that capitalizes on our social geekdomness - digital board games. The digital format for board games, while at one time scorned; has found a home with all of us new age geeks. Armello's beauty and mechanics provide a mix of play, making it one of the most visually pleasing and technically sound digital board games out there.

The plot of the game is fairly simple, the king of Armello has the Rot; a terrible disease that not only kills those it infect, but also turns them into an evil beings. The four clans – Wolf, Bear, Rabbit and Rat – are racing to the king to either take his place on the throne or save him. There are several ways in which to replace the king and depending on your nature, you can do this in a good or an evil way. Like most RPG games, each clan or character has strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to determine their alignment.

The board setup is very reminiscent of Catan and provides a natural feel for avid board gamers. Like many popular board games, the way you choose your movements across the board is what provides the strategy of the game along with the cards you collect. Be sure to think about what card you are playing and why. This is the other strategic part of the game and makes for a fun and complex setting. Play the wrong card and it can have just as bad of an impact as a botched dice roll. Due to the vast amount of outcomes, Armello is able to stay fresh for its audience.

The luck of dice rolls plays in an integral part of the game but in my opinion it does not dominate the game, it actually adds to its playability. Many of us have played Risk and know a battle is won or lost on a dice roll. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “And So It Goes.” What makes Armello so enticing is the fact that it has taken some of the best elements of the games we love and rolled them into one. Whether you like Magic, Catan, or Game of Thrones, you should be pleased by this multi-faceted digital board game.

Armello can be rather complex but developer League of Geeks has provided a fantastic tutorial that one can quickly learn the game with. With the tutorial it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to grasp the gameplay.

The multiplayer mode allows for up to four players and provides the heart of the game. We all love board games and make no mistake about it, being able to brag to your friends about how smart you are when you win is important. Luckily in today’s digital world we have been provided with formats that allow us to still do this even when our friends move away! Armello gives us the board game, without the drive that many of us no longer have the time for.

Let the dust keep settling on your cardboard board games and pick up a controller. Armello gives one both the convenience of no travel and the enjoyment of a vivaciously blended board game without the headache of waiting for that one time a year when the stars align and we suddenly find a day and time where everyone can meet. I give Armello 9 out of 10! See you online! A review code was provided for this review.

 

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