Another long day spend roaming around PAX means another night when I am going to write brief previews of the more interesting games I checked out today that I hope to eventually do a full review on and also to suggest these as titles to keep an eye open for. Why do I think it is a good idea to write this type of article in the wee hours of the morning when my brain is no longer in a functioning state and I feel half dead is beyond me, though I think the answer is in my question. Anyway, enough of my moronic ramblings, I am going to keep the off topic intro paragraph uncharacteristically short me and cut to the good stuff.
Ray’s The Dead: As you may have guessed by the title, this is a game where you take control of a zombie, presumably a zombie named Ray. This is a story driven action/stealth game where you kill people and turn them into new zombie friends. As the master zombie, you dispatch your zombie friends to perform various tasks to open up the environment to advance the story. This includes sending them underground to knock down stone pillars, I by damaging the foundation, and killing humans for you when there are just too many for one mouth to feed on. Combining puzzle, action, and stealth elements, this has potential to be a fun and somewhat fresh take on the increasingly large library of available zombie themed games.
Apocalypse Cow: This is a humorous 2D side scrolling action game which to my understanding involves a plot centered around destroying mobile phone and tablet gaming because those games are terrible. Comparisons to Bro Force are impossible to avoid, both in terms of visuals and gaemplay, but that is not to say that this game does not stand alone on its own merits. Unforgiving platforming around various death traps keep you on your toes amidst the fire fights between you and your enemies, and using your weapons to move some of these traps around to allow for ease of egress add a strategic element to the carnage. A unique and interesting game play mechanic is the ability to use a button to slow the passage of time. This is a feature that seems essential to get past certain obstacles, but it also fun to use just in middle of regular gameplay. Tacking on a bunch of pop culture jokes such as the Lich King standing on the mast of the Titanic proclaiming to be King of MMORPGs show this one as having potential to be a very entertaining game, especially if you have a friend to play local co op with.
Chronoblade: This is a mobile game that is awesome. Hang on, allow me to repeat myself because I don’t think I read that correctly. This is a mobile game that is awesome. There is a sentence I never thought I would type but it is true. This is expected to be released in the US in early 2016 and is currently in development for mobile platforms but the plan is to also get it released on console and PC, hence discussing it on a Steam site is not completely inappropriate. This game looks like it could be on the Playstation Vita and plays more like a release for that system than what you would typically think of when you hear the phrase mobile game. Chronoblade is like an online hybrid of old school brawlers like Golden Axe or Capcom’s D&D Tower of Doom or Shadow Over Mystara, and modern loot hunting action RPGs like Diablo. There are four unique characters and there are millions of various items that change your stats and characters and appearance. The game uses the idea of a multiverse, for example, one character is from a typical fantasy world and another character is from a steam punk world, so there are a couple different styles present in this game. The controls on the mobile device use a virtual thumbstick and touch screen attack buttons and are incredibly smooth. You can play through a level by yourself or cooperatively, and there is also a PVP if you and your friend decide it would be fun to beat the crap out of each other. A lot of work was put into this game to treat it like a major PC release instead of a cheap cell phone app. This game has the distinction of being the only mobile platform game I have any intention of buying. My personal preference is to hold off for the console or PC release they mentioned that they are planning on, but I was impressed enough by this that if it only gets released to mobile device I will purchase it for that platform. I cannot stress this enough, this is not a typical “mobile game:” it may be on a mobile phone but it can stand against quality PC games.
Eon Altar: This is a turn based team RPG. The concept of this game is it is designed to play with friends in the same room as you. The game is run on the computer monitor, and each player downloads an app to their smartphone and uses that as the controller. Each person controls a different class in battle and you can use unorthodox strategy to turn the tide of battle in your favor. For example, if you are playing a magic using character you can cast a large fireball spell that damages a group of enemies but also damages your own teammates. Why would you do such a thing you ask? Certain classes gain damage bonuses when they are near death, so you deal a lot of damage to the enemy faction, and then your enraged and enflamed berserkers can finish them off with their enhanced damage. I was told a typical campaign can be completed in about 90 minutes, so it is a good length to get a couple friends over and a fun RPG fix without having to budget a huge chunk of time to do so. Combat is team turn based, so all the enemies attack and then all of you attack. This is a good set up so you can discuss combat strategy and order of attack to have the most effective outcome.
Orcs Must Die Unchained: This is a tower defense game. I played this game with a group of people with each of us being a different character. Each character has a unique set of attacks and special traps. We had to survive 10 waves of attacking hordes. Before each wave we had some brief time to set up traps, whether they be on the floor, wall, or ceiling, and then we would battle wave after wave of monsters trying to defend our base. The traps slowed them down and did damage them, but actual success came from everyone fighting them as a team. The game was very action oriented and fast paced, it was a good blend of strategy and mindless carnage, and while the actual battle wasn’t very long it was quite enjoyable.
Divinity Original Sin II: There is so much to say about this game I don’t even know where to begin. This is an RPG where you control a party of four characters. Every encounter you have with someone there is a branching dialogue tree that can lead to different outcomes. So far this doesn’t sound too different from other RPGs but the amount of depth the designers put into this game is astounding. Your party members react to everything different based on their backgrounds. For example, you come across a statue and each character has a completely different ethnocentric reaction to who the statue is and how they feel about what it represents. Each party member also has different motives for each quest you take, but the disagreements can go far enough to where certain party members can work against each other. You can split up party members to multiple players, and actually have them fight each other to do the death. Combat is turn based and can be very complex if you want to make it so. You can combine spells such as casting a grease field over the field the enemy group is, and then set the grease on fire to really deal out the pain. If you really want to add to the mess, cast a water spell on the grease fire to make it explode. You can craft items and spells to create new ones, such as creating a spell to rain grease down on enemies, or if you happen to be a Slayer fan, craft a spell to make it rain blood. Every NPC you kill releases their soul into the world, and if you ant to be a real bastard you can trap their soul into a stone so that they never may return to this world. You would want to do this because you can use these items to grant yourself source points to perform special abilities. You can kill someone, talk to their spirit to gain information, and then imprison their soul. This type of diabolical behavior just appeals to me in games. This game was practically causing my brain to short circuit just thinking about how many hours I can sink into it along with how many different possible ways there are to play the game and complete quests. This game intrigued me to no end and when it is released I intend to figure out some way to find the time to play it. I saw the first Divinity Original Sin at PAX East in 2014 and thought it looked great but never got around to it. After seeing the work being done on the sequel today I am kicking myself for that becoming one of the many games on my list of must play but never got around. Follow me on Twitter