Gaming

Knights of Pen and Paper game review - whatwasithinking.co.uk

If you’re feeling a little nostalgic for the ‘90s, you may be intrigued by the Knights of Pen and Paper role-playing game, released by Behold Studios. The new RPG uses retro-style pixel art and old-fashioned storytelling in an attempt to help gamers recapture the love of the quest, before it went digital. But does this throwback RPG succeed or fall short? Here’s what you need to know about Knights of Pen and Paper:

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Concept

Many consider the Dungeons & Dragons era the height of role-playing, and Knights of Pen and Paper cleverly embraces that viewpoint rather than trying to compete with it. The basic concept of the game is that a group of friends play a classic pen-and-paper RPG together, complete with a Dungeon Master, who narrates the quests. The friends and Dungeon Master are present on screen at all times, with the fantasy world and quests emerging in the background, which gives Knights of Pen and Paper the feel of a game-within-a-game.

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Gaming

fortis rex logoToday I want to highlight another kickstarter game to you: Fortis Rex – Rise of the King, a faction-based, army commanding, non-linear RPG from Ancient Realms Studios. The game sounds very interesting to those interested in Mount & Blade and Warrior Kings.

Since Ancient Realms Studios’ original unsuccessful kickstarter campaign in September a lot has changed – for starters the campaign goal has shrunk a considerable bit (this time only needing $7,000), the game itself has has some work done and the team has come out stronger.

Trailer:


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To give you a bit of a different article I caught up with Ancient Realms Studios about the game…

Alex: Explain Fortis Rex in 10 words or less!

Ancient Realms Studios: An army-Commanding RPG in a Late-Medieval setting.

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Alex: As Fortis Rex has a bit of a “Mount & Blade” kind of feel to it, we can already see how combat is going to take place, so tell me a bit more about the RPG elements of Fortis Rex.

ARS: Fortis Rex has many elements of a traditional RPG, including quest-based gameplay, a drag and drop inventory system, and a stronghold the player can call their own. Players can complete dozens of quests with a non-linear storyline. You can exit out at anytime and seek your own adventures in a fully open game world, where you can go anywhere, anytime.

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Alex: You mention that you players can create their own game experience in a non-linear story. Without giving too much away, can you give me an example of how a player can tackle a quest – and how this will affect the world?

Fortis Rex screenshot
You will be asked to help merchants and villagers – whether you help them or not is up to you!

ARS: How the player completes quests determines their status in the game world. For example, let’s say you were given a quest to wipe out a particular bandit lair. When you get to the lair the bandits try to talk you into fighting for them, and destroy the villagers who gave you the quest. You have multiple options here: You can destroy the bandits with your army, go back to the village and wipe it out, or simply walk away and refuse to help either one. If you wipe the bandits out, word will get around and you’ll begin to become respected… Continue Reading

Gaming

legendsof dawn logoFirst off, Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you had some amazing days, met family and friends and got some great presents!

I’ve just been going through the kickstarter projects I backed, and I noticed a new project I would like to share with you. The project is Legends of Dawn (what, another “Dawn” game? Yes, I suppose there is a theme going on, but that was entirely accidental), a 3D fantasy RPG for PC. In a nutshell, Legends of Dawn is a very old-school style game, immediately it reminds you of Dungeon Siege and Neverwinter Nights, which in my books is already a winner!  However, unlike other games currently out there this game claims to have no restrictions in how and where you want to go and what you want to do. From the very beginning the game allows complete freedom in the way you tackle the main quest and how you explore (and fight enemies).

Trailer:

Tell me a story

The story sounds very promising: Trouble began in Korden’s Fall when miners and traders began to disappear and rumours of massacres began to circulate. Mistrust and terror fanned conflicts among the people who live in fear of the elves from the nearby region. The managers of the mines, known as the North Trade Guild, appealed to the king, and the once powerful Kordelis family that govern the region, for help. The king sends a unit to uncover the mystery surrounding the icy peaks of the Northern Highlands, under the experienced leadership of Sir Herken Salavon, your foster father.

You are one of the soldiers in the unit and insufficiently trained. The situation required immediate action. Waiting for you to complete your training was not an option. Concerned for your safety, your foster father leaves you behind in Korden’s fall and embarked on the quest with the rest of the men. He tells you as he always did, that people, not demons were behind the big evil.

So far this sounds very familiar to those who played Baldur’s Gate, Dungen Siege and similar games, and it is has been a successful formula so far. Let’s hear a bit more about the story from Dreamatrix:

Events take you from Korden’s Fall, through old, abandoned forts, dungeons once inhabited by dwarves and ancient tombs. You go from  the elven city Recea, to the Great Northern Swamps, and the magical city of Sidis Tarea inhabited by the Danians, a mystical race. You reveal the ancient scripts that tell the legends of dwarves, exterminated in the centuries-old war with humans, and stumble unto the greatest of them all, the Legend of Dawn. But most of its parts have been dismantled by great sages and hidden across the continent of Narr. The one who finds all the parts and reassemble them will restore its power, the only power that can dispel the dark forces over Ashglades. Returning Dawn to Ashglades will finally bring light to the endless darkness.

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Time to fight – the combat in LOD

combat screenshot

When tackling a project with near unlimited freedom you will need a decent combat system to make things happen and to keep the player entertained. Combat in Legend of Dawn is familiar to those playing NWN, Dungeon Siege or Diablo – you click on the monster and your player attacks it, one click per attack. Depending on weapon there are various aspects of cooldown, which in turn are affected by the player’s skills, active spells, auras or sacrifices. Dreamatrix discussed this recently: Continue Reading

Gaming

Days of Dawn logoSince my last post about Kickstarter projects gained quite a bit of traction I thought it might be sensible to have a look at a few projects in a bit more detail. This is going to be a regular series, trying to highlight a few gems along the way and hopefully help these projects in gaining backers and ultimately become successful. The first project I would like to draw your attention to is Days of Dawn, an RPG from German studio BumblebeeGames.

In a nutshell, Days of Dawn is an old-school roleplaying game set in the land of Kalea. You and up to 4 companions experience a beautifully rendered world and experience a powerful and non-linear adventure through ancient ruins, gloomy woods and hidden cities to unravel the mystery of a long forgotten past and discover the source of arcane powers.

Trailer:

Tell me a Story

The story sounds promising: the shepherd Caril is on the run from prosecuters of a girl he recently saved. On the run Caril learns that this girl, named Dawn, has been experiencing these powers for many years now, unable to control them in times of emotional stress. As they approach a nearby town, the two will soon learn that Dawn is not the only one.

I caught up with Tassilo, the project lead behind the game. He elaborated a bit more on the story and its non-linear element:

The story is running along three major storylines that meet at some specific points, which may be experienced from different perspectives. In addition, several of the games’ sidequests are dependent on having specific player-characters. Having Vaithee in your party, for example, will open up a range of quests related to her group of monster hunters, while having the priest in team will open up relations to the church, which will offer other sidequests. Some player-characters can be found on sidequests (but these will be accessible to all player characters).

This is also giving a nice replay value, espescially as even the main storyline is also divided into three paths.

 

The Magic of Emotions

Unlike other RPGs, emotions are where the magic happens – literally in fact. Emotions are the magic in Days of DawnContinue Reading

Gaming

Ace of spades logoGood news everyone! Ace of Spades is now available on Steam!

Ace of Spades, better known as “Minecraft meets Team Fortress” is an amazing little game with amazing depth, including the following game modes:

  • Team Deathmatch – The Grandaddy of them all. Kill the enemy, try not to die doing it.
  • Diamond Mine – Extract more diamonds out of the battlefield than the opposition.
  • Demolition – Demolish the enemy’s base before your own is decimated.
  • Multi-Hill – Classic King of the Hill. Hold your territory as it moves around the battlefield.
  • Zombie Mode – Survive the onslaught of the living dead. Failing that, join them.

Click here to buy it from Steam (£6.99)

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Gaming

Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition logoBack in the 90s there was an engine that pretty much defined RPGs as we know them now – the Infinity Engine. And the first big game on that engine was Baldur’s Gate, followed by Baldur’s Gate 2, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment and more. In short, times were amazing for RPG enthusiasts. GOG.com released BG1 and BG2 DRM-free a few years ago, and modders built a set of tools to enhance BG1 to run on BG2’s updated engine, enabling the game(s) to be played on latest hardware and widescreen monitors.

Not so long ago, Beamdog announced Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, and it has finally arrived on the iPad. But is it still an excellent game? Has its core gameplay survived the port to the iPad? Is it still the amazing game it used to be?

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An involving story

BG: EE revolves around an impressively deep story and mysteries. Why do people try to kill you? Why won’t your foster father trust you with what is going on? Why do you have to leave Candlekeep? Why are all the iron tools in the region suddenly crumbling and disintegrating? The story begins at quite some speed, forcing you out of your home, making you find allies, form parties, take on quests and sidequests (though sometimes you don’t know which is which, which is quite nice). Unlike other recent RPGs (e.g. Skyrim) you can’t just wander off and explore the lands to your heart’s content… Continue Reading

Gaming

Kick starter logoThere is no denying that many creative minds had quite a few successful projects on Kickstarter. Projects like OUYA, Project Eternity, Star Citizen or Shadowrun Returns have been backed successfully, and despite some horror stories things are looking bright! Today I thought I’d share my backed projects, possibly convincing some of you to still back them.

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1. Project Eternity

Project Eternity was my first project I backed, and not only that, changed my pledge a couple of times (upwards of course!). Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPG’s that we enjoyed making – and playing. This project pays homage to the great Infinity Engine games of years past: Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment – all games I loved in the past and which I bought on Gog.com the moment they were released.

Trailer:

Thankfully the game was successfully backed, and not only that, it was the most backed project (before Star Citizen at least) – a tremendous achievement! If you love some of the greatest RPGs of the past decade then I strongly recommend you have a look at this game. Not only that, if you still want to back this project then you can do that here.

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2. Star Citizen

Star Citizen aims to revive the space flight genre. It brings the visceral action of piloting interstellar craft through combat and exploration to a new generation of gamers at a level of fidelity never before seen. At its core Star Citizen is a destination, not a one-off story. It’s a complete universe where any number of adventures can take place, allowing players to decide their own game experience. Pick up jobs as a smuggler, pirate, merchant, bounty hunter, or enlist as a pilot, protecting the borders from outside threats.

Trailer:

Star Citizen turned out to be the most funded game ever, with over $2,000,000 on kickstarter and over $4,800,000 on the RSI website, where you can still back it if you are interested.

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3. Sui Generis

Sui Generis interested me because of its great looking combat. Unlike your traditional RPGs, Sui Generis is not about running around killing hordes of enemies in order to collect experience points and numerous items. It is about exploring a world and being involved in major events there. What exactly you do and how you do it is entirely up to you. The world is carefully designed to be believable and have a life of its own. It is not there to wait for you to go on quests, trigger events or make decisions. Events will take their course and may take a turn for the worse if you don’t get involved. The Witcher anyone?

Trailer:

Sui Generis was successfully funded on Nov 29th. You can still help fund the game by visiting Bare Mettle’s website.
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4. Limit Theory

Limit Theory offers you the chance to explore a vast universe, prospect and mine minerals in asteroid fields, take jobs as a patrolman, escort, bounty hunter, courier, etc, or become a pirate and hijack convoys. When you’ve acquired enough wealth, hire other pilots and purchase more ships. Customize and outfit your fleet with whatever weaponry and equipment you desire, then fly alongside your armada in combat, or send them off to explore, trade, or conquer while you attend to other affairs. No restrictions are placed on the number of ships that you can own. A wealthy player can play the game much like an RTS, achieving victory from afar.

Trailer:

Limit Theory’s kickstarter campaign will end in 13 days from now, and it has already reached its goal. You can still pledge towards the strech goals and make the game even more awesome here.

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5. War for the Overworld

War for the Overworld interested me because it immediately reminded me of Dungeon Keeper and Overlord, two amazing game franchises which deserve a lot more love! In War for the Overworld you have the power to create vast dungeons filled with hordes of evil minions who share a common goal: to crush the bones of the goodly heroes that dare to enter your unhallowed halls. You will command mighty armies, create vicious traps and cast dastardly spells to overcome the pitifully gallant armies that defend foolish principles such as “honour” and “righteousness“.

Trailer:

The campaign is still running for another 25 days and needs a lot more pledge love, so please if you can help then visit the kickstarter page.

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6. Forsaken Fortress

Forsaken Fortress reminds me a bit of Fallout meeting Left 4 Dead meeting X-Com. Unlike many other existing post-apocalyptic RPGs, Forsaken Fortress emphasizes simulation features such as base building, character personality/interaction, and resource collection. You will need to lead a group of survivors to construct your base and maintain its basic functions, such as electricity generation or food storage. Meanwhile, you will ensure the base’s security by building defenses and setting traps. You will also need to lead your expedition team to the wasteland to gather supplies and to work on missions, balancing their professional skills in order to maximize their effectiveness. Characters in Forsaken Fortress are highly dynamic in their behavior. They have needs, goals and personalities which will influence their daily life and decision making. Some of them may fall in love and some of them may not get along, but all them bring life to the devastated, forsaken world.

Trailer:

The campaign is running for another 12 days and desperately needs a bit more pledge love. If you like Fallout Tactics, X-Com and more then please help here.

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The ones that didn’t make it…

The nature of kickstarter is that some projects are left on the wayside, never to see the light of day. There are many reasons for this: lack of interest, badly managed campaign, lack of communication, lack of self-promotion. Games like Thorvalla (link) or Nexus 2 (link) for example could have been amazing, but hey, maybe next time.

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