Friday, February 10, 2012

The Verdict: Reckoning

Last time I talked about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, but mostly about the hype I heard about leading up to the the release and my buying/installing experience. (Yes, I do now have Steam, Impluse, and Origin on my laptop. And yes, Origin does have pop-ups. And yes, I do hate it.)

Anyway, Reckoning. It's awesome. There world is huge, there's a ton to do, and lots of weapons to master. The leveling/skill/class system is intuitive and fun. There's some serious Elder Scrolls vibe going on in the story and quest direction, but the combat is indeed much more exciting. I think the closest game I've played with similar combat is Devil May Cry. Just with less demons and a lot more obese bears, unfriendly elves, and boggarts (but not like the ones in Harry Potter, these ones are kind of charming).  

If you like fantasy games, RPGs, or opportunities to be extremely violent without too much blood, you need to pick this game up. Also, when I said "extremely violent" back there, I was referring to the finishing moves in "Reckoning Mode" wherein you pretty much obliterate a bad guy with excessive force. Sometimes these are in slow motion and very awesome. I've stopped to yell and point at the screen with excitement more than once because of these. But like I said, not much blood. I guess that could please or disappoint, but I'm kind of glad. 

That big shiny thing is about to be plunged bloodlessly into that guy.
There's not really much else I can think of to say. You should buy this game. It's awesome. Also, be prepared to get a TON of crap if you went out of your way to do the demo and get as much pre-order swag like I did. I'd actually recommend the demo first because it sets you up with a sweet weapon and a nice armor set. The fate-touched weapons pack and the armor sets from Gamestop were almost immediately replaceable (the compass thing and the twist of fate card are legit though). 

My one immediate complaint about this game is the weird durability stat on gear. I know a lot of games do this, but in Reckoning it doesn't really seem to serve a purpose. Also, if you have a rare or unique weapon or armor the repair costs will be disproportionately HUGE. However, you can avoid paying up by just using a repair kit (which you can buy for a fraction of the cost, usually from a vendor close to the repair guy), so it's not the end of the world. Also, so many weapons drop as you adventure that you probably won't use a particular weapon that long unless it's for sentimental attachment. That all said, why go through the effort to create such an unreasonable pricing scheme and yet make it so easily avoidable? It seems almost like a money sink for noobs who aren't paying attention. What's the point? Patch that out!

In conclusion, I give Reckoning 5 fate cards out of 5 for a fresh, immersive, RPG experience where killing the bad guys is a whole lot more fun than usual. Below is some footage of Reckoning kills. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Overly-Long Title Reckoning is at Hand! [Updated! x 2]

If you're into videogames then you've probably heard some buzz about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning which comes out tomorrow. I've seen some adds, read a gripe that it was too long, and heard an interview* with the studio founder (and baseball hall of famer), Curt Shilling. These caused me to check out the demo, which sold me completely.

The easiest way to describe Reckoning is by saying that it's a lot like Skyrim, but less bleak and with much, much more interesting combat. Granted, it will take a lot to top the feeling I got the first time a dragon swept over the roofs of a small village and landed in front of me, queuing up that awesome music, but I'm more than willing to give it a chance. 

Being that the game isn't out yet, when I bought it earlier today it technically qualified as a "Pre-Order." Since I don't usually buy games at full price, this is the first time I've been in the position to choose between the various pre-order swag offers that have become so popular. At first I was just going to get the game off Steam, but all it came with was some  items for Team Fortress 2, which I don't really play. I had heard on a podcast that there were some bigger offers out there, so I Googled it and found this to really be the case

There were individual offers from Origin, Walmart, and BestBuy, plus even more stuff if you bought from Gamestop or Amazon. Nothing for Steam. Normally I dont think this would have bothered me so much, but the in-game items do look cool! In the end, I decided I would go with a digital copy from Gamestop because it gave the most (and most interesting) stuff. Turns out Gamestop also has a Steam ripoff called Impluse. So at this very moment I'm downloading Reckoning on Impulse. With some luck, maybe I'll be able to play it at midnight eastern time, meaning I can sneak in a few minutes at 10pm. 

I don't trust Gamestop for crap, so I made sure my login info was unique and didn't save my credit card number. We'll see how it goes having another platform just for one game. Hopefully I don't regret it. 

*That link takes you to the podcast page, which has a various options for listening. The interview is the last 28 minutes of the cast, starting at the 67 minute mark. 

So, I got the game all downloaded and installed and what pops up? A prompt to download and install Origin, that's what! I guess I knew this would happen one day, but it made me wonder what would have happened if I had bought it on Steam. I'm never really heard of buying a game on Steam and then needing to install Origin. Anyway, I appear to be partway through installing the game again in Origin. I really hope I'm doing this right.... More updates to follow.

*****UPDATE! x 2*****
The game is installed and ready to go! I'm pretty sure I've got two copies installed, but I think I'll be able to erase one of them after an initial activation or something. However, in good news, Origin or whatever tells me that I can fire the game up Monday, February 6th 2012  at 22:00. Woot.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Would you believe me if I said the hiatus was due to playing too many video games? Well, it's not that true, but we'll just say that it is.

Today I wanted to write about an game called Puzzlejuice for the iPhone/iPad. Puzzlejuice was created by the roommate of my very favorite internet person, Sean "Day[9]" Plott. (See his link on the sidebar.) I bought it on his recommendation and it does not disappoint. It's a game at professes to "punch your brain in the face." If you like match-3 games and/or Tetris and/or word games like Boggle or Text Twist, this is the ultimate game for you.

Gameplay works as follows: Tetris-like pieces made up of various colors drop from the top of the screen. When you match three of the colored blocks together or when you make a line of blocks, they turn into letters. Then, using your finger, you spell out words with the letters, which then clears the blocks.  Simple, right!?

It does sound a bit complicated at first, but after the first 30 seconds or so it all comes together. You can also earn powerups and such as you accomplish objectives, making for an innovative and fun experience. The game itself is very encouraging, calling you things like "awesome" and "bro." It had a few bugs at release but has since been patched and runs smoothly. It's $1.99 on the app store and totally worth it! 

I give Puzzlejuice four Brosefs out of five, for unique and engaging gameplay and a surprising sense of humor.