Tag Archives: Time

Early Access: Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises

20160530112031_1 Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises is a multiplayer-only, real time strategy (RTS) game in Early Access. When I say multiplayer, only I mean that there is no single player story mode. There are only single player practice rounds. At the start of the game you choose one of five factions to join, each of which gives you a slight bonus to things like starting gold and reduced resource requirements for certain units. From here you can play three separate types of games:

1. Empire: This is the largest. It pits you against other players or AI for control of the world. You battle over different regions in the name of your faction. There are a lot of teams on the board and this game can take a while to play through.
2. Conquest: This is the standard match. You start with a castle and a few peasants who can build or harvest for you. You slowly build an army and take on other players or AI in practice.
3. Battle: You create an army list by choosing from several units, then you just send your army after your opponents.

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Playing against the AI is a huge pain in the ass, especially for someone who has rarely played RTS games. The AI builds much faster and more efficiently than you do. It can create huge armies very quickly and wipe you out by the time you create your first few units. I’m sure someone with much more experience in this genre could deal with the enemy a lot easier. However, since there is no way to change the AI difficulty, new players are for the most part shut out pretty early on. Playing the practice modes was about as much as I was able to do. Every time I tried to get into a human match the game reminded me that there were only 4 people playing. I waited in a queue for a while but was eventually unable to find a game.

In terms of game play, there really isn’t anything new or interesting here. Everything Avalon Lords does has been done already (and much, much better). The tech progression is fairly bog standard. You build buildings to get different units. You upgrade those buildings to get better units. You can build places that will research buffs for your units, or what have you. You have a central focus on gaining resources like iron, gold or wood with peasants in order to build. There’s really nothing in this game that you wouldn’t find in any other RTS. On top of that, the generic medieval theme has been done to death.20160531112829_1

The controls are finicky and unpleasant when you try to drag over a bunch of units to select them, or try to move the map to get to where you want. You sometimes end up on the complete opposite side of the map from where you intended. The developers have recently announced that they are making the game free-to-play. So in the future be wary of this game not only being out-shined by other RTS games (including many free ones), but also being filled with micro-transactions. This is speculation, so we’ll just have to see.

The most fun I had with Avalon Lords are the short battle games. Here you just choose units for your roster and send them out against your opponent. I found it was best to send them all in one large clump, since that’s mostly what your opponent will being doing. Here you just watch them all fight and die. Then the game ends, nice and simple. No resource management or building nonsense; just a quick fight. You can choose the configuration of your list so that you can have all archers or crossbowmen, or all weak sword guys, or heavy shielded guys…or any combination thereof. It’s over in under five minutes, and then you can do something else with your time.

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-Jordan Kamm-

Haven Review: Guilty Gear 2 -OVERTURE-

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Meth: it’s a hell of a drug. It can mess people up in the head and it’s why I assume the developers thought making
an open combat game from the Guilty Gear series was a good idea. But all jokes aside, the game is notoriously bad. When you start playing a Guilty Gear title you expect a nice fighting game where you can battle your opponents and friends.    But this title makes you say “what the hell” with its real time strategy style combat and giving Sol Badguy various abilities he has never had before. It also aims to tie all the canon main fighting characters into a single game. Its first initial goal is to literally confuse the players by explaining how magic works.

But I digress. As I start playing the game it introduces the mechanics to me slowly in a almost never ending barrage of tutorial missions. Once you think you have finished one, you are stuck yet again doing more and more; and I use the term “mission” loosely. A typical mission will have a start and stop to it. The missions in this game start but are soon followed by several other baby missions until the overall mission is completed.guilty-gear-2-overture-1254403743

The game comes across as a jumped mess of things, with elements from various genres, including MOBA and RTS. These are combined with a Hack’n’Slash that you would expect to see in a Dynasty Warriors title. Some of the elements work while the others are an utter disappointment. The overall game feels like it is just trying too hard to reinvigorate a game series that isn’t known as well as Street Fighter.

This all leads me to beg with the developers and plead and say “Stop, please, drugs are bad, stop taking Meth or whatever you are taking to think this game is good”. The game’s controls are possibly one of the worst, and for a good while I was just trying to figure out how to run in a stage. But it doesn’t teach you until roughly the eighth tutorial mission. For anyone who is wondering, it’s R3 on the controller. God have mercy on you if you’re using a keyboard.gg_overture2

Now the overall plot to each stage is to take over tiny little magical tower things by attacking them and bringing your troops over so you can produce more troops and clear the areas. Its easy enough, considering the Hack’n’slash of the game gives you the ability to kill a lot of things with ease. The boss fights remain a total bore and are some of the worst I have ever played in a game to date. So is a lot of the corny dialog and the lip-syncing to the characters, although it’s what to expect with little love given to a port of a game. They must not have had a lot of hope for the game selling well in the Western and European markets.gg_overture4

The overall design of the stages don’t really stand out to me in a good way either. You get to see a fully rendered Sol Badguy, Ky and the rest, but when you look at the background it feels as if they took stock assets from other titles or developers and threw them in there with warped buildings that remain unexplained in the game’s narrative. The only real saving grace of the game is the music and just how well the actual cut-scenes are done. But even then it’s not good enough for us to merit this game being good.

The controls are sluggish, the music is alright, the cut-scenes are good, the design overall is poor and it’s filled with enough tutorials to make anyone rage. But hey, if you actually read all this and you still think it’s good, then by all means go and buy it! I won’t condemn you. It is your money after all!

-Daniel Clatworthy-
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Haven Review: Stella Glow

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

SGCoverRGBStella Glow is yet another title from the Atlus game company, and being honest the last few titles from them have been less than enjoyable. These include Legend of Legacy and Etrian Odyssey II, so I go into this with low expectations.

However right from the start, I noticed another company had a hand in making this title; my old friend SEGA. The game started and I was instantly taken to a screen where apparently a previous protagonist is being engulfed in some type of fire; he is dying as his teammates look on. So now I’m intrigued as I try to struggle with looking past the flames that are burning and engulfing me, and a promise is made so that no one else will have to suffer the same way.

The game soon cuts to a girl named Lisette in the village of Mithra, talking about a previous hero who stopped God’s wrath by sacrificing himself.Stella-Glow-Hilda_11-04-15 I assume this to be the previous protagonist from the cut-scene. Before long she learns that her adopted brother is off in the forest hunting, and she runs after him. As soon as they meet they’re tossed into the first battle of the game!

Combat is in the form of a Final Fantasy style tactic, with the twist that players are allowed to move around the board only a certain number of steps. When he gets close to an enemy he can attack. The game instructs the player to attack rear flanks, as enemies are weaker there. Upon attacking you are treated to a nice cut-scene of the player battling with the monster. It was a nice change from what I’ve seen in other game titles. It also gives a nice look at character appearance, in an in-depth…albeit chibi design. After the battle ends and you continue on with the story, you are treated to some spectacular voice acting that made me just want to play the game even more. The voices felt like they belonged with the characters. I also noticed that the voice actors never once went off script, where as in other games the text would say one thing and the voices another. Everything was precise and to the point, explaining the story so I wouldn’t get lost.2954587-harbingers+2

As I continued on with the game, Lisette soon became a witch and I was told to tune her soul, which played out as you would expect. No hidden mini-game, no random hidden feature, just a small story cut-scene again where I talk to her and am given some “yes” or “no” options. I was a little confused when the prologue was over. It said the story is now mine to tell, but through playing the game there was very little room for customization (outside of character creation).

The game itself is very limiting as well, as to what the player can actually do. Through my entire time playing, it felt as if the story was just advancing without much of my input. At times I felt forced to grind away.Stella-Glow-Dated-JP_03-09-15 I get that a role-playing game wants to tell a story, but it felt more like a Telltale game where I don’t get a choice between going to point A or to point B. I was just forced to do it.

Overall though, despite that one flaw with the game, I have been having a good time playing through and I wish there was more I could do. But I suppose some things are just not meant to be. I recommend picking up Stella Glow if you have the money laying around, as it’s a fun title and the story to me at least is fairly good; even with its blatant attempt at a materia-like setup for its weapons.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
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