Legend of Grimrock 2 Review

legend of grimrock 2 review

When Blizzard approached the sequel to seminal Action-RPG Diablo, they expanded the gameplay beyond a single large dungeon-crawl into the deserts, jungles and forests of the larger world. Almost Human utilizes a similar design philosophy in creating the sequel to 2012′s Legend of Grimrock, a modernized but still old-school at heart first-person grid-based RPG.

Legend of Grimrock 2 still begins with a four person party of prisoners, only instead of being cast into a hellish dungeon, your ship crash lands into the mysterious island of Nex, home to a robed figure known as the Island Master, as well as a host of monsters and Grimrock’s intriguing brand of devious puzzles.

Many of the core gameplay mechanics remain the same from the original. You navigate the world one square at a time picking up items and weapons, searching for secret buttons and treasure chests and solving a myriad of puzzles. All the denizens of the island, including lots of new foes as well as some familiar faces (yes those terrifying spiders are back, and there’s a dungeon full of ‘em) follow the same square moving rules, and your approach to the ‘square dancing’ method of combat as either an important part of the gameplay or exploitative will still likely determine your overall enjoyment of the combat.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

Gotham – “Arkham” Recap and Review

As a contentious city council vote on the future of the Arkham district approaches, politicians from both sides are in danger. Gordon and Bullock must race to protect the council and an old friend visits Gordon.

gotham mayor arkham

Gotham has been teasing us with Arkham Asylum for the last three episodes, and this week finally puts the infamous insane asylum in focus. Sort of.

The old abandoned Arkham Asylum is at the center of a turf war between the two biggest mobsters in town – Falcone and Maroni, and the two will do whatever it takes to grab a bigger piece of the pie. It feels like the series has been somewhat building to this mob war, but it really just amounts to a single assassin taking out a few councilmen and going after the mayor. While the main killings and subsequent investigations are underwhelming, the political maneuvering behind them are somewhat interesting, and once again it’s the side stories that really lift this episode up.

“Arkham” picks up right where last week’s left off, with Oswald Cobblepot paying a friendly visit to a very shocked Jim Gordon at his own home. Oswald puts on his now familiar disarmingly friendly guise and Barbara’s equal friendliness is a funny contrast to Gordon’s complete inept to deal with the situation, until he leads Oswald outside and practically assaults him in the streets. “I should’ve killed you. I should put a bullet in your head right now!” Gordon’s rage is something we haven’t seen much of and I definitely like this side of him while he’s young and brash.

“There is a war coming, Jim,” Oswald exclaims before dropping more hints about Arkham. Oswald wants to play every angle he can, and what better way to upset the natural balance of mobsters vying for power than the one honest cop in Gotham?

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

Final Thoughts – The Swapper

I’ve finished another backlogged game from the excellent Humble Indie Bundle I purchased earlier this year thanks to Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

the swapper cover

Rogue’s Adventures has introduced me to a lot of non-violent puzzle games, especially in the last year – Antichamber, Fez, Portal, etc. The Swapper is absolutely the best of the bunch (yes, I enjoyed it more than Portal, I generally prefer 2D to 3D with my puzzle games) and is also one of the few games with a foreboding sci-fi horror theme that is never actually reaches heightened stages of horror. A friend of mine put it succinctly: It’s like the first 15 minutes of a sci-fi horror film where we’re delving into the danger before *** hits the fan, extrapolated over a five hour game.

To me that pervading sense of dread and curiosity without having to feel scared of zombies or aliens jumping out at me is a huge plus, and something I rarely get to experience in games. I really don’t do horror games and The Swapper’s emphasis on puzzle solving and exploration while still maintaining its creepy atmosphere of What Went Wrong was wonderful to experience.

 

Read the full Final Thoughts over on Game Informer >>

 

#GameMovieMashup

gamemoviemashup

Every once in awhile a fun hashtag pops up on twitter that I actually participate in (besides my own weekly movie live tweeting on #RogueDVDNight). On October 6th I noticed a friend tweet a #GameMovieMashup, which combines the titles of games and movies. I believe IGN started it, though I don’t actually follow them on twitter.

Anyway since twitter isn’t the easiest thing to archive and look up, I’ve compiled a list of the Game Movie Mashups that my friends and I furiously concocted on twitter that day. Many folks obviously had fun with the hashtag but I’m just including my friends below for some fun record-keeping.

 

Gotham – “The Balloonman” Recap and Review

Detectives Gordon and Bullock track down a vigilante who is killing corrupt Gotham citizens by attaching them to weather balloons. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot returns to Gotham and gets a new job close to an influential figure in the underworld.

gotham balloonman

I mentioned in last week’s review that I was growing fond of the focus on Penguin’s rise to power and the intriguing manner in which he’s portrayed – a sycophantic, underestimated sniveler who nonetheless squeezes out of dangerous situations and resorts to gruesome violence at the drop of a hat. It’s fun to watch this character from a “what the hell is he going to do next” point of view, and “The Balloonman” opens with his darkly humorous return to the city he loves.

Alas the actual titular villain is as lame as you imagine and much of the main structure of the episode is so heavy-handed in introducing a proto-vigilante that I worry about Gotham’s extreme dumbing down for the broader audience it’s trying to reach. I think going for that larger, non-comic book audience is great, but there shouldn’t have to be a compromise for heavy-handed dialogue and eye-rolling repeating themes.

After Penguin steps off the bus and becomes refreshed upon witnessing numerous petty crimes happening around him, we cut to what is apparently going to be our Murder of the Week. This one is a bit unusual, even for a comic world, as a crooked business man (we know he’s crooked because he’s literally on the phone telling his lawyer to pay off judges and jury members) gets accosted by a street vendor before he’s handcuffed to a weather balloon and sent soaring. It’s inventive, theatrical and silly, and it also means our poor detectives have no body to work with when they arrive on the scene.

Read the Full Review at Leviathyn >>

New Gameplay Video – Endless Legend

Our latest episode of Chamber of Game, the video series hosted by Leviathyn, takes a look at Endless Legend. Developed by Amplitude Studios who previously made well-received 4x space strategy game Endless Space, Endless Legend takes the action down to the planet of Auriga featuring fantastical factions and gameplay that’s very similar to Civilization while still introducing lots of new concepts and mechanics.

In this video Chris and I show off some of the early game while discussing how a race of murderous insect people are maybe just misunderstood.

Read More at Leviathyn >>

New Final Thoughts – Dust: An Elysian Tail

I’ve finished another backlog game from the excellent Humble Indie Bundle I purchased earlier this year. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

Dust-An-Elysian-Tail

Video games are extremely difficult to make, in cost, time and skill. The concept of the auteur has been around in film for decades – that a single filmmaker’s work on a film was as complete and total as an author of a book, but in games it’s exceedingly rare due to the amount of work involved. Thus I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dust: An Elysian Tail was created (designed, drawn and programmed) by one man – Dean Dodrill.

Originally crafted to be an old-school Castlevania-style platformer, Dodrill won the 2009 Dream.Build.Play Microsoft Challenge, resulting in a contract to provide a full-fledged release on Xbox Live Arcade, which eventually released as part of the Summer of Arcade promotion in 2012.

I mention all this as a testament to how well crafted the story and themes of Dust are, and though every indie studio can’t secure a big contract from Microsoft it’s an absolute joy to see the auteur surface in gaming.

Read the full Final Thoughts on my gaming blog >>

Gotham – “Selina Kyle” Recap and Review

selina kyle

Last week’s pilot episode was bloated with introducing familiar faces from Batman’s world as well as all new characters, but still managed to present a decent murder mystery that sets Gotham up as an institutionalized organized crime world that’s begging for a hero. In Fox’s Gotham, that hero is unfortunately a straight-laced Jim Gordon, who ended the pilot episode by pretending to go with the flow by faking the murder of Oswald Cobblepot. Penguin and the rest return in “Selina Kyle,” which I enjoyed a bit more than the pilot simply because the episode was not afraid to take the focus away from Gordon and Bullock and explore Gotham’s far more interesting characters.

The episode opens with young Bruce Wayne attempting to conquer his fear, as he opened up to Gordon about last week, by hovering his hand over a burning candle. Alfred catches him and immediately reprimands him before they embrace. This is an Alfred we’ve never before seen portrayed on screen – the young soldier who’s inexperience with child care is almost painful to watch. With Gordon being propped up as the obvious father-figure, it’s difficult to see where Alfred fits in. Hopefully their tense relationship allows us to dive a bit more into Alfred’s own past and personality.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

New Gameplay Video – Wasteland 2

With the help of my usual co-host and best friend Chris Renner, I’ve uploaded another episode of Chamber of Game to Leviathyn’s YouTube channel. This video looks at Wasteland 2, the Kickstarter-funded, Brian Fargo produced sequel to 1988′s Wasteland.

Wasteland 2 is a deliciously old-school cRPG involving custom character creation, branching dialogue, choice-driven narrative and turn-based tactical combat. As a huge fan of the early Fallout games, this is a dream come true.

Check out the link below for the Leviathyn write-up, and enjoy the embedded video.

Read More at Leviathyn >>

Rogue’s Adventures Now Has a Steam Group

RA steam group

This week Valve’s popular PC digital distribution and social gaming platform Steam underwent a rare major update, mostly in modernizing the Steam store page and adding more interesting ways to discover new games via Steam Curators.

Curators are formed from Steam groups, a way for like-minded gaming fans to get together. I, like many Steam users, never really paid much attention to Steam groups until now, as the Curator system is pretty interesting. Users can Follow like-minded groups or people such as TotalBiscuit and PC Gamer to see their recommendations.

With this new system in place I’ve finally made an official Rogue’s Adventures Steam group page. I added every game I’ve played on Rogue’s Adventures (Minus one, Beneath a Steel Sky is available on GoG but not Steam) into the Curator system, along with a brief note and a link to my Final Thoughts. Hopefully it will serve as a fun and easy way to view all the games I’ve played, as well as a more centralized hub that exists outside of Facebook (which I keep private for friends and family).