Gotham – “Penguin’s Umbrella” Recap and Review

As violence between Maroni and Falcone continues to escalate, Penguin reveals a new component of his manipulative strategy, forcing Gordon to deal with the consequences of his decision to spare Penguin’s life.

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Last week’s excellent episode left us with an exciting cliffhanger – Oswald Cobblepot reveals himself at the police station just as Gordon and Bullock are getting arrested for his murder. As the payoff episode to the longest running plot thread of the series, “Penguin’s Umbrella” falls a bit short in the end, but still gives us some supremely fun moments – including our first encounter with Batman villain Victor Zsasz. Gordon is forced to take some rather extreme measures in an attempt to save his skin, allegiances are tested, betrayals revealed and Carmine Falcone gets to come out as one of the smartest, most socially and business savvy people in Gotham, as he should be.

We begin with Penguin looking decidedly more penguin-y: he’s got his own mini-entourage to go along with his limp and over-sized shoes. Fish Mooney is less than enthused at the sudden news that he’s alive, and orders her right-hand man Butch Gilzean to bring her Jim Gordon.

Our hero, meanwhile, is entering full blown panic mode. I’m disappointed that we don’t pick up directly after the final moments in the previous episode as it was set up to give us a satisfyingly dramatic scene, but it also would’ve necessitated a lot of info dumping which we already knew. Gordon is clearing out his locker and giving Barbara the old ‘pack your bags and get out of town’ phone call when Bullock arrives with a sucker punch and holds Gordon at gun point. Jim lying about killing Oswald also puts Bullock in rather hot water with the mob, and he’s understandably furious with Gordon.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

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Dungeon of the Endless Review

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We were on Floor 11, and we were in trouble. Our supply of Dust was reduced to dangerous levels after the most recent wave, and we could barely power the rooms around our crystal. Our healthy buildup of Industry and node access was crippled by our lack of power. We spread our heroes around to deter as many enemy spawns as we could, but still they came as we searched for the exit.

Finally we took a gamble and opened several rooms at once, starting off a terrifying chain of enemies that would be our doom. Except one of the rooms contained the exit to the final level. We grabbed the crystal and ran through hordes of foes, using our last remaining food supplies to keep everyone alive until they reached the exit. We made it, but only just, and if the final floor was any indication there was a good chance we wouldn’t make it out alive.

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The scenario above is only one such experience from playing through Dungeon of the Endless, the latest game to explore the Endless Universe created by Amplitude Studios. Whereas their previous games, Endless Space and Endless Legend are Civ-like 4X empire management games, Dungeon of the Endless is, *deep breath,* a cooperative rogue-like tower defense dungeon crawler. If any of those terms spark your interest you may discover one of your favorite games of the year in this unique mash-up of genres.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

Shadowgate Postmortem Developer Interview

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Shadowgate was one of many Kickstarter projects I helped support back in the initial crowd-funding explosion in gaming two years ago. While many projects were promised and created on an intoxicating nostalgia-laced aroma, I’m happy to report that two years later, Shadowgate not only successfully released but is a damn fine remake worthy of its name. It helps when you have the original developers that are just as passionate about remaking their classic for both new fans and rosy-eyed veterans.

Karl Roelofs is the Design Director at Zojoi, and along with fellow Zojoi cohort Dave Marsh helped create the popular first-person puzzle adventure game, Shadowgate, back in the late 80s. “If it wasn’t for Kickstarter, we would have never been able to re-imagine Shadowgate,” Karl says, “I am very grateful to the innovation of crowd-funding and the particular focus on retro gaming.”

Read the full interview at Leviathyn >>

Gotham – “Viper” Recap and Review

Gordon and Bullock search for the source of a new street drug that causes euphoria then death. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot works his way deeper into Maroni’s inner circle and Fish Mooney continues to plot against Falcone.

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Gotham finally succeeds in drawing Bruce Wayne into its own plot threads instead of leaving him to make noble reactionary faces at newscasts (well, he still does that here too). The title of the episode, “Viper,” is also the name of a dangerous new street drug that’s suddenly flooded the market and – stop me if you’ve heard this before – is killing anyone that takes it. It’s like the plot of Max Payne only instead of seeing Viking angels the user temporarily gains Hulk-like strength before their bones collapse.

We begin with what is already an overused scene in Gotham – Alfred walking in on Bruce Wayne doing something crazy. Alfred attempts to placate what he naturally sees as obsession with crime and politics, but Bruce remains steadfast in his thirst for knowledge and information, which Alfred begins to grudgingly respect.

It appears this is not the same young master Bruce that was an angsty young man in Batman Begins; Gotham’s Bruce is already past the self-pitying stage and well onto the path of superhero in training. I haven’t decided if I’m annoyed by his quick composure or relieved that we don’t have to see a mopey young Batman every episode. Either way, he’s smart enough to be asking the right questions about Arkham from last episode, and eventually wins Alfred over to help him.

Read the full recap and Review at Leviathyn >>

Legend of Grimrock 2 – Ten Tips for New (& Returning) Players

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Like the first Legend of Grimrock, the sequel is filled with brutally difficult puzzles, harrowing monster battles and cruel traps. It’s also incredibly fun.

While individual puzzles and walkthroughs can be combed through via wikis, forums and guides, these tips are more generalized and spoiler-free. Knowing is more than half the battle in Legend of Grimrock 2, and even veterans of the first game will find lots of useful new information and tactics to utilize while adventure on the island of Nex.

 

1) Create a balanced party of specialists. There are only so many weapons and armor on the island, it would be supremely difficult to outfit four warriors, especially in the early game. Instead diversify your party as much as possible to cover different skills and different weapon styles. You’ll also want at least two frontline fighters to wear the majority of any found armor and take the majority of the hits. I suggest at least one Heavy Weapons and one Light Weapons user.

2) Alchemy may be the most important skill in the game. You don’t necessarily need an Alchemist (though I’d highly recommend it if you want to wield firearms) but do invested in the alchemy skill. Unlike the first game you do not need an empty flask to make a potion, only the proper herbs. And the island is chock full of them just lying around. At 4th level you can brew Greater Healing and Energy Potions, the former which also heals injuries, and several new potion types are introduced that require high levels of alchemy, like Potions of Resurrection and even the ability to brew permanent attribute boosters. Alchemy is amazing.

3) Either max the Firearms skill or ignore them. Even with an Alchemist firearms malfunction at an annoying degree, essentially removing them from the current combat encounter. The firearms themselves are rare and fairly powerful, and though ammo is decently plentiful you do not recover them like arrows and quarrels. If you’re firing your gun as often as possible, you will quickly run out of pellets, so invest in a backup weapon skill.

Read all ten tips at Leviathyn >>

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.

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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 >>