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Community News:  City of Heroes source code release news

3:00 PM EDT April 19th 2019…

That was when it happened, a miracle of heroic proportions. 5 days later is when I heard the news and my heart skipped a beat. The City of Heroes source code was dropped, not a reworked code, not new homegrown emulator code, it is the ORIGINAL game code. Let that sink in for just a minute, process it. Did your heart skip a beat too? Did you just experience a roller coaster of emotions like I did? If so, soon we can return home brothers and sisters! If not, its okay, soon you can discover why this is so huge for us.

 

 

City of Heroes was shut down for no apparent reason on November 30th 2012. The game was successful here in the west, maintaining profitability, but it is believed NCSoft shut it down due to poor reception in the Korean market. Petitions to save the game and numerous other attempts were everywhere. All fell on deaf ears.

 

 

Fast forward to today, City of Heroes still has a rabid fan base, numerous spiritual successors are in development, and there are more than a few groups working on an emulator. The release of the source code will accelerate these emulators by leaps and bounds, no longer are they reverse engineering scraps of code and writing new stuff from scratch, now they have the original source code to work with. Instead of taking years to get an emulated game we can get the real deal in a much shorter time.

 

 

Now to be fair the source code drop did not include Mission Arcs, other game content, or the character database. But the player and NPC databases are one and the same, and is currently being scrubbed and sifted through and will be dropped once that process is finished. everything that is currently missing is being worked on getting ready for release. Stay patient, and keep the faith alive, soon we will be in paragon city together again! Why am I so sure of this? Because there has been a secret CoH server running and in development for the last 6 years! Not only that but the Titan network is still working on trying to get a legal server running!On to the leaked secret server; it was outed by Destroyer stroyer, AKA Doc Boy, who says his real name is Brian. It was leaked in a video he posted to youtube which has since been taken down. He claimed to have been invited to the private server after dumping game screenshots to reddit, and claims the server was running for 6 years with the game’s original code and player character data. He also claims the devs had access to personal info, and was kept secret until now with ban threats and NDAs. Due to this leak of the secret SCORE (Secret Cabal of Reverse Engineers) COH server Leandro Pardini, the lead dev on said server, confirms the server’s existence and spoke out about numerous accusations made by Doc Boy and the need for the secrecy in the first place. Here is the complete statement –

 

The Secret Cabal of Reverse Engineers
Before I talk about City of Heroes, I need to go back in time a little bit. It has been over six years since the shutdown, so a lot of people either forgot or never knew how the server project started. And for that, I need to talk about another game.

When NCsoft closed Tabula Rasa in 2007, a group of devoted players banded together to code a server for it. It was called Infinite Rasa and it developed things in the open, with a project website and forum. The overall architecture was being discussed publicly and there was a buggy server that allowed players to log in and run around the initial area.

Then it was hit by a Cease and Desist order by NCsoft in November 2011. The website was seized, the forums went dark, and progress completely stopped. One thing was made abundantly clear to everybody: NCsoft was not going to tolerate the development of servers for their games, even four years after they were shut down.

When City of Heroes closed in November 2012, this was very fresh in my mind. Instead of trying to develop a server out in the open to suffer the same fate as Infinite Rasa, the efforts to revive City of Heroes focused on trying to acquire the IP from NCsoft through various means, with any server development being held in secret.

And here is the irony of the entire situation: the fact that a City of Heroes server is being developed in secret is not a secret. If you search for the phrase “Secret Cabal of Reverse Engineers” in Google, the very first result is a post from 2013, in which a player is explicitly saying that the server development efforts “might want to stay as low as possible”.

 

So that is what SCORE did. It utilized closed forums with, closed access. Invite only; initially only for developers, though eventually expanded to friends and family of anyone who had access. Accepting an invitation to the project involved a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and anyone who breached it had their access revoked. Over the years, multiple people who weren’t happy with how fast the project was moving or wanted it made public were removed. For the most part this was not an issue, because the community at large, at the time, understood that this was a secret project, a backup if everything else failed. That seems to no longer be the case.

 

 

There are currently calls to make SCORE public because of the extra exposure; the reason given is that, after six years, NCsoft surely wouldn’t care. But Infinite Rasa also thought they were safe after four years. This is not a mistake you make twice.

 

I believe that the reason this particular NDA breach gained so much traction when others didn’t has to do with the community evolving over time. Many people no longer remember that efforts to acquire the IP were ongoing at the time, and so server development was agreed to happen underground. It is possible that a lot of people that played City of Heroes while they were teenagers, and never engaged with the community at the time, are now adults who never knew about it in the first place.

 

 

Now, I need to address the connections, or lack thereof, between SCORE and other projects that have become entangled in this dramatic reveal.

 

Super Entity Game Server

The Super Entity Game Server project already existed back in 2012 when the City of Heroes servers were shut down, and their goal is to implement a fully playable server that connects to the original release client from 2004. At the time there was a lot of discussion about contributing to SEGS rather than starting a separate project, but the fact that SEGS uses the original release client, while SCORE targeted the latest beta client from 2012, makes both projects fundamentally incompatible. The projects are separate, and as far as I am aware, none of the lead developers or community managers ever accepted an invite to participate in SCORE.

SEGS has been given as a reason why the secrecy behind SCORE is unwarranted. After all, they have been operating for ten years now, and have not received any Cease and Desist orders by NCsoft. It should be noted that SEGS has not yet released anything to the level of what Infinite Rasa had: working weapons and enemies, though limited to just the starting area. It’s also possible that using the original release client makes them a less appealing target. In either case, they are certainly braver and more willing to take risks than I am, and I really hope that it works out for them. While my attempts to contribute to SEGS were extremely limited mainly due to my own lack of familiarity and patience with their programming framework, I still am cheering for their success and I hope that, if this whole situation attracts attention to them, it’s only in the form of new developers seeking to contribute their skills to the project.

 

The Titan Network

While the initial recruitment for SCORE happened on the Titan Network forums, the project was split off as soon as possible. Because of the then-ongoing efforts to acquire the City of Heroes IP from NCsoft, the owner for the site did not want a server development project to jeopardize the negotiations, and has on multiple occasions disavowed the server project completely, although discussion of SCORE are still allowed as far as I know. This might seem overzealous, but it is perfectly understandable; the Titan Network aims to be a hub for the City of Heroes community and their many projects, and being linked to a specific underground project introduces a liability that could cause them to be shut down as well.

Once it was clear that acquiring the IP was not going to happen, the Titan Network created a project where all the user data is held on the players’ own computers and the game processes are distributed among players. This is a brilliant idea, as it means that there’s no server to shut down; Paragon Chat operates on a standard, open source chat client. I collaborated on this project’s early days, but again, the goals are too different for the projects to be merged into a single thing. And because of the difficulty in properly implementing a distributed server, I recommend that anyone with the development skills to contribute to a City of Heroes server project joins SEGS instead.

 

Paragon Studios

This is where things get less pleasant. This last NDA breach has had some malicious elements to it, probably to inflate the claims and make it feel more dramatic than it is. While I won’t deny that some former Paragon Studios developers are aware of SCORE and have provided helpful tips in the past, this should not be shocking to anyone who has been around the community long enough; I have seen some former Paragon Studios developers in the Discord server for SEGS as well. Under no circumstances should there be fingers pointed at them; anything they shared was done so with the tacit understanding that it would not endanger their current or future employment. I am very happy to take the heat over this entire situation, even though I think it has been overblown. Leave them out of it.

There is one specific rumor that needs outright debunking, though: at no point did I, or anyone else I know, receive a database containing player names, emails, birth dates, payment information, or any other personally identifiable information. Not only would this have been a massive breach of privacy, but that is not information that a game server would ever need to operate, and so it would have been completely pointless to share.

 

Reddit

The person behind the current NDA breach cites Reddit moderators being too quick to remove all mentions of any private server, except for their two stickies for SEGS and Paragon Chat. While this again might seem overzealous, it really isn’t. Reddit as a whole does not tolerate when a forum triggers legal complaints; very recently, the subreddit where piracy is discussed had to delete 10 years of archived discussions to prevent being shut down. There are also the very valid concerns that malicious actors would post links to City of Heroes servers that turn out to be scams which infect the player’s computer with malware or stealing payment information. Reddit offers no accountability regarding who posts anything, and so it should be heavily policed to guarantee a safe environment. If this feels like censorship, you are always free to start your own subreddit. I do not moderate the City of Heroes subreddit, the Titan Network or any Facebook group.

 

Trust and Feelings

This is a difficult thing to address, because nobody likes feeling lied to, even by omission. At the same time, operating under an NDA comes with some rules that are well understood. The fact that we’re talking about a server project for a game while the company that owns the IP is still active and used aspects of the IP very recently for Master X Master makes things more complicated.

My approach to enforcing the NDA has always been to not reply to any public posts that revealed details about SCORE, and just contact the specific party to have the information taken down. Others have gone as far as to call them liars or crazy, which goes against my wishes. I do apologize for anyone who was on the receiving end of verbal abuse due to this situation.

Back in 2012, the City of Heroes community agreed that SCORE would operate in secret until we had something ready for release. The fact that nearly nothing has been released six years later is probably part of the reason why this attracted so much attention; the community has shifted and changed, and not many remember how the project began. I am sure a lot of people are curious to know how much progress has been done; however, with SEGS having regular and interesting releases, it feels quite unfair to come out of nowhere and steal their thunder with a progress report on something that is hidden by design.

Unless and until we are certain that a Cease and Desist order is no longer a threat, the NDA regarding SCORE development will remain in full effect. For most people this will seem like a moot point since most of the community are aware of it, but keep in mind, that is also how we started. Until then, support SEGS! They are very close to a new release and I will be very disappointed if the ghost of SCORE overshadows their accomplishments.”

 

That is a lot to take in. Many people are understandably angry that this server existed in secret for so long with no way to play other than an invite. Now it remains to be seen how this will affect the future of the SCORE server and other projects now that the source code has been dropped by the people over at SCORE and how this all might affect the attempts by the city of titans folks to get a legit community server running with NCSoft approval. As of the time of this article a new public test server was launched with 14000 registered users and over 2000 active players, the servers current cap.

 

 

We’ll bring you more news as we hear it
~Darsch


April 27th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Technology | No Comments »

Multiplatform Game Review: Vaporum by Fatbot Games

Vaporum is a grid-based dungeon crawler RPG in an original steampunk setting, inspired by old-school classics of the genre. Stranded in the middle of an ocean, in front of a gigantic tower, the hero has to find out what the place is, what happened there, and most importantly, who he is.

 

 

Vaporum is developed by Fatbot Games and originally released on PC in 2017. Key Features of the game include: First person real-time combat, Puzzles and level-wide objectives, Gadget-based RPG system, Lots of exploration, loot, plenty of character customization, a mysterious storyline filled with secrets, fully voiced main characters, and an Immersive steampunk setting.

 

Combat in Vaporum takes place in real time. Each enemy type has a distinctive set of strengths and weaknesses, and various kinds of attacks and defense mechanisms, so you have to employ different tactics to beat each one. A Lot of time is spent fighting progressively more difficult enemies on a grid based movement system which limits you to simple left, right, forward, and backwards movement and 90 degree turns. This leads to you being able to hit an enemy, step backwards and force a melee-only enemy to step forwards so you can hit it again and move before it can hit you, effectively killing it. This is simple versus a single enemy, but much more daunting versus multiple enemies and mastery of the tile based grid movement system is a must as jarring as it is. Combat is quick and lethal with little opportunity for healing. If you get backed into a corner, it easily becomes a situation of standing there taking turns hitting each other until one of you are dead. The gadget based system is more accurately a steampunk version of spells and is very fun and satisfying to use to defeat enemies.

 

 

The movement system is jarring at times and clunky. It did give me motion sickness due to the way the character moves. The character’s head bobs down and then looks back up after each move, and turning is a sudden start then stop that can disorient you. It must be stated this is one of only two titles to ever give me motion sickness, and even with developer help I was not able to prevent it; only limit it by turning off the options for headbob, screen shake effects, and idle camera animation. The head bob while moving was still there as was the up-down motion of the character breathing, but this did help to somewhat mitigate the motion sickness.

 

 

Most mechanics in Vaporum are very simple. However, combining these mechanics creates intriguing puzzles and level-wide objectives where you have to use both your wits and reflexes. While most puzzles and riddles are contained in a single room, progression objectives can span an entire level or even multiple levels. The puzzles themselves can consist of finding the button, moving crates in set patterns and triggering pressure plates in a specific order, with later levels adding lethal traps and teleporters. While solving the puzzles feels rewarding, it is a double edged sword as completing the puzzles are required for progression, but it is very frustrating when you get stuck on one, and they quickly become monotonous and boring at that point.

 

 

The games graphics and Audio are top-notch and perfect for a steampunk title and really help to immerse you into the game world. The voice acting is pretty good for the most part with only a couple lines of dialogue that felt off. The story is good even though it is set up with the stereotypical woke up with amnesia trope. The controls on the other hand make it clear this was a title ported over from the pc, and while clumsy and clunky and frustratingly annoying at first, once you learn and memorize them they no longer present as much of an issue.

 

Check out the video version of this review here –

 

Or check out Lone’s stream of the XBox One version –

 

For more info on the game, head over to the Vaporum website.

 

I give the game a solid 5 out of 10, it stands good on its own merits, but as a port it feels lacking in the quality of life department.

~Darsch

 

[Here Darsch reviews the PlayStation 4 Port of Vaporum, released early April 2019, also on XBox One and Nintendo Switch. ~Lone]


April 25th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

Multiplatform Game Review: Anthem

Anthem is a shared-world action RPG, where players can delve into a vast landscape teeming with amazing technology and forgotten treasures. This is a world where Freelancers are called upon to defeat savage beasts, ruthless marauders, and forces plotting to conquer humanity.

 

 

Anthem, the would be savior of bioware, the game that was going to compensate for letdown after letdown. The great equalizer, Is in reality, just another letdown from the once great Bioware.

 

Bioware is dead folks. It died when the founding doctors left it after Star Wars The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3 were released. To see proof of this look no further than the shitastic Anthem. I hate saying this because I had such high hopes for this game but it’s less of a game and more an example how not to make a looter shooter (hint, don’t use frostbite engine for one) and how to make a load screen simulator!

 

 

The very first thing that stands out about Anthem is how beautiful the game is. The second, is the insane amount of long load screens that should not exist in a game in 2019. Bioware code named Anthem: Dylan, after the singer in the hopes that Anthem would revolutionize the way we view games like Bob Dylan changed how we view music. They failed on this front like they have failed on so many aspects of Anthem. Need to change your loadout? LOAD SCREEN! Need to respawn? LOAD SCREEN! Spawn into a mission set to public? Get ready for three or four load screens back to back as the game teleports you to the rest of the group who are now half way through their mission. Oh, by the way, the missions take less time to complete than they do to load, and this is on a good pc with superfast broadband speeds and a fast storage device!

 

 

The game also suffers from invisible enemies and random frame rate drops on the best pc hardware you can get for gaming! (Did I mention I have an awesome pc?) The game is terribly optimized, using the frostbite engine which does not have the framework in place for basic looter shooter functionality, or real inventory. This is why we can not switch out equipped weapons in the field, contrary to that drivel Bioware fed us about it breaking game flow. They already broke that with abilities that have drastically different cool downs, which prevent you from doing combos more often, thus making the combo system feel clunky and broken, but man is it so nice to watch a swarm die to a combo!

 

 

On top of all of this the game’s main focus of loot is a broken mess with inscriptions (affixes to those familiar with Diablo) not working or not being relevant to the weapon or gear you have equipped. The loot grind is poorly executed at best with nothing really unique and only four different gun models in the game. Bioware has fortunately recognized this and are working towards fixes to make the loot system work better and are even removing common and uncommon items from the lvl 30 loot tables after listening to feedback given by diablo 3 veteran and main man behind itemization; Travis Day.

 

Remember that awesome E3 footage that showed the strider walking and then getting attacked and the freelancer receiving a legendary item? That was an entirely scripted and acted scenario that never once appears in the game. Walking striders and competing factions just sadly do not exist. It would have been a nice touch if such things could happen as showcased in that E3 video, but that’s how things work though in building hype for a game, we usually are never shown actual live gameplay but a scripted video instead.

 

 

The missions are a terrible repetition of two different types with little diversity. You have the defend the point against waves of enemies and collect items while killing enemies. That’s it, and while the actual gameplay can be fun it is confined to this weak and broken system that get rather boring quickly. Added to this list of terrible choices and things is the fact Anthem was meant to be a story driven experience but the great storytelling Bioware is known for just is not present! The story is generic at best with some cool events here and there, but with dialogue choices that ultimately lead nowhere and do not matter, and no memorable characters except for Owen. I will fight you on this, Owen is the best thing about Anthem!

 

 

That all being said, Anthem does have promise and potential if EA lets bioware have the chance to fix it. Pass this one up for now and check back in 4 to 6 months when they release new endgame content (or in a sale ~Lone) and have had a chance to update and fix what is broken, if they even can. Currently, endgame is just repeating the final story mission of the game over and over.

 

Right now, a dissapointing 1 out of 10 though.

~Darsch


March 9th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

#TBT PC Game Review :- Subnautica from Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Descend into the depths of an alien underwater world filled with wonder and peril. Craft equipment, pilot submarines and out-smart wildlife to explore lush coral reefs, volcanoes, cave systems, and more – all while trying to survive.

 

 

Recently I picked up the first person survival game; Subnautica (released Jan 2018 on STEAM, Dec 2018 on consoles), it looked like a fun game from the drunk play-through I watched and as I hadn’t played a solo game in a while, thought I would give it a try.  I should say that I have only just recently become a PC gamer and I have so much catching up to do that my computer is going to hurt by the end of the year with everything I have to cram in. Now I am a firm believer that a reviewer shouldn’t sway your opinion, because in the end we all have differences of opinion and that is good; or the world would be boring. So please, if you get a chance and you are into survival games, give it a go and make your own mind up, in my opinion this was a brilliant start to my PC gaming life!

 

The story, like any survival game, is pretty standard in that you are stranded alone to deal with the world around you. In this case you are on an ocean planet, light years from home with not one coffee place to help you deal with this. You were part of a team sent to setup a “phasegate” and to search for a missing ship that crashed on the planet. Because humans have to repeat courses of action before we figure out what is bad and what is good, your ship crash lands as well.

 

 

While scanning the planet, your ship “The Aurora” is hit by an unknown energy force from the surface and you escape in the only life pod that seems to have passed it’s maintenance checks as the others you find that haven’t done so well! I swear they could have spent less on interior decoration, (potted plants and posters advertising the ship to the crew of said ship,) and spent it on shields, better life pods or a less sarcastic AI. The wreckage of your once “advanced” ship lays on the horizon of this new world and you must save yourself through modern sci-fi technology, scavenging planetary resources, and retrieving tech that has spread far and wide across the ocean seabed. Can you do it?

 

In my case, yes I could and had a jolly good time too!

 

 

The gameplay style, apart from the first person free roaming aspect, is best described as a tech-tree you must grow and nourish with SO MUCH titanium and copper you wouldn’t believe; and who would have ever thought I would get fed up of finding gold and diamonds!? You also need blueprints found by scanning broken parts of equipment from the wreckage of the two crashed ships.

 

You start with basic tools for survival in the form of a Replica…I mean Fabricator which runs on the principle of “FEED ME SEYMOUR!” You cram large quantities of fish into it and get bottle water and food in return. Alloys and Scrapings of coral gives you a fire extinguisher, (for the moment when the ocean planet suddenly becomes a fire planet) and other bits and bobs to make your lonely stay a bit more bearable. As you progress through the tech tree you gain access to deeper regions of the planet and in turn, more resources to cram into the fabricator, which gives even better tools, to help you access even deeper regions.

 

 

There is also the crashed ships to explore, the lost habitats of the first ship to crash here and the presence of an intelligence that is not our own. I use the term ‘intelligence’ loosely because who parks up that close to an unknown planet where one ship has already vanished?! You can build submarines to explore deeper and further, discover habitats to survive in, and manufacture tools to do all kinds of funky stuff, as you explore the story as much or as little you want.

 

The story is read through data you find on PDA devices. These explain bit by bit what happened to the previous explorers to add to your immersion of the game if you so choose. In my case, I ignored the PDA and tried to figure out what happened through exploring the visual world and making my own mind up about stupid humans parking so close to planets with a history of vanished ships. Seriously with all that tech you couldn’t just send a probe? It didn’t ruin the game for me in any way and actually added to the experience. The story is light but being the only human alive, that is acceptable.

 

 

The game plays so well to the lone survival feel. There is no real tutorial and as you gain new equipment and vehicles you are never really shown how to pilot them. The immersion became so real for me that I imagined Ryley Robinson, (the protagonist you play) was part of the Domestic Crew (he mopped the corridors), as he seems to know little about anything he is building. As it turns out he is a Non-Essential Systems Maintenance Chief… so in actual fact the guy who gets to scrub out the engine while the real engineers are doing the real work!

 

I shouldn’t be too hard on him though, together we conquered Iantopia! From Giant Leviathan attacks to nearly drowning him when I found shiny stuff WAY to deep down for my air tanks, we spent hours of gameplay exploring and literally getting lost in such a huge world. It is a beautiful game that was well designed and blends a great mixture of breathtaking underwater beauty, scary oversized monsters nipping at your tiny self, and even comical little fish that smear across your submersible vehicles as you speed away from things trying to eat you.

 

 

I really felt for this planet and when I saw the damage the crashing ship had done to the area, I really believed I deserved all the giant predator fish chasing after me! Throw in the strange alien technology that looms out of the darkness as you float towards it, and you just can’t get enough of the visual. This becomes important when playing a solo game, as you take time to stop and look at these details.

 

The dark overtones are broken up by the various different AI personalities that live inside your own PDA unit and the machines you build. I got an overwhelming sense of pride when I got aboard my first Submarine and heard “Welcome aboard captain!” I had been promoted from Engine scrubber to captain and it only took me being marooned on a planet to get the position I always wanted! The main AI on your PDA reminds me much of Portal’s sense of humour. Whenever you discover a new place, device or vehicle, her voice chimes up to tell you something interesting about it, and the occasional witty banter added to my immersion.The unsettlingly human computer and the lack of other people made me wonder if Ryley was starting to lose it a bit and the computer was just him talking to himself in a robot voice.

 

 

Now no game is without its flaws and though I didn’t see many glitches, some of the ones I did see were game breaking. I left the first mini-sub I had ever made and cherished, to explore a deeper cavern system it couldn’t reach. When I got back it was inside a nearby wall. This meant I would have to start the game all over again because I couldn’t make it to the surface without dying. Console commands saved my play through but also gave me access to tempting cheats, and I lost some of that immersive feeling. I later found out one of the creatures had tried to teleport me out of my PRAWN suit and into its clutches, but instead teleported me outside the environment.

 

Most glitches are simple and often don’t ruin the game and sometimes played into my idea that Ryley was going mad. On another occasion I was walking down the access tunnel from a nuclear power plants to a fish display cabinet and though I didn’t think their proximity would be an issue, I witnessed a very odd fish, a giant eyeball with fins, swimming towards me! It was at this time I decided to go back to Earth and seek some professional help.

 

 

Those glitches came few and far between and once I got passed my frustration of the incident of HMS Nippy Shrimp and the wall, I got back into the game and was once again captivated by the beauty of it all.

 

It is possible to become lost and confused, where nothing makes sense and you are sure you missed a small detail somewhere. If this happens, I recommend checking the wiki out because it was very helpful and didn’t spoil anything waiting ahead for me. I had to use the wiki several times, but I feel that that was more a reflection of my ability as a player.

 

 

The game is left so open that you can play it anyway you like; valiant hero desperately trying to get home, scared engineer doing what he can to survive on little training or my Ryley, who was an engine room janitor who got super lucky. Once the game was complete, and I had put the finishing touches to my underwater resort (yes, I built an underwater resort!), I decided to craft my rocket and get back to Earth. I planned to start advertising and make a killing on the adventurous holiday maker who would love the dangerous Iantopia! But what then?

 

The game offers different modes and I originally played it on “easy”. If you just fancy a nice ride a sort of ultra-easy mode exists which helps you to learn how everything works in a safe environment. With endless resources at your disposal, all the blueprints unlocked and being immortal you don’t need to worry about anything other than learning to play the game! On Easy mode you are trying to survive but all you need to worry about is your health and your air, plus you now have to find everything to get you up and back into space. Hard mode introduces the need to eat and drink and though you can die you still re-spawn somewhere safe, minus the materials you just collected. If you want to feel like every moment could be your last then hardcore mode is for you! You get one life and no warnings about your air supply and I am leaving that for when I feel like giving myself a heart attack! This gives every level of player a nice entry point into the game though.

 

 

In addition, though there doesn’t seem to be a date of arrival, Subnautica, Below Zero adds another chapter to the game, which will bring a whole new element of tracking your heat, along with the original gameplay mechanics that made this game so much fun! Set in the polar icecap on the same planet, you now have frozen land masses to contend with, not to mention creepy penguins!

 

Subnautica deserves a go if you like Survival games, as it did feel like me against the world because it was! If you like building mechanics that allow you to construct your own living areas then at some point you can forget the story and escaping, and build yourself your own underwater resort with aquarium, two nuclear reactors and a medical bay set up for injuries sustained from handling dangerous fish and radiation burns. If you just like open world exploring then it is really easy to get lost in all the different areas of Subnautica as each place has its own particular wonder from the various planet life and it’s glowing auras to the beasties that lurk among them.

 

 

Now excuse me, I have to finish setting up the VIP apartments at my resort as they keep getting eaten by leviathans.

 

 

Subnautica is available now on STEAM, XBox One and Playstation 4!

 

A solid and fun 6 out of 10!
~ IanABlakeman

 

[Edited by Scarlet_Dragon]


January 31st, 2019 by IanABlakeman
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox | No Comments »

PC Game Review :- Sunless Skies from Failbetter Games

SAIL THE STARS. BETRAY YOUR QUEEN. MURDER A SUN. Sunless Skies is a Gothic Horror roleplay game with a focus on exploration and exquisite storytelling for PC, Mac and Linux.

 

 

Sunless Skies has released, and it has had some major updates since the early access preview here.

 

 

One of the very first things noticeably different is the new tutorial and story added at the very start of the game, which also highlights the new story UI.

 

 

Speaking of the UI, the whole thing in general has had an overhaul. It is now easier to read and lends itself better to the dark aesthetic of Sunless Skies.

 

 

New weapon types have been added, with two versions of each to choose from. First off there are the Portsmouth House ‘Albertine Candle’ and the Portsmouth House ‘Her Renewed Majesty’s Jubilee’ rockets, and then the Wit & Vinegar ‘Sneeze-Lurker’, Wit & Vinegar ‘Zounderkite’ mines respectively. Added to this is the powerful new exotic weapons added throughout the game just waiting to be discovered by the player.

 

 

New content has been added to the Blue Kingdom and High Wilderness, including some new officers the Clay Conductor and two Blue Kingdom officers; the Forged Companion and the Felined Eccentric.

The wealth ambition received some adjustments and your captain can now retire in Eleutheria, while Narrative Director Chris Gardiner worked on the final ambition The Stars are Dying for launch.

 

 

Part of the new content added was smuggling! It was one of the stretch goals on the Sunless Skies kickstarter and offers more opportunities for nefarious deeds in the high wilderness. Smuggling will unlock midgame for those captains looking to make some extra cash and don’t mind a dangerous pirate lifestyle. Just look for the Gloomy Middleman in London to start the storylet quest to unlock smuggling. Alternatively If your captain has Villainy 3+ or Veils 40+, the Gloomy Middleman will approach you directly. Once unlocked, Contraband items will appear in one shop per region across the Reach, Albion and Eleutheria. You will need to pay attention to Prospects to make a profit. Smuggling also adds hidden compartments for your locomotives equipment to hide contraband from customs.

 

 

Sunless Skies is available now on STEAM and GOG.

 

 

 

All and all these are welcome changes and additions to an already stellar game.

Sunless Skies is a must have title worthy of the coveted 10/10.

~Darsch


January 31st, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Real Time Strategy | No Comments »

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