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PC Game Review: Verdant Skies

Verdant Skies is a life simulation game born from a love for games like Harvest Moon and a desire to create something unique with modern gameplay and deep storytelling. Ensure the success of the colony as you make friends and pursue romance with a diverse cast of characters.

 

 

Verdant Skies is the latest game brought to us by Howling Moon Software, a small indie developer mostly known for their work in building gaming engines.
However, their true passion (as stated in their bio), is for creating their own game titles such as Verdant Skies.

 

The idea for the game was formed through Beth and Andy Korth (Narrative and Programming respectively)’s mutual love of games such as Harvest Moon, Rune Factory and Animal Crossing; and existed in concept far before going into development May 2014, undergoing a huge change in design and game engine in March 2015, and finally seeing release late 2017.

 

 

The game centers on the character’s avatar – which is fully customizable in gender, skin tone, clothing and accessories – crash landing on a planet (which as luck would have it was their destination already), and starting a new life with a sizeable debt on said planet.

 

The main game mechanic of Verdant Skies, is building, both in terms of harvesting resources to construct new items, and performing tasks for the locals in order to build relationships with them, the end game of which would be to pursue a romantic relationship with the character of your choice.

 

 

This leads me into one of the most pleasant aspects of the game, the inclusiveness. As mentioned above you can customize your character’s gender, you can select the usual male or female, but the game will allow you to use a non-binary selection if you see fit, the same goes for the relationships, with any character being a potential match, assuming you put in enough work in building the relationship with them.

 

Verdant Skies also incorporates a few menu options into the game that further their inclusive leanings, with both options to slow down aspects of the game for people with motor disabilities, and an option to influence the colors in case of color blindness; and it is this level of heart and inclusivity where the game really shines, taking what could be essentially a remake or knock off of a beloved franchise and injecting it with a real sense that the game was crafted by very caring people.

 

 

The music and art of the game (handled by Troy Strand and Lizzie Siemers respectively), are both lovely and fit the overall feel of the game perfectly, with Troy’s music being relaxing, plaintive and occasionally bouncy, but never overbearing; and Lizzie’s hand painted artwork evoking the feeling of exploring a piece of artwork.

 

Overall the game is a very pleasant experience, one that you probably already know if you’d be interested in going on if you are familiar with their chief inspirations already.

 

 

Verdant Skies gets a Barn storming 7/10 from us!  ~TGB-Sirhc

You can also check out some gameplay in our review video here:

You can also check out and buy Verdant Skies on STEAM, and follow them on social media at Twitter & Facebook


March 4th, 2018 by TGB_SirhcAndAr0n
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Real Time Strategy |

3D Print Your Ships From Star Trek Online!

Remember when it was announced a year or two ago, that soon you’d be able to 3D print your Star Trek Online, and literally within a month of this announcement the company that were going to do it, went under?

 

Guess what? Second time lucky maybe?!

 

That’s right, officially announced on February 20th via the Facebook Page for STO, you will (again) be able to 3D print your ships directly from Star Trek Online and recieve them as a model directly to your mailbox!

 

 

Perfect World & Cryptic have teamed up with the team at Mixed Dimensions with the goal of introducing the custom Star Trek ships into the community of STO fans. The end result will be a 12’ model made of resin which will come in three different tiers. A single colour version, a primed model ready for your painting at home, and a hand painted version, painted by the talented artists at Mixed Dimensions.

 

 

Players will be able to design their own ships in the game, and upload their design to the Mixed Dimensions website for printing. Fans will also be able to order from 20 of the most popular ships in Star Trek Online.

 

At time of writing, there has been no pricing announced, for custom or pre-made ships. And the planned launch is sometime in March 2018.

 

Below are just a few pictures of the Pathfinder Long Range Science Vessel model primed and painted.

 

 

Remember, Star Trek Online is Free To Play and is playable via ARC or Steam game clients, XBox 1 and PS4.

 

 

Register for an account now at http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online and join in the fun Boldly Going Where Some Men Have Gone Before!!


February 23rd, 2018 by HeavyMetlBrian
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Technology, Xbox |

Multiplatform Review: Steamworld Heist (STEAM & Nintendo Switch versions)

First released on STEAM in June 2016, but recently released on Nintendo Switch, takes a look at a great game, out on a new platform  ~Lone

 

Command a steam-driven pirate crew in a series of epic tactical shootouts. Inspired by classics like XCOM and Worms, SteamWorld Heist is turn-based strategy with a twist: You manually aim the guns of your robots, allowing for insane skill shots and bullet-bouncing action!

 

 

Steamworld Heist is the third game in the Steamworld franchise created by Swedish indie developers Image & Form, set in what appears to be the same universe still populated with a cast of colorful steam powered robots but this time with a new set of characters and a new style of game play, Heist being a blend of turn based strategy and skill based 2D shooting.

 

The story of Steamworld Heist follows Captain Piper Faraday, a smuggler and occasional pirate who is rebuilding her crew in order to collect as much swag (gallons of water) as possible and maybe make the universe a safer place, as long as it doesn’t interfere with her livelihood of course. Faraday begins her journey on an enemy ship where something went terribly wrong and she ended up alone, but you soon meet up with another crew member, the surly Seabrass, during the tutorial.

 

 

Upon completion of the tutorial you are introduced to the main ship which acts as a sort of hub between levels where you can relax, chat with the crew you have found/enlisted so far, and check your items/crew/skills at your leisure, then it’s off to the map to select a level or store to visit.

 

Levels in Steamworld Heist are largely procedurally generated so the ship layout will change each time, but the objective remains the same, whether that is collect x amount of swag, defeat x amount of scavengers etc., normally procedural generation in a game is a bit of a gripe of mine because although the programming can create a seemingly endless amount of level designs there are certain limitations in that some parts will always need to connect or things come out looking unnatural or boring, but during my time with Steamworld Heist I did not experience this and I played through levels a few times trying to get the maximum reputation stars (generally 3 a level) and level up some new crew members and I believe the reason why the procedural generation didn’t get to me is because the core gameplay is so well thought out and the implementation is near perfect.

 

 

Gameplay consists of a simple squad turn based movement and attack/skill or item round followed by enemies (if there are any) turn and then repeat until one side is destroyed and if you are skillful enough to make sure the other team is the one destroyed you can then explore the ship and collect the swag however you will be restricted to the same movement limitation regardless of enemy robots left, meaning that if your character has 6 movement points (as most of the starting ones do) you can move 6 spaces and attack or you can move a few extra spaces (referred in game as “sprinting”) and give up your chance to attack to cover more ground which can be handy if you want to move your character into cover or if you’re making a mad dash for the exit (killing enemies doesn’t give you anything extra so unless it is the objective it’s generally optional), now the attacking is where things get really interesting.

 

 

Attacks in the game are largely ranged and the exact type will be determined on the character class (unchangeable) and the weapon they have equipped (a little more versatile but linked to the classes as well), the characters at least during my playtime all used guns as their primary weapon (swapping to a melee attack when enemies are one space away) and these guns range from a scoped pistol to a shotgun all the way to a grenade launcher, each one handles differently and is useful in certain situations but by far my prefered weapons were the scoped ones, the scopes in the game come paired with laser sights so you can see the trajectory your bullet will take before you fire allowing you to set up some very satisfying ricochet trickshots, the ricochets work with the other weapons as well but without the laser sight they require a keen eye and some patience to pull off the same kind of shots.

 

 

The game is refreshing in that it really is set up to reward skill over luck, every situation I was able to overcome with a well placed shot or a tactical retreat, sometimes losing an ally along the way but their scrap is returned to your ship so they can be rebuilt to fight another day, the only penalty being that the destroyed robot doesn’t take their share of experience but you can always take them back to the level or even to an easier one to harvest some experience, get a few level ups and come back with a more powerful and tactical team and as you are the one that aims the gun and the set up is turn based you really do have the time to plan your attack and pull off some spectacular shots, maybe aiming for the head for a (by default) 50% chance of a critical hit or taking out their legs to stop them from being able to move, or even if you are so inclined firing a shot at their hat to knock it off their head and (assuming you don’t already have it) picking it up and taking it for your own.

 

 

In summation I had a wonderful time with Steamworld Heist, the characters are cartoony, cliched and simplistic which fits right alongside the strong undercurrent of humour throughout the game, the graphics are polished and wonderful to look at, the music (by steampunk band Steam Powered Giraffe) is fitting and great to listen to and there is something so satisfying of bouncing a bullet off two walls and getting a headshot destroying a robot who was hiding behind cover, the levels are short but action packed and I feel like I will be spending quite a while enjoying my time there, if you like well paced turn based tactical games and/or impressive snooker trick shots then you could do much worse than checking out Steamworld Heist for yourself.

 

Steamworld heist gets a steampunk 9/10 from us!

 

SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition, including all previously released DLC, is out now on Nintendo Switch for $19.99 / €19.99 or the equivalent.

The standard edition is available for $14.99 / €14.99 on Steam, PS4/PS Vita, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

A mobile version for iPhone and iPad is yours for $9.99.

 

Check out the trailer below


February 12th, 2018 by TGB_SirhcAndAr0n
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox |

EGX 2017: Floor Review And A First Timers Look At EGX

The joy of the prevalence of video games in recent times, is that it’s easier to explain your niche to others. This made it especially easy to explain to strangers why I was dressed as a character from Overwatch on a busy Sunday train to Birmingham, as I made my way to EGX at the NEC. And, while I am a regular convention goer and equally an avid gamer I had never been to a games specific expo before.

 

 

EGX is a mainstay for the big name gaming companies, with many demonstrations and presentations on new titles; regular Twitch streams by devs; cosplay competitions and merchandise on the floor. It has big draw for casual gamers, for families, and for industry professionals – and even for those looking for advice for how to make gaming their career. With all this in mind I was definitely expecting a busy day of exploring the expo floor and hopefully getting to try out some games in the process.

 

 

The upside was there was definitely plenty to see and do from a browsing standpoint. From the moment you walked in there were people handing out fliers and codes for promotions. The indie games area, EGX Rezzed, dominated the front zone even before you started to approach any of the larger name companies. I found this quite refreshing, as a demonstration of the importance of the indie market, and offered a great mix of games to play in genres ranging from very family friendly, to viral horror potential.

 

 

There were a good number of competitive gaming areas on show. This included the ESL E-Sports Arena; The Road to EGX Overwatch tournament; and a Street Fighter V tournament that had a raucous and excited crowd. It was great to see audience participation encouraged, as these areas had huge viewing screens that allowed folks to stand back and immerse themselves in the action, and to get behind the players throwing down – sometimes, quite literally – on screen.

 

Being present Sunday meant catching the tail-end of the various exciting panels that were available to attendees, but EGX had provided streams via Twitch the entire weekend and these could be caught up on through mobile even if it wasn’t physically possible to get inside. These can also be watched back on the EGX YouTube channel and give a good insight into many of the games that were on parade as well as industry insights.

 

 

The biggest draw still came in the shape of the big names, with Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sega, Square Enix and Blizzard all having their own zones broken up over the expo. There were long waits for anyone who wanted a sneak peek at titles such as Farcry 5 or Assassin’s Creed Origins, to learn more about recent releases like Destiny 2, or even to try their hands at Youtube phenomenons like PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds.

 

There were upsides and downsides throughout my time on the expo floor. The biggest obstacle I found as a casual con-goer was that when it came to trying things out I didn’t get to see or do quite as much as I might’ve liked. Though the Indie Rezzed zone occupied most of the entrance area many games were only available on one or two screens at best.

 

 

A prevalent theme throughout the whole expo was that there didn’t seem to be many people enforcing rotation of players, either. On one occasion I came over to the Overwatch area after having been there an hour previous, and the same folks were still playing on many of the computers available. It made it much more evident to me why so many people make EGX a four day long event, in order to get as much gaming in as possible.

 

But where there was sometimes a lack of gaming there was still a lot of engagement. Representatives were generally happy to talk with con-goers. There was a cosplay stage in the centre of the convention where people could go and watch others that had turned their love of gaming into a creative outlet. There was some great merchandise available, from t-shirts to bags, figures to tech accessories.

 

Another great addition came in the form of a board gaming area, which had the Playopolis board game library working with EGX for the first time. They were providing games for visitors to sit together and play in the seating area. Some upcoming titles were demonstrating as well, including the MMORPG inspired City of Kings, were set out for folks who wanted physical gaming as well as digital gaming. There were some board gaming specialist vendors, too, making it just as easy to take the same experiences home with you.

 

 

All in all, I found my first experience of EGX a fun one, with most of the hiccups I encountered ones that could be easily rectified with a little pre-planning, or even spending a longer time at the convention over its four day length. And, with the joyous prevalence of video games in recent times, who knows – it may be even bigger and better than ever the next time it rolls around.

 

And with that…

Isnotavampire.

 

 


September 26th, 2017 by isnotavampire
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, MOBA, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox |

Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood Live Letter 37 Digest (Part 2)

Welcome back! In the last part I went over the first half of the Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood live letter at E3 and in this part I will cover the Q&A as well as the announcements at the end.

 

 

They started the Q&A by addressing some of the concerns about the potential state of White Mage: many people have cited the lack of utility in its kit and their new mechanic favours mana inefficient single target healing over more powerful healing spells such as their potent regeneration abilities and area of effects in exchange for reduced cooldowns on the cooldown based abilities which White Mage has traditionally based their spell usage around already. The developers were clearly of the mindset that the complaints were overblown and asked fans to wait to try it at level 70 for themselves (and also pointed out that a decent portion was born from an old press build which is almost two months out of date at this point).

 

 

The next question was asking for clarification as to the new dungeon cycle. There had been rumours that there was only going to be one new dungeon in odd numbered patches, something which was confirmed here. They went on to explain they would rather release one new dungeon at the same item level as the previous ones and use the freed up manpower to work on other new content and sited data indicated that players ran dungeons less on odd numbered patches.

 

 

Next the developers were asked yet again about a glamour log, similar to Guild Wars 2 or World of Warcraft’s and reiterated that it would be extremely difficult from a technical viewpoint (they have previously stated it due to legacy code from 1.x ) but said suggestions of being able to cheaply buy glamour items that are unlocked by achievements may be a possible alternative.

 

The penultimate question they answered was about bringing back scrapped ability animations as emotes. They were very to the point about this and simply stated it was a maybe, if there was fan feedback in favour of it.

 

 

Lastly they were asked if there were any plans to mark certain servers as official roleplay servers, something they said would be trivial from a technical viewpoint but were hesitant due to concerns about existing non-roleplayers on those servers, pointing out that since it was four years after the relaunch of the game there were fairly concrete communities of the such even on the most RP heavy of servers such as Balmung. The end result was them saying that if something like a survey heavily favoured it they would consider it.

 

After the Q&A they talked about the post launch content and reiterated the timetable: Early Access for those who preordered the expansion starts this Friday the 16th, the expansion releases properly on the 20th and then there will be a two week gap before the normal difficulty of the eight man raid’s first wing is released on the 4th of July. Then there will be another two week gap to July the 18th when Omega savage (the harder difficulty) is released alongside The Lost Canals of Uznir – which is the level 70 of the Aquopolis, a mini dungeon type instance you sometimes find portals to when doing treasure maps in the open world – as well as the weekly capped Allagan tomestone: Creation. The uncapped tomestone of Verity will be unlocked at the start.

 

 

They then ended by showing off a few new merchandise as well as a new system to reward people who subscribe instead of the current veteran rewards which are no longer being added to.


June 26th, 2017 by CyberGoblin
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation |

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