After nearly a year of open beta, Path of Exile has finally reached version 1.0. The release will conclude this chapter’s story and bring with it a slew of new features, including a prestige class, the Scion, which is unlockable by beating the game in Normal Difficulty. It’s also available on Steam for the first time.
Path of Exile’s itemization and passive skill tree impressed me when the open beta first began, and since then it seems like Grinding Gear Games has made good on their promise to continue making improvements and expanding their ambitious multiplayer modes. And it’s free-to-play still, so if you’re a fan of ARPGs, there’s no reason not to try it out – PoE is supported entirely by the purchase of cosmetic effects and account improvements (extra character slots and stash tabs).
[This is a guest post by phubans.]
Here’s a guest review for Mercenary Kings. I even made a video to go with it!
Mercenary Kings is simply amazing. You can always tell when you like a game – you start playing it and spend the next 8~ hours continuing to play it. It’s that good. When I started out, I did the online co-op with a few friends over a Skype call, playing on my TV with a gamepad for the full experience. Co-op was great, but I kept playing for hours after everyone else left, completely immersed in the level of depth the game had to offer.
Let me just say that this game seems to have ticked all the right boxes. It goes without saying that a game featuring the awesome art and animation of Paul Robertson is going to look great, but beyond that it even feels great; the feedback couldn’t be better. The music is also one of the game’s strong points, with driving, energetic tunes that will have you humming along. But as great as it looks, sounds, and plays, I think the most compelling feature of the game is the weapon crafting system.
As you play the game, enemies and chests will drop common, uncommon, and rare materials. Back at base camp you can use these to craft weapons, armor, and accessory upgrades. But it isn’t as simple as upgrading your gun to level 2. Perhaps the greatest aspect of Mercenary Kings is that every part of your gun is customizable – the receiver, the barrel, the stock, the magazine, etc. Using this system you can mix and match to create one of thousands of unique possible combinations.
The game also features a rank system where you’ll rank up by completing various missions, including scenarios like hostage rescue, scavenger hunts for materials, and simply neutralizing or capturing enemies and bosses. Completing some missions will unlock new NPCs to interact with as well new missions, areas, and weapon parts to craft.
If RPG elements aren’t enough to sell a Metal Slug-type game for you, then it’s probably not your cup of tea, but as far as games in this genre go, this one is pretty great and easily one of the best games I’ve played so far in 2013. For fans of the Contra and Metal Slug series who also enjoy high-level weapon customization and RPG elements, this game is most certainly a must buy.
TinyKeep is an indie 3D Action RPG title, drawing inspiration from both roguelikes and dungeon-crawler RPGs such as Ultima IV. The player is tasked with escaping the titular keep in which they have been imprisoned by exploring procedurally-generated dungeons and fighting various monsters as they progress. To increase the challenge and create a world that feels alive, the game’s sole programmer, Phi Dinh, has placed heavy focus on the project’s AI system. Dungeon inhabitants and monsters each have needs and desires, and will move about independent of player interaction in an attempt to fulfill those goals – feeding, sleeping, and interacting with each other in interesting ways. Along with the roguelike staple of procedurally-generated dungeons, Dinh hopes that these AI systems will lead to more emergent story opportunities and unique experiences for the player.
TinyKeep is currently on Kickstarter, and hoping to achieve its funding goal of only £22,162. Although it is currently more than halfway there, there are only 4 days left to achieve its goal – but with luck, we will all get the opportunity to explore and escape TinyKeep!
This is the latest gameplay trailer for wollay’s upcoming RPG Cube World.
The three-person indie studio, Acid Wizard, has released a gameplay teaser for their current survival-horror project, Darkwood.
Billed as a “top-down, oldschool survival horror set in a procedurally generated open world, with RPG and roguelike elements,” where players must explore the dark forest surrounding their cabin and defend against the terrors of the night, Darkwood sounds like a project to follow. As the trailer shows, Acid Wizard certainly knows how to do atmosphere, and the gameplay itself strikes me as a top-down mix between Project Zomboid and Alan Wake. A great first impression, to be sure, and I’ll certainly be keeping tabs on this project as it goes forward.
There’s no need to beat a dead horse but it should be mentioned – yeah, Diablo 3 was a pretty disappointing experience for me, too. It happens. However, just as the third Godfather movie didn’t mean the end of good gangster flicks, neither does the third Diablo game mean the end of good point-and-click action RPGs.
Path of Exile is one of the newer entries to the genre, and the one I’m most excited about. Unlike Torchlight, the theme and graphics are dark, gritty, and almost oppressive. And unlike Grim Dawn, PoE will be available to play later today, as an open beta. Unlike all the other Diablolikes, the game will always be free-to-play, with cosmetic microtransactions being the only source of the developer’s income from it.
Even with the genre showing that it is still alive and kicking with the recent return of two industry names, Chris Roberts (Star Citizen) and David Braben (Elite: Dangerous), it is especially exciting to see new, indie blood enter the space-sim scene.
Limit Theory is the newest space sim to launch a Kickstarter and, though it launches amid a wave of similar games, it has really caught my eye. Having been in development for only three months so far, the footage and screenshots that sole developer Josh Parnell is showing off on Kickstarter are already gorgeous. I don’t know if Mr. Parnell knew when he began this project just how much of a sucker I am for both open exploration in procedural worlds and spaceflight, but I feel like this game is fueled by my fever dreams.
A sandbox RPG/RTS in a procedurally-generated universe filled with procedurally-generated planets and traversed by procedurally-generated ships all fighting and trading across infinity. Limit Theory promises a lot, but also has substance to show and definite passion to drive it into the future. Go check out the project’s webpage for more information, and be sure to drop any questions in the Kickstarter’s comments section, where Mr. Parnell seems quite active in responding to the community.
Sui Generis is the name of a new RPG from Bare Mettle Entertainment. Well, it’s really just a tech demo at this point, but the engine and toolset behind it are extremely promising, offering powerful physics simulation and impressive procedurally-generated terrain at the click of a button. Combat is also physics-based and while it currently looks quite wobbly (drunken is perhaps more accurate), it seems like great fun, too.
RPG players have a lot to look forward to these days from the indie game development community, with lots of small developers bunkering down for the long-term to develop their dream games. Dwarf Fortress, Age of Decadence, Grim Dawn, Kenshi, Starfarer, and the candy-coated Cube World all show a lot of potential. Hopefully Sui Generis will join them in seeing a successful release some day.
Also, this is probably as good a time as any to announce that Kickstarter has finally opened its doors to the UK.
Even though the following three Kickstarters have been fully funded, I thought you might still be interested in hearing about the projects or getting in at the last moment to obtain prizes and help the developers reach their “stretch goals”.
The first game is Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, a first-person action title centered around medieval melee combat. Developer Torn Banner Studios, who previously created the Half-Life 2 mod Age of Chivalry, says the final release will have a deep melee system and over 60 weapons and siege weapons to play with, as well as a “dynamic objective system” to provide some higher-level strategy to the team-based battles. But unfortunately the single-player portion of the game sounds like it will be limited to practice for online multiplayer.
Chivalry is slated for a Fall release as a PC exclusive.
Iron Tower Studio has released a public beta for Age of Decadence, their up-and-coming role-playing game, and opened it for preorders. As far as I can tell, there’s a lot here to get hardcore CRPG players excited: AoD appears to put a heavy emphasis on role-playing, dialogue, and combat, with the three carefully intertwined. Quests are designed not only with multiple solutions, but also multiple starting points. One playthrough, for example, may have you assassinating a certain character while the other will have you protecting them – it all depends on how you choose to play. And the combat, which is turn-based, promises to be extremely punishing to players without the requisite stats and skills.
AoD takes place in the shadow of a crumbling, Roman-themed empire, where various political factions are vying for their own agendas. According to the FAQ, these factions play a strong role in the game, and as a player you can make and break alliances and even double- or triple-cross your allies. Or, if you want, you could try to ignore them and remain unentangled.
It sounds like Iron Tower is hellbent on delivering a complex CRPG in which your choices truly have deep consequences and role-playing is at the forefront. Enjoy the beta while you wait – Age of Decadence is slated for a 2013 release.
(Source: Chef Boyardee)