Impressions & Previews Category

Hands-on, first impressions, and preview coverage. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Our hands-on with Hi-Rez’s new game Bot Smashers

Hi-Rez Expo 2018 ended this weekend, which means my opportunity to play the studio’s new 1v1 mobile game Bot Smashers has also ended. And that makes me sad. Like last year’s SMITE Rivals (RIP) that I loved so much, the only place to play was the expo show floor. No expo floor means no playing. Now I must wait for a general release to battle some more bots — and right now there is no set time.

What exactly is Bot Smashers, you ask, and why did it enchant me so much? Well that’s exactly what I am going to share with you. Then we can wait on the game together! Hopefully the wait won’t be too terribly long; Rory Newbrough, Bot Smashers GM and design director, noted that the studio hopes to get testing for the game started in the spring, then follow with a soft launch soon after.

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Hi-Rez Expo 2018: Paladins’ story, previewing new toon Moji, and hands-on with Paladins Strike

As much as the battle royale-flavored Battlegrounds is big news, it wasn’t the only Paladins news at Hi-Rez Expo 2018. We also learned that there is a new champion, a new map, and more coming to the shooter. But there is always more to learn about news than an announcement provides. That’s one of the things that makes the expo great: the opportunity to talk face-to-face with devs about the game. And that’s exactly what I did!

I spoke with Art Director Thomas Holt and Lead Designer Garrett Martini about Paladins, its upcoming changes, and the lore and story of the game. I also had the chance to try my hand at the mobile take on the game, Paladins Strike, that we heard about at PAX West. Read on for an inside look from the event!

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Choose My Adventure Year in Review: DC Universe Online, Shroud of the Avatar, Guild Wars 2, and Secret World Legends

As our review of the past year of Choose My Adventure rolls onward (a bit longer than originally planned), we enter what I think of as the trifecta of disappointment. Why? Well, the word “trifecta” is fun to say. Try it a few times. Also, because the were three titles among the back end that were pretty notably disappointing.

There are always going to be titles with Choose My Adventure that don’t connect as much with me; after all, the games that I play on a regular basis are not chosen based on a random number generator. But these titles in particular are disappointments, each for their own reasons. And then, in the middle, there’s a game that is far closer to “not mine, but not bad,” which is a different matter altogether. Life, in short, is a rich tapestry.

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Citadel Forged With Fire is adding a full-fledged farming system next year

Early access MMO Citadel Forged With Fire has a fun teaser for 2018 up on Steam this week for all you secret hobbits: The game is getting farming next year. To begin, players will need to hunt down the seeds by harvesting plants out in the world and deconstructing them. Then you’d best get to work on the garden itself.

“You’ll first need to unlock the Farming Plot structure piece from the Knowledge Tree (KP cost and level requirement still to be decided). Once you’ve built your plots you can place your seeds in them to begin the process of growing your crops. Crops must be watered, which will require the consumption of mana.”

Don’t feel like pouring water on your plants? Just build a sprinkler system. “To take the labor out of farming, simply build these structures and they will continuously shower your crops with water so long as they’re hooked up to Mana Generators,” Blue Isle says. “You can even produce Fertilizer (called Hobart’s Growth Solution) to expedite the growth process. Like water, this can be dispersed either by hand or through Sprinklers. Just set it and forget it!”

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s Hall of Chains raid wing first impressions

I promised you at the end of last week’s rundown of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season’s launch episode that I’d return this week with a first look at the new raid Hall of Chains and I never want to disappoint! While I haven’t stood toe to toe with each of the raid bosses yet, I’ve been glued to boss kill videos and have been gaining a feel for the fights I’m due to face. I’m delighted to explain my take on the new endgame content and I’m hoping that some of you are joining me in trying it out!

In this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll discuss each of the new raid bosses briefly and will outline the premise of the encounter mechanics. I won’t spend long outlining very detailed tips and tactics at this stage since I haven’t been hands-on with everything myself yet, though I will furnish you with some tactics guides as I get more experience post-holidays if there’s demand for them. Note that there will be spoilers for those who haven’t tried the content themselves yet, so bear that in mind before reading on. I’ll avoid totally spoilerific images and will hide big lore points behind tags.

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Hands-on with Monster Hunter World’s weekend beta – and how it compares to Dauntless

I won’t lie: The Monster Hunter World beta on console last weekend isn’t going to give you the best sense of the full monster hunting experience. It won’t let you explore the world like Link in Breath of the Wild. And it won’t scratch the full MMO-experience itch.

That being said, as someone who’s played multiple iterations of the series and deeply exploring the gaming genre as a whole, I found that MHW still surprised me with its freshness.

Old dog, new tricks

When I first heard about Dauntless, MH’s closest cognate, I was impressed. Simplifying certain parts of the MH experience for a broader audience sounded like a great idea. The game’s execution experienced at E3 and on my own made me feel like it has a potential audience. However, post-E3 MHW leaks had me geeking out hard. While Dauntless has its own weapon combos, art style, and direction, a lot of the more palatable and streamlined design is going into MHW instead – and it’s launching sooner.

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Interview: ArcheAge’s 4.0 Maelstrom launches December 13 with changes to lunagems, raid finder, and more

Batten down the hatches because a big storm hits tomorrow! ArcheAge’s Maelstrom, with its cross-server navel arena, launches on December 13th. We got to see some of the 4.0 expansion and learn more about it during our demo and interview at PAX West this last fall. And on the cusp of launch, I sat down again with Trion Associate Producer Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai, and Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno to chat more about the upcoming changes. What I learned is that the changes have changes! Lunagems, the raid finder bulletin board, streetlights, and some of the arenas updates have been updated. And one change — the addition of the new turtle ship — will actually not be happening.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Deep-diving Guild Wars 2’s living world S4 Daybreak

I’m back with an earlier-than-anticipated special edition of Flameseeker Chronicles to share my impressions of the opening episode of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season. I am blown away by ArenaNet‘s commitment to the content cadence we’ve come to expect and am thoroughly impressed that the new season is upon us so swiftly after Path of Fire‘s launch, and the direction in which the season seems to be travelling is very promising indeed. The content feels more dynamic than previous offerings, relying heavily on panoramic details, mechanically rich scenarios, and strong dialogue to give us a narrative that feels more alive than ever before.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share with you the main story points of the episode and will discuss my highs and lows throughout. Please note that, although major spoilers will be hidden by tags where possible, this article is best enjoyed after you’ve played the content for yourself due to significant spoilers throughout.

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Hyperspace Beacon: First impressions of SWTOR’s Chiss flashpoint

Yesterday, Star Wars: The Old Republic launched update 5.6, which gave us many new quality-of-life changes to the game as well as our first trip into the Chiss Ascendency via the “A traitor among us” storyline. I am in love with many of the additions like the legacy credit storage and the activities window. But I think the casual player would be most interested in the story on Copero. It’s also the part that I’m most unopinionated about. It’s all right and a good addition to the game, but it’s also just kind of average. It’s better than bad – but it’s not excellent BioWare storytelling.

Let’s take a few moments to talk about SWTOR Update 5.6 and all the things in it, then dive into why I think the Copero flashpoint could have used a little bit more polish.

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Slay-to-win: Massively OP’s hands-on with the Dauntless closed beta

The end of September marked a major milestone for Dauntless, the upcoming monster-slaying action-MMORPG from indie developer Phoenix Labs, as it officially concluded its Founder’s Alpha event and made the jump into closed beta. Since then, legions of would-be Slayers have stormed the Shattered Isles, taking up arms to defend the last bastions of human civilization from destruction at the hands (and talons, fangs, or similarly sinister appendages) of the marauding monstrous beasts known as Behemoths.

And as it so happens, I was one of them. As a long-time fan of Capcom’s venerable Monster Hunter series, which pioneered the “kill-carve-and-craft” action-RPG subgenre upon which Dauntless aims to build, I’ve been eager to check it out for some time now. So when closed beta rolled around, I shelled out for a Founder’s Pack and joined my fellow prospects in the frontier settlement of Ramsgate, where I hoped to prove worthy of the Slayer mantle, or failing that, then at least to avoid dying horribly.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Wrapping up Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story ahead of season 4

The launch of Guild Wars 2‘s Living World Season 4 will be upon us today, so it’s all the more pressing that I wrap up my Path of Fire story analysis so we can jump into some new impressions as we delve into new story content. I haven’t had hands-on time with the new season prior to launch this time, so we’ll be going straight into a deep dive of the new content next time, but until then I can’t wait to share my closing thoughts on PoF‘s story with you.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll wrap up my PoF story impressions and will conclude with some hopes for today’s season launch. This will be a lengthy one, fair reader, so get comfortable for a bumper read! As ever, there will be significant spoilers throughout for anyone who has been living under a rock not finished the PoF story and has missed the new season hype.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Assessing SWTOR one week after the big server merges

Many people believe that server merges are innately bad because in games like ArcheAge (or even all the way back to Star Wars Galaxies), they were done completely wrong or the game itself wasn’t designed for its servers to ever consolidate. However, other MMOs – RIFT comes to mind – have nearly perfected server merges. And for the most part, server merges help the game and its population. Because many of the smaller servers combine together with larger servers, there are more people around, group-finder queues tend to pop faster, PvP is more dynamic, and roleplayers can reach the all-important critical mass.

If I were to just look at the Star Wars: The Old Republic server merges from the perspective of the overall benefits of combining different server communities, I would have zero issue with them. SWTOR is one of those games that has no innate issues with combining server save for players losing character names. It could be done without losing character names, and I will get into the flaws of that system in a bit.

Now, let’s talk about my specific perspective having experienced two server merges by BioWare, then we will get into the details of how this latest one affected those in my community.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking more of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

As promised, Flameseeker Chronicles is back with a continuation of the Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire story deep-dive I’ve been crafting over the last few weeks. I’ll briefly recap you on where we left off and then will launch into covering the rest of Act II. The volume of story content that came with the latest expansion is appreciable and deserves to receive a thorough breakdown, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you while adding some thoughts as I go. Not everyone is as enthused with the story, of course, so I hope these unpacking articles also help anyone who doesn’t wish to dedicate time to more than the bare bones of the story: You can always use breakdowns such as these to fill any lore gaps that arise from you skipping content you don’t enjoy, after all! Note before you proceed that, just as was the case in the other story breakdown entries, this article will contain significant spoilers if you haven’t completed Act II of the story for yourself.

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