Forced may look like your garden variety SHMUP or MOBA, but it really ain't. Rather, this innovative indie effort is a cooperative arena gauntlet that's half hectic action and half on-the-fly puzzler, providing 2-4 players with a varied and rewarding experience. You can save a whopping 90% on Bundle Stars by getting the triple pack for £3.30, making every copy worth £1.10.
Yes, there are trading cards before you ask.
Aarklash Legacy surprised me back in 2013. I expected it to be awful -- it's made by Cyanide after all -- yet this brutal and stylish genre hybrid ended up being pretty tasty indeed. Read our Aarklash Legacy review for the details! A bargain at £2.24.
Let's get this out of the way so we can move on: Citizens Of Earth is a love letter to EarthBound. It's an RPG that finds the humour, horror, wonder and weirdness lurking behind everyday life, a skewed perspective on American culture with wry left-field jabs and groan-worthy puns aplenty. As the Vice President of Earth, you'll recruit an army of followers to fight against an otherworldly invasion within the picket fences of your home town, coffee shops, the big city and realms beyond, encountering some bizarre and hilarious foes in traditional first-person turn based battles.
So Citizens Of Earth owes a lot to Mother 2, then, but there's more to it than that. It feels like a painstaking fan project developed by someone who loves the source material and JRPGs...but doesn't have much experience in actually making them.
Because that's exactly what it is. Eden Industries have never made a JRPG before, but in fairness there's a first time for everything. No-one attempted to create an execution puzzler based on light waves until Eden had a crack at it, and Waveform turned out great. As such they approached the marathon task of creating an enormous RPG by throwing everything they had at it, along with some new ideas of their own.
The result is infinitely more than just an EarthBound homage, yet simultaneously the sort of game I hate to review above all others. A game that's packed with clear passion and enthusiasm that I desperately want to love, but makes a number of basic mistakes I just can't ignore.Click here to read more...
I probably don't need to explain why Baldur's Gate II is so good, but if I do, you're better off experiencing for yourself. The Enhanced Edition includes a little extra content and some more character kits too.
Just be aware that it feels more intuitive and convenient to play on its native PC platform. Thanks to axone @ HUKD!
If you love classic RPGs and pine for the Infinity Engine or tabletop days, you're going to love Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. This massively expanded remake of Avernum 2 provides dozens of hours of impeccably-written exploration, combat and dialogue as you create a party and set out into a massive open underground world, exploring over 100 towns and dungeons while defending your new home from a brutal attack. It released last week on Steam for £12.74 and there's a huge demo too.
"Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is an enormous, expansive and peerlessly written RPG that succeeds both on the strength of its world and its innovative campaign structure. So long as you're willing to read and exercise a little imagination, that is. Spiderweb have refined their winning formula over the last two decades and the result is pure roleplaying quality." - 8/10 Editor's Choice review
Great news for any serious RPG fan, but in even better news, the fine folks at Spiderweb Software have granted us three Steam codes to give away!
To be in with a chance of winning a copy, just leave us a comment in the box below! We're keeping it dead simple this time. You can tell us about yourself, wax lyrical about Avernum, reveal your favourite old-school RPG moments or make some terrible puns (go on, you know you want to), but the three winners will ultimately be determined by random selection. Good luck!
Competition closes Monday 2nd February at 17:00. Winners will be randomly selected. Winners will be notified and sent their Steam code to the email address associated with their Dealspwn account, so please make sure to use a valid email address!
Okay. You got me. My Spiderweb Software RPG reviews are getting pretty formulaic. I typically kick things off by bemoaning the state of gaming these days, then wax lyrical about the Infinity Engine and the importance of writing over visuals. Thankfully Jeff Vogel is still around, though, creating enormous and engaging RPGs with rich fundamentals and masterful command of the written word. Which I praise highly and breathlessly, pausing briefly to criticise the terrible interface before slapping on a ripe old score and an editor's choice award.
In my defence, however, my reviews are so formulaic because Spiderweb Software follows a winning formula of their own, down to the same basic systems and iterative engine that remain largely unchanged after two decades. As an expanded remake of a remake (Avernum 2 originally released in 2001, which was itself a remake of Exile 2!), you might expect Avernum 2: Crystal Souls to be old rope that's fraying around the edges somewhat.
So I'm delighted to report that Avernum 2: Crystal Souls manages to feel fresh and unique despite its pedigree, thanks to the timeless quality of Vogel's writing and its impressively unique campaign structure. If you have 40-odd hours to spare and don't mind reading a novel's worth of text, this is a old-school trip worth taking. It's certainly the gaming highlight of my year thus far.
We return to Avernum, a sprawling subterranean world in which generations of exiled prisoners have started new lives and scratched together a brave new civilization against the horrors of the dark. Unfortunately the surface world has launched a crushing offensive against its former outcasts, scattering and crushing the beleagured yet determined rebels. It's a unique and complex setting that feels alive and authentic, underpinned by powerful themes of poverty, desperation, rebellion and racism, but what's remarkable is that the world and its inhabitants are brought to life though the writing, not the graphics.Click here to read more...
Valkyria Chronicles only £7.49 on Steam. Click here to buy ! >>
This is a fantastic price for a fantastic strategy RPG that finally made its way to PC, not before time. 50% is a big saving that's valid until 18:00 this evening. Thanks BurningToxic!
Diablo III was broken, but Reaper Of Souls fixed it. Not only did the gameplay tweaks and free patches made grinding fun and rewarding, but the expansion adds some great meaningful content (including the best act in the game and brilliant new class), alongside a new way to experience the game in Adventure Mode. £12.99 is spectacularly cheap, but remember to like CD Keys on Facebook to get your 5% discount code!
Click here to read our Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls review!
Forced may look like your garden variety SHMUP or MOBA, but it really ain't. Rather, this innovative indie effort is a cooperative arena gauntlet that's half hectic action and half on-the-fly puzzler, providing two players with a varied and rewarding experience. You can save a whopping 80% on Bundle Stars and get a Steam code... yes, there are trading cards before you ask.
The Storm Warning Edition includes all of the DLC at an astonishing 90% saving, but be aware that the discount ends at 18:00 today! Act fast or miss out. Thanks MrCollective!
Dungeon Of The Endless is now £4.99 on Steam. Click here to buy! >>
It's one of the best games of 2014 bar none. "Dungeon Of The Endless is the best Real-Time Turn-Based Strategic 4X Tower Defence Sci-Fi Roguelike RPG hybrid you'll play this week," I wrote in our 9/10 Editor's choice review. "And easily one of the very best games you'll play this year. Absolutely unmissable."
Bundle Stars have updated their Nordic Games sale and one bargain stands out above all others. Gothic: Universe Edition. This three-game collection includes Gothic, Gothic II (plus DLC) and Gothic III for a ridiculous £2.70, which saves you an outrageous £15 versus the official Steam RRP.
This is a screaming deal, though bear in mind that it doesn't include ArcaniA: Gothic IV.
Dungeon Of The Endless is one of the best games of 2014 bar none, and if you're looking for a cheap PC deal, GamersGate has you covered. They're currently charging £6.69, a 33% saving and a worthy price for an utterly superb genre hybrid, before an extra discount with their GAMERSGATE-TURKEY voucher code!
"Dungeon Of The Endless is the best Real-Time Turn-Based Strategic 4X Tower Defence Sci-Fi Roguelike RPG hybrid you'll play this week," I wrote in our 9/10 Editor's choice review. "And easily one of the very best games you'll play this year. Absolutely unmissable."
"The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing 2 punches well above its weight and ends up as a markedly superior game. Seriously, even the optional tower defence sections are good enough to be a standalone game in their own right."
I'm not trying to take credit for Deathtrap -- even I'm not that egotistical -- but I certainly called it in our Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II review. NeoCore are already masters at creating rock-solid action RPG gameplay with compelling progression and great combat, so having discovered a knack for tower defence too, they decided to build a brand new game mixing all three elements together.
The result is half Diablo-style dungeon crawler, half tower defender and all delightfully OTT gothic horror romp. With multiple classes, tricky mazes, hordes of enemies, addictive levelling, versatile upgrades, co-op, infinite user-generated content and more besides, Deathtrap expertly blends the strategy of tower defence with the insanely hectic combat of Diablo. It's an example of a tower defence RPG hybrid that actually tries to break the mold, and rise above the pack in an otherwise crowded sub-genre.
And because it's built on the dependable Van Helsing foundation, it's also an example of an Early Access game that actually works!Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (reviewed) | Xbox One version TBA
Developer: Amplitude Studios
Don't call it a Roguelike. Dungeon Of The Endless may feature permadeath and dungeon crawling, but one word can't do justice to this extraordinary genre-defying beast. To take a stab at pigeonholing it, I suppose that 'Real-Time Turn-Based Strategic 4X Tower Defence Roguelike RPG hybrid' is probably the closest I can get.
So the first thing you need to know is that Dungeon Of The Endless uses traditional Roguelike genre staples as a launchpad for a totally fresh and unique Sci-Fi experience that continually switches up the pace and challenge in exciting new ways.
The second and most important thing you need to know, however, is that it's absolutely bloody fantastic. Dungeon Of The Endless was already impressive when Ampltude Studios released the alpha last year, and has only grown stronger due to user feedback and honest painstaking hard work. I'm having trouble finding anything remotely wrong with it, but explaining how all of its crazy genre-blending systems interlock will take some doing.Click here to read more...
For my money, Fallout 3 is probably the best RPG of the last console generation and quite possibly the best game too. Its enormous game world was both enormous, unpredictable and dense; while the story and gameplay armed us with more choice than any other game I can think of.
If you haven't yet sampled Bethesda's exquisite take on the Fallout franchise, you can now get the GOTY Edition for less than a London pint. Thanks to ferreirm @ HUKD!
Platforms: PS3 | PS Vita (reviewed)
Publisher: NIS America | Reef Entertainment
The trailers lied. Yes, Akiba's Trip is a game in which you'll rip the clothes off sexy vampires, but that's not what it's about.
It's actually a cel shaded celebration of otaku counter-culture in all of its bizarre diversity and a love letter to Tokyo's trendy Akihabara district. It's big-hearted, anarchic, punk, devastatingly cool and fiercely unapologetic in its desire to do its own crazy thing; a blend of riotous street combat with compelling RPG components and visual novel elements. A little like Yakuza by way of Jet Set Radio, only much rougher around the edges.
All-told, Akiba's Trip is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2014, though admittedly the combat still revolves around ripping people's clothes off. We'll get to that in due time... but for now, note that I said "people," not "girls."
Revealing that you'll spend half your time disrobing hot buff dudes clearly wasn't at the top of the marketing team's priorities!Click here to read more...
Dragon Age: Origins | Origin | Free
Dragon Age: Origins is that rare thing, a Tokien-esque dark fantasy game that makes its universe and canon feel fresh, vital and new while still dealing with the clichés we know and love. It also happens to be a truly brilliant RPG with great characters, plenty of player choice and the ability to create your own character from numerous races and backgrounds with unique playable backstories.
And it's FREE! Go get it, though don't bother with the sequel. Thanks and credit to gemsa @ HUKD!
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning is a seriously big game, and one that balances exploration and character skill development with exciting moment-to-moment combat. The fantasy setting is thoroughly uninspired and as insipid as they come, but there's no quibbling with the raw value. The DLC and 'full version' is also on sale, Tsung reminds us in the comments.
Thanks once again to jaystan @ HUKD!
The last time we left our heroes, they'd emerged from a vicious street fight and secured a new base of operations. The Division's first gameplay trailer gave us a look at how players will cooperate to take back New York from the deranged survivors of a chemical attack; using both gunplay, strategy and RPG-esque skills to outmanoeuvre and outsmart their foes.
It's all right here in this E3 video. Watch it, else nothing that follows will seem wondrous. Or make any sense.
Ubisoft brought the next chapter to Gamescom 2014, or perhaps more accurately, the prequel. After showing us the daytime section again, running on Xbox One and iPad, they whisked us off to a new section of the game set during the previous night. Manhattan feels like a totally different place after sundown, an eerie and haunting environment that feels preternaturally wrong as you carefully pick your way through the ruined streets. A once bustling city now silent and deserted, save for the packs of hard-edged operators stalking through the rubble.
However, the day/night cycle is more than just a stylistic choice. New threats come out to play once the sun sets, and you'll need to work together in order to survive until dawn.Click here to read more...