Login | Signup

RPGs

The Elder Scrolls Online (inc. Explorer's Pack ) now under a tenner at Base

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
MMOs, PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online | £9.99 | Base | Review

The Elder Scrolls seems like an opportunity missed to me. It's a game that needs to be weighed and measured on its own merits, but that's tricky when it's trying so hard to please two separate groups of people in MMO lovers and traditional Elder Scrolls fans.

Yes, there's a subscription, but you get the first month free, and if you've been curious thus far, Base are selling the game (complete with the Explorer's Pack pre-order DLC) for under a tenner. You might have to wait a couple of days for delivery, Base are not the most dependable in that regard, but it's a much better price than the absurdly inflated RRP.

Nice spot, oUkTuRkEyIII.

VIDEO | Pillars of Eternity Developer Presentation wth Obsidian's Josh Sawyer

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Kickstarter, Obsidian Entertainment, PC games, Pillars Of Eternity, RPGs, Videos

We're seeing a fair few nostalgia trips these days, blending old-school sensibilities with updated systems -- distilling the elements that made classics like Baldur's Gate and Fallout and Elite so utterly brilliant and updating everything to provide a smoother experience that feeds our rose-tinted desires and removes any clunkiness or mechanical cobwebs.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing indeed, and it carried Pillars of Eternity (just called Project Eternity back then) to the top of Kickstarter's funded list, giving Obsidian Entertainment the chance to pay homage to the Infinity Engine games that put so many of its employees on the map.

Last week, we got the chance to check out the game and chat to project lead Josh Sawyer, who delivered a half-hour presentation bringing us up to speed on where development currently sits. There'll be a preview coming shortly, but here's the presentation in full for now. Apologies for the awful visuals (had a slight tech fail on the day).

Unrest Review | I Predict A Riot

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Indie Games, PC games, Pyrodactyl Games, RPGs, Unrest

Unrest Review | I Predict A Riot

Unrest is a game all about talking to people. There's little by way of direct violence in this indie RPG adventure title from Pyrodactyl Games, instead the emphasis here is fixed firmly on the notion of playing a role, wrapping yourself up in a character and then making some rather weighty decisions.

This is absolutely my jam.

The scene is set in the city of Bhimra, with the game taking its cues from a fictionalised, fantastical vision of ancient India. The years have not been kind to Bhimra and its population, and interminable famine, drought, and burgeoning slums have brought the city to the brink of utter collapse. An uneasy treaty with a neighbouring Naga empire, whose citizens are a giant race of snake people, would seem to be the answer, but in exchange for provisions and welfare, the Naga are looking for jobs for their skilled workers. Unlike Bhimra's caste system, the Naga empire allows for greater social mobility, but even so, there are only so many opportunities to go around.

That doesn't sit too well with certain pockets of Bhimra's society, however, particularly out in the slums where an influx of immigrants would seem to be the absolute last thing their city should be undertaking in a time of famine and strife. Riots start kicking off, and a royal visit to the areas of deprivation, designed to illustrate the benefits of the treaty with the Naga empire, goes horribly awry. Everything goes downhill rather quickly after that and you the player, are in charge of determining a future path for Bhimra across eight chapters and five different playable characters of varying standings and affiliations.

Click here to read more...

Opening Scenes | Unrest - First 15 Mins Gameplay

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Indie Games, Opening Scenes, PC games, Pyrodactyl Games, RPGs, Unrest

Opening Scenes | Unrest - First 15 Mins Gameplay

Unrest is a conversation-heavy RPG, in which the responses you give to people and the choices you make are at the heart of things. The stage is set in a fantastical vision of ancient India, and instead of dealing in combat and inventory management, the game impresses on the player the importance of playing a role -- choosing to align its focus on characters who might find themselves overlooked in other games, and whose fates are predetermined thanks to a caste system.

Instead of an epic narrative involving gods and demons, Pyrodactyl Games’ have chosen to narrow their focus for the game down onto the civil unrest in one city, and the impact of a treaty to be signed between two factions rife with distrust for one another.

We've gone and captured the first 15-20 minutes of the game, without commentary, for you to check out. There'll be a review later on today.

EXPIRED! Skyrim just £2 on PC at Green Man Gaming

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

EXPIRED! Skyrim just £2 on PC at Green Man Gaming

Skyrim | Green Man Gaming | £2 (with code P36EYA-K5JYKT-ABO7X9)
Price ComparisonSkyrim Review

It's Skyrim. It's amazing. And on PC there are a whole host of mods to enable you to pretty much do anything you want, which are super easy top install and get up and running thanks to Steam Workshop. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!

Divinity: Original Sin Review | Simply Divine

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Divinity: Original Sin, Larian Studios, PC games, RPGs

Divinity: Original Sin Review | Simply Divine

Hands up if you fancy playing one of the best RPGs of the last decade, because that's what we've got right here. I could spend 1500 or so words dissecting Divinity: Original Sin for you before delivering that conclusion, but frankly that's time that you could be spending playing Divinity: Original Sin.

Let's put it this way: if you like your old-school, isometric RPGs, if you've lamented the increasing tendencies of modern games (especially purported role-playing games) towards handholding and streamlining and other simplifications, if what you crave from an RPG is freedom and customisation and a combat system that makes you pause and think, this is the game you've been waiting for.

You should probably stop reading and go and buy it right now.

If you're still here, perhaps you need a little more convincing. Some proof, perhaps, or a little more specificity. We're back in Rivellon for this prequel to Divine Divinity, but it won't matter if you've never played a Divinity game before. You can jump straight in and starting questing to your heart's content, the only things you'll miss out on are a few "A-ha!" moments and in-jokes as previous characters make cameo appearances. You begin the game by creating two Source Hunters, who are on a mission to find the dastardly magical evil-doers that have been mucking about with the balance of things and so on and so forth. It's a fairly hackneyed story, one we've seen countless times before, but it's the way Larian tell it rather than the story itself that makes Original Sin such a delight. This game is all about freedom, choice, personality, and funny one-liners.

Click here to read more...

Flash sale sees The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition down to ~£2.35 on GOG

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games, RPGs, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition

Flash sale sees The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition down to ~£2.35 on GOG

The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition | GOG.com | $3.99 (~£2.35)
PC price comparisonThe Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition Review

Hurry RPG fans, GOG are running a hefty amount of flash deals of late on some of their top games, and few come better than The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. If you like your games, epic, sprawling,, filled with meaningful choice and consequence gameplay, awesome combat, a mature storyline, and plenty to see and do... buy this NOW!

It's down to $3.99 (roughly £2.35) for the next couple of hours. Get on it.

Bag The Elder Scrolls Online for under £20 at The Game Collection

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, MMOs, PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online

Bag The Elder Scrolls Online for under £20 at The Game Collection

The Elder Scrolls Online | £19.95 | The Game Collection | Review

Sprawling, ambitious, and ultimately divisive, The Elder Scrolls Online is an odd one. Though I found its attempt to try and please both hardcore TES players and the MMO crowd to be wanting in several aspects, many have fallen in love with Zenimax Online's attempt at bringing Tamriel to multiplayer life.

Though not as cheap as the now-expired deal a few weeks back from Game Keys Now, this flash deal from The Game Collection is still a cracking price for TESO, and includes the pre-order Explorer's Pack bonus that let's you ally yourself with any faction regardless of race, and gives you a few extra treasure maps as well as a Scuttler to keep as a pet.

£16.99 for The Elder Scrolls Online over at Game Keys Now

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, MMOs, PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online

£16.99 for The Elder Scrolls Online over at Game Keys Now

The Elder Scrolls Online | £16.99 | Game Keys Now | Review

The Elder Scrolls seems like an opportunity missed to me. It's a game that needs to be weighed and measured on its own merits, but that's tricky when it's trying so hard to please two separate groups of people in MMO lovers and traditional Elder Scrolls fans. Still, this deal at least solves one problem with the game -- its absurd pricing structure, which starts with its inflated asking price.

You'd normally have to fork out £30-40 for TESO, but Game Keys Now have a flash deal running over the next few hours that more than halves the game's RRP. Obviously, GKN are a digital distributor, so you'll be sent a code rather than a tangible copy of the game, but they're MCV finalists and I've ordered from them with no issue in the past before.

Bound By Flame Review | A Hot Mess

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Bound By Flame, Focus Home Interactive, PC games, PS3 games, PS4 games, RPGs, Spiders Games, Xbox 360 games

Bound By Flame Review | A Hot Mess

I've decided that I like Bound By Flame. It's won me over by virtue of its clunkily-gruelling, Dark Souls-lite combat system, its rich and varied approach to crafting, its plethora of throwaway one liners and non-sequiturs, and by generally being a little bit bonkers. For every mechanical misstep, jagged pixel, or dreadfully uttered line of dialogue, there are moments when the sheer force of the game's accidental B-movie personality just sticks a smile on my face.

But that doesn't make it a good game.

You play Vulcan, the powder master for a band of badass mercenaries known as the Freeborn Blades. Pleasantly, you can opt to be either male or female, but the customisation options beyond that are hilariously limited to six heads or so apiece. To the game's credit, you can actually rename your character, but it's completely pointless as the game and all of its characters will still call you Vulcan.

A war has ravaged the land of Vertiel, with seven Ice Lords invading from the North (it's always from The North) and sweeping all before them with an army of undead warriors and monstrous generals. The Freeborn Blades have been hired by a group of magicians known as the Red Scribes who seek to tap into the source of the world's power -- the Worldheart -- and seek a way of vanquishing the Deathwalker army that has never lost a battle. Unfortunately, the Deathwalkers show up at the time of the ritual, everything goes tits up, and though the Red Scribes end up summoning something, it breaks free of their enchantment and seeks out the nearest available host... which would be you.

And so it is, half-possessed by a demon, that Vulcan sets out to "purify" the Worldheart and bring peace once more to Vertiel.

Click here to read more...

Opening Scenes | Bound By Flame Gameplay - First 25 Mins

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bound By Flame, Focus Home Interactive, Opening Scenes, RPGs, Spiders Games, Videos

Opening Scenes | Bound By Flame Gameplay -  First 25 Mins

With the review coming later today, here's a look at the opening half hour from Spiders' new middle-tier RPG, Bound By Flame.

Focus and Spiders will no doubt be pleased with the level of hype that the game has garnered, far more than studio's last release -- Mars: War Logs -- ever received. But much of that is down to there being something of a hungering for a decent fantastical RPG. Taking cues most prominently from The Witcher and Dark Souls, Bound By Flame is arriving just in time to fill a gap, and deliver a timesink that we can use to fritter away the days until Watch Dogs finally releases.

It's worth noting that it's a decidedly last-gen game when it comes to the PS4 and PC version. It can go from looking moderately pretty one minute to downright ugly the next, and its appearance on PS4 is more of a courtesy than anything else. Don't expect it to blow your retinas out with eye-bulging beauty.

It's a clunky beast, with lots of little quirks, terrible voice acting and one or two odd bugs here and there, but it has a kind of goofy charm to it, and some of the one-liners are actually pretty funny. I'll go into more detail about the various aspects to the game in the review, but for now here are the opening scenes to Bound By Flame.

It's the gaming equivalent of a rather worthy B-movie.

Asda offering Dragon Age II on PC/Mac for just £3

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
BioWare, Dragon Age II, EA, Mac games, PC games, RPGs

Asda offering Dragon Age II on PC/Mac for just £3

Dragon Age II | £3 | Asda | Review

Lord knows I'm not the biggest fan of Dragon Age II, but £3 is a good price for BioWare relatively mediocre follow up to the stunning Dragon Age: Origins. The combat's better than in the original, though the tactical view is gone, and there's not much variety, and there are cookie cutter dungeons, and Kirkwall is ever so boring, and Hawke is kinda balls, and...

It's cheap. That's the message to take away from this. Nice spot by oUkTuRkEyIII.

Knights of the Old Republic only £2.49 on the Mac App Store

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
iOS games, RPGs, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Knights of the Old Republic only £2.49 on the Mac App Store

Knights of the Old Republic | £2.49 | Mac App Store

It's one of my favourite games of all time, and now it's the price of a pint on iPad. Knights of the Old Republic is BioWare at their finest, leveraging the splendid potential of the Star Wars universe to make an RPG that's rich, compelling, fantastically deep, and filled with some of the most memorable characters in video games. Aspyr have done a great job on the port, meaning that you can now take KOTOR with you wherever you go.

Just buy it.

The Elder Scrolls Online Podcast | An Opportunity Missed

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, MMORPGs, MMOs, PC games, Podcast, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online

Dealspwn's resident MMO guru, the honey-voiced Mr. Carl Phillips, and I sit down for a little natter about The Elder Scrolls Online now that our review is live. Here's a TL:DR version for you to get the gist of things:

The Elder Scrolls Online is a brave attempt at combining two seemingly polar opposites, but it ultimately fails to build a continuously compelling world, compromising too much on either side. It's an MMO that can't hold a candle to likes of Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World, and an Elder Scrolls game that can't hope to be as deep and rich in content and solo experience as Morrowind and Skyrim. The allure of an online Tamriel is strong, and when the game's disparate parts align, it really is a bit special, but those moments are too few and far between to recommend for a game with this much of an inflated price point.

If you haven't read the whole thing yet, save the remorseful flagellation for later, pour yourself a nice cuppa and have a read whilst listening to the dulcet tones of our voices discussing the nature of ZeniMax Online's ambitious MMO... and where it all went wrong.

Grab Persona 4 Golden for under £15 on the SEN Store

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Atlus, JRPGs, Persona 4 Golden, PS Vita, PS Vita games, RPGs

Grab Persona 4 Golden for under £15 on the SEN Store

Persona 4: The Golden | SEN Store | £14.99
Price ComparisonPersona 4: The Golden Review

It's one of the best JRPGs of all time, now with a graphical makeover, hours of extra bits and bobs, and it looks absolutely stunning on the Vita. Persona 4 Golden is one of the finest games you can buy for Sony's little handheld, and will available for under £15 on the Playstation Store once the update goes live this afternoon (any time now).

Seriously, what the hell are you waiting for?

The Elder Scrolls Online Review | All The World's A Stage

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, MMORPGs, MMOs, PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online

The Elder Scrolls Online Review | All The World's A Stage

The middle of the road has never been a good place to be -- you just end up getting run over by traffic from either side. And trust me -- as someone who once went sailing through the air and landed squarely either side of a sturdy, roadside, wooden perimeter -- there's little solace to be found in sitting on the fence. I wrote an article a little while back about identity and the importance of knowing, as a developer, what your game is, what you want to achieve, and who your target audience is. Unfortunately, The Elder Scrolls Online finds itself in a bit of a dither.

Is it just Skyrim with multiplayer? Is it a WOW-ish MMO with pretensions towards being an Elder Scrolls game? The Elder Scrolls Online demands to be judged by two completely conflicting groups of fans. On the one hand, the Elder Scrolls series has long served up several of the most expansive, enriched, singleplayer experiences to be had in this industry -- games that place you as an empowered individual, the only one who can save Tamriel from whatever mischief has befallen it this time around. On the other, you have this massive world, filled with warring factions and steeped in millennia of lore, just ripe with possibilities for a Massively Multiplayer Online experience.

So how do you consolidate the two into one game successfully? That is the question that lies at the heart of The Elder Scrolls Online.

The Elder Scrolls Online Review | All The World's A Stage

And the answer is... you don't.

Tamriel itself is a bit of an empty husk. It's a showroom more than a showstopper, a simulacrum of the worlds we've previously explored in detail. But whereas before, we could be anyone we wanted and do anything we liked, here there are invisible forces at work compelling us to follow certain paths. There's no crime in this version of Tamriel, little opportunity for the fleet-footed and light-fingered, and NPCs are fairly few and far between. TESO is set a couple of millennia before the events of Skyrim, so having a more empty world might be just about justified, but the lack of interaction is troubling. If you saw a sword on the ground in previous games you could pick it up. Now, however, it's most likely just painted decoration.

For a series that has always been synonymous with immersion, that's not a good thing.

Click here to read more...

COMMENT | BioWare has a lot to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
BioWare, Dragon Age II, Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age: Inquisition, EA, RPGs

COMMENT | BioWare has a lot to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition

To this day, Carl will occasionally drop the words "Dragon Age II" into conversation just to send me off on a ten-minute rampage about how bitterly disappointing and shoddily constructed that game was.

It's all relative, of course. Dragon Age II is not a dreadful game. One would actually struggle to describe it as bad. But in comparison to the past glories of a company I grew up adoring for their mature, choice-stuffed RPGs, BioWare screwed the pooch with Dragon Age II. They abandoned the expansive approach that made Origins a modern classic, threw away the narratives we'd all spent hours constructing in that first game, and gave us a boring city surrounded by cookie-cutter dungeons and endlessly repetitive quests for a story that offered little bite.

COMMENT | BioWare has a lot to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition

I'm still annoyed by Mass Effect 3's ending (that's a whole other can of worms), but Dragon Age II exhibited warning signs long before the Reaper starchild showed up to retcon everyone's favourite interactive space opera. The lazy design is undeniable and was never fully addressed in the post-mortems after the game released. Accusations of rushing the game to completion, which would've explained an awful lot, were laughed off, as were suggestions that EA's high pressure corporate culture had negatively influenced the game.

We never got answers, but the results spoke for themselves. Something had gone wrong: BioWare were making games that looked better than ever, but had lost something underneath the surface.

Click here to read more...

The Elder Scrolls Online Review Journal: Part Four - Crafting Is Bliss

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, MMOs, PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online

The Elder Scrolls Online Review Journal: Part Four - Crafting Is Bliss

It's often been the case that I've found myself lacking the patience for the seemingly needless convolutions at work in MMOs. Crafting in particular has always been something of a bugbear of mine, with systems often cluttered beyond belief, often only half-explained, and ultimately incredibly offputting.

The Elder Scrolls Online is nothing like that. In fact, it's something of a joy.

The Elder Scrolls Online Review Journal: Part Four - Crafting Is Bliss

As it stands right now, there are six different professions available in The Elder Scrolls Online. Each have their own unique benefits, and what's impressive to see in a number of them has been how they tie into mechanics used previously in the series. As a player, you can start pretty much straight off of the bat once you emerge out into Tamriel -- it's just a matter of finding and obtaining resources and then getting to work. Here's a rundown of the sort of professions you can invest your time in currently:

  • Alchemist: Becoming an Alchemist is all about potion creation. It's a great role to engage in if you're looking to become something of a support character as potions are particularly useful in battle, buffing stats and restoring health, magicka, and stamina.
  • Blacksmith: This one is fairly straightforward. Becoming a smith involves crafting metal weapons -- swords, maces, axes, daggers, hammers etc. -- as well as heavy armour. It's a perfect profession for the Imperial Dragonknight I'm building up to be an utterly beastly tank.
  • Clothier: You won't be strutting the catwalks of Milan as a clothier, but you will be able to craft and improve light and medium armour.
  • Enchanter: Enchanting is all about enhancing items with special powers, for both aesthetic and functional purposes.
  • Provisioner: Much like the alchemist, this is another profession that involves making consumables, in this case food and drink. But before you can do this, you'll need to uncover the various recipes tucked away around the world.
  • Woodworker: Finally, becoming a woodworker gives you the opportunity to craft and improve, yep, you guessed it, wooden items such as staffs and bows.

There are still MMO staples involved here, of course. Running around and gathering resources from nodes is pretty repetitive and time consuming, but the respawn rate is fairly decent and if you're keeping your eyes open, you'll naturally spot plenty of maple, iron, jute and more on your travels. The limited inventory slots come into play when you're juggling lots of different ingredients for the alchemical and provisioning side of things, but you can stash crafting materials in your bank's vaults, so that takes the load off a little.  The real fun begins when you get back to a spot of civilisation and can work upon turning your raw materials into useful items.

Click here to read more...

The Elder Scrolls Online Review Journal: Part Three - Eight Things I Love and Loathe About The Elder Scrolls Online

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, MMOs, PC games, RPGs, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online

The Elder Scrolls Online Review Journal: Part Three - Eight Things I Love and Loathe About The Elder Scrolls Online

Things are getting a little more interesting of late in The Elder Scrolls Online, especially now that I've reached Cyrodiil. There'll be a big, fat article PvP and the heartland of Tamriel later this week, but for now here are eight reason why The Elder Scrolls Online is filling me with ambivalence...

I LOVE... Skill Progression

The organic process of getting better by doing something repeatedly has long been a staple of the Elder Scrolls games in the past. But it's not how MMOs have traditionally worked. Thankfully, TESO said bollocks to tradition and stuck to its guns, proving all the better for it. Thanks to the implementation of Skyshards, there's not so much pressure put on levelling, instead giving more weight to exploration. Besides, actually improving your skills works outside of general levelling anyway, meaning that whatever you're doing out in the wide world, you're probably getting better at something.

Reached level 23 and want to turn your Dragonknight into a staff-wielding bringer of rain? Well you can.

The Elder Scrolls Online Review Journal: Part Three - Eight Things I Love and Loathe About The Elder Scrolls Online

I HATE... Level Grinding

The gap between levels becomes interminable pretty quickly. I get that MMO developers want to keep you playing for as long as possible, and that TESO isn't all about the rush to the endgame content, but this is ridiculous. Combat counts for virtually nothing when it comes to rising through the ranks, nor does exploration or crafting or anything, really. It's not long at all before progression slows to a crawl, and that's even when you're doing every quest that you find and battling every creature you come across. Making you work for it is one thing, but too often TESO turns into a bit of an interminable slog.

Click here to read more...

80% off Witcher 1 & 2 as GOG launch Battle of the Games

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
CD Projekt, GOG.com, Heroes of Might and Magic, PC games, RPGs, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

80% off Witcher 1 & 2 as GOG launch Battle of the Games

We love you CD Projekt. We really do. And it's not just about the Witcher series, which is utterly fantastic, but also that DRM-free slice of digital distribution awesomeness called GOG.com.

When both come together in a money-saving initiative of wondrous brilliance, it's hard not to swoon.

GOG have launched a new discount series, kicking off with a bunch of my personal favourite games, including Heroes of Might and Magic 2 and 3, and both Witcher titles. Seriously, The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition for just over £2? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!

You can nab them here for up to 80% off, and while you're there, be sure to vote on what you'd like to see discounted in tomorrow's deal.