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By Jessica Brown On 19 Sep, 2017 At 05:14 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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  • TITLE: “Evil Genome”
  • DEVELOPER: Crystal Depths Studio
  • PUBLISHER: Crystal Depths Studio
  • GENRE: Metroidvania Action-RPG
  • PLATFORM: PC (Steam)
  • RELEASE DATE: August 7, 2017
  • PRICE: $14.99 USD

Evil Genome is an action-RPG from Chinese developer Crystal Depths Studio. The game is styled as a “Metroidvania” action-RPG by the developers, and for the most part, this is a fair assessment. The game has a lot of depth and some fun gameplay, but is it ultimately worth your time and the $14.99 asking price?

The game is set in a seemingly post-apocalyptic future, where Lachesis, who is about to rendezvous with a nearby base, has her ship shot down in a sudden missile attack. Waking up at the wreck in the middle of the desert, she seems to be lacking any real memories of who she is or what she was doing and, unfortunately for her, the AI system that accompanies her cannot provide her with any classified (in this case, non-combat) information without Lachesis’s memory core being restored. From this beginning, it’s all about exploration and combat while trying to figure out what the heck is actually going on.

Gameplay is presented with horizontal movement in a 3D playing field. The graphics are for the most part well-developed and provide a lot of depth for the environments while there are plenty of things for the player to do in the foreground. Various items and upgrades can be found in chests and crates hidden (or not hidden) throughout the environment and, as you might expect, be looted from defeated enemies. Like any good action-RPG, there is an experience system that provides players with a skill tree to progress through each time they level up, giving them the ability to customize Lachesis’s play style to their own personal preferences and strengths. Meanwhile, the game gives players a Metroidvania style map that updates as they explore, and players will have various main missions and side-quests they can complete as they go.

While I really wanted to enjoy Evil Genome, I found that it was ultimately held back on several fronts.

For starters, while I do recognize that the game was developed by a Chinese studio (presumably for whom English was not their first language), the game’s English translation is rife with spelling and grammatical errors. What’s worse, the grammar errors actually spill over into the game’s spoken, voice-acted dialogue, making it extremely awkward at times. The voice work, outside of perhaps the main character, is also exceptionally sub-par throughout the experience. What dialogue is delivered without any grammatical problems is very flat and lacks any sort of emotion. Some characters seem to change their voice and how they speak during the game, sometimes even during the same segment of dialogue! Another problem with the grammar flaws is that they also make the menus rather difficult to deal with, sometimes leaving you guessing at what something (such as a skill description) actually means.

There are also quite a few bugs present too. Some of these are benign, such as the screen fading in an odd way while the dialogue is being delivered, but others are a bit more egregious. There are several times when aspects of the environment flicker or otherwise exhibit artifacts, the fact that you seemingly cannot climb or go down a ladder without jumping towards it (which is particularly weird when you want to descend it!), enemies that glitch out and seem to be invulnerable, and also issues with performance. The game suffers some choppiness due to frame-rate issues in a few spots, even while playing on a high-end system with a GTX 1080 Ti. Changing settings like turning off V-Sync seem to do nothing to resolve the issue (and in fact may even make performance even worse!).

To me, Evil Genome feels like one of those games that was rushed out and needed a lot more polish. It’s almost as if we are playing a test build of the game, something that might not even have been ready for Steam’s Early Access status. It’s frustrating, though, because it feels like this game has a lot of potential and a few things that it’s begging us to love about it. The gameplay, honestly, beyond some of the buggy behavior is actually pretty fun, and even though the story is quite vague I do wonder where it’s ultimately going. But beyond that, though, I find myself having trouble actually recommending the purchase.

Ultimately, I’d say that Evil Genome is a below-average game that needs a lot of work before I’d say it was worth the investment. Maybe if it was on sale at a deep discount or as part of a larger bundle it would be worth it, but as it stands now I’d recommend passing on it. Hopefully, Crystal Depths will take a look at the criticisms offered by reviewers and Steam users and look into cleaning up the game because, if they did, I think they’d have a fun adventure title on their hands.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Sep, 2017 At 02:24 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThere are two things that are awesome in gaming., namely Pokémon and Fighting games from Bandai Namco. Thus a Pokémon Fighting from Bandai Namco is a dream come true to me. I didn’t get to play Pokken Tournament on Wii U, but with the Nintendo Switch getting an enhanced port, I finally got a chance to play it. But was it good in the end?

The first thing I noticed was that despite the name, Pokken isn’t exactly Pokémon with Tekken gameplay due to the dual phases of the battle. The Field Phase plays more akin to a Naruto or the older Dragon Ball Z fighting games. It takes a while to get used to if you are unfamiliar with it, but the game has a great tutorial that helps explain things well. Duel Phase though, does play more akin to Tekken and thus feels a lot more natural to players more used to traditional fighting games. Learning how to switch between the phases and when to do so, is a major part of the gameplay.

Pokken Tournament DX does offer some great additions to the experience, for those unsure about the Switch port. In addition to new Pokémon, there are new modes such as 3 vs 3, similar to the King of Fighters series, and new more refined online modes. I had a great time playing online and experienced no lag or connectivity issues. In addition, there is some great implementation of HD rumble in the game. It feels subtle but it really does help the experience feel more immersive.

In terms of single player, there is the Ferrum League which serves as the story mode, as well as single fights.  These are a great way to learn about how to play the game for when you go online, and to be honest, playing some single matches against a CPU is a great way to just have fun. There are also daily missions which offer some good variety to the gameplay. It isn’t as much as a game like Mortal Kombat X or Injustice 2, but it is still a good amount of single-player content. This is especially true for someone who just wants a few matches now and then and has no interest in playing online. There may not be a massive amount of single-player content, but what there is, is high quality.

The game actually feels like it takes a bit from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Considering both games were made by Bandai Namco this makes sense, and it is perfectly reasonable that a Pokémon fighting game would take influence from another fighting game based on Nintendo characters. As such, this is a game that would also appeal very much to Smash Bros players, and those waiting for a Smash game on Switch might want to look at this one while they wait.

Pokken Tournament DX is a fun game, and while I never played the Wii U version myself, I did follow its competitive scene and what people said about it. From everything I’ve experienced, this feels not like an enhanced version but like a truly fleshed out version that feels like what the Wii U version should have been. It isn’t a perfect game though, as parts of the combat just feel off. I can’t explain it, but even in Duel Mode, the game just feels different. And in a way that is good, as it fits the nature of Pokémon. I wouldn’t say that this is an ideal game for fighting game fanatics, but it is definitely one worth checking out. For Pokémon fans, Nintendo fans and also Smash Bros fans, this is a must buy. I highly recommend it!

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Disclaimer: A review key was provided by Nintendo.

 

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The Dishonored series has been one of the more interesting things to have come out of gaming in recent years.  The games offer more choices that do affect how the game progresses, which give the games a lot of replayability. That said, there are some who feel the games have been becoming formulaic. For those who feel that way though, Dishonored: Death of The Outsider offers some changes to what you might expect.

Death of the Outsider follows Billie Lurk as she aids Doud in his revenge against the Outsider. From there however, things get strange. Billie gains abilities like one would expect in a Dishonored game, but not in the usual way. In fact, Death of the Outsider does a lot different, such as removing the chaos system altogether. This does affect the replayability of the game, but the tradeoff is a more innovative experience. Billie’s powers are fun to use, and offer multiple ways to go about things. Without giving spoilers, there are certain parts of the game that you just want to replay over and over, because there are so many different ways to complete an objective, and each way is extremely satisfying.

The gameplay in general is handled well, but I do feel that with the removal of the chaos system, the game is lacking something. Even with the chaos system removed, something equal could have been there, but what is in place just does not feel up to par with the previous games. That being said, I do appreciate the game moving away and trying something new.

Another thing to address is the fact that this is essentially DLC being sold separately. I have seen many complain about that, but I don’t know why. This is not a new concept, such as seen with Infamous: First Light, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and even Bethesda themselves with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. I actually like the idea of DLC being sold as standalone games, especially in this case, since as mentioned,  Death of the Outsider does a lot of new things.

The game is rather short ( although considering it is an expansion, that is fine), but satisfying. You still feel awesome using the abilities, and there is the right mix of stealth and action along with a detailed story. The game works to resolve many of the overarching questions of the series, but manages to leave many things open for a possible sequel.

After playing Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, I felt Arkane Studios and Bethesda truly managed to take the series in a new direction. While some may not like this, I felt it may have been needed as it keeps things fresh. Playing this was an awesome experience, and I feel this is one that more people should play. Obviously this is not a good place to start with the series, especially as it spoils the events of Dishonored 2, and gives it a canonical series of events. But for fans of the series, this is a great game. I fully recommend it.

 

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Disclaimer: Bethesda provided a review key

 

Reviewed on PS4

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I don’t play too many 3DS games, but one that caught my eye was Chicken Wiggle. It had a sense of wonder and adventure to it that I found immensely attractive. The great visuals and excellent looking gameplay had me hooked from the first time I saw it and I needed to experience it. After playing it, I have to say that Atooi has another masterpiece on their hands.

Chicken Wiggle is a 2D platformer with excellent controls, and lovable protagonists. Normally 2D platformers these days feel a need to guide you through every last detail but Chicken Wiggle lets you jump right in and learn it for yourself. I found this refreshing, and despite needing a few minutes to get the hang of it, it was all for the best. The learning curve is not that bad and honestly, this is a game for platformer fans of all degrees of experience.

There is an issue with the difficulty varying wildly at times, which can be annoying but I don’t feel its a major problem. Overall, I find the gameplay amazing, as while the protagonists moves are basic, there is a lot that can be done with them. Chick can jump run, and attack enemies and obstacles, while the worm can reach far-away platforms and walls with stickiness. Using them both in creative ways makes a things a lot more interesting and opens new possibilities. The levels are well designed and give you a lot of room to experiment in, and this isn’t even considering the various power ups you get throughout the levels.

Chicken Wiggle has some incredible music as well, and the soundtrack just feels fun. The soundtrack perfect companion piece to this game and helps further the experience, so my hat goes off to Atooi for that as well. Visually the game is excellent as well, and has a great art style that just works for it.

If anything, it is sad that the game does have an end to it, but even then it doesn’t have to end. The game has an excellent level editor that seems to take after Super Mario Maker, and lets you share your levels with others. Its does have a drawback though, in that the interface is a bit unintuitive and can be more cumbersome that you would expect. Still sharing and playing levels is fun, and I had a blast with the levels I played from others.

I have to encourage everyone to play this game. It is amazing and deserves attention.

 

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A review key was provided by Atooi

By Stark Wyvern On 14 Sep, 2017 At 08:30 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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As someone, who has never found much interest in the Monster Hunter Series, I was happy to jump into this new game. Monster Hunter Stories introduces a new side to this world that has been in hiding in a way, and helps change things up. This game, the game follows a young rider, someone who tames monsters rather than strictly hunting them, which makes this game more akin to a Pokemon game, and therefore right up my my alley.

The story revolves around the hero traveling the world to snuff out an ancient evil that is rearing its ugly head. A plant that can cause monsters to rampage is back and warping the world and needs to be stopped. Along the way, many interesting things happen and you will meet a good bunch of insane characters. For me, it is really good that there is actually a story, as from what I know, monster hunter games are usually devoid of such a thing.

In Monster Hunter Stories you assemble a team of monsters or Monsties as they are called. There are about 200 to choose from so you have quite a good group to gather, that of course have their own skills, and abilities that long time fans should know at least. To gather monsters you must steal eggs, and the only way you can do so is to head into nests. These nests are randomly generated so the only thing you will really know is what kind of monsters you might fight.

Sneaking in, you often come across a monster, who if you wake up or you scared back its nest will be angry.  Anger is a great power up for monsters, as why would they not be upset that some small human can actually defeat them? After this, you get to pick up eggs, and Navirou, your Felyne pal, will tell you a few hints about your egg. It is quite fun, as there are many patterns, and you don’t always know what kind of monster you will get. The fighting system is based on a sort of Rock Paper Scissors game, though you do need to figure out patterns, as if you successfully do, you will inflict more damage. There are special attacks and even combo attacks, the latter done through riding your monster in battle, that are amazing.

Monster Hunter Stories truly is a game unlike any Monster Hunter game before it. A true RPG, where the world is your oyster. With so many quests to complete, weapons to buy, and monsters to hatch, you won’t be putting this game down anytime soon. Plus, it really is a good first monster hunter game. Playing this will allow anyone to jump in and get a taste for what the true games are. But, this game also has all the intricacy of that game, albeit in a far more cartoonish form.

Monster Hunter Stories is certainly a game, that I am enjoying and I cannot wait to see how it ends. You can get Monster Hunter Stories right now on the 3DS Family of Systems!

By Jessica Brown On 14 Sep, 2017 At 08:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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  • Title:  “Ancient Frontier”
  • Developer: Fair Weather Studios, LLC
  • Publisher: Fair Weather Studios, LLC
  • Genre: Sci-Fi Turn-Based Strategy
  • Platform: PC (Steam)
  • Release Date: September 21, 2017

I’m going to be very honest: turn-based strategy games, while enjoyable, are not my main area of expertise. While I certainly enjoy strategy games from time to time, they just aren’t games that I often gravitate towards and so it’s been a fair bit of time since I’ve delved deeply into one. Perhaps that’s a good thing, though, because in the case of this game it allows me to offer a pretty objective review.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of Ancient Frontier. I knew absolutely nothing about it and at first, when hearing the title, I thought this was going to be some sort of medieval fantasy strategy title. Well, it turns out I was quite wrong, though I think this was a very pleasant surprise.

Ancient Frontier is a science-fiction turn-based strategy title from indie developer Fair Weather Studios and is a sequel to their 2016 arcade shooter Bladestar. The game is set sometime in the distant future, long after humans managed to colonize Mars and Earth has since been lost to a catastrophic destruction (the nature of which I’ve yet to discover so far). Humans have colonized many different worlds and star systems by the time the game takes place, though the events focus on a distant region of space known primarily as “the Frontier.” This region lacks any inhabitable planets or moons but is sustained by many different starbases and mining colonies that have come out there to mine its rich mineral and energy deposits. At the offset of their campaign, players will have to choose whether they want to play as an officer in the Federation Navy or as a member of the Alliance with the story and available ships varying considerably.

The core game consists of a cinematic story (with enjoyable voice acting) presented a series of missions that the player will need to complete. Missions are divided into three types: Story, Bounty, and Simulator Missions. Story missions are, of course, the way to progress through the main events of the game. However, between each of the major story missions, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in either Bounties or Simulator runs. Bounties are essentially side-stories where you’ll participate in one of a variety of scenarios with the ability to gain experience and various resources that you’ll need to purchase or upgrade existing ships as well as research new utilities or abilities. Simulator runs will only gain your units (crew) experience points but won’t yield any resources. On the other hand, though, simulator missions don’t present any true risk (units lost during these runs will return during normal play). Bounties, though, will result in permanent loss of any units that get destroyed during them (depending on your chosen difficulty setting).

Each mission will have a different goal in mind but ultimately is presented in a uniform fashion. Players will have their units placed on a large grid that consists of hexagonal spaces. Your movement does, of course, depend on unit type. Some units will only get one move (though they may be able to traverse several spaces at once) while others may get several. The “fog of war” prevents you from seeing too far into the distance at first as well, but this is remedied through mapping out each area. The “fog” is explained as being the limit of your current long-range sensors, so you’re forced to press into an area to map it, reveal hidden resources or anomalies, and discover enemy units. The sensor range, like most other stats of a unit, can be improved with utilities you can research and purchase with resources (or salvage from destroyed enemies).

Overall, success will heavily depend on pacing as in most turn-based titles. Since each unit will get a certain number of turns as well as a certain number of actions (attack or skills), careful planning needs to go into whether you’ll want to go on an all-out assault against an enemy unit or do a hit-and-run type of maneuver (keeping in mind that debris fields and other similar things provide cover during combat). Obstacles also exist that can turn a battle very quickly, such as minefields on some maps that will cause incredible damage to any unit that ends their turn on an adjacent hex space. Optional objectives are present on each map too that will yield additional rewards if they are completed before the main objective.

The game has a fairly high level of difficulty, even if played on the Normal setting. Under normal conditions, units that are destroyed during a mission will be permanently lost, which adds to the immediacy of using effective strategies. Since resources are finite (you only have a certain number of optional deployments you can embark on), suffering too many lost units will eventually leave you with a fleet that won’t be sufficient for advancing the story. Thankfully, if that level of hardcore realism isn’t quite your thing, you can play on an easier setting that will keep the mission difficulty intact while allowing defeated units to return after completion (though any unit defeated in combat won’t gain any experience). This will allow more casual players to be able to enjoy the game without having to feel like they won’t be able to enjoy the story progression due to failed mission attempts.

Visually, the game looks quite nice. Although it typically is viewed from a rather zoomed-out perspective, you can easily rotate the camera and zoom in a decent amount to see the details in the environment and on your (and enemy) ships. As mentioned earlier, the voice-acting in the game is actually quite enjoyable, though I did find that the written dialogue could have used a little more polish (which may be addressed by the time of release). However, one thing I was really impressed with was the game’s soundtrack. There are several memorable tunes (I particularly liked the song that plays in between missions) and I really hope the developer makes the OST available as an optional purchase on Steam.

Overall, if you’re a fan of turn-based strategy titles or if you enjoy a good sci-fi narrative, Ancient Frontier is certainly worth giving a good, hard look. While it may not initially appeal to everyone (especially if you’re not generally into strategy games), I found the game to be very approachable. Once I gave it a chance I easily found myself spending two solid hours in a sitting digging deep into the game, wanting to shore up my fleet and press on in the main campaign to see where the story was going. That, I think, is a solid indicator that a game is a worthwhile investment.

ADDITIONAL SCREENSHOTS (Click for 4K):

 

A review key was provided by the developer.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 12 Sep, 2017 At 10:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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A few months ago I reviewed 99Vidas: The Game for Steam. Now after playing it on PS4 I have some new thoughts that must be added.

In my Steam review, I noted the following.

 

I cannot explain it, but 99Vidas – The Game has that charm that so few indie games have. It doesn’t try to recreate the classic games, but rather it takes the best ideas and does something new with them. You have four choices of characters and can play solo or in co-op. All the characters play differently and have their own unique elements and abilities. I had a lot of fun playing through the game and seeing what the various characters can do. There are references to classic series like Final Fight, Streets of Rage and Double Dragon and stages designed to play homage to those games. The game makes great use of shops by having them be end of stage events. This works well with a linear sider scrolling game and feels natural.

 

All of this is still true, and in fact I can appreciate it even more on PS4. Compared to other games on the system, it just sticks out far better. In fact, I would say its the lack of a good old school beat em up that is good right away, that is very attractive about the game. The visuals pop out far better, and the music, already amazing on steam, still sounds awesome. It feels like moving to a console made the game better.

Speaking of the complaints I had….

 

If I had any complaints, it is that the multiplayer can be a little chaotic at times, and the enemies have that classic beat em up annoyance, where they can attack through your attacks and trap you for multiple hits. It can be extremely annoying but it isn’t impossible to deal with.

On PS4, the game just feels smoother, like things have been refined and perfected. The multiplayer works better and the combat lacks the quirks it had on Steam. Maybe it was the PS4 control scheme, but it just felt better. There are other issues, such as occasional lag from out of nowhere, which is a new problem for this version, but it otherwise is not a major concern as it does not happen too often.

 

All in all, I love this game, and this port is great. 99Vidas: The Game on PS4 gets a recommendation from me!

By Jessica Brown On 10 Sep, 2017 At 08:44 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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The GeForce GTX 10 Series is still going strong, even 16 months after its release. In May of 2016, NVIDIA released the first cards of its newest consumer GPU line built around its Pascal microarchitecture. Pascal was a pretty solid leap for the company, making use of a 16nm fabrication process, lower power consumption, improved memory performance, and exceptionally-high clock speeds. The high end GTX 1080 and Titan X (Pascal) cards also made use of a new memory format known as GDDR5X, which allowed for a faster memory interface compared to “regular” GDDR5 while being comparable to, yet cheaper than, High Bandwidth Memory (featured in AMD’s R9 Fury cards and now HBM2 in the Vega cards). This year, NVIDIA rounded off the top-end of the Pascal product line with the ultra-enthusiast GTX 1080 Ti and the new Titan Xp, the fastest consumer GPUs ever produced to date.

While some people suggested that there would be an intermediate refresh of the Pascal cards under a new numbering system prior to the release of the next major architecture, this turned out not to be the case. NVIDIA did, however, refresh their GTX 1080 cards with newer 2017 models that featured faster GDDR5X, clocked in at 11 Gbps.

The bottom line is, though, that with the newly refreshed GTX 1080 cards and the flagship GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp (both of which also feature 11 Gbps GDDR5X), NVIDIA has had no reason to push out an intermediate line of cards. Pascal still remains the best choice when it comes to raw power and energy efficiency and AMD’s lackluster release of their new RX Vega cards only served to reinforce this fact. The RX Vega 64 (AMD’s current top offering in the gaming space) manages to trade blows with the GTX 1080 quite well, but overall falls about 10% short of the GTX 1080 in terms of overall performance. Additionally, Vega 64 has a TDP of 295 watts, which is considerably more than the 180 watts of the GTX 1080. Round that all off with a higher asking price since Vega can only be bought from after-market sellers now and the picture for AMD in the enthusiast space looks pretty grim.

While rumors suggested at one point that NVIDIA’s newest architecture, referred to as Volta, might make a late-2017 debut, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang has said that gamers shouldn’t expect to see Volta-based GTX cards this year. It’s possible that rumors of a late-2017 NVIDIA launch were based on the assumption that RX Vega would offer a strong enough competition to force NVIDIA’s hand. Ultimately, this just wasn’t the case. Pascal is still going strong and does incredibly well in the high-end space.

No release date for Volta gaming cards has been announced yet, but if I had to guess I’d say we might see them sometime around March of 2018 (given that the GTX 1080 Ti, the penultimate GTX 10 Series card, made its debut in March of 2017). These new cards might be called the GTX 20 Series (e.g. GTX 2080), to show more of a major generational improvement rather than a smaller, incremental one which might be implied if they kept with the current numbering scheme and called them the GTX 11 Series (e.g. GTX 1180). Ultimately, that’s up to the marketing team, so there’s really no reason to speculate on that.

At any rate, if you’re looking to pick up a new GPU, don’t play the waiting game or you’ll always be waiting for the next big thing. NVIDIA has some great offerings on the high end starting with the GTX 1070, but if you’re wanting something a bit more mainstream, AMD’s RX 580 and 570 offer plenty of performance for your money in the 1080p to 1440p space!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Sep, 2017 At 05:38 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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There are many kinds of RPGs out there, both established genres like JRPGs and others such as action RPGs, and when the genres begin to blend together, things become interesting. Fallen Legion is an RPG that blends various styles to create unique gameplay that fits its nature well. But is it a good game beyond that?

In terms of the story, Fallen Legion is a bit on the more simplistic side as with many indie RPGs. It isn’t bad, but fairly conventional, although it does try to change things up by offering choices to make This does help give a bit of variety but to be honest, the allure of the game is not in its story, and that is okay. In the end, the story while fairly generic, is more of a backdrop against what is the more unique points of the game.  As stated, you  must make split-second decisions that are meant to have an impact on the game’s story, but it doesn’t really go that far. What is good, is that Fallen Legion shows  two perspectives in different games, to create a more immersive experience. Its nice, but what is the real draw is the gameplay.

I mentioned above, the JRPG and Action RPG genres, and Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire serves as a blending of those two, with elements of Strategy RPGs as well. It is actually far more of an action game with RPG and SRPG elements, but it comes out well in terms of combat. The battle system is fairly unique, and fighting requires your attention for all actions.  You control multiple characters simultaneously, and need to master combos, and counters to progress, which is a nice twist on the traditional formula.. There isn’t as much leveling up for characters, again making this more action based, and it wouldn’t exactly be wrong to call this an RPG inspired action game. That to me actually does sound more interesting a concept than an action RPG but that is neither here nor there.

The game’s playstyle is its draw and it does it well. It goes nicely with gorgeous hand drawn art and excellent music to create unique atmospheres for the battles. In fact, I would say the combat in the game is some of the most unique I have ever seen, and I would like to see the developers push that part forward in other games, perhaps making a full on action game with more story focus and less of a Valkyrie Profile inspired game. As it is, I would recommend this for the unique combat playstyle, it is one of a kind.

 

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A review key was provided by the developers.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Sep, 2017 At 02:49 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Interviews, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I recently had a chance to speak with Kyle Rebel, the lead developer of the upcoming Skyrim mod, Skyblivion. SKyblivion is a mod that will remake Elder Scrolls Oblivion within the Skyrim engine.

Take a look below and enjoy.

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JB: How did this project come about? Obviously modding Elder Scrolls games has always been a big thing, but where did the idea of bringing Oblivion to Skyrim’s engine originate?

 

KR: It started out as a silly hobby project between Zilav and Monocleus (Ormin in the past) tha was never really supposed to turn into anything, After they posted their first results people like myself showed interest and later on I took the lead in making sure we got organized and recruited the people necessary to turn this idea into something concrete. Our team now consists out of some of the most talented modders found in the TES community. Because of this we are able to do things not seen in mods up until this point such as creatures with custom skeletons, animations and behaviors. Real spear combat mechanics (there exist some amateur mods for this but they dont add actual spear into the game).  On the graphics side for example we are able to create better looking trees and distant details than Bethesda ever could.

 

 

JB:  How has Bethesda’s reaction been to the project? Has there been any backlash? Any support?

 

KR: They have mentioned the TESR projects in the past but nothing major. We appreciate the worlds Bethesda build and for this reason we will require our users to own legitimate copies of the original games in order to install our projects.

 

JB: What has the fan reaction been to the project over the years?

 

KR: Reactions have been wonderful for the most part. There are complaints about how the project takes too long and how we are only releasing videos to make a name for ourselves and feed some nostalgia hype train but people need to understand we are not a professional game developer. Everyone on the project including myself works on this in their free time and doesn’t get a dime for the work they put into it.

For this reason we need to make those videos to let people know the project is still going strong and that as long as it is in development we can use all the help we can get to realize this dream as fast as possible.

 

JB:  Did the arrival of Skyrim Special Edition throw anything off? If so, how?

 

KR: Not at all, it did tear the modding community apart to some extent but other than that nothing has changed. We plan to release Skyblivion for both versions of Skyrim to make sure as many people as possible will be able to play it. Also SkyrimSE has some handy improvements we can utilize to further enhance the experience.

 

JB:  What are some of the big challenges with this project? Both in terms of programming, design, and resources as well other issues more external.

 

KR: Definitely the production and organization of any and all aspects of the mod.

Keeping track of all our developers and dealing with people going inactive is a big part of my job and I can tell you that its pretty exhausting and takes up a big chunk of my time on the project. We have several department leads who take care of 3D (devided in creatures, weapons, armors, misc props and enviormental assets) 2D, Level design, Music, Navmeshing, UI development, Textures, Mechanics etc. These department leads have to keep track of the people within their respected teams and help/guide them where needed. We are fortunate to have some very experienced/professional people on our team whoes main job it is to assure the content people creature are up to snuff.

Lastly we have the review stage which is time consuming. When someone finishes his/her assets or area in-game, a department lead or myself will have to go over what they did and see if there is room for improvement before we can call it ”finished” and get it ready to be merged.

 

JB:  Will there be any use of Skyrim assets or will the project be avoiding that?

 

KR:  Our aim is to recreate Cyrodiil and Most of Skyrims assets don’t fit into the province that well. We are re-using some simple assets like the rock and mountain meshes and some shrubs here and there but for the most part we are working with our own custom assets to ensure the world looks as vibrant as one would expect from the Imperial province.

 

JB: Bethesda recently revealed creation club. Will Skyblivion be part of that?

 

KR: No, this video will tell you everything you need to know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89d0fWCOsM

 

JB: Has the skyblivion team been working with the Skywind team at all? Shared resources/developers and such?

 

KR: Yes, we try to share as many assets and knowledge as we can. This goes for Beyond Skyrim too.

 

JB:  Has there been any temptation to change things in any way? I don’t mean bug fixes but rather serious changes.

 

KR: Most certainly, Cyrodiil’s landscape for instance will be seriously enhanced and overhauled. Weapons and armor sets are also getting a more realistic overhaul. Also we are adding back cut content from the game and repairing some areas that can be found in the lore but are left out in the game like the city of Sutch.

 

JB:  Do you foresee this mod getting a modding scene of its own in the future?

 

KR:  I hope so, unfortunately I myself (and many others) am so close to the development of the mod that I won’t be able to get that ”first time playing” experience that all ours users will be able to enjoy. I hope some modders will go nuts with our work and in turn will give me something new and exciting to check out 😉

 

JB:  How do you deal with the fan demands regarding the project?

 

KR: Generally we like to stick to our own plans, we are very well acquainted with the lore and backstory of Cyrodiil. At the end of the day everyone has an opinion and trying to make compromises based on fan demands would turn into an endless cycle or revisiting semi completed tasks.

That said we do listen to feedback given to us an n occasion make changes based off of it.

 

JB: Is there a current estimate for when the project will be done?

KR: Our personal goal is late 2018 but this is nothing more than an internal goal set in the prime of our development cycle. In order to make this goal come true we will need more help from new volunteers.

 

JB: Is there any concern about expectations for the project?

KR: Not at all, I think people will be blown away by the project when it is released.

 

JB: What will be next for the team after Skyblivion is complete? Perhaps remakes of the first two games?

KR: A loooooong break from modding. This project has been fun but it has been taking up too much of my time for the past 2 years. I am dedicated to bringing TES fans this remake ASAP but after it is released I think myself and many others from the team will take a well earned break and focus on our careers and our own futures for a change.

 

JB: Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

KR: The same thing I say to all the other Skyblivion supporters, thank you all for the continuing support, kind words and feedback you have provided us with over the course of the development of Skyblivion. We wouldn’t be here without you.

 

We thank you for doing this interview.

 

 

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If you would like to know more about Skyblivion, you can visit their website here, or visit their twitter account @TESRSkyblivion      , Kyle can be found on twitter   @Rebelzize