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By otakuman5000 On 2 Jan, 2014 At 07:12 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 2 Comments

No GravatarOne of my recent buys has been Lord of the Rings: War in the North thanks to Humble Bundle. I don’t play many co-op or multiplayer games but this game doesn’t require that. I’m sure it plays much better in multiplayer when an actual person is controlling one of the three main characters, but I’ll do my best to tell you about this one anyway.

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Lord of the Rings is, if you don’t know, an extension of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Since its adaptation to film LotR has exploded. Games, merchandise, music, and more movies. Truly it is a story for the ages. I’m no lore master (and you may want to explore The Silmarillion and A Tolkien Miscellany for any deeper information) so I can’t vouch for the validity of LotR:WitN but it matches close enough to what I know.

Lore aside, LotR:WitN is a good game, if frustrating. I’m a fan of RPGs, they tend to be my favorite. While LotR:WitN isn’t an open world game it is still fun to take a good look around. Most levels are filled with secrets, and they are worth finding (though hard at times) as they often provide rare armor and typically a batch of much needed arrows. Or, if you’re like me, much needed potions.

This path is rather fun to look at as well. Landscapes range from vast mountains, to sprawling forts, to tangled forests. The characters, on and off the main cast, are original and look good. The Eagles flutter, the combat animations are smooth, and all around it looks nice. It’s still animation, the lips don’t quite match words, some established characters (coughAragorncough) look strange, and the hair moves in an odd way (in a different way than most games), but mostly you have a graphically strong game.

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Don’t get too excited about voice acting though. Sean Astin is the only movie actor to sign on as their character’s voice. While Tom Kane does a good job as Gandalf and Fred Tatasciore is good as Beleram, I feel like no one else quite captures a character. In a way it’s nice, everyone is stoic and calm no matter the circumstances and it makes you feel like that’s just how those characters are, but it can drag on you. After you meet a couple lively characters, who are either from The Hobbit or not in the main story, the rest just seem so dull. Maybe that’s what the creators were looking for, but a bit of feeling isn’t a terrible thing.

I know I mentioned combat before, but it needs more explaining. Each character has a specific set of abilities that you can upgrade as you level. It’s not an in depth system but it’s not a bad one. While combat feels smooth, and looks great, it is the most frustrating aspect of this game. While you deal massive amounts of damage, upwards of 2,000 in one blow as you advance, you will still find yourself struggling. My main grievance with combat are the enemies. The small ones are easy to dispatch, but after so long you stop meeting hordes of small enemies and you are faced with hordes of major ones. These bigger enemies, not to be confused with bosses of which there are a few, flood the battlefield at times. They can withstand your major hits without effect, and while you can knock them back at times, mostly they ignore everything you throw at them. You will use a charge attack and they will stand not phased as they perform their own charge that knocks you down. It can be frustrating, especially when your AI companions glitch out and get stuck somewhere. Also, while the characters have both ranged and melee attacks (which both work well and can be switched between fluidly), when you enter into ranged mode your movement is stunted. You take a slow moving stance, good for aiming, but you can’t sprint even while holding the assigned key. Your best option is to roll out of the way but you are forced right back into aiming. The only way to run from an enemy is to switch back to melee and back again to ranged when you’ve gone where you want to go. And while using melee attacks you have little control over aiming. You’ll begin attacking in one direction but if the enemy moves, and you’ve been clicking like a mad-gamer, you’ll have to wait for the attacks to stop before you can change direction and attack something other than air.

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Outside of combat there are a few minor quests. Most of them are achieved while you are on the main quest, harvesting plants and the like, but hold little consequence to the main story. Speaking of story, I like this one. This game is based along the main LotR plot only separate from it. You meet Frodo, and Aragorn, and Gandalf, and many others, but you exist outside of their path. The same goal is sought, defeat the forces of Sauron, but the trio of characters are faced with fighting Agandaur, one of Sauron’s most powerful minions. This trio (an Elf named Andriel, a Dwarf named Farin, and a human named Eradan guided by the Eagles) are powerful and brave and persistent. Against all odds they fight an enemy over whelming where no one else can, or will.

Overall LotR:WitN is a good game. It has its faults and can feel, at times, a bit forced, but I have enjoyed my play through. If you like RPGs, and Lord of the Rings, and are looking for a game that has both then check out Lord of the Rings: War in the North. I say play it, if you can stand the combat after level ten.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 3 Nov, 2013 At 04:08 PM | Categorized As Featured, Indie Spotlight, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarI am a fan of Humble Bundle, the charitable enterprise that allows you to get a plethora of games for a cheap price that you can split between charities, game developers, and their website. The last weekly Humble Bundle pleasantly surprised me as the indie studio Cipher Prime was debuting their newest game, Intake, on it. Their approach to creating video games is creating a pleasant experience between the auditory and visual, so I was excited to see what this new addition to their collection would bring. They described it as, “the polychromatic love child of Dr. Mario and Ikagura” so I knew I had to get in on the action.

The title screen totally doesn't remind me of something overhyped and obnoxious.

The title screen totally doesn’t remind me of something overhyped and obnoxious.

The first thing I saw was the old “Winners don’t use drugs” screen some 90’s American arcade machines had, I chuckled a bit. Next thing I know the game had completely sucked me in. It’s one of these games with no story line, complex plot, open world, or characters but manage to keep you gaming for hours on end just because it’s FUN.

Intake seems to aim at creating a retro arcade experience for a modern audience. It has simple but addictive gameplay combined with bright graphics and dubstep music to match. Now dubstep is not my cup of tea, but the music of Intake is not bad at all and you can switch from three background tracks.

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The goal is to shoot as many pills as you can to prevent an overdose. As you gain milligrams of medicine you can buy powerups at the drug store that will help as the game gets progressively more and more difficult. To increase the difficulty of shooting a cascade of falling pills the pills have two different colors, and if you want to advance to the next level you have to match the color of your gun accordingly. Thankfully they made it easy by making the color switch either through the space bar or a right click.

Intake is a short but very fun addition to anyone’s gaming collection. It will be available on Steam on November 5th, so get your body ready by remembering winners don’t do drugs!

Note: This game can easily be played by colorblind gamers as it allows them to select colors they can differentiate from.

No GravatarThere are two big deals I’ve found lurking around the interwebs I think would make gamers very upset if they found out about it after it has passed. So if you want to receive a very special free game or a mindbogglingly huge can’t miss cheap bundle read on!

Donkey Kong Free Game Giveaway 

It’s technically not a giveaway as you have to purchase another game in order to acquire the free Donkey Kong game. There are five specific games you can get in order to earn it: Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Style Savvy: Trendsetters, Crosswords Plus, Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone, and Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask. As you can see, only two of the five games listed are ones you’d buy without any incentive so the game is like an added bonus

However the reason why I put it here is because it’s the original Donkey Kong that’s never been available for purchase in the United States and once this deal is gone, well it might not be available again. So get in on the action before January 6 of next year. Just make sure you’re a Club Nintendo Member and register your games after you buy them.

The Humble THQ Bundle

This deal is the motherload. You get 6 video games via Steam codes, Metro 2033, Darksiders, Red Faction, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor with a starting donation of $1 or above. As if it wasn’t enough you get the soundtracks for Saints Row The Third, the director’s cut of the Darksiders soundtrack, Red Faction, and Company of Heroes: All Heroes Rise and Company of Heroes: Songs from the Front all with an average of about twenty tracks.  If you pay over $5.72 (the average donation) you also get a copy of Saints Row The Third thrown in.

The best part of this bundle deal is you can donate all the money to charity if you desire. Profits given to charity go to Child’s Play Charity which brings joy to sick children in hospitals by giving them consoles and video games to enjoy (the tears in the corner of my eyes) and the American Red Cross. You can also give a portion of your money to THQ for being such generous folks and a “tip” to Humble Bundle for their good work.

The largest donation given so far has been a staggering $1,050 and over 1.7 million dollars has been collected so far and still rising as I am writing this. Watching the counter rise gives me a good feeling, because as a gamer it proves we have the ability to change the world through what we love doing.