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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sketchy Tower Defense (XBLI)

My Rating: 9/10
Xbox User Rating: 4/5

This is my first Xbox Live Indie review. From now on, if there is no bracketed tag in the title, the game can be assumed as PC or multi-platform. This is my first Xbox review and I plan on doing more for mainly arcade and indie in the near future, (XBLI) is for Xbox Live Indie (XBLA) is for Xbox Live Arcade. Now, to the review!

This game is simple, simple but fun and at 80 Microsoft points (roughly a buck) you definately get what you pay for.

Unlike some other Tower Defense games the maps are generally open and allow you to construct however you damn well please, the monsters move in a straight line to the castle at the opposite end of the map, some maps have two castles, others have three lines of monsters going after one castle. Either way, you have 10 life that you start with, each bad guy that makes it to one of your castles takes away one life.

I think the two major flaws of this game is that there is only a few maps and there is only endless mode, no pussy "yay, you beat the level" it's real man land, survival of the know...for real men that sit around and play games all day...

But other than those two flaws this game still gets 9/10 because it's just that much fun for only a buck. There are special two player maps which are essentially VS maps, one player is working against the other. And then there is the normal maps, you play against the horde trying to get to your castle...OR you can have a buddy jump in and help you at any time (usually works best when there is more than one line of guys going to one castle).

All towers are upgradeable multiple times, there are damage and range boosters, air only towers, traps, basically anything you want in a good quality tower defense. Sure, the artwork is basic, all sketched on graph paper, but it's really fun and fully worth 80 points, I'd probably even get it for 160 points.

And now, screenshots!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Torchlight 2 - my opinion from the beta

 My rating: 10/10

Torchlight 2 is looking to be a beautiful game when it comes out. At only 19.99 with a free copy of Torchlight 1 when you pre-order, I honestly recommend pre-ordering this game on Steam.

I only played by myself, and I only tested the berserker, but I can tell you, this game has that addictive quality that kept me playing Diablo 2 for hours on end.

Unlike Diablo 3, each class is mana based. Personally I've never had a problem with this as most skills are more like spell-like abilities anyways. To make each class unique there is a different bar, with the berserker it's a rage bar. As you attack you accumulate rage, if you spend a while without attacking, the bar slowly runs out. When the bar is full you go into a berserker rage, you crit more often, you hit for more, and you generally plow through a large group like nothing. With the engineer, you build up charges, there are powerful skills you learn in which you need to expend charges to use. Haven't really touched the other two characters, my beta stopped working for some reason so I can't post on them and as I completed the beta with one character I don't really feel like teasing myself not being able to make it further ;)

One thing I like over the first Torchlight (and Fate for that matter) is there is more customization with your characters, and your pets. Each class can be either male or female, you can do a little bit of minor customization with their face and skin tone. You have a selection of about 8 or 10 pets (up from two in Torchlight and Fate), each one you can change the color of.

Multiplayer in Torchlight 2 I haven't touched but I looked at and it looks pretty good, standard but good. Maximum of 6 players, option to password a game, and what I found really great a friends only option, so you don't have to dick around with passwords if you want a friends only game (I have no friends and I played in a friends only game essentially making it single player). 

Skill trees seem to work a bit differently than other games, I'm not sure if it's just because of the beta or if it's going to be like this in the full game. It looks like every skill has a maximum of 15 points you can put into them. The skill trees are also level based over point based. What this means is that if you want a skill somewhere in the middle, but you hate the rest of the tree, you don't need to put into the rest of the tree, you just need to grab that skill. Like I said it may not be like this in the full game, but if it is, it would cut down on those "OMG YOUR CHARACTER IS NOT THE EXACT SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE, YOU SUCK" nazis that ruin RPGs for everyone since there is a lot more customization.

On top of your skills and your bars, you pick up spell scrolls as you go along, which you can teach yourself, or teach to your pet.

Pets work pretty much the same as in Torchlight 1. They fight with you, can transform into more powerful forms via fish, they have an inventory and can return to town and sell shit for you. Instead of being able to teach your pet only two spells, you can teach it four like you can yourself. Your pet can also return to town not only to SELL stuff but you can get it to BUY stuff for you too by giving it a shopping list and some gold. In the first one you could equip your pet with an amulet and two rings, in the second, you equip it with a collar and two tags, which I found to be a bit better attention to detail.

Identifying items is a lot easier in Torchlight 2 than in any other game I've come across. Most items will already be identified when you pick them up but for the few that aren't instead of finding the scroll, right clicking on that, then clicking on the item, all you have to do is right click on the item you want to identify (as long as you have a scroll). SMART! Why didn't all games do this from the start? I mean really, it's pretty basic.

One thing I love about Torchlight 2 is the world. Most RPGs you get your main quests and your side quests in town then you go do them. Not Torchlight 2. Sure, you get your main quests in town, but side quests are all over the place and range from simply rescuing people from bandits to delving into old crypts in search of certain relics to taking revenge on some dead pirates for a ghost. The world feels alive, people are out there, not all huddled in the towns.

For a cartoony game they put a lot of attention to detail, little things like skeletons reaching out at you from cages, skeleton generals being impaled on walls by a greatsword, ripping the sword out and attacking you with it. Monsters coming down from the ceiling or up from the floors, breaking through the walls, etc. About as much detail as you'd expect from Diablo 3.

There are also quite a bit of cool features in Torchlight 2. You can come across chests that are, for a lack of a better word, haunted. To open these chests you need to first defeat the ghosts guarding it. I came across an altar that was similar, you needed to fight waves of increasingly harder undead in order to get the loot from it. There was an area that was riddled with bear traps. There are chests for which you need to get a key. Unlike Diablo 2 it isn't one key fits all, you have to kill a monster which drops the key for the chest. And much more that I can't even think of right now.

I honestly cannot stress how much fun I had with Torchlight 2 from the beta. As soon as I had money I ran out and pre-purchased it, if you love action RPGs I suggest you do the same, on Steam you'll get a free copy of the first one, which if you already own it is giftable. At 19.99 if you can't quite afford Diablo 3 Torchlight 2 will make up for it until Diablo 3 is a bit cheaper.

And now, screenshots!