Posts Tagged ‘PC Games’

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Grim Dawn Forgotten Gods – Hardcore Oathkeeper – Part One

March 27, 2019

Last time I posted something like this on Arcadelife was back in 2013 when I was playing Diablo 3, trying to get a hardcore character to the level cap. This time (with a lot less available time) I’m trying out the new Oathkeeper class/mastery in Grim Dawn’s new expansion – Forgotten Gods, which was released about five hours ago on Steam.

I’ve already taken a couple of hardcore characters to level 50, completing the base game (i.e. not including the Ashes expansion) with one of them, so I’ve got a reasonable idea about what I’m doing. Unlike in Diablo 3, where there’s a 10 second countdown whenever you try to leave the game, Grim Dawn can be paused at any time and you can quit immediately – this makes hardcore mode considerably less stressful.

Currently, my hardcore Oathkeeper character is level 15, which is exactly where I planned to get it to on day one. I’d already figured out where I was going to assign mastery points which you can see here in a screenshot from the game (not from Grim Tools, which is a truly brilliant site, in case you were wondering):

Getting to level 15 was pretty quick. I used the Crucible (sort of an infinite arena mode if you don’t know what it is) from level 7 until I unlocked 5 devotion points, after a couple of runs through the Slith island very close to the start of the first campaign area. For early levelling, and clearing trash mobs, Aegis of Menhir is adequate but nowhere near as effective a starter skill as the Necromancer’s skeletons or the Shaman’s Devouring swarm. It starts to look good once you get the mastery bar up to level 5 and start putting points in the Avenging Shield skill which lets your Aegis hit more targets. This is what it looks like early on, in action at character level 6:


As I mentioned, I used the Crucible from level 7, once Aegis of Menhir was doing enough damage to be effective at clearing waves of enemies. Crucible is a quick and easy way to get 5 Devotion points before wading into the main campaign. I wanted to get the Fiend constellation as quickly as possible because of the percentage buffs to fire damage – which is the default damage type on Aegis of Menhir. You can modify it to acid damage, which I probably won’t bother with, and the whole point of that would be if you were going for a totally different damage focus on a particular build. Fiend also gives you this 25% chance damage effect – I’ve got it bound to Righteous Fervour which is being used as default attack (left mouse button). Just one point in that skill; I might stick with it but I’ll probably swap Flame Torrent out for a better devotion skill at a later stage.

Reprisal unlocks at mastery level 20. This looks very much like something they added in for all the people who quite sensibly want to dump all their attribute points in Physique and not bother putting any in Spirit. As you can see (pic below) each level of Reprisal lowers the energy cost of Aegis of Menhir in addition to adding a large amount of burn damage. It also includes a new buff type that appears in Forgotten Gods – the addition of a percentage of retaliation damage to attack damage. Again, they’ve realised the basic retaliation builds are a bit boring to play because you generally just stand there and don’t attack anything. This type of buff just gives you more options, like you’d maybe want to equip that Perdition set you’ve got hanging around but never really wanted to play a Retaliation build because it sounds too boring.

That’s about it for level 15. It’s pointless talking about gear because I’m picking up whatever drops and occasionally swapping around some items where I’ve got low-level rares and epics in storage. Nothing worth mentioning – it’s the same stuff every player will have seen if they’re played a few different characters through normal/veteran.

I’ll aim to get an update posted when I reach level 20. That could be before or after getting past the warden, depends how tanky the Oathkeeper is feeling at that point. If you’re playing this expansion, have a good time with it – it’s looking fun so far.

 

I also write novels: https://jwtapper.co.uk/
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Battle Princess Madelyn review – PC (Steam)

December 6, 2018

Game blurb, aka how the game is described on Steam and the Causal Bits BPM web page:
“You’re the princess! Battle Princess Madelyn to be precise, in this pixel perfect retro side-scroller, as you set off to defeat evil with your ghostly canine companion, Fritzy. Do you have what it takes to save your family, avenge your furry friend and become the ultimate battle princess?” “10 levels, each of which include up to 5 stages – including 1 or 2 branching hidden stages.”

What is it?
Battle Princess Madelyn is 2018’s indirect, unofficial descendant of Capcom’s thirty-year-old hard-as-nails scrolling platformer, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and its even older ancestor, Ghosts ‘n Goblins. Unlike those games, or any of their five later incarnations, the protagonist of BPM is Madelyn The (kind of) Princess instead of Arthur the knight. There are two modes: story and arcade. In story mode, a short cutscene sets up the premise that Madelyn needs/wants to go fight a bunch of bad guys and you’re almost immediately dropped into the action after some standard ‘talk to people in village to hear about the bad guys and the profit to be made and items to be gained from their wholesale slaughter’ conversations. The arcade mode just has the “Oh no, they killed my dog!” scene, which replaces the “Oh no, they stole the Princess!” scene from most of the classic side-scrolling undead-fighting platformers mentioned above.

What does it look like?
BPM is full-on retro pixel art and proud of it. I could probably witter on for several paragraphs about the satisfyingly lo-res homage to 80’s arcade games, but you can see for yourself from the screen images in this review. If you hadn’t seen this game but you heard it described as a modern take on Ghouls ‘n Ghosts with retro pixel art graphics, this is how you would probably imagine it looking. Bosses are big (see pic of first boss below), nicely drawn and animated, and take a lot of pummelling.

Is it worth turning the sound up?
Sort of. The music is great, and there’s an option to select an ‘orchestral’ or ‘arcade’ soundtrack. Sadly, the sound effects are very quiet (at least as far as I could tell on my system) and there’s no option to adjust the music/effects volumes independently.

How are the controls?
Keyboard works okay, you pretty much just have directional controls, jump and attack, however you can’t change the allocated keys. I played mostly using an XBox 360 gamepad plugged into the PC and it was fine, although the inventory button is only assigned to a PC key (Tab) which seems a bit weird because there are plenty of spare buttons on a gamepad for this. Response to input is consistent and immediate – I never felt like I was dying or falling to my doom due to controller issues.

Final opinion
I’m old, I played Ghouls ‘n Ghosts when it was in the arcades, and I played Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts on a SNES way back when that was new and exciting, and laggy as heck of course. A modern spin on the side-scrolling action platformer, as well as being a game I would really want to try out, is always going to be facing some serious competition from my (arguably rose-tinted) memories of those original games. Battle Princess Madelyn gets it mostly right. While I play the game, I keep running through a list in my head of what I’d like different, or better. I prefer the arcade mode over the story mode, but that’s just something irredeemably screwed up in my gamer DNA due to living through the Golden Age – I love high scores. And, of course, there’s no high-score table in this game, so I have to mark it down for that. Other things that irritated me included the quick-travel which doesn’t seem to include the hub village as a travel option – I honestly can’t figure out how to get back there to cash in quests, find the dude who offers upgrades, etc.

 

Other details, like the inability to change key mappings, or separately adjust music and volume controls make this feel just a tiny bit unpolished.

The core gameplay is spot on, the game looks really nice and controls work well. I’ll keep going back to play it long after this review has been published, but it would be great to have some of these issues sorted out – they honestly would not be difficult to fix.

Scores – because we love scores.
Dem retro graphics – 9
Music – 8.5
Sound FX – 4 (make ’em louder or give us a volume control)
Controls – 9
Gameplay (difficulty) – 8
Gameplay (fun) – 7.5
Menu options / customisation – 4

Overall score – 8 (I rounded it up with some rose-tinted memories)

This review was written on a dasKeyboard Model S Professional.
I also write novels – JW Tapper website
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Battle Princess Madelyn – Release Date 06 December 2018

November 13, 2018

Battle Princess Madelyn – Releases December 6th 2018 on Nintendo Switch, XB1, PS4 & Windows PC

 

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Crimzon Clover – On sale, must buy!

November 25, 2015

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Steam link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/285440/

Crimzon Clover is a highly rated, critically acclaimed bullet hell shooter. It looks great and it plays even better than it looks. It’s currently on sale for £1.74 on the Steam store. I suggest that you go and buy it right now.

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Steam Store blurb…
Prepare yourself for an insatiable rain of bullets, bombs, and beams in Crimzon Clover. From Japanese indie developer Yotsubane, this retro top-down shooter is a wild ride you won’t want to miss out on.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (584 reviews)
Release Date: 6 Jun, 2014

 

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Finding Teddy 2 review (PC)

April 2, 2015

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10 word description: 2D Adventure / Action game with a Pixel Art Retro finish. (Official game description)

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10 word review: Entertainingly familiar; a nice addition to the platform adventure genre. 

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You will like this if you enjoy: Platform adventure games. Metroidvania game style.

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The good news: Looks nice, in a retro homage way. Straightforward keyboard controls with several gamepad options. Familiar platform adventure gameplay is as enjoyable as it always was. Good variety of environments. Big bosses.

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The bad news: Doesn’t really do anything original with the genre, but that’s kind of the whole point. 

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Arcadelife verdict: Finding Teddy 2 is a decent platform adventure game that does what it intends to do, and does it in a familiar, visually appealing way. I like this kind of game, therefore I like this competent example of the genre.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8.5/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 8.5/10

CHARMING

Rating categories explained here.
STEAM STORE LINK
website link: www.lookatmygame.com
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
My PC (of course).
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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Finding Teddy 2 – PC (no, it’s not a review yet)

March 24, 2015

Look what I found:

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This is how they describe it:

Finding Teddy 2 is a 2D Adventure / Action game with a Pixel Art Retro finish. Help Tarrant in a quest, in which you will have to fight, use your sense of direction and hearing to accomplish your mission.
•Very long playing time, over 20 hours for the main quest. Dozens of hours for the secondary quests!
•Beautiful Pixel Art Finish that takes us back to the 8-16 bit era, with modern effects.
•Unique use of music with the Musicom.
•A high level challenge and difficulty that all Gamers will love.
•An Action / Adventure type game which is all too rare nowadays.

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Reflector review (iOS Airplay receiver) – PC/Mac

July 4, 2014

If you are trying to find a simple-to-use, relatively inexpensive method of recording your iOS device or displaying it on your computer screen, you will want to know about the Reflector app from airsquirrels.com.

Official blurb to save me writing it: “Reflector is an AirPlay receiver that allows you to wirelessly display your iPad or iPhone on your computer. Mirror your device on a big screen without wires or complicated setups. Play games, watch movies, demo apps or present on the big screen from your iPhone or iPad. With Reflector, everything you do on your mobile device is wirelessly streamed to your computer in real time.”

This is a short montage of recordings I made recently using Reflector:

It really is very simple to use, with no additional app required on your iOS device.
– Install the small PC/Mac application (under 20mb installed).
– Turn on AirPlay on your compatible iOS device.
– Watch the iOS screen being displayed (vision + sound) on your computer.
– To start or stop recording, press ALT-R (that’s the PC default anyway).

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The results are very good, although this would depend on whether or not you have a fast, reliable wi-fi connection between your iOS device and your computer.

Summary
Very simple to set up and use
Reasonably priced
No wires or other extra bits and pieces needed
Compatible with iOS devices from iPad 2 and iPhone 4S
Very good results when recording

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This application comes fully recommended by Arcadelife. Hopefully they will use that epic endorsement on their website!

Version reviewed – 1.3.4
Website link (again) – http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/

This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.