Further Thoughts on Battle Chasers: Nightwar

I first jotted down thoughts about Battle Chasers: Nightwar a couple of months back. It was a round-up post though, so I didn’t go into too much detail, and hadn’t really played it for more than a few minutes to that point. It wasn’t too long ago that I was burning through my backlog at a rapid clip, but that train had lost some steam in recent months mainly because I was having a hard time deciding what to play. I’ve spent some time in a fair number of titles but none had really sunk their hooks into me. I came back around to this game and it’s been holding my attention more than the others, so this is likely the next game I’ll play through to completion.

I’m in love with the aesthetic of Battle Chasers. It was apparently inspired by a series of graphic novels, which makes sense given the artwork in the game which appears as a hand-drawn style. The mixture of high fantasy and some sci-fi elements works, and the gameplay is the normal tried and true JRPG turn-based style but it doesn’t feel stale. You’ll be earning levels in no time, and that means new abilities and actions will become available to you. Starting with a group of three adventurers, you’ll eventually reunite with others and have a little variety in your group composition on top of the new gear and upgrades you’ll earn along the way. There’s even an alternate advancement tree that will allow you to further customize your heroes.

When I left off, I had made it to the little town that serves as an HQ of sorts, complete with an Inn to rest at, and vendors to buy/sell goods too. There’s some light crafting too, so everything you pick up tends to have a purpose. Soon enough, my party was heading into their first real challenge… a dungeon!

The Iron Outpost:

The Iron Outpost was easy enough, it was the first dungeon of the game after all. The final boss was a sword demon thing… there’s not a good way to describe it, but it looked pretty cool nonetheless! It was mostly overrun with bandits and they were XP fodder leading up to the final battle.

The Rushlands and Path of Fangs:

Long story short, we were trying to get to another part of the map and it was blocked by a large cannon that would shoot anything that came too close. Unfortunately the only way around was via a teleporter, but the power had been lost. We headed to another cave and fought off some elementals to get a power source which we used to turn the teleporter back on. Soon we were in the Rushlands, and we came across our second dungeon, The Path of Fangs. This one was headed by a bunch of lycanthropes (called something else but similar) and I was charged with killing off the leaders of a couple of tribes. After doing so, one of their kind let me pass through the other side of the dungeon. We then took out the bandit manning the cannon, and could then freely pass through a short cut back to the starter town.

Fishing:

Like many an RPG before it, there is a fishing mini-game that is fairly easy to partake in. You have to use one character in particular (pictured above) to fish, but he comes equipped with the rod and line to handle business. I managed to catch a couple of unique fish so far, some of which can be sold for some alternate currencies that can buy you some skins and bad ass gear in large quantities.

Story:

The storyline plays out over time, and like most RPGs of this style, you only get bits and pieces as you go along. We’ve met what I think is either the main villain or at least an antagonist, but she was nice enough to our faces. We later learned that she was behind some of the goings-on, so that leads me to believe we’ll see more of here soon. We eventually found one of our lost party members and he’s a pretty powerful mage. There’s also some random events where you can be attacked by a passing airship, which I thought was pretty cool, though a little more difficult than the typical battles, and confusing as to how you end up fighting on the ship itself. Nonetheless, we found ourselves heading into Junk Town, which I think may end up being the 3rd dungeon but I have yet to enter.

Overall I think the game is great, and it’s been on sale recently on both PSN and Steam. If you like JRPG style games, I’d highly recommend this one!

The Council: Episode 2

The second episode of The Council released last Tuesday, and I managed to complete it over the weekend. Fair warning, there will be some spoilers in this post, so if you’re playing the game you might want to see things through before reading on.

Similar to the first episode, you’ll run around as Mr. De Richet still looking for clues as to your mother’s whereabouts, and performing various tasks in the interim. During the course of this episode however, some bad things are afoot, and your detective skills will come into play. We finally meet the owner of the island manor, and the final guest (the leader of Spain) arrives. One of the women you met in the first episode is brutally murdered, and what appears to be some sort of pagan or satanic ritual has transpired. You are charged with finding out who killed her, and at one point are able to give your opinion as to who might have done it. I threw one guy under the bus, only to need his help in getting out of a locked room later on. Further clues seem to point towards your mother’s involvement with thing going on around the island.

The gameplay is identical to the first episode, though my play through featured less confrontations during dialogue. Most of my time was spent examining the crime scene, questioning guests, and exploring the manor, including a portion of the exterior (garden) all the while picking up consumables and books to earn skill points, along with solving a number of different puzzles. At the very end of the episode, I had just opened an underground passage leading under the garden hedge maze, where I found the body of one of the manor’s servants. A cliffhanger ending, we’ll have to wait a while to see what happens next. Here were my results from the three quests in the episode:

Overall I still really enjoy this game. It’s a little slow paced, but it is engaging in a way that most games aren’t these days. I look forward to the next episode!

Thoughts on Ironclad Tactics

I’m not entirely sure where I first heard about Ironclad Tactics, but I remember someone talking about it and giving it praise. I happened to catch it in a flash sale on PSN for a couple of bucks, and picked it up as it ticks several boxes for me. It’s turn-based strategy, it has mechs, and it’s set in a historical period. It doesn’t really compare to most games, as it mixes a combination of TBS and CCGs, but the game I could compare it to most is one that I spoke about within the last few months: Has Been Heroes.

The only reason I can really compare the two games is that they both utilize “lanes,” in that whatever unit you put down will travel in a straight line and only perform other actions if something lies within that path. If they hit a wall they will stay put until you use a “maneuver” card to move them to another lane. So it’s a little more slow paced than Has Been Heroes, but still makes use of this mechanic.

Here’s the main game screen. It mixes this lane based mechanic with the use of cards. Turns are automatic, and occur in real-time using the little dial in the bottom left corner. You’ll have unit cards and action cards in a row, and each turn the right-most card will fall off and a new card will appear at the left. You’ll want to use the cards as efficiently as possible with your action points. You’ll only get one point a turn, unless something else in the level gives you extra (like capturing flags). Enemies will appear on the right side of the map while your units will progress to that side from the left. When they meet in the middle they fight. If a unit makes it all the way across the screen unimpeded, you’ll get a victory point (or two, depending on the unit). That’s what most levels are like. New units and actions are piled on as you progress, and though admittedly I haven’t played it that long, there’s still enough of an impression that has been left on me. It’s a good little time waster, but not something you’ll play for too long. There is a full campaign and some versus modes as well, but I imagine after completing the campaign most people would be done.

The storyline is told through beautifully rendered comic book panels. Apparently it’s the Civil war and parts of the country are seceding, while your characters work for a guy on the Union side. Someone has created these “Ironclad” mechs, and apparently the Confederacy has them too. So a bit of alternate history here, but it still feels believable enough. I’d urge you to give it a try if you enjoy tactical games, particularly if you can grab it for a couple of bucks like I did. It’s interesting if nothing else.

Thoughts on ELEX

As I mentioned in my last rambling post, I started up the game ELEX recently. The first time I had heard of the game I saw it on Steam, and not knowing much about it I passed on it. Plus, I rarely buy games for full price because sometimes you get burnt. Later, I saw it again but this time it was on the Playstation store, and given the game’s 3rd person view and action oriented combat, I felt like it was probably better suited for console play. It was on sale this time around as well so I picked it up. I’ve had it for a while but finally got around to firing it up the other day.

The game is made by the company Piranha Bites, creators of the Gothic series. I remember seeing those games around in the past but never played one of them. I remember hearing some good things but looking back at meta scores it seems that it was a middling open world RPG in a market where devs like Bioware and Bethesda remained king. This is the company’s newest offering, but instead of being traditional high fantasy it has a fair mix of fantasy and sci-fi. The general premise is that the earth was chugging along (probably a modern day timeframe) when a giant comet collided with the surface and wiped out a large chunk of humanity. The comet held something called ELEX, which is a material that various people in the game have a different relationship with. New factions arose. The Berserkers forsake technology and have developed the use of magic with ELEX. The Clerics don’t use magic but have psychic abilities and use ELEX to fuel technology. Finally, the Outlaws have modern day tech and use ELEX to make “chems” which they use to boost various abilities. Each sounds unique and interesting, but from the get-go you’re pretty much just running around with no armor and shitty melee weapons.

The game is open world and seamless, so you’ll get the pokes and prods to go do this or go do that but you can ignore it all and head in any direction you like. Joining factions seems a bit tricky, as I decided I wanted to join the Outlaws (they’re the only faction that can craft, and I imagine ammo and things become an issue). I headed to the desert where they stay, found a bunch of quests to do for them and then promptly failed multiple. It seems that the general advice for the game is to do the companion quests and try to find better gear prior to even trying to join a faction, so I’m at a point where I might start over, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far.

You’ll meet a variety of interesting characters and so far the missions are standard RPG stuff. There isn’t anything too difficult here. Getting used to the terminology and figuring out which way to develop your character is probably the most challenging bit, aside from finding new gear. As you being the game you run into a Berserker almost immediately, and he takes you to their base, so perhaps that is the best way to get new gear but it doesn’t sound like you can swap allegiances on the fly like you could in games like Fallout. At this point I think I’ll try to get as much gear upgrades as possible and a companion quickly so that I will be able to survive a bit better and perhaps still go with the Outlaws. Probably should have done some research before I started but cest la vie.

The map is rather large and there is little in the way of fast travel. There are no mounts or express paths to various areas. The only thing I’ve found is little teleport beacons here and there, and I assume they are the only places you can fast travel too. Being able to wander and explore is great, but if you have to run from one end of the map to the other that would get old rather fast. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the skill points there, as I said I’ll be starting over.

For the most part I think it’s a promising title. My only real complaint is that there isn’t much in the way of gear or explanation in the beginning, but at the same time I don’t really want my hand held. Also, having a pre-set character is so 1995… I want to customize my character and not be stuck with a shitty generic name like Jax. The combat is a little wonky too but I’m sure that just takes getting used to.

That’s all for now. I’ll report back when I’ve made some more progress.

Becoming Prey

PSN had a flash sale this past weekend and a title I’ve had my eye on for quite some time was heavily discounted. Prey, which is a remake of an older title by the same name came out last year or maybe the year before, and it looked right up my alley. A Sci-Fi FPS with horror elements? Count me in!

The storyline follows your character who is a science experiment of sorts. Initially you think that you’re living some sort of normal life, but as the story unfolds it is revealed that you have been living inside of a lab and most of your memories of your prior life are gone. Some weird alien beings that can mimic every day items (and some that are more monstrous) start appearing and initially you’ll have a wrench to defend yourself… sounds very similar to Half-Life now that I’ve written it down.

The graphics are top notch and the game runs smoothly. The combat is a little wonky when it comes to using the wrench, but eventually you’ll get a proper gun and then things feel a little better. You’ll still want to use your wrench for the smaller enemies because they jump around so frantically that you’ll just waste ammo trying to shoot them. In survival horror fashion, you’ll need to conserve your resources because they don’t exactly grow on trees. Nor are there trees in space. Like most games these days, there is a crafting system, and you’ll need to scour each nook and cranny of the station you are on, mainly because you’ll find crafting stations and use these materials to make things like medkits and bullets.

Overall I’m enjoying the game thus far, and wanted to share that I had started it. I’ve shared some screenshots of my time with the game so far, and will report back once I’ve completed it.

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