On the Late to the Party scale, I have to concede that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has been a major blind spot for me. After all, I love Star Wars (before Disney got their claws into it, at least), and if you mention Star Wars and videogames in the same sentence then KoTOR inevitably comes up (probably just after I’ve thrown Jedi Knight II into the ring myself).
So here we are!
Okay, now I am taking liberties. NEHZ’s MountainStruggle AoS is, as the name suggests, an “Aeon of Strife” type map, where two teams of up to five heroes assist waves of spawned units as they battle down lanes to destroy the opposing base. Ever since I first played it with NEHZ and the rest of the Clan WCM crowd, this take on the AoS genre captured my heart more than any other with its tight, multi-layered landscape and Soulstone system.
Most importantly, however, it has bots — so while everyone else moved on with their lives, I could keep playing alone. And the AoS genre is about controlling a single hero against the world, as they gain experience and use abilities, so technically it’s still an RPG…
Today: the inimitable MountainStruggle AoS by NEHZ
This one is going to be controversial, because this map is not a dedicated singleplayer map: it’s co-op, for up to 7 players (odd number, but who am I to complain?). However, it can be played quite happily alone, and I do, with potentially shocking regularity. Why? Because it’s procedurally generated, that’s why! Every play-through is different!
So while this does not strictly qualify for the SPRPG Diaries by being a dedicated singleplayer map, it is a map that’s stayed with me and that occupies much more of my brain than it should. I think, therefore, it deserves some attention and discussion.
Today: the endlessly varied Warcraft Rogue by Polaris0082.
Wait a minute. I reviewed Tomb Raider when I bought it off gog ages ago. How can I…? Oh, yes, of course — this isn’t Tomb Raider, it’s Tomb Raider (2013). Much as I can’t stand the existence of reboots that have the exact same names as their progenitors, they gave this one away for free, and, well, I had heard good things.
Ahhh, Starcraft II is an interesting beast. I’ve never had any concern over eSports or online multiplayer, but I have huge respect for what SC2 did with its singleplayer campaigns — tossing the hyper-balanced melee factions out the window and expanding them with bonus units, configuration options and special abilities.
The things is… the meta-plot, of the Dark Voice returning to obliterate all life in the Koprulu Sector (The galaxy? The universe? It’s actually never really made clear that his ambitions are more than localised) is a bit of a mess. Like, Blizzard, you got away with that in Warcraft III because Archimonde was a literal demon — you can’t pull the same trick twice, and definitely not in such a different setting (at least not without groundwork that simply isn’t present).
Having said that, I think there are some good stories in the mix here, so maybe it’s time to do some reworking…
According to this blog, I last played Morrowind a whopping seven years ago. How can a game linger on in your mind for such periods of time? By all means, it’s a massive game and so is best reconsumed after long breaks, but even across such gulfs it is never far from my mind.
Well, for whatever reason, those thoughts bubbled closer and closer to the surface and I could resist no more. I got out my old GOTY edition CDs, lay the printed map on the desk beside me, and stepped into Vvardenfell once again…
I’ve been playing proper Dungeons & Dragons for more than six months now, in a staggering display of a-regular-group-of-adults-actually-happening-regularly (albeit through the magic of the internet). While we’re playing the latest edition (5th), the familiar bestiary summons constant reminders of my first foray into that world — the classic computerised 2nd edition adventures that are Baldur’s Gate and its sequel.
(Actually, my very first foray was accidentally getting a Drizzt book out of the library; I just thought it was a generic fantasy adventure novel, I didn’t know any better. When I got Baldur’s Gate and made the connection I was like “huh???”)
Thus I chose to eschew the most productive time of the year to play somebody else’s video games, and spent the post-crimbo haze burning through the Baldur’s Gate saga. (Though to be fair, as I’m pretty much note-for-note rebuilding the Infinity Engine dialogue system for Exon, it most definitely counted as research.)
Playing the two games back-to-back, I was struck by one major contrast between them: the respective presence and then utter absence of “wilderness” areas.
I didn’t need a free bonus pack to remind me that XCOM2 is a brilliant game. And yet, here we are!
It’s always nice when something goes from zero to released in the space of about a week. No sooner had XCOM2 announced it was getting a bonus pack of mini-campaigns than it had dropped into our laps. Swag!
Conveniently, I had just finished playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 when the downloadgates opened…