You know that thing where gog.com offers you a DRM-free version of a thing for literal pocket change, and it includes all the DLC you never had the first time? Yeah?
Well, I hadn’t played Dragon Age: Origins for a few years and I was kind of in the mood so, £3.49 later, here we are. In playing it, I’ve remembered just how… well, broad it is. In order to manage your party of companions effectively there are a lot of decisions to be made about how to equip them, and though in the right doses that’s quite fun I feel that maybe Dragon Age has gone a bit overboard…
Drakensang is a lost gem. Back when the world was lamenting the lack of Baldur’s Gate-a-likes, Drakensang slipped out without much fanfare; I picked it up on a whim seeing it on the shelf in Game (remember when Game had PC shelves? Good times). Based on The Dark Eye system rather than Dungeons & Dragons, it nevertheless promotes the same ideals: a player-created character leads a tight-knit strike team as they vanquish evil in real-time-with-pause combat based on a tabletop system.
I like equipment in games. There’s a thrill to finding a new, better sword, that looks cooler and does more damage. But it seems to me that more and more games are somehow getting equipment… wrong. Everything seems to have less value, everything seems more disposable. There’s no thrill anymore, just a treadmill of incremental but almost invisible advances.
I don’t want this.
It’s amazing what you can do with only global state and one-dimensional arrays, when you really put your mind to it. What was supposed to be a quick fart in the general direction of a Warcraft project has grown into something quite incredible.
Well, incredible on the technical side. The game itself is no more or no less than a streamlined version of my standard WC3 RPG formula. You may or may not want this.
Ahh, the darling of Kickstarter. I didn’t back Divinity: Original Sin, because while I’ve enjoyed many previous Divinity titles I’m also extremely risk-averse and scared of new approaches to life.
I mean, what if they made a game I didn’t like? Or worse: what if it would have been my input that made it bad? Artists, I think, are best left to their own devices, and as a consumer I feel better making an informed purchase (or not) of a finished work. Crowd-funding might be an excellent way to gather cash up-front for things that seem too risky to a giant publisher (even though there is actually a huge audience hiding under the quilt), but I’m not sure that crowds are entirely trustworthy in some other matters.
Either way, the game got funded and got made without my intervention. Did the crowd impart its wisdom or did Larian make a belter despite its howling? Does the presence or absence of crowd intervention even matter?
We’ve been through the cellular automata algorithm before. I said some things back then that were mostly theory — things I’ve now been able to test in the wild.
So how does one take a grid of noise and turn it into a functional RPG? Well, lucky for you, I’m getting close…
Ah yes, now we’re bringing out the big guns. I fell in love with Divinity II a couple years ago now; all the wit and charm of the earlier Divinity titles packed into a properly sumptuous 3D hack ‘n’ slash RPG adventure.
It was, then, with some disappointment that I realised Dragon Commander was to be too demanding for poor old Daedalus. That old “minimum 4GB RAM” chestnut again.
Now, though… My body is ready.