Kyn

Kyn is a fast-paced role-playing strategy game set in a world of Viking mythology and magic, with six playable characters with highly customisable stats and abilities as well as a deep crafting and loot system.  Kyn has been developed by two-man team Tangrin, and published by Versus Evil.

Kyn Load Screen

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Dead Space 3 Demo Preview

I got my early access key for the Dead Space 3 demo on Tuesday, for the Xbox 360, and finally got around to taking a look last night.  As well as the usual single player missions, this demo includes a preview of the new Co-Op mode and the Weapon Crafting Arena.

The demo starts with Isaac Clarke leaving his crashed ship and wading through deep snow.. it’s a beautifully created world out here in the snow, such a harsh atmosphere and a whistling wind that made me feel cold just hearing it.  You’re prompted to hurry along and find shelter before you die of exposure.. so through the snow, past a few enemies with horrible, sprouting appendages, onto shaky, collapsing platforms..

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RIFT: Storm Legion Launches Today

RIFT’s first expansion, Storm Legion, launches today, adding two huge new continents and dramatically increasing the size of the world.  There’s a new powerful enemy to contend with too: Crucia, who aims to remake the fabric of the planes and loose her Storm Legion on all who would stand in her way.

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Minecraft for the Xbox 360

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, 4J Studio‘s ported version of Minecraft, came out on Wednesday, and apparently broke the Day 1 sales records for the Xbox LIVE arcade and becoming profitable within the first hour!  Tim won a copy of the game, so he finally had a go.. watching him encounter zombies and creepers was amusing 🙂

I planned to have just a quick go, to compare it against the PC version which I’ve sunk many, many hours into.  As usual, I spent my first night up on a pole.. I’ve never been keen on the hole in the ground method!  Once I had some resources gathered, it was on to the crafting..

There have been a few changes to crafting, making it a lot easier to use!  The system allows you to navigate through categories and then just click on the item you want to make.. and as long as you have the ingredients to hand, the item will appear in your inventory.

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A Weekend of TERA

I’ve spent most of the weekend playing TERA, in the last stages of the mmo’s closed beta stage.

TERA has been touted as a new breed of MMO, with enhanced combat and tactics, relying on timing and position, as well as aiming.  The game world is massive, with gorgeous graphics, and there are seven character races and eight classes to choose from.

TERA has been in the news for their races and clothing designs, though.. with the European version of the game having censored versions of some models.  I’ll come back to that..

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Terraria Take Two

I decided to restart my single-player game as being too close to the Corruption meant I wasn’t going to get much time actually building, exploring, and making the awesome weapons I’d seen in multiplayer.  With only Slimes and Zombies, and the occasional Demon Eye pestering me, building my first room was rather easy 🙂

This time, my Guide waited patiently on the hill, rather than running off into danger!

As in Minecraft, I soon went underground looking for resources.
I find myself getting mentally stuck on this kind of thing at times, feeling like I need to collect resources before I can get on with the rest of the game.. I think this could get a little obsessive..

I’m finding very few resources so far.. but I have been able to collect enough wood and stone to extend my house, and I’ve finally had a Merchant move in!

Terraria is also turning out to be rather a hit.. showing that indie developers can be very successful with the right idea at the right time.  The game has been out for nine days and has sold 200,000 copies and has been at the top of the Steam sales charts.. a very good place to be! 🙂

Terraria

A new game appeared in my friends’ group over the weekend – Terraria.  As I have a silly number of unplayed games in my collection, I was going to give it a miss.. but they kept talking about it with such obvious enthusiasm that I started to feel a bit left out..

Terraria is a 2D scrolling adventure game which has a few similarities to Minecraft.. you start in a randomly generated world, with trees and other resources to gather.  Once you have collected enough goodies, you can craft items: weapons, building materials and decorative items.

There are monsters, ranging from coloured slime with little health, right up to some fairly tough bosses, which you can summon when you’re ready to take them on.  Unlike in Minecraft, the appearance of monsters is not limited to the night-time.. so while you could build a shelter and hide, it’s far better to get out there and fight!

As you find better resources and loot, you can craft stronger weapons and armour.. you can also level your character up with items which increase your total health and add a mana pool.. and you will need to do this if you’re going to take on the bosses! 🙂

Another dissimilarity to Minecraft comes in the form of the NPCs you can attract, should you build shelter for them to live in, and met a few requirements.  The merchant has a range of items for sale, the nurse can heal you, the Arms Dealer sells guns, and the Guide.. well..

The Guide got me into trouble.

I started out in the world knowing very little about the game, as I wanted to experience and learn as I went along.. and seeing the Guide, I expected I’d have to follow him along a little way before getting into the game properly.

However, he led me off the grass and onto a manky grey surface with spiky weeds.. Corruption, which I’m told is not normally this close to spawn.  The spiky weeds hurt, so I decided to leave the Guide to his wandering and go back to the grass.. but before I got back I met my first monster, the Eater of Souls!

I found I could take one point of health from him with my pickaxe, but before he was dead another appeared.. this was too much to handle on top of the damage from the weeds in the Corruption, and I managed to die within one minute of spawning! So much for an easy game at lunch 😉

After respawning I tried to explore to the left, but met Slimes, as well as a rather high mountain.. then night came, bringing zombies, so I went to dig down and instead met some kind of worm.. more death!

Eventually I went after the Guide, hacking away the spiky parts of Corruption so I could walk there.. I found him trapped in water above his head, still alive apparently, and as soon as I’d made a path he headed back up the hill.  I cut a path down into one of the caves, and trapped him there!

I was surprised how quickly the corruption spread across the dirt tiles.. I came to take screenshots at the end of play, and found it had grown like this.. 😮

Terraria also has a multiplayer mode, and after a friend set up a server I joined them.  Multiplayer allows co-op and PvP, which you can toggle on individually.. you can also form teams which adds a little indicator to show which direction and how far away your friends are.

Both friends had played for a while already, and as characters keep all their equipment and resources when they enter a world, they already had some decent gear.  As I was now on my home PC, and the game has no Steam cloud support, I had to start from scratch, but I didn’t mind as I’d barely collected or looted anything yet.

I was given a better pickaxe, as well as some bombs and some other random items.. I went exploring for resources while one friend built a large tower and filled it with rooms.. this meant the NPCs started to arrive, though till I’ve earnt more money I can’t buy from them. 😉

He also went and summoned the Eye of Cthulu.. I got killed trying to take a look at him the first time, but after being given hearts and levelling up somewhat, I was able to take part in the second fight! 🙂

We fought him from a platform, so there was plenty of room to avoid him as he swung past.  As well as attacking you by himself, he fires little eyes at you.. the magic boomerang came in handy for those, killing them before they got too close 🙂

The Eye’s second phase was a little creepier, as the pupil and iris were replaced by a mouth full of sharp teeth..

It wasn’t too much longer before we killed him though.. the flaming arrows, magic boomerang and Undoer’s spiky ball of win made sure of that! 🙂

Fallen Earth

Sometimes I think I’d like to try more MMOs, but I’m not comfortable with the payments and subscriptions that would require, especially right at the beginning when I feel like I’ve spent enough buying the game, never mind paying again to actually use it..

I know that running servers costs money, but I can’t help but look at the sub money going out each month, imagine how much it adds up and think what else I could have spent it on.. and I also feel that once I’ve paid for my sub I really do have to play, otherwise that money is wasted.
So, I’d rather only subscribe to something I’m really going to put serious hours into..

Lucky that there are trials and betas, then 🙂

First up was Fallen Earth, which I tried out after hearing mixed comments about the game from friends.

Screenshot from the Fallen Earth website.

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a virus and nuclear war has wiped out much of the population; the location used for the game is the Grand Canyon.  Radioactive storms and mutated animals prevent any contact with the outside world, and so a variety of different factions are vying for control of this area.  You can join any faction, and switch later if you wish.  Thumbs up for player choice 😉

Rather than choosing a class to begin with, you develop your character by assigning points to various skills or attributes, with points being gained as you level up.  You can choose a role, such as Melee or Rifleman, and then the system will suggest where you should place your points, but the choice is left up to the player.  I like being given the freedom, though without knowing which skills and attributes to improve, it’s possible to waste points, and unfortunately there is no way of re-assigning points.. a big problem if you decide later on that you’d rather play a different way.

There’s also a decent amount of character customisation with facial features, choice of hairstyle, colours, tattoos and piercings.. but not quite enough to make up for the dodgy underwear..
All the options for pants on females left jagged, painted on thong lines visible above the waistband!  Personally, I think if you can’t make something like this look good you really should just leave it out..  I’m guessing they wanted to go for sexy, but this just looked rough.  I’d also have liked the option to not have my underwear on display too 😉

Once you’ve set up your character you start off in the tutorial area, with points being explained as you go along, although I found some explanations seemed to come after I’d actually figured them out for myself.  The last part of the tutorial area was fun, though, with some combat, a vehicle, an explosion, and subsequent revival by the Lifenet team.

While all the customisation is a huge positive, I noticed some fairly large let-downs too, the first of which was the animations.  In particular, the running animation made it look like I was gliding across the floor rather than actually running.  While the animations in something like WoW are fairly simple, they don’t seem out of place with the style of the game – but when I’m in a realistic-looking world, I do expect more realistic-looking animations.

Another annoyance was the combat mode, which you have to enable to shoot or hit your target.  This didnt seem so bad until I realised that I couldn’t do any other action, such as looting, without first coming out of combat mode.  Once out in the wilds and getting jumped on it got really annoying as the first instinctive attempt to hit the mob failed; being attacked doesn’t enable combat mode, instead you have to stop and press the combat button first.. urgh.

More player choice came in the sheer number of available quests which seemed capable of having you go off in any direction at all.  For getting around, I was given a horse.  The starter horse was slow, but definitely useful as there was a lot of ground to cover.  I ended up losing my horse around town a few times, but if you leave the horse behind somewhere, you can  have it summoned back for a small fee.

Vehicle mounts were available through crafting.. though I didn’t get far enough into the game to see for myself.
I grabbed this from the wallpapers section of the site.. if I’d seen this earlier I might have been tempted to push on with the game as this might have been fun..

While player choice is often lacking, Fallen Earth went a bit crazy and gave us loads..
However, too much choice can be a bad thing.. especially when it’s not clear what you’re choosing.

The professions were presented all at once and before I’d really seen anything beyond the tutorial area, so I didn’t have any idea what might be a good choice.  I’d much rather have had them introduced to me one or two at a time, once I’d been out in the world and seen what was going on.

Worse than this though: I was shown how to collect what seemed like every item which may ever have a use in the game.

For me, the ability to collect everything is bad as it means I do collect it, and this just resulted in my bags getting full very quickly.  As almost every item I’d collected or looted was marked as a “tradeskill components”, I couldn’t tell which were useful or valuable, and which I should just vendor.

Hmm, either break my immersion in the game by reading a webpage, carry a massive pile of useless ‘useful’ stuff around, or sell the lot and ignore the trades completely?  Instead of marking all the items as “tradeskill components” it would have been much more useful to leave something in the description to indicate what it might be for.. icons for the relevant professions maybe.. or just leave that particular note off and save the hassle.

I didn’t get too far into the game.. partly put off by this, and partly because I got my hands on the Beta for another game which I’ll post about soon.

Minecraft

After watching friends playing at i40, I was tempted to give Minecraft another go.

I wasn’t too keen on buying a game which might only add to the pile of unplayed games here..  however, if I spent a full weekend playing, then it would have covered the fairly low cost.  While I was debating whether to get it or not, Minecraft had become rather popular.. too popular for their servers, which fell over!  In a fairly brilliant move, Notch, creator of the game, decided to give Minecraft a free weekend.

Can’t argue with free.. and if the game was still interesting after playing, then it’d get a sale.

So during the free weekend, I spent rather a lot of time on a multiplayer server with friends.. after lots of messing around with the teleport command, I was exiled from the mainland and so began building my own base out of sand.
Of course, I teleported my friends away when they came to look.. the whole point of exile is that you’re on your own 😉

My base was eventually dubbed “The Kitchen”, with somebody placing a little wooden sign on an outside wall.

Multiplayer, like the rest of the game, is still a work in progress.. for instance, health hasn’t been fully implemented.  This means you can’t die, but also means you can’t kill zombies.
Damn.. just as I figured out how to create weapons too!

The server also became prone to crashes.. I don’t think it’ll be too long before an update fixes this though, as updates are frequent.

As we’ve not been able to get on the multiplayer server, I started another world at work.
Here, health is implemented, and I’ve been blown up by Creepers a good few times but also killed a good few zombies with my wooden sword 🙂

I also made a dodgy sandcastle, right next to my spawn point.  I’m building a bigger, better base, and have linked the buildings up with ‘safe’ fenced off, well-lit areas.  Monsters only spawn where it’s dark 🙂

I’m standing on what will eventually be my main building.

Yes, there are a lot of torches.  I like my light! 🙂