Dragon’s Dogma Review….ish


Hey guys!

So normally I would give you a fairly standard review layout where I tell you what is good and bad about a game so that you are as informed as possible at the end. But this game got to me, it really did, so instead I ended up half reviewing the game and half ranting about the state of RPG’s and why I don’t like their new direction, so apologies if it lacks structure somewhat.

Dragon’s Dogma had a lot of potential to be a solid game, it could have been the best RPG in a long time and might have rivalled the coming of The Witcher 2 to the 360. BUT, it failed dismally to realise it’s potential. In fact, I would say that Dogma has only three good things going for it.

  1. It’s combat is kinda nice if you like the Devil May Cry, swooshy, unrealistic but fancy combat style.
  2. Graphically it’s nice to look at, given the technology limiting it.
  3. The Pawn system is nice, you can customise your follower almost as much as you can your own character which I loved.

Everything else is garbage, it is utter crap. The game was developed by Capcom, so it should have been unsurprising when the story was weak, but I did not expect it to suck half as much as it did. There is no depth to it at all, the story is an excuse to kill stuff and it doesn’t fully add up in places or explain various twists that really need explaining. Sure, there is an undertone of destiny and higher powers, but on the whole it was terrible. Your decisions carry no weight what so ever, even when you are offered a choice. (Spoiler alert) If you choose to not fight the dragon, you get a cut scene and then the game ends and you have to start from your last checkpoint. So can someone please explain to me why I was given the choice if I have to fight him regardless? And don’t say to me that ending the game is a choice, because it is just lazy. You miss out on hours of further content because you took the game up on an offer and it couldn’t be bothered to write an alternate plot line? No, that just doesn’t stick.

The acting and animation in the game is the worst I have seen in a triple A title. Ever. The voice acting was poor as a rule, with maybe one or two decent voices breaking through at points. The lip synching was just abysmal, the lips of NPC’s would move and finish their sentence before the voice over had even begun in  many cases, or it would be severely out-of-place as the voice spoke. I’ve seen better from casual machinima artists for the gods sake. The animation for climbing around on monsters needed work too, as it was buggy as hell. Though admittedly this could be patched out.

The monsters are designed pretty well, but the reason I did not list it in favour of the game is because of the repetition of the same creatures over and over again. You will encounter a lot of Ogres and Harpies on your travels, as well as Chimera’s in every other encounter, broken up by a few Griffons and Wyrms here and there. It is a little underwhelming to be honest, they look great and I had fun battling each monster the first two or three times, but afterwards it gets a little repetitive, a bit like the mob spawns which reset every in-game day with the same mobs in the same places.

The whole game really sums up the issues I have with the direction RPG’s are being taken in recently. The core focus of an RPG must be on the story, the player character’s place within that story, and how their decisions and actions can effect it. Without that, I think it misleading to label your game an RPG. You cannot Roleplay a character and be totally immersed if the story you are playing in is thinner than an anorexic stick insect. It is not just Dogma which has lost this focus, Dragon Age 2 had an awful story, as did its sci fi counterpart, Mass Effect 3. Though ME3 had a good story, it just didn’t make any sense and completely broke the immersion so it could focus on flashy cut scenes and action packed combat. Even Skyrim fell down in this regard. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great game for exploration, beauty and character creation, but it had a story which was little more than an excuse to quest and kill things while showing off their beautiful graphics engine.

Unfortunately, it seems that developers disagree, especially Capcom with regards to Dogma. Instead they and others prefer to focus on streamlining their combat systems and making their games look pretty. It’s even become an issue with in the player base, so maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I look on forums and I see people whining about combat in some RPG’s and in some MMO’s like The Secret World and I have to wonder where people’s priorities are. I know MMO is a completely different kettle of fish, but TSW is still a game focused around a story, and instead of praising this, people complain about the combat. My point is this; Combat is a tool, a means to display the actions your character would take in an immersive and entertaining format. It is not the most important aspect of an RPG. Nor is graphics quality, Neverwinter Nights was and in fact still is a popular RPG and it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of how it looks and how it handles combat. Without the story, your RPG becomes an Action or and Adventure game, which is fine if that’s what you like. Just don’t give me a game with no story and great combat and environment and tell me its an RPG, because I will call you a liar. Don’t get me wrong, great combat and stunning scenery certainly help with immersion, but they are not a core concern.

Until more games turn out like The Witcher 2 and provide a compelling, immersive plot for me to follow, with a character I can either enjoy or create myself, I think I may need to take a break from RPG’s or go back to playing my other titles, because nothing right now really appeals to me.

So, that is me done for the day guys. As always, feel free to leave a message in the box below and add me on Facebook here.

Keep gaming!

Cale.

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The Humble Indie Bundle: Why you should give a damn.


Those of you who have followed me from the beginning will know that I set up this blog in part to talk about indie games. Games which do not see as much publicity as they deserve and are becoming, in my ever so humble oppinion, much more enjoyable than their triple A counterparts. The problem with the games industry these days is that there are a few big companies *cough*EA*cough* who find new ways to squeeze money out of the consumer and the majority of people lie back and accept it. This has encouraged extremely bad practice in the triple A market and as a result the major developers have become complacent and their games are lacking in quality. I have found that indie games offer a much better quality gaming experience at much better prices.

With that out of the way, I will introduce to you one of my favourite ways of acquiring some of the more popular indie games:

The Humble Indie Bundle

The first Humble Bundle went on sale on 4th May 2010 with the intention of providing an exciting collection of indie games through a “pay what you want” model. Usually on sale for two week periods, the bundles provide DRM (Digital Rights Management) free games to donators, so they aren’t forced into using third parties or client software like Steam to play. Ever since their initial release, the bundles have become ever more popular with gamers, the HIB V having just sold 600,000 copies as of it’s closing date yesterday.

One of the best features of the Humble Bundles is that you get to pay what you want for these games. Though to receive your steam keys you need to pay at least 1USD and to get some of their additional games you have to pay above the average price. Afterall, the proceeds to go to charity and to the game developers, so it would be unfair if people were paying 1 cent for all those games. That being said, if you don’t care about having the games on Steam and you are a total asshat, you can pay the 1cent for the games. The reason they implemented this payment system is to allow people from all walks of life to enjoy their games and give as much as they feel they can afford to support charity and developers. I have huge respect for them because of this, since it encourages people to continue supporting the gaming industry rather than find a new hobby which is less expensive. You also get to choose what portion of your donation to send to the developers and charity by way of sliders.

Further to the games offered in the bundles, there are usually extras which are used as an incentive in the middle of the sale’s duration, these are also gifted to those who have already purchased their copy. These extras could be games from previous bundles or soundtracks from the games. So even after you buy, you might find that you get an even better deal than you bargained for.

The bundles are a great way to increase the market for indie developers and helps them to reach a wider audience, since the fame of the Humble Bundle grows with each release. Being included in the bundle means that your game meets a high standard and will be played by hundreds of thousands of gamers. For the smallest developers, this is a huge break and will allow them to keep creating games in the future.

All in all, everyone benefits from this outstanding idea, reflected in the growth of sales and number of copies sold over the last two years. If I had a seal of approval, the Humble Indie Bundle would get one. So the next time a Bundle starts up, why not give it a try? Pay what you think is acceptable for such great titles and have fun with some of the best games available from indie developers! If you want to check out their website click here. Or to find out more, visit their wikipedia page.

Cheers,

Cale.

The Secret World Beta Key Give-away!


Hey guys!

My girlfriend has managed to acquire a spare closed beta key to TSW, so we decided to give it away so one of you can have some fun with it until the game is released on July 3rd. This beta key will give you full access to the closed beta and the open beta weekends, so you can literally play every day until it is released.

If you are interested in getting your hands on the key, all you have to do is answer one simple question in the comment box below. That question is as follows: What are the names of the three factions you can play as in The Secret World?

I will then pick a correct answer at random to decide the winner by dropping all the user names into a hat and grabbing one. The winner will receive a message from me at 6pm GMT on Sunday.

Best of luck folks!

Cale.

P.S. If you want to find out more about The Secret World, scroll down to see an earlier review!

Dragon’s Dogma: First Impressions


So, over the past few days I have been spending some time playing Dragon’s Dogma on Xbox 360. I know I don’t usually cover console games in my reviews, but with my laptop practically useless and my girlfriend about to use every waking moment to play The Secret World on closed beta, it seems I might have to start reviewing console games on a more regular basis. Anyway, I wanted to do this first impressions review to give you guys an idea of what to expect from this title, because I got very carried away hearing about all the cool things in the game and had to discover all the issues after my purchase. Therefore, without further ado, I give you my first impressions of Dragon’s Dogma:

 

The first thing you see after the Introduction is a prompt to buy the DLC’s. This made me want to kill kittens. I hate Day 1 DLC it’s stuff that should be in the game on launch. If you had time to make it before you released the game, it should be in the game. Especially if it is something like extra hairstyles, which as it happens is indeed a DLC for Dragon’s Dogma. Already. The game has not even seen it’s second week yet! Cutting out bits of the game and claiming that it is extra stuff is a horrible practice that is just taking gamers for a ride after they have already paid full price for a AAA title. So yeah, that annoyed me.

Next came the rediculously out of place music at the menu screen. It sounded like I was playing a Sonic game or something, not an RPG with dragons and monsters. Things started to get a little better with the Character Creator. It is pretty detailed, you can edit all the usual suspects, alongside height and weight, which will actually effect how much you can carry and how agile you are in the game, which I found pretty neat. The creator helps you out by providing models of the different classes, showing the optimal height and weight for each in turn. However, you can be as skinny or fat as you like, and as tall and as short. Yes, you can be child sized if you really, really want to.

Now, I’m not going to go into specifics about the game content itself to steer clear of spoilers, but if you buy this game be prepared for a paper thin story. Really it is just an excuse for you to do quests and kill things, thats about it. Those of you wanting to really immerse yourself in a story or world should probably go back to other games. That being said, there is a large variety of quests available and the *sigh* DLC’s allow you to download yet more quests if you run out. The quest tracking could be better though. Quest details don’t seem to always update with new information, and sometimes their location on the map is inaccurate or non existant.

Why would I want to quest if the story isn’t immersive? Because the monsters in this world are amazing. Think Monster Hunter when you imagine the creatures in this game. The creature AI is also pretty good as far as I can tell. I jumped on the back of a troll and started hacking away at it, at which point it decided to throw itself backwards and roll on the ground to get me off of it. It also tends to target the opponent it fels is the biggest threat, so strategy and tactics are often needed in combat situations.

I’m also pretty happy with the way combat seems to work so far. It’s pretty fluid, combining Devil May Cry style, fancy maneuvers with Shadow of the Colossus which allowed you to climb on the larger enemies or hold the smaller ones in place while you and your allies wail on them. Obviously I will do a proper review which will go into detail about this kind of stuff at a later date.

Two final things from my experience so far that I want to mention because they are pretty big things. Thing the first; Pawns. These are basically your companions, you can have up to three of these and one of them is your ‘main pawn’ which you design yourself using the Character Generator that you made your character with. The other two come from either the game’s defaults which roam around the world or from other players, using the games’ only online feature to borrow their creations to help you on your quests. I love this idea, I enjoyed creating my own, as I’m sure you guessed and I really like how well their AI works. Aside from their constant yelling anyway.

The second thing to mention is Fast Travel, or lack thereof. The game world is huge, but to get anywhere in the world you have to run, or jog when your stamina is depleted. There are no mounts and no way of swiftly moving about. This gets old really quickly especially since mobs respawn with each day cycle. Going from one place to th next and back gets frustrating when you fight the same things constantly and all they do is use up the precious half hour that is your in game day time.

 

So there you have it. A mixed bag of my first impressions, which will be expanded upon at somepoint in the near future by a full blown review of the game when I get a bit further along. Enjoy!

Cale.

 

Torchlight: An alternative to Diablo?


As most of you who read this blog are no doubt aware, my gaming fund is somewhat limited. Thus I was unable to purchase a copy of Diablo III. Because of this I started fishing for something similar to sate my curiosity and stumbled upon Torchlight, a lower budget RPG with great credentials. Torchlight is a point-and-click action RPG developed by Runic Games, a team comprised of ex-members of Blizzard North and Flagship, notable for their work on Diablo’s one and two and games like Mythos and Fate. The history of the team is evident in the game, which is styled in a similar manner to Blizzard’s Warcraft 3, and incorporates an interface layout familiar to Diablo fans.

The Town of Torchlight.

Released in October 2009, Torchlight was designed to be a prequel to an MMORPG, probably to make players familiar with their setting and to gain a reputation as a company before embarking on a risky MMO. Set as the title suggests, in the town of Torchlight, the player is tasked to determine the effects of a substance known as Ember and to defeat a powerful sorcerer who has gone insane through overexposure. The setting is eye catching enough thanks to it’s art style, but I would have liked to see other areas of the world while I was above ground. Similarly, there is one main dungeon throughout the game and the only progression is descending lower and lower into the pit. The player has the occasional opportunity to complete side quests and pick up or buy maps that take you to other dungeons, but they are not designed any differently to the main dungeon, giving a copy and pasted feel to the whole affair. This is not to suggest that the game is dull and uninteresting. The game possesses an addictive quality to it reminiscent of Diablo.

Flashy combat particles. Yay!

This addictive quality emanates in part from the combat system. Even though this game is a simple point and click, combat feels incredibly satisfying, probably because I love decimating hordes of enemies at the click of a button. You can map actions to each mouse button as well as the hot bar, making it easy to cycle through your abilities and use them and items at a seconds notice. The only problem with this otherwise entertaining experience is the difficulty of the combat. Or rather, the lack of any difficulty at all. The game has four difficulties; Casual, Normal, Hard and Very Hard. The only difficulty which I encountered any challenge was Very hard. I’m a mediocre gamer at best in action games, so that should tell you just how easy this game is.

In addition, your character has a pet to help you through the game. You get to choose between a ‘cat’ and a ‘dog’, though they look more like a lynx and a wolf. While the choice is somewhat lacking, the pet is quite useful in engaging enemies alongside the player. At the very hard difficulty, the pet can take the pressure off of squishy characters like the Alchemist. The pet levels up as you do, without a separate experience bar, keeping it on par with the enemies you will face. You can customise your pet a little by giving it rings and a necklace to alter it’s stats to your liking, or by feeding it fish to transform it or provide buffs. The choice of pet is largely redundant as both have the same stats, making the choice aesthetic rather than useful. What does make the pet a little more useful is the extra bag space it provides, since your own is woefully small in comparison to the amount of loot you pick up throughout your travels. He can also sell any unwanted loot by returning to town. A feature which comes in handy roughly every twenty minutes of the game where you progress in a dungeon.

Another aspect which endeared this game to me was the simplicity of the character progression. Like most action RPG’s, this is based on experience gains through killing enemies. The experience per kill is well balanced, allowing you to generally level with the dungeon. However, if you complete some of the side quests before engaging in the main quest line, your character will be disproportionately higher than the mobs in the dungeon. A suitable response to this would have been to make the main dungeon scale to the level of your character. On top of advancing a level further, your character gains five stat points to spend on strength, dexterity, magic or defense. You can place your points wherever you wish, since each class can use magic or wield weapons, ranged or otherwise.

Much like Diablo or World of Warcraft, Torchlight is fully equipped with a set of talent trees for each character. These trees allow the player to create the character which best fits their play style. Each character has access to a magic tree, a damage tree and a support tree. Each time a level is gained, you can put a point in any of the three trees, with more special talents opening up as you gain more levels or you gain another rank of Fame. Unfortunately this design is a little under developed and I would have liked to see more diversity in the skills rather than such a large scale of ranks. Some skills have ten ranks overall, which seems too much for one skill and encourages players to put points into only a few skills to max them out and gain huge bonuses to one specific area, rather than explore the other options they have available.

Character creation – The Alchemist

I love character customisation, I spend hours on games like Dragon Age just creating the ‘perfect’ avatar. It may seem boring to a lot of players, but I can’t help it, maybe I have a mild OCD towards it. So I’m sure you can imagine I was disappointed when I realised that Torchlight has no character customisation features at all. You can choose between three classes, The Destroyer, The Alchemist and the Vanquisher. Both the Destroyer and the Alchemist are male characters, while the Vanquisher is the sole female character within the game. The Destroyer is a standard warrior class, the Alchemist is a mage crossed with a warlock and a shaman from any typical fantasy game and the Vanquisher is a typical rogue crossed with a hunter or scout. I would have liked to customise at least the gender of my characters and a few facial features so that I could differentiate from my other play-through’s.

Loot is the only way to set your characters apart from each other and fortunately Torchlight has a pretty solid loot system. There are a lot of different armor sets available in the game, which are tiered by common, uncommon, rare and unique. They appear randomly throughout the game and drop plentifully from mobs and destructible objects in the dungeons. The armor pieces themselves look great and there is a variety of designs among the more powerful sets. I really enjoy the amour designs in the game, their cartoon style fits in well with the world. The sets fit together well, unlike in some RPG’s where the armor designs look impossible and ridiculous, Torchlight armor actually looks like it could be worn while still looking cool. Since the loot system is randomised, it is possible to have a different experience with each play-through. There is another method of gaining loot; the gambler. By gambling, the player can buy gear of unknown level or stats for a price. Sometimes you can get lucky and uncover powerful unique items this way, or you can waste cart loads of money on poor items. This is a fun way to spend the cash which will end up burning a hole in your pockets and can be helpful to upgrade that piece of armor which frustratingly has not been upgraded for ten or so levels. All of that loot is not always useful to your character and you may find yourself wishing that you had played one of the other classes- Thankfully, the game provides you with a communal storage facility for items you wish to share. I thought this was a great idea because it allowed me to collect the unique items for all the classes which I might otherwise never manage to get hold of without grinding for hours. The downside of course is that by giving your new characters these special items, you lower the difficulty of an already easy game and the loot you receive is useless since your equipped items are superior.

Inventory – A view of the shared loot chest and bag space.

One final thing to note is the questing system, which provided a thin layer of meaning to the whole affair. For those looking for an in depth, lore filled experience, you will be disappointed. However, the quests were lighthearted, had some entertaining dialogue and provided some nice rewards for their completion. Personally I was just glad for another excuse to blitz through a horde of creatures with flashy weapons and spells until my laptop decided that I was enjoying too many particle effects and died.

Overall, this is a really fun game that I easily became addicted to. I love the art style, which felt familiar without being a doppelganger of other franchises. The feeling of obliterating large packs of enemies with powerful moves also keeps me entertained for hours and made me want to increase my powers for even more pixelated destruction. There is a lot of loot and armor designs which helped to counteract the lack of customisation for characters, and being able to mess around with the skill tree’s helped the game remain fresh through numerous play-throughs. Happily, most of the issues I have discussed with you here are actually being resolved as we speak in the form of Torchlight II, Runic’s next step toward their goal of an MMO. I got the chance to beta Torchlight II and found to my delight that customisation for both character and pet exist. More on Torchlight II another time, though I will tell you that it should be arriving on Steam in a few months as it was aimed to release a month after Diablo III. If you want to buy Torchlight, you can now buy it on Steam for £14.99 and you will have Torchlight II on pre-order for free! Well worth it if you ask me. Or buy it on its own for £12.99.

Remember, if you want to get updates on what I’m up to or to get blog updates, you can visit my Facebook page.

Have fun and keep gaming!

Cale.

The Secret World


Hey guys and girls!  Apologies for the distance between now and the last post, my Laptop decided that now was a great time to die, so I’ve been battling to get content for you all to read. Thankfully I managed to collaborate with Karen from Inspired Aspirations, who has had access to the beta’s of The Secret World. So, today I bring you her review of this MMO which has largely been overlooked under the shadow of Guild Wars 2 and Tera Online. Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to check out Karen’s blog if you are interested in what she has to say!

Laters,

Cale.

There’s this new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) coming out. You might have heard of it: The Secret World.

This isn’t Norway-based game developer Funcom’s first entry into the vast MMO library. They are also behind the now free-to-play Age of Conan (2008) and Anarchy Online (2001); the latter arguably groundbreaking for the genre with its science fiction setting, dynamic quests and in-game instancing back in 2001. Funcom have also developed single-player games such as The Longest Journey (which everyone should play). Their newest title The Secret World, which we’ll shorten to TSW for simplicity’s sake, looks to be a breath of fresh air in the crowded MMORPG market.

I’ve had the great fortune to receive beta keys for both official Beta Weekends. The only way to guarantee participation in the closed beta and weekend events is to pre-order the game. If you don’t want to do that yet then your best bet is to sign up on the TSW website or keep an eye out while visiting game websites and online magazines like GameSpot or Curse. Try your luck with getting a key for the next betaweekend here: http://www.geforce.com/games-applications/pc-games/the-secret-world/deals-promotions

As you no doubt know by now, The Secret World is set in our contemporary universe, with a twist: conspiracy theories, myths and secret societies are all true and very real. You choose who you want to join: the Illuminati, Templars or the Dragon faction. In past beta weekends, however, only the Templar faction has been available to play.

The game begins with different cut-scenes and introductions depending on which faction you choose but it boils down to this: for whatever reason you (your character) draws the attention of one of these factions by coming in to some rather exceptional powers and you’re approached with an invitation to join them. Once you’ve met with your faction leader you are sent off to your first assignment: a zombie-infested town in New England, USA. However, this will not be the only place you visit. In the full game you can travel to such far-off places as Egypt and Transylvania.

On the Quest system

Kingsmouth is a small town with big problems. You are one of many sent to figure out what is going on and why. While you meet the townsfolk, either alive or alive-again, and do quests you are continually reporting to the faction leader you met in your home city. You are also limited to holding a certain number of each quests in your journal at any given time. If you try to pick up more you get an on-screen warning that the quests will cancel themselves out. This means that you can’t circle the area and pick up every quest in sight and do them as you see fit as is the standard of other MMORPG’s.

Many criticize this system but I find the critique unfair; limiting the number of quests you can hoard adds a particular focus that other MMORPG’s often lack. It makes you pay attention to who you’re doing it for and why you’re doing it in a way that I haven’t experienced in any other game yet. It also helps that the “quest text” is almost always cinematic. Instead of scrolling quest text in a window you get a quick cinematic, animated and voiced, where the NPC tells you what they want from you. There is always the option to hit the escape-key if you don’t want to listen to their personal stories, but if that’s how you want to play your MMORPG from the very first play through then TSW probably isn’t for you to begin with.

You will quickly learn to differentiate between the various quest icons and their colors. Another innovation that saves running back and forth between a quest “hub” is the implementation of a mobile phone that lets you send an update to your faction HQ whenever you complete a quest. This is typically how you receive your quest experience and rewards. For larger quests you also get a bit of a lore update and interaction from your faction leader.

Kingsmouth – small town, big problems

On Combat and “Leveling”

While The Secret World is largely focused on setting and story, there is naturally a combat element to the game as there will be in any modern MMO. It’s easy to notice that the combat hasn’t been the focus of the game’s development as it can feel a bit repetitive and stilted. However, as with most things in life, it is what you make of it. Once I got into the habit of manually dodging enemy attacks and utilizing my damage-over-time skills better the combat became much less of a chore. Many enemies have big attacks that take them a while to execute. In the meantime, if you pay attention, the game shows you were their attack will land and you can easily maneuver out of the major damage area.

There are no real surprises or innovations in the combat aspect of the game apart from the fact that you can combine different weapon types to customize your play-style. You can for instance wield a sword in one hand for close combat conditions and switch to your assault rifle or elemental magic when you’re at range.

There are no levels or traditional class-systems in the game. Instead you have an ability and skill system that awards you points when your experience bar fills up which you can allocate anywhere you want.

CLICK TO ENLARGE: The ability wheel where you use your AP’s (Anima Points) to buy skills.

The ability wheel consists of an inner circle with your basic active and passive abilities. Once you fill up one of the sections in, for instance, blades you can move on to the outer circle for more specialized abilities. Don’t worry – you get more than enough Anima Points (AP) to spread your skills out through the wheel as you wish.

If you prefer some guidance the game does have a “deck” system with class suggestions. If you click on them they show you were you should put your points to build this class. If you complete a deck you get some small bonuses as a reward for completing it.

In addition to these Anima Points for the ability wheel you also gain Skill Points (SP) that give you smaller bonuses to defense, offense, health and more depending on how you spend them.

I felt confused by the sheer amount of personal choice I had when I started playing. Once again this is a new and different system in many ways and it will take some getting used to. But please, if you don’t catch on immediately that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the game or you. Allow yourself some time to adjust. Read about the abilities before you purchase and hover over the skills before putting points in so you understand what your character will gain.

Controversy

The ‘big issue’ that people seem to have with this release if various forums and game sites are to be trusted is the fact that TSW’s business model will incorporate both monthly subscription as well as micro-transactions. It certainly isn’t optimal from a consumer point of view. However, according to Funcom these transactions are completely optional and not game-breaking. The game will not become “pay to win” but rather “pay to look nice if you want”.

A measure you can take to ‘avoid’ the monthly payments is to purchase an additional package. On launch, Funcom will offer various package deals that include in-game items. The most expensive one costs £160 which includes in-game items from the smaller packages as well as a life-time subscription. So if you’re sure that you have money to spare and feel sure you’re going to play this game for at least 10 months, the Grand Master Pack is economically sound. You can view these on the pre-order page.

There’s also the issue of there only being 3 character slots available with your game purchase. You are able to purchase extra slots which at the moment cost about £8. To defend limiting the character slots you could argue that three slots are enough to finish the game with each faction. Considering the game is heavily story related you may not want to play it with more than three different characters, since it is also heavily customizable. However, I fully understand why this one doesn’t sit well with people. It is not, in my opinion, reason enough to not try the game out.

A Draug boss – Party up to bring him down or brave it solo!

Why I love it

Surely there will be people who dismiss The Secret World due to its somewhat outdated character work and animations or even because of the price tag. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it, if I were you. While it may not look quite as polished as Guild Wars 2 or TERA Online, Funcom have created a game that is absolutely unique. From the setting to the questing and leveling system, these are all things we have not seen over and over again in MMORPG’s for years. TSW does include ingredients from the classic recipe: there will be faction-centric PVP, there are instances for your party and repeatable quests (completely optional, no reputation system).

Haven’t we been asking for a fresh breath of air for a while now? A game that doesn’t model itself on one of the giants like World of Warcraft but tries to innovate and create its very own thing. This is exactly what Funcom has done. Give it a try. I will admit this is not a game for everyone, but it is a game that should not be ignored.

The game comes out on July 3rd and there are still two more beta weekends to go!

Remember: Grab your beta key by signing up on the website or participating in the various giveaways.

By: Karen @ Inspired Aspirations

Want to keep track of what either Cale or Karen are up to? Visit the Facebook pages below to get updates and to see extras that don’t quite make it to the blogs:

Cale: www.facebook.com/CalesCorner

Karen: www.facebook.com/InspiredAspirationsBlog

Devil May Cry HD: A rant


I don’t get it. I really don’t. I’ve been looking for DMC:HD for almost a month now, without success. What are Capcom playing at?! A successful franchise like DMC should be kept in stock, its a? no brainer! Some stores like HMV haven’t seen the game at all, not even on launch! Amazon don’t have it, I’m on a waiting list until June! Devil May Cry 3 is one of my favourite games and all I want is to play it on my 360. Is that too much trouble Capcom? Sort your shipping out!

Are there any games out there that you can’t get hold of? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading and keep gaming!

Cale.