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Topics - Clockwork

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Have a gander at this one dudes and let me know what you think. Gender pay gap, postmodernism and lobsters.



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The Boozer / Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
« on: January 09, 2018, 02:20:23 PM »
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


A movie by Luc Besson starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne with Clive Owen and Sam Spruell based on the comic book by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières.


Where to begin analysing Valerian? It has so many talking points that it's nearly worth going scene by scene and with so few repeated themes or points hammered home at every opportunity I believe it could be done. Likening or comparing this picture to others is a challenge but it does take ideas, visuals, narrative aesthetic and gimmicks from a ton of genre-defining material such as The Matrix, Avatar and Luc's earlier Fifth Element.


I will start with the start of the film however as it sets the tone which is important to various other points in the movie and the type of universe we as an audience are told to believe in. The City of a Thousand Planets starts with an Earth space station which has been made to allow other stations to dock with it. America is in the first one followed by other nations of Earth in a sequence misleadingly backed by David Bowie's 'Major Tom', various timeskips later with cuts of each set of astronauts shaking hands with each other and later on in the sequence, aliens of all kinds dock onto the ever growing station until it becomes the titular city, home to all; by and large a grand sci-fi utopia. This opening is fantastic at setting up the movie to be a big, weird-alien sci-fi akin to Guardians of the Galaxy; there is little to no dialogue and from here the scope is potentially endless.


Unfortunately, directly afterwards it snaps planetside to a world pictured as a naturalistic ideal in contrast to the humanity created ideal in the City of a Thousand Planets and introduces the planets inhabitants: the blue people from Avatar. Literally blue, technologically impaired but savvy and quick to learn humanoids with a connection to the natural world. To me; this story element is what throws most of the film off kilter.



The centre to this movie, the only real constant throughout, is the relationship between Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Delevingne) which I found one of the more confusing aspects of the film. At times I was shown things which led me to believe they were together in a casual way, not together at all and then culminates as expected at the conclusion of the film. This isn't helped at all by the undeveloped nature of Valerian; he shovels a good 8 minutes of exposition at the audience near the start of the film with absolutely zero context. We're told he's handsome, intelligent etc but (objectively, comparative to other hollywood actors) DeHaan isn't classically handsome and his character comes off single-minded and egotistical than intelligent. I think the both of them are giving good performances and they work on-screen well together but I feel as if this type of macho romance is a hangover from the past rather than the supposed egalitarian future.


TBC.


For my money, the best scenes were the multi-dimensional market scenes.


C'd


TBC'd again.

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Skill Needed Adverts / 3D Modeller Wanted
« on: December 02, 2017, 11:17:24 AM »
Could a 3D modeller get in touch with me via pm.


I'm building a tabletop game and want to use this service https://www.shapeways.com/create to get them made. For further details on the project https://exilian.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5378.msg116509#msg116509

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Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza / Genderfluidity
« on: November 22, 2017, 08:05:51 AM »
Recently I decided to up my game on knowledge about people who have issues with gender and issues they've resolved with gender. Finding out about the different states of non-binary mainly but also looking across the more familiar spectrum.  I said to myself, it's sure as hell not going to get any less complicated as time goes on, be a good thing to catch up now and then refresh as and when needed.


Wasn't all that complicated to tell the truth, more than a few people trying to make it so unnecessarily.


Anyway, through my searching I found a state whereby an individual (or not) will change gender over time as they feel I guess. This was the first time during my information gathering I had a problem: Doesn't that entirely rely on having a strictly heteronormative definition of what genders are? I mean, how can you say "I'm identifying as male now" (with the inference then that you used to be something else) without that also meaning 'I believe masculinity is this, that or the other'. If you can definitely say 'I'm feeling more male' then surely you have to have a definition of what male is?


Counter to that: I'm male, use male pronouns, but I don't think it means I have to do, be or act in any particular way at all.


What I'm led to think from further looking is that identifying as male temporarily for genderfluid people just means that at the moment they're using male pronouns. Which in turn means that the state of being genderfluid is pretty moot. Identifying as 'Non-binary using male pronouns' would be exactly the same thing.


Anyone help me out, I'm finding more conflicting opinions.

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Marvel/DC / The Flash Season 4
« on: October 27, 2017, 10:26:38 AM »
Well hot damn episode 3 was so strange. Flash seems to be going for an all out comical approach this season and to it's credit, it is genuinely funny and while I can see a portion of the fanbase being displeased there isn't a more grounded, believable approach being taken I can also understand the studios desire to break away from stagnation.


Flash is perhaps the CW series with the most character bloat due to each of the characters actually getting their own story hooks unlike team Arrow or even The Legends. Returning and thriving in this comedic format is Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon) whose lovable, geeky character was the sole comic relief in previous seasons but now with other characters to riff off has become perhaps the most enjoyable character to watch.

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Marvel/DC / Supergirl Season 3
« on: October 26, 2017, 01:08:56 PM »
Eff it, I'm going to actually create a topic this time!


Supergirl season 3 has started fantastically well compared with previous seasons and I really am actually interested to see where it goes.


My idea for replacement scene:


Spoiler (click to show/hide)

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Tabletop Design - The Senet House / Superhero Storm
« on: October 19, 2017, 02:06:32 PM »
Hi all (especially Jubal though, because he's not busy enough with the gazillion things he's doing),

I'm making a tabletop game! I've actually done a fair amount of the building and planning wrt sizes already but I'm really unsure about how to design core rules. I want to keep them really simple and using d6es so I've been looking at Dungeon World RPG (roll 2d6 on a 2-6 you fail on 7-10 you get an action (such as attack/defend/cast spell) and are attacked and on 11 you get an action with no consequence and on 12 you get 2 actions) and I'd like a system like that.


Right the game is set on basically a slightly larger chess board (exact number of squares tbd) and there are 4 levels of verticality because flying is a mainstay superpower and I want it to basically be the USP.


Jubal, I know you're fantastic at creating games so if you wouldn't mind very generously giving me a few pointers that would be phenomenal :)


So I have a basic idea that you get a small number of heroes per side (say 5?) and one side will favour destruction and one protection. There will be objects on the board to be destructed/protected and I think there will be 4 stats which give + or - to dice results.


There will be an advanced ruleset (with all the fun things) but I'm trying my best to ignore it atm to focus on getting a core game set up.

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Skill Needed Adverts / Robs Ill Fated Super-ish Heroes
« on: April 05, 2017, 03:58:57 AM »
I need a comic book artist.

It's a dark-ish piece but there's comic relief found in at least some of the characters but the gist is that they're not invincible and as they forget that, things fall apart. As three of the group are killed by (idk, something terrestrial) the rest try and find a way to be heroes again but this time be smarter about it. It just about works in the end but without their three best fighters; casualties are inevitable.I don't know how to write it honestly, I've got ideas for the themes and the over-arching narrative but the strength of this should be how they work as individuals and their personalities that drive it. I have super limited experience writing that, I'm not good at it but I think I'll at least get an accent and feel for the characters if I can visualise them.These are the scenes with the most gravitas and the ones I really need to get right.

I'm looking to try and get a 80's style comic with regards to narrative style, Alan Moore themes (I wish).

The 80's style to me is first half teenage drama then aliens.

Small synopsis of where I'm thinking of going with the story:

The group is overconfident after huge success initially at cleaning up petty criminals and then bites off more than they can chew by going against a hardened gangster whose gang wastes the three most 'fighty' of the group. After that the group slightly fractures with the clown moving away, getting a 'portugal everything, cause anarchy' attitude, trying to laugh his/her grief/problems away. Bald girl is left as the leader of the now reduced group. There's a lot of friction, rest of the group are scared because of what happened to the obviously powerful members of the group. Aliens/outerspace people have been making moves in the background, hinted at in frames throughout the first half but in the second half they make themselves known, they have a base on mars which they launch missiles from. Somehow (idk yet) the group gets onto mars, takes out the base. I'm not doing the cliche of the invisible guy being a double agent, he just gets caught doing recon.

It's not a fully thought out project by any means but I have a super clear vision of some scenes and I thought I may as well write them down for once.

3 frames - speedy guy just about to run across a wall - speedy guy jumping off wall attacking guy - speedy guy with knives in said guy, both of them getting shot, bullets going straight through the mook and into the speedster.


3 frames - Conan with a short mohawk running straight towards frame - sideframe of shots going through him from the front and possibly sides as well, depends on how it looks- conan collapsing onto a mook at the end of his run.


3 frames - Asian-American with SIG Sauer P226 getting out of an elevator as shots ricochet through - 2 headshots against mooks while dive behind a desk - still kneeling behind the desk, shooting over the top, shot four times though the right shoulder and arm, lower left mouth and lower left neck.


4 frames - bald girl with right arm cast walking weakly, smouldering wreckage behind her - close frame, on her knees, fire exuding from her shoulders/back/chest - top down frame, girl is completely on fire, anything that can burn is on fire, wave of fire exuding from her - close frame, lying on the ground, arms splayed, head resting back among the rubble, eyes open, dry cracks around her eyes and lips.


2 frames - Silhouette of a chameleon super on his knees, not invisible but blends into the backdrop, tears down an invisible face and the slide of a futuristic gun centre shot - laser shot through the skull, chameleon falling slightly backwards.


6 frames - Class clown type broad smile - no force, visible wave crashing over a town plaza from super - top down, wide frame some near clown type panic, some fight nearest person - clown type arms wide, eyes closed, metaphorically drinking in anarchy - surprised clown type - knife wound in clown.


It's a story I'm working on but I'd really like to see the characters. Anyone that has an idea for what any of these look like, I'd love a know. Even if it's a written description, male/female/non-binary/other, clothes they wear, if they have a certain look or piece of clothing. Anyone that reads this and just sees one of these as a character, that'd be great :)

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Norbayne / Midlander lower aristocrat
« on: January 14, 2017, 12:42:53 AM »

Ronan Kurtspar

Alchemist/duellist multiclass in his prime. Typical dark haired, fair skinned with his hair kept in a short, messy ponytail but lacking the usual facial hair of midlanders. He keeps himself in shape, perhaps a little more slight than his peers and slightly shorter than average but it's hardly noticeable.


His alchemy has been practiced in secret and as a cliche is seeking the power to reverse death. His hobbies include amateur graverobbing and tax evasion.


I'm thinking he should have fairly level stats, maybe a slightly lower str than expected of a midlander with any spare point put into int/cha/pe/ini/dex with skill points put into cane sword fighting, potion and poison making and some face skills.

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Game Tutorials / How to draft Heroes of the Storm!
« on: November 18, 2016, 11:08:55 AM »
Maybe this is 99% for my benefit but hey ;)


Generic meta choices at the time of writing:


Tank - ETC, Muradin, Johanna, Tyrael.
Mage - Guldan, Ming, Jaina.
Melee - Butcher, Alarak (though if you're reading this, don't pick Alarak), Thrall.
Ranged damage - Lunara, Valla, Hammer, Tychus
Healers - Malfurion, Morales, Auriel, Brightwing
Gank heroes - Diablo, Kerrigan, Zeratul, Dehaka
Second Warrior - Arthas, Chen, Tyrael, Dehaka.
Solo lane hero - Thrall, Falstad, Chen, Dehaka, Arthas, Tassadar, Zagara, Sylvanas, Xul. Anyone with decent self and can get out of potential gank situations easily eg. Dehaka E and stalk.

How to counter enemy picks!


If they take an AoE healer like Auriel, Rehgar take single target burst damage like Kerrigan.
If they take a burst healer like Uther, or Tassadar poke and spread damage before a fight to make them choose between saving one player or another.


Against double warrior comp, or with two or more super high health heroes like Stitches, Azmodan, Guldan take Tychus, Raynor, Leoric who do damage based on % hp meaning that attacking a 500 hp enemy for 10% does 50 damage vs a 100 hp enemy which would do 10 as an example.


Verses a dive comp, pick heroes which can negate a ton of damage or have means to make it work in their favour very quickly such as Tyrael with Sanctification, Uther, Zarya, Illidan to counter attack because after their cooldowns are gone they'll only have auto attacks which he can evade for days.


Against high poke or sustain damage, you want high sustain healing such as Brightwing, Morales, Lili as well as heroes who can sustain themselves such as thrall, alarak, xul.


Vs a heavy mage or ability damage comp you'll want to pick up heroes with great spellshield or great anti-mage abilities such as lategame artanis, brightwing and lunara or for earlygame anti-mage Anubarak, Arthas, Stitches.


Map Specific Picks!

Garden of Terror


Wizards and cleave are great vs the small camps and given the distance between lanes solo laners who can set up ganks are great.


Bad picks are heroes that have trouble rotating like Lunara and hammer and exceptional picks are heroes that can take advantage of the downtime between objective phases such as vikings or sylvanas.


Braxis Holdout


Anyone that can zone small-medium areas shine, tyrael in particular but Kael'Thas, jaina, ming, guldan, chromie, gaz all do a great job as well. Also, heroes who can clear waves expediently are a must if you want any chance of a comeback. All mages, Sylvie, Xul.


Bad picks are heroes which have no zoning potential, poke or wave clear such as illidan, butcher, muradin, falstad (though it could be argued that the global on falstad makes up for it, I would take dehaka over him every time.)


Warhead Junction


Haven't worked out good strategy for this one yet. Globabls work great here, lots of places for ambush make gank heroes like kerrigan and zeratul phenomenal as well.


Dragon Shire


Standard map, pretty much everyone works. Generic meta choices imo.


Tomb of the Spider Queen


This is a really 3 lane map. Heroes who can rotate well and gank as a 4 man squad work very well with a hero like Xul, Johanna, Jaina, Kael'Thas who can rotate between the lower two lanes for xp. Gank heroes like Diablo, Kerrigan, Zeratul, Rehgar, Chen all work well with this.


Sky Temple

Strong solo laner at bot is great choice if your team doesn't have one. If not then zoning for the objectives is great as well as

Towers of Doom


Infernal Shrines


Battlefield of Eternity


Blackheart's Bay




Which takes priority, enemy comp or map specific? Depends on things like current meta, how strong individual heroes are at the time, how strong heroes are on certain maps, what bans are....Way too many things for me to write a post about. Get practice with a range of heroes and usually you can go for at least a partial counter to whatever the enemy is doing or be confident that you have a hero which suits every map.

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Game Reviews / Hard West
« on: October 26, 2016, 03:51:05 PM »
Another Turn Based Tactical game! This one has a couple of interesting twists on mechanics and theme. As anyone that's read another of these will know, I love TBT games and consequently hold them to a high standard. Hard West could well be the best one I've played.

The Wild West hasn't been done in TBT much but even so, CreativeForge Games puts a spin on the classic six shooter and chaps by adding occultism into the mix. In gameplay terms this translates to cooldown based abilities.

It has a mechanic which stands out from other TBT %-to hit games which is the Luck system. To explain it I'll use an example - Kid Billy is firing at Redneck Sumbitch and has 66% chance to hit. Redneck has 100 luck. Kids shot missed and so Reds luck drops by the chance to hit, in this case 66. Now the chance to hit is higher than the luck value, so the chance to hit is greatly increased. Next time Kid shoots, he'll be doing some health damage instead of only luck damage.


There are a couple of ways to increase and spend luck, the most common being single use items to increase it and occult-powered abilities to drain it. This is where the majority of the mechanical innovation and strategy comes from. As a player you have to manage this resource which you need for offence and defence, a character with 150 luck facing 4 opponents would have the dilemma of using an ability which costs luck to try and get some extra kills vs saving the luck to weather the inevitable lead storm next turn.


Story wise it is broken up into 8 scenarios which are some classic western-type adventures in a choose-your-own-adventure style which link together either loosely or directly, depending on whether the protagonist of that scenario is a main or supporting character. And whilst I don't think that the main story can be influenced much from any choices, the individual scenarios play out very differently which helps give it a lot of replayability.


On the subject of replayability the scenarios each have modifiers to enable, things like an ironman mode (one protagonist death is game over), more or fewer combat injuries, regenerating luck and the ability to conceal enemy health until you hit them.


The tone is I think one of the things which some might find fault with, on the one hand it has some serious and dark themes throughout the various chapters but on the other it also has an eighteen shooter. Yes: a triple cylinder revolver with a single barrel. Don't ask about the logistics of that, I haven't a clue. For me, it struck the right balance of dark to light, dark comedy to light comedy, weird to western but I can appreciate that it won't be to everyone's taste.


I'd buy it again in an instant, £15 on steam plus £2 for another scenario as DLC. Well worth the price.


http://store.steampowered.com/app/307670/

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Fandom Discussion - The Secret Garden / Harry Potter
« on: September 23, 2016, 12:56:36 AM »

While not massively into it, I like it enough to have signed up to the fan club and every now and then I'll read the set of books, watch all the movies and then find out some obscure things about various people.


JK writes a lot of the stuff on the fan club and is sort of expanding and refining the extended universe.


Any other fans? If so there are questions apparently designed by JK to determine house, wand type and patronus.


https://my.pottermore.com/user-profile


Not sure if you can see mine from there but I got Syltherin, Ebony wood Dragon heartstring and Ibizan Hound.

13
Marvel/DC / Suicide Squad
« on: August 29, 2016, 02:32:18 AM »
The movie was pretty awesome.


Leto was great, Robbie was great, Jai was great. Diablo was surprisingly fantastic.


Needed more slo-mo fights. Would have preferred a more Snyder touch to it.


Did not like the end fight so much, needed more spectacle, more things for the characters to do and probably could have done with a dramatic character death we didn't know was coming.

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EDIT: Was posted in what video games are you playing? but decided to move it because it didn't answer that question and was a rant.

Aaaaaand I remember why ME3 sucks. All that goddamn abstraction. First two games: great, subtle allegory; good, solid themes; grounded in science first then mythos. Third game: blatant religious symbolism everywhere, mythos heavy, leaves allegory for abstracts which has it's place in media but for portugals sake doesn't do any favours here whatsoever.

Completely changed the narrative tone in a series. Who does that?

The allegory in the first two was just the right balance of saying something without preaching it. The general messages are that everyone deserves a second chance, co-operation without losing individuality is great and all lives matter. Fine. As you all know I'm not hugely into this type of preachy thing but in ME it was at least really well disguised, it all fit into the lore and the character nicely, everything worked and I got subtly influenced into becoming a better human. It asked questions like 'is death better than being brainwashed?', 'what is self-determination?', 'how much can we interfere with nature?', 'how far should we push science?'. All those kinds of sci-fi classics that are asked and left for the person to make a choice. Unfortunately they just shy away from greatness with assigning a morality value to these choices but still, it tried and got closer to really asking you these questions than any other medium imo by forcing you to choose what you believe (or what the person you're playing believes) to advance the game.


ME3 just throws all that out the window. It drops the allegory and just preaches. Not only that but it preaches armadillo which goes against the themes of the first two: give up individuality for peace, pro-life bs, modifying humans is wrong etc. Then it gets abstract. The game is now about how the PC represents the prodigal son and the story is about how all along you've been guiding the universe either with severity or virtue (but nothing in between) to a utopia. Your guilt is depicted in dreams as running through a burning forest in slo-mo chasing after a child you saw die. I didn't give two armadillos about this kid. Spoke one line to him and all of a sudden apparently I'm supposed to care specifically about that kid rather than the other billions of people dying, including friends, during the course of the game? It's portugaling stupid.


That aside. Even possibly forgiving that, because I really hate that kind of armadillo when it's obvious so I'm biased against it, objectively the storytelling is worse. As I'll explain I guess. Because this post isn't long enough already.


The first two set up a Trek-like sci-fi epic so well. The first game created a universe, there was the pseudo-science hallmark of the genre, there were various humanoid and non-humanoid aliens, there was backstory narrative for the events happening during the timeframe of the game and there was a very solid lore/fictional history.


It created a perfect foundation from which to flesh out specifics of the current timeline, important events and how the universes peoples react on a more studied look in ME2. A lot of people criticise ME2 for not moving on the Shepard story but that's not the purpose of that game. The purpose is to create more personality for the current timeframe. At this moment in time in the ME universe while you're playing as Shepard: colonies are being founded, one race is gearing up for war, another is trying to consolidate, people are being experimented on by an organisation, loads of other armadillo. It runs the gamut of what's happening around this time. Again, it's more setup for an epic: it's building a framework so that the real meat of the story can be told without going over what is currently happening or what the universe is like.


Then the third game comes along with the story and the way it's told differs so greatly from the other two games that, style-wise, it's unrecognisable. It's not even that it doesn't use the foundation that's created, because it does. The backstory is told very briefly, very thinly in broad strokes, same with the tone of the universe: Krogan are brutish, Turians are militaristic (which on a racial level is accurate-ish but individually doesn't have to be the case at all). Great. But then a lot of the control over your characters personality is taken away, much fewer dialogue choices even when it's painfully obvious there really needed to be at least one other option. The story changes from specific arcs to an epic like it should but in doing so, loses so much of what made the first two games great. The player agency. Where previously there was choice in motivation now there is only choice in outcome which makes it feel so shallow.


So I get to the divisive ending which had much furore about it at the time. The abstract gets even more nauseating - only by the sacrifice of the prodigal son can there be utopia. And there are three options left to the player, literally a left, middle and right path. Left is control - shape the galaxy according to what you believe, middle is absolute peace at the cost of all individuality and right is destroy - break conventions to allow everyone to self-determine leaving the good with the bad and the threat that AI's will probably eventually wipe out organics. There's no room for motivation or finesse, there's the big sci-fi question - great but it's presented in such a way that leaves no room for context. How precisely is that control, am I god now? What does that even mean? Does this loss of individuality mean that everyone is exactly the same or is it more general, like everyone sharing DNA or something? And the first two options preclude any more games being set after these events.


Fortunately ME3 is still very much playable thanks to the great third person combat. But it's such a shame that what could have been the best single sci-fi story ever told fell short.

15
Game Reviews / Darkest Dungeon
« on: June 20, 2016, 02:12:42 AM »
I hope Orange Bison is okay with this. One PM and I'll take it down.


Every now and then gaming produces Lovecraftian horror. Darkest Dungeon may be the first to get it right. The game had been in early access since February 3rd 2015 and was released January 19th 2016, so there has been plenty of time to see what it’s about but for those of you that don’t know; Darkest Dungeon is a turn based strategic dungeon crawler. And for those of you that want to leave at the mention of ‘turn based’, wait a moment. Usually when I hear this genre being slated it’s because there is little to do moment-to-moment. Not so here, every animation plays quickly and the feedback on what just happened is instant. And that’s something very integral to the tension of this game, so many times it feels like all could be won or lost in just a single action.

(Really the guy with the shield should be on the frontline instead of the back, but RNG decided to surprise me)

If ever there was a game which built an entire narrative around mechanics, it would be Darkest Dungeon. What I mean by that is from the very moment you load it up, watch the intro and look at the menu, you’ll be able to ascertain something. This game looks like it’s going to be a challenge. Thankfully, it delivers.
With your party of four heroes you’ll be delving, room to room, into the depths of five dungeon settings each with presumably near unlimited randomly generated content before heading back to town, loot in tow. So far, so standard. What really makes it hard is that the deaths are permanent, pickups are scarce during missions, enemies can and will take all your health in one crit and drive your heroes insane. This is kind of unique to Darkest Dungeon, the insanity system. During dungeon delving your heroes will become more stressed due to enemy attacks and different objects that you can interact with during your dungeon delving.
As your intrepid heroes walk through the many dungeons, there will be objects on the floor, most of which contain loot but can give a severe penalty for being tampered with. To aid this seemingly bad trade of loot for insanity and disease; the right items bought in town to alleviate the danger. Not that the game tells you which (if any) of the seven items to use on a particular object.  Herein lies part of the progression in Darkest Dungeon. Not only do characters have weapons, armour and skills to upgrade but you try out different items on different objects and your knowledge of the game expands.
One last thing which sells this game as a difficult game is that there is no difficulty level. There is a New Game+ which is harder but the game needs to be beaten before that can be unlocked. Instead of Easy/Medium/Hard there are options that can be toggled on or off which make the experience more or less difficult such as your heroes getting more stressed the longer you take in a fight or enemies will do max damage on a crit instead of a damage multiplier.



This is a game that you can tell has been built from the mechanics upwards, the enemy types each have strengths and weaknesses with heroes compositions being strong or weak against the different variations. After each mission you’re rewarded with just enough tokens to upgrade the town a little and just enough money to try and cure an affliction or two. It gives the feeling like you’re catching up gradually until you get a run through one of the levels which everything just goes your way and you end up with a ton of loot and you can heal up all your heroes and get some breathing room.
If you can deal with the first few missions you may encounter a boss – these dungeons are like any other except that in one room there will be an encounter a fight significantly harder than anything else in the level. Usually boss fights will require you to see what the boss can do, retreat from the fight (unless by happenstance you managed to bring a good combo) and then come back again later with a party specifically designed to kill it.
 


 Unusually for a game with randomly generated elements Darkest Dungeon has a lot of hero classes and while they have a general role that may be in common with another class, each of the fifteen has a use or niche unlike the others. For example, the Leper and Man at Arms have roughly the same role as a frontline to take damage but while the Leper has some self-buffs and can attack the first two spaces, the Man at Arms has party wide buffs and has attacks that hit any of the first 3 spaces. Tacticians among you will find more than enough to experiment with to give many hours of entertainment trying to find the optimal combination for each encounter.




The aesthetic used is fantastic, very narrow but stylised colour palette with seemingly hand drawn artwork makes it a visually striking game. The animations are simple but convey what is happening at the time and they are quick and numerous enough that they don’t become repetitive. Assisting with setting the scene is the ever present narrator (Wayne June), murmuring unsettling developments and musing on your progress. It all fits in to give this game a wholly cohesive theme that any game regardless of budget can learn lessons from.

All that being said, if you’re not a fan of RNG making this both easier and more complicated or the game looks and feels too dark then fair enough: this won’t be a game for you. There are faults with how easy the game is during the mid-end of the game but the game is getting tweaks to difficulty fairly regularly.

Personally, I’ve loved every minute I’ve had with Darkest Dungeon but that aside it is a great example of how to do a turn based party vs party game and I’d be surprised if carbon copies didn’t crop up sometime in the future. Darkest Dungeon retails on steam at £18.99 or your regional equivalent.

Pros:
·    Great atmosphere, both sound and visuals.
·         Solid tactical gameplay.
·         Fantastic narration with mystery and horror.
·         Balances challenge and reward well.
·         Updated frequently since release.
Cons:
·         RNG can feel unfair.
·         Early game is punishing.
·         Late game is more of the early game.
 
Overall: 10/10 At the time of writing this is legitimately the best game in its genre because there isn’t another game like it at the moment. The closest I can think of is Legend of Grimrock, Might and Magic VIII, and X:COM but even then the difference is greater than the similarities.
 
Rob Mitchell

- smallerized photos by request : CG -

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