Posted 1 year ago

Chivalry Timbers

Now that the awful pun is out of the way, here’s a review of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

I’m screwed. His hammer is raised, his aim is true, and it’s set on one target: my face. I mentally resign to my fate, even as my hands refuse to. I wince, expecting pieces of my head to be scattered throughout the arena. A second later, I am still intact, and pieces of his head end up scattered throughout the arena. I thank whatever gods allowed this, before having my head suddenly lopped off by a sneaky Vanguard.

This is Chivalry, a game in which armoured men with swords hit each other for a laugh. Or, in my case, a really fast bloke with an axe. I’m a Man-at-Arms, you see, one of the four playable classes in this head-lopping simulator. Each class plays quite differently, with each having different armour, speed, and a little special ability. Men-at-Arms are the fastest of the classes, but also have the joint-worst armour (along with Archers). To make up for this, their ability is that they can dodge – by double-tapping a movement key, they leap a few feet in that direction. It was this ability that let me defeat the hammer-wielding Knight mentioned above, the antithesis of the Man-at-Arms, with big, thick, heavy plate armour, and a distinct lack of speed. Their special is a bit boring, but very useful: They get bastard weapons, essentially 2-handed weapons that can also be wielded in one hand with a shield. This makes them a bit more versatile, practically giving them a whole extra weapon. In-between these two is the Vanguard, with, of course, medium armour and medium speed. They have one hell of a party-piece: after they’ve been sprinting for a couple of seconds, they can lash out with a powerful sprint attack, leaping forwards to hit the unfortunate bugger in the way (i.e. me). And then there are Archers. I don’t like Archers. Obviously, these get the ranged weapons – bows, crossbows, and javelins. They also get the ability to backstab – if they attack from behind they get a 50% bonus to the damage. This is a bit useless, however, since they are archers, so they do archery, not run-around-stabbing-people-in-the-back-ery.

Within each class, you get a selection of 3 different pieces of equipment: a primary, secondary and special. The primaries are simple enough: a selection of weapons your class is expected to use. Men-at-Arms get swords, axes and maces, Vanguards get polearms and greatswords, Knights have a selection of both bastard and proper 2-handed weapons, and, naturally, Archers get things to throw other things. Or sometimes they just throw things. Did I mention I don’t like Archers? Secondary weapons are your backup – all classes get at least a dagger here, and most also have a shortsword. The heavier classes can also get full-length one-handed weapons in this slot. The specials are a bit more interesting – this is the slot where you’ll find shields, and you can also get throwables, such as throwing knives, throwing axes, and a few class-unique ones, like the Man-at-Arms’ oil pot, which sets enemies on fire. Lovely.

Of course, in a game where the primary activity is bashing people over the head with metal sticks, you’d expect the melee combat to have some substance to it. It does. It’s a surprisingly intuitive system, with three types of attack, two of which are mapped to the scroll wheel. This might sound odd, but it becomes very natural in gameplay, especially when you introduce things such as combos. The blocking is part-timing, part-Mount & Blade-style direction. Simply look in the general direction of the attack, and hit block about halfway through. Shields allow you to block forever, but they take more stamina to block with, and they are generally a lot easier to work your weapon around. I can’t explain everything in here, obviously, but know this: it has a surprising amount of depth. Think Counter-Strike levels of depth. Yet, it is incredibly easy to get the hang of at first, especially if you’re already into similar medieval-style games such as Mount & Blade, and is also very well-balanced. I never really thought I lost a fight because the game tipped the odds. The few times that I did think this, I learned later that it was in fact a feature that I didn’t know about yet. I may be pelted with tomatoes for this, but I’m willing to say that this is actually better combat than Mount & Blade (I guess I’ll go take cover now).

Then we get to arguably the best part of this game: the maps. The design is near-perfect, with almost every map achieving that balance between looking great and playing well. Each map has up to 3 of the game-modes available on it, most of which are quite generic. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Team Standing(essentially just a permadeath TDM) and King of the Hill. Where it becomes really interesting is with the Team Objective game-mode, which is a team-based attack-and-defend mode where you must complete a series of objectives. The objectives change depending on the map, and consist of things such as pushing a battering ram to a gate, burning down farms and villages, murdering ‘filthy peasants’, attacking ships with ballistae, etc.

Of course, it’s not without its problems. There are many prompts telling you to press E to interact with things, despite the fact that, by default, the ‘interact’ key is bound to I, and must be re-assigned. Additionally, being made in the Unreal Engine, the key to open the console is still permanently assigned to the apostrophe key, which is a nightmare for Grammar Nazis. We can only hope that this crime against punctuation is disabled in an update, or at least moved to the tilde key, where it should be. It also seems to suffer from occasional major lag spikes, both internet-related and in FPS. Multiple times during play I witnessed my opponent constantly walking in the same direction, failing to react, before it re-synced and it turned out he killed me during the blip.

However, if you can live through these problems (or hold out for updates), there is a lot of good game to be found here. Considering it is an indie game developed in the Unreal Engine, it has a surprising amount of quality in here, and certainly has a wealth of novelty to grab new players. I haven’t even mentioned some things, with good reason – this is a game that has too much depth to explain in a simple review like this. In short, this is a surprisingly good, and quite competitive, multiplayer medieval slasher, that can suit a player of any skill level. 

Posted 1 year ago

Just Another Random Idea - Overspending Magic

Another relatively simple idea. This started out in my head as a mod for Oblivion, but I think it should really be a feature in fantasy-style games. 

The basic premise is this: There should be real consequences for over-spending your magical power in games, such as Oblivion, that have, well, magic. As well as this, it would be good to have a sort of ‘last resort’ reserve to go into.

In the original idea (as a mod for Oblivion), it went something like this: Using magic would drain your Magicka first, as it normally does. However, if you run out of Magicka, it starts draining your Fatigue instead. If your Fatigue runs out, it will drain Health. You can die by casting a spell that is too expensive. 

My main reason for this is simply that I’m trying to tie together what the story and the lore of various fantasies say about magic and the actual gameplay implementation of it. As it stands, there is often a massive contradiction between the two. In most fantasy lore, magic is something dangerous and powerful, a mysterious thing that is constantly being explored, experimented with, and often backfiring on the users in the process. Whereas in gameplay it is the very opposite of this. Magic is almost never something to be explored, as you are given set things that you can do, however it would be incredibly difficult for any game to address that particular point. The experimentation, however, could come with the different spells. A player would want to experiment to test if certain spells are realistic to use, or will just result in their downfall. They would want to test the limits of their capabilities, getting a sense of what they can and cannot do, just like the magicians in the lore of most fantasies do. And, naturally, using the wrong spell in a tight spot will backfire on the player, although it may be necessary for the player’s survival to overspend in order to finish an enemy who is about to turn their innards into outards, for example. 

Oh, also, as it is done in pretty much every game I know of, magic is boring. With a system like this, it could actually become much more interesting, especially if you give the player access to almost all the spells, as, instead of the boundaries of a skill level stopping them from using a spell, they will have the boundary of “if you even touch on that field of magic, it will kill you”, once again much like the magicians in lore. 

Eah… I’ve rambled on enough. I’m sure you get it by now. 

Posted 2 years ago

A Rant - My Gaming Pet Hates

EDIT 2.0: This isn’t entirely complete, but I sort of ran out of steam at the end there. Will be updated soon-ish. You know me, I’ll always find something I hate. 

It’s been a while since I’ve had a good rant, or posted anything at all, really, so I think it’s time I open up the cynicism valves and let the hate flow. So, here we have a few of my most hated things in gaming, in no particular order. I was going to rate them, but I simply couldn’t decide which ones I hated more, so this haphazard format will have to do. Commence!

Aim Assist

Originally created to compensate for consoles’ inferior controls, aim assist is easily one of my most hated things, for somehow being both useless and OP simultaneously. It’s useless mainly because of how incredibly interfering it can be. All it takes is a pixel of enemy to pass by and your aim is dragged in some random direction, in its desperate attempt to ‘help’ the player. And recently I’ve found it to become a little bit overpowered too. In most of today’s generic shooters, all you have to do is point in the general direction of an enemy, and as soon as you ironsight them you’re locked on to their nipples like a experimentative limpet. Speaking as someone who always has aim assist turned off (hell, I even completed GTA IV with no auto-aim), this kind of smacks of cheating to me. As well as this, by minimising actual player input, it effectively removes a core part of the gameplay. Which kind of brings me to my next point…

Cutscenes

Anyone who knows me will already be aware of my hatred for overly long cutscenes. Well, that hatred has now extended to pretty much all cutscenes. One of the main reasons can be best explained by using an example, so in the interest of fairness I’ll pick a game that I love - Crysis 2. During the course of this game, there are often enemies in the way, which need to be moved out of the way, usually with bullets. Speaking modestly, I am rather adept at this. Which makes it incredibly annoying when, in one particular cutscene, an enemy charges me, and takes a full second of screentime to reach me. Had I been in control, this would have been just another kill to add to my already overflowing tally. But, since it was a cutscene, all I could do was watch as the enemy ran straight towards me, and proceeded to punch me out the window. Which, by the way, would have been an easily survivable punch in actual gameplay, but here it put the player character right next to Death’s door. Oh, yeah, and sort of on the subject of death…

Difficulty Levels

"But Marshall, you callipygian genius, difficulty levels provide balance, and let those of us who are less skilled get the same experience from a game blah blah blah…" Bullshit. All they do is coddle you, removing what little talent you would have if you actually tried to challenge yourself once in a while. Not only do they ruin the skills of the playerbase, they ruin the game, as it becomes so much harder for the developers to give the player the experience they intended. I have often shouted at people (okay, being fair, with my voice I’m never not shouting at people) for playing Dead Space 2 at anything lower than Zealot difficulty. It’s just not right when the Necromorphs are supposed to be something to be feared, yet they have limbs made of paper and you can tank all their hits, and it completely removes what few survival elements that game has left (that’s a rant for another time), with ammo and health virtually raining on you from the start. Here is an example of a game that is supposed to be cutthroat, that’s supposed to keep you on your last clip, with a health bar that you need a microscope to see anymore. But thanks to giving people (who are, by default, idiots [yes, even you {probably <this is way too many brackets now>}]) the choice of how much watering down they need to swallow it, you usually end up with what comes down to a bad action game with weird monsters and some flickery lighting.

Posted 2 years ago
Am I asking myself a question?
passionategamer asked

Why yes, I believe I am. 

… Damn, this blog is dying. 

Posted 2 years ago

E3 round-up (a tad late)

It sucked.

Posted 2 years ago

Montages

'Skill Montages'
Steps & ETA:
1. Get good at the game. Around a year.
2. Record good clips. 1-4 months.
3. Find other required resources. 1 week.
4. Edit and produce montage. 1-4 weeks.
Minimum ETA of a Skill Montage: 58 weeks.
Effort required: Quite a bit, I dare say.

Funny Gameplay
Steps & ETA:-
1. Record good clips. 1-2 weeks.
2. Find other resources (optional). 1 week.
3. Edit and produce. 1-2 weeks.
Minimum ETA of a funny gameplay vid: 2 weeks.
Effort required: Moderate.

And that’s why I do funny.

(Totally not because I suck)

Posted 2 years ago

yoshilinks:

Marshall’s Avengers

Mother Freaking Batman 

Agent of Crackdown fame

Samuel L Jackson

Commander Female Shepard of Mass Effect fame 

Sergeant Sykes of Crysis fame 

Notch creator of Minecraft 


Posted 2 years ago
Do you like hippos?
surgeon-scone asked

I do believe I don’t

Posted 2 years ago
That’s what.
She.
Posted 2 years ago