Category Archives: Screenshots

Review: Torchlight 2 Beta and Diablo 3

Review: Torchlight 2 Beta and Diablo 3

This weekend I participated in the Torchlight 2 beta. I am inclined to say, “Hot damn pick this bad boy up”. Torchlight 2 is only twenty bucks! Diablo 3 released on May 15th. Runic expects a June or July release for T2 if I remember correctly and the beta is closing for everyone on May 22nd further indicating an impending release.

Right now Diablo 3 is $59.99. Torchlight 2’s pre-order cost is $19.99. You can pick up three copies of Torchlight 2 with a group of friends and get the fourth free. So you can technically pre-order for about $14.99. Steam pre-orders get a free copy of the original Torchlight. I am not aware of any such offer that was or is available for Diablo 3.

Diablo 3 forces you to login and play online. If the servers are down you can’t load up a save offline. If the servers shut down permanently (of course mega juggernaut Blizzard will likely keep them up for a decade or more) then you never get to play again. D3 has DRM and no one likes DRM. There’s no LAN but friends can pop in and out of your games online seamlessly. Torchlight 2 allows you to create an Internet/LAN game for your friends (or anyone) to join. In the T2 beta Internet games were just as fluid and smooth.

T2 also supports the modding community which I’m sure that Diablo 3 does not. We’re always happy about that.

Areas are much larger than in the original Torchlight and are randomly generated (Diablo 3 does not randomly generate maps). Both games are gorgeous but personally I feel that there is less replay value in a game that looks exactly the same compared to one that does not on the next playthrough.

Torchlight 2 has a lot of improvements. I was really happy with one of them. Say you’re using a bow and you’re holding down the button to keep firing. You can easily turn (or adjust aim) while firing by moving the mouse. This works for all classes abilities as far as I know. It might not sound that special but it is when you experience how fluid it is in T2. Especially compared to the alternative and awkward combat in a lot of similar games (like D3). Any break that you can give your poor fingers is welcome.

Things like that make a big difference and I expected Blizzard to revolutionize the genre but they did quite the opposite. Diablo 3 takes several steps back from its predecessors. There’s no real improvement to combat whatsoever. Some of the abilities (especially early game) seem like you’re firing a dud. Others are really fun to use. But to be fair these “duds” are the unupgraded abilities and do get better.

Runic is quite an amazing company. They give gamers what they ask for rather than shoving restrictions down our throats. I thank them for that. Blizzard in the past few years has seemed to go down the toilet with the announcement of World of Warcraft’s Pandaria expansion and the dumbing down of the Diablo franchise. I don’t know what is up their ass but they are in dire need of a rectal exam.

When I played Diablo 3 I just was not wowed whatsoever and got bored in less than two hours. I couldn’t put Torchlight 2 down. Both games share a lot of beauty (great looking maps for example) but T2 just has far too many superior features and personally in my beta experiences. I have not played retail D3 yet.

I am going to give T2 the crown and the “mark of awesomeness”. No contest. So pick it up. You won’t regret it. It’s only twenty bucks.

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Recently: Kingdoms of Amalur, Trine 2

Recently: Kingdoms of Amalur, Trine 2

Somehow I knew nothing about Kingdoms of Amalur until a few days ago. Now that I’ve played it, I am thoroughly enjoying it. It seems to be very well optimized and the controls are very fluid and responsive. That’s something that I find important in gaming. Voice overs aren’t particularly interesting, but the story so far appears to be more so.

Another game I managed to pass up is Trine 2. I’ve never even heard of the original Trine. Where have I been? I don’t know. But Trine 2 is great. Really great. All that can say is it’s worth looking at.

Trine 2

Bethesda released a High-Res texture pack with the Creation Kit. Here is a comparison between the High-Res textures and vanilla textures. Modders have released mods like HD 2K textures, Realistic Lighting, Realistic Water Textures and other mods to create a better graphical experience in Skyrim.

Check out this Minecraft replica of Kalimdor:
Full Scale Minecraft Replica - Kalimdor

Reviews:
Destructoid: DOTA 2 Impressions

New Screenshots:
Hookedgamers: World of Battleships

Check out these Free to Play titles:
Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe


Beta Review: Star Wars The Old Republic

Beta Review: The Old Republic

I have been waiting for this game since before the forums opened up on Oct 21 2008. I’ve been waiting for a new Star Wars MMO since Star Wars: Galaxies’ combat upgrade around 2004. This weekend was the massive stress test. Just about everyone who signed up for beta access on the official site (ever) got invited. As soon as the beta started this weekend; I was online within a minute.

Having played a Bounty Hunter prior to this weekend, I decided to give Jedi Knight a try. Later on I played with the Trooper, Smuggler, Imperial Agent and Inquisitor.

You probably have or had a specific class in mind. As did I. Originally I planned to play the smuggler. The least likely class I thought I would play: trooper. By the end of the beta my mind was changed. Trooper Commando (heal spec) is now high up on the list. As is Jedi Knight and Imperial Agent.

My experience with the Bounty Hunter was good, but not what I imagined. At least in the first 18 levels. The story just didn’t grab me. Bear in mind though: Bounty Hunter is still kind of a bad ass.

Each day (Friday-Sunday) saw a new wave of beta testers unleashed on the servers. At no point did I ever see a latency higher than 30-50ms. As soon as players were able to hit the play button on Friday their were around 150 players on Tython. Sunday I saw over 300 in some areas. If I counted correctly (give or take one) there were 52 servers on Sunday packed to the brim. Not counting EU servers.

Stress Test Servers

Will dealing with a packed server be a problem? From this experience I don’t think so. The servers handle players extremely well. Areas are large enough. Phasing is done in the right places (and I wouldn’t mind if it was done more often). At one point there were around 50 players in a semi-small area (when the beta first started). I didn’t have any real issues doing my quests at that point and no lag at all (perfect 40ms latency).

Throw away your perceptions of what it’s like to play a healer. In World of Warcraft it seems like you’re constantly on the edge. One mistake or moment of lag and your party can easily wipe. Your peripheral vision is none existent. You’re either staring at the party bar or Heal Bot and just can’t immerse yourself in the game you are playing. In The Old Republic the opposite is true. You’re able to be immersed in the fight and the flashpoint (instance). There are also attacks that you can use to do damage without wasting ammo (or whatever your character uses to power heals and attacks). In other words: you can actually enjoy the flashpoint rather than going cross-eyed as you stare at health bars.

As far as bugs: not many. Small things like momentary issues with the map. Nothing inhibited gameplay other than a few crashes over the entire weekend.

Players were responding very well in-game. The same goes for Twitter. I would estimate that less than 1 in every 20 players weren’t entirely happy. The rest seemed extremely happy. I can’t recall any players that just outright hated the game. Unfortunately you can expect drama and immaturity. No differently than in World of Warcraft. The only difference being many SWTOR players won’t put up with it and are more likely to use the ignore feature.

Odds are if you are thinking about buying this game then you should buy it because you will love it. Get it and be ready for December 20th. It’s going to be the biggest (and likely smoothest) MMO launch in history.


Gallery: RAGE

Rage is one beautiful game. Its characters and environments are amazingly designed. Characters feel alive and respond dynamically. While it does have that now famous graphical glitch (fixed by updates for the most part) I’ve found absolutely zero bugs in the PC version so far. Not to say that there are none, but I haven’t noticed a single one.

Rage also runs extremely well on modest systems. I easily got about 55FPS from an AMD Phenom II X4 955, Nvidia 8800GT OC and 4GB of RAM. There are never any real FPS drops no matter what you’re doing.

I will be writing a review in the future. For now, check out this gallery.

[nggallery id=9]


Recently in Gaming: Max Payne 3 Has Multiplayer!

Recently in Gaming: Max Payne 3 Has Multiplayer!

Max Payne 3 has a release date (March 2012) and new screenshots have been revealed. It will have multiplayer! Expect a trailer around Wednesday.

Planetside 2 will be free-to-play and the beta will release this year.

A teaser video for the Deus Ex Human Revolution: The Missing Link DLC is up.

Check out these Cities XL screenshots.

System requirements for Rage have been released. You will need a decent video card but the specs are really quite modest.

A trailer has been released for the Minecraft 1.8 Adventure Update.

Star Trek Online is going free-to-play and more information has been released. Check with the official site.

Battlestar Galactica Online is free and has over 5 million players. Personally I don’t see how.

Overgrowth is an in-development ninja-rabbit action adventure by Wolfire games. Sounds nuts right? It’s actually looking quite interesting. The developers have kept fans in the loop for a good while on YouTube with development information. Rockpapershotgun has an interview with the developers.

Links:
VG247: Borderlands 2: Revamped Weapons and AI Detailed
Destructoid Review: Dead Island
Zavvi.com Review: Dead Island
Pr0gaming.com Video: League of Legends Dominion Gameplay Interview
IGN: Wargame: European Escalation Screenshots
IGN: IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover Review


GC2011: The Old Republic Compiled Links and Video

Gamescom 2011: Compiled Links and Video

The following is compiled information from Gamescom on August 19th 2011. GC ends on August 21. I have omitted some repeated footage and bad quality videos.

Friday Update:
SWTOR.com: Warzone: Huttball

Video:
Gamestar.de [German]: HD Gameplay Video and Commentary (quite good quality video)
YouTube: Gamescom Presentation (720p)
DarthHater: Eternity Vault Gamescom Day Zero Presentation (720p)
IGN: The Old Republic – Drelliad Villa (Off-Screen)
PCGames.de: Off-Screen Gameplay Video
YouTube (TotalHalibut): 25 minute Gameplay Video and Interview/Commentary with Stephen Reid
Livestream.com: Bioware Breakfast Live 8/19/11 (Q&A with subtitles)
YouTube (TOROCast): Hutt Ball
Livestream.com: Razer Interview
YouTube (kaempire): Producer Presentation / Presentation #2
YouTube (gaminglives): Hall 6 Walkabout – BF3, Blizzard, TOR, Activision
YouTube (vadyr82): PVP Presentation
YouTube (pcactionfan): Origin World (Korriban) Gameplay
YouTube (gamerlivetv): Developer Preview and Interview w/ Emmanuel Lusinchi
YouTube (giga): Giga.de Gameplay (German)
Gamespot.com: Interview w/ Cory Butler and Gameplay Footage
YouTube (geeksandgames): PVP Presentation w/ Gabe

Article:
Gamespot: Star Wars: The Old Republic Updated Preview – Three Modes
Massively: SWTOR Wins Best Online Game and Introduces Huttball
PCGamer.com: Accessible Raids: Rewards for All, No Gear Grinding Required

Images:
SWTOR.EU: Bioware’s booth at GC 2011 – Pictures and Video (includes booth video)
DarthHater: Gamescom 2011 Photo Gallery
DarthHater: The Pit – Dissection

Video, Article and Images:
TOROCast: Banath’s Impressions

Fansite Coverage:
DarthHater: Day Zero Coverage / Day One Coverage / Day Two Coverage
AskAJedi: Bioware Pulse Q&A w/ The Doctors
AskAJedi: Blue Milk and Cereal: What Do You Think of the Huttball Warzone?
TORWars: Cory Butler Demos Huttball and The Eternity Vault
TORWars: James Ohlen Chats About Companions, Player Ships and Record-Breaking SWTOR Demand
TORWars: Erickson Clarifies Faction Cooperation in Huttball
CorellianRun: Producer Presentation, Sith Warrior Play-Through
CorellianRun: Endgame Demo, New Warzone
Compilations
SWTOR.com: Unofficial Gamescom 2011 Thread



Today in Gaming: The Old Republic, Other GC2011 Info

Today in Gaming: The Old Republic, Other GC2011 Info

According to Joystiq and James Ohlen there will be no cross-faction communication in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To clear this up a bit here is a quote from developer Georg Zoeller on the official forums.

If you haven’t seen these two The Old Republic videos yet, check out the GC2011 producer presentation and a sith warrior playthrough with Stephen Reid.

New gameplay mode unveiled in Star Wars: The Old Republic called “Hutt Ball”.

George Zoeller Quote

BF3 is extremely popular at Gamescom. Check out these booth images. A co-op mode was unveiled recently and we’ve learned that the co-op mode is only 30% shorter than the single player game.

If you missed the Sony Gamescom conference here are some clips.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PC version to support dedicated servers.

Video:
TORWars: GC2011: The Old Republic: Alderaan Warzone
YouTube: The Old Republic: Chiss Bounty Hunter Gameplay

Trailers:
Resistance 3
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
The Secret World
VG247: Darksiders 2 Announcement Trailers and Screens

Screenshots:
IGN: Far Cry 3
IGN: Metro: Last Light

Other:
DarthHater: The Old Republic: GC2011 Day One Coverage