in the stacks….of my game library

I’m in a bit of the doldrums in regards to my slate of MMOs so I’ve made a commitment to invest what discretionary gaming time I have into my Steam and GOG library.  What did I check out?

Well, its no secret I’ve started up a Dragon Age game so I did what all game title fans do and picked up the sequel, Dragon Age II.  Having just played a few hours of Dragon Age II, I’ve noticed it’s a different game altogether.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun but right now I am more invested in the Dragon Age combat system.

I couldn’t stop there so I also reached up and downloaded Neverwinter Nights 2.

Wallpaper3 Neverwinter Nights 2 Complete 1920x1080 So far, the control scheme has been the biggest barrier of entry for me but muscle memory is starting to kick in and it helps that the game is FUN. It has a pause combat system, similar to Dragon Age in that respect but its a completely different game and it’s D&D.  So, my plan is to progress as far as possible in at least one of these 3 titles, enjoying ride along the way and of course posting about my adventures here.


Aarklash Legacy: my new shiny mmo break

AarklashLegacy_NellaPeriodically, I need a break from MMO’s so that i can recharge my batteries.  On those occasions, I try and crank up something interesting, like Aarklash Legancy.  I picked up this title during the winter sale and have been enjoying myself immensely with this little jewel.

I’m struggling a bit in how to describe it but suffice it to say it has a similar look and feel of Diablo 3 but that’s where the similarities stop.  Another comparison is that the combat has a certain Dragon Age fee to it as it’s a tactical RPG with real time pausing allowing you give commands to your party and react to a changing battle.

Your party is a typical old school group make up of tank, support/dps, and heals.  You start out with 4 members and as you progress in the game, you unlock 4 other members which you can swap out as you like…however you only get to use 4 at any given time. The art and character models are pleasing to look at.  My one gripe is that you can not change the way your characters look.  The armor/clothing/weapons will not change.  For me that’s minor.

How do you make your characters stronger? 2 ways…jewelry and skill trees.  There are 4 jewelry slots that are filled with drops and a limited crafting option available by recycling old gear into an “epic” piece once you’ve hit a recycle quota.  However, you never see this jewelry, it just adds stats to your team.  The far stronger way is advancing up skill trees.  Each character has 4 branches in their respective skill tree.  Each section of any branch cost the same to upgrade, 1 pt…which coincidentally is the same amount you earn for each level gained.

Skill Tree choices

Skill Tree choices

Again, the combat has a very tactical feel in the sense that my pinpoint CC and support skills seem to have a bigger bang than any dps skills.  I quickly felt overwhelmed initially however once I got used to pausing and issuing commands, I began to get more comfortable.  Of course, that’s when the difficulty level goes up and in some fights, adds come out of nowhere forcing you to adapt or die. Making choices in combat is a given, often giving something up in order to get something. For example, one character who is my main healer, uses mana to heal.  The “catch” is that this guy does not generate mana AT ALL, so after a few heals, he’s locked out b/c he’s OOM.  What makes it interesting is that he has a skill that steals life from one of your team members (ideally someone who’s not taking any damage) and transforms that into mana. So, this is viable as long as the member you are leeching from doesn’t start to take damage.

2013-07-2100002I can’t say enough how much i’ve found the gameplay challenging and fun.  There’s always something new around every corner. There’s no “dialing it in and zoning out” with a standard rotation in this game, at least that’s been my experience so far.  Even in some of the simpler encounters, it wasn’t rare to wipe a few times as I tried different tactics until something worked.

Neverwinter Nights- part 1

Going old school here with Neverwinter Nights.

I played this back when it initially came out, rolling a Druid.  I can’t recall the outcome but I must have gotten kinda far into the game.  I picked it up  with the recent sale and wanted to give it a go.  This time around I rolled a dwarven Fighter to be a little bit different kind of hero.  I would love to try a caster role but I’m somewhat lost with the controls and how to manage multiple mobs with CC so I thought as a first run through I should go with a melee class.

Right away, I hit the prelude/tutorial and I feel somewhat out of place with the gameplay controls.  This is really old school stuff here.  Luckily for me, a fighter is pretty darn easy right now with just needing to click attack on the mobs.  I won’t say much about the graphics as this is game is aged and you just have to get passed the obviously dated look.

The setting is of course Neverwinter, which has been beset by a plague.  I’m in this all purpose “fantasy” high school that just happens to have 5 magical creatures that are the key to curing the plague.  Naturally, the school gets attacked, the creatures escape and me, your hero, must find them and save the city.

I find a henchman/side kick half orc with a good alignment and a huge 2 sided axe.   I picked him because he breaks the typical Orc bad guy casting and of course he packs a punch with the axe.

First stop is the Prison area.  I eventually find my way there.  You really need to read the quests to figure out where you need to go, not much hand holding going on.  We blast through mobs without much issue, point click and mobs are demolished.  Not much in the way of strategy or skill selection, hack’n’slash is getting it done very well. I do imagine squishier support classes will have it harder making it through here. We nab a key off one of the mobs and gain entrance to the prison.  We eventually make our way to the head jailer and take him down…eventually.  He wasn’t quite the pushover his underlings were.  We then meet up with a parasitic type creature that moves from host to host before we eventually kill it and brings it’s brains back to Lady Aribeth, our employer.  Level 4!