Catch Up Review- Rogue Legacy

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Rogue Legacy Introduced Me to Indie Games in a Great Way

Rogue Legacy was really my first foray into the world of Steam. I made an account years ago but never did anything with it. I briefly dabbled with a few games but the recent resurgence of gaming in my life prompted me to check out more of what Steam has to offer, then I heard about this specific game. It went up on one of Steam’s notorious sales and I picked it up, along the way updating my steam account. Rogue Legacy’s initial appeal to me is definitely rooted in nostalgia, but it also came into my life based on a new found curiosity about indie games. I had spent all of my recent memories of gaming playing only the biggest and best that my console had to offer without ever exploring the Xbox Live Arcade or any of Steam. I enjoy big budget games, but iteration has staled them to a degree due o risk aversion and I wanted to see what smaller passion projects from lean and mean game development teams looked like.

Rogue Legacy blew me away from the get go, I only recently got to give it the time it deserved though.

As a gateway into the world of games that don’t feature high end graphics and often pay homage to the greats of the past while refining them, Rogue Legacy was a perfect introduction. I’m not crazy familiar with what defines a rogue-like games, but I have enjoyed quite a few of them. Run around in a dungeon killing monsters with a sword, all the while improving your characters stats is a great formula for me having a good time. Rogue Legacy gives it an interesting spin by making you play a different character every time you make a run, the son or daughter of your previous character.

There’s several classes to explore, they’re similar with little tweaks that make them just different enough. Characters also feature little quirks in addition to the classes to change up each experience more, great examples are making one character not perceive pain or having them imagine enemies that aren’t really there. At first, I thought the combat based ones were all just about the same, the magic users were too fragile for me to play as fast as I wanted, but then I found myself making my best runs and beating nearly every boss with the Shinobi class. I started focusing on the class differences much more after I shined with the Shinobi and found that even though every class looks almost identical, the subtle changes could lead to drastically different paths to success.

The gameplay is a huge aspect of this and every game for me, and Rogue Legacy feels tight and amazing the whole time. The lack of focus on stunning graphics and innovative gameplay mechanics led them to honing a more simple game than my usual affair and results is a higher quality project because every aspect that they included was crafted to perfection. The procedurally generated castle added great variety and, when you’re really making a push to beat a boss, you can lock it in place by sacrificing some gold. This forces you to make a choice as the bosses are the biggest gold drops in the game, is an easier time getting to the boss worth only reaping 60% of the rewards?

The game is rather simple as so much of what it offers comes from tight gameplay. There is a story, but it’s pretty simple and not entirely essential to enjoying the game. The developers did add parts of their story to the game as well though, and the hints at their progression as a game development team are far more interesting to me than the character’s.

Throughout the castle and surrounding areas, you can find rooms dominated by large portraits and nothing else. These portraits depict screen shots from the team’s previous games and offer a description of the game as well as a snapshot of the state of the developer during the games development. They had a variety of games featured with development times ranging from months to only a few days and described the reaction the games received from critics and players. I believe one game portrait also was described as being potentially the studio’s last game as they ran out of capital. These rooms offer dramatic and interesting looks at the struggles of an indie game development studio inside a contrasting game without much drama. While progressing through Rogue Legacy and encountering these story portraits though, you get the feeling that Rogue Legacy’s success has given Cellar Door Games another lease on life to keep doing what they love, and that alone made the game feel special and interesting.

Final Thoughts on Rogue Legacy

I loved every moment of Rogue Legacy and am well through a second play through in their New Game + mode. I have already recommended it to a few people and have had a great response from all of them. If you’re getting a little tired of the iterative cycles of AAA developers and are curious about what else is out there in gaming, Rogue Legacy is a prime example to experience the the smaller scale of game development and start a new journey.

9/10

Carlsberg is Making a Beer for the Release of Fallout 4

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Carlsberg is teaming up with Bethesda, the makers of Fallout 4, to release a special beer in honor of the completion and release of Fallout 4 around the world.  It’s not common for two of my biggest passions, gaming and beer, to come together so directly. This is a pretty cool event to me.

Though it still strikes me as strange, Bethesda is based in Maryland, where I grew up, but this beer is only being released by Carlsberg in the U.K. This makes me think that is was Carlsberg’s idea that they approached Bethesda with, otherwise I feel like Bethesda would’ve found a way to get their promo beer to the states. Despite that, this news has been covered by a tremendous amount of American gaming news outlets even though no one in the U.S. can take advantage of the Amazon.co.uk listing, so there is obvious interest in the idea of game themed beer, why not right?

The beer itself also strikes me as an odd choice for the promo. Carlsberg is all fine and good, they have a huge following in the U.K., but with all of the recent developments in the beer industry, it doesn’t seem like they put much effort into the beer to appeal for any reason beyond the label. The amazon listing says this, “Fallout beer has been brewed using a unique blend of malted barley combined with selected hops…” Hooray! It’s beer, that’s all this description says. With an inspiration such as the Fallout game series, you’d think that they could have gotten a little bit more creative than just printing a new label for a slight departure for their flagship product, which is also a pilsner lager.

Later on the Amazon listing, it is described as having a “fruity aroma” and a “zesty hoppy flavor.” This gives me some hope for a creative brew, but not much. Carlsberg is almost entirely known for their flagship product, creatively titled “Carlsberg Beer,” they have a few other offerings including a cheap, high-gravity malt liquor and an export lager mostly known for the picture of the elephant on the label. Beer Advocate reviews describe the beer as a highly drinkable and universally appealing light lager without much flavor and with little risk. So, it’s kind of like Bud Light.

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The point that I’m getting at, albeit in a roundabout way, is that it is pretty cool that there is a Fallout themed beer, but it isn’t available in the states and that isn’t a bad thing. If you’re excited about Fallout and want to get a beer to commemorate its release, grab some interesting looking and creatively brewed craft beer from a local beer store. Hell, feel free to print out a Fallout label of your own and throw it on the bottle, they’re out there.

Don’t be bummed that the officially licensed Fallout Beer isn’t going to be available here in the U.S., choose a beer for the occasion of your own that was brewed with as much creativity as went into producing the game you’re so excited about. There are even a few out there that already have nuclear fallout themes…

Let me know what you think of the post in the comments below!

Buying a PS4 to Play Exclusives in the Most Efficient Way Possible, Then Getting Out of It

I bought a PS4 not too long ago off Craig’s List from a guy who turned out to live just down the street. I had one prime reason motivating me to pick it up. As you saw from my last post, I’m into the Dark Souls series and it was worth it for me just to check out Bloodborne. I absolutely loved Bloodborne and it in itself made the system worth it, but I also got  ton more value out of the system while I had it.

My main motivation for getting a PS4 was to play Bloodborne, yes, but I had also heard that a huge amount of Xbox 360 owners had swapped them for PS4s this console generation. I’m a hug fan of the 360, as a lot of you probably are, and I was curious about what the draw was for so many people to move away from Microsoft and th Xbox one and embrace the Sony side. I started looking on Craig’s List or PS4s that were for sale in my area. I did get a little more antsy than I prefer on this search once I budgeted the money, but I found a good deal on a PS4 in excellent condition with all the starting gear, an extra controller and 5 somewhat appealing games for $330. In the brief time I was looking, this was the best deal and ended up only being about a half mile from my apartment.

I took some of the games that came with the system for a brief spin , specifically Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and had a pretty good time, but I  had to get my hands on a copy of Bloodborne ASAP. Aside from Bloodborne, I got some other perks with my new system, namely a free 14 day PS Plus membership and a week of free Playstation Now. I love these trial because, coming from Xbox 360, I was curious what these services would offer in comparison.

I waited a few days to activate my free 2 weeks with Playstation PLus in order to get the free games of 2 separate months, boy did I get lucky with that timing.  I immediately got a copy of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros, and extended demo of the Fox Engine that I had been very curious about but didn’t want to try out on the last generation, and then I hit the jackpot and scored about 10 days with Rocket League. Metal Gear Solid was great, if a little short lived, but rocket League is a boatload of fun and a huge thing missing from my current Xbox One experience. I managed to get hooked on Rocket League enough during the remainder of my 2 week trial of PS Plus that I now still google “Rocket League Xbox one” every few days.

With my other trial perk, Playstation Now, I waited until after finishing Bloodorne to activate it so there would be no distractions. I have heard for years that “The Last of Us” is a prime example of an argument for video games as art for mainstream consumers and I was excited t give it a spin. The games relatively short length also made it a prime candidate for a game that I could start and finish during a 7 day trial of PS Now. I’ll get to my deeper thoughts about “The Last of Us” in another post, but it was a perfect use of the subscription and an incredible experience by the ed of it, to say the least.

After sucking all of that value out of my Soy PS4 over the course of about a month, I sold it on Craig’s List and made $20 more than I had invested in the PS4 bunde and my copy of Bloodborne, nt a significant profit but still nice given how I did everything that I wanted with a PS4. Anyone can give something a trial period by searching for a deal on Craig’s List and being open to selling it if it doesn’t pan out. Most of the time you can at least break even with electronics if you do your research and sometimes you can make a decent profit, like I did when I bought a Nintendo 3DS bundle for $45 and then sold it for $120.

If you’re curious about a product, give it a quick search on Craig’s List or eBay, figure out the average sale price and try to find something in  good condition for less than that. That way, if you decide t keep it you got a good deal and if you want  to sell it, odds are you can get your money back. I’ve done this time and time again to check out products, mostly electronics. Electronics remain pretty liquid if you’re in an area that embraces them, most of which do currently.

I  bought my PS4 bundle for $330 and then spent another $30 on Bloodborne, $360 total spend. I sold it within a few days of listing it for $380, so I got everything I anted out of it an still made $20 off the experience. That may not be too significant, but it’s a pretty good deal in my book.

Is the Apple Watch Cool and Useful? Or…

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What’s Up with the Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch is a sort of confusing product. It’s part technology and part jewelry, mostly thanks to a $10,000 offering, but the functional base of the device seems misguided.

 

Apple has sold more than 700 million iPhones since its introduction and laptops, desktops, and iPads have all seen slowing sales as the market changes and the iPad market seems to be saturated. Apple needs to sell  iPhones, they have done an incredible job marketing the product after basically creating the smartphone market, and Apple has achieved an incredible slice of the market. Apple is where it is today because of the iPhone.

 Will the Apple Watch Change How We Look at Smartwatches?

The function of the Apple Watch and most of the smartwatches coming on the market presently seems to be to supplement a smartphone to allow users to actually use their smartphone less. But the smartwatch requires a phone connected by bluetooth in order to function, so it cannot possibly simplify our relationship with technology. A smartwatch as a replacement for a smartphone does seem more and more realistic now, and it’s really only a matter of time until there is a functional smart-watch-phone product. But right now, it’s difficult to see what kind of splash the Apple Watch will make for its namesake company.

 

Will embracing the Apple Watch negate customers’ dependence on the iPhones and their focus on always having the top of the line model? With phones spending more time in peoples’ pockets, will the markets fascination with the most current smartphones wane in favor of a focus on smartwatches? Apple defined the tablet market with the release of the iPad, and was crucial to the world’s introduction to smartphones with the first iPhone, could they do the same thing with the Apple Watch?

 

Other competitors in the market based on android os have only really been interesting to early adopters and have yet to see mass adoption. The Apple Watch could change this or blend into the crowd. Unlike Apple’s introduction of the iPhone and iPad, there are already plenty of entrants in the market and the Apple Watch lacks any stand out features in comparison. An 18 hour battery life that only assumes 45 minutes of app use isn’t making it stand out from the crowd. Will the Apple Watch end up being more of a burden than a convenience, or can it change the way that people look at smartwatches? We’ll see.

 

Also, why the hell isn’t it called the iWatch? or the iTime or something? Why change now?

 

Photo Credit: http://www.redmondpie.com/apple-watch-can-store-and-play-music-over-bluetooth-headphones-without-requiring-iphone/