Category: Reviews

28 Feb

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review (PC)

Games, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

When you talk about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, you cannot help but mention all the big names involved. Accomplished author R.A. Salvatore played an instrumental part in creating the world. Spawn creator Todd McFarlane spearheaded the art design of the game. Ken Rolston, lead designer for the The Elder Scrolls III and IV, started from scratch to create the fantastic combat found in the game. Former MLB great Curt Schilling brought the game back from the edge of the grave when he purchased Big Huge Games, following a falling out with THQ. Acclaimed video game composer Grant Kirkhope produced the game’s thematic score. With all these big names, did Reckoning become the blockbuster RPG that the creators hoped it would be? Follow along as I dive head first into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The game starts you off as the first person to ever to be successfully revived by the Well of Souls, a device created to cheat death; to bring a soul back from the afterlife and create a body for it. As a result of this experiment, you are no longer bound by fate; you become the Fateless One. In Reckoning, everyone is bound by a fate that has a beginning, a middle, and an end; it can never be changed. Until you come along. In this world, you are somewhat of an anomaly and you have the ability to change your fate as well as the fate of those around you. This becomes the backbone of the leveling system and story.

Since you are a blank slate, you have quite a few ways to build your character. Borrowing MMO-like elements, there are three trees you can spend skill points on every time you level up. The Finesse tree handles abilities such as traps, poisons, daggers and faeblades. The Might tree is for people who want to play the role of a warrior. This tree focuses on improving sword and two-handed weapon as well as shield perks and other skills that allow you to become an unstoppable juggernaut. Lastly, there is the Sorcery tree. As you might have guessed, it deals with all things magic. Here, you can improve your sceptre, staff, and chakram proficiencies as well as pick up spells from the elemental planes, such as fire, lightning, and ice.

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13 Dec

Review: Trine 2 [PC]

Articles, Puzzle, Reviews, Trine 2 by Tramell

Trine 2, like its predecessor is a sidescroller that utilizes brain smoking puzzles, wily platforming and intense combat sequences. Once again, the Trine, a mysterious powerful artifact has taken the three heroes, Zoya the Thief, Pontius the Knight, and Amadeus the Wizard on another fantasy book worthy adventure. With an all new engine, the game environments are absolutely gorgeous. Combine that with the platforming, physics-based puzzles and the interesting combat scenarios you know and love from Trine, this game hits all the right notes.

The three heroes each have their own unique talents and throughout the game you will be able level them up by collecting green bottles scattered across the levels to earn skill point; these points will also be paramount in unlocking additional skills that will help immensely in all aspects of the game.

Amadeus has the ability to create boxes that help you solve puzzles and help you get to places you can’t normally reach. As you level him up, he can create new shapes and will be able to conjure more boxes. Zoya has a grappling hook that allows her to get around, making her very mobile and able to cross long gaps if the prerequisites are met. Her bow you can leveled up to freeze enemies or set them on fire. She is a viable alternative fighter should Pontius kick the bucket. Pontius is your combat specialist. He uses a sword and shield as well as, a hammer to rock enemies who dare threaten the trio. As you level him up, you can upgrade his weapons to do additional damage and grants him the ability to charge at opponents.

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22 Nov

Hardware Review: GameCom 777 Headset [PC]

Reviews by Tramell

Affordable without sacrificing quality is Plantronics’ motto when discussing the GameCom 777. These headphones are impressive at their fairly low price point of $59.99. Offering 7.1 surround sound, volume controls, and comfortable cloth ear muffs, these headphones strive for your attention.

The design of the GameCom 777 is very sleek. At a glance everything just seems to fit together, including the microphone boom that has a compartment carved out of the headset for it to sit in when not in use. The cord itself is reinforced and pretty sturdy. Attached to the sturdy cable are the volume controls and two .35mm jacks sit at the tips for the headphones and the microphone. The headset also comes with a Dolby 7.1 Sound Card that is capable of delivering 7.1 surround sound to the headphones while playing your favorite game.

Being a gamer, this gives you a lot of advantages when playing first-person shooters or just getting a more immersive experience. I recall playing Rage while testing these headphones and hearing screams and shrieks from mutants in different directions, giving me an elevated sense of what was going on and the danger I was in. Regular speakers or ordinary headphone could not provide that. The downside, however, is that by having an attached USB sound card it can be a bit fragile if you take it anywhere with you as you lose the 7.1 surround sound without the card.

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27 Oct

Review: Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin DLC

Dragon Age, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

Bioware second content rich DLC Mark of the Assassin brings a few new wrinkles to the land of Thedas. There’s party mingling, flirtation, stealth infiltration, puzzle solving along with the goodies you come to know and love with Dragon Age 2. Mark of the Assassin takes us to the land of Orlais on the hunt for the “Jewel of the Many” being held in a private mansion of a powerful man.

Varric sets the tone early. “Let me set the scene. An invitation, an ambush, all because of Tallis.” And that’s pretty much it. The story has interesting twists and viewpoints, but overall it leaves you bewildered with unanswered questions instead of craving for more. The DLC opens up and drags you along for the experience. Although I was disappointed with the beginning of the story, I was wonderfully amazed by the entire experience. The story takes you from hunting for wyverns in the field, mingling with nobles, to infiltrating a castle. You may think that this is Dragon Age: Kasumi’s Lost Memories, but that is kind of a misrepresentation.

When you get into the swings of things, you immediately hit a few roadblocks. You’re supposed to be on a wyvern hunt, but the way they designed the environment that you’ll have to explore feels very sparse. It felt like I was on a picnic rather than a scene depicting an extravagant hunt for bragging rights.

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12 Jul

Review: Puzzle Agent 2 [PC]

Once again, we fill the shoes of the mild mannered Special Agent, Nelson Tethers of the FBI’s Puzzle Research Division. After a foray into Scoggins, Minnesota investigating the shutdown of the eraser factory that supplies the White House, Tethers discovers things aren’t quite right in the town. With their obsession with puzzles and these gnome like creatures called the ‘Hidden People’ that some inhabitants worship. After unraveling the mystery, Tethers manages to get the factory up and running again, but things aren’t quite finished. People are still missing, and the “Hidden People’ are still out there. In Puzzle Quest 2, we head back to Scoggins in search of the truth and finishing the case one and for all.

Puzzle Agent 2 functions less like point-and-click adventures it borrows its mechanics from, and it truly embodies the puzzle experience. Puzzles range from furniture reorganization, where players have to organize furniture to make a patch while blocking opposition; lock slicing, where players must draw a line that will cut through all object barricading a door, to a fast paced match sequences.

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28 Apr

Review: Dragon Age Legends [Facebook]

Dragon Age, Facebook, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

 

Bioware’s version of a Facebook game that they like to call ‘the first real Facebook game and after playing it I can’t verify their claims but I was impressed with the game. DA Legends is a turn based RPG mixed with a meta game of building up a castle that allows you to craft items you desperate need on your journey to become legendary. Featuring a strategically battle system and a robust castle/craft system with a sprinkle of cash shop makes this a very solid game.

Upon starting the game, you are promoted to create a character. You can create a rogue, warrior, and mage as well as a choice between male and female. They give you a few face shapes and good helping of skin and hair color. After creating my savvy female rogue, I went through a quick tutorial that shows you the inner working of the game how the game works. From walking you through combat by providing tips on digesting the information on the UI, How to attack, use skills and tips on using various items and explaining how to build you castle and setting you up with a apothecary and a worker to make you items. Outside your castle you are greeted with a simple painted map with direction lines that leads your character along a path to various points that when reached you either have to fight or pick up a reward. In the encounters, you are greeted with multiple waves of enemies each with their own weakness and strong points.

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