This is one of those mornings when I really wish I did not have to write a blog post. I guess in the grand scheme of things… there is nothing forcing me to do so, but I would hate to break my streak of daily posts. This is one of those hibernation weekends when neither my wife or I really want to leave the house. In fact I went out and got breakfast in my fuzzy slippers that look like shoes this morning and a hoodie. Not like the folks at the convenience store really pay too much attention to what people are wearing, but it was a reasonable facsimile of “dressed”.
Yesterday I was completely all over the place game wise. I started off the day by playing quite a bit of Hearthstone, this was a side effect of me wanting the gold from my daily quest and a new friend just getting into the game. Once he got through the tutorial and unlocked a few decks we played a few games. The first game he trounced me liberally, and the second two I managed to pull ahead significantly mostly due to him not getting the cards he needed when he needed them. Playing against actual players has made me extremely aggressive when it comes to Hearthstone, and I am not really sure how to tone that back a notch.
Mixed Bag of Gaming
After hearthstone I poked my head into Rift for a bit, but really didn’t find much enjoyment there. I am not sure what it is but right now Rift is just not that fun of a game for me. I am sure before long I will cycle back around to it and it will once again be the next best thing to sliced bread. I have the same sort of thing going on with EQ2 as well. I have a desire to play some, but when I actually log in I have no desire to do anything. So in both cases I poke my head in and then log back out almost as quickly.
Right now I am still enjoying Allods quite a bit, but I have a feeling that very soon the bottom will drop out. I have heard that after a certain point there are very few non-group quests. Currently at level 8 I am still having no problem at all, and this is sufficiently scratching that World of Warcraft itch. However I get the sense that I am nearing the end of the starter city of <Insert Russian Sounding Name Here>. I am really enjoying the game, and it is extremely well crafted, but as a whole the storyline and missions are forgettable. There is really little “special” about the game other than the awesome soviet era steampunk feel.
After a bunch of mucking around yesterday, I settled into playing a brand new game with some friends. Forced had been a title that popped up on our radar during the Kickstarter, and was subsequently picked up as a Steam Greenlight title. Well it has officially released this week, and one of my friends decided to buy a four pack and distribute copies. They describe the game as Diablo meets Left4Dead… and to some extent that makes sense. However I do not think that description really explains just how much cooperation is needed to make it through the levels. In many ways it reminds me of Gauntlet Legends… if Gauntlets Legends required you to use the NES Rob the Robot to make it through the levels.
Each of the gladiators chooses a weapon that will dictate their active and passive talent trees as well as set the overall flavor of the arena combat. Above you can see an image of three weapons in the preparation room leading into any of the arenas. I am currently holding the magma hammer and all of the attacks both passive and active are somehow fire based. To the left of that pool is the green daggers, most of the attacks being about speed, stealth and health regeneration. In a way they are the support class in that they can generate combo points on the target than the heavier hitters can then consume. On the bottom left you have the Ice Shield, and this is the tank of the group focusing on being able to negate large amounts of damage. Finally you have the D&D Animated series style lightning bow, with chain lightning and energy based attacks.
How Diablo Ought Be
The controls are also extremely unique… or at least unique to me. In many ways it reminds me of Ikari Warriors in that you have one set of controls to move your body and another to control your facing. If you choose mouse and keyboard this means that WASD will move you physically around the arena and your mouse will choose your facing with Left and Right mouse buttons being your primary and secondary attacks to start out. Later on you will pick up additional attacks Q being the first of these. I assume with a controller one stick is likely your movement and the other your facing with your triggers being your primary attacks, but quite honestly I have not tried this out.
The pace of the action was so intense most of the time, that I quite honestly forgot to hit the screenshot last night. However the gameplay revolves around using the glowing sphere of light Balfus your “spirit mentor” to move around the arena and active switches and traps for you. As a team this gets super tricky since you have ONE balfus and each of you can call it at any given moment… so this involves a lot of communication to figure out who can use it next. Additionally if your timing is right you can position the next person to call it as soon as one objective is done. It is hard to fully understand how the gameplay works cooperatively without seeing it in action. So as a result I am going to embed the trailer that shows quite a bit of play.
So essentially there are so many ways to fuck over your friends while playing this game. There are maps for example where Balfus provides a protective bubble, and if you stray outside of that bubble you take large amounts of damage per tick. So these force your team to be placed JUST right as you pay your way through the map. It becomes progressively easier to abandon a player on the edges of the map and trap them. So for us… access to voice chat was SUPER handy. We kept communicating and I was generally the dullard that tried his best not to ever call the ball. My job was to call down orbital strikes in the form of meteors upon the heads of the big baddies and consume combo points with my heavy hitting attacks.
You get a crystal for each objective that you complete. On each map there is a completion shard, a time based shard, and one for getting a specific objective. They have made these in such a way as it is super difficult to get all three within one run. So as a result you can do each arena over and over to try and gain as many crystals as you can. Last night in our little 2.5 hour play session we managed to rack up 15 shards. The first world was honestly rather straightforward but as we entered world two… the frequency of cursing increased massively.
Face it… you are going to be seeing a lot of this screen. The game excels as forcing various no-win scenarios if you are not fast enough or clever enough to figure out the trick on the first attempt. We would have probably continued on for another hour and a half had one of our players internet not taken a massive dump. At that point we figured… it was a good place to take a break. The gameplay is extremely frenetic, but also amazingly rewarding when you and your friends manage to complete a scenario. If you too have a group of friends to game with… I highly suggest buying a four pack and distributing copies because forced provides an extremely unique gameplay experience for multiple people. As a whole I give the game a big thumbs up.