“As a kid, I grew up rolling d20s, charting out hand-scrawled labyrinths on graph paper swiped from math class, and concocting elaborate fantasy worlds to explore. And when I wasn’t sitting around a table with my pals debating the finer points of casting Magic Missiles instead of Delayed Blast Fireballs, I spent my free time affixed to a clunky old PC playing games like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master. Digging into Almost Human’s shiny new take on hardcore old-school dungeon crawlers is a warm fuzzy trip down memory lane, but one of the most impressive things about Legend of Grimrock is the way it showcases how well the classic formula holds up after so many years.”
“Drawing a wealth of knowledge from the good book of 1980s-era dungeon crawling 101, the folks over at Almost Human, Ltd. know their chops when it comes to exploring dank corridors, sticking it to drippy-mawed beasts, and scavenging for scraps of gear needed to survive. The indie studio’s upcoming Legend of Grimrock is absolutely awash in old-school nostalgia, channeling the spirit that made classics like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master so hard to step away from as a kid. But pushing deep into the monster-filled innards of the game’s ominous subterranean realm during my hands-on time revealed much more to this dungeon crawler RPG than mere retro charm.”
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Skyrim owns you. It is, as they say, everywhere you are. I don’t usually make a lot of time to play games just for shits and giggles in the middle of the holiday season coverage rush, but my craving for nerdy fantasy epicness overruled my better senses. I pre-ordered Bethesda’s latest jaunt in the Elder Scrolls saga on a whim. It arrived. I set it aside for a few days. Then I cleared my schedule for 24 hours, cracked open the cellophane wrap, inserted the disc into my Xbox 360, and BOOM: nerdgasm. Wizards! Glowing axes! Melting people’s faces off with jets of flame from my hand! YES!
But for all its grand quests and diversions, one of the things that I’m enjoying the most about Skyrim is the all the weird WTF moments that pop-up during my travels. With such a vast open world to explore, I’m finding myself prone to wandering around and getting into trouble rather than sticking to the main story line for any length of time. Here’s a short and snappy chronicle of some of my random oddball experiences in the game presented in easily digestible list form.
“In all my years as an avid cartographer of dangerous virtual catacombs, I’ve never seen dark, nefarious corridors so well stocked with fancy cheeses, spiced meats, and assorted inebriating spirits as the ones in Dungeons of Dredmor. It’s rather funny, really, that this indie roguelike is more bountiful in its array of mojo-replenishing treats than my local supermarket, but there’s a good reason for that. Every room and hallway is also spring-loaded with merciless death. A few smart features make the process of diving into the addictive dungeon crawling grind more accessible to newcomers, yet this so-called “casual” monster-slaying and loot-hunting adventure is anything but. Impending doom waits around every corner. Embrace this fact, accept it, and you’ll come to love these ruthless dungeons.”
“Even if you’re a total sucker for the casual allure of match-three puzzle games like I am, the genre has been recycled so many different times now that it’s getting harder to find new versions that still feel fresh and exciting. Legend of Fae spices up the old formula with a dose of real-time combat and elemental wizardry wrapped in an engaging tale of two disparate realms colliding. This indie action-RPG puzzler also packs a surprising level of gameplay depth to round out its accessible nature and lighthearted vibe.”
“Imagine what Minecraft might be like if it had been made with pixel art sprites and released in the SNES era. That sums up the overall vibe of Terraria pretty well. It also explains why I just can’t seem to tear myself away from the darned thing. This devious little indie sandbox title borrows so many ideas from Notch’s game that it essentially is Minecraft in 2D, but it also beefs up the familiar gameplay in exciting ways. There’s a lot more creepy crawly stuff to kill, and the staggering number of doodads you can MacGyver together into deadly weapons to slay them with is mouth-watering. Say what you will; there’s some gnarly fun to be had in these uncharted depths.”
The original Two Worlds? Not so much. But this sequel looks better, plays (mostly) better, and I have to admit it really scratched my action RPG nerd itch. That said, there’s some wonkiness that pops up throughout the game. It’s not enough to ruin it, as it is a far superior product to its predecessor, but not everyone will have the patience for it. Just sayin.
You can check out my full review over here at EGMi.