Having a Blast in Portal Knights

Portal Knights

Portal Knights is awesome. It’s a sandbox RPG that reminds me a lot of Minecraft meets action RPG. The trailer will do a far better job than I come at showcasing the breadth of the game’s capabilities. Let’s watch and then I’ll fill you in on a bit of what we’ve experienced thus far.

Think Minecraft where you can break blocks. The “world” is broken up into fractured islands must be rebuilt with portal blocks. Traveling between them leads to different biomes with different monsters, items, resources, etc.

You can build bases/homes/whatever you want. There’s crafting for weapons, spells, armor, etc., too. Classes are Warrior, Mage, or Ranger with their own abilities and gear. Combat is real time but fairly simple.

So far Graev and I have reached level 5. We’re a couple of hours in and have established a little makeshift workshops/home in a level 3 world. We use that as our home and return after adventuring out through other portals. We gather up all our loot then come back to drop it off.

With the worlds each having different resources, we find ourselves bouncing around to gather up enough copper ore and coal. Certain monsters are only on certain worlds too so things like Scales (which are used in lots of weapons we can currently craft) become a hot commodity.

I’m taking some video that I’ll highlight for you guys. Graev and I are really having a lot of fun playing — it’s up to 4-player co-op Local or steam friends.

Portal Knights is available on Steam in early access. They are patching the game fairly often, including adding controller support and soon larger worlds. Totally worth the $14.99 I paid and really shining as a sleeper hit for me. I’m really looking forward to the bigger worlds and upcoming patches.

Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild – Beautiful art style. I loved when Link had that full suit of armor on. All of the various interactive parts of the world like chopping trees, raising ice out of the water, etc. “Hyrule will be a resource,” hopefully means that we’ll be able to utilize more of the world for things like crafting [Pure speculation]. Supposedly the world is huge. I’m hyped.

Pokemon Sun & Moon – Looks like the usual Pokemon (which is great), and by usual I mean the new pseudo-3D world. Alola looks like a great region, Formes appear to be a nice way to upgrade Pokemon, and Battle Royals should ad a new fun element to the battles. Looks fun. Their presentation was pretty boring, though. I don’t think Pokemon warrants a sit-down dev discussion. The Pokemon chat lasted 45+ minutes and was absolutely dull. We could have had one nice video with these details in under 3 minutes.

Breath of the Wild

More of Breath of the Wild

[Presented in a live blogging style]

Really bizarre start to the game where Link has “technology” (looks like an iPad or a Wii U Gamepad). Extremely odd juxtaposition between the typical Fantasy setting to now introduce Scifi elements. It’s like Link has been reincarnated to save the world again or something.

Link can jump! There’s also Itemization — link can now collect gear!

Wow, that world is gorgeous. It looks so open and inviting to explore — so much character. I truly hope we have an Elder Scrolls style world at our disposal.

They’re showcasing Link chopping trees and collecting wood! Graev is like “This doesn’t feel like Zelda,” but I think this is exactly everything Zelda should become. Zelda needs to evolve into a deeper RPG experience because Nintendo NEEDS that deeper RPG experience for their IP.

Gear BREAKS! Holy smokes. Graev interjects, “Why is Link right handed?”

To refill health Link now has to EAT rather than find hearts in the grass. Link eats items that have the heart icons on them. That’s great. The creator (whose name escapes me) is saying it plays a lot like a survival game where you have to collect gear. Interesting.

I’m going to stop there as they’ve dragged this on a bit and will continue to showcase Zelda throughout the day. If Nintendo announces anything big, I’ll update this post with snippets of other games.

Zelda Breath of the Wild is probably my #2 most anticipated game out of E3. This looks like a great departure from the current Zelda formula. For Graev it seems weird and foreign, but for me it’s what I want and what I need to embrace the IP more fully.

Overall, Nintendo’s E3 presence was kinda sad. Compared to what the other big names brought to the show, Nintendo looks like they’re off in their own land where the conventional rules of having a strategy, direction, or plan (or even a clue), do not exist. They’re doing their own thing, but that’s starting to become their mantra.

As E3 wraps up this year, here’s now I’ll rank the big presentations:

Microsoft: A
Sony: B+
Nintendo: B-
Bethesda: C+

First Look at Kings and Heroes

I took my first look at Kings and Heroes tonight. I guess I should say this is my second look because over a year ago I was invited out to the Industry Games HQ to meet the team and see a very, very early version of Kings and Heroes while it was still in a much earlier phase of development. I was able to see the direction they were going, give my feedback, and hopefully influence in some small minuscule way the final product that Industry Games is working towards delivering.

I decided to record the entire first look for you guys to watch alongside my thoughts here. I tend to launch into random thoughts throughout the video that will hopefully translate well into writing.

An Large Enormous World with Enormous Potential that’s…
Enormously Empty

The world of Sundaria is huge. Enormous. Even the starting city of Everdale eclipses the modern RPG or MMO town. I love that so much. The only problem being the unfortunate fact that it’s mostly empty and requires breathing life into what’s otherwise a very empty (yet pretty) shell. I love the possibility for exploration.

I’m curious to figure out this odd juxtaposition between Kings and Heroes being a dungeon crawler loot adventure and this enormous world. There’s potential for an Elder Scrolls RPG-type world here, but the gameplay thus far is being conveyed as queuing up for dungeons.

Exploring around Everdale, which you’ll see in the video, I found tons of awesome opportunities to create player housing, guild housing, amazing shops, etc. If they leave entirely for NPCs…. that’s really an incredible amount of space to fill with seemingly not enough stuff actually need.

Adventures Await in Dungeon Dives

The core of Kings and Heroes gameplay is (currently) found in their dungeon dives. The whole point being for players to run dungeons, get loot, and do it again to continually advance. Diablo is proof enough that people like the concept of continually running the same thing over and over. What I like about this concept is the first-person almost roguelike nature of the dungeons. They’re really hard. You can see in the video that I dive into one solo on the easiest difficulty. Not only is it larger than I thought, but I get creamed. Obviously it’s meant to be a group experience.

With traps, bosses, and having to cooperatively negotiate the dangerous mobs, I think there’s plenty of fun. One key point is that the dungeons are procedurally generated. For the uninitiated, that means the dungeons are random and they’ll vary in size, difficulty, layout, etc. That’s pretty cool for a 3D world.

More to come….

That’s really just my first look at Kings and Heroes in its early-access Steam launch state. As I mention in the video, I would like to get a Q&A from the dev team at Industry Games. I have lots of questions about where Kings and Heroes is going. Lots of potential here; I think that’s what lures me in most.

Looks Fun: Epic Tavern

Many years ago I had this idea to make a game where you run a tavern. I think I even wrote about it once or twice here on the blog. It started off as a Harvest Moon style idea then morphed into some RPG’ish management game then turned into more of a MMO-amalgamation of ideas. Ultimately, you had to run a tavern and everything you could possibly imagine that would be related to tavern life. You’d ultimately expand your tavern either by itself into some massive almost casino-like place or you’d become a city.

Like my Dad who came up with the idea for a heated ice cream scoop and my mom who had the idea for a book about a hamster class pet, I didn’t do anything with the idea but someone else had the same idea and ran with it.

I don’t support Kickstarters anymore, and I’m pretty vocal about that. So this isn’t a push toward supporting these guys, but I do like the game idea. They’ve gone with a Tavern RPG / management game, and it looks fun. They’re going with the RPG-management style and sending people out on quests as a roster management game. I’m thinking it might be like a WoW Garrison in that respect.

Neat idea, wonderful art direction, fun music, etc. Worth checking out and adding to my “buy when it comes out” list.

So Many Games. So Little Time.

I’m in some serious trouble here. There are so many great games coming out that even if I could play games all day there wouldn’t be enough time to play them all.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

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You won’t believe this, but up until just two weeks ago I hadn’t played a single game in the Uncharted series. Turns out, they’s AMAZING. I feel like this is what happened with the Assassin’s Creed series all over again. I never played them, then suddenly I had to buy them all and now I’m a diehard fan.

I picked up the Nathan Drake Collection (great deal) which contains the first three games. I’m bingeing my way through them now hoping to start up Uncharted 4 by the end of next week. Looks like the graphics are insane, and Drake goes full-spider-man.  I’ll write up formal thoughts on the collection as well as Uncharted 4 asap. I can already tell you it’s worth playing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan

This one came out of absolutely nowhere. Graev texts me the other day asking which platform we’re getting TMNT on. My resounding “huh?” was followed by a few “how did I not know about this?” followed by opening my wallet again.

Graev and I have played the original TMNT games for over 20 years. When did the original NES turtles game come out? ’89? So pretty much most of our lives have been filled with TMNT. Loved the original cartoon series. Turtles in Time is still one of our favorite games. Co-op and turtles? Count us in for Turtles in Manhattan.


Overwatch New Blizzard IP

I’ve been on a rollercoaster with Overwatch since alpha. I originally thought it was generic, but then I found my rhythm and started to play a little more with the characters. Despite it being an absolute 100% TF2 rip-off without the mods and community aspect of servers, it’s still a really great shooter.

Graev and I are both getting Overwatch as well. In fact, I think 4-5 people from our community here are getting it and we’ll all be playing together as much as possible over the coming weeks.

Total War: Warhammer

Here’s another game Graev clued me in to. I’ve never been a Total War fan, but that’s not because I’ve played the games and haven’t liked them — I’ve just never played them. I like Warhammer enough that I think I’ll give this one a try. Of all the games on this list, I think this is the one I might wait on. Looks good though. Anyone here played the Total War games and able to share some thoughts on whether or not a Warhammer version would be good? Sure looks fun…

So yeah… games. Lots of games.  I didn’t even mention the fact that I’m having a blast with Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, Clash Royale, and World of Warcraft (finally don’t hate my Monk now that I’m tank spec). I also have a backlog of at least 5-6 more games. Ack.

Playing anything fun? Picking up any of the games I mentioned?