Torchlight: The New RPG On The Block

August 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Many gamers have not yet heard of the new action RPG in development called Torchlight. This could be due to the fact that it is being made by a particularly new and recently formed development studio called Runic Games. What you may not know, however, is that this new studio was founded by the co-creators of Diablo. These and other developers used to work for Flagship studio before it fell down, right in the middle of their second project; a highly anticipated roleplaying game that was at the time called Mythos. Now they're back with a follow-up, Torchlight, which impressed plenty of people at E3.

As designer Travis Baldree himself admits, 'If you know Diablo, then you know our game'. At the start of the game, players are given a choice between a pet dog or cat. Your pet can not only face enemies and help you fight them, but they can also carry items and even take them back to the city and sell them for you.

There are some features, however, that separates Torchlight from the rest of the crowd. Unlike in numerous past action-RPGs, equipment in Torchlight doesn't lose it's durability over use, so as a result the player does not have to spend any time on maintenance or repair of weapons and armor.

Torchlight will ship with development tools for modifying each facet of the game. You can even test out changed levels and modify them on an improvised basis. Torchlight is scheduled for release Q4 2009.

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The Best RPGs Available for the Nintendo DS

July 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

For RPG fans, the Nintendo DS is a truly a gift. The Super NES used to be the home for console RPG titles that have caught the public imagination. With the passing of the expounded system, RPG titles migrated to the Playstation, and afterwards, to the Playstation 2 where they have experienced what many believe as their glory days. However, with the present generation of consoles, JRPGs have taken a smash. None of the currently available consoles supply a rich library of RPG titles, leaving fans of the genre hungry and desperate.
Thankfully, the Nintendo DS has come to save us. The Nintendo DS has become the home of JRPGs in the present computer gaming age. Just take a look at the following, original JRPGs available for the system :
- The World Ends With You. This title is arguably the toughest JRPG released on the Nintendo DS. The World Ends With You, generally abbreviated as TWEWY by fans, makes use of both screens of the NintendoDS, both in the exploration and the combat phases of the game. TWEWY is also one of the few JRPGs that are set in contemporary time. The fashionable presentation makes this wonderful title really stand out as not only one of the best JRPGs on the NintendoDS, but also as one of the best and most polished games for any console.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced. Not particularly a standard JRPG but a strategy RPG. This turn-based title is a direct follow up to the first Final Fantasy tactics, and brings more of what fans have come to expect- never a bad thing.
- Final Fantasy XII : Revenant Wings. The tale follows our merry band of sky pirates in their continuing quests, saving the world from impending peril.
- Rune Factory 2 : A Fantasy Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon series has often been a fave among RPG fans, mainly because it's something different: it simulates real life. With Rune Factory 2, the Harvest Moon series takes on the usual JRPG conventions and produces a NintendoDS game that's as familiar as it is unique.
- Rondo of Swords. Rondo of Swords is a very original plan RPG with a totally different kind of combat system, making excellent use of the touch screen functionality.
- Blue Dragon DS. Originally published for the Xbox 360, Mistwalker's flagship property makes its debut on the NintendoDS. The Blue Dragon story is rendered in old school JRPG style that fans of the original, as well as new players, will really enjoy.
- Valkyrie Profile : Covenant of the Plume. A retelling of the original Valyrie Profile which first appeared on the PS2. This time, however, rather than viewing the story in the eyes of Odin's infantryman, you will be viewing the tale in the eyes of the antagonist in the first title, Wylfred.

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Upcoming Nintendo DS RPGs

May 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The Nintendo DS has always ruled the roost when it comes to handheld RPGs, with the developer prioritizing this genre in view of their more wholesome gaming outlook. Great RPGs such as Etrian Odyssey go hand in hand with amazing remakes of old classics such as Final Fantasy IV to mention but a couple of a diverse and popular genre. And since you can never have too much of a good thing, here we list three upcoming RPGs that are sure to join the impressive pantheon;

#3: The Dark Spire

Developers Atlus are harking back to the classic days of the RPG with Dark Spire, bringing us the original first person action adventure format in a whole new package. For fans of the classic RPG Wizardry, this will be like coming home. The controls and menu systems are designed to imitate the function of old classics, and so this game is definitely an acquired taste. To many of today's gamers, the format and gameplay will seem alien and outdated, but this will be the exact attraction to many hardcore gamers. This stylised approach is a large gamble from Atlus, and while it's sure to turn many people off, you can guarantee that hundreds of thousands of people are going to absolutely love it.

#2: Blue Dragon Plus

Blue Dragon was originally released to the XBox 360 to wide critical acclaim. Famed for bringing back the classic turn based system which seems to rapidly be in decline, Blue Dragon was a favourite to those more diehard RPG fans. While Blue Dragon Plus will feature the same Akira Toriyama inspired style and the concept of characters, the game comes across as more of a real-time strategy. This perfectly compliments the style to create an awesome gaming experience.

#1: Dragon Quest V

it often surprises us Westerners to hear that, in Japan, Dragon Quest is even more famous than the Final Fantasy franchise. From developers Square Enix, Dragon Quest is simply one of the best RPG series of all time, and this installment on the DS (a port of the original SNES version) is no exception. First of all, it's got some of the series' greatest combat, featuring adjustments and changes that stayed on until much later in the series. Secondly, Akira Toriyama's signature artistic touches enhance the game's appeal greatly. Add to this an impressively large and detailed world for it's time, and you'll soon see why Dragon Quest is as respected as it is.

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RPGs for the PSP

May 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

As Sony's PSP begins its promised 'comeback year', it seems one element the handheld is looking to improve upon is the number of RPGs available to the system. These have always been a little thin on the ground, and the demand from RPG fans across the globe seems to have been answered in part. The following games aren't strictly RPGs per say, but do their best to cram in as many elements from the genre as they can;

Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?: More an action adventure game than an RPG, prinny makes it onto our list in that it ties into the SRPG (Strategy Roleplaying Game) world of Disgaea, as players take on the role of one of the many Prinnies. Prinnies are small, penguin-like comedic characters with a penchant for mischief. Don't let the cute image fool you though, these guys can fight, and you're going to need a lot of skill to take on the hordes of evil coming your way. Utilising a fighting scarf that can chain together multiple combos, you have a set time limit in which to complete specific areas and beat the game- fast, intense fun!

Class Of Heroes: A dungeon crawler game that harks to the many MMORPGs of the age, this game is all about character customization and creating a skilled and diverse team. You must take into account: gender, race, and alignment(good, neutral, evil) before breaking down further into classes, which include everything from Clerics to Ninjas. With a massive range of possibilities and combinations, this game provides great replay value as you construct a master team of motley powers!

Phantasy Star Portable: The main attraction to this game is the multiplayer experience it brings, which is quite unprecedented for the PSP. It features in-depth character customization, traditional exploratory elements and RPG style combat along with leveling up. This game definitely provides one of the most faithful and cutting edge RPG experiences available to the handheld medium, and coupled with the multiplayer capabilities this game is arguably the most important release of the year for the PSP.

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Fallout 3: Success of a Hybrid

March 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Looking back to the end of 2008, one game truly dominated the next gen systems: Fallout 3 Unleashed to massive critical acclaim, the title is the third in a long running series set in a post-apocalyptic world in which you must fight for your very survival. On the face of it, Fallout appears to be just another FPS, albeit a very graphically capable one, so why then would this title have caused such a frenzy amongst gamers?

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Fallout 3 is actually a lot more in-depth and intelligent than your average FPS, mainly owing to the fact that it blends another well loved genre, the RPG, into its foundations to make a new hybrid game. These two factors actually compliment each other suprisingly well, allowing fans of both genres to explore new gaming territory whilst maintaining the fundamentals of what make each so popular. If you're a fan of gritty, graphically violent shoot-outs then Fallout 3 offers two possible junctions. First is the traditional melee style wherein you're free to blast away at your opponents as you see fit. Alternatively there's the revolutionary V.A.T.S system, which operates something akin to the turn-based sstems you'd normally see in an RPG. This allows for a greater degree of accuracy as you zoom in on an opponent and opens you up to graphic head, body or limb shots, allowing you to literally blast your enemy apart.

The major RPG element is promoted through a virtually open ended world, allowing players to come and go as they see fit, fulfilling side quests at their leisure. An experience and level up system is also integrated, obviosuly augmented through whatever extra missions you undertake. Your style of play also affects your 'karma' level, in a system siumular to Fable. Your deeds throughout the game will take a toll on your overall story, as you become increasingly famous (or infamous) and gain allies and enemies depending on your standpoint. This accumulates to provide alternative endings and thus major replay value.

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Dragon Age: Origins, countdown to a classic?

January 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Why You Should Be Excited About Dragon Age: Origins?

After years of making great and epic RPG's that expand upon the licensed franchises of Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars, BioWare has finally decided to build a game set in a world of their own design. Welcome to Dragon Age: Origins, the game BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk describes as a spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate series.

Dragon Age is set to be an action RPG based on a dark fantasy setting, with players able to form their own character and origin, reminiscent in many ways to Mass Effect. The game will also feature both a singleplayer and multiplayer campaign, each of which presents the story in a different manner from each other.

The game will combine the multiplayer mechanics long reminiscent of the Baldur's Gate franchise with the dramatic perspective seen in Knights Of The Old Republic and Mass Effect. BioWare has addressed this by utilizing two different 3D perspectives. The first is the third-person view of Knights Of The Old Republic, utilised during exploration and interaction with other characters. The second is for during combat, when the camera moves up into an isometric view of the player below, allowing for a more strategic yet fast-paced approach to combat. It's also possible to zoom back into a third-person perspective during combat, taking command of any of your party members.

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As in most of BioWare's games, conversational options and moral decisions are a huge part of the storytelling. Each time around events are shaped by your decisions and game choices. BioWare are working hard to make the game completely reactive to the player.

BioWare has deemed Dragon Age "the next fantasy RPG revolution." Their writers have pieced together over five thousand years of history for the world of Dragon Age, concerning it's feudal factions and political conspiracies, as well as the varying states of it's races over the years. Dragon Age is set to take the RPG to new heights, but we'll find out come winter 2009.

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