Author: Nathan Doverspike
Six and a half hours in to Battle Chasers: Nightwar, and I can honestly say this is the most fun I have had with a dungeon crawler RPG since Diablo 3. This game isn’t just gorgeous (I love the art style and effects during battles); it is also challenging without being too frustrating. If you have just picked it up, or are interested in what this game is all about, keep on ready for some tips and hints.
Grinding Is a Necessary Evil
Like a lot of RPGs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, grinding is a part of Battle Chasers. I don’t despise it since it lets me work on different strategies and leveling up characters I may not use as much as someone like Garrison (who has a great name and awesome abilities). Some may not be as thrilled about the possibility of grinding to see all the content, and I understand if it isn’t for everyone. For me, it hasn’t bothered me. I put too many hours in the original Neverwinter Nights as a kid and this is nowhere near as grind-fest heavy as that classic.
Explore, Explore, Explore
This game is set up to let you explore the world, a chunk at a time. As you progress through the story, you open up new distinct areas with their own enemies and dungeon to discover. Not all areas are crucial to forwarding the plot, and I highly recommend visiting them. You may get whooped at first, but you can always come back or talk to other NPC’s to see if they have a side quest for you to undertake as well. Who knows, maybe clearing out those spiders in the sewers gets you some much needed gear and a level or two that you need before returning to a challenging dungeon.
Plan your Attacks Wisely
The action bar on the left side of the screen shows you what order your characters and enemies will take their turn. Use this to your advantage. Each attach has an indication of how long it will take for the character to use that ability. Some are instant, while others take a turn or two before they act. Using a very fast attack to finish off a weakened enemy might just be the edge you need to defeat a boss that summons more enemies during battle.
Don’t Forget to Equip Perks
Yup, that’s right, I forgot to equip perks for the first four hours I played this game. Every time you level up you gain points that you can spend towards equipping perks for each character. For example, Gulley might have 4 perk points but the perks you want to equip cost 3 and 2 points, so either you grind a little until you level up, or you make a choice on which one you want to equip. All of these are passive stat boosts or enact certain conditions based on other abilities in battle. You can increase attack power, get more health from healing abilities, or even get a permanent boost to your overall defense as long as the perk is active. These can dramatically change how your characters perform in battle, so experimentation is highly encouraged.
Hopefully these few tips and hints are enough to help you glide your way through an incredibly beautiful and interesting world. While the story isn’t as integral to the game as I might want it to be, I am still really enjoying my time with it and look forward to pouring more time into it this weekend. For a small studio and a game half the price of other AAA games coming out recently, this has been a pleasant surprise of an RPG.
Did I miss anything? Did you pick up the game? If so, how are you enjoying it so far? Let me know in the comments!
Author: Nathan Doverspike
I can’t believe how entertaining and polished Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle turned out to be! Not only is it polished to the high standard of most first party Nintendo games, but it’s just as enjoyable as well. Here are some tips and hints for beginners and people looking to play the game to completion (I’m going to go play some more of this gem now).
Don’t Worry About Missing Areas
This one might sound silly, but it’s true for this game. You will frequently come across areas that are inaccessible early on in the game due to your lack of abilities. That’s ok. Make a mental note and simply move on. This game is meant to have some replay value with all of the treasure chests hidden about and challenges that unlock after you complete that area. You’ll gain another ability after you defeat the main boss for that area, which will let you unlock a lot of those areas with ease as you run through them again without having to do any of the battles.
Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Up Your Team
No, that wasn’t supposed to be a pun, but I guess it works. You most likely won’t be able to use Luigi in every battle, no matter how awesome his vacuum/sniper is. There will be battles later in the game that will force you to think differently about the best way to approach situations. For instance, Rabbid Mario is more tanky than some of the other characters, and his shotgun can lay waste to multiple enemies unlucky enough to find themselves caught in its range. Using him instead of a character like Luigi would give you that short-range blast for groups of enemies that Luigi just can’t match. Keep in mind that you will have to use Mario in every battle (no idea why) and at least one Rabbid is also required. While annoying to think about, these don’t hinder the game due to amount of joy that comes from bouncing an enemy in the air and then sniping him out of the air with Mario’s “hero sight” ability.
Restarting a Battle Doesn’t Penalize You
This is huge in my opinion. This game isn’t a cakewalk the whole time (it really ramps up after the second world), so being able to restart a battle at any time is awesome. Not only that, but the game doesn’t penalize you in any way for doing it, so there’s no risk in restarting if you brought a Rabbid Mario to a mission that requires Luigi. I’m not ashamed to say I started a few battles over when I quickly realized the odds were definitely not in my favor.
Play the Coop Missions
Something this game has that I had no idea until I looked on the back of the case is coop missions. These unlock after you finish a world, and are surprisingly fun. There are a handful of missions for each world, and range in difficulty and length. Some might take five minutes to beat, while others might take 15-20 minutes. If you have a friend or family member that is even remotely interested, give this mode a shot. My wife doesn’t play games very often and we had a blast playing through the tutorial and first set of missions after that.
Overall, I highly recommend this game. If you aren’t much of a gamer, don’t sweat it. This game even has an Easy mode for young, disabled, or people who would just like to enjoy the game without a steep learning curve. This game has a little bit of everything for anyone: humor, a fun story, beautiful worlds to explore, engaging game-play, the ability to upgrade characters and their skills, and lots of different weapons to play around with. If you own a Switch, this is one to definitely check out.
Released: August 8, 2017 on PC, iOS, and Android
Author: Nathan Doverspike
As I booted up Cat Quest and read the first couple cat pun lines from your spirit companion (named Spiry, because of course they are) I was cautiously optimistic to start this kitty pun adventure. I knew it had cat puns, and being a cat person myself I was hoping to enjoy the dialogue without growing tired of the constant play on words. I was also cautiously optimistic that I would enjoy the game until the end. Thankfully, I can say overall it was a very enjoyable experience, even if it did feel a little short for a bite-sized game.
Developed by Gentlebros, Cat Quest takes you on a journey to save your sister, who has been taken by Drakoth, the game’s antagonist. Along the way, you speak to dozens of cute anthropomorphic cats who speak in almost pure cat-tastic puns and ask you to do dozens of fetch quests (Spiry sometimes comments on the mundane nature all of the fetch quests, which doesn’t make them any more interesting) that often end in a piece of loot as the reward. Even though many were simply go to a place, fight bad guys, and then return to the quest board, they were short enough that they didn’t overstay their welcome. The main quest is also serviceable, and has a nice twist about three quarters of the way through that I found interesting. It won’t blow your mind, but it doesn’t need to for the game to still be fun.
The quest for loot, leveling up, and mastering the magic system is what drove me to fully complete the game. Each piece of loot has its own statistics that upgrade when you find duplicates of that item. There’s enough different weapons and pieces of armor that I was always excited to open a new chest, hoping it was a new sword or better armor to equip. The spells are also interesting, whether it doubles your damage, shoots out lighting to the sides, or heals you, each one feels like it belongs and has a use. You can have four equipped at once, are able to swap them out at any time, as well as upgrade them with coins you gain from defeating enemies and completing quests.
The loot alone wouldn’t be interesting if there weren’t plenty of baddies to test them out on. This feline inhabited world has enemies just bouncing around the map, and they get stronger the farther north you go. Just be prepared to die a few times if you go up there too soon, they don’t mess around with the overkill on some of the enemies that have a skull next to their health bar. The enemies also vary in attack patterns and have interesting designs. Some use magic against you, some use their weapons, and the fearsome dragons use both at the same time.
If I had to nitpick, I would say that after the conclusion of the main quest, I was left wanting more. I wanted to find more loot, fight more enemies, and complete more quests. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue. However, with Cat Quest only clocking in at around nine hours to finish everything the game had to show me, I did feel like there could have been more added to the game. There are hints at more content coming if the game does well enough, so fingers crossed that it gains in popularity so I have another reason to return.
I really enjoyed my time with this game. It isn’t a game that will win an award, but gamers can use more games like Cat Quest. It isn’t particularly long, but the content there is very well crafted and it has a cute and cuddly world to pair with fun and frantic combat that many indie games can’t match. Cheers to Gentlebros for making a gem of an indie game, and I hope they continue to produce more like it.
Author: Nathan Doverspike
Previously, I wrote an article listing multiple reasons why Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best RPGs to release recently. Only one game tops that fantastic title, and it’s called the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt RED, somewhat unknown in the United States until the release of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (that game is also phenomenal and I highly recommend going back to it if you want to see how much the series evolved between iterations), their name was rightly sung in the highest of the gaming heavens for this masterfully crafted game. In fact, calling it a game doesn’t do this interactive experience justice, because it is so much more than a game. It’s a living, breathing world that is shaped by your actions and interactions with the hundreds of NPC’s across literally hundreds of hours of gameplay. Here are just some of the reasons this game will always have my RPG-loving heart forever.
In order to keep my interest, an open world game needs to have something that sets it apart from other games. The world in the Witcher 3 is not just gorgeous to behold (see screenshot above for proof), exploring it is just as captivating. Every question mark on the map holds something interesting, whether it’s an important landmark, an area infested with monsters that you can claim for the townsfolk to restore, hidden treasure, or a brand new quest. When the Hearts of Stone expansion released, I found myself traveling into areas I wasn’t nearly ready to conquer, just to see what new places and loot I could find on my travels. The second and final expansion, Blood and Wine, adds over 30 more hours of content to uncover, along with a vast land inspired by French architecture. A realistic day/night cycle and dynamic weather also adding to the impressiveness of this gorgeous game. The realistic facial expressions and animations also bring out the believable nature of the game, too.
While I personally enjoyed the combat in the Witcher 2, I understand why a lot of people I spoke with about the title described it as “clunky.” It sort of was. There wasn’t a nice flow to it like the Batman Arkham Asylum game that released two years prior and really set the standard for how fluid combat in RPG’s could feel. Witcher 3 definitely improved upon its predecessor, adding a new rune crafting system, better inventory management (thank goodness for chests), more upgrade options for signs (magic) to use in combat, and a satisfying counter system. Instead of having a light, medium, and heavy attack for combat like the original, the later two ditched that for just a heavy and medium attack, which absolutely streamlined it with what also worked in somewhat similar titles.
Speaking of combat, how does it sound to take on a dragon. Everyone likes that in games right? What about a GIANT dragon that is as intimidating to look at as it is to slay? Or how about a griffon terrorizing the local folk by eating their livestock? Or maybe you prefer traditional golems and liches that so many fantasy games feature? In this game, you get all of that and so many other varieties its almost overwhelming to list them all. Thankfully, the game keeps a bestiary of each one you encounter so you also know what potions, oils, and signs are effective against them.
Which brings me to the last improvement on combat: preparation. Playing the Witcher on anything but easy can be a real test of your mettle. You are able to drink potions that vastly increase certain attributes like vitality or strength, apply different oils to your weapons before entering combat with a foe, lay down traps, or cast signs on the ground and yourself to snare your enemy or even reflect damage back at them. All of this helps you take down the biggest of baddies, and for them you will definitely need all of these on your journey to save Ciri.
Speaking of Ciri, the whole story of the Witcher 3 revolves around Geralt finding his long lost acquaintance, Ciri, and saving her from a quickly approaching catastrophic event stemming from her being the last in a line of humanoids who can control space and time. Without spoiling anything specific, let’s just say I was left breathless after I finished the main quest. The expansions also have memorable stories to behold, including a massive toad that speaks (sure why not). The fantastical elements never feel out of place in the world, it’s weird and wonderful in its own quirky way. Geralt knows a lot about killing monsters, but even he doesn’t understand everything that happens in the world around him. The game earns a tip of the cap and two thumbs up for not over-explaining every little thing through spoken exposition, and instead lets you purchase books and read the lore in a separate menu if you want to dive even deeper, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do.
Geralt of Rivia (voiced by Doug Cockle) steals the show as the lead character, but other characters round out a very enjoyable cast that returns from Witcher 2. Also featured in the game is Dandelion, possible my least favorite character in the game, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Geralt’s previous love interest), Triss Merigold (a sorceress and possible love interest), Zoltan Chivay (one of Geralt’s closest allies) and of course Ciri. All actors and actresses did a fantastic job bringing these characters to life, and even though I didn’t care for the character of Dandelion in any of the titles, I respect the great job he did in reprising his role. They all have a unique way of interacting with Geralt depending on how you choose to treat others in the world, something may other games fail to accomplish. If you are a total jerk to other people, not only will you most likely have everyone despise you throughout the game, but you will get one of the most unsatisfying endings you can imagine. Just keep that in mind when you want to continually bribe the poor townsfolk for monetary paying in exchange for investigating their requests.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a masterpiece of a video game, something I don’t think can be easily replicated anytime soon. It had the perfect mixture of solid combat, enjoyable exploration, interesting characters, and so many other great touches like the addition of Gwent (the mini-game in a video game, period). This immersive experience is something I’ll never forget, and after over 100 hours of playing, still go back to it on a very regular basis. I can’t wait to see what great things CD Projekt RED has in store for us with their newest title, Cyberpunk 2077. Did you play the Witcher 3? Did you like it as much as I did? Let me know in the comments!