Monday, August 11, 2014

A weekend's worth of work

I need to start posting over the weekends to avoid Monday info dumps.

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Sacred 3 was exactly what I feared it would be and yet was somehow entertaining all the way through. It is not a Diablo clone. There is no loot beyond gold and potions. New items are given to the player after story milestones but there is little reason to stop using the first weapon once a few upgrades have been applied. Likewise, I never stopped using the first two skills even though many others were available. Instead I spent all my money upgrading them and hand a grand time carving through repetitive waves of enemies while spinning a wheel eight times and listening to painfully unfunny dialogue.

How is this possible? The core mechanics - attack, charge attack, dodge, area attack and other big attack - were downright golden and combined in interesting ways. For example, larger enemies require a charge attack to break their guard (or you can hit them with several big attacks, but what fun is that). They sometimes come at you three and four at a time so placing the charge attack is crucial. When it works and stuns them all I would roll backwards, drop an area attack bomb that would freeze them, then back peddle while filling them with arrows. This never got old.

It is a very minimalist game.  Instead of a dozen player characters there are four. Instead of large open levels it is nothing but linear ones. Attacks are simple, enemies are numerous and the action doesn't stop. Sacred 3 works because it is more like the old school Gauntlet than any of the reboots have been. You know, this Gauntlet, without the crushing difficulty.



Had I purchased the game I would not have been happy but as a rental, a weekend's diversion, there was nothing wrong with it.

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Much to my surprise I 'finished' Rogue Legacy last night, as much as one can finish a rogue-like, anyway. I killed all of the bosses and got the ending for the first time. In my book that counts. The game's difficulty peaked at the midpoint and through a combination of level grinding and figuring out how to play it correctly I was able to knock out the final area and last two bosses with relative ease. Relative meaning that I died every five minutes instead of every thirty seconds.

I sent over 130 heroes to their deaths, my favorite class being the hokage. For the small sacrifice of some of his life and most of his magic points he receives a 175% damage bonus over the generic hero. He doesn't get critical hits but that doesn't matter when most enemies die in one attack from the sword. That was the swing in difficulty for me: I had to be able to kill enemies in one hit, maybe two, to keep it manageable.  As soon as anything bounced around the screen for more than that it got to busy and I died, usually to something silly like spikes. Not resource management but enemy management.

Rogue Legacy also introduces its new game + in a wonderfully sneaky way. The pattern of play goes as follows: make your dungeon run, die, then start a new hero and spend the loot. When it is time to quit for the evening I would usually just pick a lame hero and kill him off in the first room. After beating the final boss and picking up around 17,000 gold I was sent back to the start screen.

'Oh shit, gotta spend that loot.'

Press start, spend loot, start new game +.

Oh my, the enemies are more numerous and do more damage. Look at that, they killed me in the second room, just like they did when I started the first time.

I will not make a promise to come back and make a run at new game + but I have not uninstalled the game, if that means anything.

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