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Monday, September 7, 2009

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Eschalon Book II: Multiple Solutions For Quests
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Basilisk Games has released its thirteenth Q&A update featuring answers to one or two questions from forum members about the upcoming Eschalon: Book II, the next title in the company's old school RPG series. This time the Q&A deals with the linearity of Book I's quests and quest solution options fans can expect for the sequel.

Question #13:
[MaximB] In Book 1 the quests were very liner and often had only one solution, will it change with Book 2? Are you going to make several solutions to each quest with consequences to your choices ?

Good question. It's hard to answer because the number of solutions to each quest depends on how you define those solutions. For example, one of the first side-quests you come across has you retrieving an item for someone as part of a debt settlement. Now then, you can go directly to that person and threaten them. You can can offer to buy this object from them, knowing you'll make a bit of profit when you get your reward. You can steal it from them, either through stealth or murder. Or, if you explore a bit more, you can find something to blackmail them with. By my count that is four separate ways of achieving the final goal. Others might say "well there is still only one way to successfully finish the quest and that is by retrieving the item and delivering it." Perhaps, but that's not being very creative- you could just keep the item and murder the person who gave you the quest.

Often, we try to find several ways for a player to get from point A to point B within the game, whether a quest is part of that journey or not. Like in Book 1, there were 3 unique ways into Crakamir, and players found the best way for themselves through their own individual play style. Book II will have a lot of this type of "multi-path" gameplay.

As for consequences to quests- yes, we are definitely going to put more examples of this into Book II than we had in Book I. But in keeping with old-school game mechanics, Book II will still have plenty of quests that are simply "do this and get a reward". Some RPGs are built entirely around the concept of choice and consequence. That is the gimmick the developers are going for, and it's great to have this kind of gameplay option for RPG enthusiast. Our gimmick is that we are old-school: Lots of exploration. Tons of character development options. Stat micromanagement. Crazy monsters and powerful spells. Traps and puzzles. And in the end, we have a huge gameworld that you can make your own adventure out of: follow the main quest or don't. That's your choice and consequence.
Check out the full Q&A list at the page linked below.

Basilisk Games Forums: Book II Q&A
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

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SW: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 13 comments

Macworld has published a new hands-on preview of Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition, a new action title coming to Mac courtesy of Aspyr Media and LucasArts.

Developed and published in North America by Aspyr, the title combines the original Star Wars The Force Unleashed videogame with three new levels set in iconic Star Wars locales and a host of new costumes and character models. This special edition of the game will show players "the deepest, darkest side of the Force in a story that puts them on a collision course with Luke Skywalker himself."

The first level we played through occurs early in the game. Set in a TIE Fighter factory, the Secret Apprentice has been charged with tracking down a powerful Jedi Knight hiding out somewhere amongst the moving assembly lines, stormtrooper detachments, and open airways of the base. Obviously, the TIE Factory level enables you to have an awesome opportunity to create some mayhem.

While the level has a linear progression, how you dispatch your foes is completely up to you. You can fry your foes with lightning, throw them into oblivion with Force push, or slice them up using your lightsaber. Or, because the controls are built on a combo system, you can do all of the above in a complicated chain. As you play, you’ll level up the Secret Apprentice’s potent abilities to fit your fighting style, unlock costumes, and gain life back by defeating foes. When my favorite moments of this factory level was watching the Secret Apprentice pull down a TIE Fighter using Force energy and then throwing it at a group of oncoming stormtroopers. Yep, it’s more fun to be evil.

While game critics have fretted over the hack and slash combat of the title, I found that in the hands of someone capable, the combat was smooth and the chain combos artful. Its amazingly fun to rip through a series of stormtroopers and finish the last one with a dramatic saber stab. The Ultimate Sith edition features more levels in classic settings with more costumes and (apparently) better-balanced enemies, only furthering my optimism for the title.
For the rest of the preview click over to the link below.

Macworld: Force Unleashed Preview
Aspyr Media
Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
Buy Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition

DeathSpank: Trailer, Screenshots, Fact Sheet
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Worthplaying has posted a new trailer, several screenshots, and a fact sheet for Hothead Games' DeathSpank, an upcoming game title based on Ron Gilbert's unconventional hero. Described as "Monkey Island meets Diablo", the game will feature Gilbert's unique style of humor and storytelling.

Charming. Intelligent. Enigmatic. These are just a few words that nobody ever uses when describing DeathSpank.

Developed by indie developer and publisher Hothead Games and created by Ron Gilbert of LucasArts adventure game fame, DeathSpank will bring to life the hilarious adventures of the game’s titular hero. Set on a wrap-around world map with a unique art style utilizing 2D elements in a 3D world, DeathSpank will roam the world on his many varied quests without ever encountering a load screen.
Gameplay is divided between uncovering the story via conversations, solving complex puzzles, equipping your character to maximize his strengths, and battling anything else that moves. The single-player quest allows players to explore the world, get to know the many interesting characters along the way, battle a large variety of enemies, and collect from over 100 different types of weapons and over 100 types of armor. As he conquers his enemies, DeathSpank will be able to level up, collect loot, and acquire new abilities.

The development team has been creating a unique gaming experience by focusing on humor at every turn, perpetually fun and visceral combat, and an engaging story with deep and complex puzzles.

DeathSpank will feature witty dialog, improbable scenarios, unexpected villains, and a robust collecting system for weapons, armor, items, and abilities. The action is easily accessible for short bursts of fun, but the story is revealed over 15+ hours of gameplay. In addition, players can choose to search out rare items and tackle the game’s many hearty side quests and will also have a chance to co-op with sidekicks in single-machine multiplayer.

Key Features:
RPG GAMEPLAY – Movement and combat is perpetually fun and visceral, making it easily approachable to many gamers. Combat stats are easy to understand and are influenced by different collectible items and abilities earned by the player throughout the game. DeathSpank will battle a large world full of interesting and challenging enemies.
ADVENTURE QUESTS – Help DeathSpank be a hero to the downtrodden. Players will enjoy deep and complex adventure game puzzle scenarios as they work to dispense justice and vanquish evil, as well as entertaining and informative dialog puzzles with the world’s many inhabitants.
CUSTOMIZATION – Through collectible armor, weapons, and varying abilities, players can customize DeathSpank to their liking and to suit their style of play. They can also choose from several sidekicks that will be acquired while travelling around the world.
CHARGED WITH HUMOR – This game has humor everywhere. Hilarious quests, witty dialog, silly puzzles, ridiculous characters, visual gags, and over-the-top animations all contribute to the game’s humor. The elaborate storyline begins as DeathSpank searches for a mysterious artifact known as The Artifact.
DEPTH OF GAMEPLAY – DeathSpank keeps track of his adventures in a Quest Log, listing both ‘Important Things I Need To Do’ and ‘Unimportant Things I Need To Do.’ Players who have completed the story mode can choose to play additional quests and will be rewarded with exclusive equipment.
UNIQUE ART STYLE – The game’s eccentric personality extends to its art style, which uses charming 2D elements in an immersive 3D world. The different areas of DeathSpank’s world are laid out on a globe, and the character is shown at an angle which gives a rolling perspective as you move about. There is an expansive world to explore and there will be no load screens.
A Mac version of DeathSpank has not yet been confirmed. Head over to the links below for more information.

Worthplaying: DeathSpank Info
Hothead Games

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Diablo II Patch 1.13 Still Coming Soon
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

Mentioned earlier this year a new patch for Blizzard Entertainment's action RPG Diablo II has once again been described as coming soon. A variety of delays, including work on a critical patch for Warcraft III, have delayed the release of the 1.13 update but work has resumed and public test realms should be beta testing it "soon."

Work commences on patch 1.13. We won't be providing any information on when the patch will be available, except that we expect the PTR to be available "soon". We will provide some amount of warning very, very shortly before the PTRs become available. Please keep in mind that any number of factors could delay the start of the PTR and ultimate release of the patch. Thanks for being patient, we're getting close now.
Visit the forum thread below for more information.

Blizzard Forums: Diablo II 1.13 Patch Status
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

Mac Games News for Friday, September 4, 2009

Avernum 6: August Update6:00 AM
Eschalon Book I: Mac DVD Giveaway6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Avernum 56:00 AM
Item System Details For Soldak's Upcoming Dungeon Crawler6:00 AM
Two Worlds II: Graphics Engine, Weapon Design, System Reqs6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, September 4, 2009 on one page

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