Diablo 2 Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Diablo 2 RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Diablo 2: Resurrected Hands-On — Flawless Technical Alpha, Impressive Controller Support https://www.gameskinny.com/q2qt8/diablo-2-resurrected-hands-on-flawless-technical-alpha-impressive-controller-support https://www.gameskinny.com/q2qt8/diablo-2-resurrected-hands-on-flawless-technical-alpha-impressive-controller-support Tue, 13 Apr 2021 16:32:26 -0400 David Jagneaux

Over the weekend, Blizzard hosted a technical alpha period for Diablo 2: Resurrected on PC. I got the chance to spend a few hours with the remastered action RPG classic and came away impressed, excited, and more than anything, eager to play more.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Diablo 2: Resurrected is that it's, quite literally, almost exactly the same game as the original. Other than a few quality of life changes, such as letting you share your stash between characters, this is almost exactly identical.

To be clear: I mean that in the best way possible.

Diablo 2 Resurrected for Modern Players

The technical alpha only featured three playable classes: Amazon, Barbarian, and Sorceress, none of which are my usual Necromancer or Paladin, so I had to make do with something new.

Diablo 2 is also entirely gender-locked and character-locked for its classes, which means other than equipping different gear and giving them a unique name, all classes have the exact same underlying design in terms of their face, hair, body type, etc. You don't spend much time looking at them closely, so that's not a huge deal, even if it would have been a nice feature to see added in this version.

I tried out both a Barbarian and an Amazon. They play similarly at first, but specializing the Amazon to focus on bows and spears for long-range and mid-range combat is a lot of fun. I loved shooting a fire arrow with my ice bow and watching enemies either freeze or burst into flames.

Barbarian is a class I never tried in Diablo 2 originally, usually opting for a Paladin, but he's a lot of fun as well. The Leap ability is excellent for clearing crowds, and the multi-attack can really make quick work of tough elite enemies. 

One of the best and most immediately noticeable changes with Diablo 2: Resurrected is that you can switch back to the original graphics at any moment at the press of a key. Changing between the two has such a weird effect that while playing with the new graphics, I started to think, "Wait. Didn't it always look like this?" before switching back and getting a huge punch in the gut. Turns out retro gaming memories are in HD but the reality is not.

I don't fully understand the sorcery at play here, but Blizzard must have made a deal with Diablo himself because the game feels the same but looks new. It's that very special sweet spot I think every developer wants to hit when crafting a remaster. The PS4 version of Shadow of the Colossus comes to mind as another great example.

Back in the early 2000s when I first played Diablo 2, I was struck by the depth of its world, its amazing characters, and its addictive loot mechanics. Nowadays, we're spoiled for choice in this genre with Path of Exile, Torchlight, Grim Dawn, and tons of others, but none of them can hold a candle to the methodical charm and dark, gothic world of the Diablo series.

There's just something so satisfying about the sound effects for every hit, the cracking of bones and squish of blood, and the jingling of gold hitting the floor. It's so satisfying on a core, primal level in ways that few games manage to be.


Keyboard and Mouse vs Gamepad Controls

I never liked playing Diablo 3 on consoles and have only ever played this genre on PC. There is just something that feels natural about clicking on enemies and loot, and quickly navigating menus without a second thought. It feels great and plays great — just like I remember it.

But... I think I prefer playing Diablo 2: Resurrection with a controller?

For starters, the fixed camera angle means that analog stick movement is simple and straightforward without any weird hurdles to jump over. Holding down the attack button is just like holding down shift and clicking, so it's great for dealing with large groups without stutter-stepping in combat.

The real reason, though, is the hot bar. When you play Diablo 2 on PC, you have two ability buttons: left mouse and right mouse. You can assign hotkey switching to any of your skills, like how pressing "F1" changes the RMB to a fire arrow or "F2" switches to the rapid-fire javelin jab. The hotkeys are nice, but you still have to fire off the skill with a mouse click and keep cycling.

On a gamepad, you can assign all four face buttons as well as a trigger and bumper button to a specific skill — plus as a secondary duplicate hotbar when you hold the left trigger. Potions go on the d-pad.

This is just so much more efficient and functional for dynamic classes like Amazon and Sorcerer that will need access to all their skills at any moment for all situations. 

Diablo 2 is Back

Obviously, the verdict is still out since I only played for a few hours between two characters and didn't get around to finishing Act 1, but I'm really impressed with Diablo 2: Resurrected so far. There is a lot of content to cover across multiple Acts, the expansion, and all of the procedural shuffling that happens with each playthrough and each class — not to mention the politics and excitement of playing online or playing with permadeath characters.

Diablo 2: Resurrected was already one of my most-anticipated games of the year list out of pure nostalgia, but now that I've tried it for myself, it's near the very top. I can't wait to take down the Lord of Destruction once again.

[Note: Blizzard provided the alpha copy of Diablo 2: Resurrected used for this impressions piece.]

Diablo 2 Resurrected Technical Alpha Brings the Classic Back to Life https://www.gameskinny.com/swws9/diablo-2-resurrected-technical-alpha-brings-the-classic-back-to-life https://www.gameskinny.com/swws9/diablo-2-resurrected-technical-alpha-brings-the-classic-back-to-life Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:43:16 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The first Diablo 2 Resurrected technical alpha runs from April 9 through April 12 and gives players a chance to experience the first two acts with three of the game's seven classes. This first Diablo 2 alpha is for PC players only, though future alphas will include consoles.

The alpha is available by invitation only. Some of those who opted in when the game was first announced will receive an email with instructions on how to participate in the alpha.

The Diablo 2 Resurrected alpha classes are:

  • Amazon
  • Sorceress 
  • Barbarian

This initial alpha only includes single player mode, and it reuses the original game's cutscenes. However, Blizzard said it's not indicative of the final product, which will feature improved cutscenes, among other things.

While the alpha will have no level caps, the alpha won't let player transfer their data to a later version.

Blizzard said it will hold at least one more Diablo 2 Resurrected alpha between now and the game's 2021 release.

[Source: Blizzard]

Diablo 2: Resurrected Officially Announced, Rogue Confirmed for Diablo 4 https://www.gameskinny.com/0gr7h/diablo-2-resurrected-officially-announced-rogue-confirmed-for-diablo-4 https://www.gameskinny.com/0gr7h/diablo-2-resurrected-officially-announced-rogue-confirmed-for-diablo-4 Sat, 20 Feb 2021 13:50:03 -0500 Ashley Shankle

After years of fans holding out hope for Blizzard to return to Diablo 2 in one form or another, the developer has finally decided to give the beloved ARPG the attention it deserves.

Announced yesterday during BlizzCon, the legendary title will be returning as Diablo 2: Resurrected, a remake including the base game and its Lord of Destruction expansion.

Diablo 2: Resurrected will bring more than just shiny new graphics to this classic title. The game will also feature cross-platform progression so players can hop on their characters between PC and console, and, of course, controller support comes in tow with that good news.

Blizzard have also confirmed there will be a shared stash function, and rumor is the remake will even have automatic gold pickup as a base feature to the game. These are huge quality of life improvements over the original that certainly no one could complain about if true.

This all sounds like great news and the new visuals do suit the style of the original version of the game, but that's not all the attention the Diablo series received yesterday.

Diablo 4
 has also been confirmed to include a Rogue class, a predictable but warmly welcomed addition to the upcoming game's roster. So far Druid, Barbarian, Sorceress, and now Rogue have been confirmed.

Blizzard weren't keen to let us know too much more during yesterday's Diablo 4, but they did show how the game's world shifts as you push through and clean out the evil plaguing the many would-be havens of Sanctuary.

After the state in which Warcraft 3: Reforged was released and in some respects continues to be in, it's understandable to be pensive about the state of Diablo 2: Resurrected; and reservations over Diablo 4 after Diablo 3 are also fairly well-deserved. Time will tell if these titles live up to the old Blizzard name.

You can sign up for the Diablo 2: Resurrected alpha on the official site, provided you're logged in, but the release date for Diablo 4 is still yet to be announced.

Diablo 2: Resurrected Reportedly Releasing Later This Year https://www.gameskinny.com/jqeet/diablo-2-resurrected-reportedly-releasing-later-this-year https://www.gameskinny.com/jqeet/diablo-2-resurrected-reportedly-releasing-later-this-year Mon, 11 May 2020 18:33:39 -0400 GS_Staff

Diablo 2 is one of the most famous action RPGs of all time. First released by Blizzard in 2000, fans have clamored for a remaster for years. Now, a new report says that the long-awaited Diablo 2 remaster is on the horizon, slated for release later this year. 

The news comes from multiple outlets, all of which source French site ActuGaming. According to the report, the game is titled Diablo 2: Resurrected and has a fourth-quarter 2020 release date. Vicarious Visions is allegedly working on the remaster. 

As of this writing, there is no word on when the supposed remaster will be officially revealed by Blizzard. It's possible, though, considering the reported release window, that we'll hear something about Diablo 2: Resurrected during Phase 1 of The Summer Game Fest

Blizzard is listed as a participant alongside publishers and developers like Bungie, Bethesda, Private Division, Microsoft, and CD Projekt Red. Adding further speculation-fuel to the fire, a blog post from early April by Saralyn Smith, executive producer of Blizzcon, said: "it's too early to know whether BlizzCon 2020 will be feasible."

In simpler times, we'd assume the game would be announced during BlizzCon 2020, but we don't have that luxury this year. 

Regardless of when it's officially revealed, the Diablo 2 remaster has been the source of fan speculation for years. Job roles have cropped up regarding the game and other Blizzard properties, such as the Warcraft 3 remaster, the latter of which turned out to be the maligned Warcraft 3: Reforged

Here's to hoping this one's received better. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Diablo 2 remastered as we learn it. You can see the full story over on ActuGaming.

Diablo 4 to Bring Back Customization Via Talent Trees, Skill Points, Rune Words https://www.gameskinny.com/akb82/diablo-4-to-bring-back-customization-via-talent-trees-skill-points-rune-words https://www.gameskinny.com/akb82/diablo-4-to-bring-back-customization-via-talent-trees-skill-points-rune-words Tue, 05 Nov 2019 16:30:29 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Want something a little more customizable in your Diablo experience over what was available in Diablo 3? Have no fear, friend, for Diablo 4 is bringing back talent trees and some more throwbacks from the beloved second game.

Those who only played Diablo 3 may not be aware that the series did, in fact, have traditional-style talent trees, which were once a big draw to Blizzard-developed titles. The second game certainly had them, and they were great.

Talent trees will be back in Diablo 4, but that's not all. Players will also be able to customize their characters via rune words and skill ranks, two additional throwbacks to Diablo 2. Between all three systems, players will be able to customize each of their characters exactly as they see fit.

This is a huge improvement over what is present in Diablo 3, which tossed all three customization methods to the side for simple skill unlocks as players progressed. That's not to mention passives attached to equipment, which is simply a staple of the genre.

From what Blizzard has shown so far, Diablo 4 is looking to be a much meatier and fulfilling experience than its predecessor. Keep a lookout on GameSkinny for more news on Diablo 4 as it develops. 

If Blizzard Does Remaster Diablo II, What Would They Need to Fix? https://www.gameskinny.com/4kmxf/if-blizzard-does-remaster-diablo-ii-what-would-they-need-to-fix https://www.gameskinny.com/4kmxf/if-blizzard-does-remaster-diablo-ii-what-would-they-need-to-fix Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:00:02 -0400 stratataisen

Ever since Blizzard accidentally let mentions of Diablo II and Warcraft III leak in a hiring call for a Senior Software Engineer -- which has since been taken down -- rumors have been buzzing of a Diablo II remaster or even a remake in the works. 

While there is no doubt that there are hardcore fans of the game who would buy a remaster or even remake of the game in a heartbeat, would Blizzard be able to draw in new players to the classic game? And if so, what would they need to fix in order to draw them in?

The following are a few points I believe that Blizzard would need to address in order to relaunch the game for the modern era.

Staying Connected with Friends

Anyone who’s played a Blizzard game in the past few years has more than likely taken advantage of talking with their friend across games, servers, and factions with Battle.net, now called the Blizzard App. This is a feature that would be a great addition to Diablo II so players don’t feel cut off from their friends while playing. Thankfully, since the Starcraft remaster is going to be connected through the Blizzard App, they will probably do the same with a Diablo II remaster or remake.

Oh My God, My Eyes!

There are few who could argue against the fact that Diablo II has not aged well over the last 18 years. The graphics are old and very dated, especially to those who grew up with a majority of their game’s graphics being in 3D. When I say graphics, I mean both the cinematics and gameplay graphics.


The cinematics for the game are rather... well, terrifying. Comparing them to the World of Warcraft trailer that came out four years later, it’s amazing what a little bit of time and money can do for cinematics. Regardless of if it’s a remake or a remaster, they need to be updated, especially if they plan to target a more modern audience.

Gameplay Graphics

If they do a remaster, updating the 2D graphics like they did with Starcraft, going 4k and making it less pixelated is a must. If they were to do a full-blown remake, they could go one of two routes with the graphics: Either update them to a 3D engine similar to Diablo III’s or Heroes of the Storm, or stick with 2D to keep that similar retro feel to the game but use a more modern 2D engine where they could give the game their stylized look (hopefully keeping it just as Gothic-looking).

Make It Fit the Screen

Allowing for the game to be played at a higher resolution for more modern screens is a no-brainer. Again, this is something that the Starcraft remaster will have, so the same treatment would most likely happen with a remaster of D2.

Fluid Combat

When it comes to the combat in the game, more than likely any major changes would happen in a remake as opposed to a remaster. This is simply because I’m not sure if Blizzard could justify the expense of revamping a combat system in a remaster (although I could be wrong). The original combat felt very stiff, so updating the combat to something more fluid could give the gameplay a new lease of life.

And I’m not saying they should change how the skill and talent system was implemented because it would change the game way too much -- I’m simply focusing more on how the attacks are executed.

Wait...Did You Hear That!?

Audio can make or break a game, as it sets the mood and gives an area ambiance. Diablo II has some really good audio. The music is especially creepy and fits the dark Gothic feel of the game. However, the sound effects are a bit hit-and-miss for me; I was watching some gameplay of the Barbarian and all I could think was “He’s very stompy.”

The voice-overs were fairly good for a game that released when it did. I think they could use an update, but at the very least all the audio should definitely be remastered to HD with the rest of the game, including with the voice dialog.

In the End...It’s Really Up to Blizzard

Diablo II is that game that many loved and fondly remember, but say that Diablo III failed to recapture it. But, should it be remastered or remade? Personally, I’d like to see either happen, but from a business standpoint, it’ll be up to Blizzard in the end. If they do, they’ll have a bit of work ahead of them to remaster or recapture the glory that is D2 to the point that both old fans and new players of the game would happy with the result.

Blizzard Job Posting Hints at Diablo II and Warcraft III Remasters https://www.gameskinny.com/qdge5/blizzard-job-posting-hints-at-diablo-ii-and-warcraft-iii-remasters https://www.gameskinny.com/qdge5/blizzard-job-posting-hints-at-diablo-ii-and-warcraft-iii-remasters Fri, 16 Jun 2017 14:39:03 -0400 daisy_blonde

A recently posted job advert for a Lead Software Engineer on the Blizzard Entertainment website hints at a potential remaster of Diablo II and Warcraft III. The World of Warcraft developer is looking for an engineer with at least 5+ years of experience on an AAA title and fluency in C++ to work on an “Unannounced Project” in Irvine, Southern California.

Given Blizzard’s 2016 announcement that they plan to remake 1998 RTS hit Starcraft, this “Unannounced Project” has excited fans. Fan site BlizzPlanet reported today on an earlier version of the job advertisement, that mentioned Diablo II and Warcraft III by name. That version has since been taken down, but read as follows:

Courtesy of BlizzPlanet

The wording above is pretty unmistakable -- and when this version of the job posting disappeared within a few hours, it's pretty clear that all signs are pointing to more remasters being on the way. (And we totally called that Diablo II remaster months ago.)

If you're interested in this posting or think you have the skills to apply for the position, you can find the original hiring call on Blizzard's official website. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more information on these possible remasters as they are (hopefully) confirmed in the future!


After the StarCraft Remaster....Is Diablo 2 Next? https://www.gameskinny.com/aegdu/after-the-starcraft-remasteris-diablo-2-next https://www.gameskinny.com/aegdu/after-the-starcraft-remasteris-diablo-2-next Sat, 01 Apr 2017 17:00:02 -0400 tofuslayer

This past Saturday, Blizzard revealed the trailer for the long-awaited Starcraft remaster set to launch in “summer 2017.” The new remaster for Mac and PC will feature the same game logic and content as the original game from 1998, but the graphics have been redrawn to better scale 4k resolutions. Now in the wake of the announcement, some gamers are wondering about the possibility of a Diablo II remaster.

Diablo II remaster is a possibility, but don’t hold your breath

While I don’t think the idea of a Diablo II remaster is out of the question, I don’t think it’ll happen as soon as some might think. With the Starcraft remaster set to come out this summer, I think it will take time to fix enough bugs and create enough patches to get the remaster running smoothly before starting on the new project. Blizzard will probably want the the remaster to be in a very good place before they even begin to think about remastering another game.

One thing that may hint at a Diablo remake is the "Darkening of Tristram" patch that Bizzard launched last year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Diablo game. The celebratory event, launched in the form of a patch for Diablo III, contained a temporary event that allowed users to play Diablo in what developers called, “glorious retrovision.” The one month long event, "The Darkening of Tristram", included 16 levels and remade characters from Diablo such as the Butcher and Diablo. I'm speculating that Blizzard may have have used the event to gauge interest in a possible remaster in the future.

Although many fans were excited about the event, sone fans expected a fully remastered edition of Diablo and expressed disappointment at the 20th Anniversary Patch due to the temporary nature of the event. However, I think that there’s a real chance that we can expect a remaster of Diablo for the 25th anniversary and maybe Diablo II remaster for the 20th anniversary in 2020. At the same time, I think fans are often quick to forget that companies like Blizzard have lots of projects going on that we don’t know about, and may want to dedicate most of their energy to creating new games rather than remastering old ones. 

Still, even though Blizzard employees are busy creating new games and providing support for existing ones, the company’s employees are definitely passionate about the games that brought them to that company, such as the Diablo franchise. I also think it’s pretty clear from the Starcraft remaster that the company does care about nostalgia and recognizes the games that brought them to their current status in the gaming world. However, a total remaster of an old game is a big undertaking, especially for a side project. It may not be a priority, but I do think it's a possibility.

A remake of the original Diablo game is more likely

Sorry to anyone hoping for a Diablo II remaster, but I think that "The Darkening of Tristram" event means that a Diablo remaster is more likely in the future. Diablo is older and it's a simpler game than Diablo II. Everything from the sprites to the freedom of movement are simpler, making it an easier game to work with. If Blizzard is going to dedicate time and energy to revamping an old game, they’ll probably choose the path of least resistance.

Another factor to consider is that its easier for fans to purchase and play Diablo II. Even though it’s been a year since the company released a patch for Diablo II, you can still buy the game on the Blizzard website and the company is still providing support for its users. Anyone who wants to buy the original game has to look on eBay or Amazon for third party sellers and download patches from an archive for classic games. The original Diablo is also a lot farther from today’s gaming standards than Diablo II, making it a better candidate for a remaster. It’s pretty obvious that if one of the two games needs a little more attention, its Diablo.

The last factor to consider is that "The Darkening of Tristram" just came out, so some of the work has already been done. Even though a remaster of Diablo would be a much bigger undertaking than a labyrinth in a patch, some of the groundwork has already been done. A lot of hours have already been put into "The Darkening of Tristram" project, and it seems most logical to pick up where they left off on that rather than to take on a whole new endeavor from the ground up.

Diablo II fans, don’t despair just yet

If I’ve dashed your hopes or upset you in any way, there’s still hope! A developer known as egod123 has brought a Diablo II remaster to gamers everywhere through the Starcraft II Arcade. The Curse of Tristram is a free game mod from the Starcraft II Arcade available to Starcraft II users who have purchased the game. As of March 5 of this year, the developer has said that the beta test phase is coming.

So far, the developer does not have a release date set, but if you want a Diablo II remaster and you don’t want to wait around for Blizzard to do it, this is probably your best bet.

Rolling the Dice: Do Modern RPGs Miss the Point of Team-Based Play? https://www.gameskinny.com/wpog6/rolling-the-dice-do-modern-rpgs-miss-the-point-of-team-based-play https://www.gameskinny.com/wpog6/rolling-the-dice-do-modern-rpgs-miss-the-point-of-team-based-play Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 SpaceGamerUK

"Online" is the God of All Gaming. Playing alone or with a couple of friends in the same room is passe. Nobody really does it any more.

It seems it was long time ago. A bunch of friends spending hours on end playing RPG games, sitting around the table with the box of cold pizza. Excited about the story, listening to the Game Master, they were completely engaged in the worlds only visible to them and their imaginations.

It was the Age of the Dice

The dice were everything, deciding every second of life and every potential death of its players. There were no re-spawns or second rounds. Wizards killed by Manticore were dead for a game's eternity.

How exciting it was, and what a truly real experience it was for all the players. Sadly, it's now forgotten -- except for a bunch of nerds still playing somewhere away from the online civilization -- like the young heroes of Stranger Things, a series on Netflix.

With time and civilisations expansion, table and dice was replaced by technology. RPG maniacs evolved.

It was the Age of the LAN Party

The dice was replaced by the zero or one code of the computer processor but still (regardless being hidden behind low resolution monitors) Wizards and Sorcerers were feasting on the same cold pizza, sitting in the same room wrapped in LAN wires.

The principle did not change -- it was all about the team effort given to win the game. There was still some sort of Game Master throwing the dice, although right now his fantasy and creativity was measured in bytes.

From social point of view this was very similar to classic RPG evenings and nights. To win, players needed to communicate and use the imagination as the graphics was not the strongest feature of the computers of late nineties. 

It seems that the most legendary title amongst RPGs played on LAN was Diablo II -- truly classic fantasy story which was mostly testing micro switches of the mice used by players. Chopping with sword or axe was the main activity although thanks to playability through LAN network, it was given the true excitement of team-based RPGs. What is probably even more important is it was designed to lead players right to teamwork.

It seems that whole purpose of classic RPG is to build up situations testing cooperative play skills more than so popular lately competition.

Regardless of overall popularity Diablo II, the RPG LAN genre wasn't destined for a bright future in computer gaming.

According to the database of LAN games available on the market -- between 1998 and 2016 -- only 21 RPG game titles were released with the option of LAN party.

Apart of Diablo II it is worth to notice Baldur's Gate (1998), Baldur's Gate II (2000) and Torchlight 2 (2012). The newest title, only one released in 2016 , Grim Down is available on Steam and has very positive opinions from players.

In overall though, LAN Party RPG is the melody of the past like table top RPG's of early eighties.

What rules the world now is much more worldwide.

It is the Age of Online MMORPG

Globalisation is everywhere -- also in the gaming world. No wonder that small LAN Parties suddenly became massive and online, transforming classic RPG idea into the MMORPG.

One could ask: so what? It is still about team based play.

Yes, it is. In principle. But certainly a modern MMORPG has much less connection with the rolling dice of classic RPGs. What modern MMO based RPGs are actually missing is this cold pizza being eaten by the members of the same team; Wizard, Swordsman, Archer, and Spy. Everyone sitting in the same room and exchanging energy of their own fantasy. What modern MMORPGs are also missing is the spontaneous ability of people to get together and find solutions to the problems. Modern games almost heavily moderate reality -- they don't allow enough space for team play by leading players exactly where the game wants them to be.

Of course we are still deciding where to go, which quest to take. Of course we are the ones creating clans, corporations and factions. But we are not the ones who are throwing the dice!

Perhaps MMORPGs are team based. Many games do have very big teams playing; like in Star Wars The Old Republic, where the teams can even have a hundred players.

There is no direct connection though which is part of what makes RPG ruled by dice so specific.

While communities of players are bigger and bigger, actual person to person connection and cooperation are not so important any more.

Tabletop RPGs really allow us to build our own charactors and stories, where the MMO took the ability to to mould an RPGs reality according to our fantasy and imagination. We are more the followers than creators now, which we were when the dice was in use.

Competition, economy, politics and influence. These replaced Game Master and the dice. We are waiting for what is going to happen and all the while are barely ever creating more than un-significant micro connections in modern RPGs.

Of course like with everything else -- it all depends on people. There are very good teams in every known MMO game, bringing back the feeling of proper team based play. Lore is finally being used for the actual creation of worlds, with background stories giving the feeling of role playing. One of the examples could be lore stories behind Elite: Dangerous or EVE Online which are driving huge communities of players, regardless that in reality both games are not dependant on the RPG behind the main storyline. You can take lore from the main missions, but players will still fly around and do random, or side missions. These games are still MMOs, although their lore does became a bit 2D due to the lack of truly deep background stories.

The good news is that the people playing massive multiplayer titles, deep down, are still the same nerds throwing the dice. They like to see the story behind the algorithm and refuse to follow line of computer systems.

It is also likely that some of them are still keen to bring their computers and put them in the same room to grasp the feeling of classic RPGs, while sharing opinions, food, and drinks. Nowadays seating in the same room is often replaced by communication, channel such as through TeamSpeak or Discord.

Perhaps this is why from time to time, regardless of the overall trend to make everything massive, developers introducing nice examples of the games which can be played by few players.

A very good example is the Astroneer, recently released as an early access game on Steam. Certainly it is not a classic RPG, but this space game is classified as sand box. Thanks to an implemented Co-Op option, it brings back an idea of team based play, with teams of 4 people being able to play. 

There is no competition between players, instead they need to cooperate to achieve success -- exactly the point of classic team-based games. Astroneer is easy to grasp, and the old feeling of tabletop co-op that there is actually dice is back! Members of the same team of Astroneers can create the future and decide where and how they will go. They can also decide what kind of the reality they will create. It feels like coming back to the core of team-based play, it feels that being part of team matters again. It feels that all depends on us again!

Do you know other titles on the market which could bring an idea of classic RPG based on team play? 

Starcraft: Brood War and Diablo 2 are Getting Updated https://www.gameskinny.com/hktlm/starcraft-brood-war-and-diablo-2-are-getting-updated https://www.gameskinny.com/hktlm/starcraft-brood-war-and-diablo-2-are-getting-updated Thu, 14 Apr 2016 03:46:42 -0400 Ian Ilano

It looks like Diablo 2 and StarCraft: Brood Wars are getting their first update in years. 

Developer Clásico hinted at the possibility of an update that will finally address some concerns that players have had for years. The update will bring both games up to today's standards, offering support for higher resolutions and fixing the numerous bugs and compatibility issues present. 

In his post regarding Diablo 2, he stated:

"Overall, to give you some more insight on where we are currently for Diablo II, we would love to bring a higher resolution such as WarIII with its 1920 X 1080. As of right now, we're primarily working on bug fixing and compatibility with multiple operating systems.

Doesn't mean it's not on our radar though, we would all love D2 at a higher resolution."

Diablo 2

Diablo 2 currently only supports 800x600. The low resolution hinders playability.

While it seems it will be awhile until official word is released regarding a Diablo 2 update, StarCraft players can rejoice at the possibility of an update coming soon.

"Hey hey!

I will say that, as of right now, Starcraft IS being worked on."

StarCraft 2 is one of the most competitive games out there, and StarCraft: Brood War is still being played competitively today. It makes sense that Blizzard would prioritize updating it first. 

Regardless of which game gets the update sooner, it's always exciting to hear developers still continuing to support their games and its player-base.

Top 10 boss battles worth experiencing for the first time, again https://www.gameskinny.com/o2r56/top-10-boss-battles-worth-experiencing-for-the-first-time-again https://www.gameskinny.com/o2r56/top-10-boss-battles-worth-experiencing-for-the-first-time-again Sat, 18 Jul 2015 12:40:32 -0400 KonstantinMKD


1. Metal Gear Solid - Psycho Mantis


This game brought many reasons to feel proud being a gamer, as its artistic value was unprecedented at the time, compared to all of the other forms of media. By exploring military, sci-fi and heavily political themes, Metal Gear Solid cemented the place of video games as a potent way to express yourself, and tell a powerful and coherent story. 


Solid Snake's first mainstream adventure takes place at the invented remote island of Shadow Moses, located near Alaska. And as it so happens, that very island is the place where supernatural occurrences, world-ending acts of terrorism and even cyborg-ninjas, decide to exist all at once. It's an amazing setting for a video game, one that literally wrote the book on the "stealth-action" genre. 


The movie-like aspirations of the developers are strongly evident, even as the game begins. The opening sequence takes place as the credits roll, and after managing to get to the elevator on time, our hero removes his mask, and TA-DAM, the title appears across the screen. It was cute and meaningful at the same time.


Snake's main objectives at first are procuring weapons and items on sight, and learning how to avoid the yellow cons on the radar, presenting the enemies fields of view. It played a lot like a "modern-day Pac-Man", but the excellent enemy AI and the even better stage design, make this game relevant and exciting, even today. 


After finding his footing, Solid Snake searches for the members of the rogue "FOXHOUND" unit, whose goals are strange and terrifying, and contribute a lot to the dark and mysterious atmosphere. Exploring your way through the island's military base, you'll confront them one by one, in originally and creatively envisioned boss battles. 


But, there's one confrontation in particular, that introduced the term "fourth-wall breaking" in gaming, while not sacrificing the pace and fun factor expected with every boss battle. Along comes Psycho Mantis. 


There's some unnerving build-up to this battle, as you hear rumours about some paranormally-gifted member of the terrorist group, and every now and then, Snakes complains about hearing some "music in his head." To make matters even worse, he is accompanied by his potential love interest, the inexperienced rookie, Meryl. So, that makes him twice the vulnerable. 


Psycho Mantis fully exploits Snake's situation, by possessing her and making her try to commit suicide, right there in front of him. You manage to incapacitate her non-lethally, and you face the disturbing floating figure, just when something unexpected happens - your TV malfunctions? It all turns to black, safe for the green letters in the upper corner, saying "VIDEO". You wonder what went wrong with the input, and as you get up in order to try and fix it, you realize the genius of it. It actually says "HIDEO". As in Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind Metal Gear Solid series. 


it's important to note that, at the time, TV's worked differently in general, and every time you changed the output those green letters did appear, a state of the technology no doubt in line with Kojima's fresh ideas. 


Then, as the screen turns back to normal, the fight continuous as if nothing happened, just as you to come to an unpleasant conclusion - you can't harm him. Nothing works. He always manages to dodge the bullet. Always.


And even more startlingly, your controller behaves somewhat strangely, starting to vibrate with no reason. Then you ask yourself: "Is he possessing the controller as well? How do I fight him now?" As you pull you hair on this most unfortunate turn of events, the codec rings. It's the colonel, your supervisor for this mission. And, he seems to have the solution. 


Change the controller output, from slot 1 to slot 2! You don't believe your eyes, but none the less, get up from the couch again, and change the controller entry point. In real life. That's how you oppose this virtually existing boss. 


And it works. He no longer can "read your mind", so it's only a matter of learning his attack patterns, like in every normal fight (although, he will attempt to read your memory card, once or twice). Still shaken by the thrill, you pull yourself together, and deliver the final blow. 


"Psycho Mantis" as a concept stands firmly on the point that video games are capable of immersing the observer far more so than any movie, upping the fun factor and the overall impression, by much. It also leaves a lot of room for the developers to fully carry complicated messages through their work, and even dare to present notorious or taboo themes. 


Such are implied with the last lines of dialogue we hear from this amazing boss: a statement aimed at the unquestionable nature of all living beings on the earth, to mindlessly reproduce their DNA, pass on their genes, continue their existence...


Oh, Kojima...


2. God of War II - Lakhesis and Atropos


The second installment of this rage-fueled franchise is hands-down its shiniest moment, as of today. Kratos's quest to end all authority and bestow cold revenge on all who wronged him this time around took excitingly colossal proportions. As new powers were introduced and the main character still remaining the unstoppable killing machine as always, this gem of the PS2 era did a lot for the console by simply reaching it's potential to the fullest.


Beginning not long after the conclusion of the masterful first game, the story proves right away its enthusiasm in exploring new areas and themes. While battling the Colossus of Rhodes, our anti-hero is mortally wounded, just in time so Zeus can take the spot-light, and add even more insult to injury, by depriving Kratos of his powers completely. Diminished as he is, Kratos tries to fight Zeus, but the fiend ruthlessly kills him, and the hands of Hades drag his dying body into the underworld.


But, of course, the story doesn't end there. Luckily,  Kratos does have friends in high places. Being saved by the Titan Gaia, he's new task is shown to him. He should find the Sisters of Fate, and by using their power, travel back in time to the moment when Zeus appeared in front of him in human form, for then and only then, lies his chance of killing The King of Olympus. 


The premise isn't very original, but its scale is most certainly, epic. Majestic creatures of all shapes and kinds take part in this adventure, and by antagonizing and then killing some really powerful entities, Kratos will get closer and closer to ending Zeus, one bloody battle at a time.


The action and combat system are the main stars, besides the story, as by discovering sadistic new ways of combining physical and magical attacks, Kratos will massacre waves and waves of demonic imps, ever so stylishly. And never forget, you can climb the Cyclops body up to his head, and by clawing, deprive him of his sight. It's super satisfying. 


Speaking of satisfaction, one of the last battles in the game will give you tons of it. When encountering two of the sisters, Lakhesis and Atropos, Kratos happily decides to tackle them at once, handicapping himself in a 1v2 match. The sisters are cruel, winged and fanged creatures. Also, continuously teasing him with sexual innuendos isn't very fair.


But,as you work your way around their attacks and manage to land a few good strikes on them (while their breasts react to the blunt force, ever so subtly), they pool a trick on you - they plung you into the past! (Samurai Jack, anyone?)


Then you realize that you are in fact transported near the Aegean sea, at the precise moments when Ares pulled a similar trick on Kratos, during the finale of the first game. It's more than an awesome move, and the developers surely succeeded in raising your blood pressure with that decision. 


You quickly realize that the sisters' plan is to make you lose the battle with Ares, thus preventing Kratos from ever acquiring the power of time-travel. So, you must fend them off as they are basically trying to destroy the very weapon which saved Kratos back then, a mile-long steel blade, doubling as a bridge to a temple. As you witness your former self vanishing into some other dimension with the pre-reigning god of war, this fist-pumping battle decides the outcome of the Fates, and ultimately sentences the demise of the Olympians.


The only weak point of this setting is, obviously, being unable to feel the true ramification and proportions of this fight, if not having finished God of War 1 before. But, if that condition is met, there'll be absolutely nothing to hinder the enjoyment and satisfaction you'll get, when Kratos breaks their bodies in the end. By violently smashing them together. 




3. MGS 3: Snake Eater - The Boss


After the shocking series of OMFG events that was MGS 2: Sons of Liberty, many long term fans of this beloved franchise were left feeling uncomfortably surprised. Yes, that game managed to be more than just an excellent sequel to probably the best game of the previous generation (by no means an easy task), but it might had taken simply too big of a leap. It was a bold and super-risky move, but many claimed that it also went way too overboard for its own good. 


So, for the third installment of the series, Kojima, of course, at first lied that it's not going to happen, and when he announced it officially, we were all pleased to know that he actually WAS listening to the complaints. The trailers showed that MGS 3 would serve as a prequel for the entire story so far, and we immediately got excited about playing as Big Boss (or Naked Snake) in his prime.


The result was not as unexpected as before, as the story was far less reaching into supernatural or sci-fi territories. As such, it allowed more room for character development, and we got to know these video game icons from every angle, up close and personal. Also, the infamous codec moments this time around were bearably long, and simply didn't distract the action as much. That it a staple of itself, as far Metal Gear games go. 


Snake Eater was breaming with style and more than spot-on spy-themed music, that made us feel as the main characters in a very-high quality movie of the said genre. This game wasn't afraid to show of it's biggest inspirations, as by simple saving the game, we were given quick summaries of famous movies of that particular era (the 60's and 70's), and even comparisons to James Bond. Also, Snake wondered if one day we will be able to star in our own action movies form the comfort of our home. It was just the sort of fourth-wall breaking we've come to expect from the series.


But, what this game did exceptionally well was depicting just what it means to be a soldier, in it's purest form. What it really means to follow the orders of your supervisors, in the name of the country you love. And unconditionally borrow your life for. The story's strongest points are so devastating, it's practically impossible to ignore the flavour this game will leave you with. It's one of those titles where you'll simply fall in love with every second of it. 


The path Snake has to take in order to find his resolve and become the man he is supposed to, is a heartbreaking one. And at the end of it, there were no doubts that we witnessed the whole transformation of this man, John, into the legend that is Big Boss. 


From the beginning of the game, when his mentor, The Boss, reminds Snake of the basics of CQC (close quarters combat), we find ourselves in the eye of the tornado, that is their relationship. It's one that transcends love or admiration - in their eyes, it's all about being the best person that they possibly can. And in their philosophy, such state is achieved by loving your country, and paying your debt towards it with every breath of your life. The exercise of making tough decisions by following the mind mostly, and the heart lastly, is one that sums up their lives, up to that point. 


That's why the final battle is immensely unbearable, when Snake is often physically unable to do his best, as his emotions can't help but obscure the completion of his mission - kill The Boss. And she can't resist but ask this damned question: "What is gonna be, Snake, loyalty to your country, or loyalty to me?"  It is a dilemma which Snake would have no trouble solving if it was any other human being, except for her. 


This fight will test the players skills, acquired throughout the game, as the easiest way to finish it is by having mastered that very technique introduced at the beginning of the game - CQC. Taking place at the most epic of epic "final boss" grounds in any video game, the overall scene will slowly bring you to tears. One strike at a time, as the two characters you felt in love with are stuck in a brawl to the death, dictated by their principles only. And staying true to your principles till the very end It's the essence of being the greatest soldier who ever lived. 


"I gave my life, not for honour, but for you..."


4. Shadow of the Colossus - Avion


This game is widely considered to be one of the very best offerings on the PS2, and with good reason. Also, it is considered to be a true manifestation of art in video games, again, with good reason.


Quite simply, Shadow of the Colossus underlined the importance of "daring to dream", a skill that no game developer should be a stranger to, I believe. It brought unprecedented focus on themes like solitude, beauty and nature. It's the very definition of "art-piece", to the point to, when attempting to describe the feelings which this game brings you, you'll be as successful as when trying to describe the same about any meaningful painting.


So, I'm just going to quickly lay down the basics here, as trying to discuss what messages this particular game bears, will be criminal to anyone who still hasn't tried it. 


The protagonist travels to a long forgotten by men and forbidden land, in order to try to save his terminally ill girlfriend (or wife, we are not told clearly). He carries her on a horse, and upon entering a huge temple, is greeted by a ghost-like entity, named Dormin. It agrees to help our hero, if he manages to recollect all of Dormin's soul pieces, now occupying 16 different colossal beings, scattered all around this barren land.


Yes, the game consists solely of those 16 boss battles, and some travelling between them, yet it delivers an unforgettable experience. It will make you feel utterly alone, as you observe the surrounding ruins, and are overwhelmed by the sudden tonal changes between areas.


All of the colossi are expertly envisioned and interpreted, and many of them deserve a spot on this list. But, my personal favourite is the fifth colossus. Appearing as a giant bird, this piece of Dormin's soul is nested near a hollow and grey-ish lake. It frequently soars through the sky, shrieking loud, hunting sounds. 


You'll gaze at this marvellous creature with an open mouth, yet you'll know what you're about to do.  Avion seems unreachable up there, and the full spread of his wings casts an enormous shadow down there, where you are. The scene gives this colossus celestial properties. Although it'll make you sad, you'll eventually figure out how to call it down.


Few arrows will get Avion's attention, and as the colossal bird set it sights on you and charges, you'll see the surges of energy and wind it generates in it's wake. And as it's giant beak nears it's prey, the adrenaline rush will be palpable. You wait for the right moment, and cunningly grab the fur on his shoulder, not giving it any room to grab you. And then the ride begins.


Avion will nervously elevate high above the lake, often shaking and doing 360 degrees maneuvers, desperately trying to get rid of you. It'll sense its inevitable end, and there you are, clawing your way through it's weak points and depriving it from his essence. In agony, the humongous bird will put his last shreds of energy into efforts of hurling you down. The landscape will gravitate around it's giant body, but the protagonist's resolve will be greater. 


As you deliver the final blow, Avion loses it's conscious, and pivots fast downward. The rude landing of it's wight breaks the stillness of the water, and the hero let his grasp lose. He flows in the ever darkened waters, falling in deep sleep. As he awakens, somehow back in the temple, he notices another black shade surrounding him, along with a somewhat darker tint in his hear colour. The world grows more silent. You were successful. Avion is dead.


Not many video games make you feel absolute, painful silence... 




5. Silent Hill 2 - Pyramid Head


 A decade and a half has passed since this horror standard-bearer was unleashed on the world. It hasn't lost any of it's "mojo" as of yet, but no play through ever will be as the first time you wrapped your head around this mystery. It was dark and gloomy, on a whole other different level, even when compared to it's predecessor. Silent Hill 2 also controlled better and had better camera angles overall, so sudden deaths weren't as oft of an occurrence this time. In short, it hadn't any intention of obscuring your progress by placing you in the shoes of an impossible to navigate protagonist. Rest assured, the game's reaction to your inputs (or lack of) wasn't part of it's difficulty. 


As so, uncovering the true horrors it had to offer and solving it's tough-as-nails puzzles, was a largely more enjoyable experience than in Silent Hill 1. And I'm referring to "enjoyment" in the most broader sense of the word as possible. Yet, you'll hardly find anyone who tried this game, and wasn't drawn to it very quickly. 


The story of James Sunderland is one subject to many interpretations, as it's psychological and multi-dimensional roots will surely provoke various conclusions by different players. But, overall is a story about grief, and it's ability to completely overwhelm one's mind and personal life, in general. 


As you stumble upon the town of Silent Hill, you'll question right away the true meaning of the extra-thick layers of fog, present everywhere. It's so thick in fact, that James can't see more than 3-4 feet in front of him. During the day.


Throughout the course of the game, he'll wander in abandoned houses, graveyards, meat factories and other disturbingly empty places, unaware of his real purpose in Silent Hill, or the revelation this town it's about to bestow on him. The whole story is essentially solving his case, and everything that's happening around him, has more than deep implications and meaning vis-a-vis his consciousness. 


One time, while trying to decipher a particular puzzle, James stumbles upon a tall figure, with painfully-looking three-angled pointed contraption on it's head. The creature has prominent masculine characteristics, and also, at that moment, is in "conspicuous" position in relation to two other monsters, who are basically contrived of four female legs, each. 


James shockingly tries to remain undetected, by hiding in some wardrobe. Sensing the disturbance, Pyramid Head tries to uncover what caused it, and as he approaches the wardrobe, James in panic shots few rounds of pistol-fire. Surprisingly, that seems to work, and the monster slowly leaves the scene. 


However, the encounter I'm referring to in this list follows not long after, when upon entering a suddenly unlocked door, James is greeted by him, again. But, this time Pyramid Head wields an uncomfortably long, rusty sword, and the very sound it makes while dragged on the floor is enough to make you wanna turn the TV off. James will try to exit through the same door, but, of course, it's locked again, seemingly from the outside. 


The monster slowly walks towards you, scraping with every step, and his attention is not something anyone would wish for. Pyramid Head is really the last person you'll want to be stuck in a room with. He unnervingly follows you around, as you waste all of your ammo on him. Try everything you have if you like, he simply doesn't have pain sensation. He's just one to make you say: "I saw nothing"...


All jokes aside, this encounter is more than terrifying, and is unbearable mostly because of his appearance. Besides being filthy and blood-sprayed, it's obvious that he endures a lot of pain, as the pyramid on his head clearly crushes his skull and deforms his face. Also, that sword seems to be too heavy even for him, and when he swings it, he puts all of his back in the motion. It feels like one more swing and he must rest, but he prevails on. 


So, you'll have to ask yourself, is he trying to punish me (and if so, for what?), or causing himself physical pain is his true goal? And you'll also wonder how'd be like to use his sword against him. Thankfully, you'll have that exact opportunity, when somehow James comes in possession of that particular oversized butcher's knife. 


Hmm, I wonder why, and how that came to be...


6. Deus Ex - Gunther Hermann 


This game was a cocktail of various game genres, like FPS, RPG and adventure, all mixed with strong political undertone, threat of terrorism and alien presence. It was also one of the first games where to the player was given the freedom to largely shape the story, by deciding the outcomes of certain confrontations. Deus Ex was revolutionary in many ways. And even today, more than 15 years after it's release, it remains brilliant. 


The main character, JC (Jesus Christ?!) Denton, is as much of a cocktail (in a sense) as the very game he stars in. He mostly consists of bazillion ultra-tiny nano-machines, who help him with his every-day ordeals. They also allow him superhuman attributes, like super strength, super jump or invisibility, for the cost of bio-energy drained. 


But, he, after all, isn't a machine, although he'll soon learn to question basic facts which normal humans usually don't ever have to suspect. Facts like who are his parents, and where he grew up, finished school, or even who were his childhood friends. Along with the player, JC embarks on a quest to find out many, many truths, regarding the ever-present "invisible hand" turning the world's economical state, as well as his very self.  


And how can he answer all those questions, uncover all those mysteries? The best part is that, you get to decide. By killing, not killing, exploring, hacking, swimming, eating, drinking, jumping, stealing, talking, etc. The world was build like a sand-box for all of JC's tools, and the levels were designed specifically for being tackled by a young, heavily mechanized and ignorant, experiment such as him. 


And, unlike the newer iterations of the franchise (2011's Human Revolution), bosses didn't stray from said principle. In fact, their very hostility is often up to the player, as antagonizing them is not always implied by the story. And more so, even when it does, the nature of the upcoming confrontations is still variable. 


Such as the feud with Gunther Hermann, the hulking mass of steel, blue veins, and persistent German accent. He starts of as JC's superior, the more experienced, now ageing agent of the organisation UNATCO. He seemingly has no problem with sharing his vast knowledge as a spy with the younger adjutant. You frequently talk with him, hang around with him and share a drink or two. At least in the first hours of the game.


As so, when it gets clearer and clearer that he will be sent to dispose of you, later on in the game, JC might very well be armed with the ultimate weapon against him. It's just one of the moments when Deus Ex will test how much attention you have been paying so far, and award those who took the time to snuff around more. 


Because, by doing just that (snuffing around), JC will confirm his thoughts about the state of Hermann's organic-opposed-to-non-organic ratio, and just what that may imply. Of course, being an almost completely mechanized killing machine, in every sense of the word, like Gunther undoubtedly is, has it's perks, and weaknesses also. Crucial weaknesses. Ones who JC can very well incorporate in his MO. Yes, in fact, every machine can be shut down. 


It was a gentlemen's decision for the developers to stay true till the end in their intention to make the game unique and thus, ever-green. So, instead of having another loud, "half a-robot v. more-than-half a-robot stand-out", players were given the choice to completely avoid this potentially fatal situation. And that was something extraordinary for the time when Deus Ex appeared. 


"Laputan machine"...


7. Dark Souls - Four Kings


This is the very game whose notorious difficulty made it quite the gaming phenomenon when it released back in 2011. Although it is a spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed Demon's Souls, the large amount of spotlight attention and popularity that Dark Souls received, still counts as a surprise. It is one of those games who didn't really need a cunning marketing agenda - it's strongest selling point was the fact that anyone who tasted it, simply couldn't stop talking about it for days and days, to everyone he/she knew. 


Dark Souls was an obvious continuation of the same game direction taken with the previous title. But, the good folks at FROM Software clearly did "level up" in doing what they do best, between the two games. Everything in Dark feels fresh, organic and significant, even the ideas that were clearly "borrowed" from the previous game. The combat system was unchanged, and with good reason. The eeriness of the world remained prevalent, and also the lore remained mysterious, such as the insignificance of your character.


But, most importantly, just as before, what Dark Souls had to offer was, in short, an experience of a lifetime. It's no wonder this game so frequently shows up on various "best games of all time" lists. It had no particular flaws word mentioning, and it was down-right masterful in many areas. Most notably, atmosphere and bosses.


One of the higher points of this dark story, IMO, was the New Londo area, forming a strong, cohesive narrative with the boss battle there, The Four Kings. It is one of those places so thematically vivid and all-absorbing, that you'll find it hard to shake off the uneasiness that will grow on you, even after you put down the controller. It will follow you around, until you beat it. Bested it. See it to the end.


And that particular area (not unlike the rest of the game) is worth giving the thorough-est of thorough examinations, I guarantee it. Uncovering just what the hell went wrong with New Londo (and there's so much wrong with it), it's one of the most intricate gaming-itches ever. And it's all round-upped perfectly with that boss battle. 


The abyss (or the nothingness) it's not a place where boss battles are usually held, yet FROM Soft. decided to give us that exact experience. The abyss is seemingly limitless, never-ending and perpetually hungry for more souls, such as yours (and I mean not just the game's currency). It's very existence it's hard to comprehend, but accepting it is pivotal to defeating it. For starters, you'll need a very special ring so it doesn't swallow you whole right away, killing you in the same instant as you approach it. 


And, just after you manage to successfully find your footing (literally), you'll have to adjust to it. It's more than extremely disorienting. As you begin to wrestle with the camera, you'll notice that you are not the only inhabitant of the Abyss. A grey-winged creature appears in the distance, along with the appropriate boss health bar at the bottom of the screen. And a haunting musical theme, of course. The boss's name is "Four Kings", but there's only one there, right?


Wrong... As you have a hard time learning his patterns, and failing to avoid his purple-homing-missile-thingy attack, another one sprawls up behind you. And another one. Still, there's only three of them. So naming them "four kings" it's still inaccurate, you'll come to conclude. And you'll die. 


This battle is a heart-stomping dance of slashes and dodges that you'll have to master, cuz defeating them fast, one by one, it's the only way to stop them from swarming you. And you'll must do that alongside mastering the Abyss. It's a thrill like none felt before. 


Also, try not to stare at those baby-cradling female ghosts for too long... 


8. DMC 3: Dante's Awakening - Final showdown with Vergil


Action games (or ultra-action games, like this one) have always struggled to find a reasonable setting or explanation as to why is there a never-ending wave of enemies, marching towards you and demanding your immediate attention. And this time, it's mostly because this particular pair of Gemini simply can't stand one another. So they send each other invitations for a deadly confrontation, and both of them seem to not give any deeper thought on the matter. They will resolve their "problem", and it will happen soon. And so, we were in for one hell of a ride.


The most popular sword wielding, half-human, half-devil twins in all gaming, never shone more brightly than in their original feud, in Devil May Cry 3. This game is hands-down one of the few ones that have a perfect combat system, combining timing, skill, precision, and even button-mashing, all to create the perfect playground for the player, one where you'll have hours and hours of fun, long after you've finished the story. It probably is the most definitive example of the ultra-action genre, as we are ever going to get. It is a game where you are limited only by your own imagination. 


That being said, the story undoubtedly is a strong driving force when you first play the game, and actually pay attention to it. You play as Dante, the less powerful of the two, who basically founds himself not being able to deny his evil twin's series of challenges, only to prove his point, and subdue him. The story then expands into wider areas, like family, honour and friendship, and it becomes one of the game's strongest points. 


But, the duo remains the most amazing part of the game, mostly because of the game's expert realization of their polar opposite natures. They have completely different and antagonistic views in relation to one another, literally about everything. Basically, they don't agree at all on the subject of what is "cool".


Dante finds firearms, heavy metal, missile-riding and general badassery to be cool, so he wields modern weapons as well as devil-arms (the game's melee-based weapons). He's also a loud-mouth, has a fiery temper and a cheerful personality. And always wears red.


Vergil thinks old-school is cool, so he uses magically-conjured flying swords alongside his close-ranged weapons. He doesn't show any particular interest in music. He is also noticeably cold all around. In his speech, his movement, his viewpoints. He likes power, and likes to get more of it by depriving his twin of his own. And of course, Vergil always wears blue. 


As far as a general breakdown of their characters goes (and I think I nailed it), that's all the game will give you. In the rest of it, you'll get to experience the brawl first hand, as Dante first, and later as Vergil, also. There are three epic fights in the story, and the last one clearly takes the cake. 


Taking place at no-other than the very hell's gate, the brothers duke it out relentlessly, making the crimson waters around them flow ever more crimson, right into oblivion. It's a blood-boiling duel to the death, that ultimately settles the score between them, and decides the stronger of their widely different fighting styles. It will take the best of both of them, and only one will emerge as the better man. But not without the cost of losing one sibling. It would seem, there is no other way for any of them to win.


Luckily, devils never cry...


9. Demon's Souls - Tower Knight


Demons' Souls was and still is, a revelation of original, fresh ideas in modern gaming. A somewhat underrated gem, which no doubt brought that forgotten hand-sweating excitement back in our couch-related favourite past-time activity. A statement of human endurance and perseverance, this masterpiece impressed many with it's high level of un-forgivingness, but it was its even higher level of memorability that passed the test of time. 


Also, it introduced a new concept of multi-player experience, one where players from all around the world are able to enter your very game, in order to help you, or more likely, end you (your avatar, that is). As such, that concept successfully made finishing the game a collective accomplishment, cuz it was very probable that helped arrived when you needed it the most. 


And need it you shall, as you'll face increasingly difficult ordeals, one after another. Imagine passing a narrow bridge filled with many, many enemies armed with swords, spears, shields and crossbows alike. And now imagine a freaking dragon raining fire constantly on top of your head. Yeah. Not the pinkest of situations. And don't forget the intriguing fog door in the distance, laughing as you die again and again, trying to reach it. But, with every death, you drop closer and closer to that threshold. That tiny "progress" you make with every try is the only thing that'll keep you sane. Or so they say.


And finally, after more tries than you'll ever admit, you'll walk through the gate. The sheer spectacle of what awaits you completely overwhelms your senses. It is a welcoming committee like you've never seen before. And you're dead. And back at the beginning of that whole sections I just described. Think pink.


This boss is also the first time the game breaks some of its already insane rules - the simple rule that humanoid enemies have humanoid size. The Tower Knight is gigantic, and has a tower for a shield. Also, 30-something normal sized, crossbow-wielding minions. You'll probably notice the amazing boss music for the first time in the game there, as it paints the hopelessness in you perfectly. Your heart will beat real fast, and you'll find it real hard to concentrate in that tornado of adrenaline you were just hurled into... 


But, you'll eventually find your footing, and you'll also remember your struggle throughout for a long time. Once you man up, there's only one conclusion - this is in fact, the easiest boss in the game. His guards are quickly dispatched, and then you'll focus on his cumbersome feet. Very soon then, he'll stumble on his back, leaving his head exposed for punishment. You'll slowly walk past his sprawling body, all the way to where his undersized head is. He's still breathing, but now you'll make him regret his ways, by bashing his head in.


And you'll savor every moment of it.


10. Diablo 2 - Duriel


Being the unhindered-by-time masterpiece that it is, Diablo 2 brought a lot of fresh ideas to the table, alongside it's deep and engaging skill-tree system. What was merely scratched with the original, this game expanded on, all while never losing it's focus. It had 5 playable classes (7 with the expansion), and all of them were completely different worlds when compared to one another. No, there was no "trifecta" of attack speed, crit hit chance and crit hit damage for all classes, like in some other game I won't even mention. The experience you get while playing this game is thrill-filled and always exciting, and with the many surprises, this game was, and still is, worth replaying multiple times.


Speaking of surprises, certainly one of the most unpleasant ones ever, in any action RPG, is Duriel, the Act 2 Boss. This abomination will very likely cause terror and even physical fear, when it so startlingly jumps on you from the shadows, leaving you alone in sheer shock. And that question: "LOOKING FOR BAAL?"


"Yes, Duriel, I was in fact looking for him, but now that I've found you, that's probably not happening" - you'll come to think in fear, as you're being one-shot by this unfriendliest of unfriendly foes. Over and over again. 


And kudos to whoever at Blizzard North designed this creature. I mean, come on, a monstrous, slimy bug with a cold-oriented powers? A cockroach that freezes it's surrounding area? Probably, because of it's appearance? 


It will take you a long while to re-collect your courage, I tell you now. But, after giving it some thought, you'll realize that you can simply buy thawing potions from the nearby vendor, gurgle them up as tequilas, stuck up on cold res, have some lemons (why not?) and you're ready for another go. Duriel it's basically a gear check, and doesn't have much hit-points. In fact, he's only scary the first time you face him (yes, it's a male). But what a jump-scare that first date is.


Oh, Blizzard...


Boss battles are those infamously devious parts of video games, when one's progress is put to the question of his/her's ability to surmount this newly-presented obstacle. Many a time you will stumble upon such "immovable objects", often when least expected, and you'll need to simply convince the game that you're the "unstoppable force", and strike just as hard back. 


But, surprisingly, boss battles are often the defining moments that bring you closer with the game, rather than push you away. There are times when video games are considered as good as their weakest boss battle. And there are times when a boss is so well designed, thematically and virtually, that it is the first thing you'll think about when you think of that game, henceforth.


Certainly, there are boss battles who I'd love to experience freshly again, just to sense the excitement of slowly understanding how to defeat them again, for the first time. Does that makes sense? Well, assuming that medicine will one day very likely come up with a procedure that will be able to remove specific memories of our RAM (so to speak), it can make a lot of sense, indeed. Of course, it's all just wishful thinking now... But, here's to hoping!



10 Sequels That Blew Away the Original https://www.gameskinny.com/5fi3y/10-sequels-that-blew-away-the-original https://www.gameskinny.com/5fi3y/10-sequels-that-blew-away-the-original Sun, 15 Mar 2015 07:06:08 -0400 The Soapbox Lord


Halo 2 - Xbox


Halo was a landmark game which helped launch Microsoft’s foray into the console world. Halo was a system seller and the reason many of us gathered for grand multiplayer battles with our friends.


If Halo blew us away, Halo 2 knocked our socks off with a Chuck Norris roundhouse, and then put our socks back on only to blow us out of them again. Halo 2 had a more memorable campaign and more developed story than its predecessor. More importantly though, the sequel’s multiplayer laid the foundation for the multiplayer we know and love today. Besides adding more maps, customization options, and weapons, the addition of online multiplayer via the new Xbox Live service helped invigorate online multiplayer for the console world. When the original Live service was getting shut down, Spartans were still waging battles worldwide.


The release of the Master Chief Collection has allowed players to relive the glory days in glorious HD, further cementing this classic into the memories of players everywhere.


Also, the Arbiter > Master Chief. It had to be said. 


Diablo 2 - PC


The original Diablo was a moody hack-n-slash with a dark, Gothic atmosphere and plenty of enemies to transform into gory corpses. The sequel had more of the same, which was not a problem in the case of Diablo, but added even more ways to entice players to play their life hacking away at enemies.


Blizzard added more classes for the sequel. On top of the additional classes, an item crafting system and a new loot classification system were added, along with a host of enhancements for the online experience. Diablo 2 enticed players to click long into the night and has kept them busy to this day. 


Timesplitters 2 - Xbox, Gamecube, & PS2


Timesplitters was developed by the team at Free Radical, most notably composed of people who had worked on the classic FPS Goldeneye. Timesplitters was met with a warm reception both by critics and players alike. For the sequel, Free Radical went all-out with the zany and ridiculous, leading to a shooter unlike anything before and after it.


How many other shooters allow you to play as monkeys, zombies, ninjas, and all sorts of other characters with one of the most robust and fleshed-out multiplayer experiences to date? The campaign was also great, with varied and interesting levels. You know, everything a good shooter should have. Now if only Crytek would hop to an HD release or a new entry in the series.


Super Smash Bros. Melee - Gamecube


Ah, Super Smash Bros. Many fond memories were had playing SSB on the N64. When released, our inner fanboys squealed in delight as we realized dreams of Nintendo characters duking it out could be a reality. We tolerated the abysmal framerate and the awkward N64 controller for hours on end, simply for the joy and good times to be had.


With the release of the Gamecube came the second entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and a host of improvements. Once again, improved technology vastly improved the player experience, resulting in a more stable and enjoyable play session. More characters, inventive stages, and a plethora of modes and extras led to arguably the best Smash game to date. The competitive scene certainly thinks so. 


Hitman 2 - Xbox, Gamecube, & PS2


Hitman: Codename 47 was an interesting release, but was flawed in some key areas. If not for Agent 47’s presence, Hitman 2 could be mistaken for a completely new franchise. Adding more open levels, player freedom, and ironing out stealth mechanics proved successful for IO Interactive and the Hitman series. Hiitman 2 also led to some of the most memorable levels we have seen in the franchise thus far. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to make a trip to St. Petersburg.


System Shock 2 - PC 


The first System Shock took the world by storm upon its release in 1994. The game was something truly unique and ground-breaking. System Shock 2 was all of that and more. With better technology came a more chilling atmosphere, terrifying enemies, and one of the most unnerving antagonists in gaming: S.H.O.D.A.N. This game is considered one of the greatest and most influential - for good reason, as elements of the game can be seen in releases to this day, most notably the Bioshock series. 


Team Fortress 2 - PC


Some players would debate upon whether TF 2 or TF Classic is superior, but it is difficult to argue against TF 2. Since releasing in 2007, the game has received consistent updates packed with additional (FREE) content, and the game itself is completely free to everyone. Diverse classes, great map design, a dedicated community, and varied game modes have helped launch TF 2 into immortality. Now how about learning to count to three Valve?


Saints Row 2 - Xbox 360 & PS3


Saints Row was a GTA imitator which did not do much to set itself apart from other games of its ilk. For the sequel, Violition decided to go all out in the ridiculous department, giving players an open world game unlike any they had ever seen. The series went from a straight-faced gangster story in the original, to having a mission where players drive a truck that shoots sewage at bystanders in the sequel. The shift worked, and three entries later we have played as the President fighting aliens, been to hell, and wielded a dubstep gun. Wub Wub.


Just Cause 2 - Xbox 360 & PS3


Just Cause was met with mixed reception upon launch. Just Cause 2’s launch was the exact opposite and rightly so. Just Cause 2 gave players a massive world to wreak havoc in, as well as the tools necessary to do so. More importantly though, the game gave players the freedom to enact their craziest dreams and a versatile grappling hook to bring those dreams to fruition. You can also surf planes. ‘Nuff said. 


Silent Hill 2 - PS2 & Xbox


The original Silent Hill was a classic and a huge influence on games, especially the survival-horror genre. Silent Hill 2 was a massive improvement on the original in every way. Having the advantage of the power of the PS2 and the Xbox brought the creepy town and nightmarish monsters to terrifying life. There is a reason this is considered not only one of the best games of all time, but also one of the scariest. It also gave us Pyramid Head. A good thing right? 


Sometimes game sequels are so much improved over the original, they completely obliterate their predecessors. In order to narrow down the list of candidates, I decided to only include direct sequels; otherwise, this list might include a hundred games! Feel free to let us know if we missed any of your favorite sequels.

Low Poly, High Expectations: An Interview with Eric Trowbridge of Kickstarter-Backed RPG Phoenix Dawn https://www.gameskinny.com/4p4kz/low-poly-high-expectations-an-interview-with-eric-trowbridge-of-kickstarter-backed-rpg-phoenix-dawn https://www.gameskinny.com/4p4kz/low-poly-high-expectations-an-interview-with-eric-trowbridge-of-kickstarter-backed-rpg-phoenix-dawn Sat, 13 Dec 2014 18:49:13 -0500 Michael Falero

It's a simple story. A young witch, alone in a world full of evil and uncertainty, must go on a quest to save her home from destruction. Yet she has almost no knowledge of how to control her magic, and no one to guide her. She's alone in the void, trying to do what she can to triumph over a seemingly insurmountable task. Between enormous foes, creepy dungeons and expansive deserts, the player must take this journey with her and learn the secrets of her world.

That's the story of Phoenix, the main character of the upcoming game Phoenix Dawn, one of the most recent video games to fundraise successfully on Kickstarter. And it's coming to life thanks to the vision and singular determination of Eric Trowbridge, an Apple techie-turned-game developer. He's embarked on a mission to create a beautiful, gripping, and technologically advanced indie game.

Oh, and it's for mobile.

But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. I sat down for a chat with Eric in order to get the full story of Phoenix Dawn, from its humble beginnings to what we can expect from the story's gameplay and a timeline for full release. We discussed the game's story and main character, Phoenix, and why he's chosen a "Low Poly" design style for his project.

Initial Spark and Kickstarter Success

Eric is one of those people who exudes energy and excitement. When we start our call, I can tell just from his voice how much he's in his element as he dicusses his work, even down to the smallest details. It's a helpful, even necessary, quality to have for an indie developer taking on such an immense project. We start with some small talk, namely how he's been doing since his Kickstarter project wrapped up at the end of September. In the two months since, Eric's moved shop from Chicago to his parent's home in Wyoming. He says his aim was to cut unnecessary costs and to put all the money towards Phoenix Dawn's development.

To start off, I ask him: how exactly did he get the idea to do this project, to drop everything that he was doing and run with this wild idea for a mobile RPG?

Eric Trowbridge: It kind of came out of nowhere. I had previously worked for Apple for eight years. It was when Steve [Jobs] passed that I was starting to think about going off and doing my own thing. I love Apple, but I know it just wouldn’t be the same minus Steve. I had a lot of self-reflection for a couple of years.

I thought about all the things I was passionate about in my life in the past was all related to three things: storytelling, art and technology. Those are my three hardcore passions. And when I thought about which medium did I want to use to use all three of those, game design was just the obvious choice.

Being a lone. aspiring indie developer, Eric decided he would start small, with a mobile game that would be manageable. But the idea didn't have much staying power for him.

Eric: I was like, you know what, if I’m going to have the opportunity to leave my nice job at Apple to build a game, I’m not really passionate about making a small mobile game...The games that I played as a kid that I loved - Chrono Trigger, Diablo, Final Fantasy, all those classics - I wasn't going to go for the scope and scale of those games, [but] I knew I wanted to make something smaller with the same kind of quality. I could take bits and pieces that I loved about those games and bring them together in a different world, and that would be something that I would be staying up all night trying to make. 

People on Kickstarter liked the sound of that. With a goal of $33,000, Phoenix Dawn met its goal on September 25th. By the end of the month, it had beat its stretch goal of $50,000 and secured a spot as a Kickstarter Staff Pick.

Phoenix Dawn -- Kicktraq Mini 

After his move back to Wyoming, Eric says his focus is now on getting the backer rewards out quickly, to show his thanks and how serious he is about the project and the community he wants to build around it.

Eric: The next thing I wanted to focus on right after the Kickstarter was getting the backer rewards out. I’ve been involved in a couple of Kickstarters before and I always wanted to get the goodies. I just don’t like waiting months or even years before you start seeing some of the stuff that you were promised in your pledges. So immediately I wanted to get that out of the way, get the t-shirts ordered, and get some of these physical items out that these backers had paid for.

The reward levels include a copy of the game, access to a Phoenix Dawn "Preview" of around 20% of the game, commemorative coins and artwork, and even the right to design some of the in-game monsters and characters

Game Philosophy and the Story of Phoenix Dawn

I wanted to know how he sees Phoenix Dawn relating to those famous titles: paying homage, reworking their gameplay elements, or both?

Eric mentions again and again throughout our interview those three franchises that he loved as a child, the same three that inspired him to become a game developer: Chrono Trigger, Diablo, and Final Fantasy. In the Kickstarter pitch video and in other publicity Eric has done, they come up time and time again. But I wanted to know the specifics, what exactly about each franchise appealed to him, and which elements of each he looks to for inspiration as he develops Phoenix Dawn. Perhaps most importantly, I wanted to know how he sees Phoenix Dawn relating to those famous titles: paying homage, reworking their gameplay elements, or both?

Eric: One of the games that’s recognized worldwide as having a fantastic story is Final Fantasy 7...that game for me it was that story, and [story] is a big part of Phoenix Dawn. FF7 left you on these little cliffhangers, and you’re learning more about the characters. A lot of the appeal of that game comes from the story and how they tell it in-game. I really want to tell a story through [Phoenix Dawn] in that kind of sense. 

What I love about Diablo is not only the art...but I love Diablo in the sense that it had randomization. Every time I played Diablo, the dungeons were different. Before Diablo 3 came out, there were many times when I was like “Oh I should go and replay Diablo 2”, and it was always fun and different. And I think that’s important for games, to make it different each time the player plays the game, even if they've played it a hundred times.

When it comes to Phoenix Dawn, however, the story seems more reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda franchise, with a young person growing up in a hostile world. 

Eric: I knew I wanted to tell a story of a young lady kind of growing up and becoming her own and overcoming alot of different obstacles. And I knew I wanted the player to go on this journey with her. You start the game and she really has no idea what she’s doing and doesn’t know any magic but by the end of it you really see this transformation and her becoming a young woman.

The Kickstarter page gives a detailed preview of the design and genre of the game but lacked any details about the story arc itself. In the pitch video, Eric provides a short summary of the main character Phoenix: who she is and what challenge faces her and her world. But where is the story now, nearly three months on, and how does Eric go about developing what is such a crucial element for an RPG?

It gave me a better insight into Phoenix’s world, that magic isn’t something that everyone has.

Eric: It’s important that the game devleopment process be very organic...So when I was designing some of the creatures and thinking about the different parts of the game that I’m building for the Preview, including the labyrinth, I came up with these stone golems that you’ll meet in the labyrinth. A piece of the story just came to me right then and there.

It gave me a better insight into Phoenix’s world, that magic isn’t something that everyone has. Phoenix lives in this tiny little village in this desert. Her mother passed away in childbirth, but her mother was the only person in this community who had magic.

Before she had Phoenix, she put a bunch of these magical enchantment around the village to protect it from all these enemies outside. So this labyrinth and the monsters inside of it were something that Phoenix’s mom had made with magic. It’s a kind of interesting element, where her daughter is going through these magical enchantments that her mother, whom she never knew, had created.

 Low Poly, Really? The Making of Phoenix Dawn

Eric Trowbridge isn't entirely on his own. Since September, he's recruited four others to support his work and the building of the Phoenix Dawn community. The majority of the work (coding, designing, artwork and story) remains Eric's responsibility, though he now has a community manager, a forum engineer, and two music composers. Eric spoke of how excited he was about working with the Danish music team, Jens and Per Kiilstofte of Machinimasound, on Phoenix Dawn's full-length soundtrack and in-game sound effects.

Eric: When I was thinking about the SFX, [my community manager] told me, "I’ve worked with these guys in the past and they’re fantastic, you should check them out." I went to YouTube and I thought their music was really great. And then I got a message from them on Skype saying, "Dude your game is awesome, the artwork’s there and we can create music and sound for it."

The samples that they sent me were exactly what that I wanted. My dream for Phoenix Dawn was to create a theme, you know...a lot of these iconic games that we grew up with, like Mario and Zelda, all have those theme songs that as soon as you hear it, you know what game world it belongs to. I really want something identifiable like that for Phoenix Dawn, to really brand the game from an audio perspective.


We discussed at length the gameplay elements Eric's working on: the mix-and-match "spell alchemy" system, puzzles like the labyrinth that will appear in the early game, and supporting characters.

The spell alchemy system purportedly will allow for Phoenix to have customized magical abilities, while the labyrinth and other dungeons are meant to take advantage of those randomization elements reminisicent of Diablo.

On supporting characters and NPCs, I asked if Phoenix Dawn will be a more isolated game because of system constraints.

Eric: I’m very conscious about the workload that I’m giving to myself [with extra characters]. If Phoenix had a party of like five people, to design five characters and animate them, to make sure that they all had deep, rich personalities, would be a huge feat for just me to do. So you’re right, I really limited this first part to really exploring and understanding Phoenix, as well as meeting a couple of really interesting characters in the game, maybe between three and five. But it’s really going to be an isolated game, so that the characters that I do put in the game really have that deep connection and are well done.

One theme that threads through our entire conversation is Eric's focus on the quality of the game. He keeps referencing his experience as a gamer, the games of his childhood, and why they stuck with them. Eric's personal standard when he's creating Phoenix Dawn boils down to a simple question: as a gamer, what do I expect of a game? For him, the question permeates every aspect of game development:

Eric: It’s so challenging to be able to get the art right, the story right, the music right, the SFX right, and all the tech, the UI and UX parts right, it’s so hard to make a really good game. You can have four out of the five of those things be really amazing, and if the sound or the music isn’t, people remember that.

Eric extensively promoted the decision to use a "Low Poly" design aesthetic during the Phoenix Dawn Kickstarter. Under "Art Direction", Eric describes it as "creating simple geometric shapes to represent what would normally be very complex 3D models." It's a design that is less taxing on system resources during gameplay. Yet Eric also sees Low Poly as a beautiful and challenging style to work in.

Eric: Many of us designers are familiar with Low Poly (LP). Going to back to Final Fantasy 7, that could technically be considered LP, not because it was a deliberate decision to make it look that way, but because of the limitations of the technology. Their story was so big, so they had to make the characters blocky-looking. People say to me, “Oh you’re designing it to look like FF7”. And in a way yes...I could have decided to make it look real. But instead my purpose is to make it look LP but also make it look really beautiful.

And I think the overwhelming response has been incredibly positive...Just like for any art style, there’s some really beautiful LP artwork and some really not good LP artwork. It’s not like using a deformer or an effect that you use to make it look LP. There are a lot of design decisions behind making LP look great. I love the challenge that that LP gives you: how can you make something be what it is, like a Low Poly bird...in as few polygons as possible, while still maintaining its essence and what it’s supposed to look like?

An RPG for Mobile and Porting to Desktop

Given his focus on producing an RPG with a quality, an original score, randomization and customized gameplay options, why would Eric try and make the game for mobile? Before I spoke with him, this was the one point I couldn't wrap my head around.

Eric: When you hear the term mobile game, what do you think of? You think of word games, gambling, you don’t think of Final Fantasy or these other console games. There’s a reason for that. When these games started in 2010, mobile devices couldn’t handle it: they didn’t have the storage capacity, they didn’t have the power to drive that sort of experience. But then I thought, that’s really not true anymore today. All these new Apple and Samsung phones are actually incredibly powerful devices.

I look at the larger developer community for mobile games as a whole, and we’re still making these tiny little games...I thought, “maybe it’s time to change the way people look at what a mobile game could be”.

He also takes issue with common mobile game tropes like in-app purchases and advertisements. He refers to them as symptoms of a "broken game", and the cause of much of the stigma surrounding mobile gaming as a whole.

But which phones will be able to play Phoenix Dawn? Eric says the decision was a one that required a sense of balance and "yin and yang", but that devices released in the last two years would be able to play the game. It makes sense, when you consider that many smartphone users in the US use contract upgrades to change their phones every year or two.

Phoenix Dawn will be also be coming to PC, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone and Ouya. Because the Kickstarter reached its stretch goal of $50,000, Eric plans to release ported versions alongside iOS and Android. The upcoming Unity 5 engine should help the process, though Eric made a point to say that he won't release a port of the game until he's tested it on each platform and is satisfied with the results.

Looking Ahead: Release and DLC Potential

With the backer rewards out and a growing Phoenix Dawn community waiting in anticipation, Eric's in the depths of game development. With full knowledge that game developers avoid doing so, I pressed him for a release date for Phoenix Dawn.

Eric: I put it out there that it would be some time in 2015, the first half of 2015. A lot of people said “that’s just not possible, there’s no way you’re going to get this done”. I’m not saying its not possible, the key behind meeting target is don’t put any specific pins on the board, like “it is definitely going to come out in June of 2015." My goal is to make a product that’s really fun and memorable, and keeping everyone informed where the game’s at, and being transparent about the whole process. And so my goal is still sometime next year.

On a cheerier note, I asked if he forsaw the possibiltiy of DLC for the game, given how much positive feedback Phoenix Dawn had received during the Kickstarter.

Eric: I have definitely left many pieces open to possible DLC, where the story could continue. If the game does do well and people like what I’ve set up, I want to be able to dive into her world even deeper.

And as a message for other prospective game developers, Eric hopes that Phoenix Dawn's success will inspire them to use Kickstarter to create their own artistic projects.

Eric: I want to make a game that can inspire others, and to tell them that I had no prior game development experience. I was just a techie. I’ve never put a game together from start to finish. But if you really want to do it, you can, you just have to make sure that you create something that’s really great and that you don’t compromise.

To learn more about Phoenix Dawn, take a look at its Kickstarter page,  community forum, and the apixal Twitter page.

The Top 5 RPGs That I Have Played https://www.gameskinny.com/r7g8v/the-top-5-rpgs-that-i-have-played https://www.gameskinny.com/r7g8v/the-top-5-rpgs-that-i-have-played Wed, 14 May 2014 09:44:00 -0400 onpv3rtigo1

Role playing games are something that I do not play much.  But when I do play them they have to grab my attention quickly or and keep it or else I will lose interest like most people would with any game.  The following is a "Top Five" of my favorite RPGs that I have played throughout my 30 plus years of game playing.

Dragon Warrior

Dragon Warrior was developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix of Japan for the Famicion system (NES in North America).  Released on May 27, 1986, Dragon Warrior had players take control of a hero who has set out to save the Kingdom of Alefgard and rescuing the princess from the evil Dragonlord.

Gameplay was fairly linear and simple as compared to todays RPGs.  Battles happened randomly as you were exploring the world and combat was turn based and happened via menu selections.

I played this game when it was first released so I was pretty young.  I think what caught my eye was the dragon on the cover.  But after I started playing, I thought that random battles were cool.  I also liked grinding for more gold so I could afford the most powerful gear I could get my hands on.  I did this mainly because I was sick and tired of getting killed by progressively harder versions of Slime.

Diablo 2

Developed and published by Blizzard and released on June 29, 2000, Diablo 2 is a hack and slash roleplaying game that follows shortly after the events of the original Diablo.  You are charged with following a character, known only as the "Dark Wanderer", across the game's world of Sanctuary before he can bring about the resurrection of the Lord of Terror, Diablo, after his defeat in the first game.  You start your quest with choosing one of five character classes each having unique abilities and gameplay styles.

What I liked most about this game was the hack and slash gameplay along with how the loot system works.  Everything that you find or is dropped in the game is randomly generated as far as its stats and abilities.  That means you will be hard pressed to find or ever find the same thing twice.  Even if you have never played the Diablo series at all you may have played Borderlands 1 or 2.  If you have then you know how the loot system works and pretty much where it came from.  Diablo.

Mass Effect series

This one is hard for me to pin on just one game in the series.  The main reason for this being that I see the three games as a whole similar to how I see the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  My reasoning for this is how the developer, Bioware, incorporated the ability to transfer your game saves from one game to another to make one big cohesive story.

The Mass Effect series consists of three main games, Mass Effect released on November 20, 2007, Mass Effect 2 released January 26, 2010 and Mass Effect 3 released on March 16, 2012.  They were all developed by Bioware and was originally under the Microsoft Game Studios banner until the second game when it fell to Electronic Arts.

The story involves you character, referred to as Commander Shephard, and his/her journey across the galaxy to stop the systematic eradication of all life in the galaxy by beings known as Reapers.  Along the way you will meet up with and recruit  many characters who will join you in your fight.  Many of these characters have their own story and subplot to tell and for you to help them through.

What I like most about this series as a whole is the plot and storytelling.  As stated before, the ability to import your save data from one game to the next is something that as not been done before and makes for an extremely cohesive story.  If, for example, you assisted an NPC character in Mass Effect and helped them accomplish a goal, they will most likely show up in Mass Effect 2 or 3 and either help you out in some way or have something else for you to help them with. 

In accordance to this if, say, in Mass Effect you make a decision that results in one of your party getting killed, that character is dead for the rest of the series and the game adjusts the story and dialogue choices accordingly.  I had so many separate play throughs of this series, each making different choices along the way, just to see how those choices affected the outcome.  I have never played a game quite like that.

Final Fantasy 7

Released in North America on September 7, 1997 and developed by Squaresoft, Final Fantasy 7 was the first game in the Final Fantasy series that I had exposed myself to.  You take control of Cloud Strife and his colleagues as they go on a journey to save "The Planet" from dying at the hands of the Shinra Corporation.

Battles were random encounters and the combat was a combination of turn base and real time with the combat being controlled via menus.  There were mini games abound throughout the game.  There was even one where you had to dress up Cloud as a girl to try to free one of your companions.

What I liked most about this game was the characters.  They were cool, fun and had great, distinctive personalities, Vincent Valentine being my favorite.  My least favorite being that whiny little beeotch Yuffie.  She stole my Materia (magic) and I will hence never forgive her and harbor an extreme hatred of the girl.  Also, for the time, the cinematics that forwarded the story, were absolutely stunning and I could not wait to watch the next one.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

Released on November 11, 2011 (11/11/11), Skyrim is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series originally started with Arena in 1994.  Developed by Bethesda, Skyrim is an action RPG where your character is unwittingly freed from being executed by the return of dragons to the land of Skyrim.  After you are freed from captivity you are free to play or approach the game any way you like and you are free to advance your character in any way you would like.  This is also my all time favorite RPG.

This is what makes playing Skyrim a unique experience for everyone who plays and it is this freedom and openness that I enjoyed most about this game.  After I was freed from my captors, I wandered around the insanely huge realm of Skyrim for 40 plus hours doing whatever I felt like doing without even touching any quest in the main story.  To this day I think I have only put in 220 hours or so and only did three, maybe four main story quests.  

You can also put this freedom of choice in your character.  Between choosing your race, each with their own innate benefits, to choosing how you go about engaging in combat, if you find that something isn't working quite the way you want or you are getting killed way to much, change the way you play.  If, for example, you are trying your hand at being a mage but are getting bum rushed too much by melee attacking enemies, then switch your play style and work on using two-handed battle axes.  The game doesn't penalize you for switch nor are you stuck with being a mage unless you start over.

Well this is my personal "Top Five" list based on the RPGs that I have played in my life.  If you have your own favorites, leave them in the comments so that they can be discussed unless I become vaklempt then you must talk among yourselves and discuss.

100 Best Boss Fights: 50 - 41 https://www.gameskinny.com/pgkbc/100-best-boss-fights-50-41 https://www.gameskinny.com/pgkbc/100-best-boss-fights-50-41 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:50:28 -0400 Death Metal Hero


Part 1: 100 - 91


Part 2: 90 - 81


Part 3: 80 - 71


Part 4: 70 - 61


Part 5: 60 - 51

41.) Far Cry 3 - Vaas

Far Cry 3 is one of the best FPS games I have had the pleasure of playing, and the fight with Vaas was truly epic. Raiding the compound lone wolf style was nothing short of awesome, and then when you finally find Vaas he stabs you with a poisoned knife. The entire one on one fight is a complete hallucination, which makes it one of the best fights in the game. Plus it’s completely satisfying to see Jason stab the snot out of Vaas.

42.) Diablo 2 - Baal

The Lord Of Destruction expansion pack was one of my favorite parts of Diablo 2. Fighting Mephisto and Diablo was an amazing experience, but the bout against Baal was more challenging and exciting than both of the previous prime evils combined. Getting to the world stone was test and then some, but when Baal summons a clone of himself things got a bit too intense. Make sure to bring some friends for this hell spawn, you’re going to need them.

43.) Donkey Kong Country - King K. Rool

Donkey Kong Country is notorious for its unrelenting and brutal difficulty--Even though the person in this video makes the fight look like a cake walk--King K. Rool was a nightmare, well he was when I was a kid. After dodging crowns and cannon balls the King is supposedly defeated, and the credits roll. But after the credits King K. Rool jumps back up and hops around like a mad man trying to stomp out DK and Diddy. But don’t worry, a few more bonk’s on his shiny dome should do the trick.

44.) Super Mario 64 - Bowser

Although you face Bowser plenty of times in Super Mario 64, the last time you fight him is definitely the most epic. Seeing as it is a damn chore just to get to him, because of the sadistic obstacle course of a level he puts before him. Then once you finally reach him, its dark, its scary, and the platform starts to fall apart half way through the fight. Run behind him and grab his tail, and then spin the thumb stick counterclockwise to throw him into a bomb.

45.) Resident Evil - Tyrant

The original Resident Evil is still one of the best of the franchise, and definitely one of the scariest. The last fight of the game is really intense, even by today’s standards. It doesn’t matter if you pick Jill or Chris, they both run around and move similar to a tank. Meanwhile tyrant zips around the rooftop of the mansion like a 90‘s kid hopped up on Surge and Fun Dip. Hopefully you still have a bit of ammo left over, because you’re going to need it. After awhile Brad drops a rocket launcher down for you to kill Tyrant with, just make sure you aim it correctly, you only have four shots and Tyrant can deflect them.

46.) Megaman X2 - Zero

Technically fighting Zero would be considered a secret, but if you fail to find all of Zero’s parts before challenging Sigma then he will have to be fought. The fight starts off with Zero blasting a barrage of super charged attacks at X, followed up by a beamsaber attack. Make sure you have plenty of full energy tanks, because he hits like a truck. Zero will also dash forward and slam the ground before him, sending debris flying upwards. Be careful during this fight, because Zero tends to block your attacks from time to time.

47.) Turok 2 - Primagen

Turok 2 has a special place in my heart, I grew up trying to beat the game and never succeeded, not without using the ultimate cheat code: BewareOblivionIsAtHand. Although there are very few bosses in the game, Primagen has to be the most epic out of all of them. After placing all of the level keys, a portal opens up to Primagen’s lightship and the fight begins. After avoid a barrage of grenades, and killing some annoying enemies Primagen finally comes out of hiding to face Turok. Using his wings Primagen will leap across the platform in pursuit of Turok, along with shooting some plasma beams and more grenades. After blasting away Primagen’s health bar three times he dies via disintegration, a worthy death for a worthy foe.

48.) Tekken 3 - True Ogre

Although the person in the video makes it look like fighting Ogre and True Ogre is a cake walk, I can assure you it’s not, especially if you are not good at fighting games. After defeating Ogre once he will then absorb Heihachi Mishima and turn into True Ogre, which is a monstrous demon entity hell bent on destroying you. You might want to turn down the difficulty a bit when fighting him, because he hits like an atom bomb.

49.) Castlevania - Death

Getting to death in the original Castlevania was nothing short of a miracle for me, but when it came down to fighting him I just could not defeat the reaper. From his seemingly random scythes that fly by the hundreds around the room, to Death himself. Death likes to float from one side of the room to the other, and if he touches you, you lose a massive 4 slots of health.

50.) Kingdom Hearts - Ice Titan

This secret boss has to be by far the hardest boss in the original Kingdom Hearts, seeing at level 69 Sora can die in three hits. If you try to get close to the Ice Titan while he is not stunned then you will simply get your face kicked in, in order to deal any damage to him you must parry his ice bolts back at him. After every bar of health that the Ice Titan loses, he gains another attack that is used when he moves. Eventually the fight is just mass chaos, if you have managed to defeat this boss then I tip my hat to you.


There have been some really cool, and most epic boss fights in the history of video games. But with there being so many, how do we know which ones are the best? It's all a matter of opinion, with that said this is my list for the 100 best boss fights of all time. 


What makes a boss fight the best? Well a number of things; the fight has to be memorable, it can also be epic, or outright insane. A boss fight can be unforgiving in difficultly, or it can be as simple as pressing the A button. Whatever the boss fight is, all that matters is that I enjoyed it in one way or another.

Gaming with Mio Padre https://www.gameskinny.com/vw0qv/gaming-with-mio-padre https://www.gameskinny.com/vw0qv/gaming-with-mio-padre Sun, 14 Jul 2013 20:14:25 -0400 MirandaCB

As a little girl I always loved watching my dad play games, and he was the one I went to whenever I couldn't get past a difficult--but uber easy now that I'm older--part. I remember watching him play Diablo and Diablo 2, desperately wanting to play. When he did let me play, I could barely push myself past the Blood Moors in Diablo 2. Do you remember the Xena: Warrior Princess show from years ago? I played the game to death, and he helped me through the same hard boss puzzles the multiple times I fought through it. As my video game influencer, I figured I should ask mon cher père

Context: He's a busy guy as a graphic designer and his gaming days have slowed down, but games are our bonding time when we're 900 miles apart. Mostly insane Diablo 2 binges. And just today, I convinced him to get Borderlands, so we're gonna have a ball exploring Pandora in the next few weeks. 

What's your favorite video game of all time?

"Quake 3 Arena."

What would be a close second?

"Oh. Diablo 2."

Why do those two games appeal to you most?

"For Quake, it's the multiplayer, mods, and fast speed pretty much.

I enjoy Diablo's art, the way the character art/animation improve with your level, addictive gameplay...

Necromancers are sweet. It's addictive, I must like it."

What's the earliest game you remember playing?

"Pong. On a machine that only played Pong - in the '70s. I imagine people aren't going to know what Pong is anymore--'Pong? What's that? '70s whaa?' So. Old."

What do you look for in games nowadays if the mood strikes? 

"I guess a name I can trust like Id or Blizzard. I don't get just any video game."

What's Love Got To Do With An ARPG? https://www.gameskinny.com/9ldhb/whats-love-got-to-do-with-an-arpg https://www.gameskinny.com/9ldhb/whats-love-got-to-do-with-an-arpg Sun, 14 Jul 2013 19:05:29 -0400 Sarah Lou

ARPGs have never really been my thing, despite trying several different titles. In an attempt to rouse my interest, my boyfriend and I rolled new characters on Path of Exile, a free ARPG made by Australian developers Grinding Gear Games. While playing these new toons, I asked my boyfriend a few questions to better understand his love for and interest in ARPGs.

What is an ARPG?

"Uh, Action RPGs tend to be third person, top down, point and click slaughter fests that have a lot of RPG elements such as: leveling, skills, classes, lore, varying enemies and monster types, bosses and loot/gear."

What ARPGs have you played?

"Torchlight 1 & 2, all three Diablo games, Titan Quest and it's expansion."

Do you have a favorite?

"Umm, probably just D2 out of nostalgia but PoE would definitely be a new favorite."

What was your first ARPG?

“Diablo 2.”

What about Diablo 2 pulled you into this genre?

"Well, it was, uh, really fun and it’s the first its type that I played. And it was kind of like League of Legends today, in the sense that you could just hop on and play with friends, make a passworded server. It was also one of the first games I’d played with a very dark art style, which was something I wasn’t used to, but enjoyed. On top of that, it was probably one of the first PC games I played aside from Runescape."

 How did you feel about Diablo 3?

"I dunno, it’s kinda hard to articulate my feelings on it. It was fun with friends but, it’s uh, death system made it so I pretty much only played Hardcore and once you got towards the higher difficulties made the early game boring. Because you’d get to like nightmare or hell and then normal is a joke. But if you die in harder difficulties, you have to start at normal again."

 What was after Diablo 3?

"Torchlight 2."

How was that?

"It was really fun. I liked it’s art style, environments, and monsters. Getting towards the end of the game was a bit tedious because I played on the highest difficulty from the beginning, but it was worth it. The game was only twenty bucks unlike D3 which was sixty and had a lot of bugs."

What makes PoE stand out from other ARPGs?

"Well, for one, it’s free, which I think not only appeals to people who have been burnt out on the genre, but those who have never tried ARPGs can get into it without having to spend money. It also has a cash shop that offers items you’ll never really need. It’s not pay to win like D3. It also has a lot of unique concepts, it has a passive skill tree (huge skill tree) and it’s barter system replaces currency. Unlike other ARPGs where you have to grind mobs for gold. You never have to go out and buy gold because there is none."

You’ve downed the last boss on PoE already, why do you continue to play with friends?

"It’s just, uh, due to the passive skill tree and the skill system. You can still put points in the skill tree and get stronger even if you’ve killed the last boss. They have multiple difficulty levels like other ARPGs so you can start on normal and keep going up."

Any sage advice for anyone that wants to try an ARPG?

"If you don’t like one, maybe try another one. The market is pretty saturated for ARPGs, so even if you don’t like one, you might like another one. And definitely try to play with friends."

Thanks, babe! I'll go ahead and apologize to my readers for all the "Uhs" and "Ums," killing zombies can be quite distracting.

"No problem."

As far as how PoE has made me feel about ARPGs, the jury is still out on that. But this avid ARPGer is really enjoying it, to say the least.

Diablo III Summoned to Consoles this September https://www.gameskinny.com/vliw9/diablo-iii-summoned-to-consoles-this-september https://www.gameskinny.com/vliw9/diablo-iii-summoned-to-consoles-this-september Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:23:55 -0400 Max Jay

Blizzard has announced that the legendary Diablo III will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 on September 3, 2013.

In the press release Blizzard said that the gameplay is “custom tailored” to using a controller, so maybe we won't have to fumble through eight billion menus to get something done. They also say that the game will be compatible with bot PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, which seems obvious because it is.

Blizzard is also bribing console owners with some free gear for pre-ordering the game. Anyone who gets the console version will receive the Infernal Helm, which will boost the experience points earned by the player.

I don’t know about you, but being that there’s a new console generation coming up between one and three months after the console release of this game I probably won't be picking it up. Will you?

Also, do you think it’s pointless for developers to release games on consoles months after the PC version has shipped? Sound off in the comments down below and maybe I’ll scrub your entire bathroom clean while you’re not home so you come back to a nice surprise!

Round 2, Diablo 2, Blog 4, GO! [Blizzard Rant] Pt.4 https://www.gameskinny.com/bxl25/round-2-diablo-2-blog-4-go-blizzard-rant-pt4 https://www.gameskinny.com/bxl25/round-2-diablo-2-blog-4-go-blizzard-rant-pt4 Tue, 30 Apr 2013 21:45:40 -0400 Yorobashi

I should state that before I get too far into this blog that I didn't start playing Diablo 2 until about 2004; if you've followed my rant to this point, you'll probably remember that overbearing parent who destroyed the Diablo CD my step dad brought home?  Well, Diablo 2 required me to have one of my older friends go and buy it for me.  I had wanted to get a hold of the game for years, and after me and all my friends from high school got into it, it was the birth of something amazing.  I had always been a solo gamer up until this point. Diablo 2 online multiplayer changed my perspective of PC gaming.

If anything stands as a testament to just how great of a game Diablo 2 is, I still play it to this day.  I consider it to be the origin of the gaming community me and my friends have built around us over the years as well as the point in time when I started becoming interested in what the future of video games were.  Diablo 2 triggered a large number of life decisions for me, among those was the goal to one day be involved in the development of video games.

Aside from the just incredible cooperative multiplayer aspect that I had only ever experienced in Warcraft 3 custom maps up until this point, Diablo 2 has one of the most entangling story lines of any game I've ever played.  The dark nature of the cut scenes coupled with the overwhelming sense of dread that the people of this world experienced sucked my young mind in and has never let go.  Deckard Cain's "back in my day" themed stories were always good for a laugh and helped break up the over arching dark story line. While the game's character progression system just continued to bring you back day after day to keep on playing, keep leveling, keep getting new gear, a theme that I feel was greatly lost upon the dev team for Diablo 3.

Things are just getting interesting. Be sure to check out Part 5 of my blizzard rant for some good old "vanilla WoW is best WoW, so get over it" ranting!