Divinity: Original Sin Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Divinity: Original Sin RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network How Much of an Improvement is Divinity: Original Sin 2 Over the First Game? https://www.gameskinny.com/qoe98/how-much-of-an-improvement-is-divinity-original-sin-2-over-the-first-game https://www.gameskinny.com/qoe98/how-much-of-an-improvement-is-divinity-original-sin-2-over-the-first-game Sun, 30 Oct 2016 10:54:18 -0400 Stefano Bonacchi

Larian Studios is a Belgian development studio that created the Divinity franchise -- a series of RPGs that take a lot from earlier classics such as Baldur's Gate and Diablo. 

The series started back in 2002 with Divine Divinity, but it was pretty obscure back then and didn't become well-known until later -- when its most recent installment, Divinity: Original Sin, brought it some fame. And pretty soon, the upcoming Divinity: Original Sin 2 will hope to enthrall even more RPG fans. 

Divinity: Original Sin was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, came out in 2014, and is technically a prequel to Divine Divinity. It is set at a time of conflict between the Sourcerors -- evil and corrupted magicians who use a power called "the source" -- and an order of Mages and Knights, who devote their lives to eliminating the Sourcerors.

Such order will go on to become the Divine order mentioned in the backstory of Divine Divinity, and the main characters of Original Sin are part of it.

So where does Divinity: Original Sin 2 stand on the timeline and what is it bringing to the table?

More Story and More Depth

For starters, Original Sin 2 will be flipping the narrative point-of-view around, as it's played from the perspective of a party of Sourcerors. Thus far the series has asked players to either fight against these Sourcerors or claimed that they were evil and corrupt, so this is a very welcome change which might make for interesting developments to the background lore of the world of Rivellon.

Original Sin 2 also increased the customization aspect of character creation by allowing players to choose 1 out of 4 possible races -- dwarves, lizardmen, humans, or elves -- with each having its own strenghts and weaknesses. While this may not sound groundbreaking, it does add to what the previous installment offered in terms of classes, allowing for a nice amount of variety that accommodates more play styles.

Another interesting addition is "Origin Stories" -- questlines that are specific for each possible origin which you chose through your character background during creation. These backstories that you get to explore will further differentiate each and every possible character you could create, and make them feel more fleshed out. If the origins are well-written and different enough from each other, this is bound to be a good addition.

Better Balancing and Strategic Mechanics

The game also divides fighting and social skills into different skill trees. While leveling up, you do not have to choose between being a good fighter and a good talker, because you'll receive skill points for both trees separately. The goal of this is arguably to have characters be more well-rounded and capable of success in as many situations as possible, combat related or not. 

The combat system has also been refined and upgraded for the upcoming sequel. First of all, your defensive capabilities are now divided into Physical and magical armor, making it harder to just resist everything and creating the need to strategize about which defense to increase and when.

New to this game is an on-screen indicator that shows an enemy's visual range, which allows properly sneaky players to avoid encounters that would have led to battle with Original Sin 1's game mechanics.

Statistics were revamped as well. A new statistic, Memory, was added in -- which will be of vital importance to casters, because it determines the amount of spells they are able to use in combat. The spells that are combat-ready can be changed at any time outside of battle. 

These various additions contribute to making the game more about planning than before. In fact, each character's action points have been reduced too, making the combat more strategic and deep.

PvP and the Brawl Arena

The biggest change between Original Sin and Original Sin 2 has to do with the online component of the game. In the upcoming sequel, you can play with up to 4 friends in co-op, instead of only 2 like in the previous game. And more importantly, a PvP mode has been introduced where players can fight each other in a special Arena.

The game has been overall revamped and given some quality-of-life enchancements. The overhaul for this sequel runs the gamut from minor things like the GUI, to a better graphics engine that allows for much finer details and smoother animations overall. These, like the many gameplay changes, are only scratching the surface of what's different and new about Divinity: Original Sin 2.

All in all, Divinity: Original Sin 2 looks like it will give us harder battles, and many more things to do than its predecessor. I would consider it an improvement upon everything Original Sin offered.

What do you think? Has enough changed between the two games? Has too much changed? Will you be picking up the game when it leaves Early Access and launches on Steam? Let me know in the comments!

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How Divinity: Original Sin 2 will Become the Best RPG of the Year https://www.gameskinny.com/y96wt/how-divinity-original-sin-2-will-become-the-best-rpg-of-the-year https://www.gameskinny.com/y96wt/how-divinity-original-sin-2-will-become-the-best-rpg-of-the-year Thu, 08 Sep 2016 06:37:55 -0400 Sergey_3847

Larian Studios, the developer of the highly-successful Divinity series of RPG video games, is trying to make something unprecedented. At the end of this year they will release the sequel to the first Divinity: Original Sin, which became one of the biggest titles of 2014. And, they promise to turn it into something that RPG community has never seen before.

Some of the details about Original Sin 2 have already been revealed previously, but this year's game conferences allowed Larian to show their next game in the best light possible. We will look into all the new details about the game and discuss how this installment of Divinity will turn the world of RPG gaming upside down.

In the vast ocean of choices

Divinity: Original Sin 2 character creation

The first Original Sin introduced a system of decisions that would define all of the following chain of events. This is, of course, nothing special, but what made it stand out from the rest of the games is the sandbox approach, where you had a number of tasks and rules, and the rest you had to figure out yourself. Such non-linear approach made Divinity: Original Sin truly exciting.

The number of ways you could approach each quest was pretty huge, some of which were genuinely unexpected and surprisingly satisfying. You could do anything from blackmailing the NPCs to classical evidence research. So, no matter which way you chose, at the end you would always come to the same conclusion.

If the goals of players do not coincide, they can separate and do their own thing.

Now, in Original Sin 2 this idea grows even further. The sequel will have twice as many choices and twice as much freedom of action than the previous game. Just take a look at the very first mission in Original Sin 2 that shows the protagonist being imprisoned for using the Source magic – there are eleven possible ways of finding the way out of the jail with a lot of secrets to look for on your way. And remember, this is only the beginning of the game.

The further you go, the wider your spectrum of choices becomes. Stealing will be much more complicated in Original Sin 2, supported by the entire system of suspicion degrees and investigations. You will be listed as a suspect and can be searched on the street by the guards. All this is quite amazing, taking into consideration a simple green/red indication system from the first game (green – good to steal; red – steal, but be ready to get punished).

The world of Original Sin 2 is three-dimensional, which will allow the combat to take place on different planes, highs and lows. There are also more physical properties added, such as blessing or cursing the land in addition to the already established burning oil and flooding water effects. All this adds a whole another level of mechanics to this fantastic game.

Characterization and cooperative mode

Divinity: Original Sin 2 cooperative mode

The idea of cooperative gameplay has been present in the first Original Sin, but it was limited to two players only. Now, in Original Sin 2 this number is increased by another two, so you can have four people playing together within the same campaign.

More than that, if the goals of players do not have to coincide -- they can separate and do their own thing, even if their goals are in direct conflict with the rest of the party. This element of cooperative gameplay in Original Sin 2 is really something special and can add so much more tension to the entire experience.

Recently Larian also introduced an Arena Mode to the game for cooperative PvP. This feature along with the first act of the main campaign will be available on September 15th at Steam Early Access. This feature has been added after fans bombarded the development team with the requests to create a PvP mode that wasn’t present in the first game.

Larian heard the fans and decided to implement it as early as possible. The walkthrough of the first act will take about 18-20 hours, so fans need to have something to do before the rest of the content will arrive in December. And PvP is the best way to spend time with friends online and test the new engine of the game.

Deeper storyline and interactions between players

The characters and story in the first game have been quite simple, but this time Larian hired an entire team of writers in order to expand the story and really make it work. The races have received a much deeper characterization, including various traits and skills that will increase the sense of each character’s individuality. All these elements will influence the dialogue choices and their outcomes.

Every character in Original Sin 2 has its own storyline that intertwines with the fates of other characters and an entire main campaign. For example, a character named the Red Prince desires to return his position on a royal throne in the lizard kingdom. While an Elf lady named Sebille escapes her enslavement from the lizards… and then decides to kill them all. So, you can only imagine what kind of interactions these two will have in the game.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 doesn’t follow a typical good vs. bad scenario.

Elves have access to the lizards’ memories by touching their limbs, so they can learn the names and locations of important lizards that they need to assassinate. This objective stands against the goal of the Red Prince who needs those lizards alive to be able to return to his native kingdom. So, at this stage the conflict becomes really fascinating.

This leads to a simple and sometimes sad conclusion that one of the characters may fail the campaign, if one doesn’t prevent these events from unfolding. It is possible that players will be able to agree and help each other, but what do you do if your party is separated, and everybody’s doing their own thing?

If you play in single mode, then the rest of the characters are controlled by AI, which is not as fun, but at least you still get to play the main campaign.

Source and Sourcerers

Divinity: Original Sin 2 source

The Source, a powerful magic, is the central part of the game – everything revolves around it. Each character in the game has one point of mana for using the Source, which may not even be enough to cast some bigger spells. This will prompt characters to combine their mana through a magic connection and cast the spell together, which is a really neat idea.

You can use Source in different ways for both good and bad deeds. This will strongly influence your reputation and will bring certain results. For example, if you’ve become a powerful dark Sourcerer, expect evil demons visiting you (and bugging you) on a regular basis throughout your campaign.

This means that Divinity: Original Sin 2 doesn’t follow a typical good vs. bad scenario, but opens up opportunities for every kind of in-game activity -- perhaps even a true return to the nine alignments set forth by games like DnD. This is not surprising, since the writers of the Original Sin 2 confessed that they had been inspired greatly by the works of Terry Pratchett. They wanted to make the world of Rivellon just as absurd as the Discworld in the Pratchett’s novels.

Conclusion

It would be hard to believe that all these features are available in the game only if they haven’t been already shown them off during multiple presentations this summer. So, it does look like Divinity: Original Sin 2 will actually deserve this year’s title of the best RPG game.

It is still unknown how many hours the full walkthrough will take, but if the first one had over a 100 hours in it, then the second one should be twice as long, which is incredible. It is possible that things may change before the actual release this December, but the framework is set and there should be no delays whatsoever.

The last thing that should be mentioned to intrigue you even more is that one of the writers on the project is Chris Avellone - the founder of Obsidian Enetrtainment – a team that developed last year’s Pillars of Eternity.

So, do you still have any doubts about how big and strong Divinity: Original Sin 2 will be? Express your thoughts in the comments section.

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The best computer role-playing games of our decade. https://www.gameskinny.com/11h2v/the-best-computer-role-playing-games-of-our-decade https://www.gameskinny.com/11h2v/the-best-computer-role-playing-games-of-our-decade Mon, 18 Apr 2016 04:29:53 -0400 Joshua Potter

The role-playing genre has long been the cinematic crux of gaming. From humble roots in games like Adventure on the Atari 2600, where you simply controlled a square wandering an 8-bit world, to modern powerhouse games like Final Fantasy XV that strive to revolutionize graphics engines, players have always craved the immersion granted by classic RPGs.

For PC gamers, there's a special sub-genre of RPG that is near and dear to our hearts -- the CRPG. These computer role-playing games were all the rage a decade or two ago, and have recently been making a bit of a comeback. Hallmarks of the genre included RPG elements like classes and customizable stats, turn-based combat, and often a top-down perspective. In light of this resurgence for CRPGs, we decided to round up some of the best ones from the past decade. Here they are.

1. Diablo 3

Leading the list is Activision Blizzard's own Diablo 3. Many gamers know the Diablo series from its predecessors, and held high expectations for the third installment. Naturally, the high expectations were hard to meet, and Diablo 3's initial release was shaky at best, due to issues with players not being able to play the game at all, or the in famous real money auction house.

After restructuring their staff, Activision Blizzard's game began picking up steam again. Following a new expansion, the removal of the auction house, reworks to the classes, and the introduction of "seasons" similar to other sports, Diablo 3 was able to become one of the best action role-playing games in the genre.

2. Divinity: Original Sin

With 11 different classes, attributes, and ability modifiers to define your character, talent and skill points to invest in, and a huge crafting system, Divinity: Original Sin really has a lot going on for it. The series is also cooperative, making for a great thematic adventure you can share with your friends. The game even uses an in-game relationship system based on how your characters choose to respond to the NPCs and the choices they make. There is also a turn-based system for combat, making Divinity: Original Sin stand out against its competitors, since it embraces its roots so well.

The game's humor is well established, and you are able to customize your character's attitude and choose a class right from the start. There are also several classes unique to the series, such as Wayfarers, the dexterous mages, or Enchanters, the manipulators of minds.

 3. Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity, similar to Divinity: Original Sin, has a selection of 11 classes, and races familiar to the Dungeons and Dragons crowd -- dwarves, elves and your occasional godlike being. The game includes skills that will be familiar to veterans of role-playing -- such as athletics checks and survival. This allows you to specialize your characters not only for the purposes of satisfying an objective, but also adding that extra layer of personality to who you're creating.

If you're looking for a single player experience to emulate the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition experience, this game is one of the hottest out there.

4. Torchlight

What sets Runic Games' Torchlight apart is just how gosh-darn cute it is! The character sprites for this game are amazing. To start it off, you get to pick a pet to accompany you throughout your adventures. Your pet is able to fight alongside you in combat, and even tote your trash loot back and forth between towns. My dog being able to barter with merchants for wares is pretty extraordinary, but I think I have some ideas as to how he gets it done.

Similar in feel to early Diablo games, Torchlight was able to make an otherwise unfriendly and difficult genre of gaming feel welcoming and accessible to anyone. If you're looking for a less complex way to enjoy a dungeon crawler, or just want a fun way to enjoy an adventure with friends, this is a great place to start.

5. The Witcher

The Witcher series brought something new to the classic computer RPG genre; mixing together the elements of a 3rd person action game while still retaining a feel of a turn-based RPG. While movement in the first iteration of The Witcher is free, the main character Geralt only attacks as frequently (or infrequently) as the weapon he has equipped allows. This adds the strategic element of swapping between available weapons, and use of spells to try to maximize the damage you're dealing to enemies while keeping yourself healthy. This made the game notoriously difficult to players new to the franchise, and gave the game the attention it deserved in order to escalate into the action RPG franchise it is today.

That's the end of our list. Despite being numbered, there's no right or wrong choices here, every single one comes with a stamp of approval. All of these titles will be able to give you that sense of satisfaction your role-playing heart could ever want.

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Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition adds free VR mode. *Spoilers* https://www.gameskinny.com/bam7b/divinity-original-sin-enhanced-edition-adds-free-vr-mode-spoilers https://www.gameskinny.com/bam7b/divinity-original-sin-enhanced-edition-adds-free-vr-mode-spoilers Fri, 01 Apr 2016 05:04:53 -0400 Joshua Potter

Larian Studios released a new video today on their Kickstarter for Divinity: Original Sin 2 discussing a "timely" update for the first game in the series. The update is described as an all new VR mode available for free download in Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. Even better, this new mode doesn't even require a virtual reality headset! Imagine that, a virtual reality game without the need for virtual reality accessories.

The marketing sounds too good to be true to be honest. (By the way, what's today?) Well no matter, I just so happen to own Divinity: Original Sin. Let's start her up and take a look at all of these fresh new features. Apparently I need to start a new game due to the nature of this content. According to their Kickstarter video, I should be able to find the in-game VR device right here at the beginning.

Why look! There it is, my very own pair of "Rift Oglers", crafted by imps and fashioned to make my adventures in a fantastical world of magic and monsters that more exciting! Here's a quick look at the sweet stats it has. 

The backpack also contains three cotton candy dyes, a Love Grenade, two slices of cheese for whatever reason, and a painting of a landscape.

Without further ado, let's venture into the wild world of virtual sensation -- where our only limit is our imagination, and our very faculties are coaxed by the simulated sensuousness of a dimension far beyond our own.

Behold the next step in gaming!

I really hate today.

As you can probably tell, once you've donned this mythical headgear, the game converts into a lovely wire-frame structure of the world. What's fairly impressive is you actually only see the world like this when you're controlling the character who's actually wearing the goggles. 

Well, there go my hopes for an escape from my dull reality of backstabbing wizards as my rogue. Fortunately, also included in the video are actual updates regarding the status of Divinity: Original Sin 2. For fans who are going to be attending PAX East, the developers are inviting players to take them on in the new arena mode they will be showcasing, as well as how the new combat system will work. If you are going to be in attendance, be sure to stop by their booth to give the new game a try, and mention of the new VR mode can snag you some pretty sweet free loot.

The Kickstarter post also promises other goodies in the form of badges, lanyards, T-shirts, and other daily giveaways. Be sure to narrow your eyes at them for me.

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The state of RPGs in 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/voitg/the-state-of-rpgs-in-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/voitg/the-state-of-rpgs-in-2015 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:31:16 -0500 Ty Arthur

We've reached the end of another year, and it's time to take stock of what's come to pass and what's on the horizon in the world of role playing games. Although several of the biggest names didn't get sequels, 2015 was still a stellar year overall for RPGs – so long as you knew where to look. The best entries frequently weren't the AAA titles.

Recapping a full year's worth of games is a difficult proposition, and its made more challenging when considering just where the boundaries of the genre really sit. Unlike some genres, like first person shooters, RPGs cover a much wider range of play styles and tend to tweak their formulas more often. Take the reboot of King's Quest, for instance -- it might be primarily an adventure game, but there's a compelling argument there that it also lands in RPG territory, especially considering the series' history.

Things get more complicated when you thrown in strategy games. Are Blackguards 2, Sorcerer King, and Age Of Wonders III out of the running entirely, or are they RPGs that happen to use turned-based or real-time strategy as their core mechanic? Let's not forget Bloodborne, which is more an action game than an RPG, but seems to lean into role-playing through its setting and character stats.

RPG, or turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting?

Where to draw the line is an interesting topic on it's own, but for our purposes we're going to stick primarily to titles that are solidly RPGs in the classic sense of the term, with only a few forays into gray territory.

The Biggest RPG Disappointments Of 2015

In a full year's worth of releases there will always be duds, but thankfully this year was filled mostly with worthy entries that are genuinely worth playing. In fact, one of the major letdowns was simply a release that didn't appear when it was originally projected to land. Persona 5 was sadly pushed back (we really should be playing that right now), but is slated to drop in the summer of 2016.

The biggest RPG disappointment of the year took a classic role playing formula and dumbed it down into a hack-and-slash click fest with only minor DM tools: Sword Coast Legends.

D&D has been missing from the single player or co-op arena for a long time, and it's return wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination. Garnering mixed reviews at steam and a metacritic score of 61, its clear this isn't Baldur's Gate. Hell, this isn't even Neverwinter Nights.

This is not the 5th edition game you are looking for

The Biggest RPG Releases Of 2015

Welcome home indeed! After years of delays and waiting in silence with no official info dropping until the 11th hour, the biggest RPG of the year (and probably most anticipated game of any genre) arrived in November. There were tweaks to the formula that make it possible to play the game more like a shooter, but Fallout 4 still remains pretty solidly in RPG territory.

Between the settlement building, weapon and armor crafting, side quests, and main story, you could easily sink hundreds of hours into the post apocalyptic wasteland. Granted, there are problems – graphical glitches and bugs abound this close to launch, as is expected from Bethesda at this point – but the Metacritic score of 84 speaks of a game that is remaining competitive even if there were disappointments.

Welcome Home Vault Dweller!

Continuing to bring in heaps of praise and with a whopping 92 metacritic score, The Witcher 3 is the surprise hit of the year. It's been a wild ride for this series, going from a niche PC RPG by a little-known European developer to a huge phenomena that reaches its crescendo in the third installment. The graphics are fabulous, the gameplay is solid, and a steady stream of DLC keeps massively expanding the game so you never have to stop playing.

There's also something to be said about the Witcher series giving us what Bioware's RPG romances have typically been too afraid to provide: actual sex scenes with *gasp* nipples and everything! What has got me most hot and bothered about The Witcher 3 though is what comes next – with this title finally released, CD Projekt Red can finish Cyberpunk 2077!

Classic Gameplay And Crowd Funding In 2015

It can't be overstated: crowd funding has changed the gaming landscape. We're getting a sequel to Planescape: Torment next year, and that's entirely due to crowd funding. Publishers and middle men are getting cut out entirely, and the consumers are putting their money into the projects they actually want to get made.

As it turns out, quite a bit of what RPG fans want involves returning to classic gameplay, as was clearly shown with Pillars of Eternity. While some were disappointed in the end product, it's the vast majority loved seeing the Infinity Engine games get a modern day overhaul, because this title sits at a solid 89 metacritic score. Honestly I couldn't have been more happy when I first booted up Pillars: it was somehow 1998 all over again and I was kid spending a silly amount of time exploring every last inch of Baldur's Gate once more.

Obsidian took us back to a classic era with this one

More importantly, the game brought me back to the oddity of Planescape: Torment's companions. The banter between Durance – a priest who hates his goddess – and Eder – whose god was killed by Durance - are imminently enjoyable. And that's just the beginning. The unexpected themes of atheism versus faith were a welcome change to the typical RPG storyline, and there were much more mature themes than what you'd typically see (due in no small part to cutting out D&D and Wizards of the Coast, who don't want anything even remotely close to passing a PG-13 rating).

There were some complex morality issues to be found in there as well, with unexpected consequences for your actions. I particularly enjoyed how siding against the evil tyrant could result in everyone in the area being slaughtered by undead, while helping to subjugate the peasants actually led to peace and harmony down the road.

On the heels of Pillars came another classic reinterpretation of an old school gem: Shadowrun Hong Kong was just dripping with atmosphere and upped the ante from the already stellar Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Starting out as an Asian cop movie with two siblings on opposite sides of the law, this third iteration in Harebrained Scheme's adaptions of the classic pen-and-paper RPG goes some crazy places. It all gets grounded back in reality at the end though, as your world-saving anti-heroes are reminded that if people can survive the resurgence of magic and dragon attacks, then they wouldn't mind one particular town getting taken over by an evil demon goddess.

Harebrained Schemes will be quite busy for the next couple of years after successfully kickstarting a Battletech game. But honestly, these guys need to do an Earthdawn RPG one day. That's the one FASA pen-and-paper title to never get its just due in the PC realm.

Where man meets magic and machine: and Asian cops and demon gods

While Pillars and Shadowrun were the most visible old school games, there were plenty more than went under the radar and are worth investigating -- like the early access UnderRail, which continues in the style of the original Fallout games. If you dig party-based, isometric RPGs, you will want to take a gander at Serpent In The Staglands. For those who like lots of dialog and turn-based gameplay, don't forget that The Age Of Decadence just dropped back in October.

Earlier Games Updated With New Formats In 2015

It wasn't just entirely new games that generated buzz this year, as plenty of games – both old and relatively recent – got facelifts and saw new editions land in 2015. Two of the biggest came to games created through the power of crowd funding. Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin (two very different takes on the RPG genre) were both overhauled and re-released in updated versions, with graphical improvements and plenty of gameplay tweaks that changed them to the point of nearly being new games.

Previous owners got the new version for free to boot!

The Final Fantasy series has always lagged behind in terms of PC releases, with consoles getting all the love and the PC master race only getting occasional scraps years after the fact. One of those scraps finally arrived in 2015 ,as the 3D version of Final Fantasy 4: The After Years landed on Steam, letting anyone without a Wii get to experience the direct follow-up to the classic Final Fantasy 4 story.

Beyond just PC or console, the Final Fantasy series likes to toy with North American fans and give Japanese players all the love first. The 2011 title Final Fantasy Type-0 just arrived on North American consoles back in May and on Steam later in the summer. The wait may have been too long though, as reviews are definitely mixed, with a metacritic score of 72 for this HD rendition of the aging game.

Better late than never?

Not to be left out, the much loved creature-raising series Monster Hunter saw a late North American release in 2015, as Monster Hunter 4 arrived in its “Ultimate Edition” for the 3DS early in the year (after being out in Japan since 2013). Handheld fans are clearly digging this one despite the length of time they were required to wait, as reviews are mostly positive and hover around 86%.

The Many RPG Sequels Of 2015

Outside the big name titles, returns to classic gameplay, and re-releases of old games, 2015 was a year heavy on sequels when it came to RPGs. One that's had everyone waiting with baited breath lands this week at the tail end of the year, with a new entry in the Xeno series arriving to prop up the struggling Wii U. There really aren't that many RPGs at all for that particular console, so the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles X stateside is a breath of fresh air for anyone in need of a role playing fix.

The dungeon crawling crowd got not only two sequels in one, but also a surprise crossover on the 3DS in April when Etrian Mystery Dungeon launched. Make sure to stock up on healing items if you plan on delving into ever-deeper levels of dungeoneering in this one, because the addition of rogue-like elements makes it a lot more unforgiving!

The anime-based Sword Art Online: Lost Song also launched this year, taking the series to a different game world and putting a heavier focus on both action combat and hardcore level grinding. Another grinder that show how very different two RPGs can be is Disagea 5, where Sony let gamers play as the bad guys and put them in control of a demon army that seems more focused on slapstick humor than damning any souls.

Who said demon princes can't be comedians?

Significantly beating out Disagea in the longevity department, the Tales franchise got a new entry as the year is closing out with Tales of Zestiria, which again mixes 3D action combat with classic RPG gameplay. As usual this entry is a mixed bag, featuring a lackluster story and humor that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat, but if you liked any of the previous Tales games, this one will keep you hooked on the combat.

The Forecast for 2016

While 2015 was a solid balance of old school charm and slick, next generation games, the coming year is currently slanting more towards the bigger releases with hyper polished effects. Final Fantasy XV will of course dominate, although it remains to be seen if SquareEnix is ready to actually recover from the fiasco that was the FF13 and its spin offs and deliver something worth playing in the single player department again.

Titles in the Mass Effect and Deus Ex franchises will keep sci-fi roleplayers covered, along with Technomancer, an upcoming game set on Mars that is looking very interesting indeed. 

Just because the big name developers and AAA titles are on the rise next year doesn't mean you should discount the indie titles or throwbacks to an earlier generation of RPGs though! There's not a PC RPG fan around who isn't waiting with baited breath to see if Torment: Tides Of Numenera can live up to the hype of its predecessor, while Project Setsuna sees Square Enix returning to its roots and focusing on its strengths with a SNES style offering.

In a move no one expected, there's also an actual Baldur's Gate title coming, as Beamdog studio gives us an expansion/sequel using the exact same engine and assets titled Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.

Get ready for this one to get weird!

Want a full list of what's coming soon you should be saving your money for? Check out our complete look at the most anticipated RPGs of 2016 here, as well as our examination of the coming year's MMOs, which feature more than a few RPGs in their ranks.

What did you think of the RPG offerings throughout 2015, and what were your favorite games/biggest disappointments? Share with us in the comments! 

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Gamer Gift Guide: Fool-proof games from 2015 that will make you look good https://www.gameskinny.com/mr8ul/gamer-gift-guide-fool-proof-games-from-2015-that-will-make-you-look-good https://www.gameskinny.com/mr8ul/gamer-gift-guide-fool-proof-games-from-2015-that-will-make-you-look-good Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:51:17 -0500 Daniel R. Miller

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And those are the games that will make you look good this holiday season. Are there any I missed? Let us know in the comments below and Happy Holidays to you all!

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

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Rating: 4.5/5 (605 Customer Reviews, 93 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $49.99

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The best may very well have been saved for last. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the ultimate Witcher experience; a dream come true for series fans and a testament of incredible world building and exploration. To say the game is huge would be an understatement. Wild Hunt comes packed with 150 hours of content plus 16 free pieces of DLC, among a number of other goodies if you buy a physical copy of the game. There's currently an expansion, Hearts of Stone, that adds on at least another 10 hours that you can buy for $10. There is also another one, Blood and Wine coming Q1 2016, that is due to add another 20 hours.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is currently the favorite to land the award for Game of the Year at the Game Awards, and is nominated for a number of other categories. Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, Wild Hunt deserves a spot in any gamer's library. 

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The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition

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Platform: PS4

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Rating: 4/5 (8 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $49.99

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The Talos Principle snuck in the back door of 2014 as a PC exclusive (which can be found on Steam) but was re-released in a Deluxe Edition exclusively for PlayStation 4 that also included the game's DLC, Road to Gehenna. The Talos Principle is a brain-busting first-person puzzle game with a unique narrative that ponders the notion of existence. The Deluxe Edition is the best value you can get for the game and a real find for that PlayStation gamer than seemingly has every game.

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Super Mario Maker

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Platform: Wii U

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Rating: 4.5/5 (400 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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Super Mario Maker appeals two types of gamers, those looking to create, and those looking for the most bang for their buck. Long time Nintendo fans finally have a platform to lay down all of the creations they have had in their head for the last 20 years and the with the shear amount of community driven content there is, the game will keep you busy for a long time to come.

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Super Mario Maker is another nominee for the Game of the Year award, and is undoubtedly the best game to come out on Wii U this year.

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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

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Platforms: PC, Mac

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Rating: 4.5/5 (24 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $39.99

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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is the last entry in the StarCraft II trilogy and ends the overarching StarCraft narrative that began with the original game back in 1998. Legacy of the Void's campaign focuses on the Protoss race and their leader, Artanis, as they battle to defeat an ancient evil that threatens the existence of life in the universe. It's an epic conclusion that will help to keep StarCraft II relevant to Strategy gamers for years to come.

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Ori and the Blind Forest

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Platforms: Xbox One, PC

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Rating: 4.5/5 (50 Customer Reviews, 88 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $19.99

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Ori and the Blind Forest is meatier than it appears on the surface. What looks like a relaxing adventure is actually a demanding, Metroid-vania platformer that expects its players to be skillful and attentive. It's art style and soundtrack are also top notch, and the game has been nominated for Best Independent Game this year at The Game Awards.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

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Rating: 4.5/5 (599 Customer Reviews, 93 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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By now, everyone knows about the Konami/Hideo Kojima drama but what's actually important is the game the two sides came together to make a reality. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the definition of open world stealth and has pushed its genre further than any game released this year. Sure the story may not make a lick of sense most of the time, but if you can find a way to get on its wavelength, you're in for a treat.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is currently one of the favorites to win Game of the Year and is a culmination of quality game design and cinematic prowess that has grown and evolved over time as a series that has always been at the forefront of both.

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Fallout 4

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Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

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Rating: 3/5 (180 Customer Reviews, 85 metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic wanderer's dream world. It's filled with danger to face, dilapidated dungeons to dive into, loads of customization options, and amazing community driven mod content. Fallout 4 is a true evolution of Fallout 3 in nearly every sense of the word, and fans of the series will not be disappointed.

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Fallout 4 is another one of the Game Award's five contenders for Game of the Year, and if history is any indication, Fallout 4 has a pretty good chance at taking the title.

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Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition

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Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4

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Rating: 4.5/5 (19 Customer Reviews, 89 Metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $59.99

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Divinity: Original Sin started as a Kickstarted PC exclusive that released back in 2014. This year, it made its way to consoles in the form of Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition that seamlessly translated the keyboard and mouse controls to work with game pads. PC players were automatically upgraded to the Enhanced Edition via a free upgrade.

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Divinity: Original Sin is role-playing personified, targeting fans of old school RPG's. The game throws you into world of near limitless customization with combat that forces you to carefully consider your options before executing them.  Divinity: Original Sin demands your time as it is quite a meaty experience, but if you are a fan of the genre, you are doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this game.

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Bloodborne

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Platform: PS4

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Rating: 4.5/5 (1,045 Customer Reviews, 92 Metascore)

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Buy: Amazon

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Price: $29.99

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Bloodborne initially released as a PS4 exclusive back in March of this year to widespread critical acclaim. Inspired by the Souls' series, Bloodborne builds on the successful foundation laid down by its predecessors, and tweaks it in a way that rewards offense and careful aggression. The game's DLC package, The Old Hunters, was later revealed at the Tokyo Game Show and will be packaged with a Game of the Year Edition starting November 27.

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Bloodborne is currently one of five candidates for Game of the Year at the Game Awards this year, so if you are looking for a game that embodies death and insanity while maintaining a high level of quality, you can't go wrong with Bloodborne.

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Brand loyalty. It's a big deal and a huge crutch for businesses all over the world. In gaming, we associate series' with past accomplishments which plays on our nostalgia each time a new iteration of our favorite game comes out.  Unfortunately, reality is not the same as nostalgia and just because one company makes one great game in a given series doesn't mean every game they make after that will retain that same level of quality.

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The point of this guide is to point you in the direction of top notch games that anybody for an eye for quality can appreciate.

"}]]]>
Six games that are great to play with friends (that aren't shooters) https://www.gameskinny.com/pqd4u/six-games-that-are-great-to-play-with-friends-that-arent-shooters https://www.gameskinny.com/pqd4u/six-games-that-are-great-to-play-with-friends-that-arent-shooters Wed, 04 Nov 2015 08:47:14 -0500 John Adamczyk

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1. Tabletop Simulator

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From the serious-minded tabletop enthusiasts to the people who just want to make their friends scream with rage as they flip the table right before the ending of a chess match, Tabletop Simulator has something for just about everyone. With hundreds of mods to choose from, getting your friends around the digital tabletop is a very compelling option for those with the patience to get to learn this sometimes obtuse program. 

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The finicky physics engine, ability to draw on any surface, and the fact that you can flip the table at any given moment, make even the most mundane games in Tabletop Simulator into something entertaining. 

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It can take a while to master the program thanks to its sometimes unintuitive or poorly optimized controls, but once everyone gets the hang of it, you can do just about anything in Tabletop Simulator. 

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If there's one game on this list that's worth a try for just about anyone who wants to sit down with friends and play something that isn't a shooter, this is your best bet. With too many mods to count, you can play just about anything on the tabletop. 

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2. Divinity: Original Sin

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For the RPG-oriented group, there's nothing better than Divinity: Original Sin - and with the enhanced edition released just last week, so there isn't a better time to go off on some good old hack-and-slash romps with your friends.

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Of course, you will need to mod the game if you want to play the campaign with more than two players (and Enhanced Edition doesn't have a perfect mod for this yet). But, the game is great even with one friend, as you can go through towns causing all sorts of hijinks, from piling explosive barrels up in front of a boss before detonating them to going into town, framing a character for a murder she didn't commit, and breaking her out of jail just so the guards will kill her, thus making all of her items and money available to you for free. Divinity is a game where you can do just about anything with a friend, even play rock paper scissors against each other to decide the fate of Rivellon.

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This is possibly one of the most dynamic multiplayer games on the market right now, and while modding the game to ensure four players can be in the same campaign is a bit of a hassle, it's definitely going to be a memorable experience.

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The amount of freedom you're all given in a persistent world, where you can go off and explore on your own, sabotage your friends, and steal just about every single item from every house and person you come across, even when you're ignoring the main campaign, you're doing something entertaining.

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Just be sure you're ready to die.

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A lot.

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3. Until Dawn

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Ever been sitting there with your friends watching a bad scary movie when someone shouts the most obvious thing in the world?

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"No, don't go in there!"

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And of course, the character does it, and probably gets chopped up, eaten, or otherwise maimed. 

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Well, with Until Dawn, you get a sort of interactive movie experience that, despite being part of a single player game, can make for a great multiplayer experience.

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Passing the controller around chapter-by-chapter, debating which decision is the best one for the character to make, going through and debating the strange psych-eval scenes in between chapters, there are a lot of moments where talking it out with other people can make the game more interesting. And the more intense moments in the game only become more intense as everyone yells at the player with the controller to make the right choice before the timer runs out.

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For friends who like watching B-grade horror movies, this is the definitive game. Just make sure nobody's spoiled on the story before going into it.

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4. Diablo 3

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Good old-fashioned dungeon delving without anything else to get in your way. Just tell your friends to get online, jump in, and kill every beast, zombie, and demon that gets in your party's way. Diablo 3 might be unsatisfying in many ways, but as a multiplayer game, it's hard to say no to some brutal monster slaughtering with friends, especially when Blizzard is so good at streamlining their multiplayer experiences. Diablo 3 makes it ridiculously easy to round up your friends, hit the ground running, and just start playing.

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If good old hack-and-slash sounds like your kind of game but you're more on the free-to-play side of the fence, there's always the far less polished, but significantly more classical, Path of Exile, a Diablo clone that seems to be bombarded with update after update to keep you and your friends occupied for a long while.

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Or, if you just don't want to jump on the Blizzard bandwagon, there's Torchlight II, which is rife with free mods that you and your friends can install to change up the game whenever it feels like it's getting a little stale.

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Either way, Diablo and its many, many lookalikes are great games if you're looking for mindless slaughter and loot-hoarding with friends.

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5. Hearthstone

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Although criticism is constantly leveled at Hearthstone, particularly, every other player is using a deck that's been ripped straight off the internet, most of the game's problems evaporate when you start playing against friends. 

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The best part about playing Hearthstone with friends? You can start putting together decks that aren't exactly good, and are, instead, fun. Ever wanted to use your Gazlowe or Hobgoblins instead of your Tirion Fordrings and Mysterious Challengers? That's what friends are for.

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Perhaps more importantly, emotes don't have a built-in cooldown timer in friendly games. Go crazy.

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WELL MET 

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6. MOBAs

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Short for "multiplayer online battle arena," or, as most people know them: DotA 2 and League of Legends, freeware games that have taken the world by storm, and have allowed countless groups of friends to join up on the battlefield and fight for victory.

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This one comes with a bit of a disclaimer: these games can break friendships just as easily as they can make them.

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Games like League of Legends and DotA 2 are considered competitive by many of their players, and people can easily become frustrated by losing streaks or games where they get absolutely stomped. If you have a friend - you know, that friend, who gets more than a little angry when things go south in a game? Probably best to move on to the next game. 

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If you can find a happy medium, though? There's nothing more rewarding than being able to work together with your friends as a team to overcome another skilled group of players.  

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MOBAs are endless time sinks for friends who want short, quick bursts of competitive, cooperative play, or hours-long hauls of back-to-back matches.

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But be warned: this game will put your friendship to the test just as much as it will your skills. 

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From cooperative campaigns to competitive matches, gaming as a way of bringing friends together is a cornerstone of our hobby.

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However, a lot of the games that are great to play with friends share one common trait that I'm a little tired of: they're all shooters. From CS: GO to Halo 5 to Team Fortress 2, shooting and friendship just seem to go hand-in-hand. So, what happens when you're all shootered-out, but still want to sit back and play some games with friends? 

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Well, here are six games that can give you and your friends something to do together.

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Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition released https://www.gameskinny.com/ggxl8/divinity-original-sin-enhanced-edition-released https://www.gameskinny.com/ggxl8/divinity-original-sin-enhanced-edition-released Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:29:30 -0400 John Adamczyk

If you haven't had a chance to pick up Divinity: Original Sin, the hit RPG from 2014, now is definitely the time. With the Enhanced Edition coming out today, the game also makes its debut on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If you already owned the original game on Steam, check your library. Because you've already been given the enhanced edition for free.

And this isn't just your everyday Enhanced Edition, with some minor changes. This is a beautiful transformation for an already great game, complete with new gameplay modes (including a challenging "Tactician Mode" for RPG veterans), voice acting for every character in the game (and this is a game with a metric ton of dialogue), new skills and abilities, and a rewritten story. 

For console fans, this is the perfect opportunity to try the game out with a friend and experience Divinity's dynamic co-op mode, as a split-screen system has been introduced to allow for two friends to experience the game together, in-person.

You can find the changelog here, though be warned, it's around ten thousand words worth of changes, with the added disclaimer that this isn't everything Larian Studios changed.

Pick up your copy of Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition on Steam, GOG.com, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 getting dedicated mods, Chris Avellone joins team https://www.gameskinny.com/m9amo/divinity-original-sin-2-getting-dedicated-mods-chris-avellone-joins-team https://www.gameskinny.com/m9amo/divinity-original-sin-2-getting-dedicated-mods-chris-avellone-joins-team Sat, 26 Sep 2015 04:23:37 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Divinity: Original Sin was an absolutely amazing game.. so shouldn't the sequel be even better?

The Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter is about to reach the end of its funding period on September 30th, and donations are still going strong. Just today it's reached its $1,650,000 milestone, guaranteeing the game will come with dedicated mod support for players who want to take their game further.

The above news is pretty good, but Divinity fans got an even bigger surprise today: Ex-Obsidian writer and developer Chris Avellone has joined the project to help develop and write one of the game's origin stories.

Chris Avellone is a big name in the traditional computer RPG space, and he has been involved in some of the best-loved games of the genre. Avellone had a hand in developing the Icewind Dale series, Planescape: Torment, Fallout: New Vegas, and most recently Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity. And this is only a short list of his attributed titles.

It's less than a week until Divinity: Original Sin 2's Kickstarter comes to a close, and it's less than $350,000 away from the coveted Game Master Mode. With a little luck (and $350,000), we'll get what would be the ultimate sought-after mode for a traditional computer RPG. Will it make it? Throw some money at it and let's hope so.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 gets a new area! https://www.gameskinny.com/dvi4e/divinity-original-sin-2-gets-a-new-area https://www.gameskinny.com/dvi4e/divinity-original-sin-2-gets-a-new-area Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:00:21 -0400 cdiponzia

Divinity Original Sin 2 will be getting a new area, due to the great success of its Kickstarter. The campaign has managed to pull in $1.5 million so far! To mark such a high goal, a new area called the Hall of Echoes will be created and added to the game.

A recent Kickstarter update says this about the new area:

"A mysterious realm between reality and the Void, the Hall of Echoes is called a heaven by some, a hell by others. Upon their deaths, all souls all drawn toward the Hall; those who resist remain on Rivellon as undead. Souls successfully pulled into the Hall naturally drift toward the Forge, where they will be reborn, or the Void, where they will be consumed. Those who remain in the Hall face a pleasant reality, perhaps indescribable to mortal sensibilities. They must decide, or drift, of their own accord toward the Forge or the Void."

This new and mysterious realm is a world of mystery. This ominous place has a connection to both the Void and the realm of the Gods.  

According to Larian Studios:

"...its ability to shift, chameleon-like, to suit the needs and desires of its visitors. When your party is eventually invited to the Hall, you’ll find that it may morph to suit your deepest desires, be they for a skill trader, a home for your companions, or perhaps a lost soul from your past."

Who knows what kind of adventures such a realm will bring to the main game. 

Adding the Hall of Echoes was the last original goal that Larian had for its Kickstarter. However, with the great success of raising over $1.5 million, Larian added a variety of more goals for their Kickstarter - all the way up to $2 million. 

Their next goal is to hit $1.65 million and create a team devoted to mod support. 

Divinity: Original Sin 2's Kickstarter has achieved a lot with its 33,000 backers, and there are still 11 days remaining for it. However, Larian has offered another option for those who are unwilling to make use of Kickstarter. If you want to help Larian's quest for funding toward Divinity Original Sin 2, you can also help through the use of PayPal.

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Pay attention, Bethesda: What RPGs need to learn from The Witcher 3 https://www.gameskinny.com/pxq4j/pay-attention-bethesda-what-rpgs-need-to-learn-from-the-witcher-3 https://www.gameskinny.com/pxq4j/pay-attention-bethesda-what-rpgs-need-to-learn-from-the-witcher-3 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 07:28:53 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

We seem to be in a mini, awesome RPG renaissance.

We have had Divinity: Original Sin, Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, and The Witcher 3 all released in a relatively short time span. All of these games have received acclaim and have lessons future RPGs would be wise to learn from, but I want to specifically focus on The Witcher 3 today because I believe it to have some truly important lessons developers could learn from.

I’m looking at you especially, Bethesda.

The Living and Vibrant World

The world of The Witcher 3 is not a hospitable place. The world is in turmoil with kings clashing for dominance, and monsters roam the land slaying innocents left and right. As if those weren’t bad enough, there are also witch hunters who are doing horrible things to witches, mutants, and anyone deemed non-human all in the name of the king.

This place will surely not land on your top fantasy vacation destinations list, unless all of this turmoil is up your alley, you brave soul you. Despite all the death and chaos occurring in the world, it manages to feel more alive and vibrant than many other worlds of recent RPGs.

While other RPGs have plenty of NPCs in the world going about meaningless tasks, NPCs in The Witcher 3 can give you more insight into the world and its goings-on. For instance, at one point in the game I stopped to listen in on a conversation between two peasants. What had made me stop to listen to this particular exchange over many others was their mention of a blood-sucking monster. The peasants mentioned several bodies had been recently found, drained completely of blood with strange bite marks on their necks. One proceeded to say it was rubbish, and monsters don’t exist while the other fervently tried to convince his friends it was true and to be wary of danger.

Within the hour, I found myself in the sewers and guess what I encountered? Indeed, a vampire! While normally meeting an enemy would not be particularly noteworthy, the fact that NPCs in the world gave me a heads up to expect this enemy helped immerse me in this world that truly does feel alive. What other clues and hints might I find out about if I keep an ear to the ground?

The Memorable Random Quests

Exploring the gorgeous world of The Witcher 3 also yields some of the best quests you will not find without simply wandering around the vast land. While other RPGs are filled with random quests you find scattered about the world, they are usually not memorable and are throwaway in nature. However, as I stated, some of the random quests I have discovered in The Witcher 3 are just as memorable, or even more so, than the main quests.

Once I was exploring the world and happened upon a village. Upon noticing an older lady with a quest for me to undertake, I stopped to hear her tale. She gave me a ring and told me she wanted me to place it on her husband’s grave. She informed me she lived with her granddaughter in the nearby village, and for me to find her there after completing her request. After finding her husband’s grave and placing the ring, I set about finding her in the village.

Upon locating the hut, a grown woman greeted me and asked to my purpose. It turns out the grandmother had been dead for some time now, and the granddaughter had grown up. The granddaughter informed me her grandfather had a history of affairs and upon her death, the grandmother had requested to be buried elsewhere from where her husband was buried. However after spending some time in the afterlife, she wished to be reunited with her husband, hence the placing of the ring on the grave.

This random quest was surprisingly moving and has resonated with me more than many of the other quests I have completed. Including more meaningful and memorable random quests would entice players to explore the world even more than usual.    

The Use of Color

In stark contrast to the muted colors of Skyrim and Dragon Age: Origins, The Witcher 3 has bright, vibrant, and contrasting colors. While colors are used in many modern RPGs, the Souls series especially, The Witcher 3 uses the color effectively to make the illusion of a living word more convincing.

Trees and shrubbery are a bright, lively green. The skybox has lovely sunsets and sunrises. The game is just gorgeous, but the liberal use of varying degrees of color has as much to do with it as the cutting-edge graphics. CD Projekt RED also applied color in more subtle ways as well.

Most of the peasants you encounter will wear different outfits with varying colors to boot. However, the peasants dress will have muted colors, in direct contrast to the nobility and wealthier people whose clothing has bright colors and is eye-catching and flashy. It’s the explicit and subtle use of color which other games would be wise to take notes from.

Just look at Triss’ hair for crying out loud! This is what “kissed by fire” truly looks like.

The Dynamic Leveling and Skills System

The Witcher 3’s leveling system shares a lot in common with the Souls series. Each time you level up, you receive one point to invest in one skill of your choice.

There are a wide variety of skills to invest in allowing players to strengthen their prowess in combat, their magical abilities, alchemy, or general abilities. Investing points in a particular branch allows players to unlock more powerful skills in that particular area.

This all sounds like normal fare, but there are some differentiations that make the system stand out. Once you unlock ability, you must equip it to one of a limited number of slots to use it. What makes this system great is you can opt to make two alternate builds rather than your main build. You can invest in skills that increase your combat prowess, but you can also invest into the alchemy tree and swap abilities when the combat ones are not needed. Rather than limiting players to a set build, players can instead have a fluid character build to better face whatever obstacles they may face. 

The Strong and Witty Writing

The writing in The Witcher 3 is some of the best writing I have encountered in an RPG of late besides Wasteland 2 (not including Pillars of Eternity since I have not yet had to pleasure to play it). The dialogue between characters always maintains the proper tone and compliments what is occurring at the time perfectly.

You will have some humorous banter with some characters. Some discussions will be filled with threats veiled and overt. Others still will be packed with wishful reminiscing and emotional longing. Not only do we see these things, but we are hearing them as well. It’s show and tell rather than one or the other.    

The writing also extends to the lore, quests, bestiary, and objects you find in your journeys. You can find books, letters, and notes to read which are all written in various styles depending upon the author. The bestiary will provide some intriguing background to what a monster is as well as its weaknesses you can exploit.

The quest page presents the quest in a narrative form such as a storyteller is delivering some time from now as you are currently deciding the outcome to the story. It makes the game extremely engrossing and easy to immerse yourself into. However, the characters are arguably where the writing shines the brightest.  

The Nuanced Characters

Ah, the characters. I have yet to meet a character in The Witcher 3 I have not found appealing on some level. While some of the characters are little more than gutter slime in humanoid form, they are nuanced and engrossing, despite being repulsive and committing atrocious deeds. Even though there are characters that do unquestionably bad things, some end up becoming characters you can truly empathize with because, like real people, these characters are flawed but not always defined by their flaws.

My personal favorite so far has to be The Bloody Baron. Your initial impressions are of brash, drunken louse whose boisterous tales are matched only by his sizeable gut, yet the more time you spend with character, you see his softer, fatherly side as well as his truly dark side. One of the main quests revolves around him being a bit heavy handed, and the misfortune and consequences of his actions that lead to an emotional climax.

I was truly spellbound by his entire quest line and when it came time for me to depart; I was reluctant to leave because I still wanted to flush more of the character out of hiding.

A character in a game is more than black and white, stark good and evil. Complicated and nuanced characters like The Bloody Baron, among others, keep us from judging characters based on first impressions and just by a set of deeds they may do. More interesting and complex characters make for more memorable characters, which in turn makes the game more memorable.

The Witcher 3 is a perfect example of what a modern RPG can achieve and should set a precedent in some areas for future action RPGs, and all RPGs in general. While there are many lessons to be learned from the game, I believe these to be the ones most deserving of a developer’s focus. If we had more refinement in these areas, maybe we will find ourselves in another golden age of RPGs. Divinity: Original SinPillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, and The Witcher 3 have shown it is possible. All we can do now is hope other developers follow their lead.  

]]>
Steam Summer Sale: Top 15 Games You Need To Wishlist Now https://www.gameskinny.com/q3s92/steam-summer-sale-top-15-games-you-need-to-wishlist-now https://www.gameskinny.com/q3s92/steam-summer-sale-top-15-games-you-need-to-wishlist-now Mon, 08 Jun 2015 20:10:49 -0400 Autumn Fish

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Careful not to lose yourself during the Steam Summer Sale!

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Keeping an updated wishlist is a great way to keep on your toes and make sure you miss nary a deal during the Steam Summer Sale. While your at it, check out our list of 15 more games you need to wishlist!

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What fills your wishlist in anticipation for the Sales?
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Let us know in the comments below what games you have sitting in your wishlist as we await the Steam Summer Sale!

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Pillars of Eternity

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Steam User Rating: 91% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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If Pillars of Eternity fails to show up in the Steam Summer Sale I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be cross with it.

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This quickly renown classic RPG that pulls inspiration from games like Baldur's Gate demands to be played by its own rules — literally. They created a completely new game system just for Pillars of Eternity instead of pulling from Dungeons and Dragons for the calculations.

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Nothing is quite like a great RPG in a fascinating setting, which is why I have Pillars of Eternity wishlisted going into this year's Steam Summer Sale.

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Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

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Steam User Rating: 83% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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I know Dark Souls gets a lot of bad rep — yes, bad rep — for being a terrifyingly difficult game. Personally, I would never recommend a game that's hard for the sake of being hard. That's just plain brutality.

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After sinking many hours into the first Dark Souls in recent weeks, I have come to adore the unparalleled sense of immersion found in From Software's titles.

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The game world is so organic it can make you believe in it almost as much as you believe in the real world. If you've played Bloodborne, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

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Wishlist Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin — and Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition — for the Steam Summer Sale if you're a nut for immersive gameplay, stories and worlds. You can thank me later.

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Divinity: Original Sin

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Steam User Rating: 91% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Divinity: Original Sin proved to be one of the best RPGs in 2014, and since then the developers announced an Enhanced Edition.

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This top-down classic-style RPG blew fans of the genre out of the waters when it launched, and deserves the attention of modern gamers.

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An RPG nut would do well to wishlist Divinity: Original Sin. Not only will we score a ridiculous discount during the Steam Summer Sale, but owners of the PC game will also receive the Enhanced Edition as a gift upon release.

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Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series

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Steam User Rating: 87% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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The award-winning book and HBO show finds itself in yet another form of digestible entertainment, this time in the form of an episodic video game, similar to Life is Strange.

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Game of Thrones from Telltale Games delivers an interactive experience in the most deceptively devilish world possibly imagined. You play as five members of a northern family loyal to the Starks of Winterfell, and ride the descent into madness as all hell breaks loose in Westeros.

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If you enjoy making critical decisions in tense situations, this is definitely a game to have on your wishlist this upcoming Steam Summer Sale season.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Steam User Rating: 93% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Still in the mood for slaughtering orcs? Good, because Shadow of Mordor offers up orcs that are actually interesting to fight.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is renowned at this point for its incredible faction system. I mean who doesn't want to fight orcs in the middle of a bunch of warring orcs?

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If you haven't already picked up Shadow of Mordor, the GOTY edition just recently released, making the Steam Summer Sale a prime opportunity to pick up a good AAA game at a great price!

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Orcs Must Die! 2

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Steam User Rating: 96% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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With Orcs Must Die! Unchained on the not-so-distant horizon, there's no doubt they'll bring the Orcs Must Die! franchise back to the Steam Summer Sale this year!

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With many dozens of traps, guardians and weapons at your disposal in Orcs Must Die! 2, your tasked with keeping the onslaught of orcs from reaching the gateway to the outside world.

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If you've never played Orcs Must Die! 2, the 2015 Steam Summer Sale is definitely the time to nab it. The mixture of trap and weapon style combat is satisfying, if a bit challenging for newcomers, and the sprinkle of humor is a nice touch.

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

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Steam User Rating: 88% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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While it may not look like much, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a surprisingly well made action-fantasy RPG with an enjoyable combat system and just an overall fun experience.

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Unfortunately, the story and characters of Reckoning are not especially memorable. Everyone else simply seems to take a back seat to you.

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Despite this, the gameplay is incredibly enjoyable and has its special quriks. Make sure to wishlist Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning if you get that action-fantasy RPG itch!

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Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition

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Steam User Rating: 97% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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With Batman: Arkham Knight scheduled to release the day after the Steam Summer Sale ends, what better time to discount the previous Batman: Arkham games?

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If you're unfamiliar with the Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a really great place to start.

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What is known as arguably the best Batman game released to date is about to dip below the cost of a milkshake. Prepare your wishlist, for these sales will zip by fast!

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Darksiders 2

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Steam User Rating: 90% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Darksiders is an interesting franchise — I once heard it described as Zelda with darker themes, although that's not entirely what I got out of it.

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Darksiders 2 is an incredibly fun action-adventure game where you play as Death, a member of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who is working to free his brother War from a terrible fate.

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The combat is engaging, and the "dungeon" environments that Darksiders 2 sends you through are beautifully beset with their own interesting mind-puzzlers to keep your neurons firing. Well worth a wishlist if you like beautiful worlds and fun combat.

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Life is Strange

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Steam User Rating: 97% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Similar to The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead, Life is Strange is an episodic, story-driven game set in a young woman's final high-school years. She discovers she has the power to rewind time, which allows her to play with situations and see how they immediately play out.

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Most choices that you make begin to feel morally gray, to the point where you aren't really happy with any situation. Life is Strange is tense, and realistically touches on all walks of life wherever necessary.

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If you love realistic characters and well thought out stories that pull at all the right/wrong heartstrings, wishlist Life is Strange. We hope Square Enix jumps on the Steam Summer Sale bandwagon with this horse leading the charge.

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Kerbal Space Program

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Steam User Rating: 98% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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I can't talk about the latest simulation games without bringing up Kerbal Space Program. This ambitious project aims to realistically recreate space physics for space craft.

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You can build and rebuild your space craft, watch it crash fifty times before it breaks the atmosphere and watch it explode when attempting re-entry.

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There is a steep learning curve to be had in Kerbal Space Program, but if you are as dedicated to astronomy as these adorable little Kerbals, than you will be making supply trips to space stations you placed among the stars in no time.

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Couple it all together with a lovely community and some great mods, and you have a must-watch for the Steam Summer Sale.

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Don't Starve / Don't Starve Together

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Steam User Rating: 97% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Klei Entertainment just released Don't Starve Together to all previous Don't Starve owners last week. Two million veteran players are finally able to starve with all their friends.

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Don't Starve is a densely thematic survival game with quirky characters and an interesting world to explore. The art-style and overall feeling the game invokes are very specific and niche at heart.

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It's worth it at full price, but Don't Starve is bound to be ready for the Steam Summer Sale.

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Cities: Skylines

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Steam User Rating: 95% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Cities: Skylines is the newest city builder on the block that all the Sim City fans are raving about. This game makes some incredibly necessary leaps in the genre that pulls itself together remarkably well.

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Currently Cities: Skylines is more of a sandbox city-building game without any true objectives, even though in normal gameplay you do have to manage funds, among many other things. Nothing disastrous is going to come from outer space and demolish your city, you — the Creator — are the one who determines its fate.

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This is a solid product with an enormous amount of customizable freedom and great modding community to boot. With the developers planning to update and support this game for many years to come, there's no reason not to pick up Cities: Skylines during the Steam Summer Sale if you're into that sort of stuff.

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Killing Floor 2

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Steam User Rating: 94% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Okay, so the first two entries on this list may be a stretch, but it wouldn't be the first time an early-access/relatively new game made it to the Steam Summer Sale. Killing Floor 2 is a great co-op shooter made to be played with up to five of your friends.

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Fight waves and waves of enemy Zeds as they swarm you and your surviving team-mates. If you're into FPS games, Killing Floor 2 is not something you want to miss this year.

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Magicka 2

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Steam User Rating: 64% Positive

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Wishlist It: Steam Store

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Magicka 2 just released a few weeks ago, yet even still we're anticipating it's appearance during the Steam Summer Sale this year, even if only for a 25% discount!

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This game brings all of the humor and non-vampires of Magicka — also expected to make an appearance — to a whole new playing-field, with it's renown spell combination system heading the charge.

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Fair warning: a few changes were made to the spell system, so fans who really sunk their teeth into the first game may have trouble getting into Magicka 2.

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The Steam Summer Sale is looming right ahead of us, with only a few short days left before we can get our paws on the games we've been waiting all year to snag! Scouring the Store pages to find what you're looking for is all fine and dandy, but the entirety of the Steam Summer Sale will go a lot smoother if you take your time and prepare while you still can.

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You may not have any friends willing to look at your Steam Wishlist for gift ideas, but that doesn't make the Wishlist completely worthless. The Steam Wishlist shines brightest when you plop a sale down in front of it.

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Steam notifies you (usually via email) when a game on your Wishlist goes on sale. With all of those Flash Sales passing by, you won't want to miss that sliver of opportunity for a fantastic deal on a game you've wanted for centuries.

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So go Wishlist crazy, and check out our top 15 notable games worth holding out on until the 2015 Steam Summer Sale — which is rumored to start June 11th.

"}]]]>
What does Bethesda need to do to make Fallout 4 perfect? https://www.gameskinny.com/w3rrp/what-does-bethesda-need-to-do-to-make-fallout-4-perfect https://www.gameskinny.com/w3rrp/what-does-bethesda-need-to-do-to-make-fallout-4-perfect Mon, 18 May 2015 11:16:52 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

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While this is wishful thinking, I believe Fallout 4 could be improved with some of these additions or tweaks. At the end of the day, we all want Fallout 4 to be the best game it can be. Who doesn’t want to have a better game?

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What changes or improvements would you like to see in Fallout 4? Agree with my list or think I have had too much Quantum Nuka-Cola? Sound off in the comments below!

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More Radio!

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The radio in Fallout 3 was brilliant. It kept the player op to date with events happening in the world and also alerted players to the consequences on their actions. We got awesome oldies music to boot! The problem is, again, it got repetitive rather quickly. After hearing “Butcher Pete” for the umpteenth time and Three Dog telling me about the results of a quest I completed hours ago, I had to turn off the radio.

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Fallout 4 can fix this by adding more music, dialogue, and even stations! It would be cool to tune into different stations broadcasting from different parts of the world and hear each region’s take on events. Each region could even have their own music they prefer to hear over the airwaves! The stations could even have rotating DJs the player or others can eliminate if they don’t like what the DJ says. The possibilities are nearly endless with this; so it would be great to see Bethesda do more with the great foundation they have. 

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Serious Quality Assurance

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Bethesda, we need to talk. Your bugs are killer. No, not the mutated, mean-eating ones, the game-breaking ones. Yes, Fallout 4 will be an open world game and trying to kill every bug in one of those is like trying to fight a forest fire with a water pistol. However, you could try to eliminate more of the serious bugs. As much as I enjoyed Fallout 3, there were several times when character dialogue would glitch, quests could not be completed, or I fell through the game world and was lost in a hellish, blank landscape. Let’s not forget about those game freezes too!

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A lot of these issues may be rectified with the improvements we have had in technology since, but also Bethesda should use a new engine from the one used in Skyrim (they really should). With improved technology and a better testing process, players could enjoy Fallout 4 with fewer frustrations from the technical hiccups. Also, we should not have to download gigantic day-one patches for our games in order to play proper properly... but that is a can of worms for a later date. 

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More of the Gallows Humor

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The opening to the original Fallout finds two armed men standing over a kneeling, bound prisoner while “Maybe” by The Ink Spots plays in the background.  The men shoot the man in the head and shoot him again once he falls; one of the men laughs during this process while the other turns towards the camera and waves. This opening perfectly captures the essence of Fallout in less than four minutes and gives you a sense for the pitch black humor that lies in wait.

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Fallout 4 needs to retain the humorous elements. The humor is an important part of the franchise as it usually a sharp contrast to the horrors around you. There were moments in Fallout 3, but there could be more. The game does not need to be a comedy game, but the addition of the dark humor helps keep the dreadful world from wearing on the player’s spirit too much. 

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Step Up the Quest Design and Writing

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Bethesda should be developing this cooperatively with Obsidian. If there is one thing Obsidian can do well, it’s quest design and writing. The writing in New Vegas was terrific (remember Think Tank?), and the quest design was fantastic to boot.

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By stepping up the writing and quests in Fallout 4, the characters would be better, and players would have more memorable quests to discuss with their friends long after adventuring in the harsh world. Who doesn’t want to see Obsidian work on another Fallout entry

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/f/d/cfd2724f66497f05b0e78006f49aeac0.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/f/d/tiny_cfd2724f66497f05b0e78006f49aeac0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66507","description":"

A More Interesting World and Locations

\n

Fallout 3 had a far more interesting world than Oblivion or Skyrim, but it still managed to get repetitive before too long. While we had some interesting places such as Tenpenny Tower, Vault 108, Rivet City, and Andale, the majority of the world blended together after some time save a few exceptions. Again, this was a problem New Vegas addressed with more varied and distinct locales such as the Big M.T. facility, Novac, Jacobstown, and New Vegas itself among others.

\n

The problem is Bethesda’s worlds are usually so large, they get repetitive quickly. So why not make a smaller, more interesting game world with more depth and variety? Or do what Obsidian did and just populate the large world with more interesting places? Bethesda can make some interesting places to explore, so why not focus on making a better world instead of a bigger one? Bigger is not always better. Also, more snow! Don't you want to build a snowman?

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/d/3/7d32c0b4f03e90c98d60ff861f20f924.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/d/3/tiny_7d32c0b4f03e90c98d60ff861f20f924.png","type":"slide","id":"66506","description":"

Weapons, Please!

\n

Fallout 3 had some interesting weapons like the Experimental MIRV, alien atomizer, Mesmetron, gauss rifle, and the auto axe to name a few. The problem is a lot of weapons were variants of a type and not very distinct from one another. I might be using a unique Blackhawk revolver, but it looks the same as a normal .44 magnum revolver. Weapons should be more distinguished from one another.

\n

Also, we are in a sci-fi universe, so why not more imaginative or zany weapons? The alien weaponry and plasma arms were cool, but surely we can do more? Take Red Faction: Guerilla and Armageddon for instance. In those titles we had Singularity Grenades, Nano Rifles, Napalm Lasers, and Mr. Toots for crying out loud! Granted, those games are set in the far future, but we could have something similar in the new Fallout games. Or even just alternate fire modes like the firearms in Bulletstorm. It would be great to see the developers go hog wild with some inspired designs that are fun to use.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/e/2/0e22975609637fee200c91be26dfea91.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/e/2/tiny_0e22975609637fee200c91be26dfea91.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66505","description":"

The Combat Needs Work

\n

Let’s be honest, Bethesda’s strong suit is not combat. At its best, it’s mediocre and boring; at its worst, it’s floaty and unsubstantial. The V.A.T.S. system was a brilliant way to mask the dice rolling and calculations under the hood in a way for newer players to grasp and led to dropped jaws as countless heads exploded. The problem was, when not using V.A.T.S., the guns felt like toys which fired air bullets. Sure, I saw the enemy explode in pieces, but the gun never conveyed the power I saw onscreen.

\n

New Vegas helped by allowing iron sights (pay attention Bethesda!) and the weapons felt a bit more substantial and weighty. It was not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. For substantial combat, Bethesda could take notes from Bulletstorm, Hard Reset, and the Souls franchise. The weapons need to feel more substantial and satisfying to use. Really though, the entire combat system could use an overhaul to differentiate itself from The Elder Scrolls series. Maybe more tactical options?

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/9/0/590bee9471f19ca46eb828202560b9a9.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/5/9/0/tiny_590bee9471f19ca46eb828202560b9a9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66504","description":"

Don’t Forget Your Roots

\n

Since the release of Fallout 3, we have seen the release of Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, and Divinty: Original Sin. All three of these titles were funded on Kickstarter by fans; all three are made in the vein of the classic CRPGs of old; and all three have been met with a positive reception from critics and players alike.

\n

Contrary to the mindset of the AAA publishing world, there is very much a market for an RPG that challenges the player in gameplay and doesn’t feature a Hollywood voice cast.

\n

Bethesda could incorporate aspects of the CRPG experience like the additional, optional difficulties of New Vegas without eliminating the mainstream appeal of their games. Wasteland 2 featured a harsh world where everyday survival was a bitter battle day in and day out which fits given the game’s bleak tone and setting. Fallout 4 doesn’t have to be as difficult as Wasteland 2, but it could bring a harsher world to players who desire it.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/f/2/cf2734c9cf2898a1eb773e9de5903fcc.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/c/f/2/tiny_cf2734c9cf2898a1eb773e9de5903fcc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"66503","description":"

Learn From New Vegas

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Fallout: New Vegas was a more divisive title than Fallout 3 due to the amount of bugs. I never thought I could play a game with more bugs than a Bethesda title, but holy mutated roaches Batman! New Vegas had more bugs than the Wasteland ever will, which is a damned shame because it is a superior title to Fallout 3 in so many ways.

\n

If you could endure the bugs, or simply find the fantastic mods from the community that helped with the problems, you were in for an apocalyptic delight! More interesting quests, fantastic writing, stronger characters, added depth of combat and mechanics, and a plethora of imaginative weapons were just a few of the improvements New Vegas made on the Fallout 3 foundation. Bethesda would be wise to learn from what Obsidian did with New Vegas going forward with the franchise.

\n

This will probably be mentioned a few times going forward. You were warned!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/e/8/2e81c6ffda67d9f93e63b0dabf12ce41.jpeg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/e/8/tiny_2e81c6ffda67d9f93e63b0dabf12ce41.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"66501","description":"

We have all heard the rumors: Bethesda will show Fallout 4 in some form at this E3, be it a trailer or gameplay. The hype and anticipation for this rumored reveal has already reached astronomical heights.

\n

With the possibility of information on a new entry in the venerable RPG series, I think now is a great time to discuss some ways Fallout 4 can improve upon its predecessors and make for an upgraded experience in the nuclear wastes.

\n

Equip your plasma rifle and don your power armor; we’re venturing into the unknown. Keep an eye peeled for Deathclaws!

"}]]]>
Divinity: Original Sin Review https://www.gameskinny.com/m5ims/divinity-original-sin-review https://www.gameskinny.com/m5ims/divinity-original-sin-review Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:49:13 -0400 Ford James

“A man with many friends is a man with many cheeses!”

I hear faintly in the distance, an all familiar phrase echoing from the local market in the town of Cyseal. My primary party member, a mage specializing in ice/water spells, aptly named Elsa after Disney’s Frozen (a guilty pleasure of mine) continues to dig up graves in the north of the city with humorous epitaphs on the gravestones such as ‘RIP In Peace’ and ‘Here lies Ana Matopia; whoosh, bam, splat and she was gone’.

Suddenly an evil cackle comes out of one of the graves I’m robbing and a small hunched over skeleton with a bomb bigger than its body emerges out of the ground. “Shit!” I thought to myself as I tried to figure out the best course of action to take to avoid my entire squad being blown to fantasy-esque smithereens.

The premise of Divinity: Original Sin is that youre a 'Source Hunter' commissioned to the land of Rivellon to help with a seemingly simple murder inquiry for a local official in the town of Cyseal. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is something much larger afoot. ‘Sourcery’; the cheesily-named evil magic in the land of Rivellon is evidently behind a bigger issue but without spoiling too much of the plot, expect to battle humans and monsters alike, some traditional, some a lot more unique than is commonly seen in other video games and expect to visit different lands and dimensions in order to conquer the Sourcery and save the land of Rivellon.

Divinity: Original Sin throws you in at the deep end.

There’s no guide or helpful hints for how to best utilize the character options available to you, there’s a small tutorial dungeon which teaches you the very basics of combat and the game mechanics but apart from that, you’re on your own. It’s a much needed refreshing take on video games in general, as the majority of games in this day and age are far too focused on holding your hand and escorting you through even the simplest of tasks.

An example of Divinity: Original Sin going against this increasingly frustrating trend is as soon as you reach the first city by the name of Cyseal, you hear commotion and chatter coming from the harbour. As you reach the source of the gaggle of people, it becomes apparent one of the ships in the harbour has caught on fire.

Without the game telling you, this is one of the first minor quests in the game; if you have a character with a rain spell, you’re able to put out the fire, gaining reputation and experience for your starting duo. If you don’t, you have no option but to keep walking. Even though it’s a simple and maybe to some fairly obvious solution, managing to solve it yourself is a satisfying feeling.

Larian have managed to create an incredibly immersive universe in Divinity: Original Sin.

It’s safe to say it also looks absolutely beautiful. From the bustling marketplace in Cyseal, to the torrential rain in the graveyards near the lighthouse, to the snowy plains in Hiberheim, every turn will leave you amazed and enthralled in the detail and depth to the game and world Larian have constructed alike. One of the strongest points in the game also is the humour; there are plenty of quips, jokes and references which will leave you chuckling to yourself as you prepare to incinerate a group of zombies in a fiery blaze.

At the same time however, Divinity: Original Sin has a steep learning curve in regards to the combat; if you’re fairly new to turn based combat video games, like I was, it may take you a while to get the hang of things (but trust me, the patience is worth it!). Larian crafted the environment and combat scenarios in such a way that you’re nearly always able to gain an elemental advantage as long as you make use of the surroundings; for example, a cluster of rabid dogs standing around in wet ground aren’t going to survive very long when you use an electrical spell to fry the ground beneath their feet. The same goes for orcs just coincidentally loitering around some stacked barrels of oil; a quick arrow to the barrels and a fire charge to the ground will swiftly dispense of them in a fairly warm fashion.

Sound quality and immersion is always an important feature.

And make no mistake, Divinity: Original Sin definitely doesn’t fall short in this department. Featuring a soundtrack composed by Russian/Belgian composer Kirill Pokrovsky, having previously worked on other Larian games such as Divine Divinity and Divinity: Dragon Commander. The shuffling of nearby foes you’ve yet to uncover, the shouts and cries from the harbour, the wails and screams from the creatures you exterminate; all create an immersive environment which leaves you satisfied.

The fashion in which Divinity: Original Sin came to be is an interesting tale too.

A lot of projects with seemingly infinite potential are on the crowd funding website Kickstarter, however few actually manage to receive the funding they desire and therefore few projects actually succeed. Divinity: Original Sin is one of those few however; receiving just over $1 million in pledges against their goal of $400,000, it enabled Larian Studios to create the masterpiece we’re playing today. A lot of the Kickstarter backing pledges included rewards such as naming an NPC, creating some lines of dialogue for the game etc. This meant a lot of the humour and clever dialogue in the game was created by the fans, for the fans.

Larian have genuinely created a game with infinite potential.

One of the key components in the game is the RPG Editor you receive when you purchase it; this is the exact same editor Larian used to create the entire game in their studios, which means anyone with enough time, talent and dedication can create absolutely anything they desire within the Divinity Engine.

Valve is a prime example of a company whose games have an enormous collection of User Generated Content, as their games all use the Source Engine which is very friendly for fans looking to create their own unique quests, maps and gamemodes within their games. Left 4 Dead 2, Half-Life 2 and Portal 2 are three of the most popular Valve games with a big UGC community. Another obvious example is Minecraft, where most of the long-lasting appeal for it comes from the various mods and plugins you can install, all user created.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a perfect video game, although Divinity: Original Sin comes damn close.

One of the drawbacks is the seemingly prehistoric inventory management system; repeatedly having to check if your characters are overburdened with items, making sure the specific character in your party has the item you need to use (e.g. you have to use the character with the shovel in their inventory to be able to dig up graves rather than automatically passing it across). And, while the visuals and interface look nice, it could definitely be more functional in regards to filtering and sorting the items and locating the equipment you’re looking for. Divinity: Original Sin also has a fairly lackluster crafting system when compared with other cRPG’s such as Skyrim. It’s definitely something Larian can build on for the future.

Co-op in Divinity: Original Sin is also definitely worth a look at.

Co-op allows one of you to explore one avenue of one of the plentiful quests while the other explores another, effectively progressing through non-combat quests at double the speed. With combat quests however it’s always recommended to tackle them as a party of four unless you fancy a real challenge, because even without the enemies becoming tougher the more people you play with, the combat itself is far from easy, anyway.

Larian Studios have promised to continue development in regards to updates, patches and DLC for Divinity: Original Sin for ‘quite some time’, according to Larian boss Swen Vincke. He confirmed they will continue to improve the engine, add features and build on the framework in preparation for their next title. He also said it’s unlikely Larian’s next game will be crowd-funded like Divinity: Original Sin, as he believes the crowd-funding pool is limited and should only be used by those who really need it.

Divinity: Original Sin is one of the few and far between games which engrosses me so much I’m genuinely unable to stop playing.

Taking inspiration from the classic cRPG’s such as Planescape Torment and Baldur’s Gate and obviously the original Divinity games, Divinity: Original Sin is a very welcome addition to the currently lackluster modern isometric CRPG genre. For players young and inexperienced to older, wiser, veteran gamers, Divinity: Original Sin promises to entertain and keep you ensnared in the trap of lusting for more when you’re unable to play.

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Divinity: Original Sin Quest Guide - The Philosopher https://www.gameskinny.com/vn0d4/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-the-philosopher https://www.gameskinny.com/vn0d4/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-the-philosopher Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:21:57 -0400 Ashley Shankle

This is one Divinity: Original Sin quest that is not easily taken care of even if you have a keen eye, if simply because one aspect of it is bugged. Luckily enough, you can still progress despite this issue.

The ghost of Nemris, a famous philosopher who claims his works to be found in every library across the land, wants you to read his greatest work, Philosophy of Death. The quest itself can be started by digging up a particular grave in Cyseal's graveyard.

Normally this would be a straightforward quest to finish, but the book itself has no words within. This is not intentional, and hopefully later builds of the game will address this issue. If you would like to see for yourself, you can find Philosophy of Death in the library above the mayor's home.

Even if you can't read the text, you can still complete this quest as Nemris will still ask if you are prepared for his test. The questions posed and their answers can be found below. Do note you should have your partner character agree with your choices to avoid potentially arguing over the answers and getting them wrong. You do not get any second chances at answering his questions.

Answers to Nemris's questions

Question: "Between life and death, death is the greater force, so argues the clergyman. Is he correct?"
Answer: "Of course not."

Question: "Let us proceed. Life is life's own goal: the question that is itself the answer. Good! Now I am unburdened of all worries, am I not?"
Answer: "Not entirely, no."

Question: "Last query. Boldly do I scorn the bonds of faith and fear. Death I dub thee life's equal! Is this my salvation or my undoing?"
Answer: "Your salvation."

Provide him with the answers seen above and he will reward your party with a nice chunk of EXP.

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Divinity: Original Sin Quest Guide - The Talking Statues https://www.gameskinny.com/uitqh/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-the-talking-statues https://www.gameskinny.com/uitqh/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-the-talking-statues Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:41:07 -0400 Ashley Shankle

A beggar on the eastern side of the city of Cyseal tells you his story of a statue on the cliffs to the west convincing him to burn his worldly possessions, leaving him penniless and homeless. Your natural curiosity sends implores you to seek it out.

The Talking Statues can be an obtuse quest if you let it be that way. What cliffs are the man talking about? Where are they, and what are you supposed to do with them once you get there?

As with my other Divinity: Original Sin quest or puzzle guides, spoiler markers (---) for those who just need a nudge in the right direction are in key segments of this article. If you feel you've gotten all the information you want or need to progress, do not read past the (---) marker.

Where are the talking statues?

You can find the talking statues in Cyseal Northwest, and to get there you must go through a cave located in the forest just north of town.

(---)

The exact location of the cave is found here:

There is an exit on the other side of the cave, from which you will end up on Cyseal Northwest.

Note: There is a fight found within the cave, based on your choices and the quests you've picked up before getting to this point.

(---)

From the cave, head to the location marked on the map below to find the statues.

Do note there is at least one fight along the way depending on the route you take.

(---)

What do you do with the talking statues? *basically spoiler-free answer*

Notice there is a sign for an element under each one? Those are the key to finishing this quest.

(---)

What do you do with the talking statues? *straight answer*

The elemental sign held by each statue shows you what to do: use an offensive skill of that element on the statue. And don't forget poison skills are Geomancy, and hence are Earth skills.

Do this only one at a time.

(---)

Use an Earth skill on the green statue, a Water skill on the deep blue statue, an Air skill on the teal statue (the one to the upper right), and a Fire skill on the red statue.

When you hit a statue with its corresponding element, a Lesser Demon of the same element will spawn and enter combat with your party. Each of these fights is against one level 6 Lesser Demon.

Once you have defeated awakened all four statues, the door on the platform will open for you to enter and complete the quest.

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Divinity: Original Sin Quest Guide - Lost Love at the Lighthouse https://www.gameskinny.com/hc6yb/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-lost-love-at-the-lighthouse https://www.gameskinny.com/hc6yb/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-lost-love-at-the-lighthouse Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:46:02 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Lost Love at the Lighthouse is one of the earliest quests you receive in Divinity: Original Sin, and deceptively simple if you progress through the game trying to complete other sidequests.

The ghost of the lighthouse, Samson, laments over his decision to sink his wife's ship and hopes to one day have her forgiveness. Your party is the only group brave enough to approach the lighthouse, and you are put to the task of helping Samson find peace.

As with my other Divinity: Original Sin quest or puzzle guides, spoiler markers (---) for those who just need a nudge in the right direction are in key segments of this article. If you feel you've gotten all the information you want or need to progress, do not read past the (---) marker.

Much like Kitty Love, Lost Love at the Lighthouse requires you to complete the quest Crabs Versus Skeletons. If you have done that quest, you can fulfill the requirements. If not, you can either choose to rush to Crabs Versus Skeletons or wait until you've stumbled upon it yourself.

(---)

How do you give Samson peace?

You must find his wife, Desdemona, who is located in the very same cave (Black Cove) as both the Crabs Versus Skeletons quest.

If you have Pet Pal and have not accepted the Kitty Love quest, go back to the King Crab Inn before heading to Black Cove and get the quest. You can knock out several birds with one stone in Black Cove if you are diligent with quest grabbing.

Where is Samson's wife?

After completing Crabs Versus Skeletons and grabbing the loot found along the way, you will have a Black Ominous Key. This is used on the Black Ominous Gate found where the fight between orcs and skeleton pirates took place.

(---)

You will come across a level 6 boss fight down the path beyond the Black Ominous Gate. After the fight is over, go the area behind the boss's body to find Desdemona's ghost.

Quest completion

Head back to the lighthouse after speaking with Desdemona to complete the quest with Samson.

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Divinity: Original Sin Quest Guide - Crabs Versus Skeletons https://www.gameskinny.com/xxgcy/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-crabs-versus-skeletons https://www.gameskinny.com/xxgcy/divinity-original-sin-quest-guide-crabs-versus-skeletons Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:30:34 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Crabs Versus Skeletons automatically enters your journal once you have traveled deep enough into Black Cove, the pirate cave found on Cyseal's beautiful and bloody western beach. You need a keen eye to complete this quest.

As with my other Divinity: Original Sin quest or puzzle guides, spoiler markers (---) for those who just need a nudge in the right direction are in key segments of this article. If you feel you've gotten all the information you want or need to progress, do not read past the (---) marker.

This guide assumes you have defeated the Source Abomination that spawns at around the same time the quest is triggered, so our adventure begins in the room just behind our now-dead lobster-clawed friend.

Be sure to grab whatever loot you can find in the room, then adjust the camera angle as seen in the image below to see the lever.

Pull it, and the painting on the wall will move to reveal a switch. Press the switch, and a hidden hatch becomes visible in the corner as seen here.

Make your way down the hatch to continue.

(---)

Which switch is the right one?

After making your way down the hatch, you will come to an area with several switches with odd names and an ominous-looking skull. This is one area I got stuck on for more than I would like to admit, and it's possible you've gotten stuck on it too. There are so many switches, and only one will lift the skull for you to proceed.

The switch you are looking for is the Blood Stained Switch, which is just to the south the arena with the giant skull, hidden behind a cluster of ferns.

(---)

Quest completion

Behind the giant skull is a battle against the skeleton pirate Pontius. Defeating him will complete the quest. Be sure to pick up all of the loot he drops, especially the keys. One opens a chest on the ship in the room and the other is needed to open another door in Black Cove.

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Divinity: Original Sin Guide - The Earth, Water, Air, and Fire Lever Puzzle https://www.gameskinny.com/iu6nk/divinity-original-sin-guide-the-earth-water-air-and-fire-lever-puzzle https://www.gameskinny.com/iu6nk/divinity-original-sin-guide-the-earth-water-air-and-fire-lever-puzzle Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:08:44 -0400 Ashley Shankle

You're going to come across a great deal of optional content in Divinity: Original Sin, and this puzzle is just a taste of what's to come brainteaser-wise.

Some players may only want gentle nudges in the right direction. Tiers of spoilers ("if you do X, X will happen") are separated by (---). If you feel you have read enough on how to progress and don't want what's further to be spoiled on the solution, stop at the (---) marker.

You come across a hatch next to a dilapidated home to the west of Cyseal, just south east of the area with fire elementals. Found in the hatch is a cave adorned with with four elemental pillars and a tome which reads:

Water
Earth
Air
Fire
In this cell's double, your double will face your ally.

Cryptic, right? The key word to keep in mind from this, aside from the list of elements, is "ally" -- meaning a party member (or two) as opposed to the entire party. This should tell you to split your party when you find the other cell. (Note: This cell is called the "first room" further down the guide.)

The other cell is just north west of this one, in the area with fire elementals. Fight them and make your way down the hatch to find the room mentioned in the tome.

This room has similar elemental pillars to the other, but the words on the tome itself are a little different (Note: This is called the "second room" further down the guide.):

Earth
Water
Air
Fire
In this cell's double, your double will face your ally.

Notice the elements are in a different order, and again it mentions "ally", hinting you should split your party. Do just that, and send two party members to the first room.

(---)

Figuring out the order to pull the levers

The first cell you came across asked for Water, Earth, Air, and Fire. The second cell requests Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. As pulling a lever sets off an elemental attack in the opposite room, you may assume you need to pull the levers in the order the tome in the opposite room requests -- and that assumption would be correct.

(---)


Before pulling levers willy-nilly, be sure to move your character(s) in the opposite room to the outside of the middle of the pillars. The pillars' attacks aim in the center, and they do hurt and apply status effects.

Order of levers in the first room

You must pull the levers in the first room in the order the tome found in the second room lists: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire.

Order of levers in the second room

You must pull the levers in the second room in the order the tome found in the first room lists: Water, Earth, Air, Fire.

(---)

After you're done pushing buttons and pulling levers

A mysterious enemy will appear in the opposite room once you have finished a lever puzzle. This happens in both rooms upon puzzle competion, each fight against one level 5 opponent modeled after one of the default characters.

After these fights, be sure to pick up the pendants and loot that drop to the floor.

Head down the newly-revealed hatches in each room to come upon two pedestals, one on each side. Drag the pendants from your inventory to their respective pedestals to open the gates and receive a good deal of loot for lower level characters.

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Top Sellers on Steam - July 20 through 26 https://www.gameskinny.com/1eps5/top-sellers-on-steam-july-20-through-26 https://www.gameskinny.com/1eps5/top-sellers-on-steam-july-20-through-26 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:48:47 -0400 Mary Yeager

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#10: The Elder Scrolls Online -

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Despite having a rocky start with their launch in April, TESO is still seeing great sales numbers and finishes up the list of top 10 sellers on Steam for the week ending July 26th. The Elder Scrolls Online brings the world of Tamriel for players to enjoy cooperative play while journeying the worlds we know from The Elder Scrolls single-player series.

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Released: April 4, 2014

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/26af6b21dc5870d9b4b361b8ec867a4f.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_26af6b21dc5870d9b4b361b8ec867a4f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49271","description":"

#9: The Forest -

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Get your survival horror fix with this game as a lone survivor of a jet crash. Face off against a society of cannibalistic mutants that want to have you for supper. Build and survive in this open-world horror simulator.

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Released: May 30 ,2014

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/2c36133726b156e3d2daa02f8451974d.png","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_2c36133726b156e3d2daa02f8451974d.png","type":"slide","id":"49270","description":"

#8: Dungeon Defenders Eternity -

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Dungeon Defenders Eternity is a tower defense action-RPG. Some of its new features include:

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    \n
  • New Missions
  • \n
  • New endgame
  • \n
  • Secure online play
  • \n
  • and more.
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Released: July 22, 2014

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/7e4539d1baba81110e38bd98de545dc6.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_7e4539d1baba81110e38bd98de545dc6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49269","description":"

#7: Dead Island Franchise Pack -

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The Franchise pack gives players access to the following:

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    \n
  • Dead Island
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  • Dead Island Ripper Mod
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  • Dead Island: Riptide
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  • Dead Island: Riptide - Fashion Victim
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  • Dead Island: Riptide - Survivor Pack
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  • Dead Island: Ryder White DLC
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Released: This was a weekend deal on Steam slated to end Monday morning at 10 AM PST/1 PM EST.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/078393b092c486de7140fc5d376ee983.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_078393b092c486de7140fc5d376ee983.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49268","description":"

#6: Planet Explorers -

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This open-world RPG is one of the few titles currently released by indie developer Pathea Games. The game utilizes a voxel system to change their world. This is also an Early Access Game on Steam that could include game-play issues.

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Released as Early Access: March 11, 2014

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Official Release Date: Unknown

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/7a21c25ba9fadf0c8a5f86989ebdcb33.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_7a21c25ba9fadf0c8a5f86989ebdcb33.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49267","description":"

#5: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive -

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CS: GO is the fourth in the series of Counter-Strike. It can also be found in the top ten list of top paying eSports games. CS: GO offers players updated versions of the classic content Counter-Strike is known for.

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Released: August 21, 2012

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/032583fe2766bb3326fe6deb30a275ce.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_032583fe2766bb3326fe6deb30a275ce.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49266","description":"

#4: DayZ -

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This is not an official game release, yet it still finds its way onto the top sellers list on Steam. DayZ is still in Early Access Alpha. These purchases are designed to assist developers and could contain game-breaking issues.

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Released as Early Access: December 16, 2013

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Official Release Date: Unknown

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/d820ef12f7c47fc09bca0ba29b8debcc.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_d820ef12f7c47fc09bca0ba29b8debcc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49265","description":"

#3: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Legendary Edition -

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Award-winning Skyrim is still on top sellers list despite the fact that the game was originally released November 11, 2011. The Legendary Edition includes all the official add-ons:

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    \n
  • Dawnguard
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  • Hearthfire
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  • Dragonborn
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It also features the mounted combat and legendary difficulty and skills.

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Released: June 4, 2013

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e446bb8ff0c4c10d1c524ed8521726f5.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_e446bb8ff0c4c10d1c524ed8521726f5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49264","description":"

#2: Dark Souls II - Season Pass -

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Players have been snapping up the Season Pass for Dark Souls II to gain access to the three chapters from the Lost Crown Trilogy. Players have to take back crowns originally owned by Drangleic's King Vendrick.

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Released: July 22, 2014

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/66445d11e52a922738073f715fd40a8a.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_66445d11e52a922738073f715fd40a8a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49263","description":"

#1: Divinity: Original Sin -

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Divinity: Original Sins is an RPG adventure that includes a turn-based combat system and open world play. Play online with friends and use the tools to make adventures. As a young Source Hunter, players can interact with anyone and anything in game as they hunt the "foulest of magics".

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Released: June 30, 2014

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/fc51d55e11445ad6a6e954f602e043d8.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_fc51d55e11445ad6a6e954f602e043d8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"49273","description":"

Top Sellers Last Week on Steam

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Find out what games and packs were top sellers last week with this Steam round-up. From voxel games to horror games, check out these titles.

"}]]]>