Welcome to my blog everyone. I'd like to inform you that you should feel free to email me, or get in contact with me somehow, if you have an idea of something I should blog about. Such as if you want a certain game reviewed, I'll do what I can.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Free Games, Free Program

Hey all, I figured I'd speak of a broad subject this time. Instead of focusing on a single game, I'll focus on a platform of games. This platform is a simple hub of connections that supports peer-created content. Indeed, all of the content on here is created and sustained by the community. I speak of nothing other than BYOND.

BYOND is a 2D focused gaming central where fangames and original games flourish. Roleplaying and Player Versus Player games hold the most numerous, but several other gametypes have shown to be possible. Essentially, BYOND is a hosting client and a game creator. Utilizing pixel artistry and a specific coding language, people can create full games to play.

While the creators are unprofessional, several of the games are astoundingly complex. For amateurs, the skill shown by everyone can be considered exceptional. At least, for the original copies of the source-codes. BYOND's sourcecodes can get spread around and altered by anyone who knows even a bit of the language. The result is a sad reality of mostly similar games with little ingenuity.

The games are entirely online, and generally coded for multiple people. BYOND is a community of interesting people, although I cannot say in good heart that I approve of most of them. A lot of it can be described like politics - teenagers vying for some power. People do anything, y'know?

I'll describe more of BYOND later. Just a leeway into what many games I'll be speaking about, I suppose. Comment about the games you want me to review, and I'll look into it!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mount and.... Musket?

Hello all, and welcome to the first post of Good Ol' Games. In this first little tidbit, we'll be talking about a few points of a new game that came out recently and has met mixed reviews: Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword. This is the third installment of a successful line of historical and realistic fantasy role playing war games. Although both predecessors were groundbreaking for such a small company, the third time is not always the charm.

To those new to the series, Mount And Blade (hereby referred to as M&B) is a game made by TaleWorlds. The original M&B which released a few years ago was an amazing success. A single-player only game where one could be anything in a fantasy world known as Calradia - within boundaries of the game of course. No farming, but being a merchant was a possibility. The goal of this game was, although not strictly, to join one of the five factions and take over the divided nation. One could rebel and start their own "faction" but no support was made given.

The gameplay is where it really broke bounds - the combat was a highly realistic sword and shield (and two-handers, archery, throwing, and crossbow) styled battle. Use of physics and real world medieval facts supported the combat throughout. Speed and momentum made a huge difference, so utilizing the horseback combat made available only made sure you hit harder - and were far harder to hit. On foot, you have to use your mouse movements and footwork to strike where you need to, and parry or block. In the case of shields, the right mouse button blocked anything to the front of you until the shield broke.

The second installment was M&B: Warband. This was essentially the same game, but with a few added features. One could make their own kingdom and rule Calradia that way - which changed the focus to rule Calradia, and not support a ruler. A few economic adjustments were made as well, such as investing in industries in the various cities for weekly income to support your armies that can reach upwards of 300 men.

And for the third installment, With Fire and Sword (WFAS) we see an odd new improvement. Story plays a large part in the game, wherein the first two games there was virtually no story. There have been quests, but most of it is helping someone do something for some monetary reward. This and the introduction of firearms without the use of modifications are the only new additions. Sadly, they strip away much of what made Warband a far more entertaining game than the first M&B.

As the story is now focused on a historical viewpoint, one cannot start their own kingdom. There are several economical balance problems, such as caravans bringing up several hundred thousand per run. Combat is the same, although firearms and the far weaker armor make survival that much harder. You can only dodge so many people aiming a gun at you before one bullet hits.

This is not much of an issue on the developers part, such as choosing to remove what made Warband so great, but the way the game was made. It was built as an expansion to the original M&B, not Warband, so it could not support Warband's improvements. The lack of modding support thus far makes it hard to improve the base game like mods have done so much for the other games.

A brief introduction for now, but I view the Mount and Blade series as an incredibly fun set of games. They are remarkably cheap, and come with Steam support. M&B is about 3 bucks, Warband is roughly 7, and WFAS costs 15. In bang-for-your-buck, each of these games is well worth the buy. For the time being though, I would buy Warband and wait for WFAS to be improved. Hopefully Taleworlds will be able to, in the fourth game, incorporate the best of Warband and WFAS. Perhaps we will see even more improvements as well.