Tag Archives: Dungeon Crawler

Immortal Redneck review

Immortal Redneck doesn’t require a massive long drawn out review, basically because it’s not a massive game with lots of elements to it. What is essentially a roguelike FPS dungeon crawler Immortal Redneck is set in ancient Egypt and you play a mummified Redneck on a mission to try and make it to the top of the pyramid. Not much of why you end up like that is explained but it doesn’t really matter to be honest because there is not that much depth to the game either. That being said, the whole point of the game is to look for answers inside the pyramid but again, it’s not really that important.

Your job is to enter the pyramid and make your way floor by floor to the top, when you enter a room the door is locked and you have to face multiple enemies and destroy them to move on, however, they become more dangerous and more and more concentrated making your journey that little bit harder. You have three weapons to choose from and each are suited to their own speciality but you have to be very careful because if you die you’re back to square one, no matter how far up the pyramid you get to and you have to face a newly generated pyramid.

Exploration is key to each floor and this can be quite time-consuming but if you want to make it to the top it’s worth spending that little extra time looking around for items that may help you in the long run. Each floor has different enemy types ranging from little annoying frogs to big bounding beasts that take a couple of shotgun blasts to put down. Each enemy could drop something such as health or ammo to help you on your way. The enemies don’t mess around though and make you their primary target leaving sections of the game quite challenging and very addictive. Don’t expect this to be a walk in the park because it’s not.

After a few levels, you will encounter a boss that makes for a refreshing change to the gameplay, you have to use tactics and strategy on some bosses but most are engaging if not a slightly repetitive but still, the challenge makes the boss fights very enjoyable indeed. Choosing your weapon on a boss fight is important and there are loads of weapons available. You have machine guns, shotguns, RPG’s and all sorts of different weapons that give you the upper hand on the enemy. Every now and then a scroll will drop that could give you an attribute, a sort of buff, but this could go either way and be bad as well as good.

There are also different gods that you can choose from depending how you like to play and each comes with a passive skill as well as a special ability such as healing or damage. Each time you die – and depending on how far you made it before – you get the opportunity to use points to upgrade certain aspects of your god to give them the edge on your next attempt. Immortal Redneck is extremely addictive and pulls you into just have one more game. You can last ages or just a few minutes on the pyramid but all is down to you and how careful you want to play.

With the controls being generic FPS, the game is very easy to pick up and start crawling through each stage. For such a small and basic game to have such a replay factor is a massive accomplishment for developers Crema games. The levels are big enough to explore but not too big to get lost and become frustrated by. The sound won’t win any awards but it does what it should and provides the game with character.

Like I said, not too much to say for such a small game but overall Immortal Redneck is definitely worth a play, whilst the visuals are basic and won’t take your breath away the playability makes up for that and gets you hooked as you make your way to the top of the pyramids. I am yet to make it to the second pyramid but that being said I’m not giving up and I’m leaving Immortal Redneck in proud place on my installed games list. Well Done Crema.

Victor Vran review

Victor Vran is brought to us by Haemimont Games, and with legendary titles such as the Tropico series under their belts, then my expectations were extremely high for Victor. I do have to manage my expectations here and defend Victor a bit, a lot of people are comparing this game to triple A titles and that’s not fair, because triple A is something that Mr Vran is not. With developer behemoths such as Blizzard behind Diablo then titles like this from smaller developers already have a hard time getting noticed. It’s time to be open minded and give the small guys a go.

Victor Vran is our protagonist and he is a Demon Hunter by trade. Victor travels to Zagoravia, a dark dank city where all manners of undead foe spawn from the ground and evil wizards emerge to cast all hell onto you. The main thing that puts Victor out in front is there are no classes to speak of, it’s you, Victor, and endless enemies to battle through. You can, however, obtain outfits and these offer various perks and aesthetics but they’re definitively not classes.

You have four types of weapons to choose from: swords, guns, hammers, rapiers. These drop from enemies and can be found in loot chests scattered around the world. Like any game of this type, loot is important, and as usual the rarer the better. Each weapon has three abilities, I can’t really tell you what they are as I didn’t really take much notice but each one has its own devastating attack weather that be targeted or a simple AOE effect. Along with your weapons, you have Overdrive, as you attack this builds up its own power bar and when it’s full you can unleash your Demon Attack skill causing carnage in your wake. Demon abilities drop like weapons and also the rarer the better. Demon skills aren’t always offensive though as some give you protective and healing auras making life a little easier.

You can equip two types of weapon at any one time and eventually unlock the ability to equip two types of demon skills. Switching between one weapon type and another is simple, at the touch of the RB button you switch, meaning that you can use your harder attacks in quick succession. The controls over all are really good and simple to get to grips with. Victor Vran offers something a little different in terms of viewpoint though, whilst most crawlers give you a fixed view, Victor Vran allows you to rotate the screen meaning you can get into every nook and cranny of each area.

Combat is often fast and exciting, with mobs spawning around all the time and quite often in packs. This gives for a satisfying feeling when you drop a devastating melee attack and obliterate everyone on the screen. With multiplayer also being an option this adds for some exhilarating gameplay as you all bring your own unique flair to the game. Difficulty naturally increases but it’s worth trudging through with your team on the hunt for better loot. That being said, sometimes you can get lost in the carnage and things get quite confusing but that’s a small price to pay.

Victor Vran also gives players a jump ability, something that is missing from most crawlers, this allows you to jump over walls and seek out hidden treasures behind walls and fences. If you jump into a wall you get a double jump chance meaning that you’re not limited to a certain path and this allows for some exploration of areas. Typically areas are big enough to allow a fair amount of venturing off the beaten path, all in the hope of finding a find a rare spawn that will drop some phat loot.

Speaking of which Victor Vran is packed with the stuff, there is loot everywhere, some not so good but you don’t have to venture far into the game before you start picking up some decent items. Some people may be put off by that but it does come in handy early on, trust me. When you reach the ripe old level of 16 you get access to the transmutation machine, this allows you to sacrifice the trash loot and improves what you have. When it comes to loot, it’s yours and yours alone, there is no trading with other players and no swapping that legendary hammer with your friend for a quick boost.

With all the elements that most RPG/dungeon crawlers have, Victor Vran doesn’t disappoint. Sometimes it can get a bit tedious especially when it comes to the voice acting, which by the way stars Doug Cockle of Witcher fame. There is a character called the “The Voice” who randomly speaks to you and sometimes offers hints, the voice cracks the same jokes all the time, frankly it gets a bit boring. These shortfalls should in no way deter you from giving Victor Vran a go, because it’s a part of what is a fantastic dungeon crawler.

Victor Vran is not without its issues but on the whole I really enjoyed playing it and I will definitely be returning to Zagoravia for more. Graphically it’s adequate and the sounds fit perfectly, Victor Vran is a treat for dungeon crawler fans and perfect for those who want something a little different. No crawler would be complete without chickens making and appearance…yep that’s right you get a gun that shoots out chickens…what more could you want. Why not click on the video below for some gameplay and a video review of the game.

Thanks to Haemimont Games and Xbox for supporting TiX

Diablo see’s promising future in 2017

The Diablo series has been a massive success over the last 20 years and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Blizzcon 2016 has just taken place in Anaheim California, like every Blizzcon there are exciting announcements and new releases. While most games are centered around PC releases the console has seen some inclusion over recent years. This year is no different, developers Blizzard are making consoles a firm part of their games and including the console in most updates and expansions.

Diablo will see a brand new class, the Necromancer.

In my opinion Blizzard make some of the best cut scenes ever. There have been a load of new announcements that include the following:

DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS @ BLIZZCON 2016 FEATURES:

  • 20th Anniversary Dungeon: The original Diablo labyrinth is back in Diablo III form.
  • Nostalgia Can Be Deadly: Recreated the events, monsters, and levels from the original Diablo.
  • Fresh(ened up) Meat: Original Diablo, The Butcher, Skeleton King, and Lazarus return as epic boss fights.
  • Presented in Glorious RetroVision™: Special90s-inspired audio and visual filters for that “classic” look.
  • The Necromancer: Wield the power of the dead with Diablo III’s newest playable hero class.
  • Master of the Dark Arts: Her magic draws from the power of blood and bone.
  • The Old Skills and the New: Command an Army of the Dead, control a mighty Blood Golem . . . 

. . . and make all the corpses EXPLODE!

  • Necromantic Sets and Legendaries: The Necromancer will be able to collect many rare treasures of unearthly power, including new Legendaries and Set items.
  • Rise of the Necromancer Pack will include the character, an in-game pet, two character slots, two stash tabs, a portrait frame, pennant, banner and banner sigil. (Pricing TBD)
  • Explore Deadly New Zones: The foul stench of evil continues to spread across Sanctuary.
  • Shrouded Moors: This harsh, inhospitable land has been abandoned for centuries.  But something stirs within its perpetual fog—as though a dark presence has taken hold.
  • Temple of the Firstborn: An ancient monument to the earliest nephalem. The temple is hidden beneath the surface of Sanctuary, where it has escaped the notice of most mortals.

 

  • Seasons Coming to Console: Console and PC Seasons will align in Season 10
  • Console Seasons will include the Season Journey, Leaderboards, and all rewards and cosmetics.

Looks good don’t you think. I am a massive fan of Diablo 3 having bought it on multiple formats it’s nice to see Blizzard including everyone in the updates.

 

Ziggurat review

Ziggurat brings Roguelike procedurally generated content along with the twitch reactions of a first-person shooter, all inside a fantasy comic aesthetic. It’s Tower of Guns but with magic, and it’s brilliant.

Of course calling Ziggurat a Roguelike stretches the subgenre’s definition a little bit. Much like the analogous Tower of Guns, it’s more Rouge-inspired, with the takeaway features being permadeath and procedurally generated levels and enemy layouts. Additionally, Ziggurat’s setting is high fantasy, you’re an apprentice sorcerer looking to join a powerful brotherhood, in order to do so you must enter and survive the five levels of a ziggurat. Each level steadily grows in size and is filled with deadlier foes culminating in a boss. You must search the labyrinthine ziggurat levels for a key to open a portal to the next level which also reveals that level’s boss.

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The narrative is superficial and brief but does its job in setting up your driving force for entering the Ziggurat initially. Additional, nuggets of story can be found as scrolls within the levels that flesh out the world a little more but mostly talk of the dangers the ziggurat holds. It mostly fades into the background, but ultimately it’s not missed – after your first attempt the compulsion to replay is inescapable.

The primary hook that drags you in is how consistently fair each attempt at the ziggurat is – a remarkable trait for a game with procedurally generated challenges. Enemies are well-balanced to a predictable difficulty curve that’s easy to anticipate and prepare for, and the perks you obtain through exploration or levelling are a choice between different approaches to combat rather than the random empowering or restraining of your character. As such it encourages you to play differently rather than stacking the odds against you or overpowering you.

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When you level up you’re provided a choice between two perk cards. Often it’s a choice between increased health and increased mana, but as you level up further those choices expand to sacrificing health or mana for the other. Mixing and matching these perks essentially allows you to create the classic classes from first-person shooters – sacrificing mana for health builds you a tank, meanwhile, the opposite moves you towards damage per second (DPS), etc. and while your choices won’t always allow you to build towards the play style you necessarily prefer, asking you to adapt to a different style rather than relying on grinding or lucky dice rolls is a far less frustrating process.

You adventure through the ziggurat in first-person, starting out with your trusty wand and gaining more weapons as you search and find them. Each weapon is magically powered – sceptres, guns and more can be found and swapped out to fill your four weapon slots, each using a different pool of mana which acts like ammo to be refilled by picking up crystals dropped by defeated foes. It plays like a first-person shooter, with the nostalgic fast paced strafing action of titles such as Hexen or Doom. It’s terrific, intense fun.

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Occasional areas are subject to procedurally generated effects, such as increased or decreased weapon’s damage, character speed or fire rate. Additionally, there are traps to look out for and challenge rooms that pit you against a large horde of enemies or a difficult platforming and trap dodging challenge with a reward at the end. Indeed the ziggurat is a treacherous place, tempting you to conquer its challenges for those extra perks and weapons that might help you survive the bosses and their minions. However, if you die it’s back to the beginning.

However, by achieving specific objectives, such as killing a certain amount of enemies, other characters are unlocked for you to take into the ziggurat, each with different starting stats or wands offering a different experience and challenge. Unlocking the large roster and trying to conquer the ziggurat is a compelling experience for the completionist, but more than that it’s remarkably fun and satisfying thanks to it’s fast paced casting/shooting mechanic and fair procedurally challenges.

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Additionally, Ziggurat is a very good looking game. A colourful palette makes the dungeons bright rather than dreary and the particle effects for spells more impressive. There’s also a light-hearted philosophy to the enemy design that brings a smile to your face, with their exaggerated features and odd sounds. Furthermore, secret areas have a picture on the wall representing a game from developer Milkstone Studio’s portfolio, with text appearing giving a brief history. Meanwhile, the subtle shaking of the controller as you approach an edge gives you a terrific indicator that makes first-person platforming that much easier and quicker. Indeed, Ziggurat is full of thoughtful design choices and personality.

Ziggurat is a fun and accessible Roguelike with precisely the kind of refinements you’d expect from a modern action shooter, but one that channels the spirit of older, fast paced titles. There are occasions where the action becomes a bit too intense and the framerate chugs, but otherwise this is a spectacular dungeon crawling FPS that’s different every time you play but never falls into the pit of being unfair.

Thanks to Xbox for supplying TiX with a download code

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Diablo III Review

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Diablo III is the third in a series of iconic PC cooperative dungeon crawler RPG’s. The franchise is well known and respected in PC gaming circles, it ranks up there with other RPG’s and dungeon crawlers like Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate.  It is quite literally one of the industry’s most popular franchises, a battle between Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell, and now finally it is here on Xbox 360.

I’ve been waiting a long time for this day – the chance to finally get my Blizzard fix whilst relaxing on the sofa with the comfort of an Xbox 360 controller in my hand. When I first read those port rumours a couple of years back and even saw the Blizzard recruitment posts looking a Console Producer, it still felt too good to be true. But the much anticipated game is finally here and I am ecstatic to report that it handles superbly albeit outside of its usual confines.

Like its predecessors, this iteration is a diabolically (like what I did there?) hellish, cooperative dungeon crawler that isn’t afraid to ratchet up its toughness from time to time. Diablo III, while featured completely in 3D with a 3D environment, follows closely in Diablo II’s track by using the classic isometric view, fast gameplay, and randomized content for high replayability. Some changes have been made in order to make the game more welcoming to new players, to ramp up the difficulty more smoothly, and to create a deep and engaging combat system. The Diablo III developers took inspiration from previous games in the series, as well as World of Warcraft. This latest behemoth offers a bevy of different degrees of challenge in the form of Normal, Nightmare, Hell & Inferno difficulties.

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Each difficulty level repeats the same content (with a few minor changes), while scaling up all the skills, items, monsters, experience rewards, gold drops, and everything else to maintain a challenge appropriate to the character level. The fourth difficulty level, Inferno, is a new feature in Diablo III, adding a much more challenging end game experience to the Hell difficulty that was the upper limit in Diablo II. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, then you’ll surely end up enjoying the twenty-odd hour game during your first run through, and multiple run through’s afterwards.

As with all titles similar, players are given the opportunity to pick and name their character, choose its gender and class from several different archetypes, some of which will be familiar to role-playing fanatics. First up is the typical hulking muscle ripped Barbarian, a close combat specialist. Next is the speedy monk with strong Eastern martial arts influences, then the nature-wielding, necromancy practicing and alchemy expert Witch Doctor. The final two classes are the ranged Demon Hunter who specializes in crossbows and trap laying and finally the expected Wizard, pure spell caster who focuses the arcane and elemental energies and transforms them into destructive offensive spells.

Being someone who daily wishes they had spells and magical powers at their disposal, I picked the Wizard and stuck with him from start through to completion. I’ve yet to load up the next difficulty, but don’t worry, I will. I aim to finish this game on all FOUR difficulties.

The thing about Diablo games, and especially III, is that they are action-packed right from the get go. Diablo III ups the ante on most if not all of its peers. It doesn’t matter where you happen to be standing, the likelihood is there are enemies in extremely close proximity to you and your party. Enemies are monstrous in their design and range from the grotesque to demonic, mutated and downright vile. This is a game about good trying to overcome evil and these enemies are everything you’ve had nightmares about from childhood to adult life. Because of the sheer number of them make sure you are always fully stocked on health potions. Playing Solo (offline or without a local 2nd, 3rd and 4th player) you’ll probably die quite a bit, especially near the beginning. During the early quests I was continually swarmed by hordes of foes who killed me with relative ease – the bastards!

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In terms of the story line, unless you’ve played the prior two titles, it will intrigue you but won’t come across as the best or most unique script every written. For those of you familiar with Diablo lore, you’ll enjoy what is on offer as new and interesting details are revealed. The basic premise is an old man and his niece discover an ancient text, a text that speaks about an upcoming demonic invasion. As happens in all these scenarios, just as the two learn the meaning of the texts, all Hell (quite literally) breaks loose and hordes of demons break through into the realm of the living. By doing so the demons have broken a truce, choosing to invade the land of Sanctuary and take it for their own. Now demons are bad enough but someone else has come to town to play, the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo the Prime Evil. There is additional detail to the story to be found in diaries and journals scattered around the game world. These aren’t essential reading but do add further depth to those wishing to dig deeper into the story and lore.

If you hadn’t have heard about Diablo prior to this game, one of the biggest achievements for Blizzard has to be the fact that whilst playing Diablo III you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been designed for console from the outset. For a PC to console port, this is shining example of what taking extra time and care can achieve. They have haven’t released a console title since The Lost Vikings in 1997 (SNES, Saturn & PS1), yet there is no rust to be found here. Everything has been well thought out from the way abilities are mapped to controller face and shoulder buttons, and the ease at which players can escape combat through rolls. If you prefer joysticks and buttons over clicking a mouse and tapping keys, then you’ll feel right at home here, and won’t have any issues adjusting to what is a thoroughly impressive and fully acceptable input system. I can say that after being both a dedicated PC MMO player with multiple keyboard binds and macros as well as being a console fanatic.

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Graphically you have to remember that Diablo III was originally designed for PC and Mac. Therefore when run on the highest settings, the game will always look better on those platforms than a console. That said, the Xbox 360 is far from slacking in this department. The visual design is captivation and more than pleasing to the eye. You’ll understandably encounter some minor screen tearing, and a tiny bit of slowdown here and there, but they’re more hiccups than problems and don’t detract from the overall experience in the slightest. The frame rate fluctuates during big battles on screen where there were tons and tons of hideous monstrosities on the screen. There is a slight big of lag during online multiplayer and occasionally your comrades can become stuck in a building wall when they jump across the screen.

If like me you have been waiting this title ever since the announcement it was definitely going ahead for console, then don’t delay, get out there and buy it. It’s a fantastic port and is one of the finest dungeon crawlers I have played in a long, long time. It is action packed, it’s a loot lover’s dream and single player is rewarding and fun whist there is great online and/or local cooperative action. If you’ve never played a Diablo title before and are looking for something new to try with friends, then again this should most definitely be on your radar. From me to you Blizzard, job well done.

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