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Humble Monthly Review November 2018

Intro

Welcome back for another Humble Monthly Review! We begin our month with a triple reveal of Hitman Season 1, Hollow Knight and 7 Days to Die. I think I’m most excited for the first two games but I wouldn’t mind sinking my teeth into a zombie survival game. As it so happens, I already own both Resident Evil Revelations and the original Dead Island and Hard Reset I can’t say I’m looking forward to playing the first game but maybe I can blow off some steam with the latter two games. Guys, I’m sorry but I’m not going to play Sniper Elite 1 & 2. My midterms are taking a lot more out of me than I thought and I simply don’t have the spoons to play and compare the nuances of two games after playing the 4th on a few months ago. It looks like Saints Row IV is back again for the German subscribers so I’ll be reviewing that one as well. Finally, we have The Dwarves, a CRPG/RTS thing that looks really cool and the one I’m looking forward to the most.

Rules

Description: Using my own words, I will describe the story and gameplay
Opinion: I will offer my own feelings on what works and what needs improvement.
The One Hour Rule: I will play each game for a minimum of one hour. Afterwards I will decide if I wish to continue playing.
Who would Like This Game: My personal opinion on who would or would not find this game enjoyable
Nitpicks: Small issues that, while not deal breakers, are annoying and I wanted to bring up.
Additionally, there will be a sixth category for Humble Original Games.
After taking everything else into consideration I will decide if I would I purchase the full version if or when it is released.

7 Days to Die

Description: 7 Days To Die is a zombie survival game. Taking place after a nuclear war, you play a survivor trying to stay alive during a zombie apocalypse. 7 Days To Die features building mechanics and is currently on Early Access.
Opinion: Dear readers. I have decided to break from my routine to try something a little different. When I first booted up this game all I could do was look in disbelief and mutter to myself “This seriously can’t be it.” 7 Days to Die plays almost like a checklist of everything I could hate about a game. After taking a short walk to process my experience I felt inspired to put this checklist into words, which ended up turning into a rating system which I have dubbed The TBA-Scale. I have added the details below for your reading pleasure.
7 Days to Die is what you’d come to expect from these sorts of games: You get dropped off an a random location on a map and have to stay alive as long as possible by maintaining various survival meters like health, hunger and sleep- among others. Gameplay is awkward, both in and out of combat. Some items can only be grabbed by striking at it ala minecraft while others need to be picked up using the interact key, which can be a problem because objects get damaged when you strike them. Combat is bland and enemies have terribly defined hitboxes. At one point while fighting a zombie I realized I wasn’t doing damage because my weapon kept hitting the wall behind it. The procedural generated levels aren’t the worst I’ve seen but roads have this habit of showing up in the middle of the nowhere and lead to towns full of tiny, poorly designed buildings haphazardly strewn. The interface feels like it was the default on a Unity Engine demo and it’s hard to see exactly what’s going on. After finishing a particularly difficult fight I looked down to check my health and realized my character has a tiny temperature meter.
I’m not completely sure but I think zombies aren’t a static part of the overworld. I never see them wandering around and I only run into them in closed rooms or when they appear around corners which leads me to believe that they spawn in when players are near. This leaves the world feeling empty and ruins a lot of the immersion for me. Having zombies just show up instead of being a part of world changes the atmosphere from a sense of looming dread to a feeling of irritated anxiety that a zombie can just pop up and wreck my shit regardless of where I am, doubly so since they sometimes clip through doors or walls.
I think what got me so worked up is that I’ve heard about 7 Days to Die for years and I assumed a game with over two million sales and five years of development would have something special about it. I remember playing H1Z1 Just Survive a few years back. While that game was hardly groundbreaking (or good, for that matter) it still managed to feel somewhat competently built despite getting thrown to the side in favor of its battle royale mode.7 Days to Die at its best is a generic zombie survival game. At worst, it’s ugly, buggy and simply hard to play.
The One Hour Rule: I wanted to give this game the benefit of the doubt, I really did. I kept coming back thinking “This was going to be the time I found what makes this game special and start enjoying myself” but after dying from hypothermia twice in a row because I couldn’t find the pieces needed to start a fire I gave up. 7 Days to Die failed The One Hour Rule.
TBA-Scale: 7 Days To Score an 8/10. It’s levels are procedurally generated, relies on survival mechanics, has an unreachable scope, was crowdsourced, plays terrible, looks terrible even on max graphics, is buggy and has stayed on Early Access for five years. On top of that, reviews on Steam show that developers delete criticizing threads on their forum.
Who would Like This Game: If you’re sad Just Survive is getting shut down and don’t mind a downgrade in quality, you’ll like 7 Days to Die.
Nitpicks: Why is it that everytime I respawn I end up in the middle of a rainstorm of blizzard? It’s impossible to find everything when you can barely see more than 10 yards.

Hitman Season 1

Description: Hitman is a 3rd person assassination game. You play Agent 47, a recently graduated assassin who is sent on missions around to world to inhume targets and uncover a secret conspiracy. Hitman contains stealth mechanics and open-ended leveled.
Opinion: I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Hitman series despite never getting into the first few games. When I played the original I was under the impression that this was an action game with stealth elements and was dissuaded when I learned that it required patients and problem solving skills, things I sorely lacked as that time in my life. Yet I always watched the series at a distance. A few years ago I received Absolution in a Humble Bundle and fell in love with it. Hitman Season 1 (which I will be calling it) takes everything I liked about Absolution while improving on the formula.
You start each mission by receiving information on your contract and choosing your starting gear. Once your planning is completed you’re soon left to resolve any excess vitality of your target as you see fit. Levels are designed to be incredibly open ended with many ways to complete your mission. The game does have an optional objective system that shows you various places on a map to complete a specific type of kill but I mostly ignored that in favor of finding my own way. The first mission outside the tutorial takes place in a mansion full of tiny rooms and sprawling passageways full of people and items to help you on your way, unlike with Absolution which had fairly linear level designs and only a handful of colorful kill methods. The ability to disguise yourself as different people by stealing clothing is still there but unlike Absolution, not everyone that shares your uniform will automatically see through your disguise. Instead, only specific people can see through specific disguises. I like this new approach to playing dress up as it makes the act of slipping through enemy ranks unnoticed feel more dynamic and natural. Instinct has been toned down quite a bit and is used mostly just to outline targets instead of seeing NPC paths or quickly take down groups of enemies. I admit I prefered the more powerful version but it’s become less useful since killing non-targets has been given a heavier penalty and instinct can be used freely so I guess it evens out. I think my biggest complaint is how quickly each contract can be completed. Just by bumbling around on my first go I was able to kill one of my targets in about 10 minutes. I think this was to make sure to allow for a lot of different playthroughs without feeling too padded out but I would have appreciated more substance.
The One Hour Rule: The tutorial took about an hour to complete so I decided to play a bit more to get the real experience and I ended up playing another 3 hours straight. Hitman Season 1 passes The One Hour Rule.
TBA-Scale: The only issue I could see with this game is that you can purchase a weapon set DLC on Steam, which I would count as a microtransaction. Hitman Season 1 scores a 1/10.
Who would Like This Game: Hitman Season 1 feels like an excellent addition to the franchise and works well with an episodic format so if you liked previous games you’ll like this. If you were a fan of more combat oriented runs, that’s still possible but not as viable as in previous games.
Nitpicks: Can we please stop the naming convention of giving multiple games of a franchise the same name? It’s absolutely inane.

Hollow Knight

Description: Hollow Knight is a hand drawn 2D platformer. You take on the roll of The Knight who comes upon a kingdom plagued by an evil infection. Hollow Knight features a dark atmosphere, open ended levels and hardcore difficulty.
Opinion: The last time I played Hollow Knight was in the demo back in February of last year, which only showed off a small section of the game. After playing the full experience I have to say I am impressed with the final product. Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania to its core, complete with secret areas, upgrades and open ended maps that gradually become more open as you unlock special abilities. Combat focuses getting in close to strike at your target while dodging their attacks. It’s fluid and easy to pick up but can be difficult at times. I wouldn’t put Hollow Knight in the same category as Dark Souls and enemies rarely have any “bullshit” attacks but I still found I needed to be quick with my reflexes to stay alive against most foes and I often had to repeat boss fights until I could get their telegraphs down. Striking enemies fills up your “soul” gauge which can be used to power special abilities, including a heal spell. The healing spell is something I am beyond grateful for as it reduces the need to backtrack and breaking flow. When you die you get teleported back to the nearest save spot and have to backtrack to retrieve your money and fix your soul gauge by fighting a shadow version of yourself. I thought fighting your own shadow was cool at first but after while I got bored with it as I could easily take it out from a distance with a ranged spell before it had time to react.
Visuals are amazing and get better once I discovered the other areas. Greenpath is probably one of my favorites because of how it creates this atmosphere of beauty and danger and how everything reacts as I moved around it. Sprite are well designed with stark contrasts from the background to make sure you always know where they are and what you’re looking at. You can get a good idea of what a monster may do just by how it looks and NPC designs do a phenomenal job reflecting their personalities. I have to say my biggest complaint is the exploration. It’s still great, don’t get me wrong, and the use of new abilities to reach new areas is nothing new but I swear some of the platforms are places to be just out of reach. At one point I tried the same jump half a dozen times because I thought I my timing was off only to find out later that I needed a dash ability.
The One Hour Rule: I find that this game is hard to pick up but once I got going I could sink three or four hours at a time. Hollow Knight passes The One Hour Rule.
Who would Like This Game: I would recommend this to Dark Souls fans but with the understanding that this game is quite a bit easier. Metroidvania fans looking for a challenge would enjoy this too.
Nitpicks: The last time I played this game I noted that there was no easy way to tell the difference between friendly NPCs and monsters and there still aren’t. I know it’s silly to assume the developers would listen to one persons opinion but I still feel like I’m in the right on this.
TBA-Scale: I thought there was some DLC weapons you could buy but it turned out to just be a soundtrack. Hollow Knight scores an impressive 0/10.

Dead Island Definitive Edition

Description: Dead Island is a first person zombie sandbox game. After a mystery plague transforms most of the residents of a resort island into zombies, you are tasked with helping the survivors and uncovering the mystery behind the outbreak. Dead Island Definitive Edition contains upgraded graphics from the original 2011 title and has a crafting and melee weapon focus.
Opinion: Dead Island is closer to what I look for in a sandbox survival experience. No searching for food, no making bedrolls from leafs. Just you, some blunt instruments and a whole bunch of zombies to go to town on. Dead Islands main focus is killing zombies using melee weapons you either find or construct from blueprints. Weapons are fun and imaginative and can be things like shocking knives or flaming paddles, each with their own satisfying feeling. It’s not very realistic but who cares, you can made a morningstar that explodes. Combat isn’t easy, even on lower difficulties. Even taking down a single zombie requires some timing as it can cause serious damage if you’re not careful. Often times I found that if I ran into three or four normal zombies I would just run because the risk of them ganging up and overpowering me was too great. I understand the appeal for this type of game but I wasn’t a fan myself. Even though the game never stoops to jumpscares I found that keeping constantly vigilant of motionless bodies and checking around every corner was a bit too stressful. I decided to replay part of the game again with the “One Punch” mode activated to see if that would make the game more fun. Even though the name is a bit misleading as most zombies need two or three hits to take down, the ability to punch a zombie so hard it flies away is really funny to watch.
Story is your typical zombie outbreak setup. You’re one of the few people immune to the virus and with combat training so naturally you get conscripted to rescue survivors, find supplies (for them, not you) and probably uncover the mystery behind the outbreak if time allows. I only played a little but I found the story to be competent at best and inoffensive at worst. Same with the graphics. The game looks nice and the graphics balances the visceral gore against the tropical background but I can’t say it stands out too much.
The One Hour Rule: The game has it’s charm but the stressful atmosphere and tricky combat were a bit of a turnoff for me. Maybe I’m just exhausted from playing three zombie games in a row but I couldn’t get into this. I hate to do this but Dead Island Definitive Edition does not pass The One Hour Rule.
Who would Like This Game: Fans of zombie games would definitely enjoy the setting and style. If you’re looking for a game like Dead Rising I would advise against as this game is quite a bit more difficult.
Nitpicks: Why do people keep binding the interact key to things other than E? That’s how it’s been forever and it should stay that way!

Saints Row IV Game of the Century Edition

Description: Saints Row IV is a sandbox crime simulator. You play the leader of The 3rd Street Saints and President of the US as you fight off an alien invasion. Saints Row IV contains superpower mechanics and a romance system.
Opinion: Saints Row has always been a series that has sought to top itself in absurdity. The first game is about you playing an up and coming street thug moving up in the ranks to become the leader of a gang and the next two titles being about roughly the same thing but with more insanity. The final game is about you, as the same character, playing a super powered President of the United States fighting time traveling aliens alongside Keith Richards in The Matrix.
Gameplay is a 3rd person shooter and sandbox driving game where you drive around, causing damage and completing missions so you can gain more territory and progress the story. Like in past games, you level up abilities like increasing skills in driving and weapon handling but Saints Row IV goes the extra step by adding in in superpowers like wall running, telekinesis and gliding. It’s fun and silly but manages to feel balanced enough to keep combat and travelling around the city from getting dull. Where this game falters is attempting to blend the superpowers gameplay with everything else. Guns and cars are basically useless since you can run at super speeds and shoot fire from your hands but the game often turns your powers off in most missions to force you to engage in the traditional shooting and driving elements. While these gameplay mechanics still work really well on their own it feels a little silly to invest in abilities you only get to use half the time.
The story manages to keep it’s over the top humor but also been upgraded to feel a little more personal. To rescue your friends you have to enter simulations and help them defeat their personal nightmares. Some nightmares are simple and cute, like Peirce being attacked by the merchandise he created while others like Kenzie being trapped in a sexual repressed 1950’s america are more interesting. The one that caught me off guard was Shaundi’s nightmare, which I won’t spoil but I will say that it left a bigger impact that I would have thought from this game series. There also is an optional “romance” system that parodies the Mass Effect romance system where you can have sex with most of the cast by pressing a button. It doesn’t really affect the plot but I thought it was incredibly funny, especially since the romance option is binded to what would normally be the interact key.
The One Hour Rule: I beat this game, along with all of its DLC sometime ago. I don’t think I’d play through the whole game again I do find it enjoyable to go back from time to time and play around the in the sandbox. Saints Row IV passes The One Hour Rule.
Who would Like This Game: If you liked Saints Row 3 and wished it was more over the top, you’ll like Saints Row 4.
Nitpicks: It’s bad enough I can’t romance Keith David but why can’t I romance the other character voiced by Keith David? That’s downright cruel.
TBA-Scale The only thing that sticks out are the weapons and vehicles that can only be obtained by purchasing DLC. Saints Row IV scores a 1/10 on the TBA-Scale.

Saints Row IV Game of the Century Edition - auf Deutsch

Beschreibung: Saints Row IV ist ein Sandbox Kriminalitätssimulator. Du spielst den Anführer der 3rd Street Saints und bist der Präsident der USA während du gegen eine Alien Invasion kämpfts. Saints Row IV beinhaltet Superkräfte und Romanzen.
Meinung: Saints row war schon immer eine Serie die sich durch absolute Absurdität von der Masse absetzen wollte. Das erste Spiel handelte von dir als einfacher Straßengangster der sich die Ränge bis zum Ganganführer hocharbeitet, die nächsten 2 Titel sind ziemlich ähnlich aber mit mehr Verrücktheit. Das letzte Spiel handelt von dir, dem gleichen Charakter, als dem Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten mit Superkräften, der zusammen mit Keith Richards zeitreisende Aliens in der Matrix bekämpft.
Gameplaytechnisch ist es ein 3rd Person Shooter und Sandbox driving game, in dem du herumfährst, schaden verursachst und Missionen abschließt um mehr Territorium und Storyfortschritt zu bekommen. Wie in den vorherigen Spielen levelst du Fährigkeiten wie bessere Fahrfähigkeiten oder Waffenhandling aber Saints Row IV geht noch einen Schritt weiter indem es Superkräfte wie Wandlaufen, Telekinese und Gleiten hinzufügt. Es ist spaßig und bekloppt aber fühlt sich balanced genug an um den Kampf und das durch die Stadt flitzen nicht langweilig werden zu lassen. Wo dieses Spiel hingegen scheitert ist der Versuch das Superkräftegameplay mit allem anderen zu verbinden. Waffen und Autos sind mehr oder weniger nutzlos da man mit super speed laufen kann und Feuer aus den Händen schießen kann aber das Spiel schaltet diese Superkräfte in den meisten Missionen aus um dich zu traditionellem Waffengebrauch und Autofahren zu zwingen. Während diese Gameplayelemente an sich noch sehr gut alleine funktionieren fühl es sich etwas komisch an Punkte in Skills zu investieren, die man eh nur die hälfte der Zeit nutzt.
Die Story schafft es den überdrehten Humor zu behalten aber wurde auch verbessert um sich etwas persönlicher anzufühlen. Um deine Freunde zu retten muss man Simulationen betreten und ihnen helfen ihre persönlichen Alpträume zu bekämpfen. Manche Alpträume sind einfach und süß, wie Pierce der von den Waren die er erschaffen hat angegriffen wird, während andere wie z.b. Kenzie, die in einem Sexuell unterdrückten 1955 Amerika gefangen ist definitiv interessanter sind. Der Alptraum der mich kalt erwischt halt war Shaundi’s Alptraum, welchen ich jetzt hier nicht spoilen werde aber ich sage er hat einen größeren Eindruck hinterlassen als ich es von dieser Spieleserie gedacht hätte. Es gibt auch ein optionales “romanzen” system, welches das romance System von Mass effect parodiert, in dem du mit fast allen Crewmitgliedern durch den Druck eines einzelnen Knopfes Sex haben kannst. Es beeinflusst den Plot nicht wirklich aber ich dachte es war unglaublich witzig, besonders da die Romance option auf der Taste liegt, die normalerweise die Interaktionstaste ist.
Die Ein-Stunden-Regel: Ich habe dieses Spiel inclusive allen DLCs schon vor einiger Zeit durchgespielt. Ich glaube nicht, dass ich das ganze Spiel nochmal durchspielen würde aber es macht immer wieder Spaß sich von Zeit zu Zeit in der Sandbox auszutoben. Saints row IV besteht die Ein-Stunden-Regel.
Wer würde dieses Spiel mögen?: Wenn du Saints Row 3 gemocht hast und dir gewünscht hast, es wäre noch ein bisschen bekloppter dann wirst du Saints Row 4 mögen.
Kleinigkeiten: Es ist schon schlimm genug dass ich mit Keith David keine Romanze eingehen kann aber wieso kann ich den anderen Charakter, der von Keith David gesprochen wird auch nicht verführen? Das ist doch einfach grausam..
TBA-Scale: Das einzige was etwas heraussticht sind die Waffen und Fahrzeuge die nur über den Kauf von DLC zu erhalten sind. Saints Row IV bekommt eine 1/10 auf dem BW-Index

Resident Evil Revelations

Description: Resident Evil Revelations is a third person survival horror game. Taking place between Resident Evil 5 & 6, you place as Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield working to stop bio-terrorists from infect the world’s oceans with another mutation virus. Resident Evil Relations contains classic Resident Evil style combat and an online ranking system
Opinion: I have no idea how Resident Evil manages to do it. Even twenty years later, Resident Evil somehow manage to balance a claustrophobic, tense horror experience with silly dialogue and weird characters. At one point in the beginning you get attacked by a giant toothy slug monster and a character, who was watching impassively just says “Just another day for you guys?”. Revelations begins with Jill a new character named Parker boarding an abandoned cruise ship to find out what happened to Chris Redfield and end up getting trapped by a horde of mutant, zombie fish people. Revelations falls back to the classic Resident Evil formula of having characters navigate tight, poorly lit corridors to solve bizzare puzzles and fight monsters. Ammo is scarce so proper aiming and knowing when to run is crucial. The one new feature is the ability to scan enemies to gain information. Once you scan enough of a type of enemy you are rewarded with a healing herb and the scanner resets to zero. I was expecting more from this as the game emphasis’s it’s importance early on but the but the mechanic feels really tacked on. While the graphics are certainly showing their age the game still manages to create an atmosphere of suspense, especially since enemies can pop up anywhere. The deep-sea inspired monsters certainly do look horrying but I have troubles taking them serious because they all walk like their tip-toeing around.
The story, as you would expect, is a convoluted mess wrapped up in a simple presentation. There is this terrorist organization that wants to infect the world’s oceans with a new virus because they don’t like solar energy for some reason and two rival anti-bioterrorist organizations are working to stop this from happening but are also working against each other, or something. I like how this evolves the Resident Evil universe from stopping Umbrella or someone who worked for Umbrella and tries something different but the story needed some serious polish.
The One Hour Rule: I get slack for calling Resident Evil games scary but in my defense I’m easily startled and the series is known for its well crafted atmosphere. As a surprise to no one, Resident Evil Revelations does not pass The One Hour Rule.
Who would Like This Game: Revelations doesn’t do anything really new for the series but Resident Evil fans could still find enjoyment out of it. If you’re big baby like me, I wouldn’t recommend playing it but it is fun to watch others play.
Nitpicks: Oh my god, Why does not one wear gloves when they reach into putrid piles of gelatinous organic waste? I get that every Resident Evil protagonist is immune to these viruses but those things were moving like 30 seconds ago, someone is seriously going to lose their hand.
TBA-Scale: There are purchasable weapons available as DLC. Even though Resident Evil Games are no strangers to jumpscares I didn’t run into any during my playthrough. Resident Evil Revelations scores a 1/10.

Hard Reset Redux

Description: Hard Reset Redux is a cyberpunk first person shooter. You play CLN-16, an agent working to stop invading robots from stealing the digitized consciousnesses of billions of humans. Hard Reset was made by the developers of Shadow Warrior and features run-and-gun style gameplay.
Opinion: Having played Hard Reset a few years back the first thing I did was crank the difficulty settings all the way down. My chef complaint from the original was that the harder difficulty settings only turn enemies into bullet sponges which is a poor choice for a game that focuses on fighting hordes of enemies.
Once I lowered the difficulty setting I found the game to be a lot more enjoyable. The smaller chicken robots go down after a few hits while the larger bots still require some strategy by blowing off limbs and avoiding charge attacks but still go down fast enough to not be annoying. You start the game with two weapons; An assault rifle and an energy gun. Each weapon has their own upgrades that change how they can be used. The assault rifle can turn into things like a grenade launcher or a shotgun while the energy gun can turn into a short ranged lighting canon or a railgun. I think the system is kinda weird but it somehow works really well. I admit, I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing to get awarded upgrades (I can’t tell if I’m picking up collectables, getting awarded exp for killing bots or just recieve points at predetermined times) but I wish I’d get them more often. You typically only get one or two upgrade points a mission and I find that since not all weapons are created equal there is a certain trial-and-error process for finding out what works best for you. I feel like the grenade launcher is just a more awkward version of the energy mortar. A firing range tutorial would not go amiss.
I do like the graphics. Despite the scenery being various shades of gunmetal and blue, important objects and enemies stick out with with their blinking lights and stark color contrasts. It gives the game a very timeless feel. The story is a little underwhelming, even for a Wild Flying Hogs game. The Shadow Warrior games didn’t exactly have award winning story and world buildings but I feel like a much larger effort was made compared to Hard Reset. You have The Corporation protecting The Sanctuary from The Machines who want it for some reason. And there is a Resistance because this is a cyberpunk dystopia and there is always a Resistance. The story isn’t really offensive but I get the feeling that they wanted to do more world build but decided to stop because no one was really up to it.
The One Hour Rule: Hard Reset isn’t a bad game but if I wanted to shoot a bunch of enemies I would rather play Serious Sam because of its wide open spaces and coop. Hard Reset Redux does not pass The One Hour Rule.
Who would Like This Game: Hard Reset is a decent Run and Gun shooter and if you don’t mind fighting in smaller spaces with lots of cover for the enemies then you’ll like this.
TBA-Scale: I debated giving the game a point for the home screen animation (see nitpicks) but I feel that wouldn’t be fair. Hard Reset scores a 0/10.
Nitpicks: The home screen animations is so fast moving it’s genuinely nauseating. The menu itself is fine but I have to look away from the screen whenever I click a button.

The Dwarves

Description: The Dwarves is a real time strategy RPG. You play Tungdil the Dwarven Blacksmith who is tasked to deliver an item to a wizard and end up getting involved in realm spanning adventure. The Dwarves is based on the book series of the same name and contains crowd-based combat.
Opinion: I love CRPG’s but I’m not too big on Real Time Strategy games. When I found out I was going to be playing a hybrid I hoped that The Dwarves would lean more towards the former but expected it to be more of the latter considering the developers have experience in that area. Thankfully for me, The Dwarves falls closer to the CRPG category.
The Dwarves gameplay is divided into travel, combat, exploration. You move across the land of Girdlegard one space at a time on a map that looks not unlike a board game. Each move represents the passage of a day with the added possibility of coming across a random encounter. Encounters are usually choose-your-own-adventure text trees where you talk to people or buy from merchants but occasionally you’ll get plopped down onto a map to explore your surroundings. Exploration is similar to wandering around a town in an RPG. You walk around, talking to people, finding vendors, solving puzzles and interacting with the scenery. It’s all very fun with some great backgrounds and does a great job of coloring in the world.
The games main focus is the combat, which is where the blended RTS/CRPG gameplay comes into play. The Dwarves combat focuses on using each Dwarfs individual abilities by spending action points. You gain action points by fighting enemies in battle, I think. To be honest, I’m not sure if combat generates AP or it happens by itself but I find that I was able to generate it fast enough to use my abilities without issue. Ignoring my confusion, I liked the use of this system instead of using cooldowns. I still had to economize the use of my skills but was able to focus on using the ones I liked more. One thing I did not like was how many hit points everything had. Fighting a horde of monsters can feel a little grindy when it takes forever to kill even a single zombie and the fact that I had to break the flow of combat to so I could run away and regen my health seems like poor gameplay design.
My favorite part of this game is the story. While the world is your typical western high fantasy setting, the world building and backstory of the world helps make it standout. The characters are amazing with a fun cast like a dwarf raised by humans, two orc killing brothers and a cast of truly creepy villains.
The One Hour Rule: The Dwarves isn’t a perfect game and the combat can be a bit overlong at times but the story and characters helped keep me invested. The Dwarves pass The One Hour Rule.
Who would Like This Game: I admit, it’s hard to recommend this to fans of CRPG’s or RTS since this game is technically a dumbed-down version of both but if you can find the combat palatable enough to keep playing you’ll be rewarded with a fun experience.
Nitpicks: I wish games would stick to using standard nomenclature for the passage of time instead of using “lunar cycles”.
TBA-Scale This game is a bit tricky because the isometric graphics look a bit dated and the combat loses it’s flow at times but I wouldn’t consider either a dealbreaker. I will add a point for being glitchy since the camera controls will occasionally space out and show out-of-bound areas. The Dwarves score a 1/10

Final Thoughts

It was nice to get the full experience of Hollow Knight after playing the demo, I’m glad it turned out as well as it did. Hitman Season 1 was quite a bit of fun and manages to keep the same spirit of the original. I am more surprised than anyone on how much I hated 7 Days to Die. I don’t think I’ve have that much of a visceral reaction to a game since I experienced E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy’s save system. Resident Evil Revelations and Dead Island were more or less what I expected while Hard Reset Redux was a nice little nostalgia trip, even if I decided I wasn’t going back. Saints Row IV is a great game and I strongly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t pick it up yet. I finished this month with The Dwarves and I’m glad I did because I probably would have forgotten to review the other games if I started with it.
I would also like to give a special Thank you to Morshmodding for translating another review!
Join me next month Metal Gear Solid V and City Skyline!

TBA-Scale

Below are the list of things I despise about video games, both past and present. The list is not meant as an absolute authority or Ten Commandments of forbidden acts but rather as a way to adequately gauge certain aspects of games that I personally dislike. I had issues coming up with a name for this rating system. I originally called it the “BW-Index” but I felt that was a bit too self indulgent so I’m calling it the “TBA-Scale” for now until I find a better name.
Procedural generated levels: OK, hear me out. There is nothing inherently wrong with procedural generation. Borderlands 2 used it in their loot system to make their bajillion guns but often time developers use procedurally generated levels as an excuse to avoid designing levels and pad out gameplay. I find this often leaves games feel soulless and bland and sometimes even unplayable.
Survival Mechanics: I admit, this is a little arbitrary but like with procedural generation survival mechanics can be used to artificially pad out gameplay. While some games can use this as a central feature, others feel like it’s added in because it’s the “popular” thing to do. Survival Mechanics will be focused on factors like requiring to eat or sleep. Things I consider survival elements are keeping track of food/watesleep or something similar.
Jumpscares: I hate Jumpscares and I think they’re a cheap way to get a reaction out of people. Jumpscares are like if a comedian ran around and tickled audience members then later boasted about having the best jokes. I will only count jumpscares that are a consistent part of the game or that are intentional.
Awkward combat/controls/interface: This is pretty self explanatory. I’ll only count awkwardness in major parts of a game, I won’t count instances of awkward parts of a game that are temporary or a minor part of the game, like the balancing sections in LA Noire. I will also not count any instances where poor mechanics aids the experience, such as the combat in Silent Hill.
Over inflated scope: Any game that goes out with ambitious ideas that have no chance of completion. I count gameplay features that are scaled back early in development but I do not accept games that add in promised features at a later time.
Excessively long loading times: While I won’t fault a game for the initial loading of a game to be longer than normal nor online games during peak times. What I consider as excessive are loading times long enough to have a bathroom break.
Toxic Developers: Something almost as bad as a poorly made game is a developer that causes troubles. Toxicity can be things like developers silencing criticism or having meltdowns in public.
Pay-To-Win style microtransactions: I’m fine with story or cosmetic DLC but I dislike the idea of paying to receive useful items or reduce grinding. I should never feel like I have to pay money to not play a game.
Bad graphical presentation: Describing bad graphics is tricky and will be handled case-by-case. Generally, I would consider a game that uses dated graphics without the intention of appearing retro or a game where it’s hard to tell what’s on the screen.
Poor optimization/buggy. Any game that contains major or obvious glitches or games that have troubles running on lower end machines that are still within the minimum system requirements.
A few examples:
Fallout 2: My personal favorite game would rate a 2/10 due to being buggy and awkward gameplay.
Daikata: Would score a 5/10 for having generally awkward gameplay, over inflated scope, a toxic developer, bad graphics and game breaking bugs.
Godus: The pre-2016 Steam version would score a 8/10 for containing Procedurally generated levels, poor controls, over inflated scope, excessive load times, toxic developers, microtransactions, bad graphics due to being downgraded to mobile graphics and poor optimization.
submitted by BW_Bird to humblebundles