IMHO: Part II RPG’s That need appreciation.

RPG’s that everyone should play.

Welcome to my second article in the IMHO series. (In my Humble opinion)
There is a genre of games that will get my attention every single time one is announced. Now whether this is a brand new IP, or a reoccurring franchise doesn’t matter, as soon as someone says the word RPG I’m interested.

Now when I say RPG I mean Role Play game, not Rocket Propelled Grenade. Now for those that aren’t sure a role-playing game (RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making or character development.
Now I want to discuss 3 in particular, they may not be for everyone but remember the name of the series is IMHO.

So I want to start by discussing a game that has a bad reputation and landed the development company in question in some hot water over the game.

Too Human
Now too human is a futuristic twist on Norse mythology that sets you up as Baldur the god of innocence, beauty, joy, purity, and peace. He is also the second son of Odin, the head of the Norse pantheon. Now in this game multiple play-through’s is key as the game requires you to complete the game once to unlock high lvl gear, the point of this was that eventually the better equipped you were when you were completely finished with the game and the sequel was due out you were supposed to be able to transfer your character data over to the sequel. Now Silicon Knights (the developer in question) ended up going bankrupt and closing after they were sued for transitioning the game from the Unreal Engine to an in house engine and settling out of court meant that they were unable to keep up with the loan they had taken for game development.

Politics aside the game itself was fun. The story was actually quite good. Set in a technologically advanced future earth the gods resided in Asgard which was a super star ship above Midgard (Earth) and the Humans looked to the gods for assistance and Leadership. The gods would show up and help the humans and even lead their armies. Now the game combined melee and ranged combat and gave you a choice of a few classes each would determine whether you used, clubs, swords, axes, dual pistols, grenade launchers, shotguns and more. All the enemies were appropriately named, little mechanised troops were called Goblins, and bosses followed mythology as well. Grendel is the first boss you fight against and just as legend goes he is a huge monster, in this case he is a large mechanised spider of sorts that has a singular laser for an eye. The game itself sold disappointingly, and very quickly became forgotten. I for one love this game and I have seen it mocked and ridiculed but if you actually play the game and learn the mechanics and follow the story it’s extremely interesting and enjoyable.

Second on my list is
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
Some people may recognise this game as it was a succesful game. The game was produced by EA and made by BIG Games, with the game being produced by EA, at the time of it’s sale it got a push by being connected to Mass Effect 3. Pre ordering the game would get you limited edition Mass Effect armour based on the classic N7 look from Mass Effect. And Vice versa, playing the demo for mass effect 3 if you owned KOA would allow you to get limited weapons bassed on the look of the Omni Blade. This helped with sales but not enough to demand a sequel. Good news is that not too long ago THQ Nordic, (the team behind the Darksiders series) acquired the IP and with hope we could see either a PS4 HD remaster, which would be awesome. Or we could see a sequel. Or on the flip side the game could disappear into obscurity forever.

Now the game itself allowed you to pick from a few races and a staple class that could be fluidly changed as you play the game based on where you choose to put skill points. It had a rather unique look at the time something reminiscent of World Of Warcraft. I absolutely loved the look it was different from the standard realism we see in everything else. The story was interesting , you played a character referred to as the Fateweaver. You had the ability to tie the fate of creatures together so killing one would kill all of them. Trained to hone this ability which was a side effect of being resurrected, you were sent to use this ability to change the fate of the kingdom.

The voice acting was pretty good, the game looked amazing, had a great soundtrack and had rather in depth crafting and speech systems. Combat was so fluid and fun, you could change weapon mid combo and continue the combo as if it was nothing and switch to magic at the last second for a finisher, the game had hundreds of side quests, literally hundreds of pieces of armour and weapons, and a rather long 16 hour story. (the main story can’t be completed without doing some branch off quests) and also featured multiple choice endings. Now the endings and choices weren’t as in depth as Fable or Skyrim but with everything else to do I didn’t mind that so much.

The only downside to this game was that after such a large push the game released DLC that it proceeded to ask for £20-£30 a pop for and it wasn’t possible to buy a GOTY edition with all the DLC, or season pass till…minimum a year later at which point you had completed the game and had no intention to return to it with the objective of spending more money.
All in all a great game that I would highly recommend for any serious RPG fan.

Finally
Lord Of The Rings: War In The North.
As it turns out this game was cannon with the LOTR universe (cannon means legitimately considered to be part of the official story) This game was a simple 3 player experience. Marketed as a game designed for 3 people to co op. the character choices were very simple. A dwarven warrior, a human ranger, and an elven priestess. Initially created to fill a gap between LOTR conquest and conquest 2 the game surprised both publisher and developer and sold quite well. With the characters being so simply designed it made the game easy to complete either solo, duo, or as a full team. I for one sat and completed this with my girlfriend numerous times.

Being set in the LOTR universe you do meet characters made famous by the books and movies. Radagast The Brown features heavily in the game and is portrayed rather well. The story is simple but strong and compelling, you play as one of three characters who has been called to an inn somewhere to meet Strider (a.k.a. Aragorn King Of Men) who advises that whilst he and the fellowship are heading to Mordor the Sauron has dispatched one of his fiercest soldiers who sole objective is to start a War between the races of the North. Hence the title.

The game plays like a fairly simple Hack ‘n’ Slash, with elements of both dynasty warriors and the Arkham games (counter symbol and timing during combat) the combat is extremely fun and the game is very quickly addictive to just wanting to find a better sword, or a better shield, or just one more gem to bestow on your weapon. With the ability to obtain some of the famous weapons from the source material itself, grinding for gear is immediately rewarding. There is nothing better than not saving after a boss defeat and reloading in hopes of finding Sting. One of the wonderful features of the game that I seriously enjoyed was the fact that every single piece of armour or weapon or item, actually had different appearance’s and would chance the look of your character. I think there are too many games that exist that give people massive choices in armour and weapons and 90% of them look the same.

You could individually change the personal appearance of each character right at the beginning of the game which was a nice little twist, and the game if you played as a duo or solo would require multiple play-through’s to find everything. The dwarf can smash weak walls to reveal secret spots, which the rest of the team can then look in. The Elf can dispel illusions that cover items or secret rooms and the rest of the team can check out. But the Human finds caches left behind by other dunedain rangers (the same order Aragorn belonged to) and the other players can’t even see these never mind interact with them.

Finishing the game unlocked harder modes with more enemies, better loot and more challenges but was never required, your character progress could be carried through from one play to the next which meant you could be lvl 65 and play with friends at lvl 20. The game was genuinely really good, it somehow got missed out by a lot of people I think mainly due to the fact that it was LOTR, the only serious downside to this game is that multiplayer support no longer exists except for steam, and that 3 players isn’t enough. A 4 player squad version would of been great and gender swapping for characters would of made it just that little bit more acceptable to some players who rather of plaid as a female who wasn’t a healer, or a fighter who wasn’t a dwarven man with a huge beard.

This is genuinely IMHO one of the Few RPG’s that I have played that is damn near perfect.

Thank You For Reading and please look out for the next instalment of IMHO.

ProgramCade

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