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Exclusive Review: Child of Light

Warcraft Model Updates Heartstone Content Lord of the Fallen No 1080p?

Reboots Ruining Games?


News World of Warcraft Updated Character Models Blizzard have revealed a number of the updated models for the old races of World of Warcraft. During Blizzcon they showed us the male Orc, Dwarf and Gnome models, now they’ve revealed to the community the appearance of the male Tauren and female Draenei and Night Elf. After seeing the Tauren’s model update I am very impressed in the work they’ve done.

Not only are the models higher definition, they also have improved animations, you can find the animation showcase on their Artcraft blog labelled Running the Bulls. Blizzard state that they have improved the models 100 times over and it shows not only with the texturing but with the polygon count being raised from 700 to over 7000. The updated models will be available with the release of Warlords of Draenor. To check out the Drawf, Orc and Gnome models head over to http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/warlords-of-draenor under the game tab.


I am glad that the new models are coming with the release of Warlords of Draenor or the preexpansion patch that is released a month before every expansion. The current models required an update, compared to the Worgen, Goblin and Pandaren models you can see how out of date they are, also the new models still give off the Warcrafty feel that we’ve grown to love over the past TEN years.

Curse of Naxxramas Coming to Hearthstone Hearthstone is getting additional content in the form of the Naxxramas raid that is in World of Warcraft. This new content will introduce the Adventure Mode which will be used to have other raids or dungeons that have been transferred from World of Warcraft to Hearthstone. Whether you’re a player with ladder anxiety or a highly skilled player that is looking for a challenge, you can now do an entire raid. Naxxramas will have all the wings that the World of Warcraft version has, Military, Construct, Plague and Arachnid, no information has been given out on Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzard but you can assume they will be a part of the raid. With the inclusion of this raid they have added 30 new obtainable cards that are heavily focused on the Death Rattle ability.

The best news about this raid is that after you complete a wing you get a legendary card from the raid, so if you beat the Military Quarters you get Baron Rivendare! A new board comes with Naxxramas so if you always hated Maexxna, you can now destroy her eggs to show her who the real boss is. Side effects may include spiders that will nibble away at your fingers. For more information you can go to the Hearthstone website http://eu.battle.net/hearthstone and look for the blog listed as Beware the Curse of Naxxramas. The addition of the Naxxramas raid is fantastic, it might get players who didn’t enjoy playing against other people and wanted to try out something more challenging than the basic or expert AI class battles. The new cards also give players a new deck to make completely focused on using undead creatures which we don’t have yet due to no Death Knight Class you can play as, and best of all, we might be able to do the safety dance in Hearthstone.


Prince of Persia Teased on Twitter A tweet was found from the user @UbiDew teasing a new Prince of Persia game. “What next for #PrinceofPersia?” is what NeoGAF user sjay1994 captured in a screenshot. The tweet has been deleted now but this has raised the question over the Prince of Persia forums of whether or not this tweet is just a tease or a hint that Ubisoft are currently working on a new Prince of Persia title. The truth is that Ubisoft has been reported working on a 2D Prince of Persia title using the UbiArt Framework engine which was used to run Rayman Legends and Child of Light. The engine allows you to make concept art as the scenery and have some interactive parts. I find this to be both exciting and disappointing news. It’s good because we are finally getting a new Prince of Persia after 4 years of hearing nothing from Ubisoft, however it’s also bad due to the fact it’s a 2D game. I have no doubt it’ll be good just like Ubisoft’s latest 2D game Child of light, however because it’s 2D I have a strong feeling they’ll be removing the rewind time mechanic that the 3D Prince of Persia games had and be more like the original where you are platforming and doing leaps of faith to hopefully get to the end of the level.

Lord of the Fallen 1080p Not Possible on Xbox One? The developer of Lord of the Fallen states that “1080p is harder to do on the Xbox One than the Playstation 4” Tomasz Gop has said that he is confident of his team’s ability to achieve 1080p but at the cost of having the framerate be no less than 30fps, because they would much rather have the players admire their work on making the game look good than having 60fps on the Xbox One.

My thoughts on this statement from the developer is a little troubling, it has not been a year yet and already the Xbox One is having issues with performance, even the launch titles had lowered framerate on a system that is supposedly up to date with mid-ranged PC’s is still cannot have 60fps at 1080p. This is horrible news for the Xbox One, it cannot compete with the PS4 and worst of all does not seem to be able to run next gen titles.


New Releases


Child of Light is a 2D JRPG with a water brush art style. You play as Aurora who has the task of retrieving the moon, the sun and the stars to restore light to Lemoria. It is inspired by Zelda as they have you traveling the world with a companion made of light called Igniculus following you around the world who can be played by yourself while controlling the main character or another person. The story is about Aurora, the daughter of a Duke in Austria. Aurora is dead from the beginning of the game but wakes up on an Alter in a mysterious land called Lemoria and is given the task of bringing back light to Lemoria from the Queen of Light. The games dialog is written as a poem and because of that there are times when the dialog doesn’t make any sense but in other sections it makes perfect sense and sends a grown up message. The whole point for Aurora’s quest is so that she grows up and is ready to rule over her people. The game is 2D so it acts as a platformer and has exploration that is rewarded with chests that hold either potions, stardust that permanently increases a stat on any character of your choosing or Oculi which are gems that you can combine to make stronger ones or equip to your characters weapon, armour or trinket. While some Oculi are optimal you are never informed directly as of what type of creature you are fighting so equipping an Oculi onto your weapon can be a doubleedged axe. The game has a few puzzle sections where you have to use Igniculus’ light to point the objects projection to the section it belongs. Light plays a huge role in Child of Light, it also prevents you getting into combat when it is shun on an enemy, but it isn’t the best of choice as I was a bit too weak to beat some creatures when I did that.

The combat system is by far my favourite part of the game, it’s turn-based and very reminiscent with games like Final Fantasy in the way it works with a few twists. For starters you have Igniculus who is able to help you in battle by healing you, slowing down enemies and collect wishes that restore his light meter and restore part of your characters health and mana. Combat also has an interruption mechanic where if a creature is in the cast section of the action bar and is hit they are interrupted and set back the action bar which can turn into a chain reaction that prevents them from doing anything therefore making it an extremely easy fight. The good news for me was that bosses had interruption counterattacks that did serious damage to me, so I had to think carefully on what to do.


The difficulty however is not there most the time and when it is, it is done in an artificial way by having a boss or mini-boss with a couple adds supporting causing me to get annoyed at the game rather than thinking it’s difficult in general. It’s not even a fair fight either, you can only have two people out in the battle at any given time. Issues • Can be a little too easy on normal difficulty • Has a few framerate issues that happen around the mountain area and continues to the last couple sections of the game • Adds artificial difficulty during boss fights with adds being around

I really enjoyed playing Child of Light, I found the art style to be very beautiful added with the poem-like dialog and soundtrack it really gave off the impression that you were in a painting where everyone spoke in rhymes which was a new spin on how dialog is presented in games. However I can still not get over the fact the game is easy and adds difficulty in the laziest way of having adds accompanying the boss, but it is designed to be played by a child and a parent so the difficulty issue only affects people who are looking for a challenge, you won’t get it from Child of Light but if you are looking for a fairy tale with a unique art style then you should definitely pick up this title.


This is the fifth instalment in the Divinity universe. Only rather than it being a hack ‘n’ slash like Divine Divinity or a third-person RPG like Divinity II. Instead this time you are basically the Dragonborn only with the ability to change into a dragon. Dragon Commander is a mash-up of different genres, strategy both turn-based and real-time, collectable card game, point and click and last of all the best dragon combat simulator developers have to offer the public. You are the bastard son of a recently deceased king and you must stop your siblings in taking over the kingdom as they are filled with dark hearts and will run the kingdom into the ground with their greed and lust for war because they are all insane in their own way. The story is simply there to give the player a reason to continue playing. The part that makes you want to continue playing are the choices for issues that affect the government, which are the games version of real life issues, like health care. There are many different aspects in Dragon Commander’s gameplay, partly a card game, strategy game, both turn-based and real-time, point and click and the main attraction a dragon simulator. The card game aspect of it is more of support for whenever you are on the strategic map and enter combat you are able to choose up to 5 cards to help you win that battle. The card types are; Mercenary, Dragon Ability, Utility, Sabotage and Strategic. However while playing it realised that the only cards that are actually good are the mercenary cards as they give you more units to start off with in the real-time aspect of the game. On the strategic map you can create both buildings and units, units are created from factories, cards are obtained by buildings such as taverns (mercenary) and wizard towers (dragon ability). You can increase resource production by adding goldmines or research laps which doubles you’re gold and research point production. You also get to choose what dragon you can play as at the beginning of the game, the Slate dragon, Mountain dragon or the Zephyr dragon. Each have different stats and starting abilities some are basic and some are advanced. The Mountain Dragon starts off with Acid Breath that costs 40 research points and is an expert ability.

Because there are both real-time and turn-based strategy in the game you get to choose for every battle how you want it to be done. You can either do it all in real time allowing you to control your army and minimize losses depending on player skill and use your dragon to help your forces by a huge amount as the power of a dragon is unmatched against most units, but sadly the real-time aspect of Dragon Commander is not as fun as I had thought it would have been, instead it’s more annoying than anything else because controlling your army become awkward once you turn into a dragon


and stop seeing where your army is on the map. It is however fun being a dragon because you have a jetpack. The turn-based side of the game is more fun, being on the strategic map, creating your army and taking over different parts of the map just like you would in the board game Risk. The combat isn’t show as how it would be in a game like XCOM or Heroes of Might & Magic, it’s shown on a screen in front of you with units flashing to show that they are being hit. You do get to choose a general who commands your army when doing combat in this mode. This all may sound more boring compared to controlling your dragon form but the reason it is better is because it means you get to go back the diplomatic choices quicker.

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The choices is where the heart of this game and where the point and click side of the game is. Just like in any other Divinity game you are able to makes choices of what to say and what should happen, none of the choices are good or bad, it all depends on how you see it. For example, health care came into a choice I had to make for my kingdom, I agreed with the need of health care and the Dwarf ambassador completely disagreed with it because they are greedy and because I chose to yes over no I lost reputation with the dwarves, but if I had chose no I would’ve been able to have more money. You get to make the final decision but if you are unsure on whether you should agree or disagree you can let your council decide for you and the numbers has more votes, their decision is picked even if it may seem like something you don’t think is the best choice. You have to think of these choices of how they would benefit the war effort and how it would make the general public feel about things. The public would not have liked me too much for denying them health care. Divinity: Dragon Commander has an upgrade system here you spend your gold and research points. You can unlock new, more powerful units from gold and give them new abilities with your research points and they carry on through the chapters in the game. You can purchase dragon abilities that are obtained from your wizard adviser with research points, some are passive and others are active abilities such as acid breath.

Issues •The final chapter is a bit too short and easy for being the final chapter of the game. •Controlling your army once you become a dragon is awkward. Divinity: Dragon Commander is a fantastic game; even though I didn’t enjoy the real-time strategy side of it I did enjoy flying around incinerating my enemies’ troops as a dragon. However I still have the feeling at the back of my head that the real-time strategy side of it all is really easy as it’s more of a zerg rush tactic you’ll be using to win every match. The diplomatic choices were by far the most fun in the entire game, the ambassadors all had different opinions to one another and made sense to their race, so Dwarfs are greedy and will not pay for the peoples health care while the Elves would. Divinity Dragon commander is a fantastic game and should most definitly be played.


Strike Suit Infinity is the stand-alone score attack version of Strike Suit Zero, you fly the strike suit and depending on your performance for each level you have the chance of another strike suit being unlocked with different statistics to the original strike suit. Strike Suit Infinity doesn’t have a story due to it being a score attack version of Zero, so for the remainder of this review I will only be focusing on the gameplay. The slogan “Space Combat Reborn” is how I would describe the gameplay in a nutshell. It has a very similar combat system to Ace Combat 6; where you can do barrel-rolls and do a full 360 degree loop. Which is even cooler when followed by quickly shooting down another fighter. That’ only the gameplay while you’re in flight mode, strike mode is another story, you basically turn into a Gundam and are able to completely obliterate other fighters and shoot several missiles at once. It made me feel awesome being able to jump into strike mode and destroy a pilot who was behind me trying to shoot me down.

Strike mode cannot be used all the time; in order to turn into the strike suit you need to have a certain amount of Flux and even when you do turn into the strike suit you are not invincible, you can still be shot down by missiles and because you can’t use an EMP when in that mode you have to use your manoeuvre skills to dodge a projectile.

In some missions you are given the task of destroying a Cruiser on your own. To give you a better idea of how the Cruiser looks, it’s almost an exact replica of the Battlestar Galactica. Strike Suit Infinity sometimes has these very odd difficulty spikes where you just fight about 50 fighters which are easy as hell to destroy, but then there are times where it makes you fight a cruiser and if you don’t know what you are doing you will die within an instant. While it may seem unfair to fight against a capital ship like a Cruiser by yourself they do have weakspots that you can shoot at to take down a significant amount of health from them. However you are able to spend credit that you earn from the levels in order to purchase support that ranges from Interceptors to a Carrier depending on how much credits you’ve got. I found out that it’s best to save up those credits for a few levels until you reach a level where there is a Cruiser that is a primary target.


There is an upgrade system but in order to get the upgrades of shield, energy, strike mode, flight, and shields you have to do a side objective that’s in your mission. Some are to defend a certain number of fighters while others are to destroy something like a Carrier. Cruisers are hard enough to destroy on their own, a Carrier is next to impossible to take down on your own.

Issues •sometimes the screen is blank when you start up the game. Over all I absolutely love this game. It is a lot of a fun and was a gift from the gods after not having any space combat games for a long ass time and the let-down that Ace Combat Assault Horizon was. Dogfight mode stopped being fun after a while, unlike the Strike Suit where it is another form of combat, you can take down anything in both flight and strike mode. Strike Suit Infinity is a fantastic game and everyone should play it. Even though there is not story it fills up the motivation to keep playing with its extremely fun combat system.


Reaper of Souls is the expansion to Diablo III. A hack ‘n’ slash set in a grimdark world known as Sanctuary, a world that was a refuge point for Angels and Demons who did not want to fight for their realms rulers anymore. Malthael, the Angel of Death takes the Black Soulstone in which Diablo has been imprisoned in, from the Horadrim and Tyrael. Tyrael sends one of the Horadrim to find the Nephalem, being you. Throughout the game you are assisted by a Horadrim, Lorath Nahr. His main purpose is to give you information about the whereabouts on Malthael or where he could be. The idea about Reaper of Souls is Malthael sees all Humans as decedents of demons and therefore they must be filled with evil. Malthael shows us how he feels about this as the streets of Westmarch are littered with bodies of innocent people. Because the first thing you see are dead bodies, the souls of civilians and soldiers being ripped out, being forced to fight for Malthael and his army of death you could easily tell that the story has gone back to its grim and dark roots of Diablo II. Only this time an Angel is the bad guy, more importantly the Angel of Death. Let’s start off with the new class, the Crusader is a very fun class to play. He/she is very reminiscent to the Paladin class from Diablo II. With the strength of a Barbarian and the healing abilities of the Monk, the Crusader allows the player to use a shield for most of the offensive abilities as well as defensive purposes, and with magical abilities such as Consecration allowing a small area of the ground to heal you or anyone in your party. However I still find myself seeing the Crusader as a class that is used for utility over anything else, unlike the Barbarian for their brute strength or the Monk for their healing capabilities the Crusaders purpose is to be a tank and keep up auras that benefit the group members. The Barbarian and Monk both have party buffing abilities they are not always active and increase when the aura is used rather than being a passive buff. All that aside the Crusader is still able to pack a punch and send enemies flying or completely disappear by the amount of holy energy the enemy is hit by. Now let’s get to the additional levels unlocked by the expansion. Every class gets a new ability once they reach level 61, for example, the Barbarian gets an Avalanche ability, the Wizard gets the ability to summon a Black Hole, etc. Every class gets a really badass ability, while going through Act V I played as the Barbarian but I felt like the Barbarian got the short end of the straw when it came to new abilities all due to the fact it was not as strong as or stronger than the Earthquake ability.


During the pre-launch patch I was able to test out the new difficulty system and it has changed by a lot from Diablo III’s launch to Reaper of Souls launch. You are able to pick from five different difficulties, Normal, Hard, Expert, Master and Torment which can have its difficulty increased by a maximum of 6 times for those who really want a challenge. I played it on Torment 1 which proved difficult because every boss in the game gain a new ability at Torment which is usually one that can kill you instantly or close to it. I will not spoil the fight against Malthael but the first boss you fight in this expansion is Urzael his Lieutenant, he is an easy boss to understand and his abilities are also easy to avoid but if you let yourself get hit you are either low on health or dead. Reaper of Souls also brought in an Adventure Mode which allows you to travel all the way through Sanctuary doing bounties which reward you with experience, gold and blood shards. Blood shards are a currency used only in adventure mode which allows you to buy mystery items for you character, however because everything in Diablo is randomly generated from purchasing items from vendors to loot dropping from creatures it seems mostly pointless to care about the blood shards. Maybe if the stuff bought by blood shards was a pre-set item or something cosmetic to make your character look really awesome compared to others in multiplayer groups. But the random nature of the game ends up ruining the entire point of blood shards.

Issues

•The online only DRM is still in the game even though the cause for it, the Auction House is gone. •There still isn’t a manual save, meaning you have to rely on the waypoints being your official checkpoint for exiting the game without worrying you have lost progress. •The player vs player function still only works with party members and usually random players don’t want fight other players. •Some of the random elite and champion creatures you fight are surprisingly stronger than bosses due to you being out numbered.

Throughout my first and second playthrough of Reaper of Souls I found it really enjoyable. The combat has been improve, the difficulty changes have made the smallest of creatures pose a challenge on me, the story was very engaging and the general atmosphere of the expansion was very dark. I strongly recommend Diablo III Reaper of Souls to everyone who has the standard game or are looking for a fun and enjoyable hack ‘n’ slash.


You play as the Prince of Persia who is aided by a Djinn called Razia to save the Prince’s brother, Malik and the whole world from Solomon’s Army. An army made out of sand creatures that want to destroy the world and envelop it in sand. Solomon’s Army is made out of sand creatures controlled Ratash, an evil Djinn. Throughout the entire game you try to snap some sense back into Malik as he has grown mad with power from killing sand monsters and gaining their power after they die from his sword swings. Where do I start? The famous rewind time ability is still in the game. Only this time you don’t have any other time aspect powers, although you do get elemental powers, You can call on the Earth to shield you from damage, Fire to leave trails of flames behind you, Water to freeze enemies with your sword swings and Air to push back your foes. You also gain the ability to solidify water in order to get past sections. I love this mechanic as it is a creative way to traverse through the world to get from point A to point B.

There is an upgrade system that ranges from having more energy slots for you special abilities all the way to fully upgrading the damage you do with normal and special attacks, as well as health. I didn’t like the change that you can up grade your health by spending a few points because it doesn’t encourage exploration from the player while previous Prince of Persia games had you looking for secret areas to increase your health pool and it felt like a reward. The reason for the elemental abilities is because the combat is a slower, the Prince is heavier than the ones from Sands of Time going onto Two Thrones. I’d be a fool to not like the combat. The attacks you perform have weight to them, you can actually feel the impact they have on you foes. I found this to be a good change because in pervious titles you didn’t get any conformation that your attacks were actually doing damage to your enemies apart from the occational “Ow”


the creatures give out. Now you are able to see the damage you do to enemies from visuals alone by them dropping to the floor or paralyzed for a few seconds. However the moves you can perform in previous Prince of Persia titles cannot be done here, so no running up the walls, back flipping over them and slicing their spines with the two swords in your hands.

Issues

•Combat feels slow •Every fight comes a horde mode •Tabbing out the game disables the mouse responses in the menu •Nothing encourages you to explore the world

Overall I enjoyed playing Forgotten Sands, the new platforming mechanic adds a level of skill to how you traverse as some require very precise timing or you fall to your death, the combat may be slow but the impact caused on your enemies is very satisfying. However, you can’t do any acrobatic kills and in the original trilogy by Ubisoft the Prince was a very agile character and it doesn’t help the fact that this game takes place in-between Sands of Time and Warrior Within. Although the story is very interesting and unique to the rest as you are aided by a mythical being, Razia.


You are Death, the most dangerous of the Four Horsemen. Death has one thing on his mind and that’s to prove his brother War is innocent and did not bring the Apocalypse to Earth. Death is a more agile character than War is so the gameplay is completely different from the first Darksiders game. Darksiders II has taken on parts from Zelda, God of War and Prince of Persia. The story of Darksiders II takes place in the hundred years War has been imprisoned. Death goes from many different locations such as, the world where dead souls go, the Angel and Demon outposts and the world of the Makers, an ancient race that is said to have created other worlds, Earth included. Death goes to all these places to find evidence of who caused the apocalypse to prove War is innocent. Compared to the first Darksiders game, Darksiders II has a much quicker and smoother feel to it due to Death being a very quick character while War is a lot slower than him and has a heavier feel than Death. Even their dashes are different, Death can perform three while War can only do one. Darksiders II takes notes from Zelda, God of War and Prince of Persia, platforming, combat and RPG aspects from each game and it made this game really fun. The puzzle sections of the game reward you for completing them, whether it be useful or pointless loot it’s still good to feel rewarded for exploring and completing a puzzle sequence. The combat is very quick as you dual-wield scythes that look absolutely amazing and have their own special abilities, elemental damage or restores health or wrath after ever execution you do. Death has a number of abilities too, from summoning ghouls to do your bidding to transforming into the Reaper, you can make Death a melee, caster or hybrid class with which tree you go down in your playthrough. This also determines how you play Death, if you go down the Necromancer tree and expect to take lots of hits from enemies and not feel a scratch, you’ll die.

You can get Possessed items that are upgradable up to five times by sacrificing other items to them, after it upgrades you are able to choose which upgrade you want on that item, so for all my scythes, whenever I was given fire damage I always took it because lighting enemies on fire always feels amazing.


Issues

•You cannot break out of you combo’s due to animations •The interface is a bit clunky and awkward to use •The texture quality doesn’t go past 720p so playing it at 1080p you notice how bad it looks compared to games that have 1080p textures

I loved Darksiders II, it had a superb combat system, upgrading items by sacrificing them was a good idea so it doesn’t mean you’d have to go to a quest hub to sell the items you don’t need or drop loot on the floor. The platforming was very fun and you could do some pretty cool moves that make you feel like a badass and the story was very good, I was enthralled with it and the ending linked very well to the first Darksiders game.


Wrath of the Lich King. Wrath was considered to be one of the best expansions for World of Warcraft, it catered to both casual players with easy to do dungeons with a small amount of challenge and to the hardcore players with interesting raids that are accompanied with the achievement system before the One-click heroic mode button was implemented. Lets start off with the raids that everyone started off with when they reached level 80 with a full set of blue quality heroic dungeon gear. The first raid everyone experienced was the Obsidian Sanctum, a small raid that could be completed with a full group of 10 or 25 random players. The raid contained a small amount of Dragonkin to kill with three small bosses that you can either kill and make the fight against the final boss easy to beat or you could avoid the mini-bosses and have the boss become more powerful as well as have the three dragons fighting you as well.

The second raid you encounter is the Vaults of Archavon. In order to access you have to capture a zone called Wintergrasp, a Player vs Player zone. Inside the Vaults you will see an extremely small number of trash of stone, lightning, fire and frost elementals standing in your way. I’ll only be focusing on Archavon the Stone Watcher, as he was the only boss in this raid before they patched in the other three elemental watchers. Archavon is a very easy boss to beat; he is the very idea of a starter raid boss, easy to do with abilities that you can avoid, as it’s easy to tell. He drops both Player vs Environment (PvE) and/or Player vs Player (PvP) gear for all ten classes that were around in Wrath of the Lich King, so if you want to try your luck on getting more PvP gear you can kill him every week. Best part about Archavon is the fact he is easy enough to do with random players in case you were not in a guild or have any friends to take him down with.

Now we move onto my best raids of Wrath of the Lich King. The first in my list is Naxxramas, revamped to be done by organised guilds, this raid was split off into different five different sections and the only way to access the fifth was to defeat all the bosses in each wing as it was to make sure your group was capable of surviving 2 minutes against Sapphiron let alone the final boss, Kel’Thuzard. What made this raid one of the best for Wrath was the fact it was split off into separate wings and not a linear path of which boss to kill, you could choose to start with Construct Quarter one week and start with Plague the next. Variety is good, even if it is only the order of the bosses you fight each week.


Naxxramas has been my favourite raid of all time, from its original release back in 2006 and still stays as one of my top 5 in 2014.

Another raid I adored back in Wrath was called Ulduar, this raid is unique and still is after 6 years of it being released. Ulduar was the first raid to ever include heroic mode but in way that isn’t pressing a button and poof it’s heroic mode, this raid required you to do a few things to make it challenging. To start off the first boss is a giant siege tank that spits fire from its sides, the whole fight against that boss is a vehicle fight, the way to put the boss into its hard mode it to avoid the elemental pillars that are scattered around the zone and guarded by sentry towers that forever spawn units until you take them down with your siege vehicles. Mimiron is one of the keepers of Ulduar and the way to activate his hard mode is by pressing the giant red button, which activates his self-destruct sequence. It makes the fight harder by a country mile and gives you less space to fight him as the room will be filling up with fire patches that kill you in next to no time. There are four keepers in Ulduar and if you beat all four while hard mode is active they drop their sigils that are used to open a door that holds the messenger of the Titans, Algalon the Observer. Algalon the Observer is a fantastic fight, able to be someone you fight if you beat all the keepers while they are beaten the hard way so you would expect him to be a hard and awesome fight and he does not disappoint. He’s a celestial being so he controls the stars and creates things like black holes that players have to deal with. After you beat him he drops an item that gives you a quest, once completed you are rewarded with loot and a small event that happens in Dalaran city.

Finally on the list of raids I loved from Wrath of the Lich King is the Lich King’s raid itself. Icecrown Citadel was filled with black metal encased in ice and the floors were paved with bones of fallen heroes who dared to eliminate the Lich King. The halls of the citadel are plagued with undead minions the Lich King controls. The first boss you fight is Lord Marrowgar, his entire fight is made up of “don’t stand in the fire” and Bonespikes, stun and slowly start to kill you until you are freed from them by your raid members destroying them. Marrowgar is easy but it is expected from the first boss in a raid, the harder bosses are inside the Upper Spire sections of the raid and finally the Frozen Throne where the Lich King is. The Lich King is the hardest boss in Icecrown Citadel but I feel there is another boss that is just as hard as the Lich King and that is Blood-Queen Lana’thel.


She is a vampire and can turn your raid members against you if not handled properly. The way to prevent your raid members from killing your raid group, they have to bite another player and then the number of people who are bitten doubles each time, it’s a huge damage increase but if you don’t handle it properly and kill her before the timers run out on everyone then you have to restart the fight against her. Blood-Queen Lana’thel also mirrors damage done to the tank to other players and has a lot of damage over time effects that you have to look out for.

Now we have reached the section of Wrath raids that are downright awful, and there’s only one I have to talk about that is Trial of the Crusader. You fight everything in the same room apart from the last boss, there are no trash to check if everyone’s focused, the boss fights were easy as easy can be and the dumbest part of it is that it encourages you to use PvP gear as there is a Faction Champions battle. This is you fighting against your opposite faction and basically decreasing the number of people who will be fighting the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel. The worst part of this raid is that we waited a good five to seven months after Ulduar for a new raid and we got a very short and boring raid. It was a huge disappointment to everyone. The only good thing it brought was a new zone to quest around in while you waited for the week to go by so you can do the raid again and again until Icecrown Citadel came out.

While Cataclysm raids weren’t easy when they first came out Bastion of Twilight is a good raid to start off with in both boss order and power increase after one another. The first boss you fight is Halfus Wyrmbreaker and he has different abilities he can use during every week. His abilities are hard to deal with but you can counter them by beating the drakes he’s enslaved that decrease the effectiveness of Halfus’ abilities and make him take more damage for each drake killed. This boss basically teaches players that killing the adds of a boss is a good idea as it could effect the boss you’re fighting in a good way to the raid group. However my favourite boss from Bastion of Twilight is the Ascendant Council who control different elements, which counter the other Ascendant’s ability. After the first two are beaten almost to a pulp, the other two come out and you fight them, then you do the same to them and all four Ascendants transform into an Elemental Monstrosity that gains completely different abilities. The Monstrosities health varies on each Ascendant’s health before they morphed together. This boss teaches people to control the amount of damage they do to each boss and how to prevent a boss from one-shotting them.


Firelands is the second to best raid that was put into Cataclysm. It is basically Molten Core 2.0 only with a different bosses and a skybox that makes you see that the Firelord’s realm is an insanely dangerous place. The raid has a lot of freedom in which order you can do the bosses, some are harder than others and some are difficult if your raid group isn’t coordinating properly. I’ll be focusing on Lord Ryolith and Majordomo Staghelm for this, as they are the two bosses that I found the most interesting. Lord Ryolith is a molten giant who for the majority of the fight has to turn either left or right otherwise you wouldn’t get anything done due to his insane reduced damage percentage. Ryloith’s main mechanic is steering him away from the magma pools otherwise it’s a wipe and have to restart the fight and give him another go. This mechanic was both good and bad, it’s good because it’s a test of how coordinated the group is and bad, because if you accidently unleash an insane amount of damage on one of his legs, you’ll have to do an insane amount on the other leg which cannot be done until the cooldowns are reset on your heavy hitters. The sixth boss of Firelands is Majordomo Staghelm, this is the best boss in the whole raid even though he is a pretty easy fight when you’ve learned the tactics for him. His mechanic focuses on people spreading out and stacking on top of each other to switch him between his cat and scorpion forms. The longer you keep him in one form the more powerful that form is until you make him switch to his other form. When he’s in cat form he leaps to a target and his leap charges faster the more times he uses it and when he’s in his scorpion form everyone has to stand in front of him to ensure people survive his attacks and he uses that ability quicker each time, so the whole fight is about managing a bosses mechanic which is very smart.

Now we move onto the raid that was a massive let down to most players back in Cataclysm. Dragon Soul, the raid where you fight Deathwing turned out to be a slugfest against bosses that had interesting mechanics but poorly executed. The reason for why it was poorly executed was because this was the raid after Firelands. Firelands gave people freedom on selecting the first 5 bosses; Dragon Soul doesn’t give anyone that option. Instead it’s a linear path of who gets killed next. The biggest disappointment was the Deathwing fight, he was the dragon who completely changed the way Azeroth is in Cataclysm, but for some reason he can’t cast another one if he has tiny people chopping away at his claws. I understand that it was designed like that for gameplay reasons but it could’ve been more inspired, like


rather than chopping at his claws you use the dragon aspects that are assisting you to stop him from creating a new Cataclysm. It wasn’t a horrible raid but you could see that it had the right ingredients to be something much better, but sadly it was not.

Mists of Pandaria introduced number of good things to players, pet battles, challenge modes, scenarios, but the best thing they could do for raiding was Mogu’shan Vaults. This is a pre-tier raid, which is there for people who rushed to max level and want to raid straight away. This was the raid that gave people a sample of what Mists raiding would be like. It also taught new players things they would’ve learned from raiding in previous expansions. To give a quick rundown the first boss is about managing the bosses abilities to remove your debuffs, the second is about mitigating damage, third is about priority and so on. It was a brilliant choice from blizzard, it was interesting and new to veteran raiders and it was used to teach players who are new to raiding. Which is why this is the best starter raid to be put into World of Warcraft overall, rather than throwing you in the deep end like what Classic, Burning Crusade and Cataclysm did with people.

The Siege of Orgimmar is the best raid that came out in Mists of Pandaria, you finally get to deal with Garrosh Hellscream who you’ve had to deal with as the selfish Warchief of the Horde for two expansions and now you have to bring him to justice and answer for his horrific crimes, one of them being bathing in the blood of an Old God to gain power that can completely destroy Azeroth. If you’re a Horde player and hang around in Orgrimmar a lot you can see the bosses that you will be fighting in Siege of Orgrimmar, the most notable one being Garrosh. Garrosh is a better end of expansion boss than Deathwing was due to being executed properly and has phases where he becomes stronger each time he reaches a health percentage. He starts off as a veteran Orc warrior and eventually turns into a huge monstrosity as he empowered himself with the blood of the Old God, Y’shaarj. Once he’s fused the first time he teleports you into visions of his victory which is 1 of 4, the first 3 are to do with Pandaria and the last vision is of his victory of Stormwind, the Alliance capital in Azeroth. The last vision is only accessible on heroic mode that is an amazing design decision Blizzard made as it makes the fight even longer and therefore the slip ups are punish you even harder than they normally with. The only issue I have with Siege of Orgrimmar is the amount of trash in order to get to the bosses, back in Wrath people complained about Trial of the Crusader not having any trash to get through to fight a boss, this raid has too much to fight against, I get that it’s a siege on a capital city but it didn’t need to have so much trash.


Terrance of Endless Spring, this is another raid that has an end boss that is easy to beat. I still believe in order to make a climactic ending to a raid is by having the final boss of that raid being unique and require everyone’s full attention in order to beat the boss. Terrance of Endless Spring’s last boss is the Sha of Fear who is a part of the Old God Y’shaarj corruption over Pandaria. Sha of Fear is a simple tank ‘n’ spank fight, nothing more to it apart from a few adds that he spawns that require players to kill them from behind as they deflect attacks from the front. Terrance was a huge disappointment because the Sha of Fear was first seen in the raid Heart of Fear and had manipulated the Empress of the Mantid race in Pandaria with an amazing storyline and to have it end with a simple tactic leaves me with disappointment and regretting ever caring about the storyline of that boss.


Reboots Reboots, for those who don’t know, a reboot is when they pick a game that started a franchise is redesigned with the core of the gameplay still intact but with a couple minor or major changes. I will be focusing on X-COM: UFO Defence (1994) and XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012). XCOM has changed by a lot over the past 18 years, the most obvious are the graphics and while the gameplay looks the same it as changed by a huge amount. For starters in X-COM you can send a maximum of three squads out on missions and our squad size can be made out of 24 units. In the 2012 reboot you’re limited to one Skyranger and a maximum squad size of 6. This change was made because XCOM was a multi-platform release while the original remained a PC exclusive title.

Another change that was made to the reboot are the action points (AP). In the original you had a massive amount of actions that you could do with each unit in your squad, some abilities took more AP than others so you had more choice and also think strategically. In the reboot everyone gets two AP, firing your weapon before running will use up all your AP but doesn’t act the same when you move first, however you cannot use some special abilities if you move first. Another thing they removed from the 2012 version is base defence, X-COM had a system in place to make sure you did not get too powerful for the A.I. you were fighting so they added the function that if you advanced to a specific point your base would be hit by a small alien force. This added another form of challenge to players, in the reboot you can build your base, advance really far in technology and have no backlash to what you are doing. XCOM would not have change so much if the developers did not focus on making it accessible for console users too. The reboot does still have the primary function, turn-base combat, base building, creating your squad and the same point of view. However it’s the changes that Firaxis made that make this game completely different to the original.


Reboots are both good and bad. They are good because the allow old franchises to make a reappearance into today’s market where everything is a lot different to what they were like back in the 70s to 90s. With reboots happening more often the younger generation of gamers are able to play games that have more complexity than what most games that come out these days have. XCOM is a perfect example of the complexity that older games had, it may have changed by a huge amount it also keeps some of the skill required to get to the end of the game before your doom meter reaches its max and have to restart the game. Prince of Persia also got itself a reboot back in 2008 when the Playstation 3 was new. However this reboot changed too much, not only did it have a character who wasn’t the Prince you remembered but they completely removed the rewind time aspect of the game as well as challenge, you are unable to die so the health bar you have is pointless. That is an example of a bad reboot, a really good reboot is something like Strider. Strider 2014 is almost the exact same game, just better graphics, artstyle, and combat. A good reboot is one that does not change too much from the core but enough on the outside to make it better for this generation of gamer who rely a lot more on graphically quality to show you the level better than what games like X-COM did. I tried playing a game that came out in the 1980s and it hurt my eyes because of the resolution and how pixelated it was back then. Reboots are helping today’s industry with giving old games a second chance to be a best seller.


Developer Interview 1: who are you and what is your role? 1A: I am an independant games developer. Umm.. Well basically my role is everything from making a game before it is a game to actually making the game itself. This includes the writing and drawing of most aspects that will appear within the game itself followed by the code and art etc.. So not really an easy job but an enjoyable one. 2: what was the game/developer that insipred you to become a developers? 2A: Being honest? Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios, drove me to developing but my initial interest in developing came when I was quite a lot younger, say 13 or 14 when I was playing The legend of Zelda a Link to the past, I just remember sitting there and wanting to know exactly what went into making the game and how I could do it myself, and so I then googled 2D games and downloaded a small free engine which I then started making Mario copies on basically, just to get the hang of it. 3: do you feel that games have changed for the better in the past 10 years? 3A: I do in a sense, but I have always wanted to bring what we as a generation call retro back into the lime light as I feel that games nowadays focus far too much on the “graphics” or how realistic it is rather than actually the game itself. 4: what genre do you believe needs a huge update in its gameplay, story, etc., and why? 4A: Music games, I feel that they are becoming more and more the same thing, and by far are just starting to blur together into a single game. If you’re going to copy another game and change aspects you may as well just copy the game and ask for labour fees and a merge into their company as it would result in a better game in the long run. 5: Seeing as you want to bring retro games such as the original Castlevania, Zelda, Metroid, etc. back into the light in today’s market, do you feel that those games would still be a gain for developers and draw in the new generation of gamers or would it end in a bust? 5A: I do, I believe that if you take the older more retro games back into account and use what technology we have available nowadays we could as a society create a series of games that are purely fun and focus on nothing in particular. This would in turn i believe let the younger gamers of today’s generation learn what games went into the creation of the games we play and make today as well as allowing them that same amazing experience we had when we were younger when we could play silly games like Tetris or Pac-man for hours on end and not get bored even though it’s the same thing, or the games like Pokémon or Zelda which took more than 5 days to complete, and took more like 5 months due to it being so unforgiving 6: What genre do you find is a dying breed or is under appreciated? 6A: Again music. I feel it is become more and more arcade based, but they refuse just to take it that way, so by keeping it in a household I feel it is lacking what makes it a fun game (the huge subwoofers and crowds of people that watch) and makes it rather a dull experience of the same thing over and over again in different patterns.


7: As you are an independent developer, which part of your many jobs do you find the most difficult and why? 7A: Coming up with a title most probably. It sucks when you have this idea that you came up with in about 2 days, have decided to use this idea and are sitting down to polish and refine it, and then the question is asked.. “Well what do we call this amazing game??” and your response is simply “well... umm.... We’ll think about that later” as you have no idea what to call it. Though at the stage where I am at the moment, I’m trying to learn how to convert from creating 2D to 3D games and I’m finding that a little difficult, namely with adding the 3rd dimension of coding and the animation itself as I’m not used to doing either of those things 8: As an indie you get to have more freedom in your creativity and create the perfect game in your eyes, do you feel that major developers have lost their reason for making games with being restricted? 8A: Yes, I feel that publishers have taken a lot of fun and creativity out of games design and that the people who want to make a magical experience for the world should run as fast as they can away from them 9: What is the perfect game in your eyes? 9A: In the modern day climate?? FEZ, though people may hate on Mr Phil Fish, as a developer you can’t help to sit and admire what him and his team have put into the game. There’s so much ambition and the aesthetic quality of the game is fantastic especially when you think he did the art all by himself, Polytron really pulled it out of the bag with that game, and it is a challenge and a pleasure to play through in my opinion and anyone who wants to hate on me for that can go and fuck themselves and try and make a better game, cos I bet they couldn’t make a game as polished and refined as Polytron did, especially considering it was only two people. 10: What is required to make the perfect game? 10A: Umm I wouldn’t say love, but I would say ambition and maybe a love for games themselves as well as a whole hearted interest in games themselves. If you want to make a polished and perfect game the betting’s are that you will, at least in your opinion it will be, and if you don’t, it will be that dreaded pile of manure that you think it’s going to be, so yeah, definitely ambition and drive.



RNG Magazine