Updownright first impressions: Concealed Intent

Concealed Intent is a Space, Turn-Based Combat game that’s in early access on Steam. It’s already getting bonus points for not being another damned zombie game that’s in early access so bravo for thinking of something original their guys.

I love turn based combat games, there’s something about the charm of them that’s just remarkable. Concealed Intent definitely manages to capture the charm I dearly love and incorporate it well, making it a strong turn based combat game. There’s a few gamemodes to choose from, there’s the actual campaign, skirmish and multiplayer, we’ll go into these in more detail later, but let’s start with the campaign, because that’s what you should have to do by law.

There’s gonna be one or two minor spoilers, as in, the first mission, I’m going to completely spoil for you and that’ll be it. The story for the game is original, I don’t think I’ve ever played a game where I’ve had to shoot my uncle’s ashes into a planet that looks scarily like Mustafar from Star Wars. I thought it was a bit odd that the game starts with you doing this, but I suppose it sets the game in motion for what you need to do. You basically run a sort of trading company that your dear old, probably melted, uncle left you in his will and that’s what the campaign revolves around.

Graphically wise, the game is impressive. I mean, for an early access game and a small company at that it’s pretty impressive that one or two people can actually make something that looks like this. Obviously graphics don’t matter on a game like this, so as long as it’s playable then who cares? I do, I have to, that’s my job, and if I’m not doing my job then the men will come for me now wont they.

I’m not a fan of the skirmish mode in this game unfortunately. It seems like it’s just a survival mode in which I didn’t do much surviving as there seems to be an almost infinite amount of enemies in the skirmish. I suppose if it was named survival mode I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with it but a skirmish match is usually two or more teams of enemies going to battle with one another, this just seems to be you in a small square, battling ships and satellites.

It’s also a shame that I didn’t get a chance to play the multiplayer seeing as though the game is in early access and not many people were actually purchasing/playing the game while I was playing. I’m guessing the multiplayer is either a co-op sort of skirmish mode (which actually sounds pretty fun) or just a 1v1 battle, which could also be fun.

Overall I’m pretty impressed. The fact that this game is in early access and is obviously making improvements is sublime. It’s also not a zombie game, has steam trading cards and I think I crafted the badge so that’s a bonus as well. It’s in a stable enough position to be played now, but it’s pretty obvious more stuff will be added, so until then.

Concealed Intent gets a 7/10

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Updownright first impressions: Onion Force

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Yes, I know, the world really needs another cartoon-styled tower defense game, but don’t give up on me yet. Onion Force (formerly known as Dirty Rascals) is the first game from independent studio Queen Bee Games and has to be one of the most charming games I’ve played recently. Onion Force does it’s part to stand out from the overabundance of simple tower defense games, and the promise of hand drawn animation and apparently no microtransaction BS instantly made me interested in this game, but did it hold my interest once I got my hands on it?
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DOOM isn’t the game you want it to be, but that’s OK

Many of you, the readers, have very fond memories of twitch shooters like DOOM, Quake, and Unreal Tournament. These were some of the first keyboard and mouse shooters as well as some of the earliest competitive online games. Even today these games hold up very well and are often considered some of the best controlling games ever made to this day. The reboot of DOOM has promised to stay true to this style while also evolving the subgenre to more a more modern experience. Unfortunately, as seen in the closed alpha gameplay, in trying to be a “modern” game, DOOM has abandoned what could have made special in the current gaming climate. Instead, signs are pointing towards it being a gory take on modern shooters that doesn’t do enough to set itself apart.

DOOM is too slow, simple as that. If you’ve ever played DOOM or Quake, you know why they are called twitch shooters (no, not because twelve year olds stream them). These games move FAST. It’s very possible to die, respawn, and die again within the course of a few seconds and that’s not out of the ordinary. The DOOM game currently in development, though, doesn’t feel nearly as quick and seems to have a more “down to earth” movement speed, because realism is what you want from any game about going to space hell and fighting floating ball-shaped demons. Many are claiming what they have seen from this alpha gameplay is “Halo-like” game speed. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to claim that DOOM is trying to appeal to the Halo audience, but I can see the comparison all the same. I would, however, be totally for a DOOM like Halo game with Master Chief chainsawing demons to death on a spaceship.

A reasonable explanation as to why DOOM doesn’t move as fast as it’s predecessors, is the fact that DOOM is coming to consoles. Console controllers do not even compare to the precise aiming that comes from a keyboard/mouse combo on PCs. Personally, I prefer playing most games with a controller unless they are a made-for-PC game. Those of us who grew up with the original DOOM series will likely wish that the newest entry was also a made-for-PC shooter like older id games, at least for multiplayer. It’s OK though, because the multiplayer won’t matter. Or at least I hope it doesn’t.

Everything I have seen and played of DOOM so far makes me much more excited for the single player campaign than for the multiplayer. DOOM has a very unique, very strange atmosphere that is different from any other franchise I’ve ever played. I have no interest in playing a too-slow multiplayer game in the DOOM universe full of canned animations. Put that gameplay in a well thought-out single player game, though, and you’ve got my attention.

 

Could Final Fantasy XV Bring Back Console Gaming in Japan?

2787231-final-fantasy-xv-monster-carAh, Japan. As a child, Japan was the legendary home of video games to me. Rumors would always float around school of what video games were out in Japan (of course there were those who somehow believed Japan was several console generations ahead of the rest of the world, but I digress). As of late, however, gaming isn’t what it once was in Japan. This isn’t to say that gaming is dead, that is. Gaming is alive and well… just in the form of handheld/mobile gaming. Games like Puzzle and Dragons and Monster Hunter dominate sales in Japan. Almost all games are played on phones or handheld systems. Nintendo and Sony consoles still see decent sales in Japan, but are no where near being as dominate as they were in years past. Continue reading

A Short History of Indie Games, and a Look into the Future

Gzsf4R8Independent developers have brought us gamers some of the most original and exciting games of the last decade. From masterpieces like The Unfinished Swan and Limbo, to the crazy and quirky like Hotline Miami and even Goat Simulator, indie games have been some of the most noteworthy games in history, and phenoms like Minecraft will be remembered as a huge part of many childhoods. So how did such a huge part of the video game industry get started, and where does it go from here?
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Valve has Announced Their Entry Into the VR Market With the HTC Re Vive

Screenshot_2015-03-01_10.52.26.0For some time many of us have been speculating as to where Valve will find itself in the emerging VR market. Originally, Valve and Gabe Newell supported development of the Oculus Rift VR headset, but this likely changed when Oculus was bought by Facebook, one of the most surprising moves in recent memory. Especially considering the Oculus Rift was being made with video games in mind yet Facebook doesn’t exactly have a foothold in the video game market (what are they going to do? Let us play Farmville like we’re really there). Continue reading

Blizzard Announces “Overwatch” First New Blizzard IP in Over 17 years

For a few days now many have been speculating, hoping that Blizzard’s new trademark “Overwatch” might amount to something other than another WoW expqnsion. Today at Blizzcon, Blizzard made those hopes come true by announcing that Overwatch is indeed an entirely new IP in the form of an over-the-top, cartoon-styled first person shooter.

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Overwatch is currently a 6v6 multiplayer first person shooter. Each character has special abilities and “ultimates” which seem to combine the ideologies of over-the-top fps games such as Team Fortress 2 and MOBAs such as Dota and LoL.
Personally,  I hope that this game sees a full, polished retail release, but games like this often end in f2p releases, or digital only low price release (Blizzard has announced they now realize that it isn’t necessary to only make and release huge AAA games). However, it seems likely that Overwatch is using many leftover elements from the recently cancled MMORPG Titan that was in development for about 7 years. Many important members of the Titan development team seem to be working on Overwatch. This hints that Overwatch may possibly be the game that Titan evolved into during its convoluted development.

Right now its hard to say exactly how important this new IP will be to both Blizzard and the competitive gaming community, so I’ll avoid any further speculation for now. The important thing to remember is that Blizzard very rarely releases bad games, and they wouldn’t be leaping into a new IP without confidence it can stand beside its other established franchises.