Last Week’s Gaming – November 18th, 2019

Why is there always hours for work, and not for games?

It was a big week, and a few tech issues have hit. First with image uploading (I still need to fix last week’s review of the Hori Split Pro controller for the Switch), and today I can’t get my gameplay footage off my Quest. Grah!

But that’s enough of those things, onto the good things from last week 😀

Warriors of Waterdeep (Android)

A week away, you know I was going to play on the phone again. There are a bunch of pack promotions out and I am getting absolutely hammered in PvP play.

And I don’t mean just I am losing a lot, which can happen. I mean a level 9 ranger can kill 3/4 of my level 10 team in one shot on the first turn. Before my team has had a chance to have a turn, and we are supposed to be armour buffed.

I don’t think I will be making it to the end of my month at this rate. But I do have another android game that I hope will take it’s place. And it has board game roots.

Tune in next week to see what I think!

I think I have finally had enough of this mobile game. Wonder what the next one will be?

The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (Switch)

I got to get in a solid amount of play on the Switch while I was away. I was hoping to have more time to finish a game, but that’s how the dice roll sometimes.

Playing through a beloved classic for the first time like this leaves me in a bit of a pickle – do I blatently say what I have been doing as many know, or leave it quiet just in case?

Either way, I am progressing at what I think is a good pace and I can now hit like a truck. I think I am in a good place to pause for a while, because a new Switch game is taking my time away now!

I forgot how hard and how convulted fetch quests used to be!

Beat Saber (Oculus Quest)

On a tropical wonderland, what else do you do but bring VR gear and enjoy the game?

I have spoken about Beat Saber before. It is my go to VR experience for new players. The lack of walking around helps with initial motion sickness, the game is intuitive and most of all fun.

With the heat starting to bear down on us, I really want to start getting back into Beat Saber properly, but it looks like it will be early morning sessions for a while. I will try and update the playlist with the new pack during the week as well!

Well that was a terrible cut - but it was a cut!

Vader Immortal: Episode 1 (Oculus Quest)

I have been waiting to sink my teeth into this one, and I finally got my chance.

And now my Quest won’t connect to my PC, so I can’t download any of the footage – it’s the week of tech problems this week!

Short version – Vader Immortal is a fanboy experience. The gameplay so far has been fairly ‘meh’, but I have loved exploring each area. Without spoiling anything, the feeling in your gut when you enter hyperspace is everything you want it to be. The world around you feels real, even if a bit blurry and pixalated in the distance. Looking up and seeing a Star Destroyer travel in front you is awesome.

It's promotional, but flying to this fortress made me grip the virtual helm for support

And that’s before you meet Vader.

Hopefully in a week or two I will have the Quest talking to my PC properly, and I will show off some of this properly. Until then, if you get the chance to try it, take it – but don’t jump on the buy button until you know it’s for you.

Pokemon Shield

Well, I have been waiting for this one, like so many others.

I decided to play through Shield, with Rabbit taking Sword. Wonder how this will go?

Early initial impressions – I love it. I know there will be a lot of old school Pokemon players that will disagree. From someone that played Yellow, then Moon, and finally Let’s Go, I am loving the changes.

The visuals are great, and the Wild Area is a great idea. Online play is fun, but it’s not required and feels just as awesome.

I just need to find the second gym leader, hopefully I can squeeze in that little quest before you read this 😀

The similarities between your character meeting the new gym challenge and the new game are suprisingly similar

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – November 11th, 2019

The big video game week

When this goes live on the site, I will be waiting in Brisbane Airport to travel to another work conference.

Yay for the sites, boo for cutting into my games time!

But I did get to play quite a bit that I enjoyed this week, in quality if not in quantity.

Jackbox Party Pack (2 and 6)

Last games night I thought a low effort party night would be just the thing. And it really, really was.

You can read my review of Jackbox Party Pack 6 here, but we all had a great night fumbling through the games. And that is really all you need. Even Alpal enjoyed it, and she is not a fan of the ‘vidyah games’ as she calls them 😀

Flicked between two versions, and had a great time of it. At one point in the future, I think I might try to arrange a stream of the Jackbox games where everyone watching can join in as well!

I thought Alpal was an alien, and I knew Nel was. Look at Harley, the evil alien, lauging at us as we eject the human.

The Outer Worlds (Xbox)

Oh man this game! It has the Fallout flavour of play I enjoy, and the story branching that I love in The Witcher games. It’s amazing!

I finally finished it on XBox this week, and while I am away with work I am going to use that time to see if I want to go on an achievement hunt with it.

If you have Microsoft Game Pass, give it a go. If you enjoy well crafted stories and a fun open adventure, you will get a lot out of it. No XBox? Grab the Game Pass for PC and play it there!

Expect a full review in a couple of weeks 🙂

Actually got a gun with recognition of quest work in game. A pleasant surprise!

Warriors of Waterdeep

Still slowly slogging away at this game, but honestly I am coming close to the end.

I have about 2 weeks of VIP bonuses coming, so I am still trying to slog away that way. See how I end up.

On the plus side, I have learned how to record fottage from my phone. Yay! So with any luck, next week I will have a bit of a video of gameplay to add to my review to show you how the game works a little better 🙂

Yeah, I have a lot of chance this fight lol

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – October 28th, 2019

Oh, it’s great to be back at work. No really :p

The downside to PAX Aus being sooner is in the middle of my post PAX blues, I am now getting Facebook reminders of what we got up to last year. Boo!

But PAX is over. Reality steps in. Or I can escape to The Outer Worlds…

Funkoverse – Harry Potter (4 Piece Starter and Expansion)

What can I say. Funkoverse has managed to capture my imagination a lot more than I thought it would!

I ended up going out and buying all of the DC and Harry Potter sets after playing with Alpal. Now I just need to track down Rick and Morty and The Golden Girls 🙂

This week we played a capture the flag scenario using 3 characters each. This increased the time of the game quite a lot, but not in a terrible way. If we were playing with two pieces, I would have been more inclined to play another game, but one took a fair bit of time.

Hopefully I can get a few more games in next weekend, and a full review will be coming soon!

My team of Hermoine, Bellatrix and Voldemort was definitely weird, but it was fun!

The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (Switch)

So I have cleared the second dungeon, but I still have a long way to go!

Wednesday night, I came home from work and just needed to chill. Link’s Awakening was the perfect game for this. It took about an hour to find where I was and clear the dungeon, without stretching my tired brain overly.

I did spend a bit more time fishing, but not as long as I thought I would in the claw game. Considering it’s based on a 26 year old GameBoy game, everything is holding up gameplay and story wise really well. It’s no Witcher, but it’s a great bit of fun 🙂

It was fun running around with Chomp Chomp. Need to time when to wait for him to attack better though!

Warriors of Waterdeep (Android)

So I have been having a lot of fun playing Warriors of Waterdeep, but the frustration level is steadily rising.

A new type of quest came with the last update – Battle Quests. Similar to the PvP battles where you can unlock chests and get a rating, Battle Quests unlock prizes when you win a certain number of battles.

You get 3 tries, then you can pay for another entry if you wish. 600 coins intially, now 30 gems. Sounds good, right?

Well, check out the match image. My team is at the bottom, the person I played against up top. Level 8, 9 and 10 characters against a team of Level 4s. It was a rollover. And it’s a match that should never be allowed to have happen.

And this is my biggest problem with Warriors – to compete, spend money. A lot of money. And while I am not saying devs shouldn’t be paid, Warriors of Waterdeep is asking way too much.

I have cancelled my subscription now, and I will stop playing near the end of November when my current bonuses stop.

So going against an opponent half my level, in a pay to compete match. Nope.

The Outer Worlds (XBox)

Fallout in space. I have been looking at The Outer Worlds for a while, but honestly I expected less on launch.

Fallout: New Vegas was far from bug free when it launched, to the point I didn’t play it for 2 years while patches and DLC came out. But when it all came out, New Vegas was an awesome game.

As The Outer Worlds is included in Game Pass, I thought I would give it a go. And what a go I gave it. Playing for 12 hours straight on Saturday, I am really, really enjoying it.

Everyone has been raving about The Outer Worlds, and I know why.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – October 21st, 2019

PAX AUS WAS AMAZING!

Well, post PAX blues have come and gone, and reality is knocking. Back to work tomorrow – boo!

But PAX Aus was amazing. Thanks to everyone that joined in the PAX XP Hunt as well – it was a lot of fun!

I didn’t get to play quite everything I wanted to, and I only played a few ‘standard’ games this round. But it was a heap of fun, but I made one major mistake. I didn’t record most of them! I will talk about a few of them that I can remember, but PAX was PAX. A whirlwind of fun and activity and lines!

On that note, here are some of the gaming highlights I want to talk about 🙂

Cyberpunk 2077

So we got to watch a live demo in the main theatre. I thought I was excited for Cyberpunk before – now I can’t wait!

Role playing video games are great, but there are rarely any games with true ‘do what you want’ mechanics. This isn’t being said as a complaint – the amount of work involved in developing such a thing is phenomenal.

This means games with choices and skill trees tend to get min/maxed by the internet hive mind. Again, not a bad thing, but it is how the games tend to run.

Waiting in the theatre for the demo to start. It was worth the sore legs!

Cyberpunk 2077 looks to change all that in a truly meaningful way. We saw a mid game quest and boss battle that was tackled by a netrunner (hacker) and a tank. And the changes were definitely there.

Anyone that played Deus Ex has an inkling of what I am talking about. Run and Gunner? Build yourself up and kick in the front door. Stealth player? Look for the vent/window/whatever to work around the opposition.

Cyberpunk 2077 takes this freedom and cranks it up to 11. The different builds lead to very different experiences, meaning players will have a very unique play experience. It makes the Witcher series look like it plays on rails!

I wish I could have taken some pictures of what we watched, but we were asked not to. Short version though, if you want an immersive world where you can truly make your own way – Cyberpunk 2077 will be for you!

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Another game where I wish I could have taken pics, the only game I queued up for was Final Fantasy VII Remake. And I am glad I did.

I have played Final Fantasy VII to death over the years. And I pretty much always will. It was my first Final Fantasy game, so it holds that special place for me as a fan.

What can I tell you from my hands on with the remake? It’s not the same game. It’s like Resident Evil 2 and it’s remake – yes, it shares theme, characters and experiences but it’s a completely different game and experience.

If you have doubts about it, I understand. But what I played has changed my mind. I have gone from “Yeah, I will wait until it’s on special” to “Yes please take my preorder”. It was that fun.

Don’t go looking for a pretty version of the game you already know. Be prepared to be playing a new game that shares a world, but is it’s own game.

The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (Switch)

I have never played the Zelda games, short of a quick round on the NES mini and a bit of Breath of the Wild.

While I really want to play all of them, time has been an enemy. But Link’s Awakening looks to be the game that will change that.

I have only been able to get a couple of hours in, but the game is great. Old school gameplay that is holding up so well. It did make me realise how much I have been relying on objective markers.

One dungeon down!

Link’s Awakening is a beautiful return to old school gaming, accessible to everyone. I am looking forward to trying to finish it off before Luigi’s Mansion 3 comes out!

The Witcher 3 Complete Edition (Switch)

So I have played the opening of The Witcher 3 about 5 times. I started streaming it a couple of years ago, but couldn’t keep a regular schedule up so had to give it away. I am hoping that playing it on the Switch will help with this, especially as I am going away for a week in November for work!

Before anyone starts, yes it looks bad compared to PS4 Pro/Xbox One/PC. But it doesn’t look terrible. NPC’s move funny in the distance. Grass doesn’t part when you walk through it. But really these are little things to have all of the Witcher 3 on Switch!

Blown up you can see blur and jaggies, but on the Switch screen - glorious!

Expect to hear more on Switcher 3 over the next few weeks, including a look at the mClassic I grabbed from Indiegogo and how it works with such a game!

Asphalt 9: Legends (Switch)

So just prior to PAX Aus, Asphalt 9: Legends was released on the Switch. I had heard of the series before, it has a pretty solid following on mobile. So as it was free, I thought I would give it a try.

And then played for about 12 hours.

Take simple Burnout style races and work them into small races perfect for mobile play. Yes, there are microtransactions. You can speed up improving your car by purchasing random booster packs. But I have yet to be tempted to put money down, and I have unlocked quite a bit of the game.

Some types of race have you hurtling down a mountain. It's amazing 😀

Give it a go, if you like arcade style racing games you will get a fair amount of play for free!

Warriors of Waterdeep – Android

One last push was apparently all I needed!

I have started progressing through the main explore dungeons again, but man was that a huge slog.

The grind is definitely there, and the online battles are becoming incredibly frustrating. I either face players that have little to no chance, or others I can’t even scratch. There is rarely a middle ground for a well balanced game.

At the moment I have a couple more weeks of this month’s VIP subscription, but I am pretty sure this will be my last month of playing, as great a diversion as it has been.

Given the amount of cash I have had to spend, and the prompts to buy more for a chance to be competitive, I am nearing the end of my playtime. Next set of dungeons where I meet a wall, I will be uninstalling.

I can finally take a room like this on to progress. Took a month though!

Even though it’s not the same sort of game, I would be giving the free Asphalt 9: Legends a go over Warriors of Waterdeep now. The amount of fun that I have had has been worth it, but it’s hard to recommend a game that you have to pay as much as a new game each month in comparison.

Funkoverse Strategy Game – DC

I saw these games at Minotaur games, and was interested. Such a simple concept – a strategy tactics game using Funko Pop minis. I saw them at PAX, but didn’t buy any as I wasn’t sure.

Luckily Alpal bought the DC starter pack, and now I want to buy ALL of them!

Simple enough turn based tactics, with variable player powers. Some of the rules I was a little worried would be to ‘bookkeeping’ for a simple tactics game, but those fears were unfounded.

Prepare to hear more about Funkoverse over the next few weeks!

Who wouldn't want to play a game with pieces like these?

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – September 23rd, 2019

It was a video game heavy week

Well, I have put in work days every day this week. So tired. With a last minute postpone of the weekly gaming night, tabletop gaming has taken a hit.

But I still got to spend some time having fun!

Warriors of Waterdeep – Android

As per my review last week, I am still plugging away at this dungeon crawler.

I am in a position where I can’t progress in the main story, and the enemies are all 3-4 levels higher than me. I am getting owned.

Even in the player battles that unlock (after time) some great loot, I am getting hammered! That said, it’s still fun enough to play. Until I got some Epic loot.

One of my characters earned enough cards to level up some loot. Because of it’s quality, I also got about 9,000 XP if I leveled it up! The catch? It cost 7,000 gold. That meant spending 500 gems to get the gold I needed, and then spending another 1,000 ish gold on the character level up. Real cost? About $8.

So from the looks of it, getting to level 10 is going to cost serious cash

I am still giving it another month, but unless I can find a way to progress without spending about $60 from what I can see, this is definitely my last month.

Tetris 99 – Switch

There was another Grand Prix event last weekend, so you knew this was coming. Playing tired may not have been the smartest choice though. First game, I spent the entire time checking out the new Kirby theme, and just got smashed. Rank 97.

All time lowest rank entry in my Tetris career. But worth it! 5 games later, and I earned the Kirby theme 🙂

The new theme is really cute, with some nice touches. The badges are little Kirby’s, and the attack indicator is Kirby raising a star? Maybe a sword but I don’t think so. It’s cool either way 😀

It's cute but not overtly distracting. At least once you have seen all the little touches!

Once again, if you have Switch Online (which mine just renewed, so it’s been a year!) give Tetris 99 a go. You can play offline now if you just want to practice 🙂

Gears POP! – Android

I heard about this during the year, and an ad popped up for it so I thought I would give it a try.

Is it a great game? Not really. Two lane MOBA type game, with fairly standard collection and loot gathering. The tutorial is very bare bones, but I will stick with it a little longer.

The cute factor is completely over the top. When you earn a new character, the app opens the POP! box, and it’s ridiculous how happy that made me.

Played it for about an hour overall so far, and got a couple of level ups. The thing that makes me laugh the most is you can sign in with your XBox live account, so most of my gamerscore now comes from this game 😀

I will let you know if I am going to keep playing next week, but at the moment it’s a “Nice idea, needs a better game” thought from me.

Playing a game with POP! figures is surprisingly fun. I hope they do more in this style.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Warriors of Waterdeep Review

Released 2018
Platform iOS, Android (reviewed)
Publisher Ludia, Inc (Website)
Developer Ludia, Inc (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players 1 with online play
Category Dungeon Crawl
Set Collection
Leveling Up
Different player powers

Mobile game reviews? Really?

Mobile gaming keeps slipping past all of my ‘What did I play this week?’ checks. It’s not intentional. I don’t think I have a bias against mobile games. My stance is ‘Do you enjoy playing X? Then you are a gamer.’ I don’t believe a Twilight Imperium player is any less a gamer than a Call of Duty regular or a Candy Crush fan. As long as you are enjoying your game, you will keep playing games. That’s a gamer.

So in planning a run of reviews to write coming up to and during PAX Aus, I realised something. I have spent the most time on the last couple of weeks playing on my phone. And I haven’t even mentioned that in Last Week’s Gaming.

I spent about 12-15 hours playing two mobile games just last week alone. And I have plans to sit and get into another the week before PAX on the drive down.

So to make up for some of this oversight, let me tell you about Warriors of Waterdeep on iOS and Android, my biggest phone game at the moment.

Lords of Waterdeep got a sequel!

Well, no. But I can see where you might think that. It’s also not what a lot of people would call a Dungeons and Dragons game.

Warriors of Waterdeep has nothing in common with Lords of Waterdeep except for the thematic setting and D&D license. Your warriors getting a mission load screen set in the pub made me smile. Well, the first few times I saw it. Now I want it to hurry up and load.

It’s a mobile dungeon crawler. There are a few variants of this type of game out there, and all share similar traits. Take a party of adventurers that grow as you level up/buy more, beat the monsters, and repeat.

What Warriors of Waterdeep does well is making this such a simple to play experience. The reason I have sat on the couch and played it for two hours straight wasn’t that it was the best game ever. It was the end of the day, and I was tired after work. The couch called to me, and I answered.

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go...

I knew I couldn’t give the truckload of other games on my playlist the attention they deserve. The reflexes needed for Astral Chain were dulled. The logic required for puzzle-solving for Catherine: Full Body was out to lunch.

Do you know what I could do, though? Play a game that only asked of me “Tap the bad guy you want to hit”.

But it’s Dungeons and Dragons – isn’t that deep role-playing stuff?

Ordinarily, it can be. But Warriors of Waterdeep has nods to its D&D roots; it doesn’t try to recreate it.

Your warriors gain experience points (XP) to level up after clearing a room, but the improvements you get are preset. If you want to enable new abilities, you need to arrange your inventory.

Better pants allow for better healing. You are more likely to get a bonus attack with axes instead of a bow. It’s all straightforward – you want that skill? Equip that item. There isn’t layer upon layer of hidden stats and interconnected benefits. “I do this!” is what every item screams, and if you choose to equip the thing you can too.

The primary way of getting more powerful is by powering up your inventory, which you do by collecting cards, but I will talk more about that later. For now, just now that setting up your party isn’t a huge deal. You can get straight into clearing bad guys and not look at the party screen for ages, and enjoy Warriors for the simple diversion it is.

No real choices to weigh up - you upgrade items, your stats increase

The most complicated nod is most items have a chance of activating a bonus ability. There is a dice roll that happens in the background, and if you succeed, you get to do the particular thing. There is also the magical critical hit which plays a unique animation of your attack. But this is again where Warriors makes a nod to D&D, without pushing it all onto the player.

So that’s all you do? Tap on bad guys and level up?

Pretty much. Warriors of Waterdeep isn’t mobile Skyrim, nor is it trying to be. At its heart, you enter a dungeon, clear some rooms, and get rewarded. That said, there are some variants to what you play.

As you explore Waterdeep, you clear out different areas. These areas end up becoming Boss Room gauntlet runs that you can run over and over again. There are some unique backdrops, but there are only so many ways you can layout a 4×4 square room.

The different bosses do have unique attack patterns and abilities, so learning how to get through can be a challenge. You are just replaying rooms of monsters followed by a boss, so the rewards are what makes this worthwhile.

The other thing you can do is Battle, which puts a random group of your heroes against another human team. These fights seem to try and matchmake even teams, based on a score rather than your team. I have been in unwinnable or unlosable battles as a rule. Lose a few fights to lower your standing, and could face off against players 2-3 levels lower than you.

Enter room, hit all the things, move on

That’s a big power difference – and it cuts both ways. You can be working your way up and see a team that is 2-3 levels higher than you. Suck it up and take a breath buddy, it will be over soon 🙂

I can also see this being the ‘pay to win’ section of the game. I have lost to teams with access to rare/epic/legendary equipment I haven’t got and lost 3/4 of my team in a single hit. Because Warriors is so quick to play, it’s easy enough to shrug off and jump back in. I wish this could be improved, though. Just losing a close battle is infinitely more fun to me than creaming opponents in one hit.

And finally, there are the quests. New ones are added every day. Kill X many enemies, do Y amount of damage, that kind of thing. Your reward is either a bunch of gold or a random card drop. It gives a sense of purpose to aim at something, but it’s just a reward for doing the same old over and over again.

Like Fortnite and the like, daily grind quests give you something to work towards to justify the grind

So overall, it sounds fun! What’s the catch?

Core play mechanics, not much. It’s a light dungeon crawler with RPG ties, which can be just what people are looking to play. Having the ability to run boss gauntlets to level up your characters is a grind, sure. But what RPG doesn’t ask you to do the same thing over and over to level up?

If you don’t have the time or energy to play a ‘big’ game, having something on your phone like Warriors of Waterdeep can be just the ticket.

The issue is the cost of the free game – and not just microtransactions. The cheapest and best way to keep going with bonus chests and prizes is the VIP club. AUD$17 a month gives you access to exclusive chest rewards, mainly in the form of gold. You need gold to pay for levelling up everything in the game. You also need gold to redo those Boss rooms.

You can trade gems for gold, and you buy gems for cash. A fairly standard model, I agree. I am in a position now, where I feel the need to pay for stuff from the shop. Over and above the $17 I paid for the subscription, see where this can get expensive?

And the second problem is what you buy. You don’t buy the mythical axe of opponent stomping, that would be too easy. You get to buy a pack of trading cards like Magic: The Gathering, where the more expensive decks have a higher chance of the rarer cards.

3,000 gems is close to $40. Ouch.

So the theory is that you need the extra cards to level up your characters’ equipment, which in turn levels them up. Sounds reasonable. Except what if you need 50 arrows to level up your ranger, and in 10 booster packs you don’t get a single arrow card?

Long term, Warriors of Waterdeep is a great example of loot crates as gambling. Which in today’s world is not what you want to be known for.

So you are saying stay away?

Not at all. I have had a lot of fun playing Warriors of Waterdeep. Just be aware that it is asking a lot of you in terms of the old wallet.

I have the VIP subscription, and I will probably let it renew for another month. Unless something drastic happens to let me get further into the game though, next month will probably be my last month playing Warriors.

But until then, the relaxation and enjoyment I have gotten out of chilling on the couch and tapping the bad guys have been worth it. But you know what else I can relax with for $17 a month? Netflix. And have change. Microsoft Game Pass, and have lots of games to choose from – with change. Here is where I make the comparison and call Warriors expensive.

Download it, try it out, and see for yourself. If you have made it this far, you are probably interested enough to try it for out. Just before you hand over the old credit card info, weigh up the subscription against what you already have is my advice.

It's still a fun game to play, try it out 🙂

Until next time,

JohnHQLD