Genre:  RPG/Dungeon Crawler
Platform:  XBone, PS4, PC, Vita

I have spent plenty of time with Darkest Dungeon over all four platforms listed above.  This is a dungeon crawler at its most brutal.  You start with a small party of adventurers and pick your dungeon.  You have a specific goal to complete each time you enter the dungeon.  Complete it and you get valuable cash and usually a trinket for one of your party members.

This may sound like your typical dungeon crawler, but this game is not.  It is also a rogue-like, meaning that if anyone in your party dies, they are gone forever.  This doesn’t sting so much in the beginning, but when you have a level 4+ that dies, it hurts.  In addition to that, your party members get stressed while going through the dungeon.  If you can’t mitigate that stress, they risk a heart attack and could die.  Don’t pick a dungeon that’s too hard for them, or they will be stressed if you have to back out.  You can rest them when you are in town, but it costs money and an entire turn.  Which means that you need to maintain a party big enough for at least two full crews (4 to a crew) at any given time.

This game is so challenging that I’ve started it over on four different platforms and have improved greatly each time.  However, I always seem to get a bit too greedy and end up doing more than I can.  I either lose a member or end up with them seriously afflicted (very expensive to cure).  You can use the rewards that you get from quests to permanently level up either buildings, weaponry or skills.

This game is a constant balancing act, but it is very rewarding if you can get good at it.  I have probably sunk 40+ hours in it thus far, but I’m just barely scratching the surface.  I’ve only killed three bosses.  If you like dungeon crawlers and are looking for a challenge, definitely pick this one up.  Be warned, it may make you go crazy…

Chey’s Top 25 – #17 – Gems of War

Genre:  Puzzle/Match-3/RPG
Platform:  All (mobile, PC, PS4, XBox)

For the first time in Super Fun Time Gaming Girl blog history, a game is being replaced in my top 25 list.  I know the list isn’t fully done yet, but in this instance, the former #17, Puzzle Quest, is being replaced with Gems of War.

Puzzle Quest deserves all of the props that I gave it in my original post.  I have since fallen in serious like with Gems of War, however.  The game takes the mechanics that made Puzzle Quest great and really ran with it.  It’s the natural evolution of the game and it is oh so sweet.

This is a match-3 game combined with a card-based troop system with several different modes.  It has an active online user base and is available on every platform, which makes it very accessible.  I play it on all platforms but mobile.  It’s fun to create my different play styles over the different platform.  For example, I play a bit of a trickster goblin party on my PS4, but a more serious dragon-based party on my XBone.

The developer is constantly making great updates to the game and it doesn’t appear that they have plans to stop.  Since I’ve been playing, they’ve added pets, weapon crafting and a completely re-done class system.  One of my favorite modes is treasure mode, where you combine pieces to form bigger pieces and get more loot.

Gems of War Treasure

As you play, you can also conquer kingdoms and add troops to your arsenal.  I am always adding, upgrading and maintaining new troops to my collection and tinkering with my lineups.  There is also a PVP mode, although you aren’t actually playing a live person.  You are playing a person’s team.  I would love to see a live PVP and I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up one day.  The map of kingdoms is quite large and is growing:

Gems of War map

Anyway, if you like match-3 games, this is the mother of them all.  It will keep you busy for hours on end and you will keep coming back for more!

4-day weekend

I am beginning a 4-day weekend and I have some ambitious gaming plans.  First, I am going to start a Necromancer in Diablo 3.  The patch came out on Tuesday, but I haven’t had time to play it yet.  I’ll probably be level 70 by Tuesday.

Next, there is an achievement in Rock Band 3 that I haven’t completed.  It is to play all 70+ core songs (not downloads) in one sitting.  I am going to complete that at some point this weekend.  I’ll keep you posted with my progress.

I’ve also been into Fallout 4 again, and I hope to push the main story line fairly far ahead as I’m curious as to how this ends.  If you haven’t played this one, I recommend it!  Both Fallout 3 and 4 are excellent games with amazing story telling.

Genre:  RPG
Platform:  SNES

I had never heard of nor played Earthbound when it was out for the SNES.  It’s too bad I hadn’t, as this little gem goes for upwards of $200 for the cart only on Ebay now.  I decided to see what all the hype is about.

I found the ROM online some time ago and I’m playing it on my GCW Zero.  I’m not too far into the game, but it’s certainly not as I expected.  Based on the box art, I expected maybe a hardcore Japanese-inspired mech game.  This is almost the exact opposite.  You play as a kid who is trying to find out what a mysterious “meteorite” is that landed not too far from your house.  That’s about as far as I am into the story right now.

I will say that the kid’s parents in this game should get a nod for “worst parents of the world”.  At one point, I went to talk to the mother and she gave me some sarcastic response like “yeah, you’re cool, whatever…”.  What?  They also don’t seem to care that you are running around the town in the middle of the night and trying to interfere with police investigations.  Whatever.

I do look forward to seeing what else this game has in store for me.  Please, if you’ve played it, no spoilers!

Earthlock – Festival of Magic

Genre:  RPG
Platform:  XBone

One of last month’s Games with Gold (free) was Earthlock, Festival of Magic.  I had never heard of it before, but I figured I would give it a shot.  This is really a solid game.  I’m probably about 50% done and I hope to finish it.  This is a game which gives a nod to classic JRPGS (Japanese Role-Playing Games) in that the combat is turn-based and you travel the world on a highly zoomed-out map.  You can fast travel once you find the fast travel books.

The combat is a lot of fun.  As stated, it’s turned-based, which means that each of your party members takes a turn attacking, as do the enemies.  Before each of your players’ turns, you decide what they are going to do.  Each character has two stances, usually an offensive and supportive role for magic users and two different types of combat styles for your melee.  You have some choice in how many enemies you can take on at once based on the main map, but not always.  The more you take on at once, the higher xp you get, which is used to level up and get more abilities and strength.

There is also a small crafting system.  You rarely get seeds from boss mobs, which you can plant and cultivate.  Each one gives you something useful for ammo or different types of attacks.  You’ll do quite a bit of farming as it is a necessary part of the game, but I found it a nice break between long trips on the road.

earthlock-farming

There are boss mobs which can be really challenging.  Be prepared to grind a bit for xp in this game.  I enjoyed it and felt that it was a throw back to older games.  You have to work to progress in this game and it feels rewarding.  This game is getting some negative reviews as a result, but I wouldn’t listen to that.  You also have to be quite careful about your save points as it’s not very forgiving in that area.  Save, save, save.

Leveling up is fun.  You have a tech tree of sorts which lets you add new attributes that you either craft or find out of chests or bosses.  Customization is strong in this game.  There are also little parts of the game that I find fun such as bestiary tracking.  You’ll also play around with the pairing of your characters as well.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, but you also get bonuses for bonding two characters together.  Your party is four characters, but you pair two groups together for this bonding.

I would recommend playing this game.  It felt pretty retro, the story is compelling, the graphics are nice and there’s enough variety in the game play and dungeons to make each area feel fresh.

 

 

Chey’s Top 25 – #7 – EverQuest 2

 

Genre:  MMORPG
Platform:  PC

I started playing EverQuest 2 the day it was released.  I lived in Hawaii at the time but was in Wisconsin visiting friends and family.  It was November of 2004.  I had long been an EverQuest 1 player and was excited for the upgrade.  I would not be disappointed and would end up playing this game for over 1,000 hours.

EverQuest 2 takes place hundreds of years after EverQuest 1.  The game is a massively multiplayer online role playing game, or MMORPG, or MMO for short.  You create a character from scratch and fight your way through the world, either on your own or with other players.  As you fight, you get better items and abilities.  New areas are available to you as you level up.  The character creation process is fun and they give you a good amount of customization.

EQ2 fixed many of the problems that plagued EQ1 such as, you know, QUESTS.  EQ1 was often called NeverQuest as the quests were fewer and hard to find.  There were no indicators showing who had something for you to do.  Instead, you were forced to talk to every NPC (non-player character) and see if they might have something for you.  EverQuest 2 fixed this.  There were icons above the NPCs that had quests to offer.  And there were thousands of them.  And I did thousands of them!

The graphics were also excellent for the time.  EQ2, however, would always be compared to another small game that came out at the time – World of Warcraft (WoW).  EQ2 actually came out a couple of weeks before, but WoW would eclipse EQ2 in the MMO community.  The result was actually positive for EQ2 players as a lot of the more novice players played WoW, leaving us with a more mature player base and a more enjoyable experience.  If you ever played WoW, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The world of Norrath was huge and exciting.  They regularly added content and expansions.  I still play from time to time, but my character, a brigand (rogue) is currently level 95.  I’m not sure what the cap is now, but it was 95 the last time I played.  It is easy to level up, which some saw as a negative, but I thought was more fun.  It was also a more solo-friendly game than EQ.  Again, there is a lot of debate about whether this was good or not.  I personally preferred it, but others thought it ruined what made EQ1 so great – socializing with other players.

The crafting system in this game is also the best I’ve played.  It;s more like a mini game than a mundane crafting system.  And the items you create are actually useful and better than what you can get in most spots.  I have a chef that I leveled up to at least level 90.  There is also player and guild housing, which can be fun if you want to sink the time and (in-game) money into it.

As I stated, the game is still around and I believe it’s free to play now.  If you’re looking for a fun MMO with a LOT of questing and leveling, check it out.  I’d love to see others enjoy this game as much as I did and experience before it’s gone.  There was going to be an EverQuest 3, called EverQuest Next, but after Sony sold the franchise, it was scrapped.  That’s too bad, in one way.  In another, I’m kind of glad because I just don’t have the time and energy to go through another obsession like I did with EQ2.

Chey’s Top 25 – #9 – Fallout 3

Genre:  RPG
Platform:  XBox 360, PS3, PC

I had no idea what Fallout 3 was about when I picked it up.  The back cover looked interesting, so I decided to give it a shot.  I played it that night starting around 7PM and was still playing when Matt got up the next morning at 7AM.  I had no idea what time it was and didn’t really care.  This game will suck you in and keep you engaged until someone makes you stop or you pass out, hopefully not at the same time.

The game has a neat tutorial and character creation process.  You start as a child who was just born.  You are allowed to pick what you are going to look like when you grow up, but the character creation process doesn’t matter much as you will rarely ever see your character throughout the game.  As you grow through your childhood, you select more attributes that shape your character.  It’s pretty creative and a bit more fun than other tutorials.

Once you complete that, the story starts and you find yourself outside of your home, which as been a nuclear-safe underground vault.  You leave this comfy home and are out in the wasteland and sure enough, it has been ravaged by nuclear war.  You’ve got radiation to worry about as well as a myriad of mutated creatures.  Humanity is few and far between, but the people that you will meet need help.  They will send you out on missions and you will find the rewards helpful.  They also seem to be stuck in the 1950s.

Once again, this game makes my list mostly due to the engaging story.  You are trying to find your surviving family, but you get wound up in a fairly deep controversy.  This game gives you a lot of choices and they matter later in the game.  If you help one guy destroy a city, you’re going to make some enemies.

I am typically not a fan of first-person shooters (FPS), but this game has a combat system that takes out a lot of the “twitch” aspect.  It’s called VATS and allows you to target specific parts of your enemy.  It’s very clever and made me look forward to battle instead of dreading it.  I would call the game more of an RPG than FPS, however, as you level up and pick attributes to strengthen your character.  There are so many options to choose from that you will likely never create the same character twice.

Fallout 3 VATS

There is a lot to this game including a basic crafting system.  There are things to collect (yay!) and it is just a lot of fun.  It’s also an open-world game, meaning that you can go and do what you want when you want.  The game doesn’t force you down a certain path, although I do recommend playing through the main story.  I’m including Fallout 3 New Vegas as well as all expansions in this Top 25 as they are all fun and add to this game.  New Vegas is its own stand-alone game, but it runs off of this same engine.  Look for a post on Fallout 4 later on.

The graphics in this game are great, the soundtrack is awesome and the sound effects add to the game.  You will be singing music from the 50’s for a long time after playing this one.  The controls are great and everything about this game feels innovative.  This is by the same company that makes the Elder Scrolls series and I’ve been told it just feels like an apocalyptic version of that, but I think it feels different enough.  I strongly recommend that you play this one.