By Special Request of my blog fans (ok, the only one I know of), it's time for our Spring Computer Game Review Roundup! Yay! Just in time for Easter, when the Easter Bunny brings all good girls and boys baskets full of computer games! Or Chocolate. Or chocolate-coated computer games. Hmmm. That would be AWESOME. Also, very messy, and somewhat crunchy. Yeah.
I'm going to spend a few minutes talking about ESO, also known as Elder Scrolls Online. I played this very briefly, for free, during the development phase about, oh, maybe a year or two ago? Fresh off the success of Elder Scrolls 5, which was all about... umm... Skyrim, yes, that was it, they came out with Elder Scrolls Online, a multiplayer version of Elder Scrolls. Skyrim focused on the snowy lands of the far north, and was my most-played game in all of steam, listed by hours, which can be misleading, because I spent about 500 hours just goofing around in Riverwood, making and remaking my character. Yeah. Good times. So, Elder scrolls online. Much like Skyrim, you could use a weapon in each hand, and the more you used each weapon, the more skilled you became with it. I vaguely recall not liking the magic system in ESO, and because I love using magic in just about every game I have ever played, I became disappointed with ESO and stopped playing it. What was wrong with the magic system, exactly? I don't recall. I think you could only ready one spell, or something like that, and there weren't very many types of magic to start with. Things may have changed by now, and maybe I'm not recalling them correctly, but this was a long time ago. Plus, I'm old. I may have imagined the whole thing. But, like a toddler who doesn't like a new toy, I threw it away and cried like a little girl.
Now, on to more recent conquests. Conan Exiles is the most recent Conan-like game of all the recent Conan-like games out there, right now, that don't actually feature Conan. However, the intro movie does feature a very Conan-like Cimmerian striding through a desert with an axe, who frees a prisoner tied to a cross. Crucifixion was punishment for your character's various random crimes, like sexual congress with a gorilla, or skullduggery and impersonating a temple priest. Put them all together and you get skullduggery with a gorilla while impersonating a temple priest, which, as we all know, is how I spend my weekends. In any case, Conan cuts down the prisoner, and VOILA! You're off to character creation, as the prisoner that the Conan-like Cimmerian has just cut down. Wtf is skullduggery? I have no idea, and I'm not sure I actually want to find out.
Conan Exiles is still in Alpha, but the game looks beautiful, and features the, ah, the Full Monty, as far as nudity goes. You basically run out of the desert, collecting resources from bushes, rocks, and branches to make clothes, tools and weapons, and you get the ability to make a greater variety of stronger tools, armor and weapons as you level up. A variety of infernal, primitive and normal animals wander about, just waiting for you to run up and kill them for lunch (cooked meat is really the only option here, as farming is currently forbidden by order of the gods, or just isn't in the game yet). Hyenas, rhinos and gazelles (at least, I think they were gazelles, they ran away very fast) are just some of the normal animals featured, and I typically spent most of my game-time swimming across the extensive river and island system you come to, as you flee the dryness of the desert. Food and water are required often, or you die of thirst and starvation. You can also get food poisoning, and die of that. Or, you can be bitten in half by a crocodile, which is not as fun as it sounds. Trust me.
Content is currently a bit limited, but there are apparently dungeons full of scary monsters hidden somewhere, and like most survival games out there, you can host your own server, and get taken over by Chinese Hackers! I think getting taken over by Chinese hackers is even currently an option in the server settings, and is ON by default. I guess the game designers are working on a fix to get it turned off at some point, but no luck so far. I've only played the game single-player, so far, but there are little gatherings of AI-controlled humans you can bonk on the head, drag back to your place, and convert them to your cause via the appropriately-titled Wheel of Pain. Once converted, your new slaves work for you, and are called Thralls. Some of the thrall professions are fighter, cook, archer, and dancer, to name a few. I guess there are also priests you can use to summon Avatars, gigantic world-smashing Godlings capable of crushing your enemies, driving them before you, and making their women lament. But, that's all high-level stuff, and nowhere I've got close to, yet.
In addition to clothes, armor, tools and weapons, you can also make a house for yourself. Basic structures are made of sandstone, and although you need to collect a lot of wood for support, you can't actually make structures out of just wood. I guess it's not strong enough to keep away the giant killer crocodiles that want to bite you in half? Who knows. At later levels, different kinds of stronger stone are used. The game designers also promise the use of sorcery, which I am looking forward to, but it's not in the game yet. Also, there's supposed to be sacrifices, which is great for me, because I frequently get thrall slaves who bug the shit out of me for various reasons, who I'd love to sacrifice. The game is frequently updated, sometimes once or twice a week, so the developers certainly seem on-track to finish the game, eventually. They just added a bunch of new weapons, and catapults.
Do I like Conan Exiles? Sort of. It's a survival game, like 7 Days to Die, or even Minecraft. You spend most of your time trying not to die of hunger and thirst, avoiding hungry crocs, and like living in Australia, everything in this game wants to kill you. I spent a lot of time building a small house on a tiny island in the middle of a river, which was visually awesome, but I tended to die every time I left my island to go hunting. Meh. Probably didn't put enough points into Vitality, or something. Also, Crocs can swim across rivers, just like you, which I had to find out the hard way. Also, they bite very hard, and plant fiber clothing doesn't stop croc teeth. Overall, I'd say the game needs more content, but I haven't been able to explore very much, or find a dungeon yet. I pretty much die too easily to get very far. It's not just the crocs you need to worry about. The game would probably be better with friends, but I don't have any to test it with. Thankfully, there is a cheat system in place if you happen to be the server admin, which is a given if you're playing single player. Somehow, I still die a lot. Apparently, being a demi-god doesn't prevent you from dying of falling off a high cliff. In Conan Exiles, even the dirt can kill you. Hopefully, they'll implement the sorcery and magic system soon, and I can start my career as a master spellcaster, charming crocs and making them go fetch food for me. We'll see how that goes. They'll probably eat me when they get back.
Our final review this time around is on Conclave, a cheap little RPG with very simple graphics. I've only managed to play a few of the beginner quests yet, but it's pretty much a D&D clone dumbed down to the basics. You get 5 classes, 5 races, and a max level of ten or so, as far as I can tell. There's runecasters (mages), Beacons (cleric), and a scattering of other classes. There's no cheating in Conclave, because it's entirely online (even single player), so I am having a bitch of a time getting past the first few quests. It's not un-fun, but I would suggest bringing friends, if you want to get very far. Soloing is quite difficult, and I don't see any sort of loot system. Not even sure if it's a finished game, or they are still working on it. One thing that bugged me is, you can't change the screen resolution any, so you're pretty much stuck with the default graphic settings, which amounts to a small window in the middle of your screen. In this day and age, those of us used to varying our graphics settings for best resolution, might be a little disappointed. Still, it has no effect on gameplay.
That's all we have time for, boys and girls! Dinner's almost ready, and I'm sure I'll have some new movies to review pretty soon. Until then, I'll be in my bunk.