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Congratulations to Andrew Barker! RPGfan Editor of the Year and now Chief News Editor!
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31  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: [Kickstarter] Zaharia- an isometric Middle Eastern style fantasy cRPG on: February 24, 2014, 12:24:15 PM
The game is now at 10% funding.  They're going to need a big boost, like a recommendation in the KS update of a really big project to make it this time around.  Still, no harm in backing them to show them there's interest.  Maybe they'll try again. 

A few updates on KS:

#1: What will change in the final game compared to the prototype?

#2: The Stealth System

#3 Skill System and Consciousness of a Thousand Worlds

#4 World of Zaharia
32  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Unsung Story: A Kickstarter by Yasumi Matsuno. on: February 24, 2014, 12:15:07 PM
Just in case anyone missed it, even though they didn't hit his stretch goal, Sakimoto is going to be on the team.

Edit: Or I'm an idiot and it was mentioned two pages ago.  I even did a Control-F!

Oh well.

That is fantastic news. I was hoping they'd still get some of those extras even without the preliminary funding, and the music is much more important than the "flavor text." 
Hopefully they can still get a decent localization, but if it turns out as yet another Babelfish job, I'll just play the Japanese version.   
It is being developed by an American studio, so I assume that the "original" language will be English as I don't believe that Matsuno is writing the script.

On the other hand there was talk of localization and two Japanese to English translators Alex Smith and Joseph Reeder are their first stretch goal.  I'd think if all dialogue and story was going to written by Playdek there'd be no need for them... Unless they're actually helping with the localization of the Japanese version, but then that wouldn't make much sense as a stretch goal :)
33  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: [Kickstarter] Zaharia- an isometric Middle Eastern style fantasy cRPG on: February 21, 2014, 11:18:21 AM
The link seems broken for me. I'm gussing this is PC only though anyway?

PC / Mac / Linux are the planned platforms. 
34  Media / Single-Player RPGs / [Kickstarter] Zaharia- an isometric Middle Eastern style fantasy cRPG on: February 20, 2014, 02:10:36 PM

A Kickstarter campaign launched for Zaharia recently.  They have a pre-alpha demo / prototype that you can DL.  I think this game looks really promising and I'm always looking for cRPGs that are not in the standard generic Tolkien style fantasy setting.  And it has turn-based tactical battles, which is my favorite.   

Some of the proposed features :
• Real time stealth system, similar to the one of Commandos series.
• Nonlinearity in the narrative and interpretative aspects, allowing the player not only to choose which quest to start from, without urgent obligations, but also to make a lot of choices and then solve a problem in more than one way;
• A Fallout-like open world;
• Lots of choices and consequences that dynamically influence the context of the game;
• A huge variety of abilities and statistics to manage, in order to craft and personalize one’s own alter-ego in every possible aspect;
• An original setting created from scratch, completely different from the usual fantasy worlds and inspired to the late Medieval Persia and Arabia;
• Living NPCs, provided with an IA that allows them to react dynamically to the player’s actions and to create really deep interpersonal relationships;
• No filler content, like useless fights, made to extend the game’s longevity in artificial ways;
• Presence of mature themes like slavery, sexuality, racism, theology, philosophy, morality, politics, and so on;
• Five main factions to choose, each one deeply characterized and different from the others;
• Innovative magic system that turns mages into something different from just portable siege machines;
• Fights are not mandatory in most cases, and it won’t be necessary to use a character who excels at combat to end the game;
• Tons of multiple choice dialogues, in order to grant the player a large range of interpretations;
• No moral dualism.

I'm pretty excited about this game and backed it, but I'm a bit worried they won't reach their funding goal.
35  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Unsung Story: A Kickstarter by Yasumi Matsuno. on: January 30, 2014, 10:55:07 PM
Hmm, the Kickstarter seems to have pretty much hit a wall.  Which is sad, because this is something that does deserve to get made.  They might have asked for a bit much, I suppose.

I don't know, Project Phoenix got $1 million so I figure this could get about the same.... I think the main problem is that Unsung Story is so early in development, they don't really have anything concrete to show.... They need an update that goes into more detail about gameplay mechanics... All we really know about the combat for now is that it will be turn-based and inspired by FF tactics. 
36  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Project Phoenix (another Kickstarter!) on: August 22, 2013, 11:04:21 PM
@Kevadu @Dincrest

Have you read their Kickstarter update #3?  (August 17th)

...During combat, you will control your characters by their appointed squads, and not as individuals. There will be around 10 playable characters on the field at any given time, and it will be up to you to maximize the party’s effectiveness to defeat the enemies. Any way that you choose to accomplish this is your decision.

Example: You create 3 squads for 9 characters. In the first squad you place 3 tanks, the second, 3 ranged, and the third, 3 healers. Then you set up the party formation so that the tank squad faces the enemy, the healer squad stays center to provide support to the other squads, and the ranged squad protects the flanks and rear.

You can mix and match the squads and characters as you wish. Include a tank, ranged, and healer in each squad, and then change their stance to match their role.

Indeed, I may have been hasty to interpret this as "no direct control" of the units... However, to me it sounds like your main combat options are selecting members of each squad and then setting the stance of each squad... If you cannot control the characters as individuals, then what other options does that leave for the player?  I suppose you could order an entire squad to attack a specific enemy, but would that even be a smart tactical move in most cases?  I assume it would be a sensible tactic when fighting a boss enemy; But still, from the sound of it, you could simply set the squad's stance to "aggressive" and let the AI do the attacking for you.   We've all played JRPGs with an "auto-battle" option where you AI will handle the fight, arguably to make the game less tedious... But in this case it sounds like every battle is essentially on auto mode (albeit with us making a few selections before the fight). 

I was initially hoping this might be a turn-based / real-time hybrid like Growlanser... Generally I prefer turn-based RPGs (or real-time with pause), but I love Growlanser's combat system.  However, in the backer comments, the developer has stressed this is 100% real-time combat.  There could be something that makes the proposed battle system more complex than "choose what characters are in a squad, choose the squad's position /stance" that I'm missing.... (I'm not entirely seeing how things like fog of war would even matter if the AI is controlling all the units).  Now I'm definitely not saying that button mashing would be an improvement; but not having direct control over even one unit makes me wonder what I'd be doing during battle besides twiddling my thumbs and watching as the AI handles the fight. 

37  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Project Phoenix (another Kickstarter!) on: August 20, 2013, 03:09:33 PM
Bahamut Lagoon is turn-based isn't it?  Phoenix's combat is entirely real-time and the player has no direct control over any of the units; sounds like you just set the stance for the sqauds and watch them fight.    Doesn't really even sound like a JRPG at all, more of a pure RTS game where you can possibly level up the characters.  Ugh, I'm definitely not backing this.  
38  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age 3 on: August 19, 2013, 02:43:24 PM

Dragon Age: Inquisition -- Source: Game Informer

Yay races! This announcement gives me real hope for this game. Can't fucking wait.

Getting to choose your race is definitely a sign they are listening  to fan feedback.  I'm still concerned about the battle system, but I really hope they get it right this time.  The waves of enemies spawning out of thin air is what really killed DA2 for me. 
39  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Project Phoenix (another Kickstarter!) on: August 15, 2013, 11:00:24 AM
This is going to be on consoles right? How many console RPGs have been turned based in the last two or three years?

 Project Phoenix is trying to get approved for PS4 and Vita and while it most likely will, right now the only confirmed platforms are  PC / Mac / Linux and probably tablet ports.   It is always disappointing to me when I see RPG developers dismiss turn-based systems as "archaic"; as if being a real-time "action RPG" automatically means it will be a superior game.

Right now their pitch is essentially , "Hey look at the big names we have working on this game. Give us MONEY!" (And of course this pitch seems to be working well, for now). But all we've really been told about the combat system is that it is real-time and that characters will "behave intelligently when not under player's direct control". What I want to know is, will have any input as to how the 3 characters we're not controlling behave? ( i.e., the gambit system in FFXII or the tactics setup in Dragon Age: Origins).   I hope for some explanation and not just vague promises that it will be innovative and tactical. How can the combat be "tactical" if 3/4 of your party is controlled by AI? It sounds like the guy who is in charge of the developing the battle system is most well known for working on LA Noire, so what does he know about designing a decent RPG battle? 

Also, the basic story synopsis sounds cliche as can be. An amnesiac angel has to join 3 other heroes to stop the evil orcs from destroying mankind. Really? That's the best this talented team could come up with? Now, certainly it's possible that they have some ideas that will keep this from becoming the most generic JRPG ever, but so far I'm not convinced.  If it's just going to be the a cookie cutter JRPG, what's the point in crowdfunding it?
40  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Project Phoenix (another Kickstarter!) on: August 10, 2013, 11:25:43 PM
Even without the chips, Ruffles sounds like a name you'd give a pet, not a fallen angel.  Then again, he is amnesiac, so perhaps that *is* his placeholder name until he gets his memory back. 

I got the impression that Ruffles is actually a she.  The developers refer to Ruffles as a her on their twitter account. 

I am hoping that it is indeed a placeholder name or that the player can change the name.  Aside from having another amnesiac protagonist, the project sounds interesting so far.   Incorporating RTS elements in the battle system could turn really good (i.e., Growlanser) or really bad (FFXII), depending on how it's implemented. 

EDIT:  Hey, the project has been launched:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent
41  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Kickstart PS1 style RPG, takes place over 3 decades. on: August 03, 2013, 10:26:31 AM
And with Kickstarter projects popping up left and right, there's plenty of weeds out there along with the flowers.  So even in terms of developer interviews and stuff, I'd at least wait till the project has been fully funded post-campaign so I'm not jumping the gun

Most gaming journalists think along similar lines.  This kind of perpetuates an unfortunate situation where only the crowd-funded games that have already met their goal get publicity and all of the promising projects that didn't make it remain overlooked.   I'm not saying I don't understand the reluctance to cover every half decent sounding Kickstarter game that comes along, but  it's a shame that I've seen some truly great looking projects get ignored.

Anyway, I backed Celestian Tales because the story concept sounds great.  I like that the developers seem to be steering away from a lot of the big fantasy and JRPG cliches; i.e., no whiny amnesiac chosen one kid with daddy issues.  Also, I just really like the idea of JRPG that emphasizes choice and consequence: the story will span three decades, so the six playable characters will age as the story progresses.  Ultimately the player's decisions affect how the characters grow up.    The developers said that if they don't reach their goal this time, they will try again (possibly with a lower goal / less physical reward options). 

Yeah I usually wait to see how the funding is going...I was going to back Liege, but completely forgot that it ended a couple days ago.

Well, remember if a KS project doesn't reach the goal, you're not charged so there's no harm in backing a "long shot" project that interests you.  Btw, the developer of Liege is still offering the option to back the game via Paypal. 
42  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Shadowrun Returns on: July 31, 2013, 02:35:40 PM
I'm hearing a lot of mixed things! Some impressions would be highly appreciated.

I'm really enjoying it.  The combat system is solid, there's just the right amount of character customization to make advancing your character interesting, the story of the main campaign is good.   

As far as I'm concerned, the only noteworthy cons are: 
  • The autosave only (checkpoint) save system.  This doesn't really bother me much personally but some people hate this so I mention it.  In a way it's a good
  • The official campiagn "Dead Man's Switch" is sort of short (about 12-13 hours) and very linear.  Only a few optional sidequests, and while you change influence how NPCs respond to you through conversation, don't expect any major C&C (i.e., there no multiple endings or divergent paths).  You'll also probably find it a bit too easy even on "very hard" setting if you're an experienced gamer.  However, you can make it substantially harder by taking less runners with you

Now I realize that those cons may be a dealbreaker for some, but I would argue this game is absolutely worth 20 bucks.  Because the game includes an editor, which gives Shadowrun Returns the potential for unlimited replay-ability.  Think of the Neverwinter Nights toolset, only  in Shadowrun's Universe.  Even the very linear official campaign is probably worth playing through a couple of times because of the many different ways to customize your character.   Because high level Kickstarter backers got early editor access, there's already several user generated campaigns available through Steam workshop.  I haven't really played them yet because I'm still on my second playthrough of Dead Man's Switch, but I hear they're pretty good.  And obviously many more will follow. 

All in all it's an awesome game, which can only get better as players create more adventures and as HBS patches it and eventually releases the Berlin DLC expansion.  Many of the people who are critical of this game seem to have unrealistic expectations: if you compare this to an AAA title, then yeah you may find the graphics subpar, the official campaign short, etc.  But for a $20 indie game, it's just phenomenal.  For what it's worth the professional reviews are averaging around 8/10.   When the Berlin expansion adds to it with some additional features it could be a 9/10. 
43  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Any good RPGs in a non-medieval pseudo European setting? on: June 07, 2013, 10:42:59 AM
It's not that I don't like RPGs with the traditional fantasy medieval pseudo-European setting, but lately I've been hungering for more RPGs that take place in a different setting.   I'm particularly interested in PC RPGs, but I also have a PS3, 3DS, and PSP so I welcome any suggestions for any of those platforms.  Especially looking for turn-based combat or real-time w/ pause as I'm generally bored with action RPGs and not interested in MMOs.  I like RPGs with you know role-playing: lots of dialogue, deep stories, meaningful choices and not just endless battles.  I figure there have to be some indie RPGs out there that have some unconventional settings.  

Any good sci-fi RPGs out there?  Of course I know about the wildly popular series like Mass Effect and Deus Ex (which are arguably really action games with RPG elements).  I love Fallout 1&2  (tried 3 but couldn't really get into it).  I'm looking forward to Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns (which is cyberpunk + fantasy).  Anyway, overall it seems like Sci-Fi RPGs are pretty rare.  

I'd also be very interested in more fantasy RPGs that don't take place in a medieval European-based setting.  I'm backing a game on Kickstarter called Unrest that takes place in a fantasy version of Ancient India and emphasizes choice over combat.

Any East-Asia inspired RPGs?  Only games that comes to mind are Suikoden and Jade Empire.     Any Samurai inspired RPGs?   I know there's a good number of strategy games based in feudal Japan, but not really any RPGs.  

Anything based on any other historical / geographical location?  
44  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs where you don't save the world? on: May 28, 2013, 11:25:08 PM
Shadowrun Returns-   It's not out yet (expected late June) but the main story will focus on investigating the murder of your childhood friend.  You're basically playing a criminal (shadowrunner).  And same goes for the Shadowrun games on SNES and SEGA GENESIS (which are two completely different games). 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution-  You play as an ex-cop who now works as a security expert for a corporation that develops cybernetic implants.   

Fallout 1 & 2-   You're not really trying to save the world... Maybe just the other survivors, but you have the option of being a total selfish creep if you want.

Planescape: Torment

The Witcher 1 & 2 (Probably stating the obvious since you mentioned CDProjekt in the OP, but still worth mentioning). 

Arguably Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic if you play an evil aligned character.  You're obligated to kill a few very dangerous villains at some points but you can absolutely play these games as someone who wants to rule / destroy the world rather than save it.   
45  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Shadowrun Returns on: May 09, 2013, 10:52:35 AM
I sadly never got to play the original even though it was on Genesis and I think SNES. I wanted to though as I think it had graphic adventure elements and that is my fave genre of game. The one that came out a few years ago was a straight up FPS, this looks different again. Does it have graphic adventure elements again?

Well, the SEGA Genesis and SNES Shadowrun versions are actually two completely different games.  The Genesis version was (sort of) an open world RPG.  There was a story but most of the gameplay is actually spent completing random runs to get enough nuyen (money) and karma (exp) so that you are strong enough to advance in the main storyline.  The were also a SEGA / MEGA CD Shadowrun which unfortunately never left Japan (apparently some people are working on a fan translation). The SNES version was a more linear RPG, but had many of the adventure game elements you were talking about.

Shadowrun Returns is different, but it definitely will take inspiration from both of the 16-bit games (it even takes place in between both games; 4 years after the SNES game and 4 years before the Genesis game).  You don't need to play those games before this one, but there will be references to them.  On Steam the genres listed for the game are actually "Adventure, RPG, & Strategy".  The combat will be a turn-based tactical system (very similar to the combat in X-Com: Enemy Unknown w/ cover).  And you will of course be able to upgrade your character with cyberware, new weapons, or magic spells.  Outside of combat, there will be lots of conversations with multiple options, many of which take into account your character's stats such as Charisma and Ettiquette w/ various factions). Very often there will be multiple ways to complete a missions such as acquiring a disguise or using stealth to sneak past guards,  intimidating or bluffing your way past the guards, or simply taking them down with brute force.  And Deckers can hack into the security system to disable alarms / cameras, open locked doors, etc. The main storyline will involve investigating the murder of your childhood friend, which is probably where the adventure game aspect really comes in.  They've mentioned in the alpha video that often there will be objects in the environment that you use (such as a computer terminal to get information). 

But what really makes the game for me is that it is going to include a game editor (similar to the toolset for Neverwinter Nights) that will allow players to make their own adventures.  So we can expect a wide range of player generated campaigns; probably ranging from very combat heavy missions to more role-playing / adventure oriented campaigns with little or no combat.   (If it's anything like NWN, there will be some awful stuff, but also some really incredible stuff that may even be better than the official campaign).

Edit:  They just posted an update showing lots of portraits and how the first page of the character generation screen will look:  http://harebrained-schemes.com/post/chris-dev-diary-characters/
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