Adventure Gaming was all but dead until Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: Season 1 revitalized it with a new focus on choices made that altered the story. And now, Telltale isn't the only name out there working on fantastic, immersive stories where choice is the gameplay. Meet The Detail by Rival Games Ltd. whose comparison to Telltale Games was inevitable, but the two are about as closely related as saying Skyrim and Modern Warfare are similar because they both use first-person perspectives.
Water, earth, fire, and air, the four elements are ubquitious in fantasy. Wizards throw fireballs, a priest makes use of blessed holy water, the druid controls the winds themselves. The Pathfinder RPG has taken this idea a step further with playable races that are bonded to a particular element through the blood of genies. The Geniekin are beings born from the combination of a mortal race and a powerful being from one of the four elemental planes (a plane being sort of like a whole other world with its own specific rules.) Passionate and arrogant Ifrits represent fire, strong and stoic Oreads reperesent earth, agile and secret keeping Sylphs represent air, the aquatic Undines protect nature and represent water, and the charming Suli are beings with a flexible connection to the elements.
Golarion, the main setting of the Pathfinder RPG, is a detailed and fully developed world. Anyone who has ever played one of Paizo's adventure paths or cracked open a book outside of the core releases can tell you that. While in the Player's Handbook the gods are a passing mention. A name, an alignment, their portfolios (their heavenly domains such as the goddess of the sun or the goddess of madness), their Domains (a special set of bonus spells a Cleric or Paladin worshiper could select), and Favored Weapons. In other words, only the absolutely necessary mechanics.
On one hand, this is great. It allows players to make their character's god or goddess their own, but a little bit of details can go a long way to portraying a religion and exploring deeper themes for a religious character. That's where this book comes in.
Pathfinder Legends is a new audio drama from Big Finish Productions that takes listeners to the town of Sandpoint for an unforgettable adventure inspired by the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This first episode, "Burnt Offerings," is based off the first chapter of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Rise of the Runelords and follows the iconic adventurers Harsk, Ezren, Merisiel, and Valeros as they discover a mysterious evil festering beneath the small town of Sandpoint.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated LEGO games (at least for me), I first heard rumors about this over a year ago and was so glad to learn about it finally being made. Definitely different from the LEGO Batman 2 game that really sparked the inclusion of actual voice actors, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes follows the adventures of several different iconic heroes instead of focusing on just one. The gameplay is much the same, the Open World feel is still present, and not much has really changed, except for the fact that Red Bricks are called Deadpool Red Bricks. Playable by yourself or with a friend, this LEGO game is fun to interact with, especially with the voice of Stan Lee going “Excelsior” at various points, as well as having him as a playable character that can “Hulk out;” that, by itself, is hilarious.
For as long as she can remember, Jodie Holmes (Ellen Paige) has had an invisible companion, some otherworldly entity tethered to her that she calls Aiden. While he has a mind and a will of his own, Aiden is bound to Jodie and can grant her extraordinary abilities, allowing her to see what he sees, heal the sick, and channel the dead; he will defend and kill for her, as well. Beyond: Two Souls is the story of Jodie's extraordinary life from a little girl to a grown woman told in a nonlinear fashion, bouncing back and forth and connecting events, even those separated by over a decade.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t play a lot of video games—certainly not as many as my partners, or fellow contributor/writer Kristine Chester—and I tend to keep to certain titles: nearly anything Star Trek, Star Wars, LEGO, Need for Speed, and SSX. I actually haven’t played much SSX in the last few years, mainly because there weren’t any new games, until the line was “rebooted” with a new game in 2012. Being the slow-to-buy person that I am, I haven’t gotten around to it until just now. I’m never going to snowboard in reality, and if my playing the game is any indication of how well I’d do if I actually tried it, if I did, I’d end up with more broken bones than myself and 5 other people combined have to give.
When I opened the shipping box from Buffalo Games, I saw an envelope with my name written on it laying on top of the contents. What's going on here? Is this a death threat (again) or a bribe to give the games a good review? No, merely a card with the Buffalo Games logo watermarked on the cover, and inside accompanying a business card was a hand-written note explaining the contents of the box and well wishes with an interest in hearing what I have to say about the 3 games included. I've never received such a gesture with a package of review games before and was touched and intrigued.
If you haven't played Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 1 (in no way to be confused with the awful Survivor's Instinct game starring Daryl and Merle), then you owe it to yourself to go and play it. Right now. We'll wait.
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Okay, now that we're all up to speed on one of the greatest pieces of gaming in recent memory, let's talk about 400 Days, the DLC that Telltale put out to bridge the gap between Season 1 and the fall's Season 2.