Game Review: Forsaken World

ForsakenWorldLogo

Online role-playing video games are like relationships: sometimes you’re serious about one, sometimes you play the field, and other times no one really strikes your fancy so you’re between games.

I’m currently between online games, so I decided to look around and see what was available. I want to be entertained yet I don’t want to commit, so I was specifically looking at free games.

The Editor suggested Forsaken World. It only has a 66/100 score on Metacritic, which isn’t terrific, but it’s free. And I love free so I gave it a whirl, just for you.

So let’s get some of the bad news out of the way: Whether you wish to play a male or female avatar, it really doesn’t matter — you’re going to end up playing a chick. You say you prefer macho-looking avatars? Go ahead and pick the male avatar, but I guarantee he’s going to look like a chick because everyone is incredibly feminine. Even more bizarre is that the template for their female models is Britney Spears.

ItsBritneyBitch
It's Britney, bitch!

Kind of creepy, actually.

There are a lot of interesting classes and races to choose from. Some of them are pretty standard, such as the warrior, priest, mage, and rogue classes. They also have a vampire class, a hunter class that deals in guns, and a bard class that plays a certain combination of chords that will result in buffs or damage.

For our review, I played the vampire class. I had high hopes for playing a vampire. I imagined gritty slayings and ass-kickings. Lots of black leather. Think Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. Sadly, I didn’t get that. I got this:

NeedPantsPST_1
Uh...

Honestly, this is the typical style of dress for most female avatars in the game. I believe I named her appropriately.

What I like about this game is that players are given a full set of equipment early on. When NeedPantsPST originally appeared in the game she was wearing some very basic level 1 clothes with no beneficial stats. But there was a box in her inventory. I clicked it and got two things: A new box to be opened at level 5 and a full set of armor, which you see above.

Every time a box is opened, the player receives a new one to be opened 5 levels later. It gives you something to look forward to: presents! Who doesn’t love presents? Okay, so it wasn’t the badass armor I was hoping for, but I was only level 1. In many other games, finding upgraded armor and weapons can be a bit of a chore. In this game, they’re throwing it at you. I don’t want to waste time looking for upgraded armor pieces, I’d rather be doing something on the battlefield.

Speaking of the battlefield, as soon the armor is equipped, it’s time to run out and get your first weapon. The game doesn’t adhere to vampire lore as well as you might have thought:

EquippedCross
I'm so confused.

I didn’t burst into flame, so I figured it was time to start questing. This is where things got interesting: the game employs auto-run. Avatars can either be controlled by the keyboard or by clicking on your map or the landscape. The avatar will run to wherever you’ve clicked. And it gets better. Green text will appear in the quest log. By clicking on the text, the game will auto-run the avatar to wherever the goal is. Once the avatar arrives, the player can then gather, kill, chat, or whatever they’re supposed to do, then click the new green text and auto-run back to turn in the quest.

QuestTest
Laziest. Gaming. Ever.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this method of travel. But soon enough, I started to like it. I felt like I was getting so much done and I could multitask — if I clicked on the map or my quest text, I could get up and do other things while my avatar was running. It was amazing how efficient the game felt.

Within the hour, I was level 10. That means I was able to go through two more free boxes and get upgraded armor. Honestly, I was super-excited about getting new armor. What my avatar had on was ridiculous and I was ready finally to don some ass-kicking gear that would protect me in battle.

NeedPantsPST_2
My armor is shrinking.

Armor problems aside, I eventually was able to reach the level where I could hang out in instances with friends – level 15. Sadly, none of my screenshots saved. To sum it up, it was pretty simple as far as newbie dungeons go. Experienced dungeon crawlers may not care for it as well. I wonder if the dungeons get harder as the levels increase. It was definitely a dungeon for people who were short on time and just wanted to hang out, kill monsters for a few minutes, and get some armor upgrades.

Another aspect I like is that the maximum size of a group is three people, so it’s not hard to put a group together. I was easily able to wrangle The Editor and one other friend into coming with me, and it was a nice, friendly, low-key time. With metal lingerie.

NeedPantsPST_3
What the crap?

Folks who are looking for a game that feels efficient and only needs about 30 minutes per sitting may enjoy this. What might get a little confusing is that the game has a “kitchen sink” mentality, where there’s just way too much that a player could be doing. I’ve played quite a few characters to level 15 or higher, and I still couldn’t tell you what all is going on in the game. Aside from crafting and daily quests, there are a million different kinds of faction and reputation to be gained — to be honest, I don’t think any of it really matters.

If you’re interested in hanging out in a technicolor, low-key game with friends for 30+ minutes, this is a fine game to adventure in, as long as you ignore a lot of the extracurricular stuff. If you don’t have friends to adventure with, there are plenty of people who want to get to know you. You just have to be open to them.

EmbraceYouGently
Or not. Soloing is fun, too.

If you’d like to give it a try, Forsaken World can be downloaded on Steam. Chances are you won’t totally love it, but you won’t hate it, either. This game can be played for short spurts and still give you a sense of accomplishment. Forsaken World is NOT for hardcore or experienced gamers unless those people are looking to be amused for about 10 minutes. This is casual gaming that got a little out of control with options and a focus on armor sets and costumes. (Yes, the game has costumes. No, I couldn’t bring myself to show them to you. It’s too horrible to even contemplate.) Continue reading “Game Review: Forsaken World”

Games You Should Be Playing: Skyrim

Skyrim Logo
I play video games. And yes, I am a girl.

I’ve been playing video games since the day my parents brought home an Atari 2600. My brother and I made forts in the den, rolled out our sleeping bags, and played Pac Man all night long. From that day on, I was hooked. The fact that I became an avid gamer at such a young age still astounds me because my parents have always been technologically challenged. Case in point, they only got cable television five years ago.

Get with the times, Dad. Internet TV’s where it’s at.

There’s a widely held misconception that women don’t play video games. That’s crap. I have a lot of cool female friends (who aren’t ugly toads, virgins, and/or live in their parents’ basement) who play video games. We’re rare, I’ll give you that. There are few things funnier than being the only girlfriend who is invited to the boys’ all-night gaming party.

Don’t worry. I’ll bring the beer and kick your ass.

As times have changed, I’ve noticed more women are open to video games but they don’t know what to buy. Girls want different things in video games than boys do: We want to feel rewarded early on, we want to be able to play for shorter spurts and still get things accomplished, and we want an avatar who isn’t a gross exaggeration of our sexual features. Most importantly, we want to kick ass, too. But games are generally marketed to men — how will we know where to start?

Let me help.

Skyrim In-Game Banner

Skyrim is a game that would have caught your eye in the store or with online ads, except that their logo shows a big hairy man surrounded in mist, clad in armor, and covered in dirt. And maybe all the boys get excited about a big hairy, dirty dude. I don’t. So I went and made us an avatar that we might be a little more excited to play:

Awesomesauce

I named her “Awesomesauce”. No, really. That’s what I named her. She shoots fire and lightning bolts from her hands. In fact, here’s a shot of her lighting everyone on fire! Sadly, that includes the guy who is helping her escape. I was still working on my aim:

Awesomesauce Lights Everyone on Fire
Is it warm in here?

And in case you’re wondering, my level 20 warrior is named Pumpkin. She kills dragons. Bad ass.

In Skyrim there are lots of races and you can choose to play either a male or female character. What’s funny about the character creation is that there are a plethora of customizable options — one could spend hours creating a custom avatar, but in the end you’re going to stick a big hat on their head and you’ll mostly be looking at them from behind. So don’t waste too much time on it.

The game starts out in this long, exhausting sequence where you discover you’ve been captured and are being sent to the chopping block for execution. As you get down on your knees and the axe is lifted, a dragon shows up.

Dragon!
Hi! I was just wondering if I could borrow a cup of sugar?

The dragon starts breathing fire all over the town and, naturally, no one is concerned with you anymore. You get up and run for it. This is where your story begins.

If you haven’t played a lot of video games and you’re worried about your skill level, let me assure you: modern role-playing games have implemented systems so that you always know what to do. If you have a quest, an indicator will float above someone’s head so you know to talk to them. If you are on a journey, a map indicator will tell you where to go. In that regard, Skyrim is no different. So if you’re an experienced gamer or a novice, Skyrim will help you along.

In the screenshot below, you’re still a prisoner and need to escape the town and the dragon. Notice the indicators above both doors (yellow circles are mine). Here, you have a choice to make: escape with the soldier or with the resistance.

Choice: Enter the Keep

Two options! Compared to games of old, this seems like a lot! Back in the day, games only gave you one choice! (And get off my virtual lawn, whippersnappers!) But to be honest, this is as restrictive as Skyrim gets. Once you leave the town, you are given the opportunity to continue the game’s main quest line…

…or you can forge your own path.

No, really. That’s not just a tagline. The world is immense and open. There are dungeons, towns, quests, stories, books, trainers, guilds, giants, monuments, treasure chests, etc. in every direction. In fact, you should forget all about the main story and do whatever the hell you want. Just pick a direction and start running. You’ll bump into fifty other things to do. Skyrim dungeons are so different from one another that you’ll never get bored. There are times when I feel as if I’ve entered the ruins of Atlantis, or I’m Indiana Jones in search of lost treasure. As you go, you’ll increase your skills and level up. You could decide to be a warrior mage or a thief who wears heavy armor so you can take a beating in combat. The talent trees allow you to customize your character any way you want.

It’s called an open world, and they mean it. You could become an assassin AND a notorious thief AND a hero AND a skilled tradeskill master AND a bard…

Vampirism

…and apparently a vampire. And I’m not talking the kind that sparkles. I should probably get Awesomesauce to a shrine and get this fixed, but I’m curious to know what will happen next — which is the most exciting aspect of Skyrim.

The bar for open world RPG’s has been raised. Girls, if you’re looking for a game that you can sink your teeth into from time to time, pick up Skyrim and create your own tale.

Your boyfriend can go get his own damn copy. Continue reading “Games You Should Be Playing: Skyrim”

Part Three Results: The Mark

Ballot BoxHey! Why didn’t you guys tell me that I had forgotten to post my favorite votes for the part two results of The Mark? I knew I had forgotten something, but it didn’t occur to me until a couple of days ago. To make up for it, this week I will post both.

A double-dose of votes. I love it!

But first, the results for Part 3. This week, I kept you in the poop for a little longer. It just wouldn’t have felt right taking you out so soon. You also met a friend… who wasn’t very friendly.

A (Right & up the ladder): 12
B (Left & toward the voices): 5

And now for the best votes! Here are my favorites from Part 2:

mirwyn: Well crap… (ba-dum-bum)

Hey, somebody had to go there.

Estelle: Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh….

Good response. Deep. Thought out. The mind of a tactician…

Zug: Come on in, the water’s fine! B it is.

You sound way too excited about being immersed in poop. I’m almost beginning to think this little plan has backfired!

Great job all around, gang. And now for my favorite LOL’s from the votes on Part 3:

Mark Lidstone: Sh*t and blood. Reminds me of the time I ate at this really sketchy Thai spot.

Nice. I LOL’d.

Gene Lempp: Get the rest of the team together and then at least there are a few more people available to die before me! grins

That’s the spirit!

Jesse: I’m picturing the scene from Rambo First Blood 2 where he emerges from the mud…

To be honest, I did picture the same thing — although wouldn’t the smell give us away? LOL I have to admit that I’m a little concerned with that detail now.

Thanks for your votes! Glad everyone’s having a great time so far. Tune in on Friday for Part 4! Continue reading “Part Three Results: The Mark”

Playing Godville

Godville Logo

Reminder: The next Vote Your Adventure begins on October 7! New to the site? Read The Relic and Site 27.

Who remembers Progress Quest? Anyone? It was a fun, free game where all you had to do was create a character and read. That was it. Progress Quest literally played itself. The human participation was observation only. The text game would run on its own and a small blurb at the bottom would tell you what silly things your hero was fighting and looting and what bizarre items they had equipped on their person. The game was funny and had quite an underground fan base.

Progress Quest now has a fun successor: Godville. The idea is similar, though slightly evolved: each person creates their god name and a follower. The follower (or hero/heroine) runs around on their own, accomplishing quests, fighting things, gathering money and items, and prays to you. They even collect bricks of gold with which to build you a temple. All this, and they do it all on their own. As they run around, you can read in real time what they’re doing to level up and revere you. It’s so silly it’s entertaining.

Hero Diary

When your hero has filled their bag with 11 items, they head back to town to sell — and buy exciting new equipment, if possible.

Equipment

The difference in Godville is that you, the player, now get two whole buttons to play the game with. You can either encourage or punish your follower. This will ultimately affect their personalities. If you punish them a lot, they’re mean and evil, but they deal more damage in battle. If you encourage them a lot, they’re kind and heal more quickly.

At level 7, your hero can have a motto. My heroine’s name is Pink Cupcake, so her motto is “No sprinkles!” (I don’t like sprinkles or sparkling sugar on cupcakes. Their texture with a creamy cake and frosting/fondant topping is off-putting to me. …What? Why are you looking at me like that?) Anyway, PC’s personality is gentle but I’m thinking she needs to deal more damage. I may have to make her evil.

At level 10, you receive a notice that your character has the possibility of interacting with other heroes in the world and may have to fight them. You can also elect to send your heroes to the arena, where they fight an actual hero. If you lose the match, you lose all of your inventory (not your gear) and your money. If you win, you get a gold brick, which goes toward building you a nice big temple.

Phat loots, dude.

If you’re looking for a free game that’s mindlessly entertaining, I suggest you head on over to Godville and register an account. It’s also available for iPhone and Android phones. I strongly recommend it for your phone over the web app.

News from the Battlefields Continue reading “Playing Godville”