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Community - posted by felipepepe on Sun 10 January 2021, 07:11:44

Tags: GOTY 2020

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Ladies and gentlemen, once again it is time!

The voting for the RPG Codex's 2020 GOTY poll is now open: VOTE HERE

It goes without saying that 2020 wasn't the best of years, but we still got a decent offering in titles like Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk, Troubleshooters and Horizon's Gate. Is up to you to help sort them out and figure what's worthy of a closer look. Since we barely had any DLC/Expansion this year besides Outer Worlds and Borderlands, we'll skip the category this year - we'll just rate the year's best RPGs and the best ports/remasters.

The poll is long, with over 70 games, but just scroll past all the games you didn't play and focus on the ones you did.

I'll run the poll for 1 week, until Jan 17, at 12:00 JST. Results should come out a few days later.

Cheers!

There are 455 comments on RPG Codex 2020 GOTY - VOTE NOW!


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Mon 11 January 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 11 January 2021, 22:35:21

Tags: Monomyth; Rat Tower Software

The failure of Underworld Ascendant, the Ultima Underworld successor from Looking Glass Studios veterans, was a humiliating event for everybody involved. It was made all the more humiliating by the existence of Monomyth, a significantly more impressive-looking upcoming game with similar inspirations made by a lone Austrian academic by the name of RatTower. Monomyth has been in development since as early as late 2014, but we first learned about it in 2017 when it was successfully greenlit for release on Steam. The game has come along nicely since then and a closed alpha was released in early 2020, but I somehow never got around to posting about it on the front page. With the release of a video update for the new year, I no longer have any excuses. It's a thorough introduction to the game and its features, including map creation, environmental interactivity, enemies, spellcasting, stealth, the character system, inventory and NPC dialogue.


The video concludes with an overview of RatTower's future plans for Monomyth. After he completes his academic work in February, he plans to begin working on the game full-time, with a Kickstarter campaign and public demo following shortly. So stay tuned for that, and in the meantime be sure to follow the game's Steam page.

There are 56 comments on Ultima Underworld-inspired dungeon crawler Monomyth is coming to Kickstarter


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Sun 27 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 27 December 2020, 20:07:12

Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

It's time for another end-of-year Colony Ship development update. The beta test for the game's upcoming Early Access release was originally supposed to have begun this month, but has been delayed until at least February. Presumably the Early Access release itself, originally planned for March, will be delayed accordingly. According to the update, the last two tasks that need to be completed before the beta can begin are the programming for non-human enemies and initiation of combat upon failure of a stealth mission. However, the primary topic of the update is the Hydroponics Division, the last of the three locations that will be included in the Early Access build. It's a hostile, creature-infested jungle whose only permanent human inhabitants are the faction known as the Grangers. Their leader, Carlos Maney, makes an appearance in the accompanying batch of screenshots.

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We hoped to wrap up everything in December and start the beta in mid-Jan, but we're still 3-4 weeks of work away from the finish line. I wouldn't be surprised if by the time we get there, another month of work would pop up out of nowhere, but let's stay positive and hope it's the final stretch.

On the programming side, the last hurdle is the non-human enemies. They have properties such creatures never had in our previous games, which required more work and changes than anticipated. They can be placed on walls (see the old wasteland concept), have abilities humans don't, different THC formulas that doesn't factor in stats and skills, different movement (a frog jumps over several tiles), etc.

The other task is relatively minor. When you enter a stealth mode, the designated infiltrator is removed from the party (provided you have one), which waits outside. If combat starts (if you're spotted by guards or fail to kill a guard from behind, we need to switch to the party mode and teleport the party inside the building (at the entrance point, not next to you).

On the scripting side, the framework is done. What's left to script are the journal entries, quest rewards, and reputation modifiers. Overall, the game is shaping up well and we hope you'll enjoy it. The first chapter has 3 locations (the Pit, Armory, Hydroponics), 22 quests with multiple solutions, and 30+ fights.

Speaking of Hydroponics:

The Hydroponic Division was originally conceived to adapt Terran plants to the anticipated environment of Proxima Centauri. Extensive gene-editing was employed to develop resistance to alien fungi and pests, and accelerated adaptation hacked into the plants' genetic code.

Like many other critical systems, Hydroponics was abandoned during the Mutiny. The carefully cultivated flora and fauna was left on its own in harsh environs designed to propagate rapid and brutal evolutionary cycles. When men returned to reclaim Hydroponics, they discovered an environment as wild and hostile as any Earth jungle...

That's all for now. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your families!
Now that's a cool-looking area. Those frogs lurking in the first screenshot have been mentioned before.

There are 51 comments on Colony Ship Update #49: Hydroponics and Progress Update


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Sun 20 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 20 December 2020, 00:07:25

Tags: New World Computing; Planet's Edge; Ziggurat Interactive

One of the major players in the classic game rerelease business these days is a company by the name of Ziggurat Interactive, who emerged on the scene about a year ago after picking up some licenses from competitor Retroism (including the one for Darklands). It seems their latest acquisition is the New World Computing catalog (excluding Might & Magic which belongs to Ubisoft of course). One of three legacy NWC titles released on GOG yesterday is 1991's Planet's Edge: The Point of no Return, a space RPG I probably would not have known about if Neal Hallford of Betrayal at Krondor fame hadn't mentioned working on it in interviews. It's an interesting-looking game that appears to combine aspects of Starflight and Star Control with top-down exploration and turn-based combat reminiscent of Ultima VI. Ziggurat have put together a nice trailer for this release which I'll post along with its description:



When the alien craft entered Earth’s solar system, the human race was alive with excitement. However, when it was accidentally fired upon, the consequences were dire. In a burst of electromagnetic energy, the entire planet Earth disappeared, leaving its gravity well and the moon behind.

In this open world, sci-fi role-playing game, you are part of the Moonbase team on a desperate mission to bring Earth back. You must assemble and equip your crew, customize your ship and set out in search of unique parts to create the Centauri Drive, a device your team hopes will reverse the electromagnetic phenomenon that swallowed Earth.

Travel between dozens of stars, harvest resources to repair and upgrade your equipment, meet and negotiate with friendly (and hostile) aliens, and do whatever it takes to stay alive and bring Earth back.

Planet’s Edge features:
  • An open-ended story driven by the player
  • Dynamic, real-time spaceship combat
  • Mining, trading and puzzle solving
  • Turn-based ground combat
  • Customize and upgrade your ship for any situation
  • Select your crew (or clone a new one) and equip them for success
Planet's Edge is available on GOG for $8, with a 25% launch discount until next week.

There are 26 comments on Classic space RPG Planet's Edge released on GOG


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Fri 18 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 December 2020, 23:00:00

Tags: Dark Crystal Games; Deep Silver; Encased

Encased, the promising-looking post-apocalyptic isometric RPG from Russian studio Dark Crystal Games, has been out on Early Access since last September. During that time the game has received three major content updates, but it's become clear that the final release will not be coming this year, with some players citing an overall lack of content in the available build. Today Dark Crystal announced that Encased has been picked up publisher Koch Media AKA Deep Silver (apparently a deal that was finalized as early as October). This will allow development to continue into 2021, and it also means the game will be getting full voice acting, more localization options and a multiplatform release. Here's the official press release from Koch:

Larkspur, Calif. (Dec. 18, 2020) – Koch Media and Dark Crystal Games today announced their future cooperation for the upcoming sci-fi RPG Encased. The Koch Media Group will support the global launch of the game on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, as well as PC within one of its publishing labels. Future details on the publishing and release date will follow at a later point. Encased will be fully released 2021.

“From the very first day of development, Encased has evolved as an independent project, created with our own resources and the support of the amazing Kickstarter community. The partnership with Koch Media will maintain our creative freedom and help us showcase the game to a huge global audience," said Vyacheslav Kozikhin, creative director at Dark Crystal Games. "Encased will now feature full voice acting, additional language localization, and will be released for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at the same time. We’re excited to bring this adventure to a much larger global audience.”

Encased fits perfectly into our portfolio and within our global expertise on publishing RPGs," said Mario Gerhold, International Marketing Director at Koch Media. "Our team here in Munich is already working hard behind the scenes and we look forward to sharing more information about the game and how Encased fits into our multi-label strategy very soon.”

Encased is a tribute to classic turn-based post-apocalyptic RPGs. Fighting enemies, exploring an anomalous wasteland, and leveling up a character while joining one of the forces ruling a ruined world. Encased inspires nostalgia for classic PC gamers and layers in fresh takes on the classic genre to welcome new players.
I imagine there will be a fancy new trailer and release date announcement for Encased sometime next year. In the meantime, the game's Early Access build will be getting its fourth content update next week.

There are 0 comments on Encased to be published by Koch Media, coming in 2021


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Tue 15 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 15 December 2020, 21:15:17

Tags: Juggernaut Games; StarCrawlers Chimera

You might remember StarCrawlers, a sci-fi themed dungeon crawler that was somewhat popular on our forums a few years back. Developer Juggernaut Games has kept a fairly low profile since that game was released in 2017, but in fact they never stopped supporting it (including a graphics update released as recently as this May). Today they're finally ready to unveil their next project, StarCrawlers Chimera, a cyberpunk dungeon crawler set in the same universe. In the StarCrawlers tradition, Chimera will feature turn-based combat and procedurally generated levels, but unlike its predecessor it's a single character game apparently set in a single dungeon, the Chimera BioPharma complex. Here's the game's reveal trailer and the description from its Steam page:



A lucrative offer. A simple job. Infiltrate Chimera.

The Client wants you to enter the Chimera BioPharma complex and find Dr. Cerberus.
Being a morally-ambiguous mercenary type with a unique skill set and a need for credits, this seems like a good idea.

Build your character from a variety of skill trees inspired by the StarCrawlers universe, grab some gear, and jump in. Grow your power and level up to unlock new abilities, gear, and secrets as you fight your way into the Chimera building.

Key Features

  • Wage tactical turn-based RPG battles against futuristic enemies.
  • Procedurally-generated floors provide new challenges and rewards.
  • Choose your own difficulty mode - with optional permadeath.
  • 100+ abilities and 25+ skill trees to customize your play style with Muscle, Guile, and Intellect skills.
  • 20+ different enemy types and rare spawns with unique abilities and loot.
  • 20+ weapons of different rarities ranging from plasma rifles to carbonite blades to scintillating donuts.
  • 30+ items of gear to stop your insides from becoming outsides.
  • More features added with each new content patch!
StarCrawlers Chimera will be out on Early Access sometime next year and its Steam page already has an Early Access FAQ. If the game is anything like its predecessor, it might be some time before the final release.

There are 32 comments on StarCrawlers returns with single character cyberpunk dungeon crawler StarCrawlers Chimera

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 15 December 2020, 20:43:55

Tags: Focus Home Interactive; Necromunda: Underhive Wars; Rogue Factor

Necromunda: Underhive Wars seems to have been a disappointment for fans of Rogue Factor's previous game Mordheim. One might have assumed that the studio would abandon the game quickly and move on to new projects under their new owner Nacon. However, they have continued to support it and yesterday they released its first DLC, which adds the technologically-inclined House Van Saar to the game's skirmish and multiplayer modes. Here's the DLC's release trailer and announcement:



Necromunda: Underhive Wars, based on Games Workshop’s iconic license, is expanding today with a first DLC for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC! Alongside yet another major update focusing on community feedback, developer Rogue Factor and publisher Focus Home Interactive are excited to present the Van Saar gang, members of a technological powerhouse that bring their brand-new set of skills, unique House perk and high-tech looks to the violent gang conflicts of the underhive!

Make high-tech ambushes your enemy’s nightmare with the Van Saar!

The Van Saar bring a new twist on the signature freedom of movement, tactical depth, and verticality of Necromunda: Underhive Wars. Clad in their signature suits of armour, they are ranged specialists with a penchant for trading movement for further firepower. They’ll blast their enemies away without a second thought, crushing them beneath a wave of lasfire, improvised explosives, bolter shells and automated turrets.

Recruit, customize and grow fighters to create a truly unique and dangerous gang through your own choices of careers, traits, skills, equipment pieces, offensive and tactical consumables, colour schemes, and much more! The choice is yours.

This represents the next step in Underhive Wars’ live support, which has already included months of updates and patches to bring community-driven, post-launch improvements to the game. Stay tuned for even more upcoming contents!

Necromunda: Underhive Wars as well as the Van Saar gang DLC are available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Get up to 50% off on the base game with Steam’s Daily Deal and the Focus Home Interactive Publisher Sale on Xbox! Watch the new trailer today! Visit our official store for more information.
The Van Saar Gang DLC for Necromunda is available on Steam for $7. The patch notes for the accompanying update are available here. Apparently Rogue Factor plan to continue updating the game into early 2021.

There are 8 comments on The Van Saar Gang joins Necromunda: Underhive Wars

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 15 December 2020, 20:22:57

Tags: Broken Lines; PortaPlay

You might remember Broken Lines, the Frozen Synapse-inspired pulp WW2 tactical RPG released early this year and memorably reviewed by esteemed community Strange Fellow. By all appearances, the game was another also-ran in the ongoing glut of isometric RPGs, which is why it was a surprise when developer PortaPlay suddenly announced a free expansion earlier this month called The Dead and the Drunk. Yes, it's a zombie campaign where your squad will engage in three-way battles against the Nazis and the undead. To succeed in this task, they will have to partake of the powerful new booze offered by the local merchant. Here's the expansion's release trailer and description:



Dead are returning from their graves! If crash landing behind enemy lines was already a challenging experience for our squad of vagabonds, they sure as Hell didn’t sign up for this kind of insane, supernatural encounter, a three-sided fight for survival against both the living and the undead. Yet now it is upon them to discover the source of this occult magic in the war-ridden land that they find themselves in, and hopefully eliminate it before hordes of zombies spread all over the world. But how does one retain their sanity when facing enemies that have been spat out of hell?

Booze is the answer! With the steady supply of a highly flammable mix of questionable ingredients brought to you directly from Izkor, our heroes will have no problem marching all the way to Hell and back, so long as there are plenty of enemies to kill. So, make sure that everyone is drunk and fully armed as they are going to have hordes of enemies to kill and a mind-bending occult mystery to solve!

Tactical action

The critically acclaimed gameplay formula is back - now with zombies! Scout the battlefield, lure undead hordes to fight your enemies, then once both sides are suitably weakened, charge in and mop up the weakened survivors in one fell swoop - or bring out the biggest guns in your arsenal and simply blast your sorrows away. Just make sure to watch your back as the undead will come from all directions.

Occult mysteries

The biggest mystery here is the amount of booze in your keg. How come it’s never empty, even though everyone is constantly drinking from it? Well, not just that, all those reanimated corpses, pagan altars, and constant fog that blankets the area are worth investigating too, but not until everyone has quenched their thirst!

Inhuman bosses

Death comes in many forms, and the undead will return in just as many, so be prepared to adapt your fighting style to whatever unique zombie is in front of you, beware, some of them are truly monstrous, so your squad will need all of the combat experience and newly found Dutch courage to survive the encounter!

Booze and guns

Being an alcoholic has its perks. Literally. The more your soldiers drink, the more perks and abilities they get. Combine it with the vast arsenal left behind by those cowards who ran for their lives when they first saw the undead and you end up having a surprisingly diverse armament and abilities, perfect in your fight against the zombie apocalypse!
As mentioned, The Dead and the Drunk is a free update for Broken Lines, which is now on sale at Steam and GOG for $25 with a 30% discount until next week.

There are 1 comments on Broken Lines gets free The Dead and The Drunk zombie expansion

Mon 14 December 2020

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 14 December 2020, 23:16:41

Tags: Cyanide Studio; Julien Desourteaux; Nacon; Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood

Most of the trailers we've seen for Cyanide's upcoming Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood action-RPG have been kind of cringe, including the gameplay trailer from July. The game looks a bit more interesting in the seven minute gameplay video released today by publisher Nacon. Narrated by game director Julien Desourteaux, it offers a good look at the abilities of the protagonist's three forms as he raids various Endron facilities. In human form you can sneak around Splinter Cell-style and even do immersive sim-type stuff with your crossbow, wolf form is for scouting and travelling through vents, and when it's time for a fight you enter werewolf form. The combat system has a focus on stances and special abilities that require building up rage and frenzy. Some of this information is also recounted in a post by Julien at the PlayStation Blog. Here's the video and an excerpt from that:



Unlike a horror movie from the 80s, being a Werewolf isn’t a curse. It offers great power, granting the ability to shapeshift into 3 different forms.

The Human or “Homid” Form
This is the main form you will make use of for anything related to social interaction, hacking computers, and stealth kills. You can quietly get the jump on enemies, perform silent takedowns, or pick off an enemy from afar with your crossbow. With some handy upgrades, you can also use the crossbow to disable electrical systems.

The Wolf or “Lupus” Form
As a human, sometimes there are places you just can’t get into. It’s these times where you’ll be grateful for the speed and agility of the wolf. The Wolf form will help you navigate through vents and move rapidly between cover to avoid being detected by the guards. Speed and agility are the name of the game, and it’s just as valuable when you’re trying to take a stealthy approach.

The Werewolf or “Crinos” Form
This is the form that everyone immediately thinks about when you hear the word “Werewolf”. These towering beasts are powerful creatures, capable of devastating acts of carnage. A Crinos is the ultimate combat machine, and if infiltration fails, it’s time to go big or go home.

Brutal, fast-paced combat
Werewolves are not known for their patience, and your inner Rage will raise as you silently take down enemies. Sooner or later, you will have to fight your way through.

For our first foray into the action genre, we really wanted to design impactful, brutal fighting systems. Something that would bring these powerful creatures to life. We went through lots of iterations, balancing the different moves and enemies, with a focus on strength, power, and aggression. Every move, every animation needed that “snap” and “crunch” to ensure each strike feels heavy and satisfying.

Rage is at the heart of combat: it builds up as you damage enemies and allows you to perform a range of special moves, from unleashing a big area-of-effect attack to rushing towards an enemy.

The Crinos also has two different combat stances, each suitable for different situations.
  • In Agile Stance, you can perform fast attacks and move quickly between enemies. This comes especially handy when you need to get closer to ranged enemies, or when cornered.
  • Heavy Stance sacrifices agility for better strength and resistance, but it’s a chance worth taking to quickly dispose of basic foes and break the guard of tougher enemies.
As the fight goes on, your Frenzy meter will also fill up, and once it boils over Cahal can unleash his fury. Frenzy is a double-edged sword: while active, it increases the speed and power of your attacks and allows you to unleash spectacular, dedicated combat moves. But in return, you can’t block, heal or use any other special move until the Fury gauge empties.​

Earthblood is now available for preorder at the Epic Games Store for $40 with a 10% discount. As somebody on our forums said, it looks janky enough to be promising.

There are 40 comments on Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood Gameplay Reveal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 14 December 2020, 22:07:52

Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures

Solasta: Crown of the Magister has been out on Early Access for almost two months now and has been well-received, despite being a tad barebones. Today's end-of-year Winter Update from Tactical Adventures looks like it should beef the game up a bit. As Myzzrym explains in the accompanying video, the update includes a new questline with multiple new areas, new enemy types, the ability to hide during combat, new looting, shopping and travelling quality-of-life features, a revamped lighting system that adheres more closely to the tabletop ruleset, and much more. Here's the video and an excerpt from the patch notes:



New Content / Feature:
  • An entire new Questline is unlocked after Mardracht's tea party(which may or may not involve tea). Tactical Adventures does not condone violence against the elderly.
    • Upon returning to the World Map, a new location should now become available.
  • Many new magic items have been added to the game, because magic is cool and you know it. And no we won't spoil which ones.
  • You can now hide during combat! Wooh for sneaky dastardly deeds, chivalry is for dumdums with negative intelligence modifier. That's not me, that's what the Rogue said.
    • Hiding requires you to break line of sight with all enemies before doing so
    • Creatures can see in a 180 degree arc in front of them, instantly revealing you if you step into their vision range (no Stealth Check)
    • Otherwise, you will have to roll a Stealth Check under the following conditions:
      • You end your turn too close to an enemy (distance depends on many factors, such as your Stealth score and armor type)
      • You take an action such as attacking or casting a spell.
    • Note that Hiding in Combat is a very contested rule on Tabletop, so we invite you to give us feedback if you think the current system can be improved.
  • Because hiding isn't enough, you can now also apply poison to your weapon. Hey, say what you want but a win's a win.
  • Several new spells have been added to the spell list. You ready? Pass without trace, See invisibility, Animal Friendship, Find traps, Calm emotions and Protection from poison. What do you mean that's lame? Oh sorry Larry, I forgot you only take spells that deal damage because that's all you care about. Well not every spell can be a fireball, Larry.
  • Two new homebrew cantrips have been added to combat darkness more effectively: Shine, which lights up an enemy like a candle from afar for a solid minute - and Sparkle, which is quite literally "I cast magic missile at the darkness" (okay, difference being you still need to target interactable objects such as wall sconces to light them up).
  • Many new Hair / Eyes / Skin Colors have been added to the Character Creator
  • Each Ancestry now has access to new additional faces in the Character Creator, on top of the old ones. NPCs also got a facelift in the process.
  • Several new monsters have been added to Solasta. You will encounter them in the new locations of the Winter Update, but you may also run into them during Random Encounters.
  • The Scavenger Faction is now up and running! Simply go to them whenever you drop by Caer Cyflen, and they'll send their best to go loot the areas you cleared (including random encounters). We will further develop the Scavengers in the future, but don't hesitate to ask for their services already and tell us what you think!
Good stuff. In other news, the Solasta Early Access build is now available on GOG as well. All Kickstarter backers have been sent GOG keys even if they already have the game on Steam, which is pretty awesome.

There are 0 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister Early Access gets Winter Update, released on GOG

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 14 December 2020, 21:37:15

Tags: 6502 Workshop; Nox Archaist

Nox Archaist is one of several oldschool Ultima-inspired RPGs that have been development over the past few years. It's a more distinctly retro-flavored project than some of the others, having been programmed for original Apple II hardware, though it does work on Windows and includes some modern innovations. The creators are a group of vintage hardware enthusiasts called 6502 Workshop, led by one Mark Lemmert. The game was originally announced in 2016 (though its history goes back considerably further) and unsuccessfully crowdfunded in 2017. A second Kickstarter campaign in 2019 was more successful and this weekend the game was finally released. Here's its release trailer, which includes the obligatory Richard Garriott Twitter endorsement:


As befits such a consciously oldschool title, Nox Archaist is only available from the developer's official website, where the digital edition can be purchased for $25 (currently with a 20% discount). This is a game with a very particular audience, so I suspect the physical edition might be more popular here.

There are 5 comments on Nox Archaist is an Ultima-inspired retro RPG designed for the Apple II

Fri 11 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 11 December 2020, 18:02:44

Tags: BioWare; Disco Elysium; ZA/UM

This annual Game Awards event, hosted as always by the omnipresent Geoff Keighley, aired last night right on the heels of Cyberpunk 2077's release. It was the last chance to reveal some new games at the conclusion of what's been a very unusual year. For us Codexers I would say the night was pretty disappointing, but for one important exception - the announcement of Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, a free content update coming in March alongside the game's console launch. It'll include a new area, new characters, and a set of new "political vision quests", not to mention full voice acting. More details are available on the game's fancy new official website. Here's the announcement trailer:


The only other noteworthy RPG studio to make an appearance at the event was none other than BioWare, who are seemingly trying to reboot after years of turmoil and the recent departure of their last few veteran leads. New teaser trailers were unveiled not only for their next Dragon Age game, which was expected, but for a new Mass Effect game as well. It appears that the game will be set in our galaxy following the events of the original trilogy, abandoning the unfortunate Andromeda spinoff.


I guess it's another periodic reminder that BioWare still exist. We'll call it a comeback when they finally have some gameplay to show, not to mention actual titles for the games.

There are 28 comments on The Game Awards 2020: Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, Dragon Age and Mass Effect

Thu 10 December 2020

Codex Review - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 December 2020, 19:15:51

Tags: Heroic Fantasy Games; Knights of the Chalice 2

Released in 2009 by eccentric Frenchman Pierre Begue, the original Knights of the Chalice was one of the Codex's first indie favorites. It achieved that status not merely because it was a rare turn-based RPG in an age of consolized cinematic popamole, but because it was genuinely well-designed. During most of its decade-long development, the biggest concern about Knights of the Chalice 2 was that its abstract, tabletop-like visual style lacked appeal. But surely whatever the game sacrificed in looks would be compensated with even better gameplay. Well, that's not how things turned out. Since its release in July, the inaugural Augury of Chaos module for Knights of the Chalice 2 has become notorious for its outlandishly high difficulty level and generally poor balance, issues which subsequent patches appear to have only scratched the surface of. Today our very own Darth Roxor is here to tell you all about it. As an added bonus, we also have some details about the game's module editor from the esteemed Dorateen. Here's an excerpt from the review:

The bullshit in this game’s encounter design is all-encompassing and ever-present. I already mentioned the enemy equipment. Now consider that you are always outnumbered and out-levelled, often even very significantly. Then you have the monster spawns out of nowhere, which can include cannon fodder as much as horrible abominations of terrible doom. Then there are the hundred million billion weird-ass abilities like breath weapons, death explosions, arbitrary critical hit immunities (hello, evil cultist fighters) and “spell-like abilities” that everyone packs in large numbers and which are all nothing but bullshit – bonus points if they are spells from spellbooks unavailable to a given caster class, and which just so happen to benefit the owner’s loadout and traits. Of course, there are also plenty of “surprise” encounters where you can’t even avoid the surprise because, to quote, “suddenly enemies appear all around you.”

But that is not all. One of the more insulting aspects of this game and its encounters are the enemy casters. For starters, they always know all the spells that are available at their level, so most of them act in the exact same way (unless scripted to do something specific on their first turn), and they are always ready for everything you can throw at them thanks to this. For reasons more than one, too, because they also always come pre-buffed with every single buff spell there is, even if they materialise out of nowhere. And believe me, the end-game becomes absolute nightmare fuel because of this. In the final chapter, every encounter has at least 4 supercharged mages, sometimes even more, sometimes it even keeps spawning more, all of them are pre-buffed to the point of stupidity, and if you don’t manage to somehow shut them down immediately, you just get nuked to oblivion.

What has to be said about the above is that this is not even particularly “difficult.” It's just depressing. The way all those enemy mages come pre-buffed with a mix of blur, mirror image, mind blank, foresight, good fortune, dispelling buffer, stoneskin and contingent break enchantment is depressing. The way they all know ALL the spells their class has to offer is depressing. The way they just keep spawning new ones is depressing. The way they always open up with accelerated spell into double instakill nuke cast is depressing. Their up-the-ass spell resistance is depressing. The fact they stand on freaking towers and can’t be reached by melee characters is depressing.

It’s like peeling a gigantic rotten onion. You keep stripping the layers one by one, you cry all the way through, your fingers stink, and ultimately it doesn’t do you any good. This is simply not how you make RPG encounters. Though fortunately, it has to be stressed that this madness is nearly exclusive to the endgame. Prior to chapter 4, the enemy casters are not yet high level enough to have access to all those spells, and they aren’t as numerous and omni-present in every fight.

Still, if only the nonsense were contained to the casters. Some of the fights in this game are just beyond the pale when it comes to the numbers, levels and types of enemies thrown against you, as well as the “battlefield conditions.” There’s a sequence of fights that first disables all the magical effects on your equipment. Your reward for defeating the boss in chapter 1 is getting stripped of all your stuff. The final fight has a “damage each turn” effect, which Pierre clearly wasn’t able to implement as a regular “environmental hazard,” so it’s instead a bunch of invisible fire tiles all over the place – which means you can’t use area spells like grease and quicksand and every single enemy (including mummies) is fire immune to mask this… and that’s STILL not all.

The worst thing still is that after some point, Augury of Chaos turns into a quick draw contest. Either you win initiative and can obliterate the enemy first (or at least shut down his most important characters), or you get blown up to hell. You will start noticing this around the middle of chapter 3, and the final chapter 4 has that in every single encounter, and I’m not exaggerating. If there is even a single mage who gets to act before you, he will open with a double cast of Prismatic Void (a cute mass-AoE version of Prismatic Spray, courtesy of Pierre’s unhinged homebrew experiments), and remove at least 75% of your party from the game.

Honestly, the campaign feels like Pierre thought that since everyone liked the optional final battle in KotC1 so much, every single battle here ought to be like that too. It’s a neverending slaughterfest established by a sadistic gamemaster, who would have otherwise been quickly abandoned by his players in a real life situation. If you watched the cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory, you might remember the D&D spoof episode, where Dexter keeps fudging the dice against the players and throwing increasingly impossible odds at them. Augury of Chaos gives you the same experience. Eventually, one of your sole motivations for pushing on will be this morbid curiosity what kind of sadistic punishment the deranged gamemaster prepared for you around the next corner. Because beating those ridiculously overpowered encounters often isn't even satisfying when your only reward is just more forceful violation to come, without even as much as a broken penny in return.

And the funniest thing about this? I can bet my right butt cheek that Pierre never played through the campaign in a legit way, from start to finish, to test how it plays. You can tell by the Kickstarter gameplay preview videos, where he fails to beat each and every single encounter presented. This game was simply designed in a vacuum.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Knights of the Chalice 2 - Augury of Chaos

There are 205 comments on RPG Codex Review: Knights of the Chalice 2 - Augury of Chaos

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 December 2020, 02:32:37

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

It's crazy that Cyberpunk 2077 was announced over eight years ago. CD Projekt's much-hyped open world cyberpunk action-RPG is finally out tonight, but not before having triggered an immense amount of angst on our forums. What is it about this game that's got the Codex so bothered? There could be any number of reasons - the graphics, the bugs, not being a ~true RPG~, the wokeness of course. But I continue to believe that the main reason for Cyberpunk 2077 angst is that we simply don't know if it's Cool. We knew that Geralt was cool, and we came to know over the course of three games that CD Projekt knew how to write him and his world. Who will be the Siegfrieds, the Vernon Roches and the Bloody Barons of Cyberpunk 2077? Does it even have any? Perhaps it's appropriate in that respect that the game's final launch trailer takes a more melodramatic tone than previous ones:


Like a couple of those previous trailers, the launch trailer also includes a hidden message from CD Projekt with details about their DLC plans:

The wait for Cyberpunk 2077 is almost over. It's been quite the journey, and first of all, we want to thank all of you for being with us along the way. We know there's a fair amount of anticipation for the game, and very soon you will all be able to decide whether or not we've lived up to the hype.

Launch day is always a mix of excitement and constant nerve-wracking, and with this being the first game we've developed that isn't titled "The Witcher," we’d be lying if we said we weren't anxious to see what you think once you've sunk your teeth into it. With this launch trailer, we're just about ready to flick the switch and see Cyberpunk 2077 go for ours and become yours. We set out to create our most immersive world yet, and we believe that the stories waiting for you to uncover, and the relationships you'll forge during your time in Night City, will stick with you for quite some time.

We've mentioned before that expansions will be coming, and while we're not ready to talk specifics just yet, we will say that we've learned a lot from out work on both Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. Our planned expansions will take you even deeper into the world of Cyberpunk 2077, offering substantial story-driven content that'll give you tough choices to make through impactful narratives you won't soon forget. But before we get there, we'll be kicking off our free DLC program in early 2021. Just like with The Witcher 3, expect an assortment of free DLC packs to begin hitting Night City, dropping a bunch of cool stuff that’ll inject even more life into the world of the dark future. We hope you're looking forward to them!

We want to end this message with a request. Once you play/finish the game, we would love it if you got back to us and told us who your V was. Our forums and social media are always there for you. We want to know how you found Night City and what choices you made. We created a huge world for you to jump into, tell us your story.​

Cyberpunk 2077 is available now on Steam and GOG for $60. There are no special editions and there are no launch discounts. Good luck out there, gentlemen.

There are 84 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 Released

Wed 9 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 9 December 2020, 21:51:28

Tags: Team ADOM; Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos

Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos, the upcoming dungeon crawling sequel to the classic roguelike by Thomas Biskup, entered alpha earlier this year and has received a steady stream of video updates over the past few months. The game was originally going to be released sometime this year but was quietly delayed to early 2021 in September. Yesterday it was announced that Ultimate ADOM has been picked up by German indie publisher Assemble Entertainment and will be out on Steam Early Access on February 11th. Here's the game's new announcement trailer along with the accompanying press release:



Together with developer Team ADOM, we at Assemble Entertainment announced today the rogue-like dungeon crawler Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos, heading to Steam Early Access on February 11, 2021, for Windows PC, MacOS, and Linux.

Ultimate ADOM is a traditionally-inspired reimaging of the beloved genre and features endless procedurally generated dungeons, monsters, and crafting options, allowing for ultimate replayability.

Evil has been vanquished. Peace has returned to Ancardia, and the peasants dare to dream once more of prosperity. Seven very different factions vie for control over the cataclysmic aftermath left behind by Andor Drakon’s defeat. And somewhere, deep down in an inhospitable cave, chaos is stirring again. Pick up your blade, prepare your spells, check your daggers and ready your bow, for you are about to enter the ominous Caverns of Chaos. Choose your allegiance carefully, for you are nothing more than an expendable asset to the masters you choose.

Fight for a mercenary's glory and a hefty coin purse, for the justice of a community in decline, for the light of purity, or even for chaos itself. Every choice you make will determine how you approach the ever-changing Caverns of Chaos laid out before you.

“To be the person who originated a game with an active and dedicated community since 1994 makes me unbelievably proud," said Thomas Biskup, Creator of ADOM. "After 25 years we will continue the story of ADOM and bring that experience into the modern realm. Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos offers plenty of depth for seasoned vets of the genre but with all the tweaks, options, and quality of life adjustments that ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the contemporary player.”

Features of Ultimate ADOM Include:
  • Depth for Days — Choose from a huge selection of classes, genders, races, and allegiances to mix and match the perfect build for your playstyle
  • A Proper Roguelike — Procedurally generated levels, monsters, and items ensure no playthrough is the same
  • More Spells Than a Hogwarts Textbook — With multiple specialized schools of magic and more than 100 spells to choose from, dungeon-diving wizards have plenty at their disposal to get them through the darkness
  • That’s a Nice Arm You’ve Got There... — Take the severed limbs of your enemies and graft them to your own body, after all, more hands = more weapons to hold
  • A Jack of All Trades — With more than 80 skill trees, aspiring dungeon delvers have plenty of choices when it comes to crafting the ultimate warrior, and then there are the dozens of secret skills waiting to be discovered!
  • Go Modern or Keep it Classic — Modern graphics or traditional ASCII, the choice is yours! Players can also toggle between 3D mode and top-down view.
Definitely better than the teaser trailer from April. Hopefully the game comes out on GOG as well.

There are 13 comments on Ultimate ADOM: Caverns on Chaos coming to Early Access on February 11th

Mon 7 December 2020

Review - posted by Infinitron on Mon 7 December 2020, 21:02:18

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

Only three days remain until the release of Cyberpunk 2077. The Internet is already inundated with leaked gameplay footage, and today the review embargo officially lifted for the PC version. It shouldn't be a surprise that most of the review scores are quite high, including several perfect scores. I won't bother trying to exhaustively summarize them, but in short, Cyberpunk 2077 is a massive game with tons of content, including a few stand-out side quests with a more humane touch. However, it's also somewhat janky and despite the hopes for an "open world Deus Ex" is not really an immersive sim, and a few of the reviews have penalized it for those reasons. Here's the list of today's reviews, including a video from IGN:

There are also several outlets that have published review-in-progress articles, and of course the console reviews will be coming at a later date as well. Note that no gameplay footage is included with any of these. The embargo on that will lift on December 9th.

There are 146 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 Reviews

Thu 3 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 3 December 2020, 01:10:22

Tags: Baldur's Gate 3; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

Today Larian released their third major patch for the Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access build. It appears to be the game's biggest patch yet, the first to include significant gameplay changes based on player feedback. There's a lot of stuff here. Larian have added experience rewards for non-violent quest solutions, the companions have been overhauled to make them less overbearingly nitpicky, dialogue skill checks have been made less punitive, companions will now automatically jump across gaps when following you, the number of short rests available per long rest has been doubled, simple cantrips no longer create Divinity: Original Sin-style elemental surfaces, and the user interface for upcasting spells has been streamlined. This patch is the first to invalidate existing savegames (though there's a solution for that if you're in the middle of a playthrough) and the first to come with a Swen Vincke video. I'll post that here along with the relevant excerpt from the new community update:



The road less travelled is now rewarding...
Our games have always been about rewarding creativity and exploration, but some people were disappointed with the lack of experience rewards for pacifism, and creative solutions that utilize the road less travelled. Patch 3 introduces rewards for avoiding combat situations, whether in dialogue or through exploration and environmental puzzle solving. Now, all you pacifists will be able to carve out a journey more true to your character’s identity. Or, it’ll just offer more options for specific circumstances.

Companions will now feel more… companionable
On the topic of behaviour, we’ve certainly noticed your companions were perhaps a little negative at times. We’ve taken steps to move away from frequent nitpicking, so that they’ll start focusing more on the bigger picture. Companions will now be more tolerant. Not nitpicking about every single little thing they don't like but rather focusing on the things they do like while still maintaining their personality and having strong beliefs about certain things. In short, they’ll feel a little more like companions.

Dialog skill checks will be less likely to ‘lock you out of content’
Dialogues with particularly harsh or dramatic skill checks have been rebalanced - instead of failing an entire situation based on one difficult roll, you'll have a higher chance of succeeding the roll. This is to stop dice from locking you out of content unless the situation really merits it. Ultimately, however, you’ll still have to flow with the will of the dice.

No more micromanaging party jumping
Micromanaging gymnastics probably wasn’t something you thought you’d be doing in the Forgotten Realms, so now when you jump across a gap, for example, your party will automatically jump across it to follow you. Hooray!

More adventuring, and less resting
You now get 2 short rests after your long rest. Previously, you only had a single short rest. That’s twice the rest, for the same price! This means you have more uninterrupted adventures, and all the perks of resting.

Rebalanced cantrips & fewer surfaces
This was a wildly popular community request. Spells that cost finite resources to cast will now feel much more impactful, as cantrips are now less impactful than ‘true’ spells. This’ll make the management a lot more meaningful, and the ‘true’ spells a lot more rewarding to use. What’s more, we’ve made changes to surfaces, reducing them dramatically to avoid accidents as well as to address other feedback about how combat felt to the community. Fire Bolt, Ray of Frost and Acid Splash no longer create surfaces on impact. Fire Bolt still ignites flammable surfaces, and Ray of Frost still freezes water and blood puddles.

UI improvements including spells & inspiration points
Inspiration points are now visible in the UI, so you can actually use them!

You’re now able to select upcasted versions of spells via a separate widget to declutter the hotbar UI, see today’s update video for how that looks. DnD allows a caster to cast the same spell at different ‘levels’, costing different resources and generally producing a stronger effect.

Previously, each level at which a spell could be cast had a separate icon. After a while, this led to tons of icons cluttering up the hotbar and players having to tediously rearrange it on level up. Now all the variations are neatly packed into a fly-out menu inside the single icon per spell.
The update also includes details about Larian's implementation of cross-saving across different platforms, the game's support for the latest Macintosh hardware from Apple, and of course a full changelog for the patch.

There are 61 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Community Update #11: Patch 3 - Inspiration, Freedom & Pacifism

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 3 December 2020, 00:24:34

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

Owlcat have published their first major Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter update since September, announcing the conclusion of the second stage of the game's alpha test. Once again, they've chosen to share the results of the feedback they gathered during the alpha period. For the upcoming beta, Owlcat intend to improve the writing of the companion Greybor, continue overhauling the crusade system, and add more tutorialization. Here's the relevant part of the update:

A month has passed since the end of Stage 2 of the Alpha Test. We have analyzed all the feedback and assigned tasks based on it. A lot of the feedback corresponded to what we were going to do based on our experience. Now it is time to prepare for the Beta Test, which (we hope) will launch in January 2021. There will be a lot of changes compared to Alpha - more content, improved Crusade mechanics, an additional chapter, functioning archetypes, and many more.

This update isn’t about Beta, but what we will change based on the feedback from Stage 2 Alpha players. Though we won’t miss another chance to tell you that there is now an option to upgrade your tier to include Beta Access! More players = more feedback = better game.

Overpriced

There is one valuable asset that was definitely overpriced for what he could offer. More than that - his personal quest was confusing and not engaging enough. We are talking about Greybor.

For what he could offer he cost a tad too much and was, mechanically, a worse choice than a mercenary. This issue has an easy fix - just cut his cost by half and now he is a fair-priced mercenary (if there is such a thing).

Another problem was his personal quests. There were some inconsistencies in his quest, some confusing descriptions. Overall, it caused a lot of frustration. At the moment we are reworking and tweaking it, so it will be an interesting and exciting adventure.

We aim to make Greybor a valuable asset for your party as he presents himself to you.

The Crusade Marches On

As we continue to improve crusade, there still might be some controversial design choices (especially considering that it still isn’t finished). And the current iteration of Crusade will be entirely reworked because it had several of those choices. Overall, there is a lot of room to improve it and we already have plans on how to do it. So here is the list of what issues you won’t face in beta.

We had the nobility demands that forced you to win two battles against demons every week. It isn’t hard to win two battles, but if you defeat all the armies on the map you simply can’t placate the nobility and you lose their support. Overall, the nobility mechanic received mixed feedback (from the team and from players) and we are redesigning it entirely.

There were some missing parts - it didn’t intertwine with the story and the companions, there was no tutorial for tactical combat and crusade, units were simple. All those things are in the work and we hope to present them in beta.

Another addition will be two QOL improvements. One will affect army movements on a global map - the player will be able to click one time and order his army to march to the desired destination. Another is related to the loading screens in crusade - we are looking for ways to optimize them and to cut the unnecessary ones (if there are any). We will also add an option to split existing units. And, as icing on the cake, there will be an option to change the speed of the tactical combat.

We also had reports that battles in tactical combat are too long, so we will gather additional data during the beta test to see if we get the desired time in tactical battles.

Live and learn

One of the important additions in Stage 2 of the Alpha Test was the context tutorial. With it came part of the hints to help new players familiarize themselves with the game. And we had a lot of suggestions to add to the hints. A lot of them are already in the works.

Overall there was a demand for more hints about mythics and armies, more information about unique class abilities and different types of attacks, and optimal build choices.

We are also planning on deepening the tutorial settings, so you can adjust them to your taste.

Based on other suggestions we will add a highlight on the screen what the tutorial refers to. With a planned addition of a glossary and hyperlinks, you will get all the information you need about different status effects, game mechanics, and other important aspects of the game. All those changes will help new players to better understand the system and learn how to master it.
The update also includes some statistics about the mythic paths and companions preferred by the alpha testers. As mentioned at the beginning, the game's beta test will be launching in January.

There are 1 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #67: Alpha Test Stage 2 Results

Tue 1 December 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 1 December 2020, 22:51:49

Tags: Heroic Fantasy Games; Knights of the Chalice

For over eight years, GOG have wanted to add Pierre Begue's Knights of the Chalice to their platform. Its original community wishlist entry was actually created by a GOG employee, the former Codexer JudasIscariot. The amusing story of Pierre's initial refusal to cooperate with them is a tale we've related here in the past. For some time, it was unclear whether GOG were even still interested in the game as their admission standards shifted over the years, but today it was finally released there. Here's their brief release announcement:

Set off on a perilous journey with a 2D retro-style RPG! Knights of the Chalice is now available on GOG.COM with a 20% discount lasting until 8th December 2020, 2 PM UTC. Create a party of four adventurers, explore the Crimson Coast of Mindrel and fight valiantly against the evil Council of the Slaver Lords, domineering Giants, fiendish Demons, and scheming Dragons.

Can’t wait to begin your quest? Check out the Knights of the Chalice Demo for free! Also, be on the lookout for Knights of the Chalice 2 that is coming soon to GOG.COM with even more fantastic adventures to take on.
Knights of the Chalice is available on GOG for $20 with a 20% launch discount until next week. As mentioned in the announcement, the game's demo is also available and there's a GOG page for Knights of the Chalice 2 as well, release date unknown. I suppose that will be its true launch.

There are 28 comments on Knights of the Chalice released on GOG

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 1 December 2020, 22:15:05

Tags: Ninth Exodus; Peripeteia

Back in June, a gentleman by the name of Shodanon joined our forum to tell us about an upcoming game he's been working on called Peripeteia. It's a first person RPG very obviously inspired by the original Deus Ex and set in an alternate history cyberpunk Poland. Also, it's got anime girls, because why not. Shodanon and his team (who call themselves Ninth Exodus) have been working on the game for a while and yesterday they released its first public demo, which is a good excuse to finally post about it. Here's the latest trailer and description from the game's Steam page:



Peripeteia is an upcoming first-person game mixing shooter, stealth and RPG mechanics, placing it within the elusive and ephemeral "immersive sim" genre, heavily inspired by the greats such as Deus Ex, expanding upon the formula with original ideas and an unexplored setting.

The story takes place in an alternate history cyberpunk Poland, in a post-soviet city full of corruption and opportunity, where nations, powerful factions and ideologies clash and where cybernetic supersoldiers look for mercenary work. You play as one of them, a young woman named Marie.

Within Peripeteia can be seen the dream of the immersive simulator genre, long laid to rest by an industry which had forgotten it. In this game you will be forced to use your wits, resourcefulness, and raw violent nature to complete tasks you may not even understand. Logic and a shrewd cunning mind will win you the day in this interactive and highly adaptive world. Well, unless you have a pistol and ammo for it.

Have you found yourself hungering for the raw sense of survival, accomplishment, and player choice long absent from this dark and belied industry? Then consider joining us in the lights of the Eastern Night with Peripeteia.
The Peripeteia demo is only available on itch.io for now and will be released on Steam at a later date. It's apparently a bit janky as you might expect, but has some promising elements. For further details about the game, you may also wish to check out its official website.

There are 24 comments on Peripeteia is an upcoming Deus Ex-inspired immersive sim set in alternate history cyberpunk Poland

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