Tag Archives: Strategy

SG88 Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace Header

Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace (PC)

Developer(s) – Megaware Games

 

Released back in 2002 as a PC exclusive, Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace is an isometric top-down turn-based RPG similar to the original 2 Fallout games following the story of an elite army of soldiers known as the Arcangels sent by the titans of the Earth to protect themselves. It was developed by an independent Dutch company called Megaware Games, which were most active throughout the early 2000s and made promises that they couldn’t effectively deliver. The way it went with Megaware is that they would go from one extreme to the other, by either releasing mediocre versions of other people’s games in an attempt to modernize them, or coming up with a few of their own cohesive video game concepts, but never developing them to the best of what could’ve been. 

Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace falls into the second category. It’s a game that attempts to perpetuate new ideas, albeit not without its influences, but fails miserably. It’s a far worse game than what it was billed as by the developers, and very much deserves its place in video game obscurity. 

 

Graphics – 3/10

The thought process behind the visuals was to deliver an experience like the original Fallout games that looked more like a 3D game to fit in with where the market had been going at that time, and what it was still steering towards. But the problem being with that is that although the intentions were there, the developers neglected to focus on the conceptual aspect of the visuals as well as the technical aspect, and as a result, pretty much every level in the game looks like it was recycled from the previous. At least with the original Fallout, whilst being a 2D game, it still had its distinct charm and contemporary setting that did exceptionally well to separate it from other RPGs at that time. But with Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace, that quality is severely lacking.

 

Gameplay – 2/10

Likewise, the gameplay is also as bland as the visuals. It’s turn-based, so it focuses on the player using action points to do things like move around and battle enemies. But it’s a very linear experience with extremely little to play for with the exception of getting from A to B. And again, both Fallout and Fallout 2 offered far more than that 5 years prior to the release of this game. In every aspect, but particularly in terms of gameplay, it needed much more of a push than what it got to make it as great an experience as it could possibly have been, and the developers didn’t deliver. They would’ve clearly been banking on games like this and Alien Logic (another abysmal Megaware game that I will have to tear into another time), to be their breakout hits. But it wasn’t to be, and for good reason.

 

Controls – 3/10

In my review of the original Fallout, I commented how difficult I found the control scheme was to come to terms with, but in this game, it’s even more of a problem. There’s the traditional fog of war effect found in other strategy games such as Civilization of Age of Empires, whereby players must traverse through in order to navigate their way through each level or to find secrets. But again, it’s not implemented properly, and simply serves to create confusion among players. Likewise, even the combat system is not the most well thought out. 

 

Lifespan – 5/10

For those diligent enough to bear with the many, many flaws that this game suffers greatly from, there are actually around 60 hours of gameplay to be had. But given how much is wrong with this game, 60 minutes would be a test of endurance on its own. If there’s anyone who has actually been inclined to spend 60 hours playing this game, I’d to speak with him/her to find out exactly what the appeal is, because I couldn’t see any appeal after 10 minutes.

 

Storyline – 0/10

The story involves the Arcangels, a group of soldiers out to protect a race of titans that rule the Earth. You would have to question exactly how powerful these titans are if they have to have a bunch of regular-sized people with guns protecting them, and why they’re incapable of protecting themselves. If any of the story was perpetuated throughout actual gameplay, I missed it; that’s how difficult it is to become emotionally invested in it. It’s like the developers went back to the NES days whereby you had to read the manual to find out. Unfortunately for them, the times had very much changed by then, which for a gameplay experience that was supposed to be retroactive to an extent, is somewhat understandable, but players wanted the story to be implemented within the game in a meaningful way at this point, and that wasn’t the case here. 

 

Originality – 0/10

Although Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace was one of the more original experiences to have come out of Megaware, there’s still nothing original about it. It’s a mess of a game that is best left forgotten. The developers haphazardly attempted to make this game seem bigger and better than what it actually is, and it turned out to be one of the worst and most humiliating titles of the sixth generation.

 

Furiious

In all, Arcangel: The Legacy of Peace is one of Megaware’s biggest failures. It’s a joke of a game, and nowhere close to topping the titles that it was influenced by. 

Score 

13/60

2/10 (Terrible) 

Dusk Tactics Header

Q&A With Louis Agoglia

Whilst scouting for new, upcoming indie titles last week, I came across a promising-looking game called Dusk Tactics, Heavily influenced by the Tactics Ogre series, Dusk Tactics is a 2D isometric tactical RPG reliant on player’s skill to customize characters with unique weapons and abilities, as well as employing different job classics to suit different foes throughout the game. Conceived initially back in 2011, the project is wonderfully varied and ambitious in scope to the extent that I wanted to learn about the project. I, therefore, got in touch with the game’s creator, Louis Agoglia to ask him for some details regarding the developmental process and what players can expect from the final game. Here’s what Louis Agoglia had to say about Dusk Tactics:

 

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What were the influences behind your game?

The main influence behind Dusk Tactics are games like Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis, and the Final Fantasy Tactics/Advance series. I’d say the entire genre could be considered an influence as I’ve played hundreds of tactics/strategy (SRPG) games over the years.

 

What has the developmental process been like?

It’s been long! This project started with me doing research, taking notes, and writing down ideas as far back as 2011 with coding beginning in early 2018. One decision I made was to create my own engine, so my development process has been somewhat longer. I felt that since this is my “dream project” I wanted to have full control over the execution. I had a certain vision that benefited from creating a custom engine including how the story was told, which led to the creation of a “cutscene engine”. When I went public with the project toward the end of last year (2019) the reception was beyond anything I could have imagined, and that alone has fostered a positive feedback loop of sorts.

 

How close are we to seeing the finished product?

That’s a tough one, I had a certain schedule in place and then 2020 happened and I think it sort of shook a lot of people up. Right now the engine is pretty much complete, with the ‘game’ itself being in the early stages of development. I am working on a closed alpha demo, the release of which I am hoping to get out sometime this year. As for the finished product, I want to be realistic about it, so I have to say my current goal is for a 2022 release window. A lot of the work that still needs to get done consists of art and sound/music assets, both of which I currently have people working on and both of which will take a good amount of time, but while they’re being created I hope to have the majority of the game finished. Overall percentage-wise I’d say I’m near 60% when discussing the entire project.

 

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What has been the most exciting aspect of development?

Getting to see some of the ideas I’ve had for a tactics game since 2011 sort of coming to life is probably the best part of the process. I wrote so much in the early years, pages, and pages of notes that covered various ideas and mechanics as well as a background for the story/lore. If I didn’t have such a strong background in gaming, this project might have become more of a book as I’ve always enjoyed writing. All in all, the game will be very rich in lore and story and will have some pretty neat (hopefully balanced) mechanics that both borrow from older games and add a little innovation here and there. Specifically, seeing two characters I created, Alton and Emma, start off as basic ideas and turn into fleshed-out characters was really awesome. Both the 2D portraits and the sprites were done extremely well and I look forward to seeing them in the many scenes I have planned for the story!

 

Have many of the developers you have interacted with across social media offered advice in regards to the development of Dusk Tactics?

In terms of art, @jmitchell1628 and @nixpixgames were extremely helpful, the latter of which I will continue to work with. When I wrote about some technical issues a few months ago, many people were eager to lend a hand and some went even further, such as @retromatn (who is also working on a tactics RPG!) who actually created a sample program to detail his ideas!

Early on, I happened upon a game in development, Lawmage Academy, and beyond being a great game in and of itself, the developer @LawmageA is an overall amazing person. Following them early on helped me learn a lot about how to use social media the right way and also what to expect from various events like releasing a demo or going to your first convention! It helped to have someone just talking about their experiences!

I consider myself very lucky that I witnessed the creation of @IndieWorldOrder which is an amazing group of developers, content creators, artists, etc who have come together to help one another out! Without people like @ancalabro and @labsskull, I doubt I would have as much exposure as I have had, it really helps out when you have people who are truly passionate about game development. I’ve worked on a side project with @bluegoogames in which we created a “twitter follower” horse race. Stuff like this really helps with project burnout and it was a lot of fun! You can see it here, also feel free to join!: 

http://www.nicmar.nu/race/?race=2

 

Dusk Tactics 3

What has been the most challenging aspect of development?

It would probably be the scale of the project. While I’m only in my third year of development, the thought of another two years is pretty overwhelming, but it is my dream project so I’m also trying to enjoy the process for what it is! Bigger challenges would be the overall “how will I balance this?” question which tends to pop up a lot. I know I’m going to spend a lot of time after I am “done” so to speak, balancing game mechanics and various Jobs, skills, items, etc. It’s pretty daunting, haha.

 

How well has the game been received so far?

I’ll feel more confident about this when I have a playable demo out, but so far what I have experienced is way beyond my expectations. As a huge fan of the tactics genre, I felt I kind of had an idea of what people wanted, but I never expected it to be this popular! I honestly hope it holds up when people get their hands on it, and if anything I feel like I have an obligation to make sure it does!

 

Have there been very many ideas considered for the game and have since been scrapped?

Early on I had a bad case of feature creep, where I really had some grand designs for the game that over time would be tested by the reality of the situation. At one point I had plans for around 100 Jobs or Classes and I even had the name of the game being “Hundred Tactics”. This would make for a pretty crazy issue of balancing, let alone design and depth! One of my favorite parts of RPGs, in general, is the Job/Class system so it was very important to me to have it be something at the forefront and while it is, I have since lowered the number of Jobs to a more manageable amount at ~30.

 

What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?

First and foremost the game will be released on PC. Windows, Linux, and Mac releases will be the main focus at the beginning. I would love to see Dusk Tactics on consoles, and I may leave that up to a stretch goal in fundraising. Since the game is coded in Java it will take some work to get it up and running on consoles like the Switch (easily my #1 choice) so it will depend on having the funds necessary to either do it myself (most likely) or farm it out.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?

For those who have yet to decide whether or not to pursue game development, there’s only one reality: you won’t get anything done without starting! It’s not easy, but if you are really interested in it, then you need to take that first step! Technically you should start small to increase your chances of completing the project. I only had a few projects before this one ranging from very small arcade-style mobile apps to some FOSS (Free Open Source Software) role-playing games I worked on. Working on open source projects early on was a great way to learn how to work on a schedule, work with a team, using project management software, and more. I feel like there’s a lot of information online that should suffice when it comes to preparing yourself to start a project. While it’s important to plan things out as best you can, remember you can’t plan everything. If it’s a medium to large-sized project and you’re a solo dev, then I can say the best thing is to get into a schedule and keep track of things like burnout and feature creep. The former happens to everyone and sometimes requires taking breaks while the latter brings up the need for a well-designed plan for what you want to accomplish!

 

Where on the Internet can people find you? 

The project’s main website:

http://dusktactics.com 

It is a major source of information about Dusk Tactics, however, I tend to update more frequently on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/dusktactics

There is a forum: 

http://dusktactics.com/bb/

It will be used more in the future to conduct closed alpha testing and I would like to post more frequent updates to it.

 

Do you have anything else to add?

One thing I was very wary of at first was social media. I didn’t have much experience with it as I never really got involved with Twitter outside of game development. There’s a lot to learn, but the biggest takeaway is that I wouldn’t be where I am today without it! Promoting your project is something I am still learning about and it’s an area where a lot of developers including myself sometimes feel like we are in over our heads. A fellow game dev @bluegoogames created this video that honestly details a lot of what it takes to get a good following behind your project: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEmuwU0UhU8&t=3s

With that being said I want to thank Scouse Gamer 88 so much for the opportunity and for the great questions!!

 

I would also like to thank Louis for taking the time out to answers the questions I had about Dusk Tactics and wish him the best of luck with the title. A new tactical RPG would be a breath of fresh air for the industry as the genre has remained somewhat dormant over the eighth generation of gaming, and I feel the release of a game Dusk Tactics would be an ideal catalyst to revive the genre and perhaps even take it to new heights of popularity.

Again, you can follow the links left by Louise to track the development of the game and hope you guys enjoy playing it upon release. But in the meantime, I hope you guys had as much reading about Dusk Tactics as I did covering it.

 

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88

SG88 Reus Header

Reus (PC, PlayStation 4 & Xbox One)

Developer(s) – Abbey Games

Publisher(s) – Abbey Games

Designer(s) – Adriaan Jansens, Dennis Pullens & Nick Witsel

Programmer(s) – Bas Zalmstra, Maarten Wiedenhof, Manuel Kerssemakers, Dennis Pullens, Tim de Jager & Jacco Krijnen

PEGI – 7

 

Developed and self-published by indie developers Abbey Games, Reus is a unique type of real-time strategy game, whereby the player must create a world and influence the populace to maintain as peaceful a civilization as possible. Overall, I was extremely impressed with how original this game is, and I would recommend it to any fan of the strategy genre who may be wanting a much different experience than what they may normally be used to.

 

Graphics – 7/10

Making use of hand-drawn 2D graphics, I really like the conceptual design of this game. It gives it a deceptively innocent look about it, when in fact, it can become a wonderfully hectic challenge to maintain civility among the world’s people, and provide resources as and when they’re needed, and not overdo it in any way. The game’s soundtrack can also add to this depth in deception, as it sounds very peaceful against a potential foreground of problems that must be solved.

 

Gameplay – 7/10

The game puts the player in control of four ancient gods, who must be used to create different forms of terrain across the planet to allow for the development of civilization and its expansion. The more food and gold mines the people are able to utilize, the more prosperous it’ll be, but more prosperous societies may become greedy and complacent, and be the subject of envy amongst other civilizations that may exist across the world, thereby increasing the risk of conflict between them, and affecting the level of peace throughout the land. Though it may not be the first game to introduce mechanics of the same ilk, as it does draw inspiration from strategy games such as Empire Earth and Sid Meier’s Civilization, it does it in a very different way to either of the aforementioned and provides a challenge unlike any other.

 

Controls – 10/10

As a strategy game, it is inevitably best played on PC, as it can be quicker to issue commands to the gods and carry out tasks as and when required through the use of hotkeys. But on consoles, it’s not unplayable; it’s still quite easy to get to grips with the controls, and the overall gameplay system. In fact, it can arguably be seen as a greater challenge playing a game like this on consoles. I felt the same way when I played Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4, and Reus is no exception in my opinion.

 

Originality – 9/10

To put it simply, I’ve never seen or played a game like this before. Its 2D graphic design and unique way of playing make it stand out from every other strategy game ever developed. It gives testament to how willing and capable indie developers are of creating new concepts for games of pre-existing genres. There’s been Don’t Starve, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Super Meat Boy to name but a few, and Reus is every bit as innovative as those examples in my opinion.

 

Happii

Overall, Reus is an enjoyable and insanely unique gaming experience that comes highly recommended by me. As a fan of strategy games, I had a lot of fun playing this title, and I’ve no doubt that other strategy game fans will feel a very similar way about it.

Score

33/10

8/10 (Very Good)

Forged of Blood Header

Q&A With Igor Tanzil

Following my trip to London for the EGX Rezzed conference, I was given the opportunity to ask questions about yet another indie game for the blog; the subject of this particular session is a game called Forged of Blood. Set in a morally ambiguous fantasy world reminiscent of Gary Gygax’s Dungeons & Dragons series, Forged of Blood is a tactical RPG, similar to the likes of Tactics Ogre & XCOM, complete with a variety of different weapons and magic to do battle with and a morality system similar to Fable or Mass Effect. I managed to send across some further questions about the game I had to the creative director of Critical Forge Games, Igor Tanzil, and amidst the game’s ongoing Kickstarter campaign, these are the answers he gave;

 

Forged of Blood 1

What were the influences behind your game?

Forged of Blood is really the love child of the different personalities and gaming preferences of the studio’s founders. Mechanically, it’s heavily influenced by the tabletop RPGs we’ve played along with the old-school TRPGS and RPGs that a lot of us grew up playing. Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, X-Com (both old and new) and of course Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder, you name it, we’ve played it and loved it – and so we set out to make the game that took the best parts of all the games we’ve loved and merged it with modern graphics we can get with Unreal Engine 4. I’ll let Milo our Game Designer take the reigns on the mechanical side below while I cover the world at large.

For the setting of the game we really wanted to set it in a hard fantasy world that is really grounded in the reality of that world. That means coming up with a world and coming up with the rulesets that would govern that world. We asked ourselves, ok so how would small unit tactics make sense in our fantasy world? How did magic permeate society and perhaps more importantly what is possible and not possible with the magic in our world? My partners are huge Brandon Sanderson fans and I personally loved the old Stargate SG-1 worlds and Roman cultures and so I kind of took all that in when I started with the world-building. What we end up with is Attiras: A world that is heavily inspired by Roman culture and one where there we have an older ruling species giving way to a new species before getting supplanted.

Attiras is something very near and dear to my heart – it is basically the world upon which I’ve really imprinted my own personal thoughts and feelings of morality. Growing up I’ve always felt out of place, being a minority in my own country (Indonesia) and then growing up in two other countries wherein I was just as much an outcast there as I was in my own home. So I really wanted to explore the themes of race and the tensions that come with a ruling minority and how a smaller population might come to power. Of course, at the end of the day Forged of Blood is still a video game, and that means that a lot of these things might be relegated into the depths of our lore books, but my partners and I definitely felt that we needed to have a fully fleshed-out world for us to then create within. The challenge now falls to us to pick and highlight the stories within our world that are fun for a game and make for the compelling story to drive the narrative forward.

 

What has the developmental process been like?

The short answer? A thrill ride.

The more realistic and complicated answer is that it has been – and continues to be – a process that teaches, humbles, and excites us. As a brand new studio, the onus fell on us to remove as much doubt and risk from our future consumers as possible, and to that end, we’ve taken a very pragmatic approach to our development process. To us, that means making sure from the very beginning that we are able to make the things that we set out to make before committing to it, and that led us to initially launch the studio with a small team of six to prototype and world build the game we had in mind. During this time we split the team into two, with the programmers

testing and building upon a toolkit in Unreal Engine 4 and the rest of us testing out the base mechanics on the tabletop before implementing it in-engine to test.

From there we iterated repeatedly until we had something that we felt was fun to play before expanding the team to include the art side of the studio. We’ve since hit a few big milestones in just under a year, from our first fully rendered tactical map to implementing the strategic and tactical layers together, the progress we’ve made here at the studio has just been a wonder to behold.

 

Forged of Blood 2

What has been the most exciting aspect of development?

Oh boy, everyone will probably have a different answer to this question for I personally have two favorites. I think the first thing that really got me excited for Forged of Blood was the worldbuilding. It was and continues to be a creative process unlike any other that I’ve done. Being given the freedom to create an entire world, and then working with the team to bring that world to life and seeing how others interpreted the world and the rules I’ve created has been just an absolute treat for me. However, what I think the most exciting aspect of the development for all of us has been seeing it all come together right before PAX. Our pre-alpha PAX build was the first time we’ve seen it all start to come together, and being able to catch a glimpse of the game both on the Strategic Layer and Tactical Layer was a huge morale boost for everyone.

 

What has been the most challenging aspect of development?

The most challenging aspect of the development process so far is finding the balance between our own dreams and ambitions and the limitations we have as a small studio. When we started the studio we focused our efforts almost entirely on finding the right team and luckily for us we’ve all worked together on a larger project before and it just came down to picking the right person for each role. That said, ours is still a very small team and our budget basically dictated the production time we’d have to work on Forged of Blood, and that in turn dictates just how much we can actually do. It’s tough on all of us when we have to forego a good idea or limit the number of assets we can have, but finding compromise is ultimately the only way forward.

 

Forged of Blood 3

How well has the game been received so far?

This is really interesting to experience as a new indie studio. The hard truth is that for the most part we are ignored. We’re the “nobodies” from a third-world country that just isn’t known for video games, and we’re working on a very deep game with a rather small market segment – and that has seriously affected just how far word of our game has reached.

However, it has been extremely gratifying to experience the reaction of people who actually gave us a minute to hear our spiel and actually checked out the game. The people that stopped by our little booth at PAX East kept coming back, and they brought their friends time and time again. The more we engaged with people who found the idea of a Fantasy Tactical RPG interesting, the more they loved the project and we’ve even gotten some fans who are helping us spread the word out.

I think we’ve really hit the nail on the head in creating a game that appeals to our market – the fans we’ve made in the last few weeks is a testament to that – but we’re still hindered by a lot of the fatigue that comes from other failed Kickstarter projects and our studio’s relative anonymity. However, we knew that going in and we’ve taken the steps mentioned before in removing as much risk from the consumer as we can even though it is a great expense to ourselves.

 

What were the influences behind the combat system?

To quote Milo, our game designer:

Before we began designing the game, we discussed what type of game we wanted to make. We wanted a game based on meaningful choices, dark/hard fantasy, and set in a believable world. This leads to decisions about spell crafting and Magurite to create a more hard fantasy feel in which you draw the energy in from the environment before expelling it back out, combining with the Magurite to provide a power source for the spells. We also drew heavily from games we are all fans of, such as X-Com, Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and other turn-based tactical and RPG games. Our Standard Action, Move Action, and Quick Action structure is quite similar to something you would see in Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons. We also wanted to provide as much freedom for the players as we could, which lead us to have classless character builds that focus more on how the characters will play rather than what their role will be.

 

What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?

While the PC is our primary platform, we will be looking into releasing it on other platforms once the PC version has been released. We have also had a lot of people asking for Linux and Mac from our fanbase and that is certainly something that is feasible with Unreal Engine 4, but we’ll confirm everything once the game is further along.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?

The biggest advice we can give to aspiring devs right now is just: make the game you can finish. It’s always great to shoot for the stars – in a way that’s what we’re doing – but it’s even more important that you end production with a game that ships. For us, that means approaching the mechanics and art in a very iterative way that allows us to learn, execute, iterate, and streamline the different production threads in the studio. It also means being able to acquiesce to the very real limitations of time, money, and ability when approaching some of our more grandiose ideas for the game. We are ultimately judged on the work we show, and if the game never ships we have nothing upon which to build on.

 

Where about on the Internet can people find you?

While we have a website and blog, we are also very active in a few gaming communities that I’ll include below. In fact the majority of our fanbase game from these gaming communities – mostly gamers who are really into the sort of game we are developing that they are willing to hear us out and check out the game.

Game Website: http://forgedofblood.com/

Studio Website: http://criticalforge.com/

Kickstarter Campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/criticalforge/forged-of-blood

Neogaf Thread:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=233027883#post233027883

RPGCodex Thread: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/forged-of-blood-turn-based-tactical-rpg-kickstarter-live.111536/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fobthegame

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ForgedOfBlood

 

Do you have anything else to add?

I think we’d like to take this time to just express our gratitude for the amount of love we’ve gotten from our fans so far. We’d also like to take the time to plead our case to the many skeptics out there.

Forged of Blood is an ambitious project for us – for anyone really – but we’ve approached it every step of the way with the sort of pragmatism that we truly believe will result in a game many will enjoy. We’ve taken a huge risk in trying to alleviate the risks to the consumer and we hope that that you will judge us by the work we show. We’ve put everything we have into this game and we will see it through, though we are on Kickstarter for a reason. We need those funds to truly elevate the game to be what we know it can be, but no matter the outcome Forged of Blood will be completed.

Thank you so much for this interview, and please never hesitate to reach out to us!

 

I would also like to take the time to thank Igor for providing such an in-depth insight into the game and to wish him and the team the best of luck with the title, and the Kickstarter campaign. Forged of Blood looks very much on par, if not better than, many of the other RTS games I saw at EGX Rezzed, and I would recommend any readers check out their Kickstarter page.