Gameview: Ærena – Clash of Champions

Hello everyone!

Today I want to give my first impressions of a game called Ærena: Clash Of Champions. Ærena is a turn-based strategy game from Cliffhanger Productions. The game has a very steampunk feel to it, and includes battles between airships.

The game started out with a great tutorial. I went into the actual game feeling like I knew exactly what I needed to do.  The user interface is really innovative and easy to use, and the battle controls are very easy to understand. You know exactly where you can move, and hovering over the characters different attacks will tell you the range and what exactly they do. It takes a little bit of practice to figure out how close certain characters need to be to attack other Champions or their airship. Even the airship gets to have a part in the battle. Once you collect enough Æther from attacking other champions, their airships, or from stepping on special platforms, your airship captain can launch a strong attack onto the battlefield that either damages an opponents champion or airship.

You start out by choosing your ship, champions, and Æther shells. This will affect your strategy throughout the round. Each champion has their own unique skills, and each shell affects the battlefield differently.

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Afterwards, you begin your battle in the sky. You choose where you want to spawn your champions, and start coming up with a strategy. It’s a typical turn-based strategy game, with great graphics, fun skills, and a great battlefield. Some characters can attack around obstacles, some are long-ranged, and other pack a close range punch. There are different platforms on the battlefield that can affect the pace and flow of the round, such as gaining some extra aether for your ship or champion.

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Once the battle starts progressing, you earn enough Æther to allow your champions to do special moves. That’s not all, though! Even your airship captain can join in the fun! He can do damage to your opponents champions or take a chunk out of the opposing airships health. Be wary though, you can only use the airship captains special moves three times, so you have to plan them strategically.

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The game is also full of steampunk art, and a bit of burlesque. Every time you level up, you get a nice picture of a (burlesque? Steampunk…steamy?) poster girl, and some cool screen transactions. There is also a strong voiced announcer that yells at you the details of what is going on throughout the battle. The feeling of destroying an opponent and being able to rub it in feels really..well.. awesome. The game is satisfying. For the most part, the community seems to be pretty cool. Most people don’t rub it in, they just thank you for a good game, and sometimes even compliment you for a good move. I found myself in a bad situation at one point, where the opponent had my ship down to one health, but they had forgot that I cleverly snuck one of my champions close to their ship. One punch took his ship down, and turned the whole game around. Playing against other players can be completely unpredictable in this game. It’s like a game of chess, with more awesome.

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I haven’t had a chance to play any of the higher level battles yet, but I can say that this game is already pretty addicting. It’s a cross-platform game, so it’s available on a few of your devices as well. I would say that this is a game you should at least give a try. You can unlock new champions, airships, and abilities as you go. It seems like everything can be unlocked with in-game cash, which is a good thing for those wanting to save some lunch money. The graphics and setting are one reason alone to check it out. You can zoom in on the fights and battles and see the cool animations (picture example located above… can I get an applaud? … …no? Fine, be that way…)

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Gameview: WildStar (Beta)

Hello everyone!

This week my game of choice is WildStar, a science fiction fantasy MMO from Carbine Studios. The game is currently in Open Beta, and even though it is in Beta, it seems pretty polished.

The first impression most people might get from WildStar is that it seems kind of like World Of Warcraft… ok, a lot like World Of Warcraft. And, truth be told, the graphics and questing really do make it feel like an expansion to WoW (Or Ratchet and Clank?). The rumors are that a lot of ex Blizzard employees have taken up jobs at Carbine. That would definitely explain a lot. Putting comparisons aside, the game actually has a lot of its own personality. Once you get into it and actually start playing, you realize that the game is really just it’s own. The graphics and characters are definitely likeable, and I actually found myself paying attention to the storyline. There is a lot of lore to collect in the game as well. The character creation offers a lot of options, sliders, and varies from race to race. This is another one of those games that furry lovers will like. There are a lot of options to play characters with ears, tails, and… robot parts?

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The first thing I want to mention is the User Interface. It is really intuitive and good looking. It’s pretty easy to find what you’re looking for, and the menus are easy to navigate. The quest tracker could use a little work, but it gets the job done. Speaking of quests. Do you know that annoying feeling of running back and forth to turn in quests. You run all the way across the map to kill something or talk to someone, and then find out you have to run all the way back to turn it in. This is time consuming and frustrating. Well you won’t be doing much of that in WildStar. You can use your Holocall to accept and turn in (most) quests remotely, which is basically like a high tech cell phone to communicate with the NPCs. I actually squealed in delight when I saw this feature come into use.

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The world of WildStar truly feels alive. The environment is filled with moving plants and animals, and a lot of stuff is interact-able. There are natural hazards, and places to jump up to. Sometimes you even get the ability to have enhanced jumping, which allows you to reach heights you wouldn’t normally be able to reach and discover new things. The NPCs interact with each other, and have their own conversations. With the default settings, I noticed it was hard for me to even tell the NPCs and players apart, considering that there are no names above the players heads. The game also does a good job of making you feel like you have a reason to be there. I originally chose the Path called Settler, and it allowed me to collect resources and build helpful items for players. It also allowed me to fix broken things throughout the cities and towns, and make the area look more like home. It made me feel useful and needed. There are a lot of things that only certain paths can do, and interact with.

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I haven’t gotten very far into the game yet, but I wanted to give my first impressions. So far the questing feels pretty much the same as most other games. There are some interesting quests that involve jumping puzzles and such, but that’s about it. And the Use of remote quests pickups and turn-ins is a pretty cool addition. I’m liking the characters, classes, battle system, and personality of the game. Depending on which side you choose, the storyline of the game is actually a bit different. I’m looking forward to checking out the housing, and the battle arenas. The player housing is a big selling point for the game, and from what I’ve seen, you get a pretty nice piece of land to build on. I might just have to post an update on this game in the near future. I highly encourage you to take advantage of the open beta that ends on the 18th!

Until next time!

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