Thursday, 26 December 2013

Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a Card Game announced earlier this year and i remember signing up for the closed BETA almost instantly. However so much time had passed that i had even forgotten about it, untill my friend got in and wouldn't shut up about it. Last week i finalyl got my invite and i kid you not, i am online whenever i have a few minutes to spare.
The game functinos like most card games but comes with 9 different classes each equiiped with unique cards that you must unlock, earn or craft. There are a set of neutral cards accessible to all champions that then complete your deck of 30 cards. The game lets you set up multiplate custome decks for each champion to suite different playing styles. The game's main currency is coins which you earn by doing daily quests or by winning games, you get 10 per 3 wins.

To start off you get into the tutorial and then hone your skills in practice mode against regular or expert level AI. But the real fun comes in Ranked and Arena matches. Ranked as the name suggests is where you really test your mettle against other competitive players around the world. Winning gets you starts which in turn count towards your rank and losing subsequently costs you stars. You also get a bonus star for maintaing win streaks. The Arena is quite a brilliant concept actually. Players are charged 150 coins for each Arena run and are then made to choose from 3 random champions and 30 sets of 3 cards to make a 'fresh' deck which they will then use for that Arena playthrough. Winning matches in the Arena counts towards the final reward you receive which obviously scales with your success. However should you lose 3 games over the course of 1 Arena run, it will end.

What I really love about Hearthstone is that even after the 9 champion selection it offers it caters to various different playing styles within each class. Its truly amazing how many different types of players you run into. Some good, Some great and some downright stupid; I love it. Every game is so unpredicatable and exciting its hard to put down in words. Imagine being in a winning positiong, all set to end the game in 1 turn when suddenly the opponent sends out a legendary card to wipe out everything on the board, or freezes your minions for 2 continous turns to change the tide in his favour. This might just be the Best card game till date. Though I feel it could really benefit with some simple and some not so simple additions.

 Right off the bat I'd say it needs a leaderboard. Wins, Win Ratio, Wins with Each Champion, Winstreak and so on. Something to help players compare their achievements with their friends and the community. Another thing I think they could really benefit from is a spectate mode. I always want to learn by meeting and studying new players. However there's only so much you learn when you are at the receiving end of a good whipping. One Major addition which I am really hoping for is more champions within each class. The current set of 9 champions represent 9 different broad classes, but i feel there's room to play around within those classes with the addition of more champions. Though I only see this happening as a purchase only feature as this is a F2P game, hence the uber slow but steady in game income.

I am glad its going into Open BETA soon, most of the JAGS crew are waiting to get in on the action, but the end result will almost always be Parth giving someone a thrashing.

Monday, 16 December 2013

PlayStation Plus, Possibly The Best Thing Ever!

I was particularly late to the PlayStation party having bought my console only a day prior to the launch of The Last Of Us. Much like how Halo 3 was the reason I bought the 360 I picked up my PS3 just for TLOU. However once I got my console the first thing I did was pick up PSN Plus, because it's that damn good.

PlayStation Plus is probably the best thing about that console mainly because you get your money's worth and then some. Free games throughout the year for both your sonsole and the Vita all for 60 $ approximately is a dream come true for any gamer. Expecially parents who may feel the pinch buying their kids agmes each month. Though I find it extremely odd that in India, despite the fact that there are large number of PlayStation 3 owners only a fraction of those have PlayStation Plus. This is probably due to the fact that Indian parents aren't as conformatable using their credit card online, which ahs also seen the phenomenal success of the Cash on Delivery retail model. Sony's failed attempts at introducing PlayStaion Wallet Money cards and PSN Plus Subscription cards has also contributed to this. Its unbelievable really, that people defend the PS3 will all their might and yet have no idea about what is wuite possibly its best feature. The latest update brings the ever so popular Borderlands 2 (Hell yeah) and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, both popular titles from a little over a year ago.

Microsoft recently launched their Games with Gold program which mimics the PSN Plus instant games collection by giving Gold Xbox Live members a new free game ever two week. However while the program is a step in the right direction it has a long way to go as Microsoft seems willing to shell out only 5 year old titles or fringe Xbox Live Arcade titles. Given the fact that Halo 3 and Assassins Creed 2 are classics, I would apreciate something a little more recent. Microsoft you are certainly better than this.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Lovely Planet : Keep An Eye Out For This One

Over the years I've gotten to know quite a few indie developers and have played quite a few indie titles from all over the world. However Lovely Planet is different. Maybe its because I've seen it take shape over the last year or the fact that I know Qucikteuquila better than most, either way it will probably blow you away. Don't believe me? Well Kotaku agrees its worth checking out!

Now at first it might seem a simple amateurish take on shooters but under the surface you will find a hardcore old school game that is not for the faint at heart. Lovely Planet is set in a beautiful and elegant world which will probably send shivers down your spine. The teaser trailer from some time ago gives a glimpse of an eerie world where you will test your skills. Now I don't really know how or if they have implemented a story as yet but the game does flow from one 'world' to another and each has some distinct gameplay traits. The gameplay reveal below shows off just a bit of what the game can do. No reticle, no instructions, insta-death and speed runs. I play tested an earlier build of the game and got a taste of the action and I must say it pushed me to the limit. Now I take pride in calling myself a competitive gamer (Yes, Shooters) but this game is a whole new level. No instructions, no directions, no tutorials. You learn by doing. Make a mistake you die, its as simple as that. I spent hours on those few levels I got my hands on just trying to get the most 'stars' (again for which there are no instructions). It encourages you to think, to be alert and to try different things. But make no mistake, this game is not for everyone. If you don't give it everything it will break you. As of now the game is in the final stages of development and won't be out before early 2014, but you can be sure it will make some waves when it does eventually release.