Sunday, 9 September 2012

PC: Under the Ocean

Hey there you sexy gaming guys and gals from around the googlenet! I would like to take a second to quickly apologise for the lack of, well, anything recently. I've just been starting college and sorting out bursaries and killing undead hordes and trying to catch 'em all. You all know how it is. Apologies out of the way, time for the game of the hour! Being developed by a couple of lads from the land down under, Under the Ocean is a sandbox, survival sidescroller which is still in early alpha stages of development.

Under the Ocean puts you in the shoes of, what appears to be, the lone survivor of a shipwreck involving rocks or a reef or some other ship hating object. Upon starting a new game, you make your way ashore, along with wreckage and contents of the, now rather broken, boat that's still visible out in the background. You will immediately notice you are a rather fragile bugger, having to take account of being cold, wet, thirsty and hungry. Your first port of call is to salvage what you can from the shore and then get shelter from the rain and sea. To get some heat and dry off, you can find some dried palm leaves in a sheltered area and if you stumble across flint you can light a fire and add more leaves or wooden box parts and what not to keep the fire going. Collecting some rain water in a container, like a shell, can then sate your thirst for the night.

What you'll see upon coming ashore. Note the bars at the bottom right "Thirsty" "Chilly" and "Wet".
So now you've established that you're the blue Bear Grylls (yeah, you're blue so what, wanna fight about it?) you can start exploring the rest of the island. You'll find caves, waterfalls, wildlife and more on your travels. Some things can be used to your advantage, like using certain plants as makeshift bandages and making a fur cloak from a hunted animal to give some protection from the elements. On the flip-side of course, boars can be lethal if not taken care of with caution and falling down a deep cave system is never going to go well. Your environment will giveth one minute and taketh away the next.

Once you look past the dangers though, you find yourself in a gorgeous game. Everything looks rather lovely and even though you'll be slowly dying due to contracting hypothermia, you have to appreciate the sea, sky, caves, waterfalls and everything else in the environment around you (I'm not high just now, honest). Then there's the music by Chris Geenhan. The peaceful tunes will almost make you forget you're fighting for your very survival. Now don't misunderstand, the music doesn't break the mood of the game. Rather, it frames the game in a different light. It gives the player a sense of curiosity and the urge to explore this mysterious, unknown island, to drive forward as opposed to just staying in the first bit of shelter you can find. Of course I may just be over analysing it but it without a doubt provides a great backing to the game.

Here we can see the crafting of a spear and a lovely, if oversized, campfire.
The game features, what I think anyway, is a surprisingly unique crafting system. Now I say surprisingly because it is not complicated and I would  have thought another game would have done it. Essentially when you right-click on an object it is brought up into the middle of your screen and you can drag certain objects onto it to form new items and tools. For example taking a long stick and attaching a pointed stone at one end will make a spear that you can use to hunt with. You can develop this further by taking a firecracker, placing a piece of flint on the fuse to light it, then moving the firecracker into the middle of your spear to give it the power to take out a pesky boar. You may be reading this and thinking "but Minecraft involves putting blocks where they would actually go on the object" and though that's true, it is done in the confines of 3x3 (or 2x2 of course) squares whereas in Under The Ocean the crafting feels more free form, moving objects around the screen freely, out of the confines of small boxes. One of my personal favourite parts of the crafting system I've seen so far, gruesome as this may sound, is taking apart a hunted animal. When you've killed any animal right-click it and you can separate the hide, head, bones, meat and various other bits. Though a lot of it does not yet, you can tell that the crafting possibilities of a single animal are great.

The developers are hoping to cultivate a strong modding community for the game, meaning one of the priorities for the future is of course modding tools. Also on that list is the ability to make houses, which is due in the next release of the game. Plans have also been made to introduce procedurally generated levels, multiplayer and more of a story element to the game. Mixing this with mods means this could well shape up to be a game with a hell of a lot to offer upon and well after release.

In a cave system (obviously). That little bug can be used to light dark areas and that white plant can bandage wounds.
Currently UTO has quite a small community, although it is really growing, particularly due to a certain YouTube based Indie game reviewer doing a piece on it that increased the game's forum community from about 20 active users to well over a hundred. So do you want to be in that community? Well head over to and sign up! You'll have access to the general forums straight off. If you decide you want the game head over to and you can pay $7 for the Silver Bear edition which means you will own the game upon release and will have only paid half price as well as giving you access to the alpha builds. If you're feeling generous you can pay $25 for the Golden Bear edition. This will give greater support to the game as well as get you a copy of the soundtrack, get your name in the credits and you'll get a thank you letter from one of the devs upon release! Purchasing either version will also give you access to the private part of the forum where the developers pay extra attention to suggestions and opinions as well as it being the source for alpha builds. The developers also have a livestream of the development over at TwitchTV. The details of which can be found on the site.

That about rounds it up for UTO. As always any questions or points you want to make leave a comment below or tweet me @birnyb . Until next time you desert island survivors, enjoy your gaming!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

PC: Mount & Blade Warband

Welcome back, the Ranting Scot here with another indie review. This time we've got a number by Taleworlds. A bit bigger than anything I've reviewed so far, Warband is a sandbox RPG. The second in the series of Mount & Blade games but considered to be the most successful of the three, Warband was released in 2010 making it the oldest of my reviewed games so far.

Warband drops you in the fictional, war-ridden realm of Calradia in search of a new life. You make a character by selecting your father's profession, how you spent your childhood and then what your first profession was. You then get to allocate several points throughout your bog standard RPG attributes like strength, dexterity, intelligence and the rest. You then get skill points which are aimed helping you do everything from firing arrows from a horse more accurately to holding prisoners to building town improvements faster and cheaper. Finally you allocate weapon proficiency points which cover all your standard medieval weapons like one-handed weapons, polearms, bows, throwing weapons and more. Once your character has been made, you choose a starting city which will be the capital of one of the six factions of Calradia. Wherever you choose, you will be ambushed in the town streets by a robber. This is really a rather suiting welcome to the bloodthirsty land of Calradia. There is almost guaranteed to be a war going on somewhere, not to mention the roving bands of bandits and looters that prey on the weak.

Very well equipped fellow at the edge of a village

Now you start to find your way in the world. To begin with you'll want to gather some men from the surrounding villages. They may not look like much but they're cheap and they will improve with time and battle experience. Going after groups of looters is the easiest target at this early stage. So long as you stay on your horse, wiping out a load of these guys single-handed won't be particularly challenging with a bit of practice. The first few levels will come and go pretty quick. You can make a bit of money by selling the equipment you take from the looters and by selling any men you take as prisoners. When you've gotten a hang of slashing, stabbing and clubbing your enemies you can look into other avenues of work. You can go to lords and ask if they have any jobs going. Be careful what you agree to do though, courier work is simple enough but a lord at war may ask you to try and rescue someone from an enemy castle. Early on, you cannot do it. I mean you can try, but you will be slaughtered and you'll end up joining the guy you're trying to rescue. Work can also be found with the leaders of town guilds and village elders. The village elder jobs will tend to be easy enough if you're willing to spend time on it. Leaders of guilds will have tougher jobs but they also tend give greater monetary gain. Of course making villages happy will also improve your results when recruiting men so keep that in mind.

So you have a bit of money behind you, some battle-hardened men at your back and some half decent equipment. Nothing will be set in stone but at this point I tend to decide whether I want to stick to keeping to myself or take up a faction's flag. If you want to stay solo, you will be best continuing doing jobs for various people and taking on tougher bandits such as the hammer wielding mountain bandits or the massed bows of forest bandits. If you would rather something a bit less, wholesome, you could of course take on a few acts of banditry yourself. One of the easiest ways to do this is to lie in wait between a large town and village. Groups of villagers go back and forth with goods and make easy targets but you have to have quick reflexes as groups of villagers move across the map like they're on caffeine. Remember, such an act may upset the local lord somewhat. If you keep building up strength, you may just become powerful enough to take down a poorly defended fort. Your best bet is one that has recently been taken over. If you capture it, you have a base to begin conquering those around you. A self-appointed king is not a popular one especially when the six existing ones have enough trouble between each other as it is. Be ready for an onslaught from just about everyone and pray they're too busy killing each other to try hitting you.

Swadians are the guys to be for heavy cavalry

For those who want to join a faction, ask around the lords of your chosen faction for jobs once you have a bit of a name for yourself. Sooner or later one will ask you if you want a mercenary contract. If you accept you will get money from the faction every payday and though it won't cover the entire cost of your band of troops, it will dramatically reduce what you have to pay them. Not only that but you will be asked to help in campaigns and if you join in on a lord's battle and you win, you can get a share of battlefield salvage well beyond what you could get yourself. You must stick to your contract for several months and if all goes well you can choose to extend it month by month if you wish. If you perform particularly well and help out the faction in it's campaigns you may be able to become a vassal for the faction leader. This makes you a lord and as such you will be given a village of your own. This will earn you a fair bit of money in taxes. The village can undergo various improvements which will improve efficiency, make it easier to defend or even give yourself somewhere to rest. Frankly this path is easier than going solo. Even those that want to go solo may want to start off helping a faction to get them started on the road to conquering Calradia for themselves. With dedication it can be done, becoming the overall leader of Calradia is the primary goal for many players but it takes a lot of time and work.. If you spend time in a faction as a vassal you also gain points towards "right to rule" which basically means the other factions won't be so furious if you start your own nation. At least until you start infringing on their territory, then they may get a bit irate.

This is but a taste of what the game has to offer. I haven't even touched on sieges, raiding villages for valuable goods, hiring companions who can serve on the battlefield and later may even become your vassals. The choice and freedom of the game is truly staggering and I wish more games would follow the lead of this one when they claim to be sandbox. For those looking for an instant battle, there is a custom game mode where you select a faction, a pre-made character, how many troops you want to be on each side and how the numbers of troops should be allocated between archers, cavalry and infantry. Then it's a single click and you're into the game in seconds. These battles can be a straight up fight or can be a siege with you being the attacker or defender. The game also has multiplayer and is capable of hosting games with 200 players. The usual game modes are catered for here. Each player chooses between two factions and then picks a customisable class of either cavalry, archer or infantry like the troops in a custom battle. As the game progresses the player will gain gold based on their performance which can be distributed on their equipment. This gold is per round only meaning no player joins a game in full plate armour and mounted on a war horse, they have to earn it every game.

Just this year a DLC was released for Warband called Napoleonic Wars. As you can guess this gives the game an early 19th century setting but unlike the base game is multiplayer only. This was created by Flying Squirrel Entertainment based on their mod Mount & Musket. This brings me perfectly onto the modding community of Warband. In short, it is big. There are mods of all sorts on the go and in development. WW1, American wars for independence, the Roman empire are all covered by mods and much much more. The fact that Taleworlds picked up on the popularity of Mount & Musket and allowed the developers to turn it into a full DLC shows how in tune with the community Taleworlds are and this can only be a good thing. Napoleonic Wars has many regiments (other games would call it clans or guilds) where players get a rank, position and can take part in training sessions as well as organised events such as linebattles and a zombie game mode. Add in artillery and over 200 new unique units and you have a pretty amazing addition to the already fun multiplayer experience.

Multiplayer linebattle on Napoleonic Wars ends in a charge between Prussian line infantry and French grenadiers

The main gripe people hold against Warband are the graphics. Particularly on the world map, it's not exactly Crysis. It should, however, be remembered that this game is now two years old and, though popular, is an indie game. What you should also bear in mind is that once you get into a battle and are up to your waist in dead castle defenders, the odds are you're not looking into how detailed your bloodied claymore is. One tip I would give to anyone playing this game is, make a character and really stick to it for a while. I know myself I am guilty of making a character, getting so far, then coming up with an idea for another character. Doing this, I never get properly immersed in the game as I end up starting again. This can cause the game to seem repetitive. Resist the urge!

 To sum up, Warband offers you the chance to make a life in a medieval realm filled with war and politics. It may not be what you would describe as eye candy but gameplay more than makes up for this. A strong modding community and DLC offers more variation for an already deep game. If you like the sound of Warband have a look at the Taleworlds site where you can get information on weapons and the factions. You'll also find a trial download for Warband there. If you do decide to get the game, I would recommend keeping an eye out for steam sales where you can pick up all three games in the series very cheap. If you're feeling impatient however you can pick up the game now for £14.99 on Steam and Napoleonic Wars is currently £7.99. All three games as well as Napoleonic wars can be purchased for £29.99. The games can also be purchased directly from the Taleworlds site for a bit more but this would also mean you are directly supporting the devs as well as the creation of Mount & Blade 2.

Thanks for reading guys as always hit me up with your feedback in the comments or on Twitter at @birnyb . Until next time you castle conquering, peasant bullier's enjoy your gaming!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Xbox 360: CastleMiner Z

Howdy assorted gamers! As you can see, I've mixed stuff up today and gone for a 360 indie game just to keep y'all on your toes as well as added images for the first time *exciting!*. CastleMiner Z is a game many of you may well have happened upon on the Marketplace and ignored due to it being one of the many Minecraft clones to appear over the past year or so. Why I came to trying it I'm not sure. I can only assume the fact that it puts more emphasis on the mobs as opposed to building or mining, though they are of course still in there. CastleMiner Z is developed by Digital DNA Games which is the most successful XBLIG developer around and is responsible for titles like Avatar Paintball and more recently Avatar Laser Wars 2. They have even managed to shift over a million units of CMZ! Pretty impressive for a LIVE indie game if you ask me.

AK to the head for this skeleton, the first underground enemy you'll encounter

So is this worth giving a second look? I would say yes, at very least a download of the trial is in order. I love Minecraft and enjoy it more and more with every update but sometimes I kind of want something similar but with a different spin on it. That is where CastleMiner Z came in. While trawling through the ever harder to navigate Xbox Marketplace, (seriously don't get me started) I found my way into the indie section and this was the top title, which immediately made me realise it couldn't just be a plain old MC clone. I felt a download was in order and once I got myself playing the trial, I was sold. 

What is so great about CMZ you may ask your self. Well I suppose firstly I would say the graphics are pretty damn good for an Xbox indie title. If you give it a go yourself you will see what I mean with the shiny blocks and the properly shaped enemies and the GLOIVIN. It was nice to be in a world where enemies weren't made up of blocks (not that I don't appreciate the charm of MC) and I strangely really liked the idea of playing as my avatar. This probably sounds a bit childish (or part of a Microsoft E3 conference) but I really like going into a random multiplayer game with my own unique avatar. Oh and guns, this game has guns and I like guns, they're very useful and come in the shape of handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, rifles, SMGs even a rocket launcher is on the horizon.

Here we have your standard zombie enemies and one of the dreaded dragons in the background

Weapons are all well and good, but I should probably mention what you are actually pointing them at. As you can likely guess from the game's title, the base enemy in this game are zombies. They roam around on the surface and appear in worryingly large numbers at night or when you get quite far from the starting position. Like a lot of more retro games, zombies come in various colours based on difficulty. This helps you identify how dangerous they will be, not that you are usually left much time to be tactical once you've spotted them. Your other enemy on the surface are dragons. These guys are frankly assholes especially early on. They can launch flaming explosive balls of death destroying the landscape around you or use frozen projectiles to turn everything to ice and other variations exist that I haven't fought yet. The loot from these guys, of course, is pretty good. As you would probably expect, dangers lurk underground as well. Firstly are skeletons. To begin with, they are not very dangerous, but as you get deeper they start getting bigger and tend to gain big swords which they attempt to cave your head in with. Though I haven't personally seen them, I know for a fact that deeper in the world are demons.God help anyone who does find them.

I haven't made much mention to the crafting system in the game so far. The reason for this is there's not a great deal to talk about. There are no specific areas or tools needed, you simply take the resources you need and put them together in your inventory screen. Ores are refined simply by mixing them with coal and combining the resulting ingots with planks allows you to make tools, guns and (minus the planks) bullets. There are also other odds and ends you can create like walls of metal, torches, crates, doors, lanterns you know, the usual stuff.

Close up of a dragon and a good view of the spawn point in the background

There are currently four game modes on offer in CMZ. Firstly we have your standard survival mode. This is basically just free mode where you do whatever you like while fighting back enemies I mentioned earlier. Next there is endurance mode. Here your goal is to see just how far away from the spawn point you can get. Just to keep things interesting, every few thousand metres will find youself in a new biome like the desert, jungle, mountains, hell and there is even an alien one coming in the next update. The next mode is dragon endurance which has to be unlocked by killing an undead dragon in endurance. No prizes for guessing what this mode entails but let's put it this way, have you seen the film Reign of Fire? Finally there is creative mode that lets you build to your heart's content (without hordes of the undead trying to devour you). To unlock it you have to own the original CastleMiner so I haven't been able to give that a spin.

All in all this a fun game that deserves at least trial. For those who, like me, want something a bit different to the Minecraft experience, look no further. For anyone who is curious as to the price of this little gem, a purchase will set you back a hefty 80 Microsoft Points! No seriously, that's it. Don't forget this game is still getting content updates with 1.5 coming soon, adding the alien biome and other fantastical goodies, not to mention increasing multiplayer game sizes and improving general performance. Definite value for money here.

As always, dragon hunting miners, please send me your feedback or questions either in the comments or send it on to me over Twitter at @birnyb. Until next time enjoy your gaming folks!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

PC: Towns

Hello guys, it's review time again! Just as a quick update before we begin. I have reached the decision that for the time being I'm going to stick with indie games. This is mostly to do with providing more unique reviews for you guys. Let's face it if I try and give my view on the latest COD before anyone has any idea who I am, I'll be drowned by the likes of IGN and Gamespot before I know where I am. This won't always be the case but at least until I'm sure people are reading this blog I'm going to be doing mostly indie games. Now without further ado here is today's subject matter: Towns. Like PZ, Towns is still in development and currently in Alpha.

Towns is, I suppose, a bit like Dwarf Fortress. You start with a handful of villagers, citizens, settlers, whatever you want to call them (I'm going to stick with peeps for now) and you try to keep them alive while developing a town or castle or whatever takes your fancy really. This means you have to keep your ever-growing population fed (easier said than done especially when you play for the first time) and having to keep back evil hordes of nasty beasties constantly trying to nibble on your tasty peep's faces. For any brave souls willing to try the game bare in mind the motto on the game's website is "Build, Explore, Die Prematurely" and you better believe you will, many, many times.

Usually your first act is to gather a lot of wood from around about as well as forage fruits from trees and bushes from nearby, like apples and pears. Wood is going to be your staple building material in the early stages of a game and until you can start cooking foodstuffs like meat, fruit is an excellent food source for the peeps. You should also be setting up a carpentry area and make a carpentry bench so you can make things from walls and furniture to tools with your newly collected wood. Towns is not your everyday select a unit and tell them to go where you right-click, you'll find yourself setting out a number of tasks and your peeps will set out to fulfil your requests and will do them in an order depending on the type of job they are being asked to do. The order tasks are done can be set by you to fit your own preferences and to make sure the most urgent matters are attended to first. For example, in a food shortage you want to prioritise foraging as opposed to mining.

The mention of mining also brings me onto one of the main features of the game. The area you're building on is basically above a dungeon filled with more than ores. Most of the kinds of critters I mentioned earlier that want your peeps for dinner reside there. Yeah apparently your forward planning for this settlement wasn't very good. In fact the only thing you have to worry about on the surface are a race known as the froggies that live in the jungle and have a tendency to try and spear people who get near. Thankfully they are pretty weak and even without basic weapons and armour your peeps should come out on top at least in one on one fighting.

Underground however you'll face much more difficult creatures that will mess up your defenceless peeps unless you take action. What action might that be you ask? Well there are three main steps in defending your home. First you can assign peeps to be soldiers which means as opposed to gathering or crafting or the like they will either go on patrol routes you set or supervise your peeps to make them go faster. Like your other peeps these guys can be equipped with armour and weapons and of course you're going to want to prioritise the good equipment for these guys. I should mention that weapons and armour can be crafted in a forge or a carpenter area or equipment is often dropped by the various beings you will be fighting. Now we've talked about soldiers the next main step for defending against beasties are heroes. These are quite recent additions to Towns and there are new variations still in development. As you can likely guess these guys are more powerful than your average worker or soldier. To get heroes you have to make a tavern where the heroes will gather, eat, play dominoes and what not. Individual tavern rooms are also required and must be built separately for your heroes to move into and catch some shut eye after a busy day of clobbering giant spiders and the like. Also when compared to soldiers, these guys take up a more offensive stance by venturing into the dungeons as soon as they are open and getting down to business. Your third step involves employing traps. This is a brand spanking new feature that was added in an update today so I haven't tried them out particularly thoroughly but I would assume when placed strategically at the entrances of your mines and used in conjunction with soldiers and heroes you may just be able to keep your minions safe while they live out their lives of gathering, crafting, eating and sleeping in relative peace.

If I haven't already I want to make clear that this is not an easy game. You will lose and lose and lose again likely very early on. If however you keep plugging away you will learn from your mistakes and may just be able to live long enough to create a thriving town for your peeps. I have yet to be able to do it but I tend to meet my end due to food shortages. The way to prevent this is to establish your own orchards and animal farms so you have guaranteed sources of food because it is entirely possible to kill every animal and chop down any tree that will bear food and leave yourself with nothing if you're not careful.

One of the reasons I seem to struggle quite a bit with food is that at a certain point my peeps seem to just stop working. Or at least they will go to harvest either food or raw materials and not actually return them to the settlement. For example they take fruit off of trees then they just leave them lying as opposed to taking it back to the stockpile I had laid out. When this starts to happen everything just goes downhill because when they become hungry they have to travel across the map to reach the fruit that one of their fellows had so graciously left on the ground and this of course slows down everything to the point it is just a matter of time before I have no food or materials left because the workforce is travelling huge distances to find apples and pears lying around. Insanely frustrating. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the game or I'm doing something wrong and if anyone happens to have some idea do let me know.

Other than that however the game is fairly sound. There are no real bugs that I'm aware of and most things that could said to be missing such as quite a few animations are getting added in as the game is developed. All I would ask is for the game to be a bit more forgiving not only in terms of the workforce getting lazy in resource collection but also even with the tutorials the game can feel somewhat overwhelming. In the new update more possibilities were added in terms of how you make buildings like adding multiple floors but I had to struggle a fair bit to actually use the new system and even though I finally did manage to build a two floored building, the amount of wood I had to waste partly due to my mistakes and also due to some confusion that my peeps seemed to be having about how to get where they were meant to go left me starting a new game as it turned into such a mess.

Really though I can't stay mad at Towns. For a start I got it for pennies thanks to an indie bundle from the Mod DB Indie Royale but also as I keep reminding everyone the game is in alpha. By the time the game is actually released it will be much more polished and have a ton more features. This is at very least one to watch for those who are unsure. For those up to the challenge posed by Towns you can get to the website by clicking these magical grey words: and then head to the downloads page to grab the demo. I do recommend this game to those into city management, strategy games and it may even appeal to dungeon crawler fans providing you last long enough to reach them.

Again if you have any questions or comments about the review or Towns please leave a comment either here or on my Twitter: @birnyb . Until next time keep your eyes on those dungeons peeps.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

PC: Project Zomboid

Time for my first ranting review folks. First of all I probably should make clear that the game I'm talking about in this post, Project Zomboid, is still in Alpha stages so it is far from finished making this kind of a preview as opposed to a review. Project Zomboid is an isometric view, sandbox, survival, zombie RPG. Yeah that was a mouthful and probably didn't cover all that the game is. It is being created by an indie developer called Indie Stone. Kinda shot themselves in the foot if they become a fully fledged AAA company eh?

Right to the issue at hand. Project Zomboid or PZ for short, involves trying to survive in a zombie infested town (and surrounding countryside) called Knox County. As a unique spin on the usual zombie genre the game is not so much based around living out the apocalypse until you find a cure and rebuild society but rather trying to see how you die, in (just about) the devs' own words, you are playing the story of your death. The game is set up to make death an inevitability between ever growing roaming hordes of zombies to increasing difficulty in getting food and water and even having to compete with other survivors. Though I don't believe it has been implemented yet, as time goes on various events occur to enforce this further. For example the power plant for the county will, after several months, fail. This means fridges will no longer prolong the life of food and ovens and microwaves will no longer cook your raw food. Also factor in your character's fear, sanity and even boredom and you have yourself one a challenging yet quite realistic experience (yeah I know we're dealing with zombies so realistic is kind of loose here but bear with me). Other planned events include neighbouring areas to Knox County succumbing to the zombie infection, despite the quarantine, causing hordes to get bigger and more common and there are plans for military patrols to enter the town and you better believe they are not the hey man you're saved kind of military presence. Throw in crafting; possibility to either team up with, ignore or kill other survivors; some great atmospheric and thrilling music; looting and fortifying buildings and an already significant modding community this is a game to watch. I am particularly looking forward to the addition of multiplayer which will create the kind of experience that will be awesome with friends.

So a bit of my own experience actually playing the game. When you load up you get two options, either plain sandbox mode where you spawn somewhere random and see how long you can last and how epically you can die. Alternatively you can play a story. Currently there is only one story which serves as a tutorial, introducing the basics of how to play the game following the story of a man and his injured wife. This option is very open to mods and community created content. Just about every playthrough I have had so far usually plays out the same way, through my own choice not due to game limitations I can assure you. I find a flat above a shop or one of the houses in the suburbs and gather supplies from around the area before securing my cosy home with wooden planks. After stockpiling enough food to feed an army I start exploring a bit further afield for weapons and just general curiosity then returning home to snooze at night. It often gets to a stage I feel like Will Smith in I am Legend minus the loveable canine companion. In many cases, just as I get comfy one of the large hordes of travelling zombies stumbles upon my safehouse, tears down my doors and windows and leaves me using bedsheets to rappel out of my bedroom window and run off into the distance where I on average last about 10 minutes before receiving a bite which has something along the lines of 97% chance of causing infection. This may sound odd but the idea is to give the player a last hope of survival. Yes the devs are that cruel. Due to having to leave all my supplies at my home and now hotel for my rotting neighbours I am left tearing up the shirt on my back to create a bandage to prolong my inevitable death. In one of my playthroughs I found myself in such a situation and upon discovery of my infection I decided to go out with a bang. After making a molotov cocktail I began moving towards the town centre. It didn't take long before I was faced with one of the mighty flesh eating mobs. I grabbed my pistol knowing I likely had several hours before I succumbed to zombieism (yeah it's a word, kind of) and fired my only clip into the mass of shuffling undead. They soon reacted leaving me just enough time to grab my improvised firebomb. As my last act I threw it into the centre of the crowd, drew my nailed bat and ran in to glory and a highly agonising looking death. Upon death you are presented with how long you survived which will either be met with a feeling of pride or shame despite a healthy degree of luck being involved.

This is a frankly great game and I likely haven't touched on many of the features of this very in depth game and as I have mentioned several times the game is not complete and will have a lot more added by the time it is considered complete. Of course this does also mean that it has it's fair share of bugs although the severe game breaking ones are mostly removed before even test releases are made available for those who have pre-purchased the game. For those interested in the game pay a visit to the Project Zomboid website where a demo is available from the last stable build of the game. If that then appeals to you, the game can be picked up for the tiny sum of £4.99 on Desura or through Google Checkout and trust me with the potential time this game can kill it is a sound investment. The demo alone has replay value. Indie Stone also have plans to get PZ on Steam and are currently working on getting the latest build stable in order to do this. Now Indie Stone will be the first to tell you they have not had much luck during the development of this game so they could do with your support and remember like many indie devs they do need to eat occasionally. Have a look at the site here:

If you have any questions on PZ or would like to give your thoughts on my first post please comment I'd love your feedback guys. Until next time enjoy your gaming you zombie killing, apocalypse surviving bad-asses you.

Friday, 10 August 2012

In the Beginning!

Welcome to the grand opening of Ranting Scot Reviews! Now the odds anyone is reading this is reasonably slim but if you are allow me to explain what will hopefully be appearing on this blog. I am a gamer, I love games and have been burning aliens; taking over medieval Europe and overthrowing Hitler since I was tiny. My dream is to some wonderful day review games officially either online or with a magazine because one of the things I like almost as much as gaming itself, is to discuss games, the good, bad and ugly of what I'm playing. Even if this blog isn't read the odds are I'm going to keep putting material up because this is my passion so screw the haters :D. So why should you read this blog, what will set me apart from any other reviewer? Well I'll tell you in the form of a convenient list:
  • No bias, none, nada. This is a little blog, I'm not going to be getting any cash from devs to big up their game and no company name makes me giggle with excitement before I play their game so these views will be completely my own and based on the game not who makes it. Anyone who says different is entitled to have a large pointy boot inserted in their rear end.
  • I am prone to bursting out into furious rants on games and their features or lack of them as the case may be hence the blog name. Keeping my fingers crossed these are taken in the way they are intended as damn right hilarious not an irritating pain in the ass. If it is the latter let me know.
  • Leading on from the end of that last point I will take any feedback I get seriously. Though I have my doubts at how popular this is going to be at this point I want this blog to be a success and as such I want to know what you guys like or don't like about what I'm writing.
  • This isn't just about AAA games I love indie games and they will be appearing regularly on the page and I'll likely advise you what you can do to support the underfed and understaffed indie devs that struggle to put games on your laptops, desktops and consoles.
I've gone on a bit here about not much exciting so I'll stop in just a moment. If it turns out you like the crap I write feel free to tell your friends or your enemies for that matter. My first proper post should be up soon, until then enjoy your gaming folks.