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PC Reviews

Prismata Review-In-Progress

In 2014, Lunarch Studios launched a Kickstarter campaign which would inevitably raise $140,000.00 for a title known as Prismata – a hybrid game which meshes Deck Building and Turn Based Strategy. Now, with a combined eight years of development time, Prismata has been released (sort of) on Early Access. And while I readily admit that Prismata is one of those games that I honestly knew very little about prior to playing it for the first time (which is something of a shocker as it blends two of my favorite genres), the result may not have been entirely worth the wait. At least, not in the current state that it is in.

Prismata’s Campaign consists of five chapters, with the difficulty of each ramping-up considerable post Chapter One. The first chapter is essentially a two-hour tutorial, teaching you the ins-and-outs of the game’s mechanics. Normally, I object to such a prolonged level of hand-holding, but the systems at play here are surprisingly deep, and a touch more nuanced than I had anticipated. To put thing simply you are, more or less, base building…but with cards. Units you…build, produce resources. Resources are in-turn used to (you guessed it) build more units. The aforementioned strategy however begins once the game begins to open up and leaves everything up for the player to decide.  Would it be best to hoard a metric ton worth of gold and pray that the enemy doesn’t go ham on all-out attack? Do you play on the  defensive side while slowly building up an offensive force? The more you play the more strategies and options begin to present themselves. And is that particular aspect – ‘the how should I approach this’ scenarios, which is Prismata’s most brilliant component.

Six hours or so into the campaign left me feeling that I was ready for something more, that what I had only been playing a primer for the real challenge. Again, not to say that the campaign isn’t difficult (Chapter 2 will destroy any sense of confidence you may have after completing the lengthy tutorial that is Chapter 1), but the campaign is hardly the main attraction here.  Sure it does have a neat sci-fi aesthetic going on but the dialog is text only. And more often than not I found myself mashing the space-bar to get through the drivel and get to the action. Fortunately, there is so much more to explore than just the campaign.

The Combat Training Mode offers you the chance to adjust your strategy to solve puzzles. PVP Mode allows you to test your mantel against players from all over the world. But while these modes are fun to dive right into (if only to get away from the campaign) Prismata’s Events are true star of the show, that is…when the damn thing works. Unfortunately, I encountered far too many hard crashes and even simple disconnection issues once I ventured away from the single-player campaign. That being said, PVP Mode and Events (again, when it actually works) are a whole of fun, and are most likely what will keep players engaged as the game is fine tuned throughout Early Access.

I would also like to mention that if you have a touch screen PC or Laptop, play it that way. Using the mouse just feels a little clunky, but the swiping and tapping of the screens feels natural and intuitive. It makes me wonder how a game like this might fare on mobile platforms.

Overall, Prismata is shaping up to be a worthy contender in the card strategy genre. The only thing that is really holding it back is a bit of polish. As a title in Early Access I understand that the developers are going to take all that constructive community feedback and build on what I think is a winning concept. I look forward to the improvements and digging even deeper into some PVP and Events as the player base expands.

Note: Review code for Prismata provided to Proven Gamer courtesy of publisher/developer Lunarch Studios, prior to its Early Access release.

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Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Reviews Sony X-Box One

Siegecraft Commander Review

Siegecraft Commander is a neat little RTS that blends tower defense, turn based strategy and traditional RTS systems that are easy to use and understand whether you are a strategy veteran, or if this is your first time with the genre. At first glance this medieval inspired cartoon world seemed like it would be filled with factions of creatures and humans alike but in reality there are only two races of playable characters. There are the humans, which are broken down between the Peons and the Knights, and the Lizard men, which are separated into a warrior class and a sorcerer class with nothing really special about either one. Although it does not take long to learn the mechanics of the game, I found that once you get started there isn’t anything really compelling about the game or the factions you are playing with and against.

For starters you can chose between two different campaigns. The Knight campaign where you battle the Lizard men, or the Lizard men where you battle more Lizard men. The game is bright and colorful, but there isn’t much of a distinction between the characters other than the humans are blue and the Lizard men are orange, but when you play against other Lizard men you can’t really tell which of the infantry are yours. The environments do not really offer much to look at either. Overall bland settings with small changes in size and scope.

Mechanically the game is actually pretty strong. As one who doesn’t normally play strategy games this one was very easy to start and understand. As each level or match begins you have your starting structure called your keep. From there you can build either an outpost, a garrison, a library or in the case of the Lizard men similar structures just with different names. Ultimately you will find yourself building outpost after outpost because Siegecraft does something I think is pretty unique (or at least I have never seen it before) where the game has you launch a cannonball that spawns your structure if and when it lands on a flat surface. As you erect your outpost a wall instantly raises up connecting you to your structure making your Keep the heart of what will almost become a hive. In fact everything you build stays connected to the structure you launch it from. This makes expanding somewhat difficult because you are limited on where you can build by whether or not the land is suitable. Once you start growing your outposts if you double back and try to build off of an old outpost you may or may not have room leading to the player having to think about where and how they want to progress so they have the space to do so.

Once you are in battle things get a little tricky because if the enemy destroys an outpost that you have built multiple structures off they will all explode! This forces the player to be more strategic on how he or she builds, where he or she builds, and where the player attacks from. As I progressed through the game and built new structures, fired off new weapons and progressed through the campaigns I found that the controls left me down the farther I went. This game would greatly benefit from using a mouse and keyboard rather than the Dual shock 4, but since I reviewed the game on a console, I found that my frustration began to outweigh the fun factor. For example the feeling of progression would come to a screeching hault once enemy AI would begin to build their outposts and arsenal in almost spider mine like fashion and attack me from both sides. At times I felt outpaced almost two to one when it came to building up my forces against the AI. This continued to the point of me shutting down the game for extended breaks because I simply got tired of fumbling through the map and getting defeated while feeling like if I could just navigate a little faster this wouldn’t happen.

Overall Siegecraft Commander falls flat even though it has some strong game mechanics. With an empty world, and baron story and a control system that feels a little sluggish this game doesn’t resonate with me as a player. Although I do believe there is something good here it failed to connect with me and keep me engaged. Playing against another player locally was much more fun in my opinion than either side of the two campaign options. PVP coupled with the option to move in real time or turn based was much more fun than battling the AI that felt faster and seemed as if it moved much more fluid than I could.

Reviewed on PS4

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PC News Playstation 4 News

Sony President, Shuhei Yoshida, Blames Hello Game’s PR Strategy for Backlash of No Man’s Sky

Hello Games and Sean Murray, the creators behind the infamous No Man’s Sky, have gone silent since it’s release back in early August, however that silence has finally been broken by none other than Sony Worldwide Studios’ president Shuhei Yoshida who gives his reason as to why he thinks the game received so much backlash.

In an interview with Eurogamer at Tokyo Game Show, Yoshida stated “I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one.

“It wasn’t a great PR strategy, because he didn’t have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer. But he says their plan is to continue to develop No Man’s Sky features and such, and I’m looking forward to continuing to play the game.”

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To everyone’s surprise upon the games initial release, many of features director Sean Murray promised were going to be in the game were seemingly MIA.  The internet went viral with videos of fan reactions and critics alike debunking the features that Sean Murray went on record to announce such as multiplayer and the ability to join alien factions to war with other factions.  However, Yoshida claims he “really enjoyed the game” and points to it future growth as a reason to stay excited:

“Sean Murray says their plan is to continue to develop No Man’s Sky features and such, and I’m looking forward to continuing to play the game.”

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Many other features promised in the game such as the ability to own (and name) freighter-type ships as well as base building did not make it into the launch of the game, so it’ll be interesting to see if these items are patched into the game at a later date since most of the games’ recent patches have focused entirely on major bugs that resulted in multiple crashes on PS4 and rendering the PC version almost unplayable.  Although no word yet as to when the next content will arrive, a recent update on the No Man’s Sky website promised “future free updates which will improve, expand, and build the No Man’s Sky universe.”