7 Indie Games to Watch For from the Spring Festival 2020

Thanks to Geoff Keighley and Steam, everyone was able to play upwards of 40 indie games that were going to be featured at various canceled conventions this year. I went through the list, chose the ones that I was most interested in, and decided to play them and make a video. Here are my thoughts on the 7 I tried.
Please make sure to wishlist any of these games that interest you it will help the devs out considerably.
Also this is my first time ever doing a “list” type video really, with editing, and scripting! Please let me know how you all feel about this style of video, and if I should consider doing similar things in the future. Personally I think this came out alright, although I am clearly looking at my notes during the intro and outro bits (and would preferably avoid having my face on camera in the future lol)

18 Minutes of Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 Gameplay: My Thoughts & Observations

Hello everyone! With E3 2019 currently underway lots of new information about various games and upcoming releases is appearing, and IGN recently posted a video showing a little over 18 minutes of Pre Alpha (I wanna stress this, PRE ALPHA) game footage of the upcoming Urban Fantasy Action RPG Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines 2, which is a game I am super excited for. I mean, I am currently playing VTM Bloodlines 1 (Thanks to my Patreon Game Club members) over on Twitch and posting it to Youtube, so you can imagine how excited I am for this.

Now I wanted to share with you all my personal observations and thoughts based on this footage as this is the first time we have had any real look at how the game is shaping up.

First, lets link the IGN Video so you can watch it.

Alright. First and foremost I want to say that the visual presentation is stunning. The city shown here, which is Seattle, is dark moody and fitting. Everything looks nice and clean, and honestly while watching this footage I kept wishing I was in control so I could explore every nook and cranny shown here. Plus, there is verticality here! Unlike VTM Bloodlines 1, they show off the fact that you have the ability to spider climb up walls in this game, which means that you can possibly find hidden areas and alternative routes into places just by really exploring each area. That alone changes the game up dramatically from the first, and I am excited to see what they do with this.

Also the current UI looks pretty solid as well. The health bar over in the lower left was easy enough to understand, with aggrevated damage being marked it seemed by the yellowish bits. Plus the Blood Meter appears to be a bit easier to read as well, with dots showing exactly how much blood you have available. One issue I have in VTM Bloodlines 1 is telling exactly how much blood I have since its a bar, but every ability references spending Points. But the bar doesnt show Points its a bar. Having Dots showing exactly how many Blood Points I have to spend is a much better idea. The compass at the top is also simple to read. It also shows you the kind of zone you are in: Masquerade, Blindspot, and Blank (which I assume means all bets are off).

I am assuming that the Blindspots are where you can take action without being seen. Maybe use the Attract command I saw popping up (which I assume is used to entice people for feeding) and then lead them over to a Blindspot to have a little snack.

Now, for those who are unaware, the Masquerade is basically the rules Vampires live by, and one of those rules is dont let the humans know you exist. In a zone marked as Masquerade, you don’t want to use your Vampire abilities lest the Kine (ie the humans) realize they are not alone in this world. I did notice the player who was controlling the game use his climbing abilities AND fall from great heights with no issue, so I wonder if those just dont break the Masquerade, or if the NPCs never saw it, or if its just not implemented. I dunno bout the rest of ya but if I saw someone run up the side of a building I would be a bit confused / concerned.

The interiors looked great as well, visually. Also, I love that I can still dance in the clubs, and that the dancing is still dumb as hell. Vampires can’t dance I suppose.

When the player meets that female Vampire (And she is a vamp, you can see her fangs if you pay attention) I felt the animations for her face were a tiny bit stiff, but I kind of expect that from a smaller studio. We are not going to get Kojima / CD Projekt Red levels of quality here just because of budget and size. The dialog was great, plenty of choices given, and I saw some skill checks later (stuff like Coercion, Humanity, ect). Also the voice acting was actually really well done. Both the lady vamp, the Nosferatu, and Slug sounded great and I really happy with that.

Speaking of the Nosferatu….I am disappointed in how human he looked. He even had fancy ass clothes! The entire point of the Nosferatu line is that they DO NOT appear human, at all. Whatsoever. He does. He looks like someone with a skin condition, and given that my day job is working with Dermatology Medications FOR SKIN CONDITIONS I know what I am referring to here. I have seen more freaky and horrifying stuff just doing my day job then I saw from him. Slug, the apparently Nosferatu Thinblood you are sent after in this demo looked more inhuman then the fullblooded Nosferatu and this disappoints me. VTM Bloodlines 1 made them look correct if you ask me, with horrible mismatched teeth, bizarre eyes, weird bumps and contusions and all that jazz. In VTM Bloodlines 1 you would NEVER mistake a Nosferatu as a human. You could with that one.

Combat is still janky as hell though. This is a pre alpha so I am hoping that gets polished up but honestly, it looks about as well done as VTM Bloodlines 1, only in pure first person rather then First for ranged and 3rd for melee. Enemies didnt react much when struck, although they did have little voice clips that indicated their confusion as to how or why the player is able to take knives and shotgun blasts without stopping. Thats a nice touch. Also the enemies still ragdoll in hilarious fashion and this pleases me.

The powers shown here are also pretty cool. We got the wall running and no fall damage, but we also get to see the mist usage to access a fan and enter a building. We get to see some sort of AOE Damage pulse, we get to see a buff that seems to make the player stronger, an enemy go invisible (OBFUSCATE!) and I think that was it. We also got to see the feeding animation, which again seemed to be taken directly from VTM Bloodlines 1 complete with the shove away.

Overall I am exceedingly happy with what I saw here. It feels like an updated version of VTM Bloodlines 1 just from what I saw, and that alone is enough for me to want to purchase / play it. I am confident that the folks behind the game are going to do a great job as long as it keeps up with the current style and feel that I saw here.

You can learn more about the game at the website, as well as find places to purchase it. Currently its set to release sometime in 2020.

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

Edit 6/13/19 – Some additional footage from GameSpot has cropped up that may give a better perspective on the combat. You can see that additional video footage below.

 

Mystic by Jason Denzel (Excerpt) – Preview and Review

This Excerpt was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest Review

Alright so this is another one of those fancy preview excerpts. I grabbed this one on Netgalley because the blurb seemed interesting.

“Mystic is the start of an enchanting new epic fantasy series from Jason Denzel, the founder of Dragonmount.

I called to the Myst, and it sent us you.

For hundreds of years, high-born nobles have competed for the chance to learn of the Myst. Powerful, revered, and often reclusive, Mystics have the unique ability to summon and manipulate the Myst: the underlying energy that lives at the heart of the universe. Once in a very great while, they take an apprentice, always from the most privileged sects of society. Such has always been the tradition-until a new High Mystic takes her seat and chooses Pomella AnDone, a restless, low-born teenager, as a candidate.

Commoners have never been welcomed among the select few given the opportunity to rise beyond even the highest nobility. So when Pomella chooses to accept the summons and journey to Kelt Apar, she knows that she will have more to contend with than the competition for the apprenticeship.

Breaking both law and tradition, Pomella undergoes three trials against the other candidates to prove her worthiness. As the trials unfold, Pomella navigates a deadly world of intolerance and betrayal, unaware that ruthless conspirators intend to make her suffer for having the audacity to seek to unravel the secrets of the Myst.”

So lets discuss this preview. It was about 92 pages long, and covered the first several chapters. This is the story of Pomella, a young girl who is sixteen years old living in the small village of Oakspring. It starts with her storming out of her home after an argument with her father regarding the length of her hair. Apparently in this world hair length denotes your class, with Nobles being allowed long hair and Commoners only allowed short maybe shoulder length at most.

She runs off into the woods, collects some laundry, and then heads back into the village for their yearly festival. At this festival is the daughter of the local lord, a girl named Elona, who performs in their yearly play. Elona, being a noble, has some talent it seems in controlling the Myst, this energy that is never really explained fully but is implied to be magic and the stuff of life.

The people who can manipulate this Myst are called Mystics. They stand above Nobels in rank and are considered wise peoples and sages by most folks.

Some events take place during this festival and Pomella is summoned by the new High Mystic herself to compete for a chance to become the High Mystic’s apprentice. This angers Elona who cannot believe a commoner could be chosen, and decrees that should Pomella leave the village or barony should would become Unclaimed, stripped of all identify and life.

From there, Pomella begins her adventure.

I really dont want to give too much away. In all honesty when I first started reading, and until the major event that occurs which triggers Pomella’s journey, I was unimpressed. Most of the beginning pages are focused on Pomella and her getting ready for this festival, including her fretting over a boy named Sim, who does feature more in the later parts of the excerpt.

Its obvious from the get-go that Sim and Pomella are going to be our young romance here, simply based on the way everything is written. This is not a bad thing, but its telegraphed pretty early. Pomella is our fiery heroine, and Sim is the stoic and trustworthy love interest.

I will admit that after reading the excerpt I am happy to say I am very intrigued by the premise. The beings introduced later, including an encounter with some Unclaimed (who apparently are bald, thus cementing my thought that hair is a big status symbol here) piqued my interest.

Now there is something that bothers me about the writing style here. And its a personal pet peeve and may not bother others but it bothered me enough that I feel the need to mention it.

If, as a fantasy author, you are going to create words to describe things the please for the love of god please make then unique! Spring and Summer in this universe are Springrise and Summeryarn, for example. But the biggest ones that stuck out to me are Mahthir and Fathir. Now, if you read those and sound them out you will know exactly what they stand for. Mother, and Father. Why change the spelling of the words when, phonetically, they are the same? I have never understood doing that. He even changes the word twerp to twerper for some reason.  Its just strange.

But again, thats a personal pet peeve and I am willing to overlook it because the world this preview paints is something I am very curious of. At one point there are hints of an even larger world outside Moth, which I assume from the sound of the it is in fact an island of some sort.

Mystic comes out on 11/3/15.

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Shadows of Self (Excerpt) by Brandon Sanderson – A Preview/Review

This Excerpt was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest Review.

Wax and Wayne are back!  And this Excerpt has gotten me hyped beyond belief!

I will make no excuses: I love Brandon Sanderson’s work.  It started with the original Mistborn trilogy, then moved to Elantris, and then to the Rithmatist, and then to Steelheart and Firefight and finally the Stormlight Archives. I adore his style and his work.

So this is a sort of review/discussion/thoughts on the Excerpt from Sanderson’s upcoming work Shadows of Self.  Personally, my favorite of his works would be either the Stormlight Archives OR Alloy of Law, and I am happy to see him coming back to the story of Wax and Wayne.  And I just now got the joke with their names.  Jesus.

The excerpt, which as far as I was aware was at some point available for everyone, is the first few chapters of the story.  And boy what a story.  It starts at a meeting of a Senator who is trying to auction off his vote in the senate to a pile of shady characters.  Crooks, other Politicians, that sort of thing.  Its under the guise of an auction for a painting apparently.

A few moments into the auction however and things go south FAST.  Gunfire erupts, people go nuts, and the whole thing devolves into a giant slaughter.  The senator runs away to hide…and has his throat cut in his own safe room.

The opening was awesome but my major issue with it was simply the heading.  The chapter heading was 14 years later…but later in the excerpt they refer to events from Alloy of Law having only occurred a year or so prior to the events here.  So I am rather confused on the timeline.  Especially when Wax and Wayne get called to investigate the slaughter.

There is also the plot where Wax is still trying to hunt down those connected to his uncle from the first book.  He chases one man across the rooftops early on, a robber.  Wayne ends up using his disguise tricks to actually find the guy however.

Marasi is back as well, and since the events of the first book she has become a full on constable, working with them in a more investigative capacity.  She also still helps Wax and Wayne with their investigations.

You get a real sense of how time has passed since the first book.  Wax is still going to be married to Marasi’s sister Seris, and he is still both the head of house Ladrian as well as moonlighting as a vigilante.  Wayne still randomly trades objects.  Its good to see the humor and banter between the main characters, as it shows how familiar they are and really should be.

I don’t want to go too much further into the excerpts plot because frankly I feel that it should be experienced by oneself.  There are a few revelations that occur about midpoint into the excerpt that made me go “Whoa” as well, and things move at a breakneck pace.

This is definitely a book that is going on my shelf as soon as it releases.  As this is an excerpt I wont be giving it a rating, but I urge you, if you have any interest in unique fantasy stories or are a fan of Sanderson’s work you should check out both Alloy of Law and its soon to be released sequel, Shadows of Self.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Shadows of Self releases 10/6/15.

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