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Monday, March 30, 2015

Reign of Kings: Thoughts & First Impression

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Over the last week I have spent a good amount of time playing Reign of Kings. As much as I want to do a review of this game I find it to be bad business to do a "review" on a title in alpha or even beta stages. Therefore this article will not be a full review, but instead my first impressions and thoughts on the game in it's current state. This, along with my hopes and wishes for the future of this title. So strap in, and let me share my experiences over the last week.

When my good buddy MrHighlight offered to gift me a copy of Reign of Kings I hadn't looked too much into the game. So before agreeing to have my friend spend his hard earned money on a game I'd hate, I did as much research as possible. I'm not 100% sure why, but I have become a fan of this type of game. I love both "builder" style games as well as Open World Survival so the mixture of the two is great to me. Like Rust, H1Z1 (to a degree), 7 Days to Die, etc. This game is a survival game with aspects of building and community thrown in. Unlike the games I named before, Reign of Kings is not survival horror. Instead, this is a Medieval survival title. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the survival horror games despite my growing distaste for zombies (Let's face it.....Zombies are being shoved down our throats at this point) I love horror. I am super anxious for games such as Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp where it is survival, and we are free of hordes of slow moving, easy to defeat zombies roaming around the countryside (Why don't they have a zombie survival horror game that takes place in a major city? Why is it always the rural backwoods?). However, the change from horror survival, to Medieval survival in this case was a very good decision.



The building aspect of this game is refreshingly awesome. After playing H1Z1 (Which I do enjoy), the limitations on what you can build, and the fact every one's little "forts" look damn near identical bothered me. This is not an issue in Reign of Kings at all. You can build a small shack out of dirt and clay, to a full on castle out of wood and stone. Design is limited only by your imagination and resources. In fact on my server, there is a huge Colosseum like structure on the beach made of clay where people gather to fight in duels. Overall, the building aspect of this game shows a lot of promise, even early on in the Alpha stages of development.


Like other games in this genre, the combat system is clunky. It appears that's something we are just going to have to deal with for awhile at least. My biggest issue with that here, is when your guild goes into a big battle with another guild you will no doubt end up hitting your buddies at least a few times during a guild war. Besides the clunky combat that has become a staple of this genre (Thank you DayZ.....) I've quite enjoyed the PVP side of this game. For one, every server has a King. This is just a player who has won the crown, who can now set taxes (Taxes are taken automatically when you farm resources, a percentage of those goes to the kings stockpile). The king (and his guild if he chooses) also gets to live in a pre-built, amazing castle overlooking the kingdom. If taxes get to high, or you are just power hungry you can attempt a siege on the castle, and overthrow the king to take the crown yourself. Personally on my server, our king has been kind enough to set the taxes to 0, so I have joined up with his guild to help protect the crown. There will be alliances, peace, and war within your kingdom. Another cool PVP aspect of this game is you can rope someone, and drag them around the map, or even shackle them. Once captured, if by rope the player must have a sharp rock hidden in his orifice slot (yep.......), or a lock pick if he is shackled to escape. Once tied up, you are at the other person's mercy. They can troll you, beat you to death while you lay there begging for your life, or even drag you back to their area, where they may have hanging posts set up to hang you, a guillotine to behead you, or other forms of execution, torture, or perhaps just a nice big cage to keep you prisoner in. The only comfort you may (or may not) have is the fact that instead of respawning at a random spot on the beach (The default respawn point) is that if you happen to have a base and have placed a bed.....you can respawn there instead. All in all Reign of Kings is a fun, yet extremely dangerous place.



However, despite the fact this is not a survival horror game, it appears that even in ancient times we cannot escape the damn zombies. In Reign of Kings there is a village/town that is oozing poison. Even getting near this town you begin to take small amounts of damage. All around the borders of the town, there are weird looking.......dare I say zombie's roaming the countryside. These zombies are the absolute BEST spot in the game for farming higher gear fast. Sure, you could go around gathering materials to eventually build the necessary work bench to craft the items. But this takes a lot of time. I suggest that at the start of the game you find this town, equip yourself with 50-100 wooden javelins you can craft from chopping at tree's and kite/spear those zombies to death until you get yourself some decent armor, and a nice weapon.


Now to the bad. At this stage in development there isn't much security at all. In fact, reporting a hacker is the only thing you can really do (No detection systems at this time). With that said most servers are plagued with random players coming in and killing everyone at once, throwing you in the ocean where you have no choice but to suicide and loose everything, etc. This is problematic in a lot of early access games of this nature including H1Z1. It got so bad that I almost quit the game on my 2nd day playing. The bright side to this is there are several good community owned servers where the admins are always on top of this sort of behavior. Even better, there are "whitelist" communities, where everyone on the server has to be accepted in. If you are going to go for the early access of this game I suggest finding one of these servers. I am currently playing on Bloodlust. The server admin is always very quick to get rid of any hackers around. However, my server has plans to go strictly whitelist soon now that it's community is pretty strong in numbers. Even in these well moderated servers though you should expect frustrating restarts that roll the servers back a ways and cause you to loose gear, building and gathering progress. You should also fully expect frequent full server wipes. This is an alpha, and it will happen.



Ragetrip Conclusion
When you buy into any early access game you should be prepared for certain things. Unstable servers, rollbacks, wipes, glitches that could even cause death, and hordes of hackers out to ruin your day. This is just the price of admission for early access, especially in the alpha stages. However, there are ways to minimize exposure to such inconveniences. Playing on a non-official server with either top notch admins, or even better a whitelist only community will all but eliminate the hacks. Also, these servers tend to randomly restart and roll back less and only totaly wipe with serious client updates or serious problems. If your willing to deal with these issues and can handle all the bugs and annoyances of Alpha then I'd totally suggest this game to anyone who is a fan of the genre. The advanced building aspect alone is enough to keep you busy for hours, and even more hours later when I come along with a catapult and bash your damn walls down.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this very promising title. See ya in game!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Will I Rage? NBA2k15 PC Review

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This will be my first sports related post for Ragetrip. There are 2 reasons for this. First, there just aren't that many sports games released for PC. Second, I am not very knowledgeable on the subject other than Mixed Martial Arts, and college basketball.


Hunter S. Thompson
“I am more than just a Serious basketball fan. I am a life-long Addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.” - Hunter S. Thompson

Since we are in the middle of March Madness right now, and the NCAA Tournament (Kentucky 36-0 baby!!!!) and since Steam decided to have a nice sale on NBA 2k15 I decided to pick it up. I haven't played the series since 2k13, skipping 14 because it wasn't all that impressive looking. However after playing 2015 for a couple of days I have to say that FINALLY EA! Finally you give us a real NBA 2k game instead of some horribly optimized port with dulled down features and weak online options. Instead they gave us a crisp, well developed game that we can enjoy. While I am not a fan of EA in general I have to say that they came through with this one. Of course, they will still try to make an extra buck off of you but if they didn't, they wouldn't be EA.


There are a few differences in the interface. You don't get your "hot streak" meter anymore. There is a new meter under your feet that can help you with shot timing (although I still just know when my player is at his peak). Besides that, the controlling and functionality is like reuniting with an old friend. At it's basics, the controls are very similar to 2k13 and I'm guessing 2k14 (although I refused to buy that one). There is an obvious graphics upgrade in 2k15 but to be honest it's only a little better than the 2k14 videos I've seen. As most sports games go, the voice work is awful. I am a huge DeMarcus Cousins fan (UofK baby!!!!) however talking to him in 2k15 makes me want to punch things.
DeMarcus Cousins

Another thing that is irritating is the AI in the game. I swear to god half the time it feels like my team is playing against me. Waiting just long enough to shoot so that I don't get the assist, refusing to pass to me when I'm wide open and instead making the dumbest shot possible, and having the worst timing, and spacing humanly or in this case inhumanly possible. I feel like if Stephen Hawking could play a game of NBA 2k15, his fear of AI would be gone.

Single Player Game Modes

MyCareer
As always, MyCareer is the heart of NBA2k15. You create your own player, and run him through a career long storyline. This year, you go undrafted and have to work your way from rags to riches in the league. You use your "pay" from your contracts, games, bonuses and endorsements to buy upgrades for your player. On a side note, you can use your money earned from other modes for MyCareer as well, and vice versa.

MyGM
This may be my personal favorite mode. You take the role as GM of the team. You control player contracts, staff contracts, the draft, and even down to the price of merch, parking, tickets, etc. at the arena. What I LOVE about this mode is you can set it to have a fantasy draft at the beginning and literally build whatever team you want. Currently, in the spirit of NCAA March Madness and my obsession with Kentucky basketball, I am working on putting together an all UofK team. You can also buy the team outright. I'm not 100% what this does because I have yet to make anywhere near what it costs to do so.

MyLEAGUE
MyLeague is for the extreme control freak. This mode is not for me, and I only briefly dabbled in it. In this, you control every aspect of the league including Salary Caps, Team Roster, Length of the Season, etc. Everything is in YOUR hands.


Online Game Modes

Online Leagues
This is another returning mode where you and your friends can take over your favorite teams and compete online against others. Fun mode if your buddies are into the game as well.

MyTEAM
This is NBA2k15's answer to collectible card games. I was very skeptical but this mode is A LOT of fun. You just have to be patient at earning more cards. There is also a marketplace to buy and sell cards for points. More or less you collect the cards, put together a team, and then actually play out games with those players.

MyPARK
This is as close as we get to an online MyCareer mode. I do wish that they'd have a co-op storyline version of MyCareer, but this will do. Pretty much you join a community. Riviet City, Old Town, or Sunset beach. Each one giving a different buff. Here you can compete 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5. You can also "Squad up" with your buddies in 2k15. Also, this year they have a nice rep/rank system. This is more "Street Ball" than what your used to in other modes.

Rec Hall
Rec Hall is interesting. While traveling the various parks you can stop at the Rec Hall for 5v5 4 quarter NBA style games in an indoor, Jordan brand gym. You can also "Squad up" in this one.

Stage
Wager VC (currency) in online games. This is for those who know they are good, and want to make some quick VC. Good luck, I haven't messed with this yet.


Modes not included on PC

2K Heroes
The Association
Crew

I have not written about these modes since they are not available on PC, and I have not experienced them personally.


~Ragetrip Conclusion~
While this isn't the perfect basketball experience, this game is a huge step forward for the NBA2k franchise on PC. I hope EA has learned there lesson about giving us Sub-par releases compared to their console releases. While the AI is sluggish, and the voice acting makes you want to punch babies. This game is really fun and if your a fan of basketball you can rack up more hours than you'd like to admit without even realizing it. I'd totally suggest getting this game (especially when it's on sale for $19.99!!!!) I hope this helps anyone who is considering picking this one up. Until next time, I'll see ya in game!

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp is coming!

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I'm not sure if it's the fact that I've been an online gamer since the days of the MUD or if I've just been burnt way too many times (I'm looking at you Diablo III), but as of late I've been very skeptical about getting my hopes up for newly announced titles, especially in the horror genre. Despite the pleasantly surprising awesomeness of games like Alien: Isolation, the five nights at Freddy's games and the amazing Outlast (including the whistle blower DLC) the horror genre has grown kind of stale. Packed full of Zombie games where the zombies are about as frightening as a crackhead (I'm looking at you Day-Z), to other mediocre at best genre games. However 2015 is looking very promising for the horror genre. Why is that? Because it appears that finally, after years of hopeful horror fans waiting, complaining, and even turning to prayer.....the Slasher genre is finally getting the representation it rightfully deserves in not one, but multiple titles! Today I will be talking about the game that really stands out to me as the early favorite. With that said, I now present you with...

Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp

"Summer Camp is the first in a series that pays homage to 1980's splatter/slasher films, slated for Xbox One, PS4, and Steam." 

boasts the Official Site of the game. Summer Camp is set to be a third-person survival horror title where players can be either a teen counselor, or psychopathic killer. Summer Camp, the first game in the Slasher series will take place in a Camp Crystal Lake like setting, no doubt paying homage to the Friday the 13th series. While some may criticize them for copying, especially since the official "Friday the 13th" game has been announced. I see this as a logical place to start the series. You've got to remember, this is only game one. If the game takes off, as I feel it will then I have no doubt that we'll see many more in the series, taking place in many different, iconic locations. The game will support 6-8 players in an arena style map. Teamwork will be the #1 skill required as a survivor in this game. You don't want to be that one guy who goes ham and ends up all alone. One thing that I love about this title, is that the creator seems to be really in tune with the horror genre. A shining example of this is that the visuals in the game will reflect artifacts, and VHS quality imagery. This is an amazing features that really shows love to those 80's films we all remember renting at the video store.


"This is my love letter to the Friday the 13th film series." -Wes Keltner, Creator of Slasher Vol 1: Summer Camp.










I'm sure at this point I have the attention of all of the Slasher fans out there, and rightfully so. However, with the release of the Official "Friday the 13th" game planned for an October 2015 release, I'm sure your wondering why I feel this game can hold it's own against a game that will be put out by a big named company. I mean it's obvious the creator is very passionate about the genre, and his game. But to compete against a titan?

To answer that, let's examine the team working on Slasher Vol.1: Summer Camp.

The Team

First off we have the games creator & Designer Wes Keltner. Wes is the founder of Gun Media, as well as designer and creative director of the "Breach & Clear series", and assisted in directing the visual style of Speakeasy.

Second is the Co-Creator & Producer of Summer Camp Ronnie Hobbs. With 12 years industry experience Ronnie has Co-designed Breach & Clear, Breach & Clear: Deadline and was producer on Speakeasy. Hobbs also worked on Aliens: Colonial Marines at Times Gate Studios.

Next up is the horror legend Tom Savini who will be Executive Producer & Cinematography on Summer Camp. If you don't know Tom Savini, click on his name to view his website. Tom Savini is the king of special effects make-up in the horror genre. He has done the make-up in such films as Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Friday the 13th (Parts 1 and IV) just to name a few. Savini has also appeared as an actor in many films such as Dawn of the Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn (my favorite), Planet Terror (Grindhouse), Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and both machete movies to name a few. In other words, Tom Savini knows what he's doing when it comes to horror projects.

On as Executive Director is Randy Greenback. Besides having an awesome last name, and a truly epic beard Randy also has 20 years experience in the gaming industry working for such companies as Red Storm/Ubisoft and Insomniac games. He has worked on the Rainbow Six franchise, Ghost Recon, America's Army, Ratchet & Clank (Yes!), and Command & Conquer to name a few. He is also the Executive Producer on Breach & Clear: Deadline.

The composer on Summer Camp is none other than Harry Manfredini, who also happened to be the film composer on 148 films, and was responsible for the original Friday the 13th score and soundtrack as well as 8 other in the series. Harry has composed the soundtrack for tons of films in the horror and slasher genres, and is an amazing choice to work on Summer Camp.

Finally..............last but not least we have the motion capture actor who will be doing the mo-cap work for this soon to be iconic killer......Kane Hodder! That's right horror fans, KANE HODDER. Who better for the job, than the BEST version of Jason that ever wore the mask? Kane is a legend not only in the horror genre, but as a stuntman. This guy has literally done it all from stunts and stunt coordinator on big budget action flicks, to his work as Jason and Victor Crowley. I am also a huge fan of his work in movies such as B.T.K., and Ed Gein where he played the title role in both. He has had an amazing 30 year career in the movie business, and will now be doing the mocap work for Summer Camp. On a side note, if you have not read Kane's book Unmasked: The True Story of the World's Most Prolific, Cinematic Killer you should. It's a great read! To sum up Kane Hodder's involvement in Summer Camp, I give you.......Kane Hodder's Summer Camp Announcement.


Ragetrip Conclusion




There is already a lot of hype for this genre, and which game will be better. There is one that is coming from KickStarter that I am extremely cautious about (Kickstarter games have bad luck, only a handful being good), and then you have the official Friday the 13th game. However from what I am seeing so far in my humble opinion Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp has a huge advantage over the competition. One thing I love about this games dev team isn't only their passion, but the connection they have with the fan base. For example, they are having a contest right now to find the best Slasher Kill, Winners will receive game invites, but more importantly one lucky winner will actually get to be in the game. Also, if you look at the official game site, you'll see that they are very passionate about the genre which goes a long way on making an innovating game. Top that off with a top notch mix of legitimate horror ICONS, and experienced professionals from the video game industry and you have a possible powerhouse on your hands. So take a look at the Official teaser trailer and salivate over what may very well be the best multi player survival horror experience we'll see for some time. There will be more Slasher Vol.1: Summer Camp related articles here as more information becomes available. Until then, See ya in game.

Official Website: http://summercampgame.com/



The state of Ragetrip

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What's up everybody? It's been awhile since I have posted anything here. The reason for that is because my motherboard caught fire awhile back (not smoke, not sparks, but actual flames). The good news is tax time was kind to your old pal, and I have a brand new gaming rig! For the last few days I have been mapping out exactly what I want to do with Ragetrip in 2015. Mainly setting goals for myself. With that said, I'd like to thank everyone who has been coming to http://www.ragetrip.com. As of this post, we are sitting at 83913 pageviews! This is an amazing feat to me seeing as the blog is so young.

My current plans is to develop more content for the blog. That means me running through my steam library and writing about many games that may be a little older. Some people may have an issue with this, but I write this blog for people like myself. I tend to buy a lot of older games in deals, bundles, etc. With that said, I'm hoping the older reviews, first impression posts, etc. will be helpful to those people.

I also plan on setting a schedule for my live streaming at http://www.twitch.tv/ragetrip. While I may still be on live at Noon, 3:30 AM, etc. I plan on having a dedicated schedule nightly as well so that there will be a set time people know I'm on. I'm hoping that this will help build a Twitch.tv following that will help build the community here as well.

I have many more ideas that I am not covering, because I only want to post things I'm for sure I can pull off. Just know that I am back, and there will be a lot more to come.


Your old pal,
Psilocybin


P.S. See ya in game!