This is somehow the first time I’ve heard of THQ Nordic, but not the first I’ve heard of these games. Holy cow these games are awesome. This is a great sale. Just look at their sale picture. There’s a cyborg, a scantily clad huntress, Cleopatra fighting back to back with Achilles and that molten lava boss from Dark Souls.
80% percent off of any of those things is totally worth it. But to really understand, we have to talk about the Nordic people. They are great. You might think they are a peace loving people. Maybe now. But back in the day, they basically invented ocean faring ships just so they could discover islands they could burn down.
Now, they don’t really do that stuff anymore. I think. In Sweden (maybe elsewhere?) they drink this stuff called Akvavit. It’s basically just rubbing alcohol with some weird spices in it. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s delicious, sometimes it isn’t. I’ll be honest, I drank a lot of it last time I was there. And if you drink just the right amount, you lose your desire to plunder foreign lands.
So THQ Nordic, maybe during a cold winter, they all got together and drank a bunch of Akvavit and thought, hey, you know what’s cooler than Diablo? Those Ancient Egyptians. And thus, Titan Quest was born.
Do you like old school ARPGs? Buy Titan Quest, it’s awesome.
Have you ever wanted to run around in circles at 500 mph while shooting some kind of full auto stake gun? Get Painkiller, it’s awesome.
Do you like heavy metal and/or action figures and mashing buttons? Get Darksiders, it’s awesome.
Hammerwatch is like Gauntlet. It is really, really like Gauntlet. Gauntlet is pretty fun. Hammerwatch is pretty fun. Do you like Gauntlet? You will definitely like Hammerwatch. Do you dislike Gauntlet? Well you might still like Hammerwatch. If you have never played Gauntlet, let me explain how Hammerwatch plays. It is simple, and simple on purpose. You hack and slash and dungeon crawl, taking on hordes of enemies while mashing the attack key. You also have a few special attacks that vary depending on the class that you select.
The pixel graphics are incredibly simplistic but the backgrounds still look nice. The control scheme is the same… you can use a controller if you like, as all you really need are a few buttons. You move, you shoot/attack, and you use your special attack. That’s it. You don’t level up but you do get new special moves and you do get buffs, and skills and combos and things as you gain gold. The most complicated thing in Hammerwatch is the soundtrack which is actually great and probably the best thing the ambiance has to offer.
Hammerwatch isn’t just Gauntlet, though, so much as it is every “Action RPG.” For this reason it is interesting to look at as game design devolved. Specifically it is Diablo III in its purest form. Diablo III has a very rigid skill and level up system. You don’t really get to select the skills that you want to unlock…they just unlock at a certain level. This leads itself to an illusion of choice when it comes to using skills to get combos. Hammerwatch removes this illusion and you get skill combos just by killing consecutive enemies. So you are not mashing different skills together repeatedly in the exact same order like you do it Diablo III, it removes that step and just does it automatically. In Diablo III, leveling up feels important so you can be strong enough to fight the enemies in the next area. But it all just happens naturally as you move throughout the game, and you are stronger against stronger enemies so it doesn’t matter as much as the skills you gain. Hammerwatch removes the levels and just leaves the new skills and buffs.
Pictured: My Basement
Hammerwatch is a minimalistic look at the Action RPG genre. Or maybe it isn’t and it’s just a hack and slash dungeon crawling Gauntlet clone? Either way it’s only $2.49 and it’s fun to dick around with. Verdict: Buy it.
Mountain Blade: Warhand is basically exactly what it sounds like. You hop on a horse with a sword, or a Mount and Blade, and then you lead a band around terrorizing villagers or farmers or whoever gets in your way. Basically. The game begins by asking you a series of questions regarding your character. It also spends a few too many words explaining that apparently women back in the day had a much harder go at it then rich, noble men. Or noblemen, as it were. Well at least we know this is a fantasy game because everybody knows that’s not true. So after I began my RP as a Mongolian Poacher Hunter Prostitute on a quest for ultimate revenge, I fled for some kind of desert where I was immediately accosted by a drunk man looking for love. Looks like the game was right. It’s tough to be a lady in this world of ours.
Anyways, for a game that came out in 2010 this game seems much older. Both in a good and bad way. The graphics are pretty bad but pretty charming. The stats and equipment system is pretty robust. Not too complex, but it’s certainly not as dumbed down as other action RPGs. You have quite a few traits to worry about. Gameplay consists mostly of riding around on horseback murdering people with a bow and arrow while they chase after you on foot, throwing rocks. Seriously. It’s impossible for them to catch up and your horse will never tire. If you’re wondering why they are throwing rocks, it’s because you just marched into their town demanding crops, flashing skin, acting like hot shit, and then you got real angry, and that anger could only be taken out via horseback. So slash some legs!
If you’re just trying to get a feel for the combat you can go to town and join the tournament. This is exactly like dinner at Medieval Times. If you have never been, it is a place where you go and eat chicken with your hands and watch knights ride around on horses pretending to hit each other while narrowly missing. Sometimes people fall off of the horse. Well in Mount & Blade Warband your teammates and your enemies will never really hit each other. But they will spend lots of time charging into both the wall and the corner, for no apparent reason, until everyone gets stuck and then you can just stab everyone and you win.
Will Solaire ever find his sun?
Anyways Mount & Blade: Warband is free till tomorrow and it’s also 75% off for $4.99. It’s worth playing because it could be your thing. It’s also a pretty funny throwback PC game. Also on sale today is Rise of the Triad. It’s 80% off and $2.99.