DGA’s Early Access Corner (4/30/15)
DISCLAIMER: The title “Early Access” means that the product/game is still under development. As such, the content featured below is subject to change. This includes any opinions I may have at the time of writing, as Alpha and Beta builds sometimes change their core mechanics on a whim. It’s important to stress the word opinions, as I find it unethical to review something not yet released in its final form. In other words, don’t take anything you see here too seriously. You can view all of the articles of this series by clicking the “Video Games” tab, located on the top of this page.
Crystal Rift –
My first impression was that the game was reminiscent of “Legend of Grimrock”, though without the party system, combat, and an inventory. Here, based on what I’ve played so far, you’re simply exploring dungeons, solving puzzles, and trying to stay alive. My only concern is the price tag…which is about the same as the aforementioned “LOG” and “LOG2”. The EA description mentions that:
“What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“We are really proud of our current state and are ready to share how awesome it is. The level editor is working well and the first act which is about 2 hours of game play”
2 Hours of gameplay for $25 seems a bit steep…I honestly would have pegged this game to be $5 or $10. It’s not a bad game mind you, but I would honestly wait a while until more content is added before dropping that kind of money.
So would I recommend it? At present, based on the price tag, no. It’s not a bad game, but it doesn’t do enough to justify the cost right now. I think the devs should have opted for a cheaper price and increased it as the game developed, like many other EA games do. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $24.99.
Crest – This “god-game” is pretty bare at the moment as the only thing you can do is create commandments that tell your followers how to prioritize. This is done by choosing symbols like “desert” or “food” and lining them up on a command bar. What I would really like is for the game to tell me what the end result actually does as what you intended your followers to do many not actually be what they do. The save function appears to be absent at present, though games tend to last maybe 15-30 minutes, if that. I’d say if you want to support the devs then pick it up now…otherwise, wait for more content. I like the ideas it conveys and will recommend the game for them alone, though I personally would have waited to see where it goes first before picking it up (had I not gotten a press copy). You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $4.99.
Nightside – “Nightside” is an RTS that features/will feature three races, a single resource, a campaign, online multiplayer (2-4 players), and AI skirmishes (currently 1 vs 1). I am rather disappointed in the way RTS’s seem to be heading as of late with regards to large skirmish battles (or lack thereof)…back in my day we had some really great eight player skirmish battles in “Warcraft II”. Had this game been priced the same as “Grey Goo”, I’d probably give it a “no-recommend”. Luckily, the Early Access price is only ten bucks, which isn’t bad when you compare it and its features to the aforementioned game that goes for fifty. I’m not sure how I feel about “the night” replacing your typical fog-of-war…I kind of miss the shroud and being able to see territories that I’ve already discovered. As it stands, this game is fairly enjoyable though I wouldn’t mind seeing some larger maps and more AI opponents on the field at once. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $4.99.
Phantasmal – I like the idea of an unkillable monster appearing to get you, but the game has a lot of technical issues that are hard to ignore. For example, there is no options menu on the menu screen…you’ll have to go in-game to lower or mute the volume, then quit back to the menu. When I did that, the “How to Play” menu glitched and showed the wrong information (as seen in my video below). The animations (weapons and enemy movement) are not very smooth…Killing Floor 2 is a fine example of a game that does this right. The atmosphere is indeed creepy at times, but I just didn’t enjoy my experience enough to warrant a recommendation…for now. I’m not saying YOU won’t, I’m simply saying that I didn’t. “Phantasmal”, in my opinion, needs more time to cook in order for it to be enjoyable. Time permitting, I’ll come back to this later when the game is a bit more polished. You can find it on Steam’s Early Access program for $14.99.