Saturday, 30 April 2011

Diablo III is in the "home stretch"

So close, yet so far.
Well, after Jay Wilson's recent ground-breaking announcement that Diablo III is in "the home stretch", I decided that I should compose some articles about Diablo. First and foremost, D3 looks on track for a 2011 Q4 release! When conversing with the New York Times Jay Wilson said: "We're definitely on the home stretch. We're crunching. This is when the magic happens." Well, a subtle hint that Blizzard is on schedule. Furthermore with Blizzard's Q1 conference call on May 9th, we could also get a revelation moment if Blizzard stick to their promise and reveal something about an upcoming beta for D3. Truly exhilarating news for any Diablo fan who has been waiting since 2008.

Secondly, I hope to start creating some articles covering the basic overview of D3 very soon. I shall cover the lore, the classes and perhaps some of the features of D3. All I can say is that we are ludicrously close to the beta period, hang in there guys!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

WoW for your phone: Order and Chaos Online

Gameloft has finally done the unspeakable. I'm sure many of you have laid eyes upon the screenshot below:
No it's not a photoshop, it's Gaikai

We've all desired deeply for there to be an MMORPG on the iPhone, iPad or some other portable console. Well we were initially enlightened by Gaikai's cloud-gaming technology, an ingenious system which would allow gamers to play games using just an internet browser, thus allowing portable devices such as the iPad and iPhone to run it. Well, it was too good to be true. After an extremely long beta and very limited access to Gaikai's services, I had simply lost all hope. Not anymore, on 27 April 2011, Gameloft released Order and Chaos Online. It is simply the closest authentic experience to WoW at the present moment.

Released on the App Store yesterday, it's a £3.99 download, which includes a three month subscription to the game. After that, you'' have to pay 59p per month (or £1.79 for six months) to carry on the experience. It's the first serious attempt to do a subscription-based MMORPG on iOS.

The game includes four playable races: humans, elves, orcs and the undead. The former two races are what the Order faction consists of, and the latter compose the Chaos faction. The game allows for a maximum of four characters to be played simultaneously, which is fabulous as you can try out every single class. Moreover, levelling is a fundamental part of the game, with more than 1000 skills and over 2000 items to acquire. And no, this isn't a grind-fest, the game guarantees at least 500 quests and an enormous world to explore. The game even possesses parties, guilds, NPCs and even a private/public chatting system. They've definitely packed the essentials, hence why the game is a lofty 589MB download.

The oh-so familiar races on an unfamiliar platform

The "app" is rising through the charts rapidly, it's a sure success... for now. What Gameloft needs to ensure is that they provide regular, chunky updates like their fellow brethren at Blizzard in order to prove a long-term success. It's a game design that's definitely inspired by WoW, so why not follow in its footsteps?

Monday, 25 April 2011

Torchlight In-Depth Review

The creative masterminds from Diablo I and Diablo II revitalise the dungeon-crawler genre with an isometric click-fest extravaganza called Torchlight. First impressions may result in a childish overview, however the hordes of monsters and a deep character customisation involving a well-crafted talent-tree system results in an engaging gameplay experience.

The ever-so familiar town centre
Set in the serene mining town of Torchlight itself, players first have to choose a stereotypical archetype for their playable-character. The three classes found in Torchlight cover the orthodox prototypes found in any RPG. The Destroyer is a melee-based class who relies upon brute force and dual-wielding swords in order to decimate his enemies. The second class is the Vanquisher who uses ranged weaponry combined with devious traps to kill her enemies. The final class is the Alchemist whose skills are akin to that of a mage. Despite there being only three classes, there is enormous depth to each class, you even get a trusty companion who joins you on your epic journey! Again, even though you can only choose from two domestic (absurd, I know) animals as your loyal guardians, there is much more depth to them than the naked-eye can perceive. Pets can be transformed into a multitude of creatures using special fish which, not only transforms the former pathetic aesthetics of your pet, but also changes the skills, strengths and weaknesses, making certain transformations useful to certain situations.

More importantly the pet has an inventory of its own which you can transfer junk into so you can save your own bag space, but the most startling feature is that your pet can carry your undesirable items into town and sell them for you, making down-time virtually none! On top of that, your pet can don an amulet, two rings and can even learn spells to auto-cast during combat. The pet can fare well on its own, but from time to time, you'll need to drag a potion or two to avoid losing your friend.

The game's controls are simple, yet sophisticated. You must utilise mouse-clicking to move while skills (and potions) can be hot-keyed to various buttons such as the left and right mouse-click and numbers 0-9. The control system is quick and easy to master yet is extremely effective at the same time. The health and mana bars of your character are aptly located in the centre of the screen making it easy to concentrate on both the monster's health, and your own.

The fishing system is ridiculously basic.
The game is extremely addictive and shines from other recent dungeon crawler releases. Everything that makes the genre so wonderful is present in this single game. Armour customisation is even possible with an array of gems and even enchants. The loot system has carefully been designed to keep the player "hooked", the game distributes a perfect balance of both essentials (like town portal scrolls, gold and potions) and rarities (such as much sought after weapons and armour) to keep the player satisfied and not grinding for certain items. The game even has a simple fishing system in order to transform your pet!

Where the game falters, if at all, is its lacking storyline. The storyline is detached and not immersive as the gameplay. Moreover it is rapidly completed and the side-quests are innumerable and not satisfying, albeit the designers have done ever so well to create rich,varying environments in a linear storyline. Players will traverse lush forests, eerie dungeons and fiery lava-pits while questing. The stylised graphics are breathtaking as well as being downright hilarious at times. Torchlight isn't the typical dungeon-crawler where the prevalent colours are shades of black; the designers have used a palette consisting of a wide variety of colours to create a visually pleasing gaming environment.

Beautiful environments await you

Finally the simplicity of the stat building makes the game approachable for even the most casual of gamers. Players only really need to assign their stats into one of the offensive stat and one into the defensive in a generally equal manner. However there's no need to follow a set guideline, as you can if you want, have a muscular mage albeit the class-skills will heavily restrict avoiding the status quo. The talent-tree system is wonderful and allows for in-depth customisation and great "replayability" as well.

All in all, Torchlight is a marvellous game with some unique features not found anywhere else. The story is somewhat lacking, but not too important in a hack'n'slash genre. The graphics are great, the music is engrossing and the gameplay is extremely addictive. While the lack of multiplayer may seem a little bitter, the single player campaign more than makes up for it, and for a bargain of around £8 in stores, you simply cannot go wrong.

It deserves a solid 8/10.


Torchlight is an action-RPG dungeon crawler from the developers of the Diablo franchise. Basically, this game is a cute mixture of WoW-style graphics blended with a Diablo-style gameplay. The result is a wonderfully addictive game in which you can spend hours hacking and slashing your way through perilous dungeons. Over the next few days, I will be spending time reviewing the game and providing some gameplay content over the first few levels. If you guys have any questions on this game please feel free to ask me via the comments option and I will reply as soon as possible!

Welcome to Passion Gaming!

For many years I have enjoyed gaming thoroughly, however not many of my peers share the same passion as me, I think a lot of gamers know the feeling. I just needed to express my craze for gaming some way or another, and I decided to go down the blogging route! Passion Gaming will bring you in-depth analysis, tips, reviews, and helpful guides on popular games such as World of Warcraft, Runescape, Maplestory, Torchlight, Diablo and much more! Over the next few weeks, I shall be slowly incorporating new content pertinent to gaming; my first target is to incorporate some Torchlight content (link located towards the right). I hope you guys can make the most out of this blog!