Rouge-lite without the random element (4K Magic Online Co-Op Game)
Nine Parchments is something of a unique proposition for the gamers of Steam’s massive platform. In the Action RPG genre, magic wielding specifically, this new title exists as a story mode game that has been adapted to a much greater purpose.
Through a multi-run system, Nine Parchments has been developed into a Rougelite gameplay experience that has none of the fatigued randomly generated elements of the sub-genre but instead an excellent display of top quality game graphics, engine performance, elemental magic spells, enemies, unlockable characters, spells, weapons, and more.
The title doesn’t take any of the industry’s recent controversial advantages against the player but rather instead attempts to deliver the ultimate package in a full title of abundant content that’s as well balanced as it is well designed. Fun Factor takes center focus with a solid gameplay battle system to match the desirable graphics and presentation of the game, and a first foundation to what hopes to be a brand new series makes a great installment for RPG fans of many types to play and enjoy online together or solo in battle.
The main objective regardless of whether its your first story playthrough, or your fortieth, is to acquire new parchments or spell books and scrolls. 4 Difficulty Options, 32 Levels, 8 Boss Fights, Hardcore Mode, In-game rewards for hard work on higher difficulty settings such as Rare Loot, Prestige Drops, Legendary versions of Additional Unlockable Playable Characters, Spells, Wizard Hats, Wizard Staffs, Equipment, and more.
Enemies can get their own elemental defense, paired with a bubble / shield type defensive predisposition pertaining to the opposite elemental defense. This double negative ensnarement of magical defense causes players to need a great equipment, co-operation with each other on attack co-ordination, and a quick thinking attack and dodge move to survive it all. The game has 4 difficulty settings in total which can change the outcome of an already difficult to master charade of elemental magic attack and dodge choreography with a sinister army of beings fighting against your survival.
Reaching into the nostalgia of Action RPG exploration and pulling out the very best game mechanics while managing to forge completely new feels at the same time arrives Rack N Ruin on the PlayStation 4 from LifeSpark Entertainment made up of former Blizzard Entertainment talent reborn in the indie world. Hit up merchants for unique spells, collect the souls of the innocent for your devilish masters, and survive onslaughts from wizards, knights, dragons, even cryptic warriors as abilities are earned and willpower is tested. Players take the role of one dark minion who must wreak havoc on well prepared armies of ‘do-gooders’, rid dungeons of the filthy ‘goodie goodies’, solve a few puzzles here and there just to get every door unlocked, leave no stone un-turned, no chest un-pillaged (that’s a word right?), and engage in dark humor laughing maniacally the whole time.
Some of the most impressive points in Rack N Ruin lie in the polish its gameplay exhibits. A bit of getting used to the controls is quickly forgotten as their well thought out placement begins to feel appreciated and great enemy design is revealed. Especially so for the boss battles, Rack N Ruin is clearly a well put together game. Multiple enemy types may be re-used here and there, but ways that players end up defeating them can change based on what kind of foe group formation attacks. For example, a large healer / knight enemy may come strong and while it requires players to run away and attack with ranged fireballs, bombs and swordplay may be called for in dealing with its reinforcements.
Character development and plot are obviously well written though not taking themselves too seriously and leaning back towards fun, light-hearted, and humorous. It’s a shame that there’s no voice acting in the game. Personally I’d rather have had semi-decent to even terrible actors / actresses reading off the script to save my eyes the trouble. However, that being said, many players don’t mind reading and in the RPG genre it’s expected to some extent. Though there are no major RPG elements to the game the many abilities, spells, and item accumulation that occurs gives it a feel that would likely be sat alongside games like Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past if it had come out back in the Super Nintendo days. This is of course a huge compliment to the game but at the same time puts massive pressure on the developer to live up to a masterpiece. I’m happy to say that Rack N Ruin doesn’t disappoint anyone looking for that dungeon raiding, open world experience with plenty of map space to chart and terrorize.
Areas where Rack N Ruin could improve begin with the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, the title is beautiful and beyond what most indie titles coming out of the Unity engine in the top-down camera aspect will offer. There’s enough animations to keep players feeling a high quality experience, presentation nails the feel and vibe giving way to immersion, and for the most part high fidelity texturing techniques have been put to work. Suffice to say, the game’s visuals are so good that it’s obvious the artistry behind it could be slightly better. I hope to see more from this developer in the future and hope Rack N Ruin allows the success for more time to be given to this department, but I’m pleased with the amount of attention that has been spread instead to the areas of gameplay mechanic design, level design, and enemy design. Puzzles are not my favorite thing in a game, but these could probably use a bit more variety as well.
The soundtrack for Rack N Ruin sounds great. As players push through the game there are plenty of tracks to populate the scenery and each does its job of giving atmosphere to the moments surrounding their debut. However, more variety could have been given to when each track is played. In a game where exploring each nook and cranny are optional but major parts of the experience, it sometimes becomes annoying to hear the same track played over and over again. Understandably, this could be difficult to avoid – but has been done successfully in some games that could be argued to have influenced Rack N Ruin in the first place.
Again, these should be taken as minor points of improvement for an excellent game and are in no way indicative of anything game-breaking. With a little added complexity and re-thinking of these areas we’d love to see a sequel and greatly encourage everyone to give Rack N Ruin a buy right now if this review even remotely tingles their ‘spidey senses’ – it won’t be regretted. Take a look below at the video version of this review on our new YouTube channel complete with PS4 Gameplay Footage (No Spoilers) and Commentary.
RealGamerNewz Video Review:
Rack N Ruin does what many indie games have trouble doing in that it knows what it wants to be, it aims for a niche experience that isn’t really being represented well in the market right now, and it executes a unique vision quite well within that spectrum. Sony has done good to make sure this title arrived on the PlayStation 4 platform and is definitely a great grab from the independent development world. We hope to see continued interest from them in curating fun titles with plenty of merit even if it means sometimes rejecting games that failed to reach the remarkable quality level of Rack N Ruin. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that the title is self published by LifeSpark Entertainment and we hope to see more work emerge from this firm in the future.
Overall Score: 8 / 10 RGN Rating: Silver Game Developer / Publisher: LifeSpark Entertainment
Available On: PS4 | Windows PC | Mac OS X | Android | iOS
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4
Review Copy Info: Three digital copies of this game were provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.
March of the Eagles, fondly known as MOTE to its already dedicated players, is a bird’s eye view of Europe where you fight an all out war for power as players engage in grand strategy. If you’ve never played a title like this before you can refer some main principles of gameplay to that of a round in the board game Risk, mind you with a much more complicated system. Anyone can play though, there is no prior required knowledge as you are led through chapters of a tutorial explaining the fundamentals of the game when it starts up for the first time. If you aren’t into the grand strategy genre, now is a great time to get started with March of the Eagles.
Bring a cup of coffee with you though, so you may manage to get by the tutorial with little headache. It may seem at first like the game wants to cram all this info into your brain at once like reading a book for history class with a teacher you don’t even like. After the tutorial you jump right into the campaign. Campaign mode of March of the Eagles takes a couple of minutes of critical thinking and then the violent takeovers begin to steadily flow on the board as you stomp through the 1805 – 1820 Napoleonic Era.
Single player is virtually trying to look for opportunities to take land off your neighbors. In my campaign as Prussia I’d wait until Austria is at war and then I’d hit them from behind. You’ll want to get the objects, which are provinces if you didn’t know, and there’s 2 types of objects which are land and sea dominance provinces. These objects are different for every nation. The A.I. is pretty capable, they can see opportunities pretty well. In the same game I played after I’d been at war with Russia for a while Austria and Sweden attacked me when I was weak.
The fact that the major powers have objects is pretty much a new concept in Paradox’s grand strategy games. Others have been more sandbox-like whereas this one has specific goals. March of the Eagles is pretty much all focused on war. You’re nearly always at war whereas, again, in other games from the genre you could become an economic power house. Graphics are also seen to be pretty robust compared to previous iterations of the concept on various platforms.
What can people expect to experience in terms of what is being showcased here is in the Napoleonic era when France was at the height of its power. You can play as any nation on the map by clicking the country, but there are 8 world powers who obviously have the best chance to win. They’re also the only countries to have objects in the game as they’re virtually the only ones capable of winning on their own.
One of March of the Eagles strengths is its A.I. which actually acts differently every game. For example, while Austria might have been at war with the Ottomans in my game, they could be at war with Russia or Prussian or taking over the tiny nations in central Germany. Any of those decisions would completely change the tactics required to survive and triumph in the game. If you’re playing Prussia and Austria is going for the central German states, that’s a big concern and you might have to go to war with them to stop them. That’ll delay any other plans that you had, and then at the same time Sweden is likely pushing into Denmark and you don’t want that happening either.
The main powers are the UK, France, Spain, Prussia, Austria, Russia, Ottomans and Sweden. What people should expect in this game is all-out war at all times with diplomatic influences woven in. This fast-paced, instant battle mixed with diplomatic action is the reason why the game is very online-oriented.
Where this game really shines is definitely the multiplayer because there you get a whole lot more interaction and backstabbing. As I said before, MOTE (March of the Eagles) can essentially be considered a more advanced, better version of Risk. For those that are new to the Grand Strategy genre, be ready for some intense battles of wit and might.
The replay value of both the single and multiplayer modes of March of the Eagles is great though it might be more limited in single player. While it’s not as big of a sandbox game as other Paradox titles, you’re still able to do things in a lot more driven and focused manner keeping you at attention, not to mention replaying the game you don’t have to play as one country over and over again. In multiplayer replay value is extended a hundredfold because people try new tactics and react differently to yours every time they play the game. In single player the game is also totally different any time you play it because of the many different nations and decisions involved in each gameplay play-through, producing various alternatives.
As far as areas where March of the Eagles can improve, the community agrees an easier way to set up and join online matches is needed. The current system works and there is a healthy supply of players that can easily be found and connected to through Steam forums and gameplay groups. However, for newcomers it can sometimes be difficult to set up and host the actual matches or even join one ongoing, unless they’ve already taken the time to locate the Metaserver through instructions, intuition, or advise. And while the A.I. is very good in this game, there does become a point where you will be able to predict the opponents actions fairly often. Perhaps an update could remedy this issue by using player-generated actions in online matches to add tactics to the A.I.’s capabilities in single player.
On a scale to 0 to 10, I give it an 8.5 out of 10.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Review Copy Info:RealGamerNewz.com received four March of the Eagles review codes from the publisher Paradox Entertainment for the purposes of the single and multiplayer sections of this review.