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The RPG Files: The Week in RPGs – May 30th, 2014

Columns By Christopher Coke on May 30, 2014

The Week in RPGs – May 30th, 2014

Every week, we put the RPG back into MMORPG and bring you our take on the latest and greatest in the world of roleplaying games. This week, we have a PR bomb scare, big names and big games, militarized zombie DLC, and that's just a taste. And for what may be the first time ever, we're bringing you Pokemon news. It's been a busy week for RPGs, so read on for our opinion on all of this and more!

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Destiny fans rejoice! The hype train is officially in motion as Bungie revealed yet another class this week, this time the Hunter. Like the previously revealed Warlock and Titan, there is very little explanation to anything shown in the 36-second video leaving more to mystery. The Hunter does seem some to have an overcharge ability and those forward rushes are pretty incredible. Still, I have to wonder why Bungie is playing things so close to the chest. Other than making audacious claims about reinventing the first-person shooter, we don't know much more than generalities about this game. Even these class videos, flashy graphics aside, don't reveal much more than “shoot dudes, stab dudes, punch dudes, POWER SLIDE.” With a $500 million budget and a release date in September, I'm expecting a ramp up any time.

Okay, so Watch Dogs isn't exactly an RPG, but their PR firm recently made an entire floor of people fear for their lives, so I think it's worth covering. Plus, the game has a progression wheel and that's justification enough. Right? Anyway, it's not unusual for PR companies to do outlandish things to promote their games, like flooding San Francisco Bay with red balloons, for example. What is unusual is sending a beeping black hotel safe to a reporter who doesn't write about video games. A note was attached advising her to check her voicemail. Presumably, the caller would have warned her that it wasn't, in fact, a bomb or some other terrible way to die but the reporter didn't use voicemail. Instead, the Australian publication summoned a bomb squad and evacuated its employees, responding the only way they really could. Do you think when they opened the safe, a copy of the game popped out on a big spring? That would be pretty fitting for this fiasco.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings released on Linux this week, providing users with what's likely the best RPG experience available on the OS. Assassin of Kings is easily the game that gave CD Projekt Red its name with the original Witcher being a cult classic at best. It is also the game that showed me modern RPGs can be gritty and made-for-adults. If you haven't played it, you owe it to yourself to try.

Word has it that you want to be the very best, like no one ever was. If that's so, then we have good news. IGN is reporting than Nintendo is going back to the well with the Pokemon franchise, trademarking “Pokemon Delta Emerald” just a few short weeks after announcing  remakes of the Gameboy Advance classics, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. Now, don't give me this Too Cool for School stuff about Pokemon. You were ten once. You loved Pikachu, even after that unfortunate seizure incident. I do have a theory, though. We Pokemasters know that these games are mostly identical year after year. But who doesn't? Current ten year olds. In fact, for these kids, the GBA games may as well have never existed since they were busy being born during their release. Double cash in, Nintendo. Well played.

Our own Suzie Ford revisited Wasteland 2 this week. You might recall that we've been covering this game for some time and the news is nearly always positive. Suzie gets into the nitty gritty, sharing what it's like to actually play the game. She describes the writing as “fantastic and darkly comedic” with lots of dialogue options and story choices, and the world as “packed with caves to explore, stuff to pick up” and side quests to be discovered. For my part, I usually struggle with this type of setting. Browns on top of browns and a whole lot to feel depressed about. It's up to  the story, though, to reinvigorate all of that death with life. Thoughtful combat and deep character progression glue it together. Wasteland 2 seems to have it all.

State of Decay fans have something to look forward to. As of today, the zombie RPG's most revolutionary piece of DLC, Lifeline, will be available for purchase. Lifeline asks the question, “what's the role of the military in the outbreak?” and drops players into a dense city setting with a brand new story. The original game was already excellent and the drastic shifts in this DLC are game changers. Newbies beware, it sounds like Lifeline also ramps up the difficulty.

Last but not least, IGN has posted an excellent editorial in support of short RPGs. As I've grown older, busier, and child-laden sinking 40-60 hours into a single game has become a challenge. I'm grateful for games like South Park: The Stick of Truth and Child of Light that manage to pull off engrossing roleplay in half the time. Still, part of me does long to be a teenager again, free to be enthralled by the hammy romances and over-the-top stories of games like Final Fantasy X. These days, I'm more of a “once a year” kind of guy with those games.

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That's all from us, folks. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Christopher Coke / Chris has been an MMO player since the days of MUDs and loves a good roleplaying game. During his downtime, you can find him slaying monsters as Geralt of Rivia or saving the universe as Commander Shephard. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight


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Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.