Tag Archives: Multiplayer

On Triple-Carting

If you’re aware of Monster Hunter, you’re probably also aware of Dauntless, a very similar PC game that’s coming “soon”. Dauntless was on display at PAX South, where I got a chance to try it.

Unfortunately, my first chance was pretty short. Like Monster Hunter, too many defeats for your team means your hunt can come to a premature end. This number seems to be 5, which sounds less punishing than Monster Hunter’s 3, but came extremely quickly. When you lose all of your health in Monster Hunter, you get a nice long while to think about your mistakes as you get sent back to base camp (in a cart, hence, “carting”) and have to run back to the party. Dauntless allows you to revive teammates on the spot, which leads to two problems: you can go down while attempting this revive, and the newly-revived, not-at-full-health teammate can go down again almost immediately. It sounds like getting back into the action faster is an improvement, but it doesn’t go well with the game as currently structured.

It’s not all bad. Areas seem to be a lot more open than Monster Hunter, the hunt area is contiguous instead of divided into subzones. Weapon selection is very limited right now (the demo only had 3 options), but more are on the way. The dodge roll has a lot more invulnerability, so it’s easier to use aggressively. Monster design is excellent, which is probably one of the most important parts.

I think Dauntless has the potential to be a good game, but in a demo setting with absolute beginners it didn’t feel great. I’m curious to see if they stick with this format, or adopt something like Monster Hunter Online, where downs only count against you personally (you get kicked out of the hunt if you go down 3 times). We’ll see what develops.

On Ninjas

Blaugust Post #2

N++ was announced before the PS4 came out, and released this past week on PS4. It’s the sequel of sorts to N+, which was on the PSP, DS, and 360, which was itself the successor to the flash game N. (Note: I don’t think the original holds up terribly well.) The basic concept remains as it did from the beginning: You are a ninja, get through the levels with as much time left on the clock as possible. Levels contain gold, and each piece picked up adds two seconds. For the 360 version of N+ and for N++, the game tracks your time against other players automatically. Levels are simple, single-screen affairs but there are a very large number of them, ranging in difficulty from 1-1 to Super Meat Boy.


Newton’s First Law

One of the key concepts in the N series is one that was in the kind of Sonic games Sega doesn’t make anymore: Momentum is key. Standard movement speed is pretty fast, but use of ramps and wall jumps can speed things up dramatically, or let you get to jump higher than you can from level ground. N++ in particular begins with levels attempting to teach this, and I’d say it does a pretty good job. I’m not the best judge, because I played a lot of N+. I will say that the level “Intro to accepting your limitations?” is a bit of a dirty trick, because it’s the third level in the tutorial but requires you to grasp the concepts from later tutorial levels to 100% it.

Profanity, Usage by Cause:

One of the areas where N+ really shined was in multiplayer. You could play in the single player levels, but there were also special co-op levels that require at least two people. I’ve referred to the New Super Mario Series as “divorce mode” multiplayer, but this is almost as bad. (Almost, because at least you don’t have collision with your partners.) You will likely have moments of stress where someone is leading a rocket around and you are a little too close, or when someone hits the bounce block you were aiming at causing you to fall into a minefield. It happens. Restarting a level is always only a button press away. If you’re going into it with the intent to break up your friendships, there’s also a race mode.

N++ is one of those sequels that is “the same, but more”, and I’m okay with that. More levels, more obstacles, more colors, and more features make this a worthwhile pickup, and I really like what I’ve played of it so far. I recommend this game if you like relatively difficult platformers and/or games that are better when you add people.

On Big Things

Let’s talk about Gigantic.

Not a MOBA

MOBA is joining RPG in that the meaning of the acronym applies to many games not included in the genre. “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena” is a good description, but Gigantic doesn’t have minions, it doesn’t really have lanes, and you can’t break your enemy’s base. Instead, it has capture points, and summons, and giant fighting creatures.

The goal in Gigantic is to destroy the enemy team’s Guardian while defending your own, but that is a bit like saying the goal in Football is to score more points than the other team. In Gigantic, this is accomplished by performing various actions that grant Energy to your guardian. When it has a full bar, it will go rampaging toward the enemy guardian, rendering it vulnerable to player attacks for a little while. Kills grant energy, as does attacking the opposing guardian when it’s not vulnerable (this actually steals energy, but requires getting through the enemy team without dying). I think the capture points have some effect on how quickly your bar fills, but I didn’t get a chance to see that during the playtest. Since only one guardian is on the offense at a time, it plays out a bit like a football game, with alternating attack and defense.

After enough times of this (or I think if one of the guardians is low enough on health?) The Clash begins, and the guardians adopt positions that are much closer to each other, effectively reducing the playable space. Points can no longer be captured once this happens, and kills are worth increased energy. This greatly accelerates the pace of the game, creating a definite “endgame” scenario. It remains to be seen (by me, anyway) if this prevents games from being drawn out unnecessarily.


Summon Creature

The mechanic for capturing points is also somewhat non-standard. Points are taken by summoning creatures on them while they’re neutral. Which creature you summon seems to have some effect on your team, one example is a treant that slowly healed the team members that were near it. There was also a cerberus that granted vision of the enemy team on the minimap, and a drake of some kind that I don’t know what it did. These creatures fight for you in any confrontation close enough to the summoning point, which makes defending one much easier (generally) than attacking one. I would say it takes a coordinated effort to take one out, but it’s possible that the character I was playing (Charnok) is too squishy for it. Belghast claimed that he came close to doing it with Margrave (who is a tank) and probably could have if he were more familiar with the game. These summoning points are the territory control mechanism, and they’re the points that fights tend to start around unless one of the guardians is currently on the offensive.

gigantic canyon summoning circle

Motley Crew

One of the things I find very interesting about Gigantic (but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to personally explore) is that you are playing a very different game depending on which hero you’re currently playing as. The cast isn’t yet very large, but they seem to have a lot of archetypes covered. There are 14 revealed heroes, and Motiga mentioned that there are more in development. There seem to be a few characters for people who really like shooters (Voden, Roland, Imani, HK) who all focus on somewhat different roles. Imani for example is fragile, has a large crossbow, and is a sniper. HK is more durable and firmly believes in the Vladof philosophy, making his effective range somewhat shorter.

There are also a variety of characters who don’t rely on such careful aim, including most of the game’s melee characters. The already-mentioned Margrave is a tank, and can be quite disruptive while not dying. Tyto (the owl-dude who seems to be prominent in the game’s marketing) is very dangerous and fairly evasive, but can’t take much punishment. These characters rely much less on your aiming ability, and instead on your ability to navigate the map and get to where you can be the most effective.

There are characters that don’t fit neatly into either of these camps like Xenobia, who has a kit filled with debuffs and support via murder (or enabling murder), or Vadasi who is a more traditional supporting character and can power her abilities with her own health. (I’m told these two pair very well on the same team.) There are also a few mage-types, like Mozo and Charnok, who I got to play at PAX.


Categorizing this game is somewhat difficult, other than “surprisingly fun” and “competitive multiplayer”. I suppose it also has arenas in which you do battle online. I look forward to more coming out about this one, because I can’t wait to play more of it.