Unboxing & Review: FAITH The Sci-Fi RPG

The Book

Last night I finally got around to completing my Unboxing of this unique RPG. I’ll jump right to the meat of it, here’s the link.

 

 

Now, this was a great chance for you to see some of the excellent craftsmanship that went into this game (and a little plug for AcadeCon of course). I make no secret in the video that I feel this product is of the up-most quality. However! Doing a blind Unboxing like that has its pitfalls, I couldn’t recall how to play the dang game… and it showed. A smarter Kevin would have gone back to his original review that came out during the Kickstarter run of FAITH, and done a little refreshing. That guy wasn’t around last night, he wanted to try his hand at the Unboxing and chose to dive right in. Well, for those who want to know a little more about the actual game, you’re in luck. The Kevin of today is feeling a bit more polished. Let’s review this thing shall we?

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Flip the gameboard over and the other side is in Spanish, nice touch!

The punch-outs mentioned in the video (which I’ve just now taken a break and gleefully punched all of them out, flipping love punch outs!) are all for the players. Four boards of punch-outs contain this game’s version of a character sheet, only here it is a game board. Almost all of these pieces you can punch out have homes on this character game board. Utilize them to change stats with adjustable numbers, add or remove upgrade tokens, or when starting any game use the various character portraits to choose a look. Highly customize-able and useful for streamlining various aspects of the game.

Another item I got a mite wrong last night was a side comment where I mentioned that the cards in the player decks might be something that works alongside your typical dice mechanics. This was wrong, there are no dice mechanics, only cards are used. The cool thing about this is it will allow players to manage their own luck in a way. They have a hand of cards to choose from, if they really want to succeed they likely can. That’s not to say they might not also take chances with lower valued cards, or even get a bad draw. There is still an element of chance, the players just have a bit more control. One of the only things I have a quibble with in this aspect is that there isn’t a GM’s deck of cards as well in order to get a bit of the same fun. I know why things like this are done, it streamlines the GM process, but I like it when I get to roll dice, or in this case deal cards. Some will very much appreciate the way the GM gets to run things though. We do get the NPC deck, that is a really cool toy, so maybe I should just be happy and shut it eh?

You’ve seen all these physical items already though, I spent 19 minutes showing them to you (despite a bit of terrible lag… man I’m kinda bad at this). I want to chat a bit about the world of FAITH. Very much the Sci-Fi game it claims to be, FAITH takes place in a setting rich with multiple planets, sentient species (many playable races), and gods. Travel through space is done via a group of wormholes known as the Labyrinth. This connective travel network is alarmingly well put together, allowing for many theories to suggest intelligent design. A myriad of planets make up the habitable worlds that the six species you can play as live, work together, war together. The gods of FAITH are ever-present and have little to do with faith as we know it (despite the title of this game). They are attached to a believer via personality rather than choice and the gods expect you to follow their commandments. You are still left a choice however, you just might run into a very real consequence for disobedience. Some really interesting role-play opportunities there.

If I had to compare FAITH to anything in its “feel” I’d go with the Mass Effect series or maybe even Destiny. Fully Sci-Fi with a hint of supernatural flair to it. The game is it’s own deal though, a ton of newness surrounds FAITH. Both the mechanics and the fluff turn some typical RPG tropes on their ear. I fully suggest you give it a chance. I know I’m going to get around to running a game someday, let me know if you’ve been able to or if you have any more questions about it below!

Want to learn more about FAITH The Sci-Fi RPG? Check their site!

Want to buy it? Here’s the Webstore.

-Melvs

 

Keeping Destiny Weird

Destiny-Logo

I spend just about every word in this blog espousing my love and adoration for Tabletop Gaming but anyone who knows me outside of social media knows I’m every bit as enthusiastic about Video Games, and no other game has grabbed my attention in a long time quite like Bungie’s first-person shoot em’ up MMO Destiny.  You may recall that on of my friends contributed an article on the game right around launch and sadly I wasn’t even playing it at the time.  It took until December for me to finally get in on the fun.  To date I’ve logged nearly 300 hours, have gotten three characters to level 31 (merely waiting for the right raid drops to get to 32), and have played every aspect of the game…many times over.

There are countless people chatting about this game on the net.  Players complaining about certain aspects of the game that are still funky, folks finding clever ways to “cheese” (a term to denote finding an unusual way to cheat the regular play) their way through levels, in-depth reviews on weapons, farm locations, etc. etc. etc.  My personal favorite stories though?  Weird things people get away with that were likely never anticipated.

I think the fact that Destiny remains a somewhat small-scale MMO in regards to actual playable maps and missions ends up fostering the desire to find new and creative ways to play the game.  My favorite things to hear about are the players that challenge themselves to complete portions of the game in crazy ways that were in all likelihood were never considered to be something anyone would ever try to do, or even possible to accomplish.  Thus, I’d like to showcase some of the best stories I’ve come across.

Gaurdians sitting

THAT GUY WHO KEEPS SOLOING THE HARDEST PVE RAID IN THE GAME

Destiny has more game beyond its main storyline than during and the toughest chunk of PvE in this endgame content lies with its Raids.  The one I’m referencing here is titled Crota’s End and the guy who soloed it is a Youtube user known as “The Legend Himself”, aptly named considering his achievements. Crota’s end is no joke.  You start out in an area of almost solid darkness with small beacons of light you have to get to in order to continue onward as a “weight of darkness” constantly piles up slowing you down and removing your jumping ability.  All the while enemies known as Thralls harass you from the dark and try to slice you up.  The remainder of the Raid is no less difficult, actually more so.  For example when you get to parts like the Deathsinger where you have a time limit to take her down before she just outright kills you, or the final fight where you can’t even hurt Crota without dropping his shield first to get a few shots in with a giant sword!

Solo Crota

Difficult enough for a team of six (the recommended number) but this guy did it solo.  I have watched the video he was kind enough to make and it’s just insane that he pulled it off but what’s even more insane?  He did it again when they finally added the Hard version of the Raid into the game.  I haven’t even been able to join a team that’s beaten “Hard Crota” yet and he soloed it.  Hats off to The Legend Himself!

 

SPEAKING OF CROTA, THESE GUYS BEAT IT WITHOUT GUNS

BUBBLES!

BUBBLES!

I laughed really hard when I heard about this because I immediately pictured how that did it.  I was right too.  One of the playable characters in the game is the Titan Class.  This class can switch between being a Defender and a Striker type and plays some really good support for the team all while also being the most heavily armored.  The main super ability of the Defender choice is a Bubble of force that players can hide beneath to stop incoming bullets.  It allows players and enemies to pass through the walls and thus would normally not provide any protection against those Thralls I mentioned above.  However, there is a piece of armor you can equip that will cause any enemy that passes through the Bubble to be temporarily blinded.

Using such techniques we witness this group crawl its way through the raid only meleeing enemies, using supers, and throwing grenades.  Not a single shot was fired.  Truly an incredible feat, not to mention hilarious.

 

FLY ME TO ATHEON

The other Raid available in Destiny is called the Vault of Glass.  This one features the mechanical yet biological enemies known as the Vex.  It is also well-known for long drops, platform jumping, and insta kill enemy dodging.  Needless to say it’s hard enough to get through this thing on your own two feet but these guys managed to fly one of the game’s hover bikes (known as a Sparrow) through the entire Vault of Glass Raid.

To get an idea of the feat that was accomplished here you need to understand how players utilize the Sparrow.  First you need to know that the Sparrow is summoned via some form of teleportation from your character’s ship but only in areas where such a thing is possible, so yeah you can summon it outside the Vault of Glass but once inside you’re out of luck.  Second, the Sparrow doesn’t just sit around if you jump off of it.  The thing will disappear (presumably back to your ship?) in a matter of seconds after you dismount so they couldn’t just park the thing and return to it.  No, for the most part the player(s) riding the Sparrow needed to remain out of combat altogether.  Lastly the ways to lose your Sparrow otherwise are typical, it can be blown up, if you fall off one of the many cliffs it is also gone.

Seeing these guys dancing around the burning (nearly destroyed) Sparrow at the finale of the video was great to see!

Sparrow

OH THE CHEESE

cheese

Bungie has put together a fun game and has certainly added in a lot of material to challenge us… so naturally players have learned how to exploit things so those challenges are minimized!  “Cheesing” something is the term players use to describe the exploits they’ve uncovered in-game that help them defeat certain portions without the actual effort of completing them the “right way”.  It boggles my mind how some of these things were ever figured out in the first place.  here are a few examples I’ve heard of, some I’ve even used myself.

  • Scaling the side of a cliff by jumping to tiny landing points in order to get on top of a building where mobs of enemies with eventually despawn because you are no longer on the map.
  • Ledges you can jump to under a portion of the map where nothing can harm you so two other players can finish off the main baddie while waiting to revive if they both go down.
  • Using in-game explosions to launch yourself to various parts of the game where either enemies can’t get to you or to clear a gorge where you were supposed to spawn a bridge.
  • Pulling out your LAN cable at precisely the right time so Crota freezes and you can take him out without worry (Heard this one was fixed though).
  • Hanging out in a side room reviving your fellows while they shoot at the main boss and go down over and over.  They don’t care, you’re off to the side where she can’t hit you!

Honestly, all of this makes me feel like there are three styles of play in this game; Player vs. Environment, Player vs. Player, and lastly Player vs Makers!  It seems every time Bungie chuckles at our cheesing and claims to have patched it a whole slew of new exploits appear.  I love it!

THE EXTRA LITTLE THINGS

Don’t believe me? Just watch.

The other day I landed in the tower (home base for all us Guardians) and what to my wondering eyes did appear?  Roughly ten Guardians surrounding one other guardian who was standing still (presumably away from their controller) dancing, squatting, pointing, waving, pushing that Guardian around.  It made me laugh rather louder than I intended to at nearly midnight, but damn was it funny.  I also learned how to kill myself by standing in water and shooting my foot from my good buddy Topher.

Shoot foot

I’ve gotten to do some wonderfully creative stunts myself playing this game, even if they aren’t of the caliber as those above.  There’s been a number of times I’ve taken out the enemy targeted by a Patrol Mission using only my Sparrow as a ramming instrument (my favorite was the Ogre I launched into from a high platform).  I enjoy grabbing the sword that a certain enemy drops and attacking the giant mechanized Spider that appears in the area known as “The Divide” on Earth.  My friend and I even managed to get the purple rubber ball found at the tower onto a roof where you could blow it into the air using a fan…maybe you need to be more familiar with the game to understand that last one.

Bottom line is this game is tons of fun, even when you aren’t playing it “by the book”.  It also shows that the player base might just be getting a bit antsy for more content.  I’m happy to report though that an update is coming down the pipe and I get the impression we will be seeing Destiny 2 sooner rather than later, just a hunch.  If there’s a story out there I missed let me know about it, or if you have something you or you and your friends pulled off I’d love to hear about it!  Here’s to good drops folks!

Sparrow-Surfin

-Melvs (Shout out to my Clan! Hey Dads Gaming!)

P.S. All this talk about playing Destiny by not playing Destiny has me remembering some fun things my friends and I pulled off in those older Bungie games, the Halo series.

We quickly tired of the standard multiplayer and decided to get creative with our own challenges.  A few of my favorites include:

  • Getting every vehicle (in Halo 1) on top of the bunkers in Blood Gultch using rockets and grenades.
  • Creating a Multiplayer game where we shot skeet by having people ramp Ghosts off the back of one Tank and trying to shoot them down with the other.
  • Creating a Team Deathmatch Multiplayer game called “MechaWarZ” where we were only allowed to kill each other using vehicles to run them down.  No guns, no melee, no grenades.  If someone else was in a vehicle you had to flip them out of it!
    • One of my favorite ways to play, fully ruined by making it so you could destroy vehicles in later iterations of the game.
  • In whatever Halo first allowed the sword we created a Multiplayer game we called “Bat Leg Rounds” where we only used the sword and could only fight in a specific spot.  You had to run immediately to that spot and then try to keep it as long as possible.  Screaming “There can only be one!” constantly was encouraged.
  • Golf… Yes a buddy and I created a way to play golf where we… ok, this is kind of complicated.  There were four players, two teams.  Two guys were Red and two guys were Blue.  Then you pair off by making one Red guy the caddie for a Blue guy and vice versa.  What you needed to do was kill the other persons caddie. By game standards they were your teammate thus it gave you negative points.  However if you accidentally killed the opposing golfer you’d naturally gain points off setting any negative points gained by killing their caddie.  Just like in golf, the person with the fewest points won!  This was more of a chance for my buddies and I to drive around Blood Gultch pretending it was a golf course…and yes we did this at like four in the morning…shut up.
We got a tank up on one too.

We got a tank up on one too.

Other than my buddies attempting to get the Warthog as far into EVERY mission it was made available in, much further than it was meant to go I assure you, I can’t recall anything else for now.  Oh well, long Post Script for ya!

The Darkness, the Ghost, and the Sparrow: A Look at Destiny

*Today my good buddy Topher pops in to give us a contributor piece that offers a look into some gaming I’m not nearly as familiar with, the world of Video Games.  Bungie’s new game Destiny has gained a lot of hype leading into its launch and Topher seems to really dig it, but let’s here him chat about it!

So, Kevin asked me to write a review of Destiny. First, Kevin thank you for letting me contribute to your site. Alright now that the mandatory kowtowing is over, let’s get to business.

Destiny is a First-Person Shooter Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game, or in other words a FPSMMORPG, for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. From the start I will tell you that I am currently playing the Xbox One version, and overall, the game is really good.

STORY AND ENEMIES

Peter Dinklage is your companion and guide, a hyper intelligent robot called Ghost that brings you back to life. That’s right, Tyrion Lannister is your Sherpa. Do I need to say more?

Mr. Dinklage I presume?

Alright, I was informed that I do need to say more, so…

Good story if you overlook the typical Human = Good; Aliens = Bad; Earth = Doomed cliché, but have I mentioned Peter Dinklage voices your companion?

Missions let you jump in quick and feel emerged in the struggle against the evil aliens known as the Darkness. The aliens are actually a solid enemy, and enemies are what make a game interesting. If the bad guys not good at their job, what’s the point? The enemy A.I. in Destiny actually utilizes, and get ready for this, LOGIC!!! If you snipe one of them, the rest actively try to get to cover. I hope this is the type of thinking more games start to employ in their enemies. I have killed too many faceless enemies because they are staring at the comrade who was just sniped.

The map is set up into story missions to work your way through, and an open environment gives you the opportunity to sand box patrol as well, kill more baddies, and farm that sweet, sweet XP. The sandbox mode is awesome. This is something that any game with a RPG element needs. Bravo for including it Bungie.

I will not give spoilers away, but the early on you see that the battles between humans and the Darkness have scarred the moon, after that I was all in for exterminating the enemy. NOBODY FRACKS WITH OUR MOON!!!

CLASSES AND RACES

Three classes so far. There are Titans, Hunters, and Warlocks. I will give you a quick breakdown of all of them so you can make an informed decision. Don’t worry though, you can make multiple characters.

Titans – The brutes. They like to take damage and dish it out. Good at getting close and melee enemies

Hunters – Short for bounty hunter. These are the nimble gunslingers.

Warlocks – Kind of like someone with force powers that also uses guns.

There are also 3 races to choose from when making a character. They are nothing but cosmetic, so just pick the one that you think look coolest.

Humans – Well, they are human….

Awoken – Humans that got lost in space and their skin lost all pigment

Exo – Robots, you know, like Bender Bending Rodriguez

VISUALS

The visuals are stunning. Bungie has their in house engine for Destiny and so far it looks great. I am yet to see a major bug. I don’t need to say any more, because instead look at this picture of me pretending I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

Destiny

CONTROLS

The controls are a throwback to the Halo series, not surprising since the game was made by Bungie. So, the learning curve on the controller is actually quite quick. All the standard buttons are the same and the powers a really well mapped. This allows the player the ability to quickly remember where there buttons are mapped and to expend their skills expertly in battle. You also have a failsafe of using two buttons to unleash your big damaging dealing power. So if you don’t get that to land properly, it was your fault and not the controller’s.

Bungie has also taken some of the things that Halo was lacking and incorporated these into the controls. The right stick now allows the player to sprint to avoid enemies or to retreat and heal. This is a huge boon to the combat system. If there was one thing that Halo was missing it was sprinting. Too many times would I find myself getting shot in the back with the only option to save myself was to turn and charge my attacker or slowly lurch forward and pray that I made it to the inevitable fall to a lower level or grav portal or, if I was real luck, a large random purple crate.

The land speeders take some getting used to. In the beginning their controls are counter intuitive. Your first bike has a brake on the right and accelerator on the left, you know, the opposite of any car you’ve ever driven. The reason it is set up like this is because later on your bike can get a gun, then right trigger is a gun and all is right with the world.

Side note: The menu’s controls are awesome. They control like you have a curser and a mouse. It gives you the feel of being closer to a PC game. A small thing, but the emersion value is huge.

MULTIPLAYER

First, Xbox One, fix your multiplayer and party options. They are AWFUL!!!

Alright, now that I got that out of my system, cooperative multiplayer is amazing. You can form a three man fireteam to take down story missions or explore in the sandbox. Since everyone is on their own counsel, you can go where ever you want and scatter the wind. I always find this appealing. It allows you to attack from multiple directions at once. This multiplayer is one of the strongest parts of Destiny.

Now, competitive multiplayer has some problems. This first being that some people you play online will be much higher level than yourself. This means they have unlocked more powers, gotten better weapons, and can take more damage. I do not know if they scale the powers back or up to compensate and make the playing field easy for those people that have, what do you call those things, oh right, jobs and can’t sit around a dorm room playing video games all day. (Sigh….I miss college so much…) You can still be competitive in multiplayer mode, but be prepared to take a beating every now and again.

VERDICT

Great game overall. I have enjoyed the hours I have already put into it and will definitely be playing this game for months to come.

OVERALL SCORE: 9/10

This game is a can’t miss. Go buy it right now. And I will see you online.

-Topher