Crusader Kings 3 will let players seduce the pope

The developers behind Crusader Kings 3 are back for another monthly deep dive into their work on the grand strategy game, and this video is about the lifestyles system that will help players develop deep, emergent stories in their alternate histories. Among them is the chance to get busy with His Holiness.

Players will be able to choose from five lifestyles for their rulers, and those lifestyles have three perk trees and three foci, which carry bonuses supporting a wide variety of lifestyles. Paradox Interactive went over these in an even more detailed series of blog posts over the past month, too.

Broadly speaking, that means there’s a Learning lifestyle, and players may choose a focus in Medicine, Scholarship, or Theology. The other lifestyles are Stewardship (basically, how you run your dominion); Diplomacy (how you run someone else’s) and Martial (how you throw down).

Yeah, yeah, boooooo-ring. I’d rather learn more about the INTRIGUE LIFESTYLE, where players may specialize in Skulduggery, Temptation, and Intimidation/Torture, categories that should be self-explanatory. Temptation is what I came here to talk about, because the seduction scheme is coming back from Crusader Kings 2 in a big way. This time, not only are your lovers less likely to kill you, they’re more likely to take a knife that would kill you, so don’t get too attached to anyone.

screenshot showing a Discord conversation excerpt in which a Crusader Kings 3 developer tells players they may seduce the Pope. Tag yourself in the emojis. I’m the smirk. Image: u/Prominences on Reddit

Somewhat hilariously, it looks like all NPCs are on the table when it comes to seduction targets. That includes the pope! In a Discord conversation earlier this week, developers said even the pope may be seduced “and there’s a special event for it.” For more on how events work, Paradox published this dev diary back in January.

Players who have better ideas for Crusader Kings 3’s lifestyles of the rich and ruthless will appreciate that the perk trees are all fully moddable. That includes granting immortality, instead of leaving things to your heirs to either clean up or make worse.

Crusader Kings 3 is coming sometime this year. Paradox Interactive hasn’t said exactly when, but when the game does launch, it’ll be on Windows PC via both Steam and Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Source: Polygon.com

DC Comics publisher Jim Lee responds to sudden departure of partner Dan DiDio

At a Spotlight panel at this weekend’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, DC Comics publisher Jim Lee spoke publicly for the first time since his fellow co-publisher, Dan DiDio, abruptly excited DC Comics on Feb. 21.

“DC has been around for 85 years, and we’ll be around for another 85 years,” Lee said, apparently responding to rumors about his own future, according to a liveblog published by Newsarama. Lee is also DC’s chief creative officer.

“The actual strategy for DC is to put publishing at the center of what we do,” he continued. ‘It’s the engine of all the movies, TV, cartoons, that we do. And so it’s my intent going forward as the publisher to lean into the collective years [of experience] of my team. … Rest assured, the company is in great hands.”

Officially, DC Comics has declined to give any statement on DiDio’s departure since last Friday. He joined DC Comics in January 200 as a vice president of editorial and a writer on Superboy, and was promoted along with Lee to co-publisher in 2010.

One year later, under the pair’s leadership, DC Comics launched The New 52, the company’s first full continuity reboot since 1986. The New 52 was famously controversial, but its effects — on story and on the market — have largely passed the test of time. DiDio and Lee also helmed 2016’s Rebirth initiative, which served as a mea culpa for many of The New 52’s continuity changes.

Also during DiDio and Lee’s tenure together, DC began publishing digital versions of every comic the same day they were released in physical format; put a steady foot down in the booming world of YA graphic novels; and shuttered DC’s famous Vertigo comics label imprint in favor of Black Label, which features creator-forward non-canonical stories for readers 17 years and older.

DiDio made frequent appearances at conventions, usually hosting DC panels in which fans, supportive and otherwise, peppered him with questions. He had been scheduled to appear this weekend at C2E2, but the panel was cancelled following his departure.

In addition to the obvious questions about DC’s future editorial structure, DiDio’s departure raises questions about the future of his 12-issue Metal Men series, drawn by Shane Davis, which put out its fifth issue this month.

Source: Polygon.com

I want to live in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing booth

Tens of thousands of people will file through the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center’s front doors this weekend. This is where PAX East is held, one of the video game industry’s biggest fan conventions. One does not often call such an event relaxing. It’s fun, yes — but it’s also chaotic and very loud. All its spaces are packed with people. There are a lot of lines. In close proximity with all these people — during flu season, no less — I will probably get sick.

And yet. I’m now ready to pack my bags and move into the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Thanks, Nintendo! In fact, I won’t even need to bring much. There’s enough in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons booth to sustain myself for a bit: a tent, a fire, fruit, a waterfall, a fishing rod, and, of course, Tom Nook.

The Animal Crossing booth is one of the first things I saw when I entered the PAX East expo hall on Thursday morning. The colorful campsite is plucked straight from the video game. Island visitors — in this case, PAX East attendees — were dangling fishing poles from the bridge. Others posed with bulbous fruit hanging from Animal Crossing’s stout trees. A few people played with tools set up at a crafting bench as a glowing blue waterfall trickled nearby.

I waited in line for around 15 minutes before I considered moving on to a different booth. Then Tom Nook appeared, and I made the decision that I would die in this line if I had to. And, boy, am I glad I waited — this is my new home!

Part of the appeal of the Animal Crossing franchise for me is the fantasy, and its serenely chill environment. I got so engrossed in Animal Crossing: New Leaf that it often felt like I truly lived there, for better or worse. As silly as it sounds, I felt connected to my own village — how I personalized it and felt enmeshed in an, admittedly, fake world. This booth, for a moment, makes that fantasy real, and that’s not really something I experience often as an adult — the pure joy of getting lost in something.

It’s a feeling I’d like to hold on to. That’s why I’m moving in. Can someone tell my husband I’ll be home when the convention center staff kicks me out? I’m hoping they’ll at least let me stay until Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches March 20 on Nintendo Switch.

Source: Polygon.com

Appraiser of Indiana Jones’ Lost Ark says it’s worth $120,000

Well, there you have it. The Ark of the Covenant, believed to have spent the past 83 years in government storage after it was excavated by a Marshall College professor of archaeology, has been appraised by PBS’ Antiques Roadshow.

James Supp of Coronado Trading Co., Tucson, Arizona and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, estimates the one-of-a-kind religious artifact, used to transport the Ten Commandments, would fetch between $80,000 and $120,000 at auction. Supp called that “a very conservative estimate.” With any army carrying the Ark before it believed to be invincible, many foreign governments would be interested in acquiring it.

“Wow,” said the unnamed private citizen now in custody of the Ark, which has been called “a radio for talking to God,” and capable of laying waste to entire regions. “Not bad for hot glue and spray paint.”

The Ark was brought by a private citizen to Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum for an Antiques Roadshow event last May. The Ark’s unnamed owner says his father, an engineer for Industrial Light and Magic of Marin County, California, acquired it sometime in the early 1980s. Importantly, it does not contain the remnants of the Ten Commandments; the current owner says it was used to store blankets.

The Ark was believed to have been looted from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in 980 BCE by the invading army of the Egyptian pharoah Shishak. Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. returned with it following a dig outside Cairo in 1936. Jones’ discovery was only revealed 45 years later in the 1981 documentary Raiders of the Lost Ark, whose filmmakers posited that the United States government secretly took custody of the Ark and kept it in a vast storage facility.

Despite being one of the most important artifacts to the Abrahamic faiths, the Ark was never placed on public display, possibly owing to the questioned nature of its acquisition. A competing German expedition briefly claimed ownership of it, but its leader, Dr. Rene Belloq of France, mysteriously vanished. He was last seen on a remote island near Crete.

Source: Polygon.com

Two different Switch Lite discounts lead this weekend’s best gaming deals

Despite Nintendo’s reputation for a lack of discounts on its hardware and first-party software, we’re seeing not one but two deals on its latest handheld console, the Switch Lite, this weekend. The first is a bona fide discount. A eBay wholesaler is offering the console for $182.99, which is $17 off the retail price (though all the colors except for yellow are sold out). The other deal is a bundle from Best Buy, which is throwing in a free carrying case when you buy a Switch Lite. That promotion applies to all colors except for pre-orders of the new coral version. The carrying case costs $19.99, so if you’re planning on picking up protection for your Switch Lite (and you really should!), the Best Buy bundle is a slightly better deal.

If you’re looking for deals on video games, Amazon is offering a bunch of coupons on Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One games right now. Several of our favorite games of the last few years are discounted, including Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, The Outer Worlds, and the Collector’s Edition of Death Stranding complete with light-up BB Pod statue. Just make sure you clip the coupon on the product page before checking out.

Consoles and hardware

Video games

Miscellaneous

Source: Polygon.com

6 trailers that have us hyped this week: Candyman, Rumble, and more

A million movie trailers drop online every week, which can make it hard to keep track of what’s actually coming up in theaters and on home screens. To help parse through the endless stream of upcoming movie and TV releases, we’ve assembled a list of the most exciting (and in some cases, weirdest) trailers that came out this week, along with a hype level rating, tracking whether these particular trailers actually excited us about the upcoming product. Afraid you might have missed something? Fear no more.

This week brings us some chilling horror in the form of Saint Maud and Candyman, but also some family-friendly fare, like the monster-wrestling flick Rumble and the high-fantasy Netflix series The Letter for the King.


Rumble

If you ever thought, “Huh, the one thing that would make WWE even cooler is if the superstars were actually GIGANTIC HYBRID MONSTERS,” you’re in luck, because that’s what Rumble is about.

Movie release date: Sometime in 2021

Hype level: 6. It could be goofy gags, but the concept is so out-there that I’m intrigued.

The Letter for the King

A heroic kid in a medieval fantasy world doesn’t seem like new fare, but the cast is surprisingly diverse for a genre that has in the past usually just included white people. There’s knights, magic, horses, and some fun, family-friendly humor.

Series release date: March 20 on Netflix

Hype level: A tentative 7. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good family-friendly high-fantasy live-action affair. Also, I can’t read “The Letter for the King” without hearing it to the tune of the part in Hamilton’s “Farmer Refuted” that goes “A message from the king!”

Candyman

The 1992 horror movie gets a direct sequel for 2020, with Tony Todd returning as the mysterious urban legend who stalks a Chicago neighborhood and can be summoned by the chanting of his name. The first trailer for the Jordan Peele production (directed by Nia DaCosta) paints a suspenseful atmosphere — with a little help from a trailercore version of the Destiny’s Child song “Say My Name.”

Movie release date: June 20 in theaters

Hype level: 1000000. If a film can make “Say My Name” creepy, it has my undivided attention.

Radium Girls

A harrowing account of the Radium Girls, a group of factory workers fighting for justice after they were exposed to harmful radiation in the early 20th century. It’s a fictionalized account of a real historical event, starring The Act’s Joey King as a girl whose sister comes down with radiation sickness.

Movie release date: April 3 in theaters

Hype level: 8. The drama looks harrowing, plus it’s interesting to see a key piece of history that hasn’t been explored in pop culture much before.

Saint Maud

Hospice nurse Maud, who has recently found faith, begins to worry that a less-than-holy influence is at work when she becomes obsessed with a former dancer under her care. As she convinces herself she’s capable of saving her patient’s soul, she also seeks to free herself from past trauma, and puts herself through excruciating pain.

Movie release date: April 3 in theaters

Hype level: 5. This lands in the middle because it looks compelling, but also like a squeam-fest to watch.

The Eddy

Damien Chazelle is back, baby! If you were worried that First Man meant he was over his obsession with jazz, fear not, because jazz is back on Chazelle’s mind in full force. André Holland stars in a “musical drama” set in Paris and a jazz club called the Eddy.

Series release date: May 8 on Netflix

Hype level: 8. I mean, just look at André Holland.

Source: Polygon.com

How to keep the good Witcher times going if you loved The Witcher

The Witcher television series, based on the fantasy novels and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski (which also inspired the video game series of the same name), arrived on Netflix in December. Starring the Snyderverse’s Superman himself, Henry Cavill, the show follows the the silver-haired monster-slayer-for-hire Geralt of Rivia across a crisscrossing timeline as he becomes reluctantly entangled in the politics of the realm.

The show has been a bona fide hit, with Netflix ordering a season 2 before the show even dropped on the streaming platform. The second season has already started filming and will be released sometime in 2021, with an anime movie on the way as well. If you’re anxiously awaiting more fantasy adventures, more demon slaying, or more Henry Cavill in period garb, these 11 shows should tide you over for the time being.

Xena (Lucy Lawless) prepares for battle in a screenshot from Xena: Warrior Princess Photo: NBCUniversal

Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena and Geralt share two crucial characteristics: they’re both hardened monster slayers with cute bard companions (though Geralt and Jaskier don’t have quite the same romantic chemistry as Xena and Gabrielle).

Originally conceived as a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess ran for six seasons. Lucy Lawless’ Xena was a villain in Hercules, but as the star of her own show she travels across Ancient Greece fighting evil as atonement for her past misdeeds.

Xena: Warrior Princess is streaming on NBC.com.

A man whispers something to Sir Galavant (Joshua Sasse) and King Richard (Timothy Omundson) in a screencap from Galavant Photo: ABC Studios

Galavant

If Jaskier’s catchy tunes are your favorite part of The Witcher, consider checking out NBC’s short-lived musical fantasy sitcom, Galavant. Created by Dan Fogelman (Cars, This is Us), the series follows the disgraced knight, Sir Gary Galavant (Joshua Sasse), as he attempts to win back his lady love from the evil King Richard (Psych’s Timothy Omundson). With music by Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors), the main “Galavant” song slaps way harder than “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.”

Galavant is streaming on Netflix.

Merlin (Colin Morgan) wears chain mail in a screencap from Merlin Photo: Endemol Shine UK

Merlin

For more adventures of literary heroes with magical powers and mysterious destinies, look to BBC’s Merlin. Like Smallville imagined the early years of Superman, Merlin retells the legend of King Arthur, focusing on Merlin (Colin Morgan) as a young warlock new to Camelot who begrudgingly befriends the arrogant prince Arthur (Bradley James). Come for the new take on Arthurian legend, stay for the CGI dragon voiced by John Hurt.

Merlin is streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Charles Brandon (Henry Cavill) holds up a sword in a screenshot from The Tudors Photo: Sony Pictures Television

The Tudors

Okay, fine, if you just want to ogle more Henry Cavill in deep v-neck linen shirts, he also stars as King Henry VIII’s BFF, Charles Brandon, in Showtime’s sexy period drama, The Tudors. (It also stars a pre-Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer as Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.)

The Tudors is streaming on Netflix and Showtime (available as a Hulu or Amazon add-on)

baby yoda reaching a wee little hand out Photo: Disney

The Mandalorian

Our review of The Witcher already pointed out its similarities to The Mandalorian. Here’s a refresher:

A brooding hero, one of the last members of a race of legendary warriors, wanders through a wild, dangerous world, finding nothing but trouble. Violence is his livelihood, and yet his code makes him choosy about his jobs. That means he’s often so desperate for money that he’s forced to take terrible risks. He doesn’t want to connect with anyone, but his world is turned upside down when destiny makes him responsible for a very special child.

The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney Plus.

His Dark Materials

HBO released its own long-awaited TV adaptation of a fantasy novel series just a month before Netflix dropped The Witcher. His Dark Materials is based on the Philip Pullman trilogy about two children and their animal companions (daemons) on a multiverse-spanning rescue mission. His Dark Materials shares a similar dark fantasy aesthetic with The Witcher, though the former’s magical creatures are a lot cuter.

His Dark Materials is streaming on HBO (available as a Hulu or Amazon add-on).

A character in Demon Slayer ... slays a demon Image: Ufotable/Aniplex of America

Demon Slayer

Like The Witcher with its gory boss battles, Demon Slayer knows what you’re really here for — watching big ‘ol monsters get got. And it just won the Anime Award for Anime of the Year.

From our guide to the best new anime of the 2010s:

Demon Slayer is not a complicated anime. Everything you need to know is right there in the title. The series follows a kid whose family is killed by demons with the one exception of his sister who was transformed into a demon herself. So the kid sets out to … slay demons. And that’s exactly what he does. Demon Slayer.

Demon Slayer is streaming on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation.

Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) holds a bloody hand to his stomach in a screenshot from Vikings Photo: MGM Television

Vikings

Blending Norse history and mythology, the History Channel show Vikings follows a band of warriors, led by the legendary hero Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), who claims to be a descendant of Odin. While Vikings is billed as historical drama (read: no Witcher-style magic), there are plenty of epic battles.

Vikings is streaming on Hulu.

Ash Williams from Ash vs. Evil Dead Lionsgate/Starz

Ash vs. Evil Dead

Hear me out: If Geralt was dropped off in present-day Michigan, stripped of his magical powers and equipped with a chainsaw hand, he might look a lot like Ash Williams, especially considering Ash’s detour into medieval Europe. Replace Kikimora, Striga, and dragons with the Evil Dead, and you’ve got two broody men who are very good at killing monsters.

Ash vs. Evil Dead is streaming on Netflix and Starz (available as a Hulu or Amazon add-on).

A man on a horse from The Last Kingdom Photo: Netflix

The Last Kingdom

Like The Witcher, The Last Kingdom is based on a series of rollicking novels. Written by Bernard Cornwell). It’s set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in which sword-wielding uber-warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg wards off Viking invasions for King Alfred. Like Geralt in The Witcher, Uhtred is something of an outsider, born to Anglo-Saxon nobility, but raised a Viking. He’s a pagan, in a Christian world. He’s also moody, popular with women and great with a sword; though he has a talent for diplomacy, when necessary.

The Last Kingdom is streaming on Netflix.

Source: Polygon.com

Game Developers Conference postponed as major game companies pull out

This year’s Game Developers Conference has been postponed from March to summer in the wake of high-profile withdrawals by companies that had planned to attend. Sony, Microsoft, Epic Games, Unity, Activision Blizzard, Amazon, and Facebook, including Oculus, all canceled plans to attend the show, citing health concerns related to the spread of the novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19.

GDC 2020 was scheduled to be held March 16-20 in San Francisco, but organizers say the show — or rather “a GDC event” — will now be held sometime this summer. Organizers released the following statement on Friday:

After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March.

Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time .

We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC. For this reason, we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer. We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.

Organizers for GDC say that registered conference and expo attendees will receive full refunds for badge purchases. Organizers also say that conference speakers will be able to make their planned GDC presentations available for free online. If a speaker chooses to provide their talk in video form, it will be uploaded to the GDC YouTube channel and added to the free section of the GDC Vault.

The conference’s associated award shows, the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards, will be streamed on Twitch during the week the event would have taken place “so that our community can continue to honor [and] celebrate its best games.”

The announcement comes after both Epic Games and Unity, makers of popular video game engines and other game development tools, pulled out of the show on Thursday.

“Here at Epic we were excited about participating in GDC 2020,” Epic said on the Unreal Engine Twitter account. “Regrettably, uncertainty around health concerns has made it unviable to send our employees, and so we have made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance.”

“Unfortunately, this year, after much thought and deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to pull out of GDC 2020,” Unity CEO John Riccitiello said on the company’s website. “While we did not make this decision lightly, the current conditions with COVID-19 (also known as Novel Coronavirus) present too much risk. We take our employees’ wellbeing very seriously. We do not want any Unity employee or partner to compromise their health and safety unnecessarily.

“We’re advising all employees to refrain from traveling to GDC,” Riccitiello continued. “We will no longer have a physical presence with a booth, but will instead showcase the great GDC content we’ve been working towards online. Expect more details in the coming weeks.”

Microsoft made a similar announcement on Thursday, saying that its Game Stack team would not attend GDC 2020 “after a close review of guidance by global health authorities and out of an abundance of caution.”

“In light of this, we plan to move our presence to a digital-only event March 16-18th held on www.microsoft.com/gamestack,” Microsoft said. “This event will feature the majority of our planned game developer sessions and experiences, which will be streamed live and available on demand.”

On Friday, Activision and Blizzard issued independent statements about their decision to withdraw from GDC. Amazon and Gearbox Software also canceled planned attendance.

“The health and well-being of our teams is our highest priority, and due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, Activision is asking employees not to attend this year’s Game Developers Conference as we continue to monitor the situation,” the company said on Twitter. “This was not an easy decision to make, as the conference is and has always been an important event for our developers. We look forward to participating in the future.”

“Blizzard will no longer attend this year’s [GDC] due to growing concerns related to COVID-19,” the developer added. “The health and well-being of our teams is our highest priority.”

In recent weeks, studios like Death Stranding developer Kojima Productions and Sony Interactive Entertainment canceled plans to attend GDC, even as show organizers reassured attendees the event would “[move] forward as planned.”

More than 29,000 game development professionals attended GDC in 2019, according to organizers.

With the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans to prepare for an outbreak in the States. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease director Dr. Nancy Messonnier told the press there’s no telling whether an outbreak would be mild or severe, but that Americans should “prepare for the expectation that this might be bad” — because an outbreak is “inevitable.”

This week, health officials in Northern California confirmed a case of COVID-19 in a woman who had “no known link to others with the illness,” the Washington Post reported.

Experts suggest it’s not possible to contain the virus, but immediate risk for Americans is still low. According to a report in The Atlantic, researchers and scientists predict that “40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” but many will simply see “mild disease,” or have no symptoms at all — similar to the regular flu.

More than 80,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, many of which remain in the Hubei province of China, where the virus is believed to have originated. South Korea has seen an increase in patients with COVID-19, up to 977. A cruise ship docked in Japan, the Diamond Princess, housed 691 confirmed cases. Italy has more than 300 people infected with the virus, while Japan and Iran’s numbers likewise continue to rise. The virus has spread to more than 30 countries.

Source: Polygon.com

Wolcen: Lords Of Mayhem Review

There’s an air of familiarity to Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem. It’s an action role-playing game with heavy inspiration from Diablo and Path of Exile, from their high-fantasy gothic settings to their destiny-bound protagonists and plethora of abilities to dabble in. Wolcen wears its influences on its sleeve, and while it makes changes to their established foundations, it stumbles so many times along the way that it just feels lost by the end of it.

Wolcen’s opening obscures some of its more novel ideas, with a stale and predictable narrative that makes it feel generic. You play as one of three siblings born and bred for battle, but cast out from the only family you know when an unknown power awakens within you. It’s a plot filled to the brim with exposition, riddled with vaguely explained fantasy jargon and worldbuilding that never clicks into place. It’s easy to forget about entirely after the first few hours, with only the stilted dialogue and awkward cutscenes reminding you of the uninteresting events dressing Wolcen’s main draw.

The setting, however, doesn’t fall prey to the same oppressive medieval look. Gloomy caverns and bright, colorful forests are equally impressive backdrops for the equally outstanding visual details buried within them. The variation across Wolcen’s three acts is impressive too, as it whisks you between the opulent, gold-laden halls of an ancient sacred ground to the blood-drenched trenches of a chaotic battlefield.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
Source: GameSpot.com

Wolcen: Lords Of Mayhem Review – Misguided Misadventures

There’s an air of familiarity to Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem. It’s an action role-playing game with heavy inspiration from Diablo and Path of Exile, from their high-fantasy gothic settings to their destiny-bound protagonists and plethora of abilities to dabble in. Wolcen wears its influences on its sleeve, and while it makes changes to their established foundations, it stumbles so many times along the way that it just feels lost by the end of it.

Wolcen’s opening obscures some of its more novel ideas, with a stale and predictable narrative that makes it feel generic. You play as one of three siblings born and bred for battle, but cast out from the only family you know when an unknown power awakens within you. It’s a plot filled to the brim with exposition, riddled with vaguely explained fantasy jargon and worldbuilding that never clicks into place. It’s easy to forget about entirely after the first few hours, with only the stilted dialogue and awkward cutscenes reminding you of the uninteresting events dressing Wolcen’s main draw.

The setting, however, doesn’t fall prey to the same oppressive medieval look. Gloomy caverns and bright, colorful forests are equally impressive backdrops for the equally outstanding visual details buried within them. The variation across Wolcen’s three acts is impressive too, as it whisks you between the opulent, gold-laden halls of an ancient sacred ground to the blood-drenched trenches of a chaotic battlefield.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
Source: GameSpot.com