GOG introduces user profiles

What has already been available on many gaming platforms has now finally been implemented on GOG: the user profile that allows sharing one’s personal gaming progress and preferences.

It might seem a bit weird that this feature hasn’t been included right from the start, especially with achievements already being a part of GOG Galaxy, the alternative to Steam or actually any other online system. Don’t be confused by the name “user profile”, though, as this isn’t simply the way forum users can edit their personal details with avatars. The new user profile allows everyone to keep others up to date with the four cornerstones Feed, Profile, Games and Friends.

Feed is the centerpiece of the profile, as it shows what games one’s friends have played or are currently playing, including achievements and milestones. Commenting on screenshots, forum activities and general thoughts adds to the social aspect of that feature, too.
The personal Profile itself is obviously about one’s own gaming accomplishments and recent activity, showing playtimes, achievements, and also what friends are up to.
Then there’s Games which contains a list of all titles owned on GOG, together with stats like time spent in-game and one’s progress towards unlocking achievements. Being able to sort the list and compare stats with friends, one can be in constant competition if one wants to.
Finally Friends gives a general summary of their achievements and hours played. Showing which games are the most popular and being able to join friends in multiplayer are all things that can be found on other gaming platforms, so it’s great to finally see it make an appearance.

Of course with so much personal information and transparency of gaming behavior comes visibility and responsibility. So if one doesn’t want to share everything with everyone, it’s possible to adjust three new privacy options in one’s account. Steam, Xbox Live, PSN and maybe other platforms have always been about bringing people together and making them share their experiences. Just like Twitter and Facebook, it might come with its problems, but maybe the good outweighs the bad. It’s certainly a great way to finally be able to do this in a DRM-free form, even though in combination with the optional GOG Galaxy client, it’s only partly true.

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

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Game release: “For The King” (PC)

IronOak Games‘ mix of turn-based fantasy roguelike RPG and boardgame For The King is finally out of Early Access with Curve Digital as publisher.

I’m very fond of boardgames (as you might have seen in the new additions to the media collection in March 2018 among others), so this game is right up my alley, even though the main storyline about a dead King murdered by an unknown assassin and the kingdom of Fahrul having fallen into chaos might not be the most original. However, being able to create a party with up to 3 people locally or online and play cooperatively sounds like a lot of fun.

Traversing procedurally-generated maps makes each playthrough different, while there are many ways to tackle the game with weapon crafting and using items, trinkets, and curiosities (whatever these might be). Additionally, one can collect lore and spend it at town libraries to unlock persistent game mechanics, which is again an intriguing concept. Turn-based combat works with a unique slot and proficiency system, so that one can choose attack types, spend focus points, use items, and activate special abilities. With a very pretty art style, this all seems to be a unique experience that has finally come out of Early Access after having started the journey with Kickstarter in 2015.

For The King is out now for PC with a 20% launch discount that will last until May 3, 3pm UTC. So there’s plenty of time to think about going on this unique boardgame/roguelike/co-op RPG journey.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG link and buying the product also helps ;).

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Amazon Prime Video watchlist: March 2018

It was only a matter of time before the Amazon Prime Video streaming service subscription would be renewed after one year since the watchlist: March to April 2017.

The reason for this change of mind was that my internet was finally able to present everything in HD without many loading times. However, there were still some unexplained bugs and, compared to Netflix, longer waiting times to browse through the catalogue. But with some exclusive shows and more recent movies, this wasn’t an opportunity to miss again.

TV shows:
Preacher (Season 1) [9/10]
Preacher (Season 2) [7/10]
Supernatural (Season 11) [7/10]

The finale of the tenth season of Supernatural seen on Netflix last month was such a cliffhanger that I had to watch the new one as well, a clear indication that something interesting was happening with the show. Having a great start with fighting infected people for a change, and episodes building on each other, there are also other monsters-of-the-week that are worth watching, like imaginary friends being killed one by one or people dying after being kissed on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately the overall story that focuses on God making an appearance is such a disappointment, as it throws every logic over board. It’s really too bad that the show can’t seem to find a balance between ridiculous and serious subject matters when it comes to the overall story arc, as the whole king of hell/mother relationship becomes annoying and boring, making this a season that is both a success and failure. Of course one still wants to watch the next season, but this one is only available on Sky, together with the 13th one…

Preacher was an unexpectedly great series to get into. Possession of people might not be the most original idea, and again having demons and angels in business suits might be very similar to what Supernatural has offered for so many years, but these 10 episodes were surprisingly fun, combining some decent amount of gore (especially for a 16+ age rating) with a bonkers storyline about a female killer, an Irish vampire and the titular priest who has the special ability to use his voice to make people do things. The way the audience is kept guessing what is going on is reminiscent of the first season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency I wrote about in the April to May 2017 Netflix watchlist, only this is much darker stuff, taking religious themes and playing with them in unexpected ways. Taking into account that Seth Rogen was involved whose output of comedy has ranged from the truly funny to the truly mediocre thanks to toilet humor, it’s quite an achievement and makes one want to read the apparently very difficult to adapt graphic novel series. At least this is true for the first season.

The next season, just like Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency‘s second season featured in the January 2018 Netflix watchlist, tries to be too different and struggles with too much character talk and a reliance on jazz that makes this rather tedious to watch. It often seems that the series wants to be taken too seriously and goes into an almost David Lynch direction. It still has its moments, e.g. showing Adolf Hitler in hell as a controversially nice guy (at least compared to who else is in there), and some especially bloody scenes, plus great ideas, but hopefully the third season will be more fast-paced.

Movies:
Bullyparade: Der Film [8/10]
Power Rangers (2017) [7/10]

Thinking back to one’s childhood, there were always guilty pleasure TV shows or movies one still watched because they were fun. When one grows older, one might shake one’s head how stupid some of these actually were or one might embrace the silliness and still watch them with the same kind of fun. So giving the Power Rangers movie a chance was a no-brainer, and it turned out to be quite an interesting reboot. Unfortunately, despite staying mostly true to the highschool kids who start to fight against evil in their colored costumes and ultimately controlling mechanic beasts, the movie suffers from what most modern reboots try to achieve: being more socially aware, taking time to introduce characters with all their modern problems. Only this is not why one wants to watch such a movie. When the action finally kicks in, it’s pretty cool (minus the terrible hip hop/pop soundtrack), especially with an awesome female villain, but 2 hours is simply a very long time in which not a lot is happening and it also leans a bit too much on exaggerated pathos. Maybe a sequel will rectify this, maybe even Michael Bay jumps in and takes the reigns to make it the blockbuster the series deserves.

It was a long time ago since I gave German comedy a chance, especially on TV, but the Bullyparade was always special, maybe especially silly nonsense, but all the same. Very Bavarian in its accent, making fun of all sorts of movies, like Winnetou or Star Trek. I only watched Traumschiff Surprise (translated: Starship Surprise) which unfortunately had Till Schweiger in the lead role, but it was still a surprisingly fun and well-made (in terms of special effects) gay parody version of the old sci-fi crew. Now Bullyparade: Der Film (because of Bully Hermig, the lead comedian) wasn’t well received in German cinemas, but I was very surprised that it was actually pretty good. Even without telling a coherent story, but just playing with all sorts of timelines and different characters, also including a parody on The Wolf of Wall Street, I still can’t remember having laughed so hard in a long time, especially considering that it’s from Germany. Difficult to recommend if you don’t know German, but if you do (or there’s even a translation?), give it a go.

So all in all, Amazon Prime remains a bonus streaming program that has more recent movies and some wonderfully original TV shows. Paying around 5 Euros per month is definitely worth it if you’ll get the 1-year-subscription. So expect more watchlists in the coming months…

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

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GOG release: “The Dame Was Loaded”

Beam Software’s classic FMV adventure game The Dame Was Loaded of 1996 returns with courtesy of Piko Interactive on GOG.

Eric the Unready wasn’t the only title that Piko Interactive brought back to life in DRM-free form as a digital release, but The Dame Was Loaded is a completely different kind of game from another era, mainly the 90ies with full motion video featuring all kinds of actors and actresses in a 40ies-inspired noir detective story about P.I. Scott Anger who has to find the missing brother of one of his female clients which results in betrayal and death, as is usually the case in these types of stories.

I already reviewed the Tex Murphy games a while ago (Under a Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive, Overseer, and Tesla Effect), so the parallels are obvious, as every action/dialogue is done in FMV sequences, minus the investigative part in stills. What this entails is talking to witnesses and suspects as well as trying to escape a beating or death. Depending on one’s actions and decisions, one will see 9 different endings. In combination with some classic jazz music and admittedly low-res pixel videos but with so-bad-they’re-funny actors/actresses, this is another throwback to the good/bad old times.

The Dame Was Loaded is now available exclusively on GOG, so give it a chance, because despite the questionable reputation of FMV titles, there are still some gems among them. Even if not everything is of a high quality, these games are definitely more enjoyable than most crime TV shows (especially in Germany).

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG links and buying the products also helps ;).

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Netflix watchlist: March 2018

March 2018 only focused on one TV show and a movie, but this didn’t mean Netflix wasn’t exciting to watch.

TV shows:
Supernatural (Seasons 8+9+10) [7/10, 7/10, 8/10]

The problem with long-running TV shows is that they soon fall into the trap of doing the same thing for too long, with too much character talk, less action, and less experimentation. While Supernatural has never been a series that shies away from cool concepts, its 20+ episodic structure hasn’t done it much good, either. So while Season 8 definitely has its highlights with one episode featuring deaths by cartoon logic, a look at live action role playing, and even a journey back in time with Nazis, the whole story about the Word of God, prophets, and especially hell management feels pretty tired and uninspired, even if the season has a great start and finale.

Season 9 also has memorable episodes, one about the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy who battles the Wicked Witch of the West, another one with Dean’s ability to talk to dogs, and creatures that suck fat out of people in a spa. It’s all highly entertaining and original, but the battle between angels has grown stale not only because it still looks ridiculous to have business suit-wearing people stab each other, but simply because one has seen this countless times before.

Season 10 is the last one available on Netflix and it’s a pretty great one. It doesn’t only feature a musical that makes fun of the show and its characters (and still taking them seriously in some parts, which is ingenious), it also shows Dean being transformed into a teenager and a demon that haunts the internet. Maybe what is more important is that the overall story arc is more suspenseful without constantly being held back by filler episodes.

Movies:
Game Over, Man! [8/10]

The only movie I watched on the streaming platform was Game Over, Man!, an entertaining mix of Die Hard with gross Hangover humor. It might not always work, but the action sequences are surprisingly bloody. In some parts one can’t shake the feeling that it goes a bit too far with humiliation and toilet humor, but taking into account how many Netflix Originals simply rely on established franchises and don’t always offer more provocative material, then this is a step in the right direction, if the audience has the stomach for it. Already hinting at a sequel, let’s hope that it’ll be as much fun as this one.

With Supernatural finding its end on Netflix in March, the next logical step was to move to another streaming platform that featured Season 11 and more movies, so stay tuned for the Amazon Prime watchlist update!

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

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