September 15, 2015

Star Wars Uprising - Suprisingly Fun If Not Revolutionary

As I'm sure most folks interested in all things Star Wars are aware, the mobile app Star Wars: Uprising dropped last week.

I'll be honest, I was not very enthused about the game.  I dislike the "free to play but pay to win" video game model that has become the industry standard, especially where MMOs and mobile app games are concerned.  I'm old school in that I prefer to get the completed game all at once with a single payment.

But, since it's Star Wars and was free to purchase, I figured "what the heck, I'll download the game and give it a try."  After all, it's Star Wars and I'm a self-avowed Star Wars geek/nerd.  At worst, I figured I'd lose a couple hours to the game, and that'd be that.

Well, to be honest I was pleasantly surprised at how generally fun this little game is.  Granted, it's nothing super-inventive; if anything, this seems to be a Diablo type game with Star Wars window dressing.  There's no Jedi, no lightsabers, no Force usage at all in this game... which given it's set just months (if not weeks) after the events of Return of the Jedi, that makes perfect sense as Luke is the only known Jedi Knight in the galaxy.  That might change in later canon, such as the fates of Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, and Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: Rebels being as yet undetermined (or at least not yet revealed to the audiences), but as things stand, Luke's it and he's apparently quite busy elsewhere in the galaxy.

Now to be far, I've not gotten all that far in the game (still on the starting planet), but one thing that I do like is that while you may not have a whole host of XP-earning missions you can undertake, the game does offer repeatable side-quests that let you find new gear and crafting materials to upgrade that gear, as well as "crew missions" that you can send various underlings on to acquire credits, gear, crafting materials, and other in-game valuables

The missions themselves have a bit of variety in that you can choose how high on the difficulty meter you want to go; you can play it safe at the lower ends but with not-so-awesome rewards, or you can gamble and take on a higher difficulty with better rewards but a greater chance of being defeated.

Now, this being a free-to-pay game, there are of course options to make in-game purchases, or as TVTropes calls it "bribing your way to victory."  And in a lot of these types of games, if you aren't willing to shell out the extra money, you don't get access to a lot of the high-end content.  So far, Star Wars: Uprising has averted that, at least so far.  Granted, I'm still fairly early in the in-game plot, so there might yet be "juicy goodness" that's locked away behind dollar signs that I've not seen advertised.  Although I will admit there was an offer to buy an NPC astromech for part of your crew that I was sorely tempted to go for, simply for the fact of having an astromech (love those little droids), but chose to abstain.

Like I said earlier, at it's heart this game is a dressed-up Diablo clone, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  It can be a very fun diversion, as the various player missions don't take a lot of time, no more than several minutes tops, so it's something that can be played on the go.  And as long as you take the time to level up your gear, the majority of the missions aren't that difficult to accomplish, so it can also be a fun way to unwind after a stressful day.  And those crew missions I mentioned earlier?  You don't have to be logged in to have those run, so you can very easily check in, collect any rewards your crew members might have earned, and then assign them to new missions.

Another fun factor is that you have a lot of leeway in what abilities your character possesses.  While gaining levels doesn't do much behind giving a static bonus to damage and health, you can acquire various special abilities, such as the ever-useful Hold-Out Blaster that lets you spray death unto your foes or Grenade for an area-damage blast with a pretty short cool-down time.  I've not played around with too many different abilities, as the stock ones you get are pretty useful under most circumstances.

So in short, if you've got a smartphone or tablet that can support it, then I'd suggest picking up Star Wars: Uprising.  It's a fun game with a price tag no larger than what you're willing to spend on those in-game purchases.

September 4, 2015

The Force is with them (Force and Destiny Pre-Gens)

Happy Force Friday!

In honor of the event, I thought I'd post up a collection of pre-gen characters for use with Fantasy Flight Game's Force and Destiny, the third of the core rulebooks for their excellent Star Wars Roleplaying Game.

Each of these five would-be heroes was built using the rules for starting characters as outlined in Chapter 2, and each have something to contribute to the group in one form or another.   They were also built without a specific group resource in mind, allowing groups to pick the resource that best fits their interests.

Also, rather than just post a bunch of stat blocks, I've opted to simply collect these five characters in a single zip file, each loaded onto a two-page character sheet that I originally found over on the FFG forums during the EotE Beta and have sense extensively modified to account for various changes along the way.

Here's a quick summary of each of character:

Aayla Bondura, Twi'lek Sentinel
A street rat native to the seedy streets of Nar Shaddaa, Aayla is quick-witted and quite adept at getting into places others don't want her in.  She's no stranger to larceny of any stripe, though her many of her past thefts were driven by a need to survive than to hoard material wealth.  Her most valued possession is one that she lifted from an unsuspecting traveler, who had a secret that upon being revealed lead Aayla to rethink the course of her life and maybe see if she can be a better person than she was.

Loh Plund, Kel Dor Consular
While the Jedi are all but extinct, other Force traditions with equally long histories continue to exist beneath the Empire's notice.  Loh Plund is a student of the Baron Do Sages, having learned much of the Force, both the lore surrounding its many mysteries as well as a variety of Force powers.  Although there is still much for him to learn, Loh has left his studies to pursue a Force vision that he believes will guide him to his true destiny.

Oshaka Avros, Togruta Mystic
Strong-willed yet well-spoken, regal yet approachable, Oshaka is a natural speaker and a voice of reason.  At one time she hoped to become a leader among the people of her homeworld, but an altercation with an Imperial officer has required her to leave her old life behind.  She is an outspoken proponent of tolerance and equality, preferring peaceful solutions to violence, but that doesn't mean Oshaka will simply cower when threatened.

Tyron Roke, Human Warrior
A young man with strong views on right and wrong that are possibly as naive as they are noble, Tyron is determined to live up to the example set by the Jedi Knights of old, when they were defenders of peace and justice.  Though he only has the barest of training in the Jedi arts, Tyron is determined to use what abilities he has to stand against tyranny and oppression.

Zur Bukk, Zabrak Guardian
Tatooine tends to bred two types of people, those shifty enough to do whatever it takes to survive and those hardy enough to survive whatever the galaxy throws at them.  Zur is definitely one of the later, his rough upbringing and combat prowess making him sturdy enough to weather any storm.  Though he's left his homeworld behind him, Zur still acts as a protector to those in need.

Force and Destiny Pre-Gen Character Sheets