AhmadSA our Middle East correspondent has been busy working (by working we mean playing) in our Saudi office (by office we mean the same house he lives) playing Arcen Games latest release “A Valley Without Wind”. On the back of their 80 out of 100 Metacritic scoring game “AI War”, they certainly had a lot to live up to with AVWW. So did they win the Saudi over?
A Valley Without Wind is Available now from Steam, Gamersgate and Impulse for $14.95 at the time of writing. We will be giving away a copy of A Valley Without Wind and Ai War in the next 2 give aways so head over to the forums to enter! A New Patch is being released this week, check out the patch notes here.
Arcen Games don’t like to be just any other dev and as such, they don’t like to make just any old game. Much like their previous effort, “AI War”, A Valley Without Wind set out to break away from what is a traditional side scroller, was it a good idea though?
AVWW takes place in a world where time has been shattered and people all across time are now living in the same world. As events like time shattering do tend to have a few side effects, one of which being a lot of people dying, you are now in the world with the remaining survivors. At the start of the game you begin on a randomized “continent” as a ”Glyphbearer” from the Ice Age. Glyphbearers are chosen by the “Ilari”; A mysterious race of… floating rocks. Yep. Nothing more is explained.
While the idea might sound simple, it’s actually very cool. As you are playing you get come across people from different time periods living together which leads to some interesting dialogue. And that’s about it. Unfortunately though, there’s no real progress story-wise. The game did leave me with questions like how did this time-shattering catastrophe happen? Again, something that was not revealed during my gameplay. Which is a shame really as there is so much potential there to tell a great story.
The first thing you’ll notice when you start playing AVWW is how beautiful and different it looks. Thinking of a word to describe the art style of the game, I have come up in a totally original fashion, the word…”weird”. But that’s not a bad weird, that’s a good weird! It’s a great change from the usual graphics that we have seen over and over in games. The characters look great and are only rivalled by the stunning backgrounds and beautiful particle effects in the game. Within the game itself the different areas range from deserts, forests, towns, oceans, caves and more, AVWW most definitely had the potential to be one of the best looking games of this year.
The game runs very smoothly and doesn’t require a beastly machine to run on max graphics. It is essentially 2D after all.
So it “Had” potential you say? Yes. Even though the game looks great, EVERYTHING that is animated in the game could have been done better. It unfortunately feels like Arcen Games focused a lot of their time on the models and left so little time on the animations. The saving grace of the animations? They’re easy to mod. Which of course is my segway to Mods!
The game offers a free stand-alone level creator and the ability to make your own texture packs. Having this option in the game will allow players to create some of the most creative mods, for example, A Megaman texture pack.
The game starts off fairly simple; You’re a dude who shoots stuff from his hands and jumps around. But as you delve deeper into the game, the game adds complexity and offers more variety to gameplay. Each continent is made off of levels and the levels can contain missions. The whole point of the game being to defeat the overlord. You play missions, collect loot, spells and rescue survivors to unlock new characters until you find yourself ready to face the final boss. A Valley Without Wind offers a lot of mission types and these unlock as you play more missions. Some enemies are resistant or extra weak against certain types of spells so the game forces you to plan your load out accordingly.
The game most definitely offers a decent challenge and will easily keep you entertained for more than 10-12 hours, unfortunately though, after that it does start to get a little repetitive in some places… This also seems to coincide with the time you realize that you’re taking way too long to level up. I should mention that the game does offer a pinch of strategy. You can build certain facilities in your settlement that affect the continent and gives you advantages in gameplay.
Multiplayer & Post Launch Support
Its great that Arcen Games have packed some multiplayer into the game too. AVWW offers full co-op support throughout the game where you can play the game with not just 1 friend, but up to 199 other players. Sadly though,
I’ve only found about three empty servers and when I finally found someone they quit the game. Why does everybody hate me? Saying that though, it could be the time zone that I play in too. Where Arcen Games definitely deserves some credit is the post launch support. The game still receives updates almost daily which is great see. Arcen Games themselves have stated that they actually have a 3-year support plan for the game; Hopefully they will get to fix the stuff they KNOW they didn’t do justice and the game will see some kind of a relaunch. AVWW definitely deserves more, and based on the support AI War still receives to this day, I think we’re good.
You’re good to go! This game doesn’t mention religion whatsoever and there are no scantily dressed women to sell a few extra copies, the language is fine too, so its definitely a game you can get for your kids.
Overall AVWW had potential to be the next minecraft, with beautiful graphics, a decent combat system and multiplayer all rolled into one game. Hopefully the guys at Arcen Games will be able to do this game justice with their constant support. Will this game be twice as awesome by next year? Only time will tell. For now it’s a decent fun game.
Is it perfect? No.
Did I enjoy it? Aww yeah.
Should you buy it? I would say try the demo, It’ll give you a taste of what to expect and will keep you entertained for at least 3-5 hours. (Yes, the demo is that long!!)
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