Episode 405 - The Terrifying General Karen

As summer temps are climbing, Austin and Patrick are beating the heat in the dank cavelike temples of Phantom Abyss, an asynchronous multiplayer puzzle platformer where each level is can only be beaten once, and the ghosts of other players lead you to their (and possibly your) demise. Austin is also checking out Scarlet Nexus, an action game with an extremely anime story that has us asking "how anime is too anime?" After the break, we get our second dose of anime with Rob who brings us Dark Deity, a Fire Emblem inspired tactics game that might benefit from being a little less like Fire Emblem. Patrick is exploring a new space of creativity that Nintendo has once again botched online support for in Game Builder Garage, and then we take a soup-dip in the Question Bucket.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://play.acast.com/s/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episode405-theterrifyinggeneralkaren

Regarding Dark Alliance, I also wasn’t having a good time until I installed a mod that makes the game way better. This mod makes the combat slightly more challenging and makes the exploration feel a bit more rewarding. Here are the steps to install it:

  1. Don’t be sober
  2. Turn off the background music in the game
  3. Turn on a prog rock album like “Hall of the Mountain King” by Savatage, since the first levels are in the Hall of the mountain king.

I got the idea for this mod from Natalie’s time travel invention.

I’m really impressed with how faithful of a spiritual successor this game is to the original “Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance”, which was a 6/10 Diablo clone on the PS2.

This game is a looter slasher similar to Godfall, but the level design feels a bit reminiscent of Vermintide. It definitely seems built to be a grind, but the first couple hours at least have been fairly enjoyable. There are some interesting synergies between abilities and gear, and you unlock more complex, interesting moves. It definitely needs some fixes/improvements though, it’s currently fairly rough. I have been playing single player and didn’t run into the lag/AI issues Austin described, so I think that’s probably an issue with the netcode, which is very bad for a game marketed on its multiplayer.

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Also, yes, Dark Alliance is incredibly racist. Not like “this seems slightly problematic when you think about it”, I mean that the core of the narrative is a racist worldview. This is not unusual for Dungeons and Dragons or sword & sorcery fiction in general, but it really sticks out here. The main plot of this game is that all of the “uncivilized races” (which all happen to have dark or green skin) are inherently evil and joining in a massive conspiracy to destroy the “civilized races”, which are all European-coded.

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I absolutely loved the old Dark Alliance games on PS2 but this one never caught my interest as a suitable successor at all.

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Someone at WotC licensing really dropped the ball on this one. They’ve been making a big push to update the, uh, less palatable parts of their traditional world-building, and then this comes out.

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