Our Red Hot Games in May 2015

After a small hiatus, we once again bring you our Red Hot Games segment. We here at Big Red Barrel Towers play a lot of games. For most of these games we don’t write reviews or editorials, pesky life is getting in the way. That’s why we started our Red Hot series. Every week we take a look at some of the games we played, the movies we watched and the comics we’ve read. This week. it’s the glorious return of our Red Hot Games!


The Souls series never appealed to me – I think that was made clear in my Lords of the Fallen review – however when Bloodborne released, the swell of positivity towards it meant I had to at least give it a chance. The fact that it broke me almost immediately seems to be a common story; the game seems to start in a purposefully obtuse way in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. Your objective isn’t never clear; upgrading and levelling up your character is kept from you initially; even the first room you enter has one of the tougher enemies for that area in it – despite the fact that you have no weapons at this point.

It wasn’t until I started to play co-operatively that I began to really enjoy the game. It allowed a novice like me to progress more easily and also made some of the more punishing encounters far more manageable. Once the initial hump at the start of the game is cleared, the rest of the game seems far more forgiving in comparison.

I still have not completed Bloodborne but I am close to the end. Despite the many frustrations I have had with it, it will still probably make my Game of the Year list so that says something.



Despite being a big fan of Total War games in the past, I’ve never given Paradox grand strategy games a chance. Well that all changed in the past couple of weeks thanks to the Paradox Humble Bundle and Europa Universalis IV. Ten hours and several restarts later – I’m in love with what’s on offer. The initial learning curve to Europa Universalis IV is a steep one to say the least – especially coming from a turn-based system. The real-time battle and diplomatic action can be thick and fast – meaning I often had to pause and analyse the situation.
The game is stat heavy too – it’s full of depth and chance. Decisions I made impacted several factors – depending on the severity, I changed some base values in the game by small percentage increments but also incurred outright drops or gains. There’s room for planning and thought – with a majority of information laid out (once you know where to find it). There’s so much to consider when choosing war targets, diplomatic relations and expansion plans at home. The micro-management of these is enthralling – especially in a war. When at war, the relations I had with bordering partners and allies can play a big part in the success or failure of the war.
The peace negotiations can be a long task – based on the war score held at the time of negotiation. If it was my war, I negotiated for the entire alliance. If I joined a war, I negotiated peace for myself. This adds another level of tactical gameplay – forcing me to consider what was best for me in times of difficulty, but also the knock on affect that it had on my allies that I stopped my military pact with. Ten hours in I know some basic fundamentals, but the game has much more to offer and I’m truly excited to continue exploring and expanding the world I’m currently invested in.


‘Hello, my name is Alex and I am a Dragon Age: Inquisition addict!’ ‘Hi, Alex’ say my friends and loved ones, their attention dissipating, mentally bracing themselves for yet another Dragon Age related conversation. To be fair, I do have about 150+ hours of content to talk about, so it will be unlikely that I will stop anytime soon, especially since I finally got my hands on the first story DLC Jaws of Hakkon which on average is another 10 hours worth of content.

Jaws of Hakkon was announced and available to play all the way back in March, but due to exclusivity deal between EA and Microsoft, that was only for Xbox One and PC users. The owners of PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360 could only get the DLC starting from 26th of May. While, as per usual, the time exclusivity has upset a fair amount of people, I have spent two months creating yet another Lavellan and doing a playthrough on Nightmare difficulty, preparing myself for the trip to Avvar of Frostback Basin.


Jaws of Hakkon was designed in a way that it can played separately from the main storyline and it is about uncovering the story of what had happened to the last Inquisitor and the dragon that he was chasing. The map is huge and absolutely gorgeous and I am thoroughly enjoying learning more about Avvar culture and their unique relationship with the spirits. As always, there are many codex entries hidden throughout the map that capture the story of Inquisitor Ameridan from different points of view. For those who are into Dragon Age lore there are many new clues that shed more light on the history of Thedas. For those less interested in lore, the area has been made more challenging with stronger enemies and more powerful rifts. It is recommended to start the game at least at level 20 or above. The first time I cheerfully landed in the area with level 19 mage on Nightmare I got my ass promptly handed to me and had to return back several levels after.

As for which members of your inner circle to take with you to Frostback Basin, my recommendation would be Cassandra, Sera and Solas if played before the final mission. They have the most banter, especially the most lore and story related banter. If you are planning on playing the DLC after the final mission, I would replace Solas with Dorian in the above party composition.



I’ve always been a fan of strategy games that focus on building your cities, rather than destroying everything. Years ago I’ve played the “Rebuild” series, two flash games with a simple premise. It’s a zombie apocalypse and you have to rebuild. The games were enjoyable, but as they were only flash games they didn’t have a load of depth to them. However, recently Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville was released, made by the same developers as the previous games. It’s a full-fledged, title for the desktop now. The biggest difference towards the previous games for me was the revised graphics, rebuilding civilization looked never this cartoon-y. The gameplay is basically the same. You start off with a few buildings and have to scout, salvage, defend and build.


Another game I recently picked up is Flame Over, a rogue-like firefighting game. You start in a burning office building and have to save people, cats, and put out the fires. As with most rogue-likes it is incredibly difficult and you’ll have to start over numerous times. If the fires won’t kill you than the Grim Reaper might get you, once your time is up.

The last entry on this list of Simon’s games nobody’s heard of is Ziggurat, another rogue-like but this time in 1st-person and with magic. You play a wizard who has to fight through a dungeon with several levels. During your run you find new weapons or spells and try not to die. The gameplay is pretty basic, you run around, dodge and kill a bunch of monsters. What kept me playing was the refreshing setting. I’ve not encountered many games where a wizard is the hero that also plays like a first-person shooter. And who wouldn’t love a game with murderous carrots.




Borderlands 2, because:

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