Tag Archives: Hoard

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Hoard

The first time I became aware of the concept that a dragon even liked gold was as a young lad reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The powerful, fearsome dragon Smaug, who invaded the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor 150 years prior to the events in the book, is now happy to spend the rest of his days sleeping among his loot, a vast hoard of shiny treasure. Eventually, he must defend it from a group of 13 Dwarves mounting a quest to take the kingdom back, who are helped along the way by the wizard Gandalf and the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Look, if you haven’t read The Hobbit, please do so as soon as possible; if you hate reading and prefer watching motion pictures, you can skip the Peter Jackson films and eat up the 1977 animated take from Rankin/Bass and Topcraft instead.

Anyways, enough about The Hobbit. I’m here today for another exciting edition of Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge to tell you a bit about Hoard, which I think I got as a freebie way back in September 2014, though the game came out a couple years before that. Honestly, it’s a good amount of fun, but not a keeper. Your true goal in this action strategy game is to be the greediest dragon of them all and amass as much gold as you can before time runs out. You do this by spewing flames and burning towns, castles, and crops to a crisp, revealing piles of gold that can be carried back to your nest. Naturally, not everyone is down to party, and you’ll have to fight off archers protecting towns, knights out to rescue stolen princesses, and other dragons (which can be controlled by other players) that have their own hoards to build.

Every piece of gold you bring back to your lair in Hoard will give you experience points, which, after getting enough, can be spent to level up your dragon. Your options include making it fly faster, have stronger armor, and a more powerful fire breath. There are a handful of stats you can choose to boost, and you don’t need to stress too hard over this as your dragon is reset to nothing at the start of every game. I focused early on speed and fire-breathing and later would up my dragon’s toughness as more difficult enemies reared their difficult heads.

There’s no campaign to follow here, which is okay, I guess. Hoard‘s core mode is called Treasure Collect, which not surprisingly tasks you with collecting as much gold as possible over a 10-minute period. There’s also Princess Rush, Survival, and Co-oP, though I only tried the former and not the latter two of those types. I do like that no game is longer than 10 minutes, which means every action counts, and you can’t dilly-dally about. Your dragon’s skill will grow tremendously over that short span, but I did often feel like I was just getting into my groove as time was running out. Which only made me want to jump right back into another match.

Hoard is definitely one of those quick fixes type of games, like Spelunky or The Binding of Isaac. Where you can dip into it quickly and have a good time and bounce out before the sun sets. There’s an in-game achievements system, but I don’t have it in me to play hundreds of matches to see these things pop. I enjoyed the few that I did play, and that’s that. Enjoy your pile of gold for eternity, dragon, because I won’t bother you anymore. Or, much like with Super Motherload, if I do feel the urge to poke the slumbering beast, I’ll grab you from Steam instead.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.

A broad array of PlayStation characters are ready to fight


This past Sunday turned out to be “download all those new PlayStation Plus freebies for the month” day, which saw me adding Hoard, Sportsfriends, and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale in one big gulp to my ever-growing list of untouched games. I glanced at the first two after installing them and decided that, before I get back into some lengthy Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty sessions, I should try out PS All-Stars and see what all the hubbub was about.

First, my history with these kind of all-out rumble in the jungle multiplayer mayhem games: I’ve never, ever ever played Super Smash Brothers. In any form. And I don’t see that changing any time soon, even with the newest ones looking stock full of franchises I adore, like Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Fire Emblem: Awakening. Oh well. I’ve also never touched Power Stone or Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring. They’ve just never really appealed to me, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why because I do enjoy Nintendo and its characters, but I guess I felt like the fighting overall appeared rather superfluous and it was simply a bunch of fan service. Plus, considering how bad my eyes are, I’m not a big supporter of when games pull the camera back really far, making it hard to see your character and the supposedly cool fighting moves they are done, something that PS All-Stars definitely does frequently. Especially when there’s four mascots fighting at once.

So far, I’ve run through PS All-Stars‘ story mode once and immediately picked Sly Cooper as my man raccoon of action. His story mode has you playing through several fights as you try to figure out who stole some pages from the ancient family heirloom Thievius Raccoonus. Some fights were one on one, asking you to get the most kills over a three-minute time period, and others task you with being the first player to reach three kills first. Eventually, you get to the story reveal, which is that Nathan Drake stole those pages. Sure, you might see the connection that both Sly and Nathan are thieves, but it’s even more ironic when you realize that Nolan North voiced Le Paradox and El Jefe in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Anyways, you battle him, and then you battle Polygon Man, the original PlayStation mascot. I did not find any of this challenging at all, but it is fun pulling out multi-kill specials, especially the level 3 one; for Sly, Bentley hooks you up with some kind of missile launcher, which you target opponents with via a first-person mode.

As you play–and win–battles, the chosen character levels up, unlocking various things, such as new backgrounds, icons, titles, belts, minions, and costumes. I can now happily dress Sly Cooper in his Arabian outfit. By the end of the Story mode, Sly was something like level 11 or 12, and it seems like there’s plenty more to unlock and see for him alone. I guess I can either replay the Story mode (most unlikely) or take the character online. We’ll see. There’s really only a few other PlayStation characters I’m interested in playing as, and they are as follows: Jak and Daxter, Parappa, Raiden, Ratchet and Clank, and Sir Daniel Fortesque. Sorry spiky-haired dude from Ape Escape, but I never got to play you way back when. Also, sorry everyone else, but you’re either too new or too dark and brooding to care about in this goofy, carefree brawler.

I suspect I’ll play this a few more to see what some of those other characters can do and some more of the zany, always-changing and interactive backgrounds. The fighting doesn’t feel 100% great, but maybe that had more to do with Sly, who can’t even block (he turns invisible for a bit instead). I can appreciate the idea behind this game, but I think Sony missed some chances to really include a few larger known entities than Fat Princess (pun intended), such as Crash Bandicoot, the robot bunny from Jumping Flash!, old-school and super pointy Lara Croft, and maybe even that dude from Wild 9. I don’t know; the inclusion of two versions of Cole from inFAMOUS  2 seems a bit uninspired.

At least I got another good–if extremely minor–dose of Sly Cooper, Murray, and Bentley. Really, you can’t go wrong with that trio. Sly’s level 2 special tosses Murray out at enemies in this sliding body slam, and it’s a great way to clear the path before you with the click of a button. I ended up using it more than his level 3 special in the end.

Who’s your favorite character in All-Stars? Again, it’s free right now for PlayStation Plus subscribers, so grab it, and maybe we’ll play together some day down the online road. Hint: I’ll be the raccoon hitting you on the head with a cane.