Blog #7: XCOM, Bastion and Her Story

Recently strategy gaming’s been on and off the menu. The RPG fatigue is still in me, so it’s been a time of neither here nor there. XCOM beckoned and the backlog needed beating, so I’ve been all over the place.

XCOM: Enemy Within

xcom-ew-ss-01

Immediately, this game feels awesome. It’s completely committed to its hardcore B-movie presentation, and that’s just so endearing. Take the voice acting of the council’s representative for example. Pure awesomeness.  (more…)

Game of Thrones Season 5 Character Review

game-of-thrones-season-5

Game of Thrones Season 5 is a wrap and as always, it’s the worst time being a GoT fan, because right now is the longest amount of time to wait until the next season. Well, I guess the worst time being a GoT fan is once the whole thing is over and done, and the only thing that’s left is an emptiness. I had that problem when Breaking Bad finished. Or when I got done reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Anyway. Season 5 has been the most difficult season to date to judge. It’s been a week and I’m starting to digest things a lot better. I’ll be getting into specifics for every plot thread and grade it and then share some overall thoughts on the whole thing big picture wise. (more…)

Blog #5: First EU4 campaign completed and moving on to Civilization 5

236850_screenshots_2015-06-06_00005

So I completed my first full EU4 campaign last weekend.

Played as France and ended as Revolutionary France. I’d played campaigns before but always stopped after around 100 years. I’m still relatively new to the game so I felt it would be good to see an entire campaign through to the end. As France, I had a good time diplo-annexing my starting subjects, then kicking out England from the continent. Burgundy proved a real difficulty at the beginning because I didn’t know how to judge my strength against theirs. One time, I declared war against them when I had reduced my military spending. Goes without saying that that was a lesson I learned through some pain! (more…)

Blog #4: Europa Universalis 4 and Blackwell Legacy

640px-Eu4_main_menu

Long time no write! Since the last blog, I’ve been getting more and more burned out on RPGs. Playing at the same time: Pillars of Eternity (which I put on hiatus), Guild Wars 2 and The Witcher (just jumped back in for a moment though) AND Elder Scrolls Online (again, just to check that out) is just not sustainable. It got me to the point where I grew increasingly cynical about caves, loot and monsters. A change of pace was in order. So obviously I get drawn back into my other favorite genre: the grand strategy game. (more…)

Blog #3: On genres and labels and the way we think about games

Has Call of Duty bastardized the concept of experience points? And is that a bad thing?

Has Call of Duty bastardized the concept of experience points? And is that a bad thing?

I discovered a cool new gaming podcast called “Axe of the Blood God” (that name alone earns it quite a bit of kudos from me). It’s focused on RPGs and you can find it here: http://www.usgamer.net/archive?tag=axe-of-the-blood-god.

The first episode, they are tackling the age old question “What is an RPG?” right out the gate. It’s one of those questions, like “are games art?”. They seem important issues that need resolving, but are in truth utterly pointless to stress over. In that episode, the guys and gals discuss how they would categorize games, what they think is elemental to an RPG and look at some edge cases. Are RPG about stats? Are they about narrative agency? Do they have to have turn-based combat and parties? Where does a Dark Souls or Zelda fit in?

All the while I was listening to their back and forth, it became pretty clear that genre labels are outdated. I’ll try to follow that train of thought some more here. (more…)

Blog #2: I’m feelin’ MMO-ey

9982524085030092800_screenshots_2015-04-15_00001

The weirdest thing happened over the last two weeks. After finally solving my PC’s heating issue which led to the fans being unbearably noisy, I found myself suddenly able to delve into the majority of my now 400+ game library on Steam. It’s great that I now play games without wishing to be deaf. When I buy my next desktop PC, optimal cooling will be my number 1 priority.

So anyway, I had picked up Guild Wars 2 back in November when it was on sale then. I played the first 14 levels on a Sylvari ranger (that’s basically the GW2 equivalent of tree hugging elves, only they’re actually humanoid plants). But since my PC was so loud that my family members complained from the other room, I put the game down.

I decided to give GW2 another shot now, and with the announcement of the first expansion “Heart of Thorns” there was considerable buzz about this game too. (more…)

Blog #1: Pillars of Thrones

Some light lesbo-erotic prose there

Some light lesbo-erotic prose there

Trying out a new format for my little blog here, as I’m looking into writing more regularly and trying to keep it to either reviews or larger in-depth discussions on stuff feels a bit too time intensive to do it spontaneously. So this will be the first of a weekly blog series discussion anything and everything I wanna talk about. (more…)

Whiplash (2014) Review

Whiplash

After watching the Oscars, I figured I’d watch all the apparently good movies I missed out on last year, partially some of the Oscar winners/nominations as well as stuff I was interested in anyway. On the list were “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”, “Kingdom of Dreams and Madness”, “The Theory of Everything”, “Whiplash”, “Birdman” and “The Imitation Game”. I’ve now seen all of them except for the last one. I’ll get to it eventually.

So on to Whiplash! To say it outright: this was the most intense, most magnetic movie I’ve seen in a while. There is literally nothing I don’t like about it. (more…)

I’m getting hyped for Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity

March 26, 2015. Less than 5 days. Get hyped. Pillars of Eternity is coming.

After decades of waiting we’re finally seeing a rebirth of isometric party-based RPGs full of good ol’ writing. Games like Baldur’s Gate 2 or the original Fallout were amazing and quite influential gaming experiences in my early teenage years, but thanks to the forces of business that kind of game seemed as dead as classic click-and-point adventure games.

But we’re now in a sort of post-modern era of video games. The drive for more cinematic experiences and higher fidelity graphics is slowing down. A generation of gamers raised on Call of Duty and Mass Effect is now discovering a more thoughtful, more complex kind of gaming. We see innovation in adventures lead by Telltale, we see great remakes like XCOM and now we’re seeing a rebirth of classic CRPGs with Wasteland 2, Divinity Original Sin and now Pillars of Eternity.

Here’s some things I hope Pillars of Eternity will bring to the table. (more…)