Reviews by Maniacal
Excellent addition to the Total War seriesManiacal | May 16, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai
Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai is an excellent stand-alone expansion and addition to the Total War series. The game starts off with a mix of traditional Japanese units and technologies and Western rifles and technologies which you must find a balance between as the people are not always happy with change. Naval warfare is also much more important, with ships capable of bombarding coastal targets and supporting your armies in battle with deadly barrages. The AI will also frequently raid your shipping routes and they must be protected.
Unlike Empire and Napoleon, FotS has excellent models of steam powered and iron clad ships in the game that are simply gorgeous to behold and a fearsome sight upon the ocean in the naval battles.
The agent system is the same as Shogun 2's, and being able to upgrade your agents and generals is a lot of fun and they are extremely useful in subverting the enemy and providing buffs to your own regions, although their actions can be expensive.
Religion is replaced by which faction the populace supports, be it the Shogunate or the Emperor, or even yourself if you choose to go for complete domination of Japan.
The AI has improved a little bit over previous games, especially when it comes to sieges.
Racing brand name carsManiacal | Feb. 11, 2013 | Review of SSV8NC Superstar V8 Next Challenge
Now personally I'm not much of a car person, most of my knowledge about fancy cars comes from the BBC show 'Top Gear' so I cannot confirm the authenticity of SSV8NC Superstar V8 Next Challenge's claim about their faithful reproduction of the cars but they seem accurate to me. Same goes with the tracks, none of which I am familiar with, but they do indeed look a real racing track.
The graphics are pretty decent and the aesthetics captures a racing track fairly well. They really nailed putting advertisements everywhere too.
The controls seem okay on a keyboard and mouse, although not as nice as they are in Blur (which works fantastically with just a keyboard) and I imagine it would work better with a proper wheel set up or gamepad controller. It was still rather fun for the time I was playing it though.
Tower defense... IN SPACE!Maniacal | Feb. 10, 2013 | Review of Unstoppable Gorg
Unstoppable Gorg is a tower defense game IN SPACE!!! It plays more or less like every other tower defense game but it does let you move towers around (which is useful since the enemies do take different paths). The cheesy sci-fi alien theme is what really sets it apart from other tower defense games and makes it memorable and actually worth playing (if you like tower defense games) and it has a soundtrack to match that theme. Its a good quality casual time waster which makes it stand out from the ocean of low-quality time wasters and casual titles out there.
Hack XXXXXXX slash YYYYYY QTE console portManiacal | Feb. 9, 2013 | Review of Ninja Blade
Ninja Blade isn't the worst game or console port I have played, and it isn't the best either. Its graphics and art style are pretty enough, although the blur can be annoying and ruined many screenshots. The different attack types are interesting and action packed enough, and easy enough to control since its largely quick time events. Unfortunately boss fights just turn into a massive grind and fights in general get repetitive fast.
What you see is what you getManiacal | Feb. 8, 2013 | Review of Zombies.
Zombies. is exactly what it appears in the video and screenshots above. Its a pixelated 8-bit top-down zombie shooter with destructible environments and that is really about it. The graphics get the point across but really lack a good aesthetic appeal and you will quickly tire of them. The destructible environment is fun and probably the best part of the game (by far) but unfortunately doesn't really make up for the mindless gameplay that doesn't have a lasting appeal.
Its fun for a little while and casual/short bouts if you really like this type of game.
The next step forward in melee combat!Maniacal | Dec. 21, 2012 | Review of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare PRE
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is an excellent next step in improving melee combat in games and big leap from the Age of Chivalry Source mod it originates from. The combat sounds relatively simple on paper especially with only one animation per attack, but it has a surprising amount of depth and complexity to its combat system. Each kill is very rewarding and visceral with a very satisfying and possibly sickening crunch to hits and severed body parts. The archery mechanics could be a bit better, but they are still fun and certainly not bad.
While it also only has a few game modes they are quite fun and it supports up to 64 players. The graphical quality is largely good, although some maps are a bit less detailed than others (the arena one in particular seems a bit worse but you're too busy fighting ot really notice anyway).
Intriguing idea but poor implementaionManiacal | Dec. 7, 2012 | Review of Greed: Black Border
I should have known by Greed: Black Border name and very lackluster description that it was going to be disappointing but unfortunately hind sight is 20/20. Don't get me entirely wrong, it is enjoyable for a little while, especially in co-op, but after we were done playing that for several hours there just wasn't enough to keep us playing it continually. The upgrades are very numerous but could have used condensing as many of them weren't particularly useful or quickly replaced. The lack of WASD support is also awkward, at least at first. The game does look great graphically though!
Less hacking and more mini-gamesManiacal | Dec. 7, 2012 | Review of Hacker Evolution DNS
Hacker Evolution is sold as a hacking simulation game but it plays as much more of a series of repetitive mini-games. It is kind of fun for a little while pretending to be some 1337 haxor the novelty wears off as the repetitiveness sets in. It isn't as bad as the hollywood movie and TV show "hacking" scenes, but it isn't really that much better either. The aesthetic design is lacking as well, there wasn't much worth taking a screenshot of. If you are really into pretending to be a hacker it will certainly be fun for a while at least though.
In-depth and complex but awkward controlsManiacal | Dec. 7, 2012 | Review of Earth 2160 [Playfire]
Earth 2160 is a very in-depth and complex RTS (which is a very refreshing change from the increasingly simplistic indie RTS and "tower defense" games that are common now) set in futuristic solar system. The campaign is interesting and the different factions of humans, machines and aliens all play somewhat differently. The use of agents adds a more flavour to the game as well. The sound track is nice, although the graphics have not aged that well in 7 years (although they are not bad!). As I am not a huge RTS player I found the game's depth and complexity a little overwhelming at times but I can see its appeal to other people looking for a more of a challenge!
Interesting strategy but poor presentationManiacal | Dec. 7, 2012 | Review of Age of Fear: The Undead King
Age of Fear is an interesting indie strategy game that proved to be a refreshing challenge. Unfortunately, while this challenge was great gameplay wise with a decent AI, it was challenging to deal with the poor graphical presentation of the game and immersion suffered greatly. It was enjoyable but hard to get into and after a while it became very repetitive. Not a bad game for the price, but not an amazing one either.
I did not try the multiplayer.
Unique MMO experience !Maniacal | Aug. 29, 2012 | Review of Guild Wars 2: Digital Edition (NA) -
Guild Wars 2, while definitely still an MMORPG, breaks the trend of MMOs simply copying WoW. Building upon the success and uniqueness of the first Guild Wars it is the only MMORPG I'll even touch. First of all, there is no monthly fee and real money store is quite optional and thankfully avoids being pay2win.
Secondly, there is an excellent variety amongst the 8 professions (classes) and their playstyles with different abilities and styles depending on which weapon or combination of weapons (such as dagger and pistol for the Thief). The combat also requires at least some moving around and dodging, especially in harder fights, instead of just simply standing around pressing buttons and macros while you wait for skills to cool off (although there is still a bit of that).
The game world is very well made and beautiful. The main human city of Divinity's Reach is massive in size and design, resembling a more realistic medieval city with seemingly hap-hazard streets, building placements and allies (all in a very good way) and has more than enough exploratory area. There are a number of vista viewpoints that can be found in each area for a reward of XP and a cutscene showing off the area. Often these vistas are only accessible through the use of jumping and are a great way to encourage and reward exploring the beautiful world.
Questing didn't entirely do away with going up to an NPC with a symbol above their heads but it is still a big improvement and many area based quests are triggered simply by encountering them and offer several ways of completing them.
World events are also triggered by encountering them and often involve defending an area or escorting an NPC but there are different ones as well. Once started a message is sent out to nearby players who will join in for the excellent rewards and work together to complete the task.
Guild Wars 2 is a worth sequel to Guild Wars and the MMORPG genre in general and I highly recommend it for anyone who either already enjoys MMOs but is tired of the same old WoW clones or is new to MMOs and doesn't want to pay a monthly fee or play the same tired old gameplay.
Should have been in the game to begin withManiacal | Aug. 16, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: African Unit Pack
Don't get me wrong, the African Unit Pack for Crusader Kings II is great and really does add to the game, especially when playing as a Muslim ruler who is well positioned to conquer these African nations and spread Islam to them. However, these areas are fairly small and in most games of CKIIand players will rarely, if ever, come into contact with them. It really seems like a silly DLC, however at least it is an entirely optional and purely cosmetic DLC rather than one that affects gameplay.
Having said that, it is worth picking up on sale or discount if you want more variety in the African regions.
More musical variety but not muchManiacal | Aug. 16, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: Songs of the Caliph
Songs of the Caliph DLC for Crusader Kings II adds two wonderful themed songs for playing as a middle eastern Muslim ruler in the Sword of Islam expansion DLC. They really add to the musical variety of the game (which, while containing good tracks, could use more) and immersion.
My real problem is that this is only two songs, I really wouldn't mind having a few more but at least it isn't as limited as EUIII!
A refreshing point of viewManiacal | Aug. 16, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
Crusader Kings II was already a pretty fun and very moddable game, but Sword of Islam is an excellent and inexpensive expansion DLC. While the gameplay is of course quite similar, the experience of playing as a Muslim character is a very different flavour (at the very least) than the European christians with numerous different and interesting events (especially religious themed ones) as well as being allowed to have up to 4 wives (which is expected for a Sultan). Depending on whom and where you play as it can be quite challenging to fend off crusades but the rewards for a successful expansion are generally worth the risk.
Fun but reducedManiacal | July 7, 2012 | Review of Commandos 3: Destination Berlin [Playfire]
Commandos 3 sadly reduced the sizes of the parties, maps and generally made the gameplay more action-oriented instead of strategy oriented. There is also less emphasis on stealth :( It is really sad to see developers "dumb down" (although it isn't too bad in this case) their games to appeal to people afraid of a real challenge.
Thankfully the game is still fun and some of the interface changes are good. The over-arching campaign is also rather enjoyable.
Pretentious name but a good deal on the expansionsManiacal | June 17, 2012 | Review of Battlefield 3 Premium Service (NA) dns
Battlefield 3 Premium offers a variety of 'bonuses' but the most significant one is a cheaper price on the 5 DLC expansions. This does become less useful if you already bought (or got fore free) Back to Karkand (which adds three of the best maps in the game and some very cool new weapons) and/or have no interest in the Call of Duty styled Close Quarters (the maps are well designed for the most part, but unfortunately for less than 32 players and is clearly aimed at the CoD player fan base). However, the Armored Kill (large maps for land and air vehicle gameplay) and the relatively unknown Aftermath and End Game expansions still add up to $45 on their own and $5 for the rest of the bonuses (assuming you don't use one of the many promo codes GMG kindly and frequently offers) is not a bad price at all for the content.
I still dislike the name though, and vastly prefer it when other developers offer up similar or more content for free, but at least it is a one-time fee and not too bad of price at all.
Old but still greatManiacal | June 17, 2012 | Review of Disciples II: Gold Edition
Disciples II may have not aged that gracefully in looks but its gameplay is still solid. The game offers great variety with so many units, spells, campaigns and an editor for when you get tired of those! The combat is new to me and is quite fun.
Fresh setting and many interesting ideas but needs polishManiacal | June 17, 2012 | Review of Reign Conflict of Nations
I was intrigued by the Eastern European setting which is often ignored by AAA developers and the medieval setting. The game has quite a lot of interesting features and ideas and at first I enjoyed it. However, the more I played the more its flaws and short-comings were revealed. Especially the AI which was often poor and there were a few rather buggy features.