Reviews by Tholdor
No french partisans here, this is the forgotten resistance.Tholdor | Sept. 24, 2012 | Review of Uprising44: The Silent Shadows [Playfire]
WW2 resistance movements were worldwide in occupied zones. However, the French took the trophy for being the most recognized partisans, and even the words used here come from their prominence (like resistance and partisan themselves). On this game however, you'll play as the eastern version of those guys and gals who fought the Nazis: The Polish partisans who organized the Warsaw Uprising. The uprising ended with the destruction of the city, but the Polish (including some British and Soviets) gave a big jab to German morale.
A big backstory, eh? Well, the game by itself is pretty good and justifies the backstory. You play as a squad of partisans trying to do just that: Kill Nazis. There's a cover system (obligatory these days for this kind of game), realistic scenarios, dozens of different weapons, and 2 different modes o playing: either the standard action mode where you can aim, fire, take cover, give orders and all that, and the RTS one, where the game plays on a bird's eye view and you control your partisans with point and click, like in Dawn of War.
A good game overall, detailing the forgotten history of the biggest rebellion in WW2.
$5 for all future DLCs. Worth it?Tholdor | Sept. 24, 2012 | Review of Tryst: Premium Edition
Nobody has a single idea, as this can either be an extremely good deal or disappointingly bad. Even if $5 isn't that much for most people, it would still be a bad move Blue Giant if they disappoint.
Alright, with that out of the way, time to talk about the game per se. If you've played famous titles like Warcraft 3, Starcraft and Age of Empires, you're already familiar with the term RTS, or Real-time Strategy. Tryst is just like that, upgraded graphics-wise and with some new mechanics. There's a killer environment (literally), plenty of units, a good multiplayer, and your standard sci-fi plot.
Just a note: while I saw some reviewers out there disliking the russian accents for killing immersion, I beg to differ: As some characters are of Russian descent (implied by their names) the accents are perfectly in place.
You take command of an Aircraft Carrier! How cool can that be?Tholdor | Sept. 24, 2012 | Review of Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers
The answer: Not as cool as you think, yet not as boring as you expected.
You control, as the name says, an aircraft carrier during the Pacific Theater of WW2, which saw Japanese, British and Americans battle for tiny islands over 4 years. This theater was extremely savage, where prisoners were rarely taken and blood was everywhere. Obviously, none of this is presented here, aside from the usual fighter explosion and machine gun fire. Carriers during WW2 weren't the core of a Navy as they are now, as Battleships took that place before. However, this game focuses on them and the fighter planes they carry. You can control both the carrier (as Anti-Aircraft guns) and the planes (as a squadron varying from light bombers to dive bombers to fighters). You can also play as either the Japanese or the Americans (the British, once again, are excluded unfortunately...).
Overall, a decent game graphics wise, with a refreshing mode of playing, through it's a shame it wasn't explored to its fullest.
A wonderful cinematic experienceTholdor | Sept. 24, 2012 | Review of Alan Wake
Alan Wake plays like a tv show. It's divided into chapters (or episodes), each one with opening and ending credits and structure similar to a standard hour-long drama. The plot is very similar to your average Stephen King's novel, full of mysterious shadows, creepy locals, a few charismatic people here and there, and a main character who works as a writer. Alan Wake by himself is very reminiscent of some of King's main characters, he even dresses with 80s clothes.
The plot starts pretty standard, Wake and his wife rent a lake cabin, his wife disappears, but Wake escapes. Then, and only then, the plot thickens and remains so until the very end.
Speaking about them, the game is nicely done. Graphics-wise, it's pretty convincing, and the pine-trees and mountains, being a favorite set of mine, are very nicely made. The game is in third person, same as when shooting or aiming the lantern. The lantern is essentially your main weapon: it provides light, said light provides protection against the shadow people. However, you still need a normal gun (usually a revolver, but you can find shotguns and rifles eventually) to kill them for real.
Overall an well-made game, with good plot, decent graphics, and fluid mechanics.
A glorified mod.Tholdor | Sept. 24, 2012 | Review of Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword DNS
With Fire and Sword is based on a pretty decent Polish book by a Polish author about a part of Polish history (yeah, I know...). The game is presented as something new, which it is, but only partially. It's, basically, a modification of the original Mount & Blade with different map, new weapons (like firearms) and slightly different systems. Most of the changes are good, like guns and wagon forts, but some are pretty down-turning, like the inability to form a new kingdom.
It would be a decent game, if mods weren't doing as well (or even better) than it. And for free. Obviously, to enjoy mods, you have to buy the original game or, preferably, the standalone expansion, Warband. Warband offers much more than WFaS, such as improved graphics, the opportunity to start a new kingdom, and a lot more modding potential.
My suggestion is to buy Warband. This game is nice, but it offers nothing new after you've played some mods.
Old... but as golden as gold can get.Tholdor | Sept. 21, 2012 | Review of Rome: Total War Gold Edition
Rome: Total War is already 6 years old as of 2012, as the graphics show. It is, however, one of the finest games of the Total War series, and perhaps of the world, on par with Napoleon in my opinion.
It is, basically, THE Total War game. Before it, in Shogun I and Medieval I, the engine was far more limited and the game played like Risk with a small focus on the battles. After Rome, the battles started playing a bigger part, and the feeling of awe as your 1500 legionnaires clash with equal or bigger number of celts is simply amazing. The free movement in the campaign map was also a good change for the time.
The vanilla game starts right at the beginning of the Republic and you're given command of one of 3 roman families, the Julii, the Brutii and the Scipii. Each family is pretty much identical to the another, aside from minor things, like slightly different starting location on Italy, the faction color and one gladiator unit per faction. It plays fairly straightforward, as you do tasks for the Senate and fight barbarians to recreate the big Empire we know and love (or hate, for some people).
The Barbarian Invasion adds quite a bit, playing on the decline of the divided Empire, the Eastern and the Western. You can play as the Barbarians, trying to find a place on the sun, clashing with the Romans, or be the Romans themselves. Out of personal experience, the Western Empire is far harder to play than the Eastern, far richer and safer from the northern barbarians. There's also a Horde system, where a defeated barbarian nation will spawn huge armies to represent its migrating people, where they can conquer a city and continue their civilization.
There's one DLC as well, though it's not included here. Alexander: Total War is far more dynamic (as with the Macedonian himself) focusing a lot more on combat than empire management.
Overall, it's an amazing game, which passed the test of time, only made better with the expansion. The Alexander DLC is not mandatory, serving more of a bonus, so you'll not miss it.
A trivia dlc for a... trivia game?Tholdor | Sept. 18, 2012 | Review of Who wants to be a Millionaire: Trivia DLC
Who Wants to be a Millionaire, based on that TV Show the channels worldwide so love to import, has a ton of DLCs, including sports, star trek, south park, etc editions. This one, amidst the themed packs, seems a bit pointless, and, let's say... crude. While the south park and star trek editions alter the scenery and offer more than the usual assortment of questions, this one is more of a vanilla-flavored booster pack.
Not the best DLC of the game. I recommend getting the aforementioned Star Trek or South Park packs instead.
Surprisingly goodTholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of Judge Dee
Judge Tee is a puzzle game based on a series of tales, which in turn were based off a real personality, Di Renjie, a chinese officer of the ancient Tang dinasty.
It's a game a là Nancy Drew, where you investigate set scenarios looking for clues and what-else. The graphics are aesthetically pleasing, not overdone, and the plot is solid. Overall a nice game, which will give you some hours of distraction.
Really?Tholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of The Sims 3: Showtime - Katy Perry Collectors Edition
The Sims series is known for having creative and fun expansion packs (and numerous), but this one... this one is just too uninspirational, too bland, and shock-full with executive meddling. Licensed products tend to have a low quality and this one is no exception. You'll have more fun with the other packs.
OverpricedTholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of GG1 Add-on
The train is nicely done, very detailed and all, overall a good job. But let's be frank, you're paying $20 for one train. This is simply too much for a single one, and besides, it requires yet another expansion pack.
There are better DLCs out there, and they're really fun and with a good cost-benefice value.
Poor kittens...Tholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of Kitty Luv
The torture potential of this game is huge. The graphics, are poorly made, and the creativity, is nonexistent.
There's better pet simulators out there, and perhaps even cheaper than this one. Avoid at all costs, the cats are thankful.
Looks like a Playstation 1 game.Tholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of WWII: Battle Over the Pacific
I'm not completely reliable on graphics, but these are so poorly done you can even wonder what they were thinking. A vintage look maybe, trying to touch our childhoods when we played ps1 titles for hours? Nah, I guess it was just plain, old, laziness.
Graphics aside, there's nothing new about this game. Everything it does has been done better by others. Unremarkable game at best.
A poor man's Hearts of IronTholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of Making History
The cartoonish graphics of the maps are downturning, and everything this game does, Paradox titles did it better. Basically no reason to play it, with Hearts of Iron (and its sequels) being vastly superior, in pretty much every instance.
AverageTholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of Napoleon: Total War - Heroes of the Napoleonic War
On one hand, the units are pretty nice, my favorite being the Emperor's Own, as the brown-clad regiment is a nice change for an army dominated by white uniforms like Austria.
On the other hand, I'm not exactly a fan of paying for a handful of extra units. Napoleon Total War has a pretty active modding community and they add dozens, if not hundreds, of units, without paying a dime.
Played it for months; could play it for years.Tholdor | Sept. 17, 2012 | Review of Napoleon: Total War
Napoleon: Total War is the improved version of Empire, although a bit smaller in scope. For example, the main campaign map consists of only plain old Europe, without even Anatolia or North Africa, while Empire's grand campaign encompassed pretty much half the entire world. This is somewhat balanced by the inclusion of several smaller campaigns, like Italy, Egypt, and Iberia (as a DLC), but some of the epic feel you had while playing the Empire campaign is gone.
Still, the game has more ups than downs. The AI is somewhat better, both the campaign and battle ones, the tech tree has been streamlined, as the time spans only from 1805 to 1812-13. Deployable Forts also have been removed, reducing fort spam for richer factions. And the graphics, well, just a look at the campaign map will already give you some clues: While smaller, it is much more detailed. In battles, the effects are pretty good, even though they may lag on slower computers. One downside I noticed is that the unit variation is much smaller, with a plain non-dlc faction consisting of one or 2 variations of line infantry, one grenadiers, one light infantry, 2 or 3 cavalry and artillery. France obviously gets more units, Napoleon being the focus of the game. The DLCs provide a handful of units, although I'm not a big fan of them. Thankfully, mods solve most of the problems, with the exception of a bigger campaign map, as there's no tools to edit it. Yet.
Bottom line, a polished version of Empire, far smaller in scope, but more dynamic by nature. If you're a napoleonic era fan, by all means get it. The anachronistic prussian 1805 uniforms may scare you a bit, but the game's pretty nice and will entertain you for weeks, or months, or maybe even years.