Reviews by Wredniak

75

Fun little game.

Wredniak | Aug. 31, 2012 | Review of Total War Battles: Shogun

This is PC version of mobile game which explain simple mechanics. In this case simple doesn't mean stupid or boring though. If you are expecting another Total War title like Medieval or Shogun 2 you will be disappointed as it's not that kind of game at all.

The Gameplay consists of building few resource/unit production buildings and fitting them on the map like a puzzle as each building have predefined shape you must fit it with others in limited space then you add some units to the queue and when they are ready you place them on battlefield. Once placed units can't go back or attack enemies behind them. Your troops can either march forward a straight line or stop and wait for enemy. You can also order them to change the line they are attacking but after that you have to wait few seconds before unit can maneuver (change lines). There is some tactics involved for example spear units are good against cavalry but die pretty quick if faced with sword wielding enemy. Also attacking ranged units from the same lane usually means most troops are dead before they even reach the target so you need to think a little in this game.

You won't spent 20+ hours here in one campaign trying to conquer all Japan and it was never intended that way. This game is much more casual as each battle takes about 5-15 min max and allows you to come back whenever you have some time to spare. Other interesting difference is a story, which was never a part of other Total War games. Complaining that this is not similar to other titles in Total war series is silly as this is not a continuation of the series, more like side story.

15

This is DLC?!

Wredniak | July 5, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II - Mongol Faces DLC

When I first saw this dlc I decided I'm going to pass it. Thousands of faces for $2 seemed ridiculous then. In the mean time I was gifted this dlc by a friend and decided to check it out. I saw no difference, European countries had almost none contact with any of Mongol provinces. I feel that this content should have been included for free in the first place. As the image should reflect how people looked in certain areas. This dlc is clearly a step in the wrong direction. As for the sprites... this game doesn't have great graphics and it isn't important then why spend money on poorly looking pixels? I was thinking hard who I should recommend this dlc and sadly I can't imagine anyone. Maybe someone that must have all dlc? But even then I'd wait for bundle/discount. This dlc in my opinion isn't worth $0.50 not to mention full 2 dollars.

95

Endless Entertaiment

Wredniak | July 5, 2012 | Review of Endless Space: Admiral Edition

Amplitude Studios did a really good job developing Endless Space. One of the best things the made is User interface, there is not a single thing I would change there. All the informations necessary are easy accessible, nothing is missing and what's more important there is nothing there for the sake of being which sometimes happens in 4x titles. Player isn't buried under countless tables feeling more like accountant than leader of star empire. Visual side is also good. In strategic view map is easy to read and in the battle backgrounds are simply gorgeous. Sadly it shows this is small studios as there is no great cinematic intro, instead we get few images with a short story of the faction we chose to play. When we met new faction we get same message as with any other, diplomacy is just a table. It isn't bad but I wished for more like each race having unique greeting, declaration of war etc.

Economy is simple but this is a good thing, food makes colony grow quicker, production helps build things, science allows to invent things and dust is currency allowing to buy things. What makes it interesting is each planet gives different amount of those resources (called FIDS) per capita. "Friendly" words like Terrain, Ocean and Jungle tends to give FIDS equally with small differences, Lava and Tundra are good for production, Arid and Desert helps commerce while Gas Giants depending on type gives huge boost to one resource but at the expense of others. To further complicate things you can choose one of 4 complexes on each planet that gives a boost to one of the resources generation. Farms will give more food on every planet but if build on Terrain or Ocean there will be additional bonus, Research centre will help every planet type but barren and Arctic planets get a bonus. And sometimes ideal matching isn't possible for example when you have 2 lava and one barren planet in the system building farms on one of them is necessity to increase population despite neither of them is ideal for this. Later as you research technologies there are other options to boost the food production but each star system installation cost set amount of dust to maintain every turn. In this game it's better not to build every available installation as the cost can put the empire in debt especially early on. Also here is a little flaw in the making; you can build any installation you researched even if it doesn't make sense like additional dust per explored moon if there is no moons in the system or additional population slots on tiny and small planets where there are only large planets in the system. There is 13 planet types in game:Terrain, Ocean, Jungle, Tundra, Lava, Arid, Dessert, Arctic, Barren, Asteroids and 3 types of Gas Giants. Each of them can have anomaly; some are good like metallic waters giving additional production, some can be mixed like shattered crust giving boost to production but impairing dust and negative ones like Keppler Syndrome reducing both research and dust. With research you first learn to remove negative effects of mixed ones and later to get rid of the negative ones. On first it is better to avoid if possible because unsuitable planets like lava tend to give huge negative approval bonus and if coupled with negative anomaly entire system can go on strike almost halving it's FIDS. Aside of anomalies each planet can have poor (1), moderate (2) and rich (3) deposit of resource. Luxury resources gives various bonuses to the planet and empire, additionally acquiring monopole (4 of 7 resources) gives huge boost to those bonuses (+20% food production of empire, +40% ship defence etc.). Strategic resources are discovered through research and usually give production bonuses.

Research is divided into 4 non linear tech trees: Diplomacy and Trade, Applied Science, Military and Exploration the later generally being the most important as this one unlocks new planets for colonisation, new ship types, moon surveys, allows removing anomalies and terraforming. Diplomacy and Trade helps with income, approval rate and allows bigger fleets. Military unlocks new and more powerful weapons and defences. Applied science helps with production and research and also unlocks strategic resources needed for more advanced projects. Although it is possible to focus only on one tree it's impractical. Without Trade research empire will be unhappy crippling production, without exploration military will have tiny ships and colonisation will be limited, some military research is needed to deal with pirates efficiently, applied science offers bonuses that speeds up developments.

Diplomacy is interesting in this game. All factions start in "cold war" which allows fighting outside of faction territory and taking outposts (outpost turns into colony in 30 turns and starts generating are of influence then) but doesn't allow to cross territory of enemy faction or attacking their colonies. If faction likes you the will be willing to trade with you if they don't getting a deal requires a lot more resources. If you expand to much, have too many ships for their liking or there is border tension between you it will be harder to even negotiate peace not to mention open borders or trade agreements. It is interesting that factions will dislike you if you have better overall score than they.

Combat was designed in interesting way; You outfit your ships with whatever weapons, defences or support modules you want as long as they were unlocked and some techs increase maximum tonnage. There are 3 types of weapons: rockets, beams and kinetics with 3 corresponding defences. Nothing says you can't build a ship with only rockets on board but if enemy has decent amount of anti-rocket systems on their ships combat is going to be one-sided. Each ship you build can be modified in the military overview and then retrofitted using dust on the field. This allows flexibly changing it's systems depending on the enemy... if you can afford it. Combat is real time but only action player can take is picking a card that boosts your ships stats or lowers opponents. Those cards works like more advanced rock, paper, scissors. If you pick right card enemy card will be cancelled and you will have advantage which can determine a winner. On the other hand if you have advantage picking repair card can allow you to massacre 10 times more enemy units than you have yourself (Only set amount of ships can take part in battles depending on the command points of empire which allows one advanced empire to destroy countless number of enemy ships using only few). This all means that when it comes to ships bigger is better in this game. Once you unlocked dreadnoughts you don't really need other ships.

Out of 8 factions every one plays differently and this time it is true. Craves need to expand quickly and destroy other factions, Sophons should try to remain peaceful early and then they can either destroy others with advanced fleet or try to win technologically. Empire +40% HP for ships is huge difference and strong economy allows them to build a lot of ships making military victory the best route. Sovers ability to colonise every word at the beginning gives them advantage while trying to win expansion victory. Every race can win but each has one or two victory types it is better at.

When I played this game many times I thought "this could be better" or "I wish developers added this" as there are many minor things that could be improved but this doesn't really matter. The fact is I played this game till 5 A.M. because sine 2 A.M. this was the last turn. This game is probably the best 4x I played in a long time. And if the developers keep there promise that release is not the end but the beginning it can become one of the best of all time. So far I have spent 15h with this game and I know it will be 150 soon. For only $30 the game is worth every penny. It probably would be worth 60.

35

Huge disapointment!

Wredniak | July 2, 2012 | Review of SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny

I've tried to find something positive to say about this game and sadly there isn't much; the menu looks nice and the graphic looks quite good despite being outdated. I don't know who has written the plot but it fills like excuse to add single player option to the game which should have been cut out. I managed to complete single player in a little over 2h and I can't imagine anyone spending more than 5 to complete it. With tutorial entire game consists of 4 maps which feel like fan made material made with map editor. Another issue is long and numerous cutscenes which were plain boring. I managed to find only 3 new spells and only one is somewhat useful. Only challenge was to defeat a few clearly overpowered enemies. What I felt playing this game was: too little too late. Developers had 5 years since the last release and made a poor job of matching past titles' story and entertainment factor. If you are looking for single player experience it's better to stay a way from this title, as for multiplayer it can be a saving grace of this title if you are a fan of the Spellforce series. In my opinion this game should never be released as it feels like last attempt to squeeze some money out of dying series before developers decide to move on. It is especially sad considering the previous titles were great games.

70

Beautiful music for a price.

Wredniak | July 1, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: Songs of Albion DLC

Music composed by Andreas Waldetoft is certainly wonderful addition and gives variety to the game, I find the idea of each culture having their own songs ingenuous and the quality of soundtrack in this game is very high. The other plus of this dlc is the fact that songs are in .ogg format in the game folder which makes it easy to listen to them without having to play the game.

My only problem with this dlc is it's price. Is 4 songs worth $2? This depends how you look at this pack. It doesn't alter the game play in any way, just adds some music to it which isn't something every gamer looks for, on the other hand here you get great songs for $0.50 which is cheaper that any song on iTunes. If this is ever on sale I strongly recommend considering buying it, if not this is still great music.

65

Interesting attempt, sadly this is all it is.

Wredniak | June 30, 2012 | Review of Warlock: Master of the Arcane

First thing that comes to mind while trying to describe this game is Civilization in fantasy settings. The similarities are numerous: hex grid, cities generating zone control which expands with city growth, only one unit per hex. Fortunately there also are differences that allows it to be more than a clone. To build an unit you need specific building in the city, some of them have prerequisites and they need to build around the city limiting total amount that can be constructed. For every citizen in the city you are allowed one building or "tile improvement" as some can only be build in the tiles with specific resource like pumpkins or silver. Some resources has alternatives for example silver offers free upgrade to the weapons or boost to the city income. Another nice touch is that each unit type has unique promotion on top of more general ones which some can be bought instead of earned after level up. The main feature of the game are spells that can be cast by your warlord and which replace technology known from similar titles. Sadly most of the are just addition that doesn't produce much impact. This is tied to the greatest flaw of the game: a constant need to expand and maintain huge battle forces. Most monsters spawn from their specific settlements that are generated randomly on the map, which sadly doesn't mean that single ogre can't pop up out of nowhere next your capital even if it's surrounded by other cities. This forces player not only to secure borders but watch over seemingly secure areas. The game offers several ways to win you will need expanded military just to survive which makes all but military conquest rather pointless. The game is part of Majesty world which is nice touch for the fans of the series. The multiple planes are interesting but require even more military might to explore making gameplay monotonous. I'd recommend the game for those that wondered how civilization would look with fantasy elements but if you are just looking for a good turn-based strategy I'd point towards Civilization V especially now with a new expansion out. On the other hand if you are looking for the interesting magic system and fantasy world it may pay out to check the Age of Wonders series. The main problem of this game isn't the fact that it is bad, most of it's drawbacks could be fixed by balancing patch, but the fact that there are better options that simply outshine it.

90

One of the most unique games I've ever played!

Wredniak | June 30, 2012 | Review of The Last Remnant Overflow

This game manges to successfully combine RPG mechanics with tactical/strategic elements. One of the most fitting adjectives describing it is epic. It especially shows during battles where player can control up to 18 characters fighting 25 or more enemies. To help manage this large number of fighters Square Enix developed very interesting combat system: Unions. Union is an unit consisting from 1 to 5 characters acting as one. Player has limited control over their behaviour on the battlefield, usually consisting of 2 options of attack, healing/supporting other unions, healing themselves/defending. This depends on individual characters in each union which makes careful consideration of choices very important. Possibilities are almost infinite with over 30 unique leaders and even more soldiers available for player. To add even more to the system each union can choose a formation that usually boosts one or two stats (like melee attack or defence) while lowering others. Soon player has to choose between 5 mobile unions capable of flanking enemies or fewer more powerful ones taking out enemies easier but risking being flanked themselves. Another innovation is levelling system or lack of it. Player progress is measured by battle rank which make enemies stronger as player increases it. Each character has a chance to increase their stats after the fight learning new combat, item or mystic arts. Combat arts are tied to the weapon which is used and the wield-style. Each wielding style has several of Combat Arts each one more powerful than previous which become unavailable if player switches the style. Another aspect depending on the weapon is the direction in which ability will change (nimble or mighty), some weapons additionally have a special art that is available as long the weapon is equipped. Opposite of Combat arts are Mystic arts that aren't tied to the weapon and are ingame equivalent of magic. By combing 4 or more specific types of Mystic arts within the union it is possible to unlock powerful mystic attack that affects entire map. The most prominent aspect of the game is it's compelling story and believable characters. Developers also included numerous sidequests which provides entertainment for many hours. With such a vast number of possible options each playthrough can be an unique experience. Another interesting aspect are rare enemies which have a chance of spawning in each area in specific places. They are much harder to kill but provides a considerable reward after win, usually components to upgrade powerful weapons. The game also isn't without a faults. Most of them aren't visible for casual player or during first playthrough but become quite apparent for players aiming to complete 100% of the game. In order to unlock all the abilities and weapons some grinding is necessary especially for the rarest components. Also some unique enemies have very low chance of appearing and it may take hours to find a single one.

In conclusion I'd say this is very solid title that holds a lot potential to entertain for 100+ hours and I recommend it for everyone as such titles on PC are rarity and it would be a shame to miss out on Rush story. The unconventional battle system and vastness of available options is rarely seen in games nowadays.

95

Excelent expansion to already amazing game.

Wredniak | June 28, 2012 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods and Kings

As a fan of Civilization franchise I was looking to play the expansion. Although the main game was a great piece of work, as someone who played the Civ4 with both expansions, I felt there was something missing. This expansion manages to add many distinctive features that greatly complement the base game. The most notable one is religion and here there was many changes compared to the previous title. This time it is full customizable, not only the name but also set beliefs can be chosen to suits players tastes. There is many options available among others you can choose to get +1 production bonus from every pasture, +1 faith from every worked stone resource or bonus faith for every battle in range of the city. To enjoy this benefits all you need is to convert the city which happens when more than half citizens follow one relligion. It can be done quickly by using missionary or slowly by religious pressure exerted by every converted city. This time also you must choose between spreading your religion to your neighbours giving them benefits of your religion or save it for yourself. It all depends on the perks you chose, some like +2 gold for every city following religion encourage expansion others like papal primacy doesn't give bonuses for spreading to your rivals. It also features building and units that can be acquired only by spending faith points.

Second big addition are spies. Your first agent joins you while you reach renaissance and others are recruited with a dawn of every era. Among actions they can perform the most interesting are stealing your rivals technology and instigating coup in city states overthrowing other player for alliance with you. The latter allows for diplomacy to be less focused on gold. Other actions for spies are counter-espionage, rigging elections in city states (gives reputation) or gathering intelligence on other players (which can be traded for small diplomacy boost for other civilizations).

Third notable change is with naval combat. Now there are ships that instead of range attacks fights in close combat. This change allows them to capture coastal cities. Similar change occurred in land units adding late-game archer units which adds flavour waging wars.

To sum up this expansion doesn't change what civilization 5 is but adds an additional depth to the game vastly improving the experience. Additional improvements like tweaking AI or balancing some aspects of game is certainly welcomed. This expansion also adds 9 civilizations into fray and 3 new scenarios which with all the aforementioned perks is more than enough to justify buying this great expansion.

85

Dwarfs?! Those little rascals are insane!

Wredniak | June 24, 2012 | Review of Dwarfs!?

The game starts quite easy, one little miner comes out and starts digging. With every little step he digs deeper and for each dug space you get small amount of gold. The more he digs the better he gets at it. You can leave him alone or you can tell him where to dig. Pretty simple. Unless you happened to play for a while and have 300 those little dwarfs that happens to dig to deep. Having to stop 4 lava unlocked at the same time can be rather challenging but very rewarding if you manage to do it. This game is one of those with simple concept that takes quite a while to master and manages to be fun for an insane amount of time. What I love the most about this game is that it's a perfect time filler when you have spare 5,15,30 or 60 min and don't feel like launching one of "big titles". The arcade mode is godsend for people like me with "one more turn syndrome" that can't quit the game when they should. Here you chose to play a set amount of time and after the time is up you get to have your score posted on the board.

99

Great game ^^

Wredniak | June 24, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

One of the best things about this game is that you get 2 games in price of one. There is no other way to describe the difference between two ways you can play it. You can either infiltrate locations taking enemies quietly (it is also possible to try sneak in without knocking enemies down) or kill anyone who dares to stand in your way. Those two distinct approaches makes 2nd playthrough something to look for ^^. Another great thing about this title is that it rewards looking around and exploring word with XP points, weapon upgrades etc. There are many "secrets" that you can uncover on your own that are not the part of main quest or side quest. The best this game has to offer is the story which made me want to see what happens next and I actually liked my "hero". The world created here is believable, definitely more than just excuse to shoot bad guys. Money well spent ^^