Reviews by xiluxpain

98

Close to Perfection

xiluxpain | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of Mount & Blade: Warband

For those who know the predecessor or successor titles, it is clear to say Mount & Blade: Warband is the game that makes the series.

What makes Warband a great title, nearly perfect a game at that, is their simple concept that offers a full experience. The difficulty of Warband will require hours and hours, easily adding to days worth of game play to even accomplish one full unification. And by unification, I mean the complete and absolute unification of a faction. Over 200 hours, and I have not completed that goal once, still ongoing.

To start, you are a random wanderer who is assaulted by a thug. After you defend yourself, a local merchant comes to offer you a quest for your talent. This starts you off to your first quest, and official battle.

Following that mini optional quest, you will find yourself in a world split between the Khergit Khanate, Kingdom of Nords, Kingdom of Rhodoks, Kingdom of Swadia, Kingdom of Vaegirs, or the Sarranid Sultanate. Each faction has their unit units that split into several trees, further diversifying troop types.

You will find yourself encountering many elements in the game. From the best features to least, you encounter random hero units who never die in combat, get a chance to win a lady's heart and obtain a bride, join a faction and their conquest of the lands, and choose your route of becoming a man of justice, or one of betrayal and deceit.

There are many methods of playing this game. You may find yourself as a wandering, trading merchant, a traveling mercenary for hire, a journeying tournament combatant, a loyal member of a faction, a tactician for a claimant fighting for their rightful throne, or the ambitious king of your own faction.

The only downside is that this game does scale to your level and experience. Eventually, you find yourself fighting a map full of bandits and pillaging that ravage your villages. Regardless, this game is a must try for all strategists and adventurers alike.

78

Something Different

xiluxpain | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of Dwarfs!?

When it comes to a sandbox game that's unique, challenging, yet easy to understand and play, I'd have to throw the towel in to Dwarfs!? While the title is simplistic and very unusual, it pretty much speaks for itself.

In the world of Dwarfs, you play as the overseer to the starting dwarf village. Starting with one miner, you expand your starting village digging outward. With every ore, gem, treasure, or block you dig, you gain gold. Using that gold, you purchase combatants, create posts for more miners, warriors, or defensive structures.

Your main concerns in this world will be flowing water, lava, and random enemies. If you let water or lava roam free, you will find yourself completely destroyed once the entire map is flooded. Before that happens, you must find a way to stop the source by means of explosives and creating a pit trap. Work fast, cause the source moves fast as well!

Enemies are the annoying part. Random bosses and minions have their own strengths. At times, you will find yourself completely overwhelmed as they destroy your workers without resistance. It's up to your careful planning and brave warriors to defend everyone.

This game is perfect for those who love managements, yet do not have time to learn a complicated game. Anyone who does not want to pay the full amount, there is actually a free version of this game. This current title unlocks all the bonus features and game modes available.

The missions and quest modes are definitely worth the money. I've found myself playing every mode and playing a few dozen hours unexpectedly.

85

A Game for the Past

xiluxpain | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of Avernum: Escape From The Pit

Avernum: Escape From The Pit can easily be put into a single word, and that is "Adventure." But that wouldn't do it justice.

At a single glance, Avernum: Escape From The Pit seems very old, and the style is dated to possibly the 90s. But do not let looks fool you. Avernum: Escape From The Pit can easily deliver hours upon hours, eventually adding to dozens of hours of game play. The easiest way to compare this game, using a popular game, would most likely be a single player Runescape.

In the world of Avernum, you find yourself thrown into the depths of hell for seemingly nothing at all. You have but one thing in mind, somehow find your way back and exact your revenge. You come across many along the way, many of those who cross the powerful in the surface are thrown into the underground world.

You, along with three custom built companions, will face the many forces evils and pre-established factions. Taking on many quests, and optional side quests, you choose your own road to how your game ends. This game will be challenging even on the easiest settings. So for those up for a challenge, save often, and prepare to determine your own fate in a world of fantasy and unknown.

90

A Test of Teamwork

xiluxpain | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of Killing Floor

While generally, Killing Floor receives an overall average score, it is actually unjustified without truly embracing what the developers desired.

The moment you play Killing Floor, you find yourself easily swarmed, easily surrounded, easily annihilated. Why? The reason is simple. Killing Floor beyond beginner mode was geared for teamwork. There is, without a doubt, no way you can start this game and be good without a team.

Killing Floor has a unique spawning system where the zombies will always spawn local to the players. They will specifically target areas that are not covered and work to surround you relentlessly. Unless you are a professional, have around a hundred hours on your belt, a level 5 minimal (out of 6 levels) character, you will not survive solo.

To break it down, the classes are divided into Field Medic, Support Specialist, Sharpshooter, Commando, Berserker, Firebug and Demolition.

Those who love to play support roles, Field Medic and obviously Support Specialist are for you. You will either heal your allies while killing what they can't, or wielding doors shut strategically as the Support Specialist.

Sharpshooters and Commando have their own specialized targets. These two make a good pair in taking out the strongest zombies together. What a Sharpshooter sniper cannot kill in a single blow, you can count on the Commando to finish off with their ability to see invisible targets and the zombie health bars.

In addition, Support Specialist is also the shotgun spray king. Along with Firebug that causes damage over time, and the destructive Demolition's firepower, you will have the perfect selection of crowd controllers who take out all the weak ones as the second line of defense.

As for your first line, who else can do a better job than the Berserker? Well... except for the unexpected tank, the Field Medic. While the Berserker is an excellent melee unit that cannot be pinned down easily, the medic, when armored, can resist death from even the boss for a good 10-15 seconds head on while your ally may be mowed down in a second.

Killing Floor still does seasonal events, gives special unlocks, and continually adds new maps and game modes. You will not be disappointed.

Be warned, Killing Floor is not a game to be played alone. Personally, I highly recommend a team of at least 4 individuals. By mid levels, you can go with 3. Later on, you can even solo. But as a team, you can take on even the most biggest, baddest of zombies on the worst difficulties.

Can you ditch your soloing habits from the world of FPS and adapt to the teamwork requirements of Killing Floor? Or will you be the first one eaten alive...

70

A Land Divided

xiluxpain | Jan. 17, 2014 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai

What sets Fall of the Samurai apart from vanilla Shogun 2 is most likely the uses of artillery and firearms.

When you step into the world of Fall of the Samurai, you are fighting in a divided Japan that is inevitably headed for modernization. Even though one side fights against such modernization, you see the inevitable coming of it. The side that is slow to modernize will be engulfed by the advanced units of the other.

The one thing that makes Fall of the Samurai unique is the more numerous numbers of random events. These events will most likely affect the game long-term. Examples are random recruitment of agents, which may go over the limit of having 5 agents. Another could be letting your students study abroad in another major nation. In return, you may find yourself with a little gifted unit that is superior.

My personal score of the game is affiliated majorly with the uses of range weapons. I'm not a fan of a game that focuses on only range. But anyone who plays Total War for the management, this game will put you to the test. If you are a fan of Empire or Napoleon Total War, this will have a very familiar feel.

Anyone who loved Empire or Napoleon, this can easily be 90 minimal score game.

88

A World of Magic

xiluxpain | Jan. 13, 2014 | Review of Warlock: Master of the Arcane

Warlock Master of the Arcane is a turn-based strategy game, much alike Civilization. For those familiar with Civilization, you will easily find yourself in a situation where you need to out-learn your opposition.

The key factors of this game are respectively food, mana, gold, and research. Excess food goes into gold. Mana is used for spells. Spells are obtained through a selection in your research. The more powerful the spell, the longer it takes.

You can deal with AI or other players and trade spells. With that said, this game is much more fun if played with at least one other person. But the downside to this is that you will need to take turns, and mid to late game, you will take quite a long time per person. Most players you should play with is around 3 or less.

There is no limit to the number of cities you create. In fact, each city will grant you bonuses. There is no penalty to cities what-so-ever. This is simply a game of rapid expansion, and out-do your enemies.

Although there is no method of permanent alliance, you can win the game without destroying everyone else. At a certain point, there is a spell you learn and cast in order to achieve victory with your friend(s).

This game is great for those who love warfare and magic. You will have random events and at points be devastated by neutral NPCs and random monsters spawning. The game is constantly changing with a huge randomly generated selection of maps.

This title is worth the money, and definitely a challenge at the highest difficulty regardless of whether or not you have allies.

78

Old School Racing

xiluxpain | Jan. 13, 2014 | Review of Post Apocalyptic Mayhem

Although at first glance, this looks like a racing game, it is actually anything but that. Racing actually does nothing but end the current round. What truly matters when it comes to Post Apocalyptic Mayhem is causing absolute mayhem.

When I first started playing, I was looking for a simple game to pass the time. This game delivered just that. Post Apocalyptic Mayhem offers a variety of vehicles, each with their unique set of weapons, each with their own style to kill. When I say, "Kill," I mean kill. The sole objective is to destroy the other vehicles and players.

While it is needless to say this game is more fun with people you know, or multi-player, I have found myself playing this game for hours and even going through the trouble of purchasing the DLC that adds two other vehicles.

It is an empowering feel to destroy the other vehicles, especially with the weakest of them all. If you think because you are a player, it will be a walk in the park, you couldn't be more wrong. It actually takes analysis, careful planning, and perfecting each individual vehicle to win the game.

Hopefully, you'll make it to the finish in one piece.

90

Scientific Victory

xiluxpain | Jan. 13, 2014 | Review of Civ V: Babylon and Korea Bundle

For those who love scientific victories, Civ V: Babylon and Korea Bundle is for you.

Babylons have a special ability of obtaining a Great Scientist once writing is discovered, and obtains Great Scientists 50% faster. Combined with their unique building, which allows better replacement of walls, you will start the game virtually untouchable. Given their specialized archers, you do not have to think twice of how to play as the Babylons. Build up your walls, rally up some archers, and sit back as you out-tech the enemy and crush them when the time comes.

Now, with Korea, you are going to be either very aggressive or very defensive. The reason you would be defensive is due to your science bonus. All your special abilities revolve around bonus stats of plus science. The things that receive this bonus are improved tiles with Great Persons, specialists, and any scientific buildings. It is only natural that you play defensively when trying to promote science. War would only slow production and science.

As Korea, you are also blessed with insanely strong Turtle Ships. These ships replace caravels and are devastating when fighting enemies of the same tier. Not only are they a severe threat to the ships of the same era, they will prove to be useful even one or two eras later. I have found myself losing entire frigate fleets with ease when fighting the Koreans.

The best strategy for Korea is to completely dominate an island, protect it with Turtle Ships, all while developing science. Both attack and defense would be in effect.

I personally rated this 90 due to the fact that I am not a science person, and I have always found myself in opposition to the Koreans. If you want an edge in science, this bundle is a must.

97

An Artistic Shogun

xiluxpain | Jan. 13, 2014 | Review of Total War: SHOGUN 2 - Rise of the Samurai Campaign

While playing Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai, I noticed the art were incredibly different. In my mind, I thought, "This game could easily just be a game by itself." And you know what? It really can.

When you start the game, you'll find yourself with a similar, yet different skill tree. In fact, most of the skill trees should be different. The art, specifically, is an older style that really captures the period well, representing an older time-frame.

To break it down, Rise of the Samurai takes place before the actual core game, which is, by the way, required to play. You learn about the key houses and individuals that lay the stepping stones that become the eventual Ashikaga Shogunate.

This game deserves a high score, mainly due to the fact that it is a simplified base Shogun 2. For those who do not like the massive variety of units, this game brings about just that. Your main units are very simplified, and there aren't much variety. This makes it all about tactics when fighting your enemies and larger numbers. The only down side is that generals become ranged generals.

Similar to Fall of the Samurai, there is a three-way-split loyalty system. Those that are loyal to your selected clan will be easily bribed into swearing loyalty to you. With careful planning, you can win this game with just agents. To paint a picture how this works, imagine once you get a settlement to a certain percentage in your religion, you can pay them off to become a part of your empire. It's kind of of a sweet deal. Why? You get their armies too...

For a much more simplified Shogun 2, I highly recommend Rise of the Samurai. A true fan, or anyone who has trouble keeping up in the base game, will definitely enjoy this greatly.

85

Do Not Associate

xiluxpain | Jan. 13, 2014 | Review of Total War Battles: Shogun

While most people here are rating low and leave a bad note, Total War Battles: Shogun definitely deserves a higher rating. What probably isn't taken into account is that most of these people are coming from the actual Total War series.

When this game was being created, it was originally meant for androids and iPhone. However, as they developed the game, it became too massive for such a small device.

Independently played, this game deserves at least an average score of 80. Reason? The story may be simple, but it is because it is straight forward and filled with vengeance of well-known characters that fuels you to resume gaming.

For those who wish to purchase this game, purchase it out of your love of strategy and do not associated to the series too closely. Otherwise, you may be disappointed in this android-spin-off attempt.

For anyone familiar with old-school tactics and battles with hexes or squares, this game is exactly that. You will require careful planning in order to win, especially when muskets come into play. There is definitely more than one way to win. And if you struggle, do not worry. There is a grinding option. That gives you bonuses as you level up certain skills and aspects that makes this spin-off unique.

Buy this game if you are looking for something simple to play, and not too serious. Worth looking into, and definitely challenging.

95

A Personal Favorite

xiluxpain | Jan. 13, 2014 | Review of FINAL FANTASY VIII

I've played just about every Final Fantasy game, and here's exactly why Final Fantasy VIII should be your favorite.

When you begin the game, you aren't immersed in immediate danger. It is a slow paced game, much closer to an actual role-play game than an adventure or action. You actually embrace each character as well as their stories as you play.

You start your journey as a student, playing as Squall. You are considered one of the sources of trouble in this game. Needless to say, you've found yourself a rival too. Along the road to doing missions with your class, you come across Rhinoa. That's where the game truly begins, speaking an action-filled romance that draws you to each individual character.

Without spoiling too much, FFVIII has a different, but similar summoning system and magic you learn through battling. It is still turn-based, and filled with many mini-games, many other characters as well. By the time you're done, Squall won't be your only favorite character. Try your best not to love them all (even the "bad" guys).

98

Adventure, Anyone?

xiluxpain | Jan. 12, 2014 | Review of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition Deluxe

One of my very first RPG game was coincidentally The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. What makes this game appealing at first sight is easily the brilliant art.

When I first observed a family member play Oblivion, I was enchanted. I immediately went out and found myself a copy.

What makes Oblivion a great game is the ease of control. You, yourself control the movements of your character with great flexibility. You will soon find the list of skills, magic, and variety of weapons and armors that affect your movement and progress in the game.

In Oblivion, you start off as your in-depth, customized character that may be one of several races. You find yourself in a jail, but are soon free to face an unknown danger. Aside from the main story-line quests, there are many side quests which greatly enhance your game.

You can join many guilds, wield a variety of weapons, own property, and journey on your own.

One of the greatest features, in my opinion, is the freedom of side quests, and most importantly, the option to simply slay everyone in sight. That's right, you can kill just about everyone so long as they are not required for the main quest. There are also tons of mods you can download to further enhance the game. Stripping your fallen enemies is also an option.

Till this day, I don't believe I've even completed all the quests possible.

100

Unbelievably Great Game

xiluxpain | Jan. 12, 2014 | Review of Heroes of Might and Magic® III Complete (NA)

I rarely rate games perfect, as all games are missing one or two components. When it comes to Heroes of Might and Magic III, it might just be the game to surpass time.

To start you off, Heroes of Might and Magic III is the title that makes the series. Fans will easily tell you, this is the one that they will return to out of the many other editions and versions of "Heroes."

Unlike most people who might be into the series, I was recommended this game almost two decades after "Heroes" became popular. Any game that is still enjoyable after nearly two decades passed... it just has to be that great. I have to say, I was not disappointed with the purchase.

For such a small sized game, this game offers hundreds of hours of game-play. There are dozens of heroes, many campaigns with amazing scripts and plots, various races. There are also randomly generated maps possible, customized to your own liking. Each race has their own unique heroes, units, and method of victory.

As you grab key resources, and potentially wage war for other key resources, do you expand? Perhaps expanding too early and capturing neutral castles will only lead to your demise. Develop your own style. Select your favorite race, heroes, magic, and units... and prepare for the inevitable war ahead.

Those who are into myths, lore, role-playing games, this game must not be overlooked. Do so, and it will be your loss entirely. Easily one of the best games I've ever played and will always play. A true timeless title.

88

The Strategy of Politics

xiluxpain | Jan. 12, 2014 | Review of Crusader Kings II Collection

At first glance, Crusader Kings II comes off as a military based strategy game, but seconds in, it is anything but the case.

From the second you begin, you will be lost without a guide or a proper tutorial. That much is a promise. Crusader Kings II offers you many scenarios, time periods, and great kings and lords of the past.

In this game, you learn to delegate your power as a lord, whom to trust, and most importantly, whom not to trust. Those you care for, you hold dear and spoil. Anyone not to be trusted, you plot against them.

This is not a game for everyone.

There are enough mechanics and features to keep anyone entertained for hundreds of hours, and still not know everything. This is a slow game and primarily for those who enjoy politics and management, especially over the many generations you will have to oversee.

From selecting your key advisers, to spying, plotting intrigues, assassinations, alliances, or betrayals, you will be put to the test against multiple nations and lords, all for the sake of having the greatest achievements. Within a specific time frame, have the greatest score to achieve true victory.

100

An Honorable Title

xiluxpain | Jan. 10, 2014 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2

For those who are familiar with the Total War series, Total War: Shogun 2 is the one that could be labelled as perfection. In Shogun 2, you play as one of the many factions in a quest to become the Shogun, and to ultimately unify Japan.

What makes this title the absolute best of its series is the balance. In previous titles, you could easily be out-performed by anyone who focused on production. Those who loved to war would be out-classed by the factions who worked on finances and pumping out much higher tiered units. It was impossible to use the weakest unit to defeat the best unit,. Shogun 2 offers the balance to collapse that very mindset. In this title, the weakest unit is known as an "ashigaru," which is similar to peasants. Believe it or not, it is very possible to win with an ashigaru only army from start to finish.

Total War: Shogun 2 steals the audience with ease through their family organization and promotion of generals, separate skill trees that give a unique play each game, and unique faction bonuses which give you many methods of victory. Alliances are no longer useless, as many will keep loyal to their oaths. It is no longer a straight-forward kill and win game, but one that requires careful planning, or face the wrath of early realm divide.

98

Captivated by First Play

xiluxpain | Jan. 10, 2014 | Review of Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition (NA)

When I first came across Borderlands 2, it was at a PC cafe. Playing through, I was, needless to say, captivated. Unlike the first game where you begin in a desert, the world of Borderlands 2 starts you off in an iced, arctic-like region. The colors of this new beginning was enough to keep me playing for hours.

If you've played Borderlands 1, you will be happy to find that this second game enhances multi-player, player versus player, and focuses on the plot. You will find out more about your past characters in Borderlands 1, as they may even become your allies that fight beside you in Borderlands 2. You learn much more about characters you've met in the first game.

After trying this game once, I was hooked and immediately looked for the first and second game. I now own them both, and I can honestly say I am not disappointed.

96

Perfection by DLC

xiluxpain | Jan. 10, 2014 | Review of Borderlands Game of the Year Edition

For those who have no idea what Borderlands is, Borderlands is a must for all RPG lovers out there. Whether or not you've ever played shooters, or even if you are usually against them, this experience will leave you wanting more.

This title offers a choice of four classes, each with their unique personality and phrases. Each of the four main characters offers another way to beat the game, adding replay value.

Characters aside, Borderlands brings you into a chaotic world where war, criminals, and hunters run wild. It is up to you to deal with the baddest.

The DLCs that come with this game will also enhance your gaming...

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned bring you to into a world of zombies where there is oddly a reference to Scooby and his gang.

ClapTrap’s New Robot Revolution is another region where ClapTraps have revolted against humans, and it is your task to eliminate the threat. Both this DLC and the previously named will scale to your level.

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is another world, one providing more challenges after the main story is won and over with.

To top it all off, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot is an arena styled dome where can either fight waves after waves of enemies to test your abilities and claim prizes as you go. You can also store your most prized possessions in a bank.

As someone who was never a fan of RPG or shooters, this game kept me playing until the very last moment.

100

Best Deal for the Best Strategy Series

xiluxpain | Nov. 23, 2013 | Review of Total War Grandmaster Collection

A while ago while I first started Steam, the only thing that really drew me in was the Total War Grandmaster Collection.

Individually priced, these games would cost approximately 25% more. For any strategy fans, approximately $50 in US Dollar means a lot more games.

When I first started buying games of the Total War series, I had no idea how absorbed I would be. As time went on, I regrettably purchased the games one at a time. When I found out about this collection, about the time when Shogun 2 came out, I opted to make a separate Steam account and purchased the Grandmaster Collection.

The expansions that come with core Total War series game added an additional 50% in game-play, making this the best buy out of my Steam lifetime.

For the Total War lovers out there who may have already purchased a Total War title, this deal is worth making a separate account.

90

First Step to Total War

xiluxpain | Nov. 23, 2013 | Review of Rome: Total War

While new players may jump right into the newer titles of the Total War series, as a veteran, I would recommend Rome: Total War to any new player. It is cost efficient, runs on very minimal computer specifications, and as expansive, if not more, than the newer games.

This particular game is able to fully embrace the individual factions and their preferred units and tactics. Whether it's the defensive phalanx formation of the Greeks or the Carthage's destructive elephant units, you will be put to the test devising strategies to overcome each foe.

Rather than be as isolated as the later titles, Rome brings you to a time where you start off as one of the three major powers. As a major power, you bide your time, growing slowly, all while humoring the senate and their random requests. This system is very similar to that of the Medieval II system with the Papacy, only far more rewarding. Rome: Total War is able to offer more versatility in game-play than that of its successors.

As a new player to the strategic series, you may wonder whether or not their least costly "Rome: Total War" is worth it. It 100% is.

Rome offers the versatility of starting with 3 allies as a Roman faction. For a challenge, select a later unlocked faction. It also allows you to trade over certain items or retinues. It becomes amusing at one point when you can trade your annoying mother-in-law or drunk uncle to another general. This important aspect is removed in Medieval II and onward. Using this little trick, you can have an almost maxed out general at all times.

Rome is, without doubt, the first step for all players to the Total War series.

92

A Game to Surpass Time

xiluxpain | Nov. 20, 2013 | Review of Medieval II: Total War

When it comes to the Total War series, or strategy games in general, one game that will always entice my return is Medieval II.

Medieval II is a defining title to the series of Total War; one that provides a vast variation of units, unique methods of victory, and up to 17 unlock-able factions upon wiping them out. Each individual faction has their own unique victory requirements, easily providing between 6-12 hours minimal replay value per faction.

As a veteran player of the series, Medieval II does not disappoint in providing entertainment even after nearly a decade into existence. Whether you start a game with the sole purpose of destroying the influential Papal States, invading forces of the Mongols and Timurids, or conquering the new world of the Aztecs, you will find yourself spending hundreds of hours and still may not have accomplished total victory.

Will you aim for a religious victory? Perhaps a short game of eliminating your sworn enemies in a short, few hour play... Feeling ambitious? Plot using all you know... religion, alliances, betrayals, control key settlements, manipulate factions with money, conduct diplomacy, and eventually... take the world. Do you have what it takes?