Monthly Archives: June 2012

Quality vs Fun – Why I dislike DLCs and Expansions

Today there are plenty of games that offer bonus content, in the form of DLCs or Expansions. We could be looking at RPGs, Strategy Games or an FPS, and there will always be something extra offered our way. It could be a map, gear, extra faction, perk, or something similar. The problem which I have with DLCs and Expansions is that they tend to kill the challenge of a game by offering us ready and simple solutions to otherwise fun challenges. The aim of a DLC or Expansion should be to introduce more content, without throwing balance into a deep pit and burying it. If you have to offer a player additional perks, do not make them overpowered. Instead, if players want a new challenge, give it to them! Or if a challenge they create for themselves needs the extra push, push them!

Painkiller

Right, this might call for a DLC weapon pack.

Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam Review

Crusader Kings II is a complex Grand Strategy game, where Intrigue and Politics reach new heights and complexity. You have betrayals, civil war, back-stabbing, assassinations, and much, much more. At the same time you have to maintain your kingdom, fight your wars and stay on the good side of the church. Initially you only had an option of playing as either Orthodox and Catholic rulers. You could had played as a Count, Duke, King or Emperor of any “nation”, starting in any desired year during the Medieval Times. It is a game I praise highly, because never before was I forced to keep such a careful watch not only on my enemies, but also on my own Lords and even Family. Numerous events shape your character, his attributes, traits and relations with other Lords. You could be a loved and respected ruler (who dies from assassination), or a Cruel War-monger (who dies in a Civil War). Now comes the question, what does Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam add to Crusader Kings, and is it any good?

Crusader Kings II

“No! I did not want the Dean of Elsey! I said DLC!”

Company of Heroes 2 – Forgotten Sacrifice Trailer

Recently a new trailer for Company of Heroes 2 was released. Throughout most of it we do not get to observe any in-game action. What we do get is some facts and numbers about the 2nd World War. At first the focus is on the Western Front, where we are told what were the losses for the Americans during D-Day and further. Then we are told of the Eastern Front, and how many more losses they suffered (half a million as opposed to 11 million troops and 15 million civilians). The morale of the trailer is that we should not forget about the sacrifice of those people, to stop the spread of the Axis forces east.

I might not be a qualified historian, but the way the Trailer is presented made it feel more like a Propaganda movie reel than an actual trailer. It is easy to forget about the reasons for such high losses (not all of them were a result of Nazi murder), the fanatical, often blind, devotion to the Soviet Union. I do not mean to make it sound in a negative way, but when I recall the facts that Stalingrad and Leningrad were not evacuated, so that the Red Army soldiers would fight for a “living city”, and not a dead one, speaks a bit of how the leaders viewed the populace.

Team Fortress 2 – Meet the Pyro Video

I loved every single “Meet the” Video that came out about Team Fortress 2. Each one presented the different classes in their own special way. To many the Pyro was the most mysterious of our “Heroes”. He did not speak, there were doubts about his gender, and nobody could honestly look inside that mask and know for certain who the Pyro is. That changed today, sort of. Meet the Pyro video has been released, as part of the “Pyromania Update” for Team Fortress 2. Not only did we get a new Game Mode, but also plenty of new gear for the different classes. So far only two of the three day “reveals” have been made, so we have yet to see what Day 3 will grant us.

Let us jump to the video itself however. The Pyro does not speak much, if at all. Instead we hear a few opinions from his team mates. I shall be frank with all of you, whomever wrote up the idea for Meet the Pyro deserves an actual Cake (not the Lie one). It is both intense in a terrifying way, and hilarious. I honestly did not expect what would happen, since my mind was stuck on Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and on top of that we got something which reminded me of the Beatles, My Little Pony and numerous non-descript 70s-80s ideas.

Interview with Tarn “Toady One” Adams on Dwarf Fortress

The Fortress was coming along nicely. We recently placed fresh Cage Traps in the area to create a Zoo for the populace, and offer more Trade Goods to the merchants. We were surprised when one of our first catches was a giant toad which persistantly claimed to be called Tarn Adams. At first we wanted to make it the centre-piece of our zoo, but after we caught a marauding dragon we had to find a different use for him. He could not be tamed, nor added as a pet, so we eventually decided to throw him inside the magma chamber interview him. This is what we learned…

Giant Toad

The interview cost us many brave dwarves…

Cooking with Pierre – Broccoli Chicken Casserole in Project Zomboid Video

When you have the time to make yourself a delicious meal, why not make yourself something filling? Among the many meals that would bring happiness to your survivor’s face in Project Zomboid is the Broccoli Chicken Casserole. In order to make it you will have to gather the necessary components which include: Cheese, Chicken, Broccoli and a Roasting Pan. The three foods can be found randomly in Fridges, making it at times difficult to find them all during a single search. The Roasting Pan appears randomly in drawers, and as you might know, this could mean a single Roasting Pan for the entire map, or way too many junk Pans taking up your inventory space.

The Casserole uses up numerous “Early Stage” foods, which makes it a decent choice for a dish, if you have too many fresh foods about to rot. At the same time some of these foods can be used for other dishes, so you might never make a Casserole because you will make yourself a Soup, or Grilled Cheese Sandwich instead. Another problem with the Casserole is that you cannot divide it into portions like you can with the soup. It’s a highly filling one-time meal.

Crusader Kings II – The Guide to Happiness

You might be wondering, “What the blazes is a Guide to Happiness?”. The aim of this Guide is to provide tips and hints on how to keep your nation “Happy”. Crusader Kings II often sets your ruler, and thus you, in a difficult situation when it comes to keeping your entire nation content. If the Peasants are content the Lord could be unhappy, and vice versa. There are numerous factors which influence a character’s disposition toward somebody else. Although it will never guarantee peace completely, at least you can place a higher demand on your subjects when you need it most. It is very easy to turn a strong reign into complete anarchy, only because you neglected one of the social groups.

This Guide will be divided into a number of subsections, so jump to the part which interests you most.

Crusader Kings II

One of the easiest ways to gain to the support of the Clergy and Pope is by taking part in a Crusade. It does not have to succeed, but you have to make a sufficient effort.

Project Zomboid News and Live Trailer

According to recent announcements work on the Project Zomboid Public Test v. 0.2.0r is progressing nicely, and we can just about see it over the horizon. This is not the only news however, since the Project Zomboid blog has been mildly active over the past two weeks. We could read a Blog Post by Phil Cameron on the different Mods the community created for Project Zomboid (such as, RobertJohnson’s and Thuztor’s Farming Mod). We had a posting focusing our gaze on other great Horror Survival titles from the Zombie Genre we could all help support and/or Kickstart. There is more, but I would wish to speak more about Project Zomboid itself. If you want to check out any of the info stated before, check out the official Project Zomboid Blog.

Project Zomboid

Smoother lighting, new items and a “Social Interaction Bar” at the bottom. These are just a few things of the many that are slowly crawling into our Safe Zones!

Heroes and Generals – Come Out and Play Video

Hello Commanders and Soldiers! The Reto-Moto Team has released a new Heroes and Generals trailer today, and to be honest, I absolutely love it! Among the actors you will not only see your average “Joe” and “Hans” (among the “Computer Soldiers), but also a rich selection of developers and Community members, all taking part in heated combat. It is an interesting idea, because you have to use a bit of your imagination to cover up the lack of uniforms and weapons, yet it all comes together nicely, including the hilarious “Hellcat Destruction” scene or the final scene (I shall not spoil it for you).

Heroes and Generals

“Let’s get to work.”

Crusader Kings II – 10 General Tips

Was everything easier in the past? Crusader Kings II, if it could, would say “I beg to differ.” It is an incredibly demanding Medieval experience, even if it does lack Dragons, Wizards and other Fey creatures. What makes it complex and at times difficult is the stunning AI, the scheming of your Lords (and not only) as well as the problematic (in a good way) Diplomatic system. There are very few games that made me realize that it is possible for the AI to create dastardly schemes to get rid of you (in a way). One such case, among many, was when the brother of my ruler killed all the other heirs by assassination in order to take the throne for himself, but because he quickly became unpopular (he had a terrible character, go figure) his other relatives started a Civil War to dislodge themselves from the kingdom.

That, and much more, you can find in Crusader Kings II, but what should we do in order to keep some control over the happenings in your Kingdom? Read on.

Crusader Kings II

My highly successful ruler. Not only did he bring up a sizable family, but also achieve both Prestige and Piety, not counting his military and financial success.