Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right

If you’ve read my previous review of Battlefield 1 then you’ll know what I thought of its attempt of a World War 1 setting. At best it was just a lazy reskin of existing Battlefield mechanics and gameplay, and at worst it was an insult to the reality of the war. Well now allow me to introduce you to a game that is also a multiplayer first person shooter, and yet manages to combine historical authenticity and solid gameplay into something unique and enjoyable.

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Verdun was developed and self-published by two very small development teams based in The Netherlands. It was released as a beta on Steam early access in 2013 and fully released in 2015. The game consists entirely of online multiplayer matches based around one core gametype called ‘Frontlines’, alongside very simple deathmatch, team deathmatch, and wave defense modes. The game boasts a large amount of authentically modelled and functioning WW1 weapons, accurate uniforms and squads for various countries, and maps based on real WW1 battles, mostly consisting of areas around Verdun itself, but also some others based in other areas and later parts of the war.

Now obviously this game is going to be compared to Battlefield 1. There are only a handful of games set in WW1 out there, and as far as I know, these are the only two that are FPS games. So why do I say this game is so much better than Battlefield? Well let’s take it through a few different criteria. Continue reading “Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right”

Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems

I’ve been a huge fan of real-time strategy (RTS) games since Age of Empires. Unfortunately the RTS genre has been lacking anything decent or interesting for quite a while now, if you exclude Total War. There is however this fairly unknown series of games called Men of War, which I highly suggest you check out if you want an interesting and unique RTS to try… with some issues.

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Continue reading “Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems”

Tyranny: Sometimes Evil Wins

Tyranny, a new RPG game on PC developed by Obsidian with publisher Paradox just came out recently. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface so far, as this is the sort of game I can see going on for a long time, but I think it’s worth looking at some of the many things it gets right to make a great RPG computer game.

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Obsidian Entertainment were the developers of a lot of great RPGs in the past such as Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout New Vegas. Before the founders made the company they had previously worked on some classics including Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment and Baldurs Gate. Their biggest recent success was the Kickstarter campaign launched in 2012 to fund Pillars of Eternity, an old school RPG very much in the style of Baldurs Gate or Planescape that launched early last year and was widely praised for its return to the good old days of PC RPGs.

Right from the start it is easy to see that Tyranny is heavily based on Pillars of Eternity, with almost identical gameplay and interfaces. But with these games most of the value comes from the story, exploration, and roleplay potential. Despite Pillars receiving such praise last year I found myself getting slightly bored of it after a while. While I could see the great amounts of depth and detail in the game and story, it just didn’t grab me. It was a fairly basic fantasy world in which the player character, with whichever backstory you make or choose, suddenly becomes some sort of special chosen one with extra powers, and you need to figure out what happened and why from there. I can appreciate the open ended start, but I didn’t find it particularly compelling.

Tyranny however really had my attention before it even came out. The simple premise is that in this world, the Evil empire has already taken over, and you work for it in whichever way you see fit. As a player who usually struggles to take the evil route in RPGs and always ends up being the typical lawful good paladin type, I thought this might make an interesting change. And so far after playing it, it has more than lived up to expectations. Continue reading “Tyranny: Sometimes Evil Wins”

Enjoying Difficult

You know what there’s not enough of in life? Difficulty.

Okay so that’s a lie, but you wouldn’t think it given how much the gaming community seems fixated on making everything harder, more challenging, and more table-flippingly tense.

Just the other day I had a craving for something I haven’t experienced in a while; the PlayStation classic Devil May Cry. I still remember those coffee fuelled nights in the middle of exam season, up until 4 in the morning welcoming the onset of arthritis. I remembered the cool environments, the cheesy dialogue, but most of all… I remember the series being unforgivably difficult. So much so I still to this day haven’t defeated the final boss of Devil May Cry 3- a distinction only held by two enemies, the other being Eagle from Advance Wars hard campaign.

Continue reading “Enjoying Difficult”

Total War: WARHAMMER – Checking Out The Mods

So it’s been almost two months since the release of Total War: Warhammer. I have completed a long campaign as Empire, and have campaigns ongoing in most of the other current factions. The developers are apparently still working on the game, and have given information on future release of content here. The first thing to be released officially  is ‘Blood for the Blood God’ which is just a cool name for the inclusion of gore into the game, a practice which they have done in the last few games despite people always complaining about having to pay (£2) for something that really should be free if not in the game to begin with. Not a good start on the official new content then, but let’s hope that improves.

Now onto what I really want to talk about, the mods. Modding for the game started seemingly within seconds of the game being released. Unsurprisingly these were mostly very simple mods, and since then there have been an abundance of little tweaks all over the place. This is probably going to make up the majority of the mods going forward as well, due to the fact that Total War games have been harder and harder to mod with each new release. Gone are the days of the almost entirely new games like Third Age TW, but oh well. There are still some great things to be found for Warhammer already, and now that I’ve played the vanilla game a fair amount, I’m ready to dive in.

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Total War: WARHAMMER – First Impressions

The anticipated release of the official Warhammer themed Total War game was just over a week ago now, and since then I’ve already played around 40 hours… so maybe it’s pretty good?

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When I first heard that they were making this game I didn’t really believe it. Total War has always been a series firmly set in historical periods, and as someone who loves history that was always great. In recent years however, Creative Assembly have been releasing new versions of their old games, such as Rome and Shogun 2, and then Attila, which was essentially the same basic premise as an old expansion for the original Rome. It was getting to the point where they would have to maybe make something like Total War: Medieval III, or go for something completely different. Considering all this, it doesn’t surprise me that they made a fantasy game. And why create your own when you can license an already very well established series with varied factions and unit types to choose from? Continue reading “Total War: WARHAMMER – First Impressions”

Geek Economy: Steam and the Videogame Industry

If you are a PC gamer, you often will find yourself looking for games new and old. In the old days your house would have shelves coated in thin CD cases which store your library of gems. But it’s likely those CDs are now scratched to death due to the multiple replays and certain gamer abuse they have received from you – don’t be ashamed, we are all in the same boat. But as you know, technology changes affect the gaming industry drastically and we now live in an era where digital copies are preferred. They take less space, the won’t break due to scratching, etc. But more importantly even if you tried to buy physical copies of the games this would become a challenge. There aren’t many shops that sell them. All good if you’re a console gamer though, otherwise…so of course you must result to the internet. And as you know you have a few options – downloads, or the comfort of Steam. And Steam knows you don’t want a thousand Trojans killing your PC. So because Steam is free to use, you will end up there. And to be honest, Steam has good features – mods, community forums, access to thousands of games at the same time, some indie some mainstream. So why wouldn’t you love Steam?

Continue reading “Geek Economy: Steam and the Videogame Industry”