Total War: Rome 2 – Review

Big fan of the Total War series. I think what they do is rather excellent, and the tactics features is fun as hell. That being said, I’d rather start off on some sour notes of the Rome 2. I’ll be saving the good stuff last. Don’t judge the game on first comments, the good comments will roll out during the end when I’ll be sharing my verdict.

Too Many Nations 

This has created a problem that I saw within the first turn. The game introduced itself well. As soon as I finished my first turn, the game went through the motions of all of the other Nations doing their turns. I never counted how many there were. If I were to guess, there would be upwards to about thirty, maybe even forty different ones playing on the same giant map. The more you discover, the longer their turns will take because they’ll start moving on the map. This can definitely eat up a lot of time. They certainly immerse you in the fact that it’s Rome during the 250’s BC, however the take away is that there is also dozens of Nations going turn by turn by turn. Excellent immersion factor, horribly long waiting periods.

Graphic Errors

From time to time you’ll get the usual graphic area on the map. Maybe something will be missing or you’ll find a patch of land looking odd. There were the rare times that when I went down into “Movie” mode, I’d see a set of helmets floating a few inches away from where their soldier’s bodies were. That had been one of the annoying factors when I wanted to watch two armies beat the hell out of each other. I once also had a set of archers aiming directly at the ground below them. Perhaps a new tactic to delay the soldiers and prick their feet? All-in-all, small graphic based errors that they’ll eventually sort out over the next few weeks.

Simple AI

The AI seem to have a trend of not being the best sports. They’re either clumsy negotiators, or their tactics seem as if they allowed their five-year old heir to run the armada for a few days. They’ll either drive their forces into the ground with useless tactics or not enforce an obviously open area that I can have my army take advantage of. I was hoping for a larger challenge as I progressed through the game, although it seems how they went about correcting that was by making the enemy’s forces better than yours in every way each time the difficulty went up. I was hoping that the computers would become smarter, but that has yet to be addressed.

Time for the positive thoughts!

Amazing Graphics

While a few errors are minor, and rarely happen, the environment and the fight scenes are absolutely beautiful. Arrows fly fast, fire acts like fire, and soldiers trample the ground with powerful force as they run to attack one another. The mountains and vast scenery is quite a bit to take in as you explore the overly large map of Eastern Europe. If you have a rig that has the capabilities to go all the way up to Ultra, do so. It’s a beautiful scene you’re not going to want to miss.

Historical Accuracy

The Total War team really went to town when they decided to go down to the core level of the game and went into the lore of the time. The soldiers fight as they should, the forces are massive creating the choice of giving you a wide range of armies to have. It gives you, the leader, the chance to truly customize your armies as you see fit. Letting you choose from a wide array of soldiers whose stats differ from one another. If you want an army to not lack in a certain area, you can definitely have that as well.

Gameplay

The team wanted you, the player, to have quite a few choices when fighting. Having trouble in a section of the Empire that needs addressing? You can change the stance of an army and have them march over to that part in a matter of turns, quickly and effectively. Other times, you can have them block a pass that you know for certain an enemy force is about to enter. You can cut them off and have them meet with a stronger defense force that you have set up strictly to be a meat shield while you rally other armies. The stance change in this game is significant. As you learn to change them, you’ll adapt to the game so you can get the most out of each of your armies that you’re creating. You can also have sea forces supporting your land ones, becoming the ultimate commander of both Sea and Land.

Developer Support

Most fans would know that as the game had been released, some concerns rose to parts of the game feeling unfinished. To help correct that, the development team announced that they would be giving weekly updates (starting last Friday, and continuing from there) to help improve and adjust any bugs that were found or commonly reported. Their next update is scheduled for this Friday. Even through there are a few bugs in the game, they stand by what they’ve given to the fans and continue to throw their support for those who ask for it.

Verdict:

I am a fan of the game. I am a fan of the series. I found that while there minor errors, they can be overlooked by even the newest of players because of how well the other key features are presented. Although, it is warned to be careful if this is your first Total War game. There are some features that are offered that are vaguely more familiar to those who’ve played games such as Total War: Shogun 2. Because of that, it’s easier to pick up. Nonetheless, the developers introduced an excellent prologue to the game so that all newcomers may feel welcomed and are free to start off a pace of their choice.

Total War: Rome 2 – 9 / 10

Incognita: Turn Based Strategy Game

Over the past year, turn based strategy seems to become to an all-time high. Thanks to the success of X-Com Enemy Unknown, everyone has become hooked on trying out these games. Is it the motivation for players to want to think more, or have the strategic programmers come out of hiding and entering more companies? Regardless of the reason, or how it happened I’m excited about all of these new games popping up. The next one that I’m most looking forward goes by the name of Incognita – developed by Klei Entertainment.

Gamers who know the name Klei Entertainment may make a connection to one of their previously successful games, Mark of the Ninja or even, Don’t Starve. An expertly made stealth game, with a good degree of strategy. Incognita is Klei’s attempt at doing a complete strategy in the way that X-Com had been made, however, with a heavy focus on stealth. Why stop doing what you’re good at?

How, you must be asking, would they be able to create a stealth game with X-Com’s strategy model? Check it out for yourself – Klei’s microsite is listed here.incognita_wallpaper1280x720

They’re offering a chance for you see what they’ve done so far. Pre-Purchasing the game now (at a 15% discount) will allow you access to the Alpha. In the Alpha, you’ll be given a random assignment with a random assortment of agents. You’ll be forced to finish the task with your team.

Over the next few months as they continue to develop the game, you’ll be receiving new updates that further develop the game. They’re attempting to set the community up so that the hardcore fans become their testers and they can remove any chance of things being messed up in the beginning. I know I’ll be one of those testers in the next few days.

Be sure to check it out soon. Also, if you haven’t check out their other games on their main website here.

Thank You, Bioware

This was an announcement today that I wanted to talk about. I believe that this move, this excellent move done by Bioware is going to be what the future of RPGs are all about and what they’re shooting for. For their next big game, Dragon Age Inquisition, they are now allowing you to form the world that you’re about to play in. How are they doing this? By creating something called, Dragon Age Keep.

Dragon Age Keep is basically a program within Dragon Age 3 where, before you start playing their new story, you set things up from your previous games. 

Let your shouts and hoorays out. Unless you’ve played entirely through Mass Effect one to three, most cannot appreciate this. True fans of Bioware can, in some sense. I definitely understand why this needed to be added.

How things worked before this was you simply go through the game, go through the next one, and then play the last one with all of your choices in line that you just made through all three games. Wanted to do something else that was huge and a big event? You have to start over either the first or second game, and play through it all again and do something different. This happened a lot for me because I always played through it first as a good-guy then did it again as the evil individual.

No longer will that be an issue. Scratch issue. For Mass Effect, I never saw it as an issue. More of a chore. The chore has been eliminated to where they force you to play through all of the games if you wanted to do something big and significant.

The original idea that they had for this was because some saves may not go over to the next platform when Dragon Age Inquisition is ready. Which is extremely understandable. Dragon Age Inquisition may not be able to be played on the 360 or the PS3. They’re going to be made for the PS4 and the Xbox One. Unless Sony or Microsoft created something for saves to transfer over, in the Bioware fashion, then there’d be no way for your story to be told and the beginning to each game would have been generic. Thanks to the Dragon Age Keep, that is no longer an issue.

I think that this is something that Bioware should have come up much sooner. However, having come up with it at all is amazing and fantastic. Mass Effect 3 would have done better for that. 

The problem that they had if you were brand to the game at Mass Effect 3 is you get the genetic starting storyline. There’s nothing special about events that have happened and they’re all the same if you start over without a save being transferred over. Annoying for people who are brand new to it all.

This is why I was excited for Dragon Age Inquisition. The fact that Bioware has this in place makes me confident that they’re stance in the future of RPGs is going to be powerful.

Dragon Age 3 at Gamescon

While I find it annoying that Bioware decided to pull Dragon Age back a year, I’m also okay with it. Why be impatient for a game the developers are not ready to let out yet? Waiting for something to be ready and present has always been better. Although, with all the news that is surrounding it lately I’m becoming anxious. The sort of anxious that can only be quelled with re-reading articles, playing old games and waiting for release date to arrive and begin playing. Here’s the news that I’ve been hearing, have you heard about it?

What is Dragon Age 3: Inquisition about? 

To build on that question, what is the Inquisition? For the past two games Inquisitors have yet to be mentioned. Where are they coming from? Inquisitors have become the gatekeepers that, apparently, the Templars have failed. You are the leader of this group. That is correct, you are now the leader in a Bioware game where you are calling all of the shots. After years of having to crawl to the top in almost every game that they’ve made, players’ patience have paid off. Either a village is going to burn down because of you, or you’re going to save innocent people. Is it helpful to you, or are you morally obligated to save them? As the leader of the Inquisitor, the pros and cons are truly tested here.

What’s happened? Where have we left off?

The veil has broken apart. The thing that has kept the demons, the nightmares, everything that not only Mages but all of the world fears to think about now have a one-stop ticket to the real world. Everything is blowing up around everyone. I believe one big question that I have burning in my head is are the Mages and the Templars still fighting each other? If they are, how is that going to make a play in? Are you going to be taking a side in the war? Are more important things going to be going on?

My best guess is that the Mages are still rebelling. Fighting to survive and make their way around the world unharmed. Perhaps even the veil being open affects them the worst? With all of the nasty things that wanted to use them to get into the world, the Mages could be the best things that the world now has to throw the veil back together.

How are the previous games going to be involved?

Another main role of the Inquisitor is to be looking for the one who started the entire mess. This likely means that Alister is going to be either on the run or fighting in the war. Think Mages will be asking for help or trying to help him out? Part of me hopes that they are going to ignore him. I’d rather run him down like a dog and find him. After the ending of Dragon Age 2, I really wanted to end him. However, another character I made was rather sympathetic for him. If I were to play after that character’s save, would he react differently? Doing the opposite of Mass Effect, Dragon Age decided to use different characters for each game that they made. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I do however think they’re missing a big writing key if they don’t let all three characters meet. That would astounding! What sort of things would happen in a room with three of your characters?

Bioware meets Skyrim

After five hours, I grew exceedingly annoyed with the fact that the team who worked on Dragon Age 2 thought it was a good idea to continually use the same scenery areas over and over again. It was as if the DM of a campaign was too lazy to paint a different picture. I was disappointed with that because in the first one the areas were vastly different as you traveled around Ferelden. Games need to be as versatile in their gameplay as they are with their environments. With a world like Dragon Age and how big of a reputation Bioware has you’d believe they’d build on it just as they would their story. Luckily, they seemed to pick up that hint. They picked up the mistake that they made from their previous game. Now they’re attempted to introduce a wide variety of landscapes in the same world. Players are going to find mountains, hilltops, grassy fields, and perhaps even battle coated fields with dead bodies and fires all around. 

With the brand new things that Bioware has started with, I’m once more excited for a Dragon Age game. After having finished the second game I didn’t think a third was going to be a good idea. With all that’s been shown in the previews and what’s in store, things are going to be excellent. Bioware may have corrected a mistake that would have branded them for an extended amount of time.

Remembering LucasArts and the Newest Batman Game

Last week had been a difficult one for me to handle. It was as if I had been told that I my childhood would have no advancement. Although, I had a feeling that Disney had something tricky up their “wizard’s” sleeve with Star Wars. I’m sure the news of LucasArts’ passing has been shared by many, yet, I’m not here to inform anyone. What I really would like to share are my own experiences. Games that I most remember from that time and things that I had hoped were going to happen in the next few years with games.

First ever LucasArts game?

Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire. It was a fantastic game. When I go back home from college, I plan to fire up my N64 and start playing it again. I always loved it, found it difficult, and it had been my first ever video game. The first week we had it, my father taught me how to play it. A week later, I was teaching him to how play games like that. There are times today that I wish that I hadn’t been as good as games as I was. My father said it was the reason it turned him off from playing them, which disheartens me. We could’ve been enjoying games to-date and played them together. Regardless of that, it was the first game that I had ever played. Being so little, I didn’t understand parts of the game. Such as, I was wondering the entire time why this guy that I was playing wasn’t in the films, or there was never a mention of him. I thought he was Han Solo (I was five people, little slack, hm?).

Favorite LucasArts Game?

It’s a mix between Empire at War, and Bounty Hunter. Bounty Hunter was one of my favorite games because I got to do something that I hadn’t done ever: Be someone other than a person holding a lightsaber. Hence the origins of my first game, Shadows of the Empire. The idea that someone with nothing special about them, other than their skills that they’ve honed over years was an appeal to me. About Empire at War, I still play this game to-date from time to time. Fighting off hordes and hordes of enemies while attempting to win the galaxy was tons of fun. Dream game that I always hoped to play? A Battlefront game mixed with an Empire at War like game. How awesome would that be? Playing an RTS and when you go to scale it down to the actual battles, you’re off fighting like Battlefront and you’re controlling a grunt to help win (or save) the galaxy for your leader. I would have loved to have seen this.

Favorite Company 

Bioware threw out a wonderful game with LucasArts. KOTOR is by far my top RPG that I’ll ever play. Not just because of the Star Wars aspect. It was my first ever RPG before I had been introduced to both Mass Effect and Dragon Age. KOTOR had been my first steps into a greater world. While KOTOR 2 was my first game to play of the duology, I adored KOTOR much more because of how open it was. While KOTOR 2 had the appealing factor of being darker, and much more thrilling KOTOR gave it that perfect Star Wars sense. The kind we all want to experience as kids.

Future Hopes for the Games

I was hoping for a lot more games like Star Wars 1313. Darker, much more menacing, I had wanted to see LucasArts start tipping out of the norm that was Star Wars. To go a bit farther than what they’re use to. To show an intent to go beyond the standard “let’s keep it for everyone” was really extraordinary to see. I had wanted to see a darker Star Wars, I had wanted to see something that was realistic that you sometimes get in the books. If you’ve ever read some of the books that are out there, a few authors attempt to explore those shadowy regions of Star Wars that few game developers or film makers dare to go. I wanted to at least try it out on a game.

While Star Wars will forever be with me, Star Wars loses something amazing that it always will remember. That we gamers will always remember. LucasArts may have been shut down as a studio, I hope that other game developers want to create these amazing games. That’s the best that we Star Wars fans can hope for. If other developers out there want to do something, make it memorable. That’s we, as fans are looking  for!

Also: Today, it has been announced that Batman: Arkham Origins has been confirmed! Awesome stuff! Batman is where it is at. Check it out here – Batman: Arkham Origins Article

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Last Week

It’s the last week for the Injustice: Gods Among Us Tournament. Who could have guessed it has Superman squaring off with Batman? Not like fans of DC and video games alike couldn’t have seen this coming. Check out the article to get the full details of how I believe the two are compared, and what both sides have to bring to the table. Who are you going to be voting for?

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Injustice, Mass Effect, Deadpool, and More!

Articles, articles, and articles!

I have been extremely busy the past week. I apologize for not updating the blog with all the current articles that I’ve been working on. Several of them have been published on Examiner.com. Things have been heating up! Several topics, all around, all about excellent games to come in the near future. I’m excited for this gaming year. Every year appears to be getting better by the generation.

Here’s what I’ve written:

Mass Effect 3 Anniversary

Dead Space 3 Awakened DLC

Deadpool’s Game!

Injustice:Gods Among Us Recap and Memorial

Mass Effect 3 DLC – Citadel

Assassin’s Creed 4 Trailer

Star Wars 1313 Delayed

Injustice: Gods Among Us Battle Arena Week 4 Results

Assassin Creed 4 Confirmed

Hope you all enjoy the articles. I’ve been working hard at both school and this work. Enjoy! Make sure to subscribe so you can keep up-to-date with all the latest news, reviews, and information on gaming!