The first time I tackled an “Endless” game from Amplitude Studios was 2012’s Endless Space. I was generally positive about the game and its DLC, though I sharply criticized the combat – a core component of any 4X game – as being woefully insufficient. Rock-paper-scissors in space? Uh, no, thanks – no matter how shiny the guns and ships are. I want my games to be deep, tactical and replayable with as few “oh-please-no-don’t-make-me-play-this-part” moments as possible. Two years later, Amplitude is back with Endless Legend – a game set in the same universe as Endless Space1 except instead of a galaxy-conquering space epic, you’re fighting over the planet Auriga. How does the lure of Dust and the glory of conquest translate from a galactic to a planetary scale? I break it all down in my latest video review.
Fans of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien understand what immersion is all about. Tolkien breathed such life into his works that they almost read like history texts – only far more exciting. Similarly, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, all based on Tolkien’s books, have been meticulously constructed; infused with Tolkien’s culture, they convey that Middle Earth is a big place. There is so much going on in the main story and behind the scenes that it is not difficult to imagine hundreds of stories, all happening in the background. So it is with Monolith Productions’ Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – a game inspired by the works of Tolkien and created with the flair of Jackson’s films – following the story of two men, bound by adversity, in the middle of a multi-faceted power struggle, seeking revenge and enlightenment.
A few months ago, I played the beta for Hidden Path Entertainment’s Kickstarter project, Defense Grid 2. Long story short: I really enjoyed my time with the beta. Now, a few months later, I have experienced the full version of this title, and it is even better than I had hoped it would be, which just goes to show that you don’t need a bazillion dollars to create an extremely fun and entertaining game – and in the tower defense space, no less.
The reveal of the new features, changes and/or omissions in each year’s edition of Football Manager is an event of great anticipation for the discerning sports game nerd like myself. What made the cut from last year? Did they finally fix that one thing that bothered me to no end? How many more shiny bits did they add to the match engine? And, most importantly, will I still be able to play as a lower-league English team using nothing but free transfers and good luck to try and eke out an existence? Thankfully, the answer to most of those questions came on October 7th as Sports Interactive released a video starring gaffer Miles Jacobson with a plethora of details on the upcoming Football Manager 2015. Check out the full video above (if you haven’t already), then read on my for reactions.
The toughest question when it comes to writing a review of any Football Manager game is the first one: where to start? This is a game series that puts you in a position of power over any one of thousands of soccer teams from any number of prestige levels, be it a semi-pro club in the sixth division of English football, a contender in the South African Premier Soccer League, a mid-table Major League Soccer squad in North America or a powerhouse in Germany’s Bundesliga. You can even rise to the heights of coaching a national team from the tiniest of minnows to the largest of giants. To call entry into this series daunting is an understatement – and yet, at the time of writing this, 40,000 people are playing Football Manager 2014 in Steam. That’s a healthy chunk of people devouring a game dominated by stats and spreadsheets with the occasional animated soccer game to watch. This brings us back to our tough question: where to start?
The year is 1988. On the Caribbean island of San Hermanos, a ruthless dictator has finally arrested the leader of the rebels. All seems lost…until you and your rag-tag band of mercenaries arrive. That sounds like as familiar and standard an entry as any in the Jagged Alliance series. You could apply that same description almost word-for-word to the fight against Santino (JA1) or Deidranna (JA2) and nobody would bat an eye. That’s a good sign for developers Full Control, who are aiming to take Jagged Alliance back to its roots with a prequel to JA1 entitled Jagged Alliance: Flashback.
Full Control come to this project by way of Kickstarter, having successfully raised enough funds to purchase the rights to the game and attract former JA2 designer Chris Camfield. They’ll need Camfield’s help, too, as there will no doubt be some serious expectations from the JA fans who put more than $350,000 in the hands of the Danish developers. Thankfully, Full Control have some experience in the realm of pleasing strict turn-based strategy fans – they were the team behind Space Hulk, a game I was generally positive on. If nothing else, Full Control’s work on Space Hulk proved they can handle the pressure of taking a licensed product and recreating it faithfully. That’s a key skill to have wading into the eel-infested waters of Jagged Alliance. Back in September, the team made the trek to Gamescom and showed off an alpha build. I was lucky enough to get a chance to fool around with that alpha build through Steam’s Early Access. Here are my first impressions in convenient video form (click above).
Love them or hate them, special editions of videogames definitely offer collectors a lot of goodies for the money. While the contents of these versions can add a fair bit to the price of a game that you might want, there are some compelling items within that can make it worth your while if you are a big fan of the franchises that offer them. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment recently announced that Batman: Arkham Knight is scheduled to release next year (worldwide) beginning on June 2, 2015. They also revealed some pretty cool collector’s editions that blew us away.