Having Trouble Finding the Fun in XCOM 2

Over the weekend I’ve played a generous amount of XCOM 2, and I’ve also restarted after 10 hours into my first playthrough. I’ve named soldiers, customized them and watched the die to hilariously biased random number generation (RNG) and pulled off more than a few clutch victories. But for all of that, I’m just not enjoying my time with XCOM 2 all that much.

20 years after the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, in which the alien invasion was successful, you and your ragtag band of resistance fighters are striking back against the extraterrestrial overlords that control Earth. XCOM 2 flips the formula a bit by making you the invading force and you start most missions with a concealment bonus. You can actually plot ambushes this time, a welcome change from the free move the aliens would get when you encountered them in the first game. Continue reading Having Trouble Finding the Fun in XCOM 2

Breaking Down the Perfect XCOM Run

Enemy Within

One of the things that I’ve loved about gaming in recent years is the explosion of Let’s Play videos and streaming. With the new opportunities gamers have to capture themselves playing more easily, it’s bringing us back to a day of speed runs, high scores and documenting really monumental achievements that players are accomplishing every day.

Take for instance the Impossible Ironman playthrough of XCOM: Enemy Within by Youtuber Antti Kokkonen, where he managed to beat the game’s new expansion pack on the hardest difficulty, with no saves—losing zero soldiers. It’s one of those things that’s almost impossible to imagine if you’ve played any XCOM, and experienced its startling brutality firsthand. This writeup by PCGamer is incredibly fascinating, breaking down the most nail-biting moments and critical saves that Kokkonen experienced over the course of his time playing the game.

This is one of those things I could totally see myself doing if I had the time. I remember spending hours in front of Mario 64 trying to perfect the timing of jumps and platforming, and running through Metal Gear Solid on total memory in just around 2 hours. What kind of madness have you pulled off in a game recently? Have you watched any of Kokkonen’s playthrough? Go!

Source – PC Gamer

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone with Fire Emblem: Awakening

fire emblem awakening

As a gamer I’d like to think that my tastes are fairly diverse. Sure I enjoy a good dude-bro shooter every now and then, but I also appreciate stretching my wings, so to speak, and trying something different when given the opportunity.

One genre I’ve never managed to get into is the Strategy RPG (although I suppose the most recent XCOM game might qualify). I’m remedying this right now with Fire Emblem: Awakening, the latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running portable series. Anthony put up a review of the game last year, and I’m finding myself hard-pressed to disagree with him.

While I enjoy the battles in the game, my favorite aspect is purposefully trying to pair up units to get bonuses to my stats; it’s satisfying to have two people back each other up while enemy after enemy kill themselves trying to take my heroes down. I’m really liking the cast of characters as well, as the writing is fairly humorous at times and the anime cutscenes are rather thrilling. Fire Emblem: Awakening is quickly becoming one of my top 3DS games, which is saying something considering the additions to the library of that system in 2013.

What this game is making me want to do is dig deeper into this genre. I hear Valkyria Chronicles is pretty good but I doubt I could find a copy anywhere around where I love. Does anyone have some SRPG suggestions for titles I should check out?

Practice and Patience in Civilization V

Civilization V

There are just a handful of places in my life where I’m willing to invest actual, valuable man-hours in order to return some kind of benefit. Writing, for one, is a hobby that I’ve managed to turn into a career of some sorts, and I hope to take it even further than I have in the future, through continual practice and repetition. Parenting, for obvious reasons, is another area in which I gladly invest my time. But there are plenty of other “grown up” things that I can’t seem to give the time of day — learning to be handy, taking care of my yard, dressing better.

Videogames have always been different. Every now and then a certain game will come along that captivates me to the point where I want to plumb its depths and learn everything I can about it. Of course, this comes with mixed results (such as StarCraft II), but every now and then, the process of practicing skills and memorizing stats and build orders actually increases my enjoyment of a game.

Enter Sid Meier’s Civilization V. Continue reading Practice and Patience in Civilization V

The Backwards Reviews of Company of Heroes 2

company of heroes 2 reviews

One of my most anticipated games of the year, Company of Heroes 2, is finally out, and it’s being met with some pretty good review. Well, the number at the end of the review is good, but if you actually read the review, it paints quite a different picture.

Despite the praise heaped upon the multiplayer of Company of Heroes 2, and the new Theater of War missions which work a lot like an RTS version of Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops mode, a lot of criticism is heaped on the campaign. I can’t quite speak on CoH 2’s campaign yet, but I find it odd that a review would focus on the negative aspects of a game and then spend a little bit of time talking about the good parts and give it a pretty good score. Check out the reviews below:

Now, I don’t want to seem like I’m criticizing, but if I’m going to give a game a high score I’d list the good things in detail instead of the bad parts. I’m still looking forward to trying out some Company of Heroes 2, but what about you guys? What do you think about these reviews? Are you going to give CoH 2 a try?

Review: Fire Emblem Awakening

Fire Emblem Awakening Feature

The Nintendo 3DS has had some great games in the past few months with one of the most notable being Fire Emblem Awakening. Having a love-affair with strategy games and being a Fire Emblem virgin, I was anxious to delve into the game and see what all the fuss was about.

The Story

The story of Fire Emblem is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts off in an interesting, if cliched fashion: your custom avatar wakes up in a field with amnesia. Now, I know what you’re thinking but stick with me, the story gets better. Having been found by Chrom, the prince of the kingdom of Ylissia, and his companions, you help them in defending the countryside from marauders, eventually joining them in the greater struggles that await. These struggles range from demonic Risen to all manner of political intrigue and attemped coups. Chrom’s sister rules the kingdom and he enforces her rule, but there are neighboring nations that have nefarious plans of their own, all of which give you a reason to do what you do best: fight some battles and kick some ass. The story encompasses everything from bandits to time travel to world-ending dragons, so there should be something in here that appeals to everyone. Continue reading Review: Fire Emblem Awakening

Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem Awakening

I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?

But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking. Continue reading Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem