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Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia

Game review - 1 agree

(You can ignore the rating. I always give 10/10 or 5/5 or positive reviews for no real reason. :-P)

Let's echo all other reviewers in a short list:

- no religion and its influence
- no real navy or naval fleets
- no tribal factions (Picts for example)
- broken vassal logic, sometimes you can't just vassalise your allies or super friendly factions, you have to break treaties and declare them war first, then offer vassalage, or just conquer them (which is ridiculous and it decreases your diplomatic standing or delays your expansion considerably)
- very monotonous units and technologies, you would expect some more diversity (pretty monocultural or unicultural game doesn't mean it has to be THAT monotonous?), oh they are different (played 3 different factions for quite a long time) yet they are very... uniform to say euphemistically
- did we even get region gifting or trading... back? nope? some more diplomacy options, such as sending insults or threats? declaration of war as leverage when demanding something? (there is only annexation and declaration of friendship here as somewhat new or refreshed "features", and you can liberate as well, all of that is not much; no surprise here really, diplomacy in TW has always been primitive)
- allies and enemies alike can just steamroll through your current villages or once yours villages and then re-recruit or boost their army (not to mention their accidental replenishing if they're lucky or we're slow), or you can comically take their villages depriving them of food supply
- no precise region taxing
- factions do not change their logos/icons or traits/units/techs after being upgraded (Kingdom victory), only a new buff is given, so it is almost nominal
- had to swim to other island just to get market chain? and why are you supposed to swim to another far off island for research building chain? this may be nice way to encourage you to move your butt to go elsewhere but it doesn't really excuse the complete lack of certain general, absolutely necessary chains (we're not talking about uniques here, we are talking about the general market/research chain that somebody may want to get early on)
- mad, imbalanced technologies that consume too large a chunk of food instead of simply improve the recruitment pool refill rate at a lower rate (gamer-penalising logic is almost never good when a better alternative exists)
- (personal preference, not a real con) rather lazy unit cards and building tiles (Attila style is better), they still look much better than Rome II cards/tiles
- overall a lazy job considering the steep price of the game

+ army consumes food now
+ atmosphere, mood
+ building options, unit selection, techs/factions on the whole are okay (they simply lack true uniqueness or diversity)
+ unit cards and building tiles seem to be less lazy than the ones in Rome II
+ dynamic steamroll flow (its dark side is mentioned above)
+ we're getting mod support for this, right?

8/10 Gameplay (it is quite enjoyable... then it becomes tedious and grinds to a halt)
4/10 Total War (navy/religion cut out)
3/10 Content
5/10 A Small Game (Final Score)


Oriental Empires

Early access game review - 1 agree

It is quite enjoyable despite a few AI and difficulty issues, but it gets boring and repetitive pretty fast. It seems simply too unvaried and monocultural, and it also lacks expansion packs or DLC or any real modding capability (at the moment at least, developers plan to introduce modding support later on).

Gameplay: 8/10
Content: 3/10
Replayability: 6/10
AI/Difficulty: 7/10
Other: okay/okay (Soundtrack, etc)


Vanilla UI Plus

Mod review - 1 agree

Looks quite decent. Small yet significant in their own way improvements.



Early access game review - 1 agree

Very hard to play, way too easy to fail or screw up. Outdated or irrelevant building categories. Buildings which are magically set on fire because of bankruptcy. Stored food eaten by rats you can't really protect yourself against. The game speed is too fast and there are no specific building/unit hotkeys which is utterly retarded, you need controls to micro quickly and properly, especially when you need to build fast something you need. No multi tasking actions either (issuing multiple orders, for example make the villager become a warrior and then go to the specified region using Shift key). Villagers do not automatically asign themselves to the building they built. Villagers who join the fight when they should stay out of it (yeah, there are 5 military units there in the region and the freakin' villagers join the combat and die, instead of running). Villagers cannot be recruited and their growth is a deciding factor in how fast you can develop or expand your clan in the late game, and making scout/warrior failures and losses more painful in the beginning.

Northgard graphics are beautiful, music is okay, the mood is splendid, but the game is completely unenjoyable because developers did not think someone needs to actually micro the game, and do it fast at that. The game supposedly holds great promise still, because of frequent updates made by developers, and it's cheap, but the execution of micromanagement is intricately flawed, at least at the moment.

Cons and issues:
Bad building categories. For example Mine is in the Advanced section. (Categories are Standard, Military, Advanced instead of Civic/Resource/Military/Advanced.) No building filters. Not to mention some building icons are similar (Lighthouse and Tower) which makes it harder to recognise which is which at first or when stressed.
No specific, particular building/unit hotkeys.
People are starving when they are not starving (happiness penalty for no reason), seems to be a glitch.
No quickbar icon or button to recruit or re-recruit your warchief/berserker/shieldmaiden.
Neutral clans that randomly attack your territory just because, no beforehand diplomacy whatsoever is involved.


Realms of Magic

Early access game review - 1 agree

This is basically a Terraria clone at the moment. More of an RPG. Almost like Skyrim in 2D. No magic yet, except for alchemy. No multiplayer, no overworld/level randomisation. Combat is difficult, if not downright hard or even brutal. The game overall is quite cool, albeit feels too grindy (for instance weaving does not give new recipes every skill level). (Quite a few bugs right there too, but some of them, like using merchant's items, were fixed in the latest patch. Others such as not being able to finish a quest even after killing the specified target... are still in.) Gaining profession experience and doing quests seems to be fun. There are even some dialogue choices. Books show a tad of penmanship and consequently some promise in them, too, well... apart from typos and other minor issues like that. There seems to be quite a few references to Fallout and Skyrim as well, a bit of humour (the barrel guy). Hmmm. No, to reiterate, haven't encountered any actual magic yet, or at least, the character themself has no magic skills either so not sure if the game deserves its namesake.

Well, the one wish? For the races to be more meaningful. Not quite what RavnosFX mentioned, cosmetic things, but some real, vital things. Such as being able to raid and destroy the "starting" village, some essential consequences to choosing a race at the character creation screen. Different abilities. Something. Well, at least the game itself says nothing about their differences.

1. Misc Colors do not show what they change (and there is only one Misc Color 3 option?)
2. Races have no descriptions (quite unlike the races described on the IndieDB page) or any unique or special non-cosmetic characteristics
3. Wolves seem to be OP at the moment, at least so early in the game especially if you skip the tutorial (skipping tutorial also means you don't get any tutorial items, perhaps this should be an advanced start, not simply skipping and losing starting items)
4. No incentive to build a shelter or make a stand (no randomly respawning monsters, nightly zombies etc. wolves/rats only respawn in their original locations)
5. No herding? No building skill?
6. As mentioned earlier, no magic skills yet?
7. Setting up keys sometimes swap the primary and secondary (it also mucks up the skill bar labels), shifted keys sometimes can't be remapped to non-shifted key shortcuts
8. Could planting cones/acorns be done without tilling?
9. Skill experience could be mentioned as skill experience, not simply as experience (it's a little confusing which is which)
(perhaps more issues, this is early access after all, no need to mention everything)


Total War: Rome II

Game review - 1 agree

Ugly unit and building card tiles, horrifying bugginess and unoptimised graphics (well, once, before the Emperor Edition), still broken and frequently crashing multiplayer even after the inglorious Emperor aka Sega deemed it worthy to fix some of the singleplayer issues... also visually inferior to Attila. The only advantage over Attila is that it is set in a less threatening, less intimidating and yet more epic setting, the rise of the Roman Empire.

Cons and issues:
- bad DLC policy, rationing content
- a new DLC pack to revive a dead horse instead of porting a full campaign of ancient Rome over to Attila
- still tends to be buggy
- crashing multiplayer
- game settings sometimes reverting back (really?), seems to be a safety switch to fix the game after it has crashed but well, CA is to blame for it crashing in the first place
- no full total conversion moddability, no campaign map editor

Rome II is playable now. The base game has more factions to choose from than Attila or Warhammer too. Some issues were fixed. Recommending it only when it's on a huge sale. Well... as of now... €54.99 for the bare, base game is not justifiable at all. It's been more than four years since the release of the game too. What the heck is going on?


Total War: Attila

Game review - 1 agree

Sightly unit and building card tiles, a challenging threat from the East, visually stunning compared to Rome II overall, last yet not least, moddability. The only thing it truly lacks is a huge campaign following the rise of the Roman empire, an official campaign ported from Rome II. Yes, some modders are developing total conversions dealing with that missed bit, it may take years to see such big mod campaigns up and running though. (The only good modded campaign available at the moment is Imperium if you're interested.)

Cons and issues:
- spawning of Hunnic hordes is unimaginably unfunny and imbalanced
- no total conversion moddability and no map campaign editor
- chasing armies around the map is a joke when no agents are present
- standard reinforcement range issues
- sadly, just like most Total War games, not all factions are available to play, and there are no secret unlocks either quite unlike in vintage TW games (yeah, mods make it possible, nonetheless, this is about CA doing it officially)
- just the usual overpriced, downsized DLC rant (DLC/x-packs should be about entirely new content developed exclusively after the game has been finished, not about eternally locking or intentionally cutting out and rationing content already present in the base game, content which remains unplayable after so many years the game has been out for)
- so soon after Rome II came out
- personally, Attila is better than Rome II, however only generally, as Rome II beats Attila thanks to its more ancient setting but is buggier and worse overall in many aspects

Also, Attila multiplayer mode seemed to be much stabler while the multiplayer matches of Rome II crashed on certain turns like clockwork and had to be wound a few turns back, often to meet another CTD several turns later. Yes, Attila was almost entirely crash-free except for standard TW crashes (for instance trying to use the interface when it's processing AI turns, not a biggie, and not something completely unpredictable).


Plague Inc: Evolved

Early access game review - 2 agree

Grossly imbalanced, very hard even on lower difficulty levels, unless you can guess developer's intentions or properly learn the properties of the plague you are dealing out to the unsuspecting victims. Almost a steep learning curve. All of which leads to the main problem: unintuitivity and accidentality of this indie gem. The moderate amount of mutation traits is what seems to be lacking as well. When it comes to pros, Plague Inc. tends to be fluid, engrossing and sports multiplayer, moddability, well-rounded scenario editor and a rather decent amount of content (plague types and scenarios, not the number of genetic traits).

Cons and issues:
- failure by design, fails forced upon you by design, when you fail just because one well-isolated country can't be infected (plague type fail)
- hard even on lower difficulty levels, and very easy to fail especially if you don't follow the "correct" way of spreading the plague around
- way too moderate amount of genetic bonuses
- random mutation, which makes it a pain to strategically control the plague
- ugly pop-up boxes instead of side notifications
- visually lacking, and with so little 2D graphics, it could easily be enhanced more
- everything is locked behind unlockables which makes multiplayer slightly riskier and less enjoyable (excluding co-op)
- no multiple plagues in singleplayer games and scenarios (not a comp stomp, just a scenario with multiple AI plagues in it)

No idea about the price and whether it is fully justified, still, this indie game is quite enjoyable and captivating enough to buy and play.


Total War: Warhammer II

Game review - 1 agree

A diamond in the rough, not as polished as it may seem. Greatly optimised, more than the first Warhammer. With the arrival of Mortal Empires, it is quite rich in pronouncedly distinct races and factions, yet still expensive (counting the base game, all DLC packs, and the expansion-like sequel). Moddability adds a whole new dimension to the game; mods are the only reason why the game series is worth buying. Yet...

... its cons and issues, still:
- no tax gauging
- no region gifting
- no puppet states, no liberation (only the Chaos hordes have it, and it's half-baked, can't seem to be able to create more than one tribe? iirc)
- the trade system across different races is wacky and wobbly
- no naval battles (yeah, Warhammer is all about land battles, why not talk it over with the IP owner and change it just for this game?)
- barely any distinct factions of the same race to choose from, and most of them are eaten up and locked behind the DLC, for instance, can't play as Skaven in the Old World, my rats had to swim to get there
- balanced and imbalanced at the same time; the issue of archers across races (OP Wood Elves versus Sea Archers on sea versus Normal Archers versus Bad Archers of greenskins for example)
- reinforcement range antics continue on and they still suck; settlements can't be besieged now immediately after disembarking (even when the army had full movements points, supposedly). Other issues such as having enough movement points to besiege (the movement arrow is all yellow) but not be able to do it because of lacking that 1% or less than 1% of M-points (which translates to one turn wasted, strategically), or that broken movement gauge which says 50% does not equal 50% most likely because it is an inaccurate floating point value (because you can't strike a fortified camp after using up 50% of your movements points, at least here)
- aye, you barely receive 4 races, 8 factions in Warhammer II, and probably still more than in the base, DLC-cut Warhammer I game (when you exclude all the races and factions from DLC packs, excluding free Bretonnia as well)

Having to wait for the Norsca to arrive in Mortal Empires is not an issue, having to wait for one single new lord to play a new, "different" faction is a problem. It would be better if we got a big set of Lords and their factions of the same ilk as those in the base or expanded game instead of one or two just to play another faction of the same race. Rationing the game content like this is terrible.

Recommending the game? Yes. Recommending to wait for some more free packs (such as Bretonnia) to justify the buy? Yes. Recommending to play it with mods? Yes. Recommending to buy the whole series (all DLC)? Hell no, unless you really want to, or unless CA adds more content (more factions of the same type to select from) or fixes the goddamn overpriced, downsized DLC.


Assassin's Creed Origins

Game review - 1 disagree

It's an epic game, riddled with bugs, forced arena combat that doesn't allow you to choose your own equipment (Kensa can fight using a bow but you can't?) and pay2win in singleplayer games (low value micro-DLC, just like Bethesda's paid mods initiative).

Cons and issues:
- forced combat scenes and arena fights that don't let you use your own weapons instead of ubisoft's crap
- no map filters (by category; shops, camps, etc.)
- no individual HUD/GUI settings (there are only presets)
- forced photo mode (what the hell) that is not turned off by default (Photo Mode is off in the options but community photos still show up as the first filter and prevent painless fast-travel), no, the feature is not the problem, the real issue is you can't switch it off utterly and permanently without always filtering the map, and yes, the photo blips were blocking fast travel points (had to hover out and over to fast-travel)
- forced social/pseudo-multiplayer that can't be safely opted out
- still very buggy, just not buggy like AC Unity was, just buggy in its own way, assassination prompts are worst when sometimes they don't trigger at all in the bushes when not moving at all (moving while hidden helps it trigger), loot appears below the ground making it irretrieveable, even one instance of a captain vanishing into thin air (probably died from rebels in the area, which didn't count as a kill, or something else)
- arrows are gone in the Rome boss fight, reloading last objective doesn't help (thanks to the retarded ubisoft team who can't reset the scene and the goddamn ammo), and naturally can't be aborted either as it is a main storyline quest (which should be retractable nonetheless) <- yes, if you play on Hard, an empty quiver on desync is a serious handicap
- being on fire on a ship (not a boat) kills you in less than 2 seconds (must be a bug, on land it takes a fair deal more than a few seconds)
- no way to equip and customise aya
- the game lacks minor, miscellaneous quests and story-supported assassination contracts, that sort of thing, in addition to side quests. Like Witcher Contracts in Witcher 3, which were properly embedded in the story (well-narrated)
- the RPG system is not half-baked but is not quite full-baked either, can't buy back items, can't craft weapons and armour (only some utilities/improvements levels)
- the parkour system is a little weird compared to recent AC games and takes a bit to get used to, running was tweaked too much
- other issues such as loot casually disappears after death, can't complete objectives carrying a rescued person on your mount, sometimes it makes sense to put them down on some bedroll, but sometimes it doesn't make sense at all and the quest stage should be auto-completed just fine even when riding with that other person mounted not dismounted

Nah, the above bugs are not insignificant bugs or glitches such as animals standing vertical the wrong way like they occasionally do. They are gameplay-breaking bugs, however small or annoying.

The setting, Egypt, is beautiful, the world is huge, music enchanting, the combat fluid and graceful, and the RPG system and an adequate amount of side quests is a rather welcome change (makes the game longer and enriches it in a few ways, gives a reason to collect all those meaningless trinkets and complete the game, well, completely). It's like Black Flag, gameplay is expanded, this time with side quests, and more in-depth exploration is demanded to gain good loot and XP.

Can't miss buying property and making a profit on it, it was cool, but it was game-breaking, you could get all the equipment without even trying. AC Origins forces you to raid tombs, explore locations, wreak a fiery havoc on military camps. Can't say it's an AC game or not an AC game, every AC game seems to undergo a heavy experimentation process, and almost no two AC games are identical to date. (Well, maybe except for Brotherhood and Revelations, and Black Flag and Rogue, which shared almost every game mechanic, in quite the same way.)

Oh, and you need a powerful PC to play it comfortably. Many people had performance issues due to the draconian DRM implemented in the game.

So far, the favourite AC game.

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