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Everything posted by tomchick

  1. Episode 314: Massive Chalice

    Here's a review and here's a game diary! -Tom
  2. Episode 314: Massive Chalice

    It's a spoiler about the final battle, which is a really cool reveal about the gameplay mechanics. I was delighted to discover it for myself, and I'd encourage anyone interested in the game to just let it unfold like it's supposed to. I wonder if Normal is really just for figuring out how the game works. Once you know what you're doing, there's not much pushback on Normal. It seems to me once you know how the game works -- the long-term implications of keeps, the character development system, the tech options, the final battle -- you're supposed to be playing on Hard. That's where you're going to have to make harder choices, deal with occasional battle losses, and really sweat that final mission. By the way, 0% of the people who own this game on Steam have beaten it Iron Man at the hardest difficulty level. Yikes. -Tom
  3. Episode 308: Order of Battle: Pacific

    I don't know if I said this on the podcast, but the best game about the Pacific theater of World War II is Sins of a Solar Empire. I'm only 10% kidding about that. -Tom
  4. Episode 275: The Rise of Nations Show

    Excellent question, but difficult to answer. Although you can clearly see the Big Huge Games DNA in both Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends, they're distinct beasts with distinct kinds of depth. The heroes in Rise of Legends give it more tactical detail along the lines of Starcraft. But the citybuilding is extremely streamlined compared to Rise of Nations. But then there's the power of the specific sites on the map. Then there's the tech tree, which has crazy amounts of gameplay put into it in comparison to Rise of Nations. And, of course, the EXTREME asymmetry among the three factions is like nothing you'll ever see in Rise of Nations. So is it more of less complex? I'm not sure I could say. It's a different kind of complex. -Tom
  5. Episode 275: The Rise of Nations Show

    Noooo! Do you happen to have a copy of the original? I have no problems running the original game on Windows 7. -Tom
  6. Episode 275: The Rise of Nations Show

    Yeah, me too. I loved Troy's series on national identities. Although I actually feel it's a weakness in Rise of Nations for the most part. The variety of gameplay systems swallows up most of the nations' unique identities as a match goes on. There are some great one, and some very important differences among a few of them. For instance, Rome, the Dutch, and Egypt are all favorites for me that very specifically inform how I play. But for the most part, the nations in Rise of Nations are among the power-user features I talked about on the podcast. Almost like the interplay of scouts and spies, or alt-rtclick, or river crossing penalties in combat, you can play dozens of hours of Rise of Nations and never get much mileage out of nation differences. -Tom
  7. Episode 275: The Rise of Nations Show

    Whoa, what? I never knew about that last one. Can you explain more what you mean? Shift-click an enemy to specify that target type? So if I select a bunch of cavalry and shift-rtclick an artillery piece, the cavalry will prioritize artillery? Is that what you mean? Do tell! Great comments about economy and build orders, Yalk. One of the things I *always* do, and I can trying to explain to the guys when we did our show, was the CV trick. C selects a city, and V is the hotkey to build a citizen. So every now and then, just hit CV, CV, CV, CV as many times as you have cities. Each city will spit out a citizen, who will eventually auto-work the closest job, or be available next time you want to use the period key to pick up a worker. This is especially important before you uncover oil to ensure you have enough manpower to get oil wells going. -Tom
  8. Episode 275: The Rise of Nations Show

    I can't tell if you mean "utterly humiliated" because I got up on a soapbox about Rise of Legends, but if so, don't feel bad. I have a real weak spot for that game's attempt at a crazy new fiction and some really superslick gameplay. There are things in Rise of Legends that no other game has done because I'm convinced so few people appreciate what Rise of Legends actually accomplished. But that's probably a topic for a whole other show. And if you're talking about the micro stuff you can do in Rise of Nations, don't feel bad about that. The level that most casual people play works just fine without that stuff. Heck, before the Thrones and Patriots add-on, I bet no one even built generals. They basically had to give you one for free before you even noticed them! -Tom
  9. Episode 247: Korsun Pocket

    I love this episode. It's way above my pay grade as an erstwhile wargamer, but it's really awesome listening to smart nerds talking passionately about a hobby I used to follow. -Tom
  10. Episode 245: Auld Lang Zerg

    I refuse to call those things "blow ticklers". That sounds way too dirty. "Fizoo" is a grand name, but unfortunately, no one would know what the hell I'm talking about. -Tom
  11. Episode 245: Auld Lang Zerg

    Ooh, look at those! Thanks for the links, hexgrid. -Tom
  12. Episode 245: Auld Lang Zerg

    I'm so glad to hear you mention this. I love the basic design, and the pacing, but the interface and artwork were really a tough pill for me to swallow. I also wish there weren't so many intricate little powers and upgrades. I'd rather have fewer broader spells and abilities and whatnot. Still, a Vic Davis design with bad artwork and an awkward interface is way better than most games with better artwork and easier interfaces. -Tom
  13. Episode 239: A Blizzard of Enthusiasm

    It's nice to see that Rob Zacny has let go of his mad dream to rebrand Lords Managements "lordly management sims", or whatever that godawful moniker was. -Tom
  14. Bless your hearts for trying to come up with something less odious than M O B A for the genre, and I could tell you guys were pushing really hard during the podcast. But I hope "lords management" never takes, and not just because it sounds clunky. I don't think I've ever played a M O B A where I felt like I was managing lords, much less managing anything. You might as well go with hero administration games, avatar herding games, or dude control games. I think I'm going to try to float "dude control games". -Tom P.S Ah, so you've gone so far as to implement a forum-wide find/replace where anytime someone types M O B A, you swap in Lords Managment, caps and all! Oceana has never been at war with Eurasia!
  15. I'm glad you brought this up, Mr. Finger. I know about Company of Heroes Online, but I didn't play it. And I think you're absolutely right about Company of Heroes 2 trying to apply some of the Company of Heroes Online model. Ugh. -Tom
  16. I totally agree, riadsala. It's really frustrating to me when I hear someone on a podcast or I read something by a writer who has only a superficial familiarity with the game they're talking about, particularly when it's supposedly indepth. The usual "what we're playing" schtick is another matter entirely, but it's really disappointing to hear conversations when some of the participants clearly haven't wrapped their head around a game yet. Which is why the balance issue I mentioned -- the Russians run away with the game until the German get tanks on the field -- was a complaint I'd seen made by others. I'm pretty sure I clearly stated that wasn't my experience, because I hadn't played online enough to suss out those kinds of balance issues. I doubt even the people complaining have played enough to suss out those issues. Furthermore, I can't speak indepth about competitive online play in real-time strategy games, much less any other genre. That's not something you're going to get from most reviewers, particularly those of us who play and write about several different genres. Any time you read a reviewer complaining about balance, you should probably ignore what he's saying. Or at least give it as much credence as someone complaining on a forum. : ) By the way, if you want to know how a podcast would sound with people familiar with indepth competitive online play, Three Moves Ahead did a League of Legends podcast about competitive play with Julian and some guest(s) from League of Legends' e-sports community. I couldn't understand a word of it, but I'm sure the hardcore League of Legends audience loved it. : ) -Tom
  17. I'm perfectly fine with you deciding that my reviews are useless to you, and I'll take that comment any day of the week over the usual nonsense about how my reviews are wrong. Hopefully, I at least provide a different perspective, and whether you can use that perspective is entirely up to you. However, if you're reading my reviews to determine whether a game is fun, I can't help you. No one can. You won't find me using the word "fun" in my reviews, because it's a uselessly subjective concept that will mean five different things to four different people. The word "fun" is a crutch for inarticulate writers. Circle it with a red pen every time you see it! -Tom, who hates fun
  18. Snooze, I didn't mean to sound like I was calling you out. Sorry about that. But their review didn't really tell me anything other than that they were out of their depth and they were passing along marketing copy. They basically described a game, and they had no meaningful insight into that game. So annoying. But I do appreciate you passing along the link and I also appreciate that they didn't just slag it. I was once told to die in a gasoline fire. I like that the guy specified what kind of fire, but he should have given it more thought. For instance, a grease fire would have been a more ignoble fate. -Tom
  19. What are the positives? Also, can I have those five minutes of my life back. -Tom "There are a lot of typos in this game."
  20. Good post, Snooze, but this last bit undermines what you've said. So the rating is wrong? I'm wrong when I use the rating that indicates "I didn't like it"? Just because you have a different opinion about something doesn't make either of us wrong. You can tell me I'm wrong if I say something like "Venice isn't one of the new playable civilizations" or "Brave New World doesn't have trade routes" or "The AI is competent". But when it comes to whether each of us liked or didn't like the game -- the actual rating, in other words -- neither of us can be wrong. That said, I'm glad to hear you "really like" Brave New World. It's *always* a good thing when someone enjoys a game. -Tom
  21. Derbius, I don't recall the reference, but I'm not sure Bruce Geryk even knows that Company of Heroes 2 exists. -Tom
  22. Well, to be fair, James does have a point. -Tom
  23. Alex, thanks for the thoughtful post. What a great read. Although you might be too cerebral to play video games. As for your point about divorcing expectations from criticism, there's no way you can do that if you also want context. Part of the context of Company of Heroes 2 is that it was made by Relic, a company who has consistently created kick-ass video games that I really like. That's one type of expectation and it's entirely reasonable in a critical discussion. That's very different from expectations such as "I should be able to go outside the map borders!" or "I think the Russian should be able to shoot laser beams from their eyes!" The former relates very powerfully to the "game at hand", as you say. The latter doesn't. Furthermore, if you read a review expecting anything other than a subjective expression of the writer's experience -- hopefully it's an experience informed by context and insight -- then you're not terribly different from the types of angry blog post comments who demand that any objective review of Halo 4 would give it at least a 90%. A review is not an objective statement of a game's inherent value or worth, and I would furthermore argue that there is no such perspective on entertainment, whether it's video games, movies, or books. -Tom
  24. The problem isn't necessarily being a newcomer to a genre. The problem is having a lack of context, which is an unfortunate quality of many newcomers. Now you're absolutely right about a range of perspectives. I'll review fighting games even though I don't play them competitively. But I make it clear when I write about them that my perspective is that of a guy who plays single-player and enjoys local multiplayer with buddies. That can be a valuable perspective for a lot of people who play fighting games, and it's going to be a very different perspective from a hardcore fighting game player who competes in tournaments. That's where your point about range of perspectives is well taken. But a range of perspectives isn't the same thing as *all* perspectives. A review of Company of Heroes 2 written by someone who hasn't played many RTSs isn't going to mean much to me, so naturally I'm going to be dismissive of it. I expect reviews to have some sort of critical insight, and naturally that involves some appreciation for and awareness of the state of the genre. Someone who's never seen the squad system in Company of Heroes, or the infantry/armor balance, or the Hollywood-ized production values, is naturally going to go ga-ga over the sequel, just as someone who's never seen a movie is naturally going to lose his mind with utter delight watching a Michael Bay Transformers movie. That's not the kind of person I want writing reviews. -Tom
  25. Episode 217: Victoria Day

    Mr. Cat, I partly disagree with sclpls about the similarities between EU and Victoria coming down to personal preference for history. That's certainly part of the difference, and a lot of why I prefer Victoria. But the things I talked about on the podcast that make Victoria unique are, well, unique to Victoria. The EU games are fantastic, but they're more in the vein of that familiar top-down Civilization model of strategy gaming. Victoria's population-driven gameplay model is, in my opinion, what makes it stand out. It uses this model to express that historical period in a way that no other game has done, and I feel it's far more relevant today than other strategy game models. Its gameplay is also different from EU in terms of its economic model, which can still throw me for a loop for how intricate it gets (What happened to all my liquor?????). Because Victoria is based on the industrial revolution, there's a sense of consuming raw materials to manufacture goods, almost like a train tycoon game. There's nothing quite like that in the EU series. And the crisis system is built to set up global conflicts of the type that you'd never see in an EU game. So, yes, personal preference is a lot of it, but I still feel Victoria has unique gameplay that goes above and beyond the historical theming. -Tom