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About ilitarist

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  1. I think the best historical games stray from simulating history itself but instead focus on circumstances of it all. Someone on the podcast said a similar thing, but not quite. Games like Colonization, Vietnam'65 or Afghanistan'11 - and even Civilization in a way. They don't put nations and armies where they were, they allow you to play your own colonizations or vietnams that follow historical rules but happen on another Earth. Another thing is the level of abstraction. Technically everything that happened in history can happen in Civilization (maybe except the appearance of new civs mid-game) because it operates on a higher level. Weird coups, conquests, rebellions and inheritance systems only work through special events in EU4 and especially CK2. In Civ you can assume all of this happens in the background. Your bonuses when you play as Russia reflect special inheritance system, feudal fragmentation and cultural nuances, but when you play as Russian count in CK2 it's obvious that you don't get real inheritance system or unique government types.
  2. It's probably cause Michael the Wizard is on vacation and someone else does audio editing. They didn't think about adding all of this technical stuff probably.
  3. Everybody noticed! Gather your strength and then force them to talk about AI Wars 2 or some Japanese weird strategy RPG.
  4. You made this game sound interesting even if you didn't like it in the end. As I understand it's not even Pirates! style minigame game cause there's no single central hub game for it all. A visual novel can't be a central mechanic, can't it? I'm also tired of games that portray some complex issue and then think they're looking smart by not really saying about it. Everyone talks about how Ubisoft does it with their games not being political, and the example I remember the most is Deus Ex Human Revolution with its ghetto for enhanced people in Prague, a hero being harassed for his implants, separate train wagons for people like him etc - and with a game proudly saying that it doesn't want to take a stance.
  5. Great discussion. I liked that discussion of what a game like that could be and which socio-political issues it could tackle. Especially with you all acknowledging that lack of those doesn't make the game itself worse, devs do the game they want to do. I've only played Anno 1404 but I remember its story being similarly simplistic and cartoonish. There was an evil cardinal who says you should go for a crusade. But then it turns out Pope didn't really sanction it, and Vizir you meet is a really nice guy, so you beat your companion, overly zealous lady knight, till she understands the power of friendship and it's all kumbaya.
  6. Episode 470: Total War: Three Kingdoms

    This is a first TW game I got shortly after release and I'm surprised how well it holds up. It gets a much better balance between battles and campaigns I feel. On normal it feels like the game really wants me to win tactical battles but it's important to note that AI actually learns new tricks on higher difficulty levels. Like archers stop wasting ammo on your generals or anti-ranged units. I found WH ok, I somewhat liked Attila but had no desire to play it beyond a single campaign. But here it feels like the campaign is dynamic and goal-oriented, I'm not just conquering stuff for the sake of getting bigger income numbers to make further conquering easier. AI feels proactive, personalities feel well realized. Even filling the map with a passive Ham Empire works well: it's not an independent actor but a pie and you want your piece. It's a little hard to distinguish all those Lu and Liu and Leu guys and gals, and it makes me hopeful for a similar game in a more familiar or better-explained setting. Cause it looks like CA got hang of diplomacy not just because the setting helps, nothing stopped them from making well-realized personalities in Warhammer but they never felt important.
  7. Total War presentation of the settings turned out to be great. I am now watching Red Cliff and preparing for 2010 TV show.
  8. Good episode. I'm waiting for UI improvements mostly and thus not playing the game. But I consider it a good game, probably on par with EU4. Sad to see a lot of negativity about it among the public.
  9. I think the problem with CoH2 reception in Russia was not that the Soviets were bad, but that they were the only bad people in the series. Even Enemy at the Gates spent time explaining that Nazis are bad and in the end, you were cheering for a farm boy Zaitcev shooting an aristocrat Nazi. And Saving Private Ryan had a scene where American soldier shot Czech conscripts trying to surrender. CoH1 and 2 portray every faction as sympathetic common people turned into heroes and murderers by the war. It's all neutral and evades any moral judgment. But then you play as Soviets and turns out that all the bad sadistic guys are there. If the same campaign showed Germans as equally bad people wouldn't care. Fallout and Red Alert were very popular in China even though they ridicule Communists, but they also do the same with everybody else so no one cares. Can't wait to hear further Imperator Rome discussion! It must be at least as long as Total War Rome 2 episode which is always a good listen.
  10. Episode 467: Hard Times or Easy Living

    When I think about cheese and difficulty issues I don't see about having a real victory or something. I think about being robbed of gameplay. It's fine when RTS campaign or RPG takes an approach of a solvable game: if you cheese specific encounters or monster types you still have a game to play, you did something clever that lets you skip some problems but not much was lost. But it becomes an issue when there's reliable "cheese" in the game. When I know that Slicken spell works on practically everyone or that any civilization can be easily bribed into attacking others and thus will never attack you I become bored. I can ignore those cheese tactics, yes, but it feels dumb to not use simple solutions that work. Games promise me that learning the mechanics will give me a grand battle I crave. But then it turns out that in most 4X games AI will just allow you to have your low effort victory as long as you don't do anything stupid. If you want to use those late game units than do it, I guess, but it won't be effective or useful. Things like that make the experience boring and cheap whether you care about the glory of beating a game.
  11. It's fan art for Final Fantasy 6. They discuss this scene (timestamp).
  12. Haven't played the expansion and have no desire to (from what I've heard AI still doesn't care about winning the game so it's all about surviving the early game and then clicking end turn while looking for ways and reasons to entertain yourself) but this Rock Band business sounds great thematically to me. Civ has this weird dichotomy between past and present. Past is Saturday Morning Cartoon with knights, samurai, turtle ships, whatever. But when we get to the modern era it's relatively sober and boring. You get tank and then better tank, WW1 era infantry, WW2 era infantry, modern era infantry. There are features and objects that developers include not for variety or complexity sake but because it's fresh in recent memory and interests people. But those Rock Bands make it all better cause they sound exactly like something people in 2500 would include in Civilization game to represent the 20th century. It's Saturday Morning Cartoon about recent history, and it's how it should be. I think Civ suffers from expanding modern era too much so that most people who play vs AI on big maps spend half of their playtime in recognizably modern times. I say throw out all types of infantry and tanks and planes, leave Rock Bands.
  13. Episode 326: State of the RTS

    RTS games are also about the development of your assets, map control, cooperation, and tactics. And that's what Lords Management players get. Many players play RTS without much multitasking, just moving around a single army, and many do not like to concern themselves with expanding. Those things in RTS are inherently and intentionally broken as you're usually hampered by UI that prevents you from doing it effectively. In other words, you can sort of have a perfect play in turn-based strategy or real-time with pause something, but in RTS it's unavoidable to have compromises. You will always have situations where UI and your focus do not allow to play perfectly even if you have a total understanding of the situation and what should be done. Lords Managements expand on things that feel right in RTS and cuts the things that are inherently imperfect.
  14. I knew who Cao Cao was but that was about it. It certainly looked like the guys were... passionate about this.
  15. Episode 460: Looking Ahead to 2019

    Surprised that Rob's problem with Phoenix Point is aesthetics. I didn't like it too but for me, it feels like something close to XCOM2. I didn't like XCOM2 for variety of things including aesthetics (the other thing is mad difficulty curve that gives me mixed signals whether it wants me to play Iron Man - on one hand, the story is presented as something you experience once, on the other it's full of noob traps that kill if you don't know it's coming). XCOM1 felt like a world of next morning meeting an alien threat. Your soldiers started as boring mooks and transformed into godlike galactic destroyers. The stage was visible Earth-like. I suspect that Mongolian cafeteria doesn't really look the same way as Texas one but it's fine. Meanwhile, XCOM2 throws us into a world of distant future with no resemblance to our own world. Even regions are called something boring and generic. Your soldiers start as cyber-ninja and drone hackers and go weirder from here, there's nothing "normal" in this world that will show you how far from normal are you getting by the end. Valkyria Chronicles bears more semblance to WW2 than XCOM2 to fantasy story of our brave boys beating aliens. As for ending state for that kind of games, there's a solution that was implemented by a certain Sid Meier once and it would work well for XCOM thematically. Sid Meier's Pirates! allowed your captain to settle. Your retirement is described as you'd become a beggar or a governor depending on your score. Same is possible with XCOM-like: if you're supposed to lose a couple of games then you can give player progression. Early in the game aliens or another kind of enemy give you "a good deal" and it becomes better each time you progress or worse when you fail. And so you get a summary about the fate of XCOM personnel and humanity in general, maybe if you've shown you're cool then humanity is assimilated or subjugated in a very benign way so that it takes centuries before humans are all gone etc. Just like @derbius I'm probably looking forward to AoW Planetfall the most. 3MA in general has committed a sin of not loving AoW3 which was an excellent game. Rob even went on record saying it's not "a great 4X". And it is.