The release of Firaxis’ XCOM 2: War of The Chosen was just the excuse that I needed to return to their excellent turn-based sci-fi strategy game. Continue reading XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Xbox One review
Creative Assembly returns for another fantasy take on their popular strategy war-gaming series with Total War Warhammer II.
For me, one of the major draws of the Total War games is the historical aspect. I wasn’t holding out much hope for last year’s fictional fantasy-based Total War Warhammer. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.
Based on the Games Workshop fantasy table-top battle game, Warhammer is a good fit for a PC strategy game. With units ranging from lizardmen to high elves, Total War Warhammer II, brings to life the painted white-metal (which are probably now plastic) figures, that I remember from my younger days.
As will all Total War games, Warhammer II plays on two levels. First, you’ve got your real-time battles, where you are in direct control of your individual regiments on the battle map. You choose the formation, position and targets for army.
The second, exclusive to the campaign mode, is the turn-based campaign map. Here you command you armies to travel across the world to engage the enemy, capture settlements and explore ruins and wreaks. You also manage your towns and cities, recruit additional troops, engage in diplomacy amongst many, many other things.
Part two of an apparent trilogy of Total War Warhammer games, Total War Warhammer II’s main campaign, Entitled Eye of the Vortex, focuses on a war between the forces of darkness surrounding an idyllic High Elven island haven. There’s eight factions to choose from consisting of one of four races: High Eves and Lizardmen on the side of good and Dark Elves and Skaven representing evil.
The action is set over a massive map consisting of a variety of interesting environments, from the rainbow-adorned, care-bear-like land if the high elves, to the lush forest of the lizardmen and the blacken soil of the realm of the Dark Elves.
The campaign story is a bit of a mouthful, the narrative being packed with clichéd fantasy dialogue that sounds pretty ridiculous at times. The eight factions mean that you do get eight different variations on the campaign each with their own story variations.
Being based on a tabletop RPG-based war game, Warhammer II, like it’s namesake, places particular importance on the lords and heroes commanding the armies. Each lord and hero can be equipped with unique weapons, armour and talisman that you find as you explore the world.
You can also equip bannermen to support them and unlock mounts. This customisation, along with a huge skill tree, that is in addition to the tech tree for your faction, provides players with their own, personal, gameplay experience.
Of course, you are not just restricted to the campaign, there are other ways to play. You can dive straight in command your army of choice in real-time battle via the quick game option, create your own custom battles, or try the pre-authored quest battles. Extruding the game further, you can play both single battles and the campaign in multiplayer, both local and online.
Whilst the visuals are pleasant enough to look at, they are getting a bit stale. The messy user interface is just a re-skin of what Creative Assembly have been using since 2009’s Empire Total War. The graphic engine is starting to show its age, lacking the fidelity and lighting that a more modern engine affords.
Whilst it’s nice to play a game without loot boxes, what I’m not looking forward to is being inundated with DLC that should probably have been included in the initial release. Creative Assembly (or, maybe, publisher, Sega) are a bit fast and loose when it comes to premium DLC.
Common in Total War games, paying extra for blood on the battlefield has got to be some of the lamest DLC since Oblivion’s horse armour. Good news for owners of the first Warhammer game- if you bought the blood DLC for that game, you won’t need to buy it again for number 2.
The real bonus of owning both Total War Warhammer games is the upcoming free DLC, Mortal Empires. This expansion features an all-new map created as an amalgamation of the campaign maps from both games. You can play as any one of the Legendary Lords from either game, plus any included in owned DLC packs.
Total War Warhammer II is a huge game that’ll keep you busy for weeks if not months. It offers players a deep, dynamic war-gaming experience. Despite the complex multi-layers gameplay, it’s still easy to get into, with tutorials teaching you how to play “on the job”.
The game’s good use of Games Workshop’s source material and Creative Assembly’s always-excellent gameplay makes Total War Warhammer II a must have title for both fans of Warhammer fantasy RPG and the Total War series.
This year my counterpart in New Zealand and myself swapped reviewing duties when it comes to this year’s basketball games. Traditionally, or at least for the last couple of years I’ve reviewed EA’s NBA Live rather than NBA 2K. For the first time in a while, I’ve got to check out what 2K have been up to in NBA 2K18. Continue reading Is NBA 2K18 a slam dunk? – PS4 review
Whilst keen to take a look, I wasn’t entirely sure where a Bluetooth speaker would fit into my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite partial to streaming Spotify to my Samsung M7 or to my Yamaha home theatre system.
I was surprised, however, just how useful (and super cool), the Bose Soundlink Micro Bluetooth Speaker was. Continue reading Small, but perfectly formed: the Bose Soundlink Micro Bluetooth Speaker
The first Dishonored game was an outstanding mix of stealth with more than a tip of the hat to Bioshock. Beautiful to look at, we were lucky to have it. The Knife of Dunwall and The Bridgemore Witches expansions, which followed Empress Jessamine Kaldwin’s assassin, Daud, established Arkane Studios as masters of their art. Continue reading Dishonored: Death of the Outsider PS4 review
Parisian studio, Sloclap’s debut title, Absolver is a melee combat game set in a beautifully-realised land, with more than a hint of Dark Souls about it.
The first time I tried Absolver, it was just a curious dabble. I often do it. When I’m supposed to be finishing off the review for one game, another bit of review code arrives, and I just can’t help myself but to take a look.
First impressions were good, surprisingly good. I love a game that takes a chance with its art style and Absolver does just that- even if I’ve seen a similar look before in Fumito Ueda’s long-in-gestation, The Last Guardian. Continue reading Absolver PC review
Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo is the grand-daddy of racing sims. For us old timers, the jaw-dropping visuals of the first iteration back in 1997 heralded a completely new type of racing game with real-world physics and photo-real cars.
Twenty years later, the newest incarnation, Gran Turismo Sport, enters a very different market, a racing genre dominated by some serious heavy hitters. Over the last few months we’ve seen the likes of Codemasters’ superb Dirt 4 and Formula One 2018 games, as well as Slightly Mad’s fantastic Project CARS 2. In just under a week Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 7 also hits the shelves.
The big question for me is what extra, when it releases on 18th October, can Gran Turismo Sport bring to the table. Continue reading Gran Turismo Sport exclusive Sydney preview
HTC asks owners of its Vive VR kit to put down another two hundred bucks for a Deluxe Audio Strap.
Whilst there’s no doubt in my mind that the HTC Vive offers the best VR experience available right now, it’s not the most comfortable device to strap to your noggin. Out of the three main VR devices, the HTC Vive’s standard elastic strap is by far the worst mounting method. Top marks for comfort go to the PlayStation VR then followed by the Oculus Rift. Continue reading HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap review