Thoughts: Kingdom

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Kingdom is a lovely-looking side-scrolling pixel strategy game somewhat in the vein of Majesty. You control a monarch – king or queen, randomly determined when you start a new game — perched atop a horse. The game starts with the monarch fleeing past a huge set of stone letters spelling out “Kingdom”, which crumble into nothing as he/she passes; apparently you’re fleeing some unspecified threat to set up a new kingdom that can withstand the beasties that presumably tore down the old one. You have to do this with a grand total of just four controls: moving left or right, holding shift to make the horse run, and pushing down to drop a coin from your bag of gold.

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Thoughts: Overwatch

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With over 10 million copies sold (and counting) Overwatch might just be the most successful game launch Blizzard have had in the last decade. Strange, then, that from all of Blizzard’s output during this period Overwatch is probably the Blizzard title I like the least.

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Thoughts: Batman – Arkham Knight

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Played on an Xbox, so only publicity screenshots for this review with the usual caveat: the game they portray may appear to be more interesting than it actually is.

The idea that game design is just as much about cutting bad or unnecessary features as it is adding new and exciting ones is one that I tend to bang on about on here a lot, but for good reason: Arkham Knight is a fantastic cautionary tale of what happens when you spend a full trilogy of games just piling on more and more features without taking any of them away — you end up with a bloated mess.

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Thoughts: Battlefleet Gothic – Armada

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Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is an 18th century tall ships naval combat simulator that just so happens to be set in outer space.

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Steam Sales, Again

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A few years back I wrote a little guide on the best way to approach Steam Sales and how to navigate the bewildering array of sale types to get the best deal. It was a popular post, and still occasionally gets pingbacks whenever a new Steam Sale kicks off. It is also, alas, woefully out of date. The Steam of four years ago was a very different place to the Steam of today (there were far fewer anime dating sims, for one thing) and much of the advice contained within my guide is no longer relevant. With that in mind, and considering I missed last Monday’s review, I thought I’d spend half an hour or so writing a new one.

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Thoughts: Witcher 3 – Heart Of Stone & Blood And Wine

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was arguably1 the best game released in 2015, an achievement all the more remarkable for 2015 being a very good year for games in general. It felt like the first genuine step forward for RPGs in years, portraying both a believable world and empathetic, human characters who effortlessly drew you into a plot that felt like it had real, emotional stakes. Furthermore, it was a plot that was all the better for being a self-contained whole; there’s no cliffhanger or trailing for a sequel, just a complete story that took the time to give itself a satisyfing denouement, with a half-hour coda afterwards where you took stock of what had happened and tidied up loose ends. Unfortunately when it comes to expansions this is something of a double-edged sword: how on earth do you follow up something like that in an expansion pack while keeping the level of quality as high as the original game?

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  1. In that I argue it.
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Thoughts: Brigador

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It’s never a pleasant feeling when you wake up on a Saturday morning to discover that your computer will no longer turn on. Or rather, that it will turn on, and then off, and then on again, and then off again, ad infinitum. After an hour of disassembling it into its component pieces and then adding said components one at a time to try and diagnose which one was bust, I finally yanked the culprit from my machine: a four year-old stick of RAM that must have become corrupt or otherwise burned-out. As far as breakages go this is probably the most benign thing that could have happened as the nice thing about RAM sticks is that they come in matched pairs, meaning that I still had one perfectly good one and my PC was back up and running within ten minutes of identifying the problem. Still, it was a Saturday, I couldn’t get a replacement set of RAM delivered until Monday morning, and so my plan of spending the weekend playing the new Witcher expansion was out the window since it had no chance of running smoothly on just 4GB of RAM; similarly I probably couldn’t go back to Total Warhammer either. What I needed at that point was an interim game that was relatively low-tech, something punchy and enjoyable that wouldn’t tax my crippled system too much1 and that I’d be done with it the space of a single weekend.

Enter Brigador.

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  1. Interestingly Overwatch also works perfectly on 4 gigs of RAM, but I’ve had some difficulty getting into it and it’s going to take me some time to form an opinion on that one anyway.
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