Tag Archives: kickstarter

Thoughts: Satellite Reign


It’s a fact fairly well documented on this blog that I like Syndicate. Bullfrog’s little slice of unrestrained corporate mayhem is timeless in my eyes, and so when the Satellite Reign Kickstarter popped up a couple of years back it immediately caught my interest for being made by some ex-Bullfrog staff and for being marketed as a spiritual successor to Syndicate. We could certainly do with one, because while the Starbreeze Syndicate FPS had a few unexpected redeeming features it was at best extremely average and not at all what Syndicate was about. Satellite Reign at least preserves the series’ top-down isometric perspective and four-man (or woman) team of agents, so it’s already a better stab at recapturing the old magic than Starbreeze managed. That’s a very low bar to clear, however; they might be going about it the right way, but is this modern attempt to resurrect Syndicate any good?

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Thoughts: Shadowrun Dragonfall


I’m coming to Dragonfall rather late. Originally a stretch goal for the original Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter campaign, Dragonfall was first released as an expansion back in February 2014.  I did play it at the time, and got about halfway through before burning out, something I’ll blame on it coming out a little too hot on the heels of Shadowrun Returns for my tastes. Even then, though, I could see that Dragonfall was a significant cut above the game it was supposed to be expanding on. Partly this was because Harebrained Schemes had had time to fix most of the bugs and technical limitations I complained about in my original review, but mostly it’s because they — gasp! — also took the opportunity to iterate and expand on the structure and mechanics on their second go around. Harebrained obviously knew they had a winner on their hands because they took the additional time to polish Dragonfall up, overhaul the interface and bulk out the weaker areas of the expansion so that they could release it as a standalone game. And the resulting Director’s Cut is very good indeed.

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Thoughts: Pillars Of Eternity


Pillars of Eternity is a game that’s trying to be too many things to too many people.

To Obsidian, it’s a chance to prove themselves; after years of putting out bugged/incomplete titles because of publisher interference, they can finally show what they can do when developing a game with their own funding on their own schedule. To the gaming world at large it has some sizeable shoes to fill as a spiritual successor to the old Infinity Engine games, a Baldur’s Gate 3 in all but name.  And to the people who backed it on Kickstarter, and who have been waiting the best part of three years for the game to be finished, there were a lot of promises made. Strongholds! Cities! A 15-level mega-dungeon! All things that would require a lot of time and effort in order to do properly, and since Pillars of Eternity is also the most successful game Kickstarter that’s actually going to be released it’s fair to say that Obsidian must have been feeling the weight of expectation a little bit.

Given that, is it really any wonder that they’ve ended up playing it safe?

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Thoughts: Wasteland 2


My overriding thought during the first few hours of Wasteland was that somewhere — etched into a stone tablet carried down from a mountaintop, written into human DNA, inscribed in the basic atomic structure of the universe, I don’t care — the following message needs to be preserved for posterity:


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Thoughts: Planetary Annihilation


And so we come to Planetary Annihilation, one of the more financially successful Kickstarter projects from the craze of 2012. As the name (and the Kickstarter trailer, which is a knowing homage to the intro) suggests, Planetary Annihilation’s aim is to be a modern incarnation of 1997 RTS classic Total Annihilation, with the twist that the war is now raging over multiple planets in a solar system. Supreme Commander already took a swing at updating Total Annihilation back in 2007, and so Planetary Annihilation was going to have to do a little more than just redo the whole thing in shinier graphics in order to justify its existence. It knew it, too – the first Kickstarter trailer promised a host of interesting gameplay elements such as the ability to send your robot soldiers to asteroids to mine them for resources, being able to fire troops down onto a planet from an orbiting moonbase, and building rocket engines on your asteroid bases to deorbit and launch them at whatever faction is currently pissing you off the most, turning their base into a smoking planet-sized crater. That trailer alone is probably responsible for getting Planetary Annihilation 90% of its funding, but there does tend to be a yawning gulf between what a development trailer promises and what the final product eventually delivers, especially when said trailer’s sole purpose is to part people from their money. Has Planetary Annihilation succeeded in achieving its goals? Let’s find out together.

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Thoughts: Shadowgate


When you start your first game of Shadowgate, it’s likely you’ll do exactly the same thing I did. You’ll sit through the tutorial that walks you through the first and second rooms of the game, picking up keys and torches while an evil wizard does his Guardian-From-Ultima You’ll-Never-Defeat-Me schtick, and then when you get to the third room the game cuts you loose and leaves you to sort things out on your own. There’s a collection of verbs along the top of the screen that represent the ways you can interact with the room you’re in, which contains a statue of a hooded figure holding a book, flanked by a couple of candles. Now, if you’re anything like me you’ll immediately start experimenting by doing the usual adventure game thing of using VERB on OBJECT. LOOK at the statue. OPEN the book. LOOK at the book. LOOK at the candles. TAKE the can-

And then the floor opens up beneath you and crushes you under ten tons of stone. You have spent less than two minutes in game, and you’re already staring at the Grim Reaper’s death screen. Welcome to Shadowgate. Fuck you.

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Thoughts: The Banner Saga.


The Banner Saga is proof that fantastic art and atmospheric music do not a decent game make.

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