The campaign features branching paths offering story, random, and timed missions of increasing difficulty. Cash earned by attempting and completing missions can be used to unlock new weapons and items. There are also randomly generated skirmish missions that can be further tweaked with custom sliders, and weekly challenges with online leaderboards. The objective is to destroy and capture alien hives. Troops will attack automatically, and you can easily issue “fire rockets” and “attack-move” orders to all of your units. Points are earned by destroying hives which can then be spent on different weapons, researched upgrades, or defensive structures. You never get enough points to afford everything and there are many upgrade options to choose from, so strategic variety remains high. Enemies come in various types, and the alien horde gains a randomized mutation bonus whenever a hive is captured. Overall, Infested Planet is a unique, well executed real-time strategy title with exceptional replay value.
Monday, March 03, 2014
I'm playing Lock 'n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad, a turn-based strategy game by Lock 'n Load Publishing and Matrix Games.
The game features two campaigns (one for the Germans, one for the Soviets) and over twenty standalone scenarios. Comprehensive tutorials makes learning the system easier. Multiplayer is not asynchronous like in some of Slitherine’s turn-based titles, but you can resume saved matches later if your opponent is online at the same time. The interface uses classic tabletop counters on a slightly animated map; an action bar gives you one-click access to all options. Units include leaders, infantry squads, support weapons, and vehicles. You are allowed to take actions in one hex at a time (leaders can active surrounding hexes, though), and (usually) one action per unit in the hex. Stacking units in a hex will improve the odds for an attack; dice rolls are used to determine victors in combat. Successful attacks will cause a morale drop, and shaken units must be rallied by leaders at the beginning of each turn. Proficient AI rounds out an attractive package. A combination of challenging scenarios, capable AI, and straightforward mechanics makes Lock 'n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad a notable turn-based wargame.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The game features a powerful course creator capable of procedurally generating plausible courses in a matter of seconds. You can change global settings for altering an entire course or tweak options for individual holes, or start a new course from scratch, adding new holes one at a time. Courses can be uploaded to the central server, where they are played by others and voted upon; the efforts of human golfers are shown as ghost balls on the courses as you play. While there is stroke, match, and four ball play right now, tours and tournaments will be added before release so you can link several courses together in a playoff-like system. The game currently uses the gamepad as the only control scheme: you aim using the left stick and swing using the right stick. A decent enough (as good as can be expected using a gamepad instead of a mouse and keyboard) interface allows you to plan your shots. The Golf Club is planned for release this year.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The career mode remains the same (starting with a poor car that can be improved with good finishes for sponsors), although upgrades are now in a research and development tree that will unlock different quality levels of parts (engine, chassis, body, suspension, brakes) that you can combine for race-specific car designs. The game includes the 2014 Sprint Cup drivers and the new Chase rules format. The intriguing highlight race event scenarios now cost $5/month for new 2014 content as the season progresses; they were free updates last year. Online play now features a server browser and leagues for sixteen drivers. Races have a green flag restart zone for the leader, and you can spin the tires easily during a restart. The AI drivers are outrageously aggressive, but also drastically slow down on occasion for no apparent reason. Your computerized opponents also (still) exhibit poor pitting strategy; the shortcomings with the AI almost make the single player modes unplayable. Minor issues return from last year’s version as well: there is no direct control during yellow flags and pit stops, you will always pit in the first stall, and any amount of damage can be repaired in four seconds on pit road. You can actually wreck out of a race this time around (your engine will eventually catch on fire), but only with multiple, high speed collisions. Fans of stock car games would hope that all of the issues of last year’s version would have been ironed out in a full-priced sequel, but NASCAR ‘14 remains a decent simulation with terrible AI and other problems that discerning drivers will find fault with.
Monday, February 24, 2014
The story offers a series of over fifty very challenging levels where you have to defeat immense titans across the city. You can also create and share custom titans and arenas. Equipped with a jetpack, most of the levels involve multiple platforms and enemies that can spawn from any direction. More advanced, stackable weapons and temporary power-ups can be collected around each level, necessary aids when dealing with the large bosses. Those looking for a formidable three-dimensional first-person shooter will certainly find one in Drunken Robot Pornography.