Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The game features a series of campaign missions based on real-life events and a skirmish mode on randomized maps. The objective is to win the hearts and minds of the local population by destroying hostile units (militia and the Taliban), clearing IEDs, visiting villages, connecting towns to the road network, and providing UN aid. Units can be purchased using political points, including basic infantry, special forces (which can train units and scout rough terrain), MRAPs to transport infantry, the Buffalo to build stuff (roads, waterworks, FOBs), the Husky to detect IEDs, supply trucks to transport goods, and a variety of helicopters for fast but expensive movement. Each unit has a specific amount of action points available each turn, which are used to move and perform orders. Ending a turn outside of a friendly base of FOB spends food or fuel; units without these precious items are immobilized and destroyed. Entering a village with an infantry unit may gain intel on the position of enemy units, while recon drones, airstrikes, and emergency supplies may be deployed. FOBs can be constructed in strategic locations in order to extend supply lines and serve as a launching point for future offensives. Combat is straightforward with easy-to-decipher winning percentages displayed before the fight begins. Elections can provide useful bonuses if the “right” candidate wins. Afghanistan '11 is unique because of the asymmetrical nature of the gameplay, and the different ways of approaching each scenario give some strategic variety and replay value.
The game features a campaign where the AI opponents are given progressively more systems to start with, increasing the difficulty. More fair randomized skirmish matches are available, and a map editor is available for a customized experience. The interface provides a handy system summary when zoomed out, while providing an appropriate amount of automation (resource gathering, unit production, attack and defense) to ease management of a large empire in real time. Each planet in every solar system can be surrounded by modules: refineries to collect metal, factories to produce ships, relays to increase the population cap, turrets for defense, and research stations for upgrades. Different planet types offer varied module bonuses. Ships can be somewhat organized into formations and will automatically attack nearby enemies, but friendly ships don’t prioritize threats appropriately. The AI is just OK and definitely benefits from having a resource income advantage in most campaign missions. Overall, Battle for Orion 2 offers a streamlined, fast-paced strategy game that still supports multiple strategies for victory.
Monday, March 13, 2017
The game takes its inspiration from Quake, offering multiple game modes (1v1, 2v2, free-for-all, team deathmatch, capture the flag), mutators from Unreal Tournament (instagib, unlimited ammo, melee only), automatic map downloads through Steam Workshop, and matchmaking and a server browser. The fast-paced shooter features the usual gameplay style trappings, with double jumps, rocket jumps, and the like. Seven weapons (basic burst gun, shotgun, grenade launcher, plasma gun, rocket launcher, ion cannon, and bolt rifle) lack alternate fire modes but each serve a different role and can be effective. Health, armor, and damage bonuses can be picked up around the map. Occasionally capable bots are also present to practice against. While Reflex offers fine old-school gameplay, it doesn’t offer anything truly innovative to expand upon the formula established by Quake.
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
Monday, March 06, 2017
The game features a campaign mode that offers different objectives (income, population) for each scenario and an open-ended sandbox mode. The interface is very basic, allowing for access to construction menus and trading values, with simple overlays for resource locations. There is a limited number of buildings to choose from that either gather resources (fish, sand, oysters, oil, fruit, cotton, corn) or process them into other things (glass, plastic, gasoline, alcohol). You will end up building the same general structures in the same order each time through, based on which specialized areas (sand or oil deposits) are available. Once you are able to export enough goods to offset your daily maintenance, expansion is easy. Eventually, entertainment structures must be built or people will start to leave. There are random missions that pop up occasionally, but they involve simply producing a set amount of a specific good. Despite the unique setting, Seasteader doesn’t offer enough gameplay variety or innovation to make it stand out.