Monday, November 27, 2017

Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith Gameplay Review

I'm playing Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith, a turn-based strategy game by Illwinter Game Design.



The venerable series returns with upgrades in several areas. First, bless effects are available when setting up your pretender god. The random map generator has been improved, and the graphics for the map and interface are much clearer, upgraded for higher-resolution displays. Recruitment points are now required for obtaining units (in addition to money and resources). The non-interactive combat is now “real-time”, where simultaneous actions (like moving and shooting) can occur at the same time. The fantastic core gameplay remains: choose one of the many nations, design your pretender god, expand by attacking surrounding provinces containing magic sites, defend new territories with a garrison to keep unrest low, build forts to collect nearby resources, spread dominion with temples and preaching, construct labs to research new spells, cast local and global rituals, recruit new units and hire mercenaries, set up army formations and battle orders, equip leaders with magical items, watch automated battles, and try to survive against the very capable AI. Much like its predecessor, Dominions 5 is more like an incremental upgrade, but overall it is a fantastic, feature-filled strategy game.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

American Truck Simulator: New Mexico Gameplay Review

I'm playing American Truck Simulator: New Mexico, a driving and management simulation by SCS Software.



The first paid expansion for the game, the game now includes an entire new state to drive through, including very accurate expressway interchanges and a variety of truck stops. In addition, there are new roadside events (construction, wrecks, cops pulling people over) to gawk at during a drive through the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico in American Truck Simulation has a high level of detail and expands the game well.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Mare Nostrvm Gameplay Review

I'm playing Mare Nostrvm, a turn-based naval strategy game by Turnopia and Slitherine.



The game features twenty-four historic battles scattered across nine campaigns; victory is (thankfully) not required in order to advance to the next mission. Skirmish battles are also available against the AI, and online multiplayer utilizes Slitherine’s PBEM system. The interface badly needs a “next unit” button to find ships that can be issued orders in large, chaotic battles. Fourteen ship types can be equipped with a variety of weapons for firing upon and boarding the enemy. Ships must be near their commander to receive orders, requiring some organization during each conflict. Movement orders are placed on the map, along with choosing to ram or grapple and board the enemy ships (the decision of which should be based on the attributes and orientations of the ships involved). Ships will automatically fire on nearby enemies. The AI is skilled at the game, providing a competent opponent. Though repetitive and lacking some interface features, Mare Nostrvm is effective at displaying the chaos of ancient naval battles.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Command: Shifting Sands Gameplay Review

I'm playing Command: Shifting Sands, a real-time military strategy game by Warfare Sims and Slitherine.



The game functions as either an expansion to the original game that was released in 2013 or a standalone title, albeit without the ability to use the editor or enjoy the plentiful scenarios from Steam Workshop. Shifting Sands includes 17 scenarios of varying difficulties and complexities set in the Middle East, most of which are well designed with variety and surprises, and crafted a notch above the typical user-made mission. Command: Shifting Sands serves as a good introduction to the game mechanics of the series if you don’t feel like spending the exorbitant price on the entire game (though you probably should anyway).