Men of War: Assault Squad

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Men of War: Assault Squad is an RTS game developed by Digitalmindsoft and published by 1C Company.

Assault Squad is the third instalment in the MoW (Men of War) series. If your unfamiliar with the franchise, its main features are: Destructible terrain,  realistic bullet penetration and direct control. So what’s new in Assault Squad?

Skirmishes! Skirmish is a new mode that can be played in single player and CO-OP (the latter one being much more fun). Your goal in the Skirmish mode is to capture all enemy flags from the AI to achieve victory. At the beginning of a skirmish map you will be given a squad of soldiers to capture all the flags, but fear not; more reinforcements can be called at any time (Unless you don’t have enough points) to back up your beginning squad, as they will most likely not make it through game. Points are your currency and are gained by capturing and holding flags (the more flags the more points). Each flag will unlock an additional unit to call into battle or you will be granted a special unit or ability. Each special unit and ability is unique for each of the five factions.

Each Map and each faction plays differently so play styles will have to be changed accordingly.

Fighting fire with tanks isn't a good idea.

“So what else is new?” You say. “Direct control!” Well not really, but it  has been drastically improved along with all other controls. None of this awkward holding of the Control key then using the arrow keys to control a unit. Controls have been changed to the WASD (the main control system for most modern day shooters). It still doesn’t feel as fluid as it should, but its a major step forward.

Multiplayer has been improved upon since the original MoW (with the exception of the campaign being replaced by the skirmishes). Yes, sadly there is no single player or multiplayer campaign to play in. All the other multiplayer modes from the first MoW are still there and improved. Special units and abilities can now be called in, which can turn the tide of a battle with proper use. These definitely bring an even more tactical experience to the multiplayer.

Mid level saving hasn’t been introduced which is a shame, as large battles can rage on for hours.

You Sunk My Battleship!

All in all, MoW: AS is a step forward in the series. They have focused more on multiplayer but they have still neglected some of the fundamentals that turn “multiplayer games that are good”, into “multiplayer games that are incredible” (such as drop in drop out game play and mid level saving). Assault Squad is still a good addition to the series and a solid game. If your a fan of the series you should take a look at this game. If you’re new to the series, you may want to check out the demo or try one of the other games in the series.

 

Pros

Controls have been improved since the last game.

Direct control is useful and fun.

AI poses a better challenge then in pervious MoW games.

Graphics and general performance is good.

Destructible terrain!

Realistic ballistic piercing.

CO-OP.

 

Cons

No Campaign, only skirmish for single player.

No mid level saving in multiplayer.

Vehicles still tend to roll themselves over and get stuck.

 

Features

  • Different historical settings and battlegrounds for every nation presented in the game allowing players to face distinct varieties of enemies and tactics
  • Unique hero units with powerful abilities such as increasing units’ firepower, boosting morale or providing other advantages to defeat the enemy against all odds
  • Bonuses featuring remote controlled bombs that can flatten entire residential blocks, airstrikes to destroy incoming tank columns, special “For the Motherland!” charge attacks and many more
  • Improved and dynamic AI ensures that no two missions in the game will play out the same way, making each battle a new experience against an AI that really fights back
  • A great choice of various locations including Western Europe to Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Pacific area
  • The ability to play together with up to four friends in LAN or cooperative online play
  • New multiplayer maps and game settings
  • Improved multiplayer providing authentic use of equipment and vehicles
  • Overhauled infantry squads and the ability to purchase specific soldiers
  • More realistic weapon behavior and penetration values
  • A reworked artillery system providing innovative assault and defense strategies
  • New types of ammunition which increase the tanks’ strength

 

For more information on Men of War: Assualt Squad or to try the demo go to http://www.menofwargame.com/assault/

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Cities in Motion

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Cities in Motion is a transport simulator developed by Colossal Order Ltd and published by Paradox Interactive.

At first glance the game looks very much like Sim City, but unlike Sim City which is a city management game, Cities in Motion focuses on only one aspect of city management: Transportation.

Transportation is your business and it’s your job is to transport your citizens to their destination of choice throughout the four cities. Time periods also range from the slick 1930’s to the futuristic year 2020. There are two modes to play in, Campaign mode and the nice, relaxing sandbox mode. There is also a brief tutorial that will teach you the basics of the business you will be controlling.

Campaign mode will take you through the four cities which each have their own unique layout. During the Campaign you will be tasked with missions (from linking a bus line to a local school to building a metro line across the city), completing these will earn you more money to progress through the Campaign. Each era has its own unique vehicles available to you (no commercial airliners for you in the 1930s).

Mayday! Mayday! We're Going Down!

There is a bar at the top of the screen that will tell you how people are reacting to your transportation system. If you’re doing well the bar will slowly move to the right, if your system is poor it will move to the left.

You will have a number of options to choose from when deciding to get passengers from point A to point B, there is  vehicle type (Bus, Tram, Water, Metro and Aircraft) and the location of the stops to get onto these vehicles. Bad placement of stops may lead to a lot of unhappy customers, unhappy customers means less people will use your stops and instead use their cars (even if you have reduced ticket prices).

There are seven different social groups in the game. Each have their own wants and needs.

The World Cup isn't as popular as it use to be.

During gameplay the economy may change for better or for worse. Changing your ticket prices and wages to reflect the economies situation and taking advantage of low prices to buy new vehicles. Neglecting these changes may lead to you overpaying or underpaying for staff, vehicles and ticket prices.

Cities in Motion is a nice, focused transportation simulator. The city is bustling with life as vehicles and pedestrians go about their daily lives. If  the premise behind this game interests you, you should take a look.. This game will definitely fill the void that is the lack of transportation simulators in the recent years. So if you’ve been yearning for a game like this for some time, check out this title.

 

Pros

Lots of vehicles.

Random events.

Each era is unique.

Sandbox mode for more relaxed game play.

Interesting Idea.

Easy to use interface.

Lots of depth.

 

Cons

Not for everyone.

More diverse missions would be nice.

 

Features

  • Explore four different cities: Vienna, Helsinki, Berlin, and Amsterdam
  • Engage in a campaign with 12 scenarios, as well as a sandbox mode where all campaign cities are playable
  • Experience realistic 3D graphics with more than 100 unique, highly detailed buildings
  • Use the advanced map editor to create your own cities
  • Play through 100 years of transportation history throughout four eras spanning from 1920 to 2020
  • Choose between more than 30 different vehicles based on real-life models of buses, trams, water buses, helicopters, and subways, complete with an underground view
  • Experience a real-time city and traffic simulator as each location’s bustling population commutes between their homes, jobs, and leisure sites

 

For more information about Cities in Motion go to http://www.citiesinmotion.com/

AI War: Fleet Command

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AI War: Fleet Command is a space RTS game developed and published by Arcen Games.

The main goal in AI War is to survive long enough to eventually find the AI cores hidden in the system and destroy them. Achieving this is a much harder task than it sounds.

The UI (User Interface) is well laid out and  lets you keep track of every resource income, the AI progression (The main one to look out for) and also existing and incoming threats to planets. There is also a quick selection for all your units and buildings on the right.

Scouting will be the main form of Intel and will tell you what units and structures are currently on the planet. Your Intel will be the deciding factor on where and when you should expand.

Initially, the AI aren’t too much of a challenge (There are  many AI personalities to choose from). It isn’t until you start expanding that the AI progression will start to go up (Something you don’t want). The once weak waves of ships will be replaced by larger and stronger waves and messages like this “12,000 ships heading to (insert planet name) in 3:00” will litter your screen.

Zerg Rush!

Worm holes separate planets from one another. Finding chokepoints is vital.

Keeping the AI progression value as low as possible will be your best chance for survival. This can be achieved by ignoring low level planets (Planets that have nothing of interest) and expanding to high level planets (Planets that have Advance research stations, Data centres, Advanced Factories and/or High level of resources).

Destroying Data centres will lower the AI progression, capturing an Advance research station will unlock a new ship and capturing an Advanced factory will allow for higher tier ships to be manufactured.

AI War throws tower defence game play into the mix. As your conquering planets with your fleets your planets will be left mostly unguarded (Apart from your  defence towers). There are a variety of towers to choose from, each have their own unique qualities that will help protect your planets. Stronger versions of existing towers can also be researched and built.

That's no moon!

Your fleet will consist of many different unit types and tiers. Each type of unit has a set unit cap within that tier e.g. unit cap for Mark I fighters may be 100 while Mark II may be 50 (Unit cap can be adjusted). Having a mix of units gives the game an even more strategic feel as units have their own strengths and weaknesses.

AI fleets will try their best to exploit your fleets weaknesses.

Arcen Games have done a fantastic job with AI War and there is so much content to play around with. Initially, the game feels a bit daunting as you are bombarded with a lot of information all at once, but once that hurdle is overcome the game will “Engage” you with it’s brilliant design and execution. If you are an RTS fan I suggest you look into this game, if you are new to the genre you may want to look at the video tutorials for more tips and tricks before you play.

 

Pros

CO-OP with friends.

Heaps of ships battling it out all at once.

Plenty of ship types.

Focused more on tactics then micromanagement.

The AI is amazing compared to the AI in other RTS games.

Background music gets your heart pumping.

More expansions are on the way!.

 

Cons

Not as visually appealing compared to other RTS games.

Hard to get into initially.

 

Features

 

  • Space-based RTS, single player or up to 8 player co-op.
  • Powerful emergent AI that retreats, probes defenses, and surprises even veterans with intelligent tactics.
  • 30,000+ ships at a time on 10-120 simultaneous planetary battlefields.
  • Different Every Time: 16 billion procedural maps, each with specific units.
  • A focus on deep strategy with nearly no micromanagement.

 

For more information about AI War go to http://www.arcengames.com/w/index.php/aiwar-features

Survivor – The Living Dead

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“Survivor – The Living Dead” is a free zombie action game based on the early George Romero films. The game is developed by Radical Endeavors.

You are Amber Chaplin. Your brother has been bitten and you must hold back the zombie hordes in an old house for 7 minutes before rescue arrives.  In order to survive the gruelling 7 minutes you must use every resource within and surrounding the old house.

I'm not a human Happy Meal!

More weapons and longer survival modes can be unlocked.

Weapons are scattered throughout the house, some can be reached right away, others are locked away or stuck and need to be broken lose. Every weapon breaks or runs out of ammo.

Unfortunately, Amber isn’t a zombie killing machine so she has no unarmed skill of any sort. She has three stats to look after, these are: Health, Infection and Stamina.

I'm sure this will end well....

If your health drops to zero or your infection bar is full you automatically lose (The Infection bar will start to rise once bitten). Stamina on the other hand will drop as you sprint around the house and if it reaches zero Amber will fall down and drop her weapon (In a typical horror movie fashion), at this point you will have to mash a key to make Amber stand up.

Items can also be combined to make weapons.

This game requires a lot of strategy and it really feels like you’re trying to survive against a zombie horde. Survivor – The Living Dead is free and extremely addictive action game. If you’re a zombie fan try this game out, if not I suggest you still take a look into this title anyway.

 

Pros

Free!

Extremely addictive.

Heaps of unlocks!

Zombie smashing fun.

 

Cons

Frustrating at times.

Default key to mash to get up is shift (The sticky key).

 

Features

  • • 15 unique weapons, as well as your own deadly innovations.
  • • 4 varying modes of gameplay each with its own difficulty. Including a story mode.
  • • Special options and a reward system that allow you to earn new items and become stronger.
  • • Over 1000 original frames of oldschool pixel animation. As well as some shoddy game art.

 

For more information on Survivor-The Living Dead go to http://www.radicalendeavors.com/Site/Survivor_Here.htm

King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame

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King Arthur the Role-playing Wargame is a Fantasy RTS/RPG hybrid developed by NeoCoreGames and published by Paradox Interactive.

The game uses the same formula as the Total War games (Turn based map, RTS battles) but adds its own fantasy twist into the mix. Heroes are introduced into the game and they level up in a similar fashion to many other RPGs. They add a lot of flavour into the game and can change the tide of battle with their skills and abilities. There is also a text based quest system implemented into the game that heavily effects your morality and awards you special items.

Your morality can grant you special abilities to help you on your journey (If you stick to one of the four options).

The Campaign tells the tale of the legendary King Arthur and through the story you will meet many of the creatures and heroes from his journeys. The main overview of the campaign map is turn based. Here you can recruit troops, upgrade buildings and units, begin quests, exchange items and units and attack foes. Once you initiate a battle it will commence on an RTS map. There’s a lot to do on the turn based map but the RTS battles are the main focus of the game.

There is also a Skirmish and a Multiplayer mode to play in.

I'm on a Horse!

All elements from the turn based map come into play in the RTS battles (Unless you use the Auto Battle button). Units recruited, heroes, items and abilities will all help you out against the enemies you are fighting. Most battlefields will be littered with flags that can be captured to reduce your foes morale (Any team that loses all of its morale will lose the battle), this can be a very tactical option if your opponent has a stronger army. The AI does a pretty decent job in battles: they use terrain, spells and capture flags (They tend to forget the latter one mid/late battle). Overall the AI is a decent opponent to face. There is also a good unit mix of real life units to mystical and powerful creatures. Unfortunately some units are a bit too overpowered (Mounted Knights and Archers) and they  tend to clump together when engaging in melee combat, so battles can get a bit tiresome.

I'm a lover not a fighter

The game adds a lot to this genre and I would like to see how they add to and improve it in King Arthur 2 (Which is out later this year). So if you can’t wait for Shogun 2: Total War, but want to play this type of game, King Arthur is certainly a viable option  (It’s better than Empire… and cheaper too).

 

Pros

Improves the Total War formula.

Lots of cool spells and abilities.

King Arthur’s journey done well.

A large array of units.

Trolls on the battlefield are fun to watch 😛

 

Cons

Overpowered units.

Units tend to clump together instead of flanking.

 

Features

  • Real-time fantasy battles: spectacular fight scenarios on grandiose battlefields, featuring thousands of soldiers and powerful heroes such as Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad or Merlin. Battles rely on the strengths and weaknesses of the different arms with several tactical possibilities, the abilities of the units and the heroes, monsters and most of all, spells.
  • Turn-based Campaign Map: Britannia is represented as a fully three dimensional topographic map where heroes move freely, conquer provinces or find adventures. In the turn-based campaign the changing seasons have effect on the gameplay and the graphics of the Campaign Map.
  • Create your own legend! The saga of King Arthur is an epic tale about the conquest of Britannia through a story-based campaign. The Campaign is divided into chapters, like a chronicle, each with a unique tone and theme. The chapters all have objectives, long- and short-term goals that also fit together to draw a grandiose picture of an unfolding storyline. There are many possible events and outcomes that all influence the legend itself and determine the ending of the storyline.
  • Morality Chart: Every decision in the game will influence the position of King Arthur on the Morality Chart. King Arthur might become a Christian ruler or the Follower of the Old Faith; a rightful or a ruthless monarch. These choices unlock special contents, allies, heroes, units and developments.
  • RPG elements: Heroes lead the armies and learn skills, spells and abilities from an ability tree for experience points. Heroes can also use magic items or become liege lords, entrusted with the leadership of a province, which is the best way to have them indebted. Arranging their marriages with the nice damsels of Arthur’s court also raises their loyalty.
  • Adventures: adventuring is the essence of King Arthur’s world. Quests pop up on the Campaign Map regularly. In technical terms it is a short story where the chosen knight has to make important decisions. Some adventures end in battles on special battlemaps.

 

For more information of King Arthur the Role Playing Wargame go to http://www.kingarthurthewargame.com/index_main.html.

Guardians of Graxia

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Guardians of Graxia is a tactical card based game developed by Petroglyph.

For each map you play on, whether it be Campaign or Skirmish, you will have to complete a specified set of objectives. There are two victory modes. One is a standard easier goal while the other, the ‘Guardian’ goal, is a harder version of the standard goal.

Unfortunately there is no mode to just destroy the enemy Guardian (Every map has a set goal and turn limit).


In either mode you play in, you will start off by placing your Guardian unit (Your key unit that summons other units) within a defined starting area on the board. You will then draw from your deck without any mana cost (Mana is the only resource in the game and is needed to for almost all actions). Once you have your cards drawn you may summon units to the adjoining squares around your Guardian or in your starting zone.

You may also draw more spell or unit cards for a small mana cost in between turns.

It's time to du-du-du-du-duel!

Inevitably, your units will engage into battle with another unit. Battle consists of two phases: Firstly the spell card phase where you may cast spells from your deck to aid you in battle. Secondly is the sacrifice phase where you can sacrifice any spell card to increase your units attack value or decrease the enemies (some cards are better to sacrifice than others). After both phases are complete, battle will commences.

If a unit destroys an opponent, they will be awarded two attribute points to spend on their combat abilities, winning a battle can also force an enemy unit to retreat, one attribute point will be awarded to the victor.

Treebeard?

Positioning of units is a huge part of the game, capturing tiles on the game board will grant you extra mana (Some tiles offer more than others), tiles also have their own particular bonuses such as healing and shielding units. Tiles in combination with your units, special abilities and spells gives the game a very strategic experience.

Guardians of Graxia is an interesting game to play. It combines card based and tactical game play into a successful formula (Unlike Magic the Gathering Tactics). For those who love card based game play or tactical game play I suggest you look into this title.

 

Pros

Lots of unit and spell cards.

Units get stronger with more encounters.

Simple to play.

Units are unique.

Lots of modes to play in.

Interesting game mechanics.

 

Cons

No multiplayer

No maps without set goals.

Features

  • Combines the best of a card game and board game in a PC format.
  • Dynamic gameplay using cards and map tiles in a floating continent environment.
  • Single-player skirmish and campaign modes available.
  • Highly replayable with over 240 Unit and Spell Cards.
  • Game card creatures include: Dragon, Dwarves, Elves, Goblins, Humans, Orcs, Skeletons, Wisps, Wraiths and many more!
  • Guardians are represented in the game as primary player units that command your armies into battle!
  • Built to be expanded with additional map packs and other content updates.

 

For more information on Guardians of Graxia go to http://www.petroglyphgames.com/game?id=28

Gravity Bone

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Gravity Bone is a free Spy game developed by Blendo games.

This game is super short (Almost as short as this review) but a great experience.

I spy with my little eye.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as you start the game the atmosphere will absorb you until the very end (Less than 20 minutes). The whole game has an old (Sean Connery) James Bond feel to it.  From the background music to the blocky appearance and sound of the characters, you will feel that the game is a living and breathing world and you’re just a small part of it.

Your character is a spy. His overall goal is unknown and will never be explained, this brings more mystery and thrill to the game as you venture forth on your journey.

I personally feel there should have been less focus on the game play (not that there was much) and more focus on the experience, as Gravity Bone is more of an experience than a game, and the ending will stick with you long after you have finished playing. If you haven’t played it I suggest you download it right now.

 

Pros

Nice environments.

Epic ending.

Background music sets the tone.

Nice introduction to the game.

 

Cons

Very short.

Could have added a bit more to the game play.

 

For more information or to download Gravity Bone go to http://www.blendogames.com/

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