Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Expansion for XCOM 2

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

An expansion for XCOM 2 has been announced to be released end of August 2017. I’m looking forward to that since XCOM is one of my favourite games.

Personnaly I liked the scenario of XCOM much better than that of XCOM 2. XCOM 2 is too dark with the player taking the role of an underground organization on alien occupied Earth. I rather played the international defense forces protecting the planet against that invasion. I also missed the air combat in XCOM 2 (I know a lot of people didn’t like that part of the first game).

Anyhow gameplay-wise XCOM 2 is better than it’s predecessor, so the expansion will hopefully be great…

A Game of Thrones (Telltale)

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Neues Spiel von Telltale games. Ich habe die erste Episode gespielt. Gefällt mir sehr gut. Es ist nah an der Serie. Die Synchronstimmen sind die gleichen (oder sehr ähnlich) wie im Original der TV Serie. Die Lebenserwartung der Hauptdarsteller ist gering. Das kann man nun gut oder schlecht finden.

Die Serie ist ja immer wieder ziemlich ärgerlich weil liebgewonnen Charaktere (oder Haustiere) ermordet werden. Ein Moment wo ich schon wieder keine lust hatte weiter zu schauen war die vorletzte Folge der 3. Season, mit der „Red Wedding“ und dem Verrat von Walder Frey. Season 4 habe ich n och nicht gesehen und so fügt sich das Spiel schön ein, denn es startet mit eben dieser Hochzeit.

Man spielt verschiedene Charaktere von Haus Forrester. Bannermen von Haus Stark. Ob das Haus in den Büchern vorkommt weiß ich nicht, weil ich die nicht gelesen habe und das auch nicht vorhabe. Mir kommt es jedenfalls wie eine Kopie von Haus Stark vor. Eine Tochter ist in Kings Landing, die Leute sind ehrliche Nordmänner etc.

Ich fand die erste Episode ziemlich spannend und freue mich darauf das Spiel durchzuspielen bevor ich mir die vierte Season anschaue.

2nd Hearthstone Expansion

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

The new expansion of Hearthstone (Goblins vs. Gnomes) is now online. The first expansion contained fewer cards, which you would acquire by completing specific single player matches. This new expansion contains a lot of new cards. In fact there are so many that when you buy a new pack of cards now, you have to select if you want the original cards or the new ones. I wonder whether Goblins vs. Gnomes will be commercially as successful as Naxxramas. I personally have no incentive to by card packs with real money. I play in the lower reaches (typically rank 20-17) anyway. So there is no need to buy packs or arena passes with real money to get cards more quickly. I rather spend my in game gold on them. With Naxxramas it was different, the real money bought access to the game content which otherwise would not have been available to me for long time.

In any case the new cards are great fun. Buying packs with gold brings back the excitement, for you get only few new packs each week. Since now I have only few of the new cards, many packs contain five unknown cards, some of which are great. Wow! I also have the impression that there are some very powerful cards in the new set. This is obviously for the same reason as with Magic the Gathering. If the cards of a new expansion are just equal (or even worse) than the existing cards, no one will buy the new cards. Anyway, I played with a Hunter and noticed how the Webspinner is boosted.



The card still works the same way as before. I was however lucky and got one of the new überbeasts:



The next game went equally well and the Webspinner summoned the new legendary druid beast, a feat I didn’t even know was possible.



The Wolf Among Us

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

In the Telltale game “The wolf Among Us” you play Sheriff Bigby Wolf, aka B. Wolf aka the Big Bad Wolf from the fairy tale. All fables from the fairy tales now live in a rundown quarter of New York City.

I recently bought the game for half price in a steam sale and I was not disappointed.

The game (like the well-known walking dead game from the same company) is more an interactive movie than an actual game. Most of the time, the story flows automatically. There are some minor puzzles like click on this, click on that, use item etc. There is no hard puzzle, where you have to think a lot, though. In some cases you may select a prepared answer or you may remain silent by not selecting an option before the allotted time runs out.

In some danger situations a quick time event pops up. If you fail to react, you may die at that moment and have to restart a few seconds earlier. There are three types of quick time events.
Q – here you have to press the Q key repeatedly. Usually this is a feat of strength
ASWD – here you have to press and hold one of the movement keys, usually to evade an attack
aim – here you have to click with the mouse cursor on or near a red circle

Feat of strength quicktime event

Feat of strength quicktime event

The game is published in five episodes, like a TV series. Since it’s already been released for some time all episodes are immediately available for download (automatically installed if you use steam). When it was newly released you had to wait with future episodes until their release date (one per week or such). An episode takes maybe 45 to 90 minutes to play through. I recommend playing through an episode in one go and not interrupting. Since the game saves automatically you never know for sure if you have to repeat a dialogue or something when you quit the game before the end of episode. Also the dramatic works better if you handle it like you would a TV series. At the end of an episode there is usually a cliffhanger. You also get a glimpse on what lies ahead in the next episode. At the beginning of the episode you get a quick recap on what happened previously (again like in a TV series).

At the end of each episode you also get a list of five crucial decisions during that episode and how you reacted as opposed to the majority of players. Something like: you and 5% of the players chose to give the pig Whisky. Some of those decisions will have an influence on details in future episodes. Overall there are apparently no dramatic changes to the story based on the decisions you take. I can however not confirm that from my own playing experience, because I played it just once. Since it is a story driven game I don’t see why I should play it twice anyway.

What I would have liked

Commercial breaks (just kidding).
I would have liked it if there had been some real puzzles in the game. It would also have been nice if the dialogs would have led to critical endings (like if you chose the wrong words you get shot or something).

Typical options during a conversation

Typical options during a conversation


If you haven’t got the game already, you are probably not the biggest fan, but if the above description sounds somewhat interesting, I recommend putting the game on your steam wish list. You will get an email next time it is on sale. I found it as entertaining as a good (but short) TV series and that’s what you can see in this type of game.

Beyond Earth

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

This weekend we played the new Civilization Beyond Earth. Firaxis’ fresh approach on the Alpha Centauri game concept. Since the original Civilization from 1991 one way to win the game has always been the space victory. By assembling a spacecraft and sending it to Alpha Centauri you finish the game. One early spinoff was Alpha Centauri where you played a Terran colonist faction on an alien world.

The newest incarnation of the Civilization series is Beyond Earth. It applies the Civilization V engine on the exploration and colonization of an alien world. I really like the cinematic trailer of the game.

Beyond Earth plays very much like Civ5 (i.e. hexgrid, single unit per hex, culture trees). Some things are just labled differently. Gold is now energy, happiness is now health. There are also some additions to the game, which in most cases are improvements:


Quests and random events from Civ4 are back in the game. Sometimes you just have to do something (like kill a specific alien life form, build a new city, research a technology etc.) to get a reward, while sometimes you are faced with a decision. Depending on how you decide specific future events may be triggered. This makes for interesting gameplay, at least until you have encountered all random events. Most of the events are triggered once you build a specific building for the first time thereby each building has a small additional benefit which becomes available at that time.


There are still the flyer types from Civ3-Civ5 (i.e. based in a city with an operational range of some hexes).There are however also few flying field units. While Civ5 had the helicopter gunships, they were no real flyers. They needed to get aboard a transport (which is included in every unit in Civ5 and CivBE once the seagoing technology is researched). In CivBE flying field units can directly fly across sea hexes making crossing of seas quick (no embark/debark movement required) and independent of the naval movement technology, as well as allowing to attack naval units and transports at sea.


The aliens in CivBE replace the barbarians from previous editions of the game. There are much more present from the beginning of the game on and some (like the siege worm or the sea dragon) are very powerful. There are some ways to tame them however which can grant you a significant boost to your meager starting forces.

Orbital Infrastructures

You may build satellites, which stay over designated areas and provide some benefit (like +1 energy in covered hexes). How the orbital mechanics are supposed to work is not exactly clear to me, since geostationary positioning should only be possible at the equator, but anyway. There are units like the missile launcher which can attack the orbital infrastructure.

Technology Web

The new way how technologies are linked feels much more realistic. Up to Civ5 technology is arranged in a tree. Now it is a web and you may choose any technology that is adjacent to a technology you previously developed for research. Technologies also have up to three sub-technologies each, which may be researched once the primary technology has been developed.
In previous versions of Civ unit upgrade became available once respective technologies were researched. Now it develops according to your progress in harmony, purity or supremacy (new concepts of CivBE). Unit upgrade is then free and automatic.

Alien Artifacts

Not only are there resource pods from earth, which are the equivalent of the ancient ruins from civ but there are also some places where you can start a dig with an explorer unit. Digging takes a few turns but the rewards are often larger than the energy, research etc. you gain from the pods.

Other things which changed

Trade routes to your own cities now not only yield food and production at the same time but also boost the economy of the sending city. Unfortunately it does not highlight the previous trade route for caravans that have to be reassigned.
Cities do not spawn instantaneously when the settler is activated. It takes a couple of turns until the new settlement has expanded to the six surrounding hexes. Only then the city becomes available for production etc.
Spies are handled very differently. You perform operations beginning with setting up a network
Some terrain improvements like oil wells have upkeep costs, not just the roads as in Civ5.

What I would have liked

The icons for the wonders could have been more clear. Sometimes, especially in your first game, it is difficult to see which new improvement, associated to a technology you are researching, is a wonder and which is just a building.
In multiplayer hot seat the completion of the excavations appears very briefly only screen after you press the finish turn button. That way you don’t have time to read it.
With all the new tile improvements a canal and an airfield (like in Civ3) would have been useful.
Flyers like the drone can only attack naval units once they fly across the sea, currently it seems you can’t attack directly from land, which seems to be an oversight.
The tooltip doesn’t show if you have researched the required technology for building terrain improvements, so unless you know the required technologies you may move your worker to a specific hex only to find out that you can’t build the improvement yet.
I miss the great persons, especially the great general, which was always useful if you wanted to extend your borders to some critical resources without founding new cities.


I like the game very much and give it a solid recommendation for all fans of the Civilization series. What I don’t understand is Steam’s pricing policy. If you can wait a day or two for the Amazon delivery or go to a retailer you can save

EDIT: In the meantime the first patch has changed a few things. Previous trade routes are indicated better, some changes to abilities etc.