Saturday, January 02, 2010

Recent Gaming

So.... Happy New Year, everyone. Any good gaming resolutions out there? Mine is to play lots more games.

Unfortunately I haven't really been doing much board gaming lately, unless you consider selling, trading, sleeving, organizing, and rulebook reading gaming. Theoretically Republic of Rome and Heroscape: D&D should be showing up this month, as will Where There is Discord via trade from Belgium. I have such a huge backlog of unplayed games now... ugh!

In the mean time I've been obsessing over two non-board games, both of which I initially didn't really like that much. This actually isn't an uncommon pattern for me. Some of my favorite movies, books, music, and, yes, games were ones that took a bit of time to grow on me. Perhaps their originality was somehow a shock to my system... Anyway, here they are:

First, Sword of the Stars (with all three expansions shuffled in, of course) is a game I acquired recently via the insanely low holiday prices at Steam. The game is another in the popular line of 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) space opera games. If you can get past graphics 3-5 years old and some fairly spartan interface features, this game is as close to Twilight Imperium 3 as I've encountered in PC gaming. In other words, its awesome!

I would still have say Sword of the Stars is still slightly less good than Master of Orion 2, just because I prefer turn-based combat over real-time, but other than that, the game totally rocks. I had to play a couple hours before I could start to look past the initial ugliness and see the depth and richness underneath. The game has six races, each with different tech trees and game mechanics; loads of hidden ancient enemies on the map (ala' MOO2, but think multiple evil ancient ones out there actively hunting you and your fellow fledgling races); and tons of features pulled from sci-fi movies, novels, and etc. For instance, one of the evil ones developing (and trying to kill you) on the map is an ancient probe replicating itself via the resources of whoever it encounters (think Star Trek 1, the movie). Another feature is that if you push your research on computers too quickly, your AI will rebel, form SkyNet, enslave a chunk of your empire, and go after you.... hard. Okay... there's more, but that's enough blathering. If you get the game, get on Steam and join me in a co-op game!

The other game I'm enjoying right now is.... Modern Warfare 2. Okay, yes, me and 7 million other people apparently. Still though, at first I was pretty underwhelmed, thinking this wasn't much more than a shallow rehash of MW1. Then I kept playing, exploring Special Ops mode and multi-player in addition to the campaign. Wow.... the little details are pretty incredible. For example, you actually hear the sound of tires popping and hissing then see a slight lurch downward as bullets hit the car you're hiding behind. This game is very good. If you see me on XBL, Notre Dame 89, feel free to invite me to a co-op game.

Okay, back to Sword of the Stars...



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