I would recommend Siege Survival: Gloria Victis to players who like difficult management games and muddy depressing fantasy. I know you guys are out there. I’m one of those people. And despite my many criticisms of the game, I intend to keep playing it after this review has gone live. That’s not necessarily always the case! But there is a spark of something at the core of Siege Survival: Gloria Victis. It’s a puzzle, and if I can just line all the pieces up, I know I’ll feel the satisfaction of solving a difficult gaming challenge. But I will not be able to help imagining the game this could have been; brighter, sleeker, and more imaginative.
So is the Dance With Dragons DLC good? Yeah, absolutely! Does it reshape the game? Maybe, arguably, a little bit. Not much. Does it give you more ways to play an already fun game? You bet! But is it worth it? That I do not know my friend. All I know is that thing about winning or dying, and with this new DLC I’ve won quite a bit.
So I turned off my Switch and booted up my PC. I started a new game of Battle Brothers on that. And you know what? It’s as good as it ever was. A truly superlative strategy game made better with mods. I could not recommend Battle Brothers enough, but do yourself a favor and avoid the Nintendo Switch version. You’ll avoid one tragic end to meet a much more satisfactory one.
Then again… sometimes I want to play out certain scenarios in gaming. Sometimes I want to pilot a starship and escape from devious traps. Other times, I want to make my way through an emotional family drama. There are different feelings for different days. Evil Genius 2 has a strength that no other game can offer – there’s nowhere else to play out this fantasy. Because some days you want to be Dr. Evil, and it’s pretty cool that there’s an outlet for those megalomaniacal tendencies!
But, now, there are other turn-based strategy games. You can assemble a squad of mechas, a coven of mages, an elite military unit, or even a heavily armed pig and duck. You can fight aliens, fish-men, soldiers, pirates, and existential dread. What I mean to say is that I like the ideas in Black Legend, and I applaud the devs for remaining true to their vision. Although, this is an environment with stiff competition, and it wasn’t long before I felt my attention being pulled elsewhere. Black Legend will doubtlessly have its fans, but the magic simply isn’t there.
The gameplay is fun for a time, but once you see what Curious Expedition 2 has to offer, you will start to look beneath the surface. If you do that and you still like what you see, maybe you’ll have a new indie favorite. Or maybe you’ll find that your curiosity is quickly sated, and you’ll move on to the next thing.
I don’t think the story or characters or themes of Olija will stick with me for a long time, but I will remember the game nonetheless. I will remember the world actually, as if I was the one braving mosquito filled bogs and slimy tombs. Thomas Olsson and Skeleton Crew Studio aren’t telling stories so much as they are crafting worlds. That’s what kind of game Olija is: a world you can get lost in.
Game of Thrones has turned into a very weird franchise, but I know there are still fans out there- I am one of them! And it is unfortunate that the best video game we’ve gotten up until now was a mid-tier Telltale adventure. Until something else comes along (like a really good Crusader Kings 3 mod), this is it. This is the best Game of Thrones gaming experience. You’ll know what I mean when you take Harrenhal, only to lose it the next turn. Or the first time you defend Winterfell as Theon Greyjoy. Game of Thrones: The Board Game is the best way to feel like a devious genius of Westeros.
The complexity of the interlocking systems in Empire of Sin feel like more than the game can handle. For every time a story emerges about love and loss as I described above, there are times when your speakeasy suddenly starts losing money and the game doesn’t communicate why. I’m sure through hours of play a pattern will emerge, but for now too much is too opaque and difficult.
I will fully admit to getting stuck in a few places. On a few tries, I overextended too quickly or didn’t adapt well to the changing planet. I always mismanage my electrical grid, or my maintenance bots, and build my way into a corner. But I keep coming back. Never before has a strategy game offered me such an involved story in such a staid sandbox. I think I’ll be turning Mars green for a long time to come.