Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion

Seeming as I gave a preview for Age of Empires 3 it seems only fair to do one for the expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Rome Total War. I downloaded the demo of it and have played through both of the supplied levels. Both were an enjoyable experience, as to be expected with Rome Total war, they did enlighten me about some of the changes. It showed off some more armies, in fact every army in the two battles was new.
Here is a list of some(or all) of the new armies:

Western Roman Empire
Easteren Roman Empire
Germanic Frankish Tribes
Romano Brittish

As the name implies, and these armies reveal, it is based more on the barbarians. An interesting thing to know would be if they are expanding the campaign map to include northern countries such as Scotland. I think it would be very fun to defend Hadrian's wall. They might not improve on the campaign though, which would be a great shame. Even if they don't increase the size of the campaign map there will still be new armies to play with.

Another thing that has been changed is, in the original, there was a information box so when you but your mouse over the unit it would tell you the name of that troop, the energy levels, moral and a couple of other things. Now the box is a lot more informative. For instance it used to say: Shaken. Now it says: Shaken- Because they have suffered heavy casualties or something like that. This may not seem like a particularly important change and it isn't but it could well be one of many little changes that come together and make the game a much more enjoyable experience.

A further change is when you fight at night, one man from each squad carries a burning stick to light up the battle field. I am yet to discover if this can be used as a weapon but it makes the battlefield look cool.

Onagers have been changed. They are far more accurate(or at least it appeared that way when they were firing at me) And maybe because it was at night but when they fired with the fire load it looked IMMENSE. There really isn't a better way to describe it. It is a shame there were not flaming pigs in the battle.

Overall I think this will be a worthwhile expansion regardless of whether you have finished the campaign or not. An interesting thing is it is published by Sega, not Activision. I didn't even know Sega did publishing. It is interesting that Activison have dropped out of the boat when there is the expansion pack and Spartan: Total warrior.(Preview coming soon[maybe]) Both of which are bound to make money. Oh well, all fool Activison.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Age of Empires 3, A revelation or some more of the same

Age of Empires is the original RTS and now the third one is coming out. Microsoft have the power to make this a really good game or some more elephants smashing people unrealistically and bowmen shooting down stone walls. Like most gamers, I own a copy of a AoE. I own the first one but have played on the second. I enjoyed both experiences but compared with Rome Total war, it is really simplistic. Now I never played the campaigns in AoE 1 simply because they were boring. RTW on the other hand involved you and you choose the missions you did. It was revolutionary which many strategy WW2 games have followed suit. The question is will Microsoft risk being sued by Activision and use it or not. Activison did not sue the WW2 games simply because they were one, not good enough to pose any threat and two, there's was a different audience. Microsoft on the other hand one AoE already has a reputation to make people buy it, they are drawing a lot of attention to the themselves and finally this is aimed at the same target audience. I personally believe it a risk worth taking because people like me will give it better review and it is hardly like Microsoft are short on cash. Or even if they are at the moment they'll recoup it all when the 360 comes out.

I have only seen screen shots of the game, and they claim to be real. Well, they look Miss's b Miss's e Miss's aut Miss's i Miss's ful my friend. NB. I can spell it is to emphasize how good they are. Picture halo 2 graphics and they combine them with mercenaries then you begin to get a idea on the graphics. Un-fortunately for us the camera is not free control you can just zoom in and out. The water looks amazing but then so does most games water now a days.

Until Microsoft release a demo of the game, which won't happen until closer to the game launch, I can't comment on the gameplay. Microsoft have said that the gameplay will be more advanced than in previous AoEs witch is no achievement. They have only mentioned 1 feature which is 'Home towns.' Home towns is the town you came from and as you gain experience points they send you creates which you choose what you want in them. It sounds like an alright function, and experience points implies they have changed the campaign for the better, but it is hardly revolutionary. I have now seen game footage though and it looks suspiciously similar. Charge...Bowman take the down that massive iron building etc. The trains look quite good though and judging by the video, play quite an important part.

The release date has no obvious implications other than they are trying to beat down the little amount of the RTW expansion pack, which is also coming out then. But it being a expansion pack will mean it won't get much coverage. As if the third AoE isn't going to get enough any way. Ah well.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Blog Update

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last 12 days, I was in France. What is it with the French and UHT (Unbelievably Horrible Taste) milk. The holiday was enjoyable though, except for the drive back. Terrible driving and a 3 hour wait for our ferry was bad enough, but for the starboard engine to fail halfway across the channel making us travel at half speed. if I was to do a review for speedferries... DON'T USE SPEED FERRYS.

Anyhow, I am planning to do a review of Halo 2 as there as been so much hype, which will shortly be followed by a review of the new maps for it. On the multi player front my network is ALIVE, about time too. Another note: DON'T USE BELKIN. So now I might be able to make my report. I am also considering downloading a game called Project Entrophia. I have had a account for some time now and it looks really good. Free game, just with a real money economy. And it being yanky I'll have to setup a paypal.COM account. Conquer :Live and Reloaded is a game I am planning to get so that will also get a look in, as will AoE 3 preview report.

A further post, when I get around to it, will be my toughs on game prices Vs. piracy. Both of which I see as a crime.

"All your base are belong to us"