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Category Archives: Demos

I’ve recently been playing the demo for the Men of War (which, after running through it several times, is now sitting atop my “will buy when not skint” list) and I keep being reminded of Silent Storm– particularly as I found myself scrambling for an option to switch off the voices almost as fast as back in 2003. The option is sadly missing, for the cut scenes at least, but this is only a minor setback- this is a strategy game after all, and poor voice acting is hardly crippling.

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empire1

As the release date fast approaches,  a demo for Creative Assembly’s strategy behemoth has appeared on Steam. It’s a weighty download at two gigs, and gives you two tutorials and two set battles to muck about with. Sadly, the campaign map isn’t featured, but one half of the demo is devoted to the new naval battles.

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There’s a reason the camera for strategy games is generally above the battlefield, being able to see everything at a glance is paramount! Having the camera reposition and lock itself onto the character you are controlling is shit; save the over the shoulder shite for the action parts. It fails to give you any appreciation for where enemies are, and it’s compounded by there not even being an on-screen mini-map.

The actual camera controls, for when it does actually let you move it about, are ridiculously sensitive and the movement grid small enough that moving long distances is a bloody chore.

Then there’s enemy movement, which the camera focuses on so tightly it’s impossible to determine where the identical Nazis are coming from.

And it’s called colour! Transferring an anime aesthetic to a real world setting is no excuse for the game to look bland as shit.

Another major issue I have is with the target selection. It’s more than happy to point out off screen enemies, but the ones in the centre of the screen aren’t highlighted in anyway at all. They just blend into the fucking grey. You have to cycle between targets, and even that’s a chore. Just let me cycle the targets I can hit, not every other cunt on the battlefield.

Not entirely sure if there’s a class system, but some of my team can turn into werewolves. The transformations are insignificant flourishes of colour that should look like a rocket propelled kaleidoscope to the face.

The covering system looked interesting, but then one of my main guys got shot and I lost the mission. Main characters that can’t die or you fail the mission are bad enough when it’s just one, but my team had fucking four.

Fuck this game.

Or civ for consoletards, if you’re a fucking idiot.

It still feels like the same game it’s always been. It doesn’t seem any easier; as much as you can rapidly produce military units to attack, it’s fairly easy to secure your own provinces with archers, making them reasonably impenetrable until you start getting hit with catapults.

The lack of needing workers for roads and tile improvements highlights the stripping out of a lot of the micromanagement; for example: military units can be combined into groups of three to form armies and early ships have ranger militia that can disembark to explore land, which is brilliant. I wouldn’t be surprise to see concepts like this turning up in the next major civ game.

Streamlining should also mean a more fluid multiplayer experience, which is definitely something to look forward to.

Visually, it’s pretty much what you’d expect, big and bold. The wonderfully animated leaders from Civ IV also make a return, along with the new advisors.

Land masses appear smaller, which should mean less cities and quicker games. We can expect the usual map customisation options, but with only a few set maps available in the demo it’s not clear what kind of limits there will be when setting them up in the full game. It’s also hard to tell the AI’s strength within the turn limit, and only having access to the first two difficulty levels.

The look and simplicity of the interface is going to deceive some people into thinking this is civ for dummies, but at its heart it’s still the same civ it’s always been, and it’s great.

There’s definitely something about it because I’ve already played through several demo games already, and I’m about to try again.

Those Mayans are going to pay.