A break for gaming

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I’ve toned down my blogging lately because my interest in gaming has been rekindled. As some may know already, I was a huge gaming enthusiast in my earlier days and now and then, the urge takes me once more and I dive into it for a short while.

This time my interest of choice has been Demigod, a upcoming RTS/RPG hybrid following on the succesful footsteps of DotA, which is quite a smart move as they get to milk an untapped market for this type of gameplay which has an already proven popularity. In Greece for example, the DotA popularity in Netcafes is immense. Day in and day out, people will tune in for this game and Counterstrike, both of which, incidentally seem to be more popular than their original game types (Warcraft 3 and Half-Life respectively).

I always wanted to play DotA but I didn’t have a copy of Warcraft3 available and I couldn’t be bothered to buy one just for it, so it was a nice solution that Gas Powered Games came out with a commercially developed game of this type since they also created another one of my recent favourites, Supreme Commander.

The good thing is that I could go in and join the beta simply by pre-ordering the game. This is a unique take on beta testing, which I think has a lot of potential, which is to allow everyone to join in simply by promising to buy the game. That way, you don’t have to rely on random selection and you insure that satisfaction is granted to those most excited about it.

So I’ve been playing the beta recently and I like what I see, although it still has a way to go before it is balanced and keeps up the interest for more than 20 games. From what I hear the beta testers don’t really see the whole enchelada so we probably see the the worrying trends resolved in the full version. Unfortunately we’re all eagerly awaiting the much advertised patch to fix the huge network issues that mutliplayer suffers from currently which make online play an annoyance more than anything else. After playing mostly against the AI for 1.5 week, I decided to wait until the patch comes out until I attempt any more MP.

So, as I was browing what Impulse had to offer, I noticed another game called Sins of a Solar Empire which seemed interesting although the screenshots didn’t really amaze me. Nevertheless I kept hearing positive things about it so I decided togive the demo a try.

I was hooked pretty quickly from it and as soon as my playtime expired in the demo, I bought the game through Impulse to continue. I won’t go much into details as you can easily find much more complete reviews of it if you’re interested but I’ll say that if you’re a fan of both RTS games and 4X games (Masters of Orion series, Galactic Civilizations etc) then this is certainly going to appeal to you as it merges aspects from both giving it an epic scale for an RTS and a fast-pace for a 4X.

What I didn’t like about it is the lack of a campaign mode, which although something standard for 4X games, is something always available for RTS’. I will try to work around it by playing on huge maps with lots of player but unfortunately this makes it a bit lacking as you only have the choice of 3 differents races to choose from and all of them have basically the same unit types (the only difference is that they get them at different points of the research tree). This makes the whole thing look a bit bland as you’re mostly playing a rock-paper-scissors game with your fleet compositions, since each ship type is basically designed to deal explicitly with another ship type.

On the other hand, they’ve done a wonderful job of merging RPG aspects into the game as well, where your capital ships are absolutely impossing and capable of earning experience and levels, giving them more special abilities and the like. In effect, the Capital ships play the role of Heroes in Warcraft 3.

Unfortunately the graphics are not as good as I would like, but I think that may be because Hegemonia spoiled me

As it is now, I’m going to start playing with a huge map and try to act as if that is a campaign. There are expansions coming out (I already bought it with the first one) and eventually a campaign is going to be included in the first major expansion. Lets hope my interest is held until then.

Anyone up for a game?

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