Conan Unconquered Review
Conan Unconquered’s slow-moving economy that always seems to lag behind the relentless waves of enemies is frustrating and the fact that there are only two playable heroes — a third is available behind a paywall at launch — and no story or campaign make the game feel like it’s incomplete or at the very least a meager package for the price.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Review
This might not be a popular opinion in 2018 but I still love real-time strategy (RTS) games. To this day every couple of months, I’ll boot back up an old Command & Conquer, Company of Heroes, or Age of Empires and run through a couple of skirmishes. For me, these real-time strategy games are comfort food. While my friends were off playing Quake, I was the Romans taking out hordes of Egyptians in my fifth street skirmish in Age of Empires II. RTS is a genre that’s all but disappeared, that is except for an updated versions of Age of Empires.
Those few returning flaws aside, XCOM 2 is an experience. Much like its predecessor, Firaxis again delivers a fantastic mix of tactical combat and strategy, held together by an almost scarily stressful bow bathed in the blood of your fallen warriors. If you have any interest at all in turn-based games, you owe yourself this game as a gift, and honestly, even if you have little to no interest, playing this may just get that engine started. I think this may be the first unmissable game this year.
Life is Feudal: Your Own
That said, although it does distinguish itself by focusing on a specific historical period and its limitations, Life is Feudal has characteristics shared by many of the so-called “realistic” sandbox survival games: progression is slow, it's a challenge to learn, and finally, the endgame is simply a more elaborate and protracted version of the rest of the experience. Maybe in the end your community -- if it can somehow survive the raids and attacks from others and finds a way to really communicate and cooperate -- evolves into the Renaissance. I know that I will probably never see it, because I don’t have the time or commitment to find out. Life is Feudal -- like many of its peers in the genre -- is not enough fun or rewarding in the short term, and the long game is only for true devotees.
There is a lot of competition in this genre nowadays, which makes a game like Hard West a little harder to recommend than it used to be. If you aren’t a big fan of turn-based combat, then Hard West is probably not a game for you. If, however, you have played through the XCOM series, Wasteland 2, or even the Shadowrun reboot RPGs, then Hard West will provide something a little different if you are still looking for more turn-based combat.
In The Masterplan, developer Shark Punch has provided an engaging heist simulator that while at times can feel clunky, succeeds through clever level and game design. If you are a fan of squad based strategy games or old heist movies, then you should definitely check out The Masterplan.
Sid Meier's Starships
My first thought as soon as I opened the game was "wow this feels cheap." The feeling never went away, and just got even deeper. I was incredibly excited to see what the game would be like since it could be played on the go on an iPad, but if this is how they had to hamstring their design to fit a system like that, I'd rather keep the dream of on-the-go Firaxis games as just that: a dream, since the reality is just a disappointment.
Heroes of Might and Magic 3 HD Edition
Heroes of Might and Magic 3 is a great game. If you haven't played it, you can pick it up, and it's expansions, and it's random map generator, up from reputable sources for about $5 less then you would spend for this HD version. You could probably even get it for less during one of the umpteen sales held by those same reputable dealers of fine video games at various points throughout the year. Whatever you decide, I can not, in good conscience or otherwise, recommend this version. It is, in no uncertain terms, a waste of money.