Category ArchiveReviews

Reviews 22 Mar 2018 11:36 pm

Stellaris, Redux

Since so many love Stellaris and Paradox’s grand strategy games, I put another 25 hours into a game I otherwise concluded wasn’t very good. You’ll be happy to know that after those many more hours, I can now conclude that Stellaris is actually just bad.

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Reviews 27 Feb 2018 12:12 pm

Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2 is from what I can see an upgrade over Endless Space in every way they intended. Unfortunately not in the ways I wanted, though. Like ES1, ES2 uses the simultaneous turn system and lacks turn-based tactical combat.

Simultaneous turns is what really kills this game for me. I loathe that the AI gets to perform actions on my turn, and even worse gets to react to my actions. E.g. if you are blockading a system, a single misclick that you immediately rectify will still let all your enemies through as they react to your mistake. Or that AI actions will pop up during your turn, sometimes after you’ve moved other ships so now you can’t react to it. This forces you to wait each turn until the AI is probably done with their actions, then perform your own. With a real turn-based system, these and many other quirks wouldn’t happen.

The AI only respects fleet size. Even if you are objectively the most powerful empire, if you don’t have a sizable standing fleet the AI will attack you. Doesn’t matter that you can then just buy a huge fleet and utterly crush them the turn after – they don’t think that far ahead.

Speaking of attacking, the AI will bundle up on your planet, declare war, invade, and thanks to simul-turns you don’t get to react or prepare. This shouldn’t be possible.

And combat…is boring. You get to set overall plan, then just watch it auto-resolve. There’s no tactical combat.

A damn shame. Endless Space 2 is so close to being great, if only a few tweaks were made. Sadly, those issues ruin the game.

Reviews 26 Feb 2018 10:40 pm


I wrote on Twitter a week ago:

And well, 2.0 wasn’t enough.

In short, I don’t much care for Stellaris. If you’re looking for an updated version of Master of Orion 2 or Ascendancy, this is not it.

I played half an hour before patch 2.0 and really didn’t like the game. Then I noticed 2.0 was due out soon, so I figured I’d give it another shot. Well, after 4 more hours playing at Fast (and a bit Fastest) speed, I still don’t like the game. It’s overall better than before the patch, but still just not what I want.

The UI, sound effects, music, etc feels ancient and clunky, in the bad way. The quest system is severely lacking compared to Endless Space. Research takes bloody ages to complete, and when it finally finishes it doesn’t tell you what you just gained access to. Pirates are an awful mechanic.

Ship movement is the sharp inverse of what I want. Ships will move slowly through a system, laboriously spool up their engines, and then instantly jump to another system. What I’d prefer is if ships could enter and leave systems almost instantaneously, and instead spend the majority of travel time between systems.

I do like that you can build space stations in otherwise dead systems to guard them, but I don’t like that you must explore with a science ship before being able to move other ships in.

Finally, it’s real-time. I rather strongly dislike real-time 4X. I was able to play Stellaris thanks to pausing all the time, but that’s not ideal. This game just isn’t for me.

Reviews 22 Apr 2014 10:00 am

Sage of Shadowdale

Sage of Shadowdale book series is awful to meh.

The first two books (Elminster Must Die; Bury Elminster Deep) drone on with pointless action that takes place sneaking into and escaping out of the Cormyr palace so many times I stopped counting, and it doesn’t set up anything interesting either. The two books could be condensed to half a book, without losing anything. The only saving grace is that Ed Greenwood writes very well, so he manages to make it tolerable to read. Rating 2/5.

The last book (Elminster Enraged) is much better, but still not very good. Most of the pointless plotless meandering was left out, so it’s at least working towards some clear goals. Too bad the main goal was a heavily foreshadowed deus ex machina – just because we know it’s coming, doesn’t really make it ok, especially not if you then don’t take the time to flesh it out. The ending that should have been a grand majestic resurrection, instead just falls flat. Rating 3/5.

How people have rated these books as high as Ed Greenwood’s earlier works like Cormyr or the Elminster Ascending series, I just can’t fathom.

Reviews 02 Jan 2011 02:14 am


BioShock for PC from Steam.

In a word: Underwhelming.

I expected so much more from this game, and it failed in every way. Weapons are boring, plasmids are bland and don’t feel very powerful, enemies are annoying and get really old really fast, scripted events are predictable, story totally failed to capture me, and the environment is almost exactly opposite of what I want.

I got all that from the 1.5 hours I spent playing it. And then I watched the Spoiler Warning play-through of it which confirmed my assumptions; it is simply not a game I would ever enjoy. Maybe if they juiced up the plasmids a lot and let the “mana” regenerate on its own…

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