Game Review – Eador: Masters of the Broken World

garrison banner560 Game Review   Eador: Masters of the Broken World

Eador: Masters of the Broken World is chiefly a turn based strategy game from the Moscow based Snowbird Games Studio. Taking place in a fantasy realm with lords, wizards, and monsters making up cast of Eador. The game does not rely heavily on rpg elements, using characterization simply as flavor and leveling as simple power-up enhancement to “hero” classes. Eador is however not without a good portion of flavor texts that flesh out the world for players that choose to consume them. I pleasurably gleaned information about Eador’s setting from the well established art direction, the world map in particular.

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Within three environments, Eador’s game play unfolds. The first being the game world, It contains cities, towns or other points of interest. This is all coated in a fog of war to be explored and revealed after the player conquers or barters control of these nodes. This I feel is the most well formed element of the game. It’s is the most visually appealing and filled with an addictive board game like play style. (…just one more turn, please!) As you add nodes to your control you will gain income, that you will be spend on upgrades, negotiations (bribes), and your fighting forces.

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The second mode is a very pared down city builder or more fairly stated, a visuations of your your tech tree and upgrades. I feel when you view your castle that it lacks enough fidelity to provide you with information about your build and sends the player looking to menus for the useful information. This would be a nice place to show of some animations of your castle work, if only to add a sense place.

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The last mode is turn based tactical combat not unlike that of the King’s Bounty games. You control a hero character and his army of standard ranged and melee troops all acquired in your home base. Unfortunately I found this the least enjoyable and found myself quickly auto resolving combat with a menu option. I lost interest in the slow plodding nature of the fighting and wanting to see what new event might be revealed on the world map.

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Eador’s worlds have been nicely sewn together by it’s developers. I feel that fans of the strategic elements of the Total War series and the turn based expansion of the Civilization games will get a kick out of this fantasy game. It offers a lot of game play and could easily draw someone into it’s world for many an evening.

  • Posted May 21st, 2013 in Review
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown

logo small XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Whenever I get a new computer one thing that always gets installed, right after Steam, is X-Com: Enemy Unknown. I don’t always play it, but it has to be there just in case. X-Com is right up on top of my top of my ‘best games ever’ list, so imagine my surprise back in 2010 when news of a remake hit. My excitement was short-lived though, as it turned out it wasn’t a remake but a re-imagining – a tactical first person shooter, X-Com for the modern masses. Interestingly, a number of people were a little put off by the move, as many felt 2K were just applying the X-Com brand to a generic first person shooter. Well, as luck would have it, a year or so later it was revealed that Firaxis Games would be making a proper remake.

In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you’ll find yourself at the head of a multinational task force chartered to combat the alien threat that has begun to plague the Earth. The squad you’ll command will take go on strike missions to stop alien terror attacks, UFO landing (and crash) sites and even an alien base or two. In the process you’ll do battle all over the world and see many of the games 70 maps ranging from forests to graveyards, I even saw a nice book store. So get ready, it’s not easy work, but I know you can do it!

xcom 01 small XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Firaxis has done a wonderful job of updating the game without losing what made the original great. There are a few tweaks to the formula, but the soul of X-Com is still there. For instance, the inventory system consisting of a grid based backpack and belt are replaced with a much simpler system. There is a choice of armor type, primary weapon, secondary weapon and a utility item such as a med kit or grenades. That’s right you can’t walk around with an alien in your backpack anymore. Also gone are movement points, instead your squad can move a set distance and/or perform a mix of actions, allowing you say to move to a flanking position and shoot. Movement points where the bane of my early X-Com career, and I for one am glad they are gone, I never seemed to have enough anyway. They have slimmed down the squad reducing it to just six soldiers, whom you’ll be selecting before missions. Of course you end up with more than six soldiers each of with a variety of abilities based on their weapon proficiency and skill tree. I’ve found its best to try to swap in a rookie every couple of missions just to spread some of the experience, that way later in the game you don’t find yourself losing all your heavy hitters. Remember, you are going to lose soldiers, something the game does point out right at the start! Hitting the ground at the start of a mission is simplified as well, with the since you no longer have to disembark from your ship and are started feet on the ground. It was a tense bit of action trying to get everyone off and into cover, but for me it usually led to a broken mouse or lots of cursing. Things will still go wrong and if you’re not playing on Ironman mode, you’re sure to end up saving and loading trying in vain to save that one soldier; you know the one named after your mom.

Research, manufacturing and base planning have all made a welcome return as well. At the end of a mission you’ll be credited with all manner of alien artifacts, from corpses to alien alloy. The items are used to upgrade your facilities and further your research into the alien threat. I had a good time going through missions trying to capture as many live aliens as I could to bring back for the egg-heads to research further. It gets quite tricky to pull off later in the game. Some of the goods you bring back will serve no purpose; you can sell that stuff on the ‘Grey Market’ to make a quick couple of bucks. The Grey Market will also allow you sell off other artifacts as well; of course you may need those items in the future and could be blocked from research or item/weapon production. In between missions you are encouraged to research a variety of goals that can be researched in any order if you have the items required. There will be several priority engineering and research projects, along the way, that to help move the story forward. It will also lead into more base building and the set of challenges that come along with it. You need to be careful when placing structures in the base, bonuses may be applied if they are near other structures, such as a boost when two satellites uplinks are built next to each other. It’s not easy trying to keep your operation in order.

xcom 02 small XCOM: Enemy Unknown

The modern coat of paint brings with it a few issues though. For instance, the game is grid based, but the world around the characters on the screen doesn’t strictly conform to that grid. This can lead to many instances of clipping and very odd camera angles. It’s not uncommon to see two characters next to each other clip inside the other when shooting happens. Speaking of clipping, I also had one instance when the aliens and I were exchanging fire through a rock wall. It wasn’t a breakable wall either. The camera and navigation around the levels felt a bit floaty and I occasionally found myself having a hard time clicking where I wanted on the maps. But, the most annoying thing is the free move the aliens get when you first see them. It feels like it completely breaks the flow of the game since you can’t seem to ever surprise them, sure they are aliens, but it would be nice to get the drop on them. Little things like that mar the execution a bit, but do not take away from the overall experience and I can’t wait to see what else they may have planned for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The other XCOM game? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Bottom line, buy it, everyone should give the game a chance!

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Developers: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games

Product was provided by publisher.

  • Posted October 15th, 2012 in Review
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