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Showing posts from November, 2013

An Autumn Steam Sale Thanksgiving

Steam's 2013 Autumn Sale has devastated my plans to be saving up much this paycheck, but I do think my regimen of purchases has improved a bit.

I basically have such a craven backlog of games that I've upgraded my purchase requirements from, "It looks like something I might want to play" to, "It looks like something I'll definitely play."

As picky as I am, this subtle change in phrasing now means that most of the games sitting on my wish list are little more than dead weight, but I did pick up a few interesting titles nonetheless.

Now Playing: Euro Truck Simulator 2

I've watched a great deal of Nerd Cubes'  "Lets Play" videos and noticed that most games with "simulator" in the title are kind of silly.  They might be simulating something, but that doesn't make them worthwhile games.  They're mostly a batch of poorly-wrought gimmick concepts to sell to gullible casual gamers.

However, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a surprisi…


After the disappointment that was X Rebirth, I really needed some game to restore my faith that somebody out there knows how to make a good game.  As usual, respite came not from a company whose triple-A game budgets meant they were desperate to invent some art-ruining methodology to recoup their investment.  Instead, it came from an indy development house that kept their belts tightened and just banked on just making something good.

You don't get much more humble than Dekovir Entrertainment, whose previous games were the usual casual fare of solitaire, hidden object games, and so on.  These kinds of games do not attempt to reinvent the wheel; they just make a good-quality product by using known mechanics.  Normally, that's a formula I absolutely hate, because it just creates derivatives of games I'm already bored of.

Yet, something special happened when these developers turned to improving the established wheels of Terraria and Dwarf Fortress: theyembarked upon territory …

This Isn't Rebirth, It's An Abortion

The honeymoon is over for X Rebirth.  I'm geeky enough to be willing to work with a kludgy game, but only if there's something of value beneath the rough surface.  Unfortunately, after a 27-hour wrestling match with this accessibility-minded-lie of a cumbersome interface, I now realize that Egosoft has committed the worst cardinal sin a developer can bring upon their fans.

Do we need to write this on a stone tablet for you?  Thou Shalt Not Sell A Known Name Brand That Has Been Completely Reinvented To Appeal To A Completely Different Audience?  It's confoundedly obvious when put in such simple terms, and only those who are blinded by money could miss it.  Only a marketing weasel sells an icebox branded as a fireplace!   Maybe the reason why X Rebirth was released in such a poor condition that even a new audience is unlikely to appreciate it was because it was karma coming back to punish them for lying.
What Egosoft literally did wrong was to gut the most compelling sandbox…

Birth Is Messy, Nevermind Rebirth

After playing with it for a couple solid days now, I feel it's a fair opinion to say that X Rebirth, in its current state, is not very good.  The issues are more than minor; it seems Egosoft largely left skeleton code in place in many areas, giving the players inadequate in-game explanation how to utilize many of the game systems or how to complete the next step of the campaign.

Worse, some vital things were downright inoperable at release.  Freighters following their trade queues had a tendency to stall out when it came time to exchange goods, so the "trade" portion of the whole "trade, build, think, fight" mantra of the X series was largely inoperative.  Capturing ships absolutely required destroying components that engineers were unable to repair in the release build, meaning any captured ships were essentially just floating trophies.  Both these issues have been patched into semi-functionality, but that they happened at all suggests that Egosoft just ran ou…

Unberthing For Rebirth

The faithful hour of X Rebirth's release looms less than 24 hours before me, and my gamer sense tells me that it could potentially have about as much impact on my free time as Skyrim did.  After all, this game represents a gloriously-rendered space sandbox with a genuine economy model driving everything.  With the ability to actually get out of your ship and walk around, it's closer to the space grail than a game I may see in half a decade.
I suppose I can't blame myself for wasting so much time right now; I'm really too excited for X Rebirth's release to be all that be productive.  (Although, as fate would have it, its release falls precisely on the thickest part of my work week.  Well, no matter, I'm not so very far gone to my habit that I will forsake my societal responsibilities... just my creative ones.)

It's looking like Rebirth will be somewhat streamlined from previous X games, but I believe it will escape the fate of being overly-dumbed-down.  You …

All The Albion Preclusion You Can Stomach

Now Playing: X3: Albion Prelude

This is looking to be a week in which I'll play the snot out of this game, leading up to X Rebirth's release on November 15th.  To these ends, last Friday and Saturday evening (after work) as well as the vast majority of my Sunday off, went largely to the pursuit of completing the Albion Prelude campaign that serves as a teaser for X Rebirth.

Friday and Saturday mostly involved getting my very own factory complex of the Argon race started.  I began with a Solar Power Plant XL and then built all the supporting structures needed to essentially provide me a free stream of energy cells with a surplus of food and rawmaterials.

As of Sunday, it was time to get my computer components built in order to progress the Albion Prelude campaign... I want to complain a bit about that turned out. 

The trouble was that the Argon computer plants I needed to produce the computer components were only available far away from my factory complex.  I could not hire a…

Anticipating X And Ex-Anticipation

Now Playing: ...Absolutely nothing.

It's 9 days until X Rebirth is released, and when a game that incredible is just around the corner, the sense of anticipation makes it difficult for me to want to play anything else.

I did reinstall X3: Albion Prelude with some pretense to complete the campaign.  This campaign is actually a sort of storyline that leads into to X Rebirth, so could potentially be enriching groundwork for me to enjoy the game when it comes out.  However, I'm noticing that the Albion prelude campaign is actually rather merciless...

Picking up from a two-year-old saved game, I was at a step of the Albion Prelude campaign that involved getting 3 lasertowers.  However, these are hard to get your hands on because there's only a few lasertower factories in the game and they're usually sold out because producing just one takes about hour and a half of game time (which is real time but can be sped up by as much as six times).  Apparently, the-me-of-many-months…

The X Factor: Elite To The Extreme!

I was surprised to discover that this is the first time I wrote a blog entry on any game from Egosoft's X Series.  After all, I was playing them since the original X: Beyond The Frontier, released in 1999, and have over 100 hours logged in Steam for X3: Terran Conflict alone (and I had already put quite a few hours into before I purchased it there).

In truth, the original X games were not all that great.  They were, of course, games in the vein of Elite, the 3D space trading game that popularized the whole "space trading and combat simulator" genre.  But I had already played better games than X: Beyond The Frontier, which had dodgy physics, terrible projectile simulation, and graphics a few generations behind even 1999 games.  (Despite 1998's Descent Freespace not being an open-ended sandbox, it was a tough act to follow when it came to the quality of space combat, and it remains so to this day.)
But I have to hand it to Egosoft: each game in the X series that they r…