Tag Archives: XCOM

Haven Editorial: Zacerons 2016 game awards

Zacerons 2016 game awards

2016 is officially over. Therefor I can now make a list about the best games and worst games of 2016. This list is proof that 2016 was good year indeed. The hand picked games from this list is all based on the ones I’ve reviewed this year.

2016

No man’s sky:

An under-engineered, over hyped piece of software. Which runs like a three eyed, one legged man, hobbling on thin ice. Needless to say it runs terrible and I can’t get it above thirty frames per second. Despite everything setting all the settings to low. There is also that terrible loading whenever I start the game. Despite what Hello games will have you believe. That pesky star journey is a loading screen. It even says, loading shaders at the bottom. Slow loading times is a good indication that the game code is crap.

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“Fix the damn performance issues already!”

Overwatch:

I still play it despite my short temper, questionable aiming abilities and my raging murder boner. It’s a game about holding an objective against colorful weirdos, with skills on par with mine. Whom are more concerned with chasing kills and trashing scenery, than to push the wagon up a hill. Yes it is fun, terrible and awesome, all at the same time. 

 

“Murder, death kill and chill.”

Everspace:

Rogue lite meets space exploration, with a high probability of fiery death. While being having an armada of murderous and very angry lizard people son my tail. As I traverse the randomly generated galaxy. It is the most beautiful rendition of space I’ve ever seen within a game.

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“How to make space look fantastic.”

Enter the Gungeon:

Charming and fun, where everything is a pun related to ammo or a gun. A game about exploring randomly generated dungeons and killing bosses, while trying to get the gun that can erase the past. Hard to wrong with a sizzling hot, table flipping bullet hell.20160420200000_1

 

“Fun with puns and guns.”

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun:

Ninjas flip out and kill people, it is a proven scientific fact. At least according the interweb. Around the time of fire arms, where the shogun ruled and Japan was almost peaceful. A cleaver ploy to reignite the war is brewing and a team of ninjas are set out to thwart it. Someone finally decided to make a top down stealth game, I’ve not seen many of those since Commandos was new.

20161209153853_1“Best stealth game of the year.”

Xcom 2:

Aliens have taken over the earth and the resistance needs my help, in order to liberate Earth. This game improves on everything the previous release did and a lot more.  Though adding a mission timer was probably not the smartest thing to do. Overall a fun turn based strategy game.

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“Damn aliens, always digging holes in my backyard.”

Owlboy:

It took nine years to get it done and I’d say it was worth it. It looks fantastic and is immensely  fun to play. Starring Otus; A boy, whom also is an owl, with a flying cape and several useful companions, fighting menacing mechanical pirates.20161030235823_1

Worth the wait

Redout:

Strap yourself into a rocked, held aloft with anti gravity. While trying to avoid a fiery death as the track blast by. It’s the fastest and most polished racing game I’ve played in 2016. It’s just fun speed through a loop at 300 km/t. The music is good as well and apparently it can be used with virtual reality.

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“High octane crash and burn.”

Earth Defense Force 4.1 Shadow of new despair:

Finally a proper EDF game on pc. A last I can smash the bug horde under my heels,  without slowdowns and horrible performance issues. It’s one of the few third person games where you actually face down an overwhelming horde of enemies. 20160725160931_1

“EDF! EDF! EDF!”

The Incredible Baron:

While not the most played game on my list, it does sport a very good soundtrack, which I’ve been listening to a lot. Especially when writing my list for games of 2016. The game it self is not bad at all and looks good. It’s just not my cup of tea. Despite the quirky fun characters.20160804095119_1

“Kick ass music.”

The Final Station:

All aboard the man train to Armageddon. It is a fun game about managing a train, explore abandoned locations and keeping passengers alive, while the nefarious plot unfolds.20160825001136_1

“Quit dying on me, I’m trying to adjust the cabin pressure.”

Clustertruck:

The floor is lava is a simple game about not touching the floor.  Only this time around the the floor is composed of speeding trucks and questionable physics. It’s fun as long as you can manage extreme first person platforming.20161003183511_1

Bird of Light

A very fun run and jump game, with a deep and slightly depressing story about a very real problem India is faced with.20160724194007_1

 

“Slow motion matrix jumping is awesome.”
May 2017 be an even better year for games than 2016.

Njål Sand

Haven Reviews: Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe

Haven Reviews: Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe

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Open Transport Tycoon, is a ported and improved version of a very old management game. Unlike most such games there is a goal and that is to have the most of everything when the year 2050 has passed. The only way to lose is to file bankruptcy, which can be quite hard indeed.

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In order to start a business all one have to do is to connect a route from something that produce materials, that can be refined into goods. Such as building a railway from a forest onto a sawmill.
Or transporting people between places, everything else is just variations on the formula. However there is a lot more to it than that. Such as the ever so fun multiplayer mode.

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Anyhow I figured out some really fun ways to spice things up. Buying up land in front of someone establishing a railway. A bit costly but it will prevent that player from claiming a good spot.

Raising land under someones boat and watch the ensuing fireball.

But a really really devious one that is very hard to notice, is when someone have trucks going to and from a depot. By building the tiniest railway ever, its about six squares in total. The locomotive will go so fast, it fails to stop at the railroad crossing. Causing the car to get run through by a speeding train. Replacing the car with a pile of ash and a mushroom like explosion. Even more satisfying when your friend fails to notice it.

All is not well in the garden though. The screen will quickly be overrun by pannels and information. Not to mention the horrible scaling text and interface, whihc was made for a different time. In hte options menu the interface can be scaled a little, but it is still very annoying. THe same goes for the blue text at the bottom.

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Aside from that, there is also a fair share of accidents that can occur, such as fires, planes crashing and Xcom blowing up a ufo on your railroad. Trains also have the habit of colliding when more than one runs on the same track, when the signals fail.

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In Tycoon, trains can be use in exceedingly complicated and weird ways, due to the signals. Which is a meta game all of its own. After all at some point, there will be so much money in play that insane things can be built.

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Drawing a line from A to B with a train running on is the icing on the cake. Town that litter the map for example have some personality and limits on what they accept being built. Naturally there are a lot of ways to manipulate the town it self, such as setting up commute. Transportation causes them to expand greatly.

Transport Tycoon graphics are made up of nice and clean isometric sprites. With several environmental themes to pick from, such as the candy land one. A real eyesore, but fun non the less. Meanwhile in game music are composed of loud chip-tunes. With a big variety of styles to pick from.

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Not to mention the scenario editor that’s a vital part of the experience. There are many, many devious maps, but most of them try to recreate real world locations. These can be downloaded directly from the various games menus, along with various AI and a bucket load of custom game settings. Which makes this a lovely cocktail for the grand price of free. Regardless of how fun I find Ottd it’s still a timesink.

.Njål Sand

Haven Review: XCOM 2

XCOM2TitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

I was a computer network instructor for a major training company in 1994. My dial-up Internet was fast becoming a bore, so decided that a new game for my PC was in order. I stumbled upon a title called XCOM: UFO Defense (MicroProse, 1994). I brought home the packaged game, but for some reason never got around to installing it. The following year XCOM: Terror From the Deep (MicroProse, 1995) caught my attention. As with its predecessor it wound up being thrown into a drawer, never to be installed. Twenty years and a host of sequels later, I’m happy to report that I have indeed installed and played XCOM 2, developed by Firaxis and published by 2K Games.  X1What we have is a turn-based tactical simulator. Essentially, you lead a team of specialists into battle, position them where they’ll do the most good and then let loose their fire upon the enemy. Once this is done, the opposing team (a group of mind-bending aliens) gets a turn at doing the same to you. The mission ends when one side has obliterated the other. To make things more challenging, small sub-quests accompany many of the missions. Perhaps you must place an explosive device somewhere on the map, or hack into a computer console located deep in enemy territory.

X6As you assign orders to your soldiers, I find it helpful to think of the map as an obstacle-laden chessboard. Each unit has a specialty that works well in some positions; less so in others. The trick is to place your pieces out of the enemy’s line of sight, while capitalizing on their own best attack options.

X9At the conclusion of combat, you’re presented with a status report. You see the general condition of each team member. Green is good, red is bad, and dead is really bad. You can heal your wounded soldiers but you can’t revive those killed in action.X7 So if you’re the type of player who grows attached to your characters, you’ll be restarting missions often in this game. Also, don’t forget to use points earned in battle to promote your worthy combatants. High ranking squad members are sturdier and can out-perform lower ranking enemy counterparts. This is especially useful when aliens attempt to confuse your troops with their mind-control ability.

As your adventure continues, you’ll be taken to exotic locations all over the globe! The world map fills in as you reclaim each area, freeing our planet from the alien scourge!
X10As clean and time-tested as this series is, the game is not without its bugs. On several occasions one of my soldiers was standing point-blank before a foe, with an 80% or greater “chance-to-hit”. He missed. Granted, 80% is no guarantee, but it happened a bit too often not to suggest a peek inside the RNG calculator.

Without giving away vital story elements, it may be important to note that this game begins where another XCOM title left off…well, sort of. Games in this genre often have multiple endings, and of course players strive for the best and happiest. But that wouldn’t work here. XCOM 2 wouldn’t be much if it opened with an influx of bunny rabbits and rainbows. The notion is that XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012), the first to be offered by Firaxis/2K Games, concluded with the “bad” story ending; the humans losing their battle against the aliens. So now, here we are.X11a

XCOM 2 is a “Triple-A” title, and as such it’s priced on Steam at $60 (USD). Is it worth it? Yes it is. Of the many entries in this long-admired series, this is certainly the most refined and enhanced. Additionally, there are 50 Steam achievements to go for right now, with potentially more on the way via upcoming DLC.

I still have those original, unopened boxes from ’94 and ’95. I even have an old pre-Windows PC to play them on. Perhaps I’ll boot it up and give the games a try…that is if the data on those floppy diskettes is still there!
-Chris Roberts-

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