WW2 – The clubfooted gender war in …Battlefield V

I would like to apologize in advance if this review offends you. If you feel offended, please send me a private message. My views are moderate but I may sound blunt sometimes – English isn’t my first language and this article features sensitive topics that can be easily misunderstood.
Thank you for your understanding.

The saddest day of the year

So, apparently, today is the saddest day of the year.
-“That’s ridiculous!” I thought to myself.
Apparently, it relates to the fact that the holiday season has come and gone and what was new and exciting a couple of weeks ago is now uninspired and unsurprising.
Enough time has passed and now you realize that all your New Year’s resolutions and attempts at becoming a better human have caved miserably – like in every previous year. All that is left is an indiscriminate number of uneventful work days until something happens that actually sparks your interest.

This past season was VERY intense for me. Personal investments, social interactions, and even a brand new blog distracted me… and the season flew by very quickly.
The truth is, I got to skip a load of games and new releases.
But yesterday I felt the need to play something new and something decent.

battlefield 5 women

I was holding back on buying Battlefield V.
The franchise features an over-the-top base price (+DLC content) – and prices tend to lower past the holiday season. So I decided to give it a go.
After a painstakingly lengthy 53Gb download and installation (which I cleverly decided to sleep through it), I finally got to try it out.

This drew me to a very tense debate going on in-game.

Repeating History

Following the footsteps of its predecessor, Battlefield 1 (numbering systems are broken at EA btw), which included a negro-based squad that historically did fight bravely in WW1, Battlefield V surprised everyone when it showcased several female protagonists in a World War 2 setting.

When I first saw the trailer for Battlefield V I thought it was so awesome that they included female characters. At the same time players watching the trailer at the event were concerned on how that could impact the game experience.

Even though the role of women was determinant – and there were a LOT of women fighting throughout Europe – the proportion of battling women in this game is pretty much equal to that of men.
This can be tricky when you’re attempting to be historically accurate in a game.

Apparently, Battlefield V took a huge amount of flak for that decision.
So much that the Battlefield V subReddit moderators started banning users and removing topic-related posts.

“My immersion is RUINED!!!” – someone cried on Twitter.

EA would likely have replied:
Dear Bob,
We are very sorry that your immersion is ruined.

Our statistics show that at least 10% of our audience is female and they are not being accurately represented in our game. This is why we’ve made a game where 50% of our characters are female.
Thank you for understanding.

The gravity and complexity of the situation was clear to me when I noticed 3 female characters dressed as German generals stabbing players in the heat of battle while they were using voicechat to scream “FEMINAZI BANZAI CHARGE!!!”

I felt like My trust in Humanity was gone for good.
At the same time, my history-nerdy-brain proceeded to die a little.

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A sad day for a sad society

The truth is, we live in a sad society where women are still being treated differently… and that is truly unnecessary.
EA has taken a bold step to try and break that mold that society imposes on itself. But at what cost? Does it make sense for an entertainment media that takes pride on a certain degree of realism to bring a contemporary perspective to a historical reality through politicized fiction?
Will that somehow affect our understanding of the past and blind us to the future?
Even though it does spark debate, it mostly seems to anger a majority of their mostly male playerbase.

I am a true believer of diversity and equality, but politicized entertainment feels cringy at best.
Are they going for the long run? Re-educating boys into accepting girls in games (when a kid spends 4h every day playing a game he does learn something…), or maybe trying to motivate girls to play in order to expand their female playerbase?

It might be commendable to a certain extent, but let me clarify why this affects me:
I see human beings as human beings.
If I ran a company, “race”, gender, sexual orientation or religion would be irrelevant to me – but being the nerdy type that I am, sacrificing historical accuracy – for what appears to be a business decision based on modern-day politic concerns – is …disappointing.
Playing Battlefield V somehow feels like an advertisement that you paid to play.

Lost in Action

I would LOVE to see a game that focused on the resistance fighters or spies (many of which were women). I would love to see a dramatic aspect to the game that highlighted the effort that young widow mothers had to endure during the war. Women also kept the gun, ammo and canning industries running throughout the war – without that effort who knows how the war would have progressed!
…But a game like this wouldn’t be Battlefield would it?

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Battlefield V also fails to represent – and thus lacks respect – for the life and death of the men and women who perished in those fights. Instead it leads young players to believe that this was the true reality of war and even treat it more as a fun historic fact rather than an actual tragic event.

While I value the fact that they’ve actually thought about women and “minorities” and made real steps towards embracing them as equals, I feel like this isn’t the right game nor the right way to demonstrate that so profusely.
It’s like making surgery with a butcher’s knife – and the player’s reaction might even backfire in the long run.
Will EA make every game follow the same logic now? Should it?

It is understandable that Mass Effect does it.

Mass Effect is set in a fictionalized future in an alternate reality of mindset.
…Should we be concerned about how to depict our past if we wish to learn from it?

Resultado de imagem para battlefield 5 women
Battlefield 1

…On a side note, they forgot to add women to Battlefield 1 until the last patch – and she had to be bald – were there no women before WW2?

So, yeah I do understand Bob who shouted that his immersion was ruined… but Bob must realize that even if clubfooted, messy and somewhat reprimandable, this was a step in the right direction.

The features they’ve included are all okay – just in the wrong proportions – and definitely the wrong battlefield.

It’s great that a player is able to pick a female character to play with. It is also great to see more variety in the game and even that women play a non-sexualized protagonist role – just do it in an alternate universe where factual history isn’t a problem.

…well I guess at least EA made sure their clothes weren’t camo bikinis in this game.

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I’ll see you on the battlefield,
-ViLa4480

Prison Architect

Paradox is the new Warden for Prison Architect – PANIC!

This is one of my favorite management games of all time.

Prison Architect is now 3 years old (since its final release), but it was first released as an alpha version 6 years ago after a very successful crowdfunding campaign.

Paradox Interactive has recently acquired the rights to the franchise from Introversion Software. How will that affect the game? Why are so many fans outraged? Why would Introversion do it?…

Introversion Software is a small team of developers known for creating small but deeply innovative games such as Multiwinia, Defcon, Darwinia or Uplink.

Prison Architect is their crown jewel.

In fact, the whole Prison Architect venture has been very successful throughout its crowdfunded open development cycle.
The devs kept releasing regular updates with brand new content which maintained a healthy and engaged community over the past few years.

The latest update actually introduced an unexpected and seemingly inadequate feature for a game that has passed its maturity.
They added multiplayer!

You might ask: oh really? Why is multiplayer such a surprise ViLa? Other games have it…
-True. But besides the fact that you won’t find that many multiplayer management games, most of them haven’t been adapted from a single-player game to a multiplayer one.
To have multiplayer in a game is as big as… deciding whether you’re building a 2D or a 3D game! You don’t just build a single-player game and then try to fit multiplayer into it. It doesn’t work that way!
Not if you’re a sane developer that is!

However, we’re talking about Introversion Software here… and adding multiplayer to a singleplayer management game is pretty damn cool.

A new warden has arrived!

The hidden 3D game mode

This is why the news of Paradox buying the Prison Architect franchise hit the fans like a rock. They’re afraid that the garage-built feeling that they get from playing this amazing management game will fade in the hands of Paradox. Above all they fear that Paradox will do what it has done to all of their other games: DLC spam!

In the good old days before the internet, games would either have sequels or expansions. A sequel pretty much meant recycling of previous game ideas and graphics updates.

Expansions or content packs, on the other hand, increased the depth of the current game. This kept the player base interested in the game – at a fraction of the price – until a sequel would be available. If the game was successful, more expansions would be available. This was as a good commercial compromise for a developer.
Instead of building a whole new game they would use the tools that were already in place – this, in turn, saves time and money.
Expansions were actually large when compared to the base game and relatively expensive as they had to justify the physical distribution costs.
Nowadays, expansions are called DLCs and due to the fact that they are now downloaded, they tend to be cheaper and distributed in smaller chunks.

Paradox has become a master at releasing DLCs – Paradox’s Crusader Kings 2 has 30 DLCs.
The reason why Paradox does this is because they specialize in creating niche games (high value to their niche players) that rely on very complex game engines that only they own.

Game engines are the core of a game.

They are the technical aspect of the game that takes the longest to build. It provides games with their core attributes – UI systems, Audio, 2D/3D Rendering, Multiplayer etc.

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So instead of building a brand new engine for each game, most companies decide to make different games with the same engine. Europa Universalis, Victoria, Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings, Sengoku, and even Stellaris all use Paradox’s own Clauswitz Engine.

Paradox Interactive (the publisher) is often seen supporting innovative smaller developers such as Colossal Order (Cities in Motion, Cities: Skylines). They seem to be drawn towards developers who own solid custom engines that will be able to support great games in the long-run. Engines that lean towards having less sequels but more expansions.
Paradox is also well known for allowing people to mod their games to exhaustion. Modding adds even more life and value to their games.

DLCspam!

The reason why Crusader Kings 2 has got 30 DLCs in its bag is because the game has been released in February 2012! …Think about it… the game is now 7 years old and it still gets brand new updates like Holy Fury which was released last November.

Most of the DLCs are cheap, most of them are cosmetic, many of their major expansions are VERY deep and have parts of it released for free and most of them are fully available for free when you’re playing in multiplayer if the other player owns them.
The best part: Paradox’s games are deep and solid enough at launch to provide countless hours of gameplay without the need for DLCs.

The reality is… you don’t need to buy any DLCs if you don’t want to.

Now, I understand that my position regarding DLCs will surely anger most fans. And I must clarify that I completely disaprove the idea of launching DLCs when the game has just been released. That is simply ridiculous.

However, most people see DLCs as a money-grab opportunity – which it is… but… is it that bad really? DLCs represent optional content that you’re able to get if you REALLY like the game. It helps support the company so they are able to keep on updating the games you love with brand new content.

-No, Crusader Kings 3 isn’t coming out tomorrow. But an amazing Holy Fury expansion has just been released at a fraction of the cost – have you played it yet?

A Peace Treaty! Please!

Introversion made a good deal when selling their most-valued franchise when their sales after 3 years are surely gone. Let’s celebrate that! A small company making a ton of money that they can use to come up with brand new ideas!

They would not be making Prison Architect 2 anytime soon – it is not in their DNA to rehash games like that. They would likely need a new engine and many new ideas to pick it up again.

Paradox has likely bought the “Architect” franchise so they can make brand new games with the “Architect” title in them …not necessarily Prison Architect 2+50 DLCs!

Finally, some people are also loudly complaining about the fact that a crowdfunded game was sold to a publisher.
Now that the game has been released for 3 years …does that REALLY matter anymore?
Is it possible to be happy for having been able to make this game a reality and enjoy it as it is?

TLDR: This is how I see it:

  • Prison Architect isn’t going anywhere – It is still here. If you own it you’re still able to download and play it!
  • Introversion made some money – I’m happy for them. Can’t wait for more of their innovative game concepts!
  • Paradox bought a great franchise – a great publisher might start using the “Architect” theme in other games we’ll love!
  • DLCs – don’t buy them if you don’t want them!

Have you seen my recent post on How Steam broke my Valve? You might find it interesting! Go check it out!

I’ll see you in the warden’s office!
-ViLa4480

Sea of Thieves - the undead pirate captain

How I became an Undead Pirate Captain – Sea of Thieves

I’ve got a tale to tell.
It will shiver yer bones.

If you would like to read my previous review on Sea of Thieves, check out my previous post: The Best Co-op Games 2018 – Sea of Thieves.

Something out of this world happened to me in Sea of Thieves…

I was sailing the high seas with my scallywag crewmates.
We were chasing a skull in the skies.

Skeleton fort in sight! – yelled my crewmate from the crow’s nest.

The crows nest in sea of thieves

We turned off the oil lamps, raised the sails and slowly docked our ship next to a cliff. Having the ship so close to the island meant we would be barely visible on the horizon. Pirates often roam raiding locations waiting for us to unlock its treasures… and then they attack – so it is important to stay hidden.

However…

Something strange and something wicked was bound to happen…

Once we defeated the last skeleton on the island we unlocked a treasure vault full of gold relics, silver cups, gemstones, rare spices and gold chests!

WOHOO! Someone cryed.

We started hauling our stuff back to the ship… but once we got there…
I mean… …once we got there… …ONCE WE GOT THERE…

WE COULDN’T GET ON THE SHIP!!!

Somehow, whenever we climbed the ladder, we would fall through the ship and into the ocean below it!

There we were… treasures in hand and unable to haul them back to the outpost.

Maybe the issue was the sand bank below the ship?

I decided that we were not going to be defeated by a bug!
So I climbed to the nearest watchtower and jumped onto the ship – hoping that I’d be able to lower the sails before falling through the lower deck again…

So I jumped…

Unfortunately, I forgot that I was low on health due to having fought the skeletons before. I died once I hit the ship’s upper deck.

Or did I?…

The quickest visit to the Ferry of the Damned

The Ferry of the Damned in Sea of Thieves
The Ferry of the Damned

I saw my restless body fall under the ship and then being dragged to the Ferry of the Damned – the place where dead souls linger before being returned to life.

However… my soul’s body fell off the Ferry of the Damned!!
…and it kept falling
…falling
…falling

The screen slowly faded to black…


*SPLASH*
I woke up under water.

While I’m pulling myself back to the surface I’m noticing that my arms are green… ghost green! I’m a ghost!

I am a ghost in the realm of the living!

How could this be?!
As I get my head above the water I can see the fort island far far away – easily recognizable in the distance because of the big cloudy skull above it!

As I turn around I had to take some time to contemplate and try to figure out what I was seeing.

A massive blob of chests and artifacts was floating above me. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I touched them and they fell to the sea floating above the water… several high-end chests and skulls! What were they doing here?!

I was in the middle of the ocean, my skin was ghost-green and there’s a bunch of chests hovering right above me. Wow!

A flying blob of treasure in Sea of Thieves
A flying blob of treasure chests!

While stranded in the middle of nowhere, I ask my crewmates to come and get me before I drown… I give them instructions on how to find me as there’s no mermaid in sight to get me back to my ship.

Then a small fin appears above the water. IT’S A SHARK!!!

While trying to grab my sword I notice that it is nowhere to be found!
Ghosts have no weapons – I thought to myself! – and I can’t really punch it or negotiate a truce!

The shark tries to bite me… but no damage is dealt. I am dead after all… You can’t re-die if you’re dead!

I dove as deep as I could… yet there was no damage to my non-existent health bar. …You can’t drown if you’re dead!

As I come back up to the surface I notice the chests that were previously floating above the water slowly falling down into the abyss. I managed to grab them and brought them up to the surface again and again like a juggling act!

A ship approaches me! My friends have arrived!

They’re stunned when they see my character undead which granted a few laughs and some poorly constructed jokes!

A friendly ghost waving in Sea of Thieves
A friendly ghost waving

We proceeded to haul all the chests and skulls floating above the water… we weren’t going to let them go to waste! We headed back to the fort to finish what we started and then proceeded towards the outpost to sell our stuff.

On the way there I saw something shiny in the distance – so I aimed the cannon, got myself inside it and fired it to go check it out.


Meanwhile, the sea around the ship turned ink-black and we were attacked by a giant 10-legged Kraken!
That slimy creature wrecked our ship! My crewmates were running very low on supplies and unable to survive the fight!

The Kraken has a terrible sense of timing.

I ran and swam towards the ship as fast as I could and when I got there all of our treasures were floating above the water and the ship was nowhere to be seen!

My crewmate was being attacked by sharks and I kept feeding him my bananas – a ghost has no need for bananas.
Eventually he died and I was left there by myself hauling stuff above the water as they sank slowly.

Our ship’s silhouette was visible in the distance! They picked me up and we hauled everything back onto the new ship.

so much booty - sea of thieves
So much booty!

After what seemed to take ages hauling stuff, we were finally able to sell our loot for a massive profit.

What exactly does it mean to be a ghost in the realm of the living?!

Maybe it was all just a bug that caused an exception and made me live when I should be dead.
Apparently immortal – but without weapons, I wasn’t able to cause any harm.
I was able to cross rock walls… would that be an issue for the game in the long run? Would that make me able to go through fort walls and steal the loot?

We joked that I should go to other player’s ships and act as an NPC giving them weird quests like “Fetch me a spotted 4-legged pig so a golden chest you may pick!” and then handing them a skeleton captain’s chest or something.
Or instead, pose as having a Ghost-Legendary Character Skin unique to the pirates that delivered 500 chicken!

We had a lot of fun with that peculiar bug for a while but, eventually, the server spit me out and I had to reconnect – back to being a regular living pirate with the sun laying down above a small ship floating on the waves of the Sea of Thieves.

YARR!

A ghost in sea of thieves

If you would like to join me in Sea of Thieves, add me on Steam and use this referral link to get Sea of Thieves at a special discount price.

Also, check my list of the Best Upcoming Games – 2019!

While writing this post I found a video on Youtube by Cyx in which he finds what they think is the ship of the damned deep underwater at the exact same location where I came back from the dead!
You can check it out here.

I’ll see you on the Ferry of the Damned,
-Cap’n ViLa4480

The Best Upcoming Games – 2019

Which games are you most looking forward to play in 2019?

This list will always be under construction!
Let’s build The Best Upcoming Games 2019 list together!

Check it out below and share your suggestions!

Please note that this is an ever-evolving and ever-incomplete list of games based mostly on my own personal taste – but if you guys have any cool suggestions please drop a comment here or via Twitter!
-ViLa4480

Upcoming Games 2019

23 April

Mortal Kombat 11

Not much is known about Mortal Kombat 11, except for the obvious. This is a new iteration on a franchise that started 27 years ago which now features Custom Character Variations that will allow the player to customize their characters to their liking. New fighters, fatalities and impressive graphics are expected in this incredibly simple but entertaining klassic.
Q4 2019Oct-Dec

The Settlers

Another 25-year-old franchise that has seen its ups and downs over time. The Settlers will surely build upon its unique and simple, yet difficult to master gameplay. Along with Anno 1800, this should be a rehash of well-established game mechanics. The surprisingly cool new graphics that the game boasts surely played a part in adding this to the Upcoming Games 2019 list.

TBA

Dying Light 2

Dying Light 2 seems to improve on its predecessor. The new game made a huge impact with its first trailer some time ago and triggered a hype crowd around it like zombies in a theme park. There aren’t that many details available just yet, but it is being marketed around the concept of parkour and “big decisions” that affect the world around you and how the story unfolds. We can’t wait for more details on this one.

TBA

Star Citizen

Star Citizen will not yet be finished in 2019. We all know that. But you can play it right now – and there’s a LOT to explore! As development progresses, more and more content will be delivered in each quarterly release – and 2019 promises to be a great year for Star Citizen – and that is why it features in this Upcoming Games 2019. Keep an eye out for Star Citizen.

TBA

The Outer Worlds

Developed by the studio behind Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds is a big-decision” RPG with a somewhat comic tone to it. With free-willed companions who might do quests on their own or even abandon you, story and character narrative will play a big part in this space role-playing-game. There will be no blue-alien romance in this game apparently.

TBA

Skull & Bones

Another addition to the Upcoming Games – 2019 list – Skull & Bones is a fast-paced pirate game akin to Sea of Thieves. A theme that seems to be in fashion with the recent release of Atlas as well. Skull & Bones PvP features non-stop naval action with several ships bumping against each other and the roaring sounds of cannons firing all the time. We’re waiting for more details on other aspects related to progression, but the astounding game graphics did demonstrate a great game engine at work.

TBA

Starfield

Bethesda hasn’t built a new RPG franchise in 25 years – most of them have been major successes. Now they decided to reveal a brand new one called Starfield. Bethesda hasn’t yet revealed much about the game, but the developer’s record is impressive and the fan-base massive and 100% hyped. We’re sure to pay attention to this space whale and that is why it features this Upcoming Games – 2019 list.

TBA

Steel Division 2

I tend to say that when you have a good game engine, the sequel is always better. All my hopes are up for Steel Division 2. The previous game albeit impressive, felt a bit more like a well-developed tech-demo, rather than a full-scale complete game like those Eugen has grown us used to enjoy. You will be able to control a huge number of units across an absurdly large map. A must-have for war game enthusiasts.

TBA

Generation Zero

Sure, they share Zero in their name …and robots. Generation Zero reminds us of Horizon Zero Dawn. But Generation Zero is actually an open world four-player co-op robot-killing game with persistent world damage. It’s looking good – but will it be fun?

TBA

Noita

Noita is an odd entry to this Upcoming Games – 2019 list, because it is kind of hard to figure out what it is. Sure, it is a side-scroller pixel-art game. But it seems to be much more interesting than just another sidescroller game. It somewhat relates to Doodle God or Worms in the sense that every pixel matters. Explosions send rocks flying and fire spreads across the map. Feels like a game where you’re most likely to die by your own wand-hand, which – considering the fun we had playing Magicka – might be a good thing.

Do you have other games you’d like to see highlighted?

Maybe even a full review? Leave a comment below or via Twitter!

Curious to know what the Best Co-op Game of 2018 was? Check out the extensive reviews here!

Would you like to buy games at a discount? Follow this referral link for discounted games at Kinguin. Go check it out if you would like to support this blog!

I’ll see you in-game!
-ViLa4480

Best co-op games of the year (Part 2) Sea of Thieves

Before reading this post, make sure you check out Part 1 of the best co-op games of the year 2018! My previous post focuses on Warhammer: Vermintide 2.

Also, you totally must check out what happened to me when I became a Ghost in the Realm of the Living in Sea of Thieves!!!

Yarr!!! Everyone loves pirates!

Have you ever wanted to be a pirate?
Not an online pirate you scallywag!
A real swashbuckling, wood legged, parrot carrying, hook fingered, golden tooth pirate! Yarr!!!

Well I got good news for you, the aspiring pirate!

Both Sea of Thieves and Warhammer: Vermintide 2 were released on the same month of March in 2018. Both compete for the prestigious PopcornGamer title of being the best co-op game of 2018.

Sea of Thieves is a predominantly co-op multiplayer game in a very large map where pirates, AKA players, roam the high water mountains in search for treasures, adventure and plunder.

At first, what will really strike you is the graphic style of the game.

Sea of Thieves is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.

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It features very clean and appealing graphics (unlike Atlas. Ew.). It really conveys a lighthearted, sunny and happy swashbuckling experience …an extreme opposite to the surprisingly gruesome Warhammer: Vermintide 2!

Sea of Thieves feels like a simple game (maybe a wee bit too simple?).
The game peppers the seas with tiny curious islands and it gives you a map or a riddle that you need to figure out in order to find a treasure chest.

Oh… and remember: X marks the spot.

A day in the life of a Pirate!

You dig, dig, dig …until you hear a loud *THUMP!*.

YES!!!
You found it!
That wood casket is sure to bear all sorts of precious metals and gems!

Your grin turns to grimace when you realize that you’ve angered the lost souls protecting that cursed chest!
Now there’s a horde of skeletons rushing towards you. You can’t hit them while holding your precious chest… so you run back to your ship!

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When you hear the *clikety clack* that the banana-eating skeletons make while trying to catch you shiver slightly, but that doesn’t stop you. Once you are on your ship and you lower the ship’s sails it gently picks up speed and you wave at the skeletons that can’t figure out how to swim to get to you.

Riches onboard.
You head towards the nearest outpost.

It must be worth a fortune – you say to yourself!

Still dreaming of the brand new hat that you’ll be able to buy with all that money, you fail to notice the dark sails that approach your ship from the East. Too late.

Trouble on the horizon

*CRUSHCRACKSHHWSHSPSH!!!* – Your ship is being rammed from the side by a massive galleon. PIRATES! PIRAAATES!!!

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You rush to the lower deck to fix the geiser-like holes in the hull of your ship. The enemy cannons are roaring outside! You need to hurry the repairs and come back up to divert your ship from their firing lines!

You turn around and a strange wood-legged pirate stands next to you. Sword in hand.

“DUEL ME OR DIE” – he says. The request doesn’t really make much sense… but you rush to your sword and the fight begins.

A dirty fight with a one-eyed pirate

The dirty pirate lunges straight at you with very fast swings. All you can do is evade the massive sword spam. He hits you once… twice! But you still breathe! Putting the sword at an angle blocks his next attack and he is pushed back with a surprised stance!

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The enemy clearly has an advantage now that he has hit you but… dang it… you’re a pirate too! Rules mean little to you!

You grab your pistol and BAM! shoot him in the empty eye socket!

He falls to the ground and you rush to the helm and steer away from that despicable pirate’s ship.

Apparently, in the midst of battle, they started being attacked by a mythical giant shark!
It’s probably best to grab this opportunity and rush towards the nearest outpost and sell the treasure chest as quickly as possible before they dispatch the giant fish and catch up to you again!

As you move away from the battle you feel a strong sense of relief!

The sails are being raised and the battered ship will soon be safely parked at the dock.
Selling the cursed Captain’s Chest earns you just the money you needed to buy that fancy hat that you were dreaming of.

HA! The next time you encounter those pirates you’ll impress them with your brand new hat!

Hats, hats everywhere!

Indeed, a gold hoarder like you needs to spend all of your hard earned money on something. They say that money can buy anything. Well, not in this game.

Unfortunately, in Sea of Hats you are only able to buy cosmetic items!

It is a shame because, if you’re like me, you dress like a very sleazy pirate (in fact, that’s the only way a pirate should dress like!). Once you own your favorite character outfit and ship equipment, there’s not much else to crave for.

There’s no character progression, no skills, no weapon upgrades, no crafting or equipment upgrades for your ship, not even craftable banana sandwiches!
This makes the game feel pointless at times. My in-game bank account is filled to the brim but I don’t feel like spending my gold on anything. And, to be honest, I feel like I’ve only been playing it whenever a new regular update comes along, bringing with it brand new content to explore.

One could argue whether or not the lack of upgradable items is an issue if the game succeeds in entertaining you with every other aspect of it.

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The truth is that it would turn a great game into an amazing one.
To have something to crave for… an objective that pushes the players into exploration and adventure.

Who knows… maybe they’ll add a bit more of that in future updates…

A game to be played… just for fun? We’re not used to that!

It is kind of amazing to think that a great quality game from a large enough developer managed to avoid pay-to-win schemes or major grind systems.

The truth is that it doesn’t feel like you’re grinding when you’re distracted by the fact that you are actually enjoying it.
They focused solely on making a game that is fun to play and that brings people together. And they succeeded brilliantly.

Even if the islands look very similar to eachother, the quests obvious, the monsters predictable and the combat too simple, there’s a lot of plain fun to be had with your friends.
The emergent gameplay that comes from having PvP in the open world really drives you into incredibly epic battles with other players.

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Very seldom did I get angry for losing a fight, since the excitement you get from it is well worth the money lost.

Friends improve every game!

I must underline the need to play with friends.
You will feel lonely playing it alone in your tiny sloop in such a large ocean.

However, if you have no friends, you really don’t have to worry.

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It is SUPER easy to make new friends by playing this game with an open crew.
The Sea of Thieves community is surprisingly friendly and they often ask you to add them to your contacts list.

Almost everyone uses a microphone, which is critical to interact with other players when you’re busy repairing 13 holes in your sinking ship.
If for some strange reason you don’t own a microphone, you’re going to want to get one after playing Sea of Thieves.

It is true, the game lacks content and diversity for its steep price, but they seem to keep adding new stuff every now and then which is well worth checking out regularly.

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I won’t lie. It is expensive for the content it provides.

They claim that the price tag is worth it since you can use the same copy in Windows as well as Xbox. We both know however that it is uncommon for a gamer to buy the same game twice for different platforms.

But considering the enjoyment you’ll get from playing it – it is still well worth it.

What an amazing game!

Games aren’t perfect. They can’t make everyone happy.
Sea of Thieves has got flaws. Every game has got flaws.

But it brings something new to the table. And puts a grin on your face.

If you’re looking for something innovative that features beautiful art, very polished gameplay and that guarantees laughter while meeting new people – this is it.

Go get Sea of Thieves right now!

And no, you do not want to play Atlas just because it is popular on Twitch.
Get a better game instead. Any other game will do.

So long 2018!

2018 was a great year for co-op games.
Lots of new releases kept us well entertained throughout the whole year.
Now we’re all looking forward towards 2019 upcoming releases.

I have considered many of the co-op games that I’ve played this year… Rainbow Six: Siege, Kingdom: Two Crowns, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, A Way Out, Destiny 2…

Sea of Thieves blatantly stands out as being the one that made me smile the most. And that is priceless.

Popcorn Score:

5 out of 5 Pops!

After much consideration and a strong competition by other great co-op games PopcornGamer declares that Sea of Thieves is the Best Co-op Game of 2018.

Thank you for all the fun times I’ve had this year, Rare studios.
You made me happy.

If you would like to join me in Sea of Thieves, add me on Steam and use this referral link to get Sea of Thieves at a special discount price.

Click here to check out Part 1 of the Best Co-op Games for 2018.

Also, you totally must check out what happened to me when I became a Ghost in the Realm of the Living in Sea of Thieves!!!

The most anticipated games of 2019 list is out! See if your favorite game is in there!

I’ll see you on-board,
-ViLa4480

Vermintide 2 heroes

Best co-op games of the year 2018 (Part 1) Vermintide 2

After reading this post, make sure you check out Part 2 of the best co-op games of the year 2018!
My next post focuses on Sea of Thieves! Yarr!

So long 2018…

This was a good year for games.

We’ve had plenty of great new releases and decent sequels, great events, big tournament prizes and awesome streaming, video and social media content.

The time has now come to recap some of the Best co-op games of 2018 and unveil the Most anticipated games of 2019!

This is also the best time to enjoy great games at a discounted price!

Most companies have released their brand new games prior to the holiday season. This in turn made them drop their prices for previous releases and their competitor’s as well.

This is exactly what brought me to Warhammer: Vermintide 2.

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Winter is coming

Prior to release (in March 2018) I told my friends that Vermintide 2 was going to be my next purchase.

I’ve been trying to save some bucks as I’m looking forward to move to a new home. I had also just bought Sea of Thieves. So I decided that I wasn’t going to spend any more money at that time.

Instead I added Vermintide 2 to my wishlist and left it there to rot slightly like a good cheese. The truth is, I kind of forgot I had it there.

Meanwhile, other games showed up. I have to admit that I invested quite some time in playing the great new update for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (AKA awesome card game!) and Gwent: Thronebreaker. Two great releases for 2018 as well.

Check out my unlisted youtube review for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game:

https://youtu.be/i_rUufTXJks

Winter has come.

…And I got a Steam giftcard for Christmas from my girlfriend!
She totally gets me by the way!

Instead of spending the whole giftcard buying Battlefield V to play alone, I decided to do something different this time around since my Battlefield needs were still very much satisfied with Battlefield 1.

I went on to search for a co-op game that I could gift and play with my friends.

I checked my steam homepage – which, nowadays, is actually quite lame.
There I found my lost promised love, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 with a 60% discount for just 11€!

Blood & Teeth

Now, this game isn’t as expensive as other AAA games because… well… it really isn’t a very deep and complex game that would deserve “full price” status.

I had previously played Warhammer: Vermintide “1”, so I kind of knew what to expect.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a rather simple game of head smashing and limb cutting explicit violence. It is gruesome – but fun.

Vermintide features a first-person action (mostly melee) run and gun gameplay with absurdly large waves of enemies and interesting minibosses with unique abilities.
It pretty much uses the same mechanics as Valve’s Left 4 Dead. To the point where it feels like a rip-off with a few brand new additions and a very different theme.

It tells a decent enough story (unlike L4D) that has beautiful, although gruesome scenery, great heroes, great villains, and enough depth to keep you entertained for days – yet still very challenging on each playthrough.

They also make you stand on your toes in each run – you never really know what to expect next. Sudden hordes of enemies and sneaky minions with special abilities tend to often show up uninvited.

warhammer vermintide 2

The game isn’t perfect – but the pace at which you need to run, fight and focus on defending your party from the enemies that are coming from all sides really gets your adrenaline pumping.

Surviving large *MASSIVE* waves of enemies by coordinating effective positioning with your friends is plain and simple fun.

It lacks a bit of the sophistication from some of the maps from its predecessor. It could also feature a slightly more intelligent approach to each map.

Instead, it often drives you into a brainless killing spree with no particular challenge other than positioning and speed. This isn’t all that bad. But requiring the player to think with additional puzzles or more complex bosses wouldn’t hurt either.

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Left 4 Dead-Dead

Okay, okay – we’ll forgive Fatshark, Warhammer: Vermintide‘s developer, for copying many of the game mechanics from Left 4 Dead since they were indeed able to deliver a great quality game at a very reasonable price (now at a discount!).

The fact that each player uses a different class with its own progression, set of weapons, abilities and talents increases Vermintide’s replayability value and sets it apart from Left 4 Dead.

Even if the games are set apart by a small number of small changes, the truth is that they do matter.
When you consider that the last L4D iteration was released 8 years ago, you realize it created a void in a very specific game style.

Don’t get me wrong here: I’ve enjoyed Left 4 Dead 1 & 2 quite a lot. But I had major issues with some of its gameplay choices.
One of them relates to Source, the game engine that Valve created and uses for most of their games.

Portal, Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead are some of the best cleverly built games I have ever played – yet their character movement precision, speed, and hitbox leaves much to be desired.

It all comes down to the game engine Valve uses and how they set it to have character movement feel pretty much the same in every game.

Resultado de imagem para left 4 dead 2 vs vermintide 2

Considering Fatshark’s success with both Vermintide 1 and Vermintide 2, I really think Valve will have to think twice on their own gameplay mechanics before deciding to go ahead and make Left 4 Dead 3 (if that ever happens!).
Valve would still sell more copies due to franchise value – but Vermintide (and Dead Island!) has raised the bar and players will now expect more from any upcoming Left 4 Dead iteration.

The final tide

The truth is that I’ve been enjoying this game quite a lot with my online friends and I hope to keep playing with them over the next few months.

Popcorn Score:

A great (and cheap) co-op game with an astounding fun factor, amazing graphics, character progression and great replayability grant Warhammer: Vermintide 2 a solid 5/5 pops.

But… was this the best Co-op game of 2018?
PC Gamer thinks so – what do YOU think?

Make sure you check out Part 2 of the best co-op games of the year 2018!
My next post focuses on Sea of Thieves! Yarr!

Most anticipated games of 2019 – also to be published later this week!

Here’s a referral link to get Warhammer: Vermintide 2 at a discounted price!

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 8 years and would instead like to try out Left 4 Dead 2 for the first time, make sure you grab it quickly as it is on sale for just 1.63€ on Steam for a limited time.

If I managed to spark your interest in Gwent: The Witcher Card Game or Gwent: Thronebreaker, grab them here!

I’ll see you in game-game!
-ViLa4480

Chewbacca

How Sci-fi & Fantasy changed my life

I’m not exactly sure how I came to discover Star Citizen.
I guess it was a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

In the beginning…

I have to admit. I didn’t grow up with Star Wars, Star Trek, Conan or LOTR. My parents never really enjoyed sci-fi or anything that felt out of this world, unrealistic or fantastic. This meant there were no chewbaccas, elves, action men, or superhero comics during my childhood.
I vividly remember getting two action figures for my birthday and I couldn’t figure out how to play with them.

It is understandable that you might feel an altruistic frustration when reading these lines… Don’t worry, I had a happy childhood. Instead, I turned to legos, puzzles, videogames, TV shows, history books and boardgames. It might sound strange but I honestly had a lot of fun reading dictionaries… Yeah… I guess I am weird that way.
I was never one to go out and play on the street either… even if growing up in Portugal, the land of football (soccer).

This affected the videogames I played during my childhood. Actively avoiding sports games, first person shooter games and any other games that were set in space or fantasy related.
I have to admit… I still do avoid some of these themes.

Something that I am now able to recognize is that the lack of high fiction themes actually made me crave those things.

Surviving childhood

I’m not exactly sure how I survived my fantasy-less childhood… I guess I was enlightened by certain events…

My parents would never buy games for me – they thought buying games was a waste of time and money when I should instead be reading books on Finance and the great classics of literature.

So I had to resort to other forms of getting to them games.

Back in the old cassette or diskette days, pirating games was easy… but not that easy when you don’t know someone who actually owns the game you want.

You have to understand that due to the fact that ads for videogames were pretty much non-existent here in Portugal, most of the times I didn’t even crave for a new game because I didn’t even know it existed in the first place.

One day my father started buying these computer magazines that often times brought diskettes or CDs with plenty of game demos. I would spend hours upon hours playing the same game demos over and over until the next diskette arrived…

I remember playing a demo version of Heroes of Might and Magic III which only allowed you to play for 16 turns! The amazing scenery was quite beautiful – and I often tried to speedrun as much as possible to reveal most of it before the 16 turns were over! …But I never got the chance to actually buy Heroes III.

16 turns to reveal the full map!

Demos make you smarter!

Thinking that I was playing all these game demos, now made me come to the conclusion that this did make me grow up not only as a player but also as a person.
I just realized that I was playing rather complex games and I didn’t even speak the language nor did I understand advanced game mechanics at all.

Since I had no access to other games I was forced to play whatever showed up – and in the process, I had to figure out how they were meant to be played without tips or instructions.
I was not just learning how to play many different game concepts, but also how to react to very different interface systems written in an unfamiliar language!

Kids need to exercise their brains as often as possible and, to be honest, I can’t think of a more intensive and multilayered activity than this.

The Age of the Internet

The Internet came to my door and it slowly became my world. I was too young and naïve back then to realize the impact it would have on everyone. My parents wouldn’t allow me to go online for a few years – and with that crazy modem screaming like it used to when connecting to the web, it really wasn’t easy going online without having other people noticing.

However, the first thing it allowed me to do was to read articles on newly released games and even to be able to order games online that I would otherwise never be able to get my hands on since there were no videogame shops or arcades near me.

I remember getting the game Descent: Freespace by Volition thinking it was a historical strategy game (how did that happen?!). Slightly disappointed since it was sci-fi themed, I reluctantly decided to play it.

I was hooked…
That game broke my ice towards sci-fi games.
For the sake of time I won’t go into too much detail but… It had such brilliant characters and story arc! It simply blew me away and I never saw that coming.

HOLY SHI…van

A couple of years later, with the dawn of DSL and unlimited timeplans, something else and something new was on the horizon.
I decided to try Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory – a brand new and FREE ONLINE GAME!
Reluctantly I decided to play it since it was an FPS game… but… well… at least it was free!

I was hooked…
…and I was GOOD at that game!

Friends mean fun.

One day, while playing Wolfenstein, a bunch of strangers that I was playing with, asked me to go and play with them… “to join a clan” they said via in-game text chat. I had no idea what that meant but I said “Uh… sure…”.
Butcher, Crisplover, Myrdraal were my teammates in that match – each from a different country.

I had a microphone and I installed Teamspeak to join them… but I was too scared to use my voice!
At one point Myrdraal stepped on a mine and I rushed to him unaware that I was screaming “Don’t moooove!!” with my voice comms active.

Everyone on Teamspeak was surprised to hear my voice.
…I was too.

They all laughed and greeted me and welcomed me to the clan.
Later on, I understood that my careless split-second decision to join them that day had turned into something much much greater than I anticipated. I had made new friends.

“IT SPEAKS!!!”

Chewbacca with a lightsaber

I was 18 and I had never ever watched a Star Wars movie before and Freespace was the only sci-fi game I had played until then. Some of my ET friends used to play Star Wars: Jedi Academy when they weren’t playing Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.
I didn’t expect much from a sci-fi game from a franchise that I knew nothing about.
To validate my point, let me clarify that I picked a Sith Wookie as my character …I thought red sabers would go well with brown fur.

Needless to say that I was forced by my roleplaying clanmates to go and watch Star Wars before they allowed me to play with them. And grumpily I did. And it finally opened up my mental doors to sci-fi.

My brain still has trouble digesting weird space creatures or magic and I still don’t see the point in using most of that, but I finally understood… it’s not about the creatures… Sci-fi allows for greater-than-life characters and story arcs. In Stargate SG-1 you barely ever see alien-looking monsters – they’re most often humans with different clothing and earthly needs. But it is the setting that allows a great adventure to happen.

The exact same thing happens with fantasy-themed narratives. I don’t get thrilled by characters using magic… Mordor isn’t fun because of its architecture. It’s fun because it creates a problem that needs solving. The whole Lord of the Rings story is simply about Humanity fighting evil and racing against time – a theme harder to depict in a non-fiction environment.

Fantasy and Sci-fi are an escape from the predictable boring reality of everyday life. It took me some time to grow up and learn that …I dig that.

Growing up

Even if repressed during childhood, sci-fi and fantasy themes managed to crawl into my life and taught me an important lesson.

While writing this article I’m realizing that the stuff that I’m mostly drawn to… are actually sci-fi or fantasy themed! I really feel like I may have lost something during my childhood as I never got to experience those worlds when our imagination runs wild. But at the same time, I feel like this whole process has made me grow up to become a little bit more down-to-earth and pragmatic when it comes to learning and how to enjoy new things.

Today I feel that anything can be enjoyed or learned no matter how much of a lack of interest or mental or physical disadvantage you think you have.

You need to find the fun and motivation in all things.
In my case, it was friendship that dragged me in and the exploratory will to pursue themes that I did not fully understand by playing a game I did not expect to enjoy.
Then my own walls of reluctance caved in when I understood that learning is fun and that having fun while learning makes it easy and achievable.

A couple of years ago I just couldn’t understand why someone would enjoy flight simulators – they seem EXTREMELY boring.
I decided to figure it out – it was hard to understand it at first – but then… I was blown away. The same happened with games like Europa Universalis or Democracy.

For years I thought I wasn’t able to draw.
I lacked the mental ability and the physical coordination to do so.
Last week I was stunned at my very first decent drawings.

Today… I’m loving this brand new blogging adventure.

Keep learning!

Boot
My very first boot!

Next week I’ll post part 2 of this article… on how I got to Star Citizen.
Meanwhile, why not learn more on how I just turned into a blogger?
Not a magic trick. Promise!

I’ll see you in-game,
-ViLa4480

P.S.: If you’re more into historical fantasy… why not try Papers, Please?

Papers, Please: the short film

Papers, Please: The short …Film?

Free to read: there are no movie spoils ahead

A broken Valve

Have you read my previous article on How Steam broke my Valve? That’s the prelude to this post!
Go check it out!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Steam has let me down in the past few years, as I used to scroll its shop homepage on a regular basis… Steam then started showing very targeted results and my Steam shop started looking less and less interesting to me. It was showing the same results over and over again!
Somehow this led me to Papers, Please: the short film.

I was bored yesterday.

So I decided to go see what’s new on Steam. But since my Steam shop homepage is kind lame nowadays I went on to figure out what were the best-rated games of all time on Steam.

I was surprised! The top result didn’t belong to a game… It was a movie!
-A short film to be precise.
But not just any film… Papers, Please: the short film!

I have to admit that my jaw dropped a bit and my finger trembled with excitement when I hovered my mouse over it. Was this possible? What kind of black magic is this?!

Papers, Please: logo

Glory to Arstotzka!

Papers, Please is one of my greatest heroes when it comes to games.
As I understand it was mostly built by one guy (Lucas Pope) with the help of a small team of Arstotzkan loyal subjects.

The game is set in 1982 at the national border of a very closed soviet-like regime. You were one of the lucky picks of the October labour lottery as your name was pulled for immediate placement as a border admissions control officer. What an honour!

Your job is to allow or deny entry of people into the country – for the Glory of Arstotzka! to feed your family.

To me, games are about making choices.

…Making the right decisions that bring you the most benefit in order to “win” the game (even though winning something isn’t always required for a player to be entertained or to feel connected to a story).

However, the best games are the ones that make you think twice.
 
Papers, Please excels at this.

It presents you with tough choices over and over. 
To the point where you feel the misery of these immigrants and you still have to deny their entry into your country, knowing that they will die otherwise.

What an incredibly contemporary theme.

Corruption, bribery and even secret societies are also on the table as some people will try to do anything to get into Arstotzka …and you still have to feed your family.

Papers, Please Screenshot

The reason why I love this game is due to its gameplay simplicity in a cutthroat environment where each decision is critical to the migrant, the State and to your family. A bureaucracy simulator that is actually memorable.
As usual, Lucas Pope turned what at first would appear to be a technical graphics limitation into a graphic style on its own. One that not only simplifies interactions and leverages the narrative, but also that glorifies that great retro ambiance that drives the player back in time to a period of cold walls and warm tensions.

How does this translate into a film?!

I don’t know.
But they did it really well.

The film focuses on the usual role that the player performs. The Inspector sifts through all the data in the documents that he is provided by the migrants to look for info that’s missing or incorrect.

I won’t go into any further details as I don’t think it is necessary to spoil anything in a 10-minute long film.

Papers, Please: the short film

However, I will say that I was impressed at how carefully well executed the scenario and the attention to detail was in this film. It really captures the essence of the game.
The actors also do a great job at conveying that this is a life/death situation… and yet… just a job.

Summing-up, I would like to congratulate Lucas Pope and his team on being brave enough to make this great short film.

Art isn’t perfect, but this is a great 10-minute piece of art.
It isn’t priceless either – but it is FREE on Steam and Youtube.

Check it out in 4K glory right now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFHHGETsxkE

Regarding the film I will rate it 4/5 Pops – it is great, but it lacks a little bit more depth and desperation that the game is better at conveying …but hey, it is free…

I will rate the must-have-played game 5/5 Pops.
No questions asked.

Film Popcorn Score:

Game Popcorn Score:

I’ll see you in Arstotzka,
-ViLa4480

Missed the first part of this story?
Go check it out now!

Interested in this game?
Click here to get a discount for Papers, Please.

Steam Shop

How Steam broke my Valve.

The kid at the toy shop

I love exploring Steam.
I just used to go through all of their pages, looking at all the new games being released and all of the innovative game concepts that they bring to every genre – and, on occasion, I would buy a strange new game that caught my eye. Have I mentioned that I am a true multigamer?

I REALLY used to enjoy scrolling through their shop’s homepage. It was fun looking at all the different games – I felt like a kid in a toy shop!

Unfortunately, Steam has been “improving” certain features over the years. 

A great idea.

In the past couple of years, however, they started to target audiences for their games. They started showing games that were similar to the types of games each player likes or plays. They even picked games that have just recently been released – or because they’re popular among my friends. What a great idea!…

While this was amazing for the first few months, I started to realize that the main store page on my girlfriend’s computer was so much more interesting than mine!
I thought… well… this couldn’t be right. How could it be that I was having more fun looking at her targeted games rather than my own?!

Suddenly I realized that my Steam homepage was pretty much static most of the time. Even though games jump up and down the page, they’re mostly showing me the same games over and over.

Steam Shop
My Steam shop homepage

The toy shop that only sells Pet Rocks

I can tell you with 100% certainty that if I open up my Steam homepage right now, Star Wars: Jedi Knight and Star Wars: Republic Commando, as well as every single Commandos game will show up at the top of all game suggestions.

The reason for this being that I’ve added Star Wars Battlefront to my wishlist (back in 2011) and I’ve added Commandos 2 to my wishlist (in 2012).
 
Now, I’m not saying these are bad games. They’re not. But I’ve seen them on my homepage every single day for several years now!

…and for some odd reason, after all these years, Steam still thinks that today is the day when ViLa4480 is going to buy all these games!

Ah… Bugger – maybe tomorrow

I can’t help but think that they have someone in their offices wearing a cap and deciding which games are going to show up on my homepage…

Cranking the levers up and down (Steam Powered!) with an eager smile as my mouse hovers over those games. 

“…He never gets to buy them! 
Ah… Bugger – maybe tomorrow” – he says to himself.

Closing the shop

The truth is… I don’t enjoy going through the Steam homepage as much as I once did.
I used to enjoy the variety of games that showed up. But now I find myself mostly looking at the “Popular Releases” and the “Most sold” tabs as those reflect a little bit more variety than the rest of my targeted homepage.

While looking for something different, I decided to check which games were the best ranked of all time on steam. 

I was surprised.
The first one… wasn’t even a game.

And this is how I got to find Papers, Please – The short film.

Kingdom: Two Crowns logo

Kingdom: Two Crowns …One and a Half?

This is my first review post on this blog. If you guys would like to know more about how I started this epic journey check out PLANTING A SEED.

A mighty Kingdom

Kingdom: Two Crowns has just been released earlier this month and I decided to give it a go.

Kingdom: Two Crowns is a 2D side-scrolling “kingdom-builder” game. The kind of satisfaction you get from playing a tower-defense game, mixed with the satisfaction you get from playing an exploration game like Terraria.

Being insanely addictive, this game uses very smart and staggeringly simple game mechanics which I am able to describe in three sentences: 

  • You’ve got a bag of gold coins.
  • You buy improvements to your fort.
  • You survive waves of enemies.

Ah. But things are never this simple.

Kingdom: Two Crowns Splitscreen

Building and growing your fort means expanding your borders further into wild,unexplored territory. This not only means that trees will have to be mercilessly cut down, but also that other, harder decisions must be made:

-Will you destroy a homeless person’s shelter to expand your fort into fertile lands?
-What about the trader’s hut that regularly supplies you with a huge influx of coins?
-Will you spend all your money building new walls or instead hiring more archers to protect your current walls?


Decisions, decisions…

Know thy land

The game is a great exploration adventure game however… even though you can’t deny that there is a huge amount of geographic exploration to do… Let’s be honest and recognize that most islands in the game all look very similar and that the game mechanics never really change much throughout the map.

Nevertheless, what really drives the player to keep “exploring” the game is the huge amount of “interactibles” – mysterious statues, strange meteorites, portals and a never-ending list of upgrades to your fort that grant you game-changing special abilities.

Kingdom: Two Crowns Statue

Line of succession

Having bought the previous Kingdom: Classic and the sequel Kingdom: New Lands  I must say I was a bit skeptical about buying this new version. The reason for that was that when I first bought Kingdom: New Lands I had two reasons to buy it: First, I’d like to support the developers who had previously created such a simple and cool game. Secondly, I was also looking for new content and new interactions that would expand my experience of ruling a very 2D kingdom.

However, I must say I was a wee bit disappointed with Kingdom: New Lands since it was being promoted almost as if it was a standalone DLC.
-Does that make sense?
Nope.

It is basically the same game as Kingdom: Classic being resold full-price with an added expansion.

The problem wasn’t really that the expansion was bad. The problem was how it was being sold as something truly new – which it wasn’t since the new mechanics that were introduced weren’t really that different from the base game and many of the changes were merely cosmetic.

Don’t get me wrong: any expansion to this great base game is welcome – but paying a full bag of gold for a new DLC is …bittersweet.

Just one more crown…

Kingdom: Two Crowns Scary night

Along comes November and the video announcement for Kingdom: Two Crowns and I couldn’t be more curious. 
A developer starts by explaining that he was watching a player stream (not me, unfortunately!) with his girlfriend and that at one point one of them said “I wish we could play together”… the developer’s heart melted and so he decided to make that wish come true in Kingdom: Two Crowns.

This was huge news for me!
I love coop games.

…And I couldn’t miss the opportunity to play one of my favorite games with my usual test subject (A.K.A. my girlfriend).

What a great idea.
Then I saw the 20€ price tag.

Here we go again?

I’m not a cheapskate – but I don’t like paying for the same game three times either!
If they had added new cosmetic content I’m sure I wouldn’t have bought it… but coop… My only weakness… How could I resist? How could I?!

Yeah, I bought Kingdom: Two Crowns.
After an insane amount of time spent tackling screen-resolution, UI and gamepad issues I proudly decided to demonstrate to my girlfriend that I had finally managed to remove all blockers and smash all bugs and went to Mordor and back to get the game ready and working!

“It’s ugly.” – she said.
She does that. She has a way with words.

After convincing her that pixel art is actually an art form and not a technical limitation of the game, she conceded that she would allow me to play with her. I often get the feeling that I’m dating my cat.

Kingdom: Two Crowns Splitscreen

One crown. Two crowns.

The King and Queen of Choulândia were now crowned and ready to cleanse this Kingdom of all evil minions roaming the land.

Until I died in the first 3 minutes of gameplay.
Then we got desperately poor.
Then we decided to restart the game.

BUT THEN the Mighty Kingdom of Choulândia arose from the ashes, prospered and grew in size! We had thick stone walls, fertile farms, an army of archers!

Then my Queen bluntly said: “I’m bored.”
She does that. She has a way with words.

…Usually that tends to happen within the first 5-10 minutes of playing a game. So the fact that we were playing for almost two hours before she said that really struck me as being a great compliment to Kingdom: Two Crowns.
I was truly having fun playing with her!

We got to explore a new island, got some diamond-like gems and started building a new ship to come back home with our bounty.

We had to stop there.
But I can honestly say that I had great fun playing Kingdom: Two Crowns with myself and with my Queen and we had some good laughs with very poor fort-building decisions about building walls at the exact time that the enemy is attacking.

Kingdom: Two Crowns Sunset


Locking the gates

Overall Kingdom: Two Crowns is an amazing game for playing as co-op or single-player – especially if you’ve never had the chance to play one of the previous versions.
It is extremely addicting, fun, with a lot of content to explore and a great Christmas Gift for your soulmate (as long as you get to play with him/her).

However, the slightly steeper price for the content that has been added might not be entirely adequate if you’ve played the previous iterations since it feels like a small DLC rather than an entirely brand new game. I’d value this at 15€ for returning players, instead of the standard 20€, and despite the price point and the lack of apparent new gameplay mechanics at the start of the game, I would still rate it 4/5 pops due to its replayability and blunt fun factor.

Popcorn Score:

This is my first review post on this blog. If you guys would like to know more about how I started this epic journey check out PLANTING A SEED.

I’ll see you in-game,
-ViLa4480

Interested in this game?
Click here to get a discount for Kingdom: Two Crowns.