Posts Tagged ‘retrospective’

Friendless Space: Why Master Of Orion 3 Is Important

Games are either good or the worst thing to ever happen. That’s just how it works. Oh, sure, there are divisive games, but once the consensus has been reached that a game is bad, that’s it. Cast it away into the pit of 1 star reviews, the lair of the Thumbdown, to be spoken of only with frothing hatred and contempt. Never to be touched. Never to be examined.

Master of Orion 3 is one of the most important 4X games ever made. There, I said it. It’s all over for me now. Follow not where I dare to tread.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Making Of Company Of Heroes

In 2001, Band of Brothers was still airing on HBO and Canadian developer Relic Entertainment was finishing up development of Impossible Creatures, its freaky animal RTS. Space and sci-fi had been its muse for years, but it found, in the increased cultural interest in World War 2, another setting and the impetus for Company of Heroes.

Relic celebrated the game’s tenth anniversary this month. It remains one of the most acclaimed RTS games of all time, lavished in 2006 with glowing reviews and heaps of awards. I’ll mostly remember it as the reason I got chewed out by a lecturer for dozing in class, after a long night of liberating Europe.

We’ve talked four of the original developers into taking a trip down a potholed, tank-lined memory lane with us.

Read the rest of this entry »

Retrospective – Star Trek: Elite Force II

Jean-Luc Picard looks small and lonely. Older, somehow more statesmanlike than ever, still captain of the Starfleet’s flagship, but weirdly tiny, as though he is slowly disappearing. Because he’s alone. All of his officers have gone. There’s just all these unfamiliar young people now. Young, quiet, anonymous. Oh, and a visiting Tuvok from Voyager, but he’s no Data, is he?
Read the rest of this entry »

What Civ VI Could Learn From Civilization: Call To Power

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. I’m playing Civilization: Call to Power, and at some point the world turned from relative Civ familiarity (with shoddier mechanics) into a Twilight Zone where everything is just… wrong. I think things started getting strange when my still ancient-looking capital city of Rome circa 1700AD started being showered with little animations of paper, crippling the city’s production. Sending a spy to investigate, I uncovered that a man in a blue suit (all the rage in 1600s Thailand, apparently) was behind it all – a scummer lawyer catapulting bloody injunctions.

What in Sid’s name is going on?

Civilization: Call to Power and its sequel are baffling, yet also fascinating – they’re the shameful secrets of the esteemed 4X series that Sid Meier and Firaxis had no involvement with, borne of huge ambitions, an inexperienced dev team at Activision, and (fittingly, given the stifling, all-pervasive role of lawyers in the game), a lawsuit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Gothic Is More Believable Than Modern RPGs

One of the many nebulous concepts that spring up when writing about games is “a sense of place”. We talk about worlds and locations and settings, but often these boil down to unusual geography or art direction – surface details and imagery rather than a real identity.

Gothic, by contrast, wasn’t particularly pretty. Its setting wasn’t the singular underground world of Arx Fatalis, nor the varied alien landscape of Morrowind. Instead, Piranha Bytes recognised back in 2001 that a place is a place not because of its landscape or biome or buildings, but because the people there make it one.

Most RPGs have NPC traffic. Gothic had a society.

Read the rest of this entry »

Frags For The Memories: Quake Is Twenty Today

Twenty years ago today, id Software released Quake. Following a multiplayer test that gave the world a first glimpse of the studio’s new, cutting edge 3d engine, the full game arrived on June 22, 1996. Its bizarre mash-up of medieval architecture and crunchy, industrial weaponry didn’t run through the sequels, which have focused on both singleplayer and multiplayer combat, and there hasn’t been anything else quite like it in the two decades since release.

Arena-based Quake is set for a revival with the recently announced Quake Champions, but here, we remember the original. Happy twentieth, Quake.

Read the rest of this entry »