Monday, May 25, 2015

Choicest VGM - VGM #183 - Wing Commander: Privateer - Combat I

Soundtrack composed by: Laura Barratt, Marc Schaefgen and Nenad Vugrinec

And now we get to hear one of the combat tracks that features in Wing Commander: Privateer. This one sounds particular menacing and suspenseful at parts, so it works especially well when you're counting the seconds before a missile impact (and hoping you can somehow evade it). Another thing I fondly remember about Privateer during combat is the lack of variation when it came to the insults. Usually the enemy would taunt you during combat but they'd only have maybe three insults they'd ever utter. Not only that but all the pirates, for example, have the same lines. Consequently, if you're fighting a wing of pirates this is what it would sound like:

Pirate 1: "You're about to suck void buddy!"
(5 seconds later)
Pirate 2: "You're about to suck void buddy!"
(5 seconds later)
Pirate 3: "You're about to suck void buddy!"
(5 seconds later)
Pirate 1: "You're about to suck void buddy!"

and so on and so forth. No wonder the protagonist wanted to get rid of those pirates so quickly in the intro...

Thanks to C75 and WCNEWS for providing these memorable tracks.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Spotlight Sunday - Week 22 - 2015

Spotlight Sunday is a way for Choicest Games to feature PC games that are scheduled for release on the following week - games that we consider worthwhile checking out.

This week (25th May to the 31st May 2015), is going to be a relatively quiet one compared to the whopping six games under the spotlight on the last Spotlight Sunday. This week we have a couple of games to feature, one involving a nuclear holocaust and another is a point 'n' click adventure:

60 Seconds!

  • Release Date: 25/05/2015
  • Availability: Stean - Not available for pre-order
I suspect despite this game being labelled as a "dark comedy" it might end up being quite disturbing and potentially depressing since a family trying to survive nuclear fallout isn't one with a happy ending. However, I guess that's the whole point. In this game you're tasked with collecting as many items in 60 seconds before a nuclear blast hits your home. You then take what you've collected into your fallout shelter (although what good is a fallout shelter if it didn't already have emergency provisions?) and I suspect the game becomes a bit similar to the Oregon Trail or Organ Trail where you'll encounter several scenarios where you have to make do with the meagre provisions you have and ensure everyone survives - although to what end? The town you live in has been incinerated by a nuclear blast right? Anyway, definitely one to look out for thanks to it being unique.

Subject 13

  • Release Date: 28/05/2015
  • Availability: Steam - Not available for pre-order
Apparently this point 'n' click adventure game was a Kickstarter project that managed to raise over $40,000 (which really isn't much in gaming terms) but apparently was enough of a boost I guess to help improve what Microïds had already developed. You may be wondering "Hmmm, I've heard of these Microïds guys. What else have they developed?" - well quite a few point 'n' click adventure games actually, such as Syberia, Syberia II and a whole bunch of others. The game is also developed by Paul Cuisset, a French game designer who was responsible for games like Cruise for a Corpse and Flashback. So it's definitely got some talent behind it and I always love a good ol' sci-fi point 'n' click adventure which this seems to be.

So are you interested or excited about any of these PC games being released next week? Which games are you looking forward to?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lux Delux Review

You can get some pretty interesting variations of traditional Risk maps as seen here

  • Developer: Sillysoft Games
  • Publisher: Sillysoft Games
  • Release Date: 1 May 2015 (Steam Release - original Lux released in 2002)
  • Time played: 3 hours

My wife has always commented that she used to play some version of Risk on the computer with her father. Good times. I vaguely remember playing similar games many years ago with the most recent computer game version of Risk I've played being the 2011 Hasbro-endorsed Risk Factions. While it has a zany sense of humour (factions available include yetis, cats and zombies) and functioning multiplayer it still didn't feel quite right, not to mention the game was prone to crashing too. Of course there’s always the actual board game (which we also own) and while I do enjoy playing it the two major drawbacks are (a) a lack of available players and (b) some calculations are required when playing Risk which is better served by a computer, don’t you think?

So fast forward to 2015 and we now have the Steam release of a game that looks very similar to Risk called Lux Delux which I've seen featured before on Positech's game site. So I already knew that the game has been around for a while but what I didn't realise is how long. The original Lux was first released in 2002 which is over a decade ago and way before the digital distribution of computer games became popular (i.e. before Steam became the powerhouse it’s known today). So the game has been around for quite some time and kudos to the developer for continuing to work on the game.

Anyway, considering my wife is really into PC-based Risk I thought I might as well get the game as a gift (and a copy for myself so we could try it out multiplayer). After playing the game for a few hours here are my thoughts on it.

Gameplay (3/5)
While there are some minor alterations to the original formula (I'm pretty sure you could move your units between friendly territories in the original Risk) this is just Risk the board game on your PC. Plain and simple. If you’re a big fan of the original board game then you’ll probably love this game. There are lots of parameters and options you can tweak to make each game a unique experience and there are some features that streamline the whole process (e.g. only needing to click once to resolve conflict between two territories).

Ultimately though, if you're like me who thinks Risk is a game that is heavily reliant on luck (dice rolls are used to resolve conflict after all) and accumulating stacks of doom to wipe out any opposition, there's not much on offer . Risk is fun as an actual board game (besides the performing calculations part) or as a quick distraction but only the hardcore Risk player would invest their time in the product.

Sound (4/5)
Sound effects are minimal but they do the job. My only criticism is that the sound effects sound exactly the same no matter what map you're playing (whether it be fighting WWII, fighting in space or laying siege to a castle). Apparently there's the option to change the sound effects when you create your own maps, so not sure why it hasn't been done with the default maps.

Music (2/5)
Thank God you can turn the music off! The music in Lux Delux consists of 1990s style MIDI and it keeps repeating! Anyway, each to their own but I'm definitely not a fan. Again some variety with respect to the music (i.e. dependent on the map you play) would've been a good idea.

Graphics (2/5)
There really isn't much to the graphics in this game with very basic attack animations and with some maps looking as if they were pulled straight off a Windows 95 game or MS Paint. However, there are good maps out there too so it really depends somewhat on how much effort modders are willing to put in their submissions. Mind you, setting the bar low is encouraging for those of us wannabe modders and it could also explain why there are so many maps currently available for the game.

Replay (5/5)
Replay value is definitely one of Lux Delux's strengths, especially if you're a fan of Risk: you've got online multiplayer, leaderboards, over 900 maps to play with and if you ever get sick of the maps on offer, you can create your own! The Steam version of the game also comes with the obligatory Steam achievements and trading cards too, if you're into that sort of thing.

The Steam overlay doesn't exactly work properly yet

Polish (3/5)
The interface is pretty clunky and old-fashioned. It took me ages to figure out how to run a multiplayer game and it involves using a combination of menu-driven options as well as IRC style commands. So it doesn't help that there are hundreds of radio buttons and drop down boxes flooding the screen to distract you from what you actually want to do. Mind you, that's only on the main menu/options screen. The actual game's interface is pretty easy to understand.

You also can't run the game in fullscreen it seems – at least not the main menu and as a result the game has some issues with the Steam interface whenever it tries to pop-up in the bottom right (as it tends to obscure a lot of the game).

Score – 6/10

If you're a fan of Risk you'll probably overlook the oldschool, 1990s interface, graphics and audio, and find an infinitely replayable PC version of Risk that you can enjoy with other fans of the board game. Otherwise, there's not much to recommend here. It's still better than Risk: Factions though...

Lux Delux is available from these retailers:

Is the game worth $9.99 USD?: Yes.

If you like this game, you might like...

[ LINK: Official Lux Delux website ]