Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Classic Sierra games on Steam now in Humble Bundle

Screenshot of Humble Sierra Bundle
Humble Sierra Bundle has a whole bunch of new and old Sierra games

Steam recently announced that they were selling a whole bunch of classic Sierra titles but wait! Before you go and attempt to satisfy your feelings of nostalgia by purchasing them, there is now a Humble Sierra Bundle where you can get a whole bunch of Sierra games for $20 USD max.


Pay $1 or more
- Space Quest Collection
- Phantasmagoria 1-2
- Police Quest Collection
- Shiftlings

Pay More than the Average
- Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
- TimeShift
- Quest for Glory 1-5
- Gabriel Knight 1-3

Pay $15 or more
- Caesar 3-4
- Geometry Wars 3
- King's Quest Collection
- Velocity 2X

Pay $20 or more
- King's Quest the Complete Collection

I've already got the $15 USD tier since I already own the new King's Quest game on Steam. So now I've got a whole bunch of classic Sierra games as well as some newer indie ones to boot.

I noticed a particular chap on the Whirlpool forums asking whether the games were any good by today’s standards or whether they were simply a way to cash in on nostalgia. To be honest, despite me being a Sierra fan, I think these games are probably only of interest to those wanting to learn a bit more about gaming history, especially adventure games. It’s also worth getting these if you played adventure games in 80s and 90s but never got around to playing Sierra’s offerings. Otherwise, if you’ve never played 80s/90s adventure games, the Sierra ones can be somewhat frustrating, especially the older ones.

On the other hand, the Quest for Glory games are pretty damn good games in their own right - here's a video I submitted to a GOG contest espousing the very reasons why you should check it out :).



Oh, one nice bonus is the fact that the Space Quest Collection isn't actually available for sale on Steam in Australia, so this Humble Bundle is the only way you'll get a Steam copy if you live in Australia.

LINK:
[ Humble Sierra Bundle ]



Monday, August 29, 2016

Choicest VGM - VGM #245 - Sid Meier's Colonization - Independence Way



Original Soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs, Ken Lagace and Roland J. Rizzo

Amiga Soundtrack by: Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson

This week we have another "Independence Tune" from Sid Meier's Colonization, although the confusing thing is when I checked out "York Fusiliers" and "Independence Way" in my GOG copy of Sid Meier's Colonization, they sounded exactly the same (or at least started the same way). However, searching for "York Fusiliers" online it sounded quite a bit different. Consequently, I believe that this track should in fact be "Independence Way" instead of "York Fusiliers".

EDIT (15/10/2016): A fellow YouTube user +Plastiware has alerted me to the fact that despite me originally advertising these tracks as the Amiga version of the soundtrack, it's probably not entirely accurate. I originally marked these as the Amiga version due to the source MP3s I used stating Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson as the composers, but when comparing these tracks to Amiga versions of the soundtrack on YouTube and then comparing it to a DOS CD version, it seems these are most likely from the DOS CD version. Apologies for the mistake.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #245 - Sid Meier's Colonization - Independence Way ]


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Steam Games Sunday - 28 August 2016

Regency Solitaire makes its debut to Steam Games Sunday

  1. War Thunder
  2. Rainbow Six Siege
  3. Everyday Genius: SquareLogic
  4. Star Trek Online
  5. Sniper Elite III
  6. Squad
  7. Marvel Heroes
  8. Sid Meier's Civilization V
  9. NBA 2K16
  10. Regency Solitaire

The highlight for this week's Steam Games Sunday is Regency Solitaire making its debut to the list, coming in at #10. A game that is a unique pairing of the card game Solitaire and something like a Jane Austen novel, it's been a pretty addictive past-time for one of the Choicest Games team. If you're interested in checking the game out, you can get it for super cheap (and at the same time donate something to charity) in the Humble Indie Bundle 17.

All the other games on the list are quite familiar with War Thunder, Rainbow Six Siege, Everyday Genius: SquareLogic, Star Trek Online and Sniper Elite III still in the same spots as last week in first, second, third, fourth and fifth place respectively. Squad has pushed up to sixth place from eighth place and Marvel Heroes remains in seventh place. NBA 2K16 has dropped down to ninth place from sixth place and we now have Sid Meier's Civilization V return to the list at 8th place (although it's pretty easy for Civ to do so, thanks to games generally being long and the fact that every Choicest Games member has a copy in their Steam library).

Anyway stay tuned for next Sunday to see if this list changes :). Are you playing any of the games on this list? How are you finding them?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars released

Ahhh the good ol' GNN news bots

The Master of Orion reboot (which contains the subtitle "Conquer the Stars" to differentiate it from the original 1993 Master of Orion I guess) that was in Early Access on Steam has now finally been released.

Why is this big news? Well any gamer born after the 1980s probably doesn't know what all the fuss is about but the original Master of Orion and its 1996 sequel, Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares, were classics of the sci-fi 4X genre. In fact, the term 4X probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for this series. Master of Orion's impact on PC gaming in general means it easily deserves a place on the Choicest Games Top 100 (and it does, at #63) and Master of Orion II is also on the list at the #51 spot.

So you can understand why some people have waited with bated breath for the final release of this game (even though it was available as Early Access on both Steam and GOG since February). However, there has been some cause for concern with respect to the development of the game, especially the fact that Wargaming.net, a publisher/developer usually associated with MMOs, and a relatively unknown, Argentinian, indie developer called NGD Studios were the companies behind it. However, there's also been some welcome news too especially with respect to the stellar voice acting cast with talents like Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Dwight Schulz, John de Lancie, Alan Tudyk, Fred Tatasciore and Kari Wahlgren.

I've been keeping track of the reviews while the game was in Early Access, leading up to the game's release and unfortunately reviews seemed to be mixed on both GOG and Steam.

The more negative reviews about the game tend to comment about how the full release of the game cut features introduced during Early Access (e.g. "minor races") and compare it to a boring mobile game. Other negative reviews mention about the poor real-time combat that lacks any feedback, the needless micro-management, the lack of content and many bugs (and we're not talking about Klackons here).

Positive ones seems hopeful that the developer will deliver on promises of extra features and bug fixes, commenting on features that made the original games special (e.g. multiple paths to victory). Some say this game bears more similarity to the original MOO instead of MOO2 (which seems to be more of a fan favourite).

So purchasing the game at the moment does seem to be a gamble. It really depends on whether you think those that have written the negative reviews are a bunch of whiners that are not judging the game on its own merits (think Civilization: Beyond Earth when it came out and players making comparisons with Alpha Centauri) or maybe the ones giving positive reviews are all pollyanna-like apologists. If I end up getting the game, I'll be sure to let you know how I go!

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars is available digitally from Steam and GOG. You can get the game for $29 USD (which is about $38 AUD) on Steam and the Steam version comes with Trading Cards, Achievements and Steam Leaderboards. The GOG version is slightly cheaper at $33.99 AUD and is DRM-free.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Where to buy Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Worms W.M.D. in Australia



Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Worms W.M.D. (two games that have featured on our Release Dates page) have been recently released so for those of you here in Australia wondering where you can pick it up, I've done a bit of the legwork for you and checked out the following stores:

  • Steam
  • GOG
  • Target
  • Big W
  • JB Hi-Fi
  • EB Games
  • Origin
  • UPlay

I haven't included key resellers or online stores like Ozgameshop since apparently these sites are considered to be part of the "grey market" by some, so deal with them at your own risk.


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


While the console versions of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are being sold at quite a few retailers, the PC one is only available from EB Games, JB Hi-Fi and Steam. Square Enix don't seem to be price gouging on the Steam store as the price is actually quite similar to the retail price for physical copies here in Australia. So you can get a copy of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided for just under $80 AUD. It just depends on whether you want a physical copy or a digital only copy (and whether you're one of those Steam fanbois that just has to have the Steam version of a game to add to their library).

Worms W.M.D.


You can only get a digital-only copy of Worms W.M.D. and only from GOG and Steam. Again, the prices are comparable after you take the current exchange rate into account. So the choice mainly boils down to whether you want a DRM-free copy of the game to add to your GOG library or whether you want a Steam copy of the game.

So are you getting any of these two games? If so, where are you buying them from?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Rainbow Six Siege Operator announced (okay... not really)

Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male. Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale.

But wouldn't it be awesome if you could play as a Smooth Operator? No need to ask.

Seriously though, when the new Japanese operators come out in the next DLC they'd better have Voltron as a unique ability. Or Godzilla...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Choicest VGM - VGM #244 - Sid Meier's Colonization - Love Forever



Original Soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs, Ken Lagace and Roland J. Rizzo

Amiga Soundtrack by: Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson

"Love Forever" is one of the "Independence Tunes" that you might hear while playing Sid Meier's Colonization. Indeed, the goal of the game is to eventually declare independence from your mother land, fight a War of Independence and win it - no easy feat! I'm not quite sure why a military marching theme is called "Love Forever" but hey, there you go.

EDIT (15/10/2016): A fellow YouTube user +Plastiware has alerted me to the fact that despite me originally advertising these tracks as the Amiga version of the soundtrack, it's probably not entirely accurate. I originally marked these as the Amiga version due to the source MP3s I used stating Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson as the composers, but when comparing these tracks to Amiga versions of the soundtrack on YouTube and then comparing it to a DOS CD version, it seems these are most likely from the DOS CD version. Apologies for the mistake.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #244 - Sid Meier's Colonization - Love Forever ]


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Steam Games Sunday - 21 August 2016

Reigns makes its debut to Steam Games Sunday

  1. War Thunder
  2. Rainbow Six Siege
  3. Everyday Genius: SquareLogic
  4. Star Trek Online
  5. Sniper Elite III
  6. NBA 2K16
  7. Marvel Heroes
  8. Squad
  9. Reigns
  10. 1849

This week we finally see a change in the top four! Well, not a huge change but Everyday Genius: SquareLogic has gone up one place and is now third after War Thunder and Rainbow Six Siege. Star Trek Online has been pushed down slightly to fourth place. One of the biggest movers this week is Sniper Elite III which was 10th place last week but has shot up to 5th place for this week. This means that NBA 2K16 has been pushed down slightly to 6th place; a place that was occupied by Far Cry 3 last week which has now completely disappeared off the top 10 list. Marvel Heroes has pushed up slightly to 7th place (up from 9th place last week) and Squad remains in 8th place.

Reigns, a game which looks like a rogue-like/visual novel/card game/medieval king simulator/something of sorts aimed at mobiles, has made its debut to Steam Games Sunday and has taken 9th place. 1849 has dropped to 10th place, down from 7th place last week.

Anyway stay tuned for next Sunday to see if this list changes :). Are you playing any of the games on this list? How are you finding them?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Documentary about Game Audio History to be released in September

Beep is available on DVD for $15.24 USD

So just the other day, who responds to one of my Where are they now? posts? None other than Rudy Helm, the chap who composed the soundtrack for Quest for Glory III during a short stint at Sierra. Rudy's apparently "refurbishing" an old soundtrack he worked on for a 1990s fighting game for Accolade called Cybernauts; it never was released unfortunately, but the music that Rudy is working on will be released next year under Piko Interactive.

But what has Rudy been working on before that? Well, apparently him and a whole bunch of game audio professionals (i.e. video game composers, sound designers, voice actors, chiptune musicians, etc.) have contributed their time to a documentary on called "Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound". Already the documentary has been doing the rounds and it's won several awards at film festivals. On the 30 September though, you'll be able to get your hands on the documentary video (in either digital format or on DVD for $15.24 USD) or you can get "The Beep Book" which contains 410,000 words of interview transcripts with over 100 game audio professionals such as Marty O'Donnell (Halo), George "The Fat Man" Sanger (Wing Commander, 7th Guest, Maniac Mansion), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and, of course, Rudy Helm (Quest for Glory III). Not sure if Frank Klepacki or Jeremy Soule are in the mix (two of my favourite composers) but there's already a lot of talent listed in this documentary already.

If you're not the sort into purchasing stuff there are already some free "webisodes" you can watch on the Vimeo channel. They've already got ones for Clint Bajakian and Michael Z. Land (Monkey Island, Star Wars, Uncharted), as well as the guys I've mentioned before (Rudy Helm is coming soon!).

For the videos that haven't been sponsored yet, they haven't been uploaded to Vimeo although I'm very tempted to take the plunge considering choice composers like John Broomhall hasn't had his interview uploaded yet...

LINKS:
[ Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound - Official Website ]

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Get Nuclear Throne, The Beginner's Guide, Octodad and more in the latest Humble Bundle

Octodad: Dadliest Catch features in the latest Humble Indie Bundle

Humble Indie Bundle has hit the number 17 and they've apparently got $121 worth of indie games for grabs. If I were to be perfectly honest, most of the games on the list don't really interest me and it was really only The Beginner's Guide (a game by Davey Wreden, the creator of The Stanley Parable) and Octodad: Dadliest Catch (a game rated highly by Steam friends) that enticed me to add MOAR GAMEZ to the backlog. I wasn't even interested in Nuclear Throne despite its reputation as being one of the best action roguelikes ever.

Other games in this bundle aren't exactly slouches though: you've got the competitive projectile fighting game Lethal League (rated Very Positive on Steam according to recent reviews), Galak-Z which is an anime inspired 2D space combat simulation (rated Mostly Positive), local co-op action shooter Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (rated Very Positive on Steam) and time travel platformer SUPER TIME FORCE Ultra (rated Very Positive on Steam).

The current tiers and their associated games are listed below:

Pay what you want!
Lethal League
The Beginner's Guide
Galak-Z

Pay more than the average (Currently $X USD)
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Octodad: The Dadliest Catch
SUPER TIME FORCE ULTRA

Pay $10 or more to also unlock!
Nuclear Throne

LINK:
[ Humble Indie Bundle 17 ]

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Westport Independent Review

The Westport Independent allows you to chop and change articles and make sensationalist headlines... or is it just conveying the truth?

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Double Zero One Zero
  • Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios
  • Release Date: 22 January 2016
  • Time played: 1.5 hours

Most of the games that I review on this blog happen to be Steam games and when I talk about my games backlog, I'm predominantly talking about this platform. However, did you know I have several other backlogs too? I have a backlog of games on Good Old Games (GOG.com), Origin and UPlay. I even have a physical "pile of shame" sitting on my desk (actually I should take a photo of it sometime). Really, I ought to be renaming my blog to "Choicest Pile of Shame" instead but I digress.

The reason I mentioned backlogs besides Steam is because this particular game, The Westport Independent happens to be one from my GOG backlog which is probably my second largest backlog after Steam. Thankfully, despite hundreds of games, my GOG library is mostly populated by classic games I played in my youth instead of newer ones so most are just sitting there to be re-experienced rather than experienced for the first time. The Westport Independent however, fits in the latter category as it was only released earlier this year.

So what's this game about? Well, you play the role of a newspaper editor for the eponymous "Westport Independent" but you live in a country run by an almost fascist government that is attempting to bring in full press censorship within a matter of days. It's up to you to choose what stories to publish in the paper and whether you try to sensationalise the headlines or not. You're also given the opportunity to censor particular passages of each story as well as choose which stories make the front page. Depending on how you spin your stories and what you choose to publish, this affects your standing with the government known as "The Loyalist Party" and the Rebels (who are quite unhappy at what the current government is doing).

To make things even more challenging, your editorial staff have different political leanings too and will feel uncomfortable writing particular stories that go against their beliefs (although you can always force them to write the article which contributes to their stress). Also, if one of your writers types up too many articles embarrassing the government, you run the risk of forcing them into "early retirement".


What I like:


Like Papers, Please, except running a newspaper

This game is obviously inspired by Papers, Please; the drab and dreary, sepia toned art style, the ethical dilemmas you face while working under an oppressive, totalitarian regime, even the drag-and-drop control scheme is similar. As you know, I really enjoyed Papers, Please so trying to mimic its success isn't such a bad idea – but while the game is similar to a degree (except you're running a newspaper instead of approving visas) there are some differences as well that I will go into later.

Classy music

I love the classy, jazz/lounge music that plays in the game; it's a straight-forward choice considering the era the game is set in (the late 1940s).

Detailed epilogue

I love games that take the effort to do a proper epilogue and The Westport Independent doesn't disappoint in this department. In fact, all the choices you make in the game will have some impact on how the epilogue turns out.


What I dislike:


Difficult to figure out what's going on

Despite the game giving you some basic tutorials on how to do things, some dynamics aren't explained at all. For example, you might want to make sure that the government doesn't get suspicious of your staff being rebel sympathisers since if they do, they might be facing "early retirement". You could force your journalists to write an article that is an affront to their political beliefs but I believe this causes stress which is probably not a good thing either, but they don't quite explain why (does it increase the likelihood of them taking time off? Or are they more likely to resign? Who knows?). Also, when it comes to marketing your paper do you actually want to invest more money in suburbs that are less likely to read your paper to compensate for the lack of articles that interest them? Or is that just money down the drain and you should just focus on the suburbs that are more likely to read your paper?

I guess, you'd normally use trial and error to figure out which way you should go but the minimal or cryptic feedback from your actions means it's going to require a lot of trial and error before you finally figure out what's going on. I'm sure some players have probably already figured it out, mind you, but I think you'd need a lot of patience in order to do so, patience that most people don't have.

Minimal impact on endings?

Unlike Papers, Please where there were multiple endings, some of them with quite distinct differences, this doesn't seem to be the case with The Westport Independent. After playing the game a few times, even when I was trying my best to lean one way politically over another, there only seemed to be minor changes in how the epilogue transpired. So while the epilogue is indeed detailed, there's probably little point to the detail if it's going to be mostly the same from playthrough to playthrough.

Short

One game is really short taking no more than 20 minutes to complete. While this isn't entirely bad in itself, considering there doesn't seem to be too much difference in terms of the endings, as I mentioned above, you're not going to want to replay the game that many times which means you'll probably only get 1 or 2 hours of gameplay before you're pretty much done with the game.


Score – 7/10 (Not Bad)


Is the game worth $9.99 USD?: No. It's a bit steep considering the game has very limited replay value. Sure you can get slightly different endings and potentially different conversations between your journalists depending on which news articles you choose but not enough to warrant the price. A fairer price would've been $5 USD.

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

[ LINK: Official The Westport Independent Website ]

Monday, August 15, 2016

Choicest VGM - VGM #243 - Sid Meier's Colonization - To Arms



Original Soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs, Ken Lagace and Roland J. Rizzo

Amiga Soundtrack by: Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson

Before we move onto the tunes in the game considered Independence tunes, here's our final standard military tune called "To Arms". It's always seemed strange to me how they could juxtapose such cheerful and light-hearted marching music with what would no doubt be the carnage and brutality of the battlefield. That's Humanity for you.

EDIT (15/10/2016): A fellow YouTube user +Plastiware has alerted me to the fact that despite me originally advertising these tracks as the Amiga version of the soundtrack, it's probably not entirely accurate. I originally marked these as the Amiga version due to the source MP3s I used stating Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson as the composers, but when comparing these tracks to Amiga versions of the soundtrack on YouTube and then comparing it to a DOS CD version, it seems these are most likely from the DOS CD version. Apologies for the mistake.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #243 - Sid Meier's Colonization - To Arms ]


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Steam Games Sunday - 14 August 2016

1849 is a newcomer to the top 10 list, coming in at #7

  1. War Thunder
  2. Rainbow Six Siege
  3. Star Trek Online
  4. Everyday Genius: SquareLogic
  5. NBA 2K16
  6. Far Cry 3
  7. 1849
  8. Squad
  9. Marvel Heroes
  10. Sniper Elite III

The top four haven't changed with War Thunder still coming in at #1 (although behind the scenes, it's actually being played even more than the previous week), Rainbow Six Siege coming in at #2, Star Trek Online at #3 and Everyday Genius: SquareLogic at #4. After these four there has been some reshuffling in the ranks. NBA 2K16, while not being played as much as last week, has supplanted Far Cry 3 for fifth place, mainly because I haven't played Far Cry 3 that much at all in recent times (but don't worry, I'm making good progress. I'm now doing missions on Hoyt's island). The big mover for this week though has to be 1849 which is a newcomer to the charts at #7. This city builder set during the California Gold Rush is another game I'm hoping to review in the near future - it's actually my "family friendly" choice (the non-"family friendly" one being Far Cry 3). As a result, Squad and Marvel Heroes have been pushed down to 8th and 9th place respectively. Sniper Elite III coming in at 10th place, is another newcomer to the top 10 but will we see it pop up again next week?

Anyway stay tuned for next Sunday to see if this list changes :). Are you playing any of the games on this list? How are you finding them?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

No Man's Sky Released to Mixed Reviews

Giant Death Robots! Wait, aren't these meant to be in Civ?

One of the most hyped and anticipated games of this year, No Man's Sky, has finally been released to PC on Steam and GOG. Even Choicest Games was looking forward to this game back in 2014, No Man's Sky making the #2 spot on the 10 Most Anticipated PC Games of 2015 list. The game did drop off the top 10 list for 2016 though but was still one we wanted to keep our eyes on.

Now it's finally out but it's been receiving a mix of positive and negative reviews across the board.

Let's first take a look at what happened in terms of reviews when the game was released a few days earlier on the game's target platform, the PS4.

Metacritic - PS4


On Metacritic the game has a Metascore of 68 which means "Mixed or average reviews based on 25 Critics". Destructoid gave the game a 7/10, saying that "It's a fun sandbox game that's full of wonder, until it isn't." To me, they seem to be pointing at a common criticism of Elite: Dangerous when it was released, in that procedural generation is great in giving you a large quantity of things to explore but ultimately, this could become boring after a very short time. The Jimquisition gave the game 5/10 saying that "even with my expectations guarded, however, I did not expect just another survival/crafting game that used randomization as a crutch to the point of losing all potential personality..." Traditional publications like TIME and the Guardian however, were more positive about the game, giving it a 9/10 and 8/10 respectively.

So how about the Metacritic users? Well, it gets worse. The game has a User Score of 4.9 which means "Generally unfavourable reviews based on 3,124 ratings". Many of the "most helpful reviews" give the game a score between 5 - 7 out of 10. Common comments state that the game can be repetitive and boring, but that a good framework is there to be built upon (sounds a bit like Elite: Dangerous eh?). The more positive comments talk about how beautiful the universe is and how seamless it is switching between planets and space, and that if you like survival/crafting games like Minecraft, you might find a lot to enjoy.




Metacritic - PC


So I decided to have a look at the actual platform I care about which is the PC and it's too early for an aggregated score on Metacritic but the users have already been making their voice heard. Unfortunately for Hello Games, those playing the PC version of No Man's Sky seem more displeased than the PS4 cohort. The game has a User Score of only 2.7 on PC which means "generally unfavourable reviews based on 336 ratings". The "most helpful" reviews here have a much lower score than on PS4 and they seem to range around 0 - 4. People are saying that "ironically, it makes me appreciate Elite: Dangerous much more than ever before", that the game is "unoptimised", constantly "crashing", constantly having "framerate drops" and constantly "freezing".




Steam


Okay, so how about Steam? This is the main store people are going to get the game if they're a PC player right? Well, the game has currently got a "Mixed" reception on Steam with "56% of the 21,283 user reviews for [the] game [being] positive".

Most positive reviews of the game are being drowned out by the negative ones because they're not being rated as helpful. The positive reviews tend to instruct others how to fix their game in order to appreciate No Man's Sky or say that it's a great game for exploration but not much else (for the time being). One even mentioned it's like a casual version of Elite: Dangerous. The negative reviews tend to comment on how the game is unplayable in the current state - in fact, there's very little negative reviews about the actual gameplay (probably because people are struggling to get the thing working). One that does go into the gameplay mentions how there is very little variation with respect to the procedural generation of planetary bodies (e.g. no gas giants, no ring systems and no variation of star types). Apparently some people are also bitter about the ambiguity with respect to multiplayer.




GOG


The chaps at GOG.com tend to be a more forgiving bunch I've found - I mean they like playing good old games right? That means, if a game actually has some good gameplay, it doesn't matter if it looks 20 or 30 years old. However, it seems like they too have given the game a mixed reception. Currently the average rating is sitting at 2.5 stars out of 5. The most helpful reviews complain about performance issues as well as the game not having anything revolutionary in terms of the combat. Grind is mentioned as another complaint. One of the few positive reviews mentions that the game is a bit like the Mako section of Mass Effect except on a grander scale, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (if you happened to enjoy the Mako segments.... argh!!!!).




Summary


So if we were to summarise the pros and cons of No Man's Sky:

Pros
  • Fun sandbox game (at least for a short while)
  • There is a good framework in place to expand upon if they decide to add more features
  • Great exploration game
  • Casual version of Elite: Dangerous
  • Like the Mako segment in Mass Effect
  • Beautiful graphics and atmosphere

Cons
  • Lots of people are having performance issues
  • Can get grindy and boring after a while
  • Might just be another survival/crafting game in an already saturated market
  • Little variation with respect to procedural generation of planet and star types
  • Games developed 30 years ago have better combat than No Man's Sky
  • Ambiguity about how multiplayer works has left a bitter taste


How about you? Have you been playing No Man's Sky recently? How are you finding it?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Caravanserail Review

Based on what I've read about caravanserails, this doesn't look like a very good one.
  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Jerome Bodin
  • Publisher: Jerome Bodin
  • Release Date: 26 February 2016
  • Time played: 1 hour

I must once again thank generous Steam buddy Mix-Master for giving me a spare key last month so that I could finally experience Caravanserail. So, thank you! I'm not quite sure what attracted me to wanting this game but I seem to have a soft spot for games that involve trading I suppose – probably why I like the board game "Settlers of Catan" too, despite me being terrible when it comes to the actual trading part of the game…

So what's Caravanserail all about? Well caravans pass by your stand offering to buy or sell various goods like incense, fruit, gems, pottery, etc. and you have to make a profit by buying the goods low from one caravan and then selling them high to another. This is especially easy when you've got a caravan only a few camels away that has a price listed for an item you've already purchased which is higher than the purchase price. For example, you may have bought some pottery for 80 gold from one caravan but then the caravan straight after it has a price of 120 gold for pottery. What you do is purchase the pottery for 80 gold, increase the price to 120 (or slightly more) then wait for that caravan to pass by where it should purchase the pottery for 120 gold giving you 40 gold profit. The goal of each level is to earn a certain amount of gold and occasionally it's about increasing your standing with a faction instead, which ultimately involves selling goods too. Later on in the game you'll have to worry about other things such as spending money to upgrade your fort (so it doesn't get raided by bandits) and the ability to manufacture more valuable goods from cheaper goods, but besides that, the game is very much all about buying low and selling high.

What I like:


WTF is a Caravanserail?

Thanks to this game, I learned something new today: I've learned what a caravanserail actually is. A "caravanserail" seems to be the French spelling of "caravanserai" or "caravansary" which is a city improvement you can build in Civilization V. Only joking! Well, actually no I'm not, it is a city improvement in Civilization V and playing Civilization V was the first time I've ever encountered the word. But what does it really mean? Well, it's basically just a roadhouse or roadside inn that was used by caravans along popular trade routes. Many of these were built in ancient Persia which is where the word derives from.

So thanks to playing this game and typing up this review, I now have another word I can add to my vocabulary. Cheers Monsieur Bodin!

Simple, casual fun

The game is very simple to pick up and the entire game feels like a tutorial to a degree, slowly easing you into how the game works by gradually introducing new features (which gives you ample time to get accustomed to them).

Totally mouse driven

The game can be played with just a mouse, which is fantastic :).

Funky Arabic music

The game has some funky Arabic tunes and you gotta love that goblet drum. The music can get repetitive after a while though.

Developed using Unity

The game is developed using Unity and consequently showcases its capabilities in developing 2D indie games.

What I dislike:


Mindless clicking

You're going to be spending a lot of your time frantically clicking various parts of the screen as you buy goods, set sale prices on the goods, pay to reinforce your fort and manufacture new goods. All the while you'll be watching the caravan in the foreground, perched like a falcon, ready to snatch a juicy deal, although the caravan will travel faster and faster over time making it a bit more challenging. The whole game feels like it'd be a good training exercise for those who want to increase their Actions per Minute (APM), at least with the mouse.

Very short

Just when you're getting the hang of the game, it ends abruptly after only 10 levels. It's not really a lot to play and you'll have experienced all the game has to offer in only one hour.

No Steam Leaderboards

A game like Caravanserail could really benefit from introducing Steam Leaderboards since this would increase the lasting appeal of the game an encourage replays. Having leaderboards which list the quickest finishing times for each level would be a good place to start.

No Steam Achievements and Trading Cards

While it might seem a bit silly to have Steam achievements and Steam Trading Cards for such a short game, at least it would help with the game's longevity.

Score – 5/10 (Average)

The core game is actually quite a unique concept and isn't that bad a game if you're looking for a mindless, little distraction. However, the game is far too short and there is no incentive to return and play the game for more than an hour.

Is the game worth $2.99 USD?: No. The price is a bit steep for what you get (which is only an hour's worth of entertainment). Wait until it goes on sale for a dollar if you desperately want to give it a shot.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Caravanserail Steam Store Page ]



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Temporal Shift Review

Album cover for "A Temporal Shift"

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Name: A Temporal Shift
  • Label: Uncle Art
  • Composer(s): Uncle Art
  • Number of Tracks: 10

Towards the end of last month, Dave Lowe aka Uncle Art, along with his daughter Holly Jazz Lowe, released a new album called "A Temporal Shift". This album is the result of almost two years hard work and wouldn't have been possible if it didn't receive funding via Kickstarter in early 2015. I'm still waiting for the physical CD version to be delivered but I've had many listens to the digital version of the album and think I'm in a position to review it.

So the album doesn't have that many tracks on it, 10 in total, but what will become apparent as you listen to this album is that it's very much a case of quality over quantity. The album is currently available in MP3 and FLAC formats but CD and vinyl versions are to come later down the track. Basically, all the music on this album are remakes and remixes of Dave Lowe's retro PC game soundtracks of the 80s and 90s so the album will mainly appeal to those that have played games like Frontier: Elite II, Carrier Command and Starglider (as well as a few others). I've actually only really heard two tracks on this album before and they're both from Frontier: Elite II yet even though I don't have any prior sentimental attachment to the other tracks on this album, I still get pangs of nostalgia when listening to them regardless since they emulate styles of music popular in the 70s and 80s.

...even though I don't have any prior sentimental attachment to the other tracks on this album, I still get pangs of nostalgia when listening to them regardless since they emulate styles of music popular in the 70s and 80s.

It's hard to pick a particular track that's my favourite as there's so much good stuff on this album; the two live orchestral versions of "Frontier" and "Enemy in View" (the two tracks from Frontier: Elite II) are obviously magnificent, and while I've heard these tracks performed by a faux synth orchestra, nothing beats the real thing. "Frontier" sounds exactly how I expected it to and sounds like a mix of John Williams's "Star Wars" and Alexander Courage's "Star Trek" (the Original Series). "Enemy in View" is just as good as the main theme and again seems to emulate "Star Trek" in parts but sounds more like the work of Michael Giacchino mixed with a hint of Holst.

The remaining tracks on the album aren't orchestral and consist of a mixture of synth and live instruments. In fact, my only criticism with the album is that sometimes I think the synth is overdone and they would've benefited from using live instruments (especially brass). But that's really my only criticism since there's just such a diverse range of styles at play here that you're bound to find something that tickles your fancy.

"Games", the track immediately following the first track on the album " Frontier", starts off with some beautiful piano accompanying radio chatter from the game Elite: Dangerous and then turns into an energetic 80s/90s rock track which sounds like a mix of INXS and Queen.

The third track on the album, "Brightest Star" is based off a track that was actually released on cassette tape with the game Starglider 2 which probably explains why the remake of this track sounds like it belongs back in the 80s, but in a good way. The track actually reminds me of the band Level 42 (which reached its peak in the late 80s) thanks to a generous serving of slap bass, synth and reggae.

The fourth track is based off the theme to a very well respected, post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk point 'n' click adventure known as Beneath a Steel Sky. "Beneath a Steel Sky" is probably the most downbeat track on the album but with its moody, soulful vocals and an epic saxophone solo, it somehow reminds me of Dire Straits or bands with a similar style back in the 80s.

After the fifth track on the album, "Enemy in View", which we've already discussed about, you get to experience the prog rock goodness of "Just Another Mission"; with its diverse set of instruments, passages with different tempos and time signatures, this track wouldn't feel out of place on a Yes album (which happens to be one of my favourite bands). Unfortunately, Dave Lowe's vocals though can't quite match those of Jon Anderson (sorry Dave, but then seriously, who can?)

"Electric Flag" (which is based off the theme to Invisible Shrinking Sphere) sounds a bit like the band Madness scoring the music for a 70s cop show...


While the remaining tracks aren't as strong as the offerings I've already mentioned on the album, they still deserve a listen; "Electric Flag" (which is based off the theme to Invisible Shrinking Sphere) sounds a bit like the band Madness scoring the music for a 70s cop show, "The Longest Night" (which is based off the theme to Midwinter 2) has got a very cool, Santana vibe to it, "F1 Carrerra" (based off Microprose Formula One Grand Prix) sounds like a fast-paced, Mariachi infused take on Del Shannon's "Runaway" (and yes, I know the riff is based off Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" but that's because BBC F1 coverage traditionally had this track play), and for the last track on the album, you get treated to "StarBurner", a mixture of the Starglider and Afterburner themes with a very James Bond vibe to it.

Score – 9/10


"A Temporal Shift" is an album that really lives up to its name: I feel like I'm in a time warp, like I'm reliving the 80s and 90s by just listening to the tracks on this album. If you played games like Carrier Command, Frontier: Elite II, Starglider 2 and Beneath a Steel Sky, purchasing this album is a no-brainer. But even for people like me who never played most of these games (except for Frontier: Elite II and Beneath a Steel Sky) every track is a trip down memory lane, to the simpler times of my youth. With such a diverse range in styles such as classical, prog-rock, ska, funk, reggae and rock 'n' roll, there's something here for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing the album, it's currently available in digital format for £15.00. It is coming to CD and vinyl soon.

LINK:
[ Uncle Art - A Temporal Shift Downloads Page ]

Monday, August 8, 2016

Choicest VGM - VGM #242 - Sid Meier's Colonization - The Reveille



Original Soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs, Ken Lagace and Roland J. Rizzo

Amiga Soundtrack by: Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson

Today we have another military victory tune from Sid Meier's Colonization. This one is simply called "The Reveille" and it's a marching tune in style played by fife and drum corps during the American Revolutionary War aka the American War of Independence; which makes perfect sense considering that is in fact your primary objective in Colonization: to become independent of the old country whether that be England, France, Spain or the Netherlands.

EDIT (15/10/2016): A fellow YouTube user +Plastiware has alerted me to the fact that despite me originally advertising these tracks as the Amiga version of the soundtrack, it's probably not entirely accurate. I originally marked these as the Amiga version due to the source MP3s I used stating Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson as the composers, but when comparing these tracks to Amiga versions of the soundtrack on YouTube and then comparing it to a DOS CD version, it seems these are most likely from the DOS CD version. Apologies for the mistake.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #242 - Sid Meier's Colonization - The Reveille ]


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Steam Games Sunday - 7 August 2016

A three pointer for NBA 2K16 as it jumps from 9th to 6th place.

  1. War Thunder
  2. Rainbow Six Siege
  3. Star Trek Online
  4. Everyday Genius: SquareLogic
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. NBA 2K16
  7. Squad
  8. Marvel Heroes
  9. The Division
  10. League of Mermaids

Again there's been little change to the list (which is probably going to be a commonly recurring theme until October at least when Civilization VI and Battlefield 1 is released) so we still have War Thunder taking the number one spot and Rainbow Six Siege the number two spot, despite the new Skull Rain season starting recently (again, figures are skewed because this is only counting the hours from those who own the Steam version of the game). Star Trek Online is still at number three and Everyday Genius: SquareLogic is still at number four. Far Cry 3 remains in fifth place like last week (when it shot into the top 10) as I'm still working my way towards finishing it (and hopefully providing you all with, well, I guess a retro review since it was released 4 years ago now).

The biggest mover this week though has to be NBA 2K16 which has pushed up from 9th place to 6th place. This has pushed Squad down to 7th place and Marvel Heroes to 8th place. The Division went up one place in the leaderboards to 9th from 10th last week and League of Mermaids, which was seen two weeks ago, has just made the top 10 again for this week.

Anyway stay tuned for next Sunday to see if this list changes :). Are you playing any of the games on this list? How are you finding them?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

SimCity 3000 Unlimited Review

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU ALIENS!!11!!

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Maxis
  • Publisher: EA
  • Release Date: 18 March 2000
  • Time played: 6 hours

As I mentioned last month, a legitimate, downloadable, DRM-free version of SimCity 3000 is now available for sale on GOG.com and I was so excited by the news that I just had to get my hands on it. You see, SimCity 3000 is my favourite game in the venerable city builder series and for a long time, it hasn't been available for sale: SimCity 2000 has been available on GOG.com for some time and SimCity 4 has been available on both GOG.com and Steam.

So it's been a long wait but I've finally managed to give it a go again. If it weren't for its release, the wait for another retro review to be published on Choicest Games could've been considerably longer. The question is though, can a city builder developed back in the late 1990s (as SimCity 3000) and re-released in the early 2000s (as SimCity 3000 Unlimited) hold up against today's competition?

What I like:


The soundtrack

SimCity 3000 has the best soundtrack in the series hands down and is probably one of the strongest motivators for me wanting to even play the game. Yes, the latest SimCity has a pretty good soundtrack and SimCity 4 has some choicest tracks too but when you've got a soundtrack that has jazz music evoking the style of Miles Davis, you know you've got a quality soundtrack on your hands. Best of all, Jerry Martin actually manages to incorporate a SimCity 3000 theme or leitmotif in just about every track. Genius!

Huge maps

After playing the recent SimCity, it's refreshing coming back to the old SimCity games where you actually had a considerable amount of land to build your metropolis.

Multiple terrain and architectural styles

The original SimCity 3000 only had one terrain and architectural style similar to its predecessor SimCity 2000. SimCity 3000 Unlimited however (which is the version that is available on GOG.com) has multiple terrains to pick from and three architectural styles (American, European and Asian).

The happy middle ground

The reason SimCity 3000 is my favourite SimCity is not only because it has huge maps and an excellent soundtrack (although they are compelling reasons on their own) but because the gameplay hits that sweet spot where it's not as basic as the original SimCity but not as complex as SimCity 2000 (with respect to micromanaging industry tax rates) or SimCity 4 (with respect to the managing of multiple cities and the sheer number of options available).

What I dislike:


Pixellated graphics at high zoom

While the game looks pretty sweet when you're zoomed all the way out or even at the normal zoom level, if you zoom right in the buildings will look rather pixellated. It's a shame, because if they just did a high definition version of SimCity 3000 the cities would look pretty impressive.

Controls are dated

The game is pretty old and it becomes quite apparent when you try to use the mousewheel to zoom - that's because it doesn't work! You have to actually hit the zoom in and zoom out buttons in order to change the zoom level. The things you take for granted nowadays.

No newspapers

I actually miss the newspapers from SimCity 2000 - it made your city feel more alive as you read what were considered pressing issues by the public and what your current approval rating was at a glance. This has now been replaced by a News Ticker that scrolls across the bottom instead which I guess is more streamlined and less intrusive but it seems to lack character.

Petitioners and Neighbours

While the petitioners are good and letting you know about ordinances you could potentially enact and the neighbours are good at letting you know about lucrative deals you can profit from, sometimes it gets annoying when you clearly don't want to agree to the terms yet they keep pestering you with the same propositions anyway.

Strikes

You can't be as brutal with your funding as you were in SimCity 2000. For example, if your city was really small at the start and your citizens demanded police and fire protection, you could build them and then give them only 25% funding. You can't get away with it that easily in SimCity 3000 since they'll know when they're getting underfunded and they'll eventually go on strike. Worse, they won't go back to work until you've given them a pay rise! So when plonking down a police and fire station, don't be cheap. Make sure you can afford the whole package (which means sacrificing the actual coverage radius).

FUUUUUUUUUU ALIENS!

The first game I played since getting my hands on the GOG version of SimCity 3000 I had a city that was suffering from heavy pollution problems resulting in occasional toxic cloud disasters. Eventually nuclear power came along and despite the chance of meltdowns occurring I thought they sounded like a great way of getting a lot of power with less air pollution. Unfortunately, what I forgot about (or at least I think this is how it works) is that sources of radiation is a trigger for a UFO invasion - and after one UFO made short work of one of my nuclear power plants, half of my city was a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Altogether now:
"I don't want to set the woooooorld oooooon fiiiIIIIRE"

Score – 8/10 (Still good fun)

Despite the game showing its age, SimCity 3000 still remains my favourite SimCity game thanks to its jazzy soundtrack and the gameplay hitting the sweet spot so that it's not too simplistic like the original SimCity yet not too complex like SimCity 2000 and especially SimCity 4.

Is the game worth $14.99 AUD?: Look, I really love SimCity 3000 but asking $15 for a game that's 16 years old? It's a bit steep. I think $10 would be a fairer price so wait till it goes on sale.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: SimCity 3000 Unlimited on GOG.com ]

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Beginner's Guide on the Operators of Rainbow Six Siege




I've just posted a new guide on Steam that is meant to be for beginners to the game of Rainbow Six Siege. It probably would've been better if I posted this well in advance of the free weekend just past but oh well, maybe it can be used next time, or for anyone who has recently purchased the game as a result of the free weekend (Rainbow Six Siege was 50% off during that weekend).

This is basically going to be a copy of what is on Steam so there's nothing new here if you've already favourited the Steam guide, but it's placed here for those of you that like to bookmark good ol' webpages :).

Introduction


There are a plethora of guides on Steam but once you've discounted the joke guides there's only a few guides here that are worth their salt. If you're looking for a guide on advanced gameplay concepts, this guide is not for you, but if you're an absolutely new player that wants to know a few tips in using each operator, then you've come to the right place.

Credits


I want to thank the following people for helping me out with this guide:

redcon-1
Lanna

FBI Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)


Ash

  • Ash can use her breaching grenade on any breakable surface - even wooden floors...
  • It's sometimes ideal saving up her breaching grenade for Castle's bulletproof reinforcing. You can use your guns to break holes in windows reinforced by wood after a few hits but it takes way too long with Castle's bulletproof reinforcing.
  • Ash only wears light armour but this also means she's fast - an ideal operator when running away with the hostage.

Thermite

  • Thermite is able to breach through reinforced walls although only if they're not electrified and there are no jammers nearby. You may need Thatcher or line of sight to these devices in order to destroy them and then set the charge
  • Remember you're vulnerable while planting a charge, ensure the coast is clear or you have backup before planting

Castle

  • Never use the bulletproof reinforcing on doors between bomb sites
  • Also never use the bulletproof reinforcing on main doorways until roamers have had a chance to pick up armour and get out.
  • Remember, the bulletproof reinforcing works both ways. While it prevents enemies shooting in, it also prevents you shooting out.
  • The bulletproof reinforcing is ideal for windows with a direct line to sniping spots.

Pulse

  • Pulse's Heartbeat Sensor has a limited range so it's best used near external walls with windows so you can ambush enemies close by.
  • Minimise use of the heartbeat sensor as not only can IQ spot you while you're using it but you don't want to be caught with your pants down while putting the sensor away either.


Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale (GIGN)


Montagne

  • Montagne is a difficult class to play as his primary ability doesn't allow him to attack
  • Montagne could be ideal on secure area maps as he can capture the point with his extendable shield up
  • The trick to using Montagne would be attempting to get your enemy to waste all their ammo so you can go in for a counter-attack
  • Shield operators like Blitz and Montagne are ideal for bomb defusal maps as they can help defend the planter
  • Be careful not to get too close to enemy defenders that carry nitro cells - they can make short work of you

Twitch

  • Twitch's shock drone is handy for scouting ahead of the main group and disabling any traps and electronic devices
  • Twitch's shock drone is also handy in creating a distraction and can be used to great effect if you can coordinate an attack with teammates.
  • Twitch also gains access to a 417 marksman rifle if you want to provide cover fire from afar.
  • Twitch's shock drone can't jump like normal drones so be aware of its limited mobility.
  • Since version 4.2, Twitch now has two shock drones instead of one shock drone and two ordinary drones. She also gains access to her shock drone during the Preparation phase; this means she can wreak havoc on enemy defences even before they've had a chance to properly setup. She can also get cheap kills by electrocuting AFK players but you never saw that tip on this guide ;).

Doc

  • Doc is more useful in Terrorist Hunt than Multiplayer as bots don't tend to finish you off when you're in a DBNO state.
  • Revives by Doc give you back 75% health instead of 50% so it's better that he performs revives
  • Doc is also able to revive himself although it is recommended you do so if the enemy has no line of sight - otherwise it's wasted.
  • Doc is useful at reviving teammates across a room if they've safely crawled to some cover while in a DBNO state. Doc can also revive the hostage on hostage maps if he/she is in a similar state.
  • Since version 4.2, Doc can now heal himself and teammates 40 HP with his Stim Pistol. You can even "over-heal" to 120 HP but the health will gradually decline to 100.

Rook

  • If you place the armour pack down, your job is done as Rook! Recommended operator for beginners
  • Make sure to drop the armour pack down as soon as you enter the game.
  • Be aware that any remaining armour plates left in the pack can be used by the enemy!
  • Also be aware that any operators that have been revived from a DBNO state can grab any remaining armour plates meaning they can potentially use them twice in a round.


Grenzschutzgruppe 9 der Bundespolizei (GSG 9)


Blitz

  • Be careful when Mute's jammers are nearby. Blitz's flash won't work if there are.
  • Be careful not to get too close to enemy defenders that carry nitro cells - they can make short work of you
  • When using the flash with Blitz, make sure to sidestep from the spot you were in as even a blinded enemy can still kill you if they continue to fire in a straight line.
  • Shield operators like Blitz and Montagne are ideal for bomb defusal maps as they can help defend the planter

IQ

  • If your team is unable to find the bomb site, IQ's scanner can spot where it is
  • IQ is able to carry a H&K HK21 LMG if you want some extra firepower
  • IQ is good for spotting any electronic devices including traps, cameras, jammers and active defense
  • IQ only wears light armour but this also means she's fast - an ideal operator when running away with the hostage.
  • IQ can detect when Pulse uses his heartbeat sensor
  • Since the Velvet Shell update, IQ can now carry frag grenades. Use these for destroying traps and deployable shields, as well as enemies. Just be careful when throwing them near a hostage!

Bandit

  • Bandit's shock wire when placed on reinforced walls means Thermite can't use Exothermic charges on it
  • When Bandit's shock wire is used on barbed wire, this can be an effective way of destroying drones
  • Bandit's shock wire can also be used on deployable shields which makes for a shocking surprise for any enemies vaulting it
  • If you want to delay the enemy grabbing the hostage on hostage maps, put some shockwire around the hostage
  • It's sometimes worth placing electrified barbed wire under a hatch. At the very least, it will stall the enemy as they try and clear it; at best, you can end up with a kill.

Jäger

  • Place Jäger's active defense where you expect Fuze to use his cluster charge. While it might not get all the grenades, it should get some of them.
  • Don't place the active defense on walls that are about to be reinforced since that will destroy your active defense.
  • Jäger's active defense can also be placed on the floor as well as walls.
  • If your team is willing to take the risk, sometimes it might be worth not placing Active Defense in the room with the hostage on a hostage map; this is because if the enemy inadvertently kills the hostage, the defenders win the round.

Special Air Service (SAS)


Sledge

  • Sledge’s hammer is not only useful for breaching windows and doors but breaching any breakable surface. This allows him to open up new avenues of attack for your team
  • Sledge is one of the few operators that carries frag grenades. These can be used to not only dispatch enemies but destroy deployable shields and traps. Just be careful when throwing them around a hostage!

Thatcher


  • Thatcher’s EMP grenades are useful at disabling devices that you have no line of sight on (e.g. a Mute jammer placed behind a reinforced wall). Use his EMP grenade to help other operators like Thermite to use his exothermic charge. Also handy disabling Jaeger’s grenade active defense, Bandit's shock wire, Valkyrie's cameras and even temporarily disabling Pulse's scanner.

Mute

  • Learn the maps and keep tabs of where all the doors, windows and “letterboxes” are.
  • At the beginning of the round, don’t do anything else but rush to mute all the potential ways drones can get into the room
  • Keep in mind it might not be enough to just place a drone in front of a door/window/letterbox if it still has line of sight to the objective. This means the opposing force will still spot it.
  • Mute’s jammers can also be useful placing them behind breakable surfaces and even reinforced ones as they jam the ability to use exothermic charges.
  • Mute’s jammers are also effective at jamming Blitz’s flash shield
  • Use Mute’s nitro cell against targets around corners and enemies with shields
  • On some maps, placing Mute's jammer on a table underneath a reinforced hatch prevents Thermite from breaching the hatch

Smoke

  • Smoke can’t be killed by his own gas grenade. This means you can advance on an enemy without fear of choking to death
  • Careful not to use the gas grenades around friendlies or the hostage.
  • Smoke’s gas grenades are especially useful as a delaying tactic when there’s not much time left on the clock
  • Smoke’s gas grenades could also be handy if the opposing force has already planted a defuser in a confined space

Spetsnaz

Fuze

  • You can use Fuze on hostage maps but if you do, be especially careful not to trigger your cluster charges in the same room as the hostage. If you do, there’s a risk you’ll lose the round after killing the hostage.
  • Fuze can use his cluster charge on any breakable surface. Sometimes walls that seem reinforced might have a little gap that isn't. Be creative.
  • Fuze’s cluster charge could also be used as a defensive measure when waiting for a bomb to defuse.

Glaz

  • Take advantage of Glaz’s Dragunov SVD on maps which have elevated platforms and windows looking into the objective. Glaz is especially effective on the Plane map shooting in through the passenger windows or the Bank map when firing into the office.
  • Glaz's Dragunov SVU can usually destroy barricaded windows and doors in three hits. The gun can also penetrate through Castle's bulletproof reinforcing.

Kapkan

  • Place explosives either in areas where you expect there to be a firefight. When the enemy panics, they’re more likely to trip over traps.
  • Even better, try to devise a plan to funnel enemies towards a room that you’ve trapped. You may need assistance from your team for this tactic to be effective though.
  • If possible, try to stay hidden from drones while placing explosives as then the enemy team will know their position

Tachanka

  • Despite Tachanka getting a bad rap in multiplayer, he can be quite useful in Terrorist Hunt where a machine gun is a good thing against swarms of predictable enemies
  • Tachanka can still be useful in multiplayer through the sheer fact nobody expects anyone to actually use Tachanka. If using him in multiplayer, try to find corridors that have choke points and place the gun against unbreakable surfaces (so there’s no chance of you being shot in the back)
  • If drones are watching, either don't place the machine gun until they've been destroyed, or place it but then move it elsewhere, or keep it there as a decoy.

Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2)

Buck

  • Buck's underslung shotgun called the "skeleton key" can be used for breaching doors and as a quick close-quarters weapon.
  • Buck is one of the few operators to carry frag grenades. Use these for destroying traps and deployable shields, as well as enemies. Just be careful when throwing them near a hostage!

Frost

  • Place bear traps behind deployable shields. Enemies vaulting the shield will get caught in the trap.
  • Also place bear traps just underneath windows. If the enemy aren't careful they will get trapped. This also works for when the enemy attempts to escape out the window with a hostage too.
  • Try to be close by to the traps so you're able to take the enemy out once they are trapped.
  • Don't be greedy. If you're pinned down, don't go out to take out a trapped enemy.
  • It might also be worth placing bear traps around the hostage on hostage maps. At the very least, it will delay the enemy grabbing the hostage.

United States Navy SEALs

Blackbeard

  • Your rifle shield does offer you some additional protection but it can be eventually destroyed - you're not invincible
  • Hanging upside down at a window is probably the ideal configuration for Blackbeard as nobody will notice the cord and none of your body will be exposed to enemy fire.
  • Blackbeard can use an SR-25 marksman rifle as a primary weapon and consequently can be used in a sniping role if need be.
  • Since version 4.2, this is especially the case; rifle shields only absorb 150 HP of damage now instead of 800 HP. However, you now get two rifle shields instead of one.

Valkyrie

  • Try to place cameras in hard to detect places
  • Also try to setup a camera outside if possible (you may need to wait until the end of the preparation phase to do so)
  • Save one camera so you can observe the room you're in (just in case anyone tries to sneak up on you while you're watching the camera feeds)
  • Attempt to intercept enemies you spot on the cameras once you know where they are.
  • If your team are being attacked it's probably a good time to come out of hiding and flank the enemy. This way you can take advantage of the confusion and you lower the risk of not being able to defend the objective in time.
  • Just be aware some Valkyrie players can get touchy if you use their cameras, especially spotting with them (since spotting usually gives away the fact a camera is in the room, resulting in its imminent destruction). If you have voice comms and want to keep the cameras concealed, be sure to tell others through voice comms first instead of spotting. However, sometimes spotting is a more accurate way to pinpoint the enemy locations and if you're not using voice comms, it's probably more effective than typing. Use your judgement and talk to your team.

Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE)

Capitão

  • Careful when using the asphyxiating bolts and there’s debris in the way, you might kill yourself
  • Careful when using the asphyxiating abolts around the hostage.
  • The crossbow bolts require to hit something in order to trigger. Consequently the bolts are probably more effective smaller rooms with lots of debris meaning lots of surfaces to target, as opposed to large, empty rooms.
  • Remember that you can fire bolts through letterboxes
  • Smoke bolts don't seem to be as effective as smoke grenades, so keep that in mind when relying on them for cover.
  • The M249 is a beast. It has little recoil when compared to other LMGs yet still has that 100 magazine capacity.

Caveira

  • Caveira is a difficult operator for beginners as she has low armour and you need a good knowledge of maps to use her effectively.
  • Learn the maps if you want to play as Caveira as once you've found an enemy, you'll need to know the best way to sneak up behind them.
  • Caveira's low armour and short range weapons means she's generally not effective at range. Consequently, it's best to sneak from behind.
  • Use Caveira's silent step ability to sneak around the building from room to room; Caveira's speed and stealth is her best defense.
  • Keep in mind that you can't interrupt reloading with the SPAS-15, unlike some of the other shotguns (as you have to reload the whole magazine). Be prepared to switch to pistol or retreat.
  • Headshots with the pistol or melee with the Silent Step Ability will put enemies in a DBNO state
  • While at range, Caveira's Luison pistol is very ineffective, in close quarters, it can do a whopping 99 damage.

Special Assault Team (SAT)

Hibana

  • Hibana carries a weapon that fires small exothermic charge pellets called X-KAIROS pellets. This allows her to breach through reinforced walls, just like Thermite.
  • Hibana can fire her X-KAIROS pellets at range, just like Ash.
  • Also just like Ash, sometimes your pellets will be wasted if fired upon an unbreakable surface so use it with caution.
  • Hibana's X-KAIROS pellets can be jammed, just like Thermite's exothermic charge.
  • Hibana's X-KAIROS pellets are useful when you want to open new lines of sight (especially useful for snipers) yet unlike Thermite, you don't need to blow open a whole panel - meaning the enemy can't run out.
  • Hibana only requires one salvo of X-KAIROS pellets to breach reinforced hatches - this means she can breach a total of three reinforced hatches as opposed to Thermite's two.
  • Hibana only wears light armour but this also means she's fast - an ideal operator when running away with the hostage.
  • S.A.T. members are able to equip an Uzi-based sub-machine gun as their secondary weapon

Echo

  • Echo is a defender with heavy armour which actually makes him ideal when making a final push as defenders, if the team ever gets pinned down.
  • Keep in mind that the Yokai drone only sticks to the roof if it's totally stable - e.g. the Yokai can't deploy on a rafter.
  • When using Yokai, the circle in the middle of the screen will highlight red once an enemy enters it.
  • You can only use Yokai's sonic attack in a salvo of three. After that you have to wait a while before the device charges up again.
  • Place the Yokai drone at choke points where it's easier to disorient a group of enemies and where it forces the enemy to slow down.
  • Echo is unable to use Yokai to spot unlike cameras. He's also the only operator that can use the drone.
  • Echo is equipped with a shotgun but also the MP5SD. The MP5SD unfortunately does low damage but it's silenced and has low recoil. Keep this in mind if equipping it.
  • S.A.T. members are able to equip an Uzi-based sub-machine gun as their secondary weapon. This means Echo is one of the few operators that can equip two SMGs at once.

Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO)

Jackal

  • Coming soon

Mira

  • Coming soon
Last updated: 11/02/2017

Monday, August 1, 2016

Choicest VGM - VGM #241 - Sid Meier's Colonization - Morelli's Lesson



Original Soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs, Ken Lagace and Roland J. Rizzo

Amiga Soundtrack by: Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson

Here's another military victory tune from Sid Meier's Colonization. This one is called "Morelli's Lesson" and it's yet another track that's adapted from an actual piece of music that's probably more commonly known as "Murillo's Lesson" nowadays. Apparently the melody was found in a number of early 19th century American instrumental tutors and was a staple of fife repertoire and period march collections. It's earliest appearance was in the Thomas Nixon fife manuscript dated around 1776 from the period of the War of Independence (so quite a long time ago). Thanks to The Traditional Tune Archive for the interesting information :).

EDIT (15/10/2016): A fellow YouTube user +Plastiware has alerted me to the fact that despite me originally advertising these tracks as the Amiga version of the soundtrack, it's probably not entirely accurate. I originally marked these as the Amiga version due to the source MP3s I used stating Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson as the composers, but when comparing these tracks to Amiga versions of the soundtrack on YouTube and then comparing it to a DOS CD version, it seems these are most likely from the DOS CD version. Apologies for the mistake.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #241 - Sid Meier's Colonization - Morelli's Lesson ]