Archive for the Strategy RTS Category

Starfront: Collision iPhone/iPad Trailer

Posted in Game Advertising, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, Strategy RTS on February 8, 2011 by thelonegamer

The Eternal Galactic Saga, Eternally Retold…

Say what you will about Gameloft and their current way of ‘unabashed homages’ to various game franchises… for me, as an iOS gamer, it’s pretty cool that there’s a company giving me the attention that BIG gaming companies won’t, or can’t. Blizzard won’t ever give me Starcraft on my iPhone or iPad? Well, who cares when I have Star Collision? Okay, it’s a pretty corny name but I’ll be signing up for this once it hits this week. The trailer above shows some pretty impressive-looking action, if only the art team just tried a bit harder to NOT be too Starcarfty… but well, there it is.

I’m hoping though that this will be a Universal app which I can play in full screen resolution on my iPad, but even if it isn’t, if it’s good enough I’d probably spring from an HD version as well later. We’ll see if this plays as good as it looks then, once we get our hands on it.

Battleheart on iPhone/iPad: Kill with Cuteness!

Posted in Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Games, Strategy RTS on February 4, 2011 by thelonegamer

Don’t let the cute looks fool you; Battleheart is hardcore combat.

iOS gamers who love strategic battles are surely looking forward to seeing Square-Enix’s classic turn-based battler, Final Fantasy Tactics, on their iPhones and iPods within the year, but for now there’s more than enough battling and stat-raising with various fantasy RPG class-types in Battleheart. Brought to the appstore by Mika Mobile, the makers of the now-classic Zombieville USA (which shows in BH’s distinct art style and animation), Battleheart is something similar to Final Fantasy Tactics.

Well, really, both titles have as many differences as they have similarities. FFT is in semi-3D, while BH is totally, flatly 2D. Both games have a ‘cutesy’ look which is a bit of a disconnect from the simple fact that they’re both about WAR and COMBAT and KILLING. FFT has a complex, high-hat epic tale with plots within plots, threads that interlock and intertwine. Battlehearts just has you and your comrades defending the kingdom (well, at least, at first). But in the end, both games share one big commonality- you have to take a bunch of cute, SD-looking recruits and turn them into the most bad-ass, efficient and awe-inspiring death-dealers on the battlefield and mow all opposition down in every stage.

The controls in BH are deceptively simple- you can have up to four party members on the field at once. You take control of each one by simply tapping them with your finger to select them, and then drawing a line to any point on the field- on any unoccupied spot to make them move, on an enemy to make them attack, or on a comrade to do some beneficial move (such as healing). For the most part, your members will do their assigned task until you take command of them again and have them go somewhere else or fight something else, or they die.

In between battles you earn gold and experience, which you can parlay for better equipment, armor and weapons, and to access powerful skills and powers as your dudes or dudettes rise in level. You can grind as much as you want in stages you complete. Instead of creating party members from scratch, you recruit them from the local tavern, where unhired warriors, thieves or other potential members (there are supposedly 8 different classes of characters) hang out.

So far I am enjoying BH pretty much- the controls are perfect for the touchscreen of the iOS devices, and whether it’s on an iPhone or a larger iPad, it’s pretty easy to pick your guys out even in the middle of a messy melee (though mistakes can lead to some trouble, but heck- see if in real life giving orders on a chaotic battlefield would be any easier). I’ve yet to plumb the depths or go the distance yet in this game, but so far I’m enjoying taking my time and grinding as I advance.

Battleheart is available now on the appstore for $2.99, and it’s a Universal app, which means it works full-screen in full resolution whatever your iOS device. FFT seems still a ways off, so nicely I’ll be busy and happy till then. Full review to come soon.

Valkyria Chronicles 2 (PSP) Waging War with Class

Posted in Action Adventure, Anime, Gaming, PSP, RPGs, Strategy RTS, Valkyria Chronicles 3 on September 23, 2010 by thelonegamer

Back to School in Gallia.

For the past week or so, once again, I found myself neglecting the big ol’ PS3 and Xbox360 in favor of Sony’s handheld. The game in my sights is Valkyria Chronicles 2, the sequel to the under-appreciated classic on PS3.
The game is set once again in that anime-fantasy version of post WW1 Europe, in the Ragnite-rich but tiny state of Gallia. It’s a couple of years since the end of the big war with the Empire portrayed in the first Valkyria Chronicles, and things seem fine on the macro-scale. Unfortunately while the scrapes with outside threats have quieted down, internal conflicts are beginning to sprout like evil weeds. A rebellion has erupted in the southern regions, threatening to spread out and engulf the whole country if the current reigning ruler doesn’t step down. With Gallia’s standing army still in tatters, the militia unable to act due to legal technicalities, it’s up to the armed academe of Gallia’s Lanseal Academy to protect the civilian populace and put down the extremists. And they have to do it in between Math classes at that!

Ah, Lanseal Academy. You just have to love a school with its own munitions factory.

Man, now that I’m thinking about it, how dumb is the Empire to get on the Gallians’ bad side- I mean, these guys are probably the Israelis of Europa… they send their kids to school to become killing machines… I would NOT want to take on a country where schoolkids are armed with rocket launchers and state-of-the-art main battle tanks, would you?

Anyway, players now have a new main character in the form of Avan Hardins, a country lad and somewhat exceptional underachiever who suddenly finds himself following the steps of his late brother. Soon enrolling in Lanseal, he finds himself at the head of the school’s most troublesome class and headed into some fierce skirmishes. Will the intellectually-challenged but always-optimistic Avan be able to mold his classmates into the deadliest company of warmongers Gallia has ever seen? That’s up to you!

Like the first game, VC2 is mainly about sending your squad into combat, which is a combination of turn-based maneuvering/positioning on a set number of battlezones, with actual shot-by-shot fighting being handled by you actually moving a soldier’s sights on a target and then letting ‘er rip. In addition to the Scouts, Shocktroopers and Lancers from the first game, you also get to use handy Engineers and rather hardy Armored Techs in your squads. As you fight and level up, your can unlock new skills and even advanced classes to switch into, such as deadly Snipers, close-combat Fencers or anti-personnel Mortarers, or even the dreaded musical Anthem Corps!

Fans of the first game will be happy to know that some familiar faces will show up in VC2, and not just in simple cameos.

In between missions, you’ll also interact with Avan’s classmates- an unruly lot to be sure, consisting of all the troublemakers in Lanseal. You have everything from bullies to prima donnas, closet otaku, control freaks, outcasts and the odd blue-blood. But the more you use them in combat and get to know these problem kids, the more they’ll open up and be all that they can be- all the better soldiers to defend Gallia’s freedom from the rebel menace.

It’s all told in some entertaining cutscenes with anime-style talking heads and rudimentarily-animated character art which will either endear you or have you pressing the Start button to skip ’em. Personally, I found these little interludes quite entertaining, and now I’m addicted to unlocking every single one of my classmates’ stories. Gotta befriend ’em all!

It’s not all high school drama of course- you also have to juggle training your troops (raising levels), managing rosters to see who goes into combat and even developing new weapons and equipment for both your soldiers and your company’s lone but formidable tank. Your vehicle is customizable, able to be configured from turret to body to paint jobs, to fit missions from search-and-destroy to escort services. What a fun place Lanseal seems to be- it’s like Blackwater the School!

The game looks great on PSP, though purists of the original game will surely take issue with the degradation of the ‘watercolor’ style from before. Regardless, the game looks fantastic, both in the art and the in-game assets. For me the light-hearted art style is fine, and the tone of the game, mixing often comedic high school antics with war and politics is perfect for anime fans. Platoon this ain’t, but then, could you really expect realistic, gritty warfare in a world with big-eyed anime soldier babes complete with school crushes? The replay value also seems to be high as there are tons of options and stuff to unlock in the course of the game (including characters from the previous game) which you may miss the first time around.

The game wouldn’t be complete without some silver-haired, overpowered Valkyria babe in there somewhere…

In any case already well over 30 hours into this game, which is a lot more than I can say for the original. This is already quite the hit, and the sequel, Valkyria Chronicles 3, is already on the way. Perhaps, once I finish this I may just go back and revisit the original PS3 VC. This is a title that’s perfect for taking along on your PSP for a nice, long, addicting and satisfying strategy RPG/school-and-war sim. HIGHLY recommended!

Starcraft 2: Back Into Jimmy’s Boots (Single-Player Campaign)

Posted in Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, Starcraft 2, Strategy RTS on July 28, 2010 by thelonegamer

Last night, I Zerg Rushed home with my copy of Starcraft 2, hell-bent on freeing the Koprulu Sector from the grip of the oppressive Dominion. That is, if I could free the damn game from the grip of Blizzard’s security methods. I literally had to deal with almost an hour of loading, more loading, creating a Battle.Net account, authorizing my copy for Offline Play and then more loading. But all things considered, I was able to fire up the Hyperion on my ol’ iMac with little hiccups.

Starcraft 2 looks gorgeous- if you have a high-end computer. My iMac’s probably mid-powered, so by default the graphics were on low, making visuals in the real-time cutscenes lack detail and textures. I had to fix up the options to take a bit more risk so the visuals looked a notch better- it just wouldn’t do to see jaggy ugly PSX-era blips on my Starcraft 2 game. Still, there were noticeable chugs during heavy in-game cutscenes, but gameplay was fine and carried on smoothly for the most part, which is the most important. I soldiered into the Campaign mode and took on the first four missions.
These initial forays for Raynor’s Raiders should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s monitored this epic througout the past couple of years. You’re Jim Raynor, ex-Space Marshall after you burned bridges between yourself and the reigning Terran Tyrant, Arcturus Mengsk. Since then you’ve been drinking yourself to sleep with dreams of half-insect, half-human babes and putting a bullet into ol’ Mengsk’s head. One day, an old friend named Tychus Findley comes a-calling, giving you tips to some juicy mercenary contracts. Your little army needs the cash to keep fighting, so even if Tych is obviously slipperier than creep, you’re on his game for now.

The first mission is pretty much a cake walk to get you re-acquainted with moving your units around and seeing them gang up on enemies until they’re bits of bloody pulp. The next couple have a bit more bite, having you take on a small Dominion base and then holding out waiting for your pick-up as Zerg hordes rush in. A cool cutscene later and you find out about the big threat you’ve been feeling in your bones all this time. Later on you’re on a Zerg-infested planet trying to evacuate civilians abandoned by Mengsk to the insect hordes.

Raynor’s digs is pretty cool- your HQ is the Hyperion, the old Battle Cruiser you appropriated from Mengsk a few years back. No more basic menus or teleconferences galore here- the interface now puts you smack in the middle of a bridge, a cantina, a lab or the ship’s armory, with pertinent personnel there to strike a conversation with, or little bits to explore or play with, such as an arcade game near the bar, or a news program playing on the TV. It all makes the world so much more involved and more RPG-like, telling the ongoing story more than ever before. In short, it’s pretty awesome.

So far I think I’m doing fine. I’ve gone through most of the missions smoother than a buttered brisket, with little casualties and quite a bit of success. As a result, Jim and the Raiders are becoming Heroes of the People, with rebels joining up and development of the resources coming along swimmingly. In some cinematics and trailers I’ve seen in the past, there were moments where the crew seemed more openly hostile or frustrated with Raynor- things that may happen if you proceed badly or fail in some objectives.

It has been said in the literature and trailers that you shape the story by the choices you make, and how you play. I guess this means a sort of morality meter may be in effect. Do details like your going out of your way to save trapped rebels affect the plot, your progression and how your crew sees you? Also, there’s a push-and-pull of two opposites right in your home camp, with dedicated starship captain Matt Horner on one side, questionable merc Tychus on the other.
It would be interesting to see variables in this regard, but for now I’ll go with the flow. Things should get harder as the war gets along.

Needless to say I’m enjoying the game immensely, and this just brings me back to my old, old days of PC gaming- honestly, it was a Blizzard game, Diablo 2, that made me buy my first gaming PC. Now, I’m back onto keyboard and mouse jockeying and it’s with another sure-classic from these stone cold gaming gods. I’ll most surely be losing more sleep in the weeks ahead as I play, replay and play this awesome game more. Oh, the horror and the glory.

Starcraft 2 lands in Manila

Posted in Game-related Events, Gaming, PC Gaming, Starcraft 2, Strategy RTS on July 27, 2010 by thelonegamer

Hell… it’s about time.

It’s the 27th of July, and that means that the wait is finally over for fans of Blizzard’s mega-hit RTS, Starcraft. The long-and-much-awaited sequel, Starcraft 2, hits stores right NOW. Well, at least here in Manila. Stores like Data Blitz probably already have the game in stock at this very moment, and hardcore fans are probably already on their way or have already lapped up their copies.

I’m surely going to try and score my copy today, once I get the chance to slip out of the Salt Mines. I wasn’t too hot with the Collector’s Edition, but now I’m actually interested in it thanks to some neato goodies like the Behind-the-scenes DVD and the Raynor dogtag USB with the original Starcraft game embedded. Well, I’m sure the set is pretty pricey and might not be available off the bat, at least right away though… we’ll see. I’ll keep my eyes out for it. For now though, all I want is the game, on my iMac and playable by tonight at The Sanctum.

For everyone, happy Zerg-rushing! A new era of galactic war has begun, in all it’s glory, all it’s horror… and all it’s FUN!

Starcraft 2 ‘Ghosts of the Past’ Trailer Sent Shivers Up My Spine

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, Starcraft 2, Strategy RTS on July 22, 2010 by thelonegamer

Blizzard delivers yet again with the cinematic punch.

There are reasons why Starcraft is loved by countless fans all over the galaxy, and reasons why the upcoming sequel, Starcraft 2, is going to sell millions and millions and kick righteous ass. And there are reasons why Blizzard could just quit the game biz and just make CG movies. This trailer shows off some of those reasons. This is EPIC. Man, it’s gonna be a long few days wait for this long-awaited stunner.

Starcraft 2 Collector’s Edition Unboxing?

Posted in Gaming, Starcraft 2, Strategy RTS on July 7, 2010 by thelonegamer

In Mother Russia, Starcraft 2 unboxes YOU!

Among the many odds and ends on the internet, here’s an unboxing video showing what appears to be an early, leaked Collector’s Edition set of Starcraft 2, being ogled at by some Russian Mobsters sounds like. It certainly looks real, but apparently it’s still pretty useless, though you can read the comic even if you can’t play. This is the BIG THING for me this month, I can’t wait to get back in ol’ Raynor’s shoes and kick some Zerg butt. Preferably hot Queen of Blades Butt. Just a few more weeks to go.