Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Currently playing Mooncrash and Total Warhammer II

I am about three quarters of the way through a Dark Elf vortex campaign in Total Warhammer 2. Unlike previous campaigns I am deliberately limiting territorial expansion. I hold only three provinces and I am using diplomacy instead to secure borders. This slows down the game but it makes it much easier to defend against the random chaos armies that spawn during vortex rituals. With so few settlements it did take a while to get my economy off the ground but at this point some 150 turns in I am the strongest and richest faction and I have managed to disrupt the plans of my vortex rivals with expeditionary forces, allies and intervention armies.  

Dark Elves are a very enjoyable faction to play with no obvious weaknesses and some very strong creatures and magic. The armour piercing crossbows of tier one Dark Shards mean that even early game Dark Elf armies can inflict serious damage. Dark Elves unique faction ability allows them to build black ark ships and use them as mobile recruiting platforms. This has proved essential to my non expansionary playstyle because my expeditionary forces use slash and burn tactics which would leave them with no home territory in which to replenish if not for black arks. 

Despite my two year obsession with Total Warhammer (games, books and video streams) I still manage to fit insome other games. My most recent alternate game was Mooncrash, the addon to Prey, Arkane's 2017 homage to System Shock 2. Mooncrash has all the mechanics of Prey but turns it into a rogue like using the conceit that you are running a simulation in order to conduct industrial espionage. In the simulation you take on the roles of a cast of characters in a destroyed base belonging to Transtar the company behind the original Prey shenanigans. The game is roguelike because you must run the simulation over and over to achieve the objectives with each run having randomised hazards to overcome along the way. It is very well done and I do recommend it but be warned I found the game transitioning from confusing to frustrating to trivial as I progressed through the campaign. The initial confusion stemmed from the fact that the premise behind the game is quite odd and it took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do.  Even after I figured out what was required I found myself getting frustrated by the randomised obstacles that thwarted in true roguelike fashion my attempts at completing the objectives.  I kept playing however. My characters got stronger and more importantly I figured out tricks to overcome the various obstacles the game might throw at me and the game eventually became relatively easy. One annoyance is that once you finish the game by completing all objectives you cannot revisit the simulation without starting a new game over from scratch. This doesn't bother me too much but I imagine completionists will be very upset by this because even after completing the objectives there are still plenty of nooks and cranny's left to explore. 

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