Frostpunk review

So my holdout on Frostpunk lasted all of a day.

Two things convinced me. The first was watching a stream that made it more obvious the game is a city builder at its core, and since I haven’t played a game like that since Forest Village, I was interested. The second was the streamer stating the game was hard. You tell me a game in a genre I enjoy is hard, and you have my attention (assuming its not a total garbage ‘hard’ game).

All of the below is based off beating the first scenario once, in about 7-8 hours.

I’ll get a bunch of the basics out of the way first. The game runs well, only crashed once for me, and has enjoyable and sometimes surprisingly great graphics and sound. It feels and performance like a finished product, and not a title still in development.

The theme of the game is its 1888, the whole world is frozen, and you lead a group of people to build perhaps the last city. Staying warm is critical, and the temperature will rise and fall as the game goes. You need food, you need to treat frostbite, and you need wood+steel to build things. You send out scouts to explore an overworld that has points-of-interest, and there are two tech trees (an actual tech tree, and a ‘laws’ system which is a different style of tech tree that also opens up new abilities and buildings).

The gameplay itself is really interesting. As mentioned, the core of the game is building a city, but here you build with far more purpose than in most such games. In others, you build to build a larger city, while here you are building to survive, both the initial rough conditions of the cold, and the ongoing problems the game throws at you. Perhaps for the first time in city builder history, the concept of ‘disasters’ isn’t an annoying tornado making you rebuild a few items, or triggering a volcano once after you save to watch it destroy things. No, here disasters fit the setting perfectly, and how you handle them has many long-term impacts. They shape the story of your city, and by the end had me really invested in its survival.

Another change to the typical city builder formula is how you place your buildings. Rather than a normal grid system, in Frostpunk you build outward, in rings, from the central heating unit. This does two things. One, it gives the city a unique look, and one that fits the theme very well. The other is more gameplay oriented; buildings closer to the core are generally easier to keep warm. Different buildings have different sizes, and before long building the city becomes a puzzle of trying to make the pieces fit without too much wasted space.

Frostpunk is made by the developers of This War of Mine, and the strength of the narrative and the emotions of the writing shine here as brightly as they did in TWOM. What is also nice is that the story and emotions aren’t told in page-length blocks of text; the writing accomplishes so much in short, precise bursts of text, which really helps to keep the pace going. Much like TWOM, there isn’t much happiness in Frostpunk, but there are plenty of great moments where the human spirit is shown in a positive light (and plenty of negative too).

Finally, no spoilers, but the ending of the game, both the final gameplay moments and the actual ending itself, are amazing. I can’t remember the last time I’ve played a game where the ending was this good. It has me wanting to play this scenario over again, because there are a lot of things I could have done differently. I’ll likely do that once I’ve completed the two other scenarios currently in the game (devs have plans to add more as well).

If you enjoy city builders, or just unique gaming experiences, Frostpunk is can’t-miss. It snuck up on me, but its a gem easily worth the current $30 price tag.

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On the sidelines for Battletech and Frostpunk, for now

Two games came out today that I’m interested in, yet I haven’t pull the trigger on. The first is Battletech, which is a TBS title with a Sci-Fi setting. The other is Frostpunk, a steampunk-themed city builder (I think?) from the makers of This War of Mine, a game I love.

For Battletech, most of what I have seen and read about it sounds good. Its TBS, which is my thing. It’s got a campaign with some random elements, party building, and unit customization.

I know less about Frostpunk, as even matching videos about it doesn’t clear things up much. But that’s not always a bad thing, as its likely because the game is something new and not easily identified at first glance. Certainly that also fits This War of Mine, and we know how that worked out.

But with both titles, I worry they might be buggy, and/or that they are games you play once, and I’d rather play once when they are patched up and have the needed balance updates included. Perhaps hypocritical considering the number of Early Access titles in my library, but here we are.

Of course more positive news about either title could get me to make a purchase, so we shall see.

Posted in Random | 3 Comments

LiF MMO: Fighting with gondor continues!

Our regular fighting with gondor continues, and continues to be very entertaining.

Every judgement hour (Sat at 10pm EST) they show up, and the last two weeks, thanks to a combinate of lower turnout on our end, and a few more on their end, they have ‘laid siege’ to our town and climbed over the walls.

The first week they caught us by surprise with the log ramp they built, and they got in fairly quickly, though not before we had a small open-field skirmish with them that resulted in some dead horses on their end, and I believe a casualty on our end. Once the ground fighting was going south for us, we retreated back behind our walls, and from then we traded archer shots while they stacked logs to get over the walls.

My melee fighter at this point was too injured to fight them off the walls, which I really regretted because it looked incredibly fun. Instead I was on my archer, and while I got some good shots in, once they were over the walls that was basically the extend of my usefulness.

As they had overwhelming numbers once over the walls, we further retreated inside our buildings and shut the doors, which the enemy can’t open. Not all of us made it however, and I believe one or two more people died and were looted. We certainly lost, but had a lot of fun and learned a good deal overall.

The second time, last week, the fighting almost right away went to us defending our walls and their attempts to build a log ramp. However we were better prepared, and held them off much longer thanks to a combination of more archers and having healthy melee on the walls swinging away when they tried to climb up.

In this fight I was again mostly on my archer, but this time not only was I consistently hitting their players as they tried to move logs for the ramp, I was also able to kill said logs with a few crossbow shots. Oddly enough other members were not able to do the same, which might have been a guild permissions issue or some odd game mechanic.

This time once the enemy was over our walls we fought them a bit, and were holding our own until simply too many were inside and we just didn’t have the melee to hold them. Losses were similar, and again nothing we can’t quickly recover from thanks to our large stockpiles.

Between judgement hours, gondor will occasionally come around and see if we are willing to fight them. In one such instance I was able to kill an enemy lancer’s horse with my own lancer, but his backup arrived and, thanks to a smart play of blocking our gate with a horse, I wasn’t able to get back inside and ate death via lance. Another time I was on my melee character and, along with a guild mate, we were able to kill two of them (on dc’ed) while only taking one loss ourselves, and we were able to loot both bodies.

Overall the fighting has been really fun, and we keep improving. I’m also actually grateful for gondor and their determination to fight us. They don’t have to show up, and they push hard even when things like walls and high ground are against them. Good times all around. And its not too late for new players to join us. I just recently started a pure pvp alt (my 4th character…), and in less than a week I’m at the point where I can bring them into PvP and hold my own skill/gear-wise.

Posted in Housing, Inquisition Clan, Life is Feudal, PvP | 3 Comments

Second “Empires of EVE” book Kickstarter is here, already funded

The first book was a great read, and now the second book will cover more events that “I was there” for. Pretty easy $50 to spend.

The kickstarter is already funded, but if you enjoy EVE (either actually playing or just following/reading about it), my guess is this book will be just as entertaining as the first.

Posted in EVE Online, Kickstarter | 2 Comments

Elder Scrolls Legends latest expansion makes a great game that much better

I’m back on a bit of a kick with Elder Scrolls Legends, as the latest expansion has really changed things up. The biggest change is the ability to build 3-color decks now, up from the previous cap of 2. A 3-color deck also requires 75 cards minimum (up from 50 for 2 color). These two changes alone shift the meta, and that’s before you include all of the new cards and their new keywords.

It’s also a brilliant expansion from a marketing perspective, because not only do those 75 card decks push you to get/buy more cards, but the introduction of a third color to a deck means even those who have a few decks they like might look into expanding them for greater power or variety. I can already think of multiple decks I would like to try, once I have the cards to make them work (I spent $10 on the starter pack, but likely won’t be spending more for now).

ESL has far outlasted Hearthstone in keeping my interest, and this expansion shows why. Instead of a reset, ESL got bigger. Instead of swapping out one ‘theme’ for the next, ESL includes another without completely wiping out the old. That sounds basic, but its a difficult thing to actually pull off, and going the way of a reset is much, much easier. Just tuck your old balance problems under the rug, and you don’t have to actually fix them. ESL doesn’t do that, which I greatly appreciate.

Posted in The Elder Scrolls Online

LiF: Guild report April 5th 2018

Progress continues in LiF:MMO, though slowed since many of us are approaching a ‘finished’ state. On one hand, that’s bad because making progress is fun. It can be good for those who want to focus on the ‘after progress’ stuff, like PvP or exploring/expanding.

We are at war with gondor again to have some local PvP. So far this has been fun, though mostly limited to Judgement Hour fighting. As many of us haven’t done much or any PvP, we are learning quickly and getting better, but still not good enough to really win fights. I’m confident we will get there though, and learning is fun itself. It also helps that, since we are so established now, replacing lost gear isn’t a huge issue, and we can afford to bring out tier 2 gear when we fight.

On the base development side, the only buildings we have left to complete are a large stable and siege workshop. The large stable is awaiting resources from our base in server 11, along with one of my characters to finally get to 90 building maintenance skill. I’ll also need another character to hit 90 animal lore to actually use the building, but that will happen in the next few days.

The developers have hinted at a large update to the game coming, which I hope delivers as we have gone through a bit of a content drought of late. MMOs are very much a game of momentum, and as people play fewer hours, it makes it easier to stop playing all together. Luckily our activity has been fairly steady, especially as some new members have joined up and are getting ramped up.

Posted in Inquisition Clan, Life is Feudal | 7 Comments

Ravious from KTR added to GW2

Post with more links at KTR.

Hats off to Anet for this, as its a very well done tribute to one of GW2’s biggest fans, and a great blogger that many of us miss.

Posted in Blogroll, Guild Wars | 2 Comments