Order of Battle: World War II Blitzkrieg Campaign

Youtube LP Playlist: Order of Battle: WWII Blitzkrieg
Systems: OSX, Microsoft Windows

This game heralds back to the days of Panzer General and other such games, it is not a bad strategy game, and worth the price.

This is the second time I have played the game. The first time consisted of playing the Americans during the Pacific Campaign (before Blitzkrieg came out). I got my butt handed to me, mostly because there is a learning curve and I wasn’t paying attention.

This second time around with the new DLC is pretty good. The AI is fairly smart, and there was some nail biting during the campaign. I went with Blitzkrieg because I still had a lot of learning curve left and I felt it was the least likely campaign to not involve naval combat (but it does, to a small degree). The game is turn based, with a fairly decent push for supply lines and speed. Those are the two parts I always have problems with in games, but I did figure it out here.

The one con for the game is graphics. This is back in the early 1990s for graphics (even Unity of Command’s graphics are better). I think this would be the one turnoff for some of the newer gamers. However, still not too bad of a thing.

Pros: AI is fairly good, replayability is high and is enjoyable..
Cons: Graphics are the one issue. If you need graphics, this isn’t the game for you.

I will definitely be playing the rest of the DLC, and will report back what I think.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Youtube LP Playlist: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Let’s Play Series
Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

This is by far the best Resident Evil incarnation I have seen in over a decade.

I was doubtful about the game at first. The last two or three have been failures, and even before that they were disappointing except for the first one. However, the fact that it was first person intrigued me. That was the one thing about Resident Evil I didn’t like was that it was third person.

The story itself seemed interesting as well. In the swamps, in a family farm and no Umbrella representation that was evident in the trailer. All of these were true. It is a fresher take on things, a very enjoyable one at that.

The game itself is fun, the controls work well and the story is the bestI have seen. I think the story itself is better than even the original. It is creepy with lots of jump scares and slow build tensions. The use of the VHS player is also unexpected and a cool way to tell a larger version of the story.

I think my only issue in the game was by the end it had done what many games have (such as Outlast) it was less terrifying and more action based (still a bit scary). However, even with that I completely recommend this game.

Pros: Scary, a great story and the controls are pretty good.
Cons: The end of the game loses some of the horror aspect. Not too badly, but enough to be a little disappointing.

I will definitely be getting the next installment of the RE series.

Virginia (video game review)

Youtube LP Playlist: Virginia
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

It tries very hard to be a cerebral type of game, and that is what really screws it up.

Virginia came out in September 2016 and it has received some acclaim. You are a new FBI agent assigned to two cases. You investigate the disappearance of a boy, and your second case is investigating another FBI agent.

To give you an idea of the game, the official premise is:

Set in the last days of summer 1992, players investigate the disappearance of Lucas Fairfax, a young boy from the rural town of Kingdom, VA, The game is experienced through the eyes of Anne Tarver, a graduate FBI special agent assigned to her first case. As a rookie detective, she’s paired with an experienced partner, Maria Halperin, whom Tarver’s superiors instruct to keep a watchful eye on. As the story progresses, the pair’s trust in each other is tested, and their investigation takes a supernatural turn

It’s metacritic score ranges from 76-82% depending on the platform. Sadly I have to say they are wrong. They say it is a game that goes beyond other games such as Dear Esther and especially Gone Home. I call bullshit on that. Gone Home still stands for me as one of the all time best games like this. Instead of trying to allude to things, it tells a very beautiful story, where Virginia loses the story by being too focused on the “art”.

It is a very presumptions type of game. I had time to watch my LPs with the hubby and I definitely didn’t like the game when I was done. I found I especially didn’t like the cut back and forth between her receiving her badge, then her possible future, then back to present.

I do have to give it kudos though for the soundtrack. They do use music really well, and it did help with the story. I think the story itself could be a cool one if they went more with an actual X-files type thing, instead of being so artsy that it lost any thing I liked about it.

Overall result is that the game itself has no voice acting, no words, just music and a hipster way of trying to tell a story. I got some of the symbolism as we played through, and I have seen worse in other games. However, it is a failed start for me. It tries too much to be more than a video game.

Pros: The music is good, the idea has promise.
Cons: The lack of using words makes it too artsy and for me at least harder to click with. Also, the time cuts back and forth were cringe inspiring.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Youtube LP Playlist: Assassin’s Creed Unity
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Assassin’s Creed Unity is the 2014 release of Assassin’s Creed.

The game starts with you playing a nameless “initiate who is a player of “Helix” a gaming device produced by Abstergo that allows access to many different genetic memories.

You begin play by watching some backstory with the Templar de Molay and then forward to 1776 as Arno Dorian, a nobleman’s son (and Assassin). Your father is killed and you are adopted in by a Templar Grand Master and his daughter Elise. The story skips ahead and you are seeking revenge for the death of your adoptive father and you are estranged from Elise. The story is about your seeking out who killed your adoptive father and seek revenge while you join the Brotherhood.

The story itself is nothing to write home about. I don’t want to go into details and spoil any possible surprises (not that I found most of them actual surprises). The missions themselves based on the story were lacking in any real depth and were fairly repetitive. I know I shouldn’t compare it to ACIV Black Flag (my favorite in the series) but it isn’t even close.

The story about you “the player” when you surface out of Arno’s memories is even more blasé, no meat, no outside interactions, just additional “in machine” machines with those in the brotherhood talking to you via audio. Definitely not a lot of story.

The controls themselves were just as horrible as they ever were. The fighting is unwieldy, but they did make the free-running a bit easier so that is something.

For character building they broke your abilities up into some weird leveling system even more in depth then Black Flag. It became a frustrating exercise to try and raise up yourself to do things you could do out of the gate in the prior games. The worst part is Ubisoft went even more overboard with the collectables. It was bad enough that I quit collecting less than halfway through. It just is a cheap way to say your game takes longer than it really does.

Oh, and they push the multiplayer even more. However, it was so bad I didn’t even really touch it so I can’t say anything more than I hated it.

Pros: The free-running is a bit better (I did get hung up on things more), and it is what you expect, more Creed.
Cons: The leveling system and flag/item collection has to stop. It is just getting worse.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

Youtube LP Playlist: Valkyria Chronicles LP
Systems: PS4, PS3, Microsoft Windows

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a facelift on the PS3 Valkyria Chronicles where you follow a plucky group of soldiers in Squad 7 as they try to fight off one of two large Empires that wish control over the resources of the small country of Gallia.

You play Gunther Welkin, a peaceful scholar who only wants to be a teacher. The problem is he is the son of a famous general and he presents a conundrum for those who know of his father but not him.

The other members of Squad 7 include Gunther’s sister, Isara, a Darcsen (the stand in for Jewish people during World War II). Alicia the apprentice baker and possible love interest. Largo, a large old school soldier and Rosie the racists bar singer who hates Darcsen.

The story unfolds as Squad 7 is formed and they fight back the overwhelming Eastern Imperial empire. The game utilizes a visual novel format with a few cutscenes in a very linear fashion. The big “attraction” to this game is that each chapter has a tactical battle where you command different types of units that you can build up as you go. The game even involves a couple of traditional JRPG type creatures.

Overall the story I liked a lot. Its set in a World War II type era. It involves big personalities, romance, a weird pig thing. The story itself can get very adult and very dark, ranging from racism, concentration camps, death, despair. I was caught off guard by it, and I do have to say onions were cut during the game (that means possible tears). There was some inner meaning on war and what it does to people. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

Oh, as a side note, the cell shading style of the game was unusual and I enjoyed it a lot. I wouldn’t like it for all my games, but it served its purpose well here.

What I was disappointed with was the actual tactical combat. I play a lot of tactical and strategic war games, so I do have a skewed point of view. I seek out realistic combat that feels like a professional war-game. These were not bad battles, but they were much more simplified then I was used to.

Some of the missions were not satisfactory for me when playing. I also was disappointed that while you can replay the visual novel/cutscenes at any time, you could not replay the battles. I also disliked the experience points and research. It felt like it was similar to Xcom, but not in the good ways, when building your troops there was no specialization other than any individual weapons you may have found. The combat wasn’t horrible, but it was far more basic then what I seek out.

Pros: Very intriguing story. I want to know more about the world.
Cons: The tactical combat was not what I was looking for.