Friday, June 25, 2010

DS Games

So I’ve been playing Empire Total War and League of Legends on the computer, which is good stuff, but I’ve also been messing around with three DS games. Advance Wars: Day of Ruin, Disgaea DS and the World Ends with You. I haven’t messed around with the World Ends With You much so I’ll focus on the other two.

First of all, Advance Wars, it’s a really great game and I love it. The campaign mode is interesting and the skirmish mode is really fun, but I think my favorite thing is making crazy maps and playing them against AI. Its advance wars, so you capture towns and factories, build armies, and fight each other on Land, on the Sea, and in the Air. Great stuff. Of course the campaign plot is lame and has far too much heavy-handed morality about the good of humanity or whatever, but the battles are fun.

Disgaea is interesting. The plot, again, is crap. I mean its complete and total crap and I really wish that the Japanese were capable of actually making a RPG with a good plot. Golden Sun came close… and I hear the Final Fantasy has a few good ones, but I’ve yet to see one. However, the gameplay is solid. Basically, it’s a turn-based RPG, lead your squad against the enemy in good old Grid-based, turn based, RPG fashion. What makes it different, really, is the use of geo-thingies, I forget the name, which can alter battle by affecting certain squares and can be destroyed for extra damage. Another cool feature is the combo feature, where if your units are aligned correctly they’ll all get to attack for extra damage.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been doing as far as Video games go these days. Today I finally got around to seeing Iron Man 2 in Theaters, and I loved it, I’d talk about it more, but I think most people have seen the movie by now. My next movies I really want to see are The Last Airbender (*cough*Avatar*cough*), Predators and maybe Salt, my sister really wants to see Salt, because it looks cool, but I’m not so sold.

And tonight we are going to Applebees, yah! :D

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Empire Total War II: The AI

So, more thoughts on Empire Total War.

The Total War series greatest failure has always, always, always been its AI. Frankly the AI in Medieval Total War II and Rome Total War never really impressed me. Shogun Total War struck me as hard, but I was a little kid so I can’t really comment. Empire Total War has the same problem that previous total war games have: Bad AI.

Oh sure, the AI can be annoying. In fact the Mughals really did a good job harassing me on account of my weak navy. But once I got a strong navy they kinda… stopped doing that. The Mughals, in their existence, only attacked me once. In twenty years, something like 40+ turns, while I conquered province after province I a slow and steady advance, they only attacked once. I crushed their attack quickly. The real time battles are equally frustrating. It often seems no matter how badly I play I still win. Honestly I don’t mess around with the real time battles too much, but basically if I have about the same soldiers at the enemy, I win. Sure, I do think I beat the Mughals on account of my superior forces in terms of quality, and a well placed charge or flanking attack, but then I played some skirmishes with some various forces and every time I won easily. It wasn’t even difficult… the enemy advanced and I killed them with musket fire and flanking attacks. I don’t think I even played very good, I just kinda messed around.

Having said all this the game has an awesome campaign map. I think they should probably really focus on hammering out the AI, making it equal to games like Civ 4 (the AI is HARD to beat in the game). I don’t even need good real-time battle AI (it’s fun, but time consuming, especially since it’s so easy now to get huge armies). I just want to know what the Mughals did with all their money… I cannot imagine that in the early game I had more money than them, especially with their blockades. Yet they didn’t seem to build many soldiers and my 3 armies slowly conquered their entire empire without a single defeat. Seriously, I think I lost like… 3 battles, all naval, and only 1 against the Mughals (the others were pirates). It was really… really weird.

In other news, I have new speakers, M-3 Audio. Awesome things.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Empire Total War

So I got a new laptop, and, as a result, I can actually play Empire Total War, a game I bought last year that never really worked properly on my old computer. I mean, it worked decently well, but it was really, really, really slow, so I didn’t bother playing it.

So first of all, the basics on Empire Total War. Empire Total War is the 5th game in the Total War Series and is by far the most complicated, though I personally think the combat of Medieval Total War II is better.

Empire Total starts in the year 1700 and goes on till about 1800ish, it’s the time of Napoleon and European Colonization, Gunpowder, Cannon and Steel. You get the picture. The game starts out with gunpowder pretty much entrenched as the primary weapon of infantry in Europe, but with Eastern Powers still relying on swords and pikes somewhat. Calvary are pretty much light cavalry for scouting, screening, and harassing, and Cannon, while still somewhat immobile and inaccurate, are very much have their place.

So the game starts out allowing you to pick several European Nations and then a few odder ones. Obviously nations like Spain, France, and England are pickable, but they also have some others that are less known such as the United Provinces (Netherlands), Russia, and Sweden. Non-European nations include the Ottoman Empire and the Marathas of India.

Medieval Total War II, the previous Total War game, while an improvement over Rome Total War in terms of adding more Religion features, a 3d map, and a very good family tree method however, does not boast of many of the feature of Empire Total War. First of all, Empire Total War is at truly a global game. Players can battle in Europe, India, North America, and even the coast of Africa and the East Indies. Furthermore, provinces no longer have every single factory and farm all in the capital, but spread out over the province. This allows for several things, including raiding actually being somewhat useful. Realistically, several small bands of fast moving units (cavalry?) can run over the map, hit a town, factory or plantation, do damage to it, making unusable for a turn or two, and depriving your opponent of valuable resources. Also, for the first time in the history of the Total War series, Naval Battles are actually playable! I have not fought many of these such battles, and have been told they are somewhat clunky and unrealistic, but they do actually have them, so that is saying something.

The biggest difference I think, from previous Total War games, is the government and how you run your empire. Previous games pretty much worked like an absolute monarchy, sometimes with the King given missions or advice or commands from powerful figures within the government (the Pope, the Senate, the Nobility, etc) but essentially the King/Emperor/the Player had absolute power. His family controlled the government and having a large number of various relatives of semi-competent city-management and army-commanding abilities generally was a good thing.

Empire Total War does provide for an absolute Monarchy for many of its nations, however, it also allows for more modern governments such as a constitutional monarchy or even (I think) a democracy or republic of sorts. Also, because many of these kinds of governments do not look kindly upon dynasty politicians, the family tree of the head of state really doesn’t matter. No one cares if you are royalty in a democracy! As a result, generals are no longer carefully raised and nurtured to have that natural killer instinct, but simply hired and promoted from the ranks or picked out from a list of promising candidates. All of this makes the game a rather different animal than previous Total War games, but I think in a good way.

Anyways, so my personal experience has been rather entertaining. Being the TCK I am I of course decided to play the Marathas of Southern India (who actually traditionally ruled the area of India I was born in) and proceed to conquer the horrible Mughals that oppress my Northern brothers! The Marathas are interesting in comparison to European Nations. Obviously Europeans have more use for Muskets and Cannon, and less for sword and spear, yet I am finding Maratha cavalry to be frighteningly powerful against lesser trained musket-men. A general frontal charge can leave them reeling, and a flanking attack will do wonders. My artillery is rather underpowered, as I’m still using 15th and 16th century era cannon, but that is primarily because I don’t really need them! Yet, that is.

My only real problem is my navy. Basically, you star with no good naval base and I’ve pretty much spent my time conquering the land based Mughals, however, this means that every so often the Mughals surprise me with a naval raid or blockade of my ports that does wonders for destroying my economy in the short term. Its nothing more than a setback and a rather annoying inconvenience, but if they Mughals actually were on the offensive on the land, it would be truly frustrating.

Anyways, my current plans are to finish conquering the Mughals, which will probably take some time, and then turn my eyes to the Ottomans and Persians. I think it would be hilarious if I managed to sail a fleet into say… Spain or better yet North America, but I’d like to have a bit of a more realistic approach to this game.

On another note, the US is awesome. I’ve been greatly enjoying some relaxing time with my family. Jet-lag is passable, but because I have nothing to do I force myself to stay up late so I have a better chance of sleeping in. Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll be all over jetlag and I’ll have no problems with sleeping late.

Quickie Edit: I apologize for not posting so much, I have a few more things I can probably post about and I'll try and get several updates up this week, we'll see how things go.

Thursday, June 3, 2010



Yep, I'm excited.

More thoughts later, when I'm not so tired.