New Year Update

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fun and safe time, whether on your own or with friends/family. I figured it’d be fitting to rattle off some updates for everyone, it being the start of the year and all.

First up is Hearts of Iron 4, specifically Kaiserreich.

I saw this being mentioned in Discord, as well as put up in the Paradox forums as a thing being released. Almost immediately I became hooked the moment I loaded it up and saw how deep the mod had gone into forming an alternate universe based on the “What if…?” scenario of the Central Powers winning World War I. That was prior to me finding out that Kaiserreich had actually been around for a little over ten years, having started out as a mod for Hearts of Iron 2. I can’t speak to how plausible the scenario is that the mod team has set up, but they’ve certainly spent time on ensuring that the history between the last war and the coming one has been filled in to provide some cushion to why things are the way they are.

On the subject of depth, I think that’s something lacking in most mods that are released for Hearts of Iron 4. Now Kaiserreich has 10+ years of development behind it, so it’s not entirely fair to measure all mods up against it. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask mod makers to ensure they’ve done at least the basics for their mod before putting it up on the workshop. If for example you’re doing a mod that’s based on World War I, make sure your tech and focus trees reflect the time period at least. ‘The Great War’ mod for instance does this wonderfully, and has period appropriate models to boot.

Mods are of course labors of love since no one is paying for the work. But if a modder wants a favorable review and the praise of the community, they’ll need to provide something engaging to play.

Kaiserreich comes with that development and community built-in as it comes into finding life in Hearts of Iron 4, and it’s made a great showing so far. I’m enjoying my time and expect to do many more plays of it in the future.

Millennium Dawn is another mod I’ve been meaning to get back to as well. Ted52 has mentioned he’s working on a new update that should be releasing soon, so stay tuned for that.

 

This is a game I wish got more attention. Could be due to the lack of multiplayer, or lack of marketing. Truth be told, I wasn’t aware of it until I stumbled upon it during a sale on Steam back in November. Being curious, I bought it and took it for a spin. Worst case scenario I would return it.

It didn’t take long for Hegemony 3 to sink it’s hooks into me and give me that Total War experience I’d enjoyed back when I played Rome (the first one) and Medieval 2 years ago. The more recent Total War games, starting with Shogun 2, I felt had become a bit too arcade-like. Hegemony 3’s presentation, while also being a pure RTS game with a huuuuuuuuuge map that is also the campaign map and battle map, made me immediately think of my prior critique of almost all Total War games I’ve played.

I’m planning on doing a full review of the game, so I won’t say too much more. Rest assured, Hegemony 3 is really fun for me, and I plan on doing more of it for your viewing pleasure.
Ben Magnus, Midgeman, Robinblitz, 100Roach, Nemes, and myself will start recording a Hearts of Iron 4 multiplayer series in the next week. It’s going to be with the new ‘Together for Victory’ DLC. We’ll be playing as the Allies. Who will be playing as what we’ll be discussing. Originally I wanted to limit the choices to the big three (US, UK, France) and the Commonwealth Nations, but decided that it wouldn’t hurt to open it up to most of the World War 2 Allied Powers. The list of eligible nations will be the following:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Yugoslavia
  • Greece
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Netherlands

To offset the fact we’re humans, we’ll be playing on Hard with the sliders for opposing countries turned up. The added difficulty, along with the mix of experienced and new players in the group, should make for a fun series.

Here are links for my collaboration partners:

 

That’s all I’ve got for you folks for now. Please remember to check out my Patreon page if you wish to support the channel with more than just a view. Patreons do get extra perks, such as early access to the comic, and invitations to the private artist stream where my wife works on the art for the channel and the comic.

Thank you everyone for your support, and I’ll catch you later!

Steam Winter Sale 2016 – Top Picks

Valve has once again put out the call to all of your credit cards to feed Steam all your currency in exchange for games that are on sale. What I’d like to do is jot down a few titles that I think are worth consideration for buying this year.

  • Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients

Developer: Longbow Games

I picked this title up a month or so prior when it was also on sale, and I have to say it’s been an incredible purchase. Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients feels like what would happen if Total War and Supreme Commander had a child together, raised it right, and that child then became a productive member of society.

The game takes place prior to the Roman Empire, when the Italian Peninsula was divided into tribes of Gallic, Estrucan, and Greek city-states that were in various states of conflict during the time. You get to take control of one of these cities and lead your people to dominating Italy.

Longbow Games, the developer of the title, are also planning an expansion/DLC in the near future.

Regular price (US): $29.99

Sale price (US): $7.49

Link to Steam Store

  • Europa Universalis IV

Developer: Paradox Interactive

There are few titles that manage to present the entirety of ruling a nation through several hundred years like a Paradox game, and Europa Universalis IV is one of the best. Diplomacy, trade, politics, warfare, culture, and religion are all motivators for you to secure your place in history.

It can be daunting attempting to get into a game like Europa Universalis IV that has already been out for a few years with quite a few expansions available for it. Sales are typically the best time to consider picking up the base game along with the expansions as you can get them at a good discount without having to sacrifice the complete experience.

Regular price (US): $39.99

Sale price (US): $9.99

Link to Steam Store

  • Crusader Kings II

Developer: Paradox Interactive

Crusader Kings II is no exception to Paradox’s knack for giving the player the granular experience when it comes to politics and intrigue with a historical gaming. Taking place anywhere you choose from the 8th to the 15th centuries, the game plays more like a role-playing game than a right out strategy game.

When you start the game, you choose a ruler of anything from a small castle, all the way up to an entire empire. The currently available play area includes geography from Iberia and the British Isles, all the way to the Indian Subcontinent, allowing the player a truly incredible variety of cultures, religions, and playstyles to choose from. On top of that, a character creator allows you to create your own dynasty to rule in place of whoever the normal selection would be in that kingdom you’ve selected.

Like Europa Universalis IV, there are a number of expansions available for Crusader Kings II that can make it difficult to get the complete experience for those that are a bit tight on funds. But hey, sale!

Regular price (US): $39.99

Sale price (US): $9.99

Link to Steam Store

  • Hearts of Iron IV

Developer: Paradox Interactive

Hearts of Iron IV is the latest in the series allowing you not just to fight on the battlefields of World War II, but to completely change history and lead any nation of your choosing to victory over your enemies. Together for Victory also just released, making this an easy title to get into with respect to the dilemma of if there’s a bunch of expansions you also need to purchase like Europa Universalis IV or Crusader Kings II.

I personally enjoy this title, and see that Paradox is doing their best to bring this series into being a title that doesn’t compromise on complexity, while also attempting to be accessible to a larger audience. If for example you compare Hearts of Iron III to Hearts of Iron IV, it’s easy to see that there’s been a complete rework of the learning curve so that casual fans of World War II games can jump into the series without needing to consult a wiki to figure out what everything does.

Regular price (US): $39.99

Sale price (US): $26.79

Link to Steam Store

  • Insurgency

Developer: New World Interactive

Insurgency doesn’t boast using the latest in technology, but rather aims to provide the player with an experience that’s a little more “hardcore” than shooters that are currently available. Now I say “hardcore” in quotes as I can anecdotally share instances where gamey things occur, or the physics didn’t play out quite correctly resulting in unfortunate incendiary grenade placement, but the instances of annoyance are few and far between that it doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of this title.

A Source Engine based game, Insurgency isn’t likely to tax your machine like Battlefield 1 or Call of Duty Infinite Warfare might. Coupling that with an experience that aims to deliver a more tactical approach instead of the highly frenetic pace that other modern shooters offer, Insurgency is worth the buy. At it’s current sale price of $1.99, it’s an absolute steal.

Regular price (US): $9.99

Sale price (US): $1.99

Link to Steam Store

  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad/Rising Storm

Developer: Tripwire Interactive

Red Orchestra 2 and Rising Storm, both World War II shooters, offer an experience similar to what Insurgency does. A slower, more tactical experience that requires the player to be mindful of their surroundings, lest that sniper in the ruined building on the second floor put a round right through your helmet.

These are both separate games, but there’s an option currently available to purchase them together in a bundle. Since the engine is the same, it’s easy to duck into a server for either Red Orchestra 2 or Rising Storm.

Red Orchestra 2 puts you on the Eastern Front where the Germans and Soviets are fighting over the city of Stalingrad. Maps vary from blown up cityscapes, to outskirt maps where tank warfare is the norm.

Rising Storm takes place in the Pacific, where the US Marines faced off against the Imperial Japanese forces for dominance. Not much vehicle combat, but the gameplay is asymmetric, allowing you a different way of approaching the battle depending on if you are playing as a US Marine or as a Japanese soldier.

Tripwire is currently working on Rising Storm 2, which takes place in Vietnam and is advertised to give us more of the unique, faction based gameplay we saw in the first Rising Storm. The game is currently in closed beta. Though purchasing this bundle wouldn’t detract from Rising Storm 2 since the time periods are different.

Regular price (US): $19.99

Sale price (US): $4.99

Link to Steam Store

Have a game that you think is worth checking out? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always on the look out for cool games to play.