Earlier this week, I talked about my love-hate relationship with Paradox Interactive and the different types of games they put out (particularly though with strategy titles). I think the best way to illustrate why I feel this way is to link you guys to the review I did this week of one of their newish titles, “Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods.” This is an expansion to “Crusader Kings II,” a game that many people regard highly for its attention to detail on the period of history it covers. And, I agree: There is a LOT of stuff here to take in. But, how does the game measure up, and does it finally offer that non-major-players view of history that is so often lacking?
Since I recently went about the task of (finally!) writing a review for Nerdy But Flirty (going live soon) on “Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods,” I thought I should take a few moments to discuss my feelings on the games produced by Paradox Interactive.
Those of you who know me or have followed this blog since its early days know that I’ve covered quite a few of their titles in the past. Paradox is a company that I really wish I could like more than I do. Although they have made some very successful non-strategy titles (like “Magicka” and “Cities in Motion”), they gravitate towards historical (and sometimes fantasy) strategy titles. If you have ever played any of their titles, you certainly will know that the people who are designing these games have an obvious love of history. It is apparent that they want to take their love of history and bring it to life in a realistic and enjoyable way for the player. They’ve tackled modern history, feudal Japanese history, and, of course, European medieval history, to name a few genres. Each time they set about this, they try to set up a system whereby the player takes the role of the leader of a domain, small or large, and sets about seeing how history would unfold if things went a bit differently. One of the best things about these games is that they often offer the ability to control a smaller state (like the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) and see how it would have been had different choices been made. All of these details can really come to life if you use your imagination.
Where the company often fails, though, is in creating something that is too overly ambitious and gets bogged down in the details. They often either spread themselves far too thin or they focus on the “bigger players” and forget about the little guys. This sometimes results in titles that are meant to be over-arching, but instead focus on a very Westernized view of things. This was especially the case in “Magna Mundi,” a game I previewed in January 2012 but which, thankfully, got the ax before its final release.
Sometimes I wonder: maybe if Paradox sat down and rethought their game engine, put more research into other non-Western political entities, and tried to make a menu system that didn’t frustrate people more than please them, would their games be able to really spark a greater interest in history and grand strategy? Some of the periods they want to cover would be cool to have used in college courses. Professors could use the game to show some alternate series of events. If more time had been put into creating a better engine for “War of the Roses,” a really neat medieval simulator and third-person combat game could have resulted. Instead, the engine was just so clunky that it made playing it, in my opinion, not fun at all.
The good thing is that Paradox does seem to listen to the fans (they did can “Magna Mundi” after all, potentially due to the very bad press some people gave it), and they have made an effort to cover other political systems (as is the case with “The Old Gods”), so maybe they will listen in regards to their game engine and give that one an update too.
What do you guys think? Have you had any experience with Paradox Interactive and their games?
Most of you that follow my blog are likely aware that my relationship with Paradox Interactive has been hit-and-miss at best. Every now and then they will put out a halfway decent title, but a lot of their games – particularly their historical grand-strategy titles – are very lack-luster in their attention to details and their overall game engines. Their latest title, “War of the Roses,” aimed to go in a different direction and take the historical atmosphere and apply it to a multiplayer combat game.
Did it work?
Eh……..Maybe, but it’s not all that great.
You can read my complete review (and see the score) over at Anjel Syndicate and get the full story.
Today I got a package in the mail from UPS that contained a brand-new Hauppauge HD PVR 2 recording box designed for use with the PlayStation 3 and the XBox 360, sent to me by the creators in the hopes that I would do a tech review of the product here on my blog and also for Anjel Syndicate. I opened it up to take a look at it, and it seems like a neat little product.
My question, however, is why such a device is actually necessary. See, from what I have read about it, you plug your console into the PVR unit and then output from the PVR to both your TV and your PC or laptop (where you actually capture the video). It would be one thing if the device itself was capable of recording and storing the video on its own internal hard-drive and you could simply transfer this later to a PC for post-production, but it seems like all it does is act as some sort of intermediary between the console and your PC.
Why is that necessary? Couldn’t you simply plug your console in as an input to your PC or laptop and then use the recording software of your choice to record the gameplay?
Ah well…Anyway, I do plan to set this up sometime soon and then give it a go and see what I think. Only time will tell!
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a couple more games in for review. One is “Clan of Champions” (PC) and the other is “The War of the Roses” (PC), and while I don’t hold out much hope for the second of those games (my opinion of Paradox Interactive is fairly low right now), I’ll still be interested to see how both of them turn out. Expect reviews in the future!
Back in October of last year I did a preview piece for a tower defense game made by Paradox Interactive for Anjel Syndicate. Even back then, my opinion wasn’t extremely favorable.
How did it turn out in the end? Take a look at this review and see for yourself.
Also, keep in mind that our review scoring system at Anjel Syndicate is in the process of changing. A 3.0 out of 10.0 isn’t quite the “F-” it would be on our old scale. Rather, a 5.0 would mean that 50 out of 100 players would likely enjoy the game, making it closer to a “C.”
Yet another of Paradox Interactive‘s strategy titles is on the chopping block, this time a turn-based strategy game by the name of “Warlock: Master of the Arcane.” The game is due to be released sometime this spring, and to be quite honest, as with most of the company’s other games, this one could use a lot of work. Still, it isn’t quite as bad as “Magna Mundi” was, and I can see that this game might have some hope in its future.
To read my in-depth assessment of this game, head on over to Anjel Syndicate and take a look!
I want to apologize for my lack of posts here lately. I realized today that my last post here was back on January 6! I assure you that it was not my intention to go that long without having anything to post!
I’ve actually been keeping fairly busy lately. I have another game by Paradox Interactive called “Warlock: Master of the Arcane” (due out Q2 2012) that I need to do a preview article of for Anjel Syndicate. On top of that, I have two upcoming articles for WhatMMORPG – one will be a discussion of party-based play in “Star Wars: The Old Republic” while another will be a follow up to “Final Fantasy XIV” going pay-to-play back on January 6. These little projects will no doubt keep me busy!
A lot of my gaming time has been invested into “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” As you all who are reading this know, I gave the game a good score and I do stick by it. It has been quite a joy to play, though I admit that the overall style of the game is not something that all seasoned MMORPG players will be used to. Indeed, it was a welcome change to me and I do enjoy the cinematic style of the game, but others might not. Still, I am parked on the Vrook Lamar server at present and have three characters: Jol’nayru (a Sith Inquisitor/Sorceress), Teerlanai (a Jedi Consular/Shadow), and Adesta (an Imperial Agent).
For those wondering about the podcast, we actually recorded that back on January 12. Warren is busy cleaning it up, and once we are ready to post it online you will be provided with links to it.
There are lots of things to look forward to! :)