Updates the rest of this week will be spottier than usual since I’m away at the Game Developers Conference, which I always find relaxing, informative, and oddly re-energizing. If you’re at GDC this year instead of playing Mass Effect 3, come see the panel I’m moderating at the very end of the conference. The topic is that free-to-play games suck. Actually, that’s not technically the topic, but I’ll see what I can do.
And while I’ve got your attention, thanks for supporting the site by visiting us. We’ve been growing nicely even though I’m awful at promoting things. So if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I could use your help. We have a new Twitter feed ripe for the following at @Qt3, a Facebook page here that I’d be much obliged if you’d “like”, and podcasts that could use your ratings on iTunes (games podcast here and movie podcast here). We’ve also had a donation button up for a while that I’ve been pretty shy about pimping, but I’m grateful to the few folks who have used it.
As an erstwhile wargamer — Wait, don’t go! We’re going to talk about real time strategy games, I promise. As an erstwhile wargamer, I love statistics about armor thickness vs penetration values, visibility profiles, morale ratings, operational range, and so forth. One of my first computer games was a turgid turn-based affair called Mech Brigade, released at the height of the Cold War and detailing all those terrible toys that would come into play in any Red Dawn scenario I might personally experience. When the Soviets came to Little Rock, Arkansas, I would know a Hind from a Havoc, a BRDM from a BMP, a Spandrel from a Sagger. And don’t get me started on Harpoon, which was my first real-time spreadsheet game. Fortunately, Arkansas is landlocked, so all that stuff in Harpoon was strictly hypothetical.
You might not be able to relate. So let me try this angle: when people talk about the sports, they use a lot of statistics, such as how many RBIs Manning Payton scored, a basketballer’s average speed per inning, and Pete Holmes’ stamina rating. In fact, I have it on good authority that entire sports games consist of nothing but statistics, much like how Paradox makes entire history games. And that’s where the unfortunately named Wargame: European Escalation will eventually get its hooks into you: as an almost grotesquely detailed catalog of Cold War hardware.
After the jump, gotta catch em all! Continue reading →
Two years ago, I wrote up Mass Effect 2 as a list of ten things gone terribly wrong. I dismissed it as “a confused attempt to streamline an RPG, flesh out a shooter, cram a story between space dungeons, and pick up the loose ends from the first game”. But then you people bought it in droves, said adoring things about it, and put it on your various Best Game Ever lists. Nice move. Now we’re all going to get more of the same in Mass Effect 3.
Or — after the jump — are we? Continue reading →