Archive for May 7th, 2012

Does Warlock: Master of the Arcane understand the art of war?

, | Games

Warlock isn’t really a game about diplomacy any more than it’s a game about city building. There’s diplomacy in here, but like the city building, it sits in the back seat while you fling spells and command armies. City building is there as a support system for your armies. And diplomacy is there to determine against whom to direct your armies. Or to ignore and just direct your armies against everyone. Which is what I’m doing now. I’m at war with everyone.

However, none of them are being aggressive. Is that because the AI is too meek? Let’s see how it responds to an invasion. I’ve decided to pick on my closest neighbor. He’s a wizard named Rjakh, who I mainly think of as the pink wizard because he’s pink. How hard can it be to beat a pink wizard?

In a Civilization game, I would march units into his territory and lay siege to his city. If I brought enough units of the right mix, I’d prevail. That’s not how Warlock works. Because when you correctly do a one unit per hex game, the strategic level map is also the tactical playing field. That’s a whole other kind of war than marching stacks up to city walls and letting your unit mix take over.

After the jump, Warlock’s AI at war Continue reading →

May 7: wallet threat level pre-May 15

, | Games

This week offers three new games to help you kill time until May 15.

1) Starhawk is out for the PS3 this week. I predict another feather in Sony’s multiplayer cap. This mix of real time strategy, air and ground vehicle-based action, on-foot shootering, single-player campaign, and online multiplayer could be in the same league as Playstation exclusives like Mag and Killzone 3. I’ll have more to say about it once it’s gone live.

2) Turn-based strategy fans get Warlock: Master of the Arcane, hopefully with the day zero patch. I really like what I’ve seen in the pre-release version. It’s not quite Conquest of Elysium 3 in terms of gameplay, but not for lack of trying. And it’s certainly got the production value for those of you who couldn’t stomach Conquest’s spritely artwork.

3) Hey, look, you can play Minecraft on your Xbox 360! Which is pretty much the same Minecraft you already know and love. This console version is a lot friendlier to new players than the PC version. There is no guesswork with the crafting, thanks to extensive tooltips for inventory items and a helpful menu system in place of alt-tabbing to a wiki. While I certainly admire the game, I still can’t shake off a pervasive sense of pointlessness as I play. Where do I check my high score?