Room to Expand

9 08 2012

Dear me, but that elven babe on the box looks bored.  She’s got a PhD in international law, you know.  She could’ve been a big shot at the UN, but alas, like most elven babes, she ends up modelling for low-end game marketing.  “What’s this Spellforce job involve?” she asks her agent excitedly.  “Er…steel bikini and loincloth.”  “Again?”  “Yeah, but you get a sword this time. It’s very empowering.”  Not quite the Security Council, though, is it?

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The Legacy of Rome

20 07 2012

My favourite exam question at university –

Stop making funny faces.

My favourite exam question at university came in my third year, on a module about the War of the Spanish Succession.  I can’t remember the precise wording, but it went something like this: ‘Was the campaign of 1704 the most challenging of the Duke of Marlborough’s career?’


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Review Supplement – Tropico 4

14 09 2011

Strange thing, this. When I was thinking about Tropico 4 for my review, the game I couldn’t help comparing it to was Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, because both of them go deep into to the heart of such important issues of liberty and freedom, exploring the deep questions with a scholarly eye. Or not. They’re actually both sequels that have been criticised for being too similar to their predecessors. In my view, however, ACB gets away with it, whereas Tropico 4 does not.


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Review Supplement – Panzer Corps

20 07 2011

Well that wasn’t what I was expecting. After hearing that Panzer Corps was going to be my next review, I happened upon this brief article on Rock Paper Shotgun. It wasn’t promising. I find RPS a great read because its writers go into loving depth on any number of niche games, but in this case all that was merited was five lines, a press release and a video that presented a very backward-looking product with cheesy World War 2 music and grainy sound effects. It looked grim.

How wrong I was. Panzer Corps is a well put together title, providing tidy, expansive war-gaming with no frills but a good degree of depth. You’ll be able to read more about it in my review, which should pop up on Gamedot in the next few days (EDIT: here it is now), but for now I’d like to look at something else. I’m going mildly theoretical again, so brace yourselves for some rambling. Read the rest of this entry »

Men of War: Assault Squad Review

29 03 2011

Take a wander through the immense archives of this two-week old blog and you might discover an article about Men of War: Assault Squad.  As was promised back in those ancient days, a link to my full review at Gamedot has come into being.  In a nutshell, the game is something of a shame: the concept is great, the depth is mightily impressive, but it’s let down by UI and difficulty issues that really should have been solved.

Click here for the review.

I’d Give This Article a 7/10

23 03 2011

The purpose of reviewing is a tricky issue faced by all gaming writers, from those who have a 10-page glossy spread in a mag to the forum-goer who drops the occasional piece in the user review section. It’s something I have to consider all over again for every review that I do. Am I meant to inform, entertain, stir up debate or find a unique position? Should I try to uncover some sort of objective truth in games and lay these facts before the reader, or present my own experiences and forget about the unrealistic goal of impartiality? It’s a topic that I could get a lot of words out of, but that’s for another time.

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Review Supplement – Men of War: Assault Squad

18 03 2011

When I’m not pretending to be a critic on this blog, I’m pretending to be a critic over at This pretence has become so improbably successful that I’ve managed to fool the editor into sending me games, all in return for a mere 1,000 words of bile/praise-filled copy (delete as appropriate). On a more serious note, I am grateful for the opportunity, but from now on I hope to flesh out the reviews there with a little more subjective writing over in this little nook of the web.

This time round the subject is Men of War: Assault Squad, a second expansion in the World War II strategy series.

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