Sometimes, the best strategy is to not play at all. This is not one of those times. Unless you value your spare time, because this year's wondrous array of strategy games will inevitably gobble it up in oodles like a bull in a Chinese restaurant.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is still kicking my ass and making me regret playing on Hard/Classic with its Evel Knievel AI, Civilization V got a meaty upgrade, Dota 2 has consumed entire lives, and Enemy Within made me want to play XCOM again a month after beating XCOM.
Monaco: What's Yours is Mine
Monaco: What's Yours is Mine truly is a game for anyone and everyone. It is simple enough to pick up and immediately understand how things work, while at the same time offers the complexity to have multiple players spend a few minutes sitting still, devising a self-titled "Best Plan Ever" complete with tracing the plan on the screen with fingers, saying “Ready? GO!”, only to see it backfire in seconds. Regardless of whether you plan on flying solo or with some buddies, do yourself a favor and go play Monaco. I know I'll be doing the same for a long time into the future.
Pikmin 3 isn't everything that Pikmin has ever been before, but it's still the best representation of the concept to date. It feels like a full replacement of Pikmin 1, and a perfect companion to the different-but-equal Pikmin 2. The series' signature creepy, cartoon-like take on real trials of life is there in full force, bolstered by incredibly beautiful graphics, an unexpectedly involving story, tons of secrets, and new ways to play, all while never straying from the spirit of the original game.
There are also a number of interface and mechanical changes, most notably a new tutorial for the Within features, as well as tougher AI, more skills, and 47 new maps that are mixed in throughout the entire game. Controller support on the PC still works great, and I used it throughout my entire playthrough. If you haven't played the newest XCOM yet, now is a perfect time to do so with the Enemy Within package. For all the XCOM veterans out there, you'll find a solid amount of new activities to engage in, as well as an unprecedented amount of squad customization. In other words, this is now the definitive Enemy experience.
I could ramble off dozens of words of praise, but the simplest way to summarize my experience is to say that I stayed up playing until 4:00am without realizing how late it was, either because I was yelling at the Germans for killing my troops or high-fiving the air when I took out a tank. It's one of those games that can suck you in for hours and keep you constantly engaged. Company of Heroes 2 is shining example of what an RTS game should be: a mix of classic mechanics with new features and technology.
Dota 2 is many things to many people: it's a great way to kill an afternoon with friends; it's a spectator sport platform with its own item-betting scene; it's a hobby; it's a profession, and a way to make a living. It isn't perfect and likely never will be, as each update tends to fix bugs and introduce new ones, and the tutorial could certainly use some work. However, with zero cost to play and one of the highest skill ceilings of any game I've ever encountered, Dota 2 is a modern multiplayer masterpiece.
If you have been sitting out on Civilization V because you feel it's not as awesome as Civilization IV, you really need to get on this side of the fence now. Brave New World brings in all the best parts of Gods & Kings and it makes the game into something complex yet simple to learn. The ways you can play are greatly opened up with the new systems, and you can take very different approaches to each victory type. While it still seems less complicated than Civ IV with all of the expansions, Civ V with Brave New World does have a lot more going on and it's just easier than ever to get to all of it. That's always a good thing.
Launching Plants vs. Zombies 2 exclusively on iOS platforms first is a really odd choice for a game that was originally a big-hitter for the PC, but it may very well pay off -- especially given the fact that the game is actually good. So long as EA and PopCap don't eventually ruin the game through greedy in-app purchases, the base game at launch is a treat, and worth a download from every iOS owner out there. What you're getting is basically more of that classic Plants vs. Zombie experience, with just enough tweaks to keep it interesting -- and that's more than enough for me.
The jury is still out on whether or not Blizzard will skew the game towards buying more $1.50 booster packs with powerful cards, preventing players who don't wish to spend money from winning in a competitive environment. But right now based on what I've played of the beta, Hearthstone is a deep, rewarding card game that gives you plenty of leeway to learn how to play.
Skulls of the Shogun
Multiplayer wise, Skulls of the Shogun is extremely impressive in that it basically offers every option under the sun for up to four people. There's full couch-coop, four player online play, and cross platform asynchronous play between Xbox Live, Windows 8 PC, and Windows Phones.
Despite the improvements, the patches haven't quite mitigated the concerns expressed above. But it is easy to imagine a point, perhaps soon, when most, if not all of the kinks have been patched out and the waiting times cut down, leaving players with Total War: Rome II its best: a game that can actually make good on claiming "epic" scale and delivering a truly grand strategic experience coupled with blockbuster production values and satisfying tactical challenges.
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Cosmonstropolis Still waiting by the mailbox. Tranq'd a jogger and stuffed them into a locker just for fun. I keep throwing rocks to get the attention of the neighbors and then hiding in tall grass. They look noticeably upset. Probably because I kept them up all night. ChillyBilly Metal Gear or Mad Max? The choice is obvious.
My wife´s dog died yesterday . Rest in peace Diamond Dog .
Here's to you, Malu
Rest forever here in our hearts
The last and final moment is yours
That agony is your triumphSeymourDuncan17 Xbone journey continues! I thought I would like Dead Rising 3 well enough as a huge fan of 1/2, but I must say I find it's emphasis on hard drama laughable and the game fundamentally disingenuine. Guess I'm moving on to Forza Horizon 2. TheDefenestrator I dig the feature in Until Dawn where, if you have the Playstation camera, it will record you briefly during jump scares for you to watch later. It's a really neat use of an underused peripheral. Too bad I'm dead inside and never react to them.Shinta [img]http://i.imgur.com/oZ7CQJa.jpg[/img]nanashi Fallout Shelter: Impossible to Learn, Easy to Master.Mike Wallace Not saying this is the case, but Kojima has gone on record as being a huge Mad Max: Fury Road fan. Konami decided to release MGSV on the same day as Mad Max TVG. They're trying piss on Kojima's lawn, man.ooktar Downloading Phantom Pain. ETA, 16 hours. Just in time for lunch tomorrow.Mr Knives OH WOW. Talk about a complete about face. After slogging through the horrid beginning and slow ass swap sequence this game picked up exponentially. So far, I'm enjoying the hell out of it now. All if forgiven. Thank you based Kojima.Rad Party God Oh, joyful night. [youtube]https://youtu.be/6EfhAFA2yFE[/youtube]techsupport After a summer of on-and-off casual play, I've finally reached lv. 34 in Destiny :')nanashi also Fallout Shelter just made me utter this: "I have to get these pregnancies done.." life is trivial in this game!Mr Knives Let it be known that Metal Gear 2 for MXS has aged horribly and is no fun to play. In the midst of a MGS marathon, looks like I'm skipping ahead to MGS. Rad Party God "Available: 31 August - This game will unlock in approximately 2 hours" HOLY SHIET! [youtube]https://youtu.be/9jK-NcRmVcw[/youtube]nanashi -nudge nudge- hey Sony, discount Ys: I and II Chronicles and Ys: Seven on the PSP :DRadicalYoseph Just out of curiosity, does anybody here still play Mario Kart 8 at all frequently?Cosmonstropolis Neighbors ended up calling the cops. I hid under a cardboard box. Police officers were perplexed but went back to their patrol routes after a minute or so.techsupport !a new MGS: Ground Zeroes update file auto dl'd and installed..the day prior to MGSV... hmm.. coincidence? OR... coincidence?GoofierBrute Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era.
*pours one out for Club Nintendo*