Category Archives: Game Diaries

I choose you! Combat in Final Fantasy X

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Final Fantasy X

In my last piece about Final Fantasy X, I wrote about its biggest draw: its world, its story, and the way the two interact. What makes FFX a good game, not just a good worldbuilding exercise, is the second thing … Continue reading

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Final Fantasy X HD: The magic returns

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Final Fantasy X

Imagine being flung into an alien world, a thousand years hence. Imagine navigating a new society, with nothing left of your home but a few hauntingly familiar notes.   That is the premise of Final Fantasy X, whose Vita re-release … Continue reading

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On the importance of swooshing cameras (or, personal meanderings how minor details add up to significant effect)

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Crusader Kings II game diary, by Rachel McFadden

Europa Universalis II was my first Paradox game. Since then I’ve played every strategy title Paradox has produced, excepting the Hearts of Iron series. Whilst I have great respect for their scope and ambition, and do not care to think … Continue reading

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Wargame: European Escalation – The Verdict

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon

  Summing up Wargame: European Escalation, Eugen Systems’ latest real-time strategy game, is easy. It’s designed to do two things: evoke the modern (1970s-1980s) battlefield, and give the player choice. Picking it up is easy. But mastering it – that’s … Continue reading

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Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai first impressions

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2

  Note: my final review can be found here.   With its promise of firearms, ironclads, and railroads, I was eager to leap into Fall of the Samurai, the nineteenth century-themed expansion to Shogun 2. After getting ~70-80 turns (up … Continue reading

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Attack, defence, and the art of Wargame

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon

It’s pretty clichéd to describe inventions – military, cybersecurity, maybe even medicine – as a race between offence and defence: I invent a weapon, you invent armour, I invent a bigger weapon.  But that could almost sum up how my … Continue reading

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How to lose Crusader Kings II: a very short guide

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Crusader Kings II game diary, by Rachel McFadden

  Being a small collection of ways to lose:   Not Enough Relatives   1. Lack of male heirs. No sons, no other applicable males, and no time to rush through that female inheritance law.   2. Failure to read … Continue reading

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The Panzer General’s grandson: an introduction to Wargame: European Escalation

This entry is part 1 of 12 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon

  It took a lot to drag me away from Crusader Kings 2; “ a lot” came in the form of Wargame: European Escalation, the Cold-War-gone-hot RTS from RUSE developer Eugen Systems. I’m still climbing its learning curve, but I’ve … Continue reading

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Crusader Kings II: Feudalism: domain thing?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Crusader Kings II game diary, by Rachel McFadden

As everyone and their pot plant will be aware, Crusader Kings II is a medieval-themed strategy game. What comes as a surprise to many people is that it’s a medieval-themed game, not a knights-and-kingdoms themed game. Let me explain.   … Continue reading

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Conquest of Elysium 3: The Verdict

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Conquest of Elysium

Introduction   One look at Conquest of Elysium 3, the new fantasy turn-based strategy game from Illwinter Game Design, and you would think you’d stepped into a classic 4X. You begin by choosing a faction (one of 18 character classes) … Continue reading

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Conquest of Elysium 3 first impressions: Not quite a chip off the old block

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Conquest of Elysium

Dominions 3, Illwinter’s 2006 magnum opus, is one of my all-time favourite games, but its depth and complexity make it a time-consuming beast. And so I jumped when I heard Illwinter’s latest title, Conquest of Elysium 3, was simpler and … Continue reading

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Guest post: One hour with Crusader Kings II, by Rachel McFadden

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Crusader Kings II game diary, by Rachel McFadden

History is good. Games are good. Vivid, memorable characters are good. Could a historical game packed with vivid, memorable characters, Paradox’s Crusader Kings II, be best of all? In the following guest post, the first of a series, Rachel McFadden … Continue reading

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Dark Souls impressions: The eloquence of the blade

This is part 4 in my series on Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.   1. Co-op: misery loves company 2. Progress, progress, progress 3. What difficulty in Demon’s Souls has to do with behavioural finance 4. Impressions of Dark Souls … Continue reading

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Opening moves in Distant Worlds: a mini-Let’s Play

This is part 2 of a series on Distant Worlds.   1. First impressions: the galaxy is a big place 2. How the opening moves play out – a mini-Let’s Play 3. The verdict   Note: I am playing a … Continue reading

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Distant Worlds first impressions: The galaxy is a big place

This is part 1 of a series on Distant Worlds.   1. First impressions: the galaxy is a big place 2. How the opening moves play out – a mini-Let’s Play 3. The verdict     Note: I am playing … Continue reading

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Difficulty in Demon’s Souls: what we can learn from… behavioural finance?!

This is part 3 of my series on Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.   1. Co-op: misery loves company 2. Progress, progress, progress 3. What difficulty in Demon’s Souls has to do with behavioural finance 4. Impressions of Dark Souls … Continue reading

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Civilization V: One year on

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Civilization V

  Last night, I sat down to play Civilization V for the first time in most of a year. There have been a lot of patches in that time, and I’d grown pretty rusty. How well does it stand the … Continue reading

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Demon’s Souls: Progress, progress, progress

This is part 2 of my series on Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.   1. Co-op: misery loves company 2. Progress, progress, progress 3. What difficulty in Demon’s Souls has to do with behavioural finance 4. Impressions of Dark Souls … Continue reading

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Demon’s Souls: Misery loves company

  This is part 1 of my series on Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.   1. Co-op: misery loves company 2. Progress, progress, progress 3. What difficulty in Demon’s Souls has to do with behavioural finance 4. Impressions of Dark … Continue reading

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The Witcher 2: Strengths and weaknesses, so far

This is my second post on The Witcher 2.   1.  First impressions 2. Strengths and weaknesses (as of early Act 2)   I’ve now played a bit more of The Witcher 2 – I’m now up to early Act … Continue reading

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The Witcher 2: first impressions

This is my first post on The Witcher 2.   1.  First impressions 2. Strengths and weaknesses (as of early Act 2)   I picked up The Witcher 2 when it went on sale a couple of weekends ago, and … Continue reading

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Persona 3 Portable: Finished! Initial (spoileriffic) thoughts on the ending

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4

Over the weekend, I finally finished Persona 3 Portable (not long after I finished my Conan the Barbarian post, in fact). In the coming weeks, watch this space for a spoiler-free review, and possibly a “Storytelling in Games” analysis piece. … Continue reading

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Europa Universalis III: The price of freedom is deficit spending

This is part 2 of an irregular series on Europa Universalis III.   Part 1: The Byzantine Empire and puzzle-like gameplay. Part 2: The Manchus, hordes, and the consequences of deficit spending.     I recently picked up Divine Wind, … Continue reading

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Combat in Persona 3 Portable: The quick and the dead

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4

As you can see above, most of my previous discussion of Persona 3: Portable has focused on one half of the gameplay: the social/high school life simulation. But what about the other half of the game, the dungeon crawl?   … Continue reading

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Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together – The Verdict

  This is the fifth post in my series on Tactics Ogre. Check out my earlier impressions of the game’s character profiles; four things it does better than FFT (and one it doesn’t); how I used different character classes in … Continue reading

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Persona 3 Portable’s setting: A pop-cultural window onto the world

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4

Compared to other RPGs, Persona 3’s modern-day world may seem mundane. The main character buys healing items not from armourers and apothecaries, but from the pharmacist at the shopping mall. He/she traipses through school hallways rather than half-sunken temples or … Continue reading

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Roleplaying and time management in Persona 3 Portable: Who says there’s no roleplaying in JRPGs?

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4

As far as I can tell, the core of Persona 3 (refer to my initial post for the premise of the game) is its dungeon-crawling RPG combat. From a min-maxing perspective, the other, social aspects of the game ultimately seem … Continue reading

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Persona 3 Portable: A promising start

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4

Plan for the day Morning – Go to school. Afternoon – Hit the books. Evening – Fight monsters?!   The average high schooler who thinks his/her life is in turmoil has nothing on Arthur, my name for the hero of … Continue reading

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Total War: Shogun 2 – The Verdict

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2

This is the third post in my series on Shogun 2. You can find my early impressions here and my write-up of the game’s diplomacy here.     Total War: Shogun 2 is the latest entry in Creative Assembly’s grand … Continue reading

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