Category Archives: PC Games

Endless Legend & Age of Wonders 3: One Year On

The two expansions to Age of Wonders 3 have brought new races, a new character class, and (together with patches), assorted features and balance tweaks. They have also addressed my single biggest complaint with the game: the victory conditions (and … Continue reading

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The Roman Experience in Total War: Attila

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Total War: Attila

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Total War: AttilaAfter 100 turns, I threw in the towel on my attempt to save the Western Roman Empire. The legions, and my treasury, had finally reached their limit. The … Continue reading

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Thoughts on Cities: Skylines

This entry is part of 1 in the series Cities: Skylines

This entry is part of 1 in the series Cities: Skylines My first city made as much sense as a noodle-bowl. At one point, I went nuts building high-rise apartments without ensuring adequate road access. The result was a mess. … Continue reading

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Only a Flesh Wound! Total War: Attila impressions

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Total War: Attila

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Total War: Attila War has come to Rome. Lands that were Roman for centuries are now desolate or in enemy hands. Northern Spain and the tip of Italy are smoking … Continue reading

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Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 3 (Final): Ride Forth Victoriously

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

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2Welcome to the final instalment of my Let’s Play of Shogun 2. Previously, I stood on the verge of Shogun 2’s endgame — “realm divide”, in which … Continue reading

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Total War Rome II DLC Campaigns: The Buyer’s Guide

Matchsticks for my Eyes is pleased to present the latest guest post by Rachel “frogbeastegg” McFadden, author of Frogbeastegg’s Guides to Total War. Rome II has smartened up considerably since its release; the article below discusses its add-on campaigns. I … Continue reading

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Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 2: Patience and Preparation

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2Welcome back to my Let’s Play of Shogun 2. When we left off, my Takeda clan controlled a modest slice of Japan, to the north and west … Continue reading

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Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 1: Awakening the Tiger

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2Introduction Hello, and welcome to my Let’s Play of Total War: Shogun 2. Shogun 2 casts players as a daimyo, one of the regional warlords of sixteenth-century … Continue reading

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Star Wars: Empire at War — Quick Impressions

Every so often, I play a game that’s more fun than its mediocre mechanics would suggest. Ni no Kuni was one such. Star Wars: Empire at War is another. Empire at War was a 2006 RTS whose Galactic Conquest mode, … Continue reading

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Endless Legend: a better toy than game

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Endless Legend

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Endless LegendBack when I wrote about Tearaway last January, I quoted Jesse Schell’s distinction between a toy (something that’s fun to play with) and a game (a problem-solving activity approached … Continue reading

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The Qing in the North: Reflections on Europa Universalis IV: Art of War

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Europa Universalis IVThe Manchu conquest of Ming China, in which a much smaller, younger state managed to overthrow the greatest empire in the world, is one of those episodes in … Continue reading

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The Lantern Bearer: revisiting Crusader Kings II

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Crusader Kings II

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Crusader Kings II I thought I’d cracked it. Over and over again, I attempted one of the greatest challenges in Crusader Kings II – play a Zoroastrian and restore the … Continue reading

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Observations on Xenonauts

Xenonauts is a generally inspired homage to the Gollop Brothers’ X-COM, let down by repetitive ground combat. After six or seven hours back in September, I loaded up Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Within… and since then, I’ve haven’t looked back. Comparing … Continue reading

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Now THIS is how you make a memorable faction: Endless Legend’s Vaulters

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Endless Legend

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Endless LegendIn several ways, Endless Legend feels like the game Civilization: Beyond Earth wanted to be. The two games share several design choices, such as non-linear tech trees and a … Continue reading

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Crusader Kings II: Snowballing on the Steppes

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Crusader Kings II

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Crusader Kings IIAfter many attempts to restore the Persian empire in Crusader Kings 2, I have learned two things. First, playing a Zoroastrian is hard. The first three times, I … Continue reading

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Sherlock Holmes vs the Cat-Hair Moustache

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is an adventure game that doesn’t feel like other adventure games. Typically, adventure games give the player several tasks: exploring the environment, gathering items, talking to NPCs, and solving puzzles. The challenge comes from the … Continue reading

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Civilization: Beyond Earth first impressions

This entry is part of 1 in the series Civilization: Beyond Earth

This entry is part of 1 in the series Civilization: Beyond Earth I’ve just won my first game of Civilization: Beyond Earth1, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed. The problem is not that this is “Civilization V … Continue reading

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Offworld Trading Company interview with Soren Johnson

Offworld Trading Company is an upcoming RTS where, to quote developer Mohawk Games, “money, not firepower, is the player’s weapon”. Its stated inspirations include board games, Railroad Tycoon, and conventional real-time strategy. Below, I am very pleased to present an … Continue reading

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Ayutthaya Universalis: Building an Empire in Southeast Asia

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Europa Universalis IVThe Kingdom of Ayutthaya was the major power in Southeast Asia in the 14th and 15th centuries. Based in the capital of Ayutthaya on the Chao Phraya River, … Continue reading

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CA announces Total War: Attila (updated to add video)

Creative Assembly has announced Total War: Attila, a sequel in all but name to 2005’s Rome: Barbarian Invasion.  Eurogamer, IGN, and USGamer (amongst others) have previews up. (Update: I have added a gameplay video above – skip to 4:12. Hat … Continue reading

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The Beginner’s Guide to Wargame

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

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red DragonWargame is one of my favourite RTS series. It can also be daunting — I know several readers have picked it up on sale, only to … Continue reading

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Transistor: concluding thoughts

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Transistor

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series TransistorTransistor is a clever game, let down by its ending.   At first, Transistor resembles a reflex-driven action-RPG, with the emphasis on “action” (a la Bastion). Within minutes, the combat … Continue reading

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Transistor: 33% off on Steam for one more day

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Transistor

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series TransistorVery quick heads-up; Transistor, the latest game from the studio behind Bastion, is 33% off on Steam ($13.39, down from $20) for another 30 hours. I started Transistor tonight and … Continue reading

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Valiant Hearts: concluding thoughts

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Valiant Hearts

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Valiant HeartsValiant Hearts wants to tell the truth about war. To do so, it uses puzzles, humour, and a goofy villain. That is the language of adventure games, but it … Continue reading

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Valiant Hearts: half full

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Valiant Hearts

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Valiant Hearts I’m halfway through Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Ubisoft Montpellier’s adventure game set during World War 1.  Billed as a “story of crossed destinies and a broken love … Continue reading

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Warlock 2 and the 4X

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Warlock

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series WarlockA few years ago, I linked to an alternate genre classification system for games, as proposed by Russ Pitts and Steve Butts in The Escapist magazine. I paraphrased their system … Continue reading

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From the archives: A game that could have been: Emperor of the Fading Suns

Emperor of the Fading Suns was a mid-1990s PC strategy game from the days before the space 4X genre calcified into Master of Orion 2 wannabes. It was ambitious, sprawling, buggy, flawed — yet I remember it fondly. In 2011, … Continue reading

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From the archives: Conquest, Plunder and Tyranny: Explaining Dubious Morality in Strategy Games

I originally wrote this post around the time Civilization V came out, and it’s interesting to look back in light of subsequent releases such as Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis IV. One of my arguments was that 4X games … Continue reading

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From the archives: Storytelling in Star Control II: Playing space detective

Star Control 2 is a classic of the early 1990s, with a great sense of humour, robust gameplay, and unique, non-linear story progression — the player had to gather clues and do his or her own footwork in order to … Continue reading

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Warlock 2: Mage Versus World

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Warlock

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Warlock   My first scout killed some cockroaches and some wolves, then was mauled by a giant bear. My second scout found some demonic trees and was turned into fertilizer … Continue reading

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