Category Archives: Reviews

The Milkweed Triptych, by Ian Tregillis

The Milkweed Triptych, by Ian Tregillis, comprises three novels: Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War, and Necessary Evils. Together, they form proof that a good author can outshine the most hackneyed premise. The trilogy takes place in a world where Nazi … 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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Skulls of the Shogun: The Verdict

  “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.” Take that logic, apply to a strategy game, blend in a striking aesthetic, and sprinkle with humour: developer 17-BIT’s … Continue reading

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Europa Universalis IV: The Verdict

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Europa Universalis IVParadox Development Studio’s Europa Universalis IV is a game about trade-offs, and it is all the better for it. Like this:Like Loading…

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Waking Mars: The Verdict

Science fiction, it is said, is the literature of ideas – a genre about going where nobody has gone before. Its iconic emotion is the “sense of wonder”; its iconic heroes are explorers and scientists. Now an indie game, Tiger … Continue reading

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Wargame: AirLand Battle — The Verdict

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon  Eugen Systems, the studio behind Wargame: AirLand Battle, is now one of my favourite developers of strategy games, of historical games, and indeed, of historical … Continue reading

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Tomb Raider – The Very Quick Verdict (and a reflection on cover shooting)

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Tomb Raider

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Tomb Raider   After finishing Tomb Raider, I’m happy with the gameplay appraisal I posted halfway through. This is a title that’s not sure whether it wants to be “the … Continue reading

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Book review: Rivers of London/Midnight Riot, Moon over Soho, & Whispers Under Ground, by Ben Aaronovitch

Last week, I read an urban fantasy novel, Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London (released in the US as Midnight Riot), about a modern London constable who becomes apprentice to the last sorcerer on the force. The very next day, I … Continue reading

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Book review: Castle in the Air, by Diana Wynne Jones

Once upon a time, in the land of Zanzib, there lived a young carpet merchant named Abdullah. Abdullah’s life was safe but dull, and his only excitement came when he daydreamed himself to be a long-lost prince. Then one day, … Continue reading

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All aboard! Ticket to Ride: The Verdict

  The railroad must get through. Chicago must connect to Santa Fe. But I’m almost out of locomotives, my rivals are muscling in, and can I get three cards of the same colour?   Welcome to Ticket to Ride, the … Continue reading

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Journey: The Verdict

  How much can we care about a digital companion?   Whole games have been built around this question – most notably 2001 classic Ico, which cast players as a young boy who had to escape a witch’s castle together … Continue reading

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown – The Verdict

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series XCOM: Enemy UnknownFor one month, you followed me as I played through Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the successor to one of the greatest games of all time. Now that I’ve … Continue reading

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Book review: The Scarab Path & The Sea Watch, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

  The Scarab Path and The Sea Watch are respectively books 5 and 6 in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series. (You can find my review of book 1, Empire in Black and Gold, here; and my review of … Continue reading

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FTL: Faster than Light — The Verdict

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series FTL: Faster than Light

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series FTL: Faster than Light  The best way I can describe FTL: Faster than Light, the new indie title from Subset Games, is to say it lives up to the very … Continue reading

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Jeanne d’Arc – The Very Quick Verdict

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Jeanne d'Arc

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Jeanne d’Arc Now that I’ve finished Jeanne d’Arc (PSP, 2007), I can give my verdict!   This post is really an addendum to Monday’s discussion of Jeanne’s gameplay. There’s not … Continue reading

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A story worth telling: Game of Thrones the RPG

What can you do when you desperately want to talk about a game, yet cannot do so without spoiling most of what made it such a memorable experience? I have been attempting to find an answer to that question for … Continue reading

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Civilization V: Gods and Kings – The Verdict

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

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Civilization V  For years, new Civilization games (much like a certain other franchise) have followed a process of “two steps forward, one step back”. The original Civilization was a great … Continue reading

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Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion – The Verdict

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion      The 1990s were the decade of the real-time strategy game, and I played every major one: Herzog Zwei, Dune 2, Command & … Continue reading

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Persona 3 Portable: The Retrospective Verdict

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Persona 3 & 4    2006 was a big year for video games. That year, two of the current generation of consoles launched: the Playstation 3 and the Wii. The … Continue reading

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Waaaaaaaaaaaaar! Warlock: Master of the Arcane – The Verdict

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Warlock

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series WarlockWarlock: Master of the Arcane is very upfront about what type of game it is. The first word tells you everything you need to know. Warlock – person who uses … Continue reading

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: The Verdict

  After a heyday spanning the Playstation and Playstation 2 eras, Japanese RPGs (at least, those translated into English) have retreated from home consoles: the Playstation 3 offers nowhere near the riches that its predecessors did. To some extent, portable … Continue reading

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Stacking – The Verdict

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Stacking

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Stacking  Double Fine Productions’ adventure game, Stacking, has an illustrious pedigree: Double Fine founder Tim Schafer’s resume is littered with genre pillars, from Monkey Island to Grim Fandango. Born out … Continue reading

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Matchlocks for my Eyes, or Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai – The Verdict

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Total War: Shogun 2

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Total War: Shogun 2  Set during the sixteenth-century zenith of the samurai, Creative Assembly’s Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) was one of the best strategy game in years. CA soon … 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

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 … Continue reading

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Book review: Dragonfly Falling, Blood of the Mantis, and Salute the Dark, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

  Dragonfly Falling, Blood of the Mantis, and Salute the Dark are respectively books 2-4 in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series, and the quickest way for me to describe them would be “more of the same”. Together with … Continue reading

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Conquest of Elysium 3: The Verdict

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

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Conquest of Elysium 3Introduction   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 … Continue reading

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Book review: Empire in Black and Gold, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace for decades, bastions of civilization, prosperity and sophistication. They have been protected by treaties, trade and a belief in the reasonable nature of their neighbours. But meanwhile, in far-off corners, … Continue reading

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Book review: The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge

The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge’s latest science-fiction novel, is the direct sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep (my review here). As such, I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this book! That said, if you are familiar … Continue reading

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Book review: Spice and Wolf Volume 1, by Isuna Hasekura

Travelling merchant Kraft Lawrence dreams of amassing enough money to open a store in town – but for now, his life is dangerous and lonely, his home simply the back of his wagon. Meanwhile, for centuries Holo the wolf goddess … Continue reading

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