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Tag: Reviews (page 2 of 9)

American Truck Simulator

Does SCS Software manage to recreate the trucking magic from Euro Truck Simulator 2 in American Truck Simulator?

You might know Czech video game developer SCS Software from their raging success Euro Truck Simulator 2. I reviewed the game back in October last year, and gave it a solid 4 out of 5 score. The game is also enjoying a solid 96% positive score on Steam, making it one of the platform’s highest rating games. Since SCS Software was funded in 1997, it has developed no less than 25 games, with American Truck Simulator being the latest addition to their catalogue.

American Truck Simulator takes everything you know from Euro Truck Simulator 2, and moves it across the pond. As the name of the game implies, you’re trucking the once great United States of America. Making a truck simulator set in the land that has given us fine trucking movies like Convoy and Smokey and the Bandit seems only natural, but does American Truck Simulator manage to offer the same experience that ETS2 does?

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Block’hood

What happens when a design studio decides they want to take a stab at making a computer game? You get Block’hood.

The Plethora Project (or perhaps it’s “Plethora-Project”, they can’t make up their mind, and that annoys me), is a “design studio with a mission to accelerate computational literacy in the frame of Architecture and Design.” In 2017, they released Block’hood, a city building simulator video game that focuses on ideas of ecology, interdependence and decay. From the screenshots, it might resemble a tower building game, but it’s not. In Block’hood, you don’t create towers, but entire create ecosystems, called hoods, with the goal of making them self-sufficient.

I really like the premise of the game. It reminds me a lot of The Settlers series, of which I played a few of the titles for hours on end. The ecosystems in The Settlers are pretty basic compared to those in Block’hood, though. In The Settlers, you would plant some wheat, harvest, make flour at the mill, then a baker would make bread from one part flour, and one part water. An equivalent ecosystem in Block’hood would be similar, but involve a lot more components, or “blocks” as they are called in the game, and be more complex. Blocks in a Block’hood ecosystem more often than need several inputs to function, and produce both products and bi-products.

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Project Highrise

The sky is the limit in SomaSim Game’s Project Highrise.

If you’ve been around for a while, you might be familiar with the 1994 simulation title SimTower. The Japanese game, which was published by the once great Maxis outside of Japan, allowed the player to construct and manage a modern, multi-use skyscraper. Even though I never really got the hang of it1, I loved SimTower. When Chicago based developer SomaSim released Project Highrise back in 2016, I got properly excited. The game behaved like SimTower’s older brother, but with an even more detailed simulation than its spiritual predecessor offered.

But I didn’t put on my hardhat, and entered the construction business immediately when Project Highrise was released. I had too much else on my plate, and the game’s art style put me off a little, to be honest. But when Project Highrise, and all its DLC appeared on sale last week, I couldn’t resist the temptation anymore. It was time to see if this was a skyscraper construction and management sim I could actually master.

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Stellaris 2.0 With Apocalypse

Your favorite grand strategy game in space, Stellaris, recently received both a massive overhaul, and a new expansion. But was it for better or for worse?

It’s been about a year since my first Stellaris review, in which I gave the game a rock solid 94 out of 100 score. When our heroes at Paradox released Stellaris 2.0, and the accompanying Apocalypse expansion, I’d put a massive 83 hours into the game. That put it on par with Tropico 4 in terms of gameplay hours. Other players have racked thousands of hours in Stellaris, so a measly 83 might not sound like much compared to that. But for me, that number of hours put in a game show just how entertaining it really is. That the 83 hours only covers three games, 2 won, 1 forfeited, also says a lot about Stellaris’ longevity.

Paradox is well know for keeping their games alive by frequently releasing free patches, and new DLC. Crusader Kings 2 is a good example. The game was released in 2013, but it’s still updated by Paradox. It looks like Stellaris is no exception to that rule. Two years after its release, the game has received multiple patches, two major expansions, and several story packs. Even without buying the DLC, you get a lot from just patching the game. Me, I’m throwing all my money at Paradox, one of the very few companies I buy games and DLC from on release day.

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Firewatch

Campo Santo’s Firewatch made it to the top of quite a lot of Game of the Year lists back in 2016. As always, I’m a little late to the party, but here’s my quick and dirty Firewatch review.

Firewatch is a first person, mystery adventure game. Released in 2016 – like we’ve already established – it raised quite a few eyebrows, and developer Campo Santo got a lot of awards thrown their way for the effort. One of the things that made Firewatch stand out, was the stunning visuals. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, there’s not doubt about that.

The game sets the scene in the summer of 1989, and you play as Henry, a 40-something who takes a job as a fire lookout in Wyoming. Why would someone want to spend months in the middle of nowhere looking for smoke? In Henry’s case, it’s because he’s having some family issues at home. Reluctant to face these issues, he decides to escape into the woods instead. Very mature, Henry!

But he is not the only fire lookout in the area. On arrival in his tower, Henry is hailed on his walkie-talkie by Delilah, who is working in one of the other towers. They start talking, and after a few days it gets very friendly, as in “don’t-forget-that-you’re-married-Henry”-friendly. But what happens in the middle of the Wyoming wilderness stay in the Wyoming, right? Not when they discover someone is listening in on their conversations, writing down everything they’re saying.

Dum, dum, duuuuum!

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