Video Game Review – Minecraft Nether Update

TL;DR – It brings life to a forgotten world, giving it a personality, a new direction. It also changes one of the games longest static features for the better.                  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Minecraft Nether Update. Image Credit: Mojang.

Article

Last year I took a look back at my time with Minecraft over the previous ten years. In many ways, whether I intended it or not, it was epitaph to my time with the game. Well, that may have been the intent, but reality had a way of changing that because COVID happened and I needed a way to connect with people in isolation and well what’s Realm between close friends. Since diving back into the game, we have our first significant update since the BEEESSSsss, so I wanted to explore as see how it changes the game for better or worse … it is the first one.    

For those who have not played it, Minecraft is a Survival-Sandbox game; there is no traditional narrative to pull you through the game, bar the one you make for yourself. You mine for resources, and then you craft new items that give you access to new resources to mine and thus the circle continues from wood to stone to diamond and now even further. In a regular unmodded game of survival, there are three levels to the game, the Overworld the main world you spawn in, The End with its dragons and its pastel aesthetic, pastels everywhere, and finally The Nether, which is what we are focusing on today.

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Red Death Season Two

TL;DR – A good improvement to the game that fixes a lot of the issues I had with Season One.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Red Death Season Two. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

Last year the good folks over at Firaxis Games did something I won’t ever have called, they released a Battle Royale mode for Civilization VI. At first, it sounded absurd because a turn-based strategy game is not the place you would expect to see this kind of mode. However, the more I thought about it, the more it did make sense because isn’t Civilization just one extended Battle Royale mode? Only instead of the growing wall of doom, you have Alexander and all his horses. You can find our review for Season One HERE, but with the announcement of Season Two, we thought it was time to jump back in and see the improvements first hand.               

For those who have managed to miss that Fortnite world domination over the last few years, a Battle Royale style game is when you start dropped on a map with very few resources. You need to arm yourself and expand your abilities and quickly because everyone else on the map is doing the same thing, and there are only so many loot drops to go around. However, this is not a mode you can turtle in because a wave of horror, in this case, fallout, is closing in making the map smaller and smaller and slowly forcing people to crash into each other and then it is last one standing. The thematic paint that Red Death puts on this is that nuclear weapons have destroyed the world and there is one spaceship taking you to safety. The only problem is that everyone wants a seat of the last ride out of town, but there is only room for one.

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Simón Bolívar of Gran Colombia First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: During the run-through, I gasped “That Movement” which is a good sign

We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well not quite, over the next year we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes over the next year (which you can find out more information HERE). The next of the new Civilizations that has been released is Gran Colombia, so let’s dive in.

Civilization Information

Simón Bolívar leader of Gran Colombia. Image Credit: Firaxis.
Simón Bolívar leader of Gran Colombia. Image Credit: Firaxis.

Civilization LeaderSimón Bolívar
Leader Agenda: Carabobo – He favours civs with highly promoted units, dislikes civs with unpromoted units, and prefers to build Encampments.
Civilization CapitalBogotá
Civilization Bonus: Ejército Patriota – ALL units get +1 movement, Promoting a unit does not end its turn.
Leader Bonus: Campaña Admirable – Grants the Comandante General – A special Great Person that you get at the start of each era that has multiple abilities, that can be used in military (damaging surrounding units), and in cities (extra Trade Route)
Unique Unit: Llanero – Replaces Cavalry. Low maintenance, plus combat bonus for Adjacent Llaneros,
Unique Tile Improvement: Haciendas – plus Gold, Production, Housing, Plus food for adjacent Plantations, Plus production for adjacent Haciendas
Rivers: Rio Negro, Caura River, Caroní River
Volcanoes: Guagua Pichincha
Deserts: Médanos de Coro
Cities: Quito, Valencia de Carabobo, Cali, Cumaná, Maracay

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Lady Six Sky of The Maya First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: We get a civilization that finally goes tall

We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well not quite, over the next year we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes over the next year (which you can find out more information HERE). The first of the new Civilizations has been released so let’s dive into The Maya.

Lady Six Sky leader of The Maya. image credit: Firaxis Games.
Lady Six Sky leader of The Maya. image credit: Firaxis Games.

Civilization Information

Civilization LeaderLady Six Sky
Leader Agenda: Solitary – She dislikes encroaching civs and she tries to keep her cities in a cluster near the capital.
Civilization CapitalWak Kab’nal 
Civilization BonusMayab – No extra housing from Fresh Water/Coast but Farms provide more housing and gold, Amenities for each Luxury resource adjacent to the City Centre
Leader BonusIx Mutal Ajaw – Cities within 6 tiles of the Capital get a boost to all yearlings, other cities away from this limit get a penalty to yields. Bonus combat strength for units within 6 tiles of the Capital
Unique UnitHul’che – Ranged replacement for Archer, Stronger and gets a bonus against wounded opponents 
Unique DistrictObservatory – A campus replacement that gets an adjacency bonus from Plantations and Farms.
VolcanoesHunahpú
RiversGrijalva River
Cities: Palenque, Yaxchilan, Toniná, Xunantunich, Copán,

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Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Features Thread

Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

In this thread we will be documenting all the new additions for Civilization VI in their New Frontier Pass.

This Features Thread is being complied for Civfanaticshead on over to the forums for all your Civilization discussions both for and also for games past.

TL;DR: There will be 6 packs of content, some of it will be paid DLC and some of it will be free content for players. Some of the new content will need to you have Rise and Fall installed, and some will need you to have Gathering Storm installed.

To jump to the different packs go to Maya and Gran Colombia Pack, June Update, Ethiopia Pack, Pack #3, Pack #4, Pack #5 & Pack #6.

Throughout this thread, I will put links to Wikipedia articles about the different features, if you would like to know more.

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Video Game Review – Old World (Ōld World) First Look

TL;DR – A game that sits in the middle between Civilization and Total War, taking things that work from both.

Old World. Image Credit: Mohawk Games.

Review –

If there is one genre of games that I will always been drawn to, it is the 4x (EXplore, EXpand, EXploit and EXterminate) strategy genre. It can be in space, in a fantasy realm, in the past, or somewhere completely new, I don’t care just hook it up straight to my veins. When I heard that Soren Johnson, the lead designer of Civilization IV, was diving back into the genre my interest was peaked and now that I have had a chance to play the game I can see why. One thing I do need to point out before we proceed, this is an “early access” game in that it is not yet finished. This means that this is only a first look, a first impression of the game and not the full review, which is why there is not a score above.  

So to set the scene, Old World (or as it is styled Ōld World) is a game set in the past charting the dawn of civilization through the classical era to almost the medieval era. In it, you play one of seven civilization/leaders from the dawn of time. Ashurbanipal of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Dido of Carthage, Hatshepsut of Egypt, Philip of Greece, Cyrus of Persia, and Romulus of Rome. However, unlike Civilization and other similar games, you don’t just hold on to the one leader for the whole game, because like in real life, leaders get old and die. This means as well as maintaining your expansion you need to make sure your heirs are ready to take over. This brings the game a little of the way into the territory of the popular Total War series. On the whole, I quite liked the dynastic politics in the game, however, has the game goes on and your heirs and siblings etc start popping out multiple babies a turn, it can be a bit hard to keep track of. Which is just about when your sister kills you in your sleep for ascending to the throne over her as what happened in my first game. You also need to keep different dynastic families from squabbling, giving you potential problems from afar and within.  

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Video Game Review – XCOM: Chimera Squad

TL;DR – it is a game that is something old (The XCOM Setting) and something new (living rather than waring), something borrowed (SWAT mechanics), and something blue (the face of any enemy who just discovered Torque)  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

XCOM: Chimera Squad. Image Credit: Firaxis Games and 2K Games.

Review –

If there is one studio that is the king of turn-based strategy games it would be Firaxis Studios. While they are probably better known for their fundamental Civilization franchise, they have also delved into the world of science fiction, alien invasions, and reloading that autosave because your fully upgraded soldier just missed the one guy standing right next to them and now they are bleeding out on the floor. I have enjoyed the XCOM series in the past, okay not that one alien that pretends it’s a civilian, but other than that, so I was interested when I heard we were getting a sort of sequel/spin-off thingy. Well, I became even more interested when I got my hand on it and I found out just how fun it was.  

So to set the scene, It has been a couple of hears since the end of XCOM 2, and the world has sort of found a new equilibrium as humans, aliens, and hybrids live side by side. There is one place in the world that has been remarkably successful with this, the famous City 31. XCOM has moved from overthrowing an alien invasion to helping maintain order in a constantly fragmented world. Thus the Chimera Squad was created to help local police, but just as they arrive the mayor of City 31 Mayor Nightingale (Nika Futterman) is murdered in front of the squad and you have to work out who did it before the city tears itself apart.

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Video Game Review – Endless Space 2 (with Vaulters, Supremacy & Penumbra)

TL;DR – A polished and calming take on the 4x genre

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Endless Space 2. Image Credit: Amplitude Studios.

Review –

Several years ago I picked up a new space 4X game called Endless Space. It was from a new developer Amplitude Studios and combined a strategy game with space in a way that I loved. It started a bit rough around the edges but grew into a really solid game. Now when I heard there was a sequel, I was interested but it dropped a bad time, well now I have some time at home thanks to *gestures broadly around* it was a good moment to go back and rectify that.

So to set the scene, Endless Space 2 is a 4X turn-based strategy game. This means that you pick a race like The United Empire, or The Vodyani, or The Hisso, from there you need to eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. You will do this by building new colonies on Mediterranean or terrain or monsoon planets, researching technologies from the technology web, and probably concurring a neighbour or two.

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Video Game Review – Mýrdalssandur, Iceland

TL;DR – It was a fantastic experience from an execution, experience and price point perspective

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Mýrdalssandur, Iceland. Image Credit: caves rd.

Review –

These days, video games can be created by vast teams with hundreds or even thousands of people working to bring a vision to life. However, there are still those games, or in that case more of an experience, that is the focus of a single creator’s vision. Today we look at just such a case with Matt Newell’s Mýrdalssandur, Iceland.

Now I should make clear right from the start, this is not a game, but more of an experience of walking around the titular Mýrdalssandur that you can find on Iceland’s southern coastline. It is a place of wondrous beauty and stark contrasts of green moss and black volcanic rock. If this sounds familiar to you, then it is likely that you have seen it before in Rogue One or other similar films.

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Humankind – Features Post

Humankind Title Image. Image Credit: Amplitude Studios/Sega.

In this thread we will be documenting all the new additions for Humankind from Amplitude Studios.

TL;DR: You can layer from 60 different civilizations from history to create your own unique narrative. It will stretch from the Neolithic to the Modern age. In the end, the civilization with the most Fame will be the winner. Full of Humanmade Wonders, Natural Wonders, Units, and Buildings for you to construct.

Note: all images are created by the team at Amplitude Studios

Cultures

The Civilizations. Image Credit: Amplitude Studios/Sega.
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