Video Game Review – Stellaris: Ancient Relics

TL;DR – A fantastic addition to the base game that really improves the exploration phase.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Stellaris: Ancient Relics. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Review –
 Last year I got back into Stellaris a 4X space strategy game, a combination that feels like a video game designed just for me. Over the years it has had a lot of improvements building upon the strengths of the base game. Since then there have been a couple of expansion packs and DLCs and today we are looking the latest addition for the game Ancient Relics.

The core component of this new story pack is the addition of archaeological digs and from this the addition of minor and major artifacts. As you explore out at the start of the game you may stumble across archaeological digs on random planets. These require a science ship to work them much like anomalies but with a little twist. There is a random element in the process where you have a chance to improve until you crack the next level. Most of the digs have multiple levels that you have to progress to before you can complete it and earn research points, resources, or more.

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Video Game Review – Surviving Mars: Green Planet

TL;DR – It builds on everything that worked in the base game and then adds features that make it a must play

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Surviving Mars: Green Planet. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Review –

Last year I had a look at a really interesting strategy game about starting the first ever colony on Mars. Just in its name, Surviving Mars, it told you just how hard it would be to build and sustain life on a hostile planet. You could set up a colony only to sit there and watch it die because you accidentally set up a negative feedback loop. But while this can be devastating, the game is always there tempting you to try again, and when you succeed there is so much joy in that moment. While I enjoyed my time in Surviving Mars, it did feel like it had yet to reach its full potential. Well, today we are going to look at the newest expansion Green Planet to see if this helps to fill in the gaps in the base game with copious amounts of Martian concrete.

So to set the scene, you are the commander for the first colony being sent to the red planet. When you arrive Mars is a bleak, hostile, but also a deeply beautiful place. It is a planet filled with promise but also death. You need to build up resources, construct domes to protect your people, provide oxygen and water, and keep it safe from all the disasters that can strike. However, while surviving is fine, there is a next step that you could take. Because what if we can shape Mars to be friendlier, what if we could turn it into a green planet?

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Video Game Review – Diving into Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Update.

TL;DR – A visually beautiful and fun game, even though there are still a couple of rough edges in places.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Update. Image Credit: Rare.

Review –

Last year the world was introduced to Sea of Thieves a game about sailing the open seas, digging for buried treasure, and sinking pirate vessels. As a concept, it looked like a great idea, and I watched a couple of streamers like Stephanie Bendixsen have a lot of fun on the open ocean. However, while it looked like a really fun game the price point was just too high here in Australia for me to be able to dive into it myself, something that has only be amplified by being out of a job for four months. Recently the game released its one-year anniversary update which seemed to add in a lot of the features people mentioned were missing, so I was glad the game was getting continued support. But one day I opened up my email to find a surprise, my friends had bought me a copy of the game. This meant that for the first time I got to explore the world and discover the highs and lows of Sea of Thieves.

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Gathering Storm Expansion

TL;DR – While the big up-front features are interesting, for me it was a lot of the small quality of life changes that really stood out

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

Now, if you have read anything on our site before, you will likely know that I quite like the Civilization series. Well, I have had my hands on the new expansion Gathering Storm for a couple of weeks now and have been able to play a number of games with many of the new civilizations, so I think I have reached the point where I can give the game an informed review. With that in mind in today’s review, we will be looking at the civilizations, the main features, the improvements, and then the production to see what sort of expansion Gathering Storm is.   

So to set the scene, if you are not familiar with the game, Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game of the 4X persuasion. This means that instead of moving all at once, each player takes their turn to build wonders, move troops, and explore the map or whatever they are trying to do. Your aim is to build the biggest empire through economic, military, scientific, cultural, or religious means (or all of the above). Thus you eXplore, eXpand, eXpolit, and eXterminate. Gathering Storm is the second expansion pack for Civilization VI after Rise and Fall, which has historically meant that this is the last expansion for the game, but we’ll see about that.

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The Ottomans First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: Gathering Storm

Suleiman of The Ottomans in Civilization 6 Gathering Storm. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

The Ottomans Bonuses

Civilization LeaderSuleiman
Civilization Agenda
Civilization CapitalIstanbul (not Constantinople)
Civilization BonusGreat Turkish Bombard – +Production of Siege Units, +Combat Strength for Siege Units, Conquered cities do not lose populations, Cities not founded by The Ottomans get +Amenities and +Loyalty.
Leader BonusGrand Vizier – Can use Ibrahim a Unique Governor
Unique UnitJanissary – Starts with a free promotion, Stronger and cheaper than the Musketman, cost a Population to build (unless built in concurred city)
Unique Unit: Barbary Corsair – Cost no movement to Coastal Raid, Can not be seen unless units are right next to it.
Unique Building: Grand Bazaar – extra accumulation of Strategic Resources in city boarders, + Amenities for each improved Luxury in the city boarders 
Rivers: Litani River, Kızılırmak River  
Mountain RangesBalkan Mountains
DesertsTanezrouft Basin

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Video Game Review – Ark: Survival Evolved

TL;DR– Bringing the survival gameplay into a world of dinosaurs is a fantastic idea, but for me,the balance is not quite there.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ark: Survival Evolved

Review –

If you have read my reviews in the past, you would know that one of the easiest sells for me is to add dinosaurs to something. Movies, TV, Books, you name it and if it has dino’s in it I am there for it. However, when it comes to video games with dinosaurs I am much more hesitant after getting burnt in the past with games like The Stomping Land,and more generally in this genre with Day-Z.So when Ark first came out I was not prepared to invest in another Early-Access survival game, but now it has been out in full release for a year I thought it would be a good time to take the dive into the world of Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, lots of Dodos,and oh the mechanic that lets you know when you pooped.

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