13 XCOM 2 Tips to Keep Your Soldiers Alive [Pixelkin]

Several crucial tips and guides to help you win the war against the alien menace.

Read the full guide at Pixelkin

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Greetings, Commander. The aliens continue their stranglehold over our planet. You and the brave men and women fighting for XCOM are our secret weapon. Many soldiers died bringing you these invaluable tips, so that others may live. Keep fighting and we’ll win this war. Good luck, Commander.

Know the Timing on the Avatar Project

The only way you can really lose XCOM 2 is if the Avatar Project is completed. However even when the bar fills up, a 20-day countdown timer begins. You get a bit of a grace period to immediately launch an assault on the nearest enemy base. Make sure you’ve been making the right contacts and always have a base to infiltrate when the counter gets too high.

Base Management

XCOM 2 is pretty forgiving when it comes to building your facilities. Prioritizing which to build first is largely a matter of preference. Build that Guerrilla Tactics School ASAP, as it provides the upgrades needed to field additional soldiers. Stick it in one of the top corners. You’ll also want your Workshop somewhere in the middle. It’s the only building that cares about adjacency, and you can staff an engineer to then staff nearby buildings via remote gremlins.

Read the full guide at Pixelkin

Pokkén Tournament Review [Pixelkin]

Pokkén Tournament has intuitive controls and a perfect difficulty ramp that successfully lets Pikachu and company brawl in glorious HD.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

pokken-tournament

Available on Wii U

At its core Pokémon has always been a fighting game, albeit a turn-based one. Mapping Pokémon onto a traditional 3D fighting game makes perfect sense. Pokkén Tournament on Wii U has intuitive controls and a perfect difficulty ramp that successfully let Pikachu and company brawl in glorious HD.

Pokkén Tournament is structured like a typical fighting game. You select from a roster of a little over a dozen fighters and fight one-on-one with opponents.

Executing moves is similar to Super Smash Bros. Simple combos fire off various flashy attacks. Each fight is structured around two phases – a bigger 3D Field phase and a more intimate side-by-side Duel Phase. Knowing when to close in and when to back off is an interesting strategy. Different pokémon excel at different techniques.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West

A fun XCOM-lite in a dark Western setting hampered by its tight indie budget and odd campaign structure.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: CreativeForge Games

Publisher: Gamibitious Digital Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 18, 2015

hard west banner

Hard West had all the right ingredients that got me excited about its Kickstarter campaign: tactical XCOM combat, Western setting, supernatural elements, choice-driven gameplay. The end result is something of a mixed bag, mostly due to its shoestring indie budget and odd campaign structure.

Hard West mostly tells a classic Western story of revenge. Warren loses his parents, then his girlfriend, then his life (life was rough back then, man).  He’s given a second chance with a not-so-subtle Deal with the Devil, and begins his quest for vengeance. Also an ill-conceived quest to bring back his dead girlfriend.

Now I said “mostly tells” because that story represents only a fraction of the total campaign. And here we come to the crux of my issues with Hard West. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West”

Fire Emblem Fates Review [Pixelkin]

The tale of family, love, and war remains captivating throughout each tactical battle in Fire Emblem Fates.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Fire-Emblem-Fates banner

Fire Emblem may not be as recognizable as Final Fantasy or Pokémon. But it is one of the most prolific franchises in gaming. Fire Emblem Fates combines the series’ trademark chess-like battles with building up relationships between your soldiers. The tale of family, love, and war remains captivating throughout each tactical battle.

The immediate biggest difference between Fire Emblem Fates and 2013’s Fire Emblem Awakening is the split story and dual release. Early on your avatar is forced to choose between two warring factions. It’s a critical decision that determines whom your allies and enemies will be for the rest of the game. It’s also decided for you depending on which version you buy.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Heaven’s Hope Review [CGM]

Thanks to numerous modern conveniences and relatively easy and linear puzzle designs, Heaven’s Hope is an enjoyable, light-hearted adventure.

Read the full Review at CG Magazine

Heaven's Hope (PC) Review 5

When Tim Schafer put out his Kickstarter video for the 2012 Double Fine Adventure campaign, he jokingly mentioned that all the good Adventure games were being made in Germany—he was not wrong.

While many American studios are creating narrative-focused Adventure games (like Telltale), a number of European developers continue to release Point and Click Adventure games. These games revel in the nostalgic Golden Age of the 90s with hefty inventory puzzles, whimsical humor, and beautiful art work. Heaven’s Hope is a wonderful example of these qualities, and a particularly effective entry point thanks to its keen puzzle organization and variety.

Read the full Review at CG Magazine

Gaming in the Classroom [Pixelkin]

Gaming concepts like achievements and intrinsic motivation can help inspire students in the classroom to improve their grades and attitudes toward learning.

Read the full article and interview on Pixelkin

dysentary

We’ve come a long way since the days of Mortal Kombat and Senate hearings on video games. In the last decade gaming has earned mainstream acceptance. Everyone games, whether it’s a teenager gunning down strangers online in Call of Duty, a child playing Minecraft with friends, or a grandparent playing Candy Crush on their phone.

For the most part gaming is still considered a purely leisure activity. That doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from video games and what makes them so successful. Gaming concepts like achievements and intrinsic motivation can help inspire students in the classroom to improve their grades and attitudes toward learning.

During PAX South 2016 I attended a panel by orchestra director and music teacher Ashley Brandin titled, “You Have Died of Dysentery: Meaningful Gaming in Education.”

Read the full article and interview on Pixelkin

XCOM 2 Review [Pixelkin]

I for one welcome our new alien overlords in this mini-review of fantastic sequel XCOM 2.

Read the full review on Pixelkin

xcom 2

Available on: PC, Mac, Linux
Reviewed on: PC

XCOM 2 is the sequel to the surprisingly awesome 2012 reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The sequel retains the same nail-biting tactical combat while adding new aliens, new soldiers, new maps, and a rejiggered strategy layer that paints XCOM as the resistance to our new alien overlords.

XCOM 2’s premise makes an incredibly bold choice – we lost the war. As a series XCOM has become famous for being brutally difficult. Developer Firaxis ran with this and declared that we lost the war in the first game. Thirty years later Earth is under control of the supposedly peace-bringing aliens. But like the old TV show “V” the aliens have sinister plans.

Read the full review on Pixelkin