Masquerada: Songs and Shadows Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Many of my favorite games stick with me over the years not because of finely-honed combat systems or impressive visual effects. Often it’s the story and characters that remain the most memorable aspects of the those cherished gaming experiences.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows has one of the best stories I’ve experienced in years. It’s an epic tale about heroic sacrifice, forbidden love, political betrayal, and self discovery set within a richly realized world of urban renaissance and ancient mystery. Masquerada’s tactical combat is serviceable, but it’s the story and characters that demand you experience this unique RPG.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

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Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

The recent XCOM reboots may have revitalized the turn-based tactical genre. But there exists an even rarer gem: the tactical real-time stealth game. Combining top-down views, large maps, and enemy viewcones creates an experience I hadn’t seen in years.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun goes several steps further by wrapping it within a rich, character-focused drama set in the war-torn age of shinobi and samurai.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

My Top Ten Games of 2016: #3

 My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Pokémon GO
#9 Skylanders Imaginators
#8 Stellaris
#7 Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
#6 Fire Emblem Fates
#5 Overwatch
#4 Pokémon Sun and Moon

#3 XCOM 2

xcom 2

Despite being big into tactical strategy games I missed the original X-Com series back in the day. I was a kid/young teen and they always seemed so daunting. Fast-forward to decades of gaming and 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown reboot made me fall in love with the series and its unique emergent gameplay.

XCOM 2 is better in every way, and a great example of a direct sequel done right. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2016: #3”

My Top Ten Games of 2016: #6

 My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Pokémon GO
#9 Skylanders Imaginators
#8 Stellaris
#7 Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

#6 Fire Emblem Fates

top five 2016

I was very much looking forward to the sequel to 2013’s Fire Emblem Awakening. I’ve been a fan of the series since it first came to the US in the early 2000s. They’re the closest thing to my beloved Shining Force games. Fire Emblem Fates managed to both exceed my expectations and deliver some unfortunate disappointment.

Fire Emblem Fates delivers the same brutal challenge and tactical combat the series is known for. The combat was improved in every way, shaking up the traditional formula just enough to add in some great new features.  Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2016: #6”

My Top Ten Games of 2016: #7

 My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Pokémon GO
#9 Skylanders Imaginators
#8 Stellaris

#7 Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

shadow-tactics-banner

Occasionally I’ll have some last minute additions to my game of the year list, but none more last minute than this one. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun just released last week, and I’ve already completely fallen in love with this unique real-time tactical stealth game.

Shadow Tactics drops you into an incredibly cool, and violently dramatic time period: 17th century Japan, the height of the age of samurai. Instead of randomized soldiers you play as five distinct heroes, each with personalities and unique abilities. Mugen the honorable samurai can defeat multiple foes and has the largest health pool, but only the ninjas Hayato and Yuki can use hookshots to scramble onto rooftops. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2016: #7”

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

xcom 2

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

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”