Game-related ramblings.

Month: January 2014

History Lessons: Betrayal At Krondor (part 4)

New readers may wish to read my History Lessons Introduction first. Also be sure to read part 1, part 2 and part 3 before continuing. Other History Lessons posts can be found here.

At long last, I have finished playing Betrayal at Krondor. I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, and I’ll offer my thoughts about the game as a whole a little later. First, I should pick up where I left off. When I wrote my last post I was tackling some shorter, more story-focused chapters, but I predicted that the game would open up again afterwards. I was right; Chapter 6 is one of the biggest in the game, and full of interesting things to do and places to go. Unfortunately, it began with an abrupt and jarring plot reveal that seemed unrelated to anything that had happened up to that point. Stranger still, there was little in the way of further explanation until the huge, freely explorable chapter was over. Later, everything is tied together, and in hindsight the overall story is well thought out. But the pacing definitely faltered, and someone who hadn’t read Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar series could easily have been completely confused by the turn of events.

Roguelike Highlights: Sword Of The Stars: The Pit

Readers unfamiliar with roguelikes may wish to read my introduction first. Previous Roguelike Highlights can be found here. Also, as always, you can click on screenshots for bigger versions.

I have never played Sword of the Stars. Apparently it is a space-faring strategy game of the 4X variety. The four “X”s in question stand for eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. So really it should be 4E. Anyway, the 4X game is a time-honored subset of the strategy game genre, one where building up armies and conquering the world/solar system/universe/general area is the only viable strategy. There are, naturally, many ways to go about this, so these games are no less tactically rich despite their focus on military supremacy. In fact, now that I think about it, Master of Magic (which I’ve previously covered in History Lesson form) qualifies as this type of game, so you can read my post about it if you want more details about the sub-genre.

Anyway, I gather that Sword of the Stars (aka SotS) is a lighthearted take on the classic design, provided the roguelike spin-off game Sword of the Stars: The Pit is any indication. In the tutorial for The Pit, an obvious parody of a grizzled military officer taught me how to make a sotswich, which is of course “a fine, multicultural sandwich”, made from cooked meat and Tarka Warbread. When your universe has aliens who make Warbread, I suppose it’s not that weird to make a science fiction dungeon-crawling roguelike spinoff of your huge empire-building strategy war simulation game. But the tongue-in-cheek humor and science fiction setting are only two of many reasons why The Pit feels different from its roguelike kin.

Click below to read my thoughts on the game.

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