Hi-Rez Studios has been nice enough to make the legacy games in the Tribes Universe free for download. Head over to http://www.tribesuniverse.com/ and pick up Earthsiege, Earthsiege 2, Starsiege: Tribes, Tribes 2, Tribes: Aerial Assault, and Tribes Vengeance. Get some info on Tribes Ascend while you are there.
Why not talk about a game after taking a two year break. I finally played Crysis and I think my opinion was summed up so well by Andy Kelly in the May 2016 issue of PC Gamer, I don’t think I need to say too much. The first 6 missions rock taking on the PKA soldiers, even the one with the tank. The last 5 missions were pretty bad, especially mission 7 in the alien ship (crap) and mission 10 pressing several keys while dodging enemy fire in the air (I mean flying the VTOL in strong winds, bigger crap).
The only other good thing about the game is the save system – checkpoint saves plus quicksave / quickload = a great save system for any player that doesn’t take you from the action. I am a traditionalist when it comes to saving in games. I think checkpoint saves only is crap – why should I have to replay sections of the game several times for no reason. Just a waste of time or a way to prolong the game. I like traditional save anywhere and quick saves, but I was okay with the checkpoint saves because I could save anywhere quickly and not leave the game. Great immersion and a way not to have to repeat parts of the game unnecessarily.
Check it out on sale from Origin or Steam. You still can’t play on ultra-high settings probably (I played on moderate and the game stilled looked great). And enjoy the first half of the game with semi-freedom to go after your objectives whichever way you please. But if you get bored with the last half, don’t feel bad about quitting. From someone who finished the whole game, you won’t be missing much.
GOG announced that it would begin offering Linux versions of some of its games this fall. See the full story on their website.
This is great news for gamers as it gives more choices on which platforms to run games. Mac games started appearing on different digital distributors sites including Steam, GamersGate, and GOG a while ago. Now GOG will join Desura and Steam in offering a 3rd platform choice for gaming.
By supporting games in native environments, distributors make it easier for people who do not run Windows to have fun with PC games without emulators or virtual machines. More choice is better for everyone. It is one more reason PC gaming continues to thrive.
I just finished all of the scenarios for Unity of Command plus the two DLCs. I definitely like playing the German side better. the Germans have great armor and armored vehicles; the Russians mostly have lots of infantry and there armor is often weak. While this may be historically accurate (although I think there should have been more T-34 tanks), the Russians just are not as fun to play.
The other thing I noticed was about the scenario difficulty ratings. I love that they exist, but medium and hard don’t always seem accurate. Some of the medium scenarios are pretty easy, some are medium, and some are near impossible, at least for me. The difficult ones might just have been because of turn limits. The hard ones are all involved, but some are much easier than others and are more of a time consuming effort rather than really difficult. However, the hardest scenarios are definitely rated hard. On the other hand, I finished some of the hard ones well within the turn limit.
I never had the opportunity to play multiplayer, but there are network and hot seat options.
In any event, I highly recommend Unity of Command for anyone who likes turn-based war games. I am glad PC gamers are lucky enough to have so many indie developers to bring us some great games from genres that are “old school” or “dead” to the big companies. Support these indie developers, like 2 x 2 Games, if you have the chance.
I figured I would write this follow-up post after talking about Linux. Follow the instructions from 2 x 2 Games to install on Linux (basically unzip and copy over to a folder). However, one mistake they made was having you copy the DLCs into the Unity of Command folder. DLCs actually need to go into the DLC folder under the Unity of Command folder to be recognized by the game. When the DLCs are installed correctly and you start the game, you will be asked for your key code.
I also had trouble getting the sound to work. Read the readme file for help. I am using a Dell Optiplex 780’s built-in sound. The sound works fine with other games so I know the sound is not the problem. The music isn’t that exciting in the game and is repetitive so no great loss. The game still plays great.
If you like old school turn-based war games like Panzer General, you will love Unity of Command. This is the first game by 2 x 2 Games and it is a hit. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The game has 2 additional DLCs available, Red Turn and Black Turn. In total, the game covers the battle on the Eastern front between Germany and the USSR from 1941-1945.
The game includes a campaign mode as well as individual scenarios. I stuck with the scenarios, which are rated from easy to hard, a nice touch. You mostly command infantry and tanks, with a few other vehicles available in different scenarios. Different scenarios also add options for bombing, additional supply, bridge building or destruction, and partisans for the Russians. Each scenario has one or more objectives marked on a mini map and on the screen. These are typically cities. The mini map also shows your area of control in a darker color. Each scenario has a limited amount of turns in which you must capture the objectives to win.
Supply is a very big factor in the game. Depending on where your supply depots are located and how far out supply extends affects how far you can progress against the enemy. One turn out of your supply area puts a small ! on your unit, although the unit may still attack and move. After 2 turns, the unit has a large red ! and can only move, not attack. 3 or more turns out of supply severely weakens your unit, which is unable to attack, is limited in movement, and is easy to kill. Therefore, you should usually try to capture or block enemy units from their supply lines to weaken them. Finally, the AI loves to block or capture your supply so make sure your defense lines are solid!
Other game effects include weather, which can make it harder to move and attack, and areas of control, which limit your units movement past enemy units. You also can use prestige points to upgrade units or buy reinforcements. You may start with some points and you gain points whenever you capture an objective. You also may have reinforcements available at different points in scenarios.
I played the game on both Mac and Linux, and although I was unable to get sound on Linux, it played faster than my Mac. I also beta tested the Black Turn DLC, and these 2 x 2 guys are very nice and helpful. This is a new company with a great game who are already talking about their next game. Support this indie developer and you won’t be sorry.
Check out Unity of Command on Steam, Matrix Games, or the Unity of Command website.
From the games I have backed and spoken of, Strike Suit Zero and Legend of Dawn are available.
Void Destroyer has been funded, but there is still one day left to back what looks like a great cross between an RTS and a space sim.
Frozen State desperately needs your help. It has 21 days to go but is over 45,000 pounds short. Check it out – it looks like a cross between Fallout 1 & 2 and Stalker.
Another new Kickstarter to check out is Race to Mars. It looks like a homage to Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space from the 1990’s with a lot more going on.
Many of these games are by first time and / or small outfits. Give these people a chance if you can and pledge for anything that looks interesting to you!
Battle Worlds: Kronos is a turn-based strategy game that is a little less frantic than your typical RTS, but it looks fun nonetheless.
Worlds of Magic, a Master of Magic (MOM) successor 4X fantasy game. Uses the D20 tactical combat system.
Shroud of the Avatar, Lord British’s new game is no longer available on Kickstarter, but you can still pledge money as a backer until sometime next week on its website shroudoftheavatar.com. Hurry while you still can.
If you hadn’t heard, InXile has started (no pun intended) another KickStarter project, Torment: Tides of Numenera. This project was funded in an amazing 6 hours! It is described as the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment. If you ever played Planscape or like story-driven RPGs then check out this new project from InXile.