Railway Empire Review

Railway Empire is a new railroad tycoon game, in the spirit of the old railroad tycoon by Sid Meier. Made by Gaming Minds, in Germany. I have put in quite a few hours in this game, because I streamed it the past few weeks on twitch. So if you check the videos on my channel, you can see (almost) the entire campaign.

The game is quite enjoyable, the graphics, especially the locomotives, are nice, and the presentation is polished. The track editing itself is pretty good, one of the best I have seen in a train game to be honest. One thing though, you can’t cross tracks ! Which is very frustrating, especially at the start. Somewhere along the line you get used to it, and build around it (or above as the case may be), but it’s still very annoying.

character selection screen

Character selection screen before starting a scenario

There are four play modes, you should probably start off with the campaign, then there are a bunch of scenarios, that are quite like the campaign chapters, but they’re standalone and don’t have any cut scenes.  Then there’s freemode, which leaves you with the most flexibility as you can pick the era to play in and one of the five maps, that you get to know in the campaign. Last (and least ;)) there is a sandbox mode without money and competition. Might be interesting to test something out, but it doesn’t sound very challenging to me.

The campaign is nice with a story to it, basically how the first Transcontinental Railroad was build. Some funny moments are to be had, with the competition being cartoon like characters that talk banter every now and then. The objectives in the campaign aren’t always easy. I had to restart a few a few times to get a good understanding what needed to be done to complete a chapter. All in all the campaign is fun, but rather limited. Only 5 chapters in the US (5 maps in all that return in the other game modes) in the timespan of 1940 – 1910. No europe, asia and or japan or whatever. I assume some DLC or expansion packs will remedy this, but for a $50,- it’s a little limited to say the least.

Four track station in Indianapolis

Another annoying aspect is that the AI cheats. It’s literally on EASY mode. You can use this mode yourself as well, though I don’t know why anyone would as it takes all the fun out of a train game imho. This means that it only needs one track and the trains never collide, they just run straight through each other. So no need to track changes, double tracks, signals, multi track stations. It’s quite immersion breaking as well to look at. So you better don’t ;).

All in all I have been having a good time with the game, and spend quite a few hours in it, and I’ll definately will play it some more. I’ll probably also would buy some more campaign like content, if it’s somewhat reasonably priced. As of now it lacks content and a somewhat more sophisticated AI to warrent it’s big $50,- price tag. Put it on your wishlist and buy it when it’s on sale, that would be my recommendation.

Pacific 4-6-2

The trains are pretty :).

The game is available on both GOG and steam. GOG is DRM free and comes with a kickback of almost 8 Euro in Europe, depending on your location. You can of course also buy a steam key at Greenman Gaming ;).

2017 In Gaming – PC Gaming

Here we go, the final article about 2017, after this I’ll be looking forward into the bright future :). Let’s kick off by a list of games I actually played the most last year.

  • Factorio 0.15
  • Rimworld
  • Hitman
  • Wow – LEGION

Maybe you can spot a trend here, these are all older games that have received updates or content last year.

Spaghetti Base in Factorio

Spaghetti Base in Factorio

Factorio is now one my most played games (after wow). It was excellent before 0.15, but the end game changed so much with the 0.15 update. You no longer need alien science any more, that was dropped by the alien creature in the game, but was replaced by something you could make yourself. The game overall just got a lot better and better longevity with updates 0.15 and 0.16 (on going now, I assume we’ll see a release this year).

Rimworld is just about the same story, it had two updates last year (A17 and B18, though A16 was released just before the start of 2017) and improved quite a bit. Also mods and addons can make it even better, countless hours of fun, mayhem and frustration to be had here ;). It will probably see a release this year.

Rimworld

Mayhem in Rimworld

I kind of missed Hitman release in 2016, and got it on a special deal in 2017 and wow, especially the first few scenarios are so good. I got immersed in it around april and may and played so much. Then it started to fade a little. The new episodes arent as good as the first few ones. Hitman is now independent of Square Enix and new content might appear this year.

World of Warcraft – Legion. Even after 13 years WoW is still going strong. Somehow Blizzard got it right with this expansion, I kept playing throughout without getting bored of the repetitive world quests, and of course raising alts. This year we’ll get a new expansion, very much looking forward to that.

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2017 In Gaming Xbox One

Gaming in 2017 – XBOX ONE

To be honest I don’t buy a whole lot of Xbox One titles, but there were a few this past year.

Here is the list :

  • Halo Wars 2
  • Fifa 18
  • Forza 7
  • Assassin’ Creed

The main reason I boot up the Xbone One is to play a few rounds of Fifa 18 FUT. I play if on a somewhat low level but for some reason it’s great fun to play a few games a few times a week and get the weekly reward, a few gold packs and a stack of coins. I think I only spent real money at the start, and bought some packs to get started. I made a premier league based team and a spanish one. It’s quite fun to see it improve over time.

Halo Wars 2 was released earlier in the year, now almost a year ago already. Haven’t seen it mentioned much, and it wasn’t played much on Twitch either. It’s a very decent strategy title though, great controls for the controller as well. The story is enjoyable as well, and it’s gotten some DLC over the course of the year. You can also play it on Windows 10, but I found it more convenient to play it on the XBOX.

I didn’t really plan to get Forza 7, but it was pretty cheap around Xmas I think, so I picked it up then. It’s got a lot of tracks and different types of contests, but it feels a bit too arcady. Maybe I should play around with the settings a bit, and make it slightly more realistic.

Asassin’s Creed Origins was the last purchase of the year, already reduced in price for 39,99. The game looks wonderful, has plenty to do and a decent story. If you’re looking for a vast, somewhat open world game, this one is pretty good.

That’s it for the Xbox for 2017, it’s a nice console, but I have to say that overall PS4 has more and better exclusives. Most of the Xbox One titles you can also get for PC, where they play usually better. The Xbox is in an odd spot in that regard. For convenience some titles are easier to play on the xbox. Just pop in the disc and off you go ;).

2017 in gaming Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch 2017

List of games played in 2017

  • Splatoon 2
  • Mario + Rabbids
  • Zelda – Breath of the wild
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Mario Galaxy
  • Golf Story

 

Picked up the Switch halfway around the year, when Splatoon 2 was released. That game is a lot of fun, sort of a casual shooter you can always pick up and play for an hour. It has a nice feel of progression with new weapons and gear. And it’s getting regular big updates.

The game of the year on the Switch for me though was Mario Rabbids. I streamed quite a bit of it on Twitch and posted some highlights on my youtube channel. It’s a very interesting take on turn based combat Xcom style, with Mario characters and environment. I just found the final fight a little frustrating. One mistake and you have to do the whole thing over again. Also replayability isn’t very high, once you’ve seen the whole thing you’ve seen enough, at least for me. In any case, it’s well worth picking up this title if you care for  this type of tactical gameplay.

I guess we all know Mario Kart. The Switch version isn’t that much different, but it works wonderfully and it’s still great fun to play. Enough has been said about the much acclaimed Mario Galaxy. Overall a great fun game, even if you’re like me and usually don’t play these type of games. You can go as far as 100% it or just try to complete the game and the story.

Golf Story is a fun little game you can get off the Nintendo Game Store. It’s a little hard to explain but it’s an RPGish type story inside a golf game.

Last but certainly not least is of course Breath of the Wild. Picked by many as GOTY of 2017. And rightly so, its vast, lots to do and explore. Only drawback is the idiotic weapon degradation. I usually try to mod these things out, I don’t think they add anything to gameplay. Of course you can’t do that here unfortunately.  I played this on the WiiU and only got this last month for the Switch. The switch version is a little crisper and smoother. The WiiU struggled a bit with some scenes. Gameplay is the same though.

And that’s it, the list for 2017. All in all an excellent for the Switch, it’s a pretty awesome console, a great combo with the PC since there is so little overlap in games.

2017 in gaming PS4

This blogpost has been long in the making and seen a few revisions ever since I was planning to do this. Even though most of the revisions were just in my head. I now decided to split the articles by consoles / PC. It’s more a games I played in 2017 type of list, than a GOTY 2017 one. And yes I know it’s almost febuary 2018 when I post this :p.

Anyway, 2017 was an amazing year for gaming. If you just look at the list of titles on Metacritic it’s quite impressive. Let’s kick off with the consoles, here’s my ps4 list of 2017 games I played  :

PS4

  • Nier : Automation
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Everybody’s Golf
  • Sports games, NHL 18, MLB the show 17
  • Grand Turismo Sports

Didn’t quite finish Nier, wasn’t really my thing in the end. Still need to play Horizon Zero Dawn, it’s high up on my TO DO list ! I only did the starting area and quite loved it. I have seen a few play throughs on Twitch though, so I know a bit about the rest of the game. Very impressive graphics. There is also DLC out now, that I might get if I ever get close to finishing the game ;). I still play a round of golf every now and then in Everybody’s golf. It’s surprisingly fun.

 

 

MLB the show remains one the of the best sports franchises in gaming. Wonderful graphics, presentation and great options to play one guy going through the leagues in his career, or manage a team, play online or whatever you fancy. Whether it’s worth it to keep buying the new installment every year is up to you. I dont think it hurts to skip a version every other year or so. NHL 18 wasn’t that much different from last year’s. I played the show more this year, whereas in 2016, it was the other way around.

Grand Turismo Sports was an odd release. Online racing only at first. Apparently that didn’t appeal to a whole lot of people because less than 2 months after release, the price was drastically reduced. I did pick up then, at 29,99 I believe. The driving is fine, and there is a single player mode (of sorts) now added. I prefer this one over Forza 7, which is a little too arcady for my taste.

The big game from 2017 missing from the list is of course persona 5. I played it for a few evenings, then when I heard how long it was, got very discouraged and haven’t touched it since :). I really dont have the time or patience to complete a 100hrs (or longer) game. 

That’s it the list for PS4 for 2017. Next will be the Nintendo Smash. Not sure what I am going to do with PC games, probably split them up in genres or something, or make a long article ? We’ll see !

2016 The year of the turn based game

In an attempt to blog / write more, I figured I’d start with a ‘best games of 2016’ or more like ‘my fav games of 2016’. Since I don’t want to pretend I can decide for every one what’s the best game, nonetheless on a blog only a few people might read. As I was making the list, one thing struck me: there were an aweful lot of strategy games on it, which isn’t that surprising since I like the genre, but a lot of them are turn based. So let’s take look at that list :

– Xcom 2
– Darkest Dungeon
– Halcyon 6
– Steamworld Heist
– Civ 6
– Stellaris
– Master of Orion
– Mordheim: City of the damned
– Hearts of Iron IV
– Total war: WARHAMMER
Now I could be wrong and every year a whole bunch of turn based game come out, and I might have not noticed. In case I missed any good ones, let me know. Anyway, from that list I’d say XCOM 2 is my favorite. I even finished one game (which is rare for me ;)), loved most of the improvements from Xcom 1.
My number 2 would be darkest dungeon. Love the artstyle and the narrator. Unfortunately this one got a little spoiled for me, due to early access. Played it quite a lot when it just came out. Only just recently started a new run and a lot has been added since ! Halcyon 6 and Steamworld Heist, both indy games were surprisingly good. SW Heist has nice humor and a nice artstyle, the campaign lasts about 15 – 20 hrs, the game is / will be on sale often, so keep your eye out for this on. Halcyon 6 still gets great reviews on Steam, it’s a mix of FTL and Xcom with a 16bit like (pixel) art style. Fun game to play for sure.
Wish I played more of Civ 6, stellaris, HOI IV and total war(hammer). All good games that will only get better with DLC / expansions !  I have seen a lot of Mordheim on twitch by tornis (http://www.twitch.tv/tornis). Very extensive game with a long campaign with several faction, the strategy seems to be top notch. I only played the tutorials and that already took several hours ;). Something to keep in mind when you’re interested in this one.

Youtube Trucking

Due to some unfortunate family circumstances I haven’t been able to record more Youtube videos. With the upcoming release of American Truck Simulator, I hope to pick up where I left off. Funny enough the Two Part video that featured ProMods 1.98 ‘From Scotland to Iceland‘ trucking video is one of the best watched videos on the channel.

Defense Grid 2

Lately I am enjoying playing Defense Grid 2. The follow up to the excellent first Defense Grid from 2008. I have been recording my efforts on my Zimmy910 youtube channel. It’s not a blind play through though, I have been playing the missions at least once before. Some even more (like mission 7, the hardest so far IMHO). Makes it a bit more interesting I think, since I can come up with a better solution for the Tower Defense puzzle than on my first playthrough.