Civilization V: Gods + Kings

I noted in my original review of Civilization V that I expected an espionage system of some sort to be added in an expansion. I also stated, in a February edition of the Civilization Polycast webcast that I expected an expansion to be announced soon. I was right on both accounts!

I’ve spent a lot of time with Gods & Kings in the few months since its release, but I’m disappointed to say that it hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations.

The expansion isn’t a complete let-down though. It does include some significant enhancements to the core experience.

Civilization V Gods & Kings - Hunnic Battering Ram

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Total War - Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai

I finally published my full review of Total War: Shogun 2 recently in preparation for writing this review of that game’s second expansion: Fall of the Samurai. Fall of the Samurai is the second expansion for Shogun 2; the first being a “prequel” Rise of the Samurai. I skipped Rise, but when I saw the trailers for Fall, I just had to hop onto Steam and download it.


This expansion is the most contemporary Total War game to date, taking place during the same time period as the American Civil War. We’ve already had two Total War games that utilized rifles and cannons. I started my fandom of the series with Empire and went on to play Napoleon. I enjoyed both games, but eventually started to find the battles became very automatic and mechanical. There just wasn’t too much tactics beyond just lining your infantry up and shooting at the other guys.

Having not played the earlier games very much, like Rome, Medieval, and the original Shogun, I was really impressed with how fun Shogun 2 was. The traditional melee units made the battles much more engaging and fun, and really made me realize just how bland Empire actually was.

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Total War: Shogun 2

This review is exceptionally late! Even later than my reviews usually are. Shogun 2 was released almost 14 months ago, in March of 2011. I purchased it at that time, and spent several weeks playing it with the intent of writing a review. That review was never published though, and has been sitting on my computer for a whole year. With the recent release of the Fall of the Samurai expansion, I decided I'd dust off that year-old review of Shogun 2 and publish it.

Total War: Shogun 2 box art

So, here it is:

With Shogun 2, the Creative Assembly is taking its Total War franchise back to its roots by revisiting feudal Japan (the first game in the series was Total War: Shogun). Unfortunately, I never played the original Shogun. I started playing Total War when Empire was released, and subsequently played Napoleon and Rome. I consider myself a fan of the series now, as it makes for a great change of pace when I need a break from Sid Meier’s Civilization.

Shogun 2 blows the previous Total War games out of the water in almost every conceivable way!

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I recently had my full review of Portal 2 posted on Game Observer (now defunct as of 05/13/2014).

If you are interested, you can also prepare for my review by reading my pre-release blog for the game, in which I express concerns that Portal may go the way of Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and other games that oversaturate themselves with annual or bi-annual releases until the public gets sick of them. Hopefully that doesn't happen.

Portal 2 box

In the meantime...

Yes GlaDOS, we brought you back because we really do love to test!

Apparently, a very long time has passed since the first game. The Enrichment Center is very different. Under the care of the watchful AI, Wheatley, the entire facility has been slowly falling apart. The degrading, decrepit test chambers make for much more interesting visuals than the sterile, white and gray chambers of the first game. They are now overgrown with weeds and vines, panels are falling off the walls, broken glass litters the floors, and fallen and bent metal beams and girders obstruct some of your paths. It’s just too bad that with all the debris and vegetation littering the environment, that none of it is interactive. It slightly breaks the immersion when you walk through dangling leaves and they don’t react to your passing at all...
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Yesterday, 2K Greg (community manager for the 2K Civilization V forums) posted a topic previewing the changes being made in the next patch (supposedly due out by the end of April). In addition to a large list of changes, 2K Greg teased the Civ V community with this quote from Dennis Shirk (the producer of the game):

"The patch notes below are the first part of a large two-part update. We wanted to focus this part of the update on stability and bugs, and as you’ll see in the notes below, we’re progressing nicely. There is also continued work going into the AI, the modding framework, and WorldBuilder, and we expect to have this in your hands shortly.

The second part we have begun working on will be released in the coming months, and will include our next balance pass (for those areas of the game that were not included in the March 1 update), as well as continued work on AI, diplomacy, and a much-requested addition to the game that we’ll be discussing in more detail very soon.

You guys have all been instrumental in helping us to continue to make Civilization V better with each update, and there’s more to come!"

So what might this "much-requested addition" actually be?

There are 3 main possibilities:

  • Addition of the previously-promised pit-boss, hotseat, and pbem multiplayer modes
  • Addition of the previously-promised mod support for multiplayer games (currently, multiplayer games do not allow mods)
  • Addition of source C++ and AI code access to the modding SDK (hopefully along with some better documentation
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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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