Kiss your fleet goodbye

I finally managed to trap these fools in a phase lane inhibitor, and they just couldn’t disengage. I managed to nearly wipe out their fleet, including three capital ships, and never lost a single capital ship of my own. The video may be a little bit difficult to follow, but think about how I felt! Luckily, the AI is very good at handling micromanagement of ship skills and manuevering. There are special abilties firing all over the place that I never have to trigger, since the AI will autocast them when appropriate. Lets you just enjoy the big picture, as I mentioned before.

Your ship asplode!

The one that got away

We had a great match on The Scheldt last night. An incredibly aggressive start from Greg including five mortar halftracks, great defense by Mike utilizing 88’s and other equipment, and a pair of late-game Panthers from me to seal the deal.

Unfortunately, my game save is messed up.

So, the below video is not from that match! Instead, I bring you gameplay from another match earlier in the evening. In an uncharacteristic team arrangement, I’m the lone American, with Greg and Mike both playing as the British Commonwealth. Mike has an impressive display of emplacements (with some great late-game Victor targets) while Greg uses British commandos and light tanks to create an intense pocket of fire right inside the German bases. I manage to do something with airborne and tanks, but it’s not nearly as splashy.

Enjoy the video montage below.

Sins of a Solar Planetary Bombardment

Wow, even simple things make great videos in Sins of a Solar Empire. It’s just a fun game to watch. It’s incredibly busy when you’re playing, but if there’s a time that you can sit back and watch the show, it’s very rewarding.

Like the below video. I caught the tail end of the bombardment of an opposing faction’s home world. The four Krosov frigates and the single Marza Dreadnaught make short work of even this fortified target.

I’ve gotten a chance to play a couple game with locked teams, and it really changes the game. When you have a team mate from the outset, you have a trading partner and someone who can watch your back. From at least one direction you don’t have to worry about getting attacked, and even though you may let them down, they’ll never turn on you.

This video is from a 2v2v2 match on a map called Gateway, and it’s a pretty interesting map. The main battle centers around a single start with many planets, where up to six factions fight for supremacy and control of a single Terran world, also named Gateway. This planet links with the single phase lane to the system’s star, which provides a jump point to a second, resource-rich second star system. My teammate and I managed to clear the way, and I’m just setting up shop there in Gateway. Should be some great videos for when the other four cut off and angry groups come my way.

For now, enjoy the explosions.

Bofors rule the day

Greg and I had a chance to play a couple matches in Company of Heroes last night. We started out on Point du Hoc with a pair of hard computer opponents, one each of Panzer Elite and Wehrmacht. They just wrecked us. Greg got hit hard, then I had to pull back from the center victory point after being challenged by several light PE vehicles supported by troops. After I dropped back to my initial starting point, they all went to Greg’s base and just wiped him out. I fell soon after.

We restarted, and this time we were on the opposite site of the map. I learned my lesson and I made sure the light vehicles would be punished for pushing into my territory. I made for Sappers as quickly as I could, while Greg held the north flank. Because his position was solid, all the light vehicles tried to come down my way. A Vickers machine gun nest on the southern munitions point provided for a way to anchor my territory. Three scout cars fell to this one emplacement, and they were never able to take back the point. By holding it, I ensured I could place emplacements, a Bofors that dominated the area, on the road just back from the center victory point where in the last game I had to fall back. Not this time.

As you can see in the video, after the center Bofors was up, I didn’t have serious problems from light vehicles. A timely Stewart canister round removed opposition to the center as I moved in and held, and them managed to push forward to their bottom base. After I built emplacements just outside their base, even a pair of Panthers couldn’t push me back. AT guns ended their run, by putting accurate fire on their base and tanks, even though I lost a pair of Churchills to Luftwaffe anti-tank aircraft fire. Greg handled the top of the map well while I grabbed the beach as our own, and even a German flanking move couldn’t get back territory relevant to their effort, and we finished them off.

Enjoy the video.

Mario Kart Wii Edition

Just what we need, more great games coming out this year. Now we have another to look forward to, Mario Kart on the Wii. The game releases May 1st of this year, and looks to be pretty well developed. New features include the Mario Kart Channel that allows you to share statistics and content with other friends.

These new online features from upcoming Wii games, such as Brawl and Mario Kart, promise to link users up in new competition in and out of the games. The multiplay stuff has really been missing in the Wii since the launch. We have fun with the channels, but it’s not really multiplay. The upcoming titles should give me new and interesting ways to kick Mike’s butt.

LEGO Universe

“LEGO Star Wars multiplied by a million.”

So says Mark Hansen, the Director of Business Development for the LEGO Group from this Wired article.

Let me be perfectly honest: a LEGO game where you can build models to run around in within the game world, and then order as a real-world set, is the realization of several childhood dreams of mine.

This game excites me. If it can capture the magic of the LEGO Star Wars games, be child-friendly, and allows for simple creation of user-created LEGO content, it will be huge. Making the game appealing will be easy; making it safe for children and adults alike will be trickier.

The game itself is probably a couple years out, but I intend to keep an eye on its development.

Super Smash Brothers Brawl

Ever since we got a Gamecube and Super Smash Brothers Melee several years ago, my son and I have enjoyed pitting adorable Nintendo characters against one another. The new Super Smash Brothers Brawl releases next weekend, and we’re very much looking forward to it. Not the least of which because Greg already pre-ordered it for us!

A bunch of new game modes promises to make Brawl the most expansive game yet in the series. You’re able to play many online, as well as design your own or download other stages, share pictures and videos, and compare your stats with other players. Achievements abound, with stickers, trophies, music, and the new challenges unlockables all track your process in Brawl.

Additionally, the amount of new content is staggering. Sixteen favorites return along with sixteen newly announced contenders. Those are besides the secret characters always present and unlocked through play. There are also a huge number of stages to choose from, with over twenty new stages and several that return from Melee.

Because of the built-in SD slot on the Wii, I’m sure I’ll be able to share some funny screenshots, and hopefully videos if those are exportable, once the game releases in March.

Sins of a Solar Learning Experience

So after a few tries, I think I’m getting a better idea of how to play this game.

I designed a custom map that I hoped would give me a better chance at getting a good start. First thing I did was axe the retarded Space Pirates. Listen, paying people off to attack your enemies is fun. But when you get Pirates sneaking to your homeworld and bombing the crap out of it, over and over and over, because you’re the top dog and everyone else pays them off? Not good.

Then I jacked up the amount of neutral factions in habiting planets. I’ve found that these guys tend to be good roadblocks; they don’t come attack you, but they resist the spread of other groups. A few neutral factions in the right places can really keep the other players in check.

I also got a lot better at trading, both within my own territories and those beyond. I place much more emphasis on getting those trade posts up, relying on the additional income to build up my fleet. As a result, it’s much easier to become an economic powerhouse.

To a lesser extent, I’ve started using the Orbital Refineries, but they’re a much later game structure. The research to get there is a little complex, but they’re good add-ons as well to increase metal and crystal.

The game really is one of increments. There aren’t points where you can blow the game wide open. Research improves things by 5% here, 10% there. Investing in Efficient Crystal Sorting can seem expensive at the beginning, but over time you recoup that investment and begin dominating in production. That patient buildup, more than anything I think, defines the game.

Oh, and massive fleets of warships.

In-person Gaming

So my gaming experience last night actually consistent of gaming in person with Alex, Kasey, Anna, and Greg. The kid and I brought the Wii over to Anna and Greg’s apartment, and we played several of the great Wii party / minigame titles. We played WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Wii Sports, and Mario Party 8, all very good for in-person gaming.

It’s so fun to watch Alex get fired up while playing these games; he’s such a good sport. Whenever anyone would win on Mario Party, he would shout “Two cheers for Greg!” or whatever, dependent on how many mini-game scores you had collected up to that point. We were cracking up. We’re definately building a little gamer.