Speltest: Darwinia, Dungeons 3, Overlord 2, Disgaea PC, m fl

Det var nästan två år sedan jag skrev några spelrecensioner och det har blivit en hel del spel sedan dess, så här kommer en ny laddning. Som vanligt på engelska och jag försöker hålla det kortfattat. En hel del av spelen är uppföljare till sånt jag spelat tidigare och det märks att många utvecklare har valt att hålla sig till det beprövade – på gott och ont.

Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition

The ludicrous premise of this game – that tech has advanced to the point where interplanetary space battles are a thing, yet artillery and missiles need to be aimed manually – aside, it’s an elegantly executed turn-based strategy game which doesn’t overcomplicate itself. The graphics and sounds are impactful and lend a sense of epicness to the battles. However, the AI is poorly balanced and the number of viable strategies are very limited so you end up having to play essentially the same way every time, which hurts replayability. Games tend to drag on frustratingly long and sometimes end in stalemates. Worth picking up if it’s on a deep discount but falls short of a recommendation from me.

4/10. Se även Steam eller hemsidan.

Disgeaea PC

Enjoyed the anime, so I thought I’d give the game a try. Untainted by nostalgia as I never played this when it came out, I can’t say that it seems to have aged well. The story is a lot of fun but there’s just too much grinding between chapters and so I ran out of patience after a while. The graphics look terrible on a modern PC with blurry, low resolution sprites and primitive effects on a much higher definition background. Certainly, the PC version could have used a little more remastering. I spent about 25 hours in this game so there’s clearly something to it, but not enough to earn a recommendation for now. Might give it another shot in the future.

5/10. Se även Steam.

Overlord 2

I liked the original Overlord and I like this, because it’s basically more of the same – story-wise, it’s a direct sequel, and there are no groundbreaking differences but also nothing that breaks the successful formula of the first game. As the titular Overlord, you command batches of multicolored minions with different abilities to defeat your enemies, raze their structures and solve some puzzles along the way. It’s a casual take on the fantasy hack’n’slash with light strategic and puzzle elements. The main negative point for me was the Netherworld Tower, your home base which you’re supposed to spend some time managing and improving. This quickly began to feel like a chore, the Tower boils down to a glorified menu system that you have to navigate on foot. The mistresses are a bit of (family friendly) fun, though.

6/10. Se även Steam.

Serious Sam 3: BFE

Occasionally frustrating but very enjoyable FPS which starts out weak and uninspiring but builds up steam, challenge and excitement as the story (what little there is of it) goes on, culminating in what would be a very depressing ending if we didn’t already know we’re playing a prequel. Speaking of the original games, if you enjoyed those then you will enjoy this, as most of the game adheres closely to the original formula, for better or worse. Late game, the main challenge is not so much surviving as finding enough ammo to kill the ludicrously large hordes that are thrown at you. Some enemy types are incredibly frustrating and time-consuming to deal with, breaking the pace and the fun until you’ve managed to subdue them. All in all, a welcome shower of nostalgia that nicely ties together the story and offers a couple hours of good, clean, brainless fun.

6/10. Se även Steam.

Dungeons 3

Delightful RTS which follows the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” philosophy of game sequels; this is essentially an expansion to Dungeons 2 with a small number of new improvements, an even smaller number of new annoyances, a longer campaign and DLC which turns the difficulty way up for those of us who like a meatier challenge. The story reads like it was written by a bunch of drunken bums rounded up in a Munich parking lot – it’s zany, chaotic and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The narration and characters are hilarious, although their exchanges are slightly too drawn out at times, something they themselves call attention to – if you’re allergic to fourth wall breaking, this might not be the game for you.

On a gameplay note, I feel like the game gives you a lot of room in deciding your own strategy, rather than railroading you into any particular style. A few missions annoyed me by introducing challenges with tight time constraints, which is jarring when the game is otherwise usually perfectly happy to let you play at your own pace. Thankfully, these are the exception and not the rule (but read the reviews for DLC before buying!)

Dungeons 3 gets a solid recommendation from me but I hope that the developers will change up the gameplay a bit for the next edition – this concept has served them well for two whole games, but I’m not sure it can sustain a third without becoming repetitive.

8/10. Se även Steam eller hemsidan.

Darwinia

Unexpected indie gem that I would have loved to keep playing for longer, but the campaign is only good for about 6 hours and highly linear, so there’s sadly not much value in replaying it. Simple yet effective graphics that fit the theme perfectly, the same can be said for the soundtrack, and at the low price at which this is typically found on Steam it can only be seen as a bargain. It’s a simple yet elegant RTS with only a few units and no buildable structures except a cannon tower, which is weak and easily overrun, so effectively deploying and commanding a small number of key troops is essential to victory.

Adding to that are the Darwinians themselves, who are essentially civilians that can only take on weak enemies after several research upgrades, but needed to allow buildings to work, which is often the objective of the mission. I quickly started feeling a sense of attachment to them and loved watching them thrive and expand. Every map in the game is persistent and you can switch between them at will, without bothering with savegames. I guess this is intended to let you go back and finish optional objectives later, but for me, I felt it added to the immersion more than serve any practical purpose.

Darwinia is one game I wish I’d have found sooner and I hope it will eventually have a worthy sequel (Multiwinia is sadly multiplayer only).

9/10. Se även Steam eller hemsidan.