You guys know Raistlin right? You do? Yeah I thought you did, how could you not? (But if you don’t, here is the link to his blog. Raistlin).
Last weekend we had a gaming day, I have to say day because we started around noon and stopped playing around 10 p.m.
Raistlin is a friend and colleague my boyfriend and every now and then we play boardgames together. Sometimes with another colleague and friend.
This Saturday, Raistlin brought the game Star Realms with him. A game I did not know. It turned out to be pretty great so get ready to read a review about this fast paced deck building game. Spoiler alert…I won.
As I mention Star Realms is a deck building game. It starts with a core set which you can expand with more sets and expansions, giving you the opportunity to play from 2 to max. 6 players.
The game is set in outer space (hence Star Realm). The object of the game is to destroy tour opponents.
Everyone has 50 points and once you bring this down to zero, you win the game. (Side note: I won).
You play the game on a mat which contains 7 squares. One for the scrap deck (where destroyed cards go), the trade deck (where the cards you can purchase are) and 5 squares where you place cards from the trade deck in order for you to purchase.
The game has 4 factions with their own respective colours:
The Trade Federation (blue)
The Blob (green)
The Star Empire (yellow)
The Machine Cult (red)
Each faction has their own pros and cons but collecting a certain amount of one type is the key to beat your opponents quickly and with heavy blows (I won).
The cards have various icons, the yellow circles with numbers in the upper right corner means the price ro purchase them.
The red circles with a number represent the attack damage you can do to an opponent.
The shields in the lower right corner represent protection. If it’s a black shield it means you have to destroy that card before you can do damage to your opponent. The grey shield means you can avoid destroying the card and hit your opponent directly. But this can be tricky as that card might be very powerful and actually gives the opponent bonuses for either attacking or purchasing.
The estimated game time for this game is 20 minutes. It took us about 2 hours to finish. We were all very polite and made sure we were equally losing points instead of destroying each other with a few blows.
None the less this game was amazing. Easy to play and so much fun. Definitely a recommend if you like to play board games or deck building games.
A game that I really really wanted to play this year was Mass Effect Andromeda. So imagine the smile on my face when I got a present from my boyfriend and it contained the game!
I started with Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 and fell in love with the Mass Effect games. Creating my own character is something I love to do (unfortunately not every game offers that). Choice based games can be very frustrating at points but that is what I also love about them. You develop your character throughout the game, choosing what type of person you want to be and building your own armor and weapon preference.
So I won’t give a review here about the other Mass Effect games. No, this is about the 4th installment in the series…Andromeda.
For all of you who haven’t played the game, here is a short plot overview:
Mass Effect: Andromeda starts around 2185, as the Andromeda Initiative embarked on an ambitious goal to settle the Andromeda galaxy by traveling in large vessels known as arks. A coalition of Milky Way races — which includes humans, asari, turians, salarians and the krogan — participates in this 600-year expedition and placed in cryostasis to ensure that they do not age during the trip. Prior to the journey, the Initiative had identified ‘golden worlds’ in Andromeda’s Heleus cluster, locations that are deemed highly viable for habitation. Each ark consists of a team that are led by a Pathfinder who is tasked to explore and ensure these worlds or any other potential locations are hospitable before settlement can begin.
At the end of the centuries-long voyage, the Hyperion finally arrived in the Heleus cluster and the player’s Ryder wakes up from cryostasis. Soon after, the ark strikes an unknown object in space, temporarily disabling the power and artificial gravity. Despite the minor complications, they reach Habitat 7, humanity’s designated home. However, to the surprise of the crew, Habitat 7 appears vastly different from initial scans from Milky Way prior to their departure. Not to be taken aback by the find, the Pathfinder team proceeds to survey the planet to determine its viability. However, the team crash-lands on the planet and encounters a harsh environment, hostile aliens, and unknown mega-structures. In time, they successfully retreated from the planet, but suffered a misfortune in the process. With Habitat 7 deemed inhospitable and the team suffered a setback, it is up to the player to head into the unknown to find a new home for humanity.
You get to be Ryder! Now depending on your preference you get to play a boy or a girl. The Ryder character is a twin and depending on who you choose the other twin will be the gender you did not choose.
As I said earlier creating a character is what I love to do and knowing Mass Effect I couldn’t wait to get back into creating my own female Shepard or in this case Ryder.
But then something went wrong…
The character building system was incredible off of what it used to be. I almost pulled my hairs out, it was so frustrating not being able to create what I wanted… AAAAAARRRGGHHH!
So I created something that looked appropriate and simply dealt with it because it is all about the story and gameplay after all …*awkward laugh*
(Note: My character used to look a lot more different. After a few months Bioware did an update regarding character customization. They changed the basic template options allowing you to choose from a wider variety and alter them just a tad bit more. Still it ain’t as awesome as Mass Effect 3 customizing was).
This review is going to be a long one, so bear with me.
As a Pathfinder it is your job to find habitable planets. During your journey you encounter a new race of Aliens. The Angara. The Angara are a …. monkey…cat….type looking race. I can’t really explain but they are purple!
All jokes aside, the Angara are a key component to the Andromeda game, or perhaps the key component in a way. To me it feels that Bioware based the story of Mass Effect Andromeda around this new species.
The game is pretty much the same as the previous ones with a few differences. There is no longer the option of making ‘Paragon’ or ‘Renegade’ choices. The crew’s loyalty missions do not affect the ending of the game and there is now a crafting system for your guns and armor.You still do missions, main plot missions, crew member missions and a couple of side quests. Scanning planets is still a thing yet and of course you can romance your crew members (not all of them though depending on your gender) or a minor side character.
Now compared to the other Mass Effect games this one was quite fast paced. Especially meeting your crew. Of course I immediately knew which one of these people/aliens I wanted my character to end up with.
During the other games I went with Garrus (except for mass effect 1 in which he wasn’t available *grumble grumble*)
The crew is a brilliant variety, you’ve got your Asari, Krogan, Turian, Salarian and a bunch of humans. I think they really did a good job on the crew and *spoiler* at least you get to keep this crew instead of them dying off when you make a dumb decision (though I admit this actually is what made Mass Effect 2 and 3 a very emotional roller coaster and I have to give Bioware top credits for that).
Perhaps a bit mushy but don’t forget the Angara are like that, very open with their feelings and what have you. The dialogue between crew members is really a highlight sometimes, especially during quests on planets when you drive around in the Nomad and every crew member has something to say about your way of driving…..
That also applies to the rating this game is getting from people. Compared to the other games, Andromeda was not as well received. Maybe because the game was one of the most highly anticipated games for 2017. The game is not bad. Yes they screwed up with visual things at first but luckily they fixed most of that because people complained so much about it. The character customizing wasn’t what was expected but again they did try to change that with an update. Seeing as this is the 4th installment in the Mass Effect universe it is not easy to not compare it to the Shepard trilogy… But this story is really a stand on its own. It takes place a year after the Reaper attack and Shepard’s demise…but is Shepard really dead? Was the Milky Way really destroyed? I bet that when a sequel or maybe even a DLC for Mass Effect Andromeda comes out it will involve what decisions we made in Mass Effect 3 and who knows…maybe the milky way wasn’t destroyed.
There is a minor spoiler about this at the end of the Andromeda game…. keelah se’lai
Upside to the game:
The crew (especially Jaal, Peebee and Dracks)
Weapon and armor configuration
Compared to it’s predecessors, this Mass Effect lacks the visual goodness we got in Mass Effect 3
The story is too fast-paced
Character customization does not live up to what was expected
I give this game an 8 out of 10. I enjoyed it a lot! I laughed so much during many scenes and even though Mass Effect 2 is still my favourite, this one is tied with Mass Effect 3…maybe even higher than Mass Effect 3.
I am very curious if there will be DLC for this game, if not I do hope they will make another game so the Milky Way and Andromeda story comes together.