Posts Tagged ‘PC’

Lord of Ultima is a browser based Empire building strategy game, akin to Travian, but to the umpteenth degree. Very very loosely based on the Ultima universe (Some names get thrown around), the goal of Lord of Ultima seems to be building cities and armies, so that you can build more cities and armies. There is a quest system thrown in, some dungeons you can raid, and bosses you can kill to gain artifacts to make your journey faster. The game is based off of microtransactions, so those willing to throw cash at “Diamonds” will receive bonuses and get rewarded, and thereby have a competitive edge.

I have not paid for Diamonds, and have no intention of doing so. So I can’t speak as someone who plans on tossing some cash at the game. Having been playing for a couple of weeks now, since the game came out of Public Beta and went live, my early impressions are fairly mixed.

City Building and empire building can be fun, and it’s a nice passive way to game. You can set up the timer, go to work, come back and do it again. The game itself plays FAIR, there’s definitely some lag and slowdown issues, and the servers seem to go down a little more than I would like, but it’s more or less acceptable in terms of performance. I do have some complaints with the gameplay itself however.

1. Repetitiveness: Ok, so I’ve built my 5th city, and it basically seems like I am building my cities so I can… build more cities. Larger armies allow me to tackle higher level content, but the content itself is all the same, just with bigger rewards. Attacking a level 1 dungeons doesn’t require anything different than a level 4 dungeon, except more troops.

2. What’s the goal? Even after doing some research and reading the forums quickly for information on the “endgame”, information on this is spotty at best, and nonexistent in the game itself. The tutorial just tells you how to get set up and running, which is fine, but it doesn’t tell you what your motivation is, what’s going to happen, or how best to prepare yourself for it. Apparently shrines are going to pop up on the continents. And people battle for them. Or something. Something in the game itself that told you about this impending apocalypse and how best to prepare for it and what you might want to do when it happens seems like it might be a good touch.

3. Seems to be a fairly set way to do things. While looking at the forums, I also stumbled across people’s city plans. The experts of the community who have been playing since Beta have already determined the mathmatically best way to set up and operate cities for optimum performance. If you don’t do this, you’ll generally be extremely handicapped competitively. Not only does this ideal setup involve destroying all the natural resources in your town, it just ends up being very generic and boring. In fact, people just complain and insult other people whose cities they conquer if they are not set up this way. What’s the challenge in following a cookie cutter building plan? Or the fun, for that matter? This of course also just means the people are the most meticulous and have the most time to devote to setting things up in this one way will be in a much better position.

4. The game doesn’t really prepare you for PvP or combat. The tutorial gets you up and running, but again a major component of the game seems to be the ability to conquer other people’s cities (and defending your own from raids or being conquered) you can “opt out” of some of this by electing not to build a castle in your empire, but again, the game does a very poor job of explaining the advantages/disadvantages each path brings, and I suspect that those who choose the path of peace are in for an even more boring experience. But those who unwisely enter the realm of PvP and watch as their hard work for the last several weeks gets annihlated by those more experienced doesn’t seem like a lot of fun either.

So, as much as I have loyalty to the Ultima name, and I want to see the game be successful, I only play when I am at work – I have no intention of paying for it, and I am not sure if even a couple weeks the game will hold my attention. It just seems to take more time to play as you go forward without any sort of return in fun. While I find it a huge step forward from Travian, the game is still missing some key ingredients that would make me recommend it to anyone. Though, at free, it’s certainly worth a try. I haven’t hated it, but I certainly haven’t loved it.



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Many of you saw my post blasting 2k for the broken multiplayer in Borderlands. I finally was able to spend the time to play through the game, and here’s my final review – Even though Multiplayer still didn’t deliver the way I had hoped, the game itself is stull a very enjoyable single player experience.

I’m a big fan of post apocalyptic anything, so when I first saw the Borderlands trailer, I was intrigued. A cooperative shooter set in a barren world, with an eye catching visual style, some good jokes, and a rocking soundtrack sounded like a fantastic game. I was incredibly excited for it, as I got a few of my gaming buddies to buy in, and we planned to play it. Unfortunately, the Multiplayer function on the PC version is implemented pretty poorly, but the game still was a very fun single player experience.

Quick Facts:
Game: Borderlands
System: PC (Also avail for the 360)
Players: 1-4
Genre: FPS with RPG Elements
Released: 2009
Time to Complete: 30ish hours per playthrough (You can playthrough twice)

Borderlands takes your FPS formula and interjects some popular RPG elements, such as a skill tree, quests and loot drops. There are 4 “classes” you can choose from, Soldier, Hunter, Siren, and Brick – each with a distinct style of play. I also loved how depending on your gun drops throughout the game, your game experience could vary wildly from someone else’s game. Between the classes and gun variety, it’s hard to have a generic experience with the title.

The story itself involves you as more or less a bounty hunter – Dropped on the planet Pandora to look for something called “The Vault”. It’s basically implied that if you find the Vault, you will become incredibly wealthy. Once you land on the planet, a mysterious angelic character starts beaming you messages to assist you in this task. You’ll also require the help of the locals, and this is where the story mostly permeates from – You doing things to help out the locals and make Pandora a better and safer place for all.

Pandora itself had become more or less a haven for scum – gangs and other treasure hunters, and the game has a Wild West feel. Go kill thug X so the townspeople are safer – that sort of thing. The story is fairly weak, but coherent, though you never really care for the NPCs or the task at hand – other than a few of the bit player being pretty funny (Scooter, the redneck mechanic – notably)

The gameplay takes a pretty solid FPS standpoint with a cel-shaded graphical style, a huge variety of weapons and some pretty varied enemies – from armored beasts, to bandits, to highly protected mercenaries. The interface itself is mediocre, performing some tasks like equipping weapons and checking quests logs I felt was a tad cumbersome, and the AI is incredibly bad. The landscapes are fairly similar, though visually interesting if you look at the details, but be prepared to see a lot of brown, sand, and rock.

Despite these primary flaws, I found myself having fun whenever I played. Unfortunately, because of it being quite simply broken at launch – and then still frustrating and complicated after they “fixed” it, the Multiplayer was MUCH harder to get into than it should have been, especially for a game marketed as a mutli-player experience. I still haven’t gotten to play much multiplayer, except at a buddy’s house who also has the game on the Xbox360.

There have already been two DLC packs with added content released for the title for the Xbox360, the 2nd one should be out for the PC within a couple weeks of this review being written – so it’s good to see the franchise is getting support and additional content to keep the game fun and dynamic. All in all, despite its flaws, I had a lot of fun playing the game – I hope they fix it up and are successful enough to create a full sequel that puts the multiplayer issues to bed.


The PC version is far and away better looking than the Xbox 360 version. It’s a crisp, interesting looking shooter with some fun effects. Some people are turned off by the cel shaded style, but I dig it. For a wasteland, there are cool things to see if you look, but some players have noted the backdrops can get a bit repetitive. Not a ton of variety in the enemies either.


The music is fun and rocking, and sound effects are engrossing. There is a very limited supply of one liners that the enemies use, and that gets a little obnoxious, but the voice acting is decent enough – and some good humor is supplied by a few of the characters. Again, I liked the style.


The control can be a little sluggish – You may need to adjust some of your mouse settings. You can use a gamepad on the PC, but most people will opt for a mouse and keyboard approach. I found the interface itself to be a bit subpar, though you will get used to it and fight through the pain.


The gameplay itself was good. A great marriage of FPS and RPG elements, though the skill trees were a little too limited for my tastes. The variety of gun and loot drops made for interesting and fun fights, and allows you to really choose the style of shooter you are – which I enjoyed a great deal as well. You like pistols? Use pistols. You like to snipe? Snipe. You want to blow stuff up? Blow stuff up. Some of the weapons are clearly better than others, but you can probably make do with about anything.

The story was thin, but not out and out bad – and the quests kept you moving. Vehicles, teleportation, and convenient respawn made getting around the world pretty convenient.

The default inclusion of a second playthrough option with tougher enemies I liked as well.

What I liked:

1. Setting, style, presentation.
2. Well done marriage of FPS and RPG elements.
3. Fun FPS gameplay.

What I didn’t like:

1. Multiplayer was horribly broken, and still not great.
2. Bad AI.
3. Some repetitiveness in enemies and locales.


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