Author Topic: What I Like About Arcen Games  (Read 1402 times)

Offline Teal_Blue

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What I Like About Arcen Games
« on: July 20, 2015, 12:09:08 PM »
This is just my feelings, and I don't mean to sound like a fanboi, but each of the points I feel are hitting the mark, also has players out there that enjoy that kind of gameplay. Perhaps the audiences are smaller, but I only feel that is true due to the entry complexity (which has its fans as well). * Note- some new or inexperienced players like an easy to get into game. Which often turns hard core players off. But the complexity and variety of tools and options in a complex game that appeals to hard core players is often too complicated for newbies.

I myself am a newbie, easily overwhelmed, but i like the complexity of the some of Arcen's best games, because I want to understand the complexity, not just be overwhelmed by it, i want to learn to use it to beat the AI.  :)  Sometimes in small battles i can actually pull that kind of thing off.  :)  Not bad for a girl, huh?  :)

1. AI War -
                        AI War is complex and the first game that Arcen did. There are a ton of heavy hitting players in the game and in multi-player and in the add-ons that give the game an even deeper feel and experience. Most of the time i lose at this game, but not always. I have been able to win some battles, and as long as i am careful about taking planets, i can avoid the AI until later in the game. But my parity with the AI is usually to close, I do not have a big enough of an advantage to pull off the later game battles and find myself trying different tactics, strike from one system and then run, pull back, and then strike again from another side and pull back. But usually the AI has many more resources and my attempts to thin their numbers by doing hits and runs on various sides really doesn't diminish the AI numbers like it would maybe in real life. But still, there are better players than me out there that have beat the AI, maybe using not just different tactics, which i am only so-so at, but also using better weapons. Something that I am limited at getting because i try to limit the add-ons i load to not get to overwhelmed, but also because my resources aren't usually at a level where I can afford the heavy hitting weapons because i have too few planets and credits to work with. But I am learning. AI War i would say is the hardest game i have tried to learn. But it is also one of the most satisfying, not in terms of winning all the time, but in terms of learning, and of doing better sometimes than I did in the beginning. That makes it very cool to me. Chris and company really did a good job on this one. Well thought out, and it seems to me, well built, without rushing it.

2. Bionic Dues
                           Bionic Dues I am better at, at least in the individual quests, its the larger end of game battle that usually gets me. But I love the crafting of the Bots, the weapon and module choices, I tend to lean heavily on the invis bot a lot, I like to sneak around and am pretty good at it, but not always perfect. Sometimes i get in a rush or i get a little lazy and sloppy and make a mistake and i lose a quest. Sometimes when i hit a bad streak and can't get myself together i lose more than a few in a row. But it isn't always like that. I like mixing it up with the pilots, because i usually choose the same ones all the time, like Meg, and sometimes Tuck, but sometimes i try Genji or Rey, but i sometimes feel that those pilots give me too much advantage, you know? Well, everyone is different, and i like Meg the best, and Tuck, because i feel like its more 'me' playing and winning, or losing, than it is the advantages i have stacked on my side. :)  Anyway, of all the Arcen games this is my favorite, even though i like the challenge of AI War, this one is the one i like playing for fun the most. Though i do keep getting my ****  kicked in the end game.  :)  This is the game i feel Arcen hit closest to the mark between newbies and hard core players. And it is not just tactics and winning, it is also with the crafting and the variables like the pilots and the modules for the bots, really a lot of fun, and changes up the game alot for a lot of replayability.

3. Shattered Haven
                                       This is another one I like alot, and I don't understand why people put it down so much. At first I was put off the graphics, but to be honest there are JRPG's out there that look the same and possibly a few hundred GameMaker made games with the same graphics, that are still a ton of fun to play and have audiences that don't berate them. I think what sometimes hurts is that the 4x fans, or maybe the RTS fans or the Schmup fans are looking for a 'pure' experience and Chris and Keith like to mix things up and try new things. But I think the audiences put them through the ringer for not keeping true to what those fans think the game should be. All this is just my opinion of what i think is happening, but of course it is only my guess at what i am seeing. But to be honest, SH was one of my favorites, probably second after Bionic Dues, I love the puzzles and sometimes i get lost when i have to go over the overworld to get to someplace to finish a part of a puzzle, or to the next part of the game, but really, that momentary confusion only lasts for a few playthroughs and then i remember, and the puzzles being answered in only one way, does make for a game that is more static than the other Arcen games, so that limits re-playability. But still, the game is a lot of fun and I still go back and play it, even though I've been through it, because i'm not always as good as before, or I forget something, or just to enjoy the game. It's like reading a favorite book, because you liked the characters or the story or the adventure, or the tension, or the fun of just enjoying it again. This one I don't think the audience really 'got', and it really is a shame, I thought 'Alden's Ridge' was pretty darn good.

4. Skyward Collapse
                                                   This one was hard for me to balance, and i found myself favoring one side, and then i would get upset for doing that and then i would change sides, and sometimes i could balance it out awhile, but then sometimes, (read alot of the times) unexpected stuff would happen and i would find myself on the brink of losing everything and trying to so something about it. Haha, and sometimes i could, and sometimes it was like a sinking ship that i just had to stand on the bow and watch sink.  Haha, anyway, this was a great game, and like probably a thousand other people i wish there were like a dozen different 'races' to play, or that SC was moddable and the players could add races, or events, or Gods, or whatever to tweak the game by small amounts, or by huge amounts. All in the name of trying to try a new tactic from before, try to have the other side do something unexpected sometimes. But of course the AI on the other side is 'us'. So it's not quite that unpredictable, well, that is not true, the board finds all my weak spots no matter if i see them or not, and the Events wreck havoc on my trying to nicely and precisely and slowly and thoughfully and somberly consider my plays. SC is like an avalanche sometimes and that is both good and also makes me want to tear my hair out, haha, well. That is the fun of the game isn't it? The not quite having all the control and sureness that some games hold out, and then pull away and clobber us.  :)  Well, I am still favoring sides a lot of the time, and still changing my mind in the middle and trying something else. And still getting beat on one side or the other. Though at times the building does give me times when i feel i can almost pull off a perfectly balanced game. But then usually i do something stupid, or make a mistake, or just lose my patience, which is rare, because usually i am a turtling and slow player, haha, which makes most of what Arcen makes an uphill climb for me. But still i love it. I just wish other people did too. Are hard core players playing other things and the casuals playing tetris and match 3? I really like this game and don't understand why it doesn't do better.

5. The Last Federation
                                                     This one does a lot of what AI War does, which is have a ton of options and complexity, that I feel makes this a hard core players dream, I sometimes get lost, but my tactics are usually smaller scale and i sometimes get overwhelmed in trying to keep a planet from spiraling into chaos and destruction, or trying to keep another planet from reducing a planet i like to cinders and burnt out crust. It is a deep game and I am learning, although sometimes the temptation to use the heavier races to overwhelm the others is there, but that is really just a repeating cycle and turns into no fun after doing it the third or fourth time, so there is that side that i wish was more variable, that sometimes instead of the burlusts walking over the system, they would cave. Though I suppose balancing a game, and perhaps taking the time to focus a race in variable ways takes a lot of development time and money. Still, I would have preferred having the Andors perhaps get infected with a rusting virus, or the burlusts so out of plantary adaptation that they would be cowering in their tree houses and the Thoraxians might find peaceable co-existance a viable option and the Queens moods not quite so volitile and always changing as they do now. But these are just my own pet peeves. The game is well wrought and offers a great deal of depth and variety, and the games range from me losing half way through to almost getting an end game federation built, but i think that last is perhaps my own fault, i keep trying to stay away from the temptation of just 'forcing' the races into a federation, and instead keep trying the subtle manuevering that i keep hope will pay off. Though my expertise is not quite good enough yet. Still a lot of fun to play and the behind the curtains of power and deception make the game feel very different than most other 4x's i have ever tried. Galciv and Sword of the Stars were fun, still are fun, but do not have quite the same 'pulling the strings from the shadows' kind of feel that TLF has. Happily this one seems to have a rather large and positive audience, which bodes well, for perhaps more expansions.

6. A Valley Without Wind 1 and 2
                                                                A Valley Without Wind did a lot of what i love so much about Bionic Dues that came later did, which was the crafting, the resources that i run around collecting and the bonuses i find here and there and the upgrades to my  abilities, like jump or range on my weapons. The overworld that means i can go anywhere, well, haha, even if i'm not ready, or powerful enough for some places i can sneak in and try small quick raids. And the caves that go down so far, that i can literally spend a hour getting back to the surface again. Well, a lot have short cuts, but still the realism is there if i want it, and sometimes i get in these moods where i want to play as 'realistically' as possible, haha, in a video game with super characters and boss battles with Eagles kicking my ****. Anyway, still i like pretending it is real and that i have to climb back up 30 or so levels to see the sunshine again, and survive the bats and bad guys and crawly things along the way the whole time.  :)
Of all the mechanics in this game, the inifinity, the continents, the camps and the npc's and the caves with their beauty, the overworld with all the leutinants waiting for me, haha, i still love the crafting the most. But that is just me. But like TLF and AI War, this one seems to have found a lot of friends that appreciate what it is. Which i am very happy for, because i love it alot too. Valley 2 was a different take, but in a lot of ways, it is just a more concentrated version of 1. And the art is different and the game sometimes has a different feel to it, with the overlord story and all. But even though 2 is very, very good, i still think i love 1 the most. Maybe because its the first one i played, i don't know, crazy i guess to like a game more just because i played it first, but in many way, i fell in love with how Valley 1 plays, and even though the story is probably more cohesive in 2, Valley  1 still has my heart.

7. Stars Beyond Reach           
                                                 It is probably really not fair to judge a game that is not even finished yet, and that i have only been a beta tester for, but to be honest the new game has some concepts from some of Arcen's other games that really make me feel it is going to be all right. I am hoping for a super hit, but we will take what we can get. The fact that Arcen has narrowed this to a single genre is helpful in capturing a specific audience, and i think that will help. The art work and animation are really really great. And a progression from some of the earlier games limits. The pace of the game is perfect for me, but then my turtling style isn't perhaps the most favorite of the hard core gamers that want it fast and furious. I like a slow game i can take my time thinking about. I have the last version, so i don't have the diplomacy or the additions that Chris and company may feel the game needs to fill out the experience. I have been taking the suggestions on the tech tree because i think they offere a more 'rounded' approach to what i will need, or what offeres me the most options later. Just in case my bid for military victory leaves me flat on my face. Like it did when the Burlusts visited me and decided I was somehow not a very good neighbor. The expansion i take slow, barely getting out of my first territory in the first hundred moves. Which may bore the really good players, but to be honest many games that force me one way or another usually i don't stick with, because i like having the freedom to play the way i like. I suppose for some that is quick and fast and for others is it optimizing every move. But most every game Arcen has made has let me play at my own pace, even AI War as carefully as i have to play that to avoid the AI Progress lets me play at my own calculating and weighing pace.  :)     I have high hopes for the remainder of the additions that are due to be added, and that they will make the game only better. But of course Arcen has to please more kinds of players than just newbie turtling cautious and methodical gamers. So there are RTS hard cores and 4X purists who will want certain things in order to just say, OK, I like it. But Arcen has had a hard core audience for awhile now, and they know what to do to please that bunch. But making the game too easy for my kind of player might take away from those hard core players. Or have them feel the game is too much of a cake walk. So i don't know what to propose. Depth perhaps? Which I am sort of out of my league with actually, haha, but an simple, not easy over-view that leads into deep, deep gameplay. And how do you make a game deep? I am guessing here, ok, but maybe by adding variables like Arcen did with AI War, add new things, and upgradable things, and new races, or monsters, or adversaries, or races that could be friends or foes, not just one or the other. Maybe have a lot of ways to interact, like traders like in AI War, or finding things like Golems, or abandoned ships that add to the equation like AI War did. Maybe add different ways to win. Not just like other 4x's, but maybe by doing what you proposed with multiple ways adding up to a total victory? I am out of my depth here because i am just a player, not a designer, or a developer. And i am only a niche player at that. Not a hard core player, or a Tactical Wiz player. I am just a Newbie Casual player trying to make my way through all these cool games. And so far, so good. It's always a lot of fun, and that is why it is nice to play games. Conquering the world is ok i guess, but i like the crafting and the replayability and the pacing the most. I wish Arcen the very best with their new game, I'll be there to play it and hope its the best yet.

Thanks for listening, take care,
-Teal



   

Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: What I Like About Arcen Games
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 05:17:38 PM »
I'm physically incapable of verbosity in a positive context, so let me just say that to me, Arcen are the best game devs. Superlative.
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Offline Zebeast46

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Re: What I Like About Arcen Games
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 10:06:37 AM »
The diplomacy probably will be a huge step forward for SBR, too bad I wont be there for when it is first released as I an gone the first two weeks of august.
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Offline NickAragua

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Re: What I Like About Arcen Games
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 05:44:12 PM »
The diplomacy probably will be a huge step forward for SBR, too bad I wont be there for when it is first released as I an gone the first two weeks of august.

I wouldn't worry about it. Release date's been pushed back to end of september (source)