Transformers: Battlegrounds

Transformers: Battlegrounds was released on October 23rd for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. It’s published by Outright Games, known for publishing family-friendly games across a range of titles from Ice Age to Adventure Time. Transformers: Battlegrounds is an XCOM-styled strategy game. The player controls a team of up to six autobots that include fan favorites like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. In each fight, the player will battle decepticons in turn-based combat using coordinated strategy. The game also features an overarching story about the hunt for the allspark and the fate of the universe.

Optimus Prime
The player can take control of a range of classic autobots.

Autobots, Roll Out

Transformers: Battlegrounds features an original story with a familiar plot. Megatron is invading the Earth in his hunt for the allspark and the autobots need to stop them. The battles will take you to maps across the Earth and the transformer planet of Cybertron. On Earth, fights will unfold in desserts, forests, cities, and even Cybertron itself. Plus, each controllable autobot has a unique Ultimate ability to be unleashed when their Energon meter is full. After you complete the story mode, the game also features local multiplayer. You can team up with a friend and play in co-op mode against the decepticons. Or, you could go head-to-head in battle against each other.

Screenshot of battle between transformers
Different autobots have different specialties in combat.

Fights against the Decepticons

Transformers: Battlegrounds features 3 difficulty modes to facilitate fun for players of all ages. The digital deluxe version include four skin packs and Cube mode. Cube mode is a capture-the-flag styled battle where the autobots and decepticons fight for the control over the allspark. All-in-all, Transformers: Battlegrounds is straight-forward in what it provides to the audience. If you enjoy the XCOM series or are a fan of turn-based combat, then you might enjoy this game. It’s definitely unlike any other Transformers game released in the past.

#Transformers #Battlegrounds #Outright

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Solasta: Crown of the Magister

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a turn-based RPG in early access, available on Steam for 20% off until December 22nd. The team behind the game, Tactical Adventures, are longtime fans of traditional tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. It’s their goal to bring that traditional RPG feel to a PC in the smoothest way possible. Dice rolls and character creation are a huge part of the game, just like old pen-and-paper games. Despite the game being single player, you create an entire team of heroes.  Even though you play by yourself and the game is still being fleshed out, its community is already growing.

Bird's eye view of combat
Solasta features turn-based combat where damage and hit chance are based on dice rolls

Saving Solasta

Playing as a team of four, the player must embark on a journey to save the would of Solasta. The player will traverse through varied areas, from ruins and forts to deserts and forests. The game features a dynamic environment where much of the game can be interacted with. For example, bridges or walls can collapse and crush both your team and your enemies. Solasta: Crown of the Magister features a few other special mechanics that are callbacks to certain tabletop games. The management of light sources is an important mechanic. If you emanate a lot of light, you’ll become a target for enemies. But if there’s not enough light, you won’t be able to see your enemies. And just like D&D, every attack in the game has a dice roll behind it.

A ruin, crumbling
With dynamic environments, enemies can get wiped out if they’re standing in the wrong place. But the same can be said for your team.

A Perilous Journey

The player will find enemies in many forms. There will be an assortment of monsters in their way, including giant spiders, orcs, and the undead. Without being tied to a board on a table, the game is also in three dimensions. This gives players the ability to climb, crawl, fall, or fly around the game. Like any good mythical RPG, there are many options when it comes to creating your characters. You can customize their race, class, background, looks, and stats. Whether you want to be a sneaky archer, a loud warrior, or a behind-the-lines healer, Solasta gives you the chance to pursue whatever you like. If you’re a fan of traditional RPGs like D&D, keep following this game as development continues.

#Solasta #RPG #TurnBased #PCGaming #Fantasy

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A Total War Saga: Troy

Total Way Troy logo

A Total War Saga: Troy is SEGA and Creative Assembly’s newest entry in the Total War series. It’s currently out on the Epic Games store and will be coming to Steam in August 2021. The game takes place during the battle between the Greek kingdoms of Troy and Mycenae from the Bronze Age. This would make it the oldest era that Total War has ever centered a game around. This game takes a few pages out of the successful Total War: Three Kingdoms, where it is largely based off of historical events, but there are also many heroes that have legendary strength and participate in legendary battles. 

Fight for Greece

This game holds the central Total War experience in tact while taking us to the oldest time period we’ve seen yet. Fans of Total War: Rome 2 that purchased the Greek States culture pack might find themselves with a sense of déjà vu, as the entire map is now centered around Greece, with numerous hellenic units as the stars of the show in this game. The battles in the campaign will be focused on brutal combat that you’d expect from an ancient battle. Huge battalions comprised of swordsmen, spearmen, cavalry, archers, and various other warriors need to be used strategically in order to achieve victory. But battles only make up half the war. In order to grow your empire and repel foreign invaders, you must also effectively navigate your nation’s politics, your economy, your infrastructure, your food supply, your population, your diplomatic endeavors, and various other obstacles that might get in the way of your expansion towards total Greek domination. Like every modern Total War game, Troy has come out with their infamous “gore” DLC, where players can pay a small fee for a bloody version of the game.

The strategic view of the game's map
Like every Total War game, the player switches from a map of the entire conquerable world to individual battles.

The Blessing of the Gods

More like TW: Three Kingdoms than TW: Rome 2, TW: Troy introduces individual characters that are heroes and can have an enormous influence over certain battles. Total War has always had respect for historical figures such as Julias Caesar or Attila the Hun, but they were still treated as human beings that weren’t capable of battling hundreds of men at once. Three Kingdoms provided a “romance” version of the game, where players could choose to deviate a bit from historical accuracy and allow their generals to become far more powerful. Influential figures in historical China now had the ability to take out entire platoons of enemy forces all on their own. While this might not have been terribly historically accurate, it provided the player with a fun way to become even more personally invested in the life and growth of their top generals. The Total War series has been following a trend of deviating from history, as some of their most successful titles have ended up being the only games that have zero reference to historical events, Total War: Warhammer 1 & 2. In Troy, you can see legendary heroes like Achilles engage in an epic battle with the opposing general as the rest of the soldiers duke it out on the battlefield. Because this game is inspired by Homer’s Iliad, this ends up playing well into the overall campaign that the game presents to the player. If you’re interested in experiencing Total War in the Bronze Age, give the newest iteration of the series a try.

#SEGA #TotalWar #Troy #rts

A battle between warriors
Generals have the power to beat down waves upon waves of enemy soldiers.

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Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon logoYakuza: Like a Dragon has just been released for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and PS4. It’s coming to PS5 on March 2, 2021. This is the newest entry into SEGA’s Yakuza series and it’s made a great deal of changes in story-telling and gameplay that make this game unique and sets itself apart from the older games in the series. The player takes control of a brand new character, in a brand new Japanese city, and the gameplay during combat is totally different, too.

Japanese Crime Syndicate

Just like its predecessors, Yakuza: Like a Dragon puts the player in the shoes of man who must fight against a deadly and dangerous Yakuza clan. You primarily play as Ichiban Kasuga, but this new entry into the series has a huge difference from every other game. You actually play as a team of four players. Instead of being a beat-em-up style fighting game during combat, the combat is actually turn based. There are still a wide variety of traditional and wacky enemies that might require some skillful strategy to get through the game, and you’ll need to take advantage of the strengths of all your characters. Like the past Yakuza games, this game also has many minigames throughout the city. Traveling through the city of Yokohama, you can participate in everything from kart racing to batting cages to arcade game to karaoke.

Karaoke singing

They take karaoke very seriously in Yakuza.

A Fresh Take on Yakuza

Yakuza: Like a Dragon has also opted to make various other changes to the game. Every Yakuza game from 2006 until now has been exclusively voice acted in Japanese. You now have the option for the game to be played out with English voice actors. Voice acting legend, George Takei, plays Masumi Arakawa. He is Kasuga’s patriarch and father-figure from his yakuza past. The Yakuza series has always focused on telling a long story while providing plenty of side-quests, minigames, and memorable boss battles. Despite the vast differences in the way that Yakuza: Like a Dragon plays and tells its story, it still has the same core focus that past releases have had. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a brand new player, this game could provide many hours of entertainment. If you’re a fan of Japanese storytelling or turn-based games, give this game a try.

A Yakuza battle
Changing to a turn-based combat system will give the battles a very different feel.

#Yakuza #SEGA #Next-Gen

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XCOM 2 Collection

XCOM 2 Collection was released for IOS on November 5th, 2020. Originally published by 2k in early 2016, XCOM 2 was the direct sequel to the turn-based XCOM: Enemy Within. The game’s plot revolved around the player as the “Commander” of an elite international team of soldiers that must fight off the aliens that are invading the Earth. This time around, the Commander is leading XCOM as a renegade group of freedom fighters that are trying to fight back against ADVENT, the army of genetically modified humans that are slowly dominating more and more of the planet. XCOM 2 Collection will also include the War of the Chosen DCL and the Reinforcement Pack’s 4 separate DLCs.

The War for Humanity

XCOM 2 has become an acclaimed leader in the turn-based combat industry. The game offers a wide variety of choices and options for how the player chooses to develop their individual soldiers and XCOM as a whole. In XCOM 2, your entire base is an alien supply barge that’s been commandeered by your team. You will meet various scripted characters that help you improve your base and your soldiers. Central Officer Bradford makes his return to the XCOM series as your chief middleman with managing XCOM. Dr. Richard Tygan, an ADVENT scientist that has defected to your team, guides you through your technological and scientific progression. Meanwhile, Lily Shen replaces her father from XCOM: Enemy Within as your guide through your engineering upgrades.

An XCOM soldier wields an enormous gun

This class, the grenadier, carries a huge gun and focuses on heavy firepower.

The Fight Rages On

XCOM 2 and its DLC have brought numerous additions to the XCOM series that make the game unique and different. The DLC alone add 4 new classes of soldiers, bringing the overall total of classes in the game to 9. All 9 play totally differently and will force you to completely change how you try to complete your objectives in each level. Beyond class selection, there are numerous weapons and special traits that you can give your characters, which will cause you to truly care about the well-being of your soldiers. If you’re playing on a hard difficulty and find yourself growing attached to your characters, you can expect to load to old saves pretty often if you can’t except the death of an important character. You can also choose nearly everything about the soldiers that you recruit, from their attire, to their gender, to their nationality. The game gives you a great deal of choice in progression and style, all while maintaining an excellent story with engaging strategic combat. This game is a must-have for lovers of turn-based  gameplay.

Chosen Warlock
The Chosen Warlock is one of the powerful aliens featured in the DLC.

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