LNLP - Nations at War

Category Archives: What’s Gus Playing

What’s Gus Playing? Total War: Warhammer I, Part 2

Our fun-size fantasy foreman fights further forward ~

Lloyd Sabin, 19 February 2018

This series is not really intended to be an After Action Report (AAR) but for right now, I suppose it is. Continuing through my first Total War: Warhammer I campaign as the Norsca, I’ve continued to explore the Old World, kill my enemies, level up and generally have a grand old time. I introduced then ins and outs of a Warhammer campaign last week for anyone unfamiliar. This week’s entry will continue to track my progress. After an embarrassing and very short false start, my campaign kicked in to high gear in earnest. You can check it out in the below screen shots.

When I developed this massive mammoth unit, I was psyched. Just one of them are capable of turning the tide of most battles. At some points, I was able to possess more than one, which led to great fun on the battlefield (for me).

What’s Gus Playing? Total War: Warhammer I

Our speed-bump-sized sovereign of steel speaks of swords and spells ~

Lloyd Sabin, 12 February 2018

The Norsca are close to a Viking type faction in real history, they inhabit the freezing cold northern wastes of the Warhammer Old World, they are evil, and they can align with Chaos in the end game, if the player survives. I can dig them.

Those who know me from the forums have a decent idea of my resolve (or lack thereof) in purchasing games. With most releases, I try to hold out as long as I can for a sale. And then there are games whose mere announcement drives me to pre-order…which I frown upon in general, try to minimize most of the time, and occasionally fail at doing. Some pre-orders are still made…I’ve pre-ordered Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Thrones of Britannia (A Total War Saga), and Vampyr….all of which will find their way in to this column eventually. OK…so maybe my pre-order resolve needs some work. But it does lead to more interesting and varied games for me to feature here!

Total War: Warhammer I was a rare case for me. I am only a casual Warhammer fan – I have never painted any of the minis and the books I find depressing in larger doses. I am just about finished with Dan Abnett’s Thunder & Steel omnibus and although I have liked some WH40K books by Abnett, I found Thunder & Steel to be quite the slog most of the time.

So with that in mind I actually held off on buying Total War: Warhammer I. Even after initial glowing professional and user reviews, the game just struck me as too fantastical, too wacky/fruity. That is, until the Norsca were announced.

What’s Gus Playing? Battlefield 1 – Italian Front

The diminutive duke of disaster dishes on danger in the Dolomites ~

Lloyd Sabin, 5 February 2018

And it does so in an exciting, all-too-short War Story mini-campaign that I really enjoyed.

Never, not once, have I seen the Italian front (Isonzo, Caporetto, etc.) of the First World War portrayed in a PC game – whether it be in a tactical, strategic or first person shooter. Battlefield 1 may be ridiculous (and fun) in many ways, but it does portray the war between Italy and Austria-Hungary, from the Italian side.

And it does so in an exciting, all-too-short War Story mini-campaign that I really enjoyed. The back story is simple – two Italian brothers are deployed to the mountainous front: one is captured by the Austrians, and one is an Arditi commando. You don’t need me to spell out the rest.

And ‘the rest’ is done with solid attention to detail with loads of Italian weapons available. There is even a dramatic appearance of Italian Caproni heavy bombers! Clearly I loved this Battlefield 1 War Story, except for the fact that is was only about an hour or so long. If only more of these mini-campaigns would be made for single player fans. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to happen. So in lieu of that, enjoy the below screen shots of what may be my favorite bout of recent World War I gaming.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 16

Our flyweight flyboy flings feelings of flights of fancy ~

Lloyd Sabin, 29 January 2018

Wings! was a favorite game of mine when I was a teenager on the Amiga, around 1990. I played it to completion more than once, using my Epyx joystick, and thanked the gaming gods that Cinemaware existed to create a game that really scratched my First World War itch. Even then I was fascinated by that war and it’s aviation.

it was more of a fun beer and pretzels game about World War I flyers

Wings! is quite simplistic compared to Wings Over Flanders Fields or Rise of Flight. But it was never meant to compete with sims…it was more of a fun beer and pretzels game about World War I flyers, with three different kinds of missions: patrol/air combat, ground attack/strafing runs, and bombing. I enjoy all three types, and still get a kick out of Wings!

The Kickstarter campaign for this game turned out to be troubled in the end, with many bonus items still not delivered and the usual internet rage spewing forth from angry gamers. I even had to buy my copy twice because I was never given info on how to transfer my copy from one rig to another after contacting the developer.

These things aside, the modern version of Wings! captures the magic and good storytelling of the original and still sets my imagination in motion. The storytelling is very good as is the updated music and the graphics are serviceable if not eyeball shattering. Plus the game can be had for just a few dollars on Steam.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 15

The toddler of tanks talks tellingly about trench tactics ~

Lloyd Sabin, 22 January 2018

It took me a ridiculous amount of time to finally fire it up, but this past week I got in some time with Battlefield 1’s single player component, called War Stories. Each story is set at a different front of the First World War. There is a tutorial in which the player takes the role of a black soldier of the 369th Harlem Hellfighters, attempting to hold off a brutal German onslaught. It throws the player directly in to the storm and forces learning by doing. It can be chaotic and insane, but that’s the point. This tutorial is hardcore but effective.

It can be chaotic and insane, but that’s the point.

Out of the six different War Stories (including the tutorial), the player can choose any of the next five in any order he chooses. The next one I chose was set during the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, and as you can probably guess, it puts the player in the boots of a British tanker, assigned to the Black Bess, a kitted-out Mark V tank.

This particular War Story, entitled “Through Mud & Blood,” is broken in to four different chapters which see the player engaged in tank on tank combat against German armored cars, captured French tanks, anti-tank troops, and also engaging in dismounted, commando-style combat against a variety of German troop types. There are literally dozens of weapons to choose from when not piloting Black Bess, the environments are totally destructible, and the combat can be frenetic. Static trench warfare, this is not.

That said, at times it felt like the game was a re-skinned version of other Battlefield games. The First World War vibe is definitely there, but the high-paced combat sometimes felt a little too modern. I still enjoyed it very much…so much so that I’m even dabbling with the idea of playing MP. But so far my hate for people in general has kept me from diving in to an MP game with other players who I don’t know. Months ago, someone in the forums claimed that Battlefield 1 felt like a steampunk Battlefield game, and to a certain extent I found that to be true.