I’m in a spacey mood. I spent parts of last week (as much of it as I could,) playing EVE Online on the 5 free days. Having decided not to continue with that for the time being, I’ve since been dabbling with a couple of things.
One has been Sword of the Stars, which I snapped up on the cheap from Steam a while back. At $5 for the game and three expansions, it was a nice deal, and while not my ultimate dream 4X space game, it’s a solid entry in that field. I am mildy put off by a couple of things, namely the cartoony art style, lack of ability to customize the races
One thing that does irk me outright about it, though, is the similarity of its title to The Sword and the Stars, a fine old board wargame from SPI. That game along with other SPI sci-fi titles like Freedom in the Galaxy and Outreach happen to be favorites of mine. As far as I’m concerned Kerberos and Paradox are stepping on SPI’s toes here without so much as a thanks. I will slake my anger by not buying Sword of the Stars II and its inevitable expansions are $5 for the lot as well. Besides, they’ll have shaken out all the bugs and issues (said to be prodigious) by then.
Now, the game that just might be my ultimate dream 4X space game is Star Ruler, and I’ve been fussing with the demo for that and trying to figure out how well it reflects the current state of the full game, which by all accounts has evolved quite a bit, and the demo is said to not be entirely caught up. Star Ruler is mightily ambitious and has a learning curve to match, and the interface is none too elegant. Picking up the full game likely awaits the Steam sale in the near-certain future.
Also on the space front, I’ve been playing a fresh game of Mass Effect 2 since I installed it using Origin on the new PC. It runs flawlessly at maximum settings. This playthrough is a custom female Infiltrator Shepard that’s going all-out renegade. My first game was a custom male Soldier that went as heavy paragon as was possible. In both cases, though, I’m not resisting the interrupts of the opposing path.
I have my old savegame as well and now a large chunk of DLC that hasn’t yet been played through: Overlord, Kasumi, Shadow Broker and Arrival. Considering that on my original Shepard I romanced Liara and she plays only a token role in ME2 out of the box, I’m looking forward to playing through the newer content more or less in that order. The connection-crushing 4+ GB is downloading now. Mass Effect 3, due out in March, is one of the very few must-own titles on my docket for the next year.
Back down to Earth, I also hit level 49 in LotRO, having been inching along at it for weeks. At any time I can drop everything and finish up a huge swath of Volume 1 that’s yet undone. There is enough left in that end of the epic questline to get me to level 50 very easily. For right now I’m going to finish up the questing deeds in Forochel… and probably drop the +25% kill XP pocket item, since it sure doesn’t look like I’m in need of the boost. Then on to finish Eregion and finally see the shadowed halls of Khazad-dûm.