RE2 Remake and Fricken Mr. X

I finally got around to playing Resident Evil 2 Remake after it went on sale not long ago on Steam. This isn’t my first play-through of RE2 though. I originally played it when it was released on the GameCube back in 2003, so I’m still familiar with the original story, both Leon and Claire’s stories (Yes, I know it came out on PlayStation first in 1998). Have to say, the team did an excellent job remaking the game. Little tweaks here and there, with the obvious addition of fricken Mr. X, but it still very much felt like RE2 with a beautiful overhaul.

I did completed both Leon and Claire’s initial stories. Leon first and then Claire. Honestly happy I went in that order as I found Claire’s play-through easier then Leon’s. I’m thinking it is likely due to the fact Claire gets a single shot grenade launcher early on, verses the shotgun Leon gets at the same point. That weapon felt a bit overpowered in my opinion, but not going to complain as it was my second play-through and I was moving through it quicker. Still played slow enough to catch the differences, but the Stage 4 William fight was a cake walk for me with a fully stocked launcher. Still had a blast as I felt a bit badass taking him down so quickly compared how I handled that fight with Leon. Far less badass in comparison.

Now, the one wild card to the whole remake equation, is fricken Mr. X. More than anything else, he scared the he’ll out of me, even after I had his behavior more figured out. Didn’t help that I had to backtrack some of my first play-through as Leon due to poor ammo management by the time Mr. X first showed up (I had a couple shotgun shells and less then a full clip in my handgun, really poor management). First time I was dealing with him, he did not break through the conference room wall in the hallway going to the interrogation rooms. After I had to backtrack so I could manage my ammo better, I figured I’d run the same route since I was having some luck. Burst through the wall when I was heading back from the interrogation rooms, scared me so bad, I had to take a breather. Granted, after learning how he behaved with Leon, he wasn’t so bad with Claire. Still scared me when as he was clomping around like fricken Frankenstein though. While I could have lived without him,  I will begrudgingly admit that Mr. X did bring a new element to the game that was kind of fun. It was also extremely satisfying when I finally got to take him down.

Still trying to think if I’ll try Leon and Claire’s Second Run’s. For now, I’ll likely take a break to catch up on other games I’ve been wanting to play. For about $20 and 20 hours of play time, well worth it.

Saving DC in The Division 2

I never did get into The Division when it first released; but The Division 2 for a few bucks, why not. Especially after I heard it is fairly solo friendly.

For those unsure of how The Division 2 plays like, it is an online third person shooter set in the post-viral outbreak ruins of DC. In the game, you are a member of The Division, which I can best describe as an elite military group with the goal of protecting those that have survived the viral outbreak and helping humanity recover. As a member of this group, you travel across DC, helping The Division and civilian settlements through quests for resources or taking out hostile groups/targets.

As an online game, you can group up to help with quests and general map events. Fortunately for me, the game was setup so you don’t have to group if you don’t want to. I’d imagine they would all be a bit easier with other players, but I haven’t gone there yet. I’m a bit of a “lone ranger”. Maybe one day I’ll brave sending out a flare or answering to a call for backup.

Either way, the game is just fine. The graphics are great and the weather effects are amazing. Unless I’m going crazy, I swear the rain varies in intensity. Same as fog. Just adds a nice touch to make the game world feel more unique. The settlements and how you can improve them via missions and providing supplies is also nice. It’s one thing to progress a story, but to also see how that progress effects the game world is always an added bonus for me. Helps me feel like I’m making more a difference.

All in all, that was a few bucks well spent.

Lets Play Like it’s Anno 1800

Okay, so if you love city builders and managing production chains, I’ve got a game for you! It has been a while since I’ve played a city builder that has grabbed my attention so much, and over 60 hours of game time so far. Just be warned, this is one of those games where you can really get stuck in a “just one more thing” mode until you realize it is way to late; but is that so bad?

So, what is Anno 1800? Just too keep it simple, it is a city builder that takes place within a fictional version of the 1800’s with a big focus on managing production chains to keep your citizens happy and build up your empire. Add to that, every map has you settling islands in an ocean, each with their own set of resources. So, instead of just setting up one super city, you need to settle multiple islands to make sure you can collect the resources you will need to help advance your colonies with more advanced production chains. This is my best description in a nutshell.

As for game modes, there is a Campaign mode that does a really good job of introducing you into how the game plays out while giving you a story to help drive your progression. There is also a Sandbox mode that you can customize however you want, great for just playing around with the game and taking the whatever time you need to better understand the different aspects of the game. Last, but not least, there is a Multiplayer mode. I’m not one for multiplayer, so I can’t really speak to much about it; but I expect it to be similar to Sandbox mode with AI, just with smarter AI.

Where the game really shines, comes down to expanding and advancing your colonies by managing the many different production chains needed. The citizens of your colonies are broken up into hierarchies, each with their own needs, with some crossover, and each one being an upgrade to the previous hierarchies. Fortunately, you can’t just add the highest hierarchies from the start. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. This is where you will eventually be forced to start colonizing new islands as there aren’t any with everything you need. This is where the navel aspect of the game comes into play. You can setup trade routes with other AI’s, with your other islands, or a different region. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about this initially and becomes more critical the higher you advance, so no need to worry about setting up those trade routes right away.

Thanks to the added report system, it is fairly easy to manage the supply and demand of each chain. And yes, there are downsides to both going overboard with your supply and not covering demand. When you aren’t meeting the demand, you won’t have as many citizens, so you won’t be making as much money. Going overboard on supply, each production chain has it’s own maintenance cost, so you could be spending more keeping a chain running then you have citizens to buy the goods. There is definitely a balancing act, but it is honestly not that bad. Play through the campaign and you can get a good feel for how the production chains work without worrying to much, especially if you play on normal. You get some nice leeway; but there is always the option to just start over knowing what you now know. Not ashamed to admit I messed up my production chains so much, I dug myself so far into debt, I had no way to recover.

If you are a fan of the Anno series or are just a fan of city builders, I definitely recommend giving this game a go. It scratched all of those city builder itches I’ve been having as I haven’t played a city building in a while. It is also a very beautiful game with a lot of detail. You can get lost zooming all the way into your towns to see what is going on. Strongly recommended.