Crusader Kings 2 ‘Holy Fury’ Expansion Released Today

At long last the latest expansion for the Strategic Medieval Life simulator Crusader Kings 2 is now available to the masses. What is undoubtedly the largest expansion to date, Holy Fury looks to integrate itself with nearly every culture, dynasty, timeline available in the game. Many of the previous expansions simply tack on their respective features, thus increasing the scope and breadth and flavor of the CK2 world. So, not owning all expansions could be considered ‘necessary’ to experience what the game can do under the hood. However, Holy Fury seeks to embed itself under all of this while also throwing in its own unique features.

Indeed. As seen from the outside looking in (I’m downloading the expansion and free base-game update as I type this), Holy Fury looks to bring Crusader Kings 2 around full circle, helping bolster what made the game unique and so dang fun to play since the very beginning. Religion now has more power and presence in the fabric of this medieval world. Dynasties and genetic traits are now more manageable and exploitable. More societies. More political motivations. More Africa. More. More. More!

With Holy Fury, nearly every culture and region now has MORE.

Back in April, Strategy Gamer posted the opinion that CK2 has lost its way; that, essentially, the expansions have watered down what made the game so special in the first place. It is a great read and wonderful food for thought. I hope to have a response post to this article, along with a review for Holy Fury within the coming days.

But until then, you’ll have to excuse me. I have a medieval eugenics program to develop.

Paradox Interactive Halloween Sale – Through Nov 1

Paradox Interactive is hosting a Halloween sale today through November 1st. The digital storefront displays a few of the ‘ghastly gems’ whose price tags are hack n’ slashed for the week. Most notably is the bevy of expansions for city sim Cities: Skylines, having recently released its latest addon ‘Cities: Skylines – Industries’. Also present are recent expansions for the other usual Paradox titles: Stellaris, Europa Universalis 4, and BATTLETECH.

Digging a little deeper into the sale we see the other usual titles ala Crusader Kings, Hearts of Iron 4, Tyranny and all of their expansions and cosmetic DLCs. Mixed in with these are more, older expansions for Cities: Skylines and Stellaris, a handfull of portrait packs, a music pack for HoI4, and lesser-known, older titles like Knights of Pen & Paper and Majesty and Ancient Space and Warlock II, and I guess Paradox has the rights to the Shadowrun games, now?

Cool… I think?

Paradox games have largely shaped who I am as a gamer, and I am still of the opinion that Crusader Kings 2 is one of the best games conceptually and the most fun to play ever in the history of histories…

…But (did you sense a ‘but’ coming?), when I take a step back and look at this sale catalog, it simply doesn’t blow my skirt up like it used to; it’s just the usual base games drowning in a sea of DLC banners mingled with newer games that, as a publisher, Paradox is putting some weight behind but simply have not taken off.

When considered singly, I do not fully bemoan all these excessive DLC titles for their games, and am not complaining that their online storefront is no more organised than a clearance bin at Walmart. It all just looks washed out and it makes me feel just as jaded towards expanding my own Paradox library.

Click the banner, and you do you.

Weekend Gaming – Europa Univeralis IV

Europa Universails IV continues to morph into quite the juggernaut. First released in 2013, EU4 now hosts additional content which includes nine expansion packs (with #10, ‘Mandate of Heaven’, set to be released in two weeks) and a bevy, a hoard, a throng, a cacophony of cosmetic and music DLCs.

Want a good jolt? Go to the game’s Steam page and see how much all this crap costs. Here – I’ll link it for you. Europa Universalis IV.

Luckily. Thankfully. Paradox titles often go on sale. And given the base game’s age, these discounts are often steep and attractive. And not just on Steam, either. The Humble Bundle Store often hosts developer discounts – of which I recently (like, last weekend) bought the remaining EU4 expansions that had not already owned… and played.

The tenth expansion for Europa Unviersalis IV

Indeed. I’ve been stewing on EU4 for a while. Turning it down outright during sales and other opportunities to buy at discounted price. As shocking as the summation monetary figure is in the steam link above, price was and has never really been an impediment for picking up Paradox titles – although sales are definitely a huge motivating factor, of course.

No. The timing just never felt right for me to take the Europa plunge (And, to an extent, the timing never felt right for most games this past winter season). But, I’ve crawled out of the hole. I’m feeling increasingly rejuvenated and interested in playing video games again — not just playing, but also learning how to play. What better way to experience both at the same time than with EU4?

Yes. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I feel like my hero’s journey has brought me home. It feels great to be up to my friggin eyeballs in a Paradox game. Where once all the EU4 expansions and content scared me off, I now embrace it tightly, smooshing my face in and motorboating the game’s generous offerings.

What are you motorboating this weekend?

[2 Minute Review] Time Hollow

What do you get if you lock Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk and Trace Memory in a room with a Barry White CD playing?

This kid will have a lot of questions when he’s older…

DO: A lot of reading, cause time paradoxes and get really confused… in a good way.

TYPE: Point & Click adventure game.

PLATFORM: DS

PRICE: $29.99

MEAT: If you’ve played an Ace Attorney game or Hotel Dusk: Room 215, you’ll be right at home with Time Hollow. The game plays like a combination of an interactive novel and an old Lucasarts/Sierra point & click adventure, with inventory management and conversation trees galore. Thankfully, it’s all done in a clean, simple way with minimal backtracking and plenty of hooks to move the story along.

Time Hollow deals with your character, Ethan Kairos, who wakes the day of his 17th birthday to find that everything in his life doesn’t seem right. His parents, who were just having dinner with him the night before, have now been missing for 12 years. Friends go missing for days despite Ethan having just talked to them moments earlier. Am I hurting your brain? Don’t worry. It all makes a lot more sense in the game proper and a large part of the game’s plot involves trying to unravel the cause of these paradoxes.

That’s where the Hollow Pen comes into play. Ethan uses this device to ‘dig’ into the past and find clues to the unraveling chronosphere around him.

PERKS: The production values on Time Hollow are VERY impressive for a DS game and that, plus the excellent translation from the original Japanese, make it a must-own game for fans of the waning point & click adventure genre. I was quite impressed with the number of animated (and fully voiced) cutscenes in the game as well.

VERDICT: Buy. If you’ve enjoyed the Ace Attorney games and want something with a little more actual gameplay and a more serious storyline (and time travel!) or are a fan of point & click adventure games in general, run, don’t walk, to the store to get this game. You won’t be sorry…