Why Crusader Kings II is the GOTY, And Why You're All A**holes

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Posted by Atlas (2454 posts) -

Fact. Crusader Kings II is the best game of 2012.

FACT.

Alright, it's an opinion, and one that I cannot 100% support until I have played more of the acclaimed games released this year. Many would say that one could not crown a game as the best of the year until they have played The Walking Dead, and while I have not yet played Telltale's zombie magnum opus, I own it and it's probably the game I'll play next.

But you know what I say? I say that no one can crown a game as the best of the year until they've put at least...let's say 30 hours into Crusader Kings II.

Also on the list of games I own but have yet to play are The Darkness II, Darksiders 2, and Mark of the Ninja. I have played enough Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 to know that those are both good games - TL2 is actually very good. I have beaten XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and I am very close to beating Dishonored; XCOM is pretty amazing, and Dishonored is good but hasn't quite hooked me as much as a GOTY candidate should. Journey is probably the most magical experience I have ever had with a game, but it being 90 minutes long holds back its GOTY potential. Civilization 5: Gods & Kings is an excellent expansion to a phenomenal game, and has consumed almost as much of my gaming this year as CKII has, but one cannot in good conscience endorse an expansion pack as one's GOTY.

But fuck all those games because Crusader Kings II.

There are plenty of games from 2012 that I will almost certainly play at one point, but have not gotten around to: this list includes Sleeping Dogs, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, Forza Horizon, Far Cry 3, and maybe Assassin's Creed III, if I ever get around to playing Brotherhood and maybe Revelations. I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I'll probably never played Diablo III, and Halo is not a series I am into at all, and I never played either of the games that preceded Max Payne 3.

So in hindsight I didn't actually play that many games in 2012, or at least games that were released in 2012. Why? Because I was playing Crusader Kings II.

Because Crusader Kings 2, as a video game, is nearly perfect.

CKII is a remarkable refinement of the grand strategy game that Paradox has been making for years, and it's one of the best designed games of this entire generation. It was my first experience with the Paradox grand strategy games, and the excellent quick look earlier this year led by Dave Snider, combined with my love of strategy games and my interest in history, was what led me to pick it up - it's just one of many reasons for me to be thankful for the existence of the Snide One.

CKII is a game that is purely mechanical, but creates drama and narrative purely through said mechanics, which it achieves by focusing the game on characters, not countries. EUIII felt pretty sterile and tame, the same problem with the Civilization games. The Total War games do an admirable job of making the experience more personal and character driven, but CKII absolutely nailed it. CKII is a great generator of anecdotes, and many people that I know, regardless of their level of interest in games or history, were regaled with the adventures of my digital Medieval dynastic avatar.

Probably my best story is when I started a game as the Duke of Austria, and I controlled one little holding in the Holy Roman Empire. Through political marriages and effective manoeuvring I earned enough prestige for one of my rulers to be named Holy Roman Emperor. My dynasty's claim on the HRE lasted for only 15 years, but during that reign I was able to create for my dynasty the hereditary titles of King of Germany and King of Italy, and I was able to use the claim I had earned to conquer the Kingdom of Hungary and include it within the vassal lands of the HRE. Thus, when my dynasty imploded and I lost the Imperial crown, my heirs still inherited the titles of three major kingdoms. Successful crusades then led the Pope to grant to my dynasty the kingdoms of Sicily, Frisia, and France, thereby making my dynasty the holders of six major European kingdoms. With Spain in the hands of the Muslims, the only Catholic ruled kingdoms in Europe that did not bow to me were the Scandinavian countries, England, and Poland. At that point, I still wasn't Holy Roman Emperor, but I was so powerful that if I wanted to revolt, gaining independence would be a trivial matter; I did successfully revolt against the Emperor to lower the crown authority in the realm. Invading Mongols and threats from the Levant led me to the decision that it was probably better if our lands remained united, but we ruled from our original holding in Austria, controlling six kingdoms, safe in the knowledge that the HRE existed because we allowed it.

Crusader Kings II is a very deep and intensively crafted game, and the detail in presenting a historically accurate world for you to start in is pretty damn cool, especially since the game does a great job of drawing you into the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. I'm an atheist but I'm tolerant of other people's religions; CKII turns me into the most zealous champion of my faith - be it Christianity or, thanks to DLC, Islam - hell-bent on crushing all those who pray to false gods.

Another great aspect of the game is that it starts in a very historically accurate base, and just devolves into complete anachronistic chaos where the Pope is a Muslim, Ireland is ruled by the French, and Jerusalem is controlled by a Russian. It kinda undoes all of the game's historical accuracy, but it's also beautiful to behold, especially since it can go in so many different ways - in one game, Spain and France can be ruled mostly by Muslims and the Byzantine Empire is having a rough time of things, and in another the French can rule Spain and into North Africa while the Byzantines rule the entire Middle East. But they bring some great historical accuracy into the game by forcefully including events like the Mongol Horde arriving in the mid-1200s, which will happen regardless of how the rest of the world looks; if the Russian duchies are united and the Persian and Byzantine Empires are strong, then the Horde will have a tougher go of it, but if Russia is disunited and the Muslims are wrought by civil war, then wave goodbye to pretty much all of Eastern Europe, as well as the Persian Empire.

It's such a knife-edge experience: despite how annoying it can be, one of the most engaging parts of the whole game is building up a huge kingdom with your super badass ruler with high stats and great traits...only to see it all crumble into rebellion and invasion when his incompetent, arbitrary, gluttonous, harelipped son takes the throne. This is a historical reality that CKII captures perfectly; in the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell destroyed an entire monarchy and made sweeping changes to the culture and politics of Great Britain, one of the world's major powers, and in just one generation, all his work was undone. His son, Richard, could not match the energy or ruthlessness of his father, and there was no effective base for him to retain the power that his father had earned, so the monarchy was restored. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, and Charles II was crowned in 1660. Two years, that's all it took for Cromwell's power to crumble. And that's exactly what can happen to you in CKII if you are careless - although the reality is that almost all players, including myself, simply say "fuck this shit" and reload. Same when your character just randomly dies in battle. I'm not sure if the game would be better if it actually forced you to live with the consequence of all these random events, because that would be pretty ballsy but quite infuriating - it would make Dark Souls look like a cakewalk.

Yes, the game requires a certain investment of time in order to figure out and become comfortable with its mechanics, but I think this part of it is probably overstated. Yes, my passion for this game is probably strongly effected by my interest in history - playing CKII has led me to many, many Wikipedia articles, and through personal reading inspired by the game I have learnt more history than I did from pretty much any history teacher I ever had. Yes, it's a niche genre, but the Total War games experience a certain amount of wider acclaim; it helps that those games actually contain real-time battles, whereas combat in CKII is click to send army to fight other army and then watch as meters drain.

I understand that all of these caveats are why almost nobody is championing Crusader Kings II as the game of the year, not against the frontrunners like The Walking Dead, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, and, according to the recent reviews, Far Cry 3. But it's very important for us all to realise that the game of the year as a concept is entirely subjective and extremely limited. We often defer to the enthusiast gaming press as they play more games than pretty much any of us can manage, with the time restraints of work, social life, and other interests - I could have played more games in 2012, but that would have meant I'd have read far fewer books, and my having read more than 10 books in 2012 is a great personal achievement, since I probably read 10 books between the years 2006 and 2009 combined. Still, even games journalists can't possibly play every significant game that comes out in a calendar year; such an expectation is ridiculous.

Our minds should be open to the possibility that the "real" game of the year is a game that you missed, one that flew under the radar, one that didn't quite catch your attention, one that was even more indie than the games that are being championed as indie darlings in this year's GOTY consideration. Mass Effect 1 is a game I didn't play until early 2009, and only when I beat it did I realise that it could stand up with The Orange Box and Forza 2 and Eternal Sonata as one of the GOTY runners-up for 2007 - nothing beats BioShock that year. Mount&Blade: Warband would be very high on my 2010 GOTY list if I hadn't played it in 2011; same goes for Total War: Shogun 2 being one of the best games of 2011, but me not having played it until earlier this year.

So let's all remember when we champion our games of the year, it comes with a large asterisk. It's the best game that we played that year, and there is no rule that states that once a game is crowned, it holds that title forever; since 2007, all of my games of the year have been games I played in their year of release, but my mind is very open to the possibility of this happening in the future. There are so many games that we game enthusiasts get exposed to but never play, for various reasons, and somewhere in the world somebody is championing that game as the game of the year. There are people in this world who if I asked their game of the year, they'll respond with the name of a game I've never even heard of. Of this I am sure.

You might have not played Crusader Kings II in 2012, and if you did, there's a good chance that you could be turned away by the awful tutorials and the learning curve, and even if you overcame those you still might not like the game's mechanics. Crusader Kings II is almost certainly not your game of the year: as far as I'm concerned, that is your fault, not the game's fault. If you haven't played Crusader Kings II, you cannot call yourself a gamer, and if you played it but didn't care for it, then you need to have a good long look at who you are as a human being.

So what I'm saying is that you guys are assholes. You hereby have my permission to go fuck yourselves.

*drops the mic and walks away*

#1 Posted by Atlas (2454 posts) -

Fact. Crusader Kings II is the best game of 2012.

FACT.

Alright, it's an opinion, and one that I cannot 100% support until I have played more of the acclaimed games released this year. Many would say that one could not crown a game as the best of the year until they have played The Walking Dead, and while I have not yet played Telltale's zombie magnum opus, I own it and it's probably the game I'll play next.

But you know what I say? I say that no one can crown a game as the best of the year until they've put at least...let's say 30 hours into Crusader Kings II.

Also on the list of games I own but have yet to play are The Darkness II, Darksiders 2, and Mark of the Ninja. I have played enough Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 to know that those are both good games - TL2 is actually very good. I have beaten XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and I am very close to beating Dishonored; XCOM is pretty amazing, and Dishonored is good but hasn't quite hooked me as much as a GOTY candidate should. Journey is probably the most magical experience I have ever had with a game, but it being 90 minutes long holds back its GOTY potential. Civilization 5: Gods & Kings is an excellent expansion to a phenomenal game, and has consumed almost as much of my gaming this year as CKII has, but one cannot in good conscience endorse an expansion pack as one's GOTY.

But fuck all those games because Crusader Kings II.

There are plenty of games from 2012 that I will almost certainly play at one point, but have not gotten around to: this list includes Sleeping Dogs, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, Forza Horizon, Far Cry 3, and maybe Assassin's Creed III, if I ever get around to playing Brotherhood and maybe Revelations. I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I'll probably never played Diablo III, and Halo is not a series I am into at all, and I never played either of the games that preceded Max Payne 3.

So in hindsight I didn't actually play that many games in 2012, or at least games that were released in 2012. Why? Because I was playing Crusader Kings II.

Because Crusader Kings 2, as a video game, is nearly perfect.

CKII is a remarkable refinement of the grand strategy game that Paradox has been making for years, and it's one of the best designed games of this entire generation. It was my first experience with the Paradox grand strategy games, and the excellent quick look earlier this year led by Dave Snider, combined with my love of strategy games and my interest in history, was what led me to pick it up - it's just one of many reasons for me to be thankful for the existence of the Snide One.

CKII is a game that is purely mechanical, but creates drama and narrative purely through said mechanics, which it achieves by focusing the game on characters, not countries. EUIII felt pretty sterile and tame, the same problem with the Civilization games. The Total War games do an admirable job of making the experience more personal and character driven, but CKII absolutely nailed it. CKII is a great generator of anecdotes, and many people that I know, regardless of their level of interest in games or history, were regaled with the adventures of my digital Medieval dynastic avatar.

Probably my best story is when I started a game as the Duke of Austria, and I controlled one little holding in the Holy Roman Empire. Through political marriages and effective manoeuvring I earned enough prestige for one of my rulers to be named Holy Roman Emperor. My dynasty's claim on the HRE lasted for only 15 years, but during that reign I was able to create for my dynasty the hereditary titles of King of Germany and King of Italy, and I was able to use the claim I had earned to conquer the Kingdom of Hungary and include it within the vassal lands of the HRE. Thus, when my dynasty imploded and I lost the Imperial crown, my heirs still inherited the titles of three major kingdoms. Successful crusades then led the Pope to grant to my dynasty the kingdoms of Sicily, Frisia, and France, thereby making my dynasty the holders of six major European kingdoms. With Spain in the hands of the Muslims, the only Catholic ruled kingdoms in Europe that did not bow to me were the Scandinavian countries, England, and Poland. At that point, I still wasn't Holy Roman Emperor, but I was so powerful that if I wanted to revolt, gaining independence would be a trivial matter; I did successfully revolt against the Emperor to lower the crown authority in the realm. Invading Mongols and threats from the Levant led me to the decision that it was probably better if our lands remained united, but we ruled from our original holding in Austria, controlling six kingdoms, safe in the knowledge that the HRE existed because we allowed it.

Crusader Kings II is a very deep and intensively crafted game, and the detail in presenting a historically accurate world for you to start in is pretty damn cool, especially since the game does a great job of drawing you into the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. I'm an atheist but I'm tolerant of other people's religions; CKII turns me into the most zealous champion of my faith - be it Christianity or, thanks to DLC, Islam - hell-bent on crushing all those who pray to false gods.

Another great aspect of the game is that it starts in a very historically accurate base, and just devolves into complete anachronistic chaos where the Pope is a Muslim, Ireland is ruled by the French, and Jerusalem is controlled by a Russian. It kinda undoes all of the game's historical accuracy, but it's also beautiful to behold, especially since it can go in so many different ways - in one game, Spain and France can be ruled mostly by Muslims and the Byzantine Empire is having a rough time of things, and in another the French can rule Spain and into North Africa while the Byzantines rule the entire Middle East. But they bring some great historical accuracy into the game by forcefully including events like the Mongol Horde arriving in the mid-1200s, which will happen regardless of how the rest of the world looks; if the Russian duchies are united and the Persian and Byzantine Empires are strong, then the Horde will have a tougher go of it, but if Russia is disunited and the Muslims are wrought by civil war, then wave goodbye to pretty much all of Eastern Europe, as well as the Persian Empire.

It's such a knife-edge experience: despite how annoying it can be, one of the most engaging parts of the whole game is building up a huge kingdom with your super badass ruler with high stats and great traits...only to see it all crumble into rebellion and invasion when his incompetent, arbitrary, gluttonous, harelipped son takes the throne. This is a historical reality that CKII captures perfectly; in the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell destroyed an entire monarchy and made sweeping changes to the culture and politics of Great Britain, one of the world's major powers, and in just one generation, all his work was undone. His son, Richard, could not match the energy or ruthlessness of his father, and there was no effective base for him to retain the power that his father had earned, so the monarchy was restored. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, and Charles II was crowned in 1660. Two years, that's all it took for Cromwell's power to crumble. And that's exactly what can happen to you in CKII if you are careless - although the reality is that almost all players, including myself, simply say "fuck this shit" and reload. Same when your character just randomly dies in battle. I'm not sure if the game would be better if it actually forced you to live with the consequence of all these random events, because that would be pretty ballsy but quite infuriating - it would make Dark Souls look like a cakewalk.

Yes, the game requires a certain investment of time in order to figure out and become comfortable with its mechanics, but I think this part of it is probably overstated. Yes, my passion for this game is probably strongly effected by my interest in history - playing CKII has led me to many, many Wikipedia articles, and through personal reading inspired by the game I have learnt more history than I did from pretty much any history teacher I ever had. Yes, it's a niche genre, but the Total War games experience a certain amount of wider acclaim; it helps that those games actually contain real-time battles, whereas combat in CKII is click to send army to fight other army and then watch as meters drain.

I understand that all of these caveats are why almost nobody is championing Crusader Kings II as the game of the year, not against the frontrunners like The Walking Dead, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, and, according to the recent reviews, Far Cry 3. But it's very important for us all to realise that the game of the year as a concept is entirely subjective and extremely limited. We often defer to the enthusiast gaming press as they play more games than pretty much any of us can manage, with the time restraints of work, social life, and other interests - I could have played more games in 2012, but that would have meant I'd have read far fewer books, and my having read more than 10 books in 2012 is a great personal achievement, since I probably read 10 books between the years 2006 and 2009 combined. Still, even games journalists can't possibly play every significant game that comes out in a calendar year; such an expectation is ridiculous.

Our minds should be open to the possibility that the "real" game of the year is a game that you missed, one that flew under the radar, one that didn't quite catch your attention, one that was even more indie than the games that are being championed as indie darlings in this year's GOTY consideration. Mass Effect 1 is a game I didn't play until early 2009, and only when I beat it did I realise that it could stand up with The Orange Box and Forza 2 and Eternal Sonata as one of the GOTY runners-up for 2007 - nothing beats BioShock that year. Mount&Blade: Warband would be very high on my 2010 GOTY list if I hadn't played it in 2011; same goes for Total War: Shogun 2 being one of the best games of 2011, but me not having played it until earlier this year.

So let's all remember when we champion our games of the year, it comes with a large asterisk. It's the best game that we played that year, and there is no rule that states that once a game is crowned, it holds that title forever; since 2007, all of my games of the year have been games I played in their year of release, but my mind is very open to the possibility of this happening in the future. There are so many games that we game enthusiasts get exposed to but never play, for various reasons, and somewhere in the world somebody is championing that game as the game of the year. There are people in this world who if I asked their game of the year, they'll respond with the name of a game I've never even heard of. Of this I am sure.

You might have not played Crusader Kings II in 2012, and if you did, there's a good chance that you could be turned away by the awful tutorials and the learning curve, and even if you overcame those you still might not like the game's mechanics. Crusader Kings II is almost certainly not your game of the year: as far as I'm concerned, that is your fault, not the game's fault. If you haven't played Crusader Kings II, you cannot call yourself a gamer, and if you played it but didn't care for it, then you need to have a good long look at who you are as a human being.

So what I'm saying is that you guys are assholes. You hereby have my permission to go fuck yourselves.

*drops the mic and walks away*

#2 Posted by Faltru (113 posts) -

Yeah it's a pretty good game.

#3 Edited by Sumbog (491 posts) -

@Atlas: Hell ya! This game does not get the attention it deserves, my game of the year for sure. This is the only game that has had me laying in bed at night thinking of my next conquests and where to take my dynasty. From my very first campaign conquering all of Hispania as the King of Castile, to my reuniting of the Roman empire as the Count of Parma, I have been hooked. I would have to say it has to be one of my top 10 games of all time, spending over 250 hours in it since July. Once you understand the systems, it is just a shit ton of fun. I'm glad I'm not the only crazy person.

As well the game totally makes the history geek in me jump for joy. For example I have a Habsburg campaign going, trying to recreate that great house (incest and all). The ruler designer comes in handy with that sort of stuff- like creating the House of Orange-Nassau as the Dukes of the Netherlands.

#4 Posted by TheSilentGod (140 posts) -

Fantastic and passionate argument for crusader kings. I am playing through it atm, am nearing the 40 hour mark and feel like I have only just scratched the surface. It is a fantastic game that I have to say is superior to my previous favourite Paradox release, Europa Universalis 2. Its great to see someone giving it due regard.

#5 Posted by FourWude (2261 posts) -

Nope, you're wrong.

#6 Posted by darkvare (771 posts) -

i'll admit to the fact that i'm an asshole but nothing else

#7 Posted by Breadfan (6590 posts) -

Man, I've really been wanting to get Crusader Kings 2, but it just seems so daunting. I got Europa 3 and tried at that for a few hours, but I just could not get a grasp what exactly I was supposed to be doing. Someone please guide my strategy game ignorance here, I would really love to get into this series.

#8 Posted by Spoonman671 (4700 posts) -

Where do you guys find the time to write this much?

#9 Posted by Trilogy (2675 posts) -

Nah.

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

This sounds like a thread would make.

#11 Posted by Nightriff (5156 posts) -

Journey, Asura's Wrath, Walking Dead, and Binary Domain are the GotY contenders.

Yup I am an asshole.

#12 Posted by Sackmanjones (4742 posts) -

These are not facts

#13 Edited by gaminghooligan (1465 posts) -

CK2 is having an epic battle with Walking Dead for my GOTY. One has an amazing emotional experience that is open but a little linear, while CK2 drops me in and says: "Here you go brother, make your own story and consequences." CK2 is just so different, it's like the sims and grand strategy had a love child and swaddled the babe in a history book. One second I'm the King of Ireland sailing with my retinue to the holy land to join the crusades, when I receive note that my sister has killed my son and heir. Suddenly my priorities shift to revenge, but as all things in the game this is a decision left solely to the player, and only the player takes the ramifications of the action. Add in the AMAZING and reasonably priced DLC and you have the makings of a game I'll be playing for a long long time. It seems like the game would take ages to master, but to learn I recommend playing a game using cheats and just going to town learning the systems. Also if you care about the song of ice and fire books at all the GoT mod is must play. I rose to the position of hand of the Iron Throne as a Clegane.

TL/DR This game is amazing, get the demo and try it, and if you like it get the DLCs and Game of Thrones mod.

#14 Edited by EquitasInvictus (2036 posts) -

I will agree that Crusader Kings II is indeed an awesome strategy game, and potentially the best strategy game of the year (haven't played XCOM, yet, so I will concede that I can't even say that definitively), but I don't think even the strongest argument for the game could make it a "universal" GotY. Even as a huge fan of all types of strategy games myself, I understand that it's a genre that's too niche to have a profound enough impact on the whole of gaming to a type of GotY candidate. When I imagine a GotY, it has to be a game with enough impact and reach to affect the greater fraction of gamers than to meet an ideal for a subset minority of all gamers.

That being said, I cannot agree with CK2 as GotY.

EDIT: Not that I'm opposed to the idea of strategy games being GotY. It's just that for a strategy game to make it that far I think that it should be a kind of game that everyone has to play for one reason or another even outside of the general audience of those interested in strategy, and I don't think CK2's appeal breaks the boundary of its intended audience.

#15 Posted by TheHT (11526 posts) -

I'm genuinely happy for you that you've got a game there that completely knocks your socks off, but I don't appreciate being called an asshole. :(

#16 Posted by Demoskinos (15019 posts) -

No

#17 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@TheHT said:

I'm genuinely happy for you that you've got a game there that completely knocks your socks off, but I don't appreciate being called an asshole. :(

He didn't call us assholes. He called us a**holes.

#18 Posted by ThePickle (4186 posts) -

I really enjoyed Victoria II. I'll probably dip into CKII over the break. It's sad to see it get zero attention from the core group. They have these great PCs, why not give an actual PC game a shot?

#19 Posted by NegativeCero (3014 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@TheHT said:

I'm genuinely happy for you that you've got a game there that completely knocks your socks off, but I don't appreciate being called an asshole. :(

He didn't call us assholes. He called us a**holes.

Not until the end, at least.

I would've loved to play this game and actually bought it, only to find that I couldn't run it on my MBP.

#20 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Mark of the Ninja is easily the best game if the year. Say otherwise and I'll slice you, ninja-style.

#21 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Of dumb iPhone game

#22 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

This sounds like a thread would make.

That's ridiculous.

I would never play Crusader Kings II.

#23 Posted by pweidman (2342 posts) -

Sorry tc this one flew under my radar.

D3 and Torchlight 2 stole my pc games attention this year. Anyone at the site play this? Sounds like something Dave would play.

#24 Edited by Zajtalan (1163 posts) -

wow not even a screenshot, too much text

#25 Posted by deox (226 posts) -

GOTY is it not... but I won't argue the fact that Crusader Kings 2 is a fantastic game. I love it.

#26 Posted by Breadfan (6590 posts) -
@Zajtalan said:

wow not even a screenshot, too much text

How appropriate for a game like Crusader Kings.
#27 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3067 posts) -

Always be assholes. XCOM for GOTY.

#28 Posted by VisariLoyalist (2995 posts) -

I want to be able to play a game as deep and interesting as this but I'm just terribly impatient with games. I can't be bothered to learn the various nuances to how the mechanics work. I suppose it's a symptom of spending so much time playing fps game which are just twitch games. I like chess though, so there's that.

#29 Posted by VisariLoyalist (2995 posts) -

@pweidman said:

Sorry tc this one flew under my radar.

D3 and Torchlight 2 stole my pc games attention this year. Anyone at the site play this? Sounds like something Dave would play.

he did a quick look of it actually

#30 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Wait, why am I an asshole again? I'm confused.

#31 Posted by Inkerman (1452 posts) -

CKII is sitting in my steam library, as yet unplayed, having played HOI3, could you offer a comparison? I never played any of the Europas.

#32 Posted by Aronman789 (2682 posts) -

@Inkerman: Out of Paradox games, CK2 is the easiest to learn and most user-friendly, and HOI's learning curve is batshit crazy compared to it, and pretty much everything else actually.

#33 Posted by beard_of_zeus (1698 posts) -

You catch more flies with honey than condescension. I think that's how that saying goes.

Maybe you're trying to be funny by being a faux-jerk, but I'm not sure how many people are going to be willing to read what you wrote and discuss the game in question when you take a tone like that (especially right off the beat in the title). Just some constructive criticism.

On the other hand, maybe I haven't been on the internet long enough and this is the norm when it comes to conversing with others and/or my soul hasn't been deadened enough to emotions yet. In that case, be nicer internet!!!

On topic, maybe this is a great game, but I don't think I could ever get into it, it's just too mechanically dense and complicated. And the pure mechanics seem to be all it has on offer. Maybe a story could fall out of the mechanics in each playthrough, but I don't think that's enough for me.

XCOM (which I super enjoyed), or Civ, or something like an Advance Wars/Fire Emblem is probably my limit when it comes to strategy-type games.

#34 Posted by envane (1164 posts) -

@Atlas said:

It was my first experience with the Paradox grand strategy games,

EUIII felt pretty sterile and tame.

sooo did you play eu aftwerwards ? if so then of course it felt sterile , they had 3 games between that and crusader kings to improve the same engine. sorry to nitpick but this just leads me to believe youve only played the most recent paradox game and just threw in eu3 as a mention.

while i loved crusader kings II for its focus on your own dynasty as opposed to a single country , i felt it was quite lacking in the larger scale conquest and empire management that EU , Hearts of iron , or Victoria bring to the table .. if anything that it devolved from the "grand strategy" and down to a smaller level of people management .. not that it wasnt fun etc , just as someone who owns basicly every single paradox strategy game (and mod) .. i guess im too jaded to accept this crazy notion that crusader kings 2 is anything else but another fine game in a fine stable of strategy games , and if anything they need to flesh out their existing games more rather than relying on the mod community etc ..

but i guess it takes more ppl like you to give these games the attention they deserve .. im really excited for rome total war 2 but already have certain level of disappointment because i know its not gonna be anything like the paradox games :/

#35 Posted by cruxking (204 posts) -

Damn dude. If I cared that much about anything I think I'd have a heart attack. I mean, I love games. And I really fucking love certain games. But when a game makes no effort at all to make itself user friendly, I always understand when people don't want to bother with it. Not to say I think all games should try to be super easy, quite the opposite in fact. But as much as I like stuff like mount and blade, or hotline miami, or dark souls I still understand that games like that aren't for all gamers. And frankly i don't like being talked down to if I haven't played "Game X". So in conclusion, you're an asshole.

Cheers.

#36 Posted by Animasta (14713 posts) -

he's totally right btw!

in what other game can you spread the magnificence of the gerstmann dynasty

(to be fair I am only ireland and scotland)

the portuguese arm of the dynasty are jerks

#37 Edited by JudgeDread (572 posts) -

Fact: this game is so fucking buggy that I could not get past the tutorial with it locking up and not allowing me to progress further.

So no, this is not game of the year, it is a buggy heap of shit.

#38 Posted by Animasta (14713 posts) -

@JudgeDread said:

Fact: this game is so fucking buggy that I could not get past the tutorial with it locking up and not allowing me to progress further.

So no, this is not game of the year, it is a buggy heap of shit.

the tutorial is bunk anyway and I have had 3 crashes that did not involve mods in nearly 300 hours so no its really not

#39 Posted by Atlas (2454 posts) -

OK, here's the problem: I wrote this with the belief that nobody would read it, it was just me trying something different. I don't tend to write blogs in a particularly pugnacious or insulting manner, it's just that I feel very strongly about this game (unless you couldn't tell) and I wrote this at a time when there are a LOT of GOTY discussion threads, which I would browse through and notice how few people were talking about this game. It's not that I'm butt-hurt about it not getting enough recognition - I'm willing to acknowledge it's niche appeal and steep learning curve - but I just feel that it's a shame that more people didn't give the game a chance and weren't able to engage in its systems. I also was trying to make a point about the GOTY process in general: the very fact that CKII is a strategy game with no real competitive multiplayer and no narrative except the one created by the player within the mechanics, means that it was never going to be seen as a GOTY contender, even by people who did enjoy the game. Towards the end of the post, I try to make what I thought was a fairly salient point about the notion of GOTY, but that probably got lost in my insults and my screed.

Now that this blog has a bunch of comments, I feel pretty bad about how I wrote that piece. I do think that there are serious points that are undermined by both the title and the final couple of paragraphs. I love you all, really. I'm not mad that CKII won't be GOTY; on this site, I never expected it to be. If I wanted to hang out with people who love this game as much as I do, I'd have written something on the Paradox forums.

But this is a larger issue about content on the internet: if I hadn't used a very incendiary and controversial title and tone, how many of you would actually have read this blog post? As I mentioned, this is my first attempt to write a blog post in this style, and it also just happens to be the blog post I've written that has by far and away the most comments. In classic internet style, being a dickhead got me more attention. And I now feel really crappy about that.

#40 Edited by L44 (566 posts) -

@Atlas said:

if I hadn't used a very incendiary and controversial title and tone, how many of you would actually have read this blog post?

You've got me, it is a great game though.

#41 Posted by granderojo (1792 posts) -

I have played Crusaders Kings 2 and no, it's not as good as you say it is. This is coming from someone who dropped a few hundred hours into Victoria II and loves history/is a poli sci major.

This isn't Paradox's fault either, it's completely competent and the most polished game they've ever made. The feudal time period as a focus just is not interesting from a political point of view to me, and the politics are why I play paradox games. Had the same problem but to a much greater extent with EUIII.

#42 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

But it's not my fault, I'm too stupid to understand all the mechanics and concepts.

#43 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1273 posts) -

@Atlas said:

Fact. Crusader Kings II is the best game of 2012.

FACT.

So what I'm saying is that you guys are assholes. You hereby have my permission to go fuck yourselves.

*drops the mic and walks away*

WHAAT?!? Well you're an asshole, asshole!!! How rude.

But seriously, for such a thoughtful and rather humble perspective your introductory overview of your 2012 is actually pretty damn impressive. It probably also helps that I can personally relate to a lot of buying decisions and favorites but still. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your argument for CKII, I did enjoy the QL a whole lot as well and I'm going to get around to the game eventually but sadly not in 2012. My Paradox-published game of the year will have to be Warlock - Master of the Arcane for now. And I'll sink some serious time into "Gods & Kings" before I'll end up buying CKII. TL2 just devouring gaming time in insane chunks didn't help either of course.

@Atlas said:

So let's all remember when we champion our games of the year, it comes with a large asterisk. It's the best game that we played that year, and there is no rule that states that once a game is crowned, it holds that title forever; since 2007, all of my games of the year have been games I played in their year of release, but my mind is very open to the possibility of this happening in the future. There are so many games that we game enthusiasts get exposed to but never play, for various reasons, and somewhere in the world somebody is championing that game as the game of the year. There are people in this world who if I asked their game of the year, they'll respond with the name of a game I've never even heard of. Of this I am sure.

Very well said because it's extremely easy to forget this concept time and time again even one does understand the general thought behind it. I'm often in this position as I go deep into games when I really enjoy them and everything I play alone at home - like reading a good book - is on PC so that "hardcore" gamer thing where one 'obviously' has every system in existence and plays five minutes of 'everything' is the exact opposite of my approach. That being said my GOTY based on my experience and information as of late 2012 will comfortably be XCOM. The slightly lower tiers will be were it'll get muddy and I still require some more introspection before I come to a conclusion.

Anyway, fantastic piece and a real pleasure to read!

#44 Posted by Cretaceous_Bob (522 posts) -

Where CK2 broke down for me is the more power you got the longer you spent dealing with the endless barrage of traitors and plotters, making you eventually wish you were just a fucking count again.

#45 Edited by Atlas (2454 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

But it's not my fault, I'm too stupid to understand all the mechanics and concepts.

Dude, I'll accept a certain amount of criticism for my approach to this write-up, because I probably deserve it. But at no point did I say that people didn't get into CKII because they were too stupid for it. Please do not think I was implying this. All I was saying is CKII is one of those games that requires a time investment and has a learning curve, but it gets less attention than other obtuse niche titles and as such not enough people made the investment, relative to the quality of the game, as far as I'm concerned. Dark Souls was obtuse - almost deliberately so - but was still an action game. Starcraft II requires a time investment, but it has the competitive multiplayer hook, and had a singleplayer game with a proper narrative. MOBAs went from being an extremely niche genre to being something that pretty much everyone knows about, and LoL and DotA 2 get lots of coverage on gaming sites.

CKII is not the most complex and mechanically dense game in the world. It's not like Dwarf Fortress where Dave needed to buy a goddamn book in order to work out how to play it. It's just that the tutorials are terrible and the game does a poor job of easing the player into the experience. In a lot of ways, Civilization 5 is more mechanically dense than CKII, but because Civ 5 did a much better job of conveying its systems, and because it's a game from an established and renowned developer, it got much more attention, whereas the actual games are, in my opinion, of comparable quality.

@Cretaceous_Bob said:

Where CK2 broke down for me is the more power you got the longer you spent dealing with the endless barrage of traitors and plotters, making you eventually wish you were just a fucking count again.

Nobody said that being a king would be easy. But being a king also means you potentially have the resources to deal with these issues. You have a larger income and thus can afford to hire mercenaries, and if you plan your steps well you can prevent these revolts. And if worse comes to worse...just hire some assassins to eliminate your most troublesome vassals.

@Baal_Sagoth: Thanks for reading, and for your kind words.

I'm exactly the same way when it comes to how I play games. I have bought many games during the year that I haven't even touched because I have that sort of personality; unless a game really doesn't click with me, or seems kinda bad, I tend to play for at least a few hours once I've started it. I don't have the mentality of "well, I'll play this for 30 minutes and see how it goes". Besides, that usually means you just end up playing the tutorial and getting a very basic sense of the mechanics. Remember when Brad was feeling underwhelmed by Dishonored, then came back next week and said that was because he hadn't even unlocked any powers during his playtime? He can't have put more than an hour into that game, and you really don't see much of that game in that time. Dishonored is a specific case, and I'm certainly not hating on Brad, but it's a fundamental issue with the buffet style of game consumption.

I bought Warlock - Master of the Arcane when it was on sale earlier this year but have yet to try it. It sounds neat, though. I did play a lot of God & Kings, and I need to play more Torchlight 2; I played an embermage for about 10 hours and really liked it.

#46 Posted by Tennmuerti (8141 posts) -

@Atlas: This topic actually convinced me to give Crusader Kings 2 a try (if it goes on a steam sale most likely), now that the major game releases are done and i'll likely have a whole month with little to play.

Warlock: MoA is cool for a little bit. But it's kind of limited in scope, once you've seen all the factions, that's pretty much it. Playing vs. AI gets repetitive fast (hardest difficulty setting isn't all that). And there are no preset scenarios or mp (at least there wasn't on release) so skirmish vs. AI was the only thing you could do in it. The games are much smaller in scope and go by way faster then Civ 5 games. It's neat if you were into the Majesty series as the units are taken from there as well as the tone for the descriptions.

#47 Posted by SharkEthic (1057 posts) -

Asshole? How dare you, sir! If Crusader Kings 2 didn't scare the shit out of me I'm sure I'd agree, but it does so I don't!

#48 Posted by twigger89 (278 posts) -

@Atlas said:

Fact. Crusader Kings II is the best game of 2012.

FACT.

Alright, it's an opinion, and one that I cannot 100% support until I have played more of the acclaimed games released this year. Many would say that one could not crown a game as the best of the year until they have played The Walking Dead, and while I have not yet played Telltale's zombie magnum opus, I own it and it's probably the game I'll play next.

But you know what I say? I say that no one can crown a game as the best of the year until they've put at least...let's say 30 hours into Crusader Kings II.

Also on the list of games I own but have yet to play are The Darkness II, Darksiders 2, and Mark of the Ninja. I have played enough Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 to know that those are both good games - TL2 is actually very good. I have beaten XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and I am very close to beating Dishonored; XCOM is pretty amazing, and Dishonored is good but hasn't quite hooked me as much as a GOTY candidate should. Journey is probably the most magical experience I have ever had with a game, but it being 90 minutes long holds back its GOTY potential. Civilization 5: Gods & Kings is an excellent expansion to a phenomenal game, and has consumed almost as much of my gaming this year as CKII has, but one cannot in good conscience endorse an expansion pack as one's GOTY.

But fuck all those games because Crusader Kings II.

There are plenty of games from 2012 that I will almost certainly play at one point, but have not gotten around to: this list includes Sleeping Dogs, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, Forza Horizon, Far Cry 3, and maybe Assassin's Creed III, if I ever get around to playing Brotherhood and maybe Revelations. I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I'll probably never played Diablo III, and Halo is not a series I am into at all, and I never played either of the games that preceded Max Payne 3.

So in hindsight I didn't actually play that many games in 2012, or at least games that were released in 2012. Why? Because I was playing Crusader Kings II.

Because Crusader Kings 2, as a video game, is nearly perfect.

CKII is a remarkable refinement of the grand strategy game that Paradox has been making for years, and it's one of the best designed games of this entire generation. It was my first experience with the Paradox grand strategy games, and the excellent quick look earlier this year led by Dave Snider, combined with my love of strategy games and my interest in history, was what led me to pick it up - it's just one of many reasons for me to be thankful for the existence of the Snide One.

CKII is a game that is purely mechanical, but creates drama and narrative purely through said mechanics, which it achieves by focusing the game on characters, not countries. EUIII felt pretty sterile and tame, the same problem with the Civilization games. The Total War games do an admirable job of making the experience more personal and character driven, but CKII absolutely nailed it. CKII is a great generator of anecdotes, and many people that I know, regardless of their level of interest in games or history, were regaled with the adventures of my digital Medieval dynastic avatar.

Probably my best story is when I started a game as the Duke of Austria, and I controlled one little holding in the Holy Roman Empire. Through political marriages and effective manoeuvring I earned enough prestige for one of my rulers to be named Holy Roman Emperor. My dynasty's claim on the HRE lasted for only 15 years, but during that reign I was able to create for my dynasty the hereditary titles of King of Germany and King of Italy, and I was able to use the claim I had earned to conquer the Kingdom of Hungary and include it within the vassal lands of the HRE. Thus, when my dynasty imploded and I lost the Imperial crown, my heirs still inherited the titles of three major kingdoms. Successful crusades then led the Pope to grant to my dynasty the kingdoms of Sicily, Frisia, and France, thereby making my dynasty the holders of six major European kingdoms. With Spain in the hands of the Muslims, the only Catholic ruled kingdoms in Europe that did not bow to me were the Scandinavian countries, England, and Poland. At that point, I still wasn't Holy Roman Emperor, but I was so powerful that if I wanted to revolt, gaining independence would be a trivial matter; I did successfully revolt against the Emperor to lower the crown authority in the realm. Invading Mongols and threats from the Levant led me to the decision that it was probably better if our lands remained united, but we ruled from our original holding in Austria, controlling six kingdoms, safe in the knowledge that the HRE existed because we allowed it.

Crusader Kings II is a very deep and intensively crafted game, and the detail in presenting a historically accurate world for you to start in is pretty damn cool, especially since the game does a great job of drawing you into the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. I'm an atheist but I'm tolerant of other people's religions; CKII turns me into the most zealous champion of my faith - be it Christianity or, thanks to DLC, Islam - hell-bent on crushing all those who pray to false gods.

Another great aspect of the game is that it starts in a very historically accurate base, and just devolves into complete anachronistic chaos where the Pope is a Muslim, Ireland is ruled by the French, and Jerusalem is controlled by a Russian. It kinda undoes all of the game's historical accuracy, but it's also beautiful to behold, especially since it can go in so many different ways - in one game, Spain and France can be ruled mostly by Muslims and the Byzantine Empire is having a rough time of things, and in another the French can rule Spain and into North Africa while the Byzantines rule the entire Middle East. But they bring some great historical accuracy into the game by forcefully including events like the Mongol Horde arriving in the mid-1200s, which will happen regardless of how the rest of the world looks; if the Russian duchies are united and the Persian and Byzantine Empires are strong, then the Horde will have a tougher go of it, but if Russia is disunited and the Muslims are wrought by civil war, then wave goodbye to pretty much all of Eastern Europe, as well as the Persian Empire.

It's such a knife-edge experience: despite how annoying it can be, one of the most engaging parts of the whole game is building up a huge kingdom with your super badass ruler with high stats and great traits...only to see it all crumble into rebellion and invasion when his incompetent, arbitrary, gluttonous, harelipped son takes the throne. This is a historical reality that CKII captures perfectly; in the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell destroyed an entire monarchy and made sweeping changes to the culture and politics of Great Britain, one of the world's major powers, and in just one generation, all his work was undone. His son, Richard, could not match the energy or ruthlessness of his father, and there was no effective base for him to retain the power that his father had earned, so the monarchy was restored. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, and Charles II was crowned in 1660. Two years, that's all it took for Cromwell's power to crumble. And that's exactly what can happen to you in CKII if you are careless - although the reality is that almost all players, including myself, simply say "fuck this shit" and reload. Same when your character just randomly dies in battle. I'm not sure if the game would be better if it actually forced you to live with the consequence of all these random events, because that would be pretty ballsy but quite infuriating - it would make Dark Souls look like a cakewalk.

Yes, the game requires a certain investment of time in order to figure out and become comfortable with its mechanics, but I think this part of it is probably overstated. Yes, my passion for this game is probably strongly effected by my interest in history - playing CKII has led me to many, many Wikipedia articles, and through personal reading inspired by the game I have learnt more history than I did from pretty much any history teacher I ever had. Yes, it's a niche genre, but the Total War games experience a certain amount of wider acclaim; it helps that those games actually contain real-time battles, whereas combat in CKII is click to send army to fight other army and then watch as meters drain.

I understand that all of these caveats are why almost nobody is championing Crusader Kings II as the game of the year, not against the frontrunners like The Walking Dead, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, and, according to the recent reviews, Far Cry 3. But it's very important for us all to realise that the game of the year as a concept is entirely subjective and extremely limited. We often defer to the enthusiast gaming press as they play more games than pretty much any of us can manage, with the time restraints of work, social life, and other interests - I could have played more games in 2012, but that would have meant I'd have read far fewer books, and my having read more than 10 books in 2012 is a great personal achievement, since I probably read 10 books between the years 2006 and 2009 combined. Still, even games journalists can't possibly play every significant game that comes out in a calendar year; such an expectation is ridiculous.

Our minds should be open to the possibility that the "real" game of the year is a game that you missed, one that flew under the radar, one that didn't quite catch your attention, one that was even more indie than the games that are being championed as indie darlings in this year's GOTY consideration. Mass Effect 1 is a game I didn't play until early 2009, and only when I beat it did I realise that it could stand up with The Orange Box and Forza 2 and Eternal Sonata as one of the GOTY runners-up for 2007 - nothing beats BioShock that year. Mount&Blade: Warband would be very high on my 2010 GOTY list if I hadn't played it in 2011; same goes for Total War: Shogun 2 being one of the best games of 2011, but me not having played it until earlier this year.

So let's all remember when we champion our games of the year, it comes with a large asterisk. It's the best game that we played that year, and there is no rule that states that once a game is crowned, it holds that title forever; since 2007, all of my games of the year have been games I played in their year of release, but my mind is very open to the possibility of this happening in the future. There are so many games that we game enthusiasts get exposed to but never play, for various reasons, and somewhere in the world somebody is championing that game as the game of the year. There are people in this world who if I asked their game of the year, they'll respond with the name of a game I've never even heard of. Of this I am sure.

You might have not played Crusader Kings II in 2012, and if you did, there's a good chance that you could be turned away by the awful tutorials and the learning curve, and even if you overcame those you still might not like the game's mechanics. Crusader Kings II is almost certainly not your game of the year: as far as I'm concerned, that is your fault, not the game's fault. If you haven't played Crusader Kings II, you cannot call yourself a gamer, and if you played it but didn't care for it, then you need to have a good long look at who you are as a human being.

So what I'm saying is that you guys are assholes. You hereby have my permission to go fuck yourselves.

*drops the mic and walks away*

Crusader Kings is both one of the most fun and most frustrating games I've ever played. I had a 2 county countess rule for 70 years, conquering Ireland, Scotland, and Jereusalem from a Crusade, only to have to fight decades of civil war because my heir was a dumbass and all his siblings knew it. It's such an engrossing game that I have only 2 complaints about it.

1). The game is so obtuse. The systems are so heavily layered that it makes it almost impossible to understand exactly what is affecting what. This is compounded by the fact that the interface is pretty shit, so you can go from no issues to 20 messages, 3 notifcations, and 2 war declarations, which then you have to pause the game and read all of them, so you don't miss a crucial bit of information they didn't have a better way of telling you.

2). The combat is neither simple or interesting. There are a ton of factors that effect the combat but generally have such a small effect that you never know what is going to happen until the fight starts. Sometimes bigger numbers win, sometimes better troops win, sometimes commanders or terrain decide the battle, but there seems to be no way of knowing the power of these factors until after the fact.

That being said, LONG LIVE THE KING!

#49 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1273 posts) -

@Atlas said:

@Baal_Sagoth: I'm exactly the same way when it comes to how I play games. I have bought many games during the year that I haven't even touched because I have that sort of personality; unless a game really doesn't click with me, or seems kinda bad, I tend to play for at least a few hours once I've started it. I don't have the mentality of "well, I'll play this for 30 minutes and see how it goes". Besides, that usually means you just end up playing the tutorial and getting a very basic sense of the mechanics. Remember when Brad was feeling underwhelmed by Dishonored, then came back next week and said that was because he hadn't even unlocked any powers during his playtime? He can't have put more than an hour into that game, and you really don't see much of that game in that time. Dishonored is a specific case, and I'm certainly not hating on Brad, but it's a fundamental issue with the buffet style of game consumption.

Yeah, very true. With gaming coverage I do lower my expectations quite a bit though since the more superficial but broader context affords me the luxury to make a reasonably informed decision without trying everything and thus gain the time to really sink my teeth into the games I do end up playing. The real in-depth insight has to come from very specialized outlets or the occasional Let's Play I feel. But that still doesn't solve the problem of complex games not making the cut more often than not and rather bland ones with impressive openings reveiving too much attention. It's a difficult balance.

@Tennmuerti said:

Warlock: MoA is cool for a little bit. But it's kind of limited in scope, once you've seen all the factions, that's pretty much it. Playing vs. AI gets repetitive fast (hardest difficulty setting isn't all that). And there are no preset scenarios or mp (at least there wasn't on release) so skirmish vs. AI was the only thing you could do in it. The games are much smaller in scope and go by way faster then Civ 5 games. It's neat if you were into the Majesty series as the units are taken from there as well as the tone for the descriptions.

That's a good point. Once you get used to the city, magic and combat mechanics you've practically explored most of the depth the game has to offer. I think I'm just shy of 40 hours deep into the game and I'm kind of done with it. I did have a hell of a time with it for that duration though and really liked the jovial tone, the absurdity of it all and the weird attention to detail. There's also a DLC pack I haven't bought that adds another full faction, I believe it's the Elves, as well as artifact magic and some of the leaders give you a city which enables sub-factions like the reptilian guys but none of that really changes a whole lot I think. That's still a very good game in my book, especially for the sensible price, but it's certainly not going to rival a Civ or more complex Paradox title for sure.

#50 Posted by frankfartmouth (1018 posts) -

I haven't played CKII, but in full asshole style, I can already tell you it wouldn't beat out The Walking Dead for me because it's just not my type of game. I like strategy games, but they don't draw me in like other genres. My runner up would probably be Journey. I don't care about the length at all. Whatsoever. It's all about the experience to me, nothing more. I hate it when length is used as a metric for game quality. It should only be used as a metric for pricing a game based on the quantity of content. Nope, Walking Dead, Journey, then maybe ME3. But I will say you make a good case for this game, and I am kind of curious to check it out now.

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