Titan Quest Anniversary Edition

Be like Perseus and fight a Titan. But you are not a demigod so you have to work your way to be powerful enough. Welcome to Titan Quest. Having just got off the boat, you find the local town under attack. Save the town and start your quest to discover the origins of the monster attacks. Fight your way through myriads of monsters and level up with better abilities and equipment.

Pros

Being the good action RPG that it is, there are plenty of fights, loot and customisations.

A tutorial help box appears on the right side when you encounter a new feature in the game. The help box does not take up much space so you can try things out while the box is opened. These tutorial boxes can be turned off for experienced players and can also be opened on demand to get help at a later time.

Overall, the audio including the music, sounds good. The ambient sounds are particularly good in my opinion.

There is an automatic pick up items action similar to Sacred. Unfortunately, it only picks up gold, potions and relics. There is no option to pick up everything.

Even with the large play areas, there is plenty of fighting to be had. Each time you load a game, monsters are respawned. This means you can always get into the thick of the action quite quickly.

Once you have finished the game on normal, the next difficulty level is unlocked and you can take your character through the campaign again, but with higher level of monsters and equipment. There are three difficulty levels to get through.

There is a shared stash mechanism between all your created characters, much like Torchlight.

Upon reaching level 2, you get to pick a mastery which determines what skills you get. Each time you level up, points are given for you to spend on acquiring and improving skills. You are also given points to level up your general attributes like health and dexterity. What makes Titan Quest even more interesting is being able to pick a second mastery at level 8, effectively dual classing your character. There are 9 masteries to choose from (10 with the Ragnarok DLC) which gives a great variety to play with.

This is one game where I definitely cannot say “It’s all Greek to me!”. With a name like Titan Quest, I thought the entire game revolved around Greek mythology. That is what I get for buying a game without reading the description. Colour me surprised when I discovered that the game spans four acts with Act I being in Greece, Act II being in Egypt, Act III starting in Babylon and ending up in China, and finally Act IV in the… I won’t spoil it. There are also more acts in the form of DLCs that take you to more locations.

Each act is wonderfully fleshed out with their own environments, monsters and quests relating to their respective localities. I am not familiar with all the stories, but the game feels like it digs deep into each area’s mythologies.

Everything in the game looks good. Not as good as Marvel Heroes, but that maybe just my Marvel bias.

With the very brief time in multiplayer games, I can see that Titan Quest would be great fun with a dedicated group of friends. There are no separate multiplayer campaigns or areas, but the difficulty level adjusts to the number of players in the game, which is good. Loot is shared, so some sort of organisation of who gets what would be good for the party.

Cons

I have no con points for Titan Quest.

Other Points

The story is not spectacular, but it is better than Torchlight. Having an interest in Greek mythology probably made it more interesting for me too.

There is a day/night cycle, but like Sacred, I am not sure if it does anything except being a cosmetic feature.

Titan Quest automatically saves your game when you exit. There is also a manual save feature for just in case the game crashes… I think. You cannot create save game slots to reload later like Sacred, so it is just one save per character. Everything about your character gets saved, except for your current location. Locations are saved at checkpoints called rebirth fountains. Loading a game always spawns your character at the last activated rebirth fountain.

If you die, you leave a tombstone at the location of your death and respawn at the last activated rebirth fountain. As a consequence, you also lose some experience. You can reclaim some lost experience by going back and touching your tombstone.

Titan Quest is not an open world game like Sacred, but it has so many side quests and large play areas that it does not feel so linear like Torchlight.

Biases

I have always liked Greek Mythology. Never studied it in detail, but the stories were fascinating, both the historical ones and the completely new made up ones. No surprise that Clash/Wrath of the Titans movies are on my favourites list, along with The Odyssey (1997 miniseries)

I enjoyed playing Torchlight, Sacred and Marvel Heroes before Titan Quest.

I have completed Titan Quest with a defense/nature character on normal difficulty. For this review I have been mainly playing with a new hunter starting from scratch on normal difficulty.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

I gave up driving Ferraris in O Ľahu to drive Scanias in Europe. That is how much fun Euro Truck Simulator 2 is. Drive trucks, transport cargo and park trailers. And try to do it all without accidents or traffic fines.

Pros

I consider Euro Truck Simulator 2 to be the Falcon 4.0 of truck simulators, although I must admit, it is the only truck simulator I have played. I have not driven a truck in real life (I have not flown a plane either), but the driving in Euro Truck Simulator 2 behaves like what I would expect in real life. The weight of your cargo and the type of truck affects how easy it is to move or stop. Take a corner too quickly and it will easily tip over. Parking the trailer is truly as difficult as it looks. Traffic rules must be obeyed. Fuel and driver fatigue must be managed. There are also day/night cycles, rain, roadside events and different types of drivers on the road to give the real life driving feeling.

Despite all the simulation goodness, Euro Truck Simulator 2 has got a gentle learning curve. Not surprising since starting a truck engine is no where near as complicated as an F-16 ramp start and working the GPS navigation is far easier than operating an AN/APG-68 radar.

To give the game an even easier start, there is also a pretty good tutorial with a short delivery that teaches the basics. It gives a good feel of what is involved, but it is still very much just the tip of the iceberg. The tutorial can be skipped for those that want to get straight into the thick of it.

Even though the roads are not true to life, they are varied and long enough to make locations feel like they are very far apart. This combined with the faster time flow and nice change in scenery really made me feel like I have travelled a great distance, all without the boredom of a long distance drive.

The look of the different locations really blew me away. Individual scenery elements are repeated, but there is enough variety to make different locations look unique. 50 hours into the game and I am still looking around at the scenery. Not good as I am not concentrating on the road! I wish there was some sort of autopilot that allowed me to look around without worrying about driving properly.

The lighting and shadow effects look just like driving in real life. This is most evident as you are driving through shadows cast by trees or other tall objects, and when going through tunnels at night.

The game sounds great. Roaring engines, the sounds of rain, the turning indicator ticking away, other vehicles going past, it all sounds like driving in real life. There are even weird noises that occur when you have damaged your truck too much. One thing though, I cannot say whether the truck sounds are accurate to their real-life counterparts as I am not familiar with them.

Listen to real radio! They may be Internet streaming radio, but they are still real broadcasts including stations like the BBC. It doesn’t get more realistic than driving from London to Reims and hearing more about Brexit over the radio. When you are sick of the news, you can always switch to your own music or another radio station.

The game’s own music also sounds good. It only plays at certain stages so as to not interrupt the whole radio experience, but it does sound good.

Other than being a truck driving simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is also a trucker RPG with some simple transport business management on the side. Earn money and gain experience as you complete jobs. With enough experience, you level up and get a point to spend on upgrading your truck driving skills. Spend money buying new trucks, customising them and expanding your transport business by buying and upgrading garages, then hiring other drivers to work for you.

Almost everything in Euro Truck Simulator 2 is customisable. Customise the difficulty of the simulation. Customise the environment. Customise your truck including paint jobs, decorations, seating positions and mirrors. You can even customise your own trailers.

Mods, mods, mods! There are truck loads of them. Real company names, traffic modifications, truck customisations, custom maps and even a multiplayer mod. So far I have only tried Really Real Company Names from the Steam Workshop, a Hungary map from modland and the multiplayer mod TruckersMP.

The AI of other drivers seem to be pretty good. There are good drivers, bad drivers and really bad drivers that will crash right before your very eyes! Some drivers seem to react to your signalling while others ignore it. The only thing missing is the using of the horn.

Pause and quit at any time. Progress is automatically saved, even when you are in the middle of the road. The next time you play the game, it picks up where you left off but with your truck at a stand still. Just start the engine and resume driving.

Cons

The police cars do not ask you to pull over or give chase. They will put on the lights and siren, but they just continue driving as normal. I know this is not Need for Speed or Test Drive, but I expect at least for the police to ask you to pull over rather than just issuing instant fines and driving away.

I understand the game world is scaled down to be less boring and more fun, but the cities feel like very small country towns. A few more blocks with a bit more traffic would make it feel more city like.

Other Points

There are some things in the game that are less realistic. I have already mentioned the scaled down distances and faster time flow. The amount of traffic is definitely less than in real life. There is no need for food, drink and toilet stops. These make for a game that is more fun to play, but I do wish there were options for full realism. I have not placed this as a con as I can see that simulating everything to the level of real life would be a Herculean task.

I know there are real pilots that play flight sims and real race drivers that play racing sims, but are there real truck drivers that play Euro Truck Simulator 2? Would they find it more of a chore or would they actual enjoy the game?

The open world nature of the game reminded me of Test Drive Unlimited. It is not as “open” as TDU though. There are invisible walls preventing you from driving too far off-road. Other than that, you can drive on all accessible roads and discover places of interest.

Here is a montage video of Euro Truck Simulator 2 with Frank Klepacki’s Just Do It Up from the DOS version of Command & Conquer.

Biases

I love simulators, but have mainly played flight and car racing simulators. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is really getting me interested in truck simulation.

I know nothing about trucks except for what I see on the road and in movies, tv shows, etc.

There are other open world driving games out there, but the last one I played was Test Drive Unlimited.

I have not bought any DLCs for Euro Truck Simulator 2 yet. The base game is already so large.

Residency Calculator 1.3 Released

Can now export and import locations. Duplicate location names are allowed, but they are treated as different locations. Requires new permissions to read and write to external storage.

Modified the Residency Calculator page change date picker title to be Change “to date”.

Added blank line separation before Australian Citizenship calculation result.

Updated help for changing and deleting dates.

Updated help with more details about the Residency Calculator page.

Added about box.

Calendar Cannot Pick Max Limit Date

Known issue with Residency Calculator.

This issue seems to be a problem only with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

If you change an entry/exit date that is not the last date, there is a maximum date limit that you can change the entry/exit date to. This maximum date limit is the day just before the next entry/exit date. The issue is, the maximum date limit date cannot be picked when in calendar mode.

Next entry/exit date
Cannot pick this date

The easiest way around this issue is to use spinner for date selection.

I have tested this issue on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 7.0 Nougat and 8.1 Oreo, and it works fine. I guess it is an Android calendar date picking bug.

Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition

Mortal Kombat (1992). The versus fighting game that caused great controversy for its over the top violence and gore. Mortal Kombat (2011) is the ninth game in the series with the Komplete Edition incorporating all DLCs in one handy package.

Pros

The training modes are wonderful. The tutorial teaches everything from the basics to the stuff special to Mortal Kombat. The actual keys to perform actions are displayed, even if they have been customised. Very useful for absolute beginners or people like me that are not good at versus fighting games. Fatality training only gives guides for one fatality per character, but it can still be used to practise other fatalities. Then there is practice mode where you can set up conditions for battle and fight without health or time limits.

Challenge Tower is a nice single-player mode that puts you in all sorts of creative situations to test your skills. These include Test Your Might button/key pounding to get your metre up for smashing wood, slowly shooting zombies and landing hits for koins. Some challenges also feel like a continuation of the tutorial as they focus on a character‘s specific action.

Toasty! Loved it in Mortal Kombat II and glad to see it in Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition. Babality also made a return from MK 2, but friendship was left behind to die.

I don’t know when tag team fighting came to Mortal Kombat, but it sure is a good addition.

The game looks good at 1920×1080. There are more blood and guts in greater detail than the last time I saw Mortal Kombat (ie MK 2). I don’t know when X-Ray came into the fray, but it sure fits in nicely with the whole ultraviolent nature of the game. Despite all the graphical improvements, I actually miss the old FMV look of the characters.

There are 31 characters to choose from. It is 8 shy of the 39 in King of Fighters 2002, but it still provides plenty of variety. Too many for me to learn up.

As you play, you earn koins which are used to purchase extras. Apart from art works and music, there are also secret fatality directions that can be purchased. Everything is hidden, so you don’t actually know what you are purchasing until after purchasing.

Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition is very keyboard friendly. Keys can be remapped easily, and the game responds well to key presses.

Moves for the characters are easily accessible through the pause menu. They are also shown with the exact key or button mappings that need to be used to execute the moves.

The story mode is great. The introduction shows that everyone is dead except for Raiden. Just before getting hammered by Shao Khan, Raiden sent a vision to himself in the past, in Mortal Kombat 1. Back in MK 1 time is where the game starts. Unlike MK 1, the current game has cutscenes flowing into fights, flowing into more cutscenes and fights if you win. The plot was quite interesting and is not just about fighting in the Mortal Kombat Tournament.

Freddy Krueger. Nice to see a familiar face from the 80s join the crew. Apparently, Shao Kahn annoyed Freddy, pulled him out of the Dream Realm and beat him senseless. Now Freddy wants revenge before returning to the Dream Realm. I am not a Nightmare on Elm Street fan, but his claw thingies sure fits nicely with the whole blood and guts thing.

The game has five difficulty levels and the easiest difficulty of beginner is definitely easier than the likes of the original Mortal Kombat and MK II. Good for players that like versus fighting games but are simply bad at them. With no limit to retries, I managed to complete story mode and also ladder mode on beginner.

Cons

Hardly anyone plays online. Not surprising since there is the newer Mortal Kombat X and soon Mortal Kombat 11 will be released.

When you are part way through story mode, there is no way to restart the story without finishing the whole story or deleting your save files. If you are like me and forgot what happened the last time you played, the only choices are to finish the story and be puzzled by what is happening or delete your saves and lose all your unlocked goodies and koins.

Keys can be remapped easily, but some sections of the game, like character selection and moving around the Krypt, still use the default keys rather than the remapped ones.

An extension of the previous con, there is a Challenge Tower challenge that displays the wrong keys for you to follow. I had to set the keys back to default so that the displayed keys matched the keys to press.

The game does not output audio properly for my Logitech G35 headset on Windows 10. Half the sounds disappear and the other half plays in stereo properly. It may be a driver issue, but so far this is the only game that has such an issue.

Other Points

I have always felt that Mortal Kombat games moved slower than other versus fighting games like Street Fighter. It definitely felt slower than my recent playing of The King of Fighters 2002. Although slower, I still find MKKE just as difficult as all other fighters.

Biases

The only other Mortal Kombat games I have played are MK 1 and 2. I played them a lot back in the day and against other people too.

I did not get to play MKKE against other people.

I have completed the story mode on the easiest difficulty of beginner. I have also played many games of the single-player ladder and the Challenge Tower.

More recently, I was playing The King of Fighters 2002.