Due to time constraints I’ve had little time to play any one game for a significant length of time, however I have had a look at some updates and expansions so today I’m writing some updates on Don’t Starve’s Don’t Starve Together expandalone and Cities: Skylines’ After Dark expansion. These are both expansions to very good games, from developers and publishers that sit very squarely in my “good guy” box, so expect them to be good!
Don’t Starve Together (Don’t Starve Last Covered 04-07-14)
It’s been a significant period of time since I last covered Don’t Starve, and the game has come reasonably far since then. This is unsurprising as I was able to say much the same last time I covered it in July 2013. The strides made between the first preview of the game and that update have again almost been matched, with the inclusion of a very key aspect that must be taken in its game-changing significance: multiplayer. Klei have been working on taking the completed game, with the expansions that they’ve released and turning it into a solid and balanced multiplayer experience. The patches and expansions released since 2013 have added significant content to the game alone, however with the addition of multiplayer the game becomes a different creature.
The topic of multiplayer for Don’t Starve has been around for some time and the developers were always reluctant to promise anything, and rightly so as the game was built from the bottom up to be a single player experience. There were certain key aspects of Don’t Starve that made multiplayer difficult and these combined with the technical challenges explain why the development and pre-release periods have been so long. Being Klei, the multiplayer has been available for testing for some time and is now reaching a state of very playable maturity. The result of this testing is a multiplayer that’s been done right, with easy but powerful tools allowing sessions to be tailored to the group playing. In addition, the good modding support of the vanilla game has been brought through into the multiplayer, further extending the potential for a group of friends to customise and tailor the experience to how they want it.
Don’t Starve Together is a standalone expansion, however if you purchased Don’t Starve before December 2014 you should have received it free of charge. Currently Don’t Starve Together alone will cost around £10.99 (approx $15.00) and includes a free copy for a friend. Whether I would recommend this over buying the original is a difficult call and I’d imagine based upon if you intend to play by yourself or with others.
Don’t Starve Together on Steam:
Don’t Starve Together Website:
Don’t Starve on Steam:
Don’t Starve Website:
Cities: Skylines (After Dark) (Last Covered 12-03-15)
The last time I wrote about Cities: Skylines (C:S) was in my modding discussion article, however the actual review was before that. In that modding article I was highly positive about the manner in which Colossal Order and Paradox had handled modding in the game, not only enabling it but encouraging it. The argument made by the likes of EA and the like towards modding has always been that it would stifle the sale of expansions, which with regards to C:S would indicate that any and all attempts by the developer to sell more content would fail miserably. The recent release of the first official expansion After Dark is therefore to be the ultimate test of the EA hypothesis, and an interesting test it is as well.
Whilst a huge amount of C:S is open to modding, there are still fundamental systems at the very core of the game which the modders cannot touch and this is the space for official content. Colossal Order have followed this logic and the primary goal of the expansion seems to have been expanding this core functionality. One element of this was the perpetual daylight that bathed the C:S world, and Colossal Order have worked to fix that with a day/night cycle… and may I also mention that this day/night cycle is not actually part of the expansion but a free update to the base game. In fact, the Steam reviews have pointed this out as well, much of the new content available is actually part of a free update to the base game and not part of the paid expansion. This follows the typical model of Paradox game DLC, with much of it being released as a free update but some parts being kept in the paid expansion. Much like Crusader Kings 2 for example, there is probably enough in the free update to ensure an enjoyable time is had however if one wishes for an even greater experience and to support the developers, then the expansion isn’t a terrible idea.
The actual expansion also adds new services, zone specialisations and transport options. These add to the game certainly and although the popular opinion seems to be that the expansion is too expensive alone considering, I’d say so what? That most of the major changes were made freely available means that anyone that isn’t too bothered doesn’t need to buy the expansion, those dedicated to the game with buy the expansion regardless and those that cannot afford to buy the expansion now will wait until the next Steam sale and get it dirt cheap. I’m a fan of this and whilst there is an argument both for bundling the free stuff into the paid expansion and for making the expansion cheaper to reflect the relatively sparse content offering, I’m not adequately convinced by either of these. The route that has been taken by the developers and Paradox is the same as it has always been, making the purchase of a full expansion more of a voluntary donation to the continued development to the game rather than an explicit payment for a certain amount of additional content. The expansion is currently £10.99 (approx $15.00), which is a little steep, but if you can’t afford it or feel that it’s too much then fret not as most of the new content was in a free update to the original game and no doubt the expansion will go on sale at some point.
Cities: Skylines Homepage:
Cities: Skylines on Paradox Store:
Cities Skylines: After Dark on Paradox Store:
Cities: Skylines on Steam:
Cities Skylines: After Dark on Steam:
Cities: Skylines on Humble Store:
Cities Skylines: After Dark on Humble Store: