I’m pausing Risen 2 for the moment. The only thing I really enjoy about it is running around on the beaches. Story and world-building on the other hand seem quite cliched and worse than in the predecessor. Well, I haven’t seen much of the story and at least that was also quite mediocre in Risen, but there seemed to be more of a focus on world-building and pirates were just something that was also there among other things. But the Inquisition basically having turned into spanish colonialist guys with muskets isn’t particularly interesting to me. Not enjoying the combat and not being all that interested in character progression also don’t help too much.
Maelstrom on the other hand is something that I have played around 20 hours (Skirmishes against the AI) and mostly enjoyed. Yes, the AI is quite stupid and the units don’t even reliably manage to auto-attack. Yes, the balance is questionable. Yes, the “Remnants” are a rather boring faction and the campaign seems to be a mess from what I`ve read and played myself. But, as said before, the other two factions are better and the strong focus on physics still often manages to make things interesting or at least might make you giggle while a caterpillar-like Progenitor tentacle-catapults some poor hero into the air repeatedly.
In terms of poor balance it has mostly been the turrets of the Remnants, which single-handedly make the AI competitive. Well, of course I could always just have used artillery, but I hadn’t played enough to have been sure about what works and what doesn’t. But at this point it’s safe to say that the long range of turrets combined with bad pathing and the slowness of most units has made most attacks on Remnants-bases unsuccessful. It was even worse with the Hai-Genti since I have barely played with them and don’t know which tools to best use. A long game in which I first had to get rid of one Remants-base and then repeatedly attack the other one, eventually got long enough that one of his heroes ended up on Level 6, which apparently means Nukes. Nukes my newly rebuilt army three or four times… I eventually realized that I should probably take a look at which abilities are available to my own hero. Which, after some laborious fighting back and forth across the map - while I was occasionally sending my hero towards their base to send down Water Meteors and Fire Meteors - eventually led to me having a bunch of Progenitors sitting near their base and sending them forward to release their special abilitiy against their turrets one by one. You see, the Hai-Genti don’t have a proper artillery unit, but Progenitors can release big wurms which kind of fulfill that function. The range is still too short, but since the worm does a good amount of damage once it’s released it isn’t too problematic to lose the unit. They just have to be micromanaged a bit.
Also once had a map completely flooded by water and my base (playing as Ascension) only water-free since I had erected a big wall in the west by terraforming. Even had to relocate one building at some point since it was getting flooded.
The last few days I have mostly been playing Disciples II - Dark Prophecy though. I have played through the tutorial and am close to finishing the second mission of the Empire-saga. Already up to 10+ hours… The AI-turns take quite long and movement of the heroes across the map isn’t exactly fast. All in all everything just seems to take longer than in Heroes of Might and Magic 3 for instance. Other than that I like the artwork and soundtrack which both nicely emphasize the dark atmosphere. Same goes for the way units upgrade into their next version which happens according to the chosen upgrade-path and once enough experience has been accumulated. On the other hand, almost everything is quite simplistic, be it the Economy, the combat or even diplomacy. Shoveling lots of gold down the dwarves’ throats proved absolutely useless, since they were still attacking me. After a reload I had a much easier time just kiling off their heroes.