Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim


Skyrim is a fantasy sandboxed action RPG and the fifth major installment in the long running Elder Scrolls series. It can be played in first or third person, but I always play in first person because it makes one of the most immersive experience I ever had.

As A Sequel

In my opinion Skyrim surpasses the previous installments in the series. Sure the Oblivion and Morrowind were great, among the best in their time, but Skyrim is better on every level. One of the biggest improvement is the leveling system. In the previous games, you had to count and level your skills in appropriate proportion otherwise stats points would be wasted when your character leveled. Skyrim ditches the stats, and introduces skill trees for each major skill (One handed weapons, Destruction magic, stealth, ...) and you can level you skills however you want. So its a lot more fun to build a character. 

Huge, Deep (figurative and literal), Fantasy World

As in the other Elder Scroll games, the world is huge. There are lots of dungeons to explore, some of them scale with you level. There are both generated quests and normal "handcrafted" quests. The generated quests are bland and redundant but are optional. The handcrafted quests' quality is very high, so I stuck to those and played 150 hours this year! Some of them have lasting effects as they will make you join factions or will permanently change your character (you can become a vampire or a werewolf for example).

Too Much Undeads

My advice would be to not do the quests you don't want. There are way too many undead dungeons in the game, but the vast majority of them are not mandatory. When you are bored of an area go somewhere else. If an NPC gives a quests you don't feel like doing, don't do it. One quest giver NPC was a cannibal, that does not sit well with me so I just killed him. Don't like vampires? Instead of doing the quests for the vampires, join the vampire slayers!

Mods and DLC

The developers released tools to mod the game and the community really took the game to an other level. Some mods out there are said to add quests of quality as good as the original game (with voice actors and cut-scenes and all).

Make sure to buy the version of the game that comes with the DLCs, some mods require them. The quests and areas added by the DLCs were great. They are far from being as big as the original game (because its so huge), but they are bigger and better made than many full games out there. Its also refreshing to play the game in a different areas.

Mod Links:

Steam Link:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Borderlands 2


I really liked the first borderland game. It was always fun to find better awesome crazy guns. Somehow I can't be bothered to finish the second installment in the franchise. The core gameplay, which is pretty much almost the same as in the first game, is just not fun anymore. I would rather replay the first game that I already finished 2-3 times than continue the quest-line in the second game.

Things I Did Not Like

  1. It takes 1 minute to get into game. There is a series of slash screens, then a "press a key to continue" message and then game pauses and shows a "Searching for DLC" message for 30 seconds. I have no DLC installed, what the hell.
  2. Guns are lacking. I only found one orange weapon and a few purples, and they sucked, because they are a lot of bad weapon mods into the game. Some are written in red and you won't know what they do until you check online. For example one weapon, makes your character throw an explosive while reloading. The reloading is automatic by default and I killed myself once with a rocket laucher and that weapon mod, I had ducked for cover after launching the last rocket ... Also this weapon mod will waste any ammo in the magazine if you reload early.
  3. It feels like you are always reloading. Some guns consume 2 or 3 bullets per shot in the magazine and the magazines are very small. Some actions interrupt the reloading and you end up restarting the reloading animation.
  4. Some zones have ammo crates everywhere but other zones will make you run out of ammo. 
  5. Somehow the quest marker did not always work correctly for me.
  6. The "Badass level" system is not as cool as the equivalent system in the first game.
  7. For some unknown reason, after doing a series of actions (activating ability, reloading, throwing grenade) pressing the shift key does not make my character run, and it must be released and pressed a second time. Annoying when there is a grenade next to you.
  8. Many guns have very bad iron sights. With some your target is completely covered by the gun while you are aiming correctly.
  9. Often the enemies are all hidden in building before you reach the location, Then a first wave spawns from different doors. Then a second wave, and then a third wave. Its a pain and I hate spawning. I often found myself thinking "Are you done now? Can I move on?". If only they would all spawn at once then they would make great grenade targets. Also even if you don't leave an area that is not separated by loadings, all the waves will be reset after a certain amount of time. So if your doing many quests in an area you might end up fighting the same waves in the same areas multiple times as you are going back and forth between quest objectives. I really really hate spawning. The first game had similar spawning too but I did not find it as aggravating.
Otherwise the story and characters seem interesting, the music is good. Its just not fun for me to play.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

ArcaniA: Gothic 4


Gothic 4 is an action RPG in a fantasy setting. The game is similar to the Elder Scrolls(Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim) series but is more simple. And actually, that's one of its better qualities. When I play an Elder Scroll game I spend a lot of time trying to optimize my character  and the game is so big I have the feeling of being  lost. In contrast Gothic 4's main quest takes you through a series of sandboxes each with its own optional quests. Also there is no classes or races, just a series of skill lines where you distribute points, its straight forward and unless you distribute evenly all your points you wont regret your choices (and even then I think the game will be enjoyable). I did get enough points before the end of the game to max lightning and fire skills, and put enough points in a melee weapon skill line to be able to swing my weapon continuously. I would equip two-handed swords with bonus magic damage, it was a lot of fun.

It seems that some quests have alternate endings which is great. Also there are many secret areas. I found some that were very hard to find and other times the game would tease me but I would not know how to get to a room.

The graphics are beautiful on my 5 years old PC, I just don't remember playing games with such great scenery.

The story and voice acting are what pull this game down in the rating. Its the typical prophecy/destiny story. At the end I was a bit bored and because of the way the story unfolds, I was thinking "OMG, can I kill the final boss already? Stop making me run around". 
Some error must have been made while recording the voice actors initially because sometimes the voice of an NPC changes. Its as if they patched their mistakes but sometimes had to rely on a different voice actor.
Also sometimes there are bugs when you speak to the NPCs in a specific order, they'll talk to you about something an other NPC has told you yet. 

The AI is stupid. It pretty much just charges at you. Often ranged mobs will trow missiles at you but will hit the mellee mobs which charge you.

It is a pretty, fun, relaxing game if you can get over its flaws but I can't just recommend it to everyone. It took me 24 hours to finish the game.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Patch 2.0.x Breaths New Life into Diablo 3 Before Expansion

I still remember that time I put 200+ hours in my Demon Hunter without making any progress in inferno. When the game came out the balance was way off and drops rates were abysmal. They tried to fix it, but it was too little too late. I thought that they could never fix the game ... but they did.

Skills have been revamped, again. Now drops are more personalized and legendaries drop about every hours. Legendaries scale with your level when they drop so there is now much more diversity. These new items may affect the effectiveness of some skills which might lure you out of cookie cutter builds depending on what you find. This makes the game much more interesting.

For example I found a level 60 Kridershot with my Demon Hunter. Elemental Arrow became a generator an I built my character around it. And if I find something else that seems better I might change everything again.

It is really too bad that they did not release a patch like this earlier. In previous iterations it seemed like there was just no place in inferno for casual players because of all the time that was required. The only ones who reached the top were bots and no-lifers.

Anyways, the game is fun now, so I've been playing. Everything I find now will be useless in the expansion, but I'm having fun so I don't care.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Alien Breed: Impact


A good third person shooter horror game with hostile aliens.

  • Upgradable guns!
  • Sci-fi Horror setting.
  • Secret areas
  • A few boss battles..
  • Few alien types.
  • Repetitive sometimes
  • The character takes for ever to pickup items or login in computers. (its part of the horror setting but its annoying after 5 minutes into the game)
  • The controls to trow grenades could have been better.

The game is not remarkable but it was ok fun while it lasted. The campaign was just 7 hours (and I was slow, maybe someone else would finish it in a few hours on the first try). No regret there as I would have been bored of the same mechanics if it lasted any longer. Also the game was bought very cheap on Steam.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thoughts on Steam OS

We are at a crossroad in the history of gaming. Valve recently made announcements about new 3 exiting technologies/products.

One is an amazing controller. I have no idea if it will work but its good to see a company taking risks and try to innovate.

The second is an open source operating system for gaming (Steam OS) and the third is that multiple companies will be able to compete and sell "Steam Machines", pre-built PCs for the living room which run Steam OS.

If Steam OS fails, it might scar open source gaming for ever. But if it can only survive long enough, it might become a very solid alternative to consoles. Here I will weight the pros and cons try to hightlight their implications.

The Are Few Games For Steam OS

This is true for any new console which do not have backward compatibility with its previous iteration (like Xbox One, which is actually the third generation Xbox ...). If there isn't any big title for the platform it might seriously hurt the platform's market. It needs some big titles, some exclusive titles if possible.

Kids And Ordinary People Might Be More Attracted To Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft

These are big company with established brands and marketing. Chances most people will not know what steam machines are and will be scared away by their diversity and complexity.

No More Generations

Generally, backward compatibility works great on PC. I can still play Diablo 1 if I want. That's why I feel better building my collection of games on steam rather than on some consoles.

Heartstone Beta is lots of fun


Right now I play arena casually. My long term plan is to play arena until I have all the expert cards which are not legendary and then salvage my goldens cards and see if I can get the most usefull legendaries.

Get it now.

Watch live heartstone games online.

Amazing plays