Archive for the ‘Other Gaming’ Category

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Sims 3 Saturday: We Are Up To 21

August 25, 2012

Despite this crazy weekend with Guild Wars 2 headstart in progress and all, the Sims must go on. It’s Saturday, so time for another update, as our incredible super-duper amazing Sims 3 Family Man Challenge continues.

And yes, you read the title right. We see a huge jump this week, from the previous week’s humble figure of 10 little sprogs, to a whopping total of 21 at the time I drafted this (we’re actually up to a lot more now). It wasn’t easy. I’ve played Sims games for many years, and in that time I’ve participated in many challenges, but I have to say Family Man is one of the more difficult ones (but it’s also the most twisted and fun). Not only does my Sim’s entire life revolve around meeting women, romancing them, and trying for babies, he has to make sure he remembers to eat and sleep so that he doesn’t die of fatigue or starvation amidst all this hot, wild, sweaty woohooing.

My Sim’s a lover not a fighter.

And let’s not forget — we’re kinda working under a time limit here. My Sim’s birthday looms on the horizon; in a few days he becomes and elder. After that, he can expire from old age at any moment, so let’s sow those oats as far and as wide as we can while we’re virile and, well, still alive.

I’m not even going to deny it anymore, my Sim is now shamelessly trying for a baby with the same women over and over; as soon as they get pregnant and have their babies, I repeat this cycle all over, as long as these Sims would have me. Once I’ve established the relationship, things get relatively easier; I just have to be careful to maintain them and avoid being dumped for being a cheating scumbag.

Recall how last week, I mentioned the women my Sim had been seeing: Bebe Hart, Jocasta Bachelor, Jess Eastman, and Sharla Bills. Okay, ready? Deep breath now!

Bebe gave birth to twins! My Sim is now the proud father of an even dozen children. Then Jocasta also gave birth to twins. That’s 14. Later, Jess had a baby boy. 15.

I think that’s Bebe. Or is it Jocasta?

I’ve also managed to build up enough lifetime reward points to buy some perks — like being more likeable so that my Sim will make friends a lot easier, being always interesting so I can spam the same interactions over and over without other Sims being bored (since I tend to spam “flirt” all the time, this perk was a godsend).

At this point, my Sim is woohooing every day, sometimes up to three times a day — morning, afternoon, evening. After we do the baby dance, I always kindly ask the Sim I’m with to leave the premises so I can invite the next one over. Apparently none of the Sims I’m seeing seem to be employed, because they appear to be able to come over anytime I call, or maybe I’m just lucky. There is really no time to do anything else, I’m hardly leaving my house (more specifically, the bedroom) and very soon I get a moodlet telling me my Sim is going “stir crazy!” from being cooped up all the time.

Three under three and another one on the way.

To fix this, I decided to visit my true love Ayesha Ansari to see how she and my little tykes are doing. Before I did, however, I went to “edit town” view and split up her household, placing her roommate Madison VanWatson and her little one (also my child) into a separate house. After that disaster with Molly French and Fiona McIrish in the first week, I vowed never to date roomies again. I did the same thing for Sharla Bills and Jess Eastman, because I found out were living in the same house as well. This accomplishes a couple things: 1) there now is more room for the women and our current and future children in each house, and 2) I can visit my kids without worrying I’ll run into other Sims.

Doing this is iffy, but I don’t think I’m technically breaking the rules as they only state I am not allowed to play any other Sim in the neighborhood than my own. But even if I am breaking the rules, oh well, I’m having too much fun to really care.

Being told by my six-year-old how useless I am.

So I go to Ayesha’s house. The place is full of my kids, and yep, as you can see, she’s expecting another. There are literally babies everywhere. And just as luck would have it, while I was there, she went into labor! I wasn’t sure what to do, so my Sim ended up doing nothing but stand around while she’s screaming out in pain (oh dear, I’m terrible). Only afterwards did I realize I could have taken her to the hospital.

With this newest birth, we now we are up to 16! Not two seconds after she came home with the new baby boy, Ayesha and my Sim jumped into bed and tried for their baby #7. This is both a happy and bittersweet occasion — since only up to eight Sims may live in the same household, this is probably the last and final child for my Sim and Ayesha. In spite of the challenge, I couldn’t help developing a soft spot for her.

Yeah, so I wasn’t doing anything terribly important, besides, you know, JUST AT THE HOSPITAL HAVING A BABY!

I find I am now forgetting which Sims I am woohooing is already pregnant or not. One time, I called Sharla Bills to come over and she said yes, but changed her mind after that almost immediately. I got frustrated, until I realized it turned out that she was at the hospital going into labor at that very moment. She did come over afterward, carrying our new baby boy. That’s 17 now, by the way.

Like I said, I am also dating Ayesha’s now ex-roomie Madison (thanks to my antics), and she seems to have a habit of bringing children to our dates, so I basically had to buy a couple cribs for the house. Now when my girlfriends come over with our children, they don’t have to put the little tots on the floor, because I was actually feeling quite terrible about that. Finally, they’ll have a place to sleep while the adults woohoo down the hall.

Baby is snug as a bug in a rug.

In the above picture, Sharla Bills gets it. And yet, it appears Madison never learns:

Sigh.

Here, it’s been three days (the gestation period of a Sim) and the cycle starts up again. Bebe had another boy. 18! Agnes Crumplebottom, my darling fiancee, also gave birth to a boy. 19! Madison VanWatson ended up having another boy. 20!

After the first couple sets of twins, I seem to be only getting singletons now. Looks like the effectiveness of the fertility treatment is completely random, but imagine how much crazier this would be if I got lucky each time and had multiples.

Finally, Jess welcomed a baby boy. Oh my, blue all over! We’re being inundated with boys this week. And that’s how we got to 21!

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Sims 3 Saturday: Perfect Ten

August 18, 2012

So, this week’s session of the Family Man Sims 3 challenge got off to a bizarre start: I loaded up the game, carted my Sim off downtown to the bistro, and encountered a game bug which duplicated him! For a while there, there were two of me. The implications of this for the challenge are mind-boggling! Astounding, even! But alas, it was also just too damn weird and I had to reload.

Talking to myself.

Recall how last week, my Sim had resolved to go out more in order to start meeting new people. It only made sense, therefore, to start this session by trying his luck with some of these new Sims on his contact list. Except things didn’t turn out so well.

It was bad. First up was Claire Ursine, whom my Sim had the pleasure of meeting on his last trip to the neighborhood park. Frustration! It didn’t matter what I did, Claire would do everything with me except woohoo! I would max out her affection. Nope. I became extremely irresistible. Nada. Nothing worked. My poor, rejected Sim! As it turned out, Claire’s supposedly the town recluse who preferred living the loner life down by the ocean. Sometimes, it just comes down to pure bad luck. Or maybe it was because my jerk of a Sim forced her to break up with her boyfriend. Oh, how karma rears its ugly head.

Everything but woohoo.

A new maid also started showing up to clean my house every day, a Sim named Beatrice Reeder. My Sim and Beatrice had a great thing going for a while there, but when we tried for a baby, the option was blanked out — again! Surprise, surprise, Beatrice’s household too full for a new family member, just like what happened to the last maid, Kate Pistachio. Desperate now, my Sim practically jumped on the next female Sim to walk through the door. She happened to be repairwoman Amanda Gerstein, who showed up to fix a broken toilet. Needless to say, bad idea! It was strike three, and worst of all, my toilet remained a gushing mess after Amanda stormed out of my house in a fury.

Note to self: no more hitting on the hired help.

Then, something weird happened. Along came Madison VanWatson to save the day, showing up at my door carrying a toddler in her arms. Uh, yeah, she brought a kid to our date. Unannounced! Arrrgh. I was about to turn her away in frustration because, let’s face it, having a baby in the house while trying to romance someone just cramps my style. But suddenly, with shock, I realized the child she was holding was MY kid! As in, my Sim’s daughter with Ayesha Ansari, one of the twins who were born last week.

Just going to pop upstairs to woohoo with the babysitter. Kid will be okay on his own on the floor there.

I was thoroughly baffled as to how this woman got a hold of my baby and was walking around town with her, but then discovered that apparently Madison and Ayesha were roommates in the Working Friends household. Ah, so not a case of kidnapping then, the former was simply babysitting! Whew. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think it occurred to me that what I was about to do may be a little inappropriate, but that still didn’t stop my Sim from getting Madison to put little Christian Ansari down and come upstairs for some woohooing. As Ayesha’s and my baby was left alone and unwatched downstairs by herself, Madison and I were upstairs busy making our own. Soooo wrong.

Since my plan with new Sims didn’t seem to be working, my Sim decided to reconnect with some old flames. A good strategy, except my Sim made the mistake of going out to one of the busiest hangouts in town to do it, which nearly led to disaster. It’s getting a little too dangerous to be seen in public, since at this point,he’s the boyfriend of more than a dozen Sims in the neighborhood, which is maybe one in every three or four women he meets on the street. As one of them stopped to flirt with my Sim, of all people, Ayesha Ansari appeared around the corner and almost caught him cheating. Yikes. My Sim practically tripped over himself jumping back into his car and running home before she could give him an earful.

Madison VanWatson going into labor right outside the diner.

Lucky thing too, since out of all the girlfriends, I think Ayesha is my favorite. Despite having had a hot date with her roommate just the day before, in my mind Ayesha’s really my Sim’s one true love. She ended up having three more children with my Sim, making them the parents of five little ones in total. Said roomie, Madison VanWatson (of the terrible babysitter reputation, as you would recall) also ended up giving birth to a baby boy. Thus it was such that the Working Friends household is now full of my Sim’s babies.

That’s not all. My “official” girlfriend, Agnes Crumplebottom also had another baby boy. She also became my fiancee at the end of this Sims 3 session, because for some reason, she would only agree to woohoo with me again after I’d proposed to her. Um, hey, I guess whatever works! My Sim is now the proud daddy of ten little ones!

Proposing to Agnes Crumplebottom.

Of course, as it had to happen in the messed up world of the Sims, right after I get engaged is when my Sim started getting lucky left and right. Here are just some of the Sims he chanced to meet and romance this week: Bebe Hart. Jocasta Bachelor. Jess Eastman. Sharla Bills. Yep, they’re all expecting. And this is after I happened to snag “fertility treatment” as a lifetime reward too.

Next week should be very interesting indeed.

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Sims 3 Saturday: Fast Five

August 11, 2012

Welcome back to the “Family Man Challenge” (i.e. the “Father-as-many-children-as-you-can Challenge”). The Sims 3 saga continues, picking up where we left off last week. There have been a few setbacks for my Sim, but he’s not one to get discouraged. In fact, he’s more determined than ever to do better this week. Sowing one’s wild oats is not as easy as one would think…

First things first. No more waiting around for women like Agnes Crumplebottom to just walk up and knock on his door, since apparently she was a fluke. For this to work, we’re going to have to go out and actively meet more new people. WAY more new people. Naturally, my Sim wasted no time buying a car so he can start visiting community lots in the neighborhood where most Sims congregate.

Giving random women in the park back rubs.

This move paid off almost immediately. During one of his trips to the park, my Sim had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of one Ayesha Ansari, the beautiful and sexy resident of the Working Friends household. They hit it off right away, and in no time at all were trying for a baby.

Meanwhile, things were getting confusing with all these new contacts. It’s hard enough juggling multiple women, there’s no sense trying to maintain those dead-end relationships that have not borne fruit (so to speak), so it was time to prune my Sim’s friends list (again, so to speak). I was genuinely sorry to see that Kate Pistachio, our very own kleptomaniac-maid extraordinaire, was the first to go. Recall from last week that her household was too full for a new baby. For some reason, I couldn’t get the option for her to move in with me to show up either, so inevitably, we broke up.

Kate did not take it well. It also did not help that I fired her afterward, for the sole purpose of increasing the chances that a new maid might show up, one who might be more receptive to the goals of my challenge. Yes, my Sim is such a dick! As such, he deserved every kick and punch.

Beaten up by the maid.

Sadly, we also had to say good bye to Fiona McIrish. She was the mother of my Sim’s first child and will always be special to him, but she was also going to become an elder very soon. Heartlessly, my Sim decided to break up with her by flirting with her roommate, Molly French, right before Fiona’s very eyes. Here, the game suddenly alerted me with a helpful pop-up: my Sim has earned a “dirt-bag” reputation! Thank you, Captain Obvious!

Remember Molly? The woman my Sim was originally dating but who dumped his ass last week when she caught him cheating on her with Fiona? Yep, this is shaping up to be one epic love triangle. Apparently, Molly has forgiven my Sim (or has completely forgotten his caddish ways; those Sims have terribly short memories, after all) and was eager to take him back and resume their relationship again. Very soon, they were expecting a child.

So far so good, but it never fails — just when things start to go smoothly in the Sims, that’s when you know it’s time for a derpy moment.

It started when my Sim noticed a pretty new face in his acquaintance list, Kaylynn Langerak. Feeling lonely one night, he called her up and invited her over. Their evening started off pleasantly enough, with long chats and friendly get-to-knows. That was when I noticed something was wrong — for some reason, I wasn’t getting any options to flirt or do anything romantic with her. With shock and disgust, I suddenly realized why. She was a teenager! ARRGGH! Why don’t they make the height differences a little more obvious?! What’s wrong with this girl anyway?! Agreeing to go to my Sim’s house alone, and in the middle of the night?! NO. HELL NO. ACK! UGH! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE.

Thankfully, the birth of three more children at the end of my gaming session made up for the unpleasantness of that faux pas. We are now up to five! Molly French had a little boy, which was exciting. But the best part of all was that Ayesha Ansari had twins! This happened even without my Sim having to pay for fertility treatments with lifetime happiness points, so that was kind of a nice surprise.

Um, yeah. This game never ceases to amaze me with the weird and messed up things it allows you to do.

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Sims 3 Saturday: Two Sprogs And Counting

August 4, 2012

The “Family Man Challenge” saga continues. One of the first steps to every Sims game is setting up your Sim in your neighborhood. I saw to that by moving my Casanova into an unoccupied lot across from the Single Moms household and almost immediately started working my charms on both its residents, Fiona McIrish and Molly French. In retrospect, that was my first mistake, and I’d made it right off the bat. Note to self: it’s always a risk trying to concurrently romance two Sims who live in the same household. If one finds out about the other, IT’S ALL OVER.

Despite this initial fumble, I plowed on (the first of many bad puns in this series, no doubt). My first success was Fiona McIrish, which came much quicker than I thought. It did help a lot that she was flirty little Sim, just like me, so all I did was spam suggestive jokes and amorous hugs until we were a couple. Getting the option to have a child was easy after that.

Agnes Crumplebottom was next. Not much of a story behind her, I’m afraid. She just literally showed up at my house one day and said yes when I asked her to stay over. Little did she know… (By the way, at this point, the game helpfully informed me that my Sim was getting a rightly deserved “bad” reputation.)

Between running around romancing all these women and keeping up with my daily needs like food and sleep, I was barely finding time to clean my house. A messy abode sort of cramps my style, so that was when I hired a maid, Kate Pistachio. Maybe I was starting to get a tad too ambitious here, but the moment Kate showed up at my door for her first day I work, I knew I had to have her. While chatting her up, I found out she was a kleptomaniac (wait, what? Why am I still hiring her to clean my house?)

Towards the end of my play session, I have to say I was feeling pretty good. Two hours in and I was already juggling four Sim relationships, and two of them were already expecting. But here I must have gotten too cocky because that was when my troubles began.

It all started with Molly French. She was over at my house, and we were having a good time. And then right as I was on the verge of asking her to “Woohoo” she suddenly hightailed it out of there. To go to work or for some stupid reason, imagine that! I figured, no problem, I’m patient and can wait for another day. But there was a problem — every time I would call to invite her over, she would agree and then promptly change her mind. Not sure what was happening, but this repeated itself for about half a dozen times until I got sick of it and just decided to walk across the street to try to catch her at her house.

Molly wasn’t home. But Fiona McIrish was! She had just given birth to our beautiful baby boy, so there I was with her, marveling our little miracle and sneaking in some romantic hugs and kisses, when BAM! Molly French came home, walked in on us and caught us in the act. Right away, my affection level with Molly plummeted down to the negatives.

It was no use; no matter how much I begged, pleaded, or apologized to Molly, she just got angrier and angrier. Those red negative symbols were flying over her head like there was no tomorrow. It was clear I was in the doghouse with her. And then came the dreaded pop-up one day: Molly French and I were no longer in a relationship. All the effort I had put into the two of us had come to naught.

The setbacks didn’t end there. Kate Pistachio the maid and I were still an item at this point, but she and I soon hit our own roadblock. One day after she was finished cleaning my house, I asked her to stay over. Things got real hot, and I was raring to go when the “Woohoo” option appeared. But then to my dismay, the “Try for baby” option was blanked out. Turns out, Kate came from a household that was too full for a new family member. Once again, all that hard work down the drain.

This is a lot harder than I thought.

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Sims 3: “Family Man” Challenge

July 28, 2012

Note: One thing you have to know about me is, it is impossible for me to play Sims games “properly” like a normal person.

Time for a non-MMO post. This usually happens whenever my husband goes out of town, barring me from playing online games without him due to the clauses in our Spousal Leveling Contract, leading me to seek other gaming avenues for my entertainment. Coincidentally, I’ve also been looking for an interesting yet easy single-player game to amuse me for all those times I can’t sleep after a middle-of-the-night baby feeding.

Apparently Sims 3 was the answer, thanks to some recent chatter on Twitter taunting me, teasing me, tempting me ARRRGGGH! reminding me what a great game it is. Besides, every few months or so I tend to get into control freak mode and the irresistible urge to dig up my Sims and play them rises. It was time.

Anyway, the last time I went full throttle on Sims 3 was probably a few years ago, when it occurred to me what an excellent idea it would be to take my single male Sim and see how many children I can father on all the women in the neighborhood. At the time, I was patting myself on the back for being oh so naughty! Little did I know, there actually exists entire Sims 3 challenges built around this very concept. Only recently did I stumble upon the rules and guidelines for the ironically named “Family Man” challenge.

And indeed, a challenge it was. It’s all coming back to me now: the never-ending cycle of trying to meet new Sims, juggling multiple relationships, always waiting for that elusive “WooHoo!” option to show up — all the while having to remind myself to eat, sleep, take showers and go to the bathroom. As I recall, though, it did lead to some rather comical results. After a couple generations, none of my Sims could find girlfriends or boyfriends and get married because all of them were related to each other in some way or another. My family tree was a hilarious mess.

Last time I did this, I think I ended up with around 37 children.

I plan on doing better this time.

To be continued?

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Steam Summer Sale: Damage Report

July 23, 2012

Real life obligations over the last year or so have made me miss out on the last few big Steam sales, so it came as no surprise that the one this summer has raised its wallet-assaulting head to bite me in the ass. Barely two days into it, and I knew I had to put my foot down or my family was going to end up living in a cardboard box by the end of the week. So, I gave myself a new rule: thou shall refrain from purchasing anything more than $5.00.

After that, it was easier to resist the temptations. Realistically speaking anyway, there’s really no wiggle room in my gaming schedule right now to play big games like Witcher 2, even at the very sweet price of about $10 and change. Instead, with my new rule in place I found myself mostly picking up games at about $2.50 to $3.75, many of which were classics, casual, or indies. This works much better for me. It also helps that I told myself some people spend more on a cup of coffee every day.

Of course, while my wallet may be spared this summer, my games list has expanded by almost a dozen games since the beginning of the sale. So unless someone invents one of those nifty remote controls like the one from “Click” or I can get my hands on a DeLorean with a flux capacitor, time is ever going to remain the limiting factor.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get on to the damage:

Back to the Future: The Game

Speaking of time traveling DeLoreans, this was the first title I fell victim to in this Steam sale. Picked it up when it was one of those flash deals, and the only game I was willing to drop a bit more than the agreed upon five dollar limit to buy. I’ve enjoyed other Telltale games in the past, and anyway, HUGE BttF fan here. HUGE.

From Dust

Who knew this little sandbox god game could be so addictive? Gorgeous too.

As the user, you can control certain types of matter (soil, water, lava), manipulating the environment to help your nomadic tribe accomplish goals or survive natural disasters like tsunamis or volcanic eruptions.

It was surprisingly challenging; I played until I got stuck, and also because I didn’t think my sense of decency could take watching any more of my poor little villagers get washed out to sea.

The Longest Journey + Dreamfall

I totally blame my The Secret World guildies for this one. While talking in-game about the great writing and dialogue of TSW, someone’s comment about it all being reminiscent of TLJ pretty much sold me. That and my new found gamer crush on Ragnar Tornquist led me to pick up this Funcom classic I’ve always known about but never played.

World of Goo

See, I love casual games like World of Goo or Plants vs. Zombies.

Thing is, I just can’t freakin’ stand playing them on a small screen like on a smartphone or even a tablet. On the other hand, on my computer with a mouse, I can do.

S.P.A.Z.

I’ve wanted to own Space Pirates and Zombies ever since I learned about it last year. Really love the gameplay, and the space setting.

Seeing as it was the final day of the sale, I decided to grab it. Also, I knew if I didn’t, I would have to live with the regret for the rest of my life until the next Steam sale.

LIMBO

By they way, I’m pissed off at all of you now. Why has no one told me about LIMBO before this?

This game makes me feel lucky. I mean, you can go through life fantasizing about the satisfying experience of one day spending $2.50 on a gem of an indie game which can keep you entertained for hours, and then one day BAM! it actually happens.

You play a boy in this puzzle-platformer, traversing dangerous environments and traps as he searches for his sister. I love the black-and-white film noire type presentation, and at times the game can get pretty creepy and just downright disturbing. I finished this game in about 5-6 hours, as some of the puzzles can be really frustrating, but always brilliant.

Torchlight

What can I say? Couldn’t resist (hmm, just how many times have I said this during the sale, now? Dangerous last words.)

Another one of those classics that I’ve never had the pleasure or joy of owning for myself, so I snapped it up the first chance I got. And just in time before Torchlight 2.

Dear Esther

I wish I could plaster my blog with screenshots from this game. Beautiful. Just, beautiful.

Gameplay-wise, I don’t even know if you can call Dear Esther a game. Completely story and exploration driven, you walk around this island in the Hebrides picking up fragments of the story whenever you hit a checkpoint and trigger a narration. There are no puzzles, no activities, and in fact you barely interact with the environment at all. The whole thing takes no more than two hours. Still, it is very atmospheric. Lonely and haunting, but in the good way. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery and the eargasm inducing music.

That said, of course I bought the game and soundtrack package for like $3-something. Considering Amazon sells the soundtrack alone for $7, I was quite happy with the deal.

Audiosurf

This was very rough (as in unpolished), but I can see it being a fantastic time waster. Has high risk of becoming a dangerous obsession.

Still, in my whole life, I don’t think I’ve ever found myself sitting in front of the computer doing nothing else but listening to my music. But hey, if I ever find myself in that situation, I’ll be sure to keep this game in mind.

Bastion

And here’s where I get to the part about how I love being part of this gaming community. Bastion was a gift from the very awesome and talented blogger Stargrace, who surprised me one day with the game and soundtrack pack.

Yep, the soundtrack too. She totally gets me! Thanks again, Stargrace <3

Legend of Grimrock

Another surprise gift from another member of the gaming community. Thank you, Grey! Opening my inbox and seeing this brought me such joy and made my day. I am so very looking forward to playing this one.

These little gestures are just so unexpected, and it leaves me feeling so touched.

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Played Lately: Week At A Glance

June 29, 2012

Well, this has certainly been a busy week for gaming, I’m sure my Raptr feed has not seen action like this in months. Here’s what has been occupying my time:

The Secret War

I’d originally planned on going into this “blind” but I caved during last week’s beta 4 weekend. My husband and I played a couple hours just to get a feel for it, and in the words of Mr. GC, “‘Ignite gas cans and draw zombies into the fire?’ God, I love this game!”

Zombie killling-wise, I’d say my sentiments echo his, but I do have my misgivings about the clunky feel of combat. Still, it’s something I can see myself easily getting used to. More importantly, I feel it’s a small price to pay to experience this unique game with its mystery-driven story and incredibly atmospheric setting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where Funcom has focused most of its efforts. I’ve seen people describe themselves as getting “lost” in TSW, and I have to agree with that feeling wholeheartedly. I look forward to playing in the early access this weekend — Templar on Arcadia.

TERA Online

I’ve been dabbling in this MMO ever since I bought it for half-price earlier this month. I have to say combat in this game is drastically different from all other MMOs and is very engaging. Graphically, it’s also a feast for the eyes.

Still, I’m not feeling the motivation to play it much. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m not making the connection because I don’t think the reason has much to do with the gameplay, which I actually find quite enjoyable. It galls me to admit that it might be due to the art style. Maybe I’m just being shallow, but you’d be surprised how much something that could have an impact on my experience. I’ll probably go into it a bit more in a separate post at a later date, but for now I plan on getting the most out of my free month and we’ll see where I’ll go from there.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

This is still my MMO of choice, and will probably remain so for a while even when newer games this year will come out and vie for my attention. Patch 1.3 was released earlier this week on Tuesday, and I had been looking forward to checking out the updates it offers.

I haven’t really had a chance, though. For the last few weeks, I’ve been playing on the Imperial side almost exclusively, concentrating on leveling up that Bounty Hunter I’ve always wanted, the class I’d dreamed about ever since the game was announced. Coupled with my husband’s Sith Warrior, we’re steadily making progress towards level 50 and I hope we can keep up the pace, as level-capping her is currently one of my MMO goals. Right now we find ourselves on Hoth, on the cusp of wrapping up Chapter 2.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I swear, I’ve had this game and AC: Revelations sitting on the to-play pile still in their original wrapping since…damn, I think November of last year. In fact, I think I picked them both up during a Black Friday deal, telling myself that I’d better get it now at a good price since I had definite plans to play both at some point anyway. Famous last words. Incidentally, that’s also how I ended up with my unmanageable Steam to-play pile.

Okay, so it was probably a terrible, terrible idea to start this game Monday on the eve of the Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC and Mass Effect 3 extended cut releases, but I had a feeling deep down that if I didn’t open that box like right now it was never going to happen otherwise. And so, I spent the day playing Ezio and getting used to climbing walls and shoving around civilians again. I also discovered something about myself: I am way too impatient and bloodthirsty to make a good, stealthy assassin.

Mass Effect 3

No spoilers. I downloaded the extended cut for the ending first thing Tuesday and fired up my last save point that afternoon in order to see the changes. However, this time around I decided to choose a different ending, opting for red instead of green. Then, I watched the other endings on YouTube.

As you may know, I’d just finished the game earlier last week, with the original ending. I had a friend tell me that I should have waited for the extended cut to arrive before I did, but after seeing the new ending I’m glad I didn’t. Having played the original version so recently made me appreciate the new one all the more. It really emphasized for me my problem with the old one in the first place — not the actual events of the ending itself, but instead just how lazily the entire sequence was executed.

The new ending fleshed out the story, explaining some of the ramifications and the fates of my squadmates and friends. More importantly, it had feeling — which was what I felt was lacking in the original. I was almost brought to tears in the final moments, and that’s when it hit me: the storytelling is what I like most about these games, and the emotions they evoke. It’s not the what but the how, as in this was how the story should have been told, in the BioWare way that I know and love.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard

No spoilers. This week, I made my return to Tamriel in order to play the new DLC (I own the game for the Xbox 360). Thanks to the new content, I get to be a vampire lord! Er, a very nasty and ugly vampire lord, as in no one will be swooning over me anytime soon. Disappointed to say that playing as a vampire lord is a bit of a pain though, and I’ll probably only do as much as it takes to get my vampire perks, then go back to fighting and adventuring in my Nightingale gear.

I also get to ride a new flaming undead horse, which to me was a very timely addition, seeing as how one time these bandits shot and killed my last horse almost the instant I quick traveled and loaded into the zone. I wasn’t even on it! I’m not kidding, that actually kinda pissed me off, damn cowards that would shoot an opponent’s horse…

Uh, back on topic, so far I’m liking Dawnguard. Still, I’m not sure if it will be worth the money for some. As most expansions like these go, there seems to be one main quest line driving the entire thing, spruced up with some goodies like new weapons and locations, etc. on the side, but not much else. It also makes the gameplay feel more linear than I’m used to getting from Skyrim. You do, however, get to go deeper into the lore of the game, which is one of the strongest aspects of the Elder Scrolls series and incidentally something I happen to really enjoy.

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