Posts Tagged ‘RPGs’


New Friends In New Vegas

October 27, 2010

In my last post about Fallout: New Vegas, I think I made a comment that implied I felt the quest lines were shallow and weren’t as compelling as I’d liked. Well, I take that back. I think it’s safe to say everything I experienced in the first 10 hours or so was just a small taste of what the game has to offer. Just a tiny little morsel to whet your appetite, so to speak, because the real fun happens when you hit The Strip.

Here’s what I think really makes the game: Factions, factions, factions. There are a ton of them in New Vegas, each having their own rich culture and stories. Some are big, some are small. A couple of them are so scummy it makes your skin crawl. Others are really bizarre like that gang of Elvis impersonators. Many of them have cool names like the Followers of the Apocalypse and the White Glove Society. Would that I could please them all.

I love the Black Widow perk.

Once Mogsy the Courier reached the bright lights of New Vegas proper, however, it became clear that all the factions have these complex relationships between themselves. They’re all eager enough to get you to do things for them, of course, but please one and you risk pissing off another. I had a very difficult time choosing which factions I should get in bed with (just a turn of phrase…or is it? With Mogsy, you never know!) but in the end, I remembered how I wanted to play — no more goody-two-shoes and running around being somebody else’s errand girl. I was going to try to be mean and mercenary for once, and I figured if I’m going to have any chance of taking over New Vegas, I’d do well to ally myself with like-minded people…at least for now.

What I didn’t foresee was how things could get so complicated. Yes, you can lie, con, manipulate and exploit your way into and out of favor with your factions of choice, but every decision you make can affect your relationship with other factions in ways you can’t even imagine. I went as far as to vaporize one of my pretty little companions to prove my loyalty to a psychopath in an organized crime syndicate, thinking I’d made a true friend, only to have him turn around later and forge an alliance with a “good guy” faction I’d made every effort to ignore. Then I find out even the good guys can ask you to do some pretty sick and unsavory things too, wow.

I like how the lines are so blurry. To me, these dynamic relationships give the game depth and really take the experience to a whole new level, not to mention they also greatly increase the fun factor. Meanwhile, I’ve also been amusing myself with shooting old ladies for their sarsaparilla star caps and special unique weapons, plus testing out sexbots on the side, but that’s a whole other story.


Me, Myself And The Wasteland

October 21, 2010

Oh, and Victor. Thanks, by the way, I do feel as fit as a fiddle.

While reading Gordon’s blog post about MMOs and fun vs. habit the other day, it occurred to me that, yes, I’ve logged in to games before for no other reason than that it feels like the right thing to do. I’ve gone through the MMO motions before, and afterward wound up feeling like I’ve eaten a big meal without really tasting any of it. And yes, the MMOs I play can sometimes feel like a “giant comfort blanket” of familiarity that I wrap myself in to achieve a sense of habitual routine and stability. Not that it’s always a bad thing, mind you; I’m a human being after all and need some order in my life, dammit. Nevertheless, sometimes that blanket can feel heavy enough to suffocate me.

I guess this is what people mean when they say they’ve fallen into an “MMO rut.” Personally, I’ll always love MMOs no matter what, so I try hard not to let myself get to the point where I stop having fun or start feeling unhappy. But a girl’s just gotta get away from the massively multiplayer environment and have some “Me” time every once in a while, that’s all. But while Gordon finds it difficult to pick up where he left off after a reasonable period of absence from a game, it’s the opposite for me. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and to be sure, I always attack my MMOs with a renewed fervor after being away from them for a while.

Aren't they like the cutest things you've ever seen? Seriously!

This is where the single-player game comes in. Case in point, I’m currently spicing up my gaming life with a delightfully sultry affair with Fallout: New Vegas. I’d been looking forward to this for a long time.

After two days of playing, I’m about six hours in and still haven’t even made it to The Strip yet, so any opinions are still a little premature. But I’m liking what I see so far, though admittedly parts of the game feel slightly sloppy and lacking in polish. I’m not just talking about the bugs either; so far the story lines and quests are great but just don’t feel as “tight” as they could be. The characters I’ve encountered are intriguing, but I haven’t been able to get a good grasp on anyone’s personality the way I was immediately able to do so in Fallout 3, probably because I was thrown into the Mojave Wasteland to fend for myself so soon after the very short intro.

By the way, comparisons between Fallout 3 and New Vegas are going to be inevitable, since they do feel very similar.

Mogsy's the best kind of person there is.

Anyway, I had a chat with one of my friends earlier today about how I’m going to play my character. In Fallout 3, I was a goody-two-shoes to the end, and so this time I definitely want to play the jerk in New Vegas. It’s hard for me, even though it’s a game, just because it’s so against my nature. I really have to push myself to make my Mogsy evil, but so far she can only manage to steal things when no one is watching, and shoot innocent people in the back of their heads when they aren’t expecting it. Oh my God, I can’t even bring myself to be a straightforward asshole, I gotta be the pathetic and cowardly kind. But hey, more of my karma seeps away from me each day, and well, whatever works.


Picture Points: What’d I Miss?

October 17, 2010

Well, I’m back from my vacation/honeymoon, which was spent cruising on the Oasis of the Seas in the Eastern Caribbean. My right shoulder is a little sunburned and I feel about a hundred pounds heavier (man, they really feed you on those things) but otherwise my time away from the real world and the virtual world has left me feeling quite rested.

As honeymooners are wont to do, my better half and I closed ourselves off from the outside world and shunned our cellphones, internet, and all other means of communication with the world at large. As such, I came back to hundreds of unread emails and messages, and a mountain of blog articles in Google Reader. Looks like a lot has happened in the last week, but how nice it is that none of my favorite games seem to have imploded or went under while I was gone. Hey, with this industry, you never know.

Gee, where do I start? More and more, I’m starting to appreciate the wisdom behind Anjin’s use of bullet points, especially when you’re tackling multiple topics in the same post that are all completely irrelevant of each other. How’s about some picture points?

This topic really doesn’t deserve to be tackled first, but I’ll do it anyway because if anything, I felt it was the most entertaining tidbit of my day. Yet another long, whiny rant to add to the ever-growing pile of other long, whiny rants. The more I read about it, the more it seems the only reason this one caught fire was because the author alleges himself to be a soon-to-be Ex-Mythic employee. Even if he could prove his claim, I could care less why he thinks Warhammer failed, but along with Syp, what amuses me most (because such drivel is hardly worth getting angry or even annoyed over) is the way the guy tries to smear Star Wars: The Old Republic by dragging it into his bitchfest born of a feeble grudge. Shoo, louse, I had to deal with a flea infestation on my dog earlier this month that commanded more attention. I’m not worried; SWTOR has survived the storm of naysayers for years, no doubt it can weather another angry little gust of hot air.

Something else that a lot of the blogs I read covered this week was the World of Warcraft Patch 4.0.1. I haven’t updated the game yet or even looked at the notes, but just based on some of the opinions I’ve read, I am prepared for some big changes. You mean I have to relearn the game agaaaaaiiin? /whine. I have so many characters, many of them at level 80, I just can’t be bothered to go through all of them and give their abilities and gear their makeovers, not even my feral druid that has been my main for years. The more I hear about Cataclysm, the more I think I just want to dabble lightly in WoW until it comes out, then pour my full attention into a new Worgen or Goblin character. To hell with the rest of ’em. I mean, with a fresh expansion, a fresh Azeroth, fresh game systems and mechanics, why not a fresh main? My husband probably won’t be too happy to hear that, but the idea appeals to me more and more each day.

SWTOR released a new timeline video about Exar Kun for their new Friday update. To be honest, I was never really interested in that particular storyline, but I enjoyed the video, nonetheless (and things are so much more exciting when they’re narrated by Lance Henriksen, aren’t they?) As such, my leaky memory has shed most of the details about the fall of Exar Kun, so the timeline was a nice refresher even if it didn’t reveal much of anything new. In any case, it’s worth a look if you haven’t read the books, comics, or played the Knights of the Old Republic games that deal with Exar Kun, to get acquainted with one of the more relevant storylines of this era. One thing of note (that I’m surprised Hunter hasn’t mentioned since he has as much at stake in planet reveals as I do) is I wonder if we’ll be seeing the moon Yavin IV unveiled some time soon in a future update? It seems almost a certainty, given this timeline video.

So much to do! I can hardly wait to visit the Minecraft multiplayer server to see what new construction projects have popped up in the last week, but first I have business with the Devidians to attend to in Star Trek Online. The new arc debuted yesterday and I have plans to savor it tonight with a hot cup of Earl Grey tea and a bowl of chips. Until then, I’m staying far far far away from West Karana and Tipa’s spoilers.

Well, vacation’s over and it’s back to the drawing board (or should I say, the Wacom tablet, now that I’ve started my adventures into digital art?) but I’m not sure how much work I’ll be able to get done for the rest of this month. It’s the attack of the single-player games! Oct 19th — Fallout: New Vegas. Oct 26th — Fable III. Oh, and don’t forget, on the same day we have Force Unleashed 2, as Blue Kae reminded me on Twitter earlier today. Gee, thanks. Thanks a lot. It’s going to take incredible willpower to get anything productive done in the next couple of weeks. Gotta love it when the release dates for highly anticipated games just sneak up on you like that, but it’s a whole other conflict when they all descend upon you at once like an avalanche.

Finally, on a non-gaming-related note, I’ve recently become completely obsessed with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. My interest in epic fantasy has been rekindled after reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and I brought the first novel A Game of Thrones with me on my vacation. I’d originally wanted to start another novel or series after finishing it, just to spread out the titles in my to-read list a little bit, but who was I kidding? I began devouring the second book A Clash of Kings the moment I finished the final page of the first. I’m surprised I hadn’t picked this series up sooner, and even more surprised that my husband never recommended it to me, since I just found out he had read it years before. Dammit, he knows I like my epic fantasy dark and gritty. What’s even stranger is that a certain promo on HBO featuring snowy landscapes, ravens and scruffy men with swords and beards has caught my eye for weeks and weeks now, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that I realized it was the television adaptation, around the same time I started debating whether or not to start reading the series. Funny how these things work out, and funnier how unobservant my mind can be sometimes.


KOTOR II – Taking Off

July 7, 2010

Finally, I was able to put aside several hours tonight to focus on Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. I can’t promise this post won’t contain any spoilers, so heed this warning if you have any concerns about that at all.

Respect the T3 unit!

I’m not very far into the game yet, but already I can tell that much of what I’ve heard about the darker tone of KOTOR II is true. First of all, the Peragus Mining Facility isn’t exactly the happiest place in the galaxy, and the dead bodies lying all over the place certainly don’t help. The companions I’ve met so far, while interesting and thus far benign, nonetheless still give me the creeps. Even the amicable Atton Rand seems like someone I should be watching out for (I can’t help it, after the emotional roller coaster that was Carth Onasi from the first KOTOR, I’m suspicious of all and any pilots who say they just want to “help”). And Kreia…well, do I really need to explain why she creeps me out? Gotta love T3-M4 though; those utility droids never get the love they deserve. I also feel especially attached to that little bot, seeing as how I played him more than I played my own character during the first couple hours of the game.

Anyway, I just got off that rock and am now on my way to Telos (leaving a trail of death and destruction in my wake, which is par for the course). Despite this ominous start to my adventures, I gotta say I quite liked that whole introduction section to the game, perhaps even more than I liked Taris in KOTOR. And that’s really saying something, because I adored Taris in the first game. I just felt that my goals and the overall experience on Peragus was much more focused, and the atmosphere was such that I set about my tasks with a more pressing sense of urgency.

I’m also very impressed with the writing so far; some of the dialogue I’ve encountered is fantastic. My conversations with the HK-50 droid, for instance, are going to stay with me for a long time. By the way, I noticed he didn’t stop using the “condescending” prefixes even after I told him to knock it off, that bastard.


Kreia, And G0-T0, And The Exile! Oh My!

July 3, 2010

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic, but I’m quite chagrined to admit I’ve never gotten around to playing its sequel. It’s certainly not for lack of trying though. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, The Sith Lords has been on my list for a long time, but when I finally got around to installing the game, for some reason my PC and evil Windows Vista refused to run it. By that point, I’d already gotten rid of my old computer and operating system so I was SOL.

Well, when the trusty PC fails me, I know I can always count on my old pal the Xbox 360. I finally got around to ordering a used copy of the original Xbox version of the game, and it arrived last night. My KOTOR II adventures are just an update away. I. Am. Psyched.


Another One For The Backlog (Curse You, Steam, Curse You!)

June 26, 2010

With my busy schedule and an impending move on the horizon (not to mention the backlog of games I still have yet to play), I really, really shouldn’t have been checking out Steam’s Perils of Summer Sale. Curiosity got the better of me though, and I went to take a look, promising myself that I won’t get anything.  But that was before I saw The Witcher Enhanced Edition for sale for $6 and change, and well, I just couldn’t help myself.

This is one of those RPGs I’ve always wanted to play, but never got the chance. I have no idea when I’ll be able to get to this but I figured it couldn’t hurt grabbing it at this awesome price (I found it interesting that Victor also went through a similar thought process when that game caught his eye, I guess great minds think alike!) just to have it now and decide when to play later. Also, the development of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has also been on my radar screen ever since fall of last year, so getting the first installment out of the way is definitely on my to-do list (whenever that may be).


Awakened – Thoughts on the DA:O Expansion

March 20, 2010

Don’t worry, non-spoiler post here. I just finished Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening on the Xbox 360, and even as an expansion it still managed to eat up 35+ hours of my life. Was it worth it? I’ll say, if you enjoy the IP as much as I do! Sure, there were a few aspects of the game that just weren’t as fleshed out as I’d hoped, but over all it was still one of those games I couldn’t put down no matter how hard I tried. Some thoughts:

Characters – Awakening features mostly a brand new cast of characters and companions, but it doesn’t mean they are any less developed. Every companion has a unique personality, and once again I found myself trying to gain favor with each them by pandering to their every whim, as well as bribing them with shiny gifts. I was glad to see that the random banter between companions made it to this expansion, and you’re guaranteed some moments of humor by bringing different combinations of them out with you on your adventures.

One thing I must lament though: no romances! While I’m aware that the game’s faq has already stated as much weeks before its release, still…I think most of us have gotten so used to associating Bioware RPGs with romance arcs that it’s really not that unreasonable to expect a little something something. I mean, come on, not even a chaste little kiss with the roguish Nathaniel Howe? Okay, so what if my character is already happily married to King Alistair? As if a lusty romp through an extramarital adventure is anything new when you’re talking medieval monarchy.

Story – Awakening is plot-driven, so story junkies rejoice. I had a real sense of being immersed in the game, as well as feeling like my choices will matter. There will be more than a few decisions that you can’t take lightly. In fact, there were times I was ready to tear my hair out trying to decide which path to choose. Overall, I thought the premise of the story was decent as far as expansions go, and without spoiling anything, all I’ll say is that the ending was simply epic.

Of course, you can't have a game called Dragon Age with no dragons!

Combat – I was pleased to find plenty of new areas to lay waste to in Awakening, and more darkspawn to kill. So many new abilities and talents were made available to my character and her companions, I don’t even think I had the opportunity to experiment with all of them. One thing I did notice was that combat seemed a little easier in this expansion. I only died once during my entire playthrough (and that was at the end), which for someone like me is just…astounding. Maybe it was because I was able to transfer over my superior gear and items along with my character import, which may have helped my performance in the early stages of the game.

Graphics – Keep in mind I’m speaking as someone who played both the original game and its expansion on the Xbox 360, but Awakening definitely looks a lot prettier. The environmental textures look a lot smoother, as do the character faces. I also noticed added variation and improvements in the facial expressions on my character, her companions and other NPCs in the game. Believe me, it was a relief to finally play and not have my character look constipated all the time.

For the most part I truly did enjoy my time with this expansion, and appreciated the opportunity to continue my Dragon Age story.


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