This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.
21st September 2016 - Witch Way Should I Turn?
I can't believe it's been nearly 3 years since I finished the first Witcher game. How time shifts as you get older. Anyway, as the third game has already been out for well over a year, it seemed time to finally install Witcher 2 and push on with the series.
I actually installed this and played it for a short time right after playing the first one, but I had a lot of problems getting it to run right at the time, and as I hadn't really enjoyed the first one, I got put off from playing it until recently.
Now all's said and done, I definitely prefer this to the first one. In my opinion, the original game had a lot more wrong with it than right. But this one flips that around for the most part and has been more pleasant to get through. However, I still feel that this series is probably not for me, as there were still many things that pissed me off about it.
Firstly, the mouse delay/input lag problem. Holy shit this was annoying. If I ran the game without vsync, the mouse would behave properly in the game and in the menus, but the game would run very jittery. With vsync on, the game graphics ran smooth, but there was an obscene amount of mouse lag, especially in the menus. This made certain quests, such as the arm wrestling, impossible to do. Eventually I was able to use the Nvidia control panel to set up vsync with triple buffering, which made the graphics run smoothish, and got rid of most of the mouse lag, but not all. Not ideal, but it was the best I could get it.
The other problem concerning controls was how you had to wait for the previous animation to finish before you could give Geralt a new command. The amount of times I went to cast a spell or roll out of the way only for nothing to happen, just because he hadn't quite finished twirling his sword.
Moving around the world could also be a pain. There were times when Geralt wouldn't even jump down a 1 foot drop, or would not be able to run over a tree root. I also did not like the camera changing every time you climbed up to or jumped down from a ledge. It was kind-of sickening.
However, the improvements over the first game were gladly received. When I rocked up to the first town and picked up the contract quests, I was originally horrified when it looked like finding and reading books would be necessary again, just like in the first game. Later on I discovered this was not the case, which was a boon, even though I had already wasted some money.
The combat is definitely better than the previous game, other than the problems mentioned above, that is. It just felt way more action packed, and being able to cast significantly more spells was great.
I also experienced far less bugs, though there were some. The game also hard crashed to desktop on several occasions, which had me saving like a crazy person at every opportunity.
I'd like to say I enjoyed the story, but while it is filled with intrigue, plot twists, and cool characters, I simply had no real idea of what was going on in the world at large. There seemed to be so many countries, kings and advisors all arguing with each other, and backstabbing each other, that I couldn't follow it all. It doesn't help that I've never read any Witcher books, or that it's been so long since I played the first game, as I can't remember anything about it. Hmph. Politics.
I do really like how the games give you several important choices to make that can really change what happens afterwards. I've just read about all the choices you can make in the games and their repurcussions. I can't really remember what I chose during the first game, except I definitely chose Triss over Shani, and I know I did not side with the Order. Whether I remained neutral or sided with the Scoia'tael I can't remember. I'm also pretty sure I saved the werewolf guy, but I can't remember if I killed or cured Adda. Though I remember saving Abigail.
In this one, I killed Aryan (though this was right at the beginning and I didn't really know what I was doing), I helped the troll to stop drinking, I sided with the Scoia'tael over the Blue Stripes, I saved the elf women from the burning building, I did not let the mob kill Stennis, I decided to save Philippa/Saskia rather than Triss, I let Síle die, and I killed Letho at the end.
Many of these choices can really change what happens in the game, particularly depending on who you side with.
It could do with certain tweaks to make it much more playable, and it also needs a much better tutorial, as the one provided was tosh, and not really all that helpful.
I should really crack right on with number 3, but I'm still not sure if I have the motivation for that yet. Which is a shame. If I found these games as good as others seem to, I'd already be diving headlong into it.
Geralt baffles them with his dancing
Villain shows off his yoga skills
I don't want to know what they are doing in this dark outhouse
Battling some wraiths
Arm wrestling is almost impossible with the game's shit controls
That's an interesting name you have
Geralt's squad of ultimate badasses
Burn harpy, burn!
Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes
Geralt interrupts some kinky shenanigans
Don't make Saskia angry...
...you wouldn't like her when she's angry
Sorry Adalbert, you need to die...
...so that Geralt can bang Cynthia
Not the kind of ride Geralt usually enjoys
Dealing with the Kingslayer
Our adventures through Arborea continued for a while, though we've not played for some weeks. While I quite like it for the most part, there are some awkward things about it that stop me from getting really invested. I find the controls a bit awkward, but that's nothing new for this type of game. When the mouse and W,A,S,D keys move you around, I always feel like I need an extra hand for activating skills. This has always been true for all the MMOs I've played, as well as games like Smite.
I'm also struggling to get involved in the world and the lore. You level so fast in this game that you can bypass three quarters of the zones, as by the time you finish one zone you're already too high level for many others. While that's probably a good thing if you plan on levelling alts, as you can go through different zones with them, for us it just makes all that content seem like a waste. Last time we played, we switched our questing tactics so we only did story quests and not all the little zone-specific quests. Hopefully this will keep our levels down longer, and allow us to visit more places, if for shorter amounts of time.
Not long back, they merged a bunch of servers and we lost a lot of items that we hadn't claimed yet, so that pissed us off a bit. We're unsure at the moment whether we'll go back to this.
It's a big bugger
Meeting a zombie-bear-thing
Duke Volperon wants my booty
Took us ages to kill this thing
One game I've managed to stop playing is League Of Legends, which I haven't touched for nearly 2 months. This damn thing had been pissing me off most of the year, but I carried on because Scoob likes it so much. Yet again, barring a few rare incidents, the idiots and AFKers were on our team, getting in my way as I tried to get to 300 wins. That should have been enough to dissuade me, but I think what has helped me quit the most were the changes they made to the pro scene after M.S.I. this year.
Up until then, I had quite enjoyed watching the pro games, and it kept me somewhat interested in playing myself. However, with more than double the games being played in the summer split, I wasn't able to keep up with them all and stopped watching after a couple of weeks. I can't even tell you who won, or who played well, or who is going to worlds. I just don't care any more.
Of course, I've had breaks before and always ended up going back, so this is a strong possibility. But for now at least, my time with the game is over. I've ended up on 295 wins to 270 losses, meaning I stretched the margin by just 6 wins, making the journey to 300 my worst performance yet. Sure, I wasn't quite at 300 wins, but I would have had to win the last 5 games without losing to make it the biggest increase. And on our last few performances, that just would not happen. The only great thing I remember happening was my first pentakill in one game where I was Katarina, who was one of the champs I think I got better on during these games.
I shouldn't really do this before 300 wins, but here's some sad pointless stats about the last 184 games:
- My largest win streak was 6, and my largest losing streak was 7.
- My most played champs were Annie (10), Kayle (10) & Nami (9).
- I performed best on Annie (8/2), Leona (6/2) & Karma (5/1).
- I performed worst on Akali (1/5), Anivia (1/4) & Caitlyn (1/4).
Using Kat to do some work for a change
Giving them the belly bounce
Scoob unleashing Brand's powers
Though I may play LoL again at some point, it's doubtful I'll be going back to Marvel Heroes. As expected, Scoob didn't want to carry on, but I tried to continue and finished chapter 2. I quickly got tired by the frequent and huge updates, as with my net speed it meant it often took twenty minutes or so to log in. I don't have that kind of patience. Shame, as despite its flaws it has some good things going on, especially for free.
Taking out The Hood
25th July 2016 - Bonding My Fingers Together
It's been longer than usual since this page saw any attention, but that does not mean I've not been playing any games. In fact, I've been diving into quite the selection.
Up first was strange puzzler Sokobond. In this game, you have to move atoms around the level in order to try and get them to all bond together in the right sequence. Sounds simple enough, but trust me it wasn't. Now I quite enjoy puzzle games, as they give what's left of my tiny little brain a bit of exercise, but this one wore me down. I didn't play it in massive bouts either, but rather played it for fifteen minutes or so here and there over the course of a few weeks. Though I swept through at least half of the game fairly quickly, it soon reached the point where it was a grind to get passed each level, and whether I would even complete a level in a session became unlikely. Eventually, I reached a selection of levels, all over on the right side of the table for some reason, that I just couldn't be bothered to spend any more time on, and hunted for the solutions online. I know, I cheated, but I would never have gotten through it otherwise, as I was ready to call it quits.
What am I doing here?
You even learn things at the end of each level, not that I was paying attention
As far as I could get unaided
Though I've been working on finishing a couple of other games these last few weeks, the vast majority of my time has been spent playing games that don't really have an end. Up first, I dived into Marvel Heroes for the first time along with Scoob, as we're both fans of Marvel and it seemed wrong that we hadn't tried it before.
You're allowed to pick your first hero without paying, so I unlocked Psylocke as she's one of my favourite X-Men. Still pissed off they made her a villain in the last movie, but oh well. Alongside Scoob's Wolverine I got chopping and slashing villains left and right, and we went through the first chapter and started the second.
Still a little bit unsure of my thoughts on this game. It's a pretty standard isometric button masher like Torchlight or Diablo, but I think I'd rather play this than those other games because of the theme and characters. I also like how you can try all the heroes up to level 10 before deciding which ones to buy. However, as its only servers are in the U.S. the performance is a little laggy, and the fact that loads of other players are running around make it a bit chaotic at times, adding to the button mashy mayhem. It's a shame they don't make European servers, or even better have developed it as a standalone type game with online and LAN options.
I don't think Scoob is really bothered about carrying on. But I might come back to it at another time. Maybe.
Getting ready to chop
Kicking some villain butt
Arrgh, bright light!
Scrappin with some Venom symbiotes
In a surprising turn of events, I've also spent a lot of time exploring new, and re-exploring old, MMORPGs these last few weeks.
Up first was The Old Republic. I didn't play this that much a year ago because I only really wanted to play the class quests, but was being made to play a lot of grind quests in order to stay levelled. Recently I read on a forum somewhere that it might now be possible to level up doing only those quests, while adding in one or two other quests here and there to keep the levels up. So I thought I'd give it a try.
I quickly found out that what I'd read was not true. On my Jedi Kreethen's third planet, Taris, I needed to go up 5 levels to match the level of the next quest but I only went up 3. From then on it became about how far I could go until the enemies were too strong for me to take out. Honestly, I got a lot further than I thought I would, getting through Taris, Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine, before finally reaching a quest on Alderaan that was too high level. As all the enemies were 6-7 levels higher, and kept resisting or dodging my attacks, there was no way I could win. Oh well.
Still, I haven't minded playing it this time, even though every planet's class quest was essentially the same: find an ill Jedi, beat them into submission, then cure them, so maybe I'm a bit more open to the MMO style of gameplay at the minute.
Yet, there were some things that annoyed the hell out of me. For instance, quite early on the game gives you a massive ship which you can fly around the galaxy in, but you need to be level 20 to learn how to ride a tiny speeder. How does that make sense? Also, if I used my mouse to turn and move the camera, rather than turn using the keyboard, the camera would very often leap around all over the place in a very hyperactive way, especially when in combat. Pain in the ass. There was also a hell of a lot of running around involved, especially before I had my speeder. I know I was skipping a lot of grind quests, but this felt worse than the old Star Trek Online exploration missions at times.
Probably the biggest bug I had wasn't to do with the game at all, but the launcher. A few times when logging in, the launcher would take ages re-organizing the game data and verifying, a known bug with the BitRaider distribution platform which the game uses. It's somehow tied to multi-core processors, but guess what: every computer these days has a multicore processor. How that has not been fixed yet is beyond me. Apparently there is a way to remove BitRaider and download the game another way, but it doesn't seem worth it unless I feel motivated to go back to it later.
Need a lift soldier?
The invisible speeder
Is my Jedi gonna get to visit a strip club?
They're not gonna make my task any easier are they?
Naughty Qyzen! Get off the furniture!
I'll have it blue
Twonking some elite droid
Why does every Star Wars game end up on Tatooine at some point?
This thing was supposed to be an almost-invisible shadow. Hmmmm.
Can't visit Tatooine without killing some Tusken Raiders
Meeting my match on Alderaan
After giving Star Wars another go it was only fair to give Star Trek the same treatment, and I reinstalled STO. Initially, I had no intention of playing this again at all, as I was only interested in seeing what they had changed when they redesigned the galaxy map. As it turns out, I was very disappointed with the map, as it's still not all in one piece, though it is vastly improved over the original sector blocks.
What got me sticking around for a while was finding out that they had added a bunch of new missions for players who were 50+. A huge problem with this game when I played it last was the lack of content when they raised the level cap from 50 to 60, but with the new missions I was hoping things had changed.
It always takes me a while when I come back to this game to get my head around things, as it is quite different to other MMORPGs. It didn't help that in these intervening months they had completely changed the skill trees and I had to learn what was going on with that to get Macan and his crew back into action. In addition, something strange had also happened to several of my ships, and their appearances had been reset. Gone were their cool dark blue patterns to be replaced by the dull, plain Federation standard. Bums.
Once I was up to speed I was off to the Delta Quadrant and plugging away at the missions. This time, I was able to go through all of the Delta missions, and the Iconian missions, and was able to hit level 60. I think a good chunk of that also came from doing daily quests, red alerts, and other rep quests as I was trying to get some better gear and extra traits. Without those extra missions, I think I would have probably stalled around level 57 or 58.
The game is mostly still the same, that being a huge buggy mess. And it's such a shame, because if this was completely fixed it would be a decent game. In just a couple of weeks play I had my away team officers getting stuck on terrain, lots of server timeouts, graphics bugs, and quests failing to continue or complete. The ground combat is still shockingly bad, and a complete janky pile of crap. But space combat is really interesting, even if I still don't know what's fully happening.
At times when playing it, I was wondering whether to subscribe for a month and then work towards getting a better ship, but overall I don't really think it's worth much more of my time. Also, a lot of the new ships look pretty crap, and not very Trek-like at all. Some seem to be from the future, some from different timelines altogether, and some are from other species that just seem weird mixed in with the classic Federation, Klingon or Romulan ships I'm used to. And I really wouldn't want to spend good money on any of those.
Seriously? They haven't fixed this shit yet?
Evil Changeling doing some Dhalsim shit
Another evil Changeling trying to grope Karynna's boobs
The Kaloris gets hit with some proton beam thing
Macan and Vaadwaur villain strut their funky stuff
There's some serious Alien stuff going on right now
Hanging out with the Voyager crew
A huge three-way scrap breaks out
Kinda nippy in here
Can't be all that elite if Macan can punch it into submission
This guy stands on his chair to give me orders
Now, now, ladies. Settle down.
Yay, we're awesome. Kinda.
This happens way too often
Giving T'Ket a bit of a shock
Nog is still tiny it seems, though not as tiny as Jade.
This Klingon has stolen Yoda's hover chair
Anyone up for some basketball?
This is not how you carry a wounded ally
Not one to be outdone, the Scoob has also been delving back into the world of MMORPGs. He's even been playing WoW again after many years away from it. As a lot would have to change for me to play that waste of time and money again, and he had no real interest in playing Star Wars or Star Trek again, we needed a new MMO we could both have a bash at so we could play along together.
We decided to go with Tera, a Korean MMO that went free to play a couple of years back, that I had mostly heard good things about.
When I was looking at good race/class combos for this game, a lot of people recommended going for the child-like (and creepy as fuck I might add) elin characters, as most think they are slightly harder to hit in PvP. While we thought it unlikely we would ever do PvP in this game, it was nevertheless in the back of my mind when I made my character. I ended up with a human, as they have some PvP skills that the other races don't have. I also bucked my usual trend and went with a woman instead of a man, just in case being smaller did have some benefit in PvP. And let's face it - I was never going to be an elin.
And so I entered the world as mystic Gaia Light, named after one of my Amazon Blood Bowl players. Scoob created Kharnragnar, a human berserker, mainly because he wanted to swing a massive axe around.
We're quite new at this one, so haven't puzzled it all out yet. There are few things that really annoy us, especially the dual minimaps that do different things, rather than slapping them all on one like in most MMOs. This also contributes to another problem - I find the UI quite cluttered, especially during combat. Things just pop up all over the place, and it's annoying.
Other than that, it seems quite alright so far. And the free-to-play model of this game is insane. It doesn't look like you really have to pay for anything, with subscribers just getting more EXP and reputation, and having it easier to move around the world. Seems like a good deal to me.
Shortly after beginning our adventure
Scoob going for the big twonk
I swear my character runs like an aerobics instructor
Getting serious WoW flashbacks up here
Hmm, the Teletubbies seem to be in this game
Unleashing some lovely magics on our enemies
Some characters, like this, look really cool. Shame about the creepy kid-things.
Scoob does his best Garen impression
Fighting our first instance boss
This is no time to be practising your dance moves
16th December 2014 - Not So Marvel-ous
Getting on for a decade ago now, Scoob bought the two X-Men Legends games on the PS2. After borrowing it from him, the first one became one of the few games I ever completed on that console (well, I do only own eight). We played most of the second one co-op, but never got around to finishing it for whatever reason. Nevertheless, we both remember those games fondly, and the chance came to re-visit that era when I picked up Marvel: Ultimate Alliance for the PC cheap from eBay.
I'd recently bought a 360 controller to finally get around to Witcher 2, so we started off with Scoob using that and me on keyboard. Unfortunately, aiming ranged attacks while using keyboard is almost impossible, so I was forced into using close combat champs. We formed The Skumsplattaz superhero team with Scoob using Wolverine and Thor, while I went with Deadpool and The Thing. When using the keyboard had got on my nerves enough, I looked at other options. Luckily I found out there was a new, better way of installing PS3 controllers on Windows, as I was not a fan of the software that I used for Resident Evil 3 a couple of years ago. Of course, this means I didn't need a 360 controller after all, as I could have just used both my PS3 controllers. But whatever.
With joypad in hand, I replaced The Thing with Iron Man, to get some long range energy blasts in there.
So what's the game like? Unfortunately, we found the whole experience very underwhelming. Maybe it's because we're older now and button mashing brawlers just don't suit us anymore. Or it might be that the game just isn't as good as the X-Men games were. Without doubt, the way that levelling up is handled in this game is inferior to those X-Men games. Rather than spend your experience points on increasing your hero's stats, you instead have to find stupid little drops throughout the game that do this job. Meh.
In terms of gameplay it's pretty much exactly what you would expect. You just run around clobbering bad guys and jumping around like a lunatic.
There were definitely a few things that really annoyed me. Firstly, there were way too many little cutscenes that took control away from us. Sometimes these were used for dialogue exchanges between bad guys, but usually it was just so the camera could spin around and show us something in the world that we needed to see. The thing is, if that thing it was showing us was necessary to continue, we would have found it anyway, quite easily, without the need to lose control.
There were also no real interesting boss fights. In pretty much every one, the fight was just a series of quicktime events, which was really disappointing as we really wanted to have a proper down and dirty scrap with these characters but couldn't.
Most of the time the camera was free to move, but some times it was strangely locked to a certain viewpoint. Very frustrating in some situations where we were fighting right on the limit of one fixed camera angle and another, meaning every second or two the camera angle would flick back and forth.
But still, it's another one down, so can't complain.
Thor and a bad guy do some synchronised dancing
Two Mysterio copies do some synchronised dancing
Seeing into Wolverine's brain
The Thing plays an old ZX Spectrum game
Wolverine's new wheels
Deathbird aims for the dong
Let me go, bub
All Silver Surfer can do is annoy Galactus
Evil Spider-Man copy being a twat
Wolverine wins the game with QTEs