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.
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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
21st August 2015 - Who Doesn't Love Hot Pizza?
Just got done with one of the most fun games I've played while doing this blog, in Saints Row The Third. I know it's a bit old now, but I was super happy to get to play it after GOG released it on their website a few months back. So me and Scoob joined up with the other Saints to rid Steelport of other rival gangs, and it went something like this...
Because my 2nd computer is too old to run the game, we first had to figure out how to play LAN co-op over the internet, which was something we had not done before. We were originally going to try hamachi, until I read on several sites that Tunngle was supposed to be better for games. Whether it's better for games or not I can not answer, but I have not enjoyed using it for the last few weeks, and am glad I can now remove it. I don't appreciate any service that forces you to watch ads, which Tunngle does. What's worse, very often after waiting through the ad, the program would crash at the end of it, meaning I would have to reload and sit through another bloody ad to get into it. Grrr.
Once in the game, we spent most of our early adventures driving round and blowing shit up while playing the hot pizza song, and certainly had a laugh doing this. Because the game is so bat-shit crazy, even its many glitches and graphics bugs only made it more fun. There were one or two bugs that became annoying, mostly when you were trying to get in a car, or trying to get the NPCs to get in a car, but we managed to muddle through them.
I'm not quite sure what the writers were smoking when they came up with most of the story, but we went from fighting normal gang members to fighting zombies through to going into a computer game disguised as a toilet and a sex doll. Odd.
I guess the main problem with the game was that it was way too easy, especially by the end when we were levelled up. Hardly anything in the game can do damage to you when you hit top level, and I think that was a bad choice.
But overall, the game was a right laugh and gave us something to do outside League Of Legends for a while.
My car doesn't survive an encounter with Scoob's tank
Blowing more shit up
Scoob's high heels give him magical levitation powers
I must have really wanted that guy dead
This dude walks straight through my new car
My car scratches an itch
Dead guy twitches
This guy may have lost his legs
Ninja Scoob covers my back
Samurai Scoob has special powers
Beating Genki to death with a giant dildo
Scoob threatens to shoot my junk off
Well that's just rude
I think I just stubbed his toe
How dare they blow our place up
What the hell happened to this dude?
Time for some toilet popping
I don't give a chainsaw!
All hell breaks loose in the final battle
Wailing on Killbane
As expected we didn't play Star Wars The Old Republic for all that long. Me and Scoob managed to get through the starting world with our Sith characters, and I trudged through the first two worlds with my Jedi, but MMOs are just too boring, and it couldn't keep hold of our attention. I really wanted to continue the stories, but the game forces you to do all the typical MMO grind quests to get high enough level to do the story quests.
Arrggh, everything burns!
Time to die big guy
Klapdud gets pistol-whipping
Kreethen gets his lightsaber
Die, Sith scum
How am I reaching through this wall?
Are we in the Construct?
Finally looking like a Jedi
Is that you Han?
Strange graphics bug makes Klapdud's companion lose her clothes
1st June 2015 - Let's Have A Butcher's
So I just got done with a game I didn't initially realise I even owned. Quite a while ago now I bought Assault On Dark Athena from GOG, and when I came to play it a couple of months back, I finally saw that it was bundled with a remake of an earlier game called Escape From Butcher Bay. Made sense to play the first game first, so that's what I've done.
You play as Riddick, the main character from the Pitch Black and Chronicles Of Riddick movies, in a story set before those films. Riddick must escape the eponymous prison after being captured and delivered there by Johns, another character that is in the Pitch Black movie.
I found this quite challenging in places, especially early in the game when I didn't really know what I was doing. At times, I was further hindered (though sometimes helped) by the very poor A.I. of the enemies, especially the Riot Guards, who are dudes in massive powered armour who can only be killed if you shoot them in the back. The worst incident was when a Riot Guard came down an elevator in the corner of the room, then refused to get off said elevator, keeping his back to the wall. I kept trying to lure him into the room by sticking my head out of cover and letting him shoot at me, but he'd take a couple of steps forward, do a weird stutter, then take two steps back. It took ages for him to finally wriggle free and start chasing me around the crates in the room, finally allowing me to take him down.
There are sections of straight up FPS action, but most of the game leans towards being stealthy and hiding out in shadows, which is not usually the kind of thing I like. The more I played of this though, the more I got into it. It was quite cool to pretend to be Riddick, especially after you become able to see in the dark. Vin Diesel's voice acting also helped, as it really would not have been the same if someone else had done it instead.
The story was freaking bonkers, as Riddick sneaks and kills his way through a prison which must be bigger than most cities. There were also quite a few weird graphics bugs, but they were easy to shrug off, and just made me laugh.
How long is Riddick's arm?
You'll have someone's eye out with that
Behold, the magical floating gun
What is this dude doing?
Never saw Riddick as the cuddling type
Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes
I'm about to fight Kryten from Red Dwarf it seems
Playing some Star Wars Arcade
Enjoy your trip
Gun grows some tentacles
I just climbed through a closed hatch
Behold, the magical floating man
Urf The Manatee attacks
These guys are bad shots
Ha ha, bad guy killed by his own guards
Along with the Scoob I've also just started up two multiplayer games. I haven't really played many MMOs while doing this blog, but we've just started a new one in the form of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Though the game seems very much like any other MMORPG, it does focus heavily on story and conversation, so I hope that side of the game keeps me more interested. I've created two characters, being Imperial Agent Munkfish and Kreethen the Jedi, so I can experience both sides of the conflict.
The other game is one I've wanted to play for years, after seeing footage of it on Youtube, being Saints Row The Third. Recently, and surprisingly, it was released very cheap on GOG, and I swooped on it like a hawk. We've only played a little of it so far, but it's definitely gonna be fun, and I can't wait to sing along to the Hot Pizza song.
The latest incarnation of Munkfish
The latest incarnation of Kreethen
This dude has strange orange growths
Pew pew pew
Holy crap, how big are Hutts in this game?
Shooting some shit up in Steelport
23rd May 2015 - Mysteries Of The Mysteries
It's taken a little longer than I hoped, but I've managed to complete the expandalone to Jedi Knight, called Mysteries Of The Sith. In this one you take on the role of Mara Jade, probably my favourite expanded universe character, as she goes about her business helping the New Republic and later bringing Kyle back from the dark side.
Unsurprisingly it's very similar to the original game, though with some advantages and disadvantages. The main problem was the different cutscenes. Not only were they rendered very badly using the in-game engine, it seems they were compressed with a different codec, and they would not play right on my computer. This led me to watching them all on Youtube afterwards, so I could finally see what the whole story was about. This in turn led to another issue: just why was the game called Mysteries Of The Sith? I don't seem to remember any mysteries concerning the Sith in the whole game, unless it refers to the puzzles you have to solve to make your way through the Sith temple in the last couple of levels, which I doubt it does.
Other than a few rare times, I did not have as much trouble navigating the maps as I did last month playing DF2. This could be down to me actually paying more attention to the locations, but I'm guessing it was down to simpler map design, which I appreciated. My two staple Force powers from Jedi Outcast were also added in this game, being saber throw and push, but neither one of these early versions proved to be very useful at all.
Though I was happy to play these two games, the combination of them being a little old and frustrating, and my tastes being different these days, probably means I'll never replay them as I did with both Outcast & Academy.
AT-ST takes it on the chin
A wall of lava?
Synchronised death from the Gamorreans
Another saber sniffer
Hey I know that ship
Oh no! The rancor!
Is this droid wearing a dress?
A Noghri shows off his guns to Mara
Stop hitting yourself. Silly Mara.
I found you Kyle. Time to end this.
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