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22nd June 2020: Shocking Behaviour

It has taken me far too many months, but I've finally completed Bioshock for the first time. I wish I'd been more into this, but it just didn't grab me in any way, and it felt like I really had to grind my way through it.

The game is primarily a first person shooter, though it's also supposed to have horror elements. I found the horror elements entirely lacking, much like I did for System Shock 2, which this game is apparently the spiritual successor of. Granted, the game world is all kinds of messed up. But there was nothing scary here at all.

The game is set some decades ago, and in it you play as a guy who finds himself in an underwater city that has fallen into a state of absolute depravity and chaos. There, he is drawn into the latter stages of a war between two people and their followers, who both wish for control of the city.

Twonk

Twonk

The hacking minigame was a chore

The hacking minigame was a chore

Stop dodging you little shit

Stop dodging you little shit

Hmm. I'm gonna need a bigger wrench.

Hmm. I'm gonna need a bigger wrench.

My love affair with the flame thrower begins

My love affair with the flame thrower begins

Overall, I found this game very mediocre. I can see why people really like it, or at least, why they really liked it at the time. But for me, I found the story too boring and bland to hold my attention. It was also delivered in one of the most irritating ways, in the form of audio logs. The few NPCs you interact with were pretty crappy characters also, essentially pointless in the long run.

Neither did the gameplay feel particularly great. When I play an FPS, I want to be able to go in all guns blazing, but this game doesn't allow you to do that. For a start, I found ammo to be very scarce, especially early on. It also takes a crap-ton of time to reload when your gun is empty. For whatever reason, I also found there to be a funny feeling to the mouse movement, which I couldn't fully eliminate no matter how I tinkered. All this just added up to the game being an empty FPS experience for me.

It doesn't really fill me with any great motivation to push on and play the other games in this series, which I do have. But if I do, hopefully they will grab me better than this one did.

Never bring a gun to a wrench fight

Never bring a gun to a wrench fight

Say cheese

Say cheese

Bioshock predicts the plot of Last Of Us 2. What? Too soon?

Bioshock predicts the plot of Last Of Us 2. What? Too soon?

Draining the big bad's mojo

Draining the big bad's mojo

I did enjoy burning things

I did enjoy burning things

There was recently a great deal of gameplay on Twitch of Terraria, as it received its final big update in the form of 1.4. This got me intrigued, and I re-installed it for a laugh. I started out just mining and building and exploring, but I soon realised several days had passed where this thing had absorbed all of my free time, without me really getting anywhere.

To play this game all the way through again would take days and days, and as there are many other games I need to play that I've never played before, I freed myself of its grip and uninstalled it. Good job too, as I had quite a sore hand from all the clicking.

Shame. If I had more time, and didn't have a list of well over 100 games I need to play first, I think I'd have liked to go through it again. I guess I can always come back to it.

In about 20 years...

Chopping some wood for my base

Chopping some wood for my base

Defending against all the slimes

Defending against all the slimes

Problem is, this is not the only really long game I want to play again. I've recently read the Witcher books, watched the Netflix show, and have been watching people play Witcher 3 online. And I really want to play it again myself...

Must...

Resist...

13th May 2020: Final Fantasy Flashback

Playing an old style Final Fantasy game is something I was trying to motivate myself to do all last year. Not only did I feel like I should play the original VII again, but I also never finished my last play through of number VIII, nor have I played number IX again since I bought it a few years ago. However, my issue was that I felt like I should play them. Not that I necessarily wanted to play them. And that held me back.

But after playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, I just couldn't stop myself from firing up the original game, just to play through the opening Midgar section as a comparison. I guess I should have played it before playing the remake, but I never found the time or determination back then.

The other thing I decided to do was to try out a few mods, to spruce up the graphics a bit. Besides, that made sense, as to get my old cd version of the game working on more modern Windows, I was going to have to install some extra stuff anyway. So, after a bit of tinkering to get the game running, I re-entered the original Midgar for the first time in 19 years. Thinking about it, that's roughly half my life ago.

Holy shit.

Gotta admit, it felt pretty bizarre playing this again after all this time. I had these weird conflicting feelings, as if I'd played it very recently, but also not played it for a lifetime. It all felt so familiar, but at the same time there were really simple things that I could not remember, like "which way was it to Aerith's house again?".

The texture mod definitely cleans things up a bit

The texture mod definitely cleans things up a bit

Cloud's got his priorities in order

Cloud's got his priorities in order

Tifa kicks Reno in the shin

Tifa kicks Reno in the shin

Nanaki clatters Hojo

Nanaki clatters Hojo

Time has not made this bit any more fun

Time has not made this bit any more fun

Well goodbye classic Midgar. Maybe forever...

Well goodbye classic Midgar. Maybe forever...

Some of the more interesting moments I had while playing this part of the old game again were the ones that had direct comparisons with the new game. I liked seeing just how they'd taken those old moments and updated them.
I also caught some things that I must have seen years ago but had forgotten all about, such as a single line from Jessie in the Avalanche basement, where she worries about whether she made the bomb correctly. That one line, and the subsequent idea that perhaps Shinra is toying with our main characters, was something I never picked up on all those years ago. I guess that's because neither that truth, nor Jessie's fear of whether she made a mistake, are mentioned again in the old game. In contrast, in the remake, they really fleshed out that part.
I wonder how many other little lines and hints I missed or have forgotten about in all these years since?

Very probably, I will never know the answer to that question, as while I didn't mind jumping into this again, I still feel no great pull to continue it. Unless something changes as I continue to grow ever older, it's likely I'll not play it ever again, to be honest. So much time has passed, and my taste in games has changed so much, that I can't commit to a full playthrough.

But if it never happens, I'll always have my very fond memories.

Here's just a few images that compare old and new:

Iconic in 1997...

Iconic in 1997...

...and still iconic in 2020

...and still iconic in 2020

We've certainly come a long way...

We've certainly come a long way...

...in the last 23 years

...in the last 23 years

Remember when they did the thing?

Remember when they did the thing?

...because they're still doing it

...because they're still doing it

21st October 2019: The Frustration Unleashed

I played the original Force Unleashed back in early 2010 on the PS3. If I remember right, I quite liked the early parts of the game, but lost interest later on with both the gameplay and the lore, as I didn't like how many Imperial enemies could neutralise your Force powers, when no such enemies existed in the films.

When the sequel came out, it got worse reviews than its predecessor, so I never considered it until I picked it up on sale from GOG about a year ago.

As I'd not completed a game for 7 months, I needed a fairly short game to get through, so went with this one. Well, I'm glad it was a short one, that's all I can say.

For a start, the keyboard and mouse controls that are supposed to be in the game do not work. I read online you have to disable all the controllers in device manager for this to work, but it did nothing for me. So I had to play with the controller, and its incredibly slow camera rotate speed. Urgh.

I also had trouble trying to unlock the frame rate, which in the original game is fixed at 30fps. I found a modified .exe, which did indeed let me run at 60. However, I had a lot of weird bugs and glitches in the game, especially going up elevators, which ended up being the fault of that modified .exe. So in the end I played with the original 30fps locked version of the game. But even that still threw up problems, as the cut scenes seemed to want to run at over 4000fps, and kept stuttering. I had to run RivaTuner to cap those at 30 as well, just to make everything work.

Even after getting it to seemingly run right, and using the original .exe, I still had some glitches and crashes. This was most evident in the level where the rebel fleet turns up at the planet Kamino, and you have to repel Imperial boarders in a hangar. Three times I had to clear that level. The first time, when the game told me to remove the boarding clamps, it crashed. The second time, I killed all the enemies, but the game never told me to remove all the boarding clamps, so I was just stuck in an empty hangar unable to proceed. Pain in the ass.

I really had no fondness for the story or characters in this game either. The original Starkiller at least had some character development. This clone of him is very one note, and very boring. I don't remember what Kota was like in the original game, but his constant orders and irritating tone really pissed me off while getting through this.

I supposed it doesn't really help that I'm really off Star Wars lately, ever since that ridiculously awful Last Jedi spoiled the entire franchise for me.
But at least it's a game done at long last.

Tickling an Acolyte

Tickling an Acolyte

Stormtrooper loses his head

Stormtrooper loses his head

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

Wrecking some droids

Wrecking some droids

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Fighting my way through to Vader

Fighting my way through to Vader

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Before playing Force Unleashed II, the game I had originally intended to blast through was Bloodrayne Betrayal, which had been installed on my computer all year just waiting for me to get around to it.

The first Bloodrayne game was one of the few games I ever bought for the PS2 back in the day, and though it was quite janky, I've always remembered quite liking it. Well, apart from the end boss fight, which took ages, that is.

I bought Bloodrayne 2 on the PC not long after finishing the first one, but for some reason that I can't quite remember I had trouble with the camera controls, and so ended up watching the story on Youtube instead. Thinking about it, I could probably go back to that one now and see if I can get it working. I could do with an entertaining Bloodrayne game after trying this one...

I so very much wanted to enjoy this, but alas it was not to be. It just seems that the entire game was made to frustrate me. My primary antagonist here was the backflip mechanic. Now, the controls for the game provide a regular jump button, and also a backflip button. This is a fact I have no problem with. However, while playing, if you change direction and immediately press the jump button, then Rayne will also do a backflip. So there I am trying to just jump around while slashing and shooting enemies, and the stupid dhampir just keeps backflipping all over the place. Drove me mad.

It did not help that I found a lot of my commands would be ignored, almost as if the game would not do one action until the animation for the previous action had completed. So if I tried to dodge just while Rayne was finishing up the last few animations of slash attack, then she would not dodge and I'd get hit. It sucked how many times I died to that.

The game became most annoying when I hit any kind of prolongued platforming section, especially after starting to play as the bird. When I play an action platformer, especially when I'm playing a cool character like Rayne, I just want to go thundering into enemies and smash some skulls, not fart about jumping over saw blades and avoiding spike traps.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when, on chapter 7, I started to get some hard crashes. I'd not really enjoyed the game up to that point anyway, and I promised myself a while back I would no longer play games I do not enjoy. The crashes just pushed me over the edge, and I uninstalled.

Now is not the time for a cuppa

Now is not the time for a cuppa

Must have spotted a scary bug on the ground

Must have spotted a scary bug on the ground

Monster looks horrified when Rayne gives it a hug

Monster looks horrified when Rayne gives it a hug

Rayne and monster strut their funky stuff

Rayne and monster strut their funky stuff

9th June 2019: Surviving A Blizzard

I don't think I booted a single computer game during March and April, with all my spare hobby time going into finishing my Warhammer 40K Tyranids. But in late May, I got hit by the same nostalgia wave that hit me around the same time last year.

Not only was it the anniversary of TB's passing, but the beta test for Classic WoW also started, and nearly every streamer I watch on Twitch dove into it. I don't know what came over me, as I never thought I'd play the game again, but I decided to re-install it. I couldn't help it. I just had to scratch that itch.

While all the streamers were going back and doing the same things they had done nearly 15 years ago, I went back into the game with a different objective: to do some things I'd never done.
See, while I've surprised myself by playing the game again, I still point blank refuse to pay any sub fees, as I just don't think the game is worth it. As the free account level caps your characters to 20, this left me with just one thing I could do, and that was to play through all the start zones that I had never played back in the day.

Up first was the Worgen start zone. Now I did make a Worgen at one point, named Kreethen, but I never finished the intro story and I think that character remains at level 7 on my original account. I made a new one named Kreethy, maybe a distant relative, and got cracking.
The story was alright I guess, though with some crowbar moments. The biggest problem I had with it was all the lag. At first I assumed the Classic beta had stirred up some new interest in the game, and a lot of people were jumping back in, like me. However, when I moved on to my next character all the lag was gone entirely, which was odd.
Kreethy ended his journey at level 15.

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Secondly, I started a Gnome called Huejackman, named after my original character Huejun. Back in the day, the Gnomes shared a start zone with the Dwarves, and I had played those quests several times on my alts. But in Cata, the Gnomes were given their own little intro area that I had never done. While I liked using the little dude, I ended up getting spat back out into Dun Morogh at level 5. Frankly, I was expecting more. Oh well.

Huejackman gets smacked around

Huejackman gets smacked around

Up next was the turn of the Draenei, as I had never done their start zones either. My only Draenei before this was a Death Knight, as I had really liked using my main DK Undeadbarry, and I created the Draenei just to do their start quests again.
I chose to make this character a female named Kallisto, but only as it wouldn't let me use Xenia or Karynna which were my first picks. I did end up regretting this decision, as the female Draenei has very annoying battle yells, and I couldn't find a way to turn them off. What was worse, was that these start zones were the longest and most boring of this little return to the game. There was just so much running backwards and forwards through large areas, constantly being sent back to areas I'd already been to. Thankfully, this character reached level 20, though only 2 quests before the end. But that meant I could mount up for those 2 quests and boy did it feel good.
It was definitely obvious that these areas and quests were designed earlier in WoW's development. They certainly gave me more of a classic WoW experience than I had expected. There were so many kill quests and fetch quests with poor to moderate drop rates. It felt like 2005 all over again.
The only real interesting thing was that this character was a pally, and holy shit they play so different now from when I played as Jackgooty back in vanilla.

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

This guy's missing his log

This guy's missing his log

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Not an area for arachnophobes

Not an area for arachnophobes

I have the power!

I have the power!

Up next was my first ever Pandaren, who I called Vizna. This was a breath of fresh air after the slog that was the Draenei zones. Though there were still a lot of the usual WoW kill and fetch quests, they all just flowed so much faster, and were situated much closer together. Like the Worgen quest line, there was a much better story that ran through the whole area.
My main issue was the fact that I'd chosen a hunter. I'd read that the hunters now get their pets from level 1, which I liked, but I didn't realise that you couldn't control it until level 10, which irritated me. But oh well.
Vizna ended her journey at level 14, after joining the Horde and travelling to Orgrimmar.

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Runnin' and gunnin'

Runnin' and gunnin'

You gotta be kidding me

You gotta be kidding me

That's one big ass turtle

That's one big ass turtle

Last on the list was the Trolls, who like the Gnomes were given their own little start area back in Cataclysm. As I'd never played a monk class, I went ahead and created one called Kraputkin, who in my head canon is actually Kropotkin's drunk and bad tempered uncle.
Just like for the Gnomes, this little area only got me to level 5 before it spat me back out into the rest of Durotar, so that's where I called it. I didn't really get enough time with the monk to differentiate it much from other classes that use energy, but the start area was definitely fairly quick and snappy, unlike the Draenei zones.

Though many things are different with the game now compared to when I used to play it, it was still a huge nostalgia trip to spend these hours playing it again. And to be honest there was certainly a pull to subscribe just for one month so I could play my proper characters again. But when I take a step back and not let the nostalgia cloud my vision, it's just so obvious that the game is just too dull to be worthy of me putting any more money into it.

So while it's been pretty cool and relaxing to chill out in the game, the way I feel right now is that I'll never visit Azeroth ever again. However, it must be noted that two weeks ago I would have said the same thing. I've also recently bought the first two Warcraft games from GoG, which may trigger another urge to come and play this in the future.
So while it will take something special for me to play, especially subscribe, again, I guess I can never say never.

High kick somehow works on a crab

High kick somehow works on a crab

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

It was also a Blizzard game that last had my attention back in March before my little hiatus from gaming, being the first ever Starcraft, which has been available for free on Battle.net for some time. It's a bit strange that I'd never played it before, but for some reason the classic Blizzard games always passed me by. Before playing this, the only games I'd ever played from that company were Diablo 2 and World Of Warcraft.

If I remember right, I got near the end of the Terran campaign, but I was really struggling to stay with it. I don't know what it is, but for the last couple of years I've really had a hard time staying interested in RTS games. Rewind the clock and at one point I'd have been all over this game. Maybe it's because I'm getting quite old and being able to concentrate is no longer a thing that comes easy to me. I don't know.

Anyway, this is a very typical classic RTS affair, which makes sense considering when it was made. It would be quite easy to never play it again, but I want to continue just to experience the story. I mean I've already got the basic idea of what goes on, and I know how Starcraft 2 ends as I watched some streamers play that final expansion when it came out. But it will still be cool to do it myself.

I'm sure I'll get back into it once all my painting is done and my love of computer games kicks back in.

Defending the area from the Zerg

Defending the area from the Zerg

My aircraft paint the town red

My aircraft paint the town red

Back in March, I gave the League of Legends match history web site a little check, and I found that the filters seem to work again. Well, at least a little bit. This allowed me to get some scores for my champs when I played the last few ARAMs. So here's some sad pointless stats from when I last played.

10th March 2019: Preparing To Face More Evil

Now, I've never really been tempted at all to play over-the-shoulder style Resident Evil games, but all the hype surrounding the remade Resident Evil 2 got me wondering. I grabbed a very cheap copy of Resident Evil 4 from ebay, as it is widely considered to be the best of that type.
As it is an XP game, I first installed it on my old XP laptop, but couldn't get any more than 15 frames per second. Thinking it may be something to do with mobile graphics, I dusted off my old XP tower that has been in storage since the mid 2000s, and tried to play it on that instead. First I had to sort out a very noisy graphics card fan, which needed some much needed oil, before I could even stand to give power to the old monstrosity.
Unfortunately, after installing, I was again faced with a very clunky and slow game that just sat at 15 FPS. I ended up having to install it on my current computer, and luckily it seems to work ok. However, I'm unhappy that it doesn't have mouse controls, and the mouse control patch I downloaded doesn't seem to work, so I'll have to use a joypad. Sigh.
I've only run around a bit at the start of the game, and I'm not sure if I'll get around to this any time soon, but at least I know it will be playable.

Still works after more than a decade in the loft...

Still works after more than a decade in the loft...

...though it needed a good clean.

...though it needed a good clean.

Well, this place looks inviting

Well, this place looks inviting

Run free, little doge

Run free, little doge

After all the tinkering I've been doing recently, I decided a game needed to be finished. To that end, I ran through a very short game that released about a year ago. This thing, which is called Chuchel, was an absolutely bizarre experience. It's supposed to be a point and click puzzle game, but it didn't really feel like that to me, as there was very little to work out. You just have to click on a few different things on each screen, and the weird little characters would do their thing and let you advance to the next level.

The basic plot is that a strange little creature really wants to eat a cherry, but things keep transpiring to prevent him from getting to it. Very reminiscent of Scrat after the acorn in the Ice Age films.
The art style was very fun, and strange, almost in a Monty Python kind-of way, and it was a refreshing change to go through.

Don't you dare take my cherry!

Don't you dare take my cherry!

Yep, this happened

Yep, this happened

Just give me back my cherry!

Just give me back my cherry!

Evil snow man does not like it when I piss up him

Evil snow man does not like it when I piss up him

Little Chuchel turns to the dark side

Little Chuchel turns to the dark side

Spooky ghost!

Spooky ghost!

2nd January 2019: I'm Too Sexy For My Mask

Just got done with another short puzzle game from a couple of years ago, that goes by a very strange name.

The weird name is because it's named after the game's setting, a huge hotel/casino called The Sexy Brutale. In this casino, the same twelve hours play out over and over in a Groundhog Day-style event, during which all of the guests are murdered by the staff. You play as Lafcadio Boone, someone who up to now had been just like any of the other guests, murdered over and over, but who has now broken free of this cycle of death with help from a strange ghostly woman who is covered in blood and looks like she is missing her skin. Lovely.
As Boone, it's now up to you to travel around the location as the day repeats and do whatever you can to prevent the murders. If that wasn't tricky enough, you have to do all this without being seen by any staff or any of the other guests, instead changing the surroundings and manipulating events to achieve the goal.

I've got to say, for the most part, I really liked this game. It was a very interesting idea to have to follow the NPCs around for a day or two, learning their patterns and who they interact with, and trying to figure out how to save them when the day inevitably resets. I don't think I've ever played a game even remotely like it before.

There were one or two frustrating things in terms of the puzzles, mostly because I didn't have my thinking cap on at the time, and they all seemed so simple when I realised the solution. If there were any real problems with the game it was just with the narrative in general, as when it's all explained at the end, I thought the story was pretty crappy.
There were also some things that didn't make mechanical sense. For example, most of the items you could pick up during the day would be lost when the day reset, and could be found back in their original positions. But some remained with you through the reset, and I didn't understand why.

I also didn't understand the significance of all the masks. See, every character in the game is wearing a mask, and when you save them, they take their mask off and leave it for you to find. Each mask gives you a special ability that was possessed by its owner, such as lockpicking for example, which will then help you progress and save other people. I just didn't get how putting a mask on could give you powers. It was a bit weird.
But then again, the whole game was weird, especially when you find out what the whole thing is all about at the end.

Overall, certainly worth a play through, and hopefully I'll play it again in a few years when I've forgotten it all.

Apparently it's normal around here to dissolve into a pool of blood

Apparently it's normal around here to dissolve into a pool of blood

Spying on two of the other guests/victims

Spying on two of the other guests/victims

Someone getting mojo'd by a voodoo fish

Someone getting mojo'd by a voodoo fish

Flamin' eck!

Flamin' eck!

Strange character hangs in a pool of his own tears

Strange character hangs in a pool of his own tears

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