A Year in Skyrim (Or Just About)

So yesterday I was made aware of something. Skyrim has nearly been out for a year, and I am still playing it nearly a year on.

And unlike some games it’s not a case of ‘left it for a month and came back’, according to my Raptr tracker I have clocked up about 64 hours of game play and I am ‘dedicated’ to the game. So since it’s relase day Skyrim has been an almost constant presence in my gaming life.

And I am honestly not done with it. I find every time I go into Skyrim there’s something new. A quest I will do different, a new part of the map I haven’t found, even a new glitch to find. Like the one where you can turn yourself into a horse. I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of the game and there’s just so much I still want to find, want to explore, new characters to roll and you get the picture.

My first character, Le’Fel was a Khajiit she was my first character who sort of became my test dummy, she was the one that I had no real plan for and I used to just run about my merry well trying out as many quest lines as I could.

Then came my Nord, Branda Fire-Blade. Branda I had a plan for, she would become a Companion, she’d use a greatsword and she married Farkas. And as I played I started thinking more and more about her and how she lived and where she came from. I decided that she came into Skyrim seeking to see the land of her ancestors and that she lived on a homestead near the Colovian Highlands and that she had a younger brother.

Then came Ferret, an Imperial. Ferret became a thief but she never embarked on the main quest, I decided she wasn’t the Dovahkiin. I’ve been working on her story and how she came into Skyrim. She’s quite young, and she’d vey attached to an Ebony dagger that was one of the first things she ever stole.

And the beauty of Skyrim is you don’t have to do the main story, you don’t have to become the Dovahkinn. You don’t really have to do anything, you could if you so desired just stand on the top of a mountain and watch the sky.

Although as much as I love RPG’s some despite the fact they have a different class and other variables aren’t as ‘free’ as the Elder Scrolls games are. Although some games give you scope that things can go a bit different most are very linear.

In Skyrim as soon as you get out if Helgen you can basically do whatever you want. Want to follow Ralof and follow right through with the quest? Go ahead, Want to go wandering in the other direction and find random stuff? Go ahead.

The game doesn’t stop you, there’s no ‘zones’ as such, no barriers you are completley free to do what you want.
I can’t think of any game that just gives you that scope of freedom.

I wonder how long it will take me to ‘complete’ this game if I will ever do so. Maybe I’ll still be playing this game a year later, we will see.

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Character Design: You’re Doing it Right

So a bit of change of subject here.(Or I suppose not really)
I’ve been sort of playing Borderlands 2 on and off over the last few weeks (when my brother actually gives me chance to get to the XBox) and I just want to blog for a bit on something I think the game is doing pretty darned well.

This is Maya. Maya is (discounting the DLC character Gauge who has just been released) the only playable female protagonist in the game. She is a Siren, and has some pretty awesome ablities and is generally a pretty fun character to play as.
Now, I just want to focus on Maya’s design a bit, as actually I think she’s come out very well. Maya as a siren is meant to look very attractive and they’ve managed to do this in a pretty good way.
Whilst attractive they’ve managed to make Maya look ‘real’ she’s pretty proporinate in her build, and although she has exposed skin mainly for the sake of showing of the tattoos the areas exposed are pretty minimal (the other exposed area is near her hip).Maya’s clothing also seems to have actually been designed to be practical as it looks like the sort of stuff you can go running around adventuring in, and look she has sensible footwear.

This is Lilith, from the first game. Lilith is also a good example of how a video game can make an attractive female character that is well designed. Although she has exposed cleavage it’s not to a ridiclous level, and like Maya she generally looks like she’s suited for running around and generally adventuring.

When it comes to gaming, comics and films I’m always overjoyed to find ‘action girls’ that have been designed in such a way that they actually look suited f0r the role they are put in. Borderlands is one of the games that has done this pretty well. Borderlands as a whole is a great example of character design as each character is pretty unique, and manage to avoid a common issue that often seems to afflict games:


(Although for me Shepard is an exception since you are able to customise them, but then saying that for some reason default fem!shep is a red head and default male!shep is brown haired)

Notice a bit of a pattern here? They even have the same facial structure!

 

Oh But I Love You… Yet I Hate You (AKA: I suck at multiplayer)

So. For the last month or so the majority of my gaming time (of which there is quite a lot since I’m still unemployed at this point in time) has been taken up with one particular game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Now, for the most part I love this game. I love Star Wars, I love the two preceding ‘Old Republic’ games (which gave me two of my first ever ‘fangirling’ prospects). I love the storylines, I love the companions.

But then there’s something I don’t love.

You see although this game is an MMO it is marketed in a way that you don’t necessarily need to play it in a group and you can spend most of your time running around  on your own with the companion of your choice working through your own ‘personal story’. However, this doesn’t seem to work all of the time,currently on my main playthrough where I am playing as a smuggler I am  level 25 and on the planet of Tattooine. And I am stuck.

Yes. I am stuck.

How? Why?

Because despite the fact I have a bunch of quests that are earmarked as ‘level 25’ side quests I can’t complete them as they have level 25 bosses which generally require you to be a level above them to have much chance of making a dent in them. And the story quest for this zone ends with a fight with two level 28 bosses. Yet I found a batch of side quests that were apparently too high for my level and I practically breezed through them easily taking out mobs of characters that were levels 26-28 and I seemed to be getting somewhere.

Which leaves me with one option.

Level grinding.

Which is horrible, and tedious and just generally boring and involves me running around finding random mobs to take out that may or may not give me a good XP payout.  Oh and my character is running severely low on credits so when I die (which is happening too much) I don’t have the money to repair my gear so I’m stuck in an endless cycle of dying and respawning. Which gets very old, very fast as you can well imagine.

But wait this is an MMO right? You can play with other players!

Oh uh well…

SWTOR has a range of missions called ‘Flashpoints’ and ‘Heroics’ which are designed to be done in groups. And I can honestly admit I’ve not touched a single one of them. When apparently doing these will be a key to levelling up quicker and more credits and maybe actually getting somewhere with the game.

You see I can’t seem to grasp the ‘multiplayer’ part in games. I don’t like mutiplayer when I game I generally like to be on my own and like to just get on with the game and uncover the story. I’m much the same when I’m off the computer . Honestly I just don’t have the energy or the desire to do so. Online gaming is cutthroat, and I suppose I’m just too worried about making some big mistake and making whoever is questing with me annoyed. (Which happened to me in my first day of playing World of Warcraft)

But then there’s other issues that prevent me from ‘group gaming’ such as having a limited amount of time I can game in peace, I also tend to be on games at rather weird times when no one is really around, also I’m not sure if it’s just me but I have bad  lag issues with SWTOR and tend to get disconnected at random which isn’t ideal when questing. Add a group into the mix and chaos would reign supreme.

Or something like that. I could just be overthinking things (as always). But when you’re someone like me it’s not easy to warm up to the ‘multiplayer’ aspects of a game. It’d probably help if I actually knew anyone ‘IRL’ or even on another site I hang around with who plays but in a way I’m stuck on a little gaming island.

It’s making this game a bit of a chore, and I hate it when games become a chore it sucks the fun out of them.

So until I can get over that I think I’ll just be mob farming for  don’t know how long.

Mass Effect 3: My Final Thoughts

Yesterday I finally actually finished Mass Effect 3.

Although I had seen the endings actually playing through them was different indeed.

Please note spoilers will happen from this point onward. Read with caution.

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Thoughts on Mass Effect 3: Mk. 2.

I had intended to blog on this a while back, but I forgot and since this blog of mine fell into a bit of a slump I should try and pick it up a bit.

As everyone will probably know by now Bioware launched the ‘extended cut’ of Mass Effect 3 to try to patch up the endings of the game, which I blogged on before (and without needing to dig too deep it’s quite obvious what most of the fanbase thought)

I, still haven’t finished my personal ME3 playthrough due to a lack of time due to me finishing up college and also having some XBox trouble but I saw the endings online.

I will say I am satisfied.

All I really wished from the endings of Mass Effect 3 was clarity and closure, I wanted to know what had happened, what happened to my Skye Shepard who’d I spend so much time playing as, what had happened to my crew, my LI, the galaxy.
I got what I wanted, I knew what had happened, I knew where everyone was, I knew who had lived, who had died, how my little changes and plans would affect that big wide galaxy I had invested so much time in.

I was never mad at Bioware over what had happened, I was disappointed, confused even and wondering what had just happened and why this ending seemed like KOTOR 2 all over again where I didn’t know what had happened. It felt like for a game so entrenched in the ‘your choices matter’ mantra that they’d seemingly stripped that away and left us with endings that seemed to make little difference in the long run.

Do I think the endings are ideal? Not really, there’s still issues. Do I still wish there was some overreaching yay everyone lives, Shep is alive and you can run off with your LI into the sunset ending? I sure do.

But I’m content with what has been given to us, I understand and that was what I wanted the most.

 

It’s Been a While…

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It’s been a while since I’ve updated, but hey look I have material.
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A Cotton Candy pomander I found in a local charity shop not quite sure where she’s going to go right now
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G3 Desert Blossom who I found down the local carboot, she seriously needs some time at the pony salon

And, I’ve picked up my second G4
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Pinkie Pie! I did want to grab a Rainbow Dash but the one I found for some reason had these brown marks on her muzzle like the plastic was aged. D:
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Close up of the cute little suitcase
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Stickers and ‘train ticket’
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Map/Leaflet which has got stuck on the wall above my desk
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Loki has gained another army member (and he’s very useful for storing cables)
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N7 Keychain I found at my local Gamestation

So that’s me sorted. College is wrapping up, I’m busy trying to make sure everything is done and dusted. Gaming wise I’ve started Dragon Age: II again as I got the ‘Exiled Prince’ DLC finally so I now have Sebastian Vael. And I’ve been playing Darksiders.

Thoughts On Mass Effect 3

I had intended to do a post like this a while back but as bad as it seems I’ve lacked motivation to work on this blog. Also, I feel the ‘dust has settled’ on this a bit. So be warned, spoilers ahead

Now, as a preface I haven’t personally finished my playthrough of Mass Effect 3 I was vaugley spoiled for the ending before starting and my older brother completed his playthrough.

Mass Effect 3 was a game I almost didn’t get to play. My brother and I had put in a preorder at Game for the N7 collectors edition but of course we didn’t forsee Game going under. But we managed to get it from Blockbuster. In a way I suppose I’m slightly ‘glad’ we didn’t fork out for the N7 edition in the end. Even if I did really want that art book.

For the majory of the game, Mass Effect 3 is awesome. It starts of pretty strong with the whole being thrown straight back into the fight thing like with Mass Effect 2. The game starts of pretty dramatically and the opening scenes are pretty damn heart wrenching and gave me a ‘reason to fight’ as it were as it really hits home how dire the siutation is.

Character wise the game is excellent as well. It’s been 6 months since you last saw your crew so it’s interesting to see how people have changed. One of the ones I really liked was Jack. I’d liked her in the second game and liked seeing how she had ‘matured’ between games somewhat.

I found the Normandy felt pretty empty in the game as although you meet your old crew only  a handful come back to the ship. I was impressed by Vega, at first from what I had heard and seen I thought he would have been a very annoying character but he wasn’t as bad as he seemed. Diane Allers I found tolerable but to be fair I only kept her for the sake of a War Asset.  This game really does pull out all the stops in the way of ‘player punches’ such as what happens to Thane and Mordin.

Romance wise, I was impressed. One of my main thoughts was ‘how would they handle it’. In my game I romanced Garrus and really liked how that romance turned out. Especially the Citadel scene, what can I say I’m a fangirl.

Everything was great until the last 10 or so minutes. Pre battle when you touch down on London you can really get that sense of ‘do or die’ you can tell humanity is pushed back, this is the last chance especially with details such as the radio chatter which I found really sobering when they read off things such as the casualty counts in the different zones.

For me, the game starts to fall apart once you hit the Conduit. The last scene with Anderson is perfect though, and for me that would have been the perfect end.

I have no problems with a ending where Shepherd has died but I do have a problem with the lack of closure. The last parts of the game where you have to ‘make the choice’ which essentially seems to be ‘what colour explosions do you want’ the game just seems to become really chaotic and confusing. We know the reapers are falling and we’ve won but then what? What’s with the tropical planet? Why is the Normandy legging it out of there? Did Shepherd survive? Did humanity survive? Is everyone now stuck in the Sol system forever?

I know it seems weird to dislike the game for the ending alone but it just makes me feel dissapointed. But I guess I’ll just have to wait for this DLC that may help the ending make more sense.

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