137 Posts

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I’ve been looking forward to Breath of the Wild for years now, although it didn’t have an official title for a while. I was expecting a new Zelda game for the Wii U. We even had video of it and learned that it would be an open world game. I remember seeing Link in mid-air with time nearly frozen, in which he shoots an enemy with an arrow. I thought that looked cool. The game got delayed and a bit of an evolution by the end of it’s development. That evolution was the Switch.

I was interested in the Switch, but more more interested in BotW. I decided to buy the Wii U version of the game, instead of spending over $300 for a new system. At first, I assumed the lesser console (Wii U) version would suffer, but in this case it actually looks like the Switch version has some framerate issues. The game has been patched and I believe Nintendo has been working to resolve technical issues.

I didn’t hesitate to pre-order BotW, once I decided which version to get, but I did hesitate to play it. I bought the game for my son as a birthday present. I’ve let him play it and he’s made significant progress. I wanted give him time to play it and I figured I’d pick it up some time when he wasn’t playing it. He hasn’t been playing it lately, so I decided it was time to pick it up.

Luckily, this is a game that’s very amiibo-friendly. If you use just about any one of them, you’ll more than likely see a bunch of food and materials drop from the air, maybe even a chest. Link’s Smash Bros. amiibo does sometimes summon Epona. However, the most valuable for this game seems to be Wolf Link, he can join you in game and fight with you. You can play Twilight Princess HD and get Wolf Link more hearts. Get yourself as many hearts as you want or can and then use the Wolf Link amiibo to the Cave of Shadows. It will then save your character data to your amiibo, which can then be used in BotW. I’m actually interested in getting more amiibos, particularly from The Legend of Zelda, like Zelda and Ganondorf. They offer their own unique bonuses (at least in Twilight Princes HD and other games).

This game is cool, but there are definitely some spoiler-free noticeable things to point out. Weapons, shields, and bows break and can’t be repaired. There are new enemies and a variety of ways to get rid of them. Cutting grass doesn’t provide hearts or rupees, and there are multiple ways to use the environment to your advantage. There are plenty of materials around to harvest for cooking, which lets you make food to restore health or give some bonus, such as cold resistance.

Dungeons are now known as shrines. There are many and they are quite small compared to the Zelda dungeons we’ve come to know, love, or hate. In the beginning, it seems that the shrines give you what you need to complete them before you advance to the end. They are puzzle-like, but appear to be kind of nicely simplistic and not too greatly challenging. Some of the ones I’ve run into have also required me to use the Wii U’s Gamepad motion controls.

As for general combat, this game seems to be more difficult than other Zelda games. I’ve just started out and I’m not well equipped. I do have 4 hearts now, instead of 3, and I do have Wolf Link with me along with some of the runes I’ve collected, but I still get killed. The game isn’t shy about that, it even tells you while it’s loading to be careful and not rush head first into enemies without preparation.

Since rupees are now more rare, it’s hard to find enough to get well equipped. You can sell things, but apparently you want to save some things that you’ll need later for upgrades and such. I’ve been hoarding, I need to start selling more so I can get some armor. I just spent 80 rupees on some warmer gear, yet I still need a cold resistance buff where I’m at.

There are a variety of places to go and many ways of getting to them. You can fast travel, ride a horse, walk, climb, snowboard with your shield, or glide. You’ll need to tame a horse by sneaking up on it and mounting it, then pressing the button (L shoulder I believe) to calm them down. Once you’ve tamed one, you can register it at a stable (for 20 rupees I think). You can name it (except for Epona) and even have it stay at the stable. Otherwise, it may come to you if you whistle for it and you’re close enough for it to hear you. If you can’t find it, check the map for the horse icon. The solid colored horses appear to be usually superior to multi-colored horses.

I’ve seen videos of people that have talked about the game and many of them have 60-100 hours in and they still love it. So, I know there’s a lot to look forward to. Speaking of that, the DLC pack is available for about $20. One DLC is getting released “this summer” and another near the end of the year. I watched a couple of videos about it and I recommend checking some out. The DLC looks cool.

Gamespot created multiple videos containing tips they wish they knew before playing. There are now more than 5 of those videos and I recommend watching them. Each says it "may contain spoilers," but I didn't see any spoilers. You can find the playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpg6WLs8kxGNU6ZFGXaxjxjLGnF9BZi64 There is also a "spoiler-free beginner's tips" video here: https://youtu.be/-EaO2S4Lyvk

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Dungeons 2 is available for free for a limited time via the Humble Store. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/grab-a-free-copy-of-dungeon-keeper-style-game-dung/1100-6449968/

Twitch Prime members have new loot to grab including Oxenfree, NBA2K17, and a "Star Wars: The Old Republic - Eternal Throne Ultimate Pack." There are only 3 days left to get Oxenfree and the Star Wars pack, but NBA2K17 ends on the 22nd.

I personally don't know anything about these games, but I thought I would bring it to your attention. You have to create a STWTOR account to claim the code, which I did. I downloaded the setup file, but that's as far as I've gotten.

I've downloaded other games offered by Twitch Prime including Punch Club (recommended by Jon) and This War of Mine. TWoM appears to be similar to Fallout Shelter, so I want to give it a try. It also seems to have some great reviews.

Login to your Twitch account (if you've already linked up with your Amazon account) and check out the notification.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/next-free-amazontwitch-prime-game-now-available/1100-6449967/

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I was really excited about the Wii when I first found out about it. So, I was one of the many people who got it during a midnight release at GameStop. Twilight Princess was the first game I bought for it. I really loved it, too. I liked the motion controls, swinging to swing a sword, etc. My only disappointment with the game was that it didn’t look very great. However, the game got an HD upgrade is now available on the Wii U.

I decided to buy Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U, even though I still have my original Wii copy. I gave it to my son as a birthday present, along with other games. The cool thing about it is that it came with a Wolf Link amiibo, which I’m really glad to have because you can use it in Breath of the Wild, which is why I’m playing this game now.

I got Breath of the Wild for the Wii U, because while the Switch looks impressive, there aren’t any games that I’m particularly interested in, other than BotW. So, I decided to save some money and buy the Wii U version, instead of the Switch and I’m glad I did. The Switch version of BotW seems to have more issues than the Wii U version, which surprises me. I thought for sure it’d be a better game on the Switch because of the new hardware.

I’ve let my son play BotW for a while, while I played other games on my PC, but I recently decided to check it out. I played it a little bit, then found out that you can increase Wolf Link’s maximum amount of hearts by working on Twilight Princess HD. There’s a special cave for you to access with the amiibo in the game and it can store your info on the amiibo. So, now I’m working on Twilight Princess, so I can have a better Wolf Link as a companion.

I think this game needed an HD upgrade and I’m glad it got it. But, this version of the game isn’t as physically fun as the original. You can use the Wii U Gamepad or the Gamepad Controller to play the game. You can play it on the Gamepad or the TV. Since you can’t use a Wii-mote, the motion controls are a bit watered down. You can move the Gamepad to look around or aim, but that’s about as far as the motion controls go. Since I actually enjoyed the Wii-mote motion controls, this is disappointing to me, but the game still plays well without it.

I’ve noticed that other Zelda amiibos work with the game, too, which makes me want to get more of them. I have Wolf Link and Smash Bros. Link, but now I want to get Ganondorf and Zelda.

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I remember my fellow Cheerful Ghosts talking about Fallout Shelter shortly after it was released. Since I didn’t own a smartphone at the time, I ignored this game. Then, last year during the summer, Fallout Shelter came to PC via Bethesda’s launcher. Gaming companies have been releasing their own game launchers, like Steam, and they’re getting numerous, but I love Bethesda, so I installed it.

I played the game for a little while. It seemed like a game that contained a lot of waiting. It’s easy enough to play and the game does a great job of teaching you how to play and providing some great tips. Dwellers can act on their own, but it’s up to you to manage them. Each dweller has their own S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, each of which is good for something. For instance, you’ll want to put your dwellers with high Strength in your power production rooms. Perception is good for water production, while Agility is good for food production. Intelligence is good for the medical room that produces Stimpaks and the science lab, which produces Radaway. Charm is good in the Living Quarters where you can breed your dwellers.

You can “rush” rooms, hurrying their production of a resources. If it goes well, you’ll get a bonus and caps, but if it fails your dwellers in the room will have to deal with an incident. Before rushing, the game will tell you the percent chance of an incident, so if you find that percentage is high, then it’s not a good idea to rush the room. The room can catch on fire, or creatures can appear such as Radroaches, Mole Rats, and Radscorpions. If your dwellers get hurt, you can given them Stimpaks. If they die, you can revive them after the incident. If not taken care of quickly enough, the incident could spread to other rooms.

In the meantime, there are chances that Raiders, Feral Ghouls, or Death Claws could invade your vault. Once they get in, it’s up to your dwellers to fend them off. These enemies always work their way from left to right on each floor, going to the next floor if not defeated in time. If you have a Mr. Handy, it will fight them, too, if it’s on the same floor or you can drag it there. Mr. Handy can also help protect your dwellers during an incident. It can be destroyed, but can repaired for 2,000 caps.

Rooms can be upgraded and expanded. Most rooms can be three room wide and it’s a good idea to make your rooms three wide. This means that 6 dwellers can fit inside. More dwellers working in a room, means it can produce quicker. You unlock rooms by getting dwellers. Once you get closer to 50-60 dwellers, you’ll be able to build new, better rooms for resource production. I have three of each, I removed the old resource rooms.

There is a limit to 200 dwellers in your vault and having that many can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you have not yet made every room. The rooms that train dwellers S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats are really good. You can train a certain stat in each room and rotate dwellers in and out. There’s also a Barbershop for customizing your dwellers, which I’ve made, but haven’t used. Also there is a theme workshop that lets you create themes. You’ll find theme recipe pieces on quests. It looks like the themes are Brotherhood of Steel, Railroad, Institute, and Minuteman.

There are a good number of quests to do. On most quests you can have up to three dwellers, but some quests only allow one, or have other various requirements. They can be difficult so it’s a good idea to bring your best dwellers with the best gear and the max amount of Stimpacs and Radaway they can carry (25) from the Vault. You can get a variety of rewards such as weapons, outfits, pets, lunchboxes (which can contain anything), junk, and more. If you fully upgrade the Overseer’s Office, you can have three groups out on quests at once. If your dwellers die and fail a quest, you can retry for a cost, or revive them and send them back home. I have a few certain dwellers I send out on quests. Many quests take some time to reach and get back from, but you can speed this up by spending Nuka-Cola Quantum, which is a very rare resource.

Speaking of quests, there’s a Bottle and Cappy quest line and when that is completed, B&C will occasionally visit your vault, raising happiness. While they’re exploring your vault, you can click on Cappy for caps or Bottle for caps or Nuka-Cola Quantum when they’re dancing. This is so valuable that I highly suggest doing this as soon as possible.

I like this game a lot more than I thought I would. I think this is about as much fun as another Fallout game. I’ve clocked 67 hours in Steam. I’m not sure how many hours I’ve spent playing on my phone or via the Bethesda launcher. I’m often surprised that this is a free game, you don’t always expect free games to be so good. You can spend real money to make in-game purchases, but I haven’t found that to be necessary.

I may have some more thoughts or tips to post here later.

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I recently realized a gaming pattern of mine within in the last few years that continues even now. I think it started with The Witcher, but lately I’ve been playing a variety of game series. I started out with The Witcher, because the Witcher 3 was highly recommended to me. I decided to start at the beginning and make my way through. I later continued this pattern with the Borderlands and (most recently) Dragon Age series. This also reminds me of my gaming habits many years ago when I was playing other series such as Final Fantasy, Command & Conquer, Warcraft, etc.

I think this is interesting. It’s given me the chance to see and watch games evolve. Usually, I find the first game in a series to be a bit more difficult to get into and I don’t usually like them as much as newer games. The older games usually make me appreciate the newer ones more. That’s not always true though as my favorite Final Fantasy games were made around 20 years ago.

Of all the series I’ve played most recently, the first game in The Witcher series was the one I disliked the most. I liked the characters and story, but one particular sound in a town at night bothered me. Once I moved on to The Witcher 2, I was able to appreciate it more, but I was still left some what unimpressed. This succession, however, again made me appreciate The Witcher 3 more, which I loved. Now, when I play a game series, I often think of my experience with The Witcher series and I mentally compare the experiences.

Dragon Age: Origins was similar to The Witcher in that it was difficult to get into. In fact, it wasn’t until my third attempt at playing it that I finally made some progress and finish it. The combat system was definitely something I had to get used to. The graphics weren’t quite up to par with today’s normal, but they weren’t horrible either. In the end, I enjoyed DAO. I’ve seen some replay value in it, so there’s a chance I may play it again.

One of the things I’ve loved about the DA series is the ability to import saved games. I was able to do this for DAO DLC and for the next games in the series. Apparently, I was able to import my DAO save into DA2, which would reflect my DAO game play, including decisions I had made. Decisions seemed be a large part of DA2, I was often given choices about what to do and I saw the consequences of those decisions that I made. I thought that was refreshing and entertaining. Of course, DA2 is a pretty big visual upgrade over DAO, which was impressive, until I started playing Inquisition.

The visual difference in all the games in this series is obvious. DAI is so much better looking than DAO or DA2. It was released only a few years ago and it certainly still looks like a “new” game. I noticed that at least one returning character from DA2 even looks different. Honestly, I think the beauty of DAI reflects the beauty of the game itself. I’m only just less than 30 hours in and I’m loving it.

As DA2 offered a variation of the battle system in DAO, DAI does that for DA2. I agree with something Scrypt said in that DAI is a bit of a mix of the combat systems in the two previous game. In fact, there is a learning curve, even if you’ve played the other two games. That’s because combat feels more active. You can still pause combat and issue commands, but instead of right-clicking on an enemy for your character to attack, you actually left-click. In DAO, you only had to click once and your character would attack the enemy, but in DAI, you have to click for each attack, or hold down the mouse button.

There are recurring characters. I assume that they are there whether or not you’ve imported your save from DA2, but I’m not sure. The story seems pretty good and seems to be related to the events of DA2. The story doesn’t feel completely original though, because it’s basically much like Oblivion. Portals to a bad dimension spawn in the world and it’s your job to close them (you’ll find out why when you play). This game actually reminds me of Oblivion even more by various other things, including herb collection.

You could argue that the DA series is an open-world RPG, but to me, it seems DAI is more open. The world maps in these games doesn’t look very big, but you can choose where to go and what to do. Granted there are limitations, but the story doesn’t tell you to first go to one location, then the next, etc. You can do many things in whatever order you wish. In DAI you can even ride a mount around, which isn’t necessarily a horse. In fact, I recently killed a Higher Dragon and unlocked a mount that’s a dragon that acts like a horse. It’s shaped like one, but the head and coloration are different. There’s a lot to discover and do. You can also fast travel between campsites or the world map.

There’s a war going on in DAI between the mages and templars and the Inquisition is working towards peace. Apparently, at one point you have to choose a side, but I have not yet made that choice. There’s a war room in which you get to see the game map and both sides of the war. There are mission markers on the map for you to select a mission to work on. Then, you can assign one of your allies to a mission. Each ally (I think there are 3) has a specialization. One has connections, another is a spy master, and another is a military commander. Each will affect a mission differently and you can choose how to approach a mission. This is just a brief, basic description, there’s more involved.

DA is truly a fantasy RPG. It contains elements that are in so many fantasies and RPGs, some of which can be see in stories like Lord of the Rings. There are mages, dwarves, humans, elves, dragons, monsters, etc. There are different classes of characters, mage, warrior, and rogue. Mages deal with magic, warriors with sword and similar weapons, and rogues who specialize in stealth, bows and arrows, and other useful things such as lock picking. Like The Elder Scrolls, this series doesn’t force you to be a particular race or class. So, there’s definitely freedom and replay value.

While I experienced stability issues with DAO and DA2, DAI has never crashed. I haven’t run into many issues, the ones I can think of are a bit minor. One of the issues is so far my biggest complaint and that is the volume level. The game is too quiet. I’ve ensured that loudness equalization is enabled (in my Windows volume mixer settings), which definitely helps, but it’s still not enough. Perhaps that’s also because I’ve decided that this is a game that I should have my PC fans running at maximum while playing, since this it is so graphically intense.

So, once again I’m currently playing the last (for now) game in a series. It reminds me of the other times I played a series starting with the first game. Those first games aren’t usually all that wonderful, but I believe they help increase the enjoyment of playing newer games in the series. I’m thinking about checking out the Mass Effect series next.

If you like fantasy elements, open worlds, and RPGs, then DA may be for you. I would recommend playing DAO then DA2 and then DAI. I now see why one of my friends raves about this series all the time. It is good, even if it’s a rough start (with DAO), it’s definitely worth it (to me).

Feel free to add to the conversation here. Let me know if you’ve played DAI, what you think about it, or if this is something that might interest you. This, to me, definitely feels like a really good game and I can now see why it seems to be very popular. Unfortunately, it’s not yet on Steam.

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So, I recently got my first Android smartphone. There are very few apps I’m aware of, Pokemon Go is among them. Since my son and I love Pokemon and it’s free, I figured I’d check it out. I didn’t know very much about it before getting in because I mostly ignored it before I had a smartphone. I just read that it seemed popular and there were some, even controversial, events related to it.

I initially thought I would join Team Mystic, because it’s the blue team, and so I have. When I first started, I couldn’t find any Pokemon even though there were some around me. “Research” provided the solution of turning off the AR camera mode. It’s a nice feature, I think, but isn’t compatible with all phones, some people just don’t like it anyway. I managed to catch some Pokemon around me, I’m not sure which ones. I made a lot of wrong assumptions, but over time, my knowledge has grown.

I didn’t know how to tell how great a Pokemon was until I found out about “appraisal.” The appraiser will say different things based upon which team you joined, but you can find that online. Each individual Pokemon has stats that are hidden and the appraiser can help you figure out which is strongest and how the Pokemon would fair in battle. If you’re looking for a “perfect” Pokemon, you’ll want to read more about IV or use an IV calculator. I have often overlooked these values in all the Pokemon games I’ve played. However, having “perfect” Pokemon does have it’s advantages.

Pokestops are cool and important for collecting free daily supplies. There are many of them in my little area and I usually stop for at least two of them once a week on my way out for groceries. I don’t play while driving, of course, I hand the phone to my son and let him take over while we’re out. On my own, I’ve found some hotspots, including a place where a lot of Pokemon spawn, because a lot of people in the area play.

I don’t do a lot of walking with the app, so I’m not making incredible progress with raising Pokemon and hatching eggs. At least two eggs have hatched and one of them was a really good Eevee. I may evolve it into Vaporeon, Espeon, or Umbreon. A friend has a book with some early information and I found out how to evolve Eevee. It involves renaming it and that information is best found online.

Right now I’m just trying to see what’s out there and fill in my Pokedex. At level 12, I don’t have what’s needed to take on or help defend a Gym, so I’m not in a hurry. Many of my local friends are in Team Insight, who is control of my nearest Gym. Still, there are a lot of cool things you can do, it’s not all too basic and simplistic. I think it’s fun and interesting. I also like how it has evolved our local communities.

So, is anyone else still playing? What level are you, what’s your best and favorite Pokemon? Do you have anything you want to share here?

Sources:
http://www.polygon.com/2016/8/23/12614406/pokemon-go-iv-calculator-appraisal
http://www.ign.com/wikis/pokemon-go/How_to_Evolve_Pokemon

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Playing games in a series is certainly interesting. It’s a chance to see how technology has progressed. Often the second in a series can be superior, although this is not always the case. Usually there are all kinds of improvements, but each game often stands out on its own.

I had a bit of a slow start with Dragon Age Origins on the PS3 and Steam, but I finally completed it. At first, the combat system was a bit different than I was used to, so it took some time for me to feel comfortable with it. I even turned down the difficulty even though there were still some incredibly difficult battles, especially within DLC.

One of the features I enjoyed about the DLC was being able to import characters from another saved game. I didn’t necessarily do everything in a specific or correct order and sometimes that lead to some issues. One issue was resolved with a mod. I also ended up with things I didn’t need later. Had I known more about what I was doing, I would probably have done some things differently. So, I do find some replay value in it.

I’ve moved on to DA2 and was able to import my DAO data, which apparently changes some things based on decisions I made. I have a feeling that the decisions I make in the game actually carry some weight. That definitely makes things more interesting and replayable.

So far this game looks and feels much better. I decided to lower the difficulty at a certain point. I also downloaded free DLC, including a high definition texture pack. I read that some of the DLC should be accessed later in the game, but you can still visit the Black Emporium for some good equipment. I also learned that companions come with their own armor and can’t use what you find, it’s locked to the main character. This is different, but not completely unwelcome. Companions can still equipment weapons and accessories you find.

DAO wasn’t always stable and DA2 suffers at times, too. The game sometimes crashes and the Origin overlay doesn’t seem to work. I remedied that by letting Steam open the game, but now that overlay isn’t working either. I most cases, I don’t need the overlay, but in these games it’s sometimes helpful to have that feature.

After some time, I enjoyed the DAO story along with DLC. I’ve enjoyed the story thus far in DA2. It’s quite dramatic, but interesting. At times it reminds me of The Witcher 3, especially tavern music. It’s nice to see pieces of DAO within DA2, such as characters that have returned. I’m really enjoying this game and I seem to recall that Dragon Age: Inquisition is quite popular. Now that I’m close to the end of DA2, I have more eager eyes looking at DAI.

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Fallout Shelter just arrived on Steam! This summer I tried the PC version of the game that you can get with the Bethesda launcher. I had forgotten about it, but one of my friends was playing it on his smartphone and I thought I'd try it on that platform, too. After a little bit of playing the mobile version, I prefer the PC version, because the text on the screen is too small. I figured I'd check in on the vault I created this summer. I thought about adding it to my Steam library (as a non-Steam game), but it looks like it just arrived on Steam.

I haven't spent much time with it, but it does seem fun and it's free, which is a combination that can hardly be ignored.

What are your thoughts on the game? Which platforms have you played it on and are you going to pick up your free copy on Steam?

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Some years ago, I received a recommendation to play the Dragon Age games. I ended up buying the Ultimate Edition for PS3. Want to know how much time I spent with it? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s less than 10 hours, definitely less than 20. I’m not sure why I stopped playing it. Perhaps it was the battle system. I’m not used to characters acting on their own, thus removing the need for me to keep pressing buttons (or keys for the PC) to keep attacking. You can even pause the action and issue commands to each party member. This felt new and odd to me, but I am now a bit more comfortable with it.

Years later, Origin offered DAO for free (without any DLC). I was glad to have the game on PC (having a kick ass PC has made me an almost exclusive PC gamer). Again, want to know how much time I spent with it? I could possibly find out by opening up Origin now, but that won’t be necessary. I’m sure I’ve spent less than 20 hours. This comes as a surprise to me presently, because it felt like I had spent more time with it.

In recent years, a friend has often raved about DA and strongly recommends the series. I did download a demo for Dragon Age Inquisition, which allows only 6 hours of game play. I tried it out, but I was still uncomfortable with the battle system, so I hardly played it. However, I recently decided to buy the DA series. I got DAO’s Ultimate Edition on Steam and I believe I have DA2 and DAI on Origin.

Steam says I’ve spent 21 hours playing this time, but I know that doesn’t actually reflect my current saved game. I made it to the tower in Ostagar and decided to lower the difficulty from normal to easy. Now it’s a much more enjoyable game. The funny thing is that in this third time of starting out the game, I am now further into it than I’ve ever gotten. I still feel close to the beginning. I may be ¼ of the way through it, I’m not sure, because I don’t know how many hours this game has. I imagine it’s a lot, but the map looks small, so I’m not sure.

In my three attempts (one currently successful) to start the game, I have always chosen to be a noble male warrior. I’m not sure what weapons I used in the previous two attempts, whether they were one- or two-handed swords, but now I’m using one-handed swords with a shield. Once again, I did rescue Sten. I have him using two-handed swords and right now he has the beautiful Butterfly Sword which came as a free gift due to one of the game’s DLC. I love it!

I never reached specialization in any of my other attempts to play this, but my main character now has the Berserker specialization. I chose this because of the health bonus. I had Morrigan in my party until I did the quest for the Circle of Magi and met Wynne, who is now the mage in my party because she’s a healing mage. I also have Zevran in my party, because I need a rogue to help me open locked chests. Unfortunately, he still has “insufficient skill” to open almost everything I try to open, so I need him to level up. What I love about him is that he sounds like an Elder Scrolls Khajiit.

The game is about 8 years old now and I feel like it’s aged well, in other words it still looks decent. I’m not saying that the game’s graphics are exceptional, but to me it doesn’t look bad. I find some games are difficult to play after they’ve aged a while as the graphical quality is often hard to “get over.” The modern games I play put my GPU to work, I can definitely tell by how much noise is coming out of my fans, since I have them set to “auto.” However, I also have manual settings that I switch to when playing games like Ark: Survival Evolved and No Man’s Sky.

Anyway, if anyone wants to jump in here and discuss the game, your comments are welcome. I may update this post (via comments) as I progress and think of more things to discuss about it. My future DA path looks like this; finish DAO, then check out DAO’s Awakening and other DLC, then play DA2, and then play DAI.

Feel free to let me know what you thing of this game and the others in the series. I may create other DA posts as I progress to each different game.

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http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/261640/header.jpg?t=1485219157
I recently decided to start playing the Borderlands series after getting a good bundle on sale some time ago. The first game was ok. I got used to it and learned. It had fun and challenging moments, which were sometimes polar opposites. Still, I got a lot done and had some fun. So, I moved on to BL2, which immediately looked like a super sweet visual upgrade to the original game. It’s much more than that, though. The AI is better, there are more varieties of weapons, and many other improvements. BL2 is a true sequel and I think playing the first game and then the second made me appreciate them more.

Recently, I finished with BL2 and started playing the Pre-Sequel. At first, I was lost because I was used to playing a character that had an auto turret. So I initially had difficulty in choosing a character. I decided to go with the Jack body double. I wasn’t too happy with the action skill tree, but decided if I didn’t like it I could change at any time. I stuck with it and enjoyed it. In the first two games I primarily used shotguns, especially with fire or corrosive damage. However, in the PS, I used mostly lasers, especially with ice and corrosive damage. I really enjoyed freezing enemies and beating them to death or freezing them while they were airborne only to watch them come smashing down in pieces.

While checking out the DLC for BL2, I noticed I didn’t get some with my edition. Luckily, I realized I had some money in my steam wallet, so I now have all the DLC except for the $1 customization skins, etc. I might pop back in BL2 and see what the new-to-me DLC (Head hunter’s and Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade 2) has in store. I think it’s worth it. I’ve enjoyed this series more than I thought I would.

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http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/49520/header.jpg?t=1485219026
I thought the first Borderlands game was ok, not bad. It had it’s fun and challenges, which in some cases were polar opposites. I left two missions behind for another time, Moxxi’s DLC and Crawmerax. I had fun running over enemies. I chose to play as Roland, the Soldier and went with a Commando Class Mod. So, when I got to Borderlands 2, I decided to chose Axton, the Commando with a similar ability. In the first game, I stuck mostly with a good shotgun and sniper rifle. I liked using the grenades that heal me.

I had a friend that told me he was playing BL2 on his Xbox and liked it. I also noticed many of my Cheerful Ghost friends playing it as well, including an event I didn’t participate in. I tried it out during a free weekend on Steam and started as Zero. I didn’t play long, I was probably occupied with another game at the time. I decided to get the bundle on Steam during a recent sale.

I’m not sure if my friends played the first game before the second, but I think it makes BL2 much more enjoyable. Right away I noticed the visual upgrade within BL2, but there are other changes, additions, and improvements. The AI seems to behave much more intelligently. The RPG element seems to be deeper. You can run over enemies, but it doesn’t do as much damage as it did in the first game.

I haven’t explored the DLC yet (I’m only 31 hours into the main game), but I’ve already unlocked things and I’ve found numerous skins. It’s pretty cool, I am enjoying it. I obtained a good shotgun that does explosive damage, but I’ve later migrated to pistols with fire or corrosive damage. Now, I’m back with another good shotgun that does fire damage, which is against “flesh” and a sweet pistol that does corrosive damage, which is great against robots. There seems to be a larger variety of weapons in this game, they have new features, they look cool. It’s nice to see returning characters, like Roland, Moxxi, Marcus, Scooter, etc.

I found a relic, which I think I’ve had since creating my character, which increases the chance for rare loot from enemies, so that’s the one I’ve been using. I have a few others I like, too, but haven’t used. As for class mods, I’ve been going with the Point Man, which increases health regeneration.

If you’ve played this game, feel free to let me know about your gameplay(s). What characters, class mods, relics, guns, etc. did you use? Feel free to share whatever you like below in the comments.

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Since I’ve been able to get my hands on it, I thought I’d share what we have, although there is more to come.

In November I posted about the news of Tek Tier making its debut in December, although it was delayed a month. There are links to some good articles in that post, so go check it out. http://cheerfulghost.com/GregoPeck/posts/3163/ark-coming-to-ps4-in-december-release-delay-and-tek-tier

Not all of the Tek Tier was included in January’s patch. But the wiki (http://ark.gamepedia.com/Tek_Tier) contains a list of what’s confirmed. Most notably, the ability to have underwater bases is expected to be included in February’s patch.

In order to get and use Tek Tier items, you have to get the Tek engrams by defeating the bosses; the Broodmother (giant spider), Megapithecus (giant ape), and Dragon. Defeating the Manticore on Scorched Earth isn’t required. To get to the boss arenas, you still have to collect the Artifacts (located in caves) and take them to an Obelisk or supply drops along with a few other ingredients. There are now three difficulty levels for each of the three required bosses; easy, medium, and hard. The difficulty level changes how much HP the bosses have. You can get all of the engrams by defeating each boss once via the hard portal. This not only unlocks the hard level specific engram(s), but all of the others for that boss. So, you don’t have to fight each boss three times.

The portal will transport you, tribe mates, and your tamed creatures to the boss arena. One of the problems with this are some of the limitations for the arenas (seen here: http://ark.gamepedia.com/Boss_Arenas). Arena rules include the limitation of no more than 10 players and 20 creatures. There is also a list of compatible creatures, which means you can’t bring in every creature. The Scorched Earth Arena against the Manticore is the only one in which flying creatures are allowed. Giganotosaurus is one creature that cannot enter the arenas. Luckily, T-Rex is a compatible creature.

Defeating the boss on any difficulty level will unlock the engram(s) for that boss at that level. The very first engram earned is always the Replicator, which is used to craft Tek Tier items. It can also craft 4 times faster than other crafting stations and has more slots. It helps ease the issue with crafting some high quality blueprints for things such as saddles, which require a hefty amount of resources and therefore slots to put them in. Still the Replicator has limited slots and may not be able to contain all of the resources needed to craft some things. The solution I found for this issue is by using a mod called StackMeMore, which increases stack sizes and reduces the weight of resources. The other issue with the Replicator is that it is crafted at an Obelisk or supply drop.

Bosses now drop a material called Element, which is used to craft and power Tek Tier items such as the Replicator, armor, and weapons. Each piece of Tek armor has special abilities. Combined, they grant a huge insulation bonus. I was able to survive in the snow biome wearing my Tek suit, instead of the regular Fur armor. Still, sometimes I’d get cold at night and my Fortitude (the stat that determines how well you adapt to hot and cold) is very high, over 50.

The Tek Helmet can go into different modes including scanner, night-vision, and a mix of the two. The scanner highlights creatures or players giving them a different colored outline for their aggression level. Your tamed creatures will be outlined in green, neutral is white, and aggressive (attacking you) is red. On the PC, you can double press E to switch between modes. I found this helmet extremely helpful when looking for the new creatures to tame.

The Tek Chestpiece acts as a jet pack, activated by double jumping. You can also hold the jump button or key to float and move around in the air, but you can also hold the SHIFT key and hover or fly. If you’re also wearing the Tek Leggings, you can move forward in the air fast by holding the CTRL key. The chestpiece also gives a swimming speed boost.

Holding CTRL with the Tek Leggings lets you run forward very fast, breaking trees and structures along the way. I use this when I’m encumbered and can’t move. When that happens, I hold CTRL and am able to walk forward until I let go of the key. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful in moving inventory.

Say “goodbye” to fall damage with the Tek Boots! They also give you the ability to climb mountains. I usually get around the map by flying on a Quetzal or Argy, I don’t do a lot of walking, so I don’t really need the ability to climb mountains. After all, I have a jetpack now, why climb a mountain when I can fly over it? Still, the removal of fall damage is great! This removes the need to carry parachutes!

The Tek Gauntlets let you do a super punch with a Right-Click. You can hold the mouse button and target before letting go to punch. You can also super punch trees and rocks, though it’s a very ineffective way to harvest resources.

The Tek Rifle is a “laser” rifle. It can shoot continuously by holding the “shoot” button or key until it overheats and needs to take some time to cool. A Right-Click lets you see through the scope, which also has night vision. It seems pretty powerful. I’ve used it kill an Alpha Rex and a Giga, while my Quetzal was regaining stamina.

The Tek Rex Saddle is pretty much a helmet for a Rex that acts like the Tech Rifle. It doesn’t auto-fire and has an armor rating of 45. While the wiki says that’s better than regular armor, it’s still about half of a good Mastercraft Rex saddle, which can have an armor rating of 100. It does deal explosive damage and can damage structures (including metal).

The Transmitter is pretty much your own Obelisk. It acts the same way, allowing you to craft a Replicator or transfer characters, creatures, and items between games or servers. If you put one close enough to water, you can now transfer water creatures. I love this, because I like to transfer creatures and items between my single player maps (the default one, The Center, and Scorched Earth). This devices makes it so that I can move a lot of creatures and items around quickly and easily.

For players on the Center, there is only one boss arena with no variation in difficulty. However, the Center’s boss arena includes the Broodmother and Megapithecus together in one fight. Once you defeat them you are given only some of the Tek engrams. In order to obtain the rest, your character has to travel to another Ark (server or map).

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http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/8980/header.jpg?t=1447366534
I became aware of Borderlands 2 because a friend told me he was playing it on his Xbox. There was a free weekend of it on Steam and I tried out it then, but not for very long. While first-person shooter games are very popular, I tend to stay away from them, with a few exceptions. I missed out on the Borderlands 2 Cheerful Ghost event. Every seemed to have a good time with that. Someone else mentioned it to me and I decided to buy the trilogy during a recent seasonal Steam sale.

As of less than 20 hours into the game, it seems ok. It has humor, challenge, and fun. I’m getting more used to it, my character is growing, and I’m feeling more comfortable with it. It seemed a bit challenging in a few areas, but then I started to max out my inventory with health kits. I also overlooked my special (F key) ability at first, but I found it to be helpful when I’m surrounded. I decided to be a soldier.

There seems to be plenty of areas and quests. I think some of the most fun I’ve had so far is in the vehicle, especially running over creatures and enemies for easy XP.

I just defeated Mothrakk. That was definitely a tough fight. I had to use a vehicle and alternate between gunner and driver seats. The gunner seat gave me more room to aim, but then I had to jump back in the driver seat to avoid being bombed by Mothrakk.

This isn’t meant to be a review, that may come later. This may just be the beginning.

I wanted to point out the music, though. The very beginning music reminds me of Diablo 3, which is cool. I also heard music that reminds me of StarCraft. So as far as music, this game sounds much like a Blizzard game, to me. As for game play, it seems similar to Fallout 3, NV, or 4.

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http://www.onlysp.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ubisoft.jpg
Ubisoft has a bundle of games it's giving away, but time is running out!

"This weekend is your last chance to grab seven Ubisoft games for free on PC. The games are Assassin's Creed III, Rayman Origins, Far Cry 3; Blood Dragon, The Crew, Splinter Cell, Beyond: Good & Evil, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."

Source:
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/last-chance-to-get-free-far-cry-assassins-creed-ra/1100-6446289/

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Skyrim Special Edition was recently released. Luckily, it’s a free upgrade for people like myself who own Skyrim on Steam along with every DLC that was released. SE is pretty much like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, it’s even possible that you may not even really notice the visual changes, without them being pointed out directly. This also seems especially true if, like me, you played Skyrim with the High Resolution Texture Pack.

This post is pretty much more focused on Skyrim and not so much about the Special Edition.

I started out playing Skyrim on the PS3 and finished it, including all but one DLC. I did not get Hearthfire on the PS3 because I already owned every available house and wasn’t interested in more, especially ones that I may have to defend. However, when I got the game on Steam, I got it with every DLC and I actually enjoyed Hearthfire more than I thought. It’s only a random occurrence that you’ll fast travel there and a group of bandits or a giant is there for you to kill. It’s really not bad at all.

Hearthfire added three new properties that could be purchased from different jarls. The properties are mostly empty with the exception of an anvil that works as a forge, a drafting table for selecting different parts of the property, and a chest that contains some basic materials, such as clay, iron ingots, and quarried stone to help you get started. You will need to mine more iron, clay, and quarried stone. Luckily, there are some nearby spots that offer some of these. You will also need to visit a lumber yard and purchase lumber, or get friendly with the person who owns it and make your own. Once you get your first main hall done, you can then ask certain NPCs that are followers (not all of them) to become your steward. Then, you can tell them to purchase more materials like lumber and stone or you can use them to purchase decorations, farm animals, a bard, or a carriage. They will then stay on your property and wander around, sometimes mining, which doesn’t seem to actually be useful. I have a steward for each one of my three properties.

Building your new house is relatively simple. It is customizable, but not completely. Each kind of room contains a workbench that will allow you to craft certain things for that particular room. Some things can’t be crafted in every room. For instance, you cannot craft an ore refinery in a bedroom. I did notice that after becoming a vampire, I was able to make a coffin for my cellar.

So, building is easy to do and gathering the necessary materials is easy as well, “if you have the coin.” You may find yourself going back and forth to a merchant for things like iron ingots, which are one of the primary resources you’ll need for building. You’ll need to turn them into nails, hinges, locks, and more.

Since SE came out, I decided to jump back in the game and check it out. I pretty much started the same way I did the other two times I played, as a warrior who specializes in heavy armor and two-handed weapons, more specifically war hammers. When I first played the game on the PS3, I was a Nord. The second time, I chose to be an Imperial, because I had played as one on Oblivion and thought it was cool. I misunderstood the Emperor’s Voice as I thought it charmed people, but instead it calms them. It’s still helpful, but not as useful as I thought.

I have done things a bit differently though. While I have made it to White Run, I have not yet met with the Greybeards. However, I have finished up a lot of the other quests I’ve received. I’ve already become a werewolf via the Companions. I’ve finished with the Thieves Guild, except that I’ve once again decided to keep the Skeleton Key for myself. I’ve finished with the Dark Brotherhood, which is now located in the Dawn Star sanctuary. I’ve also almost finished the vampire missions with Serena. I’ve also collected all the Dragon Priest skulls/helmets that I can at this point along with all but one of the Stones of Barenziah. There are still a few more extra things for me to do and then I’ll head on to meet with the Greybeards. Oh and I’ve become Thane by every jarl and am also the Arch-Mage at the College of Winterfold. So, I’ve done a lot and as far as the main quest goes, I’m only just beginning.

I never used any Skyrim mods, but I finally decided to use two of them with good reason. I found out that it’s nearly impossible to place anything in a display case, so I found a mod to do just that. However, using a mod in the game disables achievements, which I think is dumb. Even disabling the mod did not re-enable achievements. I noticed this as my saved games had a [M] in their name. So I had to start using a mod to enable them. So I now have to run the game using the Nexus Mod Manager and that last mod enabled, but I’m ok with that. I was happy to be able to put things in display cases.

Oh and I’ve married Lydia and adopted two children who live at my Lakeview Manor property. I pretty much don’t use my other houses, well other than Breezehome and my other two Hearthfire properties. Oh and I do have the best horse ever, Shadowmere! Not only do I not have to mount it and it follows me whenever I fast travel, but it also attacks whatever is attacking me. I love it!

Anyway, I just wanted to create this post to start talking about the game. Steam’s telling me I have spent 108 hours playing Skyrim, but Skyrim SE is showing 127 hours. I’m really enjoying it and I look forward to playing more. It is very tempting to play Oblivion again, but I might let that sit a while because I now have so many other games to play (the new Wolfenstein games, all of Dragon Age, and the Borderlands trilogy).

Feel free to join in the Skyrim discussion here, or just read along as I may update this post in the comments section with other things I decide to share during this game play.

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