133 Posts

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/dragonage/images/2/2a/Dragon_Age_Inquisition_wallpaper.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/650?cb=20141206214550
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.

Star unselected

https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/D5BzKihICWRk4OotpApfVdoW3W0=/1600x900/2016/07/08/b23bd00c-7917-4385-b9d2-82cb1aaa708a/pokemon-go-logo.jpg
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

Star unselected

http://dragonage.bioware.com/resources/dragonage-ii/assets/gallery/wallpapers/wallpaper-02-hawke-1920x1200.jpg
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.

Star unselected

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/kizzTSyvoLQ/maxresdefault.jpg
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?

Star unselected

http://cdn.edgecast.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/17450/header.jpg?t=1447351620
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.

Star unselected

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.

Star unselected

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.

Star unselected

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).

Star unselected

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.

Star unselected

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/

Star unselected

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.

Star unselected

It looks like Ark is coming to PS4 next month!

http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2016/11/07/ark-survival-evolved-ps4-submitted-to-sony-aiming-for-december-2016-release/

It also seems that the game won't be released this "holiday season." It was supposed to come out summer 2015, then pushed to "holiday" 2016, now we're looking at the beginning of next year.

http://www.gamenguide.com/articles/65916/20161111/ark-survival-evolved-2016-latest-news-update-tek-tier-update-coming-in-2017-new-items-objects-available-for-limited-period.htm

In other big news, it looks like the Tek Tier is coming soon and it looks sweet! See the video embedded in this post. For more info, check out the article below which makes me want to buy the next issue of PC Gamer!

http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-tek-tier-update/

Oh! They also just finished up their Extra Life marathon where they raised over $25,000 for charity. You can see more about that in the link below.

https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/articles.html/community-crunch-71-extra-life-wrap-and-more-r342/

Star unselected

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a movie based on FFXV (obviously), which has been released before the game. I was finally able to rent it on Amazon Prime Video, so I decided to watch it. This move is pretty much the beginning of the FFXV story. It shows how the world is pretty much divided into two major nations, the Kingdom of Lucis and the Niflheim Empire. It seems clear as to which side is “good” and which is “bad,” but that could be because we’re seeing the action from the perspective of one side. While the two are at war, one seems to be more peaceful while the other seems to wish to dominate all lands in the FFXV world.

The Kingdom of Lucis has magical abilities, because of a crystal. King Regis also has magical powers given to him by a ring, which seems to be a gift from the gods. Not everyone is worthy of wearing it. It seems that it’s powers are for only those within the royal bloodline and those it deems worthy. If someone puts on the ring, they are judged by the gods who determine the wearer’s worthiness. If they are deemed unworthy, they will be burned alive.

You do get to see some magic such as the barrier that encompasses Insomnia, fire, lighting, and teleportation. The latter is interesting because you see a lot of the kingdom’s soldiers teleporting by using a small sword. They throw the sword in a direction and end up being teleported to the place it landed. This is one of their primary means of transportation, especially during battles. There are also cars, which seems to be the way the main characters get around in the game.

The Niflheim empire (note the name from the town in FFVII) seems to excel at technology. Some of their technology includes mechanical warriors and airships. However, the empire also seems to have the ability to unleash hordes of monsters and demons. One particular demon looks like one of the Weapon monsters from FFVII (like Ruby Weapon). One of the monsters also appears to be a Behemoth. You may also notice a Malboro in a cartoon on a TV. I didn’t see any Chocobos in the movie, they only made an appearance by name.

This is a CG movie, much like Spirits Within and Advent Children. Square-Enix has done a fantastic job with CG in many of their games and these movies. They also created one of the episodes of The Animatrix (the anime based upon The Matrix), which is called “Last Flight of the Osiris.” Each of these movies looks great and I enjoyed all of them. I enjoyed Kingsglaive, too, but I’m a FF “fanboy” and it’s hard for Square-Enix to disappoint me, although it has happened.

If you like FF and are interested in the new game, I think Kingsglaive is a “must watch,” especially if you’re planning on playing FFXV. I don’t own a PS4 or Xbox One, but this is one of the few games that has me thinking about buying a PS4. I have read some things about the game and I’ve seen some of the videos for it and it does look cool, but looks alone isn’t convincing me to buy it. I’m more interested in finding out how it plays, so I might wait until some time after it’s release to get it. In all honestly, I’m really hoping that it will come out on Steam, so I won’t have to buy a PS4.

I thought the movie was cool, but I think I’d probably appreciate it much more if I watch it some time after I’ve played the game (and hopefully fallen in love with it as I have with many other, but not all, games in the series).

Star unselected

I'm not really sure how many other gamers view games being brought into movies. I think there may reasonably be some anxiety with that, however I think we already have some examples of this being done right and wrong. Personally, I think Warcraft is perhaps one of the few games where the movie does it right. I enjoyed it and from little I've heard and read about it, it seems to be pretty popular.

One of the things I liked about it was additions of things I remember more from playing a bit of Hearthstone. That's probably because while I've played the first two Warcraft games many, many years ago, I have yet to play the third. I have also never played World of Warcraft, so it seems obvious I would notice things that remind me more of Hearthstone. This would be like Gul'dan, Medivh, Lothar, and the sound of a Murloc you hear briefly as some humans go through a swampy area. There are also griffins!

I've been waiting a little while for the movie to be available for rent on Amazon Prime Video and I was very happy about that. The few dollars I paid for the rental were worth it. I thought it was a good movie, so I thought I'd come here to recommend it. I think it could possibly be a good movie to you even if you've never played a Warcraft game, but if you have then I think you'll like it even more and also notice elements from the games.

I've now noticed that Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, so I'm going to go watch that and hope that it turns out pretty cool, too. I did enjoy Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. So, perhaps later I will return with another post about a movie based on a video game.

Star unselected

Starbound recently came out of early access with version 1.0. However, I got in to it before that. I actually played through it a few times. I clocked over 200 hours before 1.0 was released. I've been playing it a lot since then, I even got my son a copy. As I was playing recently, I was thinking about the things I remember about the various development stages that I played through. I thought I'd touch up on them here.

Races:
I remember I started out playing a character of the Avian race. I liked using the Avian’s Tomahawk or Axe, but now I don’t like those weapons. When you click the left mouse button to attack, it raises your character’s hand(s) to attack. Letting go of the mouse button then lowers the hand(s) for the attack. So, holding down the button is the most effective way to get an attack at full strength. Swords and spears don’t act this way.

Speaking of the game’s races, I remember when the Novakids were added and I decided to try one. Since then, I haven’t switched. I think before 1.0 they specialized in guns, which are pretty effective ranged weapons, as expected. However, this time I’ve found my weapon of choice to be a spear or sword.

Quests, Missions, and Fuel:
I remember when Starbound's introduction was much different. I can't recall if Core Fragments were necessary to get your ship repaired right away. However, this is definitely different now as that's not even your first quest. So, I remember when Starbound didn't have a story introduction, in fact there was no story to it before 1.0, as far as I recall. Sure there were things you could read in the Codices, but nothing like it is now where you start out by waking up and having to attend your graduation. This is the new beginning and introduction to the game's basic mechanics. Once you get through that and on to your first planet, then you’re told that you need to collect Core Fragments. I seem to recall them located strictly far beneath the planet’s surface, at the core. However, I’ve noticed that you can easily find enough of them boxes in a nearby mine shaft. It used to be that you took them straight back to your ship, or so I seem to recall, but now you actually have to find a Gate on the planet’s surface and power it up with them. Once you do that, you can go to the Outpost where you end up talking to the main NPC in the game (the one other than S.A.I.L.).

I remember when the Outposts were added. I remember when they were there, but there was nothing there and teleporting on to their surface meant instant death. I remember later that other NPCs were added with their own shops. I also remember when NPC Quests were added to the game. There weren’t very many of them to begin with, but now they are very random and quite abundant. Not many of the NPCs at the Outpost have given me quests. A lot of the quests I’ve received have come from village NPCs that you may find on planets you explore. I am currently on a Jungle planet where I got tons of Quests from the local Glitch villagers. I haven’t even completed all of them and very many of them were similar. There is an Ancient Avian Tomb nearby and many of the NPCs requested that I go find a friend of theirs, save them from danger, and return them to safety. I eventually got tired of doing this. Some of them also wanted me to deliver something to another NPC, some times a note, then a reply, and some times materials. Some times I had to use materials given to me, or that I found, to create new materials. For instance, some of them asked me to locate some iron ore and then I had to smelt them into bars.

I remember when the Erchius Mining Facility became the first “questing mission.” It was tough and it still is, but it is now the first main mission you have to go on because you need to defeat the Erchius Horror to obtain Erchius Crystals, which enable you to repair your ship’s FTL drive. Reaching other planets brings me to another memory and that is when you could use coal and oil for fuel. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Now you can either buy Erchius Liquid from the gas station on the Outpost or visit a moon and harvest Erchius Crystals. However, once you do (the latter), S.A.I.L. will tell you that harvesting this material will cause some creatures to come after you. Sure enough, there’s some kind of status effect you get when you start harvesting this material and you may eventually notice a big purple ghost coming your way. I tried to hit it with something, but it seems to be invincible.

Sandbox, Ship Upgrades, and Hunger:
Starbound is a sandbox game, kind of like Terraria. You can build houses and all kinds of things, but before 1.0 I never really had a reason to build on a planet. I crafted all the kinds of crafting tables/work benches I needed and placed them on my ship. When I ran out of room, I was able to upgrade my ship easily enough.

It is now much more complicated than that. In order to upgrade your ship, you need colonists. In order to get them, you have to buy a Colony Deed, which you place on a wall inside a house-like structure, just like you do when creating something for NPCs in Terraria. Once certain criteria are met and your Colony Deed is hanging on a wall, an NPC will teleport in. Then, you have to do quests for them, which will randomly generate. After doing some quests (I’m not sure how many it takes), they’ll decided to join your crew. Once you have enough crew members, you can upgrade your ship. You will find Ship Upgrades in your exploration and adventure, but you won’t be able to use them unless you have enough crew members.

This some what complicated system pretty much makes building on a planet imperative. However, you can also now buy Teleporters, which will let you teleport any where (even under ground). Although, you do need to obtain Teleporter Cores in order to buy a Teleporter. You can destroy a Teleporter, but you won’t get the Core back from it.

I remember, when I first played the game that hunger was a part of the game that was later removed. It’s been added back into the game in 1.0. However, during character creation, you can choose the “Casual” level of difficulty which removes hunger and the death penalty. The reason I mention this here is that I now have another reason to build on a planet, so that I can do some farming. Farming has been expanded as well. Not only are there a good variety of crops that you can grow, but there is also livestock you can raise, too, although I haven’t yet explored that part of it.

The game’s default difficulty level is called “Survival” which means there is hunger and a death penalty. While I don’t mind hunger, I do dislike the death penalty. I don’t mind so much that I lose 30% of my pixels (currency) upon death, but I also drop almost all of my items. This means I’ve often died and then had to try to locate where I died so that I could collect what I dropped. I didn’t like this part in Minecraft either, but luckily I could disable that with a command. In Starbound you can either play on “Casual” difficulty to avoid this or install one of the mods, which is very tempting.

Progression (The reason there’s a story?):
Progression has changed a few times since I first played the game. I remember when it was relatively easy to transcend through the various tiers of weapons and armor by obtaining ore that’s found only in certain kinds of star systems. While it wasn’t necessarily easy to do so, I spent very little time in each tier. That became the only reason to visit certain planets. I’d also like to mention that Tungsten Ore has replaced Steel, although Durasteel is still there. Now, I think the story could have possibly been added to give reason to progress through the tiers and reason to visit various star systems. Instead of obtaining Tier 1 and moving to Tier 2, you have a variety of things to do make it to Tier 2 and then more for the next and so on. While I found the game’s new introduction to be quite unoriginal, I think it’s still cool and gives the game a bit more depth that it needed. Although, (as I mentioned in a comment on another Starbound post here), Terraria doesn’t have a story and is perfect just the way it is. Although, another similarity the two games share is a variety of bosses. I remember originally fighting a few of them throughout this game before 1.0, but now there seems to be more of them.

The Hotbar and Inventory:
The Hotbar/Toolbar has changed. It no longer contains individually separated slots. The slots are now smaller (I think) and are in pairs. Each slot represents a left-click or right-click, a left hand or right hand. Many things, especially weapons, use both hands and therefore both slots that make up a pair. However, some things are one-handed, which means the other hand’s slot is available for something else such as a shield or flashlight. You can also lock and unlock the hotbar so that items do or don’t automatically go into it when you pick them up. You can also switch between two hotbars. I’m not really sure how I feel about the new hotbar, I guess I have mixed feelings about it.

Inventory is nicely organized now, though. There are a few tabs for blocks, food, etc.

Tech and Matter Manipulator Upgrades:
If you’ve played Starbound before, you know there are Techs in the game which give you different abilities, like being able to dash on ground or in the air. Throughout the game you will find Tech Cards which can be collected and then used at the Outpost to unlock new abilities.

Upgrading the Matter Manipulator works in much the same way, too. You collect upgrades for it and when you have enough of them you can select which upgrades you want, like the ability to paint, collect liquid, or increase it’s distance and power. Upgrades to Tech and the Matter Manipulator seem to be easy enough to obtain.

Pets:
There are also two kinds of pets. One never leaves your ship and each animal is different for each race. These seem to be mostly cosmetic, although they have their own random personalities (likes and dislikes) and you can feed them and do other things with them, too, I think.

The other kind are the monsters you can catch using Capture Pods. This works a lot like Pokemon in which you get a monster below half health, throw a Capture Pod at it and it’s yours. Toss the Capture Pod out in the open and it comes out and fights with you. Unfortunately this “pet” can die, but you can revive it and don’t have to go capture a new one. However, in order to do so you will need a Pet Station which can only be crafted after you upgrade your initial Inventor’s Table (or whatever it’s called) twice. I captured a Moontant from the Erchius Mining Facility, but it died and I wasn’t able to restore it to health again for quite some time later in the game.

Oh and speaking of pets that can fight along with you, your crew members can do the same. I now have one pet and two crew members who follow me. I think there’s a limit on how many followers you can have at a time though, I’m not completely sure. If your crew member dies, it will teleport back to your ship. You can teleport back to the ship to get them to follow you again. You can also hover over them with your mouse and press the “E” key to get them to stay or follow. This became kind of problematic for me as “E” is used to interact with everything else and I sometimes accidentally told a crew member to “stay.”

Anyway, this is plenty of text to read, these are just a few thoughts I would share about 1.0. I may add more things in later. If you would like to talk about Starbound, feel free to do so here or on one of our other Cheerful Ghost posts!

Star unselected

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
© 2016 Cheerful Ghost LLC. All rights reserved. Cheerful Ghost and the Ghost Logo are registered trademarks of Cheerful Ghost LLC.