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Always outnumbered. Probably always outgunned, too.

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Joined 01/23/2012
Phantasm 4

371 Posts

Fans have been loving Doom, and with good reason. It's a super fun campaign full of all the mayhem and secret rooms you'd expect from the franchise. But it hasn't all been rosy: most reviews of the game are glowing, but mention the lackluster multiplayer.

Currently there's no way to have a private game with friends, no custom matches, no bots. These are not the only issues with the multiplayer in Doom, but these are on id's radar to fix.

In an interview with Eurogamer, id's Marty Stratton outlines the changes coming. Private matches and custom game settings are coming later in the summer in a free update, but bots will take a bit longer to roll out.

Read the full details on Eurogamer: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-06-09-id-takes-back-control-of-doom-broken-multiplayer-on-pc

EDIT: id has already released a server-side multiplayer patch that addresses some multiplayer issues. (Thanks to Greg for the tip)

And in other update news, a campaign related patch coming later in the month has some neat changes, and Bethesda has announced four of them:

  • Added Photo Mode for taking in-game screenshots

  • Added Classic DOOM weapon placement/view model option (1st person view option)

  • Added new Snapmap features (including skybox windows) and AI pathing and logic fixes.

  • Fixed various bugs including players accidentally triggering Dev Mode and Trophy/Achievement bugs (IDKFA, Every Nook and Cranny).


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Today, GOG is rolling out a new feature that will definitely make its platform more useful to many, including myself.

The premise is simple: Connect your Steam account to your GOG account, and any supported games that you have on Steam will be unlocked on your GOG library.

Naturally, this depends on various publisher agreements and things like that, so it won't just unlock everything you have. But the list of supported games will change over time and more games will unlock.

It looks like this process will more than double the size of my GOG library, but they're having some technical issues at the moment, I imagine because of everyone hitting them hard after the announcement.

Just a caveat for those who have multiple Steam accounts-- you can only do this with one Steam account, and the process is permanent. So choose wisely!


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Welcome to the new and improved Cheerful Ghost! Jon was looking for a more modern theme for the site, and I was happy to do it, partly because I had seen some things over the years that could be improved, and partly because I needed a client for one of my classes.

This has been an amazingly fun project, probably the most fun I’ve had on a site design yet. I’m very familiar with the site so I was able to envision ways to make some things work more smoothly, and design things to not get in the way of the reader. My chief goals were to modernize the site styles and make it look less like a Bootstrap theme.

Jon’s goals for the redesign were (again) to modernize the site styles, but he also wanted a color scheme to match the amazing new logo by Hagen DeLoss.

I worked on the styles using static pages. Once that was complete, Jon and I spent our evenings over the past weeks integrating my front-end work with his back-end programming.

This was a true labor of love. While I’m thrilled to see the new design go live, I’m almost sad that it’s over! But there will be more enhancements and features coming soon. And please, if you see something that doesn’t work properly or doesn’t look right, let us know!

Major hat tip to Jon here-- he was a fantastic client to work for during the design phase, and a fantastic partner to work with when we were implementing the design into the site.

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I don't normally write about Steam game deals when a major sale event isn't happening, but this one is too good to pass up.

Every Serious Same game that Steam has, including all the DLC, will only set you back $9.99 until Wednesday at 1PM Eastern, 11AM Pacific. That's 90% off.

I've loved this series since the very first installment, and played so many hours massacring wave after wave of bizarre enemies.

If you haven't played these games, you owe it to yourself to try them, and with this price you have no reason not to! Mac and Linux players, keep in mind that most of these games won't work on your chosen platform, but Serious Sam 3 is cross-platform and (for me) the Linux version outperforms the Windows version. All the others work well in Wine, however, with no major Wine config required.

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Get your BFGs ready, folks. The Doom beta is coming on March 31 and will last a whopping four days, ending on April 3!

In addition, there's a new multiplayer trailer to gawk at.

I'm just interested to find out whether my PC can run the game at all!

If you haven't registered for the beta, you can do so here: http://neworder.wolfenstein.com/en-gb/doom

Physical copies came with a code. If you pre-ordered The New Order on Steam, it should just unlock for you when the time comes, but if you got it digitally somewhere else, you should have been emailed a code.

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A Vietnamese developer named Trần Vũ Trúc has created an emulator that turns your old NES games into 3D games. It's made with Unity and is currently only functional on Firefox.

The emulator basically takes the sprites and attempts to figure out what they'd look like in 3D. This works with some games more than others. Contra and Dr. Mario look great, but Super Mario Bros 3 and Mega Man are a bit rough. But the possibilities here are exciting!

If you have Firefox handy, play around with it here: http://tructv.bitbucket.org/3dnes/

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Fallout 4's Survival difficulty level hasn't impressed folks much, and as I mentioned on the upcoming DLC post, Bethesda is working on it.

The 1.4 beta (which you can download on Steam if you're adventurous) apparently has the start of this in the game files, but not yet implemented. An enterprising reddit user named ShaneD53 has pored over the game files and found some details, which Bethesda has confirmed to be accurate, though maybe not final. It seems that this was inspired in many ways by the survival mode in Fallout: New Vegas, but with some new additions.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Manual saves and quick saves are disabled-- you have to sleep to save

  • You deal insane damage but so do your enemies. You deal more damage the more you kill, in a new stat called "adrenaline.

  • Fast travel is disabled

  • Ammo has weight, so you'll have to be selective about the ammo you carry

  • Enemies do not appear on your compass

  • You have to stay hydrated, fed, and rested or you'll weaken and die

  • If you eat raw food you'll get sick, but you can craft antibiotics

  • A new stat called "fatigue" affects your AP the same way radiation affects HP

  • Shoddy beds won't provide as many benefits as good ones

  • Exceeding your carry weight for too long can hurt your legs

And a few more.

This looks really exciting, and I can't wait to fire it up. I'll be starting a new game for this when it releases.


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I love this show, and the new episode is one of my favorites. Using basic sentence structure, this video describes how complex a game about jumping can be, and how more emergent gameplay can happen when multiple things can happen with a single verb.

Taking the powerups out of the equation, everything Mario does is running and jumping, and the sheer amount of effects that come from jumping is amazing, even in the original Super Mario Bros.

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Bethesda's newest behemoth of a game, Fallout 4, has captured many hours of my time, and I've collected a lot of useful tips and tricks along the way. Here are some things to help you out in your journey if you've yet to jump in, or if you want to replay it before the incoming DLC.

I'm not sure if this is my kind of game. Should I play it at all?
If you want to know what I think of the game, hit up my review: http://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/posts/2738/fallout-4-review-of-the-first-156-hours
But that's not all, it's so good someone sued Bethesda for making such a good game: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/2742/gamer-sues-bethesda-claiming-fallout-4-was-so-addictive-it-ruined-his-life
And if won our Triple-A game of the year award for 2015: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/2753/cheerful-ghost-2015-game-of-the-year-awards
And sold 12 million copies on launch day: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/2703/fallout-4-sold-12-million-copies-on-launch-day

OK, I'm convinced. I'm a completionist and I want a nice map that shows me significant locations.
Well, you're in luck!
This is the most important thing on the list, so it comes first. It's an interactive map for those of you trying to find every quest, bobblehead, skill magazine, and so on. Some of them include links to youtube videos or guides on how to find them.

While we're talking about maps, this map shows you all the settlements with a suggested supply line diagram to connect them all. I wish I had this to start with, because my supply lines were a mess!

But what if I need more info?
The fallout wiki is your friend: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Wiki
This one may seem obvious, but while you need at least one tab for the interactive map, this should be in your second tab. Dedicated players have written about nearly anything you could ever want to know here.

What if I need to fix a problem or cheat my way out of a situation?
Console commands!
You can use these to cheat your way to greatness, but even the purest of playthroughs will probably end up with a few bugs. Often the only fix is to use some console commands to get around them. Many stuck quests, missing NPCs, and other bugs can be squashed with a few commands.

I've heard leveling is different in this game. What do?
Now that you have your reference material handy, let's talk about leveling. If you're used to previous Fallout games, this might take some getting used to. You assign your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats at the start like always, but you don't have a separate set of skills that you level up like before. Instead, each time you level up you get a point you can spend on a perk. Theses perks are dependent on you having a particular S.P.E.C.I.A.L. trait high enough. For instance, to pick stronger locks, you need the Locksmith perk, but if you don't have a Perception of 4 or higher, you're out of luck. But, you can also choose to spend your perk points to raise S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits if needed.

Since there's no max level, you could theoretically have a perfect character, but you'd need to be over level 200 to pull that off.

I want to craft things, what do I need?
Fallout 4's crafting system is pretty deep, from tweaking your weapons and armor to building giant towers for your settlers to live in. But for any of that, you're going to need materials, and when you're fresh out of the vault you don't have many of those. Pretend you're a pack mule and bring along a companion to help carry stuff, because nearly everything can be scrapped for materials. Early in the game, you may think you need money, but you barely ever do. Anything you were planning to sell may be better used as scrap for your crafting projects.

This heavily depends on your play style though. If you aren't interested in building, that's fine-- you don't need to do it much.

Most settlements have all the crafting stations you need to craft armor and weapon mods, cook food, and build stuff for your settlements. Sanctuary and Red Rocket, the first ones you come by, have all the crafting stations, but if your chosen settlement doesn't, you can build them. When you try to build something, it will tell you the materials you need, and if you don't have them you can highlight that kind of material so that it shows up more easily when you're out scavenging.

You mentioned building for your settlements. How do I do that?
Settlement building is a new mechanic that can add hours of fun and infinite replay value if you like it. I'm not going to go into detail on it here, because there's an amazing youtube channel for that: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0f3EHEals0u3PF6kfNixg

It's kinda lonely in the wasteland, I want some company.
Your faithful buddy, Dogmeat, is your first companion, but there are many others. Dogmeat will always love you no matter what, but the other companions require some wooing to really like you. Also, many companions will participate in conversations with other NPCs, and some will initiate conversation with people they know.
  • Companions replace the antiquated karma system. A shady character might like it when you get stoned, run around naked, and steal from people, while hating when you do nice things for people, and some are the opposite. Some love you tinkering with things, one particularly difficult to please companion hates you doing anything with technology or talking your way out of things. The wiki has a full list of what companions love and hate.

  • Most companions can be romanced when they like you enough and you pass a speech check. You can even romance as many as you want, and as long as you don't flirt with the others in earshot you'll never have issues. You homewrecker.

  • Many companions have quests at about half affinity. These are some of the best quests in the game and can significantly change the character.

  • If you weren't convinced by all that, companions give you special perks at max affinity. So collect them all and get them all to love you!

The wiki has a full article on how affinity works: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Affinity

I heard something about a robot saying your name...
Your robot butler, Codsworth, who can become a companion as well, can say nearly 1000 names. So if your character's name is on the list, you can have a more personal experience. The list ranges from normal names like "Bob," to sci-fi names like Scully, Ripley, and McFly, to more absurd names like "MISTER BOOBIES!"
Watch this video for a fun look at it: https://youtu.be/TpoQgaTazmc
And of course, the wiki has a full list: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Codsworth/recognized_names

Ripley, eh? Nice. Alien is my favorite movie.
If you like aliens, then have I got news for you! The alien easter eggs from previous Fallout games haven't been forgotten, and you can get the alien blaster here as well. To start, go east and slightly south of Oberland Station, walk into the woods, and look for a crashed alien ship. There will be a green trail of alien blood that you can follow to find the alien and get his blaster. This may require a random encounter to happen, where you'll hear the sound of a crash and your companion will comment wondering what happened. You can also find it by turning on Relay Tower 1DL-109 and following the radio signal like you would the others.

Wait, what radio signals?
There are various locations called Relay Tower [letters and numbers] that will boost the signal of any nearby radio transmissions. When you turn on the relay towers, you will discover three new radio signals that you can tune into. To begin with, they're faint and full of static, but when you get closer to the source of the transmission, the signal clears up. These radio signals lead you to some loot, but more importantly you can find some of the best unmarked locations in the game this way. There are guides on the internet if you get stuck on them, but you should try to find them yourself. It's more fun that way!

Are there any quests I shouldn't miss?
Sure, here are a few. I won't include any spoilers in these descriptions, except for minor plot details.
One thing I love about the Fallout games is the sense of humor
You NEED to play the Silver Shroud questline, which you can find in Goodneighbor. When you start doing the quest, you owe it to yourself to play along in character. It's hilarious. I won't spoil it any further than that.

Also, there's a quest called Last Voyage of the U.S.S. Constitution, where you try to get a crashed ship back to sea. But there's a twist. And it's hilarious. Head to Bunker Hill and walk east toward the coast.

Head to Covenant. You can get there early on, and it might be one of the earliest introductions to moral choices regarding synths that you'll encounter.

Find Vault 81. It's a populated vault and you'll need to do some things to get in. Once you're in, eventually someone will send you on a quick quest to find a lost cat. Adorable right? When you get back, something has gone wrong, and you go on a quest to help the vault dwellers. On this quest, you meet one of the best companions, and this new companion gives you one of the best quests in the game.

Find Cabot House, and don't take no for an answer when trying to get in. This quest line is bizarre and amazing.

How are the mods in this game?
The Creation Kit isn't even out yet, but modders are hard at work on adding new things to the game. Reddit user -para has compiled a list of the best: https://www.reddit.com/r/Fallout/comments/3zt61o/fallout_4_mods_to_improve_your_experience_as_of/
Not included in that list is the mod that makes Preston Garvey shut up, so here it is: http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/3456/
With this mod you can still do the radiant quests by going to the settlements, but Preston will stop giving them to you whenever he's in earshot.

There will be more advanced mods when the Creation Kit is released, but these mods should keep you busy while you wait for the DLC to drop.

DLC, nice! What do we know about that?
As luck would have it, they just shared some info about the first three add-ons today!

What other neat stuff can I learn about the game?

What other things do you want to know about Fallout 4? This is the first post with general information, but there may be more if the interest is high enough, for things like how to get all the endings, etc.

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Bethesda has released some details on the first three DLC that will be released for Fallout 4. The first two are minor additions similar to the Hearthfire add-on for Skyrim, but luckily not as minor as horse armor.

Automatron: March, $10
The Mechanist (who you may remember from a hilarious Fallout 3 sidequest) has unleashed a horde of robots on the Commonwealth, and it's up to you to stop him. In addition, you can harvest their parts to make your own handy robot companions, with hundreds of options to choose from!

Wasteland Workshop: April, $5
In addition to adding new options to settlement building, this add-on lets you capture creatures from the wasteland, and tame them or run your own fighting pit.

Far Harbor: May, $25
This one looks beefy. They say it's the largest add-on they've ever created, so this seems to be more in line with the Shivering Isles expansion to Oblivion (literally the greatest DLC ever released) rather than the smaller chunks we've gotten used to in modern Bethesda games. Far Harbor takes you to Maine, where Valentine's Detective Agency sends you to investigate a missing person and a synth colony. This one also includes higher level weapons and armor for you to slaughter your enemies more easily. And we can hope that there are more settlements that need our help for Preston to mark on our maps.

Bethesda also stresses that these aren't the only add-ons coming to Fallout 4; they're planning $60 worth of content in 2016.

If you're planning to get these, you should grab the season pass now. They're making more than initially planned, so on March 1, the price is going up from $30 to $50. Still a better deal than buying them all individually, but $30 is better than $50.

Want to try these out early? Sign up for the beta! https://account.bethesda.net/en/settings/beta

In addition, Bethesda is hard at work on the Creation Kit and some Survival Mode changes. They plan to continue releasing free content/mechanics updates through patches. The most recent patch added weapon debris for video cards that can handle it, added visual cues to help determine where settlers are assigned, and more, along with fixing some bugs and making some performance improvements.

Lots to look forward to!


For the most recent patch notes: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_4_patch_1.3

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Today, Re-Logic has released some more info for what to expect in Terraria's upcoming "just around the corner" 1.3.1 update. Official controller support!

When the Steam Controller dropped, I was pleased to see an official configuration for it from the devs, but that just uses bindings mapped to keyboard and mouse inputs. This will allow other controllers to join the fun!

I'll definitely try this on release with a 360 controller, and I'm interested to see if native controller support will make the Steam Controller config work more naturally. Ultimately, I feel I'll probably stick to Steam Controller for about half of my playing and keyboard/mouse for the other half. But this is great news for people who have been wanting this for years, and I wouldn't be surprised if the PC version's controller setup is better than the consoles.

Found on the official Terraria forums:

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You may have seen from the Christmas loot thread that I got a Steam Controller this Christmas. I'd been wanting to try one for a long time, and I'm happy to say it was worth the wait.

The Hardware
I'm sure you've all seen the specs so I won't go into detail, but here's a quick breakdown of the new features-- The left d-pad and right thumb stick present on most controllers have been replaced by clickable touchpads. The left one has an indented plus so your fingers can easily find the direction you need if you're using it for movement. In addition to the left and right shoulder and trigger buttons, there are also grip buttons that you press with your ring/pinky fingers. The trigger buttons are two-stage, meaning that there's a catch right before the end, so you can use one trigger to aim and fire, for example. There's also a gyro that typically seems to be used for fine-tuning aiming, but you can use it for whatever you want (even Wiimote emulation for Dolphin). The pads, stick, and gyro can all be configured with haptic feedback, which I find helps significantly.

The first thing I noticed when seeing it in person is that it looks kinda big. Luckily, though, even with my fairly medium-sized hands, it felt great, and all the buttons and pads are easily accessible. I've seen people complain that it feels cheap, but I don't see that at all. The face buttons are in a slightly awkward position that takes a few minutes to get used to, but that's a minor complaint. Also, I wish the thumb stick was concave like the 360 controller, but I haven't had that negatively impact my gaming.

One thing that I haven't had time to discover myself is battery life. It takes two AA batteries, and from what I've seen in other reviews, they last around 6 weeks of heavy play. Of course, you can also go wired and bypass the batteries altogether.

The Software
The controller can emulate an xinput controller (like the 360 controller) and a keyboard and mouse. Notably, it can do this simultaneously, so your A button can be mapped to a 360 A button, and your X button can be mapped to a keyboard's E key, for example. Steam's Big Picture mode (but not normal mode, unfortunately) has menus to configure the controller, and you can configure a control scheme for each game. Some games that don't allow remapping in-game, so this is a godsend. Some developers have provided official recommended mappings, but that doesn't mean it will be the best. The major strength (and possibly a weakness, more on that later) is community configs. You can share your configs with the world, and when you're browsing them, the most popular ones rise to the top.

And of course, you can get very detailed with your configs. The grip buttons add a new level of customization, letting you map controls directly to them or use them as mode switchers, so for example, the face buttons do four things in normal mode, but when you hold in the right grip they do four different things. Using a combination of those, and the ability to map two different controls (like aiming and firing) to the triggers, I find myself playing nearly every game without touching the face buttons.

You can change so many options, so I won't go into them all, but you can set the emulation mode for the right pad and tweak the sensitivity and various other options to make it feel just right. I've done almost all my fine tuning on the right pad.

So you want to hear how it plays, right? 90% of the time, it's my favorite controller. I'm not saying I'll give up mouse and keyboard for some games, but I'll rarely use the 360 controller. Here's how it fared in the games I tested with:

Portal 2
I suggest this game to people who are new to FPS games, or people who are switching from PC to console or vice versa. It's FP without the S, really, so you rarely experience twitch gameplay and it gives you time to get your bearings, so you can ease into new, unfamiliar control schemes without getting swarmed by zombies. So it seemed like the obvious choice. I was amazed at how natural it felt. The grips mapped to use and jump means never moving your thumbs away from the stick/pad, and the right trackpad just worked. I was far more precise than I have ever been with typical console controllers after only a few minutes. My wife has always had issues with first person games on a controller, but I handed it to her and she immediately felt more comfortable with the Steam Controller.

Fallout 4
Again, everything just worked as you'd expect. One limitation in how much you can configure the controller is that Bethesda games don't allow keyboard and controller inputs at the same time, unlike most other modern games. So for configuring the controller you have to go all-controller input or all-keyboard-and-mouse input. This isn't a HUGE issue for this game, but it could be better if Bethesda allowed that. Since Fallout 4 isn't a FPS, it's an RPG with FPS elements, there are far more controls to be mapped for this one. Some Bethesda-provided flexibility would be welcome. Still, I had no issues playing it.

System Shock 2
I read that Night Dive Studios, who recently updated the game for modern systems, made an official config for SS2, so I had to see what it was all about. It's GREAT. It's like they had the Steam Controller in mind when they first developed the game. Using the gyro to lean felt natural, and inventory management was simple, while keeping the FPS controls solid. Kudos to Night Dive for this amazing config!

Other first-person games
Rather than spelling them all out, I wanted to highlight the ones that needed highlighting. I also played Half-Life 2, Doom 3 BFG edition, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Jedi Outcast, Quake II, and Serious Sam. They all worked amazingly with varying levels of configuration. The takeaway here is that whether games were built with controller support or not, they can still shine with the Steam controller.

Shovel Knight, Rayman Origins, and Super Meat Boy
I wanted to try some 2D games, using the stick and the left pad to move, and I found that after a few minutes to acclimate, these games are better when using the pad for movement. That's definitely a personal thing, so your experience may be different. This felt at least on-par with the 360 controller, maybe slightly edging it out.

Burnout Paradise
I tried this to see how the triggers fared for racing games. There's just enough resistance, and you can map acceleration to the initial trigger pull, and boost to full click, which feels natural.

Batman: Arkham City and Assassin's Creed 4
Third-person games are where I start to have some issues. I could never get the right pad to adjust the camera in a way that felt natural, but that could be a matter of finding the right config or tweaking it just right.

Civilization V
Hey scrypt, I finally played this! You were right, it's amazing. And using a Steam controller feels like they baked in controller support. I wouldn't want to use a controller for a real-time strategy game where fast movements are necessary, but for turn-based, it's nice.

Wow! This seems so odd, but it works so well. The mouse is on the right pad with everything else feeling like a normal controller layout. The official controller config from Re-Logic works beautifully. I actually found some things easier. I imagine when I play this in the future I'll swap back and forth between the Steam Controller and my keyboard/mouse.

Torchlight II
You'd never know this game didn't have controller support built in. Modifying the most popular community config a bit got me an amazing control scheme that feels better than ARPG controls I've experienced on console (like Diablo III on PS3).

Starship Rubicon
We're on Cheerful Ghost here, so what's a controller review without reviewing a game CG published? The Steam controller shines here. I've messed around with two different control schemes to emulate the normal controls, and to simulate a more standard twin-stick shooter, and both work very well.

Guild Wars 2
I wanted to get in an MMO and I'm most familiar with GW2. There are some good configs that players have shared, and with a little tweaking it feels really natural. I didn't feel like I was missing out on functionality, BUT I imagine it would be annoying if you were trying to chat with people. It will work for you, but can't really replace KB/M.

In closing...
In short, it's great. Fantastic, even. For most games, it's my favorite controller. But its strengths are also its weaknesses. The community configurations give people a place to jump off easily and get a layout that has been vetted by others, but it still comes out sub-optimal many times, requiring some tweaking. The level of configurability is great, and they're adding more every day, but the options are not always obvious and people may not want to put in time to configure a controller.

The reviews speak to that. Early reviews were a little rough, but reviewers that took more time to dig into the controller consistently gave it higher reviews. Engadget had an article about this that's worth a read, that the reason people disliked it is just because it takes some time. http://www.engadget.com/2015/11/10/we-hate-valve-steam-controller-because-its-different/

So from here on, its success really depends on how Valve can handle things. Balancing ease of use with fine tuning, familiarity with unfamiliarity. Will gamers put in the time to get used to it? Is the target demographic of Steam's living room push one that will welcome a controller that may need some tweaking?

I hope so, because I love this thing and I want it to succeed.

Hat tip to woodsie, a youtuber that has a lot of great info. I recommend these videos to anyone getting started. The videos are short, informative, and fun. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDarkAlly/videos

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Here's hoping everyone had an amazing Christmas with lots of great family, friends, and food.

And, of course, swag. What was your gaming/geeky haul this year?

I'm not quite done (second family Christmas tomorrow) but on the category of things this crowd would be interested in, I got this badass Fallout Vault Dweller's Orientation Kit https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/irmp/

And this shirt, which is my first Star Wars wearable. http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/mens-star-wars-x-wing-strike-t-shirt-by-jem?ID=2500713

Also I got some gift cards, and I'm going to buy a Steam Controller with some of the money from them.

I hope it was fun for everyone, and I hope the last few days of your years are awesome!

EDIT: No need to buy a Steam Controller, I got one! We also got a Darth Vader toaster that prints the Star Wars logo on bread. That's a weird, but fun one. :D

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Note: There will be spoilers later in the post. They will be clearly marked, and below the cutoff for the front page, so you'll have to hit "Read all" to see them.

37 days since release.
156 hours on one single character.
Level 82.
All pre-ending quests completed.
All map locations discovered.
All bobbleheads.
All skill magazines.
All endings (each ending is only about an hour of different quests after the point where you start alienating the others).
All settlements unlocked, populated, and supplied. A few built up to over 20 settlers with a ton for them to do.
All companions at maximum affinity.
50/50 achievements.

You might say I kinda like the game.

I'm not even done with this character. There are more quests that unlock after the endings, which I plan to do. I just felt comfortable actually writing a review now.

I'll give my summary up top since there will be spoilers toward the end: In brief, Fallout 4 is incredible. What it lacks in player choice, it makes up for with great mechanics, the amazing world to explore that you'll be expecting from a Bethesda game, ramped up significantly thanks to the better graphics, and far fewer bugs. The world they've build is their best ever. Everything just melds together in ways Bethesda has yet to achieve, and the world tells its own story. It's a bit of a bummer that you aren't making the biggest choices in the world anymore, and the endings all kinda suck a big, but the actual experience may be better than previous games. It isn't perfect, but it stands with the rest as a great entry to the series, and improves on things in so many ways that it may be hard to play the older entries in the series.

First, let's address a few complaints. People were complaining around launch about the graphics. Sure, this doesn't look as amazing as some current-gen games, but for a massive, open-world RPG, they're honestly pretty good. And most people really don't play this kind of game for the graphics. Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and even Skyrim didn't look as good as the games that came out around the same time, but that didn't change the enjoyment at all. I thought the graphics were nice, anyway.

People have also been complaining about the lack of real choices in the game's dialogue. And on this point, they're spot on. When someone asks you to do a quest for example, you can choose a positive yes, a sarcastic yes, a "yes but what is that" option, or "no," but they give you the quest anyway. There are barely any quests that affect others until the final hours of the main faction quests. The ability to play it how you want it has been dialed way back for Fallout 4. I'm not necessarily saying that's objectively bad, but it is what it is.

But for me, Bethesda games are fun because of the world you're in, and on this point the game truly shines. The radio is back with some old favorites from Fallout 3 and some new era-appropriate tracks, and the radio helps set the mood for the game better than most other factors, BUT you should also turn the radio off and listen to the score from time to time. The tracks for different locations are amazing.

Because it's Bethesda, you'll see things spread throughout the world that tell stories without telling them. Like a hole in the side of a bank with two skeletons, a sack full of money, and some scattered pre-war money on the ground-- you can see from this little scene that some people tried to loot the bank in the aftermath of the bombs dropping, and failed. They also, of course, have little funny things spread about. This time the running gag was teddy bears. You can find a teddy bear on the toilet who is wearing glasses and reading the Boston Bugle, one's wearing a driver's cap and sitting behind the wheel of a bus, and so on. The attention to detail in the world design is what I love most about these games. They feel lived in, destroyed, and lived in again. 156 hours and I still haven't seen it all. I've visited every marked location, sure, but there's so much to see in between the map markers.

In short, player choice may be dialed back significantly, but the sheer amount of things to see makes the replay value high, and makes the game as fun as it is.

The big new mechanic in Fallout 4 is settlement building. In Fallout 3, it was common to see something and think "I wish I could fix this place up and live here." Well, now you can, to a point. There are 30 settlements you can unlock to build up, populate, and defend. I picked Red Rocket as the base for me and all my companions (as seen in the pic above). The building mechanic is fun, but often frustrating, and I hope Bethesda patches some of the annoyances.

(for more funny things in the world and more Red Rocket building pics: https://imgur.com/a/PkGBo)

You're ostensibly unlocking these settlements for the Minutemen. Preston Garvey gives you quests to unlock settlements and go help out when they have issues. And he just. doesn't. stop. This is one of my biggest complaints. If you're in earshot of Preston, you're going to get these quests, and you only have so long to do them before they auto-fail. A mod to shut him up would be nice.

Preston is also one of many companions you can have on your journey, and the antiquated karma system has been replaced by companion affinity. If you're with a shady mercenary, they'll like it when you steal, but an upstanding reporter may not. This also helps you feel more attached to the companions. The more they like you, the more they'll confide in you, and they each give you a unique perk for maxing out their affinity. Cait, McCready, Curie, and Nick all have quests to complete before you max their affinity, and they are some of the best quests in the game, especially Nick's.

And Nick is a great example of how much improved the characters in this game are. You won't hear things over and over again, at least not as much as "Patrolling the Mojave," and "Arrow to the knee" in previous games on Bethesda's engine. The voice actors are more varied, and better, and make the world gel together. Lynda Carter (yes, Wonder Woman herself) is back, of course, since she's married to Robert Altman, the president of Zenimax. And she's come a long way since Mazoga the Orc in Oblivion. She plays Magnolia, a lounge singer in Goodneighbor, and she can really sing! You'll hear a few of her songs on the radio after you've visited Goodneighbor and spoken with her.

Here come the spoilers
My biggest problems with the game came toward the end of the story. None of the endings feel incredibly impactful. You find that the Institute not only took your child, but that he's now in his 60's, running the Institute, and wants you to take over. You may have already been doing things for the Minutemen, the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Railroad before this, and it's no surprise that these are the four factions you can finish the game with. So your choices:
  • Keep working with the Institute, who's pretty obviously doing terrible things to people, while claiming it's for the greater good. To do this you have to wipe out the Brotherhood and Railroad who are trying to take the Institute down.

  • Go to the Brotherhood, who wants to wipe out every synth (the Institute) and anyone who would help synths (the Railroad), even though that means killing hundreds of innocents. No, ladies and gents, this is not the same Brotherhood you knew from Fallout 3. This is old-school, purify the world Brotherhood. Elder Lyons is long dead, and his influence has ended. But you get to re-use Liberty Prime from Fallout 3, and in this ending I realized that no faction should ever possess anything like Liberty Prime.

  • Go to the Railroad, who wants you to wipe out the Brotherhood for being bigots and the Institute for imprisoning synths, even though that means killing hundreds of innocents.

  • Go to the Minutemen, who want as many innocents to be freed as possible while you take down the Institute. You can also free some synths this way, and keep working with everyone but the Institute after the game is over. But the Minutemen have NO character whatsoever. They're the most boring faction in any of the Fallout games.

So ultimately there's no satisfying ending. All the factions are flawed to the point of being unlikeable, some more than others. I'd say I prefer the Railroad to the others, for various reasons, but their ending needlessly wipes out a faction that could be helped to turn around.

And this comes back to the player choice issue-- in Fallout: New Vegas, for instance, there were many warring factions, and you could negotiate alliances between some of them. Not so in Fallout 4. There are four paths you must take, with no variance.


Still, complaints aside, this game is one of my favorites of all time. I'll play it again, and love it even with its flaws. Anyone who likes massive open-world RPGs should check it out, but be prepared for some of the RPG feel to have been taken out.

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Shadow Complex, released back in August of 2009 for the XBox 360, has been remastered for it's re-release on modern consoles, and you can get it for free on PC for the next few weeks.

And you should. This is the best Metroidvania game I've played that isn't Metroid or Castlevania, and it's written by Orson Scott Card.


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