Tag Archives: fun

Multi-player in ME3

No, I’m not going to rant further about the ending of the game or how it destroyed the hopes and expectations we had before it was released (and with that I’ve started and ended the current rant… ­čśë )

I’ve started playing the multi-player and yes, it is fun. I’m basically a novice as far as multi-players goes – last time I tried things like that was at LAN-parties something like 5,6 or 7 years ago… hehe.

One thing I’m not sure I like is that the multi-player is required for progressing the game. Yes, technically you can finish it without touching the multi-player but the impression given by the game/marketing is that you must also do the multi-player part. Perhaps it could have been better if they made it a completely separate game (with the same background story, plot etc…)

To me the ‘Mass Effect’ games should have been a single player since it tell’s a story with a single thread of events (but of course steered by┬ádecisions┬áthe player makes). The Multi-player should just be ‘additional’ or ‘extra’. The fact that it is so tightly integrated into the whole game indicates that they (Bioware) used resources that should have been used to improve the ‘main’ parts of the game to do things that isn’t suppose to be central. I’m not against having a multi-player part as long as it wasn’t impacting what should have been the best part of this game. That may be why some thing in the single player seems so lacking some aspects…. like a proper ending… uh…

The other thing they obviously spent a lot of effort on was the music/sounds. I very much like it but my concern is/was that it too got more attention than the actual ‘completing the core of the game’ did.

Well, of course, that is my opinion…

 

Mass Effect 3

The following is just my opinion and comments on the game – or should I say the┬ámarvellous┬ápiece of ‘art’ that BioWare gave us. I have not completed the game yet – probably over half done I suspect. Warning – some possible spoilers…

Atmosphere

Compared to the first two games in the trilogy this one is much ‘deeper’, ‘darker’, ‘sadder’ with a gripping story. As a sci-fi nut myself I absolutely love this. The actual game play seems fairly much the same as the previous ones – some changes though but nothing that is too radical. Choosing and upgrading items is different but comes down to the same idea – that you have different levels for each weapon/armor/tech etc.

This game also has an ’emotional’ aspect that is almost unsettling. This is what makes it so good. You feel the characters ‘pain’ at times and because we’ve spend so many years playing or interacting with them it feels like we ‘know’ them. So, when something happens to them (spoiler to follow) it has a real impact on the player. Some events are unavoidable – thinking of Thane here… Others seems to be because of a ‘bad’ choice that might have been made somewhere – Mordin, Tali… Either way you make a choice there will be some consequence – and you’ll have to live with it for the duration of the game. I tried to be ‘smart’ at times to choose something that might give a compromise between two parties but then it turns out no compromise is possible – Quarians and Geth… And then more than once I let a radical (Renegate or Paragon) action pass by because I could not react quickly enough – or was still shocked at the┬ácut scene┬áplaying where something happened I didn’t expected – Why is suicide by some characters allowed?

There is also some aspects that makes me wonder about Shepard’s personality. Being a ‘Renegate’ mostly player the part of Shepard doubting his/her own abilities when having to deal with galactic-wide choices doesn’t quite fit – e.g. the conversation with Adm Hacket, the repeating dream of the child that could not be saved… You get the feeling Shepard is ‘more’ human than in the previous games – which is probably a good thing (sorta). And then the is Shepard’s parents… why weren’t anything of them mentioned before?

Sound

Then there are the sounds and music of the game. This is another fantastic part of the game. The sound of a reaper when you come across it is unsettling (especially if you have┬ásurround┬ásound with proper bass… next to your feet… Since I got the Collectors edition of the game I got the sound track as well and it is also good hear it away from the game.

Story

The story behind the game is ‘vast’, spanning thousands of years. When you come across the only living Prothean you get the feeling (through sounds/music/dialog) that he is really out of time/place, with a feeling of sadness, regret and frustration (something similar that old Buck Rogers must have felt in the 25th century except this guy lost not just a bit of time but he’s entire civilization is extinct for thousands of years!). Anyway, first hand knowledge of what the Protheans did (wrong) should be helping but somehow it seems that even that is enough. One interesting thing that comes out in the dialog is that not all civilizations get destroyed in each ‘cycle’. Some are allowed to go on to start the next cycle. Only the ones that could be a threat are attacked. In some ways this does make sense, in others not – No one is allowed to learn from their ‘own’ mistakes… meaning the same mistakes are repeated every time. Learning from ‘others’ mistakes just isn’t the same. This sound so┬ásimilar┬áto real life….

Other aspects

Politics sucks, just like in real life. But this is another aspect that makes the game feel more ‘real’. I still think politicians must be locked up (for 30 years or so and only then allowed to lead the people ­čśë ). Otherwise they don’t have enough respect for the things in life that are really valuable.

There is some humour in the game – like the two engineers that has an argument about the Mako from ME1 and Hammerhead from ME2, squad mates making comments about each other ad so on. And what is the deal about the stupid dog in the┬áshuttle bay? It looks suspiciously like some characters in Half Life…

Then there are a couple of irritating things as well. What is the deal with the security scanner inside the Normandy itself? The two girls working there are talking the most┬árubbish┬ápossible. Sometimes I wish I could just shoot them or something… ­čśë Also, the weird walking/running locomotion of Sheppard makes the character almost look ‘unstable’ and almost ready to fall over or something.

I’m not there yet, but once I’ve completed the game I’ll post some more comments again. Unfortunately from a few things I’ve read on the net (I try to avoid it) the ending might be a shocker or tragic in a way that will let the player feel like it was almost not worth it. I hope depending on the ‘right’ choices that it won’t be that bad…

All in all so far I’m amazed at the game. I’ll be playing it through again and again…

Update:

Apparently many others also are not impressed with the ending of the game. See Facebook and Twitter for details. I know BioWare did a lot of hard work on this game and they kind of said in the past that Commander Sheppard’s storyline would end with the trilogy but… the current options for the ending just seems to be ‘too limiting’ or┬ánon-existent. What happens if the want to make ME4 one day? (trilogy in 4 parts… aka hitchhikers guide… ­čśë )

Skyrim main quest done

I’ve now managed to complete the ‘main’ quest of the game and Alduin is no more. Still there are some dragons around to slay and some other quests to complete. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot around the thieves guild restoration so… my skills around that particular ‘job’ is increasing. Must say, you do get to wear a really cool leather/stealthy outfit that helps a lot with sneaking further on.

One thing I would have loved to have been able to do is actually riding the dragons (bit of a spoiler here) instead of just implying and quick jump to the location you are going to… I suppose that would have been a technical problem for the graphics or something but it would have been cool to see the world (Skyrim) from the air.

And the horses… I’m really getting a bit annoyed with them – either running away or doing stupid things or the fact that you cannot ‘reverse’ when you are in a tight spot (like right at the edge of a cliff). I’ve also managed to get onto the ‘wrong’ horse somewhere and only later realized it’s not mine – and it has the habit of walking away as soon as you climb off. They really should provide a way you can track your horse… really!

Being married in the game was interesting in the beginning but really, it gets boring after a couple of times the wife greets you with ‘hello my love’ or ‘I bet you must have had some interesting adventures’… She start reminding me of a robot… and you cannot even do some married things together… like… fighting, arguing, playing… hehe. And then there are the kids… some of them really becomes irritating but you cannot do anything about that… since it is politically incorrect these days.

I guess I’ll still be playing Skyrim for a while since Mass Effect 3 is only due in March or so next year. I just hope it will be as good or better than 2!

 

Don’t mess with Riften

Another Skyrim tale to tell. The other day I was in Riften minding my own business (secret thieve stuff or something) when a dragon attacked. It was almost evening. I ran, looking for the best places to hide, attack and so on. It wasn’t long before the whole town got into the fight and some chaos followed. The dragon landed behind the temple of Mara (doing the things dragons do while on the ground). I rushed in for the kill – but before I could claim the dragon all by myself the rest of the town was there – all slashing, slicing, shooting (biting and scratching if they could). The poor dragon didn’t stand a chance! It was the quickest dragon kill I’ve seen to date. I almost felt sorry for him!

So, next time you’re in Riften, show some respect! These folks don’t play with dragons… they have them for a midnight snack! Ouch

Horse tales in Skyrim

I’ve been spending way too much time in this game… hehe but it’s fun…

There is one thing that really annoys me – no not the damn dragons or other enemies – the horses! Every time I leave my horse some place or enter a battle with the horse near by it disappears (like running away)! Then afterwards it’s a pain to find it again! hehe If it’s an open area then finding it isn’t that hard but inside the woods or cliffs I’ve lost my horse more than once – to the point that I had to go back to a stable and buy a new damn one! ­čśë

If I can make just one request to the creators of Skyrim – please provide a way to find your horse again! Like a marker on the map, have a hot key so you (the character) can whistle and your horse will come get you (provided you are outside and not in danger or something). I’ve lost count how many horses I’ve bought and lost… (yes some died trying to help me fight a dragon or two…)

Then there is the issue that your companions can’t have a horse… shame. I feel so bad that poor Lydia has to run the whole time while I ride comfortably on my (disappearing) horse. How about having a passenger on my horse?

Please Bethesda give a horse rider a little slack! ­čśë

Update: just have to add this bit: a day or so ago my latest horse ‘Frost’ got into a fight with me against a dragon. Somehow it managed to get op top of the dragon during all the excitement and I couldn’t help start laughing – It looked like it was trying to stomp the dragon to death! Fortunately we managed to kill the bastard… I mean dragon… There will be no flying horses in the sequel…

Update2: I’m sad to announce that Frost is no more… He bravely fought a dragon along-side me and… {snip} gave his life in the process. I didn’t immediately realized it as the dragon flew a short distance to its final resting place where I gave it the last blow. At first I was cross because that ‘damn’ horse ‘ran away again’. Then I found the remains of poor old Frost… I gave him a moment of silence, took his meat and gave a salute. Damn he was a good horse! Oh well, I’ll just have to go get another one…

Update3: Seeing how many people read this post after doing a google search on missing horses it seems the disappearing horse problem is really an issue. It is a pity they (Bethesda) hasn’t fixed this issue yet. Please guys help us out a bit!

Skyrim progress (or not)

Seems like a number of people visited my blog concerning Skyrim. This is probably more an indication how popular the game is – and less about my great writing skills hehe.

As for progress in the game, I’ve lost count how many dragons I’ve killed – but I could probably look it up somewhere under achievements somewhere. I do have a few possible funny experiences that is in-game related – like the dog, the fiance (hu?) and a weird abduction experience I still haven’t figured out…

The dog, yes that damn dog! Brutes or something. It was annoying and constantly getting in the way of everything so I tool it back to its ‘master’ – but now I feel a bit bad for the poor thing – being turned into stone… forever…

Looking at the locked achievements on Steam one of them list ‘Getting married’. During the investigation into the whole abduction thingy some girl mention you bought/got a ring from her for your ‘fiance’. Somehow I must have chosen wrong dialog option there and the option for the rest of that conversation disappeared.

And then yes, that abduction thing still confuse me. What happened? Hu? From the reactions of some other characters it seems during that ‘missing’ time you did some weird and questionable things all over the place… When finally meeting the guy who instrumented the whole thing things happen so fast that I could not understand what he was talking about. Next thing you are back in some town with the whole ‘episode’ over.

Seems like the game is causing a whole life of its own to develop… hehe

Skyrim – another small update

I almost can’t believe that I somehow have already spent 24hours of playing Skyrim! Addiction perhaps… hehe

I’m still relatively satisfied with the game and haven’t had any major issues with it other than… One crash where the game just stopped running and I was back at the desktop. I restarted and played the same scene again without further issues. Must have been a glitch.

I have killed my third dragon – plus 2 giants, some trolls, a bear and a number of wolves. Got 3 dragon shouts already, bought a house, a horse and got a companion (named Lydia).

And have I mentioned it is addictive?…

Update: I had a dog for a while but he was so damn annoying – getting in the way of everything, that I returned him to his previous master (almost felt sorry for him then…)

Skyrim – my thoughts

I’m no professional reviewer – or even professional gamer so I have only a few words to say about this game – mostly good.

Having played Morrowind and Oblivion it is easy to get into the game play straight on. My first impressions was that the graphics wasn’t ‘that’ much more fantastic than its predecessors, but it probably depends on how you judge it. Close-by objects are difficult to improve on and this is the only real negative thing I can say for this game. Some objects and textures seen from up close still looks like low detail compare to other more recent games. However, when it comes to nature scenes and particular large viewing distances all I can say is ‘wow’!

Initially when I installed the game there were some hick-ups but it wasn’t because of the game itself – rather Steam acting up because of the overload of people trying to activate all the newly released games – plus the hacking issue they’ve been dealing with… I had to download 5GB+ of updates because Steam could not ‘validate’ the files on the physical game DVD I bought – not nice!

I am lucky enough to have a machine that can play the game on ‘Ultra-high’ settings (I7 860 with Radeon 5770). So far I haven’t seen any real performance issues and it appears the machine is handling it fine. At times I can hear the fans spin up bit. Load times are fairly quick and saving happens so fast it appears there is no interruption in game play.

There are a few things around interacting with objects or even the environment that still does not look and feel ‘real’. Characters walking or climbing up a ladder or stairs still does it with straight legs. Looks really ‘unreal’ and silly. Horses can run up almost impossibly steep hills and even when you turn sideways it does it – you guessed it – with straight legs – i.e. one side’s legs in the air and the other inside the ground.

I hope this is not a spoiler but I like the idea of you having companions that walks with you – helping defend you etc. I was just wondering, can’t I buy/get a horse for them too? Seems so cruel that I ride on my horse while they have to run around after you. Just an idea.

Weather is a great effect – like the snowstorms you see when you are high up in a mountain. It really makes you feel cold and wanting to get to a safe warm place. Thunder sounds good – but I suspect my old speaker system is not as good as it use to be so I might be missing some parts of the whole ‘effect’.

This is a ‘slow’ game unlike some other shoot and run games released recently. It is easy to get drawn into it and spend hours of game play – you just can’t seem to say ‘stop, I had enough’ easily ­čÖé I’ve basically just started playing the game and already have something like 8 hours worth of it (but I don’t know where all 8 hours have gone… hehe). I probably still have to get to the really ‘exciting’ parts of the main quest so there are still some good game play ahead.

All in all I like this game. It isn’t the totally awhsum game some people might have expected – graphics wise, but it really isn’t bad at all.

IT ‘tips’

A few ‘IT’ tips

1. When you are looking into a problem – always check the obvious things first

2. If you cannot solve a problem yourself – read the manual

3. Don’t trust users to explain ‘what’ the problem is. Those are just symptoms

4. Remember, computers ‘can’ make mistakes – very fast ones these days!

5. Out of memory errors usually are not because of memory problems…

6. Never give users more functionality than they need – otherwise you have to maintain that too!

7.┬á The best debugging tool is a message box (alert in js) – just don’t forget to take them out again!

and some general wishdom…

1. Never assume things will always go well. They generally have a habit not to

2. Never underestimate the power or impact of users doing stupid things

3. You only get 2 kinds of hard drives… those that have failed, and those that soon will. Apparently these days this rule applies to most hardware components…

4. Crysis wasn’t created in one day, but you can play through it in a day

Blowing up the planet… kinda..

Nice article from Phil Plait (The guy from Bad Astronomy) wrote an article about the math to do exactly this. Turns out it isn’t that easy (if possible/practical at all) but if you really, really really need to do it….

3 reasons we can’t blow up a planet sci-fi style

There is an easier way to solve the problem of you wanting to ‘kill’ a planet – just leave and find another one that would make you happy. It’s much easier and better (for us still living on this one…)