The Dead Man Keeps Rollin with the Games
These are my personal thoughts regarding games and related stuff. I am not very good at gaming, but I have utmost enthusiasm for games. I am 29 years old, and I spent more than a decade playing games, starting off with an ancient Atari console. On multiple occasions, I thought about giving up gaming...but some great game brought me back in to gaming. This happened so many times that I doubt whether I'll ever quit gaming...
And yes, I am a big, big fan of The Beatles.
I've started playing computer games from around 1999. Well, actually that was the year when my dad bought me a top of the line Intel Pentium II 350 Mhz computer with an awesome16 MB Creative Voodoo Bansheegraphics card. I had the best gaming PC among my friends and I'd gladly show off the shiny new graphics on games like Fifa 99, Age of Empires, Need for Speed 2 and 3, etc.From the very beginning, I had a thing with non playable characters and non-interactive elements within a game's universe. Although EA Sports had the tagline of "If it's in the game, it's in the game", many elements within a game seemed restrictive. As an example, when you are playing a first person shooter game, you would quite often hit invisible walls, i.e. inaccessible areas. Also, you see things lying around the terrain but you can't interact with them, i.e. a soda machine is there but you can't buy soda.Things got a lot better with the arrival of Half Life, and other modern era shooters like No One Lives Forever, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Max Payne, etc. Back then I didn't care or bother about RPGs at all.
I heard about games like Diablo, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Elder Scrolls, etc. but never ended up playing one.It wasn't until 2009 that I seriously considered playing through an RPG. I think I tried playing Fallout 3 in 2008, but gave up soon after encountering a weird situation. My character started moving like an elephant and I was constantly getting a written prompt which said "you are heavily encumbered". I was such a novice RPG player back then that I didn't even know that heavily encumbered translated to "you don't have enough space in your inventory" and I could easily fix things by dropping some useless gadgets! Earlier, I also encountered a similar problem with Oblivion and quit playing that game, too.Inspired by some internet friends in a gaming community I belong to, I took up a personal challenge of completing a basic RPG. I started with a very old, classic role playing game; the original neverwinter nights. At first, I found the game to be a little too much retro for my liking. However, I soon figured out the patterns of the game andThere are many capitals, large cities, small towns, caves and other miscellaneous locations to explore in Skyrim. It really is marvelous in a sense that each location is unique, with different NPCs, landscapes and quests. Resolving all issues of one town can take hours, or even days. While taking care of all the quests in a town named Riften, I felt like completing Dragon Age 2.
Yes, it's such a pity for EA that Bethesda's one town can feel like their one whole game.The game is unique in many ways. The best thing is perhaps that you can approach it in multiple ways. While fighting is an integral part of the overall experience, you can do quite well without fighting at all. Sneaking around in stealth mode is as good as direct confrontations in many cases. Also, there are many dialogue based fetch quests which can take long hours to complete. A day ago I spent a whole evening in Skyrim without doing a single fight. I went to different people, talked information out of them and acted accordingly to complete quests.When you open your journal where all active and inactive quests are listed, you can easily single out the quests where violence isn't involved--at least initially. Retrieving Olaf's verse for the Bard's college may sound like a mundane task, but it actually involves visiting a ghost infested pit and defeating a powerful undead king. However, apart from a few deceivingly titled quests, there are many where you don't need to apply brute force at all.When my character was below level 10, I was struggling against the very basic brand of bandits. But, now with a level 18 warrior, I've learned to block attacks better and I invested level ups in health and perks in heavy armor, shields and one handed weapons. Instead of making a jack of all trades character, I have started emphasizing on his core competencies of sword swinging and shield blocking.The only kind of enemies that gives me a tough time now are mages, who attack from a far with ice and fire based fearsome spells. When battling it out against them, one must drink a fire resistant potion or otherwise you will become a burning corpse in no time.
Looks like I am advancing in the game faster than this blog post is advancing--I am already a level 28 warrior, and I can now challenge the frost trolls (the things that I've mistaken for Yetis) and the mammoth herding mountain giants with ease. I've completed some missions from the main story line and now I now know a lot about the titular character I am playing with.
During the initial phase of playing Skyrim, I was constantly getting challenged by the absurd amount of loot I was collecting from fallen foes and random locations. "Loot", or collectibles are a standard feature of any RPG game, and to many (me too), collecting loot is a very enjoyable part of the gameplay experience. Loot can be almost anything; starting from weapons and armors, health and stamina boosting potions, ornaments, amulets, food items, trophies (head of deceased enemies), wine bottles and what not! Most of these items can be sold off to specific NPCs and these are a very good source of money. One can definitely earn gold by completing quests, but in order to go for major cost involving activities like buying a house, upgrading the house, buying training lessons, etc., selling off loot constantly is a must.
However, just like most other games, the protagonist in Skyrim has limited carrying capacity, and in no time that capacity gets full. You lose some very important skills when you have more items than you can carry. You lose the ability to fast travel and sprint, without which it is almost impossible to play. If you are wearing heavy armor and can't sprint, going from point A to point B (even if it's just a few yards away) feels extremely lagged and tiresome. The only time I was forced to do that was when I pressed the "free movement" button and saw my character turtling towards the Inn where I wanted him to go and sell off some heavy weighing items.
There is no stash in this game (at least not initially) where I can keep the items that I can't carry right now but don't want to part with. The carrying capacity can be increased by increasing stamina, but the option comes once after each level up and levelling up is not a very easy task. So I had to resort to a command line parameter which allowed me to set my character's carrying capacity to the maximum. I gave input of 99999, but the actual value came out as something around 12 thousand.
Now I can loot without bothering about inventory management, and I can concentrate more on the core game.
I wrote the above preview when I was in the initial stages of playing Skyrim. My OS crashed at the very end of my journey and I gave up playing Skyrim before beating it. Now that a new DLC is out and I have finally managed to get Windows 7, I am planning to re-install the game and replay it using magical skills. I played with a sword and shield wielding warrior character (with a few magical abilities) in the last game.
30May 12I have fresh memories of beating the entire Mass Effect trilogy. I just spent 90 hours of my life to finish all three games back to back, and I must say I've had crying moments multiple times through out the 3 games. Spoilers for Mass Effect 1, read at your own risk please:
In the very early stages of Mass Effect 1, I was given the option to rescue Kaiden Alenko (a male companion) from a tight corner, and I headed off instantly. Meanwhile, rest of my squad containing Ashley Williams (a female companion) got confronted by the game's mega villain Saren, and I got an anguished distress call from Ashley. Her voice really sounded serious--as if she won't be able to survive unless I go to her. My character Shepard was harnessing romantic feelings for Ashley, so I headed off to her direction.
This caused the death of Kaiden, but before sacrificing himself, he gave a very emotional speech over the radio, where he thanked me and told me that it was an honor serving in my team. I couldn't hold back tears, and after that chapter ended, I wandered around space ship, the Normandy for a long time aimlessly. I was talking to the other crew members who were trying to give me consolation.
I know it's a video game, but I truly felt like losing a good friend and comrade. Although I didn't use him much in the missions, I made sure I sought his opinion on each mission after each of them ended. Clever bioware gave him a lot of deep dialogues, where he gave me off the record thoughts on the council, other companions and a lot more. He used to stand in that same place every time, and even after his death I took Shepard down there hoping to get a glimpse of the ever alert Kaiden, but no, he couldn't be found. No, I am not crying again, but I must say Bioware makes great games and has touched me emotionally a number of times. I had similar moments in [SPOILER for Dragon Age: Origins] Dragon Age: Origins when my character sacrificed herself to save the world from darkspawn.Edit
I've been spending a lot of time playing Mass Effect in this month. Started from April, now I've done beating all three games which took me more than 90 hours, and what a memorable experience it has been! Some of the greatest RPG moments of my life since playing Dragon Age: Origins. The only low point was the ending in Mass Effect 3; the last 20 minutes of the game, to be precise. That portion was really, really lame and I wish the developers dedicated a little bit more time in thinking out the finale.
I am glad I started playing RPG games in 2009. Previously, I did not really understand the concept well, which caused a lot of frustration on my part. I remember buying Mass Effect 1 back in 2008, when the game was first released. I tried to play it like a FPS, and I desperately hated all the stuff outside the fights, i.e. walking from point A to B to talk to people and recruit them. I would skip all the dialogues, and did not wait to buy items or level up my companions. Result--premature death of the companions and my inability to progress much farther in the game. I think I stopped playing after I was sent to a distant planet where I was supposed to navigate the terrain using a rover. I didn't even know how to get my squad out of that car, and I got stuck in an area from where I could progress no more. Deeply pissed off, I uninstalled the game and didn't bother to replay it in about four years time.
I also remember getting pissed off at Garrus for inviting himself in to my squad. I thought "What the hell, I already have Ashley and Kaidan, why do I need you?" and so on. I hated every walk down (without throwing bullets) and I hated every conversation. I also made a female Shepard, which decreased the immersion value to a great extent. While I enjoy using female characters in RPG games a lot, but I know believe that at least the first play through should be via a male character, with whom I can immerse myself and do the role playing in a better way.
So the Shepard in Mass Effect was actually me--I was taking all the decisions, and Shepard was just letting others know. I recruited all possible companions and waded through all the missions of the three games, trying not to skip many side missions. I did skip some of them in ME1 due to the tedious navigation system, but I didn't miss any in ME3 and only missed a few DLC missions involving a hovercraft like vehicle in ME2.
Apart from a few design choice flaws, the entire trilogy is an RPG gamer's dream come true, and if you have the remotest interest in planets ans space travelling, you will love to immerse yourself in Mass Effect's world.
The only grievance I have is about the ending. It couldn't have been worse. I won't give any spoilers here, but I surely hope they can fix the damage done with the epilogue video they are currently making.
I used to be a big fan of first person shooters, with slight preference towards arena games like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. I've spent hundreds of hours playing Q3A and UT since these games came out more than a decade ago, and recently I played through the Q3A (not team arena, the original game) single player campaign once again to reinvigorate my interest in FPS (first person shooter) games. I enjoyed every minute of playing Q3A; the final confrontation with Xaero was as good as ever, but unfortunately, that's as much as I could get my teeth in to FPSs.
I thought after replaying Q3A, I'd feel more interested to play through some modern FPS games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, etc., but I couldn't really bring myself to playing any of these games. I did install and play DNF for a while, but even the new age Duke could not interest me much. I have been reading a lot of good stuff about MW3, and I also went to the store to buy it, but as soon as I picked up the DVD box, a silent alarm started ringing in my head which said "Don't waste your money, you'll never end up playing this!".
Instead of buying MW3, I came back home, dug my ****cs collection and re-installed a couple of old real time strategy games that I really enjoy(ed) playing. These are: Age of Mythology (AOM) and Lord of The Rings: Battle for Middle Earth (LOTR: BFME). I already finished AOM and AOM Titan's campaigns and I started playing the evil campaign in BFME, which I've always wanted to beat but never ended up doing.
I had a blast playing AOM and AOMT as I'm now an experienced gamer. When these games first came out, my primary objective was to beat them as soon as possible so that I could move on to other games. That was when I was still in my 20s. But now, at this point of time in my life, instead of having a rushed lunch, I wanted to try a relaxed meal with starters, 2nd dishes, desserts and even coffee, which resulted in a bigger and better playing experience.
I discovered a lot of optional quests, previously unseen areas, eccentricities and new ways of winning the same battles. The memory of my last gameplay was quite vague, as it's at least 8 years old, but still glimpses came back to me while I was playing, and I found some of the rather tough and irritations missions to be quite intriguing and innovative. Instead of rush based battles, I followed more turtling, and only attacked the enemies when I had a sizeable force, which means upgraded units with all sorts of armors and weapons. Previously I solely concentrated on the mythological units, but this time around, my armies were balanced and often the human units played a better part in the battles.
Both of the above mentioned games are quite old. AOM was released in 2002 and BFME in 2006. I played AOM campaign twice before (I did not finish the 2nd playthrough) and BFME good campaign twice. When I was playing BFME, memories of the movie was fresh in my mind and I just couldn't force myself to be on the evil side and watch the hobbits and the members of the fellowship die helplessly.
However, this time around, I am happily killing the good people and having a blast trying out the different unit combinations of Isengard and Mordor army. BFME was built upon a modified C&C: Generals engine, which has served Electronic Arts (EA) quite well. In fact, versions of this engine was used as recently as in the expansion for Red Alert 3, which is still a relatively new game.
Before getting in to the RTS games again, I've spent a significant time playing only RPG games. I believe I've spent the better part of years 2009 to 2011 Q2 playing Neverwinter Nights, Witcher, Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. I am still playing DA2, and even after 5-6 playthroughs, I still enjoy the battles. Albeit the story has become stale and nowadays I skip most dialogues. The new expansions (Mark of The Assassins and Legacy) are quite interesting, though.
Especially, Mark of The Assassins was a welcome change of pace and I look forward to playing it again. However, it is pretty much frustrating in one aspect--you need a high lever player character before attempting the expansion, or else you will keep on dying. Even with a healer character, all my companions died in my very first battle when I tried beating MAO at around level 5 or 6.
Unlike DA:O expansions, MAO can't be played after beating the main game. That is, you can't play it with your previous save games. Thus even if you've beaten the game with a two handed warrior before, you can't use him to play MAO--you need to start a new game with a new incarnation of a two handed warrrior in order to play it, and which also means you have to level up this new character up to at least 10-15 levels (beating Act 2 will take you there) until you get a feel of Talis, the new female companion available in MAO.
I've also bought and installed Stronghold 3, the new version of an old castle building game, and I am finding it quite frustrating. There are two types of campaigns in the game, military and economic. I started off with the economic campaign, and I had to leave the game within 15 minutes--cause a rogue bear massacred my whole city! I thought this was the "economic" campaign where I was supposed to focus on resource gathering and building, but I didn't realise that the poor villagers needed protection, too. I had the poor excuse of a lone soldier; a settler with a weird looking pike (which actually resembled a rake rather than a pike) who was killed by a solitary pawing attack from the rabid bear! Even the apple farmers were tougher, they ran for their lives and took a couple of blows before going down.
I am yet to read a review of Stronghold 3; I just bought the game because I wanted to play a new RTS game. I also bought Cities XL 2011 sometime ago, but that game didn't really interest me much due to the sub-par graphics and complicated gameplay. I found the learning curve for Cities XL to be a bit higher than my current patience level.
As for SH3, I just read the wiki and found out that the game is heavily bugged and there's already a number of patches out. I guess I should apply the patches before attempting it again.
So I guess that's the current gaming update from me. It's been a while since I wrote anything like this, and I am feeling good after getting this done.
Dragon Age: Origins had a long development cycle. I am not 100% sure about the duration, but I heard it was around 7 years. Naturally, the game had 4 origins storylines and as a whole (without DLC), around 50 hours of solid gameplay. I completed the game 6 times, and the shortest time I took was 48 hours when I skipped a number of side quests.
However, shortly afterwards the immense success of DA:O, the team started developing content for Dragon Age 2 and eventually the sequel came out 2 years after the release of DA:O. Meanwhile, the team was not sitting idle and they kept on releasing DLCs for origins, which included a full fledged expansion named Dragon Age: Awakening.
Thus we can assume that the development team (both the story writers and the programmers) were under a tight deadline--the publisher wanted to get a lot of money from DA2, as people were still interested about what happened to the hero of Ferelden from Origins.
But the game Dragon Age 2 took a completely new direction; ignoring most of the nicer aspects of DA:O. The same direction was significantly present in Awakening--more emphasis on battle, less on relationships, story telling, etc. It is even more prevalent when we find no companions from origins in the game, but Anders, a somewhat annoying character from Awakening making it to the sequel.
I just finished DA2 couple of days ago and started another playthrough almost immediately. I loved DA2. I can't say I loved every moment of it, but it was a pleasurable 30 hour experience. The game gives the highest order of emphasis to your character and the battles. How this is done?
Companions have lesser roles. You can't equip them with armor or weapon (mostly). You can't indluge with meaningful conversations with them, apart from some cutscenes and a few instances where you can actually ask one of them to take a decision on your behalf. There's no potion crafting, bomb making, poison making, etc. Thus you will spend very little time on managing your companions.This is a big time saver, but it also made the game less intriguing than Origins.
Will continue from here later...
It's been a long, long time since I blogged last. However, I don't regret this as I've been spending some quality gaming time instead. My wife gave me an unexpected present during our anniversary last year--it was a shiny xbox360 elite. Soon after getting the xbox (September), I went to Lebanon on a 3 month work assignment; leaving behind my gaming PC and the console, too.
During those painful 2 months (I finished my work within 2 months), I didn't get to play much video games apart from Warcraft III and a mod called DOTA. However, since coming back, I have been spending a lot of time playing games on the xbox360.
Although I bought a number of games for the console, I spent most of my time playing GTA IV. Previously, I started playing it on my PC. But due to numerous bugs and difficult controls, I couldn't finish much of it. This time, though, I spent a good amount of time and currently my game is at 64% completion level. I am stuck with a few tough missions and taking a break from the xbox360. The only games I played apart from GTA was Fifa 11, Smackdown VS Raw 2011, recently Marvel VS Capcom 3 and a little bit of Forza Motorsport 3, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Vanquish, Tekken 6 and Super Street Fighter 4.
The other development was my graphics card (PC) getting fried. I am not sure whether it actually got fried, but the fact is-- it is not working anymore. It was a MSI nvidia 8600 GT. I haven't bought an ATI card since getting the Radeon 9800 SE. That one got fried, too. Here's a list of cards I owned:
- Creative 3dfx 16 MB Voodoo Banshee
- ATI Radeon 7000
- Sparkle Nvidia 6600 GS
- Sapphire Radeon 9800 SE
- MSI Nvidia 8600 GT
- And finally...Sapphire Radeon HD 6870
So far the card is showing excellent performance. The processor is quite old (Core II Duo 2 Ghz) and RAM is the bare minumum (2 GB), but still I am being able to run Dragon Age 2 in high details.
And yes, that is what I've been doing now--playing Dragon Age 2.
I am already 20 hours in to the game, and I am loving it fully. It's not really like Dragon Age: Origins, so a comparison is not really appropriate. I hope to write more on DA:O VS DA2 some time later.
Bought a few more PC titles, which I might try out after beating DA2. I also intend to go back to origins after a while. So what's new with you guys?
I bought Sims 3 as soon as it came out. I think I got the game on its release month. I thought I'd be spending long hours, even months playing this game. Street Fighter 4 and Sims 3 --both games came out for my then preferred platform (PC) at almost the same time. However, I found myself indulged in SF4 a lot more than Sims 3.
Beautiful Graphics can't save a game...always
Although the brilliant graphics and seamless transition feature appealed me at beginning, I uninstalled Sims 3 within 1 month in order to save hard drive space and to accomodate other games. I haven't felt the least urge to go back to the game in the last one year or so.
However, I have been missing Sims games for some time, and I thought about going back to Sims 2 or giving Sims 3 another try. I installed Sims 3 yesterday and played it for an hour or so today morning. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the gaming time much.
The problem with Sims 3 is that it feels too bare boned. We got around 10-12 full fledged expansions for Sims 2, and by the time Apartment Life was released, the gameplay experience was totally different from what it felt in the stand alone game, Sims 2. Someone who has played, liked and enjoyed Sims 2 Nightlife, Unifversity Life, open for business, seasons, pets, free time and apartment life will find it really, really hard to accept the bare minimum functionalities of Sims 3. Yes, one expansion is out and another is on the way, but still the game is nowhere near to providing the experience of Sims 2 + Expansions.
There's just too few things to do in Sims 3. Yes, we get nice graphics, interactive vehicle movement, a seamless town view and some new places to go, but the down points are too many to list.
Here's a few:
1) You can't see what your Sims are doing when they enter their work place. I mean, what the hell? I can see'em getting in, but I can't get inside. The Sims 2 treatment of jobs was better.
2) No pets, no weather change, no seasons. Bummer.
3) No hobbies.
4) Interaction choices are very limited and there are too many annoying pop up messages.
5) Freewill is mostly broken.
6) Toddlers can no longer learn skills. The annoying little pesters are now even more annoying. And yes, there's no fun in raising childs in Sims 3. There were limited amount of fun activities regarding children in Sims 2, but that fun part has been taken out off Sims 3. I wonder why?
7) You can now "impregnate" whoever you want. I heard a patch has fixed this problem, but still. It's totally awkward to be able to have babies with all the ladies in the whole neighborhood. Previously, in Sims 2, if you were attached or married, other ladies would have sex with you, but they would never get pregnant. Ultra modern society and thumbs down to birth control..way to go EA!
8) Lots of other stuff I can't recall at this moment.
What Sims 3 should have done was including everything that was implemented in Sims 2 and the expansions from the very beginning. Then they could have added new features to make the game even better. Sims 3 is a good game for a first time Sims player, but it is a painfully limiting experience for a Sims 2 veteran like myself.
Despite of the dated graphics and somewhat worn out gameplay, I still prefer Sims 2 with expansions and I am really looking forward to a gold version with all the expansions altogether.
That'll make my day.
If I review Sims 3 now, I'd give it maximum 6 out of 10.
Will uninstall Sims 3 today and reinstall Sims 2 and a few expansions.
Why do people make so many typing mistakes in game reviews? That's why I prefer the gamefaqs reviews; each and every user submitted content has to go through an editor, who in most cases, will reject typo filled reviews. Just look at this awfully written review of Smackdown VS Raw 2010, PS2 version. I have given "not helpful" rating to this review just for the abundance of spelling mistakes like "comeing" and "mixid".
Speaking of ratings--I really like the gamespot option of being able to give thumbs up and thumbs down to comments posted by fellow users. I think GS takes note of T-ups and T-downs cause once I bashed a GS author (who regularly writes) hardware guides for new games and my comment got gazillions of t-ups. After that, the author sent me a PM and asked me to raise any issues directly to him...lol. But then again, it's not the same all the time. Once I gave a comment in a Demon's Soul related article that it'd have been great to have a PC version. Result? Loads of t-downs and my comment getting hidden.
Now my question is, did I say that PS3 version should not released and PC version should be? I am sure all the negative votes came from console fanboys. I've always heard about fanboys, but I never experienced their wrath before.
I can call myself a gaming forum veteran. I've been visiting these places for over 7-8 years. However, I have always stuck with small communities like Decision Based Gaming Union and Console Generations Union. I generally avoid places like the official forums and those main page articles. But nowadays, due to variable work loads (sometimes crazy pressure and otherwise absolute boredom), I have been commenting a lot on these places. I want to give all my time to DBGU where I am a leader, but I alone can't keep the place alive. Seems like people have little interest for unions, and those who have interest are scattered in different unions.There are very few active unions now. The gamespot unions initiative is on the verge of death.
Speaking of PS2s, I think I am slowly becoming a console gamer. For the first time in the last decade, my "now playing" list has more console games than PC games. It still has Ashes 09 PC, but I haven't touched the game within the last 4-5 days. Instead I have spent time playing
1) Final Fantasy X-2 that I borrowed from a friend
2) WWE SD VS Raw 2007 which has an updated roster (compared to the other games I've been playing) and a good season mode
3) Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. I loved the PC version of MUA1 and was utterly disappointed when the publisher decided not to release a PC version. I bought it for the PS2 now, and despited of the ugly graphics and dodgy controls, I am really enjoying the game. I think I've completed MUA1 at least 10-12 times, just to try out different superhero combinations. So you can understand how much I like the franchise.
So I guess this is a prelude to what is in store for future. A PS3, maybe?
I wrote "again", because until 1999, I have been purely a console gamer. I bought my first PC in '99 and I spent the last 11 years as a proud and glorious PC gamer. But things are different now. My PC is now in the old category, and it's always a hassle to manage free space for new games. I don't have the heart to delete older games, and I have too big of a music collection. So 200 gig is not enough anymore. Installation, dealing with crashes and patches, updates, mods--all seems like a toll with me nowadays.
I guess the last major PC game for me will be Dragon Age: Awakening, which I already completed once and not feeling like revisiting. I am bidding PC gaming farewell for the time being. I might start a new game in Sims 3, but that all be all.
Thanks for the good time, dear old PC! You will be back, but when?
Last warning to my friends. If you have not finished Dragon Age: Origins, you should stop reading now and read other entries of mine.
I wanted to write down a summary of things that I did in my 3 playthroughs of DA:O. Let me start with the first playthrough. Character was a male Human Noble, a warrior specializing in shield and sword fighting.
- I hated Sten as he was a moody fellow and never answered the questions properly. I used him a lot until I got Oghren, but never got enough approval. I dumped him the instant Oghren was available.
- Had high approval with both morrigan and lelliana, but decided to choose Lelliana. However, my character ended up becoming the king by marrying Anora so Lelliana also left.
- Hated Alistair, but used him a lot and made him kill Loghain to gain revenge.
- Did ritual and saved myself. Did not get killed by the archedemon.
- Had no idea about companion quests. Only completed Morrigan's one and killed Flameth.
- I really really hated to let go of Morrigan. I really got used to her sultry dialogues and invitational talks. It was heart breaking to see her act really cold after the breakup...blah.
- Did not develop much interaction with Zevran. Result: he allied himself with Taliesyn and got himself killed.
- Killed Wynne in the mages tower. I hated her bossy attitude, and later on, realized that I've lost the game's best healer. That part gave me a lot of pain in the Ash Temple level, as well as in Orzhammar. I didn't even have Morrigan in the Ash temple, so I had to used loads of potions to survive the drakes and dragons.
- Did not use stealth or bombs at all. In fact, rogue character Lelliana was only used for opening chests, singing songs occassionally and using archery all the time.
- Sten was heavily armoured, and he got slaughtered in almost all fights.
- I did not know a thing about armor sets.
- My character learnth berserker skill from Oghren.
- Failed Kammen's quest and could not have intercourse with the lady duelist (Zevran's friend) due to low persuasion skill.
- Did not know mosts characters can carry two daggers/one dagger + one sword.
- Did not know Morrigan's shapeshifting was completely useless.
- Sided with the Dalish elves and cured the guys off lycanthropy
- Did not receive Oghren's old flame quest, Alistair's family or Lelliana's personal quest
- Gave most gifts to Morrigan
- Killed kolgrim, did not defile the ashes, did not fight the guardian, killed the high dragon
- Killed Connor to get rid of the desire demon.
- Could not save the blacksmith's daughter in Redcliffe
- Saved redcliffe village
What else? Can't remember right now. I finished the game as a level 20 warrior
I am quite interested to play this game that I bought almost 6 months ago, but I haven't managed yet. But now with the 2nd game out, I might actually try playing it. However, I am not in a FPS mood right now, thanks to DA:O, so this might not happen at all.
Play Mass Effect 2
Yes, I liked the first game, but didn't manage to finish it. I hear a lot of annoying features from ME1 has been removed in ME2, so I will go ahead and start playing soon.
Play DiRT 2
I loved the first game, and I like this game, too. However, due to other games, I am not playing it too often.
Finish Dragon Age: Origins using a human mage and a dwarf noble.
I am currently playing with a human mage, and will be done with the game in about 25 more hours. Having fun so far, but the excitement level is going down. There are hardly any new quests, and the origin story was not that interesting. However, I hear the dwarven campaign is quite good.
Resume The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
I love this game, but it has some game breaking issues. Moreover, the game I started was in Normal difficulty (yeah, I suck at games and I am mostly a casual gamer now), and thus I had a hard time in some of the battles, especially those in the extremely creepy forest, and that too, at night. Witcher is probably the only RPG game that uses day/night cycles in an excellent manner. Certain quests are only available at night, and certain others are only available at day time. i.e. if you visit a tavern in night, you will find most people are either sleeping or having a drink or two. However, in the day time, you can indulge in friendly boxing matches, talk to people, and play a game like backgammon. Also, witcher is the closest thing to DA:O (I hear Mass Effect 2 is similar, too). which is crying out loud to me to resume playing. Probably I will start a new game .
Let's see how things proceed in February-March.Tina Sugandh
After going through a rigorously unbiased procedure, me and team has finally decided upon the best of 2009 awards.
Here's a list of awards given out:
1. Best overall decision based game Dragon Age: Origins
2. Best downloadable game/content Torchlight
3. Best sandbox game Borderlands
4. Biggest Game Changing Decision Dragon Age: Origins
5. Biggest gaming news PS3 outsells the Wii for holiday season '09 in certain regions
You can click on the links to understand the winner selection process. Instead of the traditional "most votes wins the title" approach, we did something different. I nominated one of my officers per category to go through all the nominations and select the game that was best defended. i.e. we asked the recruits (as well as officers) to nominate a game and explain why he or she has nominated it. So the "best explained" nomination won. This was a qualitative judgement, and some of the officers hesitated in giving out the verdict on time. Still, we received good response from everyone and eventually the moon came up, stars shone and the vampires killed the lycans...err, sorry...I got a bit carried away....what basically happened was that I announced the winners
I am personally glad to see that my favorite game of 2009 (Dragon Age: Origins) won two titles. Titles given out by a small community in gamespot might not matter much, but still it shows that DA:O was a great game and it touched the lives of gamers in many ways and means.
I must say the other nominations came out surprising; especially Borderlands. First 3 nominations went for Assassin's Creed 2, but @topsemag55 came out nicely and explained us all why the game is so great.
@Caml10 was the best decision maker; 3 of his nominations won awards.
I am not sure whether @ tagging works in gamespot. It works in facebook and twitter, so I am giving it a shot.
I'd like to thank topsemag55, caml10, garfield360uk, pai may, kevinjia32, SymonDezyn, Faller88 and anybody and everybody else who actively participated in the awards.
We will take a short break from major events, and have some fun with a lord of the rings themed hurt heal game.
Okay, time to go home and start playing DA:O with a mage character.
Until next time....
I wanted to dedicate this blog post to the only union I am currently active in, the DBGU.
The members of the Decision Based Gaming Union are very busy now with nominating their favorite games. We just launched the event a week ago, and the responses are quite good so far. Here's the event banner that I personally designed:
There isn't much in the banner which I can call a "design". I just took a wallpaper from gamespot's 2009 GOTY "Demon's Souls" and added the DBGU logo and "best of 2009" in it. But still I am happy with the work, and it's getting the job done. Our regular union designer wolfbane666 (who designed the signature and banner for our last RPG Month/MOTM event) is down with the sickness so I had to fill in. Let us all hope he gets well soon.
Here are the awards that we will give out this year:
As far as I remember, DBGU did a GOTY contest last year, too. I was a recruit then and Garfield360UK and his team did a great job pulling it off. I am looking forward to replicating the success story.
The deadline for nominations is 14th January, 2010.
Garfield360UK, Pai May and Kevinjia32 are coordinating the awards.
Kevinjia32 has regained his officer status in the union, which is good news for all. He is one of the oldest and most dedicated members of the union.
Pai May is a bit occupied with personal stuff, so we haven't seen much of him in the union lately. Let us hope he returns soon.
We are a small union, but we are very active. If you are reading this and haven't yet visited the union, please drop by to see the interesting things we do
By the way, we are a troll and noob free union, and thus the discussions are mature and sensible. Flaming is also frowned upon, which is a welcome change from the typical forums/unions.
See you in the union, soon.
Hehe, I'll only tell you about the future of "my" gaming, not everybody's. So if you were expecting a holistic view on gaming's future, you came to the wrong place. In the last two years, I have bought hundreds of games for my PC and PS2. Those times, I had too much gaming time and I quickly jumped from game to game, leaving out many games (almost all of them) unfinished. Now I am married, and I am living on "clandestine" gaming time. This style of gaming accomodates concentrating on a particular game instead of playing a number of them simultaneously. So I dug up my gaming collection and here's a list of unfinished games that I will share with you:
1. Mass Effect
2. The Witcher Enhanced Edition
3. Fallout 3
4. Oblivion: Elder Scrolls IV
5. Colin McRae Dirt 2
6. NFS: Shift
7. Dawn of Discovery: Anno 1440
8. Resident Evil 5
10. Farcry 2
11. Call of Duty 4: MW
12. Call of Duty: World at War
14. Neverwinter Nights 2
15. Fifa 10
Might post later. Not too many new purchases.
I should be shot dead before buying any new games. Period.
By the way, I finished Dragon Age: Origins last saturday, and it felt great. Everyone should buy and play this game. EVERYONE. It's the best gaming experience I had since playing the Warcraft 3 single player campaign. The game is too good to be true.
If you were wondering, back in black is a very nice song from AC-DC, which was also covered by Shakira.
I've went to an almost 2 to 3 weeks hiatus from gamespot; it's the longest since I came back from my honeymoon in October. The main reasons were:
1. Several holidays. Banked in my earned leaves and stayed home for some gaming. Also, celebrated the 2nd biggest religious festival.
2. Lot of social commitments. In our country, almost every relative wants to invite newly wed couple over for dinner, so I've been busy.
3. Dragon Age: Origins. I've been investing full of the very little free time I get in this remarkably gorgeous game. I have got in to RPG games for less than a year, and I deeply regret missing out all these great games that came out before. After neverwinter nights, this is the game that I really, really want to finish. Already spent more than 50 hours in the game, and it's still full of surprises.
Now, instead of trying a dozen different games, I am sticking to 1 or 2 games at a time. Right now I have Dragon Age: Origins, DiRT 2, NFS: Shift and Ashes 09 installed. I mostly play DAO and occasionally a one-day or two on Ashes 09, but I am not touching the other two at all. Maybe I'll go for Shift after I'm done with DAO....or I don't know, maybe I'll start over again with a new character!
The main reason behind the shift in gaming behavior is time constraint. Previously, I'd get at least 4 to 5 hours a day for gaming, and the possibilities seemed overwhelming. But nowadays, the chunk of gaming time comes on a weekend and some occasional, sporadically scattered time slots.
Yes, I got married. I have celebrated my one month of married life by taking out my wife to dinner and presenting her a cute teddy bear. So what happened in my life in the last one month or so? I thought my life would change forever after getting married, and it has been true to a large extent.
Unfortunately, my wife is neither a gamer nor in to rock music--two of my biggest obsessions. So how did we end up getting married? That's another long story which I will tell you some other day. For the time being, my gaming life has stalled; literally. Whereas I'd spend up to 3-4 hours gaming everyday, nowadays I don't even achieve that much in the whole week. Well, that's a bit too much saying, but gaming, as I knew it before, has changed.
When I play games now? When wife is not around, or busy doing other stuff. I have day offs on Friday and Saturday, and she has on Thursday and Friday. So Saturday is gaming day for me. Sounds sad, but that is the reality, and I am actually not complaining about the limited gaming time. I love spending time with my wife--probably I love that more than gaming. But still, it's difficult to let go of an 25 year old habit...lol. Yes, I've been gaming since 4 and now I'm 29.
By the way, I thought it's appropriate to put up a wedding pic here
Me and Saba, my life partner
Okay, before I get in to Sims 3, I must talk about a few other things:
New Emblems: Well, it doesn't really matter much, but I got two new emblems; one is tagger flirt and the other is for helping gamespot in winning the webbies award. Now my total number of emblems is 9, so the PC afficionado one is not visible right away. I always envied the people with a lot of emblems, and it feels good to get my share of emblems.
Drakensang: After a two week break (due to vacation and increased work pressure), I resumed playing Drakensang. I played it a lot during the weekend (by the way, weekend in my country is Friday and Saturday), and I must say I am loving the game. I was a bit disappointed at the dark locations of level 3, but it seems that there's a lot of fun in the dark marshes of moorwood. The boss battles are getting more interesting, and so are the enemies I am encountering. There's no more dire wolves or big rats, there's venomous plants, harpies, fireflies, undead humans, skeletons and sorcerers to fight with. I just wish I had more time to play the game! I can't play more than 2 hours, which is unfortunate.
Spiderman: Web of Shadows: After encountering a very painful mission (where I am supposed to rescue the tinkerer from a jail), I kind of gave up playing this game. I might get back to it sometime, but right now I am just too engrossed in to Drakensang and Sims 3.
NFS: Underground 2 and NFS: Carbon: During a "games that don't fade away" phase, I installed and played UG2 for a long while. I still play it sporadically--sometimes I play it when I am talking to someone over the phone. I also installed carbon because I never quite played through that game. I feel it still has some replay value .
I think I'll post this as is and will write about Sims 3 in a later blog. I am quite disappointed with the level of activity my union is having now. Trying to find out what is going wrong.
On the eve of April Fools day, my computer got heavily affected by trojans. I was getting virus alerts all the time, and even after using an antivirus and a trojan killer, my Windows drive crashed. I had to use the bootable Win XP disk to format two of my partitions, and after almost 4 hours of ipod listening and dilly dallying with the PC, I managed to bring back life to my computer.
However, in due course, I lost the installation information for all the games I had installed--Burnout Paradise, Prince of Persia 2008, Tom Clancy's Hawx, The Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of The Witch King, The Withcer, Never Winter Nights and 2 expansions, Vampire: Masquerade Bloodlines, etc.
I installed the nvidia drivers and also my soundcard drivers. I installed firefox, and then when I wanted to re-install Witcher, my DVD Combo Drive (DVD read/write + CD read/write) stopped responding. I mean, it didn't read any DVDs at all. I got severely pissed off as all my new games are in DVD format. A few weeks ago when I went to the game store, I found someone asking for a CD version of GTA 4....lol....I think it'll take more than 20 CDs to hold GTA IV.
Anyway, so feeling frustrated, I decided to look in to my "retro games drawer". In this particular hiding(!) place, I have many old games stored in relatively better condition. So I decided to install these games:
1. Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots Expansion
2. Need for Speed Underground 2
3. Freedom Force VS 3rd Reich
Surprisingly enough, all of these games aged very well, and I am still having a lot of fun playing them. I have almost finished the "conquer the world campaign" of RON using Japan, and I've completed around 30% of NFS UG2. I didn't play freedom force much, as I was too indulged in the other two.
Yesterday I found out that my DVD Rom is working again (Surpirse!), but I don't feel like re-installing any of the previously installed games. I think I'd rather go for another round of conquer the world. I have only 3 turns left and 3 nations to conquer--I won't be able to conquer 100%. Need to be more strategic next time; I bought a lot of unnecessary territory battles when I could easily attack the capital and take over.
NFS UG2 is perhaps the best new generation NFS game. For a long while I thought Most Wanted was eligible for that crown, but actually it can't even hold a candle to UG2 which revolutionez the whole car customizing aspect of street racing games. Heavily inspired by Fast and The Furios, NFS UG2 is still highly recommended if you didn't play it yet. As an added bonus, you can go very high resolutions and anti aliasing with even a 2/3 year old graphics card.
These games are indeed ageless...
I just bought a new Xbox360 gamepad last month. I am currently using it with my PC as a USB gamepad. For some weird reason, my computers frontal USB slots don't work. The PC vendor forgot the give connection to those slots, and thus I am being forced to use an extension cable to connect any and every USB devices I have.
So I bought a number of new games to play with my gamepad, and had fun playing those games for a few days. But unfortunately, I don't feel like playing them much. I discussed these games and my overall experience with the gamepad with my new friends in the Decision Based Gaming union. By the way, I am currently acting as the leader of that union, and I have a lot of plans to make the union a better place. However, the response haven't been quite encouraging yet--seems like people either don't check their PMs or they just don't bother about unions. Many people joins unions, and just forget about them. The same happened to me as well.
That is where I think Gamespot needs to work on. The unions can become more effective if people who log in to gs gets a snapshot of what happened in the unions they joined. Also, if someone is inactive in a union for a prolonged period, they should be automatically kicked out of it. Anyway....
The games I bought were Tomb Raider: Underworld, Prince of Persia 2008, Devil May Cry 4, etc.
I wonder what's in store for me in future, as far as gaming goes.