Gabriel’s Weekly Report # 6
The "Not-Safe-For-Work" Edition.
Despite all the games I've picked up over the past few months, there has been only one that has eaten up most of my free time. That game is Skyrim. I played it way back when it came out, and I thought it was a disappointment. I also thought Oblivion was a disappointment compared to the brilliant Morrowind, and I still spent over 200 hours on that game. You see where I'm going with this don't you? Even a poor Elder Scrolls game, manages to take up more of my time than the average good game.
Well, things are different now because I'm playing Skyrim with mods. Bethesda's open-world games tend to receive a ton of them. These mods can change almost every aspect of the game. Everything from brand new adventures, to revised combat systems, to all sorts of other creative and fascinating changes, are possible thanks to the magic of mods. What am I doing? I'm using mods that makes women's armor tinier, my battles bloodier, and other additions that don't make the game any better. Although there have been some mods that have made the game more entertaining than it should be. For example, I acquired a magical staff that fires wagons at my foes, and a spell for throwing deadly cheese. Some other mods that have also piqued my interest; include the ability to roll people and objects up into Katamari balls and throw them around. Also, since the game does such a poor job of showing that there's a civil war going on, I installed a mod that allows for battles to take place all over the province. I get to partake in some epic carnage, as long as the game doesn't crash.
Between these mods and the plethora of game-breaking console commands, I'm not even sure what kind of game I'm playing anymore. I guess this is kinda the point of the Elder Scrolls series. There's enough freedom to play it your way. My way is typically full-on escapism, where concepts such as challenge don't even come to mind. Usually when I play a videogame, I have to put in effort in order to succeed. This isn't so with Skyrim, if there's something I want, I just have to take it. Obviously this attitude won't fly in something like Dark Souls. But hey, what do I have to prove? I've accomplished quite a bit in my gaming "career". If I want to tramp through the countryside in my skivvies that's just what's going to happen. This is the game I'm going to play, when I want to get away from other games.
Anyway, as with most of my PC gaming exploits, my gallery contains a ton of screenshots.
My time with the Scarlet Blade closed-beta.
Seeing as how it's "True Confessions of a Games-Writer" time right now, I'll also admit that I played a bit of Scarlet Blade. This Korean MMORPG features PvP zones, 40 vs 40 player battles, and is currently in open-beta. I can't post any screenshots because literally none of them are work-safe. If you're the type of person whose eyes rolled at the sights of TERA, then you may want to invest in some masking tape, because those peepers will roll away when you get a glimpse of Scarlet Blade. In another galaxy that may or may not be far far away, humanity depends on mecha to survive. These mecha are known as Arkana. They take the form of doe-eyed women with absurd bust-sizes and the inability to find clothes that cover more than just their naughty bits. Look, I tried this game because A) I was curious, B) I thought "Okay the concept is terrible so maybe the game is awesome", and C) I'd have something to write about.
The story is about as compelling as you can imagine. There's a war or something, and these Arkana have to kill x amount of y monsters while gathering z materials in order to win. If that wasn't typical and boring enough, combat is essentially the same as most other MMORPGs. You run up to an enemy and use all of your attack skills until it falls over. To mix things up, the Arkana eventually acquire mobile suits. This heavy weaponry is handy for taking out multiple foes, or fighting one very powerful enemy. It reminds me of White Knight Chronicles, which is a bad thing, because I hated that pile of garbage. During my time with this MMO I went through two instances, spent about five minutes in a PvP zone (which is literally a hallway), never got into a 40v40 despite queuing numerous times, and read thousands of boob jokes. The character class I chose uses a whip, I named her Nudia Belmont, I'm a twelve-year-old.
While my experience was limited to the closed-beta, I didn't see anything that made Scarlet Blade worthwhile…aside from the obvious. Even then, if you can play this game, you're not hurting for options for staring at women. The open-beta has probably seen some major improvements, but it's still the same tired style of MMO game-design. Furthermore, no matter how good the storyline could possibly get, it'll never be taken seriously. As long as the Arkana are tramping through the countryside in their…napkins, nothing is going to change. So how is this any different from Skyrim? The easy answer, is that Bethesda already got my money. Scarlet Blade is f2p, so practically all of the money that it's going to make is through selling clothes, inventory slots, and all that other stuff. Unless the PvP that I never really got to experience is that damn good, I can't imagine why anyone would invest their time (let alone their cash) into this game.
What I've been playing.
Mission Against Terror – I'll summarize my experience with this game in a single word: "Yikes!" This is a f2p FPS with over a dozen modes, tons of maps, and a ludicrous amount of guns. The entire design of this game is bizarre. The music jumps from ear-bleeding pop, to something that could have been ripped from The Lord of the Rings. The UI for choosing games and equipping items is an abomination. It's low-res and painful to look through. The game itself is even weirder. The starting guns are realistic and can include AK-47s, sniper rifles, and so on. Although, the map-design and mechanics are closer to Quake than Call of Duty. Players have life meters, but die in 1-3 shots…like Call of Duty, but unlike that game there's no jumping behind cover to regain health. I have no clue what the hell this game is catered to. It is kinda entertaining I'll give it that.
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition – Currently this game is undergoing a slew of updates. Yes, it is somewhat unbelievable that such an old game would require this much work to perfect. Personally, I think it's great that this game is getting the support it needs. To this day it's still a classic, thanks to it's excellent level-design and mechanics.
Super Mario 3D Land – With this game, it's been a bit of a rough start. I'm still getting used to the various aspects of the Nintendo 3DS, including its analog pad and the 3D effects. Still, from what I've played so far (1 world), I think I'm in for a great time.
Link's Awakening DX – It's been over fifteen years since the last time I played through this game. All I remember is that it was pretty good. There was a feather for jumping, and uhmm…hmm…well I'm sure all the memories will come flooding back before long. With some games, I never actually forget them. It's like something goes off in my head and suddenly I remember entire map layouts, strategies for defeating bosses, and all of the secrets. I'm sure that after a play-through, I'll remember exactly why this game is considered one of the best in the Legend of Zelda series.