Gaming

Blog 863: Age of Mythology

Much as I love piping obscure stuff through my Windows XP machine, it’s important to break out a proper big gun every now and again. For whatever reason, despite an abiding love of Age of Empires II, I did not play Age of Mythology at the time (admittedly it’s of an age with Warcraft III, so I was probably… preoccupied). But people have always said it’s good! It’s a hole in my RTS experience!

It is time.

Continue reading “Blog 863: Age of Mythology”
Gaming

Blog 862: The Decline

I had played Skyrim several times before, but never as hard and deeply as I did this time. Part of that was simply the novelty of trying to hoover up all the stuff I’d never seen before — the 74 Creation Club packs, Dawnguard — but I think most is owed to the transformative pacing of Survival Mode.

So please indulge me one last blog about Skyrim before I return to playing… literally anything else. Oh god please, let me play anything else. It’s time to let it go.

Continue reading “Blog 862: The Decline”
Gaming

Blog 860: Dawnguard

I don’t go to an Elder Scrolls game for vampires, nor do I go to them for home ownership; that’s why I didn’t buy Dawnguard or Hearthfire at the time. (Though, given the state of the rental/housing market these days, I can appreciate why others might enjoy murdering blood-sucking parasites and taking their property.) Meanwhile I am a sucker for a Morrowind callback, so of course I got Dragonborn.

But here we are with the Anniversary Edition and all those bits I missed are part of the package. I’ve so far got a lot of enjoyment out of Skyrim‘s Survival Mode, though the rest of the Creation Club content has been a bit of a mixed bag — but how does the other tentpole expansion pack hold up?

(I have been playing for weeks and simply not found anything of consequence that is obviously from Hearthfire, so I’m not sure if that means its integration is amazingly seamless or abysmally pointless.)

Continue reading “Blog 860: Dawnguard”
Gaming

Blog 858: Creation Club

I actually tend to play my Elder Scrollses completely unmodded, accepting only official expansion packs. I find it’s rare for a modder to perfectly match the fidelity of a base game — not just in terms of art style, but also in terms of balance and structure. While you can get away with a lot in Warcraft III because each map is completely self-contained, the Elder Scrolls modding experience is additive: you put more stuff into the existing open world, and that means it has to fit.

Skyrim‘s Anniversary Edition comes with 74 pieces of so-called Creation Club content, which ranges from bite-sized chunks to full-on dungeons and houses. While Survival Mode is a systemic addition that settles across the whole world like it was always meant to be there, a number of other packs struggle to conform.

Continue reading “Blog 858: Creation Club”
Gaming

Blog 857: Surviving Skyrim (Anniversary Edition)

I have so many problems with Skyrim, but there’s still something compelling about it. Maybe the simple act of trudging through an expansive wilderness, replete with ancient ruins to explore, is enough to carry all its weaker elements.

Well, whatever — the legendary game that has been re-released more times than you’ve had hot dinners is at it again, and has finally appeared DRM-free on gog. I have to admit, this is the signal I’ve been waiting for to give it another go; I didn’t get all the expansion packs the first time around (only Dragonborn), and nor have I seen the visual upgrades of the Special Edition or the reams of “Creation Club” micro-packs that came after that.

Here we go again…

Continue reading “Blog 857: Surviving Skyrim (Anniversary Edition)”
Gaming

Blog 855: Ember

I tend to ignore game store sales. Sales are so frequent that missing one is irrelevant, because there will be another. I don’t really buy games to stack up into a backlog either; I’ll usually wait until I’m in the mood for something new, and then I’ll see what’s on sale at that moment and let that guide me (or ignore the discounts and pay full price for something like a god damn rube).

But sometimes you’re between games and a discount comes up for a thing that’s on your wishlist, and since that takes it to 69p (nice) it seems almost rude not to pick it up. Thus is the story of how I bought RPG Ember.

Continue reading “Blog 855: Ember”
Gaming

Blog 853: K.Hawk: Survival Instinct

Browsing a popular internet auction site for old games, I am not going to lie, fills me with joy in a way that — for whatever reason — browsing an online storefront does not. It must be the physicality, the thought of getting a box of something. Maybe it’s the restrictions, of only being able to buy what’s available rather than being overwhelmed with an immense catalogue of… everything.

Or maybe it’s finding weird obscure stuff that even a place like gog will never rescue. I had never heard of K.Hawk: Survival Instinct before, but it looked like a third-person action game and I know I like those. I couldn’t resist.

Continue reading “Blog 853: K.Hawk: Survival Instinct”
Gaming

Blog 852: Hordes of the Underdark

Lots of games got better with their expansion packs. Warcraft III unlocked the modding universe with The Frozen Throne. Age of Empires II‘s The Conquerors gave us the fantastic Mayan and Aztec civilisations (and snowy tiles). Morrowind‘s Bloodmoon gave us the delightful (snowy) island of Solstheim. Supreme Commander‘s Forged Alliance gave us the gloriously shiny Seraphim faction (but, alas, little more snow than we already had).

And Neverwinter Nights got… well… marginally better with its first official expansion pack, Shadows of Undrentide. Then there was a second, a direct sequel to the first expansion pack! Remember when games could get two expansion packs?! It never happened! (Still raging that WC3 never got a second pack at the time, and let’s not talk about… whatever Re4ged is.)

It’s time for Hordes of the Underdark.

Continue reading “Blog 852: Hordes of the Underdark”