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.

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Gaming

Blog 850: Shadows of Undrentide

Yes, I know what you’re about to say. “You hated Neverwinter Nights, so why are you playing its expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide?”

Honestly, I do not have a satisfactory answer for you. A big part of it is that I have two games waiting on my shelf for the Windows XP machine, but I want to stay on the main PC during August while the Edinburgh Fringe is on — because the main PC’s attached to the printer and I’ll need to print show tickets. Not the greatest justification, but what is that saying? “Wars have been fought over less”?

And, well, there’s also pure morbid curiosity. Did they manage to rescue the art and the potential when they made more bits of the game? It’s already installed and its siren call is irresistable.

Sometimes I hate myself.

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Gaming

Blog 806: The Conquerors

I remember seeing a (p)review for the Age of Empires II expansion pack The Conquerors in an issue of PC Gaming World at the time… In fact, I’ve still got it on my shelf. (It’s the same issue that gave Deus Ex a very lacklustre write-up. Oops.)

I remember misreading the word “allies”, in tiny text next to a tiny screenshot, as “aliens” and getting really excited for all the wrong reasons.

Well, it turned out okay in the end.

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Gaming

Blog 594: The DLC Effect 3 (Part 2)

I’m never quite sure how to feel about scattered little DLC packs as opposed to monolithic expansions; I always get the feeling I’m paying more money for less content. Then again, expansion packs like Warcraft III‘s The Frozen Throne are ultimately more valuable than the base game, making the total infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe expansions have just been underpriced all along?

Either way, I laid down my wonga for all the Mass Effect 3 story DLC packs. Last time From Ashes was good and Omega was unremarkable — so let’s see what I have to say about the other two packs, Leviathan and Citadel…

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Gaming

Blog 593: The DLC Effect 3 (Part 1)

Yep, I splurged on all the story DLC for Mass Effect 3. No horse armour, just companions and mission packs here. Having said that, all four cost me a total just shy of what I paid for the whole game on release day… And all these packs are from 2012.

Digital economies suck.

My self-restraint sucks too. Herein lies a report on the first two packs, From Ashes and Omega.

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Gaming

Blog 587: Dragonblog

They always say “never meet your heroes”, but I get the impression they should also say “never attempt to rebuild your heroes” because it invariably doesn’t work. I might gripe about bits and pieces of Skyrim but overall I enjoy it, though after 50-odd hours it gets a bit samey. The answer to such saminess? Why, an expansion pack!

The Dragonborn DLC is more than a year old now, but fuelled by a desire for just a bit more variety and not yet ready to drop this unhealthy but oh-so-addictive game, I was enticed to pick up this pack because it’s set on Solstheim, that same snowy place first brought to us in the Morrowind expansion pack Bloodmoon. A pack of which I enjoyed many elements, sure, though (guess what?) I found the frigid landscape just a teensy bit monotonous.

Oh well, that’s what disposable income is for. Let’s see if a little bit of mechanically-recovered Morrrowind magic can liven up the drab chill of Skyrim

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Gaming

Blog 580: Continuing Through the Borderlands 2

These days, the final boss is never the end of the line. If it’s not a hilariously blatant multi-sequel hook, it’s a post-game side quest that can only be completed in co-op with four level 50 characters. (I’ll never be able to finish that, you bastards.)

And then there are four chunky DLC mission packs to get through. As if 35-odd hours of grinding the main game wasn’t enough…

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Gaming

Blog 576: DLChonored

Life just wouldn’t be worth living with expansion packs. Except now expansion packs are, instead of monolithic brain-meltingly brilliant additions like Age of Empires II‘s The Conquerors or Warcraft III‘s The Frozen Throne, little bite-sized portion-controlled microtransacted chunks. (Not convinced that the sum total of the bonus content here is as big or strong as either of those, but at the time it probably sold for as much, if not more.)

Which is the main reason I wait for GOTYEs these days. No fuss, just a disc full of everything. Buying a complete game — fancy that!

So now it’s time to delve into Dishonored‘s extra appendages.

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