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Tag: roleplay

Retrospective – The Witcher

Geralt of Rivia. Mercenary. Witcher. Made and trained to kill monsters in the defence of humankind as a sword for hire, he wanders from town to village to smallholdings in the countryside seeking notices nailed to bulletin boards and fence posts. Or maybe the sound of screams from somewhere deep inside the forest nearby, heralding potential work for his kind that they might fill their coin pouch. Drowners, manticores, vampires, kikkimoras, anything the local alderman might pay a bounty for. His downtime is spent playing dice or cards, or brewing potions for his work and tending to his injuries while enjoying the company of a beautiful woman.

Geralt’s adventures were first published in book form by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski, as a series of short stories depicting the Witcher’s various jobs ranging from slaying a beast preying on local merchants along the road to lifting curses from a princess at the personal behest of the King. Through all of this, he endures the adulation of those he saved in equal measure to the animosity from those who scorn his kind. Witchers are not quite human, you see. They are usually taken as children to a Witcher fortress that acts as their school, taught to fight with swords, practice herblore for potion brewing, given training in tracking animals, anything that their work would require. Once they come of age, and only if they survive, they are put through the Trial of grasses where their young bodies are subjected to powerful mutagen potions, one after the other, and infected with various sicknesses to develop immunity that will last a lifetime to all sickness. Spells are cast to inject a little magic into them, though just a little.



Chronicles: Remembrance

Intaki V – Moon 5, Astral Mining Inc. station

“And the next shipment?” enquired Darius. “I hope it will go better than the last one.”

“I have refitted our haulers.” replied the Vherokior on the other end of the holoscreen. “Should survive enough punishment to get to warp. So, yes. They will be fine. The production line ends in… another 4 hours. I will have them loaded up and begin moving them straight afterwards.”

“Thanks Haq.” Several seconds of silence followed.

“Gratitude.” Came the eventual reply. “If I didn’t know better I would say you were starting to like me finally.”



Magicka, Co-op, control systems and ggggrrrah!

Ok so a while back I picked up Magicka on Steam when it was being sold off with a bunch of the DLCs. Watching the trailers and a little reading I figured it was worth the price as it looked like my kind of game. Kind of like the good old Cannon Fodder but with magic as well. Especially with the Vietnam DLC where you give your mage a machine gun and go nuts.

The first thing I noticed when I was playing was the language for the voice overs, since the narration and subtitles were in English then the actual game voices turned into something that was slightly Swedish, but not. I wondered if there was a setting for the game gone wrong but all the options said English so I consulted the steam forum where I was told this is the game’s own language, similar to what The Sims employs that uses a mix of multiple languages to achieve some kind of jibberish. So, ok this was cool, but confusing after all the previous English thrown at me.



What Happens in New Vegas…

… Stays in New Vegas. Yes, it is time for a new Fallout game review.

Fallout New Vegas is Bethesda Softworks‘ newest offering in the post-apocalyptic retro scene, served up by Obsidian Entertainment.

Many of you (or rather my three readers, in any case) will know my thoughts on Fallout 3 by now, so this game does have some pretty deep shoes of expectation to fill. The open world format delivered by Fallout games, seeded with well structured deposits of intrigue and backstory supplements to those willing to search for them, made Fallout 3 one of the best games I have played. Mainly because it made free-roaming in an open world worthwhile when you found some small supply cache either guarded by raiders or traders or entirely empty leaving you to wonder when the three bears would be coming home. It always delivered something interesting.

But I will not go on gushing about how excellent FO3 was since I pretty much covered it in my original review. So let us look towards the new mewling baby in the Fallout series, already sporting it’s first DLC and a wealthy library of community mods to add more depth (or, if you like this kind of thing, god weapons.) Of course, these are only available to the PC players, sorry console guys but you chose to play an FPS on a kids toy…



Mass Effect 2 Brings Me Hope

Besides my BioShock review I mentioned before that I also bought Mass Effect 2 on the Steam sale over the holidays. In fact, playing Mass Effect 2 took over most of the time instead of BioShock to a point that I was not too sure which game review would hit the blog first. It has been interesting to play two heavily contrasting games side by side, especially as both involve some kind of super powers in their characters and dub themselves as Role Play Games.

I also mentioned before that I replayed the first Mass Effect to import a save game, something that once I got down to trying was fairly difficult. Mainly locating the obscure hidden holders where the save game was from the first Mass Effect so I could select it and import it. Feeling a little flushed about this, though, I started playing and pretty early on realised that there were a couple of perks to importing a game. One was an increase to the starting points I could assign to powers and abilities as well as a starting pot of credits, the other was less useful but might appeal to others in the form of an achievement. So I guess for the starting points and credits it was kind of worth it. I was also able to remap my character details a little to give him Biotic powers, which is something I have never done in the first Mass Effect so I decided this was the time to give it a try.



Fallout 3: The game and gaming

So, I figured since I raised the issue of Fallout 3 in a previous blog, and the last blog being about PC gaming as an industry, it would be appropriate to dust off an older PC game that still shines like new today. And with Fallout New Vegas ready for release soon, we should all get back in the mood for Fallout as a series. I will not only review this game, which I will try and keep shorter than the last breakdowns, because I will also try and squeeze in some more thoughts in PC gaming in general.

In the last blog, people will remember I linked Chris Taylor’s podcast interview with G4TV’s X-Play where he threw down a gauntlet to the anti-PC game crowd and the doom-sayers who hail the passing of PC games in general. As I watched the interview one game jumped into mind that highlights PC games, and that game was Fallout 3. The reasons for this were not picked up by Chris, who used examples of MMOs and digital distribution methods like Steam and D2D as key to PC game’s resilience, though I stated them as another unique aspect of PC gaming. Modding. And as I talk about FO3 in general you will see why this is a great aspect of PC gaming experience on the whole.



Penumbra – Part 4: Dangerous Skies

Darkness once more. It was becoming all too common a sight. This was somehow different. He could sense something different in the air, though he could not focus enough to determine what it was. He could not remember where he was or how he got there. But he was… comfortable, somehow. Warmer. Clothing… he was wearing clothes. He had forgotten how they felt. Clean. He was clean too. All rewards from his master. His mentor. The man who had shown him the way. And the man who had shown him his enemy.

He was not alone either. In the darkness behind him, several guards stood their silent vigil. A hum, there it was. His mind was waking to the world around him now. A light? It was dim, orange, above the… door? A door ahead of him. The light barely illuminated the small cubicle room which felt… yes there it was. The room was moving down. And elevator. He was inside an elevator cart, large enough to be a freight elevator. His returning senses further began to realize the situation around him, resolving in gradually hardening detail as he slowly regained full consciousness.



Penumbra – Part 3: The Enemy of My Enemy

A battle-scarred Rupture cruiser gracefully slid into the dim lighting of the docking bay and parked in the center, guided with pinpoint accuracy by the station interlink to the ship’s navigation system. Through the various large alcoves on either side of the dock, other ships in similar disrepair were visible either making an entrance or already docked and being attended to by emergency crews and station drones that were buzzing around them. With an almost eerie sense of symphony, his ship was subjected to the same welcoming party by small robotic droids using nanoprobes to repair the damage to the armor.

The hatch slid open amidst the distinct buzzing of the drones’ anti-gravity drives and regular short bursts of Halon gas, sprayed from the nozzles under the drones’ nano-probes every time the flames pick up again. Darius stepped firmly onto the walkway leading to the ships hatch, his exit from the ship announced to all by the sound of his heavy boots rattling the gantry. Darius took a few steps away from the towering Rupture before turning to watch the ballet of drones dance across his vision. Things were a little different now he had joined the Freelance Unincorporated crew some months earlier. His old corporation could never have afforded such things. Nor were they necessary back then for such a small corporation as his.



Penumbra – Part 2: Revisiting Sins

The small, metal-walled room was poorly lit, save for a small candle burning on a low stool against a wall. A dark figure kneeling in front of the candle cast a barely noticeable shadow across the hard carpeted floor. Hands firmly gripping his kneecaps, Darius’ eyes were clenched tight as he tried to focus on his meditation. Not even able to control his breathing, Darius gave up the struggle and opened his eyes, relaxing his shoulder and neck muscles. He had not noticed how tense he was until that moment. He let out a deep breath and sighed as he rose to his feet. Darius made his way through the dark to his bathroom to get a glass of water. His throat was dry from the re-circulated air in the station quarters. At times like this, he craved the tranquillity of home on Matar. The humidity in the air would be a welcome change from the coarse air provided by the station’s air filters. Not to mention that there were too many distractions in a station to even contemplate meditation. There was a slight but constant deep humming noise that seemed to reverberate through the solid structure. It was even more noticeable, and somewhat irritating, when he was sitting in silence in a dark room trying to clear his mind.

Darius waved a hand over an optical sensor mounted to the wall of the bathroom and, with a reluctant flicker, the lights switched on. As he ran the water and put the glass under it, he caught his reflection in the mirror. His eyes were red and sore looking. They were sad. He rubbed them gently, smearing a tear across his cheek. The memory of his late brother Kordan’s death came back to him. He dropped the glass into the basin and ran his hands under the cold tap, splashing the water on his face and around his eyes. He tried to wash the tears away, but he could still feel them.



Part 1 – The Fire Within

Darius leaned closer to the terminal in his office at the Anubis Inc. headquarters in Pator and frowned. Across the table, his younger brother Kordan could sense a change in the air as Darius growled in the back of his throat.

“Something wrong bro?” He inquired with his usual silly grin on his face. Darius did not even need to look up to know it was there. One day he was going to have that grin surgically removed from Kordan’s face, just as soon as he could find a doctor that knows how.

“Nothing…” he replied curtly followed by a pause. “Well, actually, yeah. Our resident agent for the security services has a tip off about some kind of Angel Cartel scouting operation she wants me to gatecrash. They suspect they are checking out the defenses of a remote outpost on a moon in Audensder and will be followed by a slaver fleet.”