Sunday, 26 February 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic, part 2

Despite flaws I found in beta tests, I was hoping that they will be fixed on release date or that they simply did not include them to beta test. For example Dual Talent builds, which was what I missed most while playing in groups. We were always missing the spec I currently was not but could have been, which irritated me quite a lot.

I bought my copy of the game about one month after release, hoping that starting zones will be emptier and I will not have to fight for every quest mob. The economy in auction house should have been up and running and a lot of bugs should have been hotfixed.

Since they deleted my characters from beta, there was no reason for me to go to full server. I have joined the medium populated pve english Bacca Blade server. And by medium, they meant empty. While leveling, I saw only 10 players on max level. That should have been warning for me, as I will explain later on. The first impression ofter lenghty instalation was that nothing changed from beta. No dual talents build, no looking for group tool and no frame limiter.

The game is in my opinion clone of World of Warcraft set in Star Wars universe. If you played WoW, you know exactly how things here works and where to find them. The keyboard shortcuts are even same! The only inovative ideas were the unique stories for each class and side and the story zones for respective classes. I wanted to play SW:TOR as a substitute for WoW, because I grew bored of it, but here I get WoW clone.

To be continued in next part: questing and leveling

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic, part 1

First of all, I was not big fan of Star Wars and found the idea of lightsaber bit too unrealistic. However, I liked the SW Knights of Old Republic 1 and 2 for its story and rpg elements and as usual, I have completed them many times with various characters builds. For that reason I have looked forward to the interesting new MMO from SW universe, which promised greater story focus than other MMOs. The story line was special for each class, including 8 story lines in total I believe, showed great potential for replaying plus dark or light side dialogue choices.

I was able to take part in two public weekend betatests but was a bit dissapointed after that. First, the graphic was not what I expected, textures lacked detail and for example legs armor texture was applied directly to character model, resulting in the meeting of latex lovers. Furthermore the feeling of free world was restrained by separated sections connected with taxi service. And confusing map as a bonus.

The beta version did not have frame limiter, which make it uncomfortable to play on laptops. I was pushing on high details to 80 fps, but the laptop was seriosly overheating. After lowering details, the fps raised to 110 and overheating appeared again. I was hoping that they will add frame limiter on release date or first few patch, but that did not happen.

To be continued...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Fallout 3 DLCs

I would like to briefly comment on every DLC released for Fallout 3 and express my opinions on them.

Operation Anchorage
Looked innocent from the start but turned into worst DLC pretty quick. Narrow corridors, no choices, no story and weird squad management. Only worth for the Chinese stealth armor it introduced. Being all the time in virtual reality of combat simulator, you are unable to loot enemies whose simply vanish after you kill them. You find everything from weapons, ammo or health canisters(!) served on silver plates for you. The interesting part was when you had to fight one of the Chimera tanks, but sadly it ended rather quick and you never encountered another. That would be interesting challenge to face very strong and heavy armored enemies and have to outmaneuver them.

The Pitt
My favorite DLC. Filled with despair and hopeless atmosphere where you have to work hard to get better equipment and survive. Ending with hard choice and story worth remembering. Introduced among other things the Infiltrator assault rifle, awesome for stealth relying characters such as mine.

Broken Steel
Liberty Prime was destroyed. Enough said. It was surprising that Enclave had all the time all these facilities and it was on par with Brotherhood occupying one building. Not much story here, but solid action. Introduces Tesla Cannon capable of shooting down vertibirds.

Point Lookout
Extremely tough locals and horror atmosphere filled this DLC. To counterweight this, comic or funny element are often to be found, such as bobble head figurines parody, interesting story line with competing ghouls and the fate of Chinese secret agent made this addition worth remembering.

Mothership Zeta
Weird DLC and hard to judge. Personally, I did not like it much. Monotonous interiors and enemies, not much story or atmosphere. And the small girl was extremely annoying but I was forced to accept her help every time and suffer her wise speeches. Too bad that the rescued samurai did not play any significant role later. Same goes for all saved NPC whose fight by your side all the time to get their freedom back but in the end, they illogically decide to stay on the spaceship to "watch over it for you".

If I have to sort those DLCs by quality and entertainment, it would probably look like this:

1. The Pitt
2. Point Lookout
3. Broken Steel
4. Mothership Zeta
5. Operation Anchorage

Fallout 3

For long three years the game was forgotten. Till the beginning of year 2012 when I got bored of new Star Wars The Old Republic MMO after 14 days of playing and blamed myself for investing money to it. I have decided to get back to one of my older games and now I am glad that the choice fell on Fallout 3.

I have upgraded my notebook since the last attempt so I was able set detail level to high and was not forced to switch to normal after 10 seconds in game. I have expected the same feeling of confusion as before, but not this time. I have actually studied quests' description and found that all needed hints were there. As usual my first character was good guy, willing to help even sad looking rock with puppy eyes and for free. Obvious choice were specializations in small guns and sneak. Few levels later, I have discovered importance of repair, lockpick and science, and even later energy guns.

Experienced from Fallout Tactics, I have chosen two perks to boost XP gain only to discover the level cap earlier than most players. The Mysterious Stranger was good for few laughs, but did not entertain or help in long run. Despite choosing a lot of useless perks, I have become way too overpowered for wasteland which soon killed the atmosphere. I remember loading only after I have stepped on trap or encountered the extra hard ghoul. The feared deathclaw from previous games have become quite harmless pet except for surprise attacks in pack of three.

The story was nothing epic like we are used to from other games, but it felt more believable for me that way, except for the self sacrifice of one close NPC, which was not in my opinion necessary. In the final moments of the game, I was disappointed by the results of my choices where every action guided by best intention backfired in some aspects. I hope its not spoil anymore that the addition of modified virus to the purifier to kill dangerous mutants that threaten humanity resulted in killing a lot of people too.

Overall, it was a good and entertaining game for me and I am glad I gave it second chance. Only few negative things that come to my mind are few crashes to desktop and too many corridors in Washington which sometimes were hard to navigate through.

Fallout series

For the long time I ignored Fallout series for no apparent reason. I have played Fallout 1 and 2 back when I was young but found them too difficult and lacked some guidance what to do next. Partially it was caused by my language barrier and turn-based combat system which I did not like much.

Few years later I got my hands on Fallout Tactics and it got me hooked. I did not have to worry what to do next or where to go. The missions were clearly defined and I was able to focus on the action element of the game which I really enjoyed. Being able to command whole squad brought countless options how to deal with enemies. Luring them to elaborate traps and equip each member accordingly. Needless to say, I have completed the game with various character builds and difficulties.

Finally, Fallout 3 was recommended to me by a friend, who praised it to the heaven. But to my disappointment, it did not entertain me. I have managed to escape from the vault and get to the first settlement: Megaton. Then the feeling of confusion or uncertainty what to do next got me again as in F1 and F2. It might have been caused by the slowness of my PC back then, but I have decided to uninstall it.
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I will blog my small reviews about recently played games or watched movies and anime.