Monday, 9 July 2018

Dealing with backlog: Far Cry 4

I've caught up with the Far Cry series! Only the latest game left now :D

After having played all the previous games I still maintain that Primal is my favourite. I really liked 4 though, in a way I liked it more than 3. 3 had a better villain than 4, but 4 had a way better protagonist than 3 and the story in 4 had a better flow and felt more connected to the protagonist than in 3. Also, big plus to 4 - NPCs have finally learned some traffic sense! Not once in 4 was I mowed down by NPCs I had literally just saved!

Thoughts from the top of my head:
• Throughout the whole game I kept waiting for Darpan's rescue to happen. Why didn't they even try?
• I saved Paul De Pleur, what happened to him after?
• Why isn't there more mention of Ajay's sister than a journal entry by Mohan Ghale and the shrine to her at the end? Could I at least have had some rumours?
• Please no more wingsuits or buzzers or gliders in the the next Far Cry. Pretty please?
• Please no more missions to the Himalayas T_T
• I kept waiting for Ajay and Amita to get together! C'moooooon!

Ubisoft is infamours for their collectables and Far Cry 4 was no exception. 150 propaganda posters? One hundred and fifty?! I went for 100% completion but I ended up at 99% in the end. There were two races I couldn't complete because of flying things (see above) and one weapon I didn't unlock because I couldn't be bothered to get to arena rank 10 (interestingly enough arena rank was listed as something not necessary for 100% completion - Ubisoft, you lie).

Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed Far Cry 4. It was very pretty and the story was engaging, though I was disappointed that the side quests didn't amount to more than a few radio messages from Amita. I wanted more! Especially after finding out that the guy I had run supply runs for wasn't part of the Golden Path (and obv not the Royal Army either). I wanted to find out where he came from (the notes weren't specific enough) and why they were looking around Kyrat and why he was killed and why he was sent there in the first place and what he was doing with the supplies and what was really in the supplies... And you give me nothing?!

The devs have definitely realised, though, that everyone's favourite part of Far Cry 3 was the quest to burn the weed. So this time they're doing it hardcore. Not only is there a mission to burn drugs (this time poppy fields for opium rather than marijuana fields), but we also have Yogi & Reggie who keep injecting Ajay with experimental drugs and send him on crazy high-as-a-kite missions. Actually, everyone in this game seem to be fond of giving Ajay injections.

Oh and the Shangri-La parts were really cool! I definitely see where they got the inspiration for Primal... or was it the other way around? Primal and 4 were released pretty close together ;P

I have become such a fan of Far Cry.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tom Tits Experiment with work (yay! dinos!)

Yesterday I went with a bunch of colleagues for a tour to Tom Tits Experiment. I've never been there before and what I knew about Tom Tits before could be summed up into two points:

  1. Families go there a lot especially during summer.
  2. The American guys in last year's season of Allt för Sverige couldn't stop giggling at all the signs with Tom Tits on them during their roadtrip.

But since the hotel offers a package deal with Tom Tits we were offered a guided tour of their new exhibition for this summer. They call it "Dinosaur summer" and this is when I realised and my colleagues found out exactly how nerdy I am. (it's not like I already knew most of the dinosaur facts that the guide talked about or so... not at all.. *cough cough*).

Anyway all the dinosaur models both moved and made sounds so it was really impressive. What was really cool, though, was that back when I was much younger and had my dinosaur phase (can't believe all those facts I soaked up 15-20 years ago are still in there) nobody had figured out that dinosaurs had feathers yet. So seeing these models with feathers on them and learning that they now know that baby T-rexes had feathers before losing them (maybe, we're not sure) while growing up, was really cool.

Towards the end we found a dinosaur head meant for selfies and asked the guide to take a picture of all of us together. Ofc they placed me and the other Supervisor in the dino's mouth ;P

Only downside of this day was that the tour was all outdoors in blinding sunlight lasting almost one hour, so I have a pretty rad sunburn right now :P

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dealing with backlog: Alan Wake's American Nightmare

As you might remember I wasn't overly fond of the original Alan Wake after I had finished it. But I had bought this semi-sequel along with the original game and might as well play it.

This game defines linear. It could've ended after two hours. Could've, and maybe should've.

What we know from the original game is that Alan Wake became trapped with the Darkness in another dimension. What we know from this game is that two years have passed and Alan Wake somehow manages to write himself into a semi-reality based on one of his first every works - a script for Night Springs. Alan Wake is trying to defeat the Darkness which has now taken the shape of him, but a maniacal, psychopathic version of him (I much preferred the psycho old lady).

The player then spends the next 8-10 hours going round in a loop doing the exact same things over and over with only slight variations because the characters in the game are semi-remembering that this has happened before and help Wake along. Handy.

Step 1: Talk to the girl and crash the satellite.
Step 2: Talk to the girl and find the keys to the observatory in a motel room.
Step 3: Go to the observatory, talk to the scientist, fix the broken camera.
Step 4: Go to the drive-in and restore power.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat.

I don't remember if it was three or four circles in the loop, but by the time I was halfway through the second circle and realised that "This is going to happen again, isn't it?" I felt like I was thoroughly done with the game. I still completed it, but it was more compulsion to have it completed than entertainment. If the game wasn't so short I would've ditched it.

And what did I get at the end? Nothing. Sure I defeat the Darkness (again) but Wake also tells the player that it isn't permanently defeated and the player is led to believe that Wake is still trapped in the other dimension with the Darkness... So basically all this for nothing. Yay.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Dealing with backlog: Wolfenstein The New Order

I got this for Christmas back when it was first released and I originally tried to play it back in early 2015. However I was too much of a noob back then and managed lots of nooby mistakes before I even got to Berlin, which got me stuck and made me quit playing.

I knew what I had done wrong and this time I had a bunch more experience with shooters than three years ago. So it was time to try again.

I went into this game expecting a shoot-em-up without much story, but instead I found myself getting invested in the characters and I found so much more story than I bargained for, which was a nice surprise. Ofc the whole ambiguous point of the ending has been spoiled for me as I have seen the trailer and a little bit of gameplay from The New Colossus, but I guess that's how it goes when one plays a game years after release ;)

While the game had lots of epic moments, my absolute favourite was going to the moon. That was incredibly unexpected and so awesome and I had a lot of fun playing that part of the game.
I also enjoyed the prison camp part where I got several side quests that temporarily made the game feel less linear.

But my favourite part of any game is usually the base, the home, and getting to know the characters. I don't think there's any member of the resistance that I didn't like. I even got strangely attached to Tekla. And I loved getting to play around in the old Wolfenstein game in the base.

The final fight against Deathshead was strangely anti-climactic. After my long and badass and heart-wrenching fight against Deathshead's supersoldier/B.J.'s old friend, that final confrontation didn't amount to much and it seemed like it was over too quickly.

This was a much greater game than I expected and I'll enjoy killing Frau Engel in the next game.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Sweden Rock Festival 2018

TL;DR - Saw six bands, bought two shirts, ate lots of food, got badly burned and there was an unusual amount of puke in the camp.

Early on Tuesday 5th we packed ourselves into two cars and drove south. We arrived around 1pm and started setting up the tents and the camp and then it was time for music and alcohol before we went off to find food and exchange our tickets for wrist bands. I also decided to buy this year's shirt early because I knew I was getting it - might as well get it the first day. Nothing more incredibly exciting happened the first day there. We arrived, we had alcohol, we met and greeted a lot of people we never saw again and there was the annual hugging party when regular camp members from around the country showed up one after the other. The first night was cold but not as cold as they have been other years.

Scrambled out of the tent before 8am the next day because I was burning up. For once I wasn't the first one up and we walked off to buy ourselves some breakfast (that coffee saves lives). And then we were back to what we were doing the first day - music and alcohol and occasionally walking away to find food. The camp next door came over with an inflatable sofa which we had a lot of fun with. We didn't go inside the festival area until dark. The only band we wanted to see this day was Hardcore Superstar. They were as good as always. Nothing new on the horizon. Though I haven't listened much to their two latest albums so there were a bunch of songs I didn't recognise.

Same deal next day. Got up crazy early and went for breakfast. After some music and alcohol we went to the festival area pretty early to see In This Moment. They were this year's highlight for me and that concert was amazing. Easily the best of the year.
Afterwards I bought one of their t-shirts and then we went to find food and the went back to the camp. In the evening we returned to the festival area to see Helloween and Iron Maiden. I have seen Helloween before and they were just as boring as the last time I saw them. For Maiden the area was packed with people. We stayed for about an hour, maybe less. Maiden played for two hours, but we were pretty far back and the wind was in the wrong direction so the sound came off all garbled which kind of ruined the experience. None of us were major Maiden fans either. So we went back to the camp.

Friday was a slow day. We spent most of the day in camp and people were getting tired. The most fun thing that happened this day was when J told us of his side quest mission to find a hat. He found a pretty pink one which he exchanged for a sock. Don't ask.
In the evening we went to the festival area to see Stone Sour. They were really good, and made for a lot of nice sing-along, especially to Through Glass. Later in the evening Ozzy was playing but most of us decided to skip him since we had already seen him as part of Black Sabbath when they played a couple years back. Apparently the concert wasn't very good, and it seemed to be the general opinion that Zak Wylde took over too much.

We decided to go home on Saturday evening. The only thing I had planned for this day was to see Tarja. But I also went to the area with Toni early in the day to see 69 Eyes, which is what caused my shoulders to get really badly burned (skin falling off bad). I'm not a big 69 Eyes fan, and listening to them on CD always makes me feel like they're a bit too much. But they were much better live.
Back at camp it was slow. More than one of the members were sleeping most of the day and the rest of us were pretty tired. An hour before Tarja started we packed up what we were bringing back home with us (Toni and I decided to retire our tent and air mattress). Tarja was great and the sound was good. With her voice and the high notes she takes the sound could easily have been coming off bad but it was really good.
After Tarja we went to the car and started the journey home. Once again we skipped Judas Priest (could they just for once not end the festival please?) We arrived home around five in the morning and immediately went to bed. Like always, the shower after waking up was the best thing ever.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset Collector's Edition!

It's been about three weeks since it was released and I got to bring home my box, but I wanted to wait to make a post until after I had finished exploring the new zones. But let's start with the unboxing!

(Base game CE unboxing and Morrowind CE unboxing)

The box in itself was really pretty imo :3 And when I opened it the first thing I saw was the Mephala statue on the top and the discs tucked into the bottom.

The discs were in a metallic case and I love the whole leaf design. The Mephala statue looks badass standing in my window next to my statue of Molag Bal from the base game CE.

Underneath the statue was a map of Summerset and this CE's book - The Alinor Codex. This book doesn't seem as impressive as the other two. Sure it's leatherbound and pretty, but there's more text and less concept art, and while a lack of pictures isn't really a problem for me when it comes to books I really appreciate the concept art in the other CEs' books.

And let's dive into the game. (Spoilers ahead if you haven't played it yet)

I was really excited for Summerset (maybe not as much as for Morrowind, but that was Morrowind - hello?!), mainly because I was excited for how pretty it was going to be. Auridon is my favourite starting zone in the base game because it's so darn pretty. And I wasn't disappointed.

However I wasn't surprised that the Maormer seemed the main enemy of the chapter, seeing as Maormer were prevalent everywhere in Auridon. But I loved the sidequest where a female Maormer and a male Altmer had fallen in love, but their love would start a war and so they had to leave. Spoke to the romantic in me I guess. On the other hand, the Sload were a nice surprise that I wasn't expecting. I've stayed away from every single piece of information regarding this chapter, except for the release date, and I had no idea about the Sloads. Ofc the devs bent the lore a little bit as these were Sea Sloads which haven't been part of ES lore before, but still impressive and imo added so smoothly to exisiting lore that I was actually surprised when I realised that this version of Sloads didn't exist before in the lore.

It was great to see Razum-dar again. I love his guts and he was the main reason why I stayed AD in the beginning years of my ESO tenure. But meeting Darien again after what happens to him in Coldharbour in the base game, made me way happier than I probably should be for a character ^^;

The Psijic part of the story was cool and I actually enjoyed running around Artaeum. My favourite part there being the delve where you found out about Mannimarco's and Vanus's common backstory. I also really liked the Psijic companion, Valsirenn, and by the end of the main story I felt like I knew her.

The main quest was really cool, especially towards the end when the Triad falls apart and then the final showdown against Nocturnal. So cool ♥

I also have to mention the Abyssal Geysers, which basically are this zone's anchors. So when I came running towards a map icon that I thought was an anchor I was really confused when I found a geyser. They weren't as much fun as anchors either, though the concept is the same. Cultists appear, kill cultists and a beam goes up into the sky. Kill all the rounds of mobs spawning and then finally kill the boss to finish the geyser and get some shiny loot and a chest. Same thing, but yet so very different and not as much fun.

Finally I have to mention the new trial, Cloudrest. It's a new mini-trial, sort of like Asylum Sanctorium. Cloudrest has a ton of mechanics that were really confusing the first time we went in there. Our first guild run was blind so we figured things out as we went, still the trial took less than an hour to complete. I went in there with visions of Halls of Fabrication from Morrowind expecting several wipes and several hours of trying and failing and still not completing it on the first blind run, and then we just finished Cloudrest like that. I was a little bit disappointed. The trial was cool and all, but it did leave a feeling of "is that it?" when we finished it. However, the first run being so quick opened up for us to do it several times that evening. So I went the first time with my main healer and the two other times with my baby healer. That place has to be farmed because all the end-game BiS gear drops from there now.... *sigh*

All in all, I really liked how amazingly pretty Summerset was and the main quest was really cool. But thinking back it never gave me the same wow feeling that Morrowind did (or the base game for that matter when that was brand new). Summerset was cool and had a lot of fun side quests, but it lacked wow factor and compared to Morrowind it seems pretty bland.