Monday, 5 February 2018

Dealing with backlog: Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles

The next game on my backlog list was this Sherlock Holmes point-and-click game. After only playing Nightmares from the Deep for 1½ days, this slightly more serious and less cartoony point-and-click felt slightly odd. And after being used to BBC Sherlock's Watson and Sherlock this old style classic Sherlock and Watson seemed even more odd. However any sense of oddity passed within the first 30 minutes when I got to completely bury myself in investigative puzzles and hidden object scenes.

I knew the story of the Hound of the Baskervilles before. Who doesn't? But it was still pretty fun to play. The one thing that was jarring to me though were the trips into the past, I'm pretty sure they made it like that for the game because otherwise it's just Sherlock mentally reconstructing the image of what it might've looked like. This actual trip into time and the odd amulet thing that gave them superpowers just felt jarring in the logical-explanation world of Sherlock Holmes.

But the atmosphere took me in anyway and even though I knew it was a point-and-click and I 100% wouldn't need to fight anything in the end I still had to remind myself of the fact when the time came to summon the dog.

When the game finished I got the same feeling as when I have just finished reading a really good book; sad that it's over but really happy how it turned out.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Dealing with backlog: Pirate-y point-and-click trilogy

Next up on my backlog list was Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart. It's a point-and-click hidden objects game from Artifex Mundi so I knew it would be decent. But I ended up enjoying the story far too much. The voice-acting could've been better but the story was good and the puzzles were nice and I loved the hidden objects scenes.

The story is about a female curator at a naval museum. She's putting together an exhibition on the infamous pirate captain Remington and has actually managed to get his corpse fished out of the ocean. A corpse that's remarkably well-preserved. All his depictions show him with three very specific accessories and as you put them on him he's awoken. He calls his ship which crashes into the museum and kidnaps the curator's daughter. The curator sneaks on board. The ship is full of undead pirates and as she tries to find her daughter and rescue her she slowly uncovers the story that leads up to captain Remington's untimely death and also discovers his motives for kidnapping her daughter. Now she has to stop Remington and save all the pirates from one of Davy Jones' curses!

Because I liked the first game so much I decided to buy the other two in the bundle on Steam. The second game is calle Nightmares from the Deep: The Siren's Call. In this the voice-acting has improved slightly, but the story has degenerated somewhat and some of the puzzles were more annoying than fun. I still loved the hidden objects scenes though!

The story this time starts when a man knocks on the door to the museum saying that it's vitally important that the curator gets his delivery tonight. The package is discovered to include a statuette. But when the package is opened a ship crashes into the museum again and the statuette is stolen. The curator and the man chase after the ship in a row boat, and the man reveals his identity. He's part man, part fish! They arrive in Kingsmouth where the curator just has time to meet Calliope the Siren before she's taken prisoner by the mayor. What follows is a quest to save the mermaid from the mayor and return her power to her by breaking another of Davy Jones' curses. The curse envelopes the entire island of Kingsmouth and is the reason why the population have started to look fishy (literally). During this quest she discovers the story of Kingsmouth and how it came to be the way it is.

The third game was probably the best one in many ways. The voice-acting had definitely improved. The story was also great and this time didn't include a sappy romantic love-story, and it seemed to me as the whole game was more detailed than the previous two.

This story starts at the museum. The curator and her daughter is giving a presentation on Davy Jones. The curator found a book about him in her previous adventure and now suspects he's more than a mere legend and actually a historical figure. When the presentation has only just begun the power goes out and then a great big tidal wave crashes down on the museum (you really ought to build this museum somewhere else) and Davy Jones himself appears and kidnaps both the curator and her daughter. They escape from the cell and try to flee from Jones' ship, but are caught. To save her mother's life the daughter agrees to sign pact with Jones, but Jones tries to kill the curator anyway claiming that it was the ocean that would kill her, not him. The curator survives and follows the ship to a mysterious island. There she has to save her daughter from Davy Jones' pact, but in order to break a pact she must figure out Jones' own story and free him from himself.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Dealing with backlog: Two old shooters

Last month I decided to slowly start working on my backlog again. First up was the original Far Cry. I really liked Far Cry 3 and I loved Far Cry Primal, so I was hoping I would like the original too. The reviews on Steam were pretty divided between "This game has aged so badly omg don't buy it" and "I love this game! I played it when it was new and omg the memories ♥♥♥" and I wasn't sure which "faction" I'd end up in. Would I hate it or love it?

I played the game for a little over one hour before I gave up and placed myself in "This game has aged so badly omg don't buy it". I appreciate that the new Far Cry titles respect their heritage and I can see a lot of similarities between the new games and the original, however it really has aged badly. The first thing I noticed was the voice-acting. Every line was delivered completely flat and whoever voiced Jack Carver tried to make him sound like a very macho man. Think G.I Joe meets the Terminator. The second thing I noticed was that the "armour" I get is just a vest that can take about two hits and then it's gone. Character health is about 5 hits until dead. The third thing I noticed was that the sneak mechanics are so broken that I wonder why they even implemented them into the game. You know in the newer Far Cry if the crosshair tells you that the enemies are starting to notice you - you hide in the bushes or behind a large rock until the crosshair goes down? Doesn't work in the original. If the enemies spot you, you're spotted - no use hiding. You can't sneak up to enemies and silently take them out by choking them because Jack Carver seems about as skilled at sneaking as a great big bear, so the enemies will see you before you even get close enough to poke them. All the enemies carry AKs so your petty armour means absolutely nothing - I might as well not have had it. Also the enemies can shoot through trees (without harming the tree) while I cannot.

I got as far as the stranded navy ship base. Which isn't very far at all. There I tried to pick off the enemies from the distance (with an AK because sniper rifles either hadn't shown up yet or they weren't in this game), but the game is so old that you can't see very far into the distance. Mostly I was aiming at whatever black dots I could see against the sky. I got through the first part on the inside of the ship pretty well, but then whenever I got to the outside I got swamped no matter what tactic I tried. First I tried sneaking around but the weapons don't have silencers so sneaking isn't very good - also the enemies are hawk-eyed. Then I tried "fuck it guns blazing" and ofc that didn't work out. Then I tried to lure them into a tight passageway so they'd have to go at me one at a time, but every time I had to reload my weapon they gunned me down (I assume Carver's head is visible above any and all cover so that the enemies can shoot him either way). I tried learning from my deaths where the shots had come from and take out the enemies one by one that way, but there was always one more somewhere who hadn't shot at me last time who took me out this time as if they were neverending or just immortal and kept getting up again after I gunned them down.

Also there was no map whatsoever so I had to guess where I was going. There also didn't seem to be any levelling or experience gained so no way to improve upon the player character.

So I gave up.

The next old shooter was Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi from 2003. I bought it because vampires. However I couldn't complete it, mainly I think because it was too roguelike for me (without actually being a roguelike). The castle you play in is randomised every time you start a new game. That's fine. But the game drops you in there without any hint on what to do and how to do things. It's like here's a game go play it. So I did what I usually do. Explored the area. I got a nice sword and then I started picking up all the health packs in the courtyard thinking they were saved in my inventory because the game didn't say otherwise. Then discovered that they weren't a realised I had probably messed up already less than 15 minutes in. Got a quest from a half-dead priest. But there's no questlog and after running around the castle in as many directions as I could I had soon forgotten who I was supposed to bring to this half-dead guy so I could save him. Because the game throws like ten names at you in a moment without anything to really remember them by.

Then I realise that the sword only works on ghouls, not on vampires. I found a text about shadow vampires which said that only the crucifix could banish them so when I found a shadow vampire I held the cross up against it using it as I would a weapon. The shadow vampire recoiled from it but it still kept attacking and took half my health before it died from the cross. I came across a portal spewing ghouls but I couldn't figure out how to close it so I just ran past it. Then I found this old lady in a room with a coffin. I talk to her (though first I considered shooting her because she looked like a vampire and the game made no indication that she wasn't) and she asks me to bring her back to the courtyard where she will give me a revolver. Shiny! I need a better gun that this centuries old one-bullet-at-a-time thing. When I agree to help her the coffin lid flies open and I see a vampire lying in it staring at me. I equip a stake and try to stake him, but no matter how I do it it doesn't work. Vampire gets up and starts attacking me and I try to stab him with the stake. Doesn't work. I hit him with my sword until he stops moving and then try to stake him again. Doesn't work. What am I doing wrong?!??! Then the vampire glitches through a wall and disappears. I bring the old lady with me to the courtyard (so very happy that enemies don't respawn) and she gives me a revolver. But the only way still open to me is the wing I just came from. So I had to go back in there. I knew where there were enemies but at this point I had like 25/100 health and I knew I had used up all the health packs in that wing leading to the enemies. I virtually had no chance to survive any longer. I didn't want to start over. So I quit the game and gave up. One thing I specifically didn't like was the weapons wheel which was very clunky and not at all a practical way to change weapons mid-fight

The main thing that got me and made me make mistakes over and over was the game's complete lack of information. Which is what makes it sort of kind of roguelike in my book, but maybe it really just makes it old.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

My last 5 books: Fantasy and sci-fi

1. Stockholms Undergång, by Boel Bermann. This is a short story collection all about the apocalypse and Stockholm. I got pretty odd looks on the train for reading this :P But it was a fun read. There was everything from vampires and zombies to a rainbow which sucked the colour out of the world and turned emotional people to ash. There's one where rats take over the world and another where people fall asleep without warning. Another one how people lose all inhibitions due to a brain virus and turn into cannibalistic maniacs. There's something for everybody. I'm used the apocalypse scenarios only being in America or possibly the UK so to read about it in Stockholm feels almost too personal, too close, too realistic... And I love it. I love how I know exactly where all the characters are and I can see their surroundinds exactly how they look inside my head. It gives the story a bit of realism that makes it so much scarier.

2. Dracula, by Bram Stoker. I tried to read this once when I was fourteen or so and I just thought it was so extremely boring. Now it went a lot better and I really liked it. The only complaint I really have is how Jonathan treats Mina, but that probably just reflect the time period when it was written. What struck me the most was how different Dracula looks in the book compared to the Hollywood version. Nosferatu's Count Orlok is actually more similar to the books' description than Bela Lugosi's Dracula. There's really no need to get into the story as everyone knows it, but it's worth mentioning that it's a story told in letters, diary snippets and newspaper articles. I found it really difficult to follow the story due to this when I was fourteen, but now that was no problem. And one more thing. Miss Lucy's blood transfusions made me facepalm so hard. How great are the odds that miss Lucy and five men all have the same blood type? Your frickin transfusions could very well be what's killing her, Van Helsing!!! 19th century science *rolling eyes*

3. The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson. I'm going to a wedding this autumn and the theme was set to Mistborn. Which meant I had to read the book. I had avoided Sanderson for such a long time because an ex of mine really liked his books and it felt a little too close. But I had surprisingly no issue with it. I absolutely fell in love with Kelsier's persona and throughout my reading this I kept thinking "Why isn't this a game?!" In my mind Kelsier looked exactly like Garrett in Thief and whenever the book described him using his Allomancy I got images from Thief and Dishonored in my head. This book would make an amazing game. I have a few issues with it though. This book was too vague about the fact that metal piercing the body or inside the body couldn't be used by Allomancers. I actually didn't realise this until the final battle and throughout the whole book I thought the Steel Inquisitors must really be at a disadvantage. Also the introduction of Allomancy was a mess. The first mention of it was: "Kelsier burned tin." I read that sentence several times trying to understand what it meant. But it wasn't actually explained until Vin showed up. All in all I really enjoyed this book, the issues aren't big enough to make me think any less of the story.

4. The Well of Ascension, by Brandon Sanderson. Since I liked the first book so much I decided to have a go at the second. But the driving force (Kelsier) of the first book was gone and the whole thing felt flat. The Well was barely even mentioned in the first half of the book and most of that was Elend whining and Vin whining and Sazed being confused and Tindwyl being exasperated. It was too much of the teenage romance bs that I hate "Oh I like him but I'm not sure he really likes me and how do I know I'm in love and should I stay or should I go he really deserves someone better but I like him so much" *siiiiiiiiiiigh* My favourite part of the book was when the battle actually started and the whole action of that because something was finally happening. And the ending was so extremely obvious. Sanderson has spent two book grooming this character and showing his readers how this character grows. No way is he going to die he's going to miraculously survive to grow a little bit more in the third book. This book was a disappointment after all the expectations the first book gave me, still the action in the end and also the sheer existance of Zane made me still somewhat enjoy it.

5. Cirkeln, by Mats Strandberg & Sara Bergmark Elfgren. This book was so hyped up a few years ago and I've been planning on reading it for ages but never got around to it. Until now. The hype was just that imo. This book was boring and it felt flat, as if they were keeping the story to a minimum so as to not be confusing, as if they had been forcing themselves to not divulge too much of the coming story and instead ended up with something that felt flat and stilted. To the point where none of the deaths even felt shocking. As for the characters I absolutely love Linnea (no surprise there) and Minoo. Vanessa I was just indifferent towards for the most part of the book but I 100% ship her with Linnea. Anna-Karin on the other hand is exactly the way I was back in high school (minus the dysfunctional family) and my heart breaks for her, because I know what it's like to want to be able to turn invisible. I know what it's like to get so good at being quiet and unnoticed that you actually get surprised when someone talks to you. My feelings to Anna-Karin may have contributed to my feelings for the book, because every time I read about her I got so sad.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Germany 2018 - day four

Last day in Germany! I got up early and packed my bags and then went down to have breakfast. The past two days we've had a British pair sitting next to us, and today they were talking business during their breakfast. Serious business; delivery, numbers, costs etc. Both my dad and I were like: guys, you have the least anonymous language in the whole world, maybe you shouldn't talk about these things where anyone can hear you?

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and went to the fair. We did mostly the same things again, but also checked out a few areas we hadn't previously been to (yes, ISM is big enough that you can miss entire sections of it). One of the Spanish companies my dad buys from had been slowly diminishing over the days. According to his contact there was a flu epidemic going around in the city they're from and apparently they had brought the flu with them. So slowly over the days more and more people had to stay home sick, and by this day their area was pretty empty compared to the first day :P Even our contact hadn't come to the last day. Talked a bunch with some other Spanish companies and when it was time we picked up our bags and went to the train.

That's when we proved that German efficiency is a myth. There were only two ticket machines at the station. I got the tickets easily enough like last time. Then we went to check the tracks. Found our train, went to the right track. Why were tracks 1-2 and 11-12 pointing to the same place? We deduce that our train is late after a combined "I heard that part what did you hear?" conversation concerning the German announcement, because ofc "the whole world speaks German and so we only do all announcements and information in German" is the standard attitude in Germany (not even the information desk at the main train station in Cologne spoke any English). The train finally arrived and we got on. After just a little while there's another announcement over the speakers in very fast and very slurred German. We kind of understood that the train wouldn't be stopping at two stations. We arrived at Düsseldorf Hbf 20 minutes late and there was another announcement in very fast and slurred German that mentioned flughafen and for a second we were all very concerned that we had to change trains because we only heard flughafen and didn't understand the rest (English pretty please?). But we noticed that nobody else travelling with suitcases was getting off the train so we also stayed put. We arrived at Düsseldorf airport 20-ish minutes late. And got on the sky train for the terminals. We got there and were transported 10 years back in time. Because self check-in apparently isn't all that common in Germany and so we had to do it the old-fashioned way and queue up by the bag drop. We go through the security check and then go have dinner.

After dinner we have a look at the board and it says gate 49. We go to the gate and wait around. When the boarding pass says that boarding should have started, but there's no sign of any staff we have another look at the board. Gate switched to 48. No announcement about the gate switch whatsoever. Go to the new gate and everyone is lined up to board although the screen says only priority boarding. Turns out everyone is boarding they just haven't put it on the screen. We get on the plane and then ofc there's a queue to the start off strip. Four planes before us. So we just sit around. The plane is late when we finally get up into the air, but the view sort of made up for it. Clear skies all the way to Copenhagen, it was brilliant.

We arrived back at my parents' place around 9pm. Tomorrow I'm getting up early to catch the train home to Södertälje.

Good night :)

Monday, 29 January 2018

Germany 2018 - day three

Earlier start than yesterday because dad had an early meeting. I spent most of the day doing the same things as yesterday - following my dad around and not talking much. The most wtf moment was when we went to the display for brand new items and I found lollipops in the shape of fidget spinners! That's when you know a trend has gone too far...

In the evening we met up with friends again at Dominkaner and had another laugh at the bartender there. His mannerisms made him ressemble Mr. Bean and we had an ongoing discussion whether he was drunk or just really hated his job.

After several beers at Dominkaner we finally went to Haxenhaus and ordered up one metre of beer (three times during the course of the evening) and then I got my first introduction to Haxe. It was so delicious. Perfectly cooked pork that just fell off the bone. Nom!

After dinner we continued on to Papa Joe's, but that place was very different from last time. The bartenders were rude and the Germans were inconsiderate and kept trying to squeeze in between me and my group. So we decided to leave after only one beer - but we did get to hear the live band play Always Look on the Bright Side of life, which actually got some sing-along going among all of us.

We went past the cathedral on our way back and there was this stunning moment with the full moon shining between two towers. My picture doesn't do it justice.

We went by the train station to figure out which train we'd have to take to Düsseldorf tomorrow so we'd know when we'd have to leave the fair. Took a picture of that too just in case we'd forget.

And then we went back to the hotel. I thought about whether to pack now or do it tomorrow morning. But I'm so tired that I'll just do it tomorrow. Nighty!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Germany 2018 - day two

Woke up at 8am to go have hotel breakfast by 8.30. One of the things we noticed was that while they served scrambled eggs they didn't serve bacon with it. Instead they had meatballs. My dad went for the scrambled eggs with meatballs before I did and he discovered that the meatballs were extremely spicy. As if they had dropped the entire pepper container into the mix. I decided to not have meatballs.

Afterwards we went back upstairs for a short while and I tried to make myself look more adultlike. Not sure if I succeeded or if my face still says that I'm 16...

Then we went to the fair. We're in Germany specifically for ISM, which is the biggest fair for sweets and confectionary in the world, and my dad is one of the biggest sweets dealers in Sweden. We weren't exhibiting this year and instead mostly just walked around looking at other people's exhibits, collecting hand-outs and free samples, tying new contacts with people who looked like they might be manufacturing things my dad could sell, and talking to already established contacts getting to taste new flavours and comment on consistency of the sweets and the packaging and labelling. I didn't really do much else but listening, but I did offer up comments here and there and my dad always let me have an input if the contact person asked him a question. Last time I was here it was mostly as an interpreter for my dad's friend who isn't very good at English, but my dad knows English pretty well and I very very rarely have to help him on that front.

We also went to visit the Swedish pavillion. I was surprised at how many people there recognised me. It's been two years since I last saw most of them. It was kind of funny to be there though. It's very common in Sweden to sell sweets in bulk, even in the supermarkets. There's always a wall of containers with bulk candy and you grab a bag and a spade and scoop up whatever you like into the bag and then the price depends on how much the bag weighs at the end. But I've come to realise that that's something very very Swedish. It was packed with people checking it out. Welcome to ISM - where bulk candy for private citizens is exotic!

We had buckwurst for lunch, which is basically a boiled sausage in a bread bun. An actual bread bun, the kind you usually have for breakfast.

The fair closed at 6pm and we went back to the hotel for a quick freshen up and then met back downstairs in the lobby. A couple of minutes walking from the hotel is the pub Dominikaner where we met up with friends from Stockholm and had several beers. We had planned to go to Haxenhaus this night, but one of our Stockholm friends wanted to see the handball game. Sweden was playing against Spain and apparently it was pretty important game in a Cup (don't remember if it was European or World). They had TV screens and a pretty decent menu at the hostel where they were staying so we decided to skip Haxenhaus tonight and instead have dinner at their hostel while watching the handball game. The hostel staff was amazing. They quickly found out that their TV package didn't include the channel which aired the game, but instead they found a stream online and connected a laptop to a TV screen so that we could watch the game. Their menu was also really impressive. My dad and I decided to share a Colognian style tapas plate as a starter and then almost all of us had steak for main course. I was pleasantly surprised and actually impressed that the rare steak I ordered actually came our rare. For some reason it's not uncommon to get medium when I order rare :/
Colognian tapas plate. What looks like spring rolls actually had black pudding in them. What looks like fried sausage slices are actually liver. I liked everything but the liver.

Sweden lost the game (although we were in the lead in the first half) and after dinner and some wine three of us ordered Irish Coffee (except it came back as black coffee with whisky in it and then they had to mix flat cream into it themselves).

With a pleasant buzz we went back to our hotel and now it's really time to sleep.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Germany 2018 - day one

Today we arrived in Cologne. We went by plane to Düsseldorf and then from there with the train to Cologne. From the terminal you take the sky train, which is like a normal train but the tracks are in the air like on a rollercoaster, to the Düsseldorg Flughafen train station. Funnily enough I had no issues whatsoever in using the machine to get three tickets from Düsseldorf to Cologne. Didn't even have to ask for help, felt like the DB ticket machine was pretty straightforward as long as I changed the language to English first.

We arrived at the same hotel as last time and I had almost the exact same room. We arrived pretty late so no fair for us this day, but after we checked in and unpacked we met up downstairs in the lobby and went out to eat. We were planning to eat on Fräu but due to the festival that's always happening exactly this weekend that place was full to the point of bursting so instead we went to Löwenbräu and started off our German cuisine with a schnitzel :P I also made a point of taking a picture of the amazing cathedral because that thing is so darn impressive I can't help staring at it every time we go past it (which will be every day).
 Interior of Löwenbräu to the left. The cathedral to the right.

After dinner we took a walk and then went back to the hotel. I spent some time reading and now it's bedtime.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Best of 2017

Best book: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

Best songs: Magic Forest by Amberian Dawn, I am Machine by Three Days Grace, and Dance With the Dragon by Dark Sarah

Best games: Far Cry Primal and Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Best movie: Murder on the Orient Express

Best TV show: Doctor Who

Best food stuffs: Been crazy about sushi rolls all year!

Best clothes: My new favourite is my hoodie with Espeon and Umbreon on the back

Best accessories: Finally bought a Time-Turner at the Sci-Fi Fair in Stockholm!

Best experience (work-related): Promotion! Aw yea! :P I got business cards and everything :3

Best experience (life-related): Got engaged :3

Best decision: Starting a subscription on OwlCrate!

Best in fandom: The Morrowind release for ESO. Seriously. Best. Thing. Ever. :D

Best event: Not sure if SRF or the Alice Cooper concert. Probably SRF ♥

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Elder Scrolls Online: When your guild goes completely mad

So one of our guildies got the idea to do a madness run of a trial (12 man dungeon or raid) with lvl 15-20 characters. Originally it was supposed to be lvl 15, but crafting equipment is either lvl 14 or lvl 16, and we allowed up to lvl 20 for unintentional overshooting.

So for the past two to three weeks we've been getting a group together consisting of people who have experience running veteran trials, setting up our characters, setting a date and choosing a trial. I decided to stick to my healer role which I have the most experience doing trials as, but going as my new Warden character (playing Warden for the first time). Crafting purple (epic) lvl 16 high-end gear felt completely wrong but hilarious at the same time.

We decided today. 8pm my time. Normal Sanctum Ophidia (the toughest of the pre-DLC trials). No CP allowed.

All of us fully expected it to be extremely hard and expected us to wipe several times and mostly not even get past the first boss.

Pre-run group shot!

Not only did we get past the first boss, but we completed the run with no wipes. And with all of us being so used to the mechanics of normal trials it actually went really smoothly. Everyone knew exactly what to do and when to do it and in the end it didn't feel very different from doing an ordinary trial with our fully levelled CP characters. It was mostly just slower than usual.

Post-run group shot!

It was a lot of fun and we're already planning another run, with the same characters, but with a different trial!

A couple of guildies recorded the run and here's Nico's video:

Monday, 18 December 2017

Game completed: Prey

There are no story spoilers in this review.

I've been following this game for the entire year and I was so excited about it when I got it for my birthday. I started playing it just a few days later.

What intrigued me to begin with were all the parallells to Bioshock. Scary things happening in a confined space, experimental drugs that enhance people, and a mysterious threat. But as soon as I started playing, Prey came into its own and completely separated itself from Bioshock. They are both FPS with RPG elements. They are both dipping into the horror genre, Prey even more so going into survival horror as it is. Prey is scarier than Bioshock. While Bioshock created tension it relied more on jumpscares with the Spider splicers than anything else. Prey has the affinity of creating the psychological horror of never knowing what to expect around the next corner.

Being a little bit of a survival horror game, Prey had an ammo problem. Several times I ran out of ammo because there just wasn't enough crap to scavenge and recycle into clumps to make ammo from. That's until I read up about other people having ammo problems and learned to abuse the Recycler charges and turn doors and cargo and furniture into clumps to make ammo from. The space station was pretty darn empty when I was done with it, but afterwards I had no problems with ammo anymore xD

Storywise Prey is really, really good. Without spoiling anything, you play as Morgan Yu (doesn't matter if you're male or female - you're Morgan Yu) and you work at a space station. Yay, you! When you wake up things are weird and you start trying to figure out what has happened. This is hard because you're suffering from memory loss and it's up to you who to trust (even which version of yourself to trust), and the choice who to trust will change several times over as you learn what happened on the space station while you were out.

The game has multiple endings. One of them can come about waaaaaay ahead of the others and even without solving anything. You can just leave. There's one more ending where you can leave without actually solving anything, but that's the asshole ending. The other two versions completely depend on who you choose to trust in the end. I did both of them and in total three endings. I liked one of the true endings better than the other.

The final parts of the game where you choose which person to go along with had me going WHAT THE SHIIIIIIIIT!!!! several times. Because holy shit. Wow. I have no other words. Just wow.

No matter which true ending you choose you'll end up with exactly the same little cutscene after the end credits. The fact that it was the same no matter what you did at the end cheapened it a little bit. But if you only do one ending this cutscene definitely adds to the whole "what the frick. what is real" vibe of the game.

Prey is excellent. I loved it. I even missed it in the days that followed after I had finished it. Go play it.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Dealing with backlog: Bioshock Remastered

I played the original years ago and I remember thinking it was difficult. Especially the last bossfight against Fontaine. This time I just breezed through the whole game. I saved just before the last fight since it was getting late and I had to go to bed. Started the game the next day and I finished the fight and thus the whole game in about five minutes. Wtf? I expected an epically hard fight and it was over in five minutes. Talk about anti-climactic!

But apart from the anti-climactic ending this game was just as amazing as the first time I played it. The whole Would you kindly twist is still great even if I knew it was coming this time, and having played Infinite too this time around, the whole Would you kindly thing was just amazing.

I had completely forgotten exactly how crazy Steinman and Cohen were, and that's even with having read the book! It was chillingly amazing to rediscover their insanities.

Like the last time I played I chose to do go the good way and save all the Little Sisters.

There isn't really much else to say. This game is amazing. Go play it.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Elder Scrolls Online: The Clockwork City DLC

I was planning on doing this post ages ago, but it kept slipping my mind! A while ago the new DLC, Clockwork City, was released for ESO. I was super excited about it since it will probably be the only Dwemer-ish release we're likely to get and because I'd finally be able to explore Sotha Sil's realm more than I could in the original Morrowind.

Before the release an introductory quest showed up in-game telling a story of how people were attacked by their own shadows due to some daedric influence. With the release of the DLC Divayth Fyr shows up in your alliance capital and asks you for help in getting inside the Clockwork City, Sotha Sil's realm which is hidden in a different dimension. Getting there you realise that the shadow problem is there too and that there's a plot against Sotha Sil that you have to uncover and stop.

I really enjoyed the look of the Clockwork City and the two world bosses were really cool. However the delves were not really to my taste. All the quests were really cool, though I'm not a fan of the Blackfeather Court daily quest.

What was amazing was the new trial: Asylum Sanctorium. It's a mini-trial so it's not much bigger than an ordinary dungeon, with the exception that you need twelve people rather than four to complete it. I've only done it a few times, but we did really well those first few times. The last boss was of course the hardest, but we didn't wipe as many times as we did with for example Halls of Fabrication or Maw of Lorkhaj. Actually after just a few tries we didn't wipe at all, though many people died from time to time we always had great teamwork and ressed people as soon as possible so that we always had a team.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Dealing with backlog: Thief

I first started playing this game in 2014 or 2015 when it was new. But back then I thought it was really difficult, especially I thought that everywhere looked the same and I couldn't figure out how to get from place to place. I didn't get further than chapter 2 that time.

I decided to play through it properly this time around, and I feel like it goes to show home much I've evolved as a gamer in the past three years. I had no trouble finding my way anymore, sneaking about and using powers came naturally and for the most part I actually found it to be quite leisurely. The only thing that bothered me was that the playing tips on the loading screen kept telling me that if I had a running start I could leap great lengths - but every time I tried it Garrett just fell to his death.

I rarely play stealth games as stealth games, and Thief was no exception. Instead of bothering sneaking past the enemies and the guards I pretty soon started to just eliminate the enemies and then casually stroll about looking for loot.

The story was alright. It felt like it needed to have the details worked out more, and it would also have been nice if the story missions weren't all broken up like they were. While I really liked Garrett as a character Erin came across as a weedling, whining, childish brat both before and after the Primal and I just couldn't like her. The Thief-Taker General was an odd character. Whose side was he on? Was it always Aldous'? Because it seemed, for a while, as if he was working for the Baron... The boss fight against him was interesting but pretty straight-forward. First I tried sneaking past him and let him live, but because he kept one-shotting me with his blast arrows or whatever every time I tried to make it across the room, I simply decided that he was too annoying to live and so I defeated him, looted the room and then left him to go deal with Aldous.

The story mission at the old asylum was the creepiest thing I've played in a long long while. The invisible ghost making noise and groaning sounds at the male ward creeped me out, but even scarier was the ghost in the female ward who kept appearing and disappearing and force me out of rooms and at one point even made an illusionary fire burst out of one of the cells while pushing me out of it. That's when I nope'd out on exploring and just decided to follow the quest markers. That wasn't any better, The people warped by the Primal freaked me out and they hurt like hell. It wasn't until much later that I figured out that fire arrows could damage them and blast arrows disintegrated them. The visions Erin kept sending me via the Primal's power didn't make things any better. I was extremely grateful to be out of there.

The final battle was odd, but way too easy to even be considered a battle. Just dodge and run.

I can't help but compare this game to Dishonored. While I think Dishonored has a much better story I actually prefer Thief's gameplay. Less powers in Thief (I rarely use anything other than seeing hidden things in Dishonored anyway) and less huge annoying enemies in Thief. I hated the guys on stilts in Dishonored and the clockwork soldiers in Dishonored 2 were equally bad. Thief didn't have those higher level enemies, and was more focused on stealth and loot, which I actually prefered. Thief made me realise that I prefer my stealth games to be loot-based rather than action-based, and Dishonored is definitely more action-based.

I really liked this game and I'm hoping for a sequel. I'm aware it's a remake, but I don't feel ready to try the old games.