Saturday, 26 June 2010

Belated Post of Lateness

So, quite a belated post. Had a few issues with Blogger and Google Accounts, but I think it's all fixed now. Since my last post I've gotten Divinity 2: Ego Draconis, and I've been working through some of Jade Empire.

Jade Empire Thoughts:
Eh, it's alright. The combat is a bit annoying, and some of the characters do look a tad silly (Wu the Lotus Blossom, one of the character choices, looks rather uncomfortable), but overall it's not an unpleasant experience. It's taken me two tries to get into the game and I'm now on Chapter 3, but one thing I don't like is perhaps how linear it is, but also how the quests seem to be a tad faulty. One quest I picked up I couldn't do as I went via "Open Palm" instead of "Closed Fist" (Think Good/Evil but not exactly), yet I ventured to the appropriate area regardless and I believe my character had all the items I needed for that quest, yet I couldn't give them to him.
A good way to describe Jade Empire is Kung-Fu KotOR. The menu and interface is very similar, the visuals are of roughly the same quality (although Jade Empire natively supports 1600x900 and KotOR doesn't) and aside from setting, the only major differences are 3 "Utility" companions (who don't have a function outside of their use, I believe) and the combat. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and it's quite a refreshing break.

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis Thoughts:
Now this is a game I've been lusting after for some months now, and I finally got my copy a week or two ago after trying the demo. I won't pretend for a moment that this is the greatest game ever, because it's far from it. The first "area" after the training zone is very hard, if you want to be able to pick locks (or other utilitarian things) you have to forsake skill points for your offensive/defensive abilities, and the voice acting is almost laughable at times. It's probably not as noticeable to someone with no real experience of the variety of accents in the UK (especially England, funnily enough), but to me the accents are quite funny.
On the other hand, it has one of the best soundtracks I've heard (Kirill Pokrovsky is amazing) even if the placement at times is questionable, and I think it's a very attractive game visually. I would love to have a better PC to do it justice.

I've also gotten my paws on Baldur's Gate 2 and I've occasionally had a sniff at Drakensang, Oblivion and Neverwinter Nights 2, but I'm finding it very hard to sit down and play anything at the moment.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Sacred 2 - Collector's Edition

It arrived today, and wow. There's a lot of "freebies" in it! The game is 2 DVDs, there's another DVD with better graphics, the soundtrack, a code card for an in-game pet thing, a map/poster, an art book... And fake tattoos. Yes, fake tattoos.

The manual has a lot of advertisements in it, which I find odd. The art book has "Best Played On Dell" stamped on it... Seems like they needed the sponsorships/deals. Just had a flick through the art book, and it's not that good. It looks thicker than it is because the paper is quite, well, thick.

So far, not overly bowled over by the contents, but I got it for the game!

Monday, 10 May 2010

"Farlander" by Col Buchanan; ~100 page thoughts.

So, I'm over 100 pages in now, and I'll copy my thoughts from SFFWorld:

"So, I've gotten a decent way into the book, and I decided to write down my thoughts. Me and Col share two major interests; breasts and red headed ladies. However, I'm getting a little bored of almost every female character's bosom being described in some manner (along with that of a greased up king), and when a female character is described, it's actually rare for her to not have red hair. Do I think it undermines his writing? Yes, I sadly do. Col shows himself (near the 100 page mark, I think, where the book begins to improve) to be a capable writer, but he doesn't come across as having a great imagination. Another thing he's "obsessed" with is people's bowels loosening. It's happened at least three times already, and it's getting a little old. I just think some things are best left unsaid, or hinted at instead of being directly referenced.

There was a section where a character (I forget his name, I think it was Kirkus or similar) was thinking about a girl he'd had sex with, her name was Lara I think. Not that long before, Nico (one of the main characters) was talking to a girl named Lena. I had to actually flip back to verify they weren't the same character, because their names can easily be confused.

I don't really have a lot to say about the plot, as it's just shaping up. Whilst I do enjoy a good pair on a woman, as long as gorgeous, curly red hair, I think it's poor that almost every female is having her bosom described in some manner and many females are being given red hair. It just strikes me as either a lack of imagination or filling space. "

As I said there, I'm certainly gonna continue reading it. Wouldn't say I'm hooked, but I'm interested.

More LotRO thoughts.

Eh, really. Just "Eh". It's really just a mediocre game... The music is barely there (and often fades to nothing, leaving you to wonder if your sound has broken) and even when it plays it's somewhat dull and uninspiring.

Visually, I'm torn. There can be some very nice views, but at the same time some very poor views. Objects like trees appear in the background as a 2D image, and then they disappear as you get closer, and then as you get closer still they appear as low-quality 3D models, and then finally render properly as you get closer. There've been times where I known a tree should be in a certain spot, but it doesn't appear until I'm quite close.

From a role play perspective, LotRO has the upper hand because it's got a costume system with 2 available costume slots (so, for example, you could have your hideous armor on but disguise it with the starter set) that don't require your bag slots (so you can keep your costume in your bank or even sell it!). The mood settings are a good idea, but for the most part they're very poor and look somewhat comical, and I didn't feel that they fit in with the atmosphere and mood of the game, not to mention that there were clipping issues with things like eyeballs and eyelids, although they were somewhat minor.

I'm not sold on the textures/models/animations, either. The NPCs and PCs look to be from two different games, bears have really odd models, my character seems to stutter slightly as she runs, and she never wears her shield on her back unless she's firing a bow. I like the idle animations, though, they seem somewhat natural. It's just when you get your character to sit and then talk, sometimes she'll stand up and you have to type /sit again to rectify it.

LotRO just feels unfinished in a way. There's a lot of minor bugs and small things that could be added to make it feel better. The stats could easily be simplified a bit more without losing anything important, too.

I'm not sure, really, what to say. I can see myself not loading it up again and not really regretting it, and that's a shame. LotRO could easily be something better, something more engaging and involving, but instead it's just... mediocre.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Lord of the Rings Online

Been playing this a lot recently and it's pretty good. I don't think it's the greatest game around, but I've certainly enjoyed it thus far. Instead of being based on the films, it's based on the books so you can and will run into familiar characters from it, such as Tom Bombardil & Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. It's also somewhat true to the source material in that female dwarves aren't a playable option. Some places are instantly recognisable, such as Weathertop, but others aren't so. Bag End didn't seem to have the external look that it did in the movie, and I felt that was a bit of a shame.

From a game play perspective, however, I'm a bit underwhelmed. It seems to be more complex for the sake of it (such as renaming Strength to Might and Health to Morale, for example) and I would prefer it if they'd simplified the stats a little. The quests are no different to those of any other MMO; go here and kill X enemies, go here and explore, escort this person to this place. But one major difference it has to something like World of Warcraft is just how friendly it is to solo players. The main quest is divided into chapters, and there are solo instances available but also fellowship ones. I think this is a good design choice as when you get to something that's been going for 3 years (and not to mention the lower population of RP realms), it can be hard to find groups for lower level instances. Many dungeons don't have a solo mode, but the main-quest ones do, so you're never really stopped from progressing if you don't have a kinship. I've had to get help on my Guardian sometimes, but not often.

My main character is a Woman Guardian, who I role play as a Shield-maiden of Rohan. It's been a bit hard with her, because (to me) Guardians suffer from being able to take damage and not being able to really dish it out, so going against medium difficulty monsters can often be more deadly than higher level monsters.
A picture of her is below.


Hello, reader, and welcome to "Dwagginz' Den".
I have set up this blog to hold my thoughts on the worlds of literature, fiction, video gaming, films, music, role playing games and television shows, and perhaps other subjects as they come and go. From time to time, I'll also share little snippets of my writing and hopefully how it's improving over the months.

As for myself? Well...
I'm 20 and live in the county of West Yorkshire in England. I've been reading and gaming for most of my life, and I'm going to guess at least 15 years of either. I can fondly remember playing "The Chaos Engine" on my dad's Amiga, and I remember getting my "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
I'm a member of, and I post there frequently. I also post on various other forums (Micro Mart, Destructoid, BioWare Social Network, The Escapist to name some).

I'm not sure what else to say, so I'll leave it there for now.