Back in Tamriel for ESOTU

Elder Scrolls Online has had a relaunch of sorts with its latest version now available on the PS4 and Xbox One: Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Graev and I both enlisted quite some time ago in ZOS’ offer to buy the new edition for only $20 rather than a full price console release. While both of us also took advantage of the free character copy to bring over our banks full of crafting mats, we decided to completely reroll characters in the Daggerfall Covenant.

I went with a Templar using a 2-hander and a Bow (designed to just be lots of DPS and AOE DPS), and Graev is playing as a Sorcerer user of sorts who summons and heals. So far we are enjoying ourselves by taking things slow and doing most of the quests. Neither of us love quest grinding, and that is purely what ESO is all about, but the combat is fun and we like to slaughter monsters.

So what’s different in ESOTU? Umm… I guess not much. The use of a controller makes playing way more fun, if that counts? Really though, apparently the game hasn’t received THAT much worth writing home about. Stealing has been added, and if you are caught with contraband you will be fined by guards. The thieves guild and Dark Brotherhood, however, are not yet in the game. The running conjecture at this point is DLC now that ESO is B2P supported by a cash shop. End-game has received some decent work with veteran ranks, though, if that’s your thing.

One interesting addition is voice chat. Area voice is on automatically and is opt-out rather than opt-in. This has proven to be quite embarrassing for some. The quality is decent, and having such a feature makes grouping easy since the console comes with a mic for all to use.

Performance on the consoles is not without its downsides. The graphics are great on PS4, but both Graev and I run into hitching at the exact same spots in-town leading me to believe it is game/server-side. The hitching is most common in cities at this point. Unfortunately, playing on PS4 means having a subscription to Playstation Plus which is like $50 a year or something. Not huge, but worth noting.

Worth buying? Here’s my honest stance right now. ESOTU is ESO, and it’s worth getting if you liked the PC version enough to say, “Hey, I’d like to sit on my couch and play it on my console.”  The game has life I honestly haven’t seen since week 1 of ESO launch. Both Graev and I both liked ESO but couldn’t fall in love with the game. ESOTU is a great chance for us to dungeon crawl, slay baddies, and play in a world we enjoy. Will we be playing long? We’ll make our way to 50 at our own pace and play until we get bored.

Edits after reading some comments: If you treat ESOTU like a MMO then you’re screwed. It’ll be 1-2 monther at most. Treat it like a multiplayer RPG with a semi-decent story and better than average combat. Play with a friend or two. Go at it alone, or quest grind your way to the top, and you’ll be bored in a week. It’s a console game for me. I would not even consider playing it again on PC or treating it like I do an MMO. ESO on PC was the beta for the console version, where it clearly belongs.

Keen and Graev's Review Score:

Fallout 4 & Fallout Shelter

Fallout 4

I watched Bethesda’s E3 Showcase last night to see whether or not I would want to be interested in Fallout 4. I will happily admit that I have never been into the Fallout series. Each new Fallout game I look to see if something unique or interesting presents itself, and then decide whether or not I’m going to finally jump on-board.

My reason for disliking Fallout has never too focused around the game mechanics. I think the open-world setting is pretty good. The conversation options are lacking, but the stories (as loose as they can be) are decent. What I really dislike is the post-apocalyptic world. I don’t like the brownish orangish grayish tint on everything. I don’t like wastelands or modern/post-modern weapons and gadgets when they’re combined with a wasteland environment and motif. That’s all on me, and entirely subjective.

Watching the video during the E3 Showcase, I will admit the world looked a little bit better… although still that post-apoc wasteland. There does seem to be a little more color infused into the world. I was digging that. Right when I was starting to think, “Hey this doesn’t look so bad,” I saw what probably would keep me away: The wacky/zany craziness of wearing ridiculous outfits and using downright unforgivably stupid weapons. I think I saw a bazooka shoot teddybears that made enemy’s heads explode. I’m done.

Fallout 4 Pip-Boy EditionGraev already Pre-ordered at Best Buy, and I got one of their available pre-orders of Fallout 4: Pip-Boy Edition on Amazon. It comes with a Pip-Boy that will hold your phone and several other “collector’s edition” items. Bethesda is going all out and creating an app to accompany the game. I don’t know if I’ll end up getting it or not, but I have the pre-order reserved and Amazon won’t charge me until it ships. Might as well hold on and make my decision later.

The biggest news of the night was that Fallout 4 will be available on November 10 of this year (2015) which is crazy fast.

Fallout Shelter

Bethesda also announced that right after the show a new game would be available for iOS and Andoird: Fallout Shelter. It’s one of those time wasting games where you build stations to collect resources and keep people happy. It’s Freemium, so you can download and wait for things or spend real money on lunch boxes which contain cards that will give your shelter benefits.

Fallout Shelter

I’ve just started playing and find it enjoyable enough to log in once or twice a day during breaks at work to check on my shelter, but it’s nothing I’ll spend money on just yet. I’ll write up more formal tidbits about the game later this week or next.

Splatoon

Splatoon Review

 

Alright Inklings, it’s time for our Splatoon Review! Splatoon is Nintendo’s first true foray into an online multiplayer experience on their consoles, and definitely their first attempt at creating an online shooter. How’d they do?

Splatoon is set in a brand new world where everyone is a kid… or a squid… let’s just call them Inklings. Inklings have gathered in Inkopolis Plaza which acts as a staging area for shopping for gear, venturing forth into single-player missions or challenges, jumping into ranked or unranked battles, and interacting with other players’ Inklings via the Miiverse.

Maps and Overall Feel
Splatoon is an incredibly fast pace third person shooter. Each round/map is only three minutes long, and players have one goal: Cover as much of the map in ink as possible. The team with the most ground (note: ground only) covered in their color ink will win. While an incredibly simple approach, and favorable for the younger audience, there’s depth and strategy at play here that only some of the more advanced or skilled players will employ.

You can still “kill” or splatter your opponents by shooting them inking them up bad enough. When you die you spawn back at your starting point which takes anywhere between 10 and 15 seconds to happen. This is valuable time lost if you consider that any ink you lay down can be painted over by the enemy. The map turns into a constant tug-o-war. The key is to own the center of the map and not let the enemy sneak behind your lines. If you lose control of the map you are likely to lose. [Read more…]

WAR Returns and Nintendo Remains Awesome

Sorry for the slow updates! I’ve had a busy week with work projects, and I haven’t had much time to game or write. I need to catch up on a couple of things I missed.

return of reckoning
Well this is a thing, I guess. Someone decided to emulate Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. I’m all for these kinds of projects. I’ve played on many of them ranging from Star Wars Galaxies to Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest, etc. I wish someone would make an EverQuest Online Adventures emu… yeah, get on that would you?  Anyway, WAR is back and alive. What they should honestly do is fix the stuff that sucked in WAR and try to tweak it until it’s fun.

Nintendo Doesn’t Want Whales

This is one of the many reasons why Nintendo remains one of my favorite companies. They’re not after the few people who spend lots of money in their game; they won’t analyze those whales and figure out how to get them to spend more. If they did that, Iwata says, “I don’t think we would be able to entertain hundreds of millions of consumers all around the world or to produce large and long-lasting achievements.” Mr. Iwata, I salute you sir. That’s a great way of saying that those who hunt whales are a flash in the pan. Nintendo focuses on making games fun and available to children and adults of all ages while staying true to their brand. Has it always been profitable? Not in the past couple of years, but that changed in their recent earnings report. Why can’t more companies emulate Nintendo?

Nintendo is also launching a new service in the near future all about bridging the gap across platforms. They want one single login for multiple devices that will link communities and create an ecosystem of tracking and rewarding players. Seems like it has potential. Oh, and they have this secret NX project coming soon… what could it be?

I’m excited for Splatoon to come out on May 29! Can’t wait to play with Graev and have another great game on my Wii U.

Top 10 Star Wars Games You Probably Never Played #MayThe4thBeWithYou

Star Wars has been a staple of gaming for decades.  We all know and love the popular titles like Knights of the Old Republic and Battlefront, and love to hate ones like SWTOR, but there are many Star Wars games you’ve probably never tried — many you’ve never even heard of! Allow me to share a few of my favorite lesser-known Star Wars Games.

Rebel Assault 2

Rebel Assault I (1993) & II (1995)

I combined these two games into one because most of you probably never played or even heard of either of them. I remember playing Rebel Assault I & II. At least I remember trying to play them. Buying a game for the PC was hit or miss when it came to getting things to work with DOS. Once they were finally up and running, these games boasted live-action cutscenes flying ship levels, ground combat, and cover mechanics all woven into a fascinatingly cheesy storyline.  I think the only thing I remember is hating half the levels and some prototype TIE fighter.

TIE Fighter Game

TIE Fighter (1994)

“You are now the hand of the Emperor!” Oh yeah, that’s right. Nothing like managing shields, speed, powers, etc., all from the cockpit of a TIE fighter. This made the simulation genre come alive for me.

Dark Forces Game

Dark Forces (1995)

Way more than a Doom clone, Dark Forces put the player in the role of Kyle Katarn for the first time. While tasked with stealing the plans of the Death Star, Katarn learns about this super secret Storm Trooper being built: The Dark Trooper. The story and levels were awesome. Dark Forces easily spawned the Star Wars shooters genre.

Yoda Stories

Yoda Stories (1996)

Yoda Stories is often hated on as one of the worst Star Wars games ever, but I think it’s simply misunderstood and before its time. Yoda Stories was a quasi-RPG map-solving game all about going on little mundane quests and exploring procedurally generated top-down tile maps. Graev absolutely loved it.

Dark Forces 2

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (1997)

Katarn is back in the continuation of what will become one of the most important stories to Star Wars video games. Katarn sets off on a journey (taking place right after Episode VI) to find the Dark Jedi who not only killed his father but also intends on rebuilding the Empire. Katarn discovers the force is strong with him and based on the player’s actions can become a Jedi or the next Emperor. Epic!

Rogue Squadron N64

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998)

A departure from the simulation style play of its predecessors, Rogue Squadron features amazing arcade-like flying and action. I remember flying in the X-Wing, A-Wing, V-Wing, Y-Wing and Snowspeeder. Roping walkers was a pita. Rogue Squadron on the N64 was the first game to ever use the Expansion Pak, which upped the resolution. I remember buying that thing just for this game!

Battle for Naboo N64

 

Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo (2000)

Made by the same team as Rogue Squadron, Factor 5 continued their arcade-action-flight series with Battle for Naboo. Featuring lots of cool vehicles from the era , Battle for Naboo was the first chance we had to experience vehicles and things like this from the prequels.

Rogue Squadron 2 Rogue Leader

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001)

Oh yeah, they made a second Rogue Squadron (and a third but I never played it), and it was pretty awesome. Rogue Squadron 2 was probably my favorite game on the Gamecube. Although the story was a little lacking compared to the original, it was simply awesome to fly all of the different ships.

Jedi Knight 2

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002)

Jedi Knight 2 is one of the best Star Wars games ever made. Continuing Katarn’s story is one thing, but where this game shined was in its multiplayer. From mods to roleplay servers, Jedi Knight II was yet another game before its time. JK2 featured different lightsaber dueling styles and force powers! I remember Graev and I played on a server all about recreating the Jedi Academy. He was an instructor and trained in light saber dueling styles. Graev and I even competed in a tournament competition hosted by Gateway computers. Good times.

Empire at War

Empire at War (2006)

If there was ever a franchise that would lend itself to a rich RTS, it’s Star Wars. Large epic battles in space, on land, and utilizing all of the Star Wars vehicles, characters — all in RTS format — makes Empire at War an easy addition to the list. Empire at War was much, much better than Galactic Battlegrounds which was the Star Wars RTS from 2001 and impossible to run on my computer.

Wow, that was an adventure down memory lane. Did I miss one of your favorite lesser-known Star Wars games?