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.

D&D Episode 2: The Dragon Cometh!

I’m pleased to present Episode 2 of our D&D adventures! We took several weeks off due to holidays, sickness, etc., but it was worth the wait. This recap is brought to you by Yotor the Dungeon Master.

** The following may contain spoilers **

half-dragonWhen last we left our heroes they had charged into the sieged town of Greenest. Battling their way to the towns keep saving a family along the way the adventures were greeted by a wounded Governor Nighthill.

With the keep thoroughly under siege by mercenaries and a dragon, Governor Nighthill asked our heroes to open a secret tunnel seldom used as a way for more families to get into the keep. While into the basement and through the locked door was bypassed easily by Ash, the sewer grate proved challenge and his lock-picks broke in the rusty gate. Ursus heaved and smashed the gate-lock allowing for our heroes to open the gate but not without drawing some attention and causing an ambush. While our heroes were gallantly fighting back more kobolds and raiders, several swarms of rats were also on the prowl within the creek bed. The fight was bloody and hard but our heroes soldiered through with considerable cuts and bruises and were even able to take a prisoner. Once the secret tunnel for the keep was clear our heroes returned to the keep only to find a new threat. The raiders have broken into the keep!

Our heroes return to chaos as guards and raiders fight under the start of soft rain drops. Castellan Escobert, the head guard for Greenest, yells at our heroes for aid to close the sally port that has been broken in. Rushing to the courtyard our heroes face the first of the true Cult of the Dragon. A man with red embroiderer dragon tunic and mantle attacked our heroes flanked by Kobolds and large Lizard no smaller than six feet in size. Ursus charged forward smashing with his warhammer. Nerubia the Drow cleric of Lathander drew upon radiant light to burn his foes. This cultist hurled magical enchantments demanding servitude of our heroes to the great dragon god Tiamat, but our heroes wills are strong. Above a roar of the dragon causes the keep to shake. After several insults were hurled by Keen the Bard, and arrows fired by Ash our heroes cleared the courtyard and smashed the robed acolyte to unconsciousness. Rushing to the doors that were smashed in beyond a new group of even more raiders were about to come through when some quick thinking and a fire illusion was cast to buy time for our heroes to fix the broken gate.

After fixing the broken gate our heroes were given a moment of rest and started to interrogate the prisoners collected and we get our first glimpse of the a leader of the raid on Greenest.  Frulam Mondath is seen wearing all purple leading a hefty guard, at her right hand a half-dragon named Langdedrosa Cyanwrath. Greenest is being attacked by mercenaries and cultists from the Cult of the Dragon. A blast of thunder again shakes the keep, and now a scream comes from the keeps roof, DRAGON!.

greenest-dragon-attack

A roar as our heroes ascend, and coming into the rain soaked apex of the keep our heroes are greeted by an adult blue dragon. Its rain soaked scales glisten against the flames from the town bellow. Guards fire arrows at the beast as it bears down on them. Our heroes attack back, but with a sweeping breath no less than a half dozen brave Greenest guards are gone in a crackle as lightning sears through their bodies leaving nothing but charred bones behind.  Keen the Bard seeming to remember a legend about a great gnomish dragon tamer attempts to recreate the ancient text but to no avail, and settles for calling the dragon’s horde ‘small’. A stinging insult that brings the beast’s ire. A single swipe leaves our small Keen in a bloody heap several yards from where he stood. Unconscious, the little gnome is loosing blood fast. Seeing his companion fall Ash draws his bow and fires a shot that would have felled smaller beasts, which drives the dragon into the clouds and saved many lives that night.

Keen lying dying is tended by Nerubia soft white light closing gushing wounds, and Keen is roused from his death bed. Taking a few moments to recover from the battle, Govener Nighthill scrounges several healing potions, but the night is long and full of terror.

A teenager rushes to governor Nighthill and our Heroes and yells that the temple of Chauntea is under attack and the raiders have started to bash through the doors. Our heroes race off through the secret entrance to save the last group of townsfolk. The rain has started to come down now and the smoke is thick along the ground which provides much relief to our heroes as the stealthy approach the church. Seeing an opportunity with a side entrance  Keen the bard uses a spell “thunderwave” to clear a path, combined with quick calm thinking our heroes are able to save those trapped in the church without much difficulty and return to keep to ride out the rest of the night.

From the darkness, a creature strides into the dim light of the dying fires around the keep. Although it is shaped roughly like a human, it is atleast seven feet tall, its skin is covered in blue scales, its fingers bear wicked claws, and its face has the muzzle and reptilian eyes of a dragon. The creature stops about eighty yards from the main gate of the keep and scans the walls. A line of kobolds fans out behind it. With their spears, the prod four human prisoners into the dim light: a woman, a teenage boy in a blood-soaked tunic, and two children. The half-dragon hails the keep, “Defenders of Greenest! This has been a successful night, and I am feeling generous. Do you see these four pitiful, useless prisoners? We have no need for them, so I will trade them back to you. Send out your best warrior to fight me, and you can have these four in exchange.”

Without hesitation Ursus stands, gathers his shield and war hammer and marches to the front gate. The doors open and Ursus the Dwarven Paladin strides forward casting aside his shield and war-hammer drawing a two handed maul. The half-dragon Cyanwrath draws a large great-sword with his clawed scaly hands, and the dance and strikes begin. Ursus deftly dodging the great sword, surefooted he lands several strong hits into the half-dragon. Then the half-dragon opens its mouth and breaths a gout of lightning into the center mass of Ursus, the blast sends him a clean eight feet back and lands on his back in the mud. Cyanwrath laughs, as Ursus does not stand, and then true to his word releases the prisoners.

Dawn breaks on Greenest, Ursus lies unbreathing.

Will Ursus make it? What will happen to Greenest? What of Cyanwrath and Frulam Mondath? Who is this cult?

Find out next time!

D&D: Episode 1: Attack on Greenest

The D&D group we put together has successfully completed our first real session! You may recall me posting to request participation from our readers, and the offer still stands. Read through a synopsis of our first session bought to you by our GM. If you’re interested in joining us, we still have room for 2 more. Visit our Tabletop Forum, post here, or email me.

greenest-dragon-attack

(The following contains spoilers for the Hoard of the Dragon Queen)

Our adventurers started their journey as guards for a merchant making his way to Greenest. A group consisting of two gnomes, one disfigured walking with a limp, one talkative with a better story than the one being told [That’s me!], a seemingly generic dwarf stout with a good heart, and a mysterious drow who stays silent but wears the robes of the faithful. Our band of unlikely heroes has been traveling for a few tendays enjoying the green fields for which this area is named. Rumors from others traveling have warned of bandits attacking travelers on the roads but so far the journey has been peaceful and calm with plenty of good song to pass the boring days.

This is the closest image I could find. Imagine him with yellowish blonde hair and instruments on his back (can someone photoshop that for me?)

This is the closest image I could find. Imagine him with yellowish blonde hair and instruments on his back (can someone photoshop that for me?)

As our adventurers topped the hill expecting to see greenest in its peaceful nature, smoke greats them. Greenest is under attack. Townsfolk can be seeing running and distant screams can be heard as a raid is just starting to take place. Flying high above a massive blue dragon towers over the town bringing with him a feeling of dread. Quickly the heroes race to the town to do what they can to save the townsfolk.

At sunset they arrive at the edge of town and as they are making their way through they stumble upon an injured man with his three children and his wife fighting off a gaggle of kobolds — small little dragonesk humanoids with wicked teeth and tiny clawed hands wielding slings and daggers.

Valorously our heroes saved the family and took them through the town facing three more groups of raiding bandits and kobolds. Our dwarf Ursus driving his war hammer through many wicked foes. The disfigured gnome “Ash” quickly dispatched foes using his bow. Inspiring his comrades and assaulting his foes with viscous insults, Keen the bard helped bring his associates to victory. While the drow, Nerubia, tended to the injured and brought radiant light to his enemies.

keen the bard playing his lute

This is pretty much me at the start of every engagement

While able to make their way through the groups of raiders it was starting to take its toll. The wounds on our heroes growing more and more threatening and a final group of a more than a half a dozen raiders lay between them and the keep. Ingeniously our heroes devised a plan. Using a recently acquired keg of strong wine they cleverly placed it with an illusion of gold piling onto it which drew in the last bandit group. The with the trap set and the bait of gold to much for the bandits to resist, the resulting explosion decimated the last standing obstacle before finally safely delivering the family into the keep.

Inside the true devastation of the raid was beginning to dawn on our heroes as they saw before them a towns people huddled in fear against a terrible dragon flying above and chaos in the streets of their fair town now being sacked for their livelihoods.

Leading the town guard and mustering a defense against the encroaching raiders is Escobart the Red, from the Iron Rust clan. Not able to make to much small talk Escobart instructs the adventurers to see Governor Nighthill the town leader. As he will make better use of their unique talents.

With our heroes already weary from several battles Governor Nighthill informs our champions that “The night has just begun.”

May’s Releases and Keen’s Backlog

I have high hopes for May being a great month of gaming. I have a rich backlog of games to go through, and several games are/might come out this month.

This Month’s Hyped Releases

EverQuest Ragefire Server

EverQuest Progression Server: Ragefire

Looks like the new EQ progression server coming soon® will be named Ragefire. The poll is still up but apparently Ragefire has such a lead that it’ll win no matter what. While I think Zordalicus Ragefire is an awesome dragon, I can’t help but think of Ragefire Chasm from WoW. Oh well! It’s still a cool name. I’m hoping this means that they are on track to give us a beta for Ragire Progression sometime near the end of this month. Chances might be good since Ragefire is already on the server list when you sub to EQ and log in.

My friends and I in the K&G Community will be playing. I’m going Bard for sure. Yep, my body is ready (for carpal tunnel).

Splatoon

Splatoon

Nintendo’s first real foray into multiplayer online shooters in the Wii U comes out May 29! I’m really looking forward to playing this one with Graev. We’ll team up and ink people to pieces. I’m hoping for some depth to the customization and advancing, but in the end if it’s just a great game with fun shooting mechanics I can still totally get behind that. I’ve been looking for this kind of game on a console.

My Backlog

AC-Unity

Assassin’s Creed Unity

The biggest game in my backlog is AC: Unity. Assassin’s Creed games are amazing. Black Flag was my game of the year in 2013, and AC Unity is the next in the series and I have to get through it before the next AC game comes out. I got this for Christmas and have just now have the time to really start playing. Already I’ve noticed that much of the emphasis on the ‘out of game’ experience is removed. The part where the ‘main character’ in ‘real life’ gets out of the animus (where the real story is being told) doesn’t happen. I’m on the side of people who love the convoluted AC story, but I get why Unity focuses much more on the ‘in-game’ gameplay where you control Arno.

Ridiculously cheap on Amazon right now: $19.99 on PS4 and Xbox One.

The rest of my backlog consists of…

  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  • Dragon Age Inquisition
  • Shadows or Mordor
  • Lego City Undercover

Yep, lots of somewhat older games but ones I definitely want to try and get through before the summer. What’s in your backlog? What are you looking forward to playing in May?

 

New Nintendo 3DS XL & Monster Hunter Ultimate 4

New NIntendo 3DS XLI’m 1/10th the enthusiast that Graev is when it comes to handheld systems. We both got the 3DS when it very first launched and became ambassadors (received the spiffy badge and free games) for supporting their somewhat rocky launch.

When the 3DS took off and launched the ‘XL’ version, then several more versions of the XL, Graev would get them and pass down his systems to me and I would fiddle around in a Pokemon game every now and again. When the New Nintendo 3DS XL came out, boasting so many new features, I decided I wanted one.

My family got me the New Nintendo 3DS XL as a belated birthday present, and thanks to Graev tossed in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate to go along with it. I’ll talk on MH4U but first let me talk up a few of the things I like about the new system.

Improved 3D Technology

New Nintendo 3DS Eye Tracking

If you’re like me and unable to hold still, you probably noticed that the 3D was finicky on the original 3DS. Moving your head to the side or not holding the 3DS at just the right angle made viewing the 3D effects difficult. The New 3DS includes a form of eye tracking that knows where your eyes are at and adapts to follow them when you move your face or the system around. I know it tracks my eyes because when I look a way then look back it wigs out for a second to find my eyes again. So as long as you don’t turn your head and look away completely, this thing keeps you engaged in the experience.

new-nintendo-3ds-c-stickThe C Stick

A couple of new controls were added like two new shoulder buttons, but the real star here is the C stick. The C stick is that little nubbin you see just above the X button. It barely moves but is made of a rubbery type feel that is sensitive to how your thumb pushes in directions. The only C stick implementation I’ve played with so far is in Monster Hunter, but that ability to control the camera alone has proven immensely useful for someone like me who has always struggled with handheld systems and the lack of ‘freedom’ of movement. Works great!

The New 3DS XL Overall

Overall the system is nice a big, feels good in my hands, and runs faster thanks to a better CPU. The browser on this thing feels better to me and navigates well. I think the camera was also improved to no longer be so dark and grainy. I haven’t played with the Amiibo support or anything but it has that. I plan to give the wireless file transfer stuff a try later to see how easy it is to take stuff from the micro sd card and transfer it over the wifi network straight to my PC. OH! I should also mention that exclusive games are coming to the New 3DS XL that will take advantage of not only the controls but the new upgraded speeds, so they will look even better.

 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

mh4u

I have never been a Monster Hunter fan. I was always intimidated by what felt like massive barriers to entry and learning curves. There is so much that goes into such a simple premise of hunting monsters. Choosing weapon and armor types, crafting, upgrading, massive amounts of collecting, tons of strategic positioning during fights… it’s intense.

Much of that has changed now that I’ve hunkered down and put about 8 hours into the game. I’m starting to realize MH isn’t as incomprehensible as I thought. Still massive and overwhelming? Yes. If I stop and think about how insignificant I am compared to other people like Graev who have put in 100 hours already and could play another 200 hours easily… yep I could give up now. But I don’t. I focus on me and I go kill monsters.

For those who are completely unaware, here’s the gist of the game. You’re a monster hunter (the story is pretty simple and forgettable). You have a basic city/hub where you get quests, craft, etc. When you’re ready to go out on a quest you depart from the hub and you’re transported to a ‘map’ of ‘screens’ or ‘sections’ containing monsters. You’ll have lots of ‘trash’ monsters to kill as you make your way to objectives. You can harvest monsters you kill, big and small, for their resources which is essentially the entire point of the game: Kill monsters, harvest resources, make better stuff. You can mine nodes too for metals and gems, harvest plants, bugs, fish, etc. When done, you’re teleported back to the hub.

I’m having fun. I’ve even played multiplayer co-op with Graev! From the break room at work on my lunch I log in and Graev and I can connect to each other and slay monsters together. That’s an AWESOME feature for handheld systems, and it supports like 4 or 5 people all playing together hunting big monsters — yep, that’s pretty sweet.

I’m still a newb. I’m actually still trying to figure out which weapon I want to use. I thought I decided on the Chargeblade, but something about it just doesn’t fit my play-style. I’ve slayed lots of monsters already, gone on plenty of quests, and I’m crafting armor sets. This game brings out the min-maxer in me already by making me want to go online and read message boards to find the best combination of armor sets for my weapon type. Kinda fun, but kinda stressful.

Maybe the biggest downside to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and MH games in general, is the time investment. Don’t get me wrong, you can have tons of fun like I am from the start, but to really get far it’s going to take you easily 30+ hours. That’s realistically no bad, but for a handheld system it’ll be the most I’ve ever put into a game except for Pokemon.

Should you get Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate? Yes. Get it. It’s awesome. Just be ready for a learning curve and expect to invest some time. It’s a game that will last.