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Meat_Bag Blog

Call to arms... again.

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Looks like it's time for me to take my old camo uniform out of the closet and clean my guns. Again. :P

To no little surprise, I just discovered a new ArmA title that's being developed by Bohemia Interactive, the masterminds behind the original Operation Flashpoint. As some of you may know, I have had a love/hate relationship with Bohemia Int. for a long time. And just like an old ex-couple that broke up but stayed in touch regardless of the past mistakes, we started talking again. :) First I dumped Bohemia because of ArmA and ArmA 2 (which were utterly disastrous), and acted hostile to keep her from calling me again. And Bohemia generally tought I was a selfish d*** and didn't call me again. Then, after a while, I saw signs of progress on Bohemia's part, and decided to return the calls. Thinking maybe she changed after all this time, turning into a girlfriend/video game developer company I always wanted. And KNEW she could be if only she tried a little harder. This time it was me that picked up the phone and invited Bohemia out for a drink. I was skeptical at first, but after a while had to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Here's what we talked about... :D

We talked about ArmA 3. And why I'm (against my will, to be honest) excited about it, and also why I fear I might be disappointed again. So what's the deal? Well, let's try to sum it up. We'll put all the pros and cons on paper and see if ArmA 3 will finally live up to it's potential. So here goes... ;)

Why I'm excited about it:

In my spare time, I sometimes let my imagination wander off and create things of it's own. On such one occasion I tried to imagine what would a perfect military-themed game look like. What I imagined was a cross between Operation Flashpoint, Jagged Alliance and Brothers In Arms. Here's how it's supposed to look like - a hardcore, realistic FPS. That takes place on a huge battlefield, has tons of vehicles, weapons and gadgets, and offers you complete freedom to accomplish your missions any way you choose. Tons of different weapons that can be modified, as well as uniforms, assault vests, body armor, and countless ways to customize your loadout. I want both my allies and my foes to be smart and deadly, so I am forced to use my brain more then my reflexes to survive. I want a simple, Brothers In Arms style system of squad command, so I don't have to break my fingers every time I want to say "Squad, regroup to me!". I want a fully destructible environments. And I want it to run smoothly on a relatively reasonable hardware. Oh, and a bit more realism. Yes, realism. Think about it... In all those "realistic" military themed games, the guns never jam and are perfectly accurate all the time. Even the freakin' sniper scopes are zeroed in perfectly. There is always one side that is "bad" (your enemies), and there are no civilians, mobsters, mercenaries, local militias, black markets, news agencies, corporations or anything else resembling an actual war-torn country. I want that changed! I want a clusterf*** where you can't tell right from wrong, you're not sure who the enemy is and you always expect a bullet in the back, even from a civilian. I don't want a fancy airsoft match! :evil:

So can ArmA 3 fulfill those wishes? Well, some of them it already fulfills. Here's what Bohemia promises...

1.) Huge environments. Check.

2.) Many ways to customize your gear, your guns, even your uniforms according to a mission and terrain at hand. Check.

3.) Complete freedom in a way you accomplish your missions. Lonewolf, squad leader, saboteur, ninja... You name it! Check.

4.) Clusterf*** of many factions, friends, foes, guerillas, arms dealers, etc. Holy s***! At long last, CHECK! :D *tears of joy*

OK, but what about those other stuff? And by "other stuff" I mean - bugs and design flaws that plague ArmA series since it first saw the light of day. Well...

Why I might be bitterly disappointed:

Let's face it, ArmA was never a big budget game. And that's one big part of it's problem right there. It's not a game for a wide audience, like Call Of Battlefield 28 or whatever it is these kids play nowadays. It's a rare gem for a small audience, mostly adult people who want something more then "frags". So you can't make a lot of money from it. Which means no big time distributer would finance it. And you can't make a blockbuster without money. That's the sad truth. No matter how talented and creative you are. In fact, It's a freakin' miracle that ArmA had survived for as long as it did.

The other part of the problem lies in the fact that they couldn't (or most likely wouldn't) fix some of the issues that doomed ArmA. Mainly tons of bugs and stability issues. But OK, I get it, lack of budget, lack of time, lack of proper tools, etc., etc. What I don't get is why the hell can't they create an AI that would at least resemble anything called "smart". And why they simply refuse to fix the broken command system which makes it impossible to command a unit in the field. Also, it wouldn't hurt to put more effort into creating better misions. A little bit more balance of power between you and your enemies, better scenarios, believeable environments... I know perfect AI is impossible to programme, but Brother In Arms had it polished almost to perfection. And you only needed 2 buttons to command 3 to 4 different teams. Why not copy that?

I might be excited about all the progress it has made, and call Bohemia over for dinner or something, but until I see some hard evidence that the most serious and crippling issues of the series will finally be fixed, I will not get my hopes up for ArmA 3.

But I will keep my eye on it... ;)

Dead Island, Dead City...

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You might be wondering why I haven't written a review of Dead Island just yet... :P

Seen as I have been thrilled about this game for a long time, it might come as a surprise. But the truth is, I simply didn't have enough time. I wanted to do a proper review, and in order to do so, you need to play the game A LOT. Especially a game that is as big as Dead Island. :o

Until the full review is ready, let me adress a few serious issues I have about this game. Stuff that would make a review too long, even for my standards... :lol:

First of all, I LOVE Dead Island! Or, should I say, I love 1/3 of it... Say whatever you want about this game, but you cannot deny this simple truth - Dead Island should've stayed in development for at least 6 more months. :(

Just as some games are woefully delayed (STALKER, anyone?), some are woefully rushed. I don't know what caused it, I don't know whose fault is it, but Dead Island came out when only 1/3 of the game was actually finished (even tou it had it's own issues). The rest of the game feels like it barely made it out of first beta testing. So let's start from the beginning... :?

Dead Island is a broken game, to put it bluntly. SERIOUSLY broken game. Which makes me want to punch something, because it's otherwise a genuine, honest-to-God GAME OF THE YEAR material. :cry:

The first level is, of course, a prologue. A little tutorial that teaches you a few basics. And already it gives a bad first impression, as far as the graphics are concerned. Some broken textures, messed-up pixels... Ugly, but not game-crippling. And I only noticed it during the prologue. Once the actual game starts, it runs perfectly smoothly, with maxed-out graphics settings. The atmosphere is great, and there is no loading, except the first one when you actually start your game. Unfortunately, there are some other issues. For example, if you grab a piece-of-crap weapon you intent only to sell later on, it automatically switches with the weapon you are currently holding. For no goddamn reason! :evil: It's espacially nasty when you get caught in an ambush, and you're expected to defend yourself with a broomstick you just picked up, because the game thinks it's a better weapon then a machete you were just holding. I also "enjoyed" how the game loved switching my weapons for (useless for anything except making Molotov cocktails) bottles of alcohol I picked up, forcing me to open up an inventory screen every 2 seconds.

Also, good luck with throwing your weapons! If you miss, there is a good chance that your weapon will disappear into thin air. Even if you score a hit, you might lose it anyway, because f*** you, is what the game basically says. Your powerful weapons also tend to disappear if you accidentally switch them with some random piece of junk (yes, the inventory system is completely broken, when you boil it down). And since you can't save or load the game at will, I was literally left with a feeling that the game just showed me a huge middle finger. More then once.

At first, I had the impression that the game only saves my current condition as far as money and items are concerned, and respawns me at the nearest safe house (as it damn well should be). But I was wrong. Yes, it really is like that in the beginning, but later on it becomes clear it simply returns you to the spot where it saved you last, during whatever quest you had active in the "quest" menu at the time. Which is really, really bad. Especially when you turn on the game tomorrow and find yourself in a middle of a zombie crowd, with weapons nearly broken, far from the nearest safe house. :evil:

And these are the most obvious flaws within the game itself, not counting the technical issues you encounter once you reach the infamous city (the first 1/3 takes place on the beach and in the jungle, the other part takes place in a dirty urban favela). Long loading times, stability issues, drops in frame rate...

The patch I installed was supposed to fix this, but as you guessed, it only made things worse. :?

Jesus Christ, how the hell did anyone let that happen after seeing the first beta testing?!?! :evil:

Escape from Dead Island

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Holy crap, where do I begin? :D

As usual, it's been a while since my last blog post. The truth is, I have so much work to do around the house, I barely have any time for my number 1 favorite hobby - video games. :( So, the less games I play, the less stuff I have to talk about on Gamespot. Oh, sure, I could talk about my dog (and believe me, she's adorable), my airsoft gear (not that I'm bragging, but I do have better quality gear in my closet then many Croatian special forces operatives do... :lol: ), or new courses I'll be taking... But come on, we all know I don't really have that much to say! :P I'm not really Stephen Hawking or Einstein... ;)

So I mostly just stick to video games...

Also, I'd like to thank all the people who read and comment on my blog posts. You may be few in numbers, but you know what I always say - "Sometimes, less is more!" You mean a lot to me, is what I'm saying... 8)

As far as the islands and dead thingies go, we have a lot to look forward to! Dead Island is finally here! So sharpen your knives and machetes and get ready for the first impressions... :)

A lot of people so far complained about bugs, bad graphics and general "half-finished" state of Dead Island. And to a certain degree, I must agree with them. I have played it only for a few hours this afternoon, but my first impression was not really great. After installing the game, I was treated with a not-really-great (and IMHO completely unnecesarry) intro movie. So here I am, stone drunk, in some tropical holiday resort, stumbling through crowd of similarly drunken rich douchebags. Out of the blue, zombies show up and start eating people. Oh, boy! Didn't see that coming, eh? :P

After waking up in the morning, you realize you are for some reason immune to whatever turned an island of Jersey Shore rejects into a hungry Z-team. And that's it for the story... I mean, what could you possibly expect in a game that's all about killing zombies with crowbars? ;)

However, intro movie is pretty law-quality, and seems like something my old Playstation 2 could run in real time without breaking a sweat. All the character models look exactly the same (especially bikini-clad women), only with different colors. Not very impressive for a 2011 game... :? As soon as it ends, you find yourself in a hotel room, waking up with a nasty case of hangover. Again, graphics are not really impressive, but the atmosphere is nice and creepy. A strange feeling of dread crawls up your spine as you stumble through dark hotel corridors. Zombies show up, and after a few minutes of frantic running, you meet a band of scared survivors. And that's when the game actually starts...

Like any good RPG, you start with some simple weapons and a simple quest. You gather money, experience and all sorts of items that you can use to craft better weapons. Not bad, not bad... but it would all be useless if the combat was crappy. But believe you me, this is the best zombie smasher after Left 4 dead! I selected a character that specializes in blades (machetes, meat cleavers, knives...), and it's a real pleasure to cut your enemies into pieces. Limbs fall off, heads get chopped, blood splatters everywhere! If nothing else, it will be crowned as the bloodiest game of 2011.

Once you get out in the open, that's where the graphics shines! I noticed some serious flaws (as far as the graphics are concerned) during the first scenes in the hotel. But once I got outside, and saw the beautiful sandy beaches, I went "Wow!". No, it's not that the graphics are technically flawless. It's the atmosphere it creates. Think of the first Far Cry game - sandy beaches, sun, blue sky, ocean, palm trees... now add blood, guts and dead bodies. That's Dead Island!

In case you didn't know, this is a pure sandbox game. There are practically no loading screens, and you actually FEEL like you could explore everything on this island. I had a hard time deciding WHAT should I explore next. The beach? That hotel in the distance? Lifeguard station? Question, questions... :P

One thing I have to admit tou - voice acting is simply horrible! And the rest of the game's sounds are not much better either. But I don't really care, since all I want to do is explore a gorgeous tropical island and butcher zombies.

So far I didn't notice any bugs, but maybe I managed to get my hands on a "patched" version of the game - after all, the developers swore to update it after only one freakin' day out, since fans complaining of getting a half-baked beta version of Dead Island for their hard-earned money. Who knows... So far I played it only for a few hours, so who knows what might happen next.

Whatever may be, I'll keep you posted! :D

Makes you think, doesn't it...?

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Oh, hey, look... I got my hands on another blockbuster-wannabe game! :D

Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a hint... It's an FPS game, completely linear, with pretty graphics, dumb enemies, and lots of untapped potential. No, it's not the last Operation Flashpoint... :evil:

It's Singularity. Yep, a game that started as a kickass survival horror FPS, only to unveil it's true nature (that of a boring, cookie-cutter FPS) after only a few hours. Don't get me wrong, it's not really a BAD game. Only a game that could be qualified as "some ol' bulls**t".:o I mean, we're talking about a game that came out in 2010! And all it can offer is a bunch of moronic soldiers standing still while you get a drop on them, and "monsters" that swarm you like locusts, all the while it takes you through a level on a leash. Is THAT the best video games can do? :?

All the hints of originality disappear after an hour or two, and all you're left with is strolling from point A to point B on a single narrow path. No freedom, not even a damn backtracking if you suddenly find yourself short of ammo or health. So if you decide to go back and pick up that health kit you left in the previous room, for those rainy days, all you'll find is a closed door. Open wide only a minute ago, now welded shut. No stray paths here, oh no! No sirre, this is a game that takes place in the former Soviet union, and you're gonna do things by the book, dammit! :P

I guess that's why they say "In Soviet Russia, door opens you!"

And guess which 3 games were actually fun? Of all the games I managed to get my hands on lately, the only ones I actually enjoyed were Minecraft, Trine and Limbo.

That's right, a couple of Indie games, 50 MB each. And I was barely able to keep my butt on the seat from the excitement when I realized how awesome these games are. Even tou they're all made by 2-3 guys in their basement. Makes you think, doesn't it? 8)

So here we have a bunch of blockbuster games, each one being a rip-off of the other, and they all make me sick. While on the other hand, we have a bunch of 2D side-scrollers and Lego simulations that made me go "Wow". :) I'll be honest with you, I'm sick to death of shooting galleries, turrets and railway sequences. And "shiny" graphics (you know what I mean). So I sincerely hope this is the beginning of the end for "blockbuster games". Or at least a beginning of a new period where, alongside flashy shooting galleries, we will finally be able to get our hands on more original, fun and immersive titles as well, made by people with visions, not money-grabbing companies...

New strategies and new reviews

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Well, this certainly was a busy week, as far as the video games are concerned... :P

After being utterly disappointed by some of the most promising titles I managed to add to my collection, gods of video gaming are (once again) showing me that good things can be found where you least expect them. :D

After "hatred and bile given form" review of Far Cry 2, I tried Mercenaries 2, a sequel to one of the best games I ever played, and the only game that could make me want to buy a PS2 again. Needless to say, it was a disaster. Ugly graphics, bad sound, choppy frame rate, loads of bugs, and utterly broken shooting mechanics... It didn't change much from the original Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, but it sure as hell messed up everything that was good about that game. I was seriously beginning to lose hope... :(

But then I got my hands on Men Of War, courtesy of (now non-existent) 1C Company... :D

I have to say, I am always skeptical about games developed in Eastern European countries (and Russia). But unlike big shots such as EA, they are not afraid to experiment, and create something new. 1C Company gave us Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath, Stalingrad, Men Of War and many other cool (and mostly unknown to the wider audience) strategy games. But unfortunately, no matter how cool, fun, refreshing and original these games were, and how many boundaries they broke, they often suffer from low production values. Bad voice acting, lack of polish, bad graphics and numerous bugs are always there, just so they could prevent those games from becoming blockbusters. :?

But sometimes it's worth it, otherwise you might miss a great and unique game that can offer you a lot of fun. Other times - not so much. So, was it worth it this time? I'd say yes... ;)

More coming up... :D

Blood diamonds and paratroopers

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Ahoy, fellow gamespotters! :D

It feels good to be back in the gaming world after so long. :) I wish I could say I returned with some kicka** titles I can be excited about, but unfortunately, the only thing I can say is - what the hell happened to one of my favorite games?!?! :o

I'm talking about Far Cry 2, a game so bad it pushed the gaming world back for almost a decade. :evil: I love the first Far Cry, and it hurts me to say I hate it's sequel more then I hate mosquito invasions (which I REALLY hate). :?

The other game that left an impression on me was 9th Company: Roots Of Terror. It is a typical RTS game where you lead a company of ragtag young Soviet airborne troopers on their tour of duty in Afghanistan. It is based on an award-winning Russian blockbuster movie of the same name, and so far it seems pretty good, despite some of it's flaws. You might've never heard of it, but the movie is pretty popular in my country. 8) However, video games made in Russia aren't, so I'm still skeptical about it. I'll know more after one or two more missions... But so far it looks promising. :)

So, enjoy my review of Far Cry 2, and I hope I'll be the first to review 9th Company as well. :D

Things video games really need to stop doing

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As some of you already know, I have recently reviewed one of the most disappointing video games in my video gaming history - Red River. What pissed me off about this game, even more then dumbing it down for the kindergarten kids and their moms, is some of the flaws that plagued video games for years. I've seen it in countless FPS games, I'll probably se it in countless more, and I'm really getting sick of it!

So I'm writing it down in a vague hope that somewhere, some programmer or game developer will stumble upon it and read it, and maybe, just MAYBE... Decide to do something about it by the time Modern Warfare 28 is released. Here goes nothing, then...

1.) „Hoorah, Marines!"

Look, don't get me wrong, I feel nothing but respect for all the brave men (maybe even some women) who serve in various Naval Infantry units worldwide. Regardless of their nationality or country of origin. But look, I'm really, REALLY getting sick of goddamn MARINES in every FPS, tactical FPS and space FPS game I play, hear about, or see someone else playing. Yes, I know that US Marines are kind of a legend and all, and I actually like playing as one of them from time to time. But this is getting ridiculous! Not only am I getting sick of playing as a MARINE, I'm also getting sick of seeing every Marine portrayed as a macho superhero with growling voice and biceps the size of a tank. Also, they're always portrayed as righteous defenders of freedom and peace, beloved and adored wherever they show up. It's cheesy, and it makes me feel likea pampered 10-year-old watching Chuck Norris films for the first time. We're all adults here, and we all know that's not how the world works. So give me some grittiness and realism every once in a while. We're all big boys, we can handle it...

Also, WHY THE F*** DO THEY HAVE MARINES IN SPACE?!?! They're NAVAL infantry, for Christ's sake!

2.) „Mommy, please hold my hand!"

Not every game can be a sandbox. I understand that. Not every game HAS to be a sandbox, after all. Take racing games for example. I don't have to drive from Germany to Spain in order to feel the thrill of speed or car chase. A single track does the job quite well, thank you very much. But when a big budget game such as Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway and Medal Of Honor treats me like an idiot who can't find his way out of a supermarket, that's where I draw the line!

When I was daydreaming about future of video game I sure as hell wasn't picturing crap such as Medal Of Honor plaguing my hard drive. I was hoping for an open world where I can explore every house and alley, every tree and every field like I would in real life. And maybe blow it all up with a rocket launcher, but more on that later... Anyway, why am I so bothered by this? Well, as hardware gets more powerful, and I keep spending more money on it, I want to see something in return! I want to see it's capable of more then showing me cool-looking water reflections! Modern Warfare, and even goddamn Red River showed how much of a difference can it make when you have a bit more freedom and flexibility in a way you can accomplish your mission. Without making a sandbox game.

Unfortunately, Red River is pretty much crap anyway, but at least this way it's a little bit less crap then Medal Of Honor.

3.) „Oh, sorry, I didn't realize we're playing airsoft here..."

Apart from holding my hand the whole time, this has to be the most frustrating thing a video game can do to me. Here I am, blasting hordes of Zombie Nazis with my awesome Shredder Gun, screaming „Hoorah, Marines!", and my targets fall down without even a scratch. Maybe a little red cloud around them if I'm lucky. And that's it.

Look, what is the goddamn point of sniping my enemy from over a mile away if I can't see a hole in his head? What is the point of wielding a machine gun if you can't put 10 holes per second into somebody, each one gushing blood like it should? Or wielding a Great Sword Of Demon Slaying +5 when you can't decapitate anyone? Or firing a rocket launcher that can't even destroy a shoddy wooden fence?

Don't tell me you have to censor that s***! Why the hell do you think I'm playing action games in the first place?

Also, don't tell me you don't have the technology for that! The technology is already here, and it has been for years! It's 2011, figure it out!

4.) „Sir, you are a 'tard!"

Give me enemies that will outsmart me sometimes, goddammit!!!!! Not morons that run around like headless chickens and wait patiently for me to blast them!

5.) „I AM THE GREATEST!"

To all the video game developers out there - YOU ARE NOT THE GREATEST! In 99.9% of cases, whatever you're trying to do, somebody already did it 10 times better then you. So get your head out of your a**, stop re-inventing the steel all the time, and see how talented programmers did things before you - then do the same. I don't know why is that so hard to understand, and why do they keep ignoring all that pesky „progress" video games made over the years. That's why even today, after all those games that single-handedly revolutionized the industry, we still get crap such as Unreal 2 and Medal Of Honor. Developers constantly try to invent something „new", regardless of all the other games on the market that already did it better. That's why, even after Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30, we had ArmA that required me to press 15 different key combinations just to order my men to move a little bit to the left, not to mention enemies that run into walls face first. Why we had Unreal 2 after Half-Life. Or any s***y strategy game after Total War.

Is it because of the patents? Copyright laws? Or is it because all of the game developers still have that nerd high-school mentality...? "I am the smartest, you just wait and see! I'll come up with something better, just to show ya all!" Well, I guess we'll never know...

Of video games and conspiracies

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So, my dear readers, time has come to say goodbye to Operation Flashpoint... :(

Red River finally came, and destroyed all the hopes of ever playing a good tactical shooter ever again. I had so much hope for this game, but unfortunately, the industry has a nasty habit of using my hopes to wipe it's a**. You can read the review and see what exactly went wrong with Red River (spoiler alert: Everything!), but for now let me draw your attention on a few nasty details I can't help but notice... :o

It seems to me that all the programmers nowadays think that all FPS games should be like Call Of Duty. :evil:

It wouldn't be a bad thing if all those "programmers" actually had the budget and the talent to create an awesome FPS game such as Modern Warfare. We'd be overwhelmed with kickass titles all the time, for both single and multiplayer. But they don't. Guys from Codemasters are some of those "programmers".

The first thing I noticed about Red River is that it's meant for consoles (strange thing, since the game was first released on PC). Sluggish, cumbersome menus that were clearly meant for joystick kind of gave it away... But what I hated most was it's pathetic attempt to be like Battlefield series. :?

Listen here, Codemasters! :evil: Call Of Duty 4 and Bad Company 2 became hit titles because they offer an exciting single player campaign with A LOT of replay value, AS WELL AS a great multiplayer. That's important because all those people playing Call Of Duty online all day - they're just a small, hardcore group of online gamers. All the people I know love both Call Of Duty and Battlefield series BECAUSE of it's single player, not IN SPITE OF IT. Personally, I'm not really big on fist-pumping competition with a bunch of people I've never met and will probably never see in my life. I play games because I want to PLAY, HAVE FUN and RELAX after a hard day. I don't care to rub my deathmatch victory in the face of some annoying teenagers online. Having my sexuality insulted by 12-year-olds online every time I make a mistake is not really my cup of tea...

And ALL the people I know, have known, or live with feel the same way. Pay attention, this is important - this is why Red River will flop and get bad reviews on every site and in every magazine.

You tried to create a Battlefield/Call Of Duty rip-off. And failed. Your little conspiracy was a bit lacky... :x

Woe there! Conspiracy?!?!?! :o

Yes, conspiracy. Think about it, my fellow gamers... In single player, you are supposed to play alongside 3 brain-dead team mates. Who make your life miserable every step of the way. But it seems to me Codemasters doesn't want you to play with 3 A.I. team mates. They want you to play alongside 3 human team mates, all 3 of whom you forced to buy another 3 copies of the game. Maybe pay a little monthly subscription... :roll: So they figured they'd just offer you some multiplayer missions and the ability of co-op gameplay, and to make absolutely, 100% sure you never play the game alone, they make it a living hell to play single player, using only one copy of the game.

Call me crazy if you will, but I don't care... Forget about Roswell, here's a conspiracy for you! Right there! :evil:

Age of dragons and role play

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al

One all-nighter down, 99 more to go! :lol:

I have to be honest with you, I forgot what it was like to have a game so captivating I find myself playing it all night. Dragon Age is one of those games. :D

It is by no means perfect, and I constantly have a sense of deja vu as I slaughter waves upon waves of enemies. I just can't shake of the feeling that I played this game before, with the same characters and same gmeplay, and it's not hard to remember where exactly have I encountered it. It was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series and Jade Empire. And altou I loved all of them, I can't really say I'm happy about what Bioware is doing - they just keep on releasing the same game over and over again, with some minor changes to gameplay. :? The game's sadistic difficulty also doesn't help.

Bioware always had trouble with adjusting a difficulty settings of their games.:evil: Either it was a walk-in-the-park easy (Jade Empire, KOTOR), or murderously difficult (Dragon Age, etc.) When playing a game on a normal difficulty settings, I ended up restarting the game after a while, since I came across an unbeatable odds. As soon as I reached the Redcliffe village, things started to go wrong. There you have a major quest to rid the town of some zombie thingies, and guess what - they're freakin' impossible to beat. Not only are they 10 times tougher and better fighters then anyone from your party, I reached a point where they just keep on coming, regardless of how many I kill. A nasty bug, maybe? If so,is there any patch? I surely hope so... :?

And to make it even more difficult, healing potions are extremely scarce, money is scarce, you rarely get any decent items and you level up slooooowly... And you can't even find enemies to slaughter on a regular basis to gain some experience. Now I know there are people out there praising the enemy AI - enemies are sometimes really smart, they ambush you, use complex tactics against you... And that's true, at least in the beginning. But after 5-6 hours of gameplay, you'll begin to notice the fights are getting less tactical and more "throw as many enemies as possible on the player". No elaborate traps, spells or anything like that... I don't mind the challenge, but be fair about it!

And I sure as heck don't like the "challenge" that looks like this - my party outnumbered 2:1, all of my characters about as strong as baby milk, and dealing half as much damage as my enemies.

Now I started it on easy difficulty settings, and it feels more like a tactical hack 'n' slash. Whatever the case, I love this game, and the review is coming soon enough.I just wanted to point out a few bad things about it, so I could focus on more important stuff in the review.

Cheers! :D

Back from the front

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I have to say, it's been a good month... :D

The winter is finally over, and warmer days are more then welcome. I was able to resume my airsoft activities again, and I managed to open a new season with a stunning trip to the mountains. Nothing screams "fun" more then 500 meters climb up the razor sharp cliff carrying a backpack and an AK over your shoulder. :P By the time we got to our position, we were dead tired, and we still had to dig in, build a shelter and wait for the impending "attack" by the opposing team. ;) if was a real fun.

Unfortunately, I was experiencing some problems with my airsoft rifle. So I needed to order some new spare parts, and I even decided to get some upgrades next month. Real-life AK-74 might be low-maintenance, reliable weapon, but unfortunately, it's airsoft replica requires as much pampering as any other AEG. :?

Be that as it may, I will soon post some photos of me and my buddies enjoying cold weather and fog at 1000 meters. :lol:

As for my video gaming activities, there's not much new to tell... Except that I managed to build the richest faction in Rome: Total War (I' playing as the Julii). I currently have more then 50.000 denarii, and I'm preparing for conquest of Spain. And that's not using cheat codes. I even managed to bribe an entire Germanic army that came knocking on my doorstep. I had about 70.000 denarii at the time. Yes, I'm fighting dirty... :P The Gauls are almost wiped out from the campaign, so... I'll keep you posted. :lol:

I also picked up a new hobby - photography. :P I don't have any fancy equipment yet, but a small digital camera will do just fine for now. I can't post any pics here, but I'll give you a link for a gallery as soon as I manage to get enough decent photos.

It's good to be back, folks! Talk to you again soon! :)