Perth2008 / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
200 49 47

Perth2008 Blog

Skyrim - Rated No. 1 on Australia's "Good Game" Top 100 ... and, yes after playing it, I must agree!

Well it's six months since my last blog in May and I've logged hundreds of hours on my PS3 and none on my PC since.

Firstly, I completed replaying The Saboteur, having previously "beaten it" on PC and completd Assassin's Creed II, both to Platinum status on PSN. My first two and so far only Platinums. Both great open world games with engaging narratives and plenty of action to boot.

Secondly, I revisited an older PC passion of mine on the PS3, namely the IL-2 Sturmovik WWII air simulation franchise. My first go was via IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (BOP) a very serviceable game with some interesting, albeit generic campaigns. Far superior was Birds of Steel (BOS), which while not using the IL-2 Sturmovik "brand" is very much part of the franchise.

BOS worked great with minimal customisation of the PS3 default controls and was a great, narrative driven journey through the Pacific Theatre coupled with a number of extended scenarios exploring the European Theatre as well. The MP aspect of BOS is alive and well and great fun and certainly lifted MP-gaming, as a genre, in my eyes. The campaign rewards you in XP which unlock various aricraft spanning both theatres and you use "warpoints" gained in MP combat and on/offline missions. Warpoints allows you to "buy" unlocked planes for use in MP matches and on/offline missions. I can heartily recommend BOS for any with a passing or major interest in aerial combat before the era of lock-on, fire and forget missiles.

BOP is a different story. The narrative and immersion is weaker but covers the interesting Battle of Britain, Mediterranean and Eastern Front air battles. The default controls for BOP are a bit of a mess and needed a fair bit of customisation, which in my case were based on those closer to BOS. The issue is that BOP uses a wingman tactical system and this uses up buttons that are (better) used for aircraft control in BOS. BOP is not by any means a bad game but if you have BOS you need not revisit it for your flying combat pleasure. Interestingly BOS has add-on campaigns via PSN which look to be the same as those for Europe offered in vanilla BOP so with both you have a comprehensive view of WWII air combat and the best available on PS3.

I gave Spec Ops: The Line a run for my modern era FPS fix but after watching the Top 100 Games episode of Good Game I thought I'd have a look at Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which was voted number one in Australia. Despite not being a RPG afficionado or indeed a D&D player, despite my vintage having stuck to conventional hex-map wargaming rather than rolling polyhedral dice with my high school contemporaries in the late 1970s, I thought why not, maybe I'm missing something.

So once Skyrim (Legendary Edition of course) was installed Spec Ops was put back on the shelf and 120+ gaming hours later is still there. Well Skyrim is a great game and as far as open world gaming goes this is THE game. Great narrative with many interlinking and stand alone stories and quests and a reasonable combat system. This is D&D as it was meant to be with obvious nods to Tolkein in a beutifully rendered world. Skyrim meets the superlatives placed on it and its got me onto a bit of an RPG kick having bought and tested (5-10 hours each) both Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (5th Anniversary Edition) and Dragon Age: Origins (Ultimate Edition, including Awakening). Both hold up well with Oblivion feeling a bit clunky after Skyrim but I find that with most gaming franchises earlier iterations.

Dragon Age takes quite a different approach being entirely 3rd person, while Skyrim and Oblivion switch between FPS and 3rd person which given the more interactive combat is essential. Dragon Age does seem to have (so far) a deeper narrative which apparently is influenced by in game dialogue and action choices. Not as convinced about combat in Dragon Age but I'm still very much in the learning stage and am also in somewhat of a Skyrim mind set. All three games however look and sound great however with Skyrim standing above the other two RPGs.

It's interesting that my son still prefers the COD FPS/MP games and has already plonked down for the latest release, Advanced Warfare, but I think Skyrim has tickled his fancy, if only just a bit. We have a number of open world games waiting to be played and I certainly see this as the way to go in gaming as COD and the like seem way too much on the rails by comparison. Tomb Raider was I felt a good mix being more of a "semi-open world" game. I think my son would prefer it if Skyrim had guns instead of swords and sorcery!

Finally, the most important event since my last blog ... the South Sydney Rabbitohs DID win the 2014 NRL Premiership, despite the nay-sayers doubts ... you know who you are.

Anyway Skyrim will keep me engaged until well into 2015 ... there is just so much to do, places to explore and no tedious collecting of flags or feathers!

All the best to you all for the festive/holiday season and all the best for 2015!

- - - - -

BTW, I did not buy Enemy Front, the latest City Interactive title, but am pleased to note it is already heavily discounted ... as I noted in the comments to my last blog, it does LOOK very nice. Let me know if you have played it.

I did play a bit (more) of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes with the family during the last school holidays. It is pretty decent and our first Sherlock Holmes mystery on the PS3 having played a number of others on PC a few years back.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations - another fine addition to the franchise

Well having just completed AC Revelations I have finally closed off on the careers of Altair (in retrospect) and Ezio. Both will be missed as stars of the early years of this great gaming franchise. So farewell to the crusades and renaissance and off to the New World in a month or so. I enjoyed Revelations almost as much as AC II and Brotherhood my favourite AC games ... the only let downs were the Desmond "missions" and the den defence mini-games. Apart from those aspects Revelations is excellent. I even dabbled in the MP aspect more than for other games in recent years.

Next it will be off to the Americas with AC III and AC IV ... but first I'm playing The Saboteur, this time on PS3 having played it to physical and virtual exhaustion on PC a few years back. It remains one of my favourite all time games in the "open world" genre combining aspects of a number of gaming genres (and fortunately not a mutant or zombie to be seen).

If anyone is reading my blogs or indeed visiting this broken gaming site ... the once vaunted GameSpot ... I did make a valiant attempt to play and enjoy Tomb Raider Legend ... alas I could not get into it for reasons outlined in the comments section of my last blog (just click on the "0 Comments" hyperlink ... yes, go figure).

Not sure what the future for us here at GameSpot will be ... more and more is broken. As I wrote months ago, I will not be submitting further reviews here, something I took great pride in doing ... the review sorting system based on thumbs up/down means any new reviews, especially for older games recently reviewed, will probably not be seen, so why bother.

Game sorting via stacks is rubbish and now my ~100+ reviews and/or ratings are no longer accessible via my profile page. Staff respond to forum bug and feedback postings rarely claiming there is lots to fix but nothing seems to be fixed ... just new cosmetic "features" added.

I may resume writing reviews via videogamegeek.com, where I have re-posted my previous GameSpot reviews ... it's a site that may suit only a few as it's clunky and old school. Still looking for a new home ... the old GameSpot was fine ... alas, no more.

Tomb Raider (2013) - a damn fine game it is

Well I'm about 85% of the way through Tomb Raider (2013) the prequel reboot of the Lara Croft franchise on the PS3.

This iteration of TR has definitely more in common with a horror survival (third person) shooter game than with the tomb raiding focus of earlier titles. This is far more a mature and dark (in tone) title and not really suitable for younger Lara Croft fans who have played the earlier titles.

That said, it's by far the best attempt at storytelling and character development of the Tomb Raider titles and indeed many recent video game releases. Gritty and visceral it is and probably not for all. At 50+ even I baulked at the scenes of slaughter unleashed by Mathias in the underground caverns. Some themes are similar to those in Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now with Mathias as a latter day (gone beyond madness) messianic Kurtz. (Thankfully the similarly themed and equally horrible scenes in Shellshock 'Nam 67 are rendered with poor quality graphics which somewhat deadens the impact.)

That aside, TR 2013 is a great game and I'm thoroughly enjoying it (less so the overtly gruesome parts) . I like the "open world" feel of the game, which while very linear in parts certainly gives you the sense of free roaming. I waited until the GOTY edition but am not sure whether the included DLC adds a lot to those who have only vanilla TR. Haven't managed to get any MP time as yet so can kiss those PSN trophies goodbye.

Since the last blog I have completed AC2 and AC Brotherhood ... I actually preferred Brotherhood (slightly) over AC2. Both excellent games though with incremental improvements in each successive title over its predecessor. Revelations will be next or perhaps the Tomb Raider HD trilogy ... too many choices. Bioshock still awaits completion ... and lets not mention Scarface on PC!

For those who care, the Rabbitohs had a great start to the season embarrassingly defeating the 2013 premiers ... the long march to the 2014 finals has taken its first step.

[FYI: chose to play TR: Legends next ... zeitgeist comments below.]

Assassin's Creed II - great game, but mission control we have (or had) a problem!

Really enjoying playing AC2 on the PS3; am/was about 58% (with trophies up to , on the way through when I tried to access some of the secret hidden locations ... no go. My Platinum/GOTY edition box said I had access to them, no codes required. Perhaps not far enough advanced along in the game? Well, we checked on my son's PS3 under his profile, with him having previously completed and platinum trophied this title, but no access either, nor did he have the bonus GOTY memories/missions in his "DNA profile" that relate to the GOTY edition. Hmmm.

Then we checked the disc. Bugger! The dunderklutz at the video game store (you know the franchise where they put empty boxes on the shelf and keep discs, codes and manuals "safe" behind the counter rather than putting sealed copies on display) provided me with the standard edition disc. Anyway the store was surprising good about it acknowledging their mistake and gave me a new sealed copy from the store. So happy and somewhat excited about finally being able to access the missions and locations I returned home ready to continue Ezio's missions ...

Bugger (again)! The new correct GOTY disc of course has a different title code and I have to start the whole game all over again! Before anyone suggests copying (and renaming) a saved game file over AC2 is one of those PS titles that does not allow saving files to a thumbstick.

So it's back to the drawing board with Ezio again ... re-acquiring all the skills, weapons, armour, treasure chests. feathers, etc, etc to get back to where I was at Sequence 7! Hopefully when I finally get to unlocking new trophies it will add them to the tally and not stuff up!

That said, and with clenched teeth, I must admit this is an awesome game (a likely 10/10) and while it was one I might have chosen to replay, or at least pass some idle time hunting down all the collectibles for, I wasn't planning on doing it so soon! I'll probably get over it.

I will return to play Bioshock once I have completed AC2 as I've really been "in the zone" on it and the Renaissance setting rubbing shoulders with Medici's, Leonado and killing off Borgias. So presently having mixed emotions about the start (or should I say, restart) to my gaming year!

All to best for 2014 to all who drop by, be it in your gaming or real lives!

Bioshock - possibly the strangest game I have ever played. Do I like it? Not sure ... yet.

Well it's the Christmas holidays Downunder and NOT being a cricket fan I'm presently playing a few things on PC: Caesar III and Pharoaoh/Cleopatra city-building games - very challenging but unlikely to trigger violent emotions. Meanwhile on the PS3 I am playing Bioshock, the original game, and just starting up Assassin's Creed II after finishing Quantum of Solace. I enjoyed QoS for the second time having played it on PC originally (you can read my PC review here, and apart from issues about getting it to run on my PC it is still valid, that is a good if somewhat jumbled storyline).

Well, about Bioshock, as always I wait until a game/franchise has settled in before I fork out my limited funds, so no doubt most of you may have already played this game some time ago. I find it difficult to describe Bioshock ... I guess it's an role-playing/quest game on an FPS platform. But what a weird game and storyline. Electro-shocking targets before bludgeoning them with a wrench, mutants, life sucking girls and big bodyguard bots all in a dystopian underwater world. Infuriating boss fights (which I always hate) but seemingly "balanced" by infinite life for the player. Alas in this game intuition has failed me several times and I need to refer to walkthroughs and/or YouTube videos so I can solve the puzzle of how to open a certain portal, dispatch a resilient enemy or upgrade abilities with limited slots.

To be honest I'm not sure I really like Bioshock ... perhaps its bizarre/unsettling characters and vistas are putting me off? But as always I will persevere. Not sure when I will post a review of it, or indeed a number of games recently played on PS3 and PC. I am still scoring/ranking games but have not written any reviews as the lack of ability to select playing platform sees some of my scores ascribed to platforms we do not have or even heard of, like X360, Android, BB, NGE and GC, so I am not at all motivated to write reviews.

My son completed COD Ghosts recently (but seemingly always on MP for it or Black Ops II). He is now playing AC4 Black Flag (since opening his presents) and it certainly looks a treat. In fact watching him play AC4 has triggered me kicking off on AC2 so I might catch up to him! He watched me playing Bioshock the other night and said that he won't be playing it ... too weird!

Anyway 2013 draws to a close; all in all a good year of gaming and a good year at GameSpot EXCEPT for the way the "improved" site has impacted on me and many others who have been around for a while. My ambivalence to Bioshock probably echos my feelings about the "new" GameSpot and is perhaps an apt way to see out the year.

Hoping for a better 2014 on a number of fronts!

Hoping for an NRL Grand Final berth for the mighty Rabbitohs in 2014!

- - - - - - - - - -

Trophies, trophies I DO need those stinkin' trophies!

GameSpot Fuse ... and the inevitability of change.

Well only a few weeks after my last blog I see that GameSpot Fuse is gone ... as are my micro-mini reviews. Grrrrrr.

Well, that and the major re-boot of the GameSpot site layout. I wasn't consulted, so the outcome does not really surprise me. Young people love new stuff, us older guys less so. Seems very much a case of change for the sake of change.

Much of GameSpot's new look and content is different and I'm still finding my way around with this new "tablet friendly" layout. That I can get used to but not so the loss of content and user friendly game tracking that the previous iteration of GS provided. I could go on but I'll await how the new-look site develops ... times change: I for example have changed over completely to Firefox from IE8 as it just doesn't work for a lot of sites now ... obviously my XP's planned obsolescence will soon sadly come to fruition too.

Gaming-wise I'm still playing Assassin's Creed (original, on PS3) and have progressed part way through "Memory Block 5". As some have said it gets somewhat repetitive, especially the pre-assassination information gathering. But climbing to the viewpoints doesn't seem to get old for me ... some really amazing detailed scenery in this game.

My progress was somewhat slowed as I got into playing MOH Frontline (on PS3, as part of MOH 2010) ... it's a grand old (as in "old school" with health packs and no in-mission saves) game and lots of fun. It's getting quite challenging now ... I'm in the "Derailed" infiltration mission. I've given up trying to get Gold on this one and just focused on getting through the remaining missions.

Anyway alternating play between these two games at the present. I haven't clocked up any PC gaming hours at all lately. Quite a few other titles, as always, are in the queue and it's hard to know which will end up on the now playing list or whether it'll be on the PS3 or back to the mouse and keyboard?

Rabbitohs ... PS3 vs PC ... GameSpot Fuse

Rabbitohs exit 2013 NRL finals series ... bring on 2014!

Another year finishing in the top 4 end then exiting ... alas a year filled with promise for the Rabbitohs finishing in No. 2 position at the end of the regular season. Looking forward to the international Rugby League series later this year and of course the Rabbitiohs in 2014.

Away from my other passion I have been (a) playing almost exclusively on PS3 of late, which is something I would not have imagined six months ago, and (b) using GameSpot Fuse to track my gaming progress with extremely brief "micro-reviews" of the games I have played (as a comment within the score posting).

I'll probably balance between PS3 and PC going forward but I've been busy training my opposable thumbs to better deal with the PS3 controller ... alas I am yet to go cold turkey in any game and turn off aim assist.

Will probably put out a more fullsome "proper" review of Assassin's Creed (original) when I complete the campaign. At present I am in the Jerusalem section of Memory Block 3. I had started playing this on PC a few years ago but never played beyond MB2 and for some reason did not keep the save game files as I normally do so I could not continue. My son is now playing ACIII having played the previous 4 iterations on PS3, so father now follows the son.

As you may know I played and loved The Saboteur which is arguably derivative of the AC series. Assassin's Creed is the most fun I have had since and a good break from the string of FPS I have recently played. You just have to love these sand-box games.

The main benefit I see in playing PS3 versus PC is that the games work pretty much straight out of the box without need for graphical and/or Windows "tweaks" which was wearing me down for some titles. The option is to upgrade my XP/Nvidia 9800GT PC to something more modern and that WILL happen but it's not a pressing need for me. For those PC devotees I would recommend you give Battlefield Bad Company, a PS3 exclusive, a look ... simply the most fun shooter for a long time.

The negative, I see, for PS3 games is how game features we generally received as included on the PC game disc or as free downloads seem to involve paying more due to the PS3 revenue model. This was most obvious to me in replaying the excellent COD:WAW which included all the zombie missions in the base game on PC but are extras you need to pay for on the PS3. Why? THe games cost about the same in the initial instance. Now I am NOT really a fan of zombie games BUT I disagree with this pay-for-it DLC concept as much as I do about DRM issues around PC games. The plus for PC games is the ability to download/integrate MODS for PC games which I do not believe is feasible for PS3 games.

To echo my usual refrain at blogging time ... I will continue and complete Scarface, someday. I've also got Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy) part played and will probably need to refer to a walkthrough/guide to see what has happened so far as it's been several months since I last played it.

That's all for now ... enjoy the long-weekend(s) coming your way soon.

Revisiting a classic: Aliens versus Predator Gold (2000, PC CD-ROM)

Fear not fellow netizens I have been visiting GameSpot regularly despite not posting a blog for sometime.

Thought I'd scribe a few words as I'm "between missions" in my real life so am again indulging in some gaming, most recently playing Red Faction 2. Not a bad game however the narrative is fairly thin and not as engaging as the original Red Faction (which had a few challenges in running on my rig before finding the "Pure Faction" fix).

Anyway, I spent quite a bit of time earlier this year trying to get AVP Gold (PC CD-ROM edition) running on my NVIDIA GPU XP rig. I stumbled across the vogons.zetafleet.com website and worked with a fellow called sirlemonhead (who had earlier developed the myavp.exe fix), well actually he did the work and I did the "testing" of the new AVPX.exe and associated sound files, which can be found here. Anyway after a number of months of trialling to eliminate a number of graphical errors AVP Gold now runs superbly on my XP, and hopefully those of others.

My review of AVP Gold, which I think is one of my better efforts of recent times, includes some discussion of the above so please have a read. There is much to like about this game, despite its age and lack of narrative.

At around the time of trying to get AVP Gold running I became aware of a mod to the Steam re-release version of AVP Gold, known as AVP Classic 2000, and thought I would try it and see if it "fixed" my AVP Gold ... well it didn't but I have just recently discovered that it does work with sirlemonhead's fix, so I thought I'd share this, though I'm sure a few may have tried this already.

If you have used sirlemonhead's great AVP Gold fix (aka AVPX) as I do you may have also wondered whether it would work with Mad_Max_RW's AVP Classic Redux 2.0. Well I downloaded the two massive installation files (1.6 and 1.7GB each) which can be found at moddb.

As noted in the readme file, Mad_Max_RW's mod was made specifically for the re-release of AVP Gold Classic on Steam and was not guaranteed to work with AVP Gold. Well of course it doesn't work with AVP Gold out of the box but it DOES with sirlemonhead's AvPx. While it takes much longer to load each mission or skirmish map you will find much to enjoy and marvel at in Mad_Max_RW's visual enhancement. The map environments have had a major face-lift but best of all, to me, are the much improved character models, obviously using an order of magnitude or more polygons such that all characters look more natural and less angular.

Well the Redux mod is certainly worth a look ... but only after you have tried and played through the original using AvPx as that way you will have a sound basis of comparison. After a few hours of testing a number of maps only a couple of crashes/freezes were experienced using Redux mod seems more stable with the skirmish maps than in the campaign missions but there is some interesting work in the mod and well worth a look. Presumably it is more stable with the Steam re-release version of AVP? ENJOY!

I'm now working through AVP2 Alien missions having completed the Marine campaign. Vanilla AVP2 is certainly a better looking game than AVP Gold (with only AVPX) and even the AVP Redux version. Although the AVP Redux characters certainly do look as good as if not better than the AVP2 ones. That said AVP Gold delivers the greater adrenalin rush, especially with its excellent soundtrack (which if you have not had any luck getting to work via your game's CD2 you will find the fix at sirlemonheads website above as well).

Looking back over the last few blogs I can confirm Scarface is still awaiting completion though I did play a few more missions since the last blog. I'm playing AVP2 as part of "unfinished business" from late 2012 when I think I had about eight PC games on the boil at one time. I even have a few part completed PS3 games out there since upgrading junior from PS2 last Xmas.

I did purchase and play Battlefield 2142 Deluxe around Xmas as well and had quite a bit of fun with it. Its essentially "just another Battlefield game" but battling the bots filled in hours of the holiday season. Also as with the other Battlefield titles there are a bunch of mods for it as discussed in my review. You may wonder whether it is worthwhile buying the Deluxe edition or the Northern Strike expansion. Short answer, no not anymore as the last patch to BF2142 includes the expansion and all the fixes.

The game I'm most looking forward to progressing is Fahrenheit (PC-version, aka Indigo Prophecy) having finally tracked down a copy after reading Azghoul's review of it last year. I have played maybe 20% of the game (up to the kick-boxing workout in the police station gym) and the narrative is quite immersive but the key mashing to undertake the action sequences is somewhat off-putting but the use of three viewpoints (and playable characters) to tell the story, is quite intriguing.

Well not much else to say and depending on how long one is "between missions" I may be writing a few more blogs and reviews on gaming ... such is life in the resources' sector of late.

Go the Rabbitohs!

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men ... single player campaign completed

Completed Kane and Lynch: Dead Men (K&L) over the weekend. This is one of those games that defied expectations. Most reviews I had read panned this game, but apart from some quibbles about the cover system and narrative structure I found little to fault. The story is a little confusing as most is related via inter-mission loading screens, which if you do not sit through and listen to carefully will leave you wondering what's going on.

Regardless, there is action aplenty and most missions are challenging and ultimately enjoyable. The main characters, Kane and Lynch, probably won't make your Christmas dinner invitation list but grow on you. It's kind of strange being on the wrong side of the law and I think you end up shooting more virtual police in this game than any other I have played. The ending(s) of the game leave you, as Kane, feeling somewhat empty.

Anyway I posted my review today. Keen to hear what others may wish to relate about their K&L experience, good or bad. Also keen to hear thoughts about the sequal Dog Days, should I buy it?

Now heading back to the streets of Miami to continue (and hopefully finish) the saga of Tony Montana in Scarface. Probably restart and play Gun to its conclusion as well. So it's third person shooter month for me.

Freedom Fighters ... from NYC plumber to leader of the anti-Soviet resistance

Just finished playing the rather excellent 3rd person "tactical squad shooter" Freedom Fighters. Looks very good with graphical settings on the Nvidia control panel cranked up, despite its 2003 vintage. Great story of liberating the city of New York City from the Soviet invaders/occupiers.

There is great tactical gameplay with some strategic elements as well because the sequence in which you complete the maps in each mission will either ease or complicate your progress. Your character, Chris Stone, a plumber by trade, can recruit fellow citizens as he earns "charisma points" during raids in Soviet controlled parts of the city and destroy installations. As the game progresses the number of recruits increases leading to some challenging combat situations.

Combat can be quite tough and taking out helipads early is critical as Soviet gunships are lethal. Soviet NPC AI is pretty good as cover and flanking is utilised. Eventually as your team of recruits builds up you can send them out ahead in small groups to scout ahead or to defend certain locations. AI is pretty good with only the occassional glitch.

The game tone is also fun with its stereotypical characters, both Soviet and American. Particularly funny is the Soviet propaganda on the nightly news that skews the truth. The Soviet news bulletins occur at the end of each mission and it is interesting to listen to how the story of your escapdes are reported.

Lots of challenging missions, many with multiple maps and objectives. Alas the ending seemed to come too soon ... either that or I just wanted another mission. The game save system won't please everyone, essentialy you have to complete a "map" before your progress is permanently saved. There is the option to do interim saves at sewer access manholes but these are lost if the game is exited. Later missions have no mid-mission save system at all, but health packs are seemingly more prevalent. Chris is a likeable hero and the story, irrespective of how far fetched, in the style of Red Dawn, is most enjoyable. Certain missions in the game are tough to beat but the overall experience is very rewarding. (Score: 9.0/10)