Sunday, 31 January 2016

XCOM: The New One (meaning the reboot, not the sequel which is coming out soon, why is this so difficult, maybe they should have named it something else? At least it's not as bad as Prince of Persia)

A long while ago, I played the XCOM reboot. If you were to look back through the various posts on this blog, you'll perhaps notice one of the first games I played through was in fact X-COM, or UFO: Enemy Unknown, the first and best game in this long-running and now rebooted franchise (at least until the reboot sequel comes out, in which case I'd have to consider that one, but let's be honest I'm probably going to always prefer that classic version from my youth).

The "ant farm"
What I meant to say in that previous paragraph was that I'd covered the first X-COM, and I've played through Xenonauts more recently too. The reboot XCOM was less appealing to me, and although I also did play it, I gave up on it a long while ago. Well, this past few weeks I decided to reinstall it and try to finish it before the reboot sequel comes along. I really feel like I should give it a fair chance, since it's very popular apparently. Word is that XCOM2 is much better and so on, but XCOM1 was widely praised at the time.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Star Wars: Dark Forces

Since seeing The Force Awakens, I was reminded of the rich history of Star Wars games on PC. As well as various X-Wing and TIE Fighter games, the stand outs also included the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series. So I figured it might be a nice idea to reacquaint myself with these slices of classic gaming.

I began with Dark Forces, a 1995 first-person shooter, where you are first introduced to the series hero: Kyle Katarn. A gruff mercenary, he works for the rebels on a freelance basis, and ventures where they cannot. The game itself plays in a very similar way to Doom, which had been released a couple of years prior. As such, I played it entirely with the keyboard, which was an odd experience after so many years of using the mouse to freely look around.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Fallout 4 - Plotting it's own downfall

picture from
The game begins with a lengthy introduction sequence, in which your chosen character and their partner and child are home on a sunny and pleasant day. No time for relaxation, household chores or bringing up baby, as you soon have to make your way to the local Vault to hide from the oncoming nuclear apocalypse.

There's no need to acclimatise to the vault and underground living, because you are all to be kept in suspended animation until the situation above-ground improves. At some point, mysterious people invade the facility, kill everyone except you and your son, and kidnap your son, leaving you back on ice.

You wake up an undetermined amount of time later, with a singular quest: to find your son. You have very little clue on how to do this, and as you awaken into a horrific and ruined country, scarred by war and still in a state of chaos after 200 years, the trail seems quite cold.

Home sweet hoome
As an opening, this is actually rather good. It gives you a clear objective, and good motivation. What parent wouldn't want to find their son? Unfortunately it quickly breaks down, as you get drawn into a world filled with needy people and flawed factions vying for control of the region.

Fallout 4 - Frankenstein's Monster

Image created using Bethesda promotional media (
I have abandoned Skyrim for Fallout 4, perhaps only temporarily, but there is a chance I'll never go back. That's not to say I'll stick with Fallout 4 forever, just that the games are so similar in nature and Fallout 4 has a bit more fun to it, and so going back to the lesser of the two seems pointless.

Fallout 4 is the latest gargantuan open-world RPG from Bethesda. It's look and feel can be traced back to Oblivion, continued through Fallout 3 and Skyrim. They are related in terms of the engine (whatever you want to call it), the animations, the world creation, the quests, obnoxious UI... and so on. Each new game brings it's own improvements, changes, additions and subtractions, but to a certain extent I always feel like they're built upon the same foundations.