So I recently finished the PC release of Final Fantasy X (nerdgasm) and since I would rather shove a dirty toilet brush down my throat than start on Final Fantasy X-2 I went hunting on Steam for my next fix.
Enter Ark – Survival Evolved. I have been circling this game like a hungry but highly picky vulture for quite some time. As it is it can be quite hard to get a proper impression of what the game is like from reading the description and – to the games benefit – I think this is simply because it doesn’t really fit in any other category. It is a survival game for sure (a popular and relatively new genre ranging from Minecraft to Fallout to the thousand of zombie games) but as I see it it falls in somewhere between Minecraft and Eve – a spectacular mix to be sure.
I am very pleased with choosing to cash in some vacation time between Christmas and New Years. As previously mentioned Lasse and Adrian shoved SWTOR down my throath. On top of that Steam had Skyrim on a special offer and after trying it out at Torill‘s place I was pretty anxious to give it a shot.
I am very pleased with both games. SWTOR is the newest and most ambitious MMO on the field. Sporting the powerful Star Wars brand and coming from Bioware it is a high powered, fast moving object. Skyrim is a single player game and despite the lukewarm reception Oblivion, the previous installment in The Elder Scrolls series, recieved it has been highly anticipated. Skyrim now sports all of the experience, good and bad, gained from Oblivion and I feel like some solid inspiration has been gathered from Dragon Age as well.
Mae-Lin, my virtous jedi, is now level 15 and Kean, an emotionally detatched and ruthless bounty hunter, is level 11. In Skyrim my Dunmer warrior-mage is level 16 and has three dragon kills under her belt. I’ve decided to share my experiences so far in the form of a simple pro/con list.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
- It’s Star Wars. It feels like being in the movies and the depiction of a grand universe is very convincing.
- Storytelling. Every class has it’s own unique story, for the first time I have felt like doing just one more quest because I want to know what happens next. The
- Relating to your character. Through the simple system of light/dark points and choices in conversation you get a feel for your character. Mae-Lin is strong willed and virtous but not understanding of the fact that others may not be. Kean is loyal only to the highest bidder but has a strict code of honor inhow he conducts himself once he is on the job.
- Character animation. Combat feels dynamic, powers have a very individual feel to them and when fighting another toon there’s is a distinct feeling that the two are actually engaged in combat.
- Everyone gets a pet. Your companions have opinions and influence how you play both in terms of the story and mechanics.
- Still some things copy-pasted from WoW (the benchmark of MMOs). Do we need a skill point based crafting system?
- A lot of effort put into making YOUR character seem like the center of the universe. It’s an MMO and there is a lot of other universal nexuses running around. My impulse is to ignore them.
- Streamlined. The newest incarnation of the mechanics are a huge step up from the previous games. None of the skills feel awkward to use and, get this, theres a talent point system that works!
- Reaction/immersion. In Oblivion NPC’s would turn to face you and some times greet you with a standard phrase. in Skyrim these messages are highly individual. They relate to where you are in the story. In Whiterun your identity is known. In another city it is not (and this may depend on wether you choose to use your special powers within the city or not) and as such the responses will be different.
- Atmosphere/graphics. Skyrim is just beautiful. Mists and weather artistically blend with the landscape. Mountains tower above you in the distance and the ruins are, as always, creepy as fuck (as are their inhabitants).
- Freedom of choice. As always you have a choice to go where you want and do what you want to do. Pick sides in the great war, go study magic, make friends with the reclusive orcs… it’s all up to you (ps: the orcs are assholes).
- Sometimes it happens I get tired of being awesome. In Skyrim you cannot sneeze without everyone complimenting you and if you’re in luck a priest will show up just then and declare you the herald of the mucus god. You are so fucking special it hurts.
- There’s some balancing/power level issues that get to me.
- Someone should have bothered to name all the dragons. Killing “Dragon #16” is anticlimatic (yes I’m nitpicking)
Steam has a lot of nice special offers these days. One of them being Orcs Must Die! …in which carnage is the word of the day.
Since Lasse and Adrian are actually using their TV these days (for what we shall not speak of) I’ve had to take steps. Drastic steps. Thankfully Puzzle Quest II is also avaliable on Steam and I’ve just played through the storyline.