Where Insanity Thrives… Still

Well I’m up to 6 hours played on Skyrim (according to steam) so I’m going to give it a full review (with out story line spoilers).

Upon loading the game up I was quite impressed, visually its quite easy on the eyes even on medium settings with a distinctly elder scrolls feel to it, and this is achievable on most common PC hardware. Now my PC is no gaming beast but its still above the average hardware that post people are using (again according to the steam statistics) so I’m going to take my experience as being fairly average of what most people would see. The shadows in Skyrim are one of the least impressive aspects of its graphics with them tending to get very jagged at times and detracting from otherwise wonderful settings, however all in all most of the time you would overlook this as your busy doing something (like killing the guy who just jumped out of his grave to kill you!) making it less of an issue that you would first expect. Overall I would place them graphics at ab 8/10.

The UI’s in the PC version seem to have been taken directly from the console version and for the first few hours I was fighting them to get what I wanted done and learning where everything was hidden in the 2 separate menus you have available (one for your stuff your character uses, items spells etc, and the other got more game like things like saving the game and viewing active quests). this was rather disorientating particularly as navigating them was clearly designed to be done with a controller. in addition to this some of the default key binding made functions hard to find (or use when you needed them like the dragon shouts that are bound to ‘Z’ by default. In the end i gave up on the keyboard and mouse and plugged in a Xbox controller and things became much easier to use, this are of the game could have defiantly used some more work in the PC version, however my experience with the controller says they got it right for the console versions. combat also became easier with the controller as all your combat related buttons where not under each other (like the shouts I already mentioned.) making the game much easier to play.

The leveling mechanics in the game make it very fast to level up with the perks giving you options to make a specialist that is viable regardless of your play style (yes even the sneaky archer can kill a dragon, if your careful) however adding perks using the KB and mouse was again hard, and much faster and more intuitive using the controller. but as your not doing this to regularly its not that bad. all up i give the UI and control system a 5/10 using the Keyboard or 9/10 using the controller.

The storyline of the main quest is exceptional (so far) and much better if you don’t go and read any spoilers before you play (and that’s why I won’t put any here) with some nice twists and the odd side quest that actually helps you out, to the point of having done one of the side quests allowed me to practically skip an entire main quest as I had already achieved the objective. while this was a nice bonus it would have been nice for the objectives to be separate, with so much of the story i have not begun to look at I won’t comment to much on this section, but quests seem to be relatively compact so far, making it more inviting to do the odd side quest, even if it is just to take some herbs across town.

With so much to do in the game I feel that the price tag on this game is more then justified, with a good mix of content, good graphics and game mechanics this title has earned its place as a AAA title this year, however the shocking menu system for the PC version leaves something to be desired. the game also requires you to link it to a Steam account making it difficult for some people who may wish to play the game with out access to broadband internet, as there was a day 1 patch that I am defiantly not a fan of (Surely buying the game on launch day I should be playing 1.0 not as this screams that the game could have been better released in a month or 2.

Overall I would rate this a 7/10 game on PC, having an Xbox controller for your PC makes the experience much better, however the keyboard and mouse experience needs some more work to make this a good introduction for players new to the elder scrolls series. if you happen to own a controller this is easily a 9/10 game.

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It’s been some time since I last played an elder scrolls game, however with skim I have decided to give other a go.

After some shopping around I got my copy, for the PC, and headed home to load it up, and during he install it automatically linked it to my steam account, so no need to keep the cd key on hand thankfully. Steam then went to work getting the day 1 patch for me and updating my game to taking about 10 minutes to download and install. While this was happening I had a quick look at the map that came with my copy of the game, this was a nice high quality printing that would not look astray above your pc so you can see where you are going with out having to refer to the in game map.

With the install now finished I started up the game and it detected the video settings and set my system to use the high settings (and using my native resolution that was a nice surprise.) so I left everything as it suggested and dived head first in to the game. as usual for an elder scrolls game, you start with a scripted sequence with you as a prisoner being taken to an outpost of some kind. where you are introduced to some of the main factions (well I presume they are) and some of the story line to come. After some explanation of the story line you are thrown in to for the main quest line (that I won’t spoil for you here) you are placed in to a small tutorial style section of the game that explains some of the mechanics for fighting and gives you some basic equipment before leading you to your first village in the game so continue with either the main quest line or the large number of side quests in the game.

One thing I noticed that could get annoying quickly was when killing the last of a a group of enemy’s your character went in to a cut scene style kill move, while h=these are quite nice there is a limited number of them so they tend to repeat, and while doing one of the side quests I noticed I went in to one while I was still being shot at! so I’m a little undecided about that feature, however it is quite nice when you sneak up on someone to see a little shot of you assassinating them to reward your efforts.

On the graphics side of things, its a very good looking game, even with out the settings maxed out. I’m using a gt20 in my pc with a dual monitor set up, placing me below the recommended specs however the game still put me on the high setting, just one below the max, with out having checked any numbers the game was a little jerky so I turned the AA and AF down a little to get it nice and smooth, but even still the quality did not suffer significantly, so with that said if you meet the recommended specs for the PC version you can expect this game to run very well and get the most out of it.

well I’m off to play some more enjoy your time in Skyrim

Well having just finished this book I figure its time for a review, this is the thirteenth book in the series and has been completed by Brandon Sanderson after the death of Robert Jorden in 2007, and while many fans believed that the series would never be the same being finished by another author, my self included, I assure you you wont be disappointed by this book.

Now I will attempt to keep spoilers out of this review for those that have not read the book yet but I can’t guarantee I wont give any. If you haven’t read all of the proceeding books the please be patient as this will contain spoilers for them, you have been warned.

Read the rest of the entry »

Well I have been neglecting this for far to long so I’m going to have another attempt to make this in to a serious  blog. based on some of the things that interests me, mainly PC’s and using them to play games.

After having stopped playing Wow I though I would share why I decided that this game wasn’t for me and how i think it could have been improved.

My main grip with this game is that it was a grind in every aspect of the word firstly you start out in content that has long since stopped being current in the way of the vanilla WoW content, and while this was a great set of content its now sparsely populated on most servers making ti hard to do group quests with most people just attempting to get past as fast as they can, hardly worth the effort to support at all, and to top this off if you have picked a PvP server (hence forth called a gank server) you also have to deal with people that have nothing better to  do then bring there max level, highly geared toon’s through and 1 shot you while you attempt to reach your goal, in part this was improved with the random dungeon finder tool that blizzard has introduced that allows you to pull a group together across several servers making you able to atleast see this content if your a new player… all be it as the group your with attempts to set a world speed record as they run through it. As you move on to out lands, and north rend the pace picks up a little but its still a long, pointless grind to get to the level cap, and they intend to make this longer with the next expansion!

once i had finished this grind i was thinking to my self “Yay I made it time to get in and experience everything i have been told so much about” so i pull up the local trade chat to find it full or people spamming for people for raid groups, looked good for a few minutes… till i realized that no one was doing the basic level content once you reach the cap, and ignoring anyone who did not have current raid level gear… this was disappointing and in 2 months at the level cap I never even attempted one of the lv 80 raids and only did a few off bosses in another, and they were rushed. and i was forced to go back to grinding to get the gear to enter the current level of content.

Again after this next grind I thought “Now i can get in and do something”… Wrong! with out the experience of already having done the content no one would look at me for there groups, this community really does need some work, but thats not the worst part of the game. nor what I wanted to talk about in this blog. after 2 long grinds i got to the content and with some help from friends managed to meet the communities insane requirements to get into a group, only to find the current content (ICC at the time of writing) was impossible for the average player (even one who plays far more then they should like myself.) to be able to experience this content and best it with the balancing that Blizzard has given it.

I believe that this was a major mistake that blizzard has been making when creating content, as it currently stands there are 4 levels of difficulty in the current raids (10 man normal, 25 man normal, 10 man heroic, and 25 man heroic) and like any other game I would buy I would expect that at the lowest difficulty any body should be able to complete all the content to at least say they have done it, while harder difficulty’s are left to the more hardcore of gamers that want to prove something more.

the other problem i see with wow is its lack of other content for high level players, after reaching the cap there is no non-combat options for a player to pursue, even crafting will require the player to go in to raids to allow them to create the high level items, and these are much worse then the content that you have to do to create them. and PvP from my experience is something anyone can achieve, via battle grounds, and Wintergrasp so there is no high level content here and wow toon setups don’t allow for a metagame as each class/spec combo can only do one thing.

so in conclusion the best thing Blizzard could do if they want to keep WoW as the top of the bunch of MMO’s out there would be to add more endgame options for the players out there, and re-balance the difficulty of the raids to allow everyone to experience the content while still providing a challenge for the top tier of players at the high end of the difficulty scale.

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