Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Boldly Returning

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

When I put together my 2010 review I was pondering over why I had given up playing Star Trek Online.  It was such a thrill to fly around in various cool looking spaceships engaging with Klingons and Borg I had to think hard about what it was that caused me to leave it.  As soon as it sank in that the reason was that there wasnt enough content and that in the 9 months I had been away that the content had increased there seemed little option but to consider a re-subscription.

I was right in the middle of my deliberations (changing main game for me is a big step and one not to be taken lightly) and I read the quick years summary from Brian over at Blue Kae.  That review talking about the user generated content and the added sector areas meant it was at least worth a months subscription to check out what has changed.

I was not disappointed to find everything I loved about the old game, but with more things to do, so for now I’m absolutely loving it.  Really love the look of the new sector space without the grid:

When I saw this video I was also reminded that STO allows you to overlay your own music over the game using the in built music player, so I could play my extensive drum and bass collection whilst cleansing the universe of evil aliens.

So based on playing whatever takes my fancy on an evening I seem to be well and truly back in my spaceship.  In the last week I’ve played STO more than twice as much as anything else, even though I played a long Sunday session of Lotro with Ame and my good friend Mango.

Can’t wait for the user generated “foundry” content to release onto the live server, this could take sto in a totally new direction.


That was the year that was…

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

2010 in gaming

Well we have come to the end of the year and what a great gaming year it has been.  Thoroughly enjoyed my time in many games this year and thought it worthwhile having a small re-cap on the years events.

The start of the year was dominated by Star Trek online, I was in the open BETA for this due to pre-purchasing it and really enjoyed both the BETA and the early release of the game.  The space combat had some of the most original and enjoyable gameplay I’ve come across in years.   Full marks to Cryptic for taking an IP from a bankrupt developer and getting something to release in super quick time.  Big downers to the publishers Atari for forcing Cryptic into this extremely tight release so that by the time the game launched the content was great, but there was just not enough of it.  I managed to get to max level in a very short space of time and effectively just ran out of missions.  My view is that this game was about 6-9 months too early and would have probably kept my interest if it had released with more to do.  I still managed to rack up nearly 300 hours in the game so its up there in my most played games of all time list and I still get tempted to get back into it, but the expensive subscription and the pushing of in game shop items is just holding me back.

Had a go at Dragon Age Origins (during my time with Star Trek), but it only kept my interest for around 30 hours, which was a little disappointing as I thought it would be a life stealer.  The things I liked were the story and the characters, the things I didnt like were having to talk to everyone in the party to “Get them on your side” and the pausing during combat.  In fact now I think about it I really disliked this feature, if I wanted to play turn based gaming I get out my Warhammer figures (GASP!!).  Its a shame that I found these two things annoying as there is so much potential in this series and there are a lot of people out there that love it.  Don’t think I will bother with DA2 unless they fix what I don’t like and I’m not expecting them to.

What can I say about Guild Wars, absolutely love the story, the presentation (for such an old game), the combat, everything here hits the nail on the head for me.  I even like the payment model which is to buy things in installments (like a singple player game), with a shop that has truly optional items in it.  In some cases I bought things in order to support Arenanet.  I really like the company and I really love the game.  This is actually my most played game of all time at over 650 hours gameplay.  Started playing this in May 2010 and still haven’t put it down yet.  I get the occasional frustration when I hit some difficult content, but other than that this is one hell of a game.

Will be buying Guild Wars 2 as soon as I’m able to.

I’ve been playing left4dead and left4dead 2 with the same groiup of friends now (Me, Ame, Mango and X) for as long as I can remember, we have a wednesday night session and sometimes another at a weekend.  The only problem we have is that the content is starting to get a little stale.  So I spent most of this year keeping my eye out for alternatives.  During the last quarter of 2009 we found Borderlands and that was a blast for the four of us, I managed to rack up around 150 hours in that baby, before we completed it and didnt really have any motivation to replay or buy the expansions.

So what were we going to choose as our 2010 l4d alternative.  Its not as easy as it sounds to find an entertaining coop shooter for the four of us.  Damn you Valve for making your games so good that we can;t replace you.

In the end I introduced the lads to  Guild Wars and we did enjoy our time in the game, but a combination of work related commitments and sometimes only having an hour or so to play kept us from really getting our teeth into it as a team.  So off I went in search of something a little bit more shooter based.  Where was this years Borderlands…  The coop shooter arena seemed like a bit of a ghost town, then along came Valve with a little gem of a game to spice things up.

Alien swarm was actually a great little game which fit our commitment and play styles perfectly.  Lots of shooting a little bit of planning and teamwork and eeek facehuggers.  Can’t go wrong, or so I thought.  GASP!! There was only 15 hours of gameplay for us in this.  I wantz more valve, where is the paid campaign for it… Alas, Alien Swarm is now gathering dust on my virtual steam shelf and we moved back to left4dead for a while.  I thought there might be light at the end of the tunnel when I heard that Alien Breed was available on steam as a paid game with similar gameplay, but its only 2 player coop now four, so no hope there.

This was probably everyone’s surprise game of 2010, it certainly surprised me.  I remember one of my friends (Lukey from Chilled-Out-Gamers) linked it to me weeks before the game hit big time and I had a quick looked as dismissed it as 8 bnit nonsense.  Then the blogging community started to rave about how addictive it was and that once you try you will be stuck for hours.  I still resisted until Shawn of GuildCast started talking about how he was resisting it too.  I finally gave in to peer pressure and bought it, after all it was less than £10 to buy, so how good/addictive could it be.

Well I found out pretty quickly and it totally took over my gaming for several weeks.  Loved the whole logo type feel to it.  I built up, dug down and thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.  I’m pretty much over it now, with a slim chance of playing it in 2011, but you never know.  I did however spread the love when it comes to this and my good wife (Ame) and one of my mates from work (Sheps) are still playing it avidly.  My bad, for pimping games again…

Other games

There were a few also ran titles I played in 2010 (some of which were bought in a pack with games I actually wanted).  The list includes games that were either only played for a short while or played towards the back end of the year, so their stats didnt quite impact.  These are:

Dirt 2

Beat Hazard


Clive Barkers Jericho

Global Agenda



Zen Bound 2

Rise of the Argonauts

Team Fortress 2

Burnout Paradise

The Lord Of The Rings Online

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Games Watch #3

Friday, December 31st, 2010

A couple of action games have fallen under my gaze over the last couple of weeks.  Both of which are looking like 2011 release, but it does no harm to keep watching.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine

How can this image not instil in any human the dread of battle and the horror of galactic war:

Space Marine

Space Marine

I’ve not seen a lot on this game so far, but what I have seen looks pretty darn good. See trailer below:


This is a team based action shooter that really captured my imagination, it has some common elements to the Space Marine game about, in fact that rocket jump is a move almost identical to the 40k Dawn of War RTS game I played. However it also has a look and feel similar to Borderlands which was a bit of a RPG shooter cross-over.  Definitely one to keep my eye on in the coming weeks. Here is a look at the cinematic trailer:

This is a trailer showing some of the gameplay, looks pretty shiny to me. :)

More details can be found at the Firefall official website

Will be keeping my eye out for more info on these two.


Where have I been…

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Its been ages since my last post.  I feel like I’ve really neglected the place.  A couple of reasons for this, firstly I have been quite busy playing games and didnt really feel motivated to post, but then over Christmas I’ve been quite ill.

I managed to get the worst flu ever and it really interupted both my work and leisure time. I’ve actually been too unwell to use the computer at all which is not like me.

Anyway onto lighter things, I’ll do a quick update on what I have been playing these last few weeks.

Guild Wars

Guild Wars

Still playing guild wars quite a lot, although I seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall in terms of progressing with both Cantha (Factions) and Elona (Nightfall).

As far as Cantha is concerned me and Ame have reached the final mission to defeat Shiro.  This is proving to be quite tough and I hate the bits in Guild Wars that are quite tough.  I just wish I could go away and level up a bit then come back and kick his ass, but alas I hit max level months ago.  I really don’t want to have to spend ages reading wiki pages and customising my party and build in order to just finish the darn thing.  So with frustration setting in I had a chat with Ame and we decided we would move on to Elona and come back to Shiro at a later date.

We completed another few missions of Elona content and reached the mission where you have to close the rift gates in the Grand court of Sebelkeh, I’ve now had a couple of goes at this and its proving to be another challenge.  Not sure I can really be bothered to put the effort in to research what to do, so again I’m at a bit of a block.

My choice is to knuckle down and get these missions done or move on to Eye of the North for a while to see how that goes.  With the other games I have at the moment I don’t think I can cope with the effort needed. :(  Lets hope I change my mind as I really really like guild Wars.

The Lord of the Rings Online (Lotro)

The Lord Of The Rings Online

I’ve been putting off looking at Lotro for some time as I didn’t want to distract myself from Guild Wars, but the free to download and play temptation finally took its toll.  I’m trying out several classes and I’m not sure which one to play.  I have the following at the moment:

a level 8 Burglar (Man)
a level 10 Champion (Dwarf)
a level 12 Minstrel (Man)
a level 13 Lore Master (Elf)

The Lore Master is dedicated to playing with Ame and the Champion is dedicated to playing with a group of friends, but my fave character at the moment is the minstrel as he is the only class that allows for an effective self heal.

I’m loving the game so far, but still not sure if it will become my main game, I guess it depends on whether I get totally stuck in Guild Wars.  Time will tell on that…

One thing I do like about Lotro is the environment, its just plain gorgeous, the controls are not as snappy as GW in combat as I often have moments where I swear I clicked on a skill but the skill just doesn’t activate.  I guess I’ve been spoilt on that score because of how responsive Guild Wars is.

Loving the crafting of Lotro though, its made me wonder why there isnt something similar in Guild Wars, I’m sure the chaps at Arenanet are paying attention and something will get included in GW2.

All in all Lotro is a great game and no-one can complain with the price of it. :)  Will keep updating as to whether GW or Lotro becomes my MMo of choice.

Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise

Picked up this awesome game in the steam sales.  I actually already own this on the PS3, but these days that only gets booted up when I want to watch a DVD with the family.  You see the PS3 is attached to the big tele and thats not in our computer room, so to play Burnout meant leaving Ame playing in the study and going into the main room.  I found this to be totally anti-social, so with Burnout on offer for £3.75, yes thats right less than four pounds for one of the most fun driving games I have ever played I had to buy it.

Been flying round the city totally loving it.  Got my money’s worth out of this one already. :)

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Another great value steam sale item.  This game has been on my list for some time, but I have been reluctant to pay full price for it as I was unsure if it was going to be my type of game.  When it came down to £7.49 it was a must buy.  I’m only a couple of levels into it, but I’m really enjoying it so far.  There have been a couple of technical issues with it as I occasionally get a freeze of the graphics and I have had a couple of crashes, but its not stopping my enjoyment.  I’ll have a look sometime and see if there are updated drivers required for my graphics card.

The story I’m finding to be really entertaining and the Joker and Harlequin characters are particularly well done.  Combat is responsive and fun, particularly the slow motion last action you get when you defeat a mob.  Not really got the hand of the combo system yet, but I’m playing on easy so I might not bother with that unless required

Well, thats about it for an update.  Its taken me a while to finish this post, but at least I got there in the end.


Finally I have multi-player ass kicking mayhem

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Whilst waiting for Vindictus and needing some kick ass action I accidentally stumbled upon a game I absolutely loved from my past. Dynasty Warriors…  Both Ame and I played this to death on the PS2.

So seeing as this latest instalment is online and completely free to download and play I though I would give it a whirl.  The instant I booted up the game I was confronted with the same characters and the familiar guitar riffs. All those old memories came flooding back.

Here is a quick trailer to get those Chinese Warlord juices flowing:

The one downside (if there can be a downside to a game this awesome), is that its a little confusing finding your way around the town/hub system, I found myself wandering around quite a bit trying to find things, so for this reason I created a map as a guide.

DWO Town Map (Small)

DWO Town Map (Small)

Click here for a larger version.

Well, I can’t hang around here forever, there are a few thousand Wei supporters out there that need to be taught a lesson. :)


Team Fortress 2 has moved on…

Monday, November 8th, 2010
Smaug's Stash

My RPG Stash

Although I have been hiding away in my little RPG cave with my massive stash of gold over the last 6 months, I used to very much enjoy the FPS world of TF2.

I’m not entirely sure why I stopped playing TF2, I love the pace of the game, the unique and entertaining graphics and the ability to group with friends and have a good laugh.  All of these factors result in an awesome game, so why did I stop playing in favour of Guild Wars?  I’m beginning to think the reason was because of having nothing to show for my time.

I’ll try to explain.   I’m never going to be an awesome FPS player, no matter how much I practice.   I can play the Medic class to a reasonable level for a public server, but the twitchy scout movement or the way you have to predict where the player will go as a soldier are beyond my skill level.  So what did I get for my hundreds of hours gameplay?  In Guild Wars I have a max level character decked out in his wonderful high level armour with a great title below his name that people look at and know that I’m more than your average player.

With the recent flurry of updates from TF2 I now have something to aim for… Crafting new items from rubbish I don’t need has just grabbed my attention.  These updates have actually been out for a while, its just taken me this long to notice.  So, despite the pull from my Guild Wars hoard of gold, I need the medic hats and I need them now!!

Shiny Medic Hat

Shiny Medic Hat

For those that are not familiar with the mechanisms, here is a nicely put together tutorial on how to craft in TF2.


Games Watch #2

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Welcome to the second edition of Games Watch.   Not a lot of new games announced that we are interested in this month, but some things to say about ones I am already watching.  The biggest game I am watching at the moment has to be Guild Wars 2, but I will cover that one in separate articles over the next few weeks/months.

Vindictus Update

The sad news is that Vindictus was only released in the States and not in Europe. :(  I’m not sure yet when we will get to play this awesome game, but the rumour is that it will be fairly soon.  On a more positive note, the new character Evie has been released and she looks awesome…

Diablo 3 Update

Also a new class was announced for Diablo 3, woohoo. Looks awesome, lets hope we don’t have to wait too long to play…

That’s it for now, till I start putting some thoughts together on Guild Wars 2.


We have been away

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Well we have been rather busy over the last couple of weeks what with getting married and everything.  Married life is awesome and now we can officially call ourselves Mr and Mrs Mythbeast. Woohoo!!

The hardest part of the whole marriage experience was the time away from our keyboards.  The last time we were away for that length of time would be counted in years rather than months (GULP!!).

It was actually very nice to get back home and sit down and get in some gaming together.  It was very interesting to note that I have played Guild Wars almost exclusively since my return from hols.  So although Minecraft is very very addictive I don’t think it will ever replace my Guild Wars. :) The thing about Minecraft is that once you start playing its very difficult to stop, but if you can resist starting a project within it you can hold off quite easily.

Anyway, back to what I have been doing with games over the last few days since returning.

I’ve had the sudden urge to make significant progress with the Skill Hunter title track.  So as with most things when I want to track progress I created a spreadsheet.  This started as a simple list and then grew into a fully filterable and self totalling monster.

I also decided to add Ame’s progress into this and before I knew where I was I had a competition on my hands. (Again, it goes without saying that I am in no way competitive in my gaming. Ahem!).

Here is where we are at the moment. I will update on progress as we near the titles.

Who iz winning...

PS. Just noticed that I have missed a Canthan skill somewhere… Will need to do an Audit to find out where that has gone.


It really is addictive

Sunday, October 24th, 2010
Minecraft has me and wont let me go...

Save me from myself

Well I’m four days into my Minecraft experience and it really is the most additive thing I have ever played.

I found myself playing beyond midnight again last night which is completely unknown for me as I start to fall asleep around 10ish (its my age), ask anyone who has seen me run off a cliff fast asleep in Borderlands or off a building in Left 4 Dead. There was one time during a long Star Trek Online mission where I actually ran off a cliff, respawned, then did it again, completely oblivious. It was only because Ame “kindly” reminded me of how the party was rolling about laughing at me that I was even aware of it.

I’m not really sure what the basis of the addiction is.  I think it has something to do with there being a lack of game phases. There is no mission to complete so there isnt a lull in the gameplay for people to discuss if they are “up for another one”.  For example last night I started with the idea of a wall of glass looking out over the ocean, this was followed half way through with anoteher idea to have a glass floor and then another to let water into my home for a calming sound effect.  All the while Ame was franticly clicking away on her PC too.

Next thing I know I have gone way past my stringently enforced bedtime and I have a monster headache (I’ll get back to you on whether this is Minecraft or whether its because I have man flu).

I don’t know if this Minecraft addiction is going to last, it could be just one of my 3 or 4 week fads. I’m starting to miss Guild Wars, so I will likely be back to normal soon.

Lets just hope I don’t start playing multiplayer too.  I’m more than a little scared.


Wednesday, October 20th, 2010


I resisted for a while, which is quite good for me, but eventually I have fallen to my virtual Doom and bought Minecraft. I kept telling myself how addictive can it really be, its just a casual Doom style lookalike with a bit of crafting.

OMG I was so wrong. For those that don’t know about MineCraft, there is one rule “At night Monsters come”, so your whole gameplay is governed by how light it is and your first day must consist of digging yourself a little cave and trying to find a way of lighting it.

I was in complete panic as the sun went down as I was unable to find coal to make a torch. My research had informed me that monsters could spawn anywhere that there was no light, so I was sweating in the corner of my makeshift cave wondering how I would make it through the night.

Somehow I survived and onwards and upward I started to create my cave empire, a game that keeps me up beyong 10pm is a serious problem, particularly when I’m up again at 5:30am to carry on.

I actually have real life stuff to do at the moment, cause I’m getting married next week, so I have to hold back on this as much as I can.

Then there’s my hall of monuments in Guild Wars as well…. HELP!!!!