Skyrim-inspired Musical Magic

Posted in Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on November 23rd, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

A performance to bring tears to the eyes of any Dovahkiin.

So early in the morning, yet I found my day made by this awesome, beautiful video showing the performance of ViolinTay and Lara6683, interpreting the Skyrim/Morrowind theme from The Elder Scrolls. There is no sheet music- they figured how it would play themselves. Vocals and piano are by Lara (on piano). What can I say but… this is simply divine, and should move the heart of anyone who has been loving the game since its release, with that distinct musical theme never before sounding this artsy. Man, if and when Bethesda holds a Skyrim convention or such, these girls MUST perform there. That was simply awesome. Oh, and those who clicked the dislike button on this video surely have petty, blackened souls I wouldn’t waste effort putting into a cracked soul gem.

UPDATE: Added this wonderful musical performance by Malukah, singing the Dragonborn bard song and Skyrim’s main theme.

Fast Tube by Casper

My Soul just got Trapped. Enchanting!

Stories Big, Stories Small in Skyrim

Posted in Action Adventure, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on November 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

X-Play’s review of The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim resonated particularly with me- not simply because it’s one of the few 5 of 5 reviews from G4 that has pretty much no snark and all gush. This doesn’t mean the game is perfect per se- but any flaws and little glitches are like gnats in the face of such a vast, deep, rich and detailed fantasy experience as you get in this latest sojourn into Tamriel. But one particular aspect of the review I really agreed with was the narrative- the richness of the stories told in the course of the game.

And it’s not even the big, main storylines that everyone knows about- the return of the dragons and the ongoing civil war in Skyrim. No, it’s the many little bits, which you may or may not find in your first, second or even third playthroughs. These things you have to find in the course of your wanderings, your adventures. If you stick to one path and can’t be dissuaded from following your predestined saga, you’ll be missing out on a lot. Much of the pleasure in Skyrim is just letting your curious nature get the better of you- to see what’s over that hill. What’s in that mine you just passed. What those townspeople are talking about.

Sure, you can saunter up to any of the literally hundreds of NPCs and get fully-voiced dialogue relating their personal miseries and usually how you can play a part in allaying it. But then, for every story told and spoken, there are those little tidbits you find out and see for yourself.

Like in one particular dungeon- I stalk in, ready to face another bandit nest… only to find the whole gang, lifeless and heaped around a creepy glowing shrine. A tattered journal from one of the late bandits tells of voices and nightmares. A black iron door beckons, promising the same fate to you… or riches to be had. Of course, there was never really any choice of where to go, now is there?

This led me into a dark series of passages and tombs crawling with ghostly Nord warriors- luckily by now, my Dragonborn Hero was a master of both stealth and the blade… plus I recently acquired a nice spell called Invisibility. Spectral and creepy as the undead were, getting gutted with an enchanted glass sword right up to the hilt by surprise eliminated them almost instantly. I reached an area where a switch finally revealed a hidden chest. Treasure found, dungeon beaten… or was it? A puzzle and strange mechanism showed itself, and I knew I wasn’t finished yet. Solving the simple match riddle, I triggered a secret door and entered a brightly-lit and larger chamber which was, I soon realized, the true heart of this dark maze. A fiery boss appeared and battle was soon joined.

I got killed several times, all simply because I at first charged in without knowing the full situation. It was at this point that the game’s option for a third-person perspective helped turn the tide, allowing me to find a place in the relatively narrow battle area where I was safe, and then giving me a full view of the battle and what was killing me over and over. Working out a strategy, I buffed myself up, became invisible, then took out one threat, while my summoned Storm Thralls took out the other.

When all was quiet, it was all a matter of picking through the loot- several magical and high-quality weapons, a magical suit of armor and various odds and ends. Too much to carry myself alone (I had neglected to bring a live follower at this time), so I went and animated one of the unfortunate bandit corpses to serve as pack mule for the long trek (well, a short quick travel, actually) back to civilization. After I sold off what needed to be sold and stored the choice bits, I gave the poor devil an impromptu cremation to send him to Sovngarde.

Oh, crap.. it’s 4 AM already?!

These little bits pepper the landscape. Cities, towns, hamlets, mines, farms, cabins, hideouts, shrines, dungeons, mystery sites… I’ve seen a lot, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen most. As far as I know this game has more than a hundred dungeons… I don’t think I’ve beaten 20, and I’m already level 40 (at this point, I still have only finished as yet Act 1 of the main storyline, and haven’t even gotten close to finishing all the guild quests…). Good thing this game apparently doesn’t ever end- once you’ve the ongoing crisis, the world goes on, life continues with everyday problems and the odd quest that needs righting from your high-level hero. So I can keep playing… or do it all with a new character from scratch and start over. Whichever I choose, I know I’m gonna enjoy it. Is this gaming bliss? Yes, I think it is.

It boggles my mind, but I may be playing this game and still not plumbed all its depths and wealth a year, or two or maybe even more… from now. Well, at least, I hope, not until we next see the next adventure and chapter in the fantasy world of Tamriel. But of course, that’s another story.

Soul Calibur V: Special Outfits from the Designer of Bayonetta!

Posted in Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Soulcalibur 5, Xbox360 on November 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

Ivy and Bayonetta share the same tailor. Why am I not surprised?

We already know to expect Ubisoft’s Ezio Auditore early next year in Soul Calibur V. But don’t be surprised to find some of the irreverent, sexiness of Sega’s Bayonetta in the game as well. No, the witch herself won’t be appearing in SCV (too bad), but hints of her will- in the form of special outfits designed by Bayonetta character designer Mari Shimazaki. The currently freelance designer was contracted by Namco-Bandai and Project Soul to come up with three outfits- alternate costumes for Ivy and Tira, plus the primary outfit of newcomer Leixia. You can read the article and see pics of these new duds over at 1UP.

Tekken: Blood Vengeance First 7 Minutes!

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Tekken, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Tekken Hybrid on November 18th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

The Williams Sisters get it on.

Just about four days left till the release of Tekken Hybrid in the US, we now get a nice taste of the CG action from the included Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie- specifically, the opening of the film which includes the entire Nina-Anna brawl and their respective reports to their bosses, Jin and Kazuya respectively. Funny though that this part is probably the ‘best’ segment of the movie for many since this is probably the most we’ll see of The Williams in this flick as far as I have read in reviews.

Well, anyway, the movie looks gorgeous and the action as slick as Nina’s leather suit. Although I do find the syncing of the lips to the voices a bit iffy… plus I really think that Kaz and Jin should have switched voice actors. Well, that’s just me… I’ll probably want to watch this in Japanese with english subs anyways. Watch the clip and enjoy, and if it feels right, stay tuned for the whole thing with Hybrid, on Nov. 22.

Soul Calibur V: New and Returning Characters Revealed!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Xbox360 on November 18th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Ahhr, matey!

The roster for Project Soul’s return game, Soul Calibur V, has just gotten a lot bigger with the reveal of several more challengers into this all-new Tale of Souls and Swords.

Longtime fans will recognize Cervantes, the undead pirate and original Soul Edge boss, who comes with his trademark dual-hand style. This brutal buccaneer’s sporting a bit more color to his skin… maybe a change of diet? Also back is Aeon AKA Lizardman, who, contrary to speculation that he’d return as a human (Aeon was the Lizard’s human name prior to being cursed) is now even more monstrous with the apparent addition of wings and the ability to breathe FIRE. Maybe he’s now a Dragon Man?

I guess it wouldn’t be a SC game if it didn’t have Yoshimitsu, and the mysterious Manji leader returns once again with an all-new look.

Finally, Kilik users may like or hate the fact that their favorite style is back in SCV, but now in the hands of a new face. SCV’s new staff fighter is a rather scruffy-looking boy named Xiba. So where’s Kilik? Well, I guess we’re gonna have to play the Story Mode to find out. Check out Game Informer’s feature for some cool screens of the new faces in action over here.

UPDATE: Famitsu just added a gallery with some additional screens of the Story Mode over here.

Streetfighter X Tekken: Color Edit, Alternate Costumes! (UPDATED)

Posted in Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PC Gaming, PS3, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Xbox360 on November 17th, 2011 by thelonegamer

My eyes burn! What the hell is this I’m seeing?!

Yoshinori Ono has been trolling snippets lately of pics which seem to point at a somewhat manly character wearing Rainbow Mika’s outfit- the nature of this has finally been revealed. The characters will be sporting alternate outfits which will be based on characters from the other franchises of the opposing side- Looking at the pic above though I can only really recognize a few; So it was Kuma cosplaying as Rainbow Mika… Julia as Chun-li… Steve as kinda-Nash? What?

I have to say… the idea seems kinda cool perhaps on paper, but from the pics above these outfits are looking pretty… FUGLY. Seriously, Capcom needs to learn from the independent modders for SFIV and SSFIV on PC to see how you do awesome alternate outfits.

Anyway, before totally writing this off, I’ll want to see more of these outfits, and learn more info. How many alts does each character get? Will they be getting their regular alternate outfits as well as these ‘crazy’ duds? For now, check out the pic above, and here for a slightly larger version.

UPDATE! The official Streetfighter X Tekken site has been updated with the new features, including Customzation, which you can check out here. Unfortunately, it seems that the customizing is limited to Color Edit and the aforementioned Alternate outfits. Lots of screens of all the revealed alts in the link, so check that out.

Tekken 3D Prime Edition Update

Posted in 3DS, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Mobile Games, Tekken, Tekken 3D Prime Edition, Tekken 6, Tekken Blood Vengeance on November 17th, 2011 by thelonegamer

The gang’s all here…
The 3DS Iron Fist game, Tekken 3D Prime Edition, is still slated for release this coming February. The game features the return of the roster from Tekken 6, with the only real ‘new’ addition being TTT2′s Young Heihachi. Other than that though, the only other new feature in the game so far are original stages (whoopie). No news if the game has any kind of customization, but at the very least has the old P1 alt outfits, which is more than I can say for Tekken Tag 2. Oh, and yeah, you are of course getting a 3D portable version of Tekken Blood Vengeance, although you’d already have this if you bought Tekken Hybrid.

To sweeten the deal, apparently there’s a launch promotion for Prime that will give those who purchase the 3DS game a bonus of 10,000 in-game money for the arcade version of Tekken Tag 2, plus some special items (just for names/rankings, not actual in-game items though). Obviously, this is only for Japan.
Yeah, I’m still probably getting this just to get one more title on my 3DS, but my enthusiasm for this has dropped quite a bit. Having a Tekken 6 version on 3DS is nice I guess, but it seems that the usual going-the-extra-mile of the Tekken team isn’t too much in effect here. But we’ll see in the final release… maybe we’ll be surprised. The game is out in Japan this coming Feb. 16, 2012.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue Trophy List Revealed

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Tekken, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Tekken Hybrid, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue on November 16th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Get ready to learn Ling and Alisa in Prologue.

Whoaness! As I predicted, productivity would drop once I started playing Skyrim. Sorry ’bout that people, but hey… games of that caliber just don’t come every day. Anyways, back to beat ‘em up news… Tekken Hybrid is out in less than a week, at least in the States! Nov. 22 will see the release of this special PS3-exclusive Blu-ray package, which will include of course a 3D-ready copy of the somewhat controversial CG movie, Tekken: Blood Vengeance, an HD version of the original Tekken Tag Tournament and (some would say best of all) a short demo of Tekken Tag 2, entitles Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue. Recently the trophy list for this little taste of arcade awesome was posted online, so if you’re a Trophy Nutter, check out the stuff over here at Tekken Zaibatsu.

This is already a must-buy for me, although I’m not sure when Asia will get our copies (I may have to import a US disc). As I’ve said before, I’m looking forward most to Tekken: Blood Vengeance on the disc. TTT HD is just a nice little extra, while TTT2 Prologue will be good just for orienting myself with the new Tag Assaults, but with just four characters, none of them being anyone I particularly like, I don’t expect to play Prologue that much. Still, beat ‘em up fans should be in a tizzy to see a preview of what we’ll see on consoles… someday.

Dragonborn Diaries: My First Weekend in Skyrim

Posted in Action Adventure, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Videogame Comedy, Xbox360 on November 14th, 2011 by thelonegamer

These dudes are soooo dead.

WOOH. As I am writing this, my neck kinda aches and my face hurts from lack of sleep but hell, I haven’t been this happy in years. Yep, I’ve been through a gaming weekend, which consists mainly of me in my room, staring at my TV set for hours on end as a virtual world sprawls before me. Yep, it was my first weekend of Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, and well- yeah, it’s indeed All That. This isn’t my review yet, but really- there’s no question. This game rocks hard and then some, and then some more. Anyways, I’ve got tons of stories to tell, even if I keep the big spoilers down (there will be some bits but I won’t reveal anything big, don’t worry) so stay a while and listen.

Like in all past Elder Scrolls, Skyrim has you starting from the very bottom of the proverbial barrel- as a prisoner, being led to his/her execution (at least in Oblivion you were just chillin’ in your cell). But just as the headsman’s axe was about to separate your head from your body, a Dragon- a big, scary, horny, black thing of nightmare- attacks the place. As Imperial soldiers and the big flying lizard battle it out, you get a chance to escape. Since I was playing a Nord guy, I decided to go with Ralof, a fellow prisoner and member of the rebel Stormcloaks- those Nords fighting for an independent Skyrim. A somewhat lengthy romp through the inside of the Imperial stronghold makes for a nice little beginning tutorial.

Combat has been improved from Oblivion- instead of sliding around while standing straight up, combatants are in more proper battle-stance, and weapons are swung with vicious, convincing weight. It’s still got a tendency to be a messy affair though- often your making a strike and the enemy reacting don’t always match up- you’ll swing several times until you realize your enemy’s already on the floor. This often causes you to accidentally hit friendly characters nearby as you flail about. One could argue a ‘Toggle Friendly Fire’ option could have been included, but hey, then you couldn’t kill your friends if you wanted to, and that’s all part of the Elder Scrolls fun, ain’t it? The power to choose, no matter how crazy your choices can get (well, to a point). Anyway, long story short, the combat looks fierce and pretty cool- the addition of finishing sequences makes them all the more visceral.

Lockpicking… is still a pain. But I think it’s a lot better here now, with you turning the two analog sticks. Force feedback shows the resistance, and you can easily break your fragile picks if you’re not careful. However, as frustrating as it can get, it’s actually kinda fun, so no biggie.
After a brief bit through some underground passages, I was finally out of the Imperial stronghold-turned-dragon-playground. My companion headed off after giving me a tip to viist his sister for help in a nearby town, and I was free. Free! Man, oh man, was I free.

For a moment I just had to stand there, taking it all in, letting the camera spin about. It was the same thing in Oblivion, after you beat the initial dungeon- once you arrive in the bigger, wider world, you just have to pause and realize that you’re on a long and interesting journey. But this time, the world is even more detailed, even more beautiful and immersive. I stare at the sky, which is photorealistic, in awe. The trees may as well be real. A moose runs by. Goddamn this is awesome.

I arrive in the first town and the wonder still doesn’t stop. People are walking about and talking. Yeah, it’s still not perfect, but it’s a notch up from Oblivion when you talk to people. No longer do you have POV zooms into the face of the person you’re talking to- they just talk to you as they’re standing, and it’s much more natural. Dialogue is all spoken with much better voice-acting (and a lot more voices too), even if your hero is still the silent-type.

After some time in town, I soon find myself on my first dungeon quest, to a place called Bleak Falls Barrow to retrieve a stolen item from some bandits. This is the same dungeon we’ve all seen in the Skyrim demo. It’s here where I really get to play the style I want (for now), that of stealth assassin. I find myself sneaking in, and I manage to get up the initial steps undetected, and kill off the bandits on top with some sniping- archery is now a LOT deadlier, and with the right perks and skill, you can wipe out whole enemy camps from afar… it’s goddamn fun. This continues into the actual barrow itself, which actually turns out to be a bit lengthier than I saw in the demo. All’s well though- the dungeons was great from beginning to end, I got the item back, some treasure and the hankering for more.

Anyways, from there on I wandered a bit more- before getting back to the first town to receive my reward, I stumbled on a couple more dungeons and found myself facing off with a nest of Necromancers (I hate these guys…) in a half-submerged fort. Wandering about, I face a LOT more bandits and wolves. Funny that there are at least as many female bandits as there are males (they’re an equal opportunity kind of outlaw)… seeing as how hot all the ladies are, I realize why there are so many of them… ahem.
Afterwards, I headed off to let the local Jarl (or overlord) at a nearby city know about his impending Dragon Problem. This leads to more adventures, more bandit-killing, my first battle with a dragon, being hailed a hero and having a hot warrior babe pledge her life to my service. Oh, and somehow every time I kill a dragon I get these awesome powers.

ALL of this in just one weekend… and I know I’ve barely even made a dent in this game.

My head’s throbbing. I need coffee. Need to get some work done today. But I’ll be back in Skyrim soon. Got stuff to do, people to meet. Dragons to kill. Man, I love being a gamer.

Got Skyrim?

Posted in Action Adventure, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on November 11th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Be seeing you folks. I’m off to Skyrim!

I do! Picked up my PS3 disc today, just after lunch from the gameshop. So I’m set for tonight, the weekend and the rest of the year. Heh.

Given that to fully experience this game to give it a fair review, I’m gonna have to play this for a while. A ‘while’ meaning anything from 60 hours upwards. I’ll do my best to put down all my thoughts after my own playthroughs at least before the year ends.

That said, I’ve seen more than enough footage and have seen or read several reviews that all uniformly praise this game for the same things that I know what I am getting myself into and what to expect- the unbelievably awesome musical score, whose main theme seems ripped from the best fantasy movies in our dreams, the lush, immersive and utterly believable world, full to the brim with interesting people to meet and things to do, the organic and intuitive way you grow and develop your Dragonborn hero and perhaps best of all, the wonderful freedom you’re allowed to go about things- whether to charge headfirst into the main quest right away or to just while away your time indefinitely wandering the wilds, just making like a digital version of Bear Grylls. Skyrim is the real deal. It’s THE RPG right now, and conceivably for the near future. Until Elder Scrolls VI, perhaps.

So if you even have an iota of love for fantasy and RPGs, do yourself a favor and rush to get your copy of this Gateway to Another World and let yourself go.