Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: It’s a Mod, Mod Mod World

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, My Stuff, PC Gaming, RPGs on February 29th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Lydia, are you slacking off??! Good!

As I’ve posted earlier, perhaps the single most awesome thing about PC versions of games is their relative customizability and ability to install mods. That aspect for me makes Elder Scrolls V Skyrim a much different game than it was on PS3 or Xbox360. Right now, thanks to Bethesda Software releasing their Creation Kit and the enthusiastic participation of thousands of fans, gamers and players, there are literally thousands of mods to check out and install to make your version of Skyrim on PC that much more user-friendly, sexy, funny, awesome or broken as you wish.
Since fully switching over to PC full-time, I’ve installed a couple dozen mods already. Some are really nice, some are just for detail and atmosphere, some are just… fun. Here are a few of my faves so far.

Sounds of Skyrim by Cliffworms is one of the most highly-rated and popular audio mods out. Basically this adds in more ambient sounds to the various locales in Skyrim, making the soundscape even more textured and interesting- in the wilds, there are more sounds from unseen fauna all around you like birds and insects, or perhaps some unknown beast far away. In dungeons, depending on the inhabitants, there are more SFX to creep you out like far-off keening, howling and moans, ominous rumbling and so forth. It all goes to making the game that much more atmospheric. Play with headphones! So far there are mods for The Wilds and Dungeons, with more hopefully on the way.

Fast Tube by Casper

Realistic Ragdolls and Force by Bakakemono. This tweaks the game’s physics and flexibility of charater models to make their movements- particularly when falling over, dying or being manhandled by things like your Dovakiin’s Unrelenting Force shout a bit more realistic and life-like.

Dragon Bone Weapons by ChurchOfSmallDog is something the game SHOULD have shipped with out of the box. You can make Dragon Armor- so why not Dragon Weapons? It’s just a no-brainer! The screenshots of the stuff you can fashion with all those Wyrm bones and scales looks awesome and just as good as the canon stuff, so this should be cool- haven’t gotten my Smithing up that high yet, so it’ll take some time for me to enjoy this fully though.

Followers Can Relax by King Coin. Nice little tweak, more for roleplaying than anything else but I just find it so cool. This mod lets you tell your follower that you’ll be staying where you are for a while, giving them the chance to just chill and take five. So instead of the simple Wait command which makes them stand in place the whole time (which is still there anyway), this lets your follower wander around a bit in the area, interact with stuff (sit down, have a snack, do some smithing, etc) and just look like they’re part of the scenery instead of standing out like a sore thumb all the time.

While I originally was okay with the ‘au naturelle’ look of Skyrim’s females on the PS3 version, I eventually realized that mods could give the game TONS more eye candy and detail where you can appreciate it. Mods like Bella’s Better Females and Coverwomen smoothen and generally make females beautiful- model gorgeous, in fact. Lore purists may scoff but I don’t mind that every lady I meet- from village lasses to noble ladies to evil bandit wenches- look pretty hot. My personal choice for face mod is Coverwomen, which strikes a nice balance with overall beauty that doesn’t look too makeup-heavy. Another awesome but understated mod is Phygit’s FemFeet which gives the female character models detailed (in fact, amazingly detailed and life-like) bare feet- instead of the gruesome stumps in the vanilla game. A small detail but it helps make the world and game that much more detailed and believable.

Arrow Crafting by Boom. Ever wonder who makes arrows in Skyrim? Well, YOU can, with this mod, adding the craft of fletching to the Smithing skill. Nice for Archery Specialists!

There are tons more mods available, including new quests, new character, spells, locales and other goodies to try out online, both at the official Steam Community site and also over at Skyrim Nexus. Man, the longevity and replay of this game just shot up- as if it wasn’t already shot to heck.

Just Discovered Elder Scrolls V Skyrim… Again…

Posted in Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fantasy, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, RPGs on February 27th, 2012 by thelonegamer

When will I ever finish this game? Do I even want it to finish..?

Over the weekend I was playing Elder Scrolls V Skyrim- so what else is new, you’d ask, given that I’ve been playing this uber-RPG since November pretty much non-stop. Well, the change is that I have now started playing it on PC. Well, on my gaming laptop, to be exact. And well, my world has been completely changed. Pretty much since launch last 11-11-11, I’ve been playing Skyrim on my PS3. And to be honest and fair, I’ve been pretty happy with it; heck, I’ve restarted playing four times and I’m still raring to go every single time. But of course, it hasn’t been without hiccups.

One thing about consoles is that you’re basically buying the guided tour- since for the most part consoles have one constant and set spec and range of capabilities, you don’t trouble over things like memory, processors, video cards, sound cards and the like- as which is the case with computers. For the most part, consoles are cheaper and less troublesome, while PCs take some work to put together and are usually pricier. But of course, you get what you pay for.
The PS3 version of Skyrim looks fine- even on my 51-inch Plasma it certainly is easy on the eyes, with limitations only being apparent if you stop and take a look at things a bit too closely. The frame rate is more or less constant, albeit later on in the game, in cities like Whiterun (particularly that area between your house, Breezehome, and the town market) there’s consistent lagginess and slowdown. Though crashes are infrequent, there were some times where the game would just stop and freeze, repeatedly, prompting me to restart my PS3. Irritating but not game-breaking. As for load times, it depends- perhaps upwards of eight or so seconds generally for loading into most interior areas, slightly more for dungeons- let’s just say it became a pastime for me to revolve and rotate the loading screen 3D models as a way to pass the time.

Last night, I finally tried playing Skyrim on my laptop. My portable PC isn’t a souped-up gameslayer by any means, but it IS a dedicated game console and I did get the specs up to par with contemporary games. I actually bought Skyrim for it months ago, but didn’t play it since my first day for it since I found the controls (keyboard and mouse) just inaccessible (which is basically what keeps me from mastering stuff like Starcraft). Really, I just can’t fathom battling gangs of Deathlords awkwardly fumbling with hotkeys and directionals- it would take time to get good at that, and I wasn’t willing to practice.

Well, I finally remedied that with an Xbox360 Wireless Controller for Windows- just insert the receiver into the USB port, sync it up and voila- I was good to go.
So how different is playing Skyrim on PC?

For starters, the game looks far more detailed and solid- character models have much better textures and detail (even more so if you download mods, but more on that later)- heck, EVERYTHING has better textures and detail. Though I was playing it on a much smaller screen, the resolution was just as good, if not better. As for frame rate, the game chugged along at a constant below-30s, which was fine (funny that it went up to 60FPS whenever I level up and check on my constellations). Load times? Going into any interior area in cities takes perhaps less than 3 seconds- or maybe even less. Fast traveling between areas is double faster than in console. Saving takes about one or two seconds. Reloading after a death, just about as fast. Man, that alone is awesome.

But of course, perhaps the single best thing the PC has over the consoles are the MODS. They’re free, they’re all over the internet and easy to install. Just like how apps sold the iPad, the PC version of Skyrim will continue to flourish thanks to mods. They range from little silly things like bikini outfits and nudie mods to really cool stuff like Dragonbone Weapons, new character houses and more enemy variety. It’s a veritable fountain of youth for this game… even in Vanilla format, Skyrim looks amazing- with the added detail and meticulous nature of most mods, the quality goes from ten to eleven.

I’ve yet to load a lot of mods- still dabbling and trying to find which ones are nice enough to keep. I don’t want any mod that alters gameplay too much or makes certain things overpowered or broken. I certainly won’t install any nude or porny mods (although I do want more ladies in my Skyrim to wear that hot Nocturnal robe…), but fan service is nice. Face reskins are good, but I think i”ll stick with the natural faces instead of generic supermodels with too much makeup.
I am interested in one mod that dresses up every guard in every hold differently- but I may miss the default guard outfit. I tried out one mod called ‘More Rain’ which literally does just that- quite lovely and neat… but frankly you get sick of it (at least the ‘heavy and dark’ variant) after one in-game day of it (if only it just comes occasionally, it would be fine).

Anyways, what can I say? I’ve been converted. Gotta say farewell to my console Dovakiin. Perhaps someday I’ll finish their sagas, but I think they’re all in good places where I left them. The PC Tamriel has ensnared me and refuses to let go.

CG Endings for Streetfighter X Tekken!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Playstation Vita, PS3, PSP2, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Xbox360 on February 25th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Action and drama unfolds as the crossover commences!

Capcom’s Streetfighter X Tekken is less than a week and a half away! To be honest, I wasn’t that hot for the game until recently, when I re-reviewed all the trailers and vids, and have lately been inundated with views of the gameplay and variety of characters. Obviously the game’s more free-form, combo and chain-heavy action looks fun as hell- fast and crazy but still nowhere near as spastic and mash-crazy as Marvel vs Capcom 3 (which I really don’t like). But the biggest pay-off for me is the stories of the battles between the two fighting game worlds, and the individual plotlines revealed so far between the many, many team-ups.
I assume the story will unfold via the game’s main Arcade Mode, starting with a Team Prologue (with artworks), with at least one cutscene with in-game graphics between the team and a rival duo. As for the endings, will they be real-time as well? Nope, apparently we can look forward to CG pre-rendered epilogues for the various teams, as tweeted by Yohinori Ono. When a fan asked ‘Are the endings in SFxTK cinematic like the trailers?’, the SF producer replied ‘Yes, ending is like trailer.’

This is cool news for me- I really enjoyed the CG story episodes for SFxTK; I wanna see them wrap up the various plots in spectacular fashion, to match the build-up. I hope they don’t hold back and show definite winners and losers in the various rivalries being setup in the get-go. It’s really been a long time since I’ve seen satisfying good ol’ fashioned fighting game Arcade Mode CG endings, and SFxTK just may deliver that sort of campy but unforgettable bits of sexy CG that’ll have gamers talking and discussing about which one is their fave and which ones fail for years.

Streetfighter X Tekken is out March 8 for PS3 and Xbox360, and eventually on PS Vita. More as we get it then!

It’s Power Level is OVER 9000!!! VF5 Final Showdown Demo’ed at Gamespot

Posted in Arcade, DLC, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, Xbox360 on February 24th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Sega continues building the anticipation for this long-awaited fighter.

Even with all the cool fighters that have come and are coming this year and so forth, if I were to pick one single title to arrive RIGHT NOW it would certainly be Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. You’d be forgive for being not too in the know about this though- but hardcore fighting gamers (even a Hardcore Casual Fighting Gamer like me) will surely know and respect (or revere) Sega’s VF series and it’s place in the genre. VF5 first came out last several years ago, in the beautiful but markedly unspectacular, non-online PS3 version. This was followed quite some time later by an online-capable Xbox360 version.

After that though, silence for several years, and we all had to stare and gawk like sad, hungry street urchins as Japanese arcade gamers played VF5 Revision after Revision. VF5 Final Showdown is (I assume) the FINAL Revision, or at least, series of Revisions, of this particular chapter of VF, and from all indications it’s pretty kick-ass with lots of significant changes to the fighting action, up and over the addition of new, sinister Karateka character Jean Kujo and returning Sumo Taka-arashi. VF5FS saw the addition of VF’s answer to ‘Bound’ moves from Tekken 6- slamming moves which place the opponent in an odd half-standing, half-staggered stunned state, allowing for extended combos. Defense and blocking is allowed from side attacks, and there are tons of new techniques for everyone as well as new animations and reactions which make the action even more visceral and cool as the AM2 Team intends.

THANKFULLY we gaijin gamers are all getting VF5FS (and hopefully the newest version) via DLC on PSN and Xboxlive this coming Summer. Sega has recently begun the hype-train for their digital download fighter, continuing with the vid above- a segment at On the Spot over at Gamespot. Nicely enough, we finally get to see the actual game, including a look at the new Training mode, and the somewhat ridiculous knowledge that this game has over 10,000 customization items, many of which will be distributed via DLC (I’m sure the game will have a bunch already bundled in out of the non-existent box).

Obviously, Sega will want to milk as much money from this as possible, but I want this game so much that I have to say that they just price them reasonably, put them out ASAP and they’re freakin’ SOLD. I just want my arcade-perfect, complete VF5FS yesterday. For now, check out the vid above. Man, I can’t wait for summer.

Streetfighter X Tekken Vita to come with 12 More Characters

Posted in DLC, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Playstation Vita, PS3, PSP Vita, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Xbox360 on February 22nd, 2012 by thelonegamer

…AND the Roster Rowdiness continues in Streetfighter X Tekken.

The PS3 and Xbox360 versions of the crossover fighter aren’t even out yet but they may already be ‘outdated’. The reason? Earlier today several game sites reported that the Playstation Vita version of the game, which will be releasing this Fall, will see the debut of 12 MORE characters over the console versions- this includes (SF) Elena, Cody, Guy, Sakura, Blanka, Dudley, (TK) Alisa Bosconovitch, Christie Monteiro, Lars Alexandersson, Bryan Fury, Lei Wulong and Jack.

As for the consoles, no word yet on when they’ll get these additional characters- though it’s probably safe to assume they’ll eventually come as post-launch DLC.

Not much hope of seeing these new challengers anytime soon- apparently Capcom is using their release as part of Streetfighter’s 25th Anniversary celebration, a way of keeping SFxTekken fresh several months down the road and, of course, a way to sell more PS Vitas. Obviously though, players are understandably reacting in various ways… from being outraged at the prospect of having to put up with Paid DLCs to irritation that once again, their particular favorite fighter did not make the roster.
Capcom has mentioned that the initial disc of SFxTekken will be the only disc release needed by gamers- any additional content will be an upgrade content download similar to how it was done in SSFIV Arcade Edition (although that was also released on disc). No other details- I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this shapes up. So I guess I’ll be having SFxTekken as my 2nd fighter (after MK) on Vita eventually…

In any case, the basic SFxTekken is out in a couple of weeks on March 8. Still a lot of things that can happen in the next 14 or so days. Stay tuned.

More than an hour of Streetfighter X Tekken Gameplay

Posted in Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Playstation Vita, PS3, PSP Vita, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Xbox360 on February 21st, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

WNF Singles Exhibition shows off the upcoming fighter!

Capcom’s mega-crossover Streetfighter X Tekken is right on the horizon. It’s gone gold and lots of characters have been introduced (albeit there may still be more revealed well into and after release), so now it’s all just a matter of time now before you get your World Warrior X Iron Fist Fighter dating game. Still, if you’re hankering to see more of this game then check up on the video above. Brought to us by Level Up Live, this solo exhibition tourney includes high-profile players like Justin Wong and Mike Ross, with commentary from UltraDavid and Capcom’s own Seth Killian (who provides a lot of info and insight into the game along the way). The gameplay is mostly SF characters, with Juri and Rufus looking pretty potent individually and as a team.

My excitement for this game is building day by day. I am liking the gameplay, which is fast and frenetic but not over-the-top crazy as a Marvel vs Capcom title. Looking at the Character Select screen I am pretty sure it’s got room for quite a few more entrants, who will hopefully just be Unlockables in the game and not DLC holdouts. The game is out in Early March, but for now, bask in the vid and start formulating your teams and strats.

Tekken Unlimited Tag 2 Trailer, Info from AOU 2012

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Unlimited Tag Tournament 2 on February 17th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

The Tekken Tag 2 Unlimited Trailer Tells it All.

Tekken Unlimited Tag Tournament 2 has just been revealed. The game will now support several modes of play, in addition to the default 2 VS 2 match-ups. 1 VS 1 will be the classic single-fighter Versus Mode in non-tag fighting games. 1 VS 2 may seem to be an unfair match, as there will be two lifebars against one- but Harada says ‘Don’t worry, it’s balanced’, obviously meaning that the single player side will either have higher damage output and life bar, or both. Kinda like the same way being done in the also-upcoming Skullgirls. Finally, TTT2U will support the previously-announced Pair Play, which allows for 4-player, 2 VS 2 matches.

New Ways to Play TTT2!

Okay, now there will surely be the remarks of- why add solo play to a TAG fighter? Hey, it’s an option available that you can take or not. I think the devs were given the brief that there are gamers who may be intimidated in managing a 2-player team, so this can get these guys and girls playing TTT2. 1 VS 2 would be a nice way for these Lone Wolves to take on those gamers more well-versed in Tag Team play.

Now you can play Tag… Solo. Hmmm… er, cool!

Anyway, as per the trailer, it seems that all the additions to ‘Unlimited’ pertain to gameplay modes- there doesn’t seem to be any new content aside from that. So, nada on any new characters or other stuff… for now. Well, the Item Moves and new stuff from the last trailer still isn’t in the game so maybe we’ll see new stuff trickle in as the game is finished and released.
Pretty sure these additional game modes will make it into the eventual console release, which is good. Not totally sold on this being ‘Unlimited’ but, hey, it’s a start. This upgrade shouid make it into arcades later this year. More as we get it then!

Tekken… UNLIMITED TEKKEN!!! (Updated!)

Posted in Arcade, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on February 16th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Tekken Tag 2 gets Upgraded at AOU2012

The pic above was just recently posted alongside others by the official AOU 2012 Show Twitter. Of course, fans of Namco-Bandai’s flagship fighter will be interested to know what’s behind that little bit of a streamer with the big Tekken Unlimited Tag Tournament 2 plastered all over it (Or is it Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited?). Obviously, this is the ‘new’ version of TTT2 that’s been announced for reveal this weekend. According to the article over at Andriasang, the kanji overhead says, ‘Will you fight by yourself? Or will you cooperate?’ As for that bit on the left, I’m almost certain it reads ’1 vs 1′ since ’7 vs 7′ would be kinda… ridiculous. Or is it?

Just what new features are going to be implemented in TTT2 that warrants the word ‘Unlimited’? To be honest, if there’s a word I can give to describe the game up to now, that word would be ‘limited’. I guess we’ll see if this indeed is changed in about a day or so, when AOU opens up over the weekend. More as we get it then!

Tekken 3D Prime Edition: First Day Impressions

Posted in 3DS, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Mobile Games, My Stuff, Tekken, Tekken 3D Prime Edition on February 16th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Is that an Iron Fist in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Got my copy of Tekken 3D Prime Edition for the 3DS yesterday. Yeah, I’ve had my gripes with it, but as I’ve said- I have so few games on my N-portable so why the hell not. So, how is this latest beat ‘em up on the Big N’s portable so far?

Looks-wise, gameplay-wise… it’s TEKKEN! Surprise, surprise! As expected this is a pretty good incarnation of Tekken 6 (well, BR to be exact), complete with the 41-strong roster, all of whom are available for use right out of the case. That’s a lot of fighters, at least a bit more than the other 3DS brawlers available. For the most part, the game looks pretty slick- comparable to the PSP version actually, although this game’s visuals really shine when you play it with the 3D turned on.

The 3D effect for the game is actually quite solid- perhaps even better than that in other 3DS fighters. The characters really seem to pop up and ‘be there’ on your screen, and they animate, as advertised’ quite smoothly in a buttery 60FPS.

One wrinkle though has popped up with this- to actually see and appreciate the 3D effect, you have to have the 3DS centered in front of you, angled in a certain way so your eyes register the visuals correctly. UNFORTUNATELY, at least for me, it’s hard to play the game the way I usually do while holding the 3DS in the ‘usual’ way. To put it another way- I can’t properly input the multiple button combinations required for certain moves with just my thumb; I need to use two fingers. In this, it’s hard and kinda iffy to be standing up while playing Tekken 3D- I have to sit down, or have the portable propped up on a table or stable surface. The only other alternative is to just turn the 3D off.
That said, the 3DS controls should be fine for Tekken (there are four face buttons default) but the directional pad and buttons’ relative small size may take some getting used to. Not sure if the stick is usable for Tekken- I haven’t tried.

UPDATE: A really nice thing about the control options is that you CAN map either individual buttons, button combinations (LP, LP + RP, LP+RP+LK+RK, etc) or even specific moves (you choose from the characters’ move lists) to the L, R and Touchscreen buttons (of which there are four). The only limit here is that the touchscreen isn’t multi-touch though. You set these parameters individually for every fighter, which is pretty neat.

Control issues aside, the game plays pretty well. I’ve only tried Quick Battle so far, and I have to say the A.I. is kinda challenging on Hard and higher difficulty levels with later opponents, which is good. Haven’t unlocked anything yet (alternate colors for costumes and the 700 collectible cards are in there somewhere), nor have I tried online play yet.

All said, this seems to be a pretty solid, albeit as expected little-frills fighter. If you’ve only got a 3DS and love fighters, then this may be something to look at. Heck, if you’re a Tekken fan and own a 3DS you probably own this already; can’t hurt to have a portable Tekken to keep your skills sharp on the go. I’ll post a more proper, complete review once I’ve clocked more hours. Stay tuned then!

Streetfighter X Tekken Prologues, Part Deux!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Playstation Vita, PS3, PSP Vita, Streetfighter X Tekken, Xbox360 on February 15th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Last week the Prologues and Intros of most of Streetfighter X Tekken’s available and official character teams were shown off in one long collection of crazy storylines and alliances. Well, about a week after here we have a few more. Two more teams- that of Jin Kazama with Ling Xiaoyu, and M. Bison with Juri Han. Tekken’s monstrous Ogre and SF’s murderous Master of Fist, Akuma, get their own individual intros, with nary a partner at their side. Given that the cinematic trailer for the two show them at odds, it seems unlikely they’ll be teaming up… does this mean each will be an individual sub-boss fighters will face on the way to Pandora? Then WHO or WHAT will be the true Final Boss? TRUE AKUMA?! Or will it be… Dan? Nah.

Fast Tube by Casper

Fast Tube by Casper

Fast Tube by Casper

Fast Tube by Casper

Have to say, I’m pretty curious as to how these storylines will play out. If history repeats itself, Bison had better watch out lest he find Juri’s foot in his face at the end of it all. I definitely am finding myself excited for this upcoming fighter. March can’t come soon enough.