Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain GDC 2013 Trailer

Posted in Action Adventure, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Metal Gear Solid V on March 28th, 2013 by thelonegamer

It’s indeed going to be a pain to wait for this.

Hideo Kojima has revealed a lot in the ongoing GDC2013, not the least of which being the (somewhat badly hidden) secret that his Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is in fact, the next numbered sequel to the seminal stealth action franchise. Gaming sites reckoned correctly that the odd ‘Phantom Pain’ trailer by some unknown developer was indeed KOjima’s doing as well, but now we know for sure- Zeroes and Pain are one and the same as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
So what’s this about? Honestly, I have no idea. We still have that ‘Snake’ in this case is still Old Snake or Big Boss from Peacewalker (along with Miller). The mysterious XOF is here, along with their burned leader, and we know that FOX and XOF will have a reckoning. There are lots of new footage and imagery aside from the stuff from the previous trailers, and it’s all quite mystical and intriguing… and with a Garbage song too! Kojima’s done it again- we’ll just have to see whether we get to play this within the decade or not.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown headed for iOS!

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Strategy RTS, X-Com Enemy Unknown on March 24th, 2013 by thelonegamer

2K’s Jake Solomon gives the goods.

Ah, the iPad. It seems you can do everything on it- surf the internet, send an email, see and talk to your relatives on the other side of the world, create artworks, watch movies… now you can add to that list ‘Take command of an ultra-secret international paramilitary organization dedicated to defending the Earth from hostile extraterrestrial threats’. And I once thought I’d never have any use for such a device.

Yep, 2K’s critically-acclaimed Sci-Fi Turn-based Strategy game, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, is headed for the appstore. Even better, this won’t be some dumbed-down, trimmed-to-the-basics version. According to 2K’s lead designer for the game, Jake Solomon, the iOS platform will be getting a ‘straight port’, with pretty much all the features that came with the PC and console releases. And as we can see in the vid, it also comes with touchscreen controls, which just seems to fitting for this game.

What can I say but WAAAHOOO!!! The iPad is a perfect platform for both this game’s mechanics and the storyline- you actually can imagine that you ARE the boss of X-Com, commanding the force incognito with your ‘iPad’. Strategy titles are always welcome to my device, and this one is a no-brainer, day one purchase. Looks like the game is well along in development, so it shouldn’t be too far away. Summer then- till then, I can get reacquainted with the PC version…

Skyrim Bug: Eyes Wide Open (UPDATED)

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming, RPGs on March 20th, 2013 by thelonegamer

They stare. They STARE.

Sigh. I guess as much fun as I am having PLAYING The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim on my new gaming rig, there’s also the requisite heartache from bugs, glitches, crashes and other sadness. I got my game running quite nicely the other day, but now pops up this odd and kinda-creepy issue involving NPC corpses. Let’s not mince words- in Skyrim you kill people a lot. Or you kill a lot of people. Not former people like undead or kinda people like giants… people. NPCs. Most of the time they’re evil bandits who look normal but say bad things like ‘Can’t wait to count out your coin’ or ‘You picked the wrong place to get lost, friend’. But make no mistake- bandits are evil and they can and will try to kill you given the chance.

Well, the thing is with Skyrim is that death is kinda peaceful. When an NPC or human dies, they lie down with their eyes closed. The sleep of death (which you can rouse them from with a nice necromancy spell). That’s the way it’s always been as far as I can remember in all my past playthroughs (across three laptops). So imagine my surprise when I noticed the corpses I’ve been lately producing are turning up with their eyes wide open, even in death. They stare, glare and I can’t help but care.

Yeah, death stares aren’t unknown or uncommon, particularly in gritty movies and dramatic death scenes. But this isn’t a dramatic movie- it’s my fantasy game and I dislike littering the land with wide-awake dead bodies!
The odd thing is that this is apparently some weird glitch that has reversed or messed up the ‘open-close’ order of NPC eyes- when I try reanimating a corpse with a Raise Zombie spell, they’re standing but their eyes are closed. What’s going on here?

I’ve tried finding a solution by turning off various mods that have something to do with character models, but nothing worked. Not even turning off ALL my mods did anything. Still they STARE. Which brought me to the conclusion that perhaps this is a glitch brought about by the latest 1.9 update patch for the game.

I really hope this issue is made known to Bethesda and that they release a patch or fix for it asap. I really don’t like this ‘gritty’ touch to my game. STOP STARING. STOP STARING…

UPDATE: Finally confirmed that this problem wasn’t just for me, but for quite a few others- though some were complaining of seeing NPCs sleeping with open eyes, and other glitches in this vein. The problem has been fixed with the latest Beta patch (1.9.32) for Skyrim, which should be rolled out as a general patch soon. I’ve opted to try the Beta update and it thankfully indeed solves the problem. Corpses in my Skyrim are once again resting in peace. Whew! Thanks for the quick turnaround, Bethesda!

Skyrim Gameplay on My New Desktop Gaming PC!

Posted in Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming, RPGs on March 19th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Once more, into the Brea- er, Barrow…

If you can see my face right now, you’ll notice two things- the crazy expression of glee due to me finally, FINALLY seeing Skyrim the way I want it… and of course, the dark circles under my eyes from staying up late playing the damn game. Well, actually I only played a couple of hours last night- basically the first several dungeons of the game (Helgen, Embershard Mine and Bleak Falls Barrow) and leveling up my all-new Dovahkiin to about level 5. Most of the time before that I spent installing mods and apps for mods. I never realized how many I had on until last night- when I had to install them ALL (well, all that I could remember and download) in one go, on my freshly-installed, virgin Skyrim.

Fast Tube by Casper

Have to say, whoever thought up Skyrim’s Kill Cams is a genius. They just make the combat so incredibly satisfying…

The mods I have include essentials like SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) which some may be scared of initially but is essential to many cool mods’ customizability. There’s Immersive HUD which keeps the obtrusive life gauges and status bars out of sight unless needed, SkyUI for more efficient item organization and Deadly Combat to smoothen and improve the game’s melee fighting.
Deadly Combat replaces Duel: Combat Realism as my combat mod, since I just wanted a bit of a change from all my previous playthroughs. So far it seems pretty cool- I am enjoying the fights so far. I’m looking forward to more drawn-out fights as I go along the game. I also installed the Dual Wield Parrying mod to make my new build actually viable.

Fast Tube by Casper

Thanks to HD textures and other mods, the game looks so gorgeous- even if it’s a dank, dark dungeon I’m currently in…

For the most part, a ton of the mods are cosmetic- CBBE for sexy ladies and Better Males so the men don’t look like cavemen next to their fairer companions; ApachiiSky Hair, Realistic Teeth, HD Eyes and Brows, Realistic Lighting Overhaul, HD Texture Packs, Realistic Ragdolls and Force, aMidianborn’s Book of Silence, Immersive Armors… all in all I’ve got perhaps more than 50 mods installed. WHEW! But in the end, hell… once I started the game up and saw it in motion… it was all freakin’ worth it.

Fast Tube by Casper

That first look at the Bleak Falls Sanctum center never gets old.

After some hiccups at the start, I finally settled on setting the game’s visuals on High- Ultra is possible and playable but the frame rate (FPS) is better with the stuff toned down a bit, ‘specially due to having so many mods installed (and there’s bound to be more added as I go on). As of right now, I get more or less consistent 30 to 40 FPS, even with FRAPs on for recording video (which always has a hit on performance). That’s pretty smooth and quite fine.
With the game starting from a pristine vanilla install. I unsubscribed from all the mods on Steam Workshop, with all my mods now from Skyrim Nexus, installed via the utterly awesome and invaluable Nexus Mod Manager now. I am hoping crashes will be rare to non-existent (right) from here on. Crossing fingers on that.

But suffice to say last night’s initial gaming with Skyrim on my new PC has satisfied me. It took me a while to finally get here, but in the end it’s all worth it. Quest Completed. Now let the real adventure begin!

My current gaming rig (and hopefully one that will last a while) is an AMD A10 5800K Quad Core CPU (3.8GHz) with Radeon HD6670 Video Card (2GB) and 8GB DDR Ram, 1TB HDD. Using a 51-inch Samsung Plasma HDTV as monitor, recording with FRAPs.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus ‘Breast’ Features On Display…

Posted in Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive 5 Plus, DLC, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, PSP Vita on March 18th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Team Ninja shows off their portable port on Japanese TV.

The PS Vita port of Tecmo-KOEI’s Dead or Alive 5 is almost upon the fighting game world, starting tomorrow March 19. Dead or Alive 5 Plus will bring a few new features unique to the touchscreen-enabled portable, such as Touch Fight, where you can literally poke and swipe the CPU opponent into defeat, a more detailed training mode and some new costumes. The game will support Cross Play with the PS3 version, so you can play with outfits already unlocked on your console on the PSV.

Team Ninja’s head, Yosuke Hayashi, showed off the game on a Japanese TV show, and notably the hosts (well, the male host in particular) were quite enamored with the breast bounce feature (which is oddly absent apparently from the NA version). The vid also shows off some of the bonus outfits- the Cheerleader suits which will be a preorder bonus for some shops (such as Gamestop) and the ‘Paradise Bikinis’ that are part of the Japanese Collector’s Edition release. No word on when these bonuses will be available generally for all, but I assume they will sometime after launch.
The game certainly looks cool and the graphics pretty close to the home version- but I still can’t see myself getting a Vita just for this, and particularly just after I bought a new desktop (sigh). But hey, we’ll see. Touch Fight kinda looks interesting. Heheh…

The End of My Skyrim Days… and a New Beginning!

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Gadgets, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming on March 18th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Yes, I’ve decided finally to QUIT playing The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. That is, to quit playing it on a LAPTOP. Finally realized after moving from an i3 all the way to an i7 that a portable just won’t cut it (maybe the Razer could, but nah- not getting that) for what I want.

To be fair, I was able to play Skyrim adequately on my i7 notebook- the visuals were crisp and nice with a ton of mods installed. The frame rate was passable but was sadly never consistent and rarely went over the low 20 FPS (the only time it reached 60 was during menus when leveling up). The worst part was the constant crashes lately and the weird, long pauses that would occur at certain points. But even so, it was good. Good but not great. Well, I wanted GREAT dammit.

My new gaming rig: An AMD A10-5800K with Radeon graphic cards.

So I’ve ditched my laptop in favor of a desktop gaming rig- An AMD A10-5800K Quad Core Extreme Gaming CPU, in fact, with two freakin’ Radeon graphics cards that can work together to give me Skyrim on goddamn Ultra. Oh and some pretty blue lights on the sides.
The capper is that I actually saved a lot on this new gaming setup as I didn’t buy a new monitor- in lieu of getting some 20-inch LCD screen, I instead opted to just connect the CPU via HDMI cable to my 51-inch Samsung Plasma. Mmmmmmmm.

So I set it up last night, reinstalled and updated Skyrim (other games to be DL’ed eventually). Tonight, I’ll finish the setup by installing Nexus Mod Manager and then put in all my required (and wanted) mods.

Then. I. Play.

My new setup is so different and new, I decided to ditch my previous saves and just start over with a totally clean install, and start a totally new game. I wanna see Skyrim from the very start on Ultra onwards, on frame rates beyond what I was getting before. This is going to be fun.

Of course it’s not just Skyrim- after or aside, I’ll also finally get to play Far Cry 3 and other titles my i7 could not run (also have a demo of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on the new PC which looks awesome and runs like butter).

Man, this is cool, and for a price that was nicely way below what I was paying for notebooks. But I guess I just wanted that option to take my game places. But really, it just wasn’t so. At least, not with today’s laptops.

Oh well, being portable was nice for a while, but in the end, it’s all about power. Power is fun and Absolute Power is Absolutely Fun.

Tropical Skyrim Mod: Someone Put Tamriel into Far Cry 3!

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, Open World Games, PC Gaming, RPGs on March 12th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Care to go on a Skyrim SAFARI?

I posted about this literally world-changing mod for The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim(PC) some time ago, and apparently it’s done and available now online at Skyrim Nexus or on other mod sources.
Basically, this mod, Tropical Skyrim by modder Soolie converts the Nord homeland into a Green Hell: jungles replace tundras and forests, with lush, LUSH vegetation and palm trees replacing the pines and other vanilla flora.
Aside from that, there are even some other additional changes, such as the regular bears turning into pandas, wolves into RAPTORS and other animals taking on jungle colors. Some armor sets such as fur or hide have even become something Tarzan and Jane would wear. MAN… mods don’t get any more ambitious or bigger than this, folks. I am getting cool flashbacks to the jungle stage of Diablo 2.

As per SaioTV’s video above, which takes a long look at the mod, the modder has turned out totally amazing visuals. It really makes for a totally different atmosphere and feel to the world, kinda making Skyrim set in Isla Nublar or somewhere in the Amazon.
Darn, can you realize how big this could be? I am seeing required music overhauls, jungle armors, pygmy enemies, dinosaurs, pterodactyls… man, this could be the biggest mod ever. Definitely keeping my eyes on this one. GODDAMN I’M NEVER GONNA BE ABLE TO STOP PLAYING SKYRIM, AM I?

I am really, really, really tempted to try this mod, but I am worried about it playing well with other mods, and performance drops from it being so heavy in the visuals. In any case, I want it to grow a bit and fill out since it’s better to not be an early adopter when it comes to mods. But I DO intend to play with this mod in the very near future. White Hunter or Witch Doctor build? Hmmm…

Skyrim Musings: When is Strong Too Strong?

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, Open World Games, PC Gaming, RPGs on March 11th, 2013 by thelonegamer

I’ve realized in the past several weeks that a great part of the fun and enjoyment in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is, at least for me, lies in seeing your character grow and get powerful. My current Dragonborn started off as a nobody Breton fresh out of prison, flailing around with a knife in one hand, a sword in the other, and hitting enemies some of the time and the empty air most of the time. He was dressed in rag-tag armor stripped off unfortunate foes, and dabbled a bit in smithing and enchanting to earn a bit of cash and make ends meet.

Fast forward to a week or so later.

My Dragonborn is, at Level 51, a pretty nasty killing machine. With perks for dual wielding achieved, his swift two-handed flurries aren’t inaccurate or ineffective by any measure- once he closes in and gets an enemy in range, it doesn’t take long before they’re cut to ribbons. In fact, he can kill a dragon with about two power attack waves, in mere seconds. To offset the glaring flaw that a dual wielding warrior can’t block, he wears the finest armor he smithed and enchated himself. His purse is overflowing with coin and he’s gotten pretty good at alchemy. So it’s safe to say, my guy has come a long way from Helgen’s prisons.
But even so, at this point he’s only finished the College of Winterhold quest (kinda ironic of course that he’s not much of a mage relatively); the Thieves’ Guild questling is about a third of the way through; he’s relatively early in the Companions quests and hasn’t chosen a side yet in the Civil War. As for the Main quest, just met the Blades. So he’s still got a lot to do.

I don’t find that being strong even at this point in the game as something that takes away from the fun- I’ve no illusions anyway that there are and will always be enemies that can one-shot me pretty easily. I do enjoy though being able to use the skills I’ve honed and am now reaping the rewards from. Need to sneak in a heavily armed camp? Invisibility makes for perfect stealth. I can go into any dungeon whether alone or with a follower and feel relatively at ease. Also, being able to smith and enchant superweapons and armor, I’ve made it my hobby to outfit all my followers with awesome gear.

But while I feel good about my Dovahkiin’s strength, I am not liking the first impressions of some gamers for the upcoming ‘Legendary Difficulty’ in the Skyrim 1.9 patch. As seen below in the video by MadBagGamer, even a super-powerful character decked out in the best gear can be one-shotted by a dragon. So what are you supposed to do then? That kind of ‘challenge’ just makes you resort to cheap tactics, and actually takes away choices or strategy from the game. If that’s the case, I think I’ll give this Legendary stuff a pass. I’m already enjoying my character and my Skyrim as it is- if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. At least, not like that.

Fast Tube by Casper

Legendary Difficulty looks like a pain in the arse.

Skyrim Musings: Dragons Dragging?

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Dragonborn, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming, RPGs on March 7th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

A standard Dragon Attack in Raven Rock (with Deadly Dragons mod).

If there’s one thing that’s pretty glaring about Skyrim’s gameplay, it’s the dragons. Bethesda hyped these winged bad boys up (coincidentally, why aren’t there any female dragons? Or do even female dragons have the low voice?) as the game’s signature heavies, but really- once you level up a bit, they’re cake. You can predict what they can or can’t do, snipe at them or even just bash them in the face with your shield till they wilt, and BAM… dragon soul! Vanilla dragons have disappointed many gamers after that initial awesomeness when you face your first one in the game. But how to keep them dangerous- and therefore fun, throughout the game?

On PC, there’s a simple solution- MODS! There’s of course the very popular Deadly Dragons mod, which I installed and am using currently (you can see it in the vid above). The mod has a couple of main modes- the default one which throws quite a few new dragon types like a skeletal Dracolich, a slime-spewing Forest Dragon and more. Unfortunately, it can be a bit glitched and one time I got faced with something called an ‘Awakened Dragon’ which was immune to EVERYTHING I threw at it. So I decided to settle into the mod’s Loremonger mode, which just makes the dragons tougher- so tough though, that they kept one-shotting my dragonborn though he was a FULL HEALTH. Ouch!

Well, there’s another mod that just came out recently that may make Dragonslaying a whole new ball game- Dragon Combat Overhaul. So far I’ve been loving ‘overhaul’ mods, so I may give this one a try. It’s apparently compatible with Deadly Dragons, so this may result in a very cool experience.

Fast Tube by Casper

Make dragon fights interesting with this new mod!

I’ll probably post my own gameplay mods of DCO in action when I can. Man, I can’t wait to get back in front of my Laptop later. Heh…

UPDATE: Okay, unfortunately when I installed the DCO mod, the first dragon I encountered in Riverwood came with a load of stuttering, which persisted until the game just froze altogether. But yeah, before it did I killed the dragon as it was in the air, so it landed and did a bunch of frantic movements before it finally croaked- talk about overacting! Heheh.
Anyway, don’t know why that happened, but for now I’ve taken the mod off. I’ll make do with Deadly Dragons for now, which does indeed give the wyrms (even on Loremonger) a bunch of extra powers to make fights a bit more challenging. As it is though, on the lowest setting I can pretty much kill a regular dragon in less than three seconds on the ground once I close in and get my Dual Savagery on. It’s not unpleasant though to be powerful- I have no illusions that there are enemies or situations in the game where I can get one-shotted myself. I am reveling in my Dovahkiins strength right now since, well, I got to this point legit, not by glitching or cheating.
That all said, I’m still just at Level 51, which means there’s still a lot to do. Still can’t see the end of my Skyrim addiction yet… which is fine by me. Heh.

UPDATE AGAIN: I reinstalled Dragon Combat Overhaul in my new desktop, and it pretty much works like a charm. Have to say it’s really, really cool to have dragons acting differently than usual. Also great that the canned ‘death routine’ they do is now non-existent; nothing’s more cool than killing a dragon in mid-air and seeing them ragdoll and fall to the ground. Awesome.

Skyrim Getting LEGENDARY Update with 1.9 Patch!

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, mods, Open World Games, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on March 4th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Think you’ve played the hell out of Skyrim? Think again!

WHOA. I know I’ve lately been playing and playing and playing The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim- a game that’s been out for about a year an a half… and finding it a bit odd. Yeah, I’m playing and replaying and redoing character builds, and finding so much fun just in trying out new user-made mods. But then, lately Skyrim has also been releasing DLC expansions, like the recent Dragonborn DLC. With all the released DLC to play and replay, I am seeing myself playing Skyrim indefinitely. But now, even that gets a bit more push from Bethesda themselves, as they’ve now revealed an upcoming Update 1.9 Patch. Have you killed dragons and deathlords so many times it’s boring you? Well, get ready for Legendary Difficulty and Legendary Skills!

AFAIK, Legendary Skills will remove the level cap (currently at 81) and allow you to just keep playing the game as it levels and scales along with you. You can keep going and see your skills growing even more powerful. This is kinda like a New Game PLUS you see in other RPGs, but kinda better. Aside from the new level and skills, the patch will bring a ton of bug fixes (Awesome!!!). So yeah… doesn’t look like Bethesda is quitting support or expansion for Skyrim anytime soon. Hell they shouldn’t… Skyrim is freakin’ the best thing they’ve put out, I say. Read all the details of the upcoming update here.

The update is now available for download on Steam, albeit in Beta. I am tempted to download it, but with my game so heavily modded, it may screw up my game. I think I’ll wait for a formal release, and for my fave mods to get fixed up and revised for the changes.
Take note this is for the PC version, although news for updates for the consoles is supposed to be in the works too.

But heck- seriously, guys, if you can afford a good gaming PC, it’s worth it for this game. PC version of Skyrim has no equal thanks to mods and goodies. PLAY THE PC GAME. And thank me later.

Right now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. How will it affect the game? I can’t freakin’ wait!!!

Now I’m impatient for 1.9, dammit… will it make me start another character from scratch again? We’ll see…