Kingsglaive: The Lone Gamer’s Movie Review

Posted in Action Adventure, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XC, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff on September 18th, 2016 by thelonegamer


Well, at least it’s much better than Spirits Within.

As the gaming world counts the weeks to the late November release of the long-in-development Final Fantasy XV, gamers all over have a wide selection of material to occupy their attention before the actual game hits. Of course there’s the anime OVA series, FFXV Brotherhood (nowhere near as good as FMA Brotherhood, I assure you), which is of course made to introduce us to the heroes of the game- Prince Noct of Lucis and his roadies. Kingsglaive, a fully-CG animated film, is another such prologue, though much more immediate to the events within the game.

As the opening seconds of the movie roll in with the familiar voice of Lena Heady (our most beloved mad queen of Westeros) giving narration, we are introduced to the big players- Lucis is the ‘peaceful kingdom of magic’ while opposite them is The Empire of Nifleheim, a militaristic nation powered by Magitek (ah, Magitek, we know you so well). The Empire of course is on the verge of total victory, with the capital city of Insomnia (really? A city is named after a sleeping disorder?) the only remaining bastion of Lucis’ control. After a flashback showing some tragic events that befall Lucis’ former ally, the country of Tenebrae, we get into the thick of action with the Kingsglaive.

The titular Kingsglaive are apparently Lucis’ main (or perhaps only) military force- not sure about how many, but there seem to be not many- certainly nowhere near a hundred strong. The Glaive are ‘mighty warriors’, all of whom are recruited from Lucis’ provinces (all of which are probably now under Empire control or attack) due to their ability to use magic. The magic they wield though comes from one source- the King of Lucis himself, King Regis (voiced by another GoT stalwart, Sean Bean). So who are the Glaive? They look kinda cool- very similar to Assassins from Assassins Creed, but in black and wielding one main weapon- a dagger or short blade which they use primarily to ‘Warp Strike’; as in, they throw the dagger and then can teleport to wherever the weapon goes. While it certainly LOOKS awesome, I find it highly impractical and sorta haphazard. I guess the Glaive are trained to be really good and accurate throwers, but come on- you’re limited by throwing range, the speed of the person’s arm, his accuracy, the fact that they can go wildly out of control (and many do in the course of the action) with a bad throw.

Anyway, in these couple of dozen or so fighters is Lucis’ main defense. What has the enemy got? Oh, aside from armies of certainly a lot more soldiers, both human and mechanical (armed with GUNS), they have Magitek war machines AND apparently controlled monsters (just like in the games!) which range from flying creeps and cannon fodder to larger beasts like a Cerberus (three-headed fire dog) and a smoky demon which also seems to be half mechanical. How a few guys with daggers is able to hold off such a force is beyond me. But well, somehow they do.

Or do they? At the moment of apparent defeat, the Empire withdraws, allowing the Kingsglaive to get a breather. Later on, the court of King Regis is visited by a strange visitor- the shabby but kinda cool-looking Ardyn Izunia, perhaps the first Final Fantasy villain ever to sport a fedora and what seems to be a beak on his right arm (really, WHAT THE HELL IS HE WEARING?). Ardyn brings an offer of peace- well, pretty much an armistice, which offers a stop to the war at the cost of Lucis surrendering all its territories save Insomnia itself. Oh, and the Prince must also marry the Princess Lunafreya, who has been an Imperial captive/ward all this time.

Of course, you just know that the Empire is up to no good, and from there it’s a nice build-up to the day of the treaty signing. In the meantime, we see ugly sides of Lucis, which utterly puzzle me. So the Kingsglaive are all recruited from non-residents of Insomnia… WHY are they regarded by Insomnians with an obvious racist disgust? They are DEFENDING YOU, IDIOTS. The Glaive themselves are not your picture of loyalty or unity either- of course, you have the gung-ho, fearless hero Nyx, his clumsy oaf of a best friend Libertus and the one hot girl, Crow. The rest are either faceless and unimportant or belligerent or smarmy. With their ranks thinned and dissent growing cracks in their resolve, in the Kingsglaive may lie the fate of Lucis as the Imperial plot soon unfolds.

First off, the movie is GORGEOUS. That much can be said readily. There’s a lot of detail in the characters, and its much improved from previous Final Fantasy films. Faces of many characters look great, and at least by this time we don’t really think uncanny valley that much any more. However, there seems to be a slight disjoint between lip syncing- or perhaps the mouths of characters don’t quite seem to jive with the words.

While the first half of the movie up to when the shit hits the fan, the movie is quite engaging. However, after a certain point and we head into an unwieldy final act, it all crumples into a mess of a pursuit/chase, and large scale “Giant Monster’ action and action that’s so zippy and flashy, it can only be described as anime. Things happen to characters that normal humans would not walk away from easily, betraying the CG nature of the actors and the world. And the action in the final battle, while pretty amazing, seems hollow, without weight and ultimately, unsatisfying.

But then, I guess Kingsglaive is not meant to satisfy. It’s here to set the stage- with the bad guys winning or on the upswing, while the heroes are- well, they’re not here. The real heroes are in the upcoming GAME, which you will need to play to get closure. I wonder though how closely they’ll keep this movie to the final game? In that way, I guess that while Kingsglaive has its faults, it was worth seeing and certainly has me stoked into kicking Imperial butt this November on my PS4.

Ghostbusters (2016): The Lone Gamer’s Review

Posted in Movies, My Stuff on July 17th, 2016 by thelonegamer

Perhaps never before has a film been so divisive and polarizing as this remake of the beloved classic flick it springs from. Online, many voices cry ‘FOUL!’ at the supposed disrespectful cash-grab from Sony, defended by SJW’s and feminists. I went into this wanting to see it for myself and decide for myself. I’ve seen reviews calling it horrible and not worth watching, while some rave, though most seem to agree it’s just an average comedy. Well, what do I think?

Ghostbusters (2016), directed by Paul Feig, is a reboot of the original 1984 film starring Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson and the late Harold Ramis. This time, an all-female cast takes over- Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) play two former best friends and scientists who once shared dreams of investigating ghosts and paranormal phenomena, and have now reunited under less than friendly circumstances. Jillian Hostzmann (Kate McKinnon) is Abby’s assistant in her paranormal lab and an apparent mad inventor of ghost-extermination gear. Finally, joining the bunch along the way is streetwise Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a subway attendant who has a ghostly encounter of her own.

As the new team comes together to investigate a sudden rise in paranormal activity and ghost sightings, they soon make the disturbing discovery that someone is actively causing this rise in ghost sightings for some reason. Unfortunately, things get a bit more complicated when the city mayor (Andy Garcia) decides adamantly to keep things under wraps to prevent panic, even if it means discrediting the female heroes.

All right, for starters, I don’t think this new Ghostbusters is as terrible as some are making it out to be. I do think that there is a bit of emotional baggage or nostalgia for the first flick that causes a natural dislike for this new film. That said, the film, as a comedy, is pretty hit-and-miss. Many of the jokes, gags and self-deprecating humor don’t really hit well and seem to just pass by in the midst of dead air. I understand that the leads are all talented and very funny actresses and comediennes, but here I think they’re pretty much hamstrung with pretty bad writing, in terms of the humor. You have a fart joke, some jokes about the group’s hunky new male secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) being as dumb as a doorknob- no exaggeration, this guy seems to only have enough brain power to qualify him as a sentient being.

There’s another bit that probably elicits a lot of the anger out there for the film, and its that pretty much every male character is either an asshole or a moron. That’s how males act, as feminists would like to think, I guess.

Plot holes abound and pacing problems make things just seem uneven and awkward, with little satisfying explanation. The Ghostbusters begin their company by just stealing what lab equipment they can carry from their former campus. Then in a bit they seem to have enough nuclear material and components to create a Q-Branch’s worth of proton-throwing laser weaponry. One moment, we see physical comedy moments as these ladies fumble about with the obviously dangerous weapons rather carelessly- then later we see them taking out ghosts (how is it suddenly that these proton packs graduate from being instruments that are simply used to lasso or temporarily snare ghosts to outright DESTROYING them?) in the street in an action scene that would do the Avengers proud. It doesn’t seem earned or logical- it all just happens because hey, we’re in the third act and the ghostbusters gotta look cool killing ghosts.

I guess the most interesting part of the movie are the ghostbusters themselves- instead of a squad of model gorgeous heroines, we get a more colorful group of comedic talent. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are the straight people; Kate McKinnon’s Hotzmann is so offbeat and just plain weird in her mannerisms I seem to get a hunch that she’s ad-libbing most of her stuff and just doing improv, and it sometimes works, sometimes… not. Finally, Leslie Jones’ ‘token’ streetwise girl with the inevitable “HELL NO!” mannerisms may irritate for being such a stereotypical cliche character, but in honesty, I didn’t find her at all annoying.

The best parts of the film for me are some of the creepier ghost encounters- the first ghost, just before the rather tasteless vomit gag was well done. There’s a sequence with mannequins which is genuinely creepy and hilarious at the same time. And the endgame with the girls going toe-to-toe with a possessed Kevin was pretty cool.

The movie works when it is about these female ghostbusters actually taking on ghosts, at least before it devolves into the light show laser tag brawl at the end- the investigation, the creeps and actual ghost trapping was fine. The comedy in the context of these situations is fine. It’s when the script tries to be funny outside these situations which makes things feel like a half-baked SNL skit.

Oh, and the cameos… well aside from Tywin Lannister AKA Charles Dance having a role as Erin’s boss, most of the cast of the original Ghostbusters appear- not as themselves, but as totally different people. Perhaps one can just think that this film is not meant to replace the original- it’s just a different take in a different world and time of this same story. Updated with stuff like Youtube comments and cellphones, but well, that’s to be expected.

I do think that this flick has been made a rallying point by Feminists and SJW’s, and in turn hardcore fans of the original film and some He-man Women-Hater Clubs have just muddled the issue even more. The fact is, this film won’t erase the well-loved and popular original. I doubt that it will be that much of a hot topic in a few month’s time, unless Sony insists of making this a franchise. It’s not a horrible film, and I certainly had a bit of fun while all the while being aware of all the plot holes, leaps in logic and uneven comedy. It’s a Ghostbusters live-action cartoon. It’s light and fluffy and in general, really just overblown but harmless, as easily burst like a possessed giant balloon.
I would not be averse to seeing this same cast donning the proton packs again in a future adventure… but only with a much, MUCH better script (at least one worthy of the name Zuul).

Babbling about Battle of the Bastards (Game of Thrones)

Posted in Action Adventure, My Stuff, TV on June 18th, 2016 by thelonegamer


Bastardbowl is coming.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about HBO’s Game of Thrones, but frankly- it’s pretty much the only show on cable/TV that I watch these days, so why not talk about the upcoming “Battle of the Bastards” AKA Episode 9 of Season 6.

The entire season has been building to this- heck, most of the past seasons have. The North has been suffering under the sadistic rule of the Boltons- now solely Ramsay Bolton thanks to some handy knifework. But now, a rebellion has mobilized under the banner of the mostly-devastated Starks, led by Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his sister Sansa (Sophie Turner).

So how is this set up? The Bolton Army is on one side, occupying the Starks’ ancestral home of Winterfell and led by one psychotic, sadistic and brutal bastard who has seemingly been on a roll of winning since his first appearance. Ramsay has been built up all this time as being cunning like a fox, keeping one step ahead of his enemies or just having all the cards in his favor. Stannis Baratheon AKA the biggest badass of Westeros up until he murdered his own daughter for a bit of sunshine- was defeated by him. Sure, Stannis’ army was outnumbered due to desertions (who knew sellswords had a soft heart for little girls?), had no cavalry, was half-frozen, half-staved and demoralized… but credit where its due, it was Ramsay and his ‘twenty good men’ burning up Stannis’ supplies that was instrumental to the Baratheon’s demise.
The Bolton Army has been seen to be large- with a sizable cavalry, archers and lots of footmen. Ramsay hasn’t shown himself to be a keen tactician (he IS daring, given his night raid idea) but so far he hasn’t had any need to given that he’s always had the odds in his favor. At this point, he can even be more confident given that aside from his army, he may also have on the field the troops of House Karstark and House Umber- the two largest houses in the North. While theories are out that question the loyalty of the Umbers, I think the show has made it out that the Karstarks are pretty loyal (really… Robb SCREWED UP). Would the Umbers try a sudden face turn in the middle of this battle?

Now, about the good guys. Jon was able to convince the Wildlings to fight, thanks to some help from Tormund and Wun-Wun. That’s about 2000 fighters, all fierce and hardened (by Hardhome- HAH) but probably pretty disorganized. Forget tactics- just point them at the enemy and let ‘em rip. Maybe some of these are archers, so if Jon is smart he’ll put those guys (and maybe gals) in a group.

But that’s not all! Jon, Sansa and Ser Davos were able to gather a ragtag bunch of men from the smaller Norther Houses- the most distinct probably being the 62 fighters from Bear Island, led by the 10-year old spitfire, Lyanna Mormont (the writers had better not harm a hair on this darlings head, or we riot). I wonder if Lyanna’s boast of each Bear Islander being worth ten mainland warriors will be proven right? That would be awesome.
Aside from the Bears, according to Davos the rest of the Stark army consists of 200 Hornwoods and 143 Mazens/Masons(?). Conceivably some of these may be cavalry, giving Jon’s forces soemthing that Stannis lacked last season.

So the good guys are quite obviously outnumbered. What can be done? From the trailers, we are seeing the Wildlings charging straight on at the enemy (or are they?), which seems a pretty bad thing to do given that the more organized Boltons are looking calm, collected and waiting, with archers that will no doubt thin the ranks of any oncoming horde and soften them up for the main force. I do hope that Jon and Davos are smart and do something… well, awesome. I think after being resurrected, Jon has done fairly nothing much for someone built up to be the show’s hero (at this point), so he needs to prove himself as a leader and someone who can think clearly. So far, rushing in like he is doesn’t look like it. But we’ll see.

But then, all may not be lost. What about reinforcements? Sansa sent a letter to someone, asking obviously for help. Some clever fans online have already deduced the letter is to Littlefinger, asking for the Knights of the Vale to come and win the war for Jon. It seems that all this has been done by Sansa behind Jon’s back- why? It seems that Sansa wants to have HER say in the battle with HER army- which is clearly not Jon’s assorted menagerie. Sansa clearly doesn’t believe they can win, and she is doing all she can to win it herself- which may end up winning the battle- or causing a big backfire.

And then lastly, are the Knights of the Vale coming? Will they arrive in time? Will they swing the battle in the favor of the Starks?

Or will a Tully Army- released by a repentant Jamie to Brienne- arrive as well? Perhaps this will be a step in the redemption we’ve been looking for in the Kingslayer all this time, as he did promise doing this to Brienne…?

Now, onto another, even darker aspect of the battle. Who may die?

Obviously hundreds will die. This is going to be bloody. I do hope though that somehow, the wildlings don’t suffer a catastrophic loss of life. The Free Folk need to survive this, somehow. That said, I don’t think Tormund will die- as the only remaining person of importance among the Wildlings, him dying basically kills them as a faction or as something to care about. He dies only if every other Wildling dies, which I refuse to believe Jon would allow. As for Wun Wun… the lovable giant unfortunately doesn’t have a good chance of surviving. Given that he’s so dangerous, enemy forces would surely focus on him. Not sure if arrows can bring him down, but cavalry might. I do hope he somehow makes it out. Hell, he survived zombie hordes!

Davos is another character feared to bite it in this battle. I say, nope. I believe he’s too important, too awesome. He’s on of the few truly good men in all of Westeros. If there is any justice, he survives this show to retire at the end as maester to Lady Lyanna Mormont on idyllic Bear Island. Sigh. I still think he has lots of parts to play still. Davos, don’t die!

As for Jon and Sansa- not a chance. Jon is effectively unkillable now, after being already killed and resurrected. Sansa is the last real Stark (despite being married to Ramsay and Joffrey), so she is also too important. Rickon? What about the most useless Stark in the show? Eeh… kill him. Cut his throat. Whatever. Hahaha.

Will Ramsay actually meet his end here? I really have no idea. I guess this episode- the biggest battle on the show so far- would be an awesome time to take out the evil Bastard of Bolton. Because yeah, we really need everyone to focus on the real baddie- the Night King. It’s the battle between the Living and the Dead, after all. And the Dead are coming.

Goddamn I can’t wait till Monday.

BEST TRAILER EVER? Suicide Squad Official Trailer Hits!

Posted in Comics, Movies, My Stuff on January 21st, 2016 by thelonegamer


Trailer Perfection.

Yesterday, the first (the SDCC video was a teaser) full trailer for DC Comics’ Suicide Squad hit, and it certainly has become a HIT. Not since the amazing trailer for Sylvester Stallone’s Cliffhanger have I seen a trailer so perfect.
This early, on the strength of this magnificently-edited spot, people are already speculating this flick to be the blockbuster comic book flick of the year. Set to the gloriously upbeat rock classic Bohemian Rhapsody, the trailer features a wealth of screentime for more members of the titular Squad (whereas the SDCC teaser focused more on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Will Smith’s Deadshot and Jared Leto’s Joker), showing characters Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, The Enchantress, El Diablo, Katana, Slipknot and Rick Flag.

The spot doesn’t give away too much (unlike the now-infamous Superman V Batman X Wonder Woman spot), but gives us just enough action and teasingly mysterious bits to have us all gagging with giddiness. It’s still quite far away (August 2016) but hell, I think I can just keep watching this trailer forever. I just hope that the final movie is just as fun as this spot lets on. But hey, even if it isn’t… it’s already a riot.

Why I Missed Playing The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Posted in Action Adventure, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, PS4, RPGs, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Xbox One on January 4th, 2016 by thelonegamer


Gorgeous Fantasy Gaming that I Missed in 2015.

One of the biggest games of 2015. Critically-acclaimed and a certified blockbuster. Massive, detailed fantasy world. Gorgeous graphics. All these and more one can say for CD Project Red’s The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. So, why didn’t I play it?

To be honest, I bought a copy of TW3TWH on launch day. I even played the first few minutes (and got to see the glorious sight that was Yennifer’s bare butt). But after that, I set it down and never went back. From there, I spent the rest of the months playing Dragon Age: Inquisition and then later, Fallout 4. Why didn’t I get into The Witcher 3?

I’ve had a bit of a sad history with the Witcher franchise- like many other games, I keep up with the lore, the storyline and characters, but I never really actually PLAY it. I do know that the first Witcher game was very well done, but had clunky combat. Same could be said for the sequel, the much-improved The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I actually also have The Witcher 2 in my Steam Library- I purchased it during a sale prior to TW3′s launch- and I tried playing a bit. And it’s there where my misgivings about the game were reinforced. The gameplay and controls are… wonky. Moving Geralt around is annoying- moving about is a chore, as is finding your way around a forest where there is apparently only a single, hard-to-see path. Then there’s the Menu and Inventory screen, which is cluttered, confusing and filled to the brim with radial rings that are too busy and complex for my tastes. For someone used to the more intuitive and easy controls of Skyrim, the Witcher 2 just felt… wrong.

I can’t fault the game’s looks and the brutal world it inhabits, and certainly the story seems interesting. But then, I didn’t find it possible to move forward in The Witcher 2.
Fast-forward to The Witcher 3. Perhaps, some unconscious bit in the back of my head was irked by the surely-similar gameplay and control. The first fight with the Ghouls in the game didn’t bode well- locking on to an enemy, wildly swinging your sword- it just felt off. I didn’t feel good with it, and I just gave up. I went to other games, and that was it.

Now, I have a new PC, and am seriously thinking about giving Geralt’s adventures another go with it. I still have The Witcher 2 in my library- perhaps I should play that first, and if I finish it, then I’ll get The Witcher 3 on my PC. Up to now, I have avoided all spoilers and know nothing about the story, so this is all virgin territory for me. Yeah, I”m a late bloomer, but better late than never. We’ll see.

My Favorite 10 Fallout PC Mods (So Far)

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Fallout 4, Fan Service, Game Advertising, Gaming, mods, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming on January 4th, 2016 by thelonegamer

Hey people! For Christmas, I got myself a pretty nifty gift- a new gaming computer! It’s a nice rig equipped with an i7 Intel Quad Core Processor, Nvidia GTX750Ti Graphics Card, SSD, 15GB or RAM and a Terabyte of HDD Space. The thing boots up in seconds, so you’d understand that I’d expect games to run on it like clockwork. The first big game I installed? FALLOUT 4, of course!

Now, I’ve heard and read a lot of stuff online- how the game isn’t all that, how a lot of gamers are supposedly tired of it- well, I’m not. I still love this game so much. Aside from the amazingly fun combat, the detailed world (which rivals Skyrim) with TONS to explore… After two playthroughs on PS4, I think I’ve surely not seen all there is to see in this vast game. Well, since getting my PC, the PS4 version has been all but forgotten- and I’ve fully committed to the new platform- it’s definitely much better, both in looks and gameplay thanks to the more hi-res and detailed graphics and well…. THE MODS. Oh, the MODS. It’s still early- the Creation Kit isn’t even out yet- but there are already a TON of great mods that make the game even better than it was at launch. So far, here are my favorites.

Companion Infinite Ammo. This is a simple mod that basically makes companions more helpful and formidable. In the vanilla game, companions come with their own personal (and crappy) weapon with its own unique ammo. If you try to ‘upgrade’ them, you will have to supply their new gun with ammunition- which I tell you they will waste straightaway. Just like Settlers, with this mod you can give a companion a weapon and ONE bullet/ammo for it, and they’ll never run out. It’s not particularly realistic, but it makes your companions far more helpful and lets you take advantage of your powerful weapon mods. Does it make the companions overpowered? Not really- I had Strong packing a minigun, and he still went down when faced with several enemy Supermutants. It makes them better but not unstoppable- or even that much smarter. Oh well…

More Armor Slots. This lets you wear armor pieces over pretty much any other piece of clothing- making for some pretty cool looks. Now you don’t have to look for Road Leathers or Fatigues to armor your settlers. Or you can wear that cool trenchoat with some snazzy leather pauldrons. Awesome.

Full Dialogue Interface. This changes the Dialogue Interface to a numbered format, plus shows off the exact words your character will say- no more vagueness!

Improved Maps with Visible Roads. Now it’s easier to navigate the damn wasteland with this nice little visual upgrade.

WET (Water Enhancement Textures). As you’d expect, this makes the water in the game gorgeous… almost good enough to drink or swim in… but DON’T.

True Storms. This makes the weather in the Commonwealth a tad more intense… and in the case of the deadly Radstorms, TERRIFYINGLY GORGEOUS.

Wearable Postal Bag or Backpack. Adds a nice accessory you can wear which also adds to your carry weight. Now you can go POSTAL on your enemies! Still doesn’t make the game any more realistic but it still looks pretty cool.

Quieter Settlements. This simple mod lessens the noise from stuff like generators, turrets and settler work SFX in your busy neighborhoods. Because you already have a big enough headache as it is with enemy raids, supply acquisition and bed shortages.

Realistic Ragdoll Force. Similar to the same mod in Skyrim, this reduces the force applied by attacks on enemies- so shooting someone with a pistol won’t send them flying off into space. Not for everyone, but I like relative realism.

CBBE (Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Enhancer). Just because.

I’ll be using these, and hopefully a lot more mods when I do my Fallout 4 Let’s Roleplay. We’ll see how soon that happens. For now, check out Fallout 4 Nexus for the latest and best Fallout 4 mods.

Fallout 4 War Stories: Feeling Like a Badass in Boston

Posted in Action Adventure, Fallout 4, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming, PS4, RPGs, Xbox One on November 25th, 2015 by thelonegamer


War never changes, but fortunately gameplay does. For the better.

In the course of Fallout 4‘s game, you see an NPC fight his way through three would-be assassins in a cool cutscene. You’ve probably seen the kind of scene in movies- a badass gunfighter shoots two enemies after he subdues the third and uses him as a shield, before executing the hapless opponent with a final headshot. Badass but incredibly enough, my character in the game does that as well regularly in some pretty awesome battles, with a combination of actual aiming and shooting (like an FPS) and the use of V.A.T.S. (Vault Assisted Targeting System). I have to say, with literally days worth of play through the game so far (and I am still not anywhere near plumbing through most of this game’s content), I am quite convinced that in terms of action gameplay and combat, Fallout 4 is the best Bethesda has come up with so far.

It’s a combination of many factors- the world and setting, the tools you have for combat and the enemies you face. Fallout 4 takes place in Post-Apocalyptic Boston, AKA The Commonwealth- an irradiated wasteland dotted with everything from ghoul-infested ruins to fortified settlements to cult hideouts and monster lairs. As you wander the vast expanse, you’ll inevitably find yourself fighting for your life- whether it be against a band of human (or super mutant) opposition or some sort of bestial menace. The battles with humans/mutants are the most fun (I treat the beast encounters more as horror/survival encounters), as you engage in life-or-death gunfights or frantic melee to survive.
The gunplay in Fallout 4 is markedly different from previous games. Previously, shooting guns in Fallout felt detached and unwieldy- as if stats were were more important than your actual aiming your weapon. It’s now all different in F4- this is about as competent an FPS as Bethesda has ever made, and it can be played as such- though using VATS is still recommended so as to conserve ammo. It’s fairly easy to empty your arsenal uselessly unless you take the time to aim properly, but then of course that places you at risk- the enemy shoots back as well.

But once you get past the initial skirmishes, invest points into pertinent Perks (I recommend Gunslinger or Rifleman as well as Gun Nut), you begin to turn into a badass and you’ll soon look forward to seeing combat because it is SO DAMN FUN. It helps that enemies- such as Raiders- feel like capable and dangerous foes, plus they usually attack in groups. Also, dispatching enemies is supremely satisfying thanks to the ragdoll physics and animations that make every death seem unique.

One time I stumbled into a raider hidout, opening a door to surprise three of the bandits. I shoot one with VATS, and savour the slow-motion scene of the man’s head popping off from a round from my rifle. I switch back into real time and pump a couple of rounds into the second raider, then charge at the third who is shooting at me with a revolver. I close in, stab at the miscreant with my bayonetted rifle, then finish it with a round into his chest. That. Was. Bliss.

This is just one of countless such battles, and every one feels different and nuanced. Enemies can surprise you, ambush you, or you can ambush them. Sometimes I find myself camping out in the dark, sniping at Feral Ghouls who are lurking in the shadows. Sometimes you’re fighting your way through a raider or supermutant-filled apartment, clearing room after room with your tried-and-tested arsenal. It helps to mod your guns to the best of their capabilities, to deal out the most damage. And to know which gun to use in the right situation. I keep a sniper rifle ready for long range kills, a combat rifle with bayonet for in-close fighting, and a combat shotgun when things get really hairy. Sometimes though, I make like Revolver Ocelot and pack a six-shooter pipe pistol which packs a punch, even if it’s relatively slow to fire and has pretty heavy recoil. Six shots is usually all I need to kill anything that lives. Most of the time.

I have to say that the experience I’ve had so far is with the game at Normal Difficulty- perhaps it gets too easy once you level up high, so perhaps at that point bumping up the difficulty to Hard may be merited. I don’t really like the idea of Survivor since I really don’t like the idea that you’d need to pump a dozen bullets into someone’s face before they die- bullet sponges aren’t fun, realistic or immersive. I’ll take enjoyment and relative realism over ‘expert’ difficulty.

Still working my way through the game’s main quest (I am probably more than midway) but I am certain I’ll be roaming the wasteland for many, many days even after the story is done and done. It’s just that fun.

Fallout 4: Day One After the Apocalypse

Posted in Action Adventure, Fallout 4, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming, PS4, RPGs, Xbox One on November 12th, 2015 by thelonegamer


Fallout 4′s Main Theme sets the tone for this Apocalyptic Epic.

Even as I popped the Fallout 4 disc into my PS4, I knew I was going to have to agonize a bit longer. The game installed, which took less than an hour and in the meantime played the entertaining ‘S.P.E.C.I.A.L’ series of videos released by Bethesda leading up to the game’s release. So if you haven’t already watched these funny (and pretty macabre, actually) animated bits, you should. They give a nice briefing on your character’s attributes which are vital to surviving, if not conquering, the wastelands of Boston.

Once the game actually started, with now-familiar opening theme and then the pretty epic, surreal live-action short relating the alternate history of the world leading to the game’s setting, I was really pumped to get into the game. And how do I go about it? By taking my wonderful time exploring every inch of my character Sam’s lovely home in pre-Fallout America (yes, I chose a female for my first playtime). The controls seemed easy enough, and responsive.

To make a long story slightly shorter, I got through the mostly-seen bit of running to the Vault once the bombs start falling. Once we actually get IN the Vault is where the surprises start piling up and I go into uncharted territory. Let’s just say that the experience my lovely Sam goes through in Vault 111 is nowhere near as benign or sunny sweet as they let us on in with Fallout Shelter. Sam soon finds herself waking up in a dangerous, frightening new world where she is left to her own devices to survive and carry out the mission she’s abruptly faced with.


Fallout 4′s live-action intro cinematic.

As I have been playing Skyrim for the past several years, many of the game’s systems are familiar- going into stealth mode, doing melee attacks, sprinting… it’s in there. One thing that I am really annoyed at ignoring was ironically a crucial one- V.A.T.S. (Vault Assisted Targeting System for you Out of the Loop). I treated the game for the most part like a shooter, firing away with reckless abandon with my guns. This is something you really shouldn’t do since, well, ammo is relatively scarce. Probably not Resident Evil or Survival Horror-scarce, but still- it’s not like you can go to a gun store down the block to refill your cache of munitions. As much as possible, once should use VATS when firing guns, if you have the AP and the chance to do so.

That said, Fallout 4 has proven to be a very competent FPS regardless. Once I got Sam suited up in a properly badass long coat and a gas mask (looted from some dead Raiders) and found myself a gun workstation, I was modifying my newfound firearms like a kid with new legos. Guns feel GOOD. The kick they have and the effect on enemies is satisfying, even if not always realistic (can’t see why handgun bullets can sever limbs).
Movement and sneaking around is a joy- at least the stealth in the game seems more viable than it was in other Bethesda games. I think that it would be quite awesome to specialize as a sniper, striking from the shadows. I spent an inordinate amount of time searching the alleys of the ruined town of Concord, sneaking in the shadows as would do Venom Snake proud.

When action finally erupted it was fierce and satisfying. Raiders aren’t supposed to be too hard but carelessness can get you killed quick. In a short while though, I found myself finding an AWESOME piece of kit- a full suit of Power Armor, which in this game is more like a vehicle than just a simple piece of clothing. With a minigun in hand and the ability to fall from heights unharmed, one can feel invincible wearing the Hulkbuster-like suit of armor. That, of course, could not be farther from the truth. A massive Deathclaw- which I feel is to Fallout 4 as Dragons are to Skyrim- appeared to be the first ‘Boss Battle’ in this game. Looking at my gameplay again (which I recorded) I now wince at the DOZENS and DOZENS of rounds I fired off in panic, when I should have used VATS. But ultimately, I cleared the streets of Concord and made my first friends in the new world.

The next few hours was filled with relatively more passive but still engrossing gameplay consisting of crafting, base-building and customizing, all of which can probably leech away hours and hours and HOURS of your life away… I know it did for me. It was only after I pretty much built a small town did I finally manage to decide to pack my gear, gird my loins and head off for new adventures elsewhere.

Then I realized it was 4 in the freakin’ morning.

You know what? This is the real deal. It is, easily Bethesda’s biggest and best game yet. It delivers on what was promised- the detail, the texture, the mood, the action and fun we’ve been waiting for has arrived. I wasn’t a Fallout fan going into this game, but now I am. I’ve been converted. The only way you’ll get me to let go of my controller is to pry it from my cold, Pipboy-encased hand.

Played Fallout 4 on PS4, with a female character on Normal Difficulty, exiting Vault 111 and exploring the areas of Sanctuary and Concord. Still so much to be done. So goddamn FUN.

Got Fallout 4. You?

Posted in Action Adventure, Fallout 4, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, Open World Games, PC Gaming, PS4, RPGs, Xbox One on November 11th, 2015 by thelonegamer


Starting Fallout 4 tonight. HELL, it’s about time.

Fallout 4 is in my hands. It was actually available in the stores yesterday, but since I didn’t preorder, I had to wait till today to get mine. Technically it’s still Nov. 10 anyway so I’m not that late. During the lunch hour, I stepped out of the office, made a run to the mall and plunked down the cash on the counter. Which was the right thing to do, I guess, since as soon as I turned my back a queue of at least five other wannabee-wasteland warriors had already formed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the store sold out of copies before closing time at that rate.

But hey, whatever- I have it. Tonight, I guess I’ll set aside Dragon Age: Inquisition for a while, and set back The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain again… probably indefinitely. Sigh.

Why this is so, I can’t really put my finger on. I’m not the biggest Fallout fan- in fact, I’m not really a Fallout fan. In terms of Bethesda games, I’m more into the Elder Scrolls games, primarily Skyrim. But then, I’ve still kept track of Fallout lore regardless- I guess somewhere inside me is a closet Post Apocalypse World fan. But still, to date, the only Fallout game I’ve played to a significant length is Fallout Shelter. Really. Please, stop laughing. It was FUN.

It can’t be the graphics- certainly Fallout 4 looks good thanks to the new, more colorful and dare we say it, vibrant-looking world to explore. But to put it bluntly, compared to games like The Witcher 3, or even Dragon Age: Inquisition or even Skyrim, the character models don’t quite stand up.

That said, the detail and texture of this world are probably what hooked me. The content, the tons of stuff, the interactivity (which should be just as much, if not more so, than Skyrim, modded), the gunplay, the intriguing customizations and crafting, the ability to create your own house or base… it’s like Bethesda took the best stuff from the mods we enjoyed in Skyrim and put them into Fallout 4.

From what I’ve seen so far of the gameplay- and I’ve tried to minimize spoilers and haven’t seen any of the opening hour- this game is pleasing all my buttons.

In terms of playing this game, I will both be playing this personally AND with a character/playthrough meant for posting on the ol’ Youtube Channel for Roleplaying. Still deciding if I go into the LP/RP blind, or if I save it for my second playthrough. I may decide that depending on how tonight’s first session goes.

So, got your Fallout 4? I say, go. Get. Now. Just don’t kill someone for it, okay?

Dragon Age Inquisition: Why It’s The Best Time to Return to Thedas

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Dragon Age Inquisition, Fan Service, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, PS3, PS4, RPGs, Xbox One, Xbox360 on September 16th, 2015 by thelonegamer


The Trespasser DLC marks the end of the Inquisition, one way or another…

Many months ago, Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition came out on consoles and PC, and RPGers were scrambling all over it. There were highs and lows, with the game impressing with its gorgeous graphics, expansive and varied locales, engaging gameplay and wonderful cast of characters. On the other hand, the game’s linear story, lack of ‘deep’ dungeons and many cutbacks from earlier versions garnered mixed feelings. Still, I say overall that DAI was a wonderful RPG which entertained me for a couple of playthroughs right after release.
Now, more than nine months later though, I am playing Inquisition again. So why have I dusted off my Inquisitor’s Helm and armor from the closet and called the gang back together? There are quite a few reasons why today is the best time to get back into Thedas, or discover it for the first time.

Play as A Different Class. If you are coming back to DAI after playing through it once, try playing again, as a different class. You’ll be surprised how different the gameplay style is. If you played a Mage or Archer who dealt death from afar before, try this time as an in-your-face combatant as a Warrior. Aside from trying out all the new perks and abilities, you’ll find that the story will be slightly different as well.

This time, Play it RIGHT. I remember playing very much like a noob in my first DAI Playthrough- I didn’t really learn all the nuances and rules. I blundered through the first region of the game, barely optimized my characters’ gear and took advantage of their various abilities, and spent WAAAY too much time in the starting Hinterlands.
This time, I knew that it was key to gather as many crafting materials as possible, where to get good stuff, great gear and thus start kicking ass earlier, making the most out of my time. Seeing your characters do much better and handling previously brutal skirmishes more handily is very gratifying. Try out various Character Builds, get into Crafting and start Kicking Ass in the most spectacular ways.

Do the Other Path. There are two distinct paths to take in a crucial moment in the game, that affects the story. This time, play the one you didn’t choose before and see a different chapter, different benefits, allies and villain to battle. Try out different romances. Get the girl. Or the guy. Or not. Ultimately. Maybe.


Bioware’s DAI PAX2015 Panel.

Enjoy the Later Tweaks and Tons of New Gear, Items and Clothing. Since the original launch, DAI has seen many patches to fix exploits (like the legendary Thousands Cuts trick) and balance out gameplay that made particular classes well-nigh invincible (and broken) later in the game. Also, lots of new gear like crafting materials, items, schematics, weapons and armor have been added, including stuff in subsequent DLCs. Also, lo and behold, your Inquisitor needn’t run around in their annoying beige pajamas around Haven all the time thanks to the new Wardrobe. Oh, and Armor Tinting. ARMOR TINTING. YEEESSSS. MY GOSH I may be doing playthroughs with different Character COLORS. Not Classes, COLORS. My God this game rewards my OC Self like no other.

Finish the Fight, er Story. If you love the game like I do, the three DLC Story/Campaign Expansions- Jaws of Hakkon, The Descent and Trespasser- are Must-Haves. All of them can (or perhaps should) be played after completing the Main Game and Story, giving your Inquisition further adventures to test their skills. And you’ll probably need the powerful items and weapons you’ll get then in the final confrontations in Trespasser. No Ifs or Buts about it, Trespasser is the Final DLC of Inquisition, and it gives this corner of Thedas a definite ending that any Dragon Age fan should try themselves.

Right now, Dragon Age: Inquisition is in its most complete form and it’s an awesome package. Currently, I’m enjoying the hell out of DAI, possibly even more so than I did months ago. It’s awesome to see all the stuff I missed or just plain didn’t see before, and to play the game better this time around. Even if Trespasser has marked the End of Dragon Age for now, I won’t be leaving Thedas or my Inquisition anytime soon.