Archive for the ‘Skyrim’ Tag

Minecraft’s released, and here are five games you might want to look at first.   Leave a comment

I’ve had a bit of a disappearance due to work and, well, gaming. However, in recent news was the long announced (and inevitably delayed) release of Minecraft which brought a lot of things that irritate me to the forefront.

Its user score hit amber on Metacritic a short while ago. I don’t think it’s a mediocre game, far from it, but I can understand the reaction of many of the gamers who are reacting against the squealing Notch fanboys and the strong bias of professional critics who rally behind the idea that the game is the best thing since sliced bread. I thought the older user score of 7.5 was a little more realistic, but it’s continued to drop.

Here I wanted to put forward five games out around about the same time that, I would argue, are a better investment than Minecraft. Of course, it’s all mostly subjective (assuming you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool games are art type) and there aren’t many games that do what Minecraft do the same way or as well as it, but none the less:

#1) The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac has a classic, rogue-like element mixed up with older console adventure games. You won’t get anywhere near the amount of play hours out of it as Minecraft, but it’s a great example of indie weirdness. It has a vague allusion of Judaic mythology as the player controls Isaac who must escape the basement from which his warped mother wishes to sacrifice him, encountering monsters and deformed siblings on his way to freedom.

#2) Saints Row: The Third

In many ways, Saints Row picked up where GTA 2 left off. By the time GTA 4 was hitting shelves, the series had gone a tad insane in many ways. The first two games were anarchic and did not take themselves seriously in the least. GTA 3 started a trend of trying to add a gritty side to the games and by the time GTA 4 was on screens everywhere, it was hard to see coherence between the bleak existence of the central protagonist and the zany slapstick carried over from the earlier games. Saints Row became, in many ways, the true inheritor of the pure slapstick of the first two GTA games.

#3) Orcs Must Die!

An interesting new take on the old tower defence model. Your basic job is defend a series of towers from hordes of orcs and their cohorts. The production values are good for an indie and the game has good humour running throughout that does not feel forced. As with games like Sanctum, the game boasts a large amount of DLC and the ability to get involved with the suppression of invading forces as opposed to merely leaving it up to the defences you build.

#4) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Most people will know why this game is considered great already, but I’ll re-iterate here. State of the art graphics and sound with more varied terrain than Oblivion, randomised dungeons and countless quests, a more skill-focused character design with perks each level. Based off a new internally-designed engine and a new character generation system, the game opens up a lot more possibility for customisation than removed with its radically changed character design. The game world feels more real, more dynamic than Oblivion and the continued improvements in these areas point to even better in the future.

#5) Bastion

I have to admit, I was rather late on the bandwagon for this one. There’s very little to say against this game though, a paragon of action adventures, it combines elements of gritty fantasy with frontiersman Wild West and post-apocalyptic searching. The aim of the game is to rebuild the city that has fallen under a terrible blight (known as the Calamity) and cracked into several floating islands by finding and reclaiming the cores, bringing them to the sanctity of the bastion where the townsfolk were meant to gather. The game features gameplay and stylistic choices influenced by JRPGs, of which I’m not normally a fan, but its execution is slick and well-crafted.

I’m not saying Minecraft is a bad game. I just feel there’s a lot of hype around it and that the rating of 7.5 I first saw was a lot more realistic to the end product than the near uniform bleating of the praising critics. After his bad air with Bethesda and the nastiness with Yogscast at MineCon, maybe the mediocre user reception will make Notch a little more humble, because he needs to be brought down a peg or two.

This week in gaming   Leave a comment

I’m abandoning main news in order to push for more separate news articles, leaving more room for quick-cap news here.

* Opposable Thumbs talked about the story and aftermath of the controversial Potato Sack promotion for Portal 2.

* One of the iconic Abe games (Oddysee or Exoddus) is getting a new HD remake sometime in the future, it has been confirmed. We can hope this’ll find its way to the PC.

* THQ’s Red Faction: Armageddon has been delayed by a week, no explanation has been given but last minute bug fixing is suspected.

* After disaster after disaster, F.E.A.R. 3 has been pushed back again from its already amended release date to later in June.

* EA’s latest Need for Speed entry, The Run, has been detailed and dated for a November release.

* Players will be able to download the Brink server software via Steam before the game’s release. Bethesda have also offered an FAQ about the configuration of the server.

* With their recent woes, JoWood have received a helping hand from GoG.com who are selling JoWood titles with up to 75% off this weekend. With a little luck, this’ll help keep the wolf from JoWood’s doors.

* John Romero has started work on a new Facebook game. The game, Cloudforest Expedition, will be the second game that Romero makes on Facebook and is expected this Summer.

* Lord of the Rings Online creators Turbine are merging their US and EU LOTRO servers, relieving Codemasters Online of their duties maintaining the EU servers on the 1st June.

* After a bumpy ride with Alpha Protocol, but success with Fallout: New Vegas and preparations to ship the new Dungeon Siege game, Obsidian Entertainment have apparently gone through a round of layoffs.

* Mojang have released details about the modding plans to be implemented in Minecraft Beta 1.6.

* Bethesda have released details of the changes from Oblivion to Skyrim. Looking at some of the changes (especially to attributes), I don’t think this’ll be the breaker in my downward preference for Elder Scrolls games (from Daggerfall onwards, anyway).

That’s all for this week. See you after the weekend.

This week in gaming   Leave a comment

Quick-cap news

* Epic Games will host a two day set of tutorials on the Unreal Development Kit at the East Coast Game Conference.

* Dungeon Siege III has been delayed, now releasing in late June.

* Hi-Rez has switched Global Agenda to a F2P model with those of us already having paid getting “elite agent” status.

* Funcom’s Call of Cthulhu-esque MMO The Secret World, announced four years ago, is officially on the back burner.

* Myst Online is now released as open source, fulfilling promises made as far back as 2008.

* The Call of Duty versus Battlefield 3 marketing war is estimated to end up costing US$200m. This truly is the war to end all wars.

* GameStop are opening a Facebook store. The new system allows sales and pre-orders done via the Facebook interface.

* It’s been reported that Apple has rejected PopCap’s experimental label, Unpleasant Horse, from the App Store on grounds of “maturity” issues.

* Multiplayer has, sadly, been ruled out of Mass Effect 3, but the details are looking good.

* Wrestling star The Rock wants to star in a Black Ops film adaptation. Given his last foray into game-based films, I hold little hope for great artistry.

Main news

Minecraft is leaving beta this year, with plans to release the final version on 11th November. This coincides with the release of Skyrim by Bethesda. Many may be disappointed by the fact that the final release won’t look much different from the beta (which itself is not a whole deal different from the alpha), but assurances are that development will continue. Other reports are that beta 1.5 will add weather effects.

Busy week this week, see you after the weekend.