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2D vs 3D games

Posted by admin on May 5, 2012 in Uncategorized |

2D Games to visualize your reality from a different perspective.  Similar to reading a book versus watching a movie.  Where your subconcious mind fills in the blanks which are not spelt out.  Similar to how when you dream and you hear a noise in your bedroom.  And your subconcious mind will incorporate that noise into your dream.

In some cases when I have had the option to play the upgraded 3D version of and old 2D games, I prefer the 2D version.  Because I do believe it has some strengths over the 3D interface.  2D appeals to your imaginative subconcious mind.  Whereas 3D is more directed to your conscious which is reality based.

 

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Wing Commander 2012 Remake – Wing Commander Saga Review

Posted by admin on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized |

Wing Commander Saga 2012 with some spiffy new graphics

Wing Commander Saga 2012 with some spiffy new graphics

RATING : 7 out of 10

Website : www.wcsaga.com

Lately I’ve had an attraction for older / retro games.  As playing the currently line up of games here in 2012 there seems to be something missing.  While the eye candy continues to improve on games, there is nothing memorable that sticks.  With many of todays modern games lacking in ‘character’.

Wing Commander Saga has incredible Production Values

Wing Commander Saga has incredible Production Values

If I think about a game which ‘sticks’ and has ‘character’ Wing Commander comes to mind.  It was one day upon my quest to find the old DOS version, I stumbled upon the “Wing Commander Saga : The Darkest Dawn” which had just been released.  Curiosity got the best of me and I had to download the game to find out more.

The Wing Commander Saga is a FREE Fan created game with a completely new storyline and game.  Which apparently has been 10 years in the making and finally been completed in 2012.  I couldn’t believe that this was a game that was made for FREE from a fan community donating their time.

One of the best Fan made games

One of the best Fan made games

Upon playing Wing Commander Saga I have only been impressed.  The game is very polished and adheres to extremely professional production values.  From impressive voice acting to beautiful rendered graphics.  At times, It does give hints that it’s a not a game made by a big studio.  However those moments are fleeting and quickly drowned out by the overall impressiveness of the game.  As Wing Commander Saga is one of the best Fan made games, if not the best made ever.

The overall engine is fairly solid and no major bugs were encountered.  The only glitch I uncovered was that the Voice acting could sometimes stutter and skip.  However, I’m sure the latest patch release would fix this problem.  And I was impressed with the overall attention to detail.  And pleased that I could even using my PC Xbox controller to fully milk that engaging dog fighting action.

A touch of the new while retaining the feel of the old

A touch of the new while retaining the feel of the old

The only real flaw that I could pick off the Wing Commander Saga would relate to the Wing Commander series itself.  As Wing Commander was a unique space dog fighting concept back in the early nineties.  And one of the reasons for its great success was the concept (Although there were other great aspects of the game).  Nowadays, that concept in itself wouldn’t do much to attract new players.  And would need a refresh in ideas and additions to its theme.

Had I not played the original Wing Commander, I might have had some difficulties knowing how to navigate my ship.  But a quick refreshment of my memory, I found most of the keys were mapped similarly to the old Wing Commander game.  I found the game to be very true to the theme of Wing Commander.  And even with the updated graphics the same feeling of the old Wing Commander was carried.

Just Absolutely Stunning

Just Absolutely Stunning

It is not necessary to be familiar with the old Wing Commander games and plot to play Wing Commander Saga.  However, it is most likely old fans of the Wing Commander series will enjoy it the most being fueled by nostalgia.

Wing Commander Saga is an incredible development in Fan based gaming.  I found the game to be incredibly engaging and enjoyed its authentic feel.  With its high production values, it’s inspiring to see what can be done for those who are passionate.  As the Wing Commander Saga is a game that ‘sticks’, similar to predecessors in the Original series.

 

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Morrowind Remake Review – Morroblivion vs Morrowind Overhaul

Posted by admin on April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized |

RATING 8 OUT OF 10

WEBSITE : www.morroblivion.com

Morroblivion gives Morrowind a facelift

Morroblivion gives Morrowind a facelift

Morrowind has been known as one of the greatest RPG games of all time.  However, Morrowind was not my introduction to the Elder Scrolls series.  Whereas Oblivion marked my personal entry into the Elder scrolls saga.  And now in 2012, Skyrim would be the gateway into the Elder Scrolls for many players.

Despite being released in 2002 (Now over 10 years old), there are many adoring fans who have claim that Morrowind is superior to its succeeding titles like Oblivion and Skyrim.  Having a more expansive world with a greater complexity in quest.  Along with more factions and guilds to join and a greater level of detail with the Magic system.

Having a little trouble stomaching the dated graphics, I began to play Morrowind using the Morrowind Overhaul pack.  (See the previous article for the Morrowind Overhaul Review here).  Which takes the original Morrowind engine and enhances the graphics and ambient sounds.  Utilizing the best of the best in graphics MOD (Short for Modification, modules which allows customization of the game) upgrades for Morrowind.

For the most part I was pleased with the overall results.  As the Overhaul pack did indeed increase the caliber of graphics, making it closer to the standards in 2012.  However, after hours of gameplay there were still some areas which I had a hard time adjusting to.  Such as not being clear where the quest objective was, as there were no Map Markers in Morrowind (Which were handy tools in both Oblivion and Skyrim).

I decided, while I do enjoy the Morrowind Overhaul, it was worthwhile to check out other options.  And I stumbled upon an upgrade known as Morroblivion.  Morroblivion basically runs the game of Morrowind using the Oblivion engine.  Which as a result modernizes the graphics, combat and user interface.

Enhanced Gameplay is one of the many benefits of Morroblivion

Enhanced Gameplay is one of the many benefits of Morroblivion

In the time that I have been playing Morroblivion, I have thoroughly enjoyed each hour.  And actually prefer it when I compare it to the Morrowind Overhaul.  However, that is a matter of personal preference.  My hypothesis is those whom have played Morrowind before may prefer the Overhaul kit to Morroblivion.  Since they have already become acclimatized to the Morrowind interface.  Plus the feeling of Nostalgia most likely carries its own momentum.  However, for players like myself who have entered into the Elder Scrolls with Oblivion or Skyrim may in fact prefer Morroblivion.

Some of the advantages of Morroblivion versus the Morrowind Overhaul include :

  • Seyda Neen revamped

    Seyda Neen revamped

    Improved Graphics for Character Models, Armour and Indoor Scenes : The Morrowind Overhaul mainly improves the graphics in the Outdoor scenes.  Broadening the field of distance which you can view the landscape in the background.  And providing greater detail in the textures of the outdoor Landscape.  The Morrowind Overhaul is even superior in its outdoor scene graphics when compared to Vanilla Oblivion.  However, a fair number of character models still look awkard.  Looking two dimensional and the worse type of “Ectomorph” body types.  Giving the appearance that they always seem to be shrugging.  As a result Armour looks awkward on some character models.  Which is often the fun of looting is you get to admire and wear your new armour.  Morroblivion uses the Oblivion graphics engine.  So even though Oblivion had been released in 2006, it still holds its own in graphics in the year 2012.

 

  • Improved Combat : There is no way to sugar coat it.  Morrowind combat absolutely sucks!  Where in the early stages you’d swing at your opponent 20 times and only 1 hit may connect.  And combat doesn’t provide much sophistication beyond button mashing.  While Skyrim and Oblivion combat isn’t up to par with games like Kingdoms of Amalur or Dark Souls, it is still relatively entertaining giving the ‘illusion’ of Arcade action.  Combat in Morroblivion is hands down way more fun utilizing the Oblivion engine.  This aspect is highlighted even more by the fact so much of Morrowind revolves around combat.
  • Improved character movements : One of the frustrations I have with the Morrowind Overhaul is the awkwardness of character movements.  Often I would get stuck behind a door while opening it.  Or having an NPC blocking my way which I can’t seem to push through.  Morroblivion is better in that regard that with the Oblivion engine you can push NPCs that are blocking you and its overall easier to maneuver.
  • Just Pure Awesome

    Just Pure Awesome

    Use of Map markers : The Morrowind Overhaul is a ‘hardcore’ RPG experience.  When you go on a quest you have to pay attention to the directions the Quest giver provided.  And think your way through in finding the locations.  Admittedly, I am simply lazy and don’t like to think that hard of where the destination of my quest are.  In Oblivion and Skyrim pointers are provided showing you exactly where to go.  Personally, this is what I have been brought up on, so its what I like

  • Fast Travel : In Oblivion and Skyrim, if you have been to a location it is easy to return.  You can simply bring up the map and click on the location to return to it.  In the Morrowind Overhaul, this is not the case.  You have to travel everywhere manually regardless if you have been there or not in the past.  At best you can be transferred to a relatively close location using the Silt Strider service or being Teleported.  However, in the Morrowind Overhaul allot of walking is required as Fast travel is not an option.
  • Physics : Morrowind Overhaul lacks a physics engine.  Therefore when you kill opponents they don’t tumble down the hill.  Morroblivion gives a better illusion of reality with characters adhere to some laws of physics.
  • Daily routines : In the Morrowind Overhaul shopkeepers are ready to service you 24/7.  And most characters seem to stay put in one place all day long.  With Morroblivion, a good portion of characters move around throughout the day adhering to a daily routine.  And close the shops at night, providing a greater sense of realism.

There are numerous other advantages of Morroblivion compared to the Morrowind Overhaul.  Such as a more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence and a simplified conversation system.  However, it really comes down to what are the advantages over Morrowind versus Oblivion.  And chances are if you enjoyed Oblivion more than Morrowind, than you will enjoy Morroblivion more than the Morrowind Overhaul.

Morroblivion and Morrowind Overhaul Graphics Comparison – Click Thumbnails to Enlarge – Morrowind Overhaul on Left – Morroblivion on Right

Balmora Morrowind Overhaul


In terms of playability, Morroblivion is still considered in its beta stages.  However, good majority of its quest are playable.  There are some bugs and occasional crashes.  But is still a great piece of work, considering this was made from user community donating their time for free.  Overall rating for playability would be 7 out of 10.  And viewed in the context of this not being a ‘professional’ released game it’s a 10 out of 10 in its production values.

A massive expansion pack for Oblivion

A massive expansion pack for Oblivion

At the very least, Morroblivion could be considered a Massive expansion pack for Oblivion (Though that would be a very modest statement).  Even larger than professionally released DLC from Bethesda like Shivering Isles and Knights of the Nine.  And even more in depth than user created ones DLCS like Elsweyr, since you have a full complement of quest (Unlike Elsweyr).

You can either start the game in Morrowind and make a character from Scratch.  Or you can use your experienced character in Oblivion and travel back and forth from Cyrodiil and Vvanderfell.

INSTALLATION OF MORROBLIVION

The Installation process was relatively straightforward if you are familiar with Modding for Oblivion.  It is required that you own a copy of both Oblivion Game of the Year edition (With Shivering Isles) and Morrowind (Including Tribunal and Bloodmoon Expansions).  The only complications I had was that I since I already had a great deal of Mods installed with Oblivion, I had to put the Morrowind Mods early in the Load Order of my Oblivion Mod Manager.

CONCLUSION OF WHY TO PLAY MORROBLIVION

Morroblivion mirrors the bright and vibrant artwork style of Oblivion

Morroblivion mirrors the bright and vibrant artwork style of Oblivion

Morroblivion is a fantastic piece of work and highly underated.  If you have not played Morrowind before, it can add hundreds of hours of gameplay to your Oblivion gameplay experience.  If you played Morrowind before and prefer it over Oblivion, the Morrowind Overhaul is probably a better experience for you.

Yet, if you have played more recent elder scrolls games like Oblivion or Skyrim, you most likely have gotton used to some luxuries available to you like Fast travel and better combat.  So the Morroblivion is probably a better bet.

Both Morrowind remakes are worth exploring and its probably best to play each one if you have time.  Considering that Morrowind is such a massive game, you can most likely create different characters in the varying versions that follow different paths, factions and guilds.  Ie. Creating a Mage character in the Morrowind Overhaul version and receiving the full benefits of the magic system.  And a fighter / thief character in the Morroblivion to enjoy the enhanced combat / stealth system.  It’s all a question of preference, however its great having a number of options open in sharing this timeless classic with future generations.

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Morrowind Overhaul versus Skyrim (And Oblivion)

Posted by admin on February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized |

Title : Morrowind with 2012 Overhaul Pack

Rating : 7/10

Platform Reviewed on : PC

Platforms Available : PC, PS3, XBOX 360

Release Date : July 22nd 2002 (Original release date not accounting for Overhaul Pack)

Lush greenery replacing the distant fog of the Original Morrowind

Lush greenery replacing the distant fog of the Original Morrowind

For some Skyrim is the first introduction into the Elder Scrolls Saga. I originally was introduced to the Elder Scrolls Series with Oblivion (The game that came before Skyrim in the Elder scrolls series) and instantly fell in love. The open world concept allowed the player to play the game as you see fit, which held an instant appeal. Whether you decide to play as the murderous thieving assassin. Or the virtuous Holy knight who abides by the law. It was all up to you in how you wanted to shape your character and the approach you wanted to take. I had never experienced such freedom in a game. (Exception was an older RPG known as Ultima 6 back in the 1990s)

When I played Oblivion, I started to read about the fact that some fans of the Elder Scrolls preferred Morrowind. Which was the game that came before Oblivion. I couldn’t fathom it at first. Because in my mind Oblivion was such a perfect game. And became my all time favourite video game.

Morrowind Overhaul includes some beautiful new sunlight effects

Morrowind Overhaul includes some beautiful new sunlight effects

So after completing Oblivion after many hours of gameplay, I decided to give Morrowind a try. And I just couldn’t stomach it. The graphics looked extremely outdated when comparing it Oblivion. And the gameplay and interface seemed so much less intuitive.

I pressed on for some time, mainly because a friend of mine who was a big Morrowind fan spoke highly of its quality. But eventually gave up as I found it hard to ‘immerse’ myself in the game. Feeling that the graphics, gameplay and sound not living up to today’s standard really made it difficult to get engrossed. And Elder scrolls games are all about being engrossed. With that feeling that you are entering a virtual world that almost seems like it will carry on by itself when you turn it off. As much as I hate to say it, I judged a book by its cover.

New night time lighting effects for Morrowind

New night time lighting effects for Morrowind

Now having played Skyrim, I can relate a little bit to how Morrowind players feel. In that progression is not always straight and upward with each Elder Scroll Game. As there some areas in a matter of preference which I actually preferred Oblivion versus Skyrim. Don’t get me wrong, Skyrim was a fantastic game. And improved upon many of Oblivions flaws. However, it took away some areas which I really enjoyed about Oblivion. Such as getting away from the classical Medieval fantasy theme for more of the Viking / Nordic theme that the people of Skyrim represent. Or taking away the different layers of armour you can wear. Ie. Mixing different pants with shirts etc. All in all, it just pointed out that some people have preferences.

Morrowind modded includes better bodies and *gasp* some nudity :O

Morrowind modded includes better bodies and *gasp* some nudity :O

So I decided to give Morrowind another go. This time applying one of the Overhaul / MOD packs. As Elder Scroll games are famous for having a strong user community which has created thousands of modifications to the Elder Scroll games (Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind). Now that’s dedication for you! The Elder Scroll games are so involving people take the time and investment to modify it.

I utilized the Morrowind 2012 Overhaul pack at the given link below :

http://morrowindoverhaul.rpgitalia.net/

Also make sure to download the “Improved Combat Mod” which removes those annoying hit / miss ratios in the early stages of the game :

http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=30791

The website was a little difficult to navigate, but after downloading all the files and reading the PDF I discovered they had an Installer. And after re-installing a fresh installation of Morrowind (This is key and a mistake I made before – needs to be a completely new install of Morrowind) I then used the installer. Which took over my mouse control and configured Morrowind as it should.

Then scenery in Morrowind can be truly breathtaking

Then scenery in Morrowind can be truly breathtaking

After installation, I fired up Morrowind. And I was completely blown away. The game looked so different. The game Models look so much more 3 dimensional. Faces didn’t look as gaunt and stretched. And there was no longer that constant fog that appears in the game, that made things seem so gloomy in the original game.

The game was still a little awkward in places. Such as when a character is blocking your way you can’t push them out of the way like in Skyrim or Oblivion. And I wasn’t used to reading so much text, since there wasn’t any voice acting. But after time, I started to get into the game like Oblivion and Skyrim.

Cities like Balmora in Morrowind are redesigned for a more Modern Look

Cities like Balmora in Morrowind are redesigned for a more Modern Look

I started to see the theme itself can be an attraction, offering a land which is more mysterious and eerie than that Cyrodil or Skyrim. Inviting you to explore more.

There still were some times I wish the combat was more like Skyrim. But aside from that, the actual storyline and desire to explore the land were pretty much on par.

I’m still playing Morrowind and from what I hear there is actually more content than both Oblivion and Skyrim. So it looks like it maybe awhile until I finish it. However, I am in no rush.

3D Models improved on Morrowind removing that "gaunt" look

3D Models improved on Morrowind removing that “gaunt” look

If you are looking to continue your exploration of the Morrowind world. It might be worthwhile checking an Overhaul pack with Morrowind. I know I have been quiet pleased with the results. You will however need a PC as the Xbox version is not modifiable. You can take a look at my video at the top of this blog. Which I first show how Morrowind looks like when its installed with maximum graphics. And the other video is a discussion of what Morrowind offers compared to Skyrim and Oblivion. Mind you I hadn’t installed the Overhaul pack completely correctly, so its not showing in its maximum state in the second video.

But its all worth checking out! Happy gaming!

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Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning – Review – PC

Posted by admin on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized |

Download kingdoms of Amalur Here : http://amzn.to/XdgHav

Title : Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning

Rating : 8/10

Platform Reviewed on : PC

Platforms Available : PC, PS3, XBOX 360

Release Date : February 9th 2012

Stunning Artwork sets Kingdoms of Amalur Apart

In the year 2012, it’s a tough call for a RPG to stand out amongst the crowd.  Yet despite all the noise, Kingdoms of Amalur manages to make its presence known.  Especially at the given time, Skyrim is hogging a fair share of attention when it comes to RPGs.

However, as much as I like Skyrim, it does have its gaps.  Which is why I took notice of Kingdoms of Amalur.  Skyrim seeks to make an impression by the immensity of its world.  Providing us with one of the largest virtual worlds delivered in a Video game.  However, with its size comes opportunities for loose screws.

Yet Kingdoms of Amalur is a sizable game in its own right.  Offering over 100 hours of gameplay, when you factor in the side quest.  (The main quest can be completed in around 25 hours).  However, the developers have been careful that the size of the game hasn’t detracted from the quality of the experience.  Sharpening elements that may be considered loose in Skyrim.  Such as engaging Arcade Action Combat and diversified quest.  For all that Kingdoms of Amalur has to offer, its tightly wound together.

Kingdoms of Amalur provides just the right amount of freedom for an Open World Game

My favorite aspect of Kingdoms of Amalur is the breathtaking artwork and theme.  The 3D models may not be technologically be the most sophisticated.  Nor are the textures of any exquisite detail.  Yet, the style of the artwork utilizes a vast array of colors.  Providing those moments of awe, bidding you to simply pause and stare at the beautiful fictional world.

While it is not as much of an open world game like Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur still has a strong open ended element.  Allowing you to partake in different quest in the sequence you prefer.  And even commit crimes for the sake of doing so.  Such as attacking innocent villagers or stealing from them.  Which we all know is what often makes open world games fun.  Allowing us to partake in Taboo activities we couldn’t otherwise do in real life.  It would be best described to have a level of freedom similar to a game like Grand Theft Auto.  Which provides just enough freedom for you to have fun, without being inundated with detail.

The Arcade Action combat will always keep you on your toes

Kingdoms of Amalur doesn’t try to bring anything new to the table.  Nor should it, as it executes and delivers upon what is promised very well.  Namely an engaging RPG with some great Arcade Action.

The action is truly of an Arcade Action caliber.  Which made me almost forget at times that I was playing an RPG.  With the game providing a variety of different ways to fight.  And offering gameplay elements which I found genuinely challenging.

Kingdoms of Amalur is a breath of fresh air, while paradoxically providing a level of familiarity.  Implementing a successful formula combining fantastic artwork, combat and diversity.  With the plethora of titles being released each month, its likely that Kingdoms of Amalur may in fact make it on your Top 10 list of RPGs.

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The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari – Book Review

Posted by admin on February 16, 2012 in Uncategorized |

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Morrowind 2012 – With updated Graphics

Posted by admin on January 13, 2012 in Uncategorized |

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Skyrim – Review – First Impressions – PS3

Posted by admin on November 13, 2011 in Uncategorized |

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Is MMA today missing the Philosophy of Martial Arts?

Posted by admin on October 7, 2011 in Uncategorized |

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Top PC Games

Posted by admin on September 5, 2011 in Uncategorized |

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