Beautiful Skyrim

James pointed me to a post over at the PC Gamer Blog showing off some STUNNING enhancements that are possible with Skyrim.

It’s no surprise that the modding community was going to tear into Skyrim and tweak every nook and cranny and really improve upon it. Bethesda and Steam facilitated that, to their credit. But I’m actually beyond amazed what has already taken place.

What has me more interested is what the PC Gamer writer says: “Keep in mind that when that grass fills the screen Unreal reports framerates as low as 5 fps, so super-modded Skyrim isn’t always playable. But think of it as a preview of the near-future.” This is what really excites me. The near future. I’m still torn between becoming a full-time PC gamer and a console gamer. But the thought of what the next Xbox or Playstation is going to be capable of makes the graphics whore in me giddy beyond belief.

Seriously, just look at these beautiful images. Now to pick one for the new PC background.

In My Digital Hands

This is another one of those “been in my Steam Library forever but I finally downloaded it” IMDH, but of the little I’ve played of Gotham City Impostors, I’ve really enjoyed it.

Torchlight II – First Impressions

Torchlight II … I never played the first torchlight because the Diablo-esque video game genre always seemed to shine with MULTIPLAYER!

Thankfully they decided to listen to what the players want and added two multiplayer options (Internet and LAN). This is probably the thing that stood out the most to me. The problem I had with this was that I wasn’t able to register and create an account to use Runic’s game system. In all honesty I was hoping that it would be integrated with Steam but, it wasn’t…sadface.

FYI: I’m not going to be comparing this to Diablo 3 because everyone else is and I feel that every game should be judged by its own merits.

Anyway, on to the good stuff!

The gameplay is your standard button-mash fest but, it has several unique things that deserves some extra fanfare. Let me preface this by saying that I was privileged to have a brother who is a video game a·fi·ci·o·na·do and decided to buy the 4-pack that steam had on sale not too long ago. The first thing he told me about the game that sparked my interest was the ability to equip an item based on the level requirement OR the ability requirement. For example, you could use a weapon if you were lv 15+ or if you had 40 Str. This is a nice take on how to give multiple options for players to access different gear.

Another thing that I found very earlier in my time in the world of Torchlight II was that there are ‘Phase Beasts’ that will leave a portal behind after they die that will take you to a challenge world. An example is one that had 4 torches to light up in a specific order while you are being attacked from all sides and then once you complete this task…you are attacked by a boss! After killing this boss the screen was filled to the brim with gold and there were several dropped items that made the fight worth it.

I decided to pick the ‘Outlander’ class because I felt it would be good stealth/ranged class to play and so far the class itself has been underwhelming.

Take this with a grain of salt though, I haven’t made it too far into the game to make any judgement of the class but, I am really thinking of starting an ‘Embermage’ and seeing if it is more my style.

(Check out those flames!)

The boss encounters have been interesting – a decent challenge and a reward that fits.

I appreciate the fact that there are many hints at pop culture items in the game (Goonies!!!) and the art style.

The art is simple but, I really like it. The intro cut scene was a cartoon that looked really good and is a nice change of pace from the uber-realistic CGI with most AAA titles.

So far, I am digging Torchlight II but, I have a feeling that Guild Wars 2 will last me longer.

Time will tell…

Guild Wars 2: An Asura’s Tale (Part 1)

Hello Fellow Buttonmashers!

This post will be about an adventure I took as my Asura Elementalist with my Asura Engineer friend.

***Side Note: Look out for a post here on Buttonmashing, from that friend, soon.***

To start things off I was running around the Human starting area and bumped into this guy:

There were some others trying to kill the big guy, so I decided to help out! Firestorm anyone?

After the worm, I went to meet up with a friend in the Sylvari newbie area – basically a forest/jungle/plant area. Coming into the basin where we had planned to meet, this grabbed my attention. Yea, floating rocks!

My friend who had been waiting for me was already doing the ‘Jumping Puzzle’, as I later found out they were so named, and I joined in the fun. That was for the first five minutes, then ten, then I lost count. One thing that the ‘Jumping Puzzle’ taught me was that you pretty much have to turn off the option to double-tap a direction to roll/dodge. I don’t know how many times I had to start the jumping puzzle over again because I was moving ever so slightly in one direction and felt I could take one more step and then boom, off the edge. At a certain point you were so high up you died if you feel to boot.

In the end, I made it! Thankfully there was a chest at the end of the jumping puzzle to make my efforts a little more worth it.

Whoa whoa whoa…what’s this?!?

Lets see how far the rabbit hole really goes!

Wow, okay so it goes pretty far!

Like any good explorers, we decided to kill everything in the picture (sarcasm). The most annoying part was the flower mortars that bombarded us from all over – we were always trying to find where they shot at us from. From here we found a back entrance hidden in the bottom of a mountain that contained this area inside.

NEXT TIME!!! On An Asura’s Tale!

We delve into the murky waters of Ventry Bay!

Guild Wars 2 – A good different

Yo Buttonmashers!

I have a little more free time than usual this week and it has allowed me to make this post about Guild Wars 2. Here are some of my thoughts on my experience in the first hours of the game.

First things first, the people at ArenaNet have their stuff together. Anyone who has played the first Guild Wars or has seen some of the beautiful concept art will know what I mean when I say video games can be considered art. I feel that the art team on Guild Wars 2 should be the winners of every award they can get for their wonderful work – regardless of the game itself.

Lets get to the game already!

It plays great. Currently it feels like an MMO without the subscription fee and that isn’t bad in my book. Something different from the first is that your weapon will determine what the first half of your skills will be. When you switch your weapon (2-handed, dual-wield two weapons of the same type, dual-wield weapons of different types) the skills will change and you will need to work on unlocking them by using the skills in line prior to them. Then the other half of your skills will be skills of your choice that you can unlock with skill points.

I have found that the easiest way to get skill points is to use the skill point events out in the world. One of these skill point events was as easy as clicking on a fountain of power and boom, you get your skill point. A second one of these was to kill a group of three bandits – one of which was named – and then you get your point. Its pretty straight forward but, rewarding regardless.

There are 8 professions and 5 races.

Races:
Official Name – My translation

Norn – Barbarians
Asura – Gnomes
Sylvari – Elves
Humans – Humans
Charr – Dogmen (they are one of the unique races that Guild Wars introduced)

Professions:

Warrior
Guardian
Engineer
Thief
Ranger (my choice at the moment)
Mesmer
Necromancer
Elementalist (Current champ! – I can summon elementals!)

I will say that the best thing I have found so far is the random events in the world. You could be running along minding your own business and out of nowhere there is an event. Luckily in writing this post I logged in to look for some awesome scenery to show everyone and low and behold I encounter an event.

This first picture is me running into an event where people were taking down an Oakheart,

After checking out the battle and throwing a few arrows into the mix, I continued on to find a better screenshot for all of you.

I guess I should warn you, if you don’t want to have part of the game spoiled for you by reading the rest of this post.
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SPOILER!!!!
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OK!

That’s when I happened upon the swamp and noticed something through the trees that began to roar in the voice of the Balrog from LOTR.

What's that?!?

I decided to grow a pair (mostly because the death penalty is minor – repair some gear and start over at the closest waypoint, plus events like these are like akin to, ” a moth to a flame” to quote a friend) and venture into the madness. Needless to say the ‘Shadow Monster’ was NOT happy.

ROAR!!!!!

The fight continued for a good 4 – 5 minutes, I even got knocked down once. Thankfully, ArenaNet added the ability to be revived by anyone – effectively removing the need for a “Cleric/Healer” class and makes the game flow a lot better in my opinion then the standard MMO fare. Even shadow monsters go the way of the Earth and it was defeated!

Timber!

To my surprise, as this was my first BIG BOSS world event, there was a huge chest left where the monster had stood and it was waiting with treasures all for me!

Ooooo shiny!

The PvE (Player vs Enviroment) has not disappointed me in the slightest. The world is huge and there is plenty to do, you can look for vistas, quest, grind, event hop, etc. that I think I’ll be busy for a while. I haven’t even scratched the surface of PvP (Player vs Player) or WvW (World vs World) where three servers are pit in a battle against each other, fighting for control of forts, with siege weapons, hot oil to burn attackers from the turrets, etc.

I’m just starting out but, let me know if you’re in-game! Dragonbrand server.

You know what…I think I’m going to hop in now and get back to it.

See you inside!

(More to come – Next up:Rock JUMPING!)

Dear Vindictus

Dear Nexon/Vindictus,

Your game looks really good. It looks really fun. I actually played it for a few minutes before it dropped me. Never mind that it took me a couple hours to get that far. It took me about twenty times to start it before it connected to your servers. I played/watched the opening which was very nicely done. I even made it to the tutorial and was a few minutes in when it crashed. I haven’t been able to get the game to start, let alone connect to your servers, since.

I’d really like to play Vindictus. Please fix your game so I can.

So, did you pick it up?

I know we had a discussion going earlier about the pricing of Star Craft II. So did you take the plunge?

January Releases

It’s the new year and what a year it’s going to be for gaming! The excitement starts this month and hopefully the momentum carries us through the year. Let’s get to the list:

Xbox 360 banner

Week of January 4th
Bayonetta- I’m torn on Bayonetta. On one hand, it looks beautiful and wicked stylish. On the other hand, I’ve never gotten into the stylized-action-game like Devil May Cry or God of War. Maybe it’s time to try.
Darksiders- In a month loaded with triple-A titles, I’m worried I’ll never get around to playing this, but I am definitely intrigued.
Divinity II: Ego Draconis- I didn’t even know there was a Divinity I. Anyone have any info on this game?

Week of January 11th
Vancouver 2010 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Winter Games- Gotta fit this game in somewhere I guess.
Army of Two: The 40th Day- Another one I’ll probably end up passing, but I wonder what I’ll be missing.

Week of January 18th
Dark Void

Week of January 25th
Mass Effect 2- There it is. This should do just fine to tide me over for quite some time. At least until February. I hope it doesn’t take me two years to finish this one.

Wii banner

Week of January 4th
My Fitness Coach 2 Workout and Nutrition

Week of January 11th
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
Crazy Chicken Tales
Walk It Out
Sleepover Party- Walk It Out? Sleepover Party? Have you Wii game makers have no shame?

Week of January 18th
Fast Food Panic
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection

Week of January 25th
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Tatsunoko VS Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

Nintendo DS banner

Week of January 4th
Fast Food Panic
Learn Chess

Week of January 11th
Daniel X
Sands of Destruction

Week of January 18th
Glory of Heracles- This looks like a solid DS strategy game. Tempting…
Bejeweled Twist- Haven’t you milked us enough already, Pop Cap?
KORG DS-10 Plus

Week of January 25th
Quad Kings
Personal Fitness Women
Legend of Kay

PC banner

Week of January 4th
Divinity II: Ego Draconis

Week of January 11th
The Sims 2: Fun with Pets Collection- Looks like the Sims 2 will not die.
Insecticide
Two Worlds

Week of January 18th
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventure
Dark Void
The Tudors

Week of January 25th
Hotel Giant 2
Mass Effect 2
Alcatraz

PS3 banner

Week of January 4th
Bayonetta- See above.
Darksiders- Ditto.

Week of January 11th
Darksiders
Army of Two: The 40th Day

Week of January 18th
Dark Void

Week of January 25th
MAG

PSP banner

Week of January 11th
Army of Two: The 40th Day

Week of January 18th
Shepherd’s Crossing
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Week of January 25th
TNA: Cross The Line
Shadow of Destiny

Not a bad way to start the year off. While I think I’ll be grabbing Mass Effect 2, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy. What are you picking up?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. Its appreciated.)

FGotY 2009 [PC]

With the portable games behind us, here’s our list for the Fun PC Game of the Year for 2009.

Nat – I never thought I would say this again but I am in love with PC gaming. Another hallmark year with titles such as Dawn of War II, Demigod, Plants vs. Zombies, Empire: Total War, and Torchlight. Valve should be commended for the strides they’ve made in my personal PC gaming renaissance. I don’t like ties, so I need to pick a winner based on hours alone. Borderlandseven with all it’s console conventions, nit-picky faults, and connection difficulty for a co-op titleis my Fun Game of the Year. At fifty hours and counting it fed the loot whoring monster inside me. Torchlight comes in second. A close second. We’re talking a Michael Phelps victory for Borderlands.

Brock – I’ve only recently gotten back into PC gaming to any real extent but I’ll have to give Plants Vs. Zombies my pick for the most fun I’ve had with a PC game this year. I’ve played through it on two different systems, worked through it again with my son and haven’t even scratched the surface of what is available in the bonus/zen garden modes. I’d also give a huge nod to my runner-up, Machinarium, which is a fantastic point-and-click adventure game that oozes charm.

James – I actually only played the game I chose for a short while but I think it deserves to be listed here. Killing Floor is a FPS horror game. Playing this game was reminiscent of Left 4 Dead in the way you needed the help of your teammates and how much fun it was. I only played it for three days but I am considering picking this up, especially because you can get it cheap on Steam. I never thought I would be able to get along without a cross hair to shoot with, but it works!

Will – I’ve always dabbled in PC games, but I have never had a rig capable of running modern games the way they were meant to be played. This means that the majority of my PC collection is made up of older titles (just look at my list of Steam games to see what I mean). Thanks to Steam, I bought Dawn of War II, GTA IV, Borderlands and Torchlight; all of which are up for my FGotY 2009 [PC] award. I gave it to Torchlight because of the loot monger in me (the one that makes me love Borderlands so much). I haven’t put many hours into it yet, but I feel the hopeless addiction setting in. I was initially turned off by the lack of online play, but I got over myself and bought it and am now loving it. Part of me wants to buy a netbook just to see how it runs on one, and to be able to bring the loot hunting with me everywhere I go.

Tony – I, too, am having renewed interest in PC gaming, strictly on the strength of Steam. I wish it had entered in my life earlier, but it came just in time this year. I didn’t play a lot of games, but I’m also picking Torchlight as my FGotY for the PC over Plants vs. Zombies. Not only did Torchlight scratch the loot itch, it also eased me in to using Steam and getting back into the groove of using the tried-and-true keyboard/mouse combo. I still prefer the 360 controller to my mouse and keyboard, but it’s been nice to get to know an old friend.

July Releases

It’s that time again. What does the month of July hold?

Xbox 360 banner
Week of July 2nd
Gears of War (2-Disc Edition) – If you happen to one of the seven people who don’t own Gears of War, here’s your chance.

Week of July 9th
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution – If you want to fry your 360 from overuse, do it in a Civilized manner.
Unreal Tournament III – Just when July was looking bad, UT3 comes along.
Beijing Olympics 2008 – I never “got” track and field games. Probably never will.
Mobile Ops One Year War for Xbox 360

Week of July 16th
NCAA Football 09 – Ugh. I have faithfully purchased EA’s NCAA since 2003. Every year I say I’m done with them, every year I pick it up anyway. Will it happen again this year?
World In Conflict
Space Chimps

Week of July 30th
Soul Calibur IV – I used to be a HUGE fighting game fan. I played a lot of the original Soul Calibur in the arcade, but haven’t played much since then. Maybe it’s time to go back to the franchise.
Spectral Force 3
Summer Athletics The Ultimate Challenge

Wii banner

Week of July 2nd
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon – Milking the FF Franchise, one platform at a time.
Purr Pals

Week of July 9th
WonderWorld Amusement Park

Week of July 16th
Rock Band Track Pack: Vol. 1
NCAA Football 09 – EA abandoned Nintendo with the NCAA line near the end of the console cycle, so it’s nice to see NCAA back in the Nintendo library.
We Love Golf! – Golf games are right in the Wii’s wheelhouse.
Space Chimps
Ford Racing Off Road

Week of July 23th
Chess Crusade
SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 – Haven’t we suffered enough with these Arcade Compilations? The Wii is 100% backwards compatible. Go to Gamestop and find the Gamecube versions of these compilations. Save yourself some money.
Order Up!

Week of July 30th
MLB Power Pros 2008
Sam & Max: Season One
Freddi Fish: Kelp Seed Mystery
Puzzler Collection
Summer Athletics The Ultimate Challenge
Red Star

Nintendo DS banner

Week of July 2nd
Trauma Center Under The Knife 2 – I started out really liking the first Trauma Center. Then I started hating myself for liking Trauma Center. Then I just hated Trauma Center. I’m not worthy of its hardcoreness.
Amf Bowling Pinbusters
1 Vs. 100
Ducati Moto
Journey to the Center of the Earth

Week of July 9th
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution – Seems like the DS is perfect for a Civ game. I wonder what they had to give up, game-play wise, to fit it on a DS cartridge.
Carnival Games
Pony Luv – The DS and its game titles are single-handedly wrecking the spelling skills of our poor children.

Week of July 16th
Wordmaster
Nancy Drew 2: Clue Bender Society
Space Chimps
Mister Slime

Week of July 23th
Final Fantasy IV – That’s more like it. This is probably my only must-buy this month.
Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns – This game wins “Title of the Month.” Unemployed Ninja. Is that even possible?
Chess Crusade
Suzuki Super-Bikes II: Riding Challenge
International Track And Field

Week of July 30th
Puzzler Collection
Puchi Puchi Virus – “Puchi Puchi certainly sounds like a virus.

PC banner

Week of July 2nd
Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze
Turbo Subs
Fighter Pilot 2
Piglet’s Big Game

Week of July 9th
Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice
Devil May Cry 4
Painkiller Universe
Insecticide

Week of July 16th
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm – I can’t figure this one out. How is this a game, basically a job simulator, fun? I can’t watch the show for more than five minutes.
Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel
Hot Dish – “A Spicy Time Management Cooking Adventure”. I’ll pass.
1701: Gold
Space Chimps
Let’s Ride: Riding Star
Hunting Unlimited 2009

Week of July 23th
Big City Adventure – Sydney
Slingo Quest Hawaii
Fate: Undiscovered Realms – Fate is a great game, wish I had time to play more of it.
Game of Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
Enchanted Fairy Friends: Secret of the Fairy Queen

Week of July 30th
Flatout: Ultimate Carnage
Beijing Olympics 2008
Legend Hand of God
Outcry
Avatar the Last Air Bender: Path of Zuko
Etch a Sketch – The words, they fail me.

PS3 banner

Week of July 9th
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Beijing Olympics 2008
Monster Madness: Grave Danger

Week of July 16th
NCAA Football 09

Week of July 30th
Soul Calibur IV

PSP banner

Week of July 9th
Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity

Week of July 16th
NCAA Football 09
B-Boy
Ford Racing Off Road

A few solid offerings, a few venerable franchises and Final Fantasy IV.

Are you planning on picking anything up this month?