Monday, October 16, 2017

Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery Ep 5

Choose your pain
Spoilers beware...

Another episode where I felt not much did happen, but we did get a whole lot of throwbacking. I am definitely not the only one who will have noticed who was on that list of "notable captains". Christopher Pike and Jonathan Archer from The Original Series and Enterprise respectively. But speaking of that scene, I didn't see where that lead to? I guess it was to show Saru whether he had leader qualities or not but they never showed the results of the test (or did I just completely miss that?) so the point of it was kind of lost. And why would the computer talk back like that? Why does the questioner need to justify the question? If it's programmed that way I'd be really annoyed with it quickly. Just answer my dang question, will ya?

The more I look at those Klingons the uglier they get...

And also speaking of throwbacks, we got to meet Mudd, one of my least favorite characters from the TOS. When I rewatch that series I tend to skip the episodes he is in, except the Tribble on of course. He wasn't any more likable now, in fact he doesn't seem to have any redeeming qualities. If he was supposed to come off as street-smart, looking out for himself they mostly just managed to make him look like a huge d*ck.

It also seemed pretty clear the whole kidnapping business was just an excuse to unfold the story about the tardigrade because even though they establish that Lorca has been kidnapped because the Klingons want to know why his magic ship is so awesome, this isn't pre-developed with any kind of hint about this motivation. We don't see any Klingons screaming in frustration as yet another battle plan is foiled by the Discovery, nor any discussion about the kidnapping going to take place. Where did they get information on Lorcas whereabouts exactly when he was at his most vulnerable? Was it that easy for the Klingons to sneak in to what I am assuming is Federation space and kidnap one, if not the most, important captain in the fleet? Heck, they didn't even sneak, they just showed up.

Apparently they also know that Lorca has an eye condition and use that to torture him. Then they just let him leave the torture room when they get nothing out of him, and Lorca doesn't even seem particularly bothered by the torture! It's like the Klingon captain just gave up on the idea almost immediately or the Klingons are just very bad at it because they tend to rather kill their enemies in the battle field. I guess they didn't have the mind reading machines used in TOS ep 27 "Errand of Mercy" yet because that would've made that whole business quick and easy (that would've also made for an interesting throwback and possibly a more interesting plot development).

Errand of Mercy is one of many TOS episodes with omnipotent beings.

The fact that the kidnapping was thrown in there without any kind of build-up, and then quite badly developed, makes me think it's not supposed to be an important part of the plot but just an excuse for the whole tardigrade thing and for showing what a douche Mudd is.

The episode is named after a practice among the Klingons to let the prisoners choose who will get a beating, the prisoner himself or another prisoner. This is how we are first introduced to Mudd, by understanding that he has had another prisoner beaten to death in his stead. But how does this work really? If there are only two prisoners and they presumably name each other, do they both get a beating? Sort of defeats the object.

We get a tiny bit of character development for some characters in this episode. For instance we find out that Stamets and the Doctor are a couple. I thought that Stamets and that guy from the Glen were a couple though? Maybe I misunderstood that and besides, since a couple of months have passed since then I guess new relationships could've been established.

Will we get to know more about Airiam for instance?

We also find out that Lorca blew up his previous ship, with crew and all, rather than have them become prisoners of war to the Klingons. We already know he is ruthless and cares more about results than lives so I am not entirely sure what this was going to add to his character though.

So this felt like yet another episode that didn't accomplish very much until the very last second, with the eerie revelation that there is now something very, very wrong with Stamets. I really hope they go somewhere interesting with this.

I am still having fun watching STD, I just wish I cared more about the characters.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery Ep 4

The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry
And yes, there will be spoilers.

I actually forgot to watch the episode yesterday and instead decided to finish out Fallout New Vegas. Not sure that is a good sign for STD. Yeah, I know it's a funny acronym.

I felt like not much happened in this episode and what did wasn't all that interesting to be honest. I also realized something that's bugging me but I'll get to that.

It opens up with an unintentionally funny scene when Michael walks into the elevator with Saru and tells the elevator to go straight to where she wants to go. What was Saru doing in the elevator then? Either he was going off on that floor and forgot or Michael just completely ignored that he might want to go somewhere else.

I'm suspecting more and more that the new look on the Klingons was because the producers, or whomever is in charge of those things, was worried that no one would be interested in something that has been around since literally the beginning of the series. With a whole new look and basically feel to the Klingons they can sort of be passed off as a new enemy. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it yet but I am still not all against it either.

They're pretty cute actually.

When they showed the "Ripper" (the name feels a bit like a metaphor for the series, simplistic and not all thought through) my immediate thought was "huh, that looks just like a tardigrade" and two seconds later they confirm that in fact it is a huge tardigrade. I was actually quite intrigued by the idea of turning a giant tardigrade into a weapon, considering they are the most sturdy animal we know of, even more so than cockroaches. Tardigrades are almost impossible to kill and can withstand insane amounts of temperature change and radiation. But no, apparently it is going to be tortured into being some sort of "navigator" or cog in the machinery. I would've preferred the weapon-path, but hopefully they'll go somewhere else with the tardigrade as well.

The whole attack on the dilithium-mining-outpost was just not well done... When the kid shouted "mummy, mummy wake up!" I was cringing at the bad writing. Add cliché yelling and crying children in the background. And then at the end they had the little kid who looked up into the sky and said "who saved us?". I was starting to wonder whether I was watching a 70's Superman movie. And why did Lorca need to endanger the entire ship with that "blow-the-Klingons-up-with-explosives"-scheme? It looked like the phasers were doing a pretty good job already so that entire tactic seemed really stupid.

Not that there is anything wrong with Superman.

In the meantime the Klingons can't agree on anything even when in full-scale war with the Federation. This doesn't surprise me, but that Kol (or whatever his name was) guy who comes and takes over everything from Voq says, and I paraphrase "well we won't stick together after the fighting anyway so we might as well not before the fighting". Yet again, seems like a bad tactic. Unless he is worried Voq will get too much power but we don't get to see the motivation behind what any character is doing besides Michael.

And here we come to my one biggest issue with this series so far. Every series of Star Trek so far has given many characters in the show the opportunity for some character development. There has been an overarching story, but also branching stories in which we learn more about someone else beside the main character. In Next Generation that was unfortunately characters I didn't care much about, like Troi or Crusher, but mostly this has worked really well and has made me care more about everything that happens to the crew. The Original Series probably does this the least but they still manage to give depth to more characters than just Kirk.

So far I see very little inclination that STD is going to give much character development to anyone but Michael, and when another character gets any development it is only to further the story around Michael. We get some exposition into Saru's species in the first episode, which comes in handy in this episode when Michael needs his "threat-ganglia". Tilly explains a bit of herself but that is only so that we will understand what a pain in the ass she will be for Michael. I didn't like every character of all the other series, but knowing more about them allowed me to make that choice! Now I don't even get to decide whether I like someone or not because they are barely even people to me, they're just dialogue-providers for Michael.

The biggest reason for this is obviously that STD so far is slated for way less episodes than any of the other series. Even Star Trek Enterprise, which I felt was short by Star Trek standards, is almost 100 episodes (TOS has 80, NG 176, VOY 170 and DSN 173)! Clearly they've either decided to go for a tight-knit, no excursions allowed, story-arch to test the waters for more episodes, or maybe this is it. I really hope this won't be it.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Quick Thoughts on ST Discovery Ep 3

Context is for kings.
Spoiler alert!

Episode 3 starts out a bit confusing but it gets evident fairly quickly that was the whole idea. At first I didn't really get why no one on U.S.S Discovery adressed the fact that the captain of the shuttle had just been killed seconds before they rescued them. And where did those little electricity mites go when the tractor beam was used? And why would the "goons" attack Burnham in a mess hall full of personell? And why say stuff like "have you ever seen a black insignia before?" when Burnham is literally wearing one? But like I said, some of it was explained by the fact that it all seems to have been planned by Lorca.

Nice tribble in his office btw. I don't think you could even see it in the first scene, but you could definitely hear it.

Not everyone likes Tribbles.

I immediately liked Tilly, but I can sense that she might be a divider - people will either adore her or get annoyed with her. She felt like a cliché and realistic at the same time to me, either way I liked her.

I thought about it already in the first two episodes but it really strikes me how much Lt Saru (Doug Jones) is like Abe in Hellboy. Makes sense since it's the same actor, they might even have wanted that vibe when they hired him. I don't mind really, I think Saru is a good character also and I hope he gets more character development as the show goes on, we got some hints as to his background in the first two episodes.

The funny thing about setting a show in between other parts of the series is that you know how this show can end. The whole thing about basically instant teleportation through spores (?) is an interesting one but anyone who has watched ST knows that this can't get very far into fruition since it's not present anywhere else in the timeline. Like, Voyager could've really used that technology...

Obviously this is an issue that has been pointed out before. Site to site teleportation on the Discovery? Do they even have that in the Original Series? They might (I can't remember off the top of my head) but it's a fact that Discovery which is set before the Original Series still has technology that looks a lot more advanced. Not to mention, like I already spoke about a bit in my previous post, about the changed Klingons. They did explain away the Klingons in the Original Series with them being a mutated strain, maybe that is a way to explain these as well? Doesn't really hold up if you ask me.

It used to be all in the moustache.

What was the reference to Alice in Wonderland about though? Was that only a way for them to be able to get a Spock reference in there? Of which I am sure there will be many more.

In fact, the whole ordeal on the U.S.S Glen seemed a bit odd to me. Fair enough that everything else that seemed a bit odd up until there had in fact been orchestrated by Lorca to test Burnham, but I doubt the murderous monster and Klingon corpses were part of that. Why did they not bring more security? Lorcas treatment of the monster afterwards, and the room it is in with a menagerie of monster-skeletons or whatever it is, insinuates that this is not the first time he has encountered creatures like that. You'd think they'd expect some weird shit to come out of an experiment that brutally kills the entire crew of a starship, and so send more than one person with some combat training. Lorca almost lost a whole lot of important people.

All in all there was a bit of silliness but that's basically every Star Trek episode ever. This took a fairly different turn all of a sudden, compared to the first two episodes, which I was hoping for and I am hoping they go more into the scientific route than the fighting route.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery Episode 1 & 2

The Vulcan Hello

I just finished watching the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and here are some thoughts off the top of my head (BTW THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS!);

I am a pretty big fan of the entire Star Trek series. That's not to say I speak fluent Klingon and can name the middle name of every character in Next Generation but I've seen almost every episode (not the last three seasons or so of Deep Space Nine, but otherwise). And I genuinely like, love, every Star Trek Series. I think they all bring something to the table. Voyager is probably my favorite because that is where I started out and it got me into the whole thing, but I find them all very enjoyable. Needless to say, I was really hoping Discovery wouldn't break the spell for me.

I thought Sonequa Martin-Green was great as Michael Burnham. I think they struck a good balance there between someone who is trying to be logical and emotional about their decisions and she felt realistic to me. Unlike some other things, but I'll get to that.

Eventhough I had read almost nothing about this series in advance I knew that Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh were both going to play captains. Hmm, how is that going to work, I wondered. Then in the opening I read that Yeoh is a "special guest star". Oh ok, so that's how it is. Thanks for spoiling her dying for me, CBS.

I didn't mind the new take on Klingons too much. I mean technically they've been changed already before. I did find them a bit too costume-y however, if that's a thing. They looked stiff and a bit unresponsive. In fact the reminded me a lot of the Xindi from Star Trek Enterprise. I can't really give a good verdict for this direction of the Klingons yet, but I didn't hate it at least.

I am a sucker for space battles too. Overall I thought the series looked really good and I am hoping that wasn't just a pilot-episode syndrome thing, where they press all the production value into the first episode and make the rest look way less good or interesting.

Eventhough the story arch with the Federation battle against the Klingons could be an interesting one, I really hope there will be more to the series than that. Like I said, I fear it would be Star Trek Enterprise all over again otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I think STE is a great series too, I loved it. But we've had that story already, don't repeat but with Klingons instead of Romulans and Xindi. I find Voyager probably struck the best balance between story arch and stand-alone episodes and I hope Discovery can repeat that.

Nice touch with the Klingon subs!

There were some plot holes that bothered me a bit. I am no expert on radiation, but Hollywood has a thing for going "you'll die after x amount radiation but be fine up until that second". Pretty sure radiation doesn't work that way. Even if you help the story writers out and explain it by the fact that they have done the maths and accounted for everything, having the characters acknowledging that would take it a long way to sounding less stupid. Another thing that bothered me was when they blew up T'Kuvmas ship at the end. They had no way of knowing where he was or what effect the explosion would have on the ship. They were extremely lucky he wasn't just killed in the blast or that the blast didn't just hit some insignificant part of the ship but rather the exact point they needed to render it useless. Luck is writer laziness.

I always thought Sarek was the second best Vulcan in the series (second only to Spock. Kim Cattralls Valeris is a good one too) and this one seems alright. Nothing on the original of course, RIP Mark Lenard.

Since I am assuming Michael will now end up in a new setting, I really hope they introduce some good side-characters for the series. Sura was a good start, but there was no one else. And Star Trek has always relied heavily on side-characters. Personally I thought almost everyone in STNG were boring (except Data) and so I enjoy that series a lot less. Whereas Voyager had so many good side characters like the Holo-Doctor, Seven-of-Nine and Tuvok. Yeah I am a Voyager fan girl, I know.

I've been stoked for this since I first heard about it and it didn't disappoint. That's not to say I was thrilled with every second of it but in general I think the series is off to a very good start and I am very interested to see where it goes from here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Top 10 Best Games I've Played the Last 5 Years (Part 1)

One of the few things, possibly the only thing, I regretted about putting so much time into WoW was knowing I was missing out on a lot of other good games. Not just games being released while I was playing, but also games I had missed out on earlier before I got properly into gaming. One of the contributing factors of me quitting WoW was that I finally felt like I wanted to give all the other awesome experiences I had neglected so far a chance, and I feel it is one of the best decisions I have made. It should be noted however that I firmly believe that WoW was the main contributing factor to making me feel like I could handle any kind of game. Although I loved gaming before I started playing WoW, my confidence in my abilities were low and there were many games I never got into trying simply because I didn't think I could get very far anyway - games like Diablo and Half-life. By playing WoW I proved to myself that I could deal with very stressful and difficult situations in games just fine, and have hellova lot of fun doing it too. In the end I probably needed all that time in WoW to realize that I play games for my own sake and I'm pretty good at it too.

I definitely quit WoW in early 2013 - 4,5 years ago now - and decided to take a look back at the games I've played during that time, which ones stood out to me, affected me most and turned out to be as classic to me as they've been deemed by the masses. It wasn't an entirely easy list to compose. I had some given top spots, but looking at them I wasn't sure whether to rank them by what games I was more likely to replay, more likely to recommend or had the greatest impact on me at the time of playing. In the end I went with the latter. Note that the five year time frame only marks when they were first played by me, not release date.

So here is my top 10 favorite games I've played the last 5 years.

10. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
I loved the idea of Shantae when I first heard about her GameBoy adventure. Maybe I was looking for more games with female protagonists, who knows, I can't really say what intrigued me so much about it otherwise than it looked like a fun platforming adventure. Unfortunately the game turned out to be difficult to find and expensive when I did, rather than emulating the experience I put it on hold. 

Not long after however I find out that a sequel had been released on the 3DS. I bought it pretty much immediately and had so much fun playing through the game. The characters, the level design, the humour - everything just clicked with me. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is probably the best platformer I have ever played. The thing is, I am not normally very fond of platformers. To be honest I am not very good at them (yes I am looking at you every Mario-game ever) and so they frustrate me too much. I think the redeeming quality to Shantae was that it introduced a sort of leveling system, healing and combat items, which allowed you to improve your character throughout the game - giving hope for dunces to me. There were definitely difficult parts in Shantae too, but a fair placement of saves around the levels meant you never had to replay entire stages to get to where you were. There were interesting gimmicks, a fun story with the aforementioned hilarious characters (the Squid Boss being one of my favorites) and a well designed difficulty curve to make sure you'd never give up entirely. WayForward did an amazing job with this game and I couldn't recommend it enough, even if you don't normally enjoy platformers.

(Then I found out Pirate's Curse was actually the second sequel, and also played Risky's Revenge. I didn't like it as much as they had added some Quality of Life changes to PC that I would've liked in RR too, but it's still a fun game. I have yet to play Half-Genie Hero, but don't doubt that I really want to!).

9. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
I had been a big fan of the Castlevania series for ages, without ever even having played any of the games. How is that even possible, you might ask? Mostly through a fondness of the music but also a respect for the series influence on gaming in general. Then one fated evening I decided it was time to get in on actually playing the games - and decided to start with Circle of the Moon. An odd place to start perhaps, why not Castlevania on the NES or Symphony of the Night? I didn't choose Castlevania on the NES because I thought it would be too difficult for me (and it was, as I found out later) and quite frankly I wanted the metroidvania experience. I didn't choose Symphony of the Night however because that game is much harder (and expensive!) to get hold of, even emulated, than the GBA ones. So Circle of the Moon it was.

This fight made my blood boil.

I am glad I didn't know at the time that CotM is supposed to be pretty hard, because I overall didn't think so, possibly because I had no expectations and nothing to compare it with. In hindsight I can't even say if I do think it is harder than SotN, but if I were to replay it now maybe I'd think so too. At the time however I was just having so much fun with it I probably didn't even notice when I got stuck somewhere. The first time I played it I did emulate it and would get horrible lag occasionally (like on the Zombie Dragon pitured above) but that didn't make me enjoy the game any less (I have bought the game since). Just like I had hoped when hearing about the metroidvania concept, I loved it. Yet again I think one of the key elements to me enjoying it so much is the fact that you can level up and use healing/combat items to ease certain parts if you are having trouble. As it turns out I also often get lost in metroidvania games, meaning my characters often ends up outleveling the areas I am supposed to be in, while I try to find my way around the castle. 

After having finished CotM, which is pretty much like any of the other entries in the handheld metroidvania series - cliché story and characters, great gameplay and music - I realized I wanted more and was happy there were so many more Castlevanias ready for me to be played. I got through all of the handheld ones in quick succession after that (didn't complete Order of Ecclesia though, because it's so damn hard), finishing up with the grand finale of Symphony of the Night.

CotM cemented my love for Castlevania though. It could've made me think that even though I respect the series, I don't enjoy playing them - much like Metroid Zero Mission did for me with the Metroid games - instead it only made me wonder why I hadn't gotten in on them much sooner.

8. Faster Than Light
To me Faster Than Light was one of, if not the first, indie game that really got my attention. A massive Kickstarter success, and proof of all the good that could come out of that concept, it got a lot of attention right around the time when I started considering quitting WoW and trying out other games. I didn't get around to it however before the Advanced Edition had been released, but that was probably for the better.

Faster Than Light is otherwise one of those really difficult, and sometimes unfair-feeling games that usually don't interest me. Maybe the sci-fi setting is what got me to give a try anyway, either way I am glad that I did because I ended up spending so many hours with it (over 50 actually). I only ever managed to beat it on easy, but I'm damn proud at that. The luck-factor to it could give it that feeling of sometimes being unfair to you, but it was easy enough to just play another round, and fun enough to tinker with different playstyles and approaches that I never minded being vanquished. In that way it reminded me a lot of all the nights I spent wiping on difficult raid bosses in WoW. Rather than getting angry and frustrated about it like I probably normally would have, I got right back up feeling like there was something I could've done a little bit better to maybe make it work the next time.

As did this fight.

Maybe I needed more weapons? Or more crew. Or less crew! Or hard-hitting crew. Or maybe the teleporter? Maybe I shouldn't check out that weird looking planet the next time I encounter it? 

The pause function also allowed it to shift expertly between a mellow space-floating experience and a stressful full-on space-battle experience. The strength of the game was in the battles however, and the immense satisfaction it gave you when you managed to pull off some crafty scheme or it turned out you had invested in the right equipment. The final boss fight was the exact amount of hellish, requiring every ounce of your attention and quick thinking. FTL has one of the best and most satisfying feedback loops on your decisions in a game of this style, and is definitely the best rogue-like I've ever played.

7. The Witcher
I had just finished Dragon Age: Origin and Mass Effect and been pretty disappointed with both. While ME was good enough for me to at least get through it and consider checking out the other entries in the series, DAO felt like a slog from beginning to the end. I didn't feel like an important part of the world nor did most of the characters elicit much feeling from me other than annoyance. Then I decided to try The Witcher and was thoroughly hoping it wouldn't just be another let down. It definitely wasn't, at all.

Instead I found all the elements I had been missing from the other two games - like an immersive world, well-designed characters and a mostly interesting story. The Witcher has flaws, don't get me wrong, the sexual encounter TCG being one of the biggest (I mean what the hell was up with that? I tried to ignore that part of the game as best I could). The other ones like outdated graphics, even for the time, I could easily set aside when it did so many other, more crucial things, right.

The swamp area made my blood boil.

I liked the linearity for instance, because it gave a sense of focus and purpose to my actions. One of the worst things ME did was telling me the world, nay THE UNIVERSE, was about to be obliterated - but why don't you go off and do this unrelated side-quest, I'm sure the bad guys will wait. The Witcher also had one of the best realized choice-systems in a game I've played, where the player gets to make choices that will affect the entire game, choices with genuine grey areas rather than the thinly veiled moral choices in some other games I've played (I chose Shani and Siegfried btw).

It also made me realize I definitely prefer a game with a strongly defined and active protagonist rather than the stupid-faced character you play in DAO that just stares at everyone who talks to them. Geralt is one of the best characters in a game I've played in a long time, exactly because he feels like a person and not a puppet.

6. Pokemon X&Y
For a long time I thought the Pokémon franchise could do no wrong. All the way from R/B/Y up to X&Y I felt like all they did were improve on the concept, while at the same time each individual entry is till worth playing. I recently replayed Red and it is still an absolutely amazing game. Pokémon Sun & Moon broke that winning streak however. I bought it on launch date and have yet to get through it. But this isn't about what I dislike about Sun & Moon - however it made me think about how much better I felt X&Y was, and in many ways the best Pokémon game to date. I think I might've even taken X&Y a bit for granted, and S&M really made me see all the effort and good design choices that went into it.

Froakie ftw

Like I mentioned all it really does is exactly the same thing as the previous entries in the series, so there isn't much for me to add since I assume everyone who has any interest in gaming knows at least the basics to Pokémon by now. But what an underwhelming way to describe this gaming experience that is. Pokémon X&Y brings new high-notes in regards to gameplay, overall balance, replayability and connectivity. And Pokémon was basically perfect already from R/B/Y! If I were to recommend a newcomer to the series to play any entry in the game, it would most likely be this one.

And that's it for the first part of this list!

Any thoughts on the games on the list? And what would be your top games list of the last couple of years?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Crypt of the Necrodancer - Unfinished Playthrough Review

Great concept, great music, great gameplay - SO WHY DO I SUCK SO MUCH AT IT?!

That's my short and sweet review of Crypt of the Necrodancer, a game I was gifted by a good friend of mine but took ages to get around to. That was mostly because I had heard it was pretty difficult and I felt I needed to be mentally prepared to put in the effort needed to advance anywhere. That, and that it had a rhythm-based gameplay. I was the girl who did everything backwards and forgot where I was whenever we did anything remotely rhythm-requiring in P.E or music class. I wanted to play the drums, but they took me off them because I just couldn't manage to do two things at once (let alone four things at once!). Same thing with the piano and hey, pretty much any intrument requires that you use both your hands simultaneously and stay in rhythm (they put me on singing, which I guess I am the least awful at).

Isn't it weird though, I thought, that I can do these advanced raid healing combinations - moving from fire, timing cooldowns, targeting AND typing - yet I can't get any other kind of timing in life right? Anecdotally that had me thinking about designing a program that would let you play music like a video game. I'm not thinking AudioSurf where you react to a track that already exist, but rather a game that would let you create music by playing it. There, someone go make it, earn the big bucks and credit me for it.

Back to Crypt of the Necrodancer though. It doesn't let you create music by playing it, but I was instantly intrigued by the awesome intro-tune, and the soundtrack was a gift that just kept on giving with every stage I tried. I did prefer the snazzier tunes over the slower ones but there were no duds for sure.

Visually it's great too. It has the indie game retro pixel graphics so common nowadays, but I don't really tire of it, especially not the striking colorfulness employed in CotN. I rarely found myself confused as to what I was looking at, which is basically all I need from graphics. I love the fact that a lot of the enemies were also dancing to the music and the levels had just enough touch of looking like dance floors without taking it too far either.

So CotN is rhythm-based, which means the basic idea is that you need to move in time with the rhythm of the music to be able to deal damage to the enemies. When I first read about it I was very intimidated because of the above-mentioned lack of skill in the rhythm department. I can ease the minds of anyone else worried about failing miserably at the core concept though, it is fairly easy to learn. Problem for me was, it is just as difficult to master as you might imagine.

Fortunately the game allows you to gain equipment to make your journey easier. There are all kinds of things, most of them typical for rogue-likes. Items that increase your visual radius, your damage, your health, that give you health. Weapons with different features, that can be thrown, shot or have more reach. Unfortunately, like any rogue-like, you don't get to keep any when you die. You can improve on your characters health but otherwise you pretty much start from scratch each try. There are also many different characters to unlock, each change the playstyle in some way, basically acting like game modes. One character you start out with even lets you play the game rhythm-free, just like an ordinary rogue-like, so there you have that problem solved if that is your main worry.

Never made it this far...

I made it to world 2 without much trouble but for the life of me I can't get further than that. Most enemies except the most basic ones have some rhythm-based trick to them and that's where I fail. If they're not stationary or not paying attention to me I am basically guaranteed to take damage because I make the same mistakes in the game as I do when I try to time things IRL - I get it wrong. A lot of it is like a choreographed dance - you move two steps forward, one step back to avoid an enemy hit, one step forward to hit it, one step back again and one step forward to finish it off. Or maybe you move four steps forward to hit it because it's a slow enemy and then you have to remember that on the fifth beat it'll strike you. And so on. The problem for me was never what to do with each enemy, I learned their trick fast enough. The problem was simply to execute it.

So would the game be impossible for a rhythm-challenged person like me? Well, no. I don't think that. It just requires a lot more time and concentration, things that I am unfortunately not known for having a lot of patience with. I play games to relax, not to get frustrated and irritated with my inability! But I really liked CotN. So now I am debating whether I will feel it's a failure if I play the game with the rhythm-free character instead?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Was In The Fjäll (And Survived)!

I survived a week in the mountains! And my son survived a week at grandpas. Everything went fine, like I knew it would. And the trek was every bit of horribly awesome that I knew it would be. I did learn some new things about myself as well, and that's always cool.

Funny thing is, I had probably stressed more about actually getting to the trek with all the things I needed way more than how I would deal with the actual trecking. I figured, once I was there things would work out, as long as I remembered to bring everything! This meant a 8 hour train ride with a 3 year old, backpack, two duffel bags and pram. Everything went fine though, as the only real issue is getting in and out of the train with all that stuff. Here's a riddle for you - do I leave the 3 year old alone/unsupervised in the train or alone/unsupervised on the platform while I unload bags and pram? Unsupervised because there were a thousand other people getting on and off the train at the same time, so a small child was impossible to keep in eyesight. I had spoken very sternly to him about the importance to listen to me, especially since he's in a phase where he loves just running off. This, and remembering to bring all the gear I needed, were probably the two things that worried me the most. But fortunately, most of the time there will be at least someone who takes pity on you so I got some help dealing with the bags while I dealt with the kid. The trip went just fine.

We walked the red line

I got up to Abisko on the Sunday and met up with my mom and her boyfriend who were going to guide the group. Basically the first thing they tell me is that we're going to have to completely repack my bag. Partly because the weather was turning out to be significantly better than expected, and partly because I had packed some needless crap like a deck of cards. I had to leave some clothes (and food, more about that shortly) and other nicknacks behind and the bag still weighed in at 18kg, which for comparison is roughly a third of my body weight. "No problem" I thought. That's what the son weighs and I carry him around all the time. Well, turns out I was wrong about that.

I slept in a 6-people dorm room, but fortunately no one else was there so I got it all for myself. We started walking the day after, and eventhough we were going to be a group of ten people, me and three others (one of which was my mom) did an early start because one guy had twisted his ankle and wasn't sure he could walk at all. We figured if we started walking before everyone else we could walk slower. Everything went fine and we made it to our planned campsite without a hitch.

I was completely ruined though. My feet were in agony. Did I mention I have never done proper trecking before in my life, and especially not while carrying any kind of equipment weighing anywhere near 18kg? Probably in my previous post. Fortunately exhaustion is all it was, no blisters or breaks and after some pain killers the aches soon went away. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes didn't.

I think I also mentioned in my previous post that the week before had been very rainy and cold, and in fact the entire season had been unusually rainy and cold. Hence us being told to bring warm clothes. Then suddenly, pretty much exactly the day we start walking, that part of Sweden gets the warmest and nicest weather of the entire country. I was sweating so much. This also meant that the mosquitoes started hatching and because it had been so rainy and cold before everything and everywhere was nice and moist for them to thrive. I knew there were going to be a lot of mosquitoes, but I couldn't fathom just how many and how big they were. OH LAWD THE MOSQUITOES! Throughout the week they were easily one of the biggest nuisances and drawbacks of the entire trip. I got bitten probably about 30-40 times a day and had some sort of reaction to them which made my legs look like I had gotten some modern version of the bubonic plague. I would show pictures but honestly, it's too unappetizing. The only positive thing I can say about that whole ordeal that fortunately it didn't itch very much. Or maybe I was in too much pain from the walking to notice.

Truly though, the body ache was fine. I was prepared to be tired and in pain and I was. In fact, I was a lot less tired than I thought I would be. Overall it wasn't particularly strenouous, but definitely demanding. Eventhough Kungsleden, King's Road, as it's called is one of the most trecked parts of the Fjäll it's still no walk in the park. You constantly have to keep track of where your feet are so as to not misstep and some of the ascending bits were extremely exhausting. Other than that I was happily surprised that I didn't find it more straining. And like I mentioned I learned some other interesting things as well.

For instance, getting dirty and not being able to clean myself properly was probably the worst part of the trip. It even beat out on the mosquitoes (which to be fair could be handled fairly well with repellant and clever covering-up). I only had two sets of clothes with me. One for walking and one for camping. Mom had warned me that the walking clothes would get sweaty and gross but I thought I wouldn't be too bothered. I was. Eventhough you try cleaning as much as possible you still have to slip into the dirty clothing as soon as you start walking again so you just never feel clean. Bathing in the lakes is near impossible due to the extremely cold temperatures. The water all comes pretty much directly from melted snow, so it's only around 10 degrees, if that. Just washing your hands in it hurts (it's very pleasant to drink though). I am definitely no clean-freak, so this bothered me a lot more than I thought it would. Maybe it just takes some getting used to.

Secondly, I thought I would get ravenously hungry from all the extra excercise. This didn't happen at all. I had pretty much the same appetite, and mom had instructed me to bring high-calorie food to make sure I got the energy I needed without putting more food in my tummy. It makes sense really, my stomach doesn't get bigger just because I use more energy, I just need more energy.

Speaking of food, I will promote dry-freezed food as some of the most convenient and tastiest food I have ever eaten. If it wasn't so expensive I'd have it for lunch at work every day. Just pour in hot water, stir and wait and presto - delicious meal. It beats the microwave-food we have in Sweden by a mile. The fact that all the other food I had brought turned out to be pretty boring and a disappointment might have led to me loving these meals even more. I had planned to have müsli for breakfast and lunch and dry-freeze food only for dinner (because like I said, it's expensive as hell). That müsli really turned out to be a dud though. Firstly I got sick of it on the first day. Secondly, I had brought about 2 kg too much of it (because I had anticipated I would eat so much more than I did). On the fourth day of walking I poured out about a kilo, and I also left almost a kilo behind to begin with. I had prepared 14 "portion sized" bags, I left 4 behind even before we started walking, I poured out 5 halfways through the treck and I still had two bags left at the end of the walk. The "portions" I had prepared turned out to be about three times too big. That was probably my biggest mistake of the trip, fortunately probably my only real one. For a first time I am ok with that.

Would I do it again? I remember thinking, while walking and sweating and swatting mosquitoes, that "hell no!". Not because I didn't have fun, I had almost nothing but fun. The group was great, the scenery was great, I got to spend time with my mom and I do love to be out and about. Right at that moment it just felt like I wouldn't do it that way. I kept thinking, that if all I do is walk all day, when am I going to spend time just enjoying all the beauty I am being surrounded by? But after a while I realized that walking has to be part of the fun for you, and if it isn't then well... you're going to have a bad time. I think one week was a bit excessive for me. Not in terms of effort, but in terms of convenience. I wasn't ready to be without a shower and clean clothes for that long (using the outdoors as a toilet worked fine however /tmi). I can see myself doing shorter 2-3 day trips or maybe renting a cabin somewhere and do daytrips from there though.

All in all it was definitely the awesome experience I had hoped it would be and I am especially happy that none of the things I had worried about became a problem. I am really looking forward to bringing my son and boyfriend on a trip like this (albeit a lot more kiddie friendly). Speaking of kiddie friendly, we did meet a lot of people who had brought their kids along which I think is awesome as long as you're properly prepared. The most hardcore one of all though was about halfway through our trip and several kilometers from the closest cabin - we had just set up tent for the day, it was mid-afternoon, when a guy walks past us. He's carrying a toddler, about 1 year old, on his back, he's holding a girl, maybe 7 years old, in his hand, and has a boy of about 10 years running behind them. I was quite concerned for them seeing them walk off in the distance, and I hope they did ok. That was a guy who really wanted to go on a hike and didn't let three little children stop him, cool.

So that's that done, back to video gaming!

Friday, July 14, 2017

I'm Going To The Fjäll!

Here is something unrelated to gaming for a change. Or is it? Let's call it real-life open world. Or sandboxing maybe. In essence, I'm going hiking. And not just your around-the-corner-neighbourhood-forest-hiking (in Sweden we have plenty of those) but a week long, set-up-your-own-damn-tent-and-kitchen, shit-in-a-hole-in-the-ground-like-you're-on-Survivor kind of hiking, in the Swedish Fjäll, aka northern mountain ranges. If you wonder what that looks like, it's a whole lot of nothing, which is really cool if you're into that. I'm not not into that, so it'll be interesting to experience.

Just me, myself and the lemmings.

I have, save once as a 8-9 year old, never even been to the Fjäll, nor done any significant kind of hiking. When I was around 9 I remember going there with my parents and then 5-year old brother, and I remember doing a lot of walking and liking it, but how much hiking can it really have been with two kids in tow? I don't recall us tenting for instance, I'm pretty sure we had rented a cabin and did day-excursions from there. So this is on a whole 'nother level and eventhough I love being in the forest I haven't tented since I was a teenager either (let's pretend that wasn't 15 years ago).

How did I get into this mess? Well, my mother loves hiking and seems to spend more time in her tent than at home, especially during her vacation. She loves it so much in fact she recently decided to become a Fjäll Hiking Leader with her SO, ie someone who leads other people into the wilderness (and hopefully also get them living out of there). They mentioned they were going to lead a group of people at the end of July and I sort of mentioned it would've been fun to be there. Mom obviously said I could come too. Well then! Why back down now? The fact that I have literally no experience? The fact that I have literally no gear? No, why let those pesky things be a problem, right? Right?!

It probably won't be this green...

I got really into the idea but at first it looked like we wouldn't have someone to babysit my son, as my SO was still working. Fortunately my dad and his SO came to the rescue and offered to be with him for the week I'm gone. Unfortunately they live 9 hours away by train. Fortunately it's on the way I am heading up north anyway (which is 18 hours away by train). Unfortunately that means spending 9 hours on a train with a 3-year old. Fortunately he's really into the Gameboy. I also actually swapped to a 22gb internet plan (from 3gb) for my phone just so I would have enough Youtube to entertain him with on the train.

Mom said I could borrow a lot of gear from her, so for instance tent and kitchen were sorted from the get-go. I still had to invest a couple of hundred euros into clothes and food but what the heck (apparently I'm made of money now) (I'm really not btw). Finding the right kind of clothes and food was a bit tricky, especially when you've never done it before. I felt very lucky to be able to phone my mom with every question I had, like "do I need to bring a bra?" (If you want), "Do I need to bring soap?" (No, just wet wipes will do), "are these the right kind pants/shoes I need?" (No, no, no). Finding the right pants took three tries and finding the right shoes took two tries. Thanks a lot to the outdoor-store for their patience with my fumbling.

Part of Kebnekaise

So the plan at the moment is for me to take a 9 hour train ride up north to where my dad lives, mind you I'm going to deal with all the luggage I need for my trip and for my 3-year old, while also dealing with a 3-year old. Then leave my son there and continue up north on another 9 hour train ride up to someplace called Abisko, which is about as far north in Sweden as you can get. From there we're hiking down south over a week to a place called Nikkaluokta from which I will be able to get a car ride back to where my dad lives. We'll pass Swedens highest mountain Kebnekaise too, but I don't think we're going up there. I hope. Oh, and apparently the weather is particularly shitty this year with a lot of snow still lying around so I am picturing an Arctic Expedition basically. I know what happened to Robert Falcon Scott.

Add to this that not only have I never been on anything close to a week-long trip outdoors, I have also never been anywhere close to away from my son for that long. The longest we've been separated has been when I still had my 25-hour workshifts. Eventhough I think it'll be hard on me, I know I can tough it out knowing I will get to see him soon again. But I am of course worried how my son will handle it. With no prior experience there is no way of telling. Because we live 9 hours apart, he doesn't get to meet my dad and his SO very often (grandpa and grandma), but I know he likes them. They live in the countryside with forest and lake right next to the house, so there will be loads of fun things for him to do. I hope time will fly fast for him and that he will have a blast. I have no idea what reception is going to be like, but I guess very patchy, so I won't be able to keep much contact. I'm sure he'll be fine though.

Question is, will I?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

My Top 5 Fallout Fails

I am slowly but suredly making my way through the Fallout series. After getting through 1, 2 and 3 (can't remember if I played much of Tactics) I don't have much further to go now as I am currently playing Fallout New Vegas and having quite a good time. In fact I have had a good time the entire time, and the best thing is that I couldn't even say which game I prefer as I think for all their similiarities, they offer quite different experiences. The first one is fairly short and tight-knit compared to the other ones but still very enjoyable. The second one expands on pretty much everything the first one did right and offers the freedom that would return in the later instalments. I can't remember anything about Tactics, but I am sure that was fun too. I had a blast with Fallout 3 but looking back I realize I only played it for 35 hours before finishing it and feeling I was done with it. I played Skyrim for twice as long and I didn't even particularly like that game. Maybe some parts to Fallout 3 were a bit repetetive, had you seen one Metro station you had pretty much seen them all but overall I would definitely recommend the game.

Literally the first thing that happens when I started up Fallout NV however was my friend telling me he didn't like it. What the actual F, dude? I guess it's alright though because our tastes differ so much I can pretty much tell I am going to enjoy something when he says he doesn't. So far that has definitely been true, I only had a slow spell somewhere 10 hours into the game but I blame that on the fact that I chose to do a quest I wasn't high enough level to do. I can't say yet whether I prefer Fallout 3 or NV, but I think NV will last me longer because I am getting very close to those 35 gamehours and I don't think I am anywhere close to the end. That might be because I have all the DLC to play as well, but still.

Either way, having played almost every Fallout game there is (and I bought Fallout 4 in the Steam Sale) I have recognized that I've played them all pretty similarly. Overall that is not an issue, you find something that works you'll stick to it. The problem is when it doesn't work and I don't learn from it but make the same mistake over and over. Here are Five things I've noticed I mess up every time I play a Fallout-game.

5. Shit a Brick When Ghouls Breath Down My Neck
I wouldn't call any Fallout game particularly creepy, eventhough there are segments that can be a bit scary I guess. But if there is anything remotely jump-scare inducing, it would be the ghouls. This is definitely more of an issue in the later first-person games, as in the isometric top-down view of the first three games you rarely get surprised enough by anything to make you jump. In Fallout 3 and NV however, the ghouls are probably the only thing that have made me jump a couple of times. 

You can hear them breathing heavily from a far, but they still have a tendency to come up right behind me without me noticing, how?!. I turn around and hit V.A.T.S in panic because there is this ugly zombie-looking thing right in my face, and this happens way too often. Fortunately ghouls aren't very difficult so even though they can make me jump every now and then, they don't instill true fear in me like a pack of Deathclaws can...

They aint pretty.

4. Sneak, Damn It!
Although I loved Thief and Deus Ex, I often choose to play the spray-and-pray way when I can. Problem is, I often end up regretting this decision because the sneaky way can be so much more fun. I know sneaking around and getting critical strikes in Fallout is what I really want to do down the road, but for some reason I always forget about it in the beginning hours of gaming and once I get to that point in the game I've spent too many points on other things for it to be possible anymore. So when I burst out of my Vault my first instinct is always to go guns-a-blazing but by the time I've done my fill of shooting I always end up wishing I had put more points into Sneak instead. Once you've tried every weapon on every enemy you start wishing you could either avoid them completely or kill them faster.

3. Where Was That Again?
The Fallout games are full of quirky, fun and interesting people and places. Some are more useful than others, and sometimes you come across things you don't have use for at the time but you know you will further on. In fact, this happens all the time. You run into someone who sells a really nice weapon or armor, but you don't have the caps for it yet. Or a safe that requires just a bit more lockpicking than I am capable of at that moment. So I move on and think to myself "I'll get back there later". Do I ever? No. I always forget where these things are, so the only way I can get to them is if I happen to come across them again by accident. But why would I? These are places I have already visited on the map, so I tend to go into areas that are undiscovered. Sometimes a quest will make me backtrack to an old area, but otherwise those safes will continue to be unlocked and those weapons will continue to be unbought (by me). 

Currently in Fallout NV I came across a doctor who offered to augment my body (Deus Ex style). This was useful but very expensive but I decided I'd come back to it once I had the caps. I have the caps, but I have no idea where this doctor was. I have been looking in what I thought were the obvious places but nothing yet. I know I could just Google it... but that would hurt my pride. I probably will in the end though.

And then looking for things I run into these...

2. No Need To Walk
This one is partially connected to the previous one. I don't why it is, but I often forget that Fallout 3 and NV allow you to fast travel. I'm pretty sure this wasn't the case in the first two games (can't remember about Tactics), so I guess somehow it has been ingrained into me that if I want to go somewhere, it has to be by foot rather by fancy-schmancy ultra-conventient fast-travel. It took me several hours into Fallout NV before I remembered I could fast-travel. By that point I had already needlessly trecked, on foot, back and forth from a couple of quest objectives. I say needlessly, because once you have travelled a distance and cleared it from enemies, there is almost no reason to travel it by foot again. Nothing will happen, except maybe the occasional random spawn of a Legion-group, trying to kill me.

And because I forget I can fast-travel I am even less inclined to backtrack to old areas when I don't absolutely have to. I could technically just fast-travel all over my map to all those places I have visited to find that doctor that could augment me. But I forget.

Marcus from Fallout 2 did a cameo in NV too!

1. Hoarder
I do this in every game and it irritates me in every game. I save everything and in Fallout especially I want to keep every possible weapon just in case. Different guns are often good against different kinds of enemies too, for instance I found that the really annoying Cazadoras were pretty easy to handle with a 10mm Submachine Gun, but I wouldn't use that weapon on anything else. But that means carrying that around just in case I run into those bastards. I prefer shooting human enemies with hunting rifles, and ghouls with the hunting shotgun. I haven't found anything that works well against the Deathclaws yet though...

Because of this my inventory is always right on the edge of what I can carry. This means that whenever I find something else I want to pick up I have to find room for it or run around encumbered (and you really don't want to do that). And this means I probably spend way more time micromanaging my inventory than I should be. 

I do this in every game too! Me and the bf were playing the Witcher, and he used the bank space whereas I just ran with full bags all the time. I did the same in WoW.

I am just way too lazy to give my inventory much thought. I pick things up and solve the problem when it arises rather plan for it ahead, although in the end that ends up being a lot more work. Not only that but sometimes my on-the-fly decisions turn out to be pretty bad, throwing away something I actually wanted to keep. Then of course, I completely forget where it was I had put it...

At least I have one more chance in Fallout 4 to make things right.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Secret of Monkey Island Nostalgia

The bf had been in a bit of a gaming slump lately, relating to the fact that he is a massive (and I mean super massive) Dark Souls fan but lacks the means in which to play the third installment. His computer is not good enough simply, and the PS4 version wasn't worthy apparently (DS is to be enjoyed only on the highest of settings, or something like that). So anyway, as it had started to bother me to see him fall into his usual rut of watching yet another clip from some DBZ episode for the 500th time, I started suggesting games for him. Pretty much anything retro, as other than DS the bf isn't particularly interested in modern gaming. Even then he shunned all of my suggestions, because he is a very, very picky man. Nothing was good enough. Then, for some reason, his interest seemed piqued with Secret of Monkey Island. In a way it made sense, he has some small interest in point and click adventure games and had previously played Grim Fandango (which he didn't like) and Day of the Tentacle (which he thought was ok). So Secret of Monkey Island should be a good idea then, seeing as it is a classic in the genre. I was thrilled. I am a big fan of SoMI and was looking forward to seeing the bfs reaction to it. I should have known better.

Those new graphics though... *shudder*

As he started playing it, and I had told him that for the love of all that is holy to play it with the original graphical settings rather than the remade ones, I pretty soon noticed that something was amiss. He was clicking around, doing the things, trying to half-heartedly solve the puzzles, meeting all the funny and whacky characters that inhabit Melee Island and just so obviously, clear as day, not feeling it. What?! He didn't enjoy SoMI? How is that even possible?

True enough, eventhough he did complete it, he proclaimed he didn't understand what the "fuzz" was all about. I didn't know what to say. How do you explain the "fuzz" about Monkey Island? It's just there!

The "combat" suited my pacifist child-self perfectly.

Like I said, I love SoMI. I don't remember when or where I first played it and I probably didn't get very far that time as I probably was quite young. But I have replayed it a couple of times since and also some of the sequels (possibly even all the sequels come to think of it, yes even the Tales of Monkey Island one) and it holds a very fuzzy (!), warm spot in my heart. I fell in love with that perpetually dusked island way back and it's always been one of my favorite examples of a game with a very good "feeling". The mood of the game is just right and even through the crude but beautiful pixels it manages to instill the sense of being an actual place with actual (albeit a bit crazy) people (and monsters). I believed in Monkey Island. Somehow it's like an actual place to me without actually feeling like a real place, but I know that probably makes no sense. And whenever I think of it I think of it more of a place to revisit than a game to replay. Maybe like a really vivid dream? I don't know very many games that give me this feeling, World of Warcraft used to be that but has with its many new expansions that I haven't taken part in lost some of that nostalgia for me. Thief definitely gave me some of that feeling, but was a bit too creepy and stressful to give me a pure happy sensation (still love that game though). Some old movies can give me that feeling, movies you watched a hundred times as a kid and you wished really existed.


I'm not even sure I would have patience with most of the puzzles in SoMI nowadays (and eventhough you'd think I remember most of them, that is never the case). Actually, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. But of course it's not about the puzzles, the puzzles are just the reason to introduce you to settings and people that will stick in your memory. To me Monkey Island was always just the island. Sure there is the troll by the bridge, the circus guys, the red herring, the dogs, the guy in that store who walks all the way to the Sword Master over and over... But somehow what really stuck in my memory was just being on that island, on that endless night where everything was nice and calm and I could just chill out.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Omikron: The Nomad Soul - Unfinished Playthrough Review

After what is probably a year of trying to get through it, I decided to uninstall Omikron: The Nomad Soul. And what really bugs me about it is that I can't really put my finger on why I couldn't get into it.
There are plenty of games otherwise that I enjoy well enough, but I just know that I will never be able to beat them for one reason or other - most often the reason being that it's just too damn difficult. For instance I loved Faster Than Light and played it countless hours but I still ever only managed to beat it on easy (and I am pretty damn proud at that). I could've played it still today, and probably will play it again in the future, but I just had to recognize that eventhough it was still fun there were also other games I wanted to try out (oh, so many) and I simply needed to make room. For FTL it was not goodbye however, simply auf wiedesehen. I am also currently playing Crypt of the Necrodancer and having great fun with it but I can also tell already that I will never be able to beat that game - I've made it halfway through world two at the moment and damn those dragons get me every time! I am still far from giving up on that one however, thanks in large to the über-awesome OST, so you never know - miracles to happen.

Just your typical bar.

That was not the issue with Omikron however. I don't know what the issue with Omikron was! Just a bit of background here, it was originally released in 1999 (a great year for PC gaming - Age of Empires 2, System Shock 2 and Planescape Torment were also released this year, to name a few!) by Quantic Dream, you know the people who later did Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls? Yeah, this was their first game.
It really had everything going for it to sweep me off my feet. It was from the time period of PC gaming that I love, it has the fugly graphics that I love. The story is pretty good and the characters are interesting enough. I didn't even think the controls and gameplay mechanics were overly difficult, once I finally got them working anyway (turns out Omikron doesn't particularly like it when you have a controller installed but that took me way long to figure out). The controls were far from perfect, for instance why would you have two completely different control schemes depending on if you're swimming or walking? That nearly had me drowning way too many times. But that is something I come to expect from that time period, I've played plenty of games from that time to know that back then people just invented their own way of doing it, WASD was barely a thing yet. So with each game you try out, part of the fun is trying to figure out how to move around at all. And like I said, it wasn't overly bad in Omikron, but pretty standard tank-controls with easy to understand trigger-keys.

You can tell it's David Bowie, right?

And the gameplay, well - many of the gameplay aspects were actually quite good. They had the regular mode, but then in some parts of the game it turns into some style of shooter (and again, different controls) but all of these were well designed enough to add rather than subtract from the whole. It spiced things up and never became frustrating. The "hail-a-taxi"-feature was great, making sure you could always get to quest-points you needed to go to, or had already visited. This made sure you never got lost and confused. Ok, scratch that - I was plenty confused. Some of the puzzles were quite tricky and I definitely had to employ walkthroughs to get through them. Even when I knew exactly what I had to do, I wasn't standing in the exact right place or talking to the right people in the right order to get it to work. And I would've never been able to figure out I needed to take over the guards body to escape from the prison, I didn't even know I had that ability! But again, it's the style of the times and that in combination with my, quite frankly, abysmal puzzle-solving skills is just a hotbed for frustration on my part. I don't blame the game for that though, the information was there if you knew where to look (or had the patience to keep looking).

It didn't crash or bug on me even once either (not counting when I first started playing it and couldn't get the controls to work), unlike games like KOTOR. KOTOR I had to stop playing after I realized I had spent more time troubleshooting bugs and crashes than I had spent time actually playing it. After a critical bug saw me having to replay hours of the game (I had chosen the wrong dialogue option way back, not triggering an event to happen) I decided enough was enough. No such trouble with Omikron, it ran smoothly.

The cab is the best.
And yet, it just never was... fun enough. But like I said, I can't explain why. Somehow the the whole ended up just not being as good as the parts of it. I could appreciate each element of the game on their own (especially the part where David Bowie has a pretty big part in it) but it just didn't manage to come together in a way that kept me around.

I can't say it's a bad game though, because it really isn't. The whole idea that it's not actually a game and you as a "player" is actually sucked into the world of Omikron to save it from some sort of demon is actually a really fun and interesting one. Maybe I just got stuck too often. If I have to resort to a walkthrough too much, I'm not really playing the game anyway, am I? I might as well just watch a LP of it, because that is basically what I am doing anyway. So, that is what I might just do. But finish this game, I will not.