May 29, 2011

Short Review: Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC

Dead Money - Fallout:New Vegas DLC. Letting go is the hardest part...

Dead Money has been out a while, but since I'm doing a review for Honest Hearts I feel I should start here with the first official DLC for Fallout: New Vegas.

Released Dec 21 2010 for Xbox 360 and Feb 22 for PS3 and PC, Dead Money is the first DLC released for Fallout: New Vegas. As usual I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

After installing Dead Money,  the Courier picks up a radio signal inviting him to the grand opening of the Sierra Madre Casino. The level cap is also raised by 5, and there are some new crafts available right from the get go, even if the player decides against starting the DLC content. Many of the crafts require parts only accessible in the area Dead Money plays out in, of course.

It is recommended to be around level 20 when heading to investigate the radio signal that starts the DLC. Upon starting, it should come as no surprise that the Sierra Madre was actually a pre-war casino. Its grand opening never happened because of the atomic war that laid waste to the world, still the radio signal is broadcasted, luring scavengers to it, like our Courier.

The Dead Money DLC features a long quest chain in an closed off area around the Sierra Madre with some exploration options in the urban areas it plays out in. There are three possible unique companions that will work with or against you while there, none of them available in the regular game afterwards, but after completion one of the recruitable companions will have some new dialogue and depending on your choices, a significant bonus to performance. It also features a few new weapons and armors making the trip there quite worthwhile.

Now for my thoughts on the new quests and the gameplay of the DLC itself. First off, let me say that Dead Money fits so perfectly into the Fallout: New Vegas experience, I'm almost suspecting it was done pre-launch and deliberately released later as DLC. I loved learning about the Sierra Madre, its inhabitants and the history around it, and apart from the Courier being stuck inside there until its completed, the DLC fits into the main game perfectly.

Game play wise, and trying not to spoil it too much, I have to say that there are certain elements in Dead Money that annoy me a great deal, to such an extent it took me months to get back inside the Madre on a new character in Fallout: New Vegas after I had been through it the first time. Some of the elements really don't fit in, and feels like they were just thrown in after the story was done to add some gameplay difficulty to get through it. I've now played through it twice, taking some different routes and I can safely say I will not go back into Sierra Madre, ever.

In favour of the DLC is the great setting it puts you in, lore buffs will love finding out the history of Madre and some of the characters you meet, and the characters themselves are really well done. It is a real shame the Courier can't bring any of the new companions back after you are done at the Madre. Also, once you've installed the DLC the level cap is automatically increased by 5, so there is no need to go through it with each character created, which is nice. Not that this is a selling point, it is very easy to install mods for the game that lets you xp up to level 50 or above should you want to. There is also a new type of enemies that may require some different tactics to dispose of. The downside is, with two exceptions, this new enemy type makes out the majority of the combat in the DLC, and makes no appearances outside it.

So, in conclusion:
+ Great additions to the Fallout lore and meshes with the regular game lore quite well
+ Entertaining NPCs and companions
- The forced gameplay changes in the DLC areas that I really don't like (Spoiler alert: Radios!)
- Combat gets boring, just one type of enemy the whole way through (yes, there is varieties of it, but its still the same enemy type and tactic required)

DLC Trailer (possible spoilers)

May 20, 2011

World of Warcraft: Premium Real ID cross realm LFD service

Before saying anything else, if you haven't already seen it, go here and see the extra charge premium feature we got coming.

I'll just say it right away, I really can not recognize the old Blizzard Entertainment that put customers first anymore.

I got a million things to say but can't really put it into any rational structure at the moment so I will just say this. I pay a monthly subscription fee to play your game, I am by definition a premium member. In the MMO market you can not charge a subscription fee and expect people to pay money on top of that to get access to your game's features!

God! I want to say so much more on this, I will perhaps when I can put it together in a more or less intellectual wall of text that can make sense.

May 17, 2011

Short Review: Civilization V Denmark DLC

Goddag! This will be a very short one. I bought the Denmark civilization DLC for Civilization V, just wanted to drop a few thoughts on it.

Denmark in Civ V is a Viking based civ, with two unique units, the berserker that comes with the amphibious promotion, and second is the Norwegian ski infantry that gets bonuses on snow terrain and hills. Danes' trait lets them move faster while embarked, and don't lose all their movement points when making landfall which can make for some nasty surprise attacks. The DLC also includes a scenario in which you fight for control of Northern Europe. In it, research, happiness and culture are all locked, letting you focus on massing an army to take England, and to win it you need to conquer English towns to build a number of shire courts before you can construct the "Domestate Book" in London (After conquering it of course).

Now then. I'm happy to see a scandinavian Civ make its entry on Civ V, naturally a Viking based one. The Civ itself is decently balanced, with strong invasion bonuses but nothing else, no unique buildings or traits that improve simming. I've played a number of games with the DLC enabled, and it makes for some fun play especially when you control Denmark in archipelago and continents maps. However, when you encounter Danes controlled by the AI, they are very puny. There doesn't seem to be any AI scripts for Denmark to play the Civ as its designed. Even on an archipelago map I just played on, when I encountered Denmark they were tiny, had barely expanded to nearby islands at all, made no incentive to expand onto enemy islands and just bent over to take it when I declared war. I had high hopes for Denmark to be the "Inca of Civ 4 at sea", but that is simply not the case. If you play Denmark yourself you can do some very agressive play on sea based maps, but unfortunately whenever you encounter AI Danes you can sit back and rest assured they will be effortless to conquer should you want to.

When buying the Denmark DLC you have the option of buying a bundle with a few extra map types, which I didn't opt into. I can swallow paying for extra civs with proper diplomacy menues and such, but I won't pay for maps when there's already an abundance of maps for free download from the Civ V mods section. I would recommend you do the same, don't pay for single maps when similar or better maps are very easily available already.

To sum up, I felt a bit scammed after paying for the Denmark DLC. It lacks AI scripts that lets the computer do anything meaningful with the Civ, making this a very low value purchase compared to modded civs that play better, sans the animated diplomacy screens.

May 15, 2011

Replay test from Team Fortress 2

Hey again, just posting to show you my first attempt at replay recording/editing/youtubing with the new features on Team Fortress 2. Not many games have this kind of feature, seems pretty cool to play around with.

Edit: Click the youtube link for the vid if you decide to watch it and go 720p! It took fricken ages to upload the thing :D