Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail

Rockstar’s latest and greatest open world masterpiece came out just a few weeks ago, and like many people who picked it up straight away, I haven’t been able to stop playing it since. So seeing as I haven’t managed to play or do anything else lately, I guess it makes sense to write something about it!

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The game is pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It’s a huge, yet deep open world that contains an excellent main plot, great characters, tons to do without being grindy, and it looks, feels and practically smells fantastic. There’s so much going on that I don’t think I’ll be able to properly review it, even the professional games media’s coverage of the game ended up being more rambling chats about various aspects rather than structured reviews. So instead for now I’m going to focus on my favourite thing about the game; its details. Continue reading “Red Dead Redemption II – Why I Love the Detail”

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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition – A Quick Look

Recently the latest edition of the Warhammer Fantasy RPG was released, and with this being one of the two RPGs I’ve been looking forward to in recent years, I had to pick it up and have a look! I fully intend to play and perhaps run a game of this at some point in the future, but for now instead of a solid review I will share some of my initial thoughts and impressions.

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Now I’m not the most hardcore of Warhammer fans, I’ve never actually played Warhammer or any of the previous editions of the RPG, but since getting into a few of the videogames I’ve become more interested in the lore of Warhammer Fantasy. I say this because clearly this is an RPG based on previous versions. This 4th edition seems to have been based more heavily on the 1st and 2nd editions of the game, while clearly making many improvements. This is something of a revival for the system, as the 3rd edition made by Fantasy Flight Games was a complete departure from the mechanics of the previous two.

Having been published by Cubicle 7, a company I have grown very fond of, especially due to The One Ring RPG, I fully expected this book to have a great presentation and artwork. I wasn’t wrong, the layout is very clear, all the tables and little info boxes are easy to interpret. The book is crammed full of brilliant art, with something every few pages at least, but it doesn’t make things look messy or take over from the text too much. The art direction and some of the art is done by C7’s own Jon Hodgson whose style im very familiar with from the excellent art in The One Ring, and he does a similarly great job here even with such a different tone of fantasy aesthetic. In particular I love the character art done for each of the 64 careers you can choose from, all done in a suitably gritty and grimy style for Warhammer. I also like how the cover art for the book is clearly a callback to the cover of the first edition of the game from 1986. Overall the presentation really makes this a pleasure to read through. Continue reading “Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition – A Quick Look”

Geek Etymology – The Lich

Today I bring you yet another post in the Geek Etymology series. This time we will be exploring the origins behind the name of another fantasy creature: the lich! Credit goes to Lilly for the suggestion of this word.

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To start with, what exactly do we consider a lich to be today? It is generally described as an undead creature, usually a human corpse in various states of decay, from zombie-like to completely skeletal. The main distinction between a lich and other undead or zombies is its higher level of intellect and powerful magical abilities. Liches are usually formed from the bodies of powerful mages and sorcerers who use necromancy to cheat death and remain for eternity to continue growing their power and gaining knowledge. Another key feature of liches is that they keep their essence or soul separated from their body in a container, usually referred to as a phylactery. This is often used as a weakness that needs to be sought out by heroes looking to defeat the lich, especially in roleplaying games. . In nearly every fantasy setting in which liches appear, they are evil or at least antagonistic, although there are some exceptions. Continue reading “Geek Etymology – The Lich”

Old Games I Want a Sequel To: Shadow of Rome

You ever think about those old games you used to play and wonder what happened to them? Maybe you wonder why there was never a sequel, or what the dev team moved onto. They probably never sold enough copies, went out of business, or got consumed by one of the giant publishers (probably EA…). But we can at least dream about them! And that’s what I intend to do right here. Somet of games from the past that I always wished for a sequel to actually came true, but they almost never meet expectations (Star Wars: Battlefront…), so what I really want is probably just a remaster of old games so I can play them again with better controls and modern graphics. Instead for now I will make do with some good old fashioned reminiscing!

51H2J80TC7L._SY445_The first game I decided to talk about in this topic had to be Shadow of Rome. A historically themed hack and slash / stealth game made by Capcom in 2005, one year before the PS3 but still a height of the PS2 era. This is a game that I find creeping into my mind on a regular basis, worryingly often actually. I think it was an absolute gem, and yet I’ve never met anyone else that has played or even heard of it. Continue reading “Old Games I Want a Sequel To: Shadow of Rome”

The Elder Scrolls VI – Hopes and Predictions

At E3 this year Bethesda finally announced that they are working on the next game in the Elder Scrolls series. This isn’t exactly any shocking news, as its obvious that we would be getting it sooner or later, and based on the fact that all they revealed was a glimpse at the title and a background, I’d say we are getting it later, after 2020 for sure, and perhaps even as late as 2022.

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So what do we think the new game might involve? Well before the small amount of information was even revealed, I had my own assumptions about what a new Elder Scrolls game might entail. Considering the fact that Skyrim increased the mass appeal of the series by several orders of magnitude, I would expect that they would continue down the same trend that we can see the games moving in since Morrowind and through Oblivion to Skyrim. This would be basically in making a more streamlined open world sandbox game experience, while cutting back the detail in the RPG elements. As unfortunate as it is, I still think this may happen. I believe this approach would also limit the locations where this game could be set. I would generally omit the Morrowind, Cyrodiil and Skyrim regions from the possibility of being in the game, and with a focus on mass appeal I would assume that the more exotic and strange provinces such as Elsweyr, Black Marsh and Valenwood would be overlooked. This leaves us with The Summerset Isles, High Rock, and Hammerfell.

The game would probably continue in the timeline left off in Skyrim rather than being some sort of prequel, as this is covered by The Elder Scrolls: Online, and there aren’t really any interesting gaps to fill. Also, I would assume that they want to continue with the overarching story of the war between the diminished Empire and the Thalmor’s Aldmeri Dominion. For this reason I would then also say that Summerset Isles, the home of the High Elves and the Dominion, would probably not be the best place to set the game, at least not solely. Continue reading “The Elder Scrolls VI – Hopes and Predictions”

Geek Etymology – Orcs!

Here I am back at it again taking a look at the origins behind some of our favourite geekiest words. Today I’ll be tackling a seemingly straightforward word, and that is ‘orc’. As everybody should know, this is yet another fantasy creature, and should prove to have a relatively simple history behind it, but where does the word actually come from?

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Orcs from LotR: The Two Towers

Before we start, we should first define what an orc actually is. Orcs, sometimes spelled ‘orks’ tend to be brutish and violent, if not evil, humanoid creatures that are generally depicted with somewhat animalistic features such as tusks, snouts, or sometimes with an ape-like appearance. They are popularly depicted as green-skinned but also are sometimes black, grey or brown in colour. They are also commonly seen as large muscular figures, usually much larger than a human, but are also often small and scrawny and akin to a goblin. It can be hard to define their appearance overall, as they are depicted with a very wide range of characteristics, often even within the same piece of fiction.
Continue reading “Geek Etymology – Orcs!”

Kingdom Come: Deliverance – More Of This Please

After following the development of this game since it’s Kickstarter campaign a few years ago, Kingdom Come: Deliverance was finally released last month, and it does not disappoint! Being a huge nerd for history, especially medieval history, and even more especially medieval arms and armour, I’ve been wanting a game like this for a long long time.

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The game is set in a very specific historical setting, which helps bring more authenticity to the location and details, as something much larger would be too difficult to get right. So the game is set in a small part of Bohemia ( in the modern day Czech Republic), which is within the Holy Roman Empire, in 1403. The game also features a fairly linear narrative and a set player character, which despite being a definite limit on roleplaying potential in some aspects, this too helps the game focus on more details within the freedom it does provide. Really this is one of the main appeals of the game; the details. It sets out to be a very focused experience, and I believe it succeeds in that. Continue reading “Kingdom Come: Deliverance – More Of This Please”