Modding Skyrim in 2017

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been around for almost 6 years at this point, which in terms of videogames, is relatively old. Despite this there are still tons of mods for the game being constantly made and released on the Nexus and Steam Workshop. There are over 53,000 mods for Skyrim on the Nexus, and there are probably even more from other sources and different mods you can find for the Special Edition of the game (although less overall). So if you’re new to mods, or haven’t modded Skyrim for a few years, how are you supposed to find the good ones with so many out there? Well I’ll do my best here to give you a rundown of some of the best new mods as of 2017.

Instead of going through every small mod that adds a new object to the game or a tiny tweak to the gameplay systems, here I’m going to focus on the mods that I think add a lot to the game. There are a fair few of these now, which is probably thanks to the fact that modders have gotten so familiar and proficient at modding the game we are seeing far more substantial mods than before, when they were much rarer in the past.

Overhauls

There have been a lot of ‘overhauls’ for Skyrim over the years. These are mods that significantly change and rework the gameplay systems. Most of these involve changing the perk trees or spell lists in some way. Some of the older ones to check out include Skyrim Redone, and Perkus Maximus which mainly change the perk trees and add more interesting and specific perks. Duel – Combat Realism makes combat a lot tougher with more varied and clever enemy behaviour. and Midas Magic Evolved which adds a lot of new spells.

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As for newer mods, there have been some fairly interesting ones. First there is Path of Sorcery – Magic Perk Overhaul which as you can imagine, makes changes to the magic perks of the game. Instead of with something like Midas Magic and other spell mods, this one doesn’t just dump a ton of spells into the game, but works on the core principles of the vanilla magic system, but expands on it greatly, allowing you to specialize more, or simply become more powerful and varied in your magical abilities. Continue reading “Modding Skyrim in 2017”

My Top 5 WWII Games

We may be seeing a bit of a comeback in WW2 videogames soon, what with the new Call of Duty going back to its roots, perhaps influenced by Battlefield’s decision to aim in a similar direction with their WW1 setting. So if you fancy trying out some of the best WW2 games that are currently available, then allow me to share with you my favourites!

1. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

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Now with these lists I generally don’t intend to rank the games in any particular order, and the same goes here, with the little exception of this game. Red Orchestra 2 is perhaps my favourite WW2 game and First Person Shooter of all time. Despite being released in 2011 and reasonably old now, it still holds up. The gameplay has such a good mix between realism and enjoyability. The graphical and sound design are brilliant, with some of the best modeled weapons, and best weapon sounds I’ve ever seen. Even the voice acting is top notch, with the team you’re playing as speaking accented English that somehow doesn’t sound cheesy, and the enemies speaking either Russian or German. The combination of the fast yet thoughtful and deadly gameplay, the necessity of team cohesion from squad to commander level, and realism where it counts is a brilliant combination.  Continue reading “My Top 5 WWII Games”

Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right

If you’ve read my previous review of Battlefield 1 then you’ll know what I thought of its attempt of a World War 1 setting. At best it was just a lazy reskin of existing Battlefield mechanics and gameplay, and at worst it was an insult to the reality of the war. Well now allow me to introduce you to a game that is also a multiplayer first person shooter, and yet manages to combine historical authenticity and solid gameplay into something unique and enjoyable.

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Verdun was developed and self-published by two very small development teams based in The Netherlands. It was released as a beta on Steam early access in 2013 and fully released in 2015. The game consists entirely of online multiplayer matches based around one core gametype called ‘Frontlines’, alongside very simple deathmatch, team deathmatch, and wave defense modes. The game boasts a large amount of authentically modelled and functioning WW1 weapons, accurate uniforms and squads for various countries, and maps based on real WW1 battles, mostly consisting of areas around Verdun itself, but also some others based in other areas and later parts of the war.

Now obviously this game is going to be compared to Battlefield 1. There are only a handful of games set in WW1 out there, and as far as I know, these are the only two that are FPS games. So why do I say this game is so much better than Battlefield? Well let’s take it through a few different criteria. Continue reading “Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right”

Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems

I’ve been a huge fan of real-time strategy (RTS) games since Age of Empires. Unfortunately the RTS genre has been lacking anything decent or interesting for quite a while now, if you exclude Total War. There is however this fairly unknown series of games called Men of War, which I highly suggest you check out if you want an interesting and unique RTS to try… with some issues.

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Continue reading “Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems”

Tyranny: Sometimes Evil Wins

Tyranny, a new RPG game on PC developed by Obsidian with publisher Paradox just came out recently. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface so far, as this is the sort of game I can see going on for a long time, but I think it’s worth looking at some of the many things it gets right to make a great RPG computer game.

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Obsidian Entertainment were the developers of a lot of great RPGs in the past such as Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout New Vegas. Before the founders made the company they had previously worked on some classics including Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment and Baldurs Gate. Their biggest recent success was the Kickstarter campaign launched in 2012 to fund Pillars of Eternity, an old school RPG very much in the style of Baldurs Gate or Planescape that launched early last year and was widely praised for its return to the good old days of PC RPGs.

Right from the start it is easy to see that Tyranny is heavily based on Pillars of Eternity, with almost identical gameplay and interfaces. But with these games most of the value comes from the story, exploration, and roleplay potential. Despite Pillars receiving such praise last year I found myself getting slightly bored of it after a while. While I could see the great amounts of depth and detail in the game and story, it just didn’t grab me. It was a fairly basic fantasy world in which the player character, with whichever backstory you make or choose, suddenly becomes some sort of special chosen one with extra powers, and you need to figure out what happened and why from there. I can appreciate the open ended start, but I didn’t find it particularly compelling.

Tyranny however really had my attention before it even came out. The simple premise is that in this world, the Evil empire has already taken over, and you work for it in whichever way you see fit. As a player who usually struggles to take the evil route in RPGs and always ends up being the typical lawful good paladin type, I thought this might make an interesting change. And so far after playing it, it has more than lived up to expectations. Continue reading “Tyranny: Sometimes Evil Wins”

Enjoying Difficult

You know what there’s not enough of in life? Difficulty.

Okay so that’s a lie, but you wouldn’t think it given how much the gaming community seems fixated on making everything harder, more challenging, and more table-flippingly tense.

Just the other day I had a craving for something I haven’t experienced in a while; the PlayStation classic Devil May Cry. I still remember those coffee fuelled nights in the middle of exam season, up until 4 in the morning welcoming the onset of arthritis. I remembered the cool environments, the cheesy dialogue, but most of all… I remember the series being unforgivably difficult. So much so I still to this day haven’t defeated the final boss of Devil May Cry 3- a distinction only held by two enemies, the other being Eagle from Advance Wars hard campaign.

Continue reading “Enjoying Difficult”

Total War: WARHAMMER – Checking Out The Mods

So it’s been almost two months since the release of Total War: Warhammer. I have completed a long campaign as Empire, and have campaigns ongoing in most of the other current factions. The developers are apparently still working on the game, and have given information on future release of content here. The first thing to be released officially  is ‘Blood for the Blood God’ which is just a cool name for the inclusion of gore into the game, a practice which they have done in the last few games despite people always complaining about having to pay (£2) for something that really should be free if not in the game to begin with. Not a good start on the official new content then, but let’s hope that improves.

Now onto what I really want to talk about, the mods. Modding for the game started seemingly within seconds of the game being released. Unsurprisingly these were mostly very simple mods, and since then there have been an abundance of little tweaks all over the place. This is probably going to make up the majority of the mods going forward as well, due to the fact that Total War games have been harder and harder to mod with each new release. Gone are the days of the almost entirely new games like Third Age TW, but oh well. There are still some great things to be found for Warhammer already, and now that I’ve played the vanilla game a fair amount, I’m ready to dive in.

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