Posts Tagged ‘Games’

So, you may remember back in March I went and took part in a MegaGame called Watch the Skies 2. It was an all-day experience where 300 people pretended to be nations and companies of the world in 2025, where Aliens were very much a real thing. It was flawed, but fantastic.

This weekend just gone, I took part in the sequel – Watch the Skies 3: Global Conspiracy.  This time it was simply a fantastic experience. Sure, I can objectively look at certain points and say “This could probably be better”, but I came away with so many more positive feelings.

Here is an account of that day.

Poo Wars

As the ‘Giant of Africa’, Nigeria was in a pretty sweet position. We had an ok Army, decent income, a fair bit of a political clout… even a scientist! There were a lot less scientists in this game. Fifteen in total I think, and the African region itself only had two of those.

Watch the Skies 3 was a de-facto sequel to Watch the Skies 2, so the timeline had advanced by a couple years, key events of the past game stuck through to this game (such as Tokyo being bombed out of existence, for example) the presence of sentient whales in the form of the Atlantic and Pacific Cetacean Conclaves, and of course Aliens. Everyone knew aliens existed in this game, so the dynamic had shifted more towards “what do they want?”.

Nigeria got of a hilarious, if cautious start. A stroke of genius on the way up lead to one of our Senior Ambassadors coming up with a proposal to bribe FIFA into hosting the 2030 World Cup in Nigeria, which was a great success. The funniest thing about it is that we paid about 1 – 3 million up front (pocket change, as far as the game is concerned), and that we promised to pay “The Rest” (I don’t know how much) when the World Cup actually happened in 2030. The game only lasts until 2027. Score!

That was only Turn 1. Our early turns were fairly occupied with dealing with the two big challenges our local controllers had set us. The first one was famine in Uganda, and then there was a long-term challenge of dealing with rising pollution in our ocean. The Glorious Nigerian Grand Navy was on the scene instantly, methodically and carefully clearing up the waste as best it could. It was a costly process, as it costs 2 Million to deploy a fleet, and then three million per box of sewage we clean. What we didn’t realise until Turn 2 is that pollution was so bad that one block of sewage goes on every turn. FFS.

The next few turns on that matter saw an epic whip-round from our diplomats on raising money to help fight the pollution, and we were knocking the blocks down like the cleaning-heroes we were.

I’m not sure if we had much effect on the Ugandan thing, but our strategy was allying with countries around us and asking them to let in refugees. That was solved relatively quickly, and then a new crises emerged – Zimbabwe was building nukes.

In the meantime, Alien Saucers were coming and going but we weren’t really in a position to do anything about it, with only one interceptor. None of the saucers went near us or our allies, although they visited Angola and Egypt a ton, as well as mining resources in other places.

Poo Wars 2: Poo Strikes Back

Since our Alien game had fallen behind and we weren’t really sure what to do about it, we decided to take a different track. We’d given our science-guy a mandate to be really good at One ThingTm and he chose Fish. For some reason. On the way, he managed to get access to the ‘Speak to Cetaceans’ card, something which we realised no one had, or was even close to getting. With that in mind, we decided to talk to the Cetaceans instead, and by the sounds of things (at least as far as the Atlantic Conclave is concerned) we were one of maybe a handful of entities that could. Before getting the tech, we actually spoke through intermediaries in the ‘Ordinary Humans’ group (who later turned out to be the ‘Deep Ones’ – a team previously known only as The Others), but I think the Cetaceans had a bit of a rough game. In a setting where you have aliens and wondrous being visiting you from above with shiny tech, why would you bother putting the time in to talk to Whales?

We only did it because we fell into it, but I’m glad we did, as it gave them someone to talk to and we got some stuff out of it.

Meanwhile, I sent in my Spy to blow up Zimbabwe. The country was in state of turmoil and this nuclear thing was getting everyone on edge. Us, South Africa and Britain all went in first with spies, but because there were three of us we tripped over each other and didn’t find out anything other than there were suspicious facilities about.

I managed to get GB and South Africa to stand down, and they even paid for the spy’s upkeep next turn. I also got budget from the Government for the spy, so I pocketed the extra money to fund my private army upgrade. The next turn frustrated me a little – the UN wanted hard evidence, but my spy couldn’t find anything, so the UN wouldn’t budge on sending us hep. So I blew up the suspicious facilities, and my diplomats spent the next few turns calming the political situation down.

That one I’m pretty sure was all down to us – after I spread the information that the nuclear program was taken care off, everyone kind of forgot about the other half of the problem, so it was just my diplomats taking care of things there. Turns out the nuclear technology came from China – who knew?

Meanwhile, Ian, our other diplomat, made a herculean effort and managed to raises a whopping 9 million in donations to clear up the last of the poo. Unfortunately, the Poo was fighting back.

Turns out that the reason it was going up one a turn, was that everyone was polluting too much. In game terms, this meant that all of the nations of Africa had to agree to cap their PR at 6. At the time, as far as I remember, Angola was the only one above 6, and naturally they wouldn’t budge because they felt ‘victimised’. I left it to the diplomatic team to sort out, and braced myself for the next crises to emerge – Boko Haram.

This was nice because I actually had a fight on my hands – the insurgents had carved out a new nation for themselves which encompassed the northern part of Nigeria. Using some bribery and some overwhelming force, I rolled over them within a couple of turns, re-securing our borders. There was a military unit in Niger, which Algeria and Egypt took care of, and then there was the insurgency in Chad. I would have gone in and sorted it out myself however the UN had already sent peace keepers in and were basically just fannying about, so I didn’t deploy into that region for fear of ticking off the UN. The crisis was prolonged a turn or two more than it needed to be though, because of this. The Americans eventually went in and I believe struck the final blow. Whether they did or not isn’t important, but I want to mention now because it gets better later.

With my part over though, I was keeping an eye out for the next challenge, which came from a most unexpected source – The United Nations.

Poo Wars 3: The UN Are Dicks (And Seriously Angola Sort Your Shit Out)

So, the UN ended up sanctioning the entire African Continent because we were polluting too much. Never mind that Nigeria had single-handedly reduced an entire pollution block down to zero (thanks to some donations), and never mind that the money we gave to the UN for the global effort was actually spent on everywhere BUT Africa. They sanctioned us anyway.

Remember that PR Cap I mentioned? Turns our Angola wouldn’t budge. At this point everyone was hovering on 5 or 6, with Angola on 7, and they felt they were being singled out because their nation was poorer. I was getting cross at this point because the Glorious Nigerian Navy had spent six whole turns clearing up poo. SIX TURNS. I’d even stopped our PR going up to 7 (we’d had a good news round somehow) just so we weren’t violating the pollution rule.

It got to a point where I asked control if I could use my Navy to seize the Angolan coast-line to forcibly stop them polluting the ocean. I didn’t go through with it though. (They said yes I could, but It would mean War, obviously).

Angola however said that they were using their alien friends (they made friends with the aliens really early) to come up with a solution. I THEN heard from my scientist that they were building a Hell Laser. Something that’s used on a Space Battleship and has nothing to do with pollution solving.

I snapped.

Going over to the operation map, I sent my Spy into Angola. I then told control I wanted to find their Hell Laser project and blow it up. This involved a dice roll…

** Rolls a 1 **
Control: Ok, you see some large infrastructure buildings.
Me: I blow it up
Control: It’s blown up

**Some Time Later **
Me: What did I blow up?
Control: An Angolan Power Station. There were civilian casualties and major black outs. That Hell Laser thing didn’t actually exist.

Oops. The next turn, Angola announced they’ve solved the pollution crises. True to form, the pollution blocks disappear. I felt kind of bad, but I was really getting tired of cleaning up their shit. Literally. And I got their PR down to 6, which made me happy.

As the game was coming to its twilight stages, a weird lull fell about the game for me. A new crises in the form of a Zombie Virus outbreak emerged near to us, but we traded in some Red Mercury to some aliens who sorted it out the next turn. No new challenges emerged.

We’d had pretty much no contact with the Aliens all game. This didn’t bother me, as we were having a fantastic time over all. The closest we got was that we stole some resources (including the afore-mentioned Red Mercury) from some aliens trying to mine our resources. They never came back to our region of Africa after that.

Meanwhile our Cetacean relations were stagnating. We were on extremely good termss with them, and we were harvesting a lot of fish to trade with them, but they were running out of things to trade back. Meanwhile we were representing them at the UN as much as we good, and cleaning up the waters for them – but their… usefulness kind of ended there.

Lots of people tried to get our Cetacean Language ability off of us, but we get it a closely guarded national secret. In hind-sight we should have charged, but there you go. A UN representative even came up to me and was like “we’d like to trade for your Whale Tech”. Given we were still under sanctions, I told him in no uncertain terms that we’re not even talking with them until those are lifted.

Egypt built a space port, which was blown up by the same aliens who built it, and Angola nearly went to war over Egypt at one point over a saucer they wanted to shoot down, but things seemed to be almost winding down for us. I’d managed to privately fund an army upgrade so that we ended up with One Modern Tech, One Old Tech and a Militia, having started with 2 Militia and an Old Tech.

Corruption was given more of an emphasis this game, although with no way of tracking it (and it not *really* meaning much), the degree in which our team interacted with it differed. I engaged in ‘practical’ corruption, in which I lied, cheated, begged an borrowed money where I could, but I ploughed it into the military to get a shinier army. Jamie, one of our ambassadors, took a 10 million bribe in a bit of Last Turn Madness, because he hadn’t done anything all game. God knows how much our leader pocketed, but I don’t think it was that much, ultimately.

Anyway, I eventually noticed something peculiar – a US Old Tech Unit still in Chad. I remembered that the American had deployed to sort out the insurgency, but that was a few turns ago and they must have forgotten about it, so it was just sitting there. Crucially, the upkeep on it wasn’t being paid. This lead to the greatest thing I did all day (in my view):

Me: See that Army Unit.
Control: Yes
Me: It’s been sitting there a few turns now. The US never came back for it, and the Upkeep isn’t being paid.
Control: … Yes?
Me: Can the Nigerian Military take control of it? It’s clearly been abandoned.
Control: … !?

It’s worth pointing out a couple of things. One, Control was grinning ear to ear as I explained this, and two, it’s impossible to grow your conventional armed forces in the time-frame of the game. By the end of that turn I expanded our forces by 33%. I achieved the impossible.

After checking with various control members, they let me make a roll, and pay 5 Million in bribes. I like to think I made a convincing case – control was positing that the US wouldn’t just leave all the tanks there, but I stuck fast to the line that if the US hadn’t informed Control what they were doing, then you can’t assume that. Upkeep wasn’t being paid, which means the soldiers weren’t being paid. I proposed that many had abandoned the army and gone home. Regardless, the unit was technically illegally placed, so it didn’t matter, it shouldn’t still be there.

After my successful gambit, I took one of our “Allied to Nigeria” stickers – usually used for marking NPC Nations – and stuck it firmly over the US army unit, then moved it within Nigerian borders. The rest of my team cracked up laughing. I’d won the game. Time to go home.

I then sent an email to the US Armed Forces saying “Thanks for the Tanks!”.

———————————————-

This is a very narrow view of how the day went, and focuses stuff I was directly involved in, I’ve already forgotten so much of what happened that day, and there’s so much that went on I wasn’t even aware of.

The team I was part of tough was amazing, and did far better work than I did – Darren was a great leader, and gave me enough freedom to try and get away with whatever I could, and used the resources I gave him to excellent effect.

Tom, as always, was the master diplomat, and represented us extremely well at the UN.

Ian and Jamie were amazing Ambassadors, keeping everyone in the loop, pushing our local agenda, and helping me on the operational map when I needed them. A lot of the stuff I did was thanks to them paving the way – especially the getting the pollution donations.

Best props goes to Alex, our Scientist, who despite being seconded into the role that morning (our original person fell Ill, leaving us a man down), he bossed science, making us the Cetacean’s best friends, the masters of fishing AND winning the ultimate science award.

Super-Special mentions go to:

Matthew and Keith, our Control Team in Africa, who were an absolute pleasure to work with and really responded well to all Nigeria’s crazy ideas. I’d like to think we were their favourite.

Brad, Defence mogul of Angola, who is my personal hero. The amount of private funding and wheeler dealing he did puts my efforts to shame. By the end of the game he was sitting on a fully modern army, SIX Interceptors, and a metric ton of other back-hand cash. Legend.

————————-

My next post will do with some of the objective critiques I have on the game, as well as some suggestions, which I will also email to Jim in due course.

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There’s nothing quite like ending the week with abject failure poised to slap you across the face. I’ve always considered myself a passable writer, sometimes even good. My spelling and grammar isn’t aren’t* great, but there are people for that. I’ve always felt I knew how to turn a phrase, to sound passionate, to entertain readers through my writing. Sometimes I can be a little light on the details, but if it’s facts you want I can do that too… I just prefer to write how I speak, and I speak with a fair amount of passion and tend to let the details take care of themselves.

The problem is, I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for over five years now, and in all that time I’ve never had someone to look at my work and tell me what’s wrong with it, how it could be better. Everyone has their own style, but just because you have your own style doesn’t mean your style couldn’t be better. Of course, you also need to learn how to adapt to other publication’s styles, which is something else I’ve not really had much experience with, since I’ve pretty much written for just the one site. For that site, all I have to worry about is whether the writing is entertaining, and whether it gets the message across. No tone, no style, no whilst vs. while… simple, yet in hindsight it doesn’t appear to be serving me very well.

I’ve been allowed to basically write how I want to write for a long time – perhaps too long. I’ve been tainted by my own way of thinking, perhaps I’m even stuck in my ways, and I don’t know how to get out of it. Saying that, I have written for the odd other site here and there along the way and I haven’t gotten much feedback there either. Generally I hear no complaints, although I was told once that I liked ellipses a bit too much. Who knew. The higher up the chain I go the less feedback I seem to get as well, which is the most annoying thing. I want to write for these people, get my name up there with the other greats, and yet they won’t tell me whether or not I’m good enough to be there.

In one case, an Editor I submitted work too was tweeting about the virtues of giving feedback and helping writers over-come their shortcomings. This happened mere hours after I had just submitted a piece of work to him – having seen this, I decided to email in again and ask for some specific feedback, because the previous piece I’d submitted to them had been edited quite a lot and I wasn’t really told why. I didn’t get any feedback that time either. In all fairness though, for the piece after that I was given some specific feedback on how to write a certain style of interview transcription. Apparently that piece was “not bad”.

As for what sparked today’s musings… I got given a brief; I failed to meet that brief. I was given feedback on how to fix it. Whilst working on it, I tried to explain why I interpreted (wrongly, admittedly) the brief the way I did, and in doing so I somehow managed to convince the editor that I was incompetent and incapable of the task I had been set. I thought that by explaining where I was coming from, why I wrote it the way I did initially, then maybe he’d understand me more as a writer which would help him help me a bit better. Apparently I was wrong… will have to wait and see how that one plays out, but if it doesn’t work I have a feeling that was my last chance with that site. All the times previously the work I’ve submitted has been edited a lot. Again, with little to no feedback apart from today.

I think the reason I’m having difficultly writing for this site is down the editor having a specific vision for how he wants all of the content on his site to read, and it’s a style I’m really not used to. I have to respect that, I have to try and adapt to that… but I don’t appreciate the fact that he doesn’t seem to want to invest the time in helping me. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t need to – there are plenty of other writers who are better than me who he can hire. I could argue that the brief itself could have been better but ultimately, I’m the one providing a service.

This is all sounding very pathetic, and I apologize. It’s also the only thing I’ve felt like blogging about in nearly two months. Twitter is the bane of my blog’s existence.

Go, obligatory New Year’s Post!

Bust seriously, It’s been an interesting year all round – moved house again (new place is awesome), got nominated for a GMA, and experienced one of the biggest lows I’ve experienced since I started this job. Not in terms of what’s been happening, but only in terms of income. My fellow self-employed freelancers will know the importance of regular work and invoicing etc… And sad to say the past couple of months haven’t been great for me, which leads me to my one and only resolution for 2013: Earn moar money.

Obviously, that means I just need to buck up my ideas and start trying to get more freelance work in more places. But I also have to be realistic – I’ve been doing this for nearly five years now, and I’ve always known that unless I was incredibly lucky and found one of the few well paying, full-time niches that this industry possesses, I’d have to move on. I’ve known many a journalist who have gone over to PR in the past few years, and 2013 could well be when I make the same move. I’ve had a good run, I’ve had my fun, but considering I do want to settle down and do the whole family thing I have to be earning the money to support that. If that means moving to Videogames PR (if possible) then so be it. It’s a decision I’ll be making straight away though. The tenancy on my current flat will run out in June: at that point, if things haven’t improved, I’ll be jumping ship.

Even though 2012 has had its ups and downs for me, it’s been a great year for gaming, especially PC gaming. For a couple years PC games have kind of fallen by the wayside, with only the niche sectors really keepings strong, but 2012 has seen a lot more excellent PC games come out of the woodwork – Minecraft has gotten better, and been brought to consoles. Crusaders Kings II, Planetside 2, DayZ, XCOM (which proved a tactical-strategy game CAN work on the console as well)… it’s clear that the console market needs new hardware, but at the very least the first and third party publishers have been trying to make the best of what they have. Meanwhile, PC gaming is still going strong, with Free-to-play and the indie scene throwing out some really interesting titles, I personally can’t wait to see what else is on the way.

I’ll leave it there for the moment, but I want to just wish everyone a happy new year, and here’s to 2013!

I think I may need to lie down. It’s not often that I get sucked into a game so completely and so fully that I find myself ‘waking up’ a couple of hours later, physically shaking as I step back say ‘enough is enough’. It does happen… Hearts of Iron III, Civ V when I was reviewing it… games designed a certain way are actually pretty good at keeping players ‘looped’, with no natural cut-off point with which to take a break. Never did I think it would happen with GameDev Story though.

As is my trend, I was fashionably late to the scene with this title. I remember it being all the rage last year (or was it the year before?), but I didn’t even have my ‘roid phone then, let alone an iPhone which is where it came out first, if I remember correctly. I’m not really a heavy mobile gamer… I’ve got Angry Birds, as I thought I’d try it out and see why everyone rates it, and I downloaded a version of old school Snake for old times’ sake (it’s not very good, to be honest)… but I’m a PC/Console gamer at heart and that’s my main source of gaming entertainment. These mobile games are just a distraction for when I need them… much like my DS Lite, actually.

But GameDev Story… sweet Jesus. I decided to buy it outright as I’d heard good things and I doubt I’d be disappointed, and to be honest I felt professionally compelled to see what the fuss was about. I just didn’t expect to get so hooked. The power of managing your own studio, putting out games, levelling up your dudes… it’s all so intoxicating. And it was funny to watch the scores come in as well, and get a taste of what it must be like to be on the receiving end. I wonder if there was deliberate social commentary there or whether it was designed that way simply for simplicity’s sake – scores seem to have no impact on sales what so ever, and are only relevant in getting a game into the ‘Hall of Fame’ (which allows you to make a ‘sequel’, which to me is kind of a poor gameplay mechanic, but whatever).

It’s a shame it doesn’t paint the complete picture – I’d love to have seen the Publisher vs. Developer relationship dynamic represented in some way… bigger studios should be able to start several projects at once (and the management challenges that inherently creates). The fact that you have a choice between bug-stomping or shipping as is is kind of diminished because, so far, I haven’t had any disastrous consequences from waiting until it’s all done. I think one time a game that was ‘similar’ to the one my guys were making was released, but you know what, it still sold well. The combination of games is also a bit odd (No strategy genre from what I’ve found yet!)… But it’s fun experimenting and making different combinations.

Anyway, kudos kairosoft, for well and truly surprising me with your insanely fun little game about game development. Well Meta’d. I’ll be honest, I can already tell this probably isn’t going to have much replayability (had to start again, and already I’m feeling the numbing that is repetition), plus now that I know what is in later stages I think I’m obsessing a bit too much about planning for the best outcome, which isn’t good as that tends to just ruin the experience.

Hmm, some of their other games look tempting too….

(AND SO IT BEGINS)

I’m rather chuffed with myself I have to say -I completed Darksiders over the weekend! Yay me!I think this is actually the first game in a long while that I’ve just sat down with the aim to complete a game, outside of the fact that I had it for review or whatever. I’m not much of completionist as you may have picked up on by now.

Story driven games like Darksiders pull me through the most, but then I’m liable to get bored if the game mechanics are too boring or grindy, which was in danger of happening here but the key difference I think is that I had a purpose. You may remember I was in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago seeing the sequel, and in preparation for that I actually read up on the first game. Kind of spoiled the ending for myself, but it actually sounded like a decent, iconic moment for a videogame, and so as soon as I got back I bought it from ShopTo.net (GAME were out of stock), and the sometime last week I think I started playing it – doing a couple of hours every night before marathoning it during the Easter Weekend to finish it off.

It’s weird – knowing the ending beforehand gave me an end goal, a reason to put up with the oddities, the repetitions, and the rushed plot devices that littered the game, and when I got to that scene I wanted to see (which I probably could have easily looked up on YouTube), I had a real sense of achievement. More so perhaps than if I didn’t know what was coming. It was definitely worth it, and I don’t mean to make Darksiders sounds rubbish, because it really isn’t. Other people I talked to said the first hour or so was really boring, and I could kind of see that but again I knew what the game was about, and I knew where I was headed so it was easier to bear – perhaps foreknowledge really isn’t such a bad thing after all.

It’s a shame really that the second game isn’t going to continue on from that ending – it’s very much a “Can’t wait to see what happens next” moment, but given that the first game was a tentative first step into a new IP, the second is going to expand on the universe and the lore more, and then probably bring it all together for the third game where they’ll continue on from there. Assuming THQ survives long enough to help Vigil get a third game.

It’s like I said in my preview though – parallel stories are a dangerous thing, and I hope it doesn’t prove to be too tenuous a link to the original game – but it does have to account for the time of the other three horseman whilst War was incarcerated for 100 years at the beginning of the game. One of the game’s leads mentioned to me in an interview that they’d gone into the first game very much with a sequel in mind, and you can see that with the amount of loose ends they leave.

I doubt I’ll pre-order it though – too much potential to disappoint right now for me to commit financially for it, plus I’d like to get it for review if possible, but being freelance now there are even less guarantees.

Hope you all enjoyed your Easter.

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So, turns out I ended up doing the Skyrim  review after-all. I wasn’t planning on it – I’ve never played an Elder Scrolls game before, and we had other writers who had more experience so with the pre-order guaranteeing me getting it anyway, I figured I’d just leave it to someone else to do.

Due to various reasons we had to change things: the console version was sent to me whilst the other writer got the PC version, and so I preceded to spend fifty glorious hours reviewing what I think is a major contender for Game of the Year. I honestly couldn’t convey to you in words how damn good this game is – the mixed opinions I had heard about the previous Elder Scrolls title, Oblivion, is what prevented me picking it up, but there is no two ways about Skyrim: it’s fantastic and if you haven’t tried the Elder Scrolls series before, this is a perfect entry point.

It’s strange, because my first encounter with the ‘Bethesda School’ of RPG design was when I reviewed Fallout 3, and whilst it was enjoyable enough it didn’t really compel me to play it much, even if it did have Liam Neeson in it. Then came New Vegas a couple of years later, and that managed to get me hooked (although sadly I still haven’t gone back to it since I reviewed it – must get on that). I think I managed to sink about 35 hours into it, although at the time I kind of put it down to Obsidian’s influence. Despite those guys never seeming to be able to release a finished game (KOTOR II, Alpha Protocol… even the PC build of New Vegas was a bit dire), they do make engaging games to say the least. I actually much prefer KOTOR II over the first one, although I did play the second one first so that might have spoilt things for a bit. Anyway, I went into Skyrim cautiously optimistic – the game’s been hyped to high heaven all year, but not being a fan of the franchise I managed to avoid getting swept up in it. Still, the brief hands-on session I’d had a few weeks prior made me think that, actually, there may be something here after all.

Man, was that an understatement. Like I said in my review, with a game like Skyrim, the sheer openness of the game means that it’s easy to get lost, or be given too much choice that you don’t know where to start (Little Boy in Big Toy Shop Syndrome). Whilst Skyrim does succumb to that at times, it does a really good job at pulling you through the various threads it has available. There’s the main quest, the faction quests, various independent quests… plus the myriad of ‘Miscellaneous’ tasks that you can do. I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, and I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun reviewing a game, and that’s saying something.

Sure, it wasn’t perfect though. Inventory management is a bit weak, despite them adding in a ‘favourite’ quick-menu that you can customize. The problem is, you end up with so many things you feel the need to ‘favourite’, that you end up right back where you started – facing a long list of stuff you have to sift through. Perhaps adding in the ability to create ‘sets’ of items of something would have been a good idea. There was the odd bug, oddity – full on crash once or twice, but none of these things detracted much from the overall experience. I’m sure a lot of it can be patched out anyway.

I picked up Skyrim on the PC today as well. With my new rig imminent, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the game on the PC, as that’s going to have the better visuals and it will be interesting to see what the modding community comes up with. Still going to stick with the 360 version though, as I’ve sunken so many hours into it already that I really should continue. Plus might try and pick up some achievements as well. If you’re looking for a game to spend your Christmas vacation playing, I can’t recommend this enough. If you’ve heard a lot about the franchise, but like me have never actually played one, then Skyrim is also a great place to start.

Oh, and I got this rather nifty map with the PC copy, pictured above. Wish I had that during the review…