Tomb Raiding

I think I noted somewhere that my most favourite franchise after BattleTech is Tomb Raider. I am sure many are aware that the new game was released to pretty good reviews. I’ve been eyeing the prices until I found one I was comfortable and picked it up over the week.

268-tomb-raiderI well remember the hours I puzzled away at the original and the enjoyment I got from it. I do have all of the games since, but have only played bits and pieces of them but due to other commitments, never finished another. I enjoyed what I did see of them.

This one has been no different than that… a lot of fun. It’s early stages is not so much about puzzles and figuring which combinations of ledges to jump to, but I’m hopeful that at least a bit of that will come. This early stages is more about surviving.

It’s tough without her trusty automatics though. Trying to line up a charging wolf with a bow is hard work. I think I’ve died every possible way so far except falling too far. I’ve been choked, mauled, crushed by rocks, burned, shot (arrow and bullet) …  lol.

Having come from a WoW background and the strongest TR memories being the first one in 1997, the graphics have improved… well enormously, lol. On the PS3 the game is very fluid. I hear of some breaks on the PC version, something to do with quicktime events, but I don’t see this on the PS3. The graphics might be weaker, but really I still enjoy the first ones, so graphics isn’t the be all (and never should be).

Compared to my most recent The Walking Dead game, this is a lot more of an action game and less of a choose your story one. Subsequently there is a lot more to do, and Lara is more directly under your control.

I highly recommend it so far. It’s no shoot em up, thankfully, but I do hope things calm down some and I can spend some serious time leaping about caverns and exploring the island, at least for a little bit 🙂


A finished game???

Oh, even with all my game playing history, last night I did something that is pretty rare… I actually completed a game! I finished The Walking Dead. I’m still of the opinion that its an interesting game and good to play through. There’s a season 2 coming eventually… and that’ll be high on my shopping list in the future.

But actually getting the whole way through a game is pretty rare for me. In the dozens (its not that high a number even) that I’ve played, I wonder if I could list all the ones I’ve completed…..

  • Wolfenstein 3D – one of the very early FPS, that was so fun, do you know you can get it for the iPhone now. I used to have a separate boot choice in order to get enough RAM to play it!
  • F-19 Stealth Fighter (Microprose) – The sneaky man’s flight simulator.
  • MechWarrior 2, 3 and 4 (and expacs etc)
  • MechCommander 1 (can’t remember if I did finish 2)
  • Tenchu Stealth Assassins (but not 2) – loved the stealthy secret side, 2 had very tricky bosses. Haven’t really found a game that comes close, but love to hear suggestions
  • Colin Mcrae Rally 1 & 2 – before bikes, I loved Rally cars (still do)
  • Tomb Raider (but haven’t finished the rest ever) – bought out of curiousity many years ago and probably my favourite franchise after Battletech
  • Trine
  • Ghost Recon 1 (and Island Storm and Desert Siege) – my favourite FPS, loved playing this co-op. I have started GR2 and recently picked up the latest one, Future Soldier
  • Duke Nukem (Time to Kill)
  • Call of Duty 4
  • The Walking Dead

Now that’s not a long list to cover over 20+ years of gaming, and there’s a bunch of years before that I can’t remember as its too far back (anything before about year 11 I don’t remember) but I don’t think I finished much.

Anyone else have such a small list of completed games? Some people do that many in a few months! What might have happened without 5 years of WoW in there??

Still Walking

I’m partway through Episode 3 now, just got a train running.


I am starting to run into a few places where the dialog has seemed a little off. Some of the time its because they have to be a little generic. Lets say there are three conversation choices, but none change they story, they’re the information conversations where you chat to an NPC until you’ve drained his knowledge.  So if there’s three choices then the finish has to fit, kinda, with however the player finishes.

But that’s a small point.

Another is that some of the conversations I really wouldn’t have said. Take this one between Carley and yourself (Lee). She been pretty smart and level headed throughout so far. And supportive of you…200px-Carley

Cheryl, while discussing whether Lee should reveal his background to the group:”Our group is small”


Lee: “You’re small”

Sorry, where did that come from? And how can that not be insulting? It’s like the pop song recently … “don’t take this the wrong way. girl you look better with the lights off”…. is there a right way to take that?

In a conversation you only get a choice about every fifth line, so sometimes you can be left thinking that isn’t really what I would have said if I was really in this conversation. Again, you’re hit by the limits of the rpg.

However these really are small niggles on a pretty polished game. Oh that’s the other thing I giggled at… so far I haven’t had any red herrings… (SPOILER ALERT). Clem is doing a pencil rubbing of a leaf to pass the time. Later, Lee has to figure out how to read the words written on a pad, when the page has been torn off.

See, everything is important, otherwise why include it.

Remember that next time you’re watching a mystery movie or reading a mystery book…..

Who’s for dinner.

Walking with the Dead

Steam Sales, aren’t they almost the most evil thing on the planet???

I recently read a few reviews of The Walking Dead game.. I had looked into it before, but was mostly turn off by needing to wait for the other episodes. They’re all out now and the game was on sale in Steam. The final draw card, it’s Mac compatible. Here take my money 🙂

the-walking-dead-game-bannerI’m not usually a fan of RPGs on the computer, I either find myself lost in the open world wondering what I should be doing or frustrated at the restrictions the game has placed on me. TWD isn’t exactly an RPG though more of a storybook with options (like the old Chose Your Own Adventure or Final Fantasy books), and sells itself partly on the premise that your decisions affect the game.

Let’s look at that for a moment, I can’t think of a single game where that isn’t the case, seriously, even Pong has consequences to your decisions. They might be simple cut and dried obvious ones, but they are there. Is the difference that these consequences might not be obvious and may not come into play until a while later…. Well no, plenty of games are like that, think of Starcraft, your decision not to pursue a tech tree might make it difficult to fight off your opponents later. So I’m putting it down as sales hype.

So skipping the sales talk, I’m enjoying the game. It’s not rivetting, but is an interesting distraction. I do find the controls a little a hard, not because there are a lot, but because it sometimes hard to figure which is going to used in the next bit of the game – and when those zombies grab you or some guy is punching your face, you need to quickly click the right part of the screen. It would be fine if the scroll wheel on my Naga was accepted, but it’s not so I have to use the touch mouse for that, but then it’s slow across the screen making it hard for the time critical clicks so I find myself having to switch mice all the time…. ok maybe this is a problem of my own making!


The game does have some twists and turns and there are definite points where you basically have to choose between two people – one will live, one won’t. Saves only occur at the end of each chapter (There are several in each of the 5 episodes) so be mindful if you have to quit suddenly.


You do bump into people that are in the series as well. I’ve met the asian guy and the old man vet as well so far, but you aren’t playing in that story. You exist in the same world, as one of the other groups of survivors.

I’ve completed the first 2 episodes so far. Interestingly, at the end of each chapter they show the percentages of what choices people have made on some of the big decisions that occurred in that episode. So you can see that 54% of people chose X, which may or may not be the same as you etc.

Like I said, an interesting diversion, a good game to have played through.

Post Patch Pause

Saturday morning I finally got back on for a solid hour of playing. Then I managed a repeat in the evening. In the morning I ran with a random group I found on the US Teamspeak server. Lost every single match 😦 Bad luck, some poor groups, some good opposition… The evening matches started badly as well, and I think we only won a few overall. Though those were the matches were I got a kill or two (argh this must have really stuffed the totally unimportant K/D and W/L ratios).

Enjoyed the matches all day, except for the match where we ended up as two friendlies (Atlas and my Cat) vs single enemy (Jenner). He killed the Atlas leaving my very non brawler Cat with half of my team spectating* through my mech.

I was getting a lot of comments about shooting snow and learn to play etc. Listening to my PUG on TS, it became apparent that they and I were seeing quite different pictures and the lag meant that I was shooting the Jenner about a second or two after he had gone past. But in my view I was shooting him (and doing stuff all damage). The Jenner eventually picked me apart as well. Not so much fun.

In other news, the patch doesn’t seemed to have affected my game much so far. A new mech, the Cataphract, has arrived. Some tweaking to some weapons, but not ones I use at the moment. There are some concerns that the lights have received an unintended boost to their lag armour**, perhaps that’s what I saw above. The worst news is that they delayed the return of the 8man. December 4 is the newest rumour.

A couple of personal developments here…

Launch Screen

I know it doesn’t look like much, but that’s a screen capture. YAY, now if I can just remember to do them in game all the better. Turns out I just needed to dig about in the Apple Support site to find out the way that this Apple USB keyboard maps to a Windows keyboard when the iMac is dual booting. So look forward to some actual screenshots from me soon. Because it isn’t exactly the most most obvious relationship.

I’ve also dug through my hoard of old PC stuff and pulled out an old 17″ LCD that I’ve added to the Mac as a second monitor. This means I can, for example, have the TS window open there and see who’s talking to me.

Oh, one last thought…. if anyone knows of any MWO blogs out there, please let me know as I’m keen to build a blog roll and community for this game as well.

*When you die, you spectate through your surviving teammates. You can swap between survivors. You can still chat too.

** Lag Armour is the nickname given the rubberbanding and lag induced difficulty in hitting the faster running mechs. Has been of varied effectiveness throughout the games development. At the moment there is some opinion that it is very strong.

I cast thee out SWTOR

Ok two main subjects today. First up, I’ve found a buyer for my SWTOR CE. So by next week I will be free of the temptation to open it and check out the contents. The more I hear about SWTOR, the more I can’t see myself getting anywhere in it, just like WoW, so why bother. I have other stuff on the computer (like WoW) to occupy my time

The next subject, you might have guessed is bikes. My VFR has nothing wrong with it, it’s a great ride and goes well. I expect it to last another 100,000kms. But as any rider will tell you, you’re always looking for the next ride.

I had been looking for something in the 700-800cc range. I had been idly thinking about the new VFR, but it turned out to be a short ranged 1200. There isn’t a lot of choice in the the 700-800 size, with the GSXR750 and the Ducatii 848, along with things like the Triumph Street Triple or 675 being close as well.

For looks, I had been eying up the Ducati Streetfighter (S) but its an 1200 and really out of my price range. Recent reviews suggested its not really the bike for me. Monday a brief conversation on a website introduced me to the Streetfighter 848. In the same way the 848 is the little brother to the 1198, the SF848 is the little brother to the SF1198. With a different chassis and some other tweaks to make it more an everyday bike. The price sounds better too.

So I have some savings to save.


Happy Holidays

Well I haven’t been playing SWTOR at all. The early access has finished and my copy hasn’t turned up yet, so stuck until it does. Even then, I am pretty certain I will skip it and sell my CE. Just not interested.

Equally I haven’t really been playing WoW either. Miss 4 has, she’s even figured out how to accept, then sometimes with help, complete the quest and figured out how to hand it in all by herself. It started with when she figured the Horde Ballon quest out by herself (so now all of my toons have the balloon!). I’ve only helped her a little with the actual getting the quest done. Amazing.

So I have been playing is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Yes I know MW3 has just been released, but OSX, MW1 is the latest native version. Been fun so far running through the single player campaign. Death is a bit of a non event though. Saves are frequent so you just respawn without much loss. Subsequently after only a week or so, I’ve finished the SP missions.

My problems getting to play SWTOR, my wish to continue some old school games that have been gathering dust, and my normal tinkering means that over the past day or say I’ve Bootcamped my iMac. Which is a tricky Apple way of saying it now dual boots OSX and Windows 7. As its a Apple supported setup they provide all the correct drivers for all of the internals especially the odd stuff like the bluetooth and the IR receiver (for the remote control).

Now the challenge was that because this Mac is nearly a year old the drive was a bit messy and it couldn’t make 100GB of contiguous space to create the Windows partition.

So yesterday I bit the bullet and decided to see how well Time Machine really works. The only way to resolve the impasse and get this box dual booting was to wipe it, reinstall the OS and restore from Time Machine.

And as you can see, by the fact that 24hours later I’ve got time to blog rather than trying to reinstall everything, that it worked. It took time (about 4hours to restore) but its all here. Now I am very very impressed with Time Machine (I was already very impressed).

And Windows 7 has its own little portion of the disk. So now what to play……. Hmmm Steam sales are on???

Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR has been, well almost, released with early access already started. I’ve rolled a toon on a random server at the moment, mostly so I can just stuff about. The main server that most people I know are headed to is already jam packed.

It’s been a pretty spotless launch as far as I can tell. No one at work is really complaining and I certainly haven’t had any troubles that weren’t caused by my PC.

But I’m kinda not really enjoying myself. Not really sure why, but I’m starting to think that after the early access I might quit. I can sell my CE (or return it) when it arrives. I have about 3 days to play before I decide.

Sad Face

Well to start on a happy note, SIM didn’t arrive in the mail, but I managed to get to a 3 store unexpectedly and get a SIM. After about 24hours I finally have my phone working as a phone, so that’s all good. Have had a little bit of a play with the new stuff (which is a lot compared to my old Nokia) and so far pretty happy. Not really finding Siri all that great though.

Now, bad news. SW:TOR is having a huge Beta Testing weekend, mostly so they can test server capacities etc. So pretty much everyone registered has an invite, either starting this morning or tomorrow. I scored an invite to the first group, spent 40% of my download quota installing it and was up early 5am to get into it.

But my PC has recently been suffering random shutdowns. I have been trying to get some info and some real symptoms without much luck. So every five mins or so while trying to play, shutdown. And it’s not a nice, quit programs and log out shutdown, its a hard, all of a sudden there’s nothing there total power down. I was already suspicious of the power supply and now I’m definitely going to start my investigations there.

But I can’t play.

Impressions from 10mins of loading screens etc… Great cutscences, in some ways the interface style reminds me of the old SW games, like Tie Fighter and Dark Trooper. So it seems a bit old fashioned. Graphics level seems about Mass Effect 1 level, at least on high with my old card. But I don’t so much mean the detail as the style of the graphics. Controls are very similar to WoW, but I don’t mind that. Familiar territory.

But if every quest is a conversation like that I am impressed at the amount of audio that must be in this game…. and sad as that will limit it’s playability for me when kiddies sleeping. Must investigate if there is a subtitles option.

So sad face at the moment.

UPDATE (1230) Bought a new power supply and opened the case up to get to work. Found the CPU fan was pretty loose, so that’s now my chief suspect. Reseated that and gave the whole case and all the fans a good clean out. Connected it all back up and I’ll keep an eye on it. New PS still unopened ready to return to the shop.

Of course, now little miss 4 is on the PC so I still can’t play!

My iPhone Saga and SWTOR

I preordered an iPhone4S about 3 days before they were released here. For me it is a big upgrade from a 4 year old Nokia running an old version of Symbian. Not really interested in Siri, more interested in the camera, the 64GB storage and not having to buy a whole bunch of apps again (iPad and another iPhone already in house here)

As of last week I was still waiting for it, so gave up and cancelled the pre order and went to the shop to get one. 15mins later walked out of the shop with one, now I just needed a SIM.

I approached Vodafone and tried to get a SIM (switch to them from 3) but my cancellation from yesterday was still pending. Next day same story. Monday same story. But that guy said he’d fixed it, but I am not able to get to a store until Thursday at the earliest and more like Saturday.

So I rang 3 – they’re going to mail me a new SIM. Should be here tomorrow 🙂 I also changed plan so that I’m paying less per month with triple the included calls and about 5 times the data. No contract, no commitments. Sounds a little too good to be true.

I’ll keep you all posted.

Now, subject two. STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC. I have been interested in this for much of the year. I signed up for Beta testing and have even pre ordered a collectors edition from the US. A group of us from work have all organised a group of Sith and Republic guilds already.

Actually got an invite (I think everyone has) for this weekend. While its a massive 25G download, I am interested to see if I can work it on my old PC.

I’m also in two minds what to do about where to play it. Its Windoze only, no OSX version, so I can either play it on the PC (i7 850, 8GB RAM and 9500GT card) or bootcamp this mac and run it here (27” i5 12GB RAM and a better card at least 2 years newer than the 9500). That would mean getting a second Win7 64b copy of course.

I’ll download it and see what happens. Of course I might not like it… then I guess I’ll have a collector ed up for sale?

And what about WoW??