Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Neverwinter Nights (2002)

While everyone else is already over and done with NWN2 and some even its expansion, I'm just now finishing off NWN Diamond Edition. I have now completed the original game, its 2 expansions (Hordes of the Underdark & Shadows of Undrentide), and its premium modules (Witch's Wake, ShadowGuard and Kingmaker).

Think this is the 2nd most played game of mine. According to xfire I've got 183 hours on it. I know I've played it without xfire so its more than that. Only other game that I've probably played more is Counterstrike, but didn't have xfire at the time to track it (Thankfully :) ).

I still want to try other premium modules such as Pirates of the Sword Coast and Wyvern Crown, but am taking another break from NWN for a bit. Not to mention all the user made modules that I have yet to try. So much content for one game..

..And I'm still occasionally playing on some PWs. At times I'm amazed my characters haven't been archived and no longer active on the servers since its rare that I log in. I still like Lands of Always Autumn and Alboria as my 2 main PWs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Far Cry (2004)

Had played about 1/4 of Far Cru when I first got it years back but then shelved it for whatever reason. It wasn't due to it being a bad game as I really enjoyed it, just some other shiny game came along. Finally got around to finishing off the rest of it and have now done so.

The island setting was a nice change of pace from most corridor shooters. Levels were mostly open so you could get to your target using multiple paths. Besides the arsenal of hand weapons, there was a good amount of mounted weapons and vehicles to drive. Decent enough AI for the levels too as the enemy would hunt you down if they heard you and would try to use cover.

Even on the island there was a good mix of different settings. From thick jungles to the beaches, rivers to swim or boat in, hidden army camps and underground bases. There was also a good use of altitude as the island has many mountains. At first it was like stumbling into a South Pacific island camp of mercenaries. Then later it became the Island of Dr Moreau.

I preferred the mercenary fights over the mutants but still didn't think the mutant sections were to bad. Think this held me off on playing the game as I heard many people quick at this time, which was where I first stalled at. After finishing it up, the mutant parts were small and more mercenary battles returned later. Only the last 2 maps were full of mutants and these were the 2 maps I didn't like when compared to the rest of the game.

The island and its hidden bases had a nice sense of exploration as I was unsure what was around each corner or behind every tree. Occasionally I'd stumble across ancient ruins on my way to a high tech base buried underground.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)

"For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled."

"The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was a white line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed."

- "The Road Warrior"

Finally finished up S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Due to my PostApoc love (Mad Max, Road Warrior, A Boy & His Dog, etc.), I really dug this game. Felt like Fallout but as an FPS instead of RPG. Hopefully Bethesda can do as well with the true Fallout 3. I never followed the development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. so wasn't upset about the map being broken into levels. Even broken up, each level was a good size with tons of stuff in each one to explore (Different towns/villages/bases, abandoned buildings/cars, random clutter, etc.).

I enjoyed that for most maps, there was more than 1 path to your destination as rail FPS bore me now for the most part. Improved armor/guns and the quest log gave it an RPGlite feel too. The game is also very moddable and tons of mods are out there already. I mainly used ones to remove quest time limit, weight limit, weapon/armor degradation and other small adjustments. Can't wait for the sequel - Clear Sky.

"The Nightrider. That is his name... the Nightrider. Remember him when you look at the night sky!"

EDIT: Found a link to Strugatsky's 'RoadSide Picnic' that STALKER is based on.

Some S.T.A.L.K.E.R. links:

Developer Forums
Oblivion Lost
FileFront's S.T.A.L.K.E.R. mods

Below are the Stalker Mods I've been running on v1.0003 (Not sure how they work with v1.0005/latest patch or if there are updates to them for either patch):

MP5 to Pistol Slot - MP5 now fits in pistol slot so other rifle goes in rifle slot.

Ammo Mod - Traders have all ammo.

Moonstalker minimod - Used the parts that improve carry capacity and npc item usage. Also used trade generic to improve trade with other stalkers.

No time limit on quests - Removes the quest time limit.

Repair mod - Traders repair weapons/armor.

Flashlight range mod - Tweaks range of flashlight.

Endurance Mod - Carry more stuff. Has higher weight limit than the minimod, which I used until I kept having tons of weapons I couldnt carry back for loot.

Low armor degrade - Armor degrades more slowly. This isnt the one I used (cant find it) but it works the same

These remove weapon & armor degradation (I switched from repair mod to nondegrading mod at some point) [All 3 are needed]:
Nondegrading normal weapons
Nondegrading unique weapons
Nondegrading armor

Mods I want to try next game:

Weapon customization mod - allows more customization - silencers, scopes on more weapons, etc. Couldn't get it to work with the MP5slot1 mod but probably could if I picked scouted each mod for the changes needed to combine them.

Trader mod - Traders have more guns.

Some of these mods use the same files so you will have to modify in the change yourself. Most of the ones I used had good readmes explaining what to tweak when there was a file conflict.