Let’s Play Skyrim: Part 2 – The Big City

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack! At least, I’m back to a place where I can at least have a few moments to type. So enjoy the continuation of my exploration of Skyrim with my feisty Bosmer ranger avatar, Piter.

It’s still a little while before I really got into the screenshot taking thing, so forgive the lack of some of the important bits. Hopefully my l33t English-major description skillz will help make up for it. 

When we last left Piter, she had almost been eaten by a dragon, and was asked to choose sides in a civil war she could care less about. Rather than follow the Stormcloak (or seek out the Imperials), she skips off of the path entirely and heads out into the woods for several (in-game) days. After getting my fill of hunting and exploring various settlements we come across (and being loaded down with pelts and furs in my inventory), it is time to find a road again, and continue South. I find birthsign stones as I do, and–obviously–pick the Thief. Piter is no pickpocket, mind you, but she does rely on ranged weapons and stealth. The Warrior is not her way, and neither, for certain, is the Mage.

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Let’s Play Skyrim: Part 1 – Heads Are Overrated Things

You’ll have to forgive the lack of screenshots in the first few entries here; I still haven’t gotten used to hitting the capture button at important moments–I usually get too wrapped up in the game. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gone along though, so you’ll get more pictures as this progresses

Ah, the Skyrim theme. It’s not Morrowind, but damn it’s beautiful. The male choir is gorgeous, and sets the Viking-like tone very well indeed. And so does the scenery as the game opens–trees, mountains, snow…in fact I feel quite at home. I spent four years at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and loved it, -60F temperatures and all. I immediately feel that familiar chill as the opening scene fades in.

Of course, as is Elder Scrolls tradition, my character is a prisoner. I hadn’t specifically known this ahead of time, but it’s hardly a surprise. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of this convention–it rather limits the hypothetical background you can give your character–but it is an easy way to get you into (and out of) a tutorial and character creation quickly. As an Elder Scrolls veteran, I already know what race I want to play–a Wood Elf. They’ve always been my favorite. And although I usually play a male (purely because the female versions of armor–especially the light armor I favor–is insultingly skimpy) I think I will try a female this time. The screenshots I’ve seen have shown at least some suits of reasonable armor for female Dovakhiin, so that will be nice.

My fellow prisoners–none, sadly as endearing as my good friend Jiub (whatever happened to him, anyhow? I hope he got released as well)–talk for a bit, and don’t tell me much of anything I don’t already know from Skyrim‘s marketing department. There’s a civil war, and it seems that a small band of Nord freedom fighters and/or terrorists are attempting to force Skyrim to cede from the Empire. As much as I know the writers probably want me to sympathize with the rebels, nothing Ulfric Stormcloak says here convinces me OR my character that he’s playing with a full deck. Maybe this is residual Imperial sympathy from the last two games, but much of his ‘inspirational speech’ sounds like militant Texans demanding their own country. (And yes I AM allowed to make fun of Texas–I was born there.) While I understand his position, I–the player–have far too much love for the Empire after the events of Morrowind and Oblivion to immediately get on the rebel bandwagon.

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What would you do?

So this was going to be the first Skyrim LP post, but then I got the following message from RipOffProductionsLLC:

Cut Beta Quote about the 7 hour war:

“There was an illusion of safety, for a time. And then the Citadels appeared. It happened in a split second, all over the world. A chunk would disappear from the center of a city, to be replaced an instant later by one of these… headquarters for the Combine. Invasion Central.”
-Eli Maxwell (later renamed Eli Vance, after General Vance[whose role in he plot was taken by Barny] was cut)

This also talks about the Citadel’s arrival on Earth, whether or not it’s still cannon is unknown but it makes sense.

Another peace of cut content said that the UN asked Breen to negotiate the surrender of earth, but that is on vary shaky ground.

But now let me ask you something, wouldn’t you do the same? To save the humanity from extinction at the hands(or whatever) of an alien empire? ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’

Well. For all my blustering about hating Breen and wanting to shove my (sadly non-existent in this game) M-4 up his rear end, I was NOT expecting to be confronted with the moral quandary he faced. I mean, Breen wasn’t a bad guy, or he wasn’t at Black Mesa. He’s not a bad or evil man, although I think he’s thoroughly misguided by this point. Whether he’s taking advantage of the situation or simply being misled by the Combine, I don’t know.

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But who will be left for them to rule?

So apparently the Combine have weaponized headcrabs. This is not something I had foreseen. (And apparently some of these headcrabs come pre-stocked with explosives, but that’s another blog entry.)

Aside from just being a cool idea, let’s step back for a moment and think about this logically. When humans conquer something, what’s the usual objective? Power, right? (Not that there aren’t other motives, but we’ll get to those in a moment.) If the Combine is launching zombie-creating headcrabs at people–rendering entire areas inconvenient to reclaim at best–then this means one of two things: they don’t care about humans, or they don’t care about land. (Or maybe they care about neither one.) Maybe we’ll learn which later on–maybe the Combine actually will send troops in to clean out the area. Or maybe they’ll be content to let all the non-City areas become post-apocalyptic nightmares, which is exactly what will happen if they use this weapon regularly.

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Last…I am the last…

…person on Earth to probably play Valve’s brilliant Half-Life, bit it’s finally, after two years, complete. BEHOLD:

And so my two-year Odyssey with Gordon Freeman comes to an end. Nihilanth is dead, Earth (and those asshole scientists) are safe, and Gordon…well…Gordon got rather screwed, didn’t he? I was expecting him to teleport back home to a hero’s welcome, but no. Instead he got kidnapped by a creepy, not-so-human guy in a suit. Not as anticlimactic as the death that awaited him if he refused, of course, but still…ouch. I did, by the way, reload a save so I could see what happens if you refuse G-Man’s offer. Just like I thought, he was not to be trifled with, and you are killed pretty much without ceremony, and no chance of victory. Like I said: ouch.

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G-Man? More like CSM, amirite?

Gaps and comes up for air for the first time in three weeks. Blinks owlishly at the sudden bright lights.

Incidentally, if anyone ever asks you: teaching is HARD.

So, obtuse X-files reference aside, this article is indeed about Half-Life’s mysterious be-suited character. At this point–what, somewhere around 3/4ths of the way through are we, now?–and I still don’t know much about him at all. He’s…a…guy, he seems to dress well, he carries a briefcase, and he tends to appear in the oddest places.

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Half-Life, Halloween and Long Time No See!

Why hello there ladies and gents. Bet you thought I was dead, didn’t you? Well, I’m not, I’ve just been completely wrapped up in my Half-Life LP in the spare moments of time I’m able to snatch. But! My computer is on the fritz, and with it all my games and recording capability. The prognosis is I won’t get it back for at least a few weeks, so that leaves me time to review comics, and write here again. I’m taking this as an opportunity to stop neglecting my poor blog too, so stay tuned.

When I first sat down to write this, it was going to be a bit of a Half-Life retrospective. My YouTube fans tell me I’ve reached what is widely accepted as the halfway mark, so this seemed like a good time to look back at what we’ve seen, experienced and learned so far. However, this being Halloween, I’ve decided to do something a little different. The full HL retrospective will come later next week. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of my favorite Half-Life monsters instead!

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