Games

Dishonored 2

by Rob on

Last week, on 11 November, a the new game “Dishonored 2” was release, a sequel on the game “Dishonored”, released in 2012.

On the moment I heard that this sequel would be made, I already knew that I wanted the game. I really loved “Dishonored” (lets call that game “Dishonored 1”, to keep things more clear). I knew that it would be hard for bethesda, the company behind the game, to live up to the original game, but from that what I have seen until now, they managed to do so.

The series takes place in the fictional Empire of the Isles with the majority of “Dishonored 2” set in the coastal city of Karnaca and is set fifteen years after the events of the first game. After Empress Emily Kaldwin is deposed by an “otherworldly usurper”, the player may choose between playing as either Emily or her bodyguard and father Corvo Attano as they attempt to reclaim the throne. Both Emily and Corvo employ their own array of supernatural abilities. They can alternatively decide to forfeit them altogether. There are a multitude of ways to succeed in each given mission, from stealth to purposeful violent conflict.

Ideas for a sequel to Dishonored began while developing its downloadable content, which spawned the decision to create a voice for Corvo Attano after being a silent character in the first installment. Emily Kaldwin was first proposed as a playable character and brought about the advancement of the timeline. The design was influenced by paintings and sculptures. Set in the new fictional city of Karnaca, its history was invented over the course of one year. The city itself was based on southern European countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, drawing on the architecture, fashion, and technologies of 1851.

The Outsider is also there again. The Outsider is a mysterious supernatural being said to be part-devil, part-angel, neither good nor evil. The Outsider remains neutral in regard to events that transpire in the mortal world. He does not place conditions on those he gifts with supernatural abilities, and does not factor hierarchy or effort into their selection

I am very curious to all the adventures I will find in this game. If it is anywhere close to “Dishonored 1” the adventures will be many. So many enjoyable hours ahead!
But it is already clear, in this game stealth, speed, strategic thinking and some luck will be there again. Sneaking around in shadows, moving over roofs and back alleys. Assassinate and brutal open force.

And when I played all through the game, I will start all over and go for the most difficult play style for this game: Do the complete game without any killing…

(And Marissa, if you had not noticed it yet, this game is also added to your Steam-account!)

 

 

(Credit screenshots: Rob)


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Overwatch

by Rob on

May this year Blizzard released a new game called “Overwatch” and it is nothing like anything I have played before.

The story behind the game (in some lines): Overwatch was a global peacekeeping task force. It helped save the world during a global crisis, and was the big name in worldwide heroism and unity. It formed a covert ops division called Blackwatch. Eventually, accusations that Overwatch made things worse somehow resulted in it being made illegal. Winston, one of the original members, brought Overwatch back together — off the books — when another global crisis presented itself. Now, the world doesn’t trust Overwatch anymore. Its function is illegal, but it still needs to do what it was formed to do in order to protect the world — and lots of people, including some former members, want to stop it.

The game is available for PS 4, X-Box One and PC.

It is a team based game, where as team you fight another team. The other team can be another team of players or an AI based team (and believe me, that doesn’t make it is easy).

Unlike many other online games, you cannot create you own character. You can select before every match you play from a number defined characters. There are 4 skill groups of these characters: Offensive (damage dealers), defence, tank and support (utility). The more balanced the team with members of these skill groups, the more successful the team will be. Having said that, it can be great fun to play with an unbalanced team.

At first hand I didn’t like the idea of nothing be able to create you own character, but I have to admit that I got very fast used to the idea. Most of the predefined characters are fun the play. And specially Tracer made a big hit on the Internet.

All matches are built around attacking or defending locations or objects. The number is locations is large and very well made. And what it is a nice touch, these locations do really exist, although placed in the world of Overwatch.

Marissa, Marion’s niece and my gaming-friend, have been playing this game together. And as our tank/damage dealer duo we were quite successful.
Overwatch is a fun game to play and will make you laugh at time. Hopefully the jerks will leave this game alone.

As said, Overwatch is a good game. Although if you play it too often, it may become a bit boring. Curious what Blizzard is going to do with this game.


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Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

by Rob on

“This world doesn’t need a Hero.
It needs a professional!

One of the games that I really like to play currently is the recently released “Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt”. I really have to say that it is one the best standalone games I played for some time. It beats “Dragon Age Inquisition” and “Grand Theft Auto V” by far! And yes, I know this is a personal judgement…

The game is based on the books by the Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. There are also a film and a television series about the witcher. These (books, film and television series) are now on my wish list).

This game places the story first, but that doesn’t mean the game-play is bad. Far from that. It is challenging and daring. The combined story-line and game-play makes this game awesome.

The game plays in an vast open world with incredible good graphics. There are multiple ecosystems the player can move between at will. Each region has a distinct feel and deep cultural references. And very nice is that you can travel around unspoiled by extra loading time.

The world is shaped by the decisions of the player, but which, left to itself, goes on living. The day and night cycle is very realistic. So is the dynamic weather system.

Combat complexity is based on a variety of actions at the player’s choice, unlikely as with other games not a correct attack sequence. The Witcher senses system bringing new tactical depth to combat. Monsters, each with their own lore, are a challenge to battle and may need their own strategy to fight them.

So what is a “witcher” anyway?

(source: Witcher 3 Compendium)
“The witcher caste came into existence a few centuries ago. Created through magical experimentation and controlled mutations, the witchers were humanity’s answer to the constant threat posed by the monsters and magical beasts which have plagued this world since the Conjunction. For years they have roamed the land as professional monster hunters, taking money in exchange for exterminating dangerous creatures that threaten humans. However, the prejudice and wild rumors surrounding this trade have also made witchers the targets of persecution and outright hatred. At various times, they have been hunted down or lynched by frenzied mobs, and their schools plundered and burnt to the ground. Although the time of open hostility has ended, witchers are still widely distrusted and ostracized. Despite all this, and though they are now few in number, the last of the witchers still ply their trade, striving to remain neutral in the face of the wars and discord ravaging this world.

Witchers are trained from childhood. Their bodies age much more slowly than those of ordinary humans, are immune to diseases, and can shrug off almost any poison. Witchers can also see in darkness and, thanks to the many modifications to their metabolism, are able to regulate the speed of their pulse and the flow of adrenaline, giving them unparalleled reflexes and strength. During their gruelling training, witchers learn both to master the sword and to use simple, yet highly effective magic. They also have a great knowledge of monsters, lifting curses, and dispelling charms, which allows them to more effectively face the magical beings they are hired to deal with.”

And Geralt of Rivia, the main character of the game, is such a witcher.

The introduction to the story behind the game:

(source: Witcher 3 wiki)
“The world is in chaos. The air is thick with tension and the smoke of burnt villages. The fearsome Empire of Nilfgaard has struck again, ravaging the helpless Northern Kingdoms. The once mighty who tried to use Geralt for their own gain are now gone. In these uncertain times, no one can say what fortune holds in store, who will bring peace to the world and who will cause it only misery. But a force darker and deadlier emerges. The petty men and women commanding tin-plated armies fail to understand that their conflict is child’s play compared to the Wild Hunt, the otherworldly threat which now looms. These ghastly spectral riders have for ages plagued humankind, bringing misery to the world. Yet this time the Wild Hunt seeks one person in particular: the one individual Destiny itself bestowed upon Geralt, the one soul Geralt considers kin.”

And this person that Geralt considers kin is Ciri, a girl that he raised and trained (although she is not a witcher).

In this game The Wild Hunt plays a major part. The Wild Hunt is a group of specters, led by the King of the Wild Hunt, which is considered to be an omen of misfortune and death. It is said to appear mainly, but not exclusively during the winter. The Wild Hunt can appear in the sky as a harbinger of war and other misfortunes; some believe it to be simply a magical phenomenon and not a horde of specters; elven sources refer to it as the Red Riders

Geralt and Ciri have both come into close contact with the King and his specters, either directly or through dreams. The Wild Hunt will attempt to find and capture Ciri (I will not tell why as this may spoil the story-line for who hasn’t played the game yet)

The Wild Hunt originates from European folklore and possibly myth. There are many legends of the Hunt, but notable among them is that the cavalcade is led by the god Odin.

What I noticed that there are a lot Dutch names used in this game. Maybe this because the game is based on Northern European folkore. Dijkstra, Jonkheer, Leeuwarden, Bloedzuiger. And it is fun to hear how some names are pronounced. Such as the name Liesje (in game it is pronounced as “Li-esje”, while it should be “Lies-je” ;-).

There have several complains about the game that it contains too much nudity, sexual references and bloodshed for children. It turned about that often these complains came from parents who allowed young children to play this game. In my opinion these parents are themselves to blame, because if they just had a slight look into what their children are doing, they would have noticed the next:

But whatever, I think this game will keep me for a long time entertained :-)


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A speed monster… Yes, truly!

by Rob on

Every 3 á 4 year I try to buy a new computer. Is that needed for normal computer- and internet use? No, not at all. But for gaming it is a different story. New games that are published have all the time higher hardware demands. So before you know it, your computer is “outdated”. And also for photo processing it is nice to have a fast system, although it is not really a must… if you are patient enough.

So about a week ago or so I thought it was about time to look for a new computer again. The computer I had (a Dell XPS 8300) was around 3 to 4 years old. It didn’t take really long to find what I wanted: a Dell again, but this time a XPS 8700.

And today this new computer would be delivered to my home. As UPS only delivers on working days, I took today off from work. The delivery would be somewhere between 9:00 and 19:00 and with my luck I already expected that the computer would be delivered end of the day somewhere between 18:00 and 19:00. But I was wrong this time. Somewhere around 9:45 the door bell sounded and it was UPS with the new computer.

As I prepared already everything, the new computer was installed very quickly without any problems at all. And so the new XPS 8700 was standing next to his 3 á 4 years old XPS 8300 brother (the complete black one is the new XPS 8700).

These are the specs of the XPS 8700 (I will also mention the specs of the XPS 8300 to compare it):

– I7 Intel Core 4790 processor 8Mb,4.00 Ghz 4 Generation (8300: I7 Intel Core 2600 Processor 8Mb, 3.4 Ghz)
– 32 Gb memory (8300: 8 Gb memory)
– AMD Radeon HD R9 270 2Gb Graphic card (8300: ATI Radeon HD 5870 1Gb)
– 2 Tb Hard disk (8300: 1.5 Tb Hard disk)
– 256 Gb Solid State disk (8300: Not available)
– Wifi, which I will hardly use (8300: Not available)
– BlueTooth, which I will hardly use (8300: Not available)

And some other things as CD, DvD & BluRay drive (capable of writing CD’s and DvD’s), memory card readers of all kind and so on.

The “weakest” part of this new configuration is the graphic card. The Radeon R9 270 is better card as the Radeon HD 5870 in the XPS 8300, but it is a 2Gb card while I really would prefer a 4Gb card. But the offer on this set was so nice, that will be worth it to replace the graphic card later on. Something I will do on short term. The Radeon R9 270 will that is currently in the XPS 8700 will move to the XPS 8300.

After the computer was installed and security software was running, I downloaded the two “heaviest” games I currently have: Titanfall and Dragon Age Inquisition, which luckily doesn’t take too long witha 200Mb connection. I was amazed! The old Radeon HD 5870 Graphic card could handle these game, but after playing a bit that card needs cooling, something you really could hear by the hard working fans. But this new Radeon R9 270 card can handle these games just fine. No loud noise of fans at all.
And I thought the graphics of the Radeon HD 5870 were nice, those of this new card are really a lot better. Much more detail and way smoother animations.

Okay, now installing all the software and such. And while doing that, doing the household, so when Marion arrives later on all is ready for the weekend. All I am very happy with my new computer, that doesn’t mean I will spend all weekend behind the computer. No and specially not when Marion is around :-)


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Yes, also when Marion is not around (she had a congress from her work in Germany this weekend) I take good care of myself. For tonight I made myself a delicious schnitzel (“zelf gepaneerd”, no idea how to say that in English). Some baked potatoes and fine carrots/garden peas to it. A little mayonnaise and curry sauce…. and there we have a very nice dinner. Not every dinner has be complicated or expensive.

Mostly when I am alone at home, I eat my dinner on the couch while watching TV, like now I am watching the series of Xena, the Warrior Princess. I watch every day one or two episodes. When I am done with Xena (I am now watching season 5 and there were 6 seasons), I am going to watch the X-Files (I am already collecting the first seasons of the X-Files).

I have been doing some stuff in and around the house this weekend. Some things I had already planned for some time.

So I finally managed to align the two back speakers of my surround sound-system. One of them was standing on 2 meters height on a bookcase, while the other was on the small table on 80 centimetres height. Not really good. The solution is simple, bring both on the same height… preferably something much lower then the one on the bookcase. I also didn’t want to drill holes in my walls. So options were a bit limited.
For some time already I have been looking for table or something alike to place that speaker on so it would on the same height as the speaker that is already standing on that 80 centimetre high table. But all what I saw had the wrong colour, the design was awful or it was too big.
Till last Friday I saw a column that was almost perfect. Yes, almost… because it was white (and I wanted it to be black). But I realized that it could be long before I found something as that column in black. So I bought it with the idea to paint it black myself on a later moment. For now I would place some fabric around it… and to honest, I like it this way. So it may stay this way….

I know… I know… one should not place plants or things on speakers. But I never turn my speakers onto very high volume and I am careful. I may remove the silver statue though. It is just too much for that small area.

On the two bookcases in my bedroom there was a long line of boxes with old computer games. It looked very nice, but I started to run out of space to store the DvD’s & BluRays that I buy. So removed all the boxes with games and placed there instead the bigger DvD/BluRay-boxes that I have, making so a lot of space for new DvD’s & BluRays :).

And those old computer-games? No, I did not throw them away as some lady suggested :P. Even when I don’t play them anymore (many are too old to play on a modern computer), I don’t want to throw them away. So I stored them for now in another closet, but I have to find a better solution for that.

And so there were many more or less small things I did this weekend. But mostly useful things of which I am now happy that they are done. Apart from these things I did of course the normal house cleaning, groceries and laundry. It all belongs to it….

So yes, if you ask me it was a good weekend. Specially because last Friday I felt a bit sick and that is luckily all gone.


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My Brute….

by Rob on

Somewhere last week a colleague of mine did send me a link of an online game. The name of the game is “My Brute” and apart from selecting your opponents there is not very much you have to do (at least until now). When you win a fight, you gain experience and grow in levels, skills and also you will gain equipment.

I can have 5 fights per day.

It is a simple game… but it is fun to do….

I CHALLENGE YOU


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