The music in this game might be my favorite part.

I mean, the game in itself is pretty damn awesome and is fast becoming my favorite Souls game. I am not that far in with my 25 hours of play, but so far I have fought... about five bosses? And besides noticing how great and "Soulsy" the design is, how they move, attack and generally want to fuck up my day, the one thing I have noticed on all of them have been the kick-ass music. An early fight ( Vordt ) would have been cool by itself, but the music all the way through is brilliant. Especially how it morphs into something more when the boss kicks into overdrive. Then you have the weird and disgusting stuff going on when fighting the next boss ( Curse-rotted greatwood ).

Bottom line, they have made a great game even greater by doing right by the music. Everything about the game feels like what it should feel like. The best end a trilogy of depressing and awful stories can have. I love it.


My friends are musicians

Some friends of mine got a band. They have finally managed to get an album out there, and has a few music videos done. The latest one is one of my favorite songs so far.

Having friends making music when your taste in music is very... picky, is a dangerous thing. How do you tell your friend that "nah, didn't really do anything for me." I am glad I didn't have to do that, as I find the music pretty damn good. My best friend in the band is the vocalist/guitarist. Have known him for over twelve years, and he was the one who was there the most for me when I broke my back ten years ago. He has been working really hard to make this happen, and it is so awesome seeing it come together.

Thus I want to share the video as much as I can, hence this blogpost. Have a listen, or don't. But if you like it, try and spread it. Would be awesome if a Norwegian hard rock/metal/funk band got big.

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Playing SOMA as a wuss. It can be done!

SOMA is one of those games I didn't even bother thinking about before it came out because I knew it was a horror game. I just can't play those. The only game I have beaten "normally" is F.E.A.R., mostly because the scary parts where infrequent and the shooting was awesome. I hid under a staircase in Doom 3 back in the day, never played it again. Got a few hours into Dead Space before noping out of that. Did beat Dead Space 2 though, but I barely had any sound on. Was still hard as hell.

But the more I heard about SOMA after release made me want it. I love that kind of story, and I often play games for the story. Started watching a playthrough on Youtube, but decided that I wanted to experience it for myself. Find everything, read everything. So I got it. And I played a bit. And it is just so fucking hard to play for someone that just can't deal with first-person horror. The "I am helpless" makes it all so much worse. I got just past finding Catherine, but even the first monster freaked me out. And he/it/they mostly stayed out of my way. Not even sure if that one attacks.

As far as I have gotten on the GOTY podcasts for 2015 the crew have repeatedly said that the game would have been better without monsters. The good parts about the game is the atmosphere, the story and the locations. And I agree. Those parts are awesome, and if further on in the game I have to run past awesome stuff because a crazy Gonk Droid is chasing me, then that is a shame.

Which is why I pulled the trigger and installed the "Wuss Mode Mod". With that mod on the monsters no longer attack or run after you, save for some instances it seems where the chase is a part of the story. Which, as the creator mentions, kinda makes it even better. Having the monsters patrol the corridors, mumbling and screaming, or following you around being angry at you changes the atmosphere into something kinda worse in the "this is fucked up" way. I have only played a bit of it, and have either managed to stay away from a monster or I have just not encountered a new one yet, but the game still freaks me out. I know I cannot be attacked now, or die because of something attacking me as the monsters give off no damage with the mod on, but I still feel the dread. The fact that some of the chases will happen due to story stuff makes it, in a weird way, more tense. I have no idea what monster will chase me. Which means I will still crouch-walk everywhere, stay out of sight of whatever is walking around. But knowing I cannot die at least takes some of the paralyzing dread I feel in games like this away. I can now play it, experience it, beat it, while still being pretty scared. Which is awesome. So if you are like me, one who wants to experience the game for themselves but just cannot sit down and play it because of the scares; try the mod.


Metal Gear

Metal Gear Scanlon is done! And boy, what a ride!

I never played much Metal Gear myself, as the only games I have actually played properly have been one bootleg copy of Metal Gear Solid (which I now realize had some kind of DRM as it always locked up when the last boss fight started, deleting the save) and Metal Gear Solid 2 on the Xbox. Why only those two games? I never owned a Playstation. I did also play through the demo of Metal Gear Solid on a friends Playstation though, and I played it a lot for some reason. Not sure why, because I never liked how it controlled.

I have always been fond of stealth, and the stealth gameplay in Metal Gear rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I struggled through MGS2, only playing on to see where the story went. At the time I remember liking how bonkers it was, while at the same time thinking it was kinda stupid.

And now, after I have seen all of the gameplay and story from the main games? Well, Drew didn't actually play it stealthy, but it seemed to be as bad as I remembered it. The camo system in 3 and 4 seemed neat though, and I think I would have enjoyed that. Story still straddling the line of "this is stupid as shit" and "this is awesome". There are glimpses of great stuff there, ruined by idiotic scenes. I think, for me, Hideo Kojima's love for western action movies ruined a lot of what could be cool. Most of the cool stuff was just hammered in too much, and it got worse every game. The same with the dramatic scenes, which got more and more melodramatic. I appreciate the story, (but calling it great is stretching it,) and I do love big plots like that. Had all of it been planned out at the start it would have been impressive, but it is clear it was not.

Yet there is something to this series, I admit that. I even went so far as to add Metal Gear Solid 5 to my Steam wishlist. It seems to be better in the gameplay department, and maybe you can stealth it better when you have more freedom. But I don't feel like I need it at the release date.

So congratulations, you guys made me want to play a Metal Gear game. I have always thought I didn't need that after MGS2.

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The Witcher 3.

Been playing The Witcher 3 for about two hours today, gone up two levels. I have fought exactly one monster. This is so good.

Also, when I told my brother what the game was about, he said it sounded like some sort of medieval fantasy version of "Supernatural". That is kinda spot on in a lot of ways. He is now further into the game than I am...

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You don't have time, the world is ending!

There is a bunch of games where your task is to stop the end of the world, but instead of structuring the game as a corridor of events leading to the final showdown, it is open. You can go and do whatever you want. In these cases I invariably feel I can't just go about doing whatever. A big part of me always feels this need to finish the quest. I can't go screwing around when the world is ending!

Take Skyrim for instance. Alduin the World Eater is flying around waking up dragons. You are the only one who can stop him. On my first playthrough I did minimal of the sidequests, I really leaned into those main quests though. I just felt I couldn't mess around while Alduin is supposed to make things shittier by the minute. But you could fuck around for years in the game without anything really changing. It breaks some of the immersion for me, and so I need to stop the end of the world. Fast.

Morrowind was better at that. Your very first quest is to deliver a package. When you do so, the recipient Caius Cosades turns out to be a member of a spy network. The package contains a letter saying you are supposed to become a member of the network. The first mission he gives you? "Go out and do whatever. Join a guild or something, fight some bandits. Just do stuff to make an alibi, this spy network is secret." No "you have to stop Dagoth Ur fast or he will destroy the world!". In the context of the story of that game you are free to just do whatever you want. Hell, you are encouraged to!

This brings me to Majora's Mask. Recently remastered and released on 3DS, a lot of people have shouted out both in favor of it and against it. I am part of the crowd who love it. A part of the smaller subset who thinks it is the best Zelda game out there. And a part of the even smaller subset who thinks it is one of the ten best games I have ever played. One of the main gripes people have with the game is the "three day restriction".

"You've met a terrible fate, haven't you?" Yes, I actually made a papercraft version of this guy.

The game works like this: You arrive in Termina three days before the moon is to hit the ground. You literally have exactly three in-game days to stop the end of the world. These three days pass on rather fast. A quick Google search yielded this chart:

1 Termina hour = 45 seconds

4 Termina hours = 3 minutes

12 Termina hours = 9 minutes

1 Termina day = 18 minutes

2 Termina days = 36 minutes

3 Termina days = 54 minutes

Inverted Song of Time - Triple the amount of real time

1 slow Termina hour = 2 minutes 15 seconds

4 slow Termina hours = 9 minutes

12 slow Termina hours = 27 minutes

1 slow Termina day = 54 minutes

2 slow Termina days = 1 hour 48 minutes

3 slow Termina days = 2 hours 42 minutes

So without messing with the time, which is easier to realize you can do in the 3DS version, you only get 54 minutes to save the world. I can see how people figure that out and think "hell no, this fucking sucks". Even with the Inverted Song of Time you only got 2 hours 42 minutes. Not that long time, right? Well, with that you can finish dungeons without any problems. I actually only learned about the Inverted Song of Time after beating the first two dungeons back in the day. And I was like... 12 years old or something. So it can be done on the normal time as well. How you say?

When you think about it, after that first day you steal money from the bank every time you withdraw rupees.

You don't have just 54 minutes/2 hours 42 minutes to beat the game. When you play the Song of Time you can travel back in time to the first day. Everything is reset, except certain items. You keep your bow, but your arrows disappear. You keep your bomb bag, but no bombs. Your upgraded wallet remains, but all your rupees poof. If you spent your last three day cycle getting to the entrance of a temple, finding the Owl Statue there, you can simply warp there right away. So the time constraint isn't "save the world in three days", it's "do whatever you want/need in three days". Want to beat a temple? You got three days. You want to roam around gathering rupees? You got three days.

And this is one of the reasons why I love this game. It has a time constraint that actually works. The world will end in three days. It actually will end, killing you and everyone else, forcing you to reload. In any other game I can think of the end of the world never happens, as it has not been scripted in to actually happen after a set amount of time (if there are any games I would love to hear about them! Ah, just remembered Fallout has that, so I can think of one game.).

If you only had those three days, the game would be super stressful. Even if those three days was real-time days. But with the Song of Time, a crucial part of the story, you sidestep the stress once you learn how it works. The first few cycles of days I was really stressed out. "Ok, I am at the beginning again, but I only have three days to beat this temple now! FUCK!". But you quickly figure out that you got plenty of time. Hell, you got all the time in the world. This also gives you an in-game reason why you can just fuck around for a long time. If you want you can spend a three-day cycle just unwinding. Taking in the sights. Have a vacation so to speak, without breaking the immersion. I know I would do that from time to time.

So the three-day cycle, one of the reasons why a lot of people dislike the game, is actually one of the main reasons why I love it so. It's like a perfect blend of "THE WORLD IS ENDING SOON" and "Eh, do whatever you want man, it's all good". And yet I understand why it turns people off the game. But for me, it is one of the greatest games out there.


Exploring Space - The First Trek

So the adventure begins!

The first jump on the way to Coalsack Nebula. I did not catalog every system I visited, and will not do so. But some I will highlight on my trip. Since you cannot plot a route that far ahead, something it seems they are expanding in a future patch, my first plotted stop would be Khronos. Mostly because it's the farthest system I can plot to, but also because of the name. I like it.

While not needing to scoop fuel just yet, I still do in a few systems on the way. It takes some time, and can be quite dangerous, so I'll mostly refuel at stations along the way, and use the scoop as a backup.

Khronos awaits!

First stop, and nothing has really happened so far. Mostly just flying from system to system. I am still in trafficked space, as evident from the traffic report at Evans Hub.

I refuel, and also sell whatever I can from the data I have collected on the way. As far as I know the price is set, and won't rise the further I get. I might be wrong about that though.

I also decide to check the bulletin board. Might be some fun missions to do while I am here.

That doesn't seem that bad. No fine for failing or abandoning it, and I was going to see if I could get some bounties anyway. Sure, I'll kill some pirates!

And what do you know! I find Ian Cotter, idiot wanted what I had in my cargo hold. Which is quite empty, and more or less not there. After a short, but one sided fight, he manages to flee. I really need to do something about that. I can't even follow the FSD wake yet.

I try to find more pirates, but fifteen minutes of searching only yields battles long finished, wrecks and cargo slowly spinning through space. I decide to push on.

I see some sights on the way, both dim...
... and bright.

Finally some action, as I am pulled out of supercruise heading for my next stop. Sadly, I have no pictures of it, as it happened a bit too fast. The scoundrel in question was called Captain Sparrow. Yes, I kid you not. It was a long and difficult fight, only helped by the authorities. But while fighting, one of them flew between me and my target. Only for a split second, but long enough to be hit by one of my lasers. This resulted in a bounty on my head of a whooping 100 credits. It also meant I had to escape as soon as Sparrow was space dust, as missiles was flying after me.

But I got to Edgeworth in one piece, where I quickly settled the bounty, while delivering the bounty for Captain Sparrow worth about 34.000 credits. Here it is time to take a break, before I resume my journey tomorrow.

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Exploring Space – The Tools

Before I set out on the long journey in Elite: Dangerous, which I plan to start this weekend, I wanted to write a bit of what I use to play, and what my Eagle is outfitted with.

I am not that familiar with it so far, but I got a cheap HOTAS, which had a lot of good reviews. Many of them specifically for this game. And as I am on a budget, I am glad it turned out to be as good as it is. The name of it is “Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick“. I know for a fact you can get a lot better, but also a lot worse. I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is for the price, so I am happy with it.

I got Voice Attack set up, but don’t use it all the time. I have found it easier to just use the buttons on the Hotas so far, but it is cool to be able to say what I want the ship to do.

Here is a quick tour of what I have equipped. Most of it is cheap, starter gear. Grade G and E for the most part, but I do have a D class FSD, which will help a bit with how far I can jump. Right now I can do jumps up to 10.22 Light Years. I also got a Fuel Scoop, making sure I won’t get stuck. Did that once, never again.

I am aware I should try and earn some money “on the road” as it where, to upgrade several components. Especially the FSD, but also the Discovery Scanner. With a better one I will be able to earn more by exploring.

I guess that’s it. I am ready to fly when I got time. See you out there!

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Exploring Space - Planning phase

I briefly got into Elite: Dangerous before it got out, but realized I wanted to play it with proper equipment once it released. Being slow as usual, I only got my cheap HOTAS setup early January 2015. I set it all up, got into the game, and played for a bit, before being swallowed up by Warframe again. But I had already hatched a plan, a trip I wanted to do. And by writing this I will commit to actually doing this.

First of all, I had to get to the system where my Eagle was parked. This was a ship I got for pre-ordering, and it seemed better to me when it came to exploring.

My humble ship.

Doing that, and also earning some cash to install some systems, especially a bigger jump-drive and a fuel scoop, I took a new look at the map.

My current location. Catchy name, right?

This is where I am going.

So yeah. Coalsack Nebula is my first destination. I haven't figured out the exact system I'll call the end though. This is also just the beginning, really. Not sure where to go after that, but just getting there will take some time. I will make new posts every time I get closer, with updates about what has happened on the way. Stay safe out there! And please, if you encounter Cmdr. Matthew Auleyhill, don't shoot! I am just a humble explorer!

Next I plan to make a quick post about what I actually use to fly with, as well as the components installed on the ship. I'll probably make each installment a new post, but I won't share it anywhere. So if you want to explore with me, either just check back, follow me, or check out my "website". It's a glorified blog really. Now I need to go to sleep, as I have work in six... no, five and a half hours. Fuck.


NaissanceE - An experience you should not miss

I have to thank @drewbert a bunch for making me aware of this game. Without Drew talking about the game on the Game of the Year 2014 podcast I would probably never have bought it. But he did, and I did. And I am richer for it.

Early architecture in NaissanceE

While I want to write a lot about the game, what happens, what I think happens, and show images from some of the more impressive stages, I won't. Doing so would be a disservice to the game, as discovering those things yourself is what makes the game so good. But Drew was right. In the beginning there are cubes and blocks. Put together in various ways, sure, but blocks nonetheless. So the moment you encounter a circle... it's weird, in a way. There have been more impressive sights before that, but it still resonates in a way. And it keeps on piling on things.

The closest game I can think of is Journey. In Journey the main event for me was the exploration and feeling of discovery. The music paired with the visuals made it onto a cheerful, sometimes melancholy, thing. It was hopeful, open and vast. Meeting other players made it a happy world. NaissanceE is at times pushing you down, it is claustrophobic, and actually scary in a way. Helped a lot by the sound design, but also by the stark visuals. The hard edges, the black and white. And while it is just as vast as Journey, it almost feels sinister. These are of course feelings, and feelings are highly subjective. Your mileage may vary, but I loved every second of it. Or nearly so.

It has it's bad moments as well. Namely the first person platforming. And there is a lot of it. Mostly it works, and it doesn't task you with that difficult jumps. But there are a few sequences that really ground me down. At a few of them it actually seemed like the game did some course correction, moved a few blocks, thus making it easier. But I am not sure about that, might have been my imagination. If it did, then cool. A game with first person platforming should make steps to make it easier when someone fails at one part over and over. If not, then space and time is even stranger in NaissanceE than I thought.

But for every time I felt frustrated by the platforming, there are three or four moments of slack jawed gawking at something that at first made my mind go "Holy fuck". Then I believe I smiled. Grinned even, as spectacle out of sheer visuals is hard to do these days. I am sure you look across larger areas of space in games like Far Cry 4, and yet the areas of NaissanceE is magnitudes more impressive. And when some of those moments got interrupted by a scary fucking sound in the wall nearby, it quickly turned into "Oh no, I need to move!". And onward you push into the unknown shadows. Which brings me to another thing this game does masterfully, light and dark. The lighting system might be simple, I don't know, but it is really impressive. If there is one game where it is important to follow the suggested gamma settings, it is this.

So I'll echo Drew. Play this. More people should.