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Legend of Grimrock -- Toorum Mode

This blog entry is sort of a late guest that only arrives to the party once it's over, but as with a lot of things in life, I tend to only write when I feel inspired to. But yeah, so today I finally made some more changes to the Legend of Grimrock wiki, by adding an entry about the game's illusive secret mode: Toorum Mode. I think my wiki says it all, so I'm just gonna copy-paste it here. The reason I'm doing this blog is because this mode is pretty awesome and adds a lot of depth to the game and I think a lot of people might not know about it and/or won't ever even notice this is now in the game's wiki page. So here goes.

Toorum Mode

Legend of Grimrock has a secret mode that can only be unlocked after you've attained the "Buddies with Toorum" achievement, which pretty much consists of being able to find and take Toorum's remains back to a Crystal of Life, thus releasing his spirit. Now, once you've gotten this achievement, you can at any time start a new game (make sure you've got the "create characters" option active before you do, though!), write "Toorum" in the character name slot, press the "enter" key and voilà, your hear a sound that resembles a chime of sorts and the game immediately launches, giving you a brand new character with a brand new portrait and a particular set of skills to play with. Take note however that you will NOT have a party with you-- your playthrough with Toorum will be a "one-man army" kind of experience, which greatly changes the gameplay and drastically alters the overall experience, as you only have two hands to equip items into.

Toorum's starting Stats, set of Skills and unique Traits 

Meet Toorum... you know, that guy whose notes you keep finding throughout the game
Meet Toorum... you know, that guy whose notes you keep finding throughout the game

  • Health: 95
  • Energy: 55
  • Strength: 18
  • Dexterity: 15
  • Vitality: 16
  • Willpower: 12

  • Skills: Armours, Axes, Swords, Earth Magic, Fire Magic, Spellcraft

(please note that unlike in a standard mage class, Toorum cannot cast spells without having an orb or a staff equipped)

  • Traits: Tough, Skilled, Thunderstruck

(the thunderstruck trait is unique to Toorum and isn't even available in the game's regular mode; what thunderstruck does is it gives Toorum the ability to move at twice the normal movement speed)
And that's about it; I've been meaning to do this for a long time now, but a couple of days ago I finally decided to replay the game under Toorum's Mode, in the hardcore difficulty setting. I haven't been able to play all that much yet, though, just enough to finish the first floor/level. I'm also roguelike-ing it: as in, once I die, I'm dead and I won't be loading a previous save or whatever. You know, permadeath -- I guess I could've just said that just now ^^
Anyway, here it is, Toorum mode and how to get it. Now, how far do you guys think I'm gonna get with just the one character? :)


Short blog on Skyrim's skill and inventory systems

First of all I'd like to say I'm eagerly awaiting for the release of this game, so that I can finally play it-- I love the Elder Scrolls franchise and I spent nearly 100h on Oblivion alone.
Secondly, this blog will of course only reflect my very own personal opinions and these should only be regarded as such.

So, in a nutshell, and from what we've been given to see so far (which has always been the 360 version, I think), I really don't like both the skill trees and the inventory systems in Skyrim. I really tried to like them, but I just can't.

Skill Trees

I don't like those skill trees, it just doesn't seem right to have to select and go back and forth between every single one of them to see which abilities are comprised within. I like me a proper skill tree, where you can see everything in the same screen and each ability's description is revealed as you hover the mouse over them-- this new system just looks needlessly time consuming and kinda useless, to be completely honest.
This is what a modern skill tree should look like, in my humble opinion.
This is what a modern skill tree should look like, in my humble opinion.

Upon entering a branch of the tree, all abilities should be easily accessible and their description elegantly shown by simply moving the mouse over them
Upon entering a branch of the tree, all abilities should be easily accessible and their description elegantly shown by simply moving the mouse over them

 Another good example of quickly accessible ability descriptions within a skill tree (on the left)
 Another good example of quickly accessible ability descriptions within a skill tree (on the left)

Hotkeys / Quickbar

I hope there will be keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys or at least a quickbar on the PC version, I really don't want to pause the game and go through a menu every single time I want to change between my favourite spells and/or weapons.
Even the PC version of Dragon Age 2 had a quickbar with hotkeys associated to each item placed in there!
Even the PC version of Dragon Age 2 had a quickbar with hotkeys associated to each item placed in there!


They seem very keen on showing you how you can take a detailed look at every single item on your inventory, from a shield to a plant, but so far I haven't seen a way to compare the weapons you pick up (or those you already own) to the ones you have equipped on your character. It seems kinda dumb for a 2011 game to not show you how a new weapon in your inventory compares to the one you're currently using, so I sincerely hope they've just been strangely forgetting to show this feature to the public... Or maybe I just missed some preview or whatever and they've already shown this; I really hope so.
In addition to this, I like an inventory where I can actually see my dude, and one where I don't have to scroll up and down every time I want to check out something. I don't see this being a problem if you have few items on your inventory, but I can imagine it getting quite tiresome and annoying if you have dozens of items to look for. I haven't noticed how they are organised within each group, but say they're alphabetically ordered and you want to take a look at a weapon that starts with M, for example. I really don't want to scroll through all my A to L weapons to check the stats on that one. This is just an example, of course, but no matter how they're displayed, if you have a LOT of them, you're always gonna end up doing a lot of silly scrolling-- again, this system looks needlessly time consuming, not to say useless (this is actually the one thing I didn't like in the new Fallout games). 
Here you can check the stats on that last item without having to go through all of the previous
Here you can check the stats on that last item without having to go through all of the previous

Weapon comparison -- that's a must in any modern game
Weapon comparison -- that's a must in any modern game
Again, this is all just personal input. I don't think they've shown the PC version yet, so this might all be in there and none of my worries have a reason to be, but for some reason, I don't think that will be the case... : /

Having trouble with GB and the Whiskey Media sites!

Two days ago I stopped being able to write on any forums, videos, articles and even on my own lists and blog. The bit where I'm writing this text right now used to be completely blank and would just keep saying "loading..." until eternity and beyond. I also couldn't make any changes to the wiki due to the same problem. Today all this seems to be fine, though.
However, yesterday I stopped being able to SEE both my GB and Screened profile pages (my Anime Vice one works, though)-- if I click on my "images" tab or "quests" tab or any other, it's fine and I can see all its content, but if I click the "summary" tab, I get nothing, just a blank page with my avatar picture and the status bar with my message and the number of followers. But that's it, I can't access my profile, even now that the rest seems to be working ok. This happens when I try to access a few other GB members' pages as well.
I thought this could be a problem with BOTH my PCs (which although unlikely, was a possibility), but a good friend of mine on GB (who doesn't even live in my country) can't see my profile either, so this is definitely not on my end...
Is this happening to anyone else? Thanks guys, and take care :)

edit: I know Mento has already posted a similar problem on this forum, but seen that my problems were extended to not being able to write anywhere on the site until today and also that others might be going through the exact same thing right now (thus being unable to say anything about it), I thought it would still be useful to state that issue to the staff here on the "bug reporting" forum.


Dragon Age II - first impressions and character creator

I probably should've worked a little more and played a little less, but truth is I ended up spending about 10h on DA2 in the past two nights.
In a nutshell, I'm enjoying it, even if the combat is kinda silly and way too fast-- I'm playing on the normal difficulty setting and I've custom tactics set for all my party members and so far I find myself never even needing to pause the game whenever we encounter some enemies. But to be completely honest, I really don't care all that much for the combat aspects of the game. Same as in the Mass Effect series, I just want to get through the combat sequences to reach the next story bit. Some of the side quests have been really cool, particularly the one where you get to escort a Qunari mage; I felt like I learnt a lot about their culture in the final segment of the quest.
As for the main quest... well, there hasn't been much to it, really. Getting into Kirkwall was fast and easy and then a year suddenly goes by and you don't even actually do anything during that time. And then I had to gather money and a map (which I already got a long time ago, but I like to finish all side quests before moving on) to go on an expedition into The Deep Roads, but to be completely honest I'm not even sure why I'm doing this expedition in the first place... but there's always the remote chance that I've missed something. Anyway, the main plot is looking very random so far. But hopefully that'll change (don't tell me, though!)
Now, "relationships". These have been kinda weird, I gotta tell you. I'm playing a male character and for some reason all male characters seem to be hitting on me (apart from Varric). I had to "break their hearts" in order for it to stop, but then I get rivalry points for it, which doesn't seem to make any kind of sense. As for female characters, there's been an opportunity to say something cute or whatever to Merril, but that's about it so far. It just seems a lot easier to "get it on" with a male, even if you're also a male. Everyone just seems to be bisexual and it all seems a bit... statistically innacurate, if you know what I mean. Oh well, we'll see.
Finally, the character creator.
Everything about Dragon Age II looks more cartoony, but who'd knew more cartoony actually meant that I'd finally be able to create a character that actually looks like me. Maybe I just couldn't manage to really exploit the capabilities of every single character creator up to this point, but truth is I was never able to create a character where there was an actual resemblence with yours truly. But that changed with DA2. I mean, of course the likeness isn't top-notch, but this is the first time that I've looked at my character (even in-game, during dialogue and cutscenes) and didn't immediately thought "man, despite all the time and effort I spent around this thing, it still looks NOTHING like me".
Anyway, they don't have my haircut type so I had to go with one of their silly ones, but the more cartoony approach of Dragon Age II still did the trick and I finally kinda look like me. Maybe I'm a real-life cartoon? ^^

 The "real" me VS my character's final version
Random note: I can't wait for APB to go free to play-- their character creator looks awesome!

There'll be more coming on Dragon Age II, if time allows me.
Take care! :)

Help needed with the first Assassin's Creed

I recently finally started playing Assassin's Creed, but I'm either really bad at it, or I'm doing something wrong.
You know how to pickpocket, right? Well, apparently I don't-- the tutorial bit where you have to pickpocket the merchant took me almost 30min to complete, and I never understood why. I slowly get behind the dude and he doesn't notice I'm there, but AS SOON as I press the pickpocket button the guy immediately turns around, pushes me away and calls the guards. Finally, after those nearly 30min and a lot of despair, it finally worked, but I didn't notice me doing anything any different from before.
Anyway, I was just kinda relieved that was over and hoped there wouldn't be much more pickpocketing throughout the game; but of course I was wrong. In Damascus (first city you go to after the first memory block) I've to pickpocket a guard-- and a guard that's up against a wall. Now, no matter how slowly I get close to him (even using the "blend" feature), the guy is always facing AND looking at me. I can't do it no matter what, so yeah... I think I'm doing something wrong.
Is there anything I should be doing that I'm not?
Help? :)

As for some additional info, I'm playing the PC version, but I keep getting the same (lack of) result with both the keyboard and the controller... :(
Thanks in advance, guys!


My "Best of 2010" awards

Alright, before I reveal the nominees for each genre and/or category and their respective winners, I feel like I should let you know that these awards only cover PC games. I did play a few console games throughout the year, but unfortunately I couldn't finish any of them, and since I don't feel comfortable talking about a game I do not know in its entirety, I'll just mainly focus on PC gaming.
Also, please keep in mind that it's not my job to play games, so I'm pretty sure there are a few worthy ones that haven't made it to these lists because, well, I haven't played them.
Alright, lets take a look at this year's contenders for my GOTY -- the nominees are displayed in alphabetical order and the winners are hidden/revealed as a spoiler.

Genre Awards

Best Action Adventure


Best FPS

METRO 2033

Best Horror Game

METRO 2033

Best Puzzle and/or Casual Game


Best RPG

TWO WORLDS II (it was out in 2010 in Europe)

Best Sports Game

F1 2010
FIFA 2011

Best Strategy Game


Misc. Awards

Best Story


Best Soundtrack


Best Surprise of the Year

F1 2010 

Disappointment of the Year


Worst Game of the Year


Best Console Game I had the Opportunity to Play


GOTY Awards

Best PC/MAC Exclusive



So, here's my "best of 2010" official list, which can also be found here.
1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

This was, without a doubt, the most immersive and unparalleled gaming experience I've EVER had! If that doesn't make Amnesia GOTY material, then I don't know what would.

2. Mass Effect 2

The story is actually worse than the one found on first ME game, but lets face it, it would be very hard to top the epicness of the franchise's previous chapter. On the other hand, everything else is probably better! You can't go wrong with BioWare's awesome RPGs.

3. Darksiders

I don't care if people call it the "Dark Zelda". This is an awesome game with clever puzzles and engaging combat-- Darksiders is definitely worthy of a podium position.

4. Alpha Protocol

A lot of people complain about the game's gunplay, but this is a stealth RPG, not a shooter-- also, everything is stats derived, aiming included. Besides, the solid narrative, the amazing dialogue system, the relevance of your decisions throughout the game and the great ensemble of characters greatly topple up any of the downsides, making this one of the most underrated games I've ever played!

5. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

I'm a huge fan of the STALKER series-- these immersive and atmospheric first person role playing games always get under my skin and this one was no exception. Also, this is the most stable of the 3.

6. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

The best gaming surprise I've had this year-- this game finally made me "love" Lara Croft's platforming adventures. Just throw in some looting and some RPG elements into an hypothetical sequel and I'll faint with joy, lol.

7. Sid Meier's Civilization V

I'll admit it, I hadn't played any of the previous Civs, but Ryan's quick look made me give it a go. I tried the demo and bought the game 2 days later. I'm not at all a fan of strategy games, but this is freaking addictive!

8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Great and lush destructive environments allied to some really cool characters and great dialogue make this the best pure FPS of the year.

9. Fallout: New Vegas

The Mojave Wasteland isn't anywhere near as interesting as the Capital Wasteland, but it was still captivating enough for me to spend over 40h exploring it. Mandatory for any RPG fan.

10. Call of Duty: Black Ops

This game is like an adrenaline shot; it doesn't last long, but it's one hell of a rollercoaster ride while it does. It's just pure entertainment with lots of nonsense action, but there's nothing wrong with that, every once in a while.

NOTE: For an explanation on why Amnesia: the Dark Descent is my GOTY, please refer to this little review I wrote about it, right... here.

a trivial statistic about my very own GB quests

As I opened my brower yesterday and logged in to GB, two quest pop-ups... well, poped-up.

It just so happened that I reached both the 800th profile page views and the 80th wall-posts mark on the same day. It's a completely useless and random fact, but statistically speaking, this means that I'm getting exactly one wall-post for every 10 profile page views. And the same thing happened on my 600/60 combo, which means this ratio thing has been going on for quite some time. If this keeps up I might finish both quests (and consequently the quest set) on the exact same day.
Again I repeat: this is absolutely meaningless and trivial, but I can't help but think it would be really cool to complete both quests on the same day, hehe, especially 'cause they're not up to me to complete. Oh, by the way-- thanks in advance to all the people checking in on me from time to time!! :)


A letter to Lara Croft (lol)

Dear Lara Croft,
I played your first game back in 1996 and, unlike most people, I didn't really like it. Still I gave your following year's title a chance, and alas, I liked it even less-- so much that I've never picked up on another Tomb Raider game ever since. That is, until the release of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
When I saw the first trailer to that game, I thought: "now this is the Tomb Raider I've always envisioned!". I was still a little bummed out from my past Tomb Raider experiences, so I do admit I took my sweet time to actually finally play the game. But boy, it was awesome! It could've had some RPG elements and looting elements to it other than just randomly bumping into weapons in the middle of a level, but regardless of that it was so awesome that I've already finished it twice; and believe me, I don't do that very often, no ma'am!
(don't tell anyone yet, but The Guardian of Light will most certainly be featured in my "the best of 2010" list)
Now, believe it or not, on the very same week I finished the game for the second time, the announcement for a new Tomb Raider game, a complete renewal of your image and franchise, came to light. And maybe, just maybe because I loved your top-down platforming adventure so much, I'm now willing to believe that I'll love this next installment as well. Or maybe it's just the hype, who knows?? Nevertheless, you now have yet one more gamer eagerly waiting for your next adventure.
Looking forward to see you soon, Ms. Croft.

PS: bought your Underworld adventures for 4 euros yesterday. I don't have a really good feeling about this one, but what the hell... it was cheap and seen that I'm on a Tomb Raider roll, this is probably the best time to give it a go. Also, it seems to be riddled with Norse mythology, and that just by itself is pretty fuckin' awesome.


Free & Legal Soundtrack Download links!

I love both movie and game soundtracks and I spend ridiculous amounts of money on both, which is why whenever I find an online OST available for free and legal download, I usually jump at it-- as long as I like the content, of course.
Today I've decided to share a bunch of these freebies I've been slowly (re)gathering over the past year or so with the GB community.
Maybe you already have them or you simply don't care, but nonetheless, here you go :)

Game Title
Download Link
 AION: Tower of Eternity
  IGN's Fileplanet
 Alpha Prime
  Official Website
 Aquanox 2: Revelation
  Official Website
 Bioshock  Official Website
 Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
 Deus Ex: Invisible War
  IGN's Fileplanet
 EVE Online
 Fallout & Fallout 2 (the remastered Vault Archives)
  IGN's Fileplanet
 Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
  IGN's Fileplanet
 Machinarium (bonus EP)
  Official Website
 Obscure  Composer's Official Website
 Obscure: the Aftermath
  Composer's Official Website
 Portal 2
  Official Website
 Shade: Wrath of Angels
 SpellForce: Breath of Winter
  Official Website
 S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl
  Official Website
 Star Wars: Republic Commando
  Fan Site
 Tomb Raider: Underworld (deluxe edition)
  IGN's Fileplanet
 Torchlight (actually, all you have to do for this one is to take a look in your game directory's Audio folder)
 Unreal Tournament 2004: Red Orchestra MOD
 Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War II
  IGN's Fileplanet
 The Witcher (enhanced edition)
  IGN's Fileplanet
 World of Goo
  Composer's Official Website
 Zeno Clash
  IGN's Fileplanet
 Zombie Driver
  Official Website

Also, and this is just an idea, but if any of you guys know of any other free AND legal downloadable game soundtracks, please do share their links with me-- send me a PM or just leave a comment on this blog entry/forum thread and I'll make sure to attach your addition to the collection as soon as possible (and naturally credit you).
This way, and since this blog entry is also featured in the original soundtrack's forum, it'll be easy for anyone interested in music for games to check out from time to time if there's anything new or interesting to download.
Note: Unlike the above, I'll keep these in chronological order, so that it's easier for people to check out what's new :)

GB User Additions

Game Title
Download Link
Suggested by
Date Added (GMT)
  Bulletstorm  Epic Game Website
  Riddell 2011 April ??
 Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
  Giant Bomb
  Amethyst (she did all the work!)
 2010 August 20
 Comic Jumper
  Game Developer's Website
  marioncobretti 2010 December 06
 E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy  Official Website
 2011 August 14
 'Splosion Man
  Official Website
  marioncobretti 2010 December 06
 Shank  Official Website
 2010 December 06
 Timesplitters (all 3 games!)
  Fan Site
 2010 December 07
Have fun, some of these are REALLY good! :)

a small comment on "Resident Evil: Afterlife"

This was too big to display as a status message, so here goes...
The Resident Evil movie franchise is a big load of crap. Sure the first movie was actually ok and enjoyable, but from then on it was always downhill-- and at an alarming speed. The speed was in fact such that the franchise finally crashed for good at the bottom of the cliff with the latest "Afterlife", which is my country was ironically named "Resurrection".......
I took my sweet time to finally check this one out 'cause I knew it would be bad, but I never thought it would be THAT bad; as far as I can remember, this was by far the worst movie I saw this year-- and believe me when I say that I see a lot!
Paul W.S. Anderson should not be allowed to make movies anymore, let alone write them; the script looks like it was done by a 5 year old-- and I mean no offense to all the smart 5 year-olds out there! Paul W.S. Anderson reached his peek as a director with the above average sci-fi horror thriller "Event Horizon" and lets just say that he should've chosen a different career after that. But I guess some guys are just lucky...
I dunno what's your actual opinion of the movie, but as a long long time fan of gore and horror, Resident Evil deserved better... so much better! :(

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