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Category Archives: Columns

What’s Gus Playing: Dishonored – Death of the Outsider + A Special Bonus

Our stunted steampunker stalks scenery and solves stories ~

Lloyd Sabin, 13 August 2018

On occasion, I think.

And most of the time games take up most of my thoughts. Games, unlike movies, books or other forms of entertainment, are a higher form because they let us, the gamers, decide what the format will look like. Whether we are playing an RPG, an RTS, a strategy game or an FPS, our input drives events, whether it’s a historical battle, an entire sweeping campaign, or a fictional, totally made up story. Games are what we make them and are all the better because of that.

Who knows why, but every summer around August I get in a steampunk mood.

And the best games, regardless of genre, let us both explore and create. Who knows why, but every summer around August I get in a steampunk mood. And I have been blessed with some great steampunk-themed games over the years to satiate that storied, steampunk need.

The Thief games (all of them), Arcanum, Rise of Legends and to an extent the Fallout games (especially Fallout 4, which, to me, is very dieselpunk, even though it takes place in an uncertain future)…they all scratch that steampunk itch, they are all well put together and beloved, and they all let us tell our own stories.

The Dishonored games continue this tradition. I loved the first one, set in the grim city of Dunwall. I enjoyed Dishonored 2, set in Karnaca, another city with a more tropical setting, but still with tons of steampunk flavor. And now I have cracked open Dishonored 2 – Death of the Outsider, in which I play Billie Lurk, who is working to avenge the now elderly Daud, the protagonist from the first game.

At first I thought I would be underwhelmed – Dishonored 2 was good, but didn’t blow me away like the first game did. Then I started to explore the game. Divided in to five large levels, Death of the Outsider is built to explore and make you think. Rushing through each level would be counter-productive and a lot of the great moody detail of the game would be missed.

What’s Gus Playing – Tyranny

After surrendering to Total War: Warhammer 2, Gus tries on a new mistress to his gaming passions ~

Lloyd Sabin, 30 July 2018

Winding down my summer of high fantasy gaming and still smarting from a major defeat in battle in Total War: Warhammer 2, I switched over to Tyranny by Obsidian for a few hours. It was only a few hours because Tyranny is quite dense with lore, and, already fatigued from Warhammer, I put Tyranny aside for another day to give it the time it deserves to shine.

If you’re willing to take the plunge with Tyranny, be ready to read a lot. Some gamers don’t dig this, some love it.

That said, the first 3-4 hours are excellent and different than most traditional isometric RPG games on PC…think Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Pillars of Eternity with some new ideas introduced, like world-shaping. It will become more clear with the screen shots below.

If you’re willing to take the plunge with Tyranny, be ready to read a lot. Some gamers don’t dig this, some love it. I was somewhere in between, but chalked it up to timing. If I had started off my summer fantasy gaming binge I would have been much more in to it. That’s why I temporarily put it aside. I will be back, for sure, when I am in the mood for some deep, dark fantasy that allows me to be as bad as I wanna be.

What’s Gus Playing: Total War: Warhammer 2 Tomb Kings – Part 3

Gus TW WH2 4 SPLASH

Danger dwarf’s doldrums drag diffidently  ~

Lloyd Sabin, 16 July 2018

We have now entered the summer doldrums. How do I know this? Because I have become bored and restless with my current gaming. Roughly about 150 turns in to my Total War: Warhammer 2 campaign, and I began to lose interest. Why? Perhaps the units and setting are just a bit too fantastical to me. Or maybe it’s because I suck at the tactical battles. Or there is the chance that I have been playing fantasy games for the last 3-4 weeks and I just need something new. Most likely it is a combination of all these factors and more that have turned my Tomb Kings campaign in to a long slog, with an end in sight, but far away.

Well after a short siege of their fortress city called The Awakening, their garrison and one full stack of bloodsuckers came at me, and totally bitch-slapped me

The Tomb Kings are not recommended for new players, by the game itself, in the faction selection screen. I am not a new Total War player but I am new to Warhammer, so I suppose there are a lot of intricacies to the Tomb Kings that I need to brush up on. I liked what I saw during this campaign – but there was a ton of lore…a little overwhelming and a bit unforgiving. So this carried over in to the tactical battles. I never felt 100% confident in what I was doing and always felt I did not know the full capabilities of my lords or my troops. Not the fault of the game, but my own fault for not studying up enough.

At this point I had two of the five Books of Nagash I needed. I gathered three full-stack Tomb King armies and declared war on the Vampire Counts, and went straight for the jugular in an attempt to grab the third book. Well after a short siege of their fortress city called The Awakening, their garrison and one full stack of bloodsuckers came at me, and totally bitch-slapped me. I lost every thing and was reeling back to my own dark, sandy domains. It was that embarrassingly complete loss that had me put aside the game for now, because it probably set me back another 150 turns until I could gather strength again and attempt to snatch another three Books of Nagash. So for now I put aside the fantasy war grind.

What’s Gus Playing: Total War: Warhammer 2 Tomb Kings – Part 2

Gus TW WH2 3 SPLASH

Take a toiling tour of the terrible tombs ~

Lloyd Sabin, 16 July 2018

Still trying to get to those four other Books of Nagash as the Tomb Kings. This campaign has bogged down a bit – partially because I am a Tomb Kings noob and partially because the game play has become somewhat repetitive. They’re both linked, though, and feed off each other.

The campaign is still fun enough, with enough things to do, to keep me going.

This Vortex campaign map is not as massive as the Mortal Empires map is…but it’s still pretty gigantic. After close to 150 turns I have revealed probably around 80 percent of it. There is some wacky fruity stuff out there in the Warhammer universe…knights riding spiders, talking giant toads, vampire pirates…the mind boggles. There are even some ordinary human factions, like the New World Colonies, which I had never heard of until stumbling across them in this play through. All intriguing, but perhaps a bit overwhelming.

It also doesn’t help matters that my armies, made up mostly of skeleton spearmen and swordsmen, are like tissue paper when facing elf (both light and dark) armies, which are my most common enemy. The dark elf armies are especially tough and tear through my units like they are undead toilet paper. I need to learn how to upgrade my troops quicker. Until then I need two armies to take on every one enemy army…not a recipe for victory.

The campaign is still fun enough, with enough things to do, to keep me going. Check out the below screen shots and let’s see if I can not only keep this campaign moving, but maybe even push forward to victory. I didn’t win my Norsca campaign earlier this year but I was one of the last five factions left standing in that Warhammer I campaign. I just barely snatched defeat from the jaws of victory (and Chaos).

What’s Gus Playing – The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine

Gus SPLASH Witcher

Which Witcher is Witchier than the Witches of the the Witcher? ~

Lloyd Sabin, 9 July 2018

there are new creatures to slay, dungeons to explore, armor to wear, and the main story itself  is excellent

The Witcher 3 is second only to Skyrim as my favorite action RPG, probably of all time. Having completed the main story line and Hearts of Stone, that leaves only Blood & Wine left for me to enjoy…which makes me kind of depressed. Guess I should enjoy it, relish it, take it into my arms and tell it I love it. Well I did a few days ago when I took my first tentative steps in to the Duchy of Toussaint. This area of the game is as big as some other action RPGs in their entirety, and is more than a little similar to how I imagine Mediterranean France to look.

And of course it’s very Witchery…there are new creatures to slay, dungeons to explore, armor to wear, and the main story itself (I am only a few hours in) is excellent. However I have to say that the balancing of Blood & Wine is not good…there are amped up enemies everywhere and I had to turn the difficulty down many times to advance. The worst example of this is a tiny side story mission called Extreme Cosplay.