Category Archives: Columns

What’s Gus Playing – Arcanum, Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Gus Arcanum 1 SPLASH

Our massively miniature munchkin of merriment mulls magickal masterpieces ~

Lloyd Sabin, 27 August 2018

This week my tale is a short and woeful one, with only a few piddling screenshots to show for it. You can’t win them all, right? So being done with Dishonored – Death of the Outsider, I find myself still in a steampunk mood. I have several choices on my HD to satiate such a mood, and Arcanum sounds like a great choice to me.

Steampunk tech and magic IN THE SAME GAME??

My history with Arcanum is much like the story that some guys have about The One Who Got Away…you know, the woman who you fell madly in love with but then ruined it some how and she left, forever. Or a giant fish of some kind that you just could not reel in, I guess. I’m babbling.

I first fired up Arcanum in 2001 when it first came out. I was so psyched. Steampunk tech and magic IN THE SAME GAME?? How did I get so lucky?

I think I ordered the boxed version of it from Amazon and immediately ripped the box apart to install it and then start playing. The intro blew me away. Orc-piloted Eindecker fighters shooting down a zeppelin! Armored knights blowing each other away with high-powered pistols! Refined orcs and elves and humans getting drunk together! This was setting up to be my greatest gaming experience ever!

And then the actual game began. After a few dialogue choices I was totally lost…even after reading through the manual. I got frustrated, not knowing what to do and eventually shelved the game…crestfallen and heartbroken.

What’s Gus Playing: Dishonored – Death of the Outsider, part 2

Gus SPLASH Dishonored 1

The second act of our secluded steampunk story spins silently ~

Lloyd Sabin, 20 August 2018

Continuing towards the end of Dishonored – Death of the Outsider, and total time spent in-game is approaching 20 hours. I told you I play my games slow.

I told you I play my games slow.

Each level appears to get slightly larger than the last, culminating in the final level (#5) which is made up of several massive mining buildings interconnected by tunnels. The creepy occult factor continues to rise as well, as I get closer to the eponymous Outsider, fighting through swaths of cultists and hellhounds just to get a chance at Him.

Screenshots are uncaptioned below, they speak for themselves as far as beauty and a haunting quality. Environments covered include the final moments in the large bank level (level 3), a conservatory (level 4), and the beginning of the final level I am in now, at a remote mining complex on an island to the north of Karnaca.

Enjoy, thanks for reading and see you next week…I should be moved on to a new game by then!

Gus Dishonored 2 1

Dishonored screenshots with Gus

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


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.