Tag Archives: skyrim

More Games Are Using Compasses Instead of Minimaps

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I’ve started to notice that open-world games coming out in 2017 and 2018 are getting rid of the minimap in favor of a quest compass like the one Bethesda uses for Fallout and Elder Scrolls games. I think the compass is preferable to the minimap, but doesn’t solve a fundamental problem with pathfinding and quest design in these games. Continue reading

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Zelda Breath of the Wild is a Case Study in Game Tutorials

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You know what else The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gets right that so many other open-world games miss? The tutorial.

I’ve heard very little mention of how the game’s initial area: The Great Plateau, does such a great job of being a thick tutorial without actually feeling like a tutorial. It’s worth comparing it to how a lot of other modern games, particularly open-world games. Continue reading

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[E3 2017] The Games Harnessing User-Generated Content

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Something peculiar I noticed with three games during the E3 2017 presentations has to do with user generated content, how some specific games are handling it, and why they’re doing it.

Of course there’s the well-known news of Bethesda’s Creation Club which looks like another pass at paid mods. Two games at the PC Gamer Show however also seem to be heavily leveraging user-generated content. Continue reading

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Skyrim Mods I Used That New Players Should Try

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Basically everybody is talking about what mods you should try for Skyrim Special Edition. I’m not gonna try to add another general list of the best mods or whatever, but I thought I’d go ahead and point out what I used when I decided to start modding up the original version of Skyrim. Most of what I installed were the well-known mods everybody else might be suggesting but maybe some are lesser-known mods that I still think are pretty useful. Continue reading

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Review Code Controversy: Do You Really Need To Be There On Day One?

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Tension over game publishers giving critics early review copies less and less often seems to be coming to a head with Bethesda being forward about the practice through an announcement regarding Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2 review copies. One lesson someone might take from this would be to not pre-order games since you don’t really have to anymore. I’d go beyond that though and ask: do you really have to play that game on day one (or day zero)? Continue reading

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Fallout 4 Is Basically Borderlands 3

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When writing the last post I realized I hadn’t really followed up on my initial post about Fallout 4’s opening and how it felt more like a first person shooter than a role-playing game. I guess most people who’ve played the game have already figured it out by now, but the rest of the game pretty much continues that pattern. Continue reading

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Is Witcher 3 The Next Game Everybody Wants To Imitate?

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I still don’t quite know what to think of information on an upcoming Assassin’s Creed game being broken on 4chan of all places, but one thing did catch my eyes — the mention in that 4chan thread of a desire for a “Witcher-feel” in the game. All I could think upon reading that was “here we go.”

I guess I should have expected it. The Witcher 3 has been named game of the year by over 150 publications (and this blog) for 2015. It’s the hot new game everybody likes. Of course it would become the next secret sauce everybody else is trying to capture. Even if the 4chan thread itself was bunk, we still might see other developers make similar desires known in the near future. Everybody should definitely be learning from good games including Witcher 3, but when big developers say they want to be like this good game or that good game, in my opinion they usually end up missing the point of why those games are good. Continue reading

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Why So Many People Put Up With Bethesda’s Bugs

The chatter around Fallout 4’s release has reached the same point of controversy as the last couple of Bethesda’s games (as well as Obsidian’s New Vegas which ran on Bethesda’s tech) — their generally buggy and unstable nature. Understandably, some people are baffled as to how Skyrim and Fallout 4 can be so popular while being so buggy, especially while other high-profile games get chewed out for their stability problems.

Wired went ahead and ran a story adamantly defending Bethesda and all its bugs. I think it makes some good points but I stop short of agreeing with it 100 percent. The main point that counts and the main reason I continue to enjoy Fallout 4 despite its stability issues is due to how unique Bethesda’s games are. Continue reading

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Fallout 4’s Early-Game Pacing Is A Huge shift From What Should Be Bethesda’s Forte.

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A few hours into Fallout 4 I have one general issue with it that none of the reviews I read touched on. It’s a bit of what I said I was afraid would happen in a previous post. The opening hours of Fallout 4 in my opinion run completely counter to what Bethesda does best and what is most unique to that developer… even if the result isn’t necessarily a bad game.

Basically, Fallout 4’s beginning feels paced like an action game and not like an RPG. I’m not specifically talking about the combat, but rather what you do and encounter when starting out. It feels very odd compared to Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. In addition to this, how Bethesda has handled Fallout 4’s player character launches it headfirst into the main quest urgency problem so many open-world RPGs have while also hampering player agency a bit. Continue reading

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Fallout 4’s Physical PC Version Is Unusual And Inconvenient

Ever since that bit of news about the physical PC editions of Fallout 4 came out I was worried as to what would actually come in the box. According to multiple people who have that box now, it’s even worse than I imagined, a pretty surprising move by Bethesda Game Studios, and a sloppy attempt at blocking piracy that once again only hurts the legitimate customer.

Through twitter, a few weeks ago Bethesda noted that Fallout 4 on PC would require users to download at least some amount of data from Steam even if they bought the retail version, as an extra precaution against piracy. The problem is if you look at all the stories reporting on this and the tweets themselves, they’re really vague about the fine details. Bethesda never said how much of the game would be in the box and how much was essentially digital-only. I had to wait until several people on reddit and the Steam forums confirmed Fallout 4 only comes on one DVD-ROM containing about five gigs of the game, requiring you to download the remaining 19 GB. This is almost as bad as when the physical PC version of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain came with only a Steam install file printed on a disc. I’ve seen a lot of comments from people confused about how physical PC games are usually packaged these days and how measures like this inconvenience people, so let me explain for a bit. Continue reading

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