August Edition: What Have You Been Playing?

Before anyone asks, yes.  We know this is an image of two dudes playing a console on a PC gaming site.  Stop worrying about that and continue tightening up the graphics on Level 3.  When you are done, TPG wants to know what you have been playing over the last month and titles you plan on starting this month.  Got addicted to any hidden gems over the Steam Summer Sales?  Picked up classics from GOG?  Start discussing in the comments.

51 thoughts on “August Edition: What Have You Been Playing?

  1. A friend gifted Arkham City last week and I just finished the main story yesterday. Not bad. Overall, I enjoyed Arkham Asylum more, but AC was pretty good. Other than the ridiculousness of GFWL, there were no major issues or hiccups.

    Next in line is RAGE. My brothers-in-law rave about the gunplay and mouse controls so here is to hoping for a good experience.

  2. Currently playing Morrowind with about 70 mods including the Morrowind Overhaul Mod, that makes Morrowind look almost as good, and in some ways better, than Oblivion and Skyrim! The 3.0 version is coming out soon, making it look even better! I am running mods for Morrowind, by the way, that incorporate what features went into Oblivion – before Oblivion came out. When you pick flowers and they disappear is one of them. Also have a first person mod that makes first person better than in any other RPG ever made (!) You can look down and see your legs, you walk with a gait, rather than “glide”, you can see the shield come into view slightly as well as the sword on your hip as you walk, and the animation changes as you run! You also can see the different chest armour as you change it *as long as it’s default Morrowind armour)! What the mod makers did, was take all the third person animations and make them first person! Ingenious

    Then with the lighting mods, the new creatures mods, the texture mods, the NPC mods, the expanded text conversation mods, the expanded town mods and the added quest mods, you have an RPG that cannot really be beaten by any RPG in my opinion!

    After I finish Morrowind, in the Fall, I will probably buy the Fireaxis X-Com RTS, as I love the franchise, and believe in Fireaxis…!

      • No. Had to move a couple around using a mod manager. Remember, the Morrowind Overhaul mod is actually about 30 mods all tweaked to work together. I just work on the basis that the bigger the mod, the further down the list. So a mod that allows you to pick flowers would be near the top of the list, and a mod, that say upgrades all the NPC’s would be nearer the bottom, as it does more. That rule has stood me in good stead! I also make sure I only have one “additional creatures” mod and one “new armour’s mod” and “new weapons mod”, so research the mods a bit before installing what I feel would be the best version of each.

      • I tried modding Oblivion, but the Mod Manager always through me for a loop with the mod order sometimes. I would get frustrated and quit.

        I used to mod my games all of the time. I spent hours installing, configuring and troubleshooting. There was no way I could play a game like High Heat without mods. Now, I simply do not have the energy or desire mess around with them. I did install a few weather mods and a UI overhaul for New Vegas/Fallout 3 but that is about it for me.

      • Well, you could just install the Overhaul Mod and the mods that are recommended by it (unless they are included in this version). My version had about 7 mods they would like to have included in the Overhaul Mod, but couldn’t get permission. They did make sure if you downloaded these recommended mods they would work with the overhaul. One of these was a creatures mod. If you just installed these and looked for the DN_1st mod for that great first person mod, you’d be good to go. Although going to TESNexus or Planet Elder Scrolls will show you lots of neat one-off mods that wouldn’t conflict with anything, little mods, like if you want to use a bow, get the de-knocker mod that allows you to put away the cocked arrow rather than firing it and wasting it/giving your position away! 🙂

        Also, it doesn’t take as long as you think. After installing and patching up Morrowind and the expansions (which many mods need) and installing the Overhaul Mod, it took about 89 minutes to find and install the mods I wanted. Remember, most of these mods are going to be under 100k to download, and even the big mods are only 2-3mb! This means a mod is installed (via a mod manager) within a couple minutes of you finding it!

        All I would recommend is start the game before installing the Overhaul to make sure the game installed okay. Play the game until you can make a save. Then install the Overhaul Mod and re-load the game, Do the same with each “big” mod, you install (the small mods never cause problems) if its all okay, after installing what you want. Starting a new game is recommended..

      • I used to moderate a forum for High Heat Baseball. One of the worst things someone could do is download and install a bunch of mods then have the game crash. So, now we have to uninstall each and reinstall to find the culprit. Sometimes you would have to uninstall the whole game because a combination of mods would break certain files. We always told users… install… launch… play….save. 🙂

      • What you’re forgetting with Morrowind Adam, is that most mods you install will be version 5.6 or8.9 or 11.1 or somesuch. They have been around a long time! Also many mods are “clean” versions” of mods that had problems, etc. So with a game 12 years old, everything is so much more mature and “organised”! 🙂

    • I only run a few mods for Morrowind. My must have mod is GCD which changes the way you level. Basically using skills raises them as normal but they also contribute raising your attributes, so no more having to grind for X5s. Plus there is no more hard cap on skills and attributes, just keep playing how you like and you will go over 100 on those skills that matter.

      • Yup, know what you mean. I am using similar mods for levelling, the economy and even a rudimentary factions mod! 🙂

  3. Currently playing through Stalker Call of Pripyat with the complete mod – Which is pretty amazing stuff. With the mod that game really has atmosphere up the wazoo and I genuinely find myself freaking out if I wind up outside at night while it’s raining heavily with only my crappy little flashlight and angry mutants everywhere. It’s an awesome series and the complete mods are terrific.

    I’m also currently playing Ys Oath in Felghana, which I picked up on the steam sale. I am a fan of this series and find it really fascinating, and it’s a real shame that it never really got big in the US. It’s a pretty great top down action RPG sort of in the vein of something like Secret of Mana. Nothing technically mindblowing but they are really fun, charming games well worth checking out. I also picked up Ys Origin which I will move onto next – and I would definitely recommend these games to anyone that digs those 8-16 bit era action RPGs.

    Oh and ALSO I just started up Drakensang: River of Time from the Gamer’s Gate sale helpfully advertised by Adam on the site. It’s super weird because it’s based on this German pen and paper RPG system so it’s SORT OF like a D&D game but everything is ever so slightly different. It is also hilariously German in a lot of ways which I love. Maybe one day we could do a feature on janky German PC games cuz they really have this particular charm to them that I love.

    • Played the first Drakensang, planning on playing River of Time next year, as 2013 will be quiet for RPG’s. I also played STALKER with the Complete mod, and it is not only a brilliant mod, but one of the most sensible. Too many STALKER mods want to change the game beyond recognition, when the original was so good!

      • Yeah, I messed around with some other cocktails of mods beforehand and then I just figured I would try complete – Which I think gets it just right in terms of adding and adjusting a lot of stuff nicely without turning it into a completely different game. It was also easy to install and works without problems, which is something I often get headaches over when dealing with mods. Brilliant stuff!

  4. I was really happy to find the time and started (and also finished) Amnesia.
    Very good, moody game, and yet I am complaining at it, just because it is not as perfect as it could be.
    I’d love to have harder puzzles in it, as it was always like: “oh no, the mechanism is broken” and then, visiting next room “great! here is a part to fix the mechanism from previous room”.
    Second thing – story, not as intense, and ambiguous as I would like it to be. Which is also a pity, as the story have a potential to be painted in more shades of gray.
    And last thing, when you die, most times you can’t replay the hard moment of your death, you wake up in the same place, but the killing thing is absent. It is a pity.

    Everything else – perfect, very tense mood, restlessness, dark and fear.
    The part with onfrzrag sybbqrq jvgu jngre, naq vaivfvoyr zbafgre punfvat lbh, naq rfpncr jvgu pybfvat rirel qbbe nsgre lbh is one of the best horror things ever seen on PC game.

    But then, there is free DLC for the game, called Justine, and this one is a gem. I’ve found the story thrilling, and more intense than in main game. There were one really stylish puzzle. DLC is quite short, but also it is chechkpoint-free, so when you die, you must start from the very beginning, which is hard, but I have found it great move.

  5. This year, I was really looking forward to the sale since I was pretty much bored out of my mind and I really wanted something new to play.
    During the summer sale, I picked up some Saints Row The Third DLC (Season Pass), Mafia 2, and Fallout New Vegas. SR3 DLC was very short, but hilarious to play. I loved the cliches in the story and characters in them only made it better!
    Mafia 2 had a great story; not much of a game, but it was entertaining. Played it for a couple days, got bored. I’ll probably play it again when I want to hear the story again.
    Fallout New Vegas. Best $10 I’ve ever spent. It was a great game with so much to explore. I had a lot of fun talking to people and messing with them.
    So after I finished all of them, I looked at my Steam Library and said, “I’ve got nothing to play…again.”

  6. Ploughing through the Steam bargains – just finished the GTA4 episodes (great games, appalling PC ports… seriously, no anti-aliasing at all?). I’ve also been playing Duke Nukem Forever (I know, I was curious). If you ignore the dated ‘humour’ (note – referencing something is not the same thing as making a joke) and blurtastic graphics, there’s actually a fairly well-paced game with some interesting gimmicks in there. It plays almost like a fan homage to Half Life 2, with a very similar structure and a surprisingly large amount of (now rather cliched) physics puzzles. Not the total turkey some have claimed.

  7. I’m playing through my “backlog”, by which I mean I intended to and then bought a bunch of new games instead. Finished Doom 3 again for a second time, playing half of it on God mode, which was more awesome than you’d think. Right now I’m playing Galaxy on Fire Full HD (Mac only), which is a simple space action/trading game that’s incredibly fun to tool around in. Once I’m done with that I plan to hit up the remaining Telltale games I have, including Walking Dead.

  8. The 2 main games I’m playing are The Witcher 1 and The Chronicles of Riddick. I have been trying to play Ultima on my phone, the game runs fine in the DosBox app but having to take notes during gameplay is really hampering things as I usually just play while riding the bus. I think I’ll go back to the PC for that and find something else; maybe Pirates! or Jagged Alliance. I have The Witcher 2 waiting in the wings as soon as I’m finished with part 1. I’m not sure what I’ll play after Riddick, I like to have 2 games going as it gives me a nice change of pace without abandoning one game for another. I’m debating between Deus Ex or Silent Storm as a counter balance, or maybe go for a more light hearted fantasy setting to complement TW2 like Gothic or Two Worlds.

      • Most definitely!

        Although I have been playing around with the term GOGoyle. Whenever I get a new game I sit hunched over, head down, in front of the computer and remain in that same position not even blinking for hours at a time. Aside from my hands and eyes I am like a statue.

  9. Oh man, do I remember that awful commercial for a “Game Design” school, where they made it look like you did interesting activities all day long. Didn’t some woman have to stop them from having so much fun testing a game because she had “more games to be tested’? Jesus.

    Anyways, I think that the game I have dumped the most amount of time in the past month was actually the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend 3. ArenaNet is poised to take the MMO world back from WoW and set new standards in what should define fun and interesting in MMO’s. The best part of the weekend was the ending, where players were transported to an open field where 4 teams competed against one another in a Hunger Games style competition. You had to manage food, ammunition, and whatnot in order to survive; meanwhile, players who had been killed were put in control of floating robots that could mildly interact with the world while mainly sitting in a spectator mode. It was a great ending that no one saw coming.

    Total War: Shogun 2 has become a complete obsession ever since the Steam Sale. My girlfriend has to literally pry me away from the screen because of how involved I become in the two campaigns I have been running. 40 hours in, I feel like I need to control every little aspect of the game for every single turn (I waste no resources): changing tax levels, moving units in-between towns, negotiating treaties, engaging in skirmishes to test my real-time battle command skills, I feel bad if I end a turn that I did not explore every option available to me.

    FInally: Xenoblade Chronicles……..suck it, Adam! GO GO CONSOLE MASTER RACE!!1

  10. Though this is a PC gaming site, I have been working hard on beating Persona (which was released for PC). Other than that, I have decided to try and playthrough the 400+ Steam games I have accumulated through various Steam deal seasons over the past four years.

  11. Currently reviewing Orc Must Die 2 and getting hooked by the awesome gameplay.
    Other than that, I’m revisiting Skyrim with a new character as I never finished the story-mode first time round, and spending far too long trying to complete challenges on Tony Hawk’s HD.

  12. Steam Sale backlog!!! Thanks to that I’ve been playing Rage, Bastion and Serious Sam 3 BFE. Before the Sale I was playing Max Payne 3 and Warhammer 40K Space Marine. Recently I got Kungfu Strike (don’t want to blaze through it yet) and currently enjoying Red Faction Armageddon (another Steam Summer Sale purchase). I had a sudden burst of gaming fever over the last couple months-and I’m loving it!

    Still waiting for my gaming laptop to arrive so I can continue gaming at my work place. My work place is too far away so I have to stay there during the week days. My main gaming PC is too heavy to carry around. I used to carry it around for two years but when my housemate became hostile towards me for some reason I decided to leave it at home and play classic PC games on my old Celeron laptop. So until my new gaming laptop arrive, I’ll have to play the latest PC games I’ve bought during weekends.

      • Well, laptops are more than just gaming machines-they can do paperwork, print the said paperwork, show presentations, media stuff….games. I do wish PC gamers and developers would give the laptops more appreciation and support. Most PC gamers in forums tend to shun gaming laptops but I see them as an important component in PC gaming. I mean, there is a cold war between consoles, hand helds and mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) but the PC already has both worlds for itself -dedicated desktop powerhouses for graphic whores and laptops for gaming on the run. If only someone would exploit those two together.

        I like Rage. It was easier than I thought and the reviews mostly were right about it’s simplistic RPG elements but solid nonetheless. I thought the mutants were terrifying in the trailers but most of the time I just punch them with bare hands. Kinda a letdown (they’re supposed to be terrifying) and yet satisfying (punching them). I’ve already played over 7 hours of it and just completed the first mission in the second city. Unfortunately I’m into other games atm.

        It ran horrendously when I first launched it but after looking for some online solutions it now runs at a nice 60fps (not really sure if the solutions actually worked or maybe the game adjusted itself after the first play). Just make sure to set the anti-aliasing to 2X or 4X. It kept resetting to 16X every time you launch it and made the whole game sluggish.

      • I would agree laptops are looked down by some of the self-proclaimed, “hardcore PC gamer”. In reality, there are plenty of laptops that can hang with some of the best desktops.

        Runic introduced the “Laptop Mode” for Torchlight and will also be in Torchlight II.

        I am having an issue with RAGE where the framerate will plummet after I load a saved game. For example, I run the game on max settings. During the intro and the entire time played on the first mission, everything runs smooth. Once I quit and reload the game, -10 FPS.

      • @Adam. I might be naive with this kind of thinking but I do believe the PC shouldn’t limit itself with its own limitless power. A strange concept but that’s what happening to the PC. Everyone’s too busy breaking the next gigahertz barrier that they forget that games can also be optimized for lower spec machines. Look at what the console devs are doing with 6 years old hardware. If only PC game devs would do the same with current laptops.

        Talking about Rage, I only used the cfg maker at as my solution. Again, I’m not really sure whether it had an effect on the game’s performance. I know that the game is smooth now but is it because of the cfg or did game auto-rectified itself? The extreme anti-aliasing level is the major resource hog that kept getting auto selected.

      • I completely agree. With mobile on the way up, it would be silly for companies to ignore potential customers.

        I will try that out to see if it can fix my issue. Thanks.

      • I would disagree about6 this “chase for PC power”. It hasn’t been like that since around 2006-7. Recession is not the only reason high end gaming card manufacturers, etc have seen sales down 40% plus!

        What’s happened for the bulk of PC gamers, was a realization that most AAA PC games were console conversions, and the consoles were already a couple years old.and getting older with no sign of a new generation. People with 2003 or earlier PC’s upgraded in 2006 and then most of us have just added a bit of ram to go to Vista, and maybe a SATA drive, but that’s it.

        The 360 and PS3 are now coming up for 8 years old. Most PC gamers have a 3-4 year old PC. So like me, who last upgraded to a 4850 and 4gb ram in 2008, and still have my dual core 2.8ghz AMD CPU, I have had no problem running any of the AAA console conversion games. whether that’s GT IV, Oblivion, Skyrim, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Dead Space, STALKER, Crysis, Witcher 2, Two Worlds 2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Bioshock Assassin’s Creed and on and on.

        With the PC market moving toward European PC mid range games, like Gothic, Drakensang, Metro 2033, Space Rangers 2, Sacred, etc and small “retro” indie games like Minecraft. EYE: Divine Cybermancy, Grimlock, etc. and the large companies moving more and more to casual gaming on mobile, and with the new consoles seemingly going to support this type of gaming, rather than hardcore console games, means a growth in PC gaming and console retro gaming.

        Of course the industry has to hope the recession is somehow solved, as if we are destined to have a second “Dark Ages”, there might not even be enough electricity to run the internet, leaving standalone machines, like the PC, being more important, and to the extent of how big your collection is, how long you can play games in these “new times”.

    • @UK_John. Agreed.
      Good point. I’ve been watching the progress of hardware advancement vs game requirements over the last couple of years and I was surprised to see how low it was. The main reason I upgraded my PC last year was due to the rumored power efficiency of the latest Intel i5 2500K which is much more tempting than my old Q6600. There are times (a lot) when I’m playing a game for the first time I thought “Did I set the setting too low? Why Am I playing this beyond 60fps? Can’t the graphic detail slider go any farther?” To be fair, I wouldn’t push the AA too far though like in my Rage comments earlier.

      Which comes to my point of the PC crowd ignoring the potential impact of laptops as an extended arm of the desktop. The relatively low requirement of most current games should be perfect for a lot of laptops out there and yet no one is biting. The only one who is actually making move into laptop is gaming is Apple and it’s new Macbook Air.

      The X box 360 and Next will have SmartGlass and Surface as a mobile extensions. The PS3 already has the PSP and tons of Sony mobile devices. Apple has a firm grip in the mobile gaming market and looking to see what they can do in the laptop market. The PC, sadly, is ignoring the laptop.

      @Adam : Sorry I couldn’t be any more help. I’m the tactile+visual type where I have to see and test the problems in front of to get an idea of solving them. I have friends who called me about their PC problems and I usually stared blankly into nothingness trying hard to visualize the matter. BTW, the config maker actually does affected my Rage’s performance.

  13. The only thing that worries me is gamers. How many will play older games with “crap” graphics? How many will upgrade because they can only play at 1280 something instead of max? And how will these low IQ “grognards” promote the PC games industry back into the dustbin?

    • I agree. Sometimes I will see a lot of kids who are new to PC gaming look down on a game like Deus Ex or Max Payne because they cannot run in proper widescreen or they consider the graphics too dated.

  14. Sad as it may seem, I’m playing KOTOR again for the umpteenth time. I think it was because there’s a mod out for KOTOR II-Sith Lords that unlocks a lot of the hidden content that was shipped with the game (even though it was technically not released in the final game). Being me, I can’t just play the 2nd game in a series, I have to play the first game again, then the sequel (I’m the same with movies). I’ve also made my mind up that NEXT time I will try doing the light side path… Try…

    Got a couple co-op games of Titan Quest going on too for my ZEN loot grabby, click & killy fix. At least until Borderlands 2 comes out anyway. Not long now !

    Also playing some Frozen Synapse after I got it in the Steam sales. Wow, what a great game. Just brilliant.

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