25 February 2013

Revisiting Skyrim: The Dragonborn Post

So the Skyrim expansions are finally rolling out on the PS3. I hadn't planned to get them for a while yet, but, as it happened, Dragonborn was half price for a limited time after release, so I basically just had to buy it, and, what with still recuperating from my appendectomy and avoiding strenuous activities, decided to dig right into it. It'd been a while since I'd played Skyrim, and it felt pretty good to be back again.

I don't have much prior experience with DLC's. Frankly, I kinda dislike the concept, always seemed more like an effort to squeeze more money out of us poor gamers than an important aspect gaming. So I wasn't necessarily expecting a lot of 'bang for my buck', but, I have to say, I was not disappointed. Dragonborn is, after all, a proper 'expansion', not just any ol' DLC.

So, I installed it and loaded up my saved game. I wasn't exactly sure what I was supposed to do at first, but pretty soon an encounter with some strange cultists led me to an island full of new locations to explore. The main storyline is... not exactly original, even by Elder Scrolls standards. Yet another ancient evil returning that you have to defeat... But it still manages to be fairly cool and there are some... interesting locations to visit along the way, with, shall we say, Lovecraftian overtones... There's a bunch of side quests and miscellaneous objectives, too, some more interesting than others.

Obviously there's new equipment, new shouts etc. as well, allowing for new gameplay mechanics, like dragon riding. (This, frankly, feels more like a gimmick than a really useful mechanic. You can't really control the flight of the dragon, and while you can attack targets, it feels pretty clumsy. But it's still pretty darn cool, particularly the first time you try it!)

There's a good twenty hours gameplay there (putting my total playtime in the game close to a nigh ridiculous 140 hours), or more, even, depending on how meticulous an explorer you are. There are still many dungeons on the island I haven't even visited, but, as with the main game, without quests to take me there, I'm just not that keen to go exploring dungeons that, to be honest, get pretty repetitive after a while...

I'll likely buy Dawnguard once it's released, but I may save playing it for when I get around to replaying the game with a new character. (Hearthfire, on the other hand, doesn't really interest me. I'm an adventurer, not a friggin' housekeeper...)

10 February 2013

Under the Knife and Other Moments of Life

It's been a long while since my last blog post. A lot has probably happened during that time, or actually very little, depending on your viewpoint.

I'll start with the most recent, and arguably most exciting, events. A few nights ago I was struck by a bit of stomach ache. I wasn't too concerned at first, I do get the occasional bout of indigestion. But when it kept me up through the night and showed no signs of abating, I begun to worry. I saw a doctor at the local health centre and he confirmed what I already strongly suspected: probable appendicitis. So off to hospital I went and was operated on that evening.

While I'm not the world's fittest person by a long shot (I really need more exercise, to be honest), I've always been lucky enough to avoid any major injuries and illnesses. The biggest operation I'd had previously had been a mole removal (requiring a grand total of two stitches)... So this was my first real surgery, first time under full anaesthesia, and first overnight stay at hospital, with all the stuff that goes with these things, from hospital gowns to intravenous drips and terrible hospital food. As such it was, of course, something of an experience. The staff was very nice, even though it was apparently an uncommonly busy day at the hospital. I never felt scared at the prospect of surgery, perhaps largely because I was in too much discomfort to really think about it, and because when the final go-ahead for surgery came through, it all actually happened pretty fast.

The timing sucked, though. I had two RPG's scheduled for this weekend, one of them my own campaign (one session of which I'd already had to cancel a few weeks back due to flu). I hope I will have recovered enough by next weekend to Game Master again, though the wounds are still fairly painful...

OK, on to other stuff now. After years of resisting smartphones (mostly due to expense), I finally went and got one. The story of how this came to be, though, was a slightly roundabout one...

I spent Christmas and New Year up at my grandparents' old place (they're both gone now, the house inhabited by an aunt, but I still naturally think of it as my grandparents' place). It was cold. There was no internet. This hasn't normally been a huge issue, but as it happened, I was scheduled to run a new RPG soon after New Year, and characters needed finalizing and stuff. So there was some moderately plentiful SMS'ing back and forth about ideas. And that's not a great way to plan stuff.

So after getting back I finally came to the conclusion that having some kind of internet access away from home would be a Good Thing, and decided to get the cheapest data plan I could find and a reasonably priced Android phone (I ended up getting a second hand Samsung Galaxy S II, which seems like a fairly decent phone). I must say it was a handy thing to have around during my hospital stay as well.

I may do a post about gaming on Android sometime later. I haven't had a chance to try out a whole lot of games yet, but there's some not uninteresting stuff out there. Speaking of gaming, my Mass Effect 2 playthrough, interrupted by the previously mentioned Christmas trip, is still on hiatus, because stuff just keeps getting in the way, from flu and RPG planning to this appendicitis... Hopefully I'll manage to pick up again in the relatively near future... I did complete my B5 re-watch, though, and have been re-watching some Doctor Who. Both of which are, of course, brilliant.

And that, I think, more or less wraps up my last couple months. Not so much accomplishments as stuff getting in the way of accomplishments... Hopefully my next post will be a little sooner, and have something more interesting to say...