Monday, December 19, 2016

Merry Christmas To Everyone

The holiday season has kept me pretty busy especially since I knit a lot  of gifts for Christmas. During my downtime I have been playing Final Fantasy XV and Harvest Moon Skytree Village. Once I'm finished playing both I will write about them, but it will be after Christmas.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, likes it, and shares it. That includes my husband Ron who encouraged me from day one and who quietly reads my blog every time I tell him there's a new blog post. He's an amazing human being who is incredibly supportive and I'm grateful having him in my corner. Mother Gamer just started out on a whim because of my love of video games and a variety of things I was nerdy about and I wanted to write about it and share it. It also came about because of a few friends asking my opinion about certain things ranging from video games to comic books. One friend was pretty thrilled with something I recommended to them and wondered why I didn't as they put it "write a cool nerd blog or something" and I gave it a try.  It was fun, (it still is!) but then it became something I love to do. I enjoy sharing how much I liked something and it's always a blast writing this blog. I love video games and they're always fun for me to play because they're a nice escape and relaxation from things for a brief time so when a game is bad it's disappointing because having to write a bad review of a game for me is always a bummer. Luckily the bad games for me are few and far between and many of the games I play are fantastic which puts me in my happy place.

I hope everyone has a merry Christmas, enjoys the holiday with their loved ones, and has a happy new year. I know 2016 has not been what we expected, but we got through it together and there were a lot of great games and nerdy things all around. We'll see what 2017 holds and we'll do it together. There will be even more games to play and nerdy things to explore after all. Merry Christmas, everyone. ~Mother Gamer

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Remastered Special Edition

 I know. How is it that I had never played Skyrim until now? Many of my friends asked this. The only answer I have is that I had a ton of other games I was playing at the time so I just never got around to it. With the remaster, I figured this would be a great time to play it so I got the special edition for PS4 and I was excited to start my adventure.

 Having ten different races to choose from is very cool and I decided on Wood Elf for my first play through, but for my next one I do want to play as a Khajiit (cat race) because they sound quite interesting. I was a little disappointed while creating my Wood Elf that the faces looked rather harsh and every expression looked like she was angry and ready to smash your face. It wasn't a big deal, but I wondered about the idea behind that design. Having played Elder Scrolls Online, the character design for the Elves has improved a lot, so maybe it had something to do with their design engine.
I did manage to create my character the way I liked eventually and once I was satisfied, I decided it was time for Pirotess to start her adventure (yes, I'm a Record of Lodoss War fan so I'm always Pirotess) and start exploring the world of Tamriel.

My Wood Elf Pirotess, ready for adventure! 

 There is so much to see and do in Skyrim. The game itself is huge and then you add the DLCs and there's even more to do. I got the initial introduction tutorial out of the way and the set up for the main story and then I ran around picking up quests. Between the radiant quests, side quests, and guild quests you never run out of adventures. I liked the Thieves Guild quests a lot because the story line for it was interesting. The Dark Brotherhood quests were also fun to do because of the great story content. My favorite armor was the Nightingale armor which was a reward for completing the Thieves Guild story line. I also liked my Dark Brotherhood mount which I jokingly called demon horse. His name was Shadowmere however and he was cool. He would go everywhere with me and he would even fight enemies with me which I thought was fantastic. 

The Nightingale armor is the best!

If you want to take a break from adventuring, you can do things like crafting or build your own house with the Hearthfire DLC. You can also get married and adopt children with Hearthfire. This was one of the things that I found showed off the beauty of the gameplay in Skyrim. You can do as much or as little of the main story quests as you want. You can just run around crafting things, do side quests, or go hunting dragons. It's entirely up to you and gives you a vast amount of freedom for exploration and discovery. For me, it made the game a lot of fun and I just enjoyed running around discovering new places. 

I also loved battling all the dragons and finding all the dragon shouts for my Dragonborn character. The battles are epic and the controls handle very smoothly. I love it when a game has great game controls and good camera angles. It definitely makes fighting a huge dragon easier. I enjoyed playing with all the different dragon shouts seeing what each one did. My favorites were frost breath and dragon aspect. Because of that exploration freedom level grinding was not a chore at all. I was just having fun and enjoying the game. 

Taking down a dragon.

The environments are beautiful. I would find myself stopping often just to look around the different areas I was in because they are so well done. Whether it was a forest, snowy peak, or Dwarven ruin it always looked amazing and no two places looked alike. The musical soundtrack is amazing too setting the right atmosphere for each moment in the game. 
 You get followers too, but you can only have one at a time with you. Unfortunately if they die, they're dead for good unless you have the mods. I learned that the hard way with a couple of mine as they suffered from death by dragon. Most of the time, I just wandered alone because sometimes the followers would do stupid things like step on a switch and set off  a trap. Once in a while I would take a follower with me just to change things up, usually a mage because they were useful for fighting dragons.

A beautiful view in Skyrim.

I enjoyed the main story in Skyrim as well. The lore was intriguing and some of the reveals about certain characters made for a great story. I also liked that a couple of the dragons were allies of a sort. I thought the dragon Paarthurnax was very cool and learning a few dragon shouts from him was fun. I was also thrilled that Pirotess got to fly on a dragon also. It was quite a sight! I finished the main story and it was a great finish to a fantastic story. 

Pirotess chatting with Paarthurnax.

While the main story is finished, there's still a ton of things for me to do. I'm currently playing the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC as well as more side quests. I'm also enjoying crafting and building my houses with the Hearthfire DLC. For me, Skyrim is a blast to play and I love that there's always something going on and I continue to explore and have fun. There's always interesting things to see and I can't wait to play as a Khajiit for my next play through. Skyrim is a great game and I'm glad I finally got a chance to play it. 

Lots to discover, like mammoths!

*The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Remastered is available to play on these platforms: PC, Playstation 4, and XboxOne

Friday, November 4, 2016

Elder Scrolls Online, A Fun Adventure

Many of my friends kept telling me I should play Elder Scrolls Online because it was a lot of fun and set before the events of Skyrim. I told them I didn't have it yet, but eventually I would check it out. I liked that they followed in the steps of Guild Wars 2 by not having a monthly subscription, once you buy the game it's yours to play to your heart's content. I waited until it went on sale on Steam and got the collector's edition which included three DLCs and a horse mount. I was excited to create a new character and explore the world of Elder Scrolls Online. I actually made two characters both in the Nightblade job class a Dark Elf and a Wood Elf. You can have 8 character slots which is pretty nice. I may go and try out a Khajiit character later.

One of the many Khajit characters in the game.

The character creation is very user friendly with a variety of options. However, I once again wondered why there so many different variations of bald for the female characters. I suppose that just gives you a lot of options if that's your thing. I did like that there were plenty of longer hair options for the characters. Once my character creation was complete, I could not wait to start my adventure. I also had to pick which server to play on North American or European. I went with North American as the time difference doesn't really let me play with my European friends. Depending on which character you pick: Dark Elf, Wood Elf, High Elf, Khajit, Argonian, Nord, Breton, Redguard, or Orc you start the game that gives you a tutorial introduction for the game controls and then you have racial origin quests you can play.  I play the game on PC so my controls were for the PC, but you can also play the game on PS4 and XboxOne. Once I finished the tutorial quest I was able to really begin exploring the world of Tamriel.

My Dark Elf ready for adventure!

One great thing that stands out is how easy the controls are to map and use. The user menu for items and quest logs is incredibly user friendly making the game feel nicely streamlined. There is literally tons to see and do in Elder Scrolls Online ranging from a myriad of side quests to origin story quests as well as the main story quests. Another thing I like is the dungeon system. While I like Final Fantasy 14, the one thing I really do not like is how many forced dungeon crawls there are. Elder Scrolls Online has made it so that if you want to do a dungeon you can or you can just skip it if it's not your thing.

There are actually seven different types of dungeons. You have the public dungeons which if you have the right character build, you can solo very easily. This dungeon is open to everyone so solo players can come in and explore and team up with people who are in there if they wish. Public dungeons are a bit more challenging than the other dungeons so in general a group definitely helps. Delves are solo dungeons pertinent to whichever quest you're on. Non-Veteran group dungeons are instanced dungeons that require a group of four and are normal mode and scale to the level of the group leader. Veteran dungeons are instanced as well, but they don't unlock until you're level 50 and they are a higher difficulty than the other dungeons. Trials are 12 person instances that are mainly for endgame content and require a solid group and teamwork. Craglorn delves are instanced dungeons that have you kill a specific bosses inside. Finally, there is the Dragonstar Arena which is a 4 person instance PVE (Player versus event) arena. This has 10 different levels where you work together to fight 5 waves of monsters in each level and a final boss at the end. This is a difficult level dungeon for experienced players. 

Battling in a Delve. 

There is chat of course and for the most part it's alright in the fact that you can learn about events or people looking for groups so you can team up for quests and dungeons. This also lets you know what guilds are out there recruiting. Other times I tend to turn off zone chat because there's only so many sexual innuendo and dick jokes I can take. For the most part I run around by myself doing quests and I always have fun doing them and I have done a few group dungeons which are fun as well. The community in Elder Scrolls Online is quite friendly from what I've experienced and there are a lot of players who are willing to help if you need it and give advice about the game and class builds. I've even had a few players trade gear with me to help my Nightblade characters be even better which was so nice of them. That alone has made my experience with Elder Scrolls Online even more enjoyable.

The different areas that I've explored so far are beautiful. Just exploring is a lot of fun in itself because each area is completely different so it's a lot of fun to just look around at everything. The music in the game is fantastic as well and sets a great atmosphere for the story and quests. The battles are fun and easy to navigate. Leveling doesn't feel like a chore and unlocking skills is simple to do and with enough skill points you can even morph your skills into more powerful abilities. Traveling is great too because once you unlock a way shrine you can fast travel to those spots that you have unlocked. It does cost some gold when you fast travel however, but with all the quests you get under your belt it's not that big a deal. Traveling on a mount is easy, you can just use a command that has your character whistle and your mount will appear so you can head to where you need to go. 

My Wood Elf admiring the beautiful scenery.

There is PVP (player versus player) in the game. You can fight in Cyrodiil from level 10 and above. You can also challenge other players to a duel anywhere in Tamriel. If the person accepts your duel challenge, a flag appears and you fight in the designated area marked by the flag, if you leave that area it results in a forfeit. I tried it out once just to see what it was like (PVP is not my thing) and it was alright. For those who love PVP it is one more fun adventure thing you can do in the game.

You can do crafting in the game as well. There is an introductory quest to crafting that you get so you can learn about the craft you choose. There are six crafts to choose from: Blacksmith, Clothier, Alchemy, Enchanting, Provisioning, and Woodworking. The tutorial on how to do the crafts is easy to follow and once you get started it's easy to do. This is also a terrific way to make a bit of extra coin in the game for all the things you need such as gear and healing potions. 

The one issue I have with Elder Scrolls Online is that there is no cross platform gaming. This means if you play on the PC, but your friends play on the PS4 or XboxOne consoles you can't play together. This means that PC players are on their own server and the console players are on their own separate server. I can understand a bit why they did it that way, but it kind of sucks that I can't play with my friends who are on the console platforms. In that regard, Final Fantasy 14 is winning because you can play with your friends across all platforms. Perhaps that may change in the future, but for now that's not the case. 

Lack of cross platform gaming aside, Elder Scrolls Online is a great game. It's a fun adventure with a ton of content to explore and plenty of things to see and do. I'm glad I was able to check it out and I'm enjoying playing by myself and with other people. It's an MMORPG that offers a lot of great things in its game and gives a huge amount of freedom to the different play styles that people have allowing everyone to enjoy the game the way they wish. Now, I'm off to do some more adventuring in Tamriel!

My Wood Elf  off to a new adventure!

*Elder Scrolls Online is available to play on these platforms: PC, Playstation4, and XboxOne

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays Persona 4 Arena

I love the Persona series and I really enjoyed Persona 4 so I was excited about Persona 4 Arena. It was added to my backlog of games and I finally got around to playing it. The story is set two months after the events of Persona 4 so you get to see some favorite characters from the game make an appearance in Arena. Persona Arena is a fighting game, but it's a spectacular one. The tutorial for the game controls are easy to follow and the interface for the user money is easy to navigate.

Get ready to fight in Persona 4 Arena.

You can play story mode with the character of your choice or you can play versus mode against the computer or your friends. The dynamics of the battles are amazing with stylish combos and impressive defenses. Once you figure out each character's special moves and combos you can unleash attacks on your opponents that will smash your way to victory. I had so much fun just playing story mode and discovering all the combos, air dashes, and special attacks each character had. The controls handle smoothly giving a fully immersed experience into the battles of Arena.

Crush your opponent with amazing combos!

The artwork and design of Persona 4 Arena is gorgeous. It has an incredibly colorful and polished feel to it making it wonderful to look at as you play. Story mode is interesting too and it has some great twists and revelations towards the endings for each character. You have a select few characters to start with and as you progress you unlock the rest of the characters, so it gives you a good incentive to go through each character and find out the fates of each one. The music for the game is fantastic with catchy beats and it matches the atmosphere of a Persona game. 

This was a lot of fun to play and it was not a boring fighting game at all. Persona 4 Arena is a rare gem among fighting games because it comes with all the bells and whistles and if you consider yourself a fighting game fan, this is a game you'll want in your collection. 

Stylish visuals and fights are amazing!

*Persona 4 Arena is available to play on these platforms: Playstation3 and Xbox360

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Birth of the Dragon Is Disappointing To Me

At first I was curious about the movie that was meant to be about Bruce Lee titled Birth of the Dragon. I love Bruce Lee. I grew up watching his movies, I watched episodes of The Green Hornet, and I voraciously read everything I could about him. One of my titos (that's Tagalog for uncle) told me about how he met Bruce Lee before and how kind he was. I am Filipino and white so I grew up with both these cultures and I'm grateful for it. My family has all kinds of people from all over and all walks of life and I love them dearly. When I would visit my Filipino family I loved that we would often gather round together on the couch with popcorn and snacks and watch Bruce Lee movies. This was special and it's one of my favorite memories from my childhood. I would watch Kung Fu Saturday when I was a kid and I would be excited when they would feature a Bruce Lee movie. My grandparents weren't really into it, but they would watch with me and my brother Rob sometimes.
I will always love Bruce Lee and his movies. He was an incredible person and so talented. Watching his movies was a huge part of my childhood and when I see that there's a Bruce Lee movie on, I always watch it.

I didn't know anything about Birth of the Dragon. There was a trailer that looked interesting. Then I kept hearing negative things about the film such as it's racist towards Asians and they made Bruce Lee the secondary character yet claimed it was a biopic about him. Then I read this:

Birth of the Dragon is disappointing to me for this. It IS insulting to Asians and if we're really being brutally honest, it IS insulting not only to Bruce Lee, but to his family and friends who loved him. I don't understand making the white guy the main character when this was shopped as a Bruce Lee biopic. On top of this, it seems they made Bruce Lee appear to be this very one sided character who was just arrogant and stupid and it's simply not true. While Lee himself owned up to being foolish when he was younger, he was never stupid. Bruce Lee thought about each and every thing he did and in his movies there was always a political theme and the ideas expressed were intricate and well thought out. They provoked ideas and discussions as well as entertained. Read any of his books on martial arts and you see a deep philosophy and calm practicality to his teachings that show someone who was an incredibly thoughtful person.

The Filipino kid in me is extremely disappointed by this and a little angry too because Bruce Lee is one of my heroes and I'm disgusted by what appears to be blatantly anti-Asian propaganda in a film that was being sold as a biopic about him. This is irresponsible and Asian people have every right to be angry about this because once again Hollywood is shoving us into the background and telling us we're not as important because we're not white. I loved Bruce Lee because he was amazing and I loved that there was an Asian person who was the main character in his movies; someone like me and my brothers and my sister. That meant something to me and it still does. The people who made this movie should apologize for the horrible lie they told about this being a biopic about Bruce Lee and at least be honest about what it really is a film stating that white people are better than us. We'll never get that apology of course because these are the kinds of people who run Hollywood and have for years. I do know that I for one will not see this film and I will watch Bruce Lee's movies and celebrate the amazing person he was. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

 I was excited to play Witcher 3 Complete Edition as I had never played it before, yet I had read all the books about the Witcher Geralt and liked them a lot. I have not played the first two games, but they are both on my to play list. Geralt's world is interesting filled with complex characters, fantastic monsters, and great storytelling. All I can say is that I have a ton of games to play and some things get backlogged. I still have a stack of PS3 games to play and of course, I'll be playing the remastered Skyrim for PS4 when it comes out and that's another game I haven't played yet, but for this moment let's discuss how much I loved Witcher 3.

 Yes, I loved Witcher 3. I stayed up way too late many a night playing this game because I was having so much fun running around killing monsters and helping people in need. My vision of Geralt was someone who did his best to do the right thing and that sometimes that meant siding with the occasional monster because there were times when humans were the real monsters. The story drew me in right away and these were characters and lore I was familiar with so I was thrilled to explore the entire world in the game. Truly, I unlocked entire maps because I just had to know what everything was. The areas that were too high a level for me at the time I made a note of where they were and came back later. I think it's great when a game makes exploration fun and it definitely helped having Geralt's horse, Roach to help that exploration go a bit faster.

Geralt and Roach doing a bit of exploring. What a view!

The environments in Witcher 3 are amazing. I would find myself stopping and just looking around at the scenery whether it was roaming through a forest or wandering the streets of a city. The attention to minute details was quite impressive. The gameplay is great. The gaming controls are fine tuned to make battles fun without feeling frustrating and the camera angles are spot on which made a terrific gaming experience for me. The music for Witcher 3 is beautiful. My favorite music was for the area of Skellige. Skellige was also my favorite place to explore because it was so pretty there with all the wild flowers and forests. I genuinely liked the people there too because many of them did not treat Geralt with complete suspicion or call him a freak the way they did in cities like Novigrad. They respected him and what he did; the fact that he was a Witcher and had cat eyes didn't really come up much. I felt that showed a lot of variety in the thinking of the people in the different areas.

There are so many side quests and that's not including the side quests included with the Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine DLC side quests. The completionist in me loved that there were tons of side quests. Side quests are totally my jam and I hunted down every single one and had a great time doing it. I did the main quests as well of course and I enjoyed the story greatly. The big thing that I loved about the side quests and story quests is the complexity of the situations and the characters involved. There is no hard black and white line and many times there are gray areas. Some decisions weigh heavily because they are not easy to choose and they feel like you really have to pick the lesser of two evils, but whichever you pick at least one or many people will be affected by it. For example, do you let a group of children get eaten by evil witches and a baron's wife lives, but she's under a curse and is mentally ill or do you save the children, but release an incredibly angry tree spirit in order to do so which leads to the baron's wife dying, the baron committing suicide out of grief, and the spirit killing all the villagers who hired you to destroy it? These are the types of situations that gave me pause and made me think about my decisions very carefully. Throughout the game, your decisions affect the story and the endings which definitely makes things interesting.

Geralt doing his Witcher thing. 

There are mini games to play as well. I enjoyed the horse races because those were fun and worth the time and effort. They gave some great rewards such as saddle bags that increased my inventory space and saddles that increased my horse's stamina and speed. Then there's a card game called Gwent which you can play with various people ranging from innkeepers to some of Geralt's friends. I really tried with Gwent. It was a bit confusing for me and I found myself looking up videos on YouTube just to try and get the gist of it, and it helped a bit. However, a huge shout out to my friend Danny for giving a simple explanation of how it worked and the best strategy to winning because that helped more. I mainly just wanted to finish the Gwent side quests I had and I managed to do that. After that, I no longer bothered playing Gwent. It just wasn't my thing, but I will say graphics wise it was a well designed mini game and while it was a tad frustrating for me, I understood why many of my friends enjoyed it. There's also fist fights tournaments (think Fight Club) that Geralt can participate in. I aced the heck out of those and won all those prize coin purses. My favorite fight was the Rock Troll because it was interesting and I got to learn his name at the end; a reward for winning the fight.

Geralt wins the match! Yes, Witchers have many scars. It's a rough business.

Level grinding was not a chore for me in the game because there were so many quests and Witcher contracts which involves hunting specific monsters or investigating things that might involve monsters. These offer good experience and a lot of money for Geralt. There are times when the leveling feels a bit uneven because sometimes the main story quests give more experience than a few of the contracts and side quests. It's not a big deal, but it is noticeable. The skills menu for unlocking Geralt's Witcher abilities and upgrading them is easy to navigate and quite user friendly. My favorite skill was an upgrade of the Axii skill known as Puppet which could make enemies fight each other. The cutscenes and voice acting are superb; while the loading times are practically seamless which made me very happy. 

Geralt taking down a Basilisk. 

 Now, I'm going to talk about something relating to the game that has come up while I've been playing it. I actually debated about whether or not to put this in my Witcher 3 post because I love video games and I enjoy talking about them with my friends and family who also love them. Video games for me are an escape and something fun to do so I can relax and just stop worrying about things for a little while. I want to have fun and be lighthearted sometimes and video games is just one of the things that offers that to me. However, after three different friends gave me a hard time about playing this game I decided that yes, I would address it. I did inform them that I would be writing about this and that I would not mention them by name, but I wanted to make sure they would be comfortable with it. They were gracious enough to agree and I thank them for that.

First of all, I don't like anyone telling me what to do. Ask my parents. There was a time when I was told to eat my vegetables when I was a kid and instead of doing that, I stealthily put them under my chair and claimed my plate was clean because I wanted to go play with my friends. Hey, I was four. What the heck did I know about being a mastermind? My parents bought it for two minutes until they discovered it and yes, it was wrong of me to think that I didn't have to listen and tried to fool my parents but this gives you an idea about how long I've been like this. Don't get me wrong, if you just have a conversation with me and we have a healthy discussion I will listen to what you have to say. What I don't respond well to is comments like, "You should NOT be playing that game because of this, that, or the other thing." Ultimately I like to decide and think for myself and I think everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to play a game, read a book, or see a movie. 

While playing Witcher 3 two things came up about this which were I should not play the game because there are no people of color in it and that it was sexist to women. I honestly did not know there was a huge hullabaloo about these things when the game was first released because honestly I get busy with things going on in my life and I tend to just choose games that pique my interest. I thought the game looked interesting, so I bought it. That's really all there was to it. 

Yes, I did notice that there were a lot of white people in Witcher 3 in areas like Skellige and Novigrad and yet I also noticed that there are many other races such as Dwarves, Godlings, Elves, Dopplers, and Rock Trolls. I also noticed that while there seemed to be some of the German language in the Nilfgaardian dialect many of them were not white. In fact some of the soldiers of Nilfgaard that I spoke to looked like Spaniards while others looked Persian. With the Hearts of Stone DLC many of the Ofieri looked like Ottomans, Turks, and Arabic people. So yes, there are in fact people of color in the game. 

See? It's not all white people. We're done here. 

 I'm not going to give you the, "But it's fantasy!" excuse because that just won't work and doesn't explain my thoughts on it. I will say this. Yes, I think we need media from ALL cultures, races, backgrounds, and walks of life. That is important and shows how vastly different yet wonderful our world is and just how many incredible people are living in our world. It is nice to see everyone represented, because that is our world and it's a beautiful one. That has been slowly but surely changing. With games like Mass Effect and Fallout 4 there are all kinds of different races of people in these games and I think that's terrific.

Here's the thing. That isn't Geralt's world. If you've read the books or looked up anything about them at all, you will see that. It is loosely based on Medieval Eastern Europe and sadly, there was not a lot of diversity.  These are not "white people Americans"; these are Polish and Eastern European people in the game. These are stories written by a Polish author and there's a lot of Polish folktales in them as well as Polish culture (thanks to my friend V. for informing me that much of Geralt's armor was based on traditional colorful Polish dress) and the game was done by a Polish studio. I feel that they have as much right to be proud of their Polish heritage, stories, and to celebrate the fact that something that comes from their country is popular as much as I love my Filipino culture. It is NOT racist to celebrate who you are and where you come from. Those stories and those folk tales are part of their background, their identity and to imply that they should be ashamed of it and not celebrate it is racist in itself. We need diversity; not have everything be completely homogenized. 

As for the second aspect regarding the game being sexist towards women, I just find myself wondering where this comes from. There are several, I repeat, several strong female characters in the lore of Witcher and in the game. How is any of it sexist towards women? Look, I understand not liking all the boobies in the brothels and the sexual scenes in the game. It's not for everyone and some folks are just not down for it. It never bothered me and some of those sex scenes have some amusing humor in them. The argument that Geralt feels no emotions so it's sexist towards women is utter crap. If a person takes the time to actually read any of the books, read the lore, or actually tried to play the game they would know that Geralt can not express emotions on his face because of all the mutations that Witchers go through. Geralt actually feels very deeply especially when it comes to people like Yennefer who is his true love, Ciri who is like a daughter to him, and of course Vesemir who is a mentor/father figure to him. The fact that he can't physically express those emotions due to him essentially being a mutant shouldn't count against him. 

The issues with things like Ciri being called a bitch by men or Yennefer being called a whore; those are things that happen in the real world and they sure as hell happened way too often throughout history. Part of the storytelling of many artistic things is that it finds a creative way to discuss real world issues and inform you hey, this kind of thing happens open your eyes. The part I loved is that these women did not need saving. They handled it themselves. The man who called Ciri a bitch? She broke his nose and she stuck up for herself. Yennefer handled the man who called her a whore and she held her own very well. These are not wilting flowers. These are strong, intelligent, and brave women in the story and I was thrilled that a fantasy game had them. Honestly, as soon as I heard the sentence, "Feminist Frequency said..." I felt my eyes rolling because this is such a stretch. I'm not saying that they're not entitled to their opinion because they are, but I did not see any evidence of that in the game at all and I disagree.

I am not denying that racism, sexism, and bigotry exist because sadly they do. I wish they didn't, but we as people still have a long way to go. The good part is that there are many of us who are working together to evoke change and gradually change HAS happened. Our work is not done, but we'll keep working and fighting together one day at a time. 

Games are meant to be fun and for me Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt was so much fun and one of the best games I've ever played. The story, the open exploration, and the diverse characters were amazing and I enjoyed it immensely. Now, I'm going to play through again on new game plus because the completionist in me wants to get all the different endings and the game is worth playing multiple times if one wishes. 

Geralt increasing his Witcher powers.

*The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is playable on the following platforms: Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, and XboxOne

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fallout 4: Nuka World DLC An Imperfect Finale, But Worth Playing

I had been counting down to what I called Nuka Day, the release date for the Fallout 4 Nuka World DLC. I was quite excited to play the final DLC for Fallout 4 because the idea of an abandoned amusement park while not new (they did this in Bioshock) sounded like it would be interesting and fun in a setting like the Commonwealth Wasteland of Fallout 4. Once I had it downloaded, I started another adventure in the world of Fallout 4.

 It's best to come fully prepared when you start Nuka World. You have to be at least level 30 in order to start the quest. In my case, I was level 72 and by the time I finished I was level 79 which shows you just how much there is to see and explore in Nuka World. Definitely bring your best power armor as well as plenty of stimpaks, Rad-x, and RadAway because you're going to need all of it for many of the battles that come up.

 The way Nuka World starts is you get a radio signal from the Nuka World amusement park broadcasting advertising for it and when you go to investigate, you discover that it's a fairly nasty trap thought up by some raiders and you have to survive a deadly obstacle course known as The Gauntlet. At level 72 this was no big thing for me and I had maxed out several perks which included being able to disarm traps and mines which helped a lot. There are a few surprises here and there that definitely keeps you on your toes and my power armor really took a beating, but it felt a bit exhilarating to be running around and kicking ass.

Welcome to Nuka World!

Once you get to the end of the Gauntlet you have to fight the Overboss and this is where you meet Gage who tells you the truth about that particular fight, perhaps to further his own agenda or something even more sinister. Either way, you're prepared for that fight because of his help and it is a pretty spectacular one. The odd thing is that once you've achieved victory over the Overboss, suddenly you're thrust into the leadership position and become the new Overboss. That moment feels a bit awkward because you didn't really sign up to the be leader and were in fact tricked into showing up, but it does give you an introduction to Nuka World and gives you a good reason to finally get to explore it.

Kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. It's what we do in the Wasteland. 

 Your first area to explore is the main entrance of the park where you get to meet the three raider factions that seem a bit more organized than the usual raiders and who are unsure of your intentions and who you are. You also get to have a hilarious conversation with N.I.R.A. (Nuka World Informational Robot Assistant) the Nuka World greeter robot and you can get a quest from her as well. Once you've gotten acquainted with this area there are five main sections of the park to explore with themes ranging from western to space. My two favorites were Galactic Zone and Safari Adventure because they were interesting to explore  and there was a character in a quest located in Safari Adventure who I truly liked a lot.

A hilarious meeting with N.I.R.A. Nuka World's robot greeter.

 There are a couple of areas outside the amusement park to explore such as an abandoned town and a settlement with a religious group that calls themselves Hubologists. Nuka World gives you that feeling of a huge area to explore and there are a lot of things to see and do with a few more things that can kill you like Gatorclaws. That's right, two deadly things that can rip your face off merged into one. Thanks Vault-Tec scientists. It's exciting to explore and find all these different things because there is a sense of danger in some of the places you need to clear out for quests. I had to plan a strategy just to take out a Nukalurk Queen who was in a full blown rage because I dared to enter her territory. That fight was crazy and intense and I loved every second of it. There's a few new weapons and armor that you can get as well as a couple new power armor sets to add to your collection. There are a couple of fetch quests that are a little tedious because they don't really give you an idea of where to look for them like trying to find 35 star cores for a computer mainframe.

New power armor is always cool to have.

 There are radiant quests to do that the different raider factions give you as well as a few quests from folks like the Hubologists. This is where I had a dilemma about the fact that here are raiders who are not exactly good people and are all for horrible things like slavery. "No one has a bomb collar that doesn't want one and no one is a slave who doesn't want to be" is their messed up reasoning about this. My thought response was, YEAH RIGHT. I had played my character to be essentially a chaotic good type. I did my best to do the right thing, to try not to hurt anyone as best I could, and to help as many people and settlements as possible even when Preston Garvey drove me nuts with the radiant quests. 

 While it is an interesting concept and a cool idea that you can decide to join the raiders and become a big bad scary raider yourself, Nuka World doesn't feel like it really is friendly towards your lone wanderer if they're a hero. Granted you don't have to wage war on all the settlements you helped if you don't want to, but it seems like there are only a few quests that are you actually helping others. The rest seem to be blaze through in a storm of bullets and take what's not yours and it doesn't matter who you kill to get it. That's great for anyone who wants to try their hand at being the villain, but for the way I've played this character it did not sit well with me. I also find it strange that you would even raid your own settlements and I feel that perhaps this should have been a quest played alongside the main story quest instead of after the main one was finished. 

 You can at least finish the Grand Tour quest line before you decide whether or not you're going to live like a pirate or be a hero. I decided I did not want to be the villain. I felt that my character had worked very hard to help everyone in the Wasteland and I could not turn my back on the people who looked up to me and I could not turn my back on people who needed help i.e. the bomb collared slaves. This brought up the Open Season quest which you can get from one of the slaves who happens to be a doctor; Mackenzie who told me what I had already figured out about the raiders in Nuka World. This gives you a chance to continue being the hero if you wish, but make sure you've done everything you wanted to do before attempting it because it will finish things up. 

 The story feels a bit light in Nuka World and I think I liked Far Harbor better because for me, the story had more depth and even gave some great back story to one of my favorite characters, Nick Valentine. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy Nuka World because I did, but some of the pacing felt a bit uneven and forced. I did have fun exploring it however and I did like playing the last DLC of Fallout 4 because overall Fallout 4 has been a game that has been a nearly flawless and enjoyable gaming experience for me. This wasn't a bad way to spend twenty dollars. Nuka World is an imperfect finale, but it is worth playing because overall it is fun to play which is one of the big things that's important to me in my gaming. It was a creative and cool way to say goodbye to Fallout 4. 

A view of Nuka World from the top. Farewell, Fallout 4!

*The Nuka World DLC is available to play on these platforms: Microsoft Windows PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One

Monday, August 29, 2016

2016 Is Sad, Goodbye Gene Wilder

I was going about my day when I saw this article:

2016 is sad and it seems that many of the iconic people that I grew up with are passing away. I mourned David Bowie and Prince; artists that showed that it was okay to be different, that it was okay to be yourself, and they made so much incredible music that was a gift to the world. Now, I am mourning Gene Wilder who was funny, smart, and a pretty great person.

I have so many fond memories of watching Gene Wilder movies with my grandmother. Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory was a favorite in our house and every time it was on we would watch it. We would also watch all the Mel Brooks films he did because those were favorites too. Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and The Producers were staples in our home and were watched often. I still watch those movies and I love them as much as I did when I was a kid.

My heart goes out to Gene Wilder's family; it's incredibly hard to lose someone you love. 83 isn't a bad age to go out; he had a life well lived, but it's still hard to say goodbye. Thank you Mr. Wilder for all the wonderful memories I have of watching your movies with my grandmother who I loved dearly and for all the smiles and laughs we shared together watching them. Thank you for your humor and your quiet, charming kindness. Thank you for being you; we will miss you. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Puppeteer, Whimsical And Fun

 I was perusing games on Amazon when the game Puppeteer was suggested to me. I was intrigued by the cover and looked at the game description to see what it was about. It sounded interesting and it was on sale so I purchased it. I started playing the game and I was blown away by it because it's not like any game I've played before. The whimsical aspect of it is charming and it made me think of Little Big Planet which is also a fun and whimsical game. If you're a fan of Little Big Planet like I am, you will enjoy Puppeteer.
 Puppeteer is a side scrolling platform game and you play as a boy turned into an animated puppet who loses his head named Kutaro. Kutaro gains a variety of puppet heads to replace his own throughout the game. You have three puppet heads and when you lose a head, you have thirty seconds to grab the head and put it back on or you lose it forever. Your heads are basically like lives so when you lose all three heads/lives it's game over.  
 The story takes place in a fantasy world representing Earth's moon which is inhabited by a myriad of folklore style characters and they are all puppets as well. The game is set up to look like a faux stage with red curtains and you can hear an audience reacting to the events that happen in the story along with commentary from the narrator. It adds to the charm of Puppeteer, making it feel like a complete theater experience while playing a video game.  The first half of the game is on the dark side of the moon while the second half is on the Earth side. When Kutaro's story begins, the narrator explains that the Moon Goddess was overthrown by by her servant Little Bear who then seized her black moonstone and the scissors called Calibrus and dubbed himself the Moon Bear King.

Kutaro exploring the first level of the game. 

The Moon Bear King is the main villain, but there are several villains you have to battle before you get to him; twelve of his generals based on the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Each of them has a piece of the Goddess' white moonstone which Kutaro must get from them. Kutaro does get tools that can help him and eventually he does get Calibrus which are essentially a weapon for him. There are creative ways in which they are used besides as a weapon such as jumping to cut clouds to get to a high ledge or cutting seams to move faster while battling an enemy. They are also used to free the other animated children like Kutaro by cutting the puppet strings so they can return home. 
 There are other tools that are used as well such as ninja bombs which can open pathways for you and a pirate hook which can hook items or secret doors. They are smartly and creatively used with simple puzzles in various levels of the game which makes the game play entertaining and interesting. 

Talking with Ezma Potts, one of the many characters in Puppeteer.

The environments in Puppeteer are bright, colorful, and filled with beautifully done imaginative things. They're fun to explore and you can go back and play previously beaten levels because there are so many puppet heads and bonus items to collect. A couple of levels were my favorites such as the pirate one and the Halloween one because they put a smile on my face while playing and the Halloween one gave a Nightmare Before Christmas vibe that I loved. There are a few moments of frustration here and there with a couple of the boss battles and depth perception issues in a couple of levels, but it's not a huge deal because the execution of how the game plays and how well the story flows makes Puppeteer worth playing. 

Avast! Hanging out with pirates. 

 The game is about nine or ten hours of story and if you really want to explore to get every single puppet head out there, all the trophies, and bonus stages that can add a little more extra time and keep you pretty busy. The voice acting and music for the game is superb and there are even moments of humor that will cause you to laugh. It's quite clear that the developers of Puppeteer loved this game and enjoyed designing it and their imaginations really shine throughout the entire game; making Puppeteer a wonderful gem for gamers like myself who appreciate the fun and whimsy. 
 While some of the art can be dark and spooky like the Halloween level, there's plenty of light and fun levels making the game enjoyable for people of all ages. Overall, Puppeteer is a delightfully charming game and so much fun to play. It is worth buying and playing more than once because it doesn't take itself seriously, celebrates all things whimsical and fun, and is a terrific game. 

Kutaro having fun!

*Puppeteer is playable on these platforms: Playstation 3


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition

Once I finished Fallout 3, I went on to playing Fallout New Vegas. I really liked the opening introduction to the game's main story line because it hooks you in right away showing just a glimpse of the underlying chaos in the Mojave wasteland with a pretty badass introduction narrated by Ron Perlman. Then you get to meet your main character the Courier who is in a messed up situation as they're getting mugged for a platinum chick they're delivering and some jerk in a checkered suit is explaining that the Courier has made their last delivery and while it may seem like bad luck, it's just that the game was rigged from the start. I knew right then it was going to get worse and it did as he shot the Courier in the head. I admit my initial thought was, how the heck is this going to work if the main character is dead? I got my answer fairly quickly as it showed the Courier waking up in a bed with an old man hovering over her looking concerned and asking if she was alright. The man introduced himself as Doc Mitchell and explains how the Courier survived thanks to a Securitron robot named Victor and the adventure of Fallout New Vegas begins in a town called Goodsprings.

The Courier explores Goodsprings.

Goodsprings of course gives you a chance to explore and get familiar with the game controls and how everything works. The controls are much better here than they were in Fallout 3 which made me happy. It also introduces you to the people in the town and you get a couple of quests from them. You also get a chance to speak with Victor the robot who saved your life. Honestly, I found Victor to be really creepy. He seemed friendly enough with his cowboy icon face and talking in a friendly cowboy drawl, but there was just something weird about him. It also didn't help that he kept popping up in odd places during my adventures and seemed to be following me. He did own up to it which I will give him, but he was creepy. 

Once the tutorial introduction and quests are finished, you get to really explore the Mojave with the main goal being to find Benny; the man who stole the platinum chip from you and shot you leaving you for dead to get answers. For me it was to get answers, get the platinum chip back, and beat the crap out of him. I was still pretty ticked off about that whole ordeal with him shooting me. 

To say that the world of Fallout New Vegas is big is an understatement. It is huge and you get an immediate sense of just how vast the Mojave wasteland is as you explore it. There are three big main factions fighting for control of the Mojave and the Hoover Dam and your decisions throughout the story affect which side you will help. There's the NCR a military expansion government, Caesar's Legion a group of Roman style slavers, and Mr. House the mysterious ruler of New Vegas. 

There are minor factions as well which can be recruited as allies depending on how you're playing the game. There's the Brotherhood of Steel, Followers of the Apocalypse, Enclave Remnants, Great Khans, and Boomers. You also have companions who join you and that includes a canine companion named Rex; a cyborg dog. 

The future contains awesome cyborg dogs like Rex. 

There are so many side quests to do alongside the main story quests which isn't a bad thing. A lot of them were fun to do and the companion quests are interesting especially for the character of Boone. I liked Boone a great deal. There was a complexity to him that was intriguing and as my Courier got to know him better there was an understanding of why he was the way he was and a path towards him atoning for some of his past. It made for a great companion story and by the end of Boone's personal quest I liked him even more. 

There are quests that are hilarious too such as the quest where you need to find a sex robot for someone in a town called Freeside. Fisto was absolutely hilarious and I could not stop laughing during that entire quest. It definitely made adventuring in the Mojave a lot of fun. The environments look okay and there are some impressive sights such as the Ranger Unification Treaty monument. 

The Ranger Unification Treaty monument looks amazing.

While I enjoyed Fallout New Vegas, there were many frustrating issues with it that had me swearing up a storm when they happened. The major thing were the constant dropped frame rates and freezing that caused the game to crash. When the game worked, it was a lot of fun to play. It just killed it for me when the game would freeze every couple of hours. I make sure to save my game often anyway with my games and I think that games like New Vegas are why. I did all the tricks too with clearing the cache on the PS3 and rebooting and it would still crash after a bit of time. That's incredibly irritating when I want to fully enjoy a game. 

Then there's the weird quest bugs. I couldn't finish a quest for a couple of my companions because in one the quest item was nowhere to be found and in the other a quest the NPC I needed to complete the quest had disappeared completely. There were also occasions where I would get stuck in a wall or my companion would and I would have to reload my last save. I understand that there are going to be bugs and glitches in a game sometimes, they happen. However, the vast amount of glitches, bugs, and technical difficulties is inexcusable. I know that Obsidian the developers that worked on New Vegas apologized for all of that, but the thing is slapping a band aid on it is not going to cut it. For as long as the game has been out and the patches they had to fix the game, it should be fixed and yet those irritating issues remain. 

I also did not like the fact that they mess with the story line a bit with the fact that I had to play the four DLC quests before the final fight at Hoover Dam because a couple of those quests clearly happen AFTER the final battle. It wasn't a big deal, but I found it odd because with Fallout 3 and 4 you can continue to play the game after the main story is finished. When I realized that, I just reloaded my game save and went back to play them and then finished up the final main story quest. 

Speaking of the DLC quests, I wanted to like all of them. I really did, but there were so many flaws. I only really liked two of the quests out of four. That's saying something. One of them I just could not stand at all. That was the Dead Money quest. I could not stand Dead Money. It was very clunky with the navigation and hard to see at some points. Getting gassed and waking up in a strange place without any of my gear and some crazy ex Brotherhood of Steel jerk was not good.  As part of the story you also have a slave collar around your neck that happens to be on the same frequency as the radios in the surrounding areas and if you don't destroy the radios the collar will explode and kill you. This is an exercise in futility as every damn five minutes the collar beeps and you have to figure out exactly where the radio is. I found this tedious and slow which made this quest one of the worst I have ever played and I played Dragon Age The Descent. Yeah, I said it. The ending was a little satisfying, but not much because you don't really get anything out of it except a little payback to the egomaniac who put me through that nonsense. 

Old World Blues was alright, but I hated the fact that once again I'm basically drugged and wake up in a strange place without all my gear. Seriously, was this the same writer for Dead Money? So I had to figure out where I was and I met the insane scientists in robot bodies who had brought me there. The thing that kept Old World Blues moderately entertaining for me was the humor. There were moments that had me laughing especially when one of the scientists claimed that my toes looked like tiny penises. There were some cool places to explore and some interesting things to see. The big thing that makes Old World Blues shine are the smartly written jokes and the humor about trying to understand another species and the differences between you. That's what made it fun for me. 

Open Hearts was my favorite. I loved Open Hearts because it tackled the subjects of religion and strength of conviction in an interesting and subtle way that makes for a good story. I loved exploring Zion because it was a nice change from the Mojave with areas that were actually lush and green with trees and plant life. The characters for this story were quite interesting as well and I found I really liked the one companion character Follows Chalk because there was an innocent curiosity to him as he asked about civilization in the Mojave and stated he wanted to see for himself. I liked how the story was presented as there isn't really a completely good or completely bad scenario; that sometimes you make difficult choices and do the best you can so there's some gray areas. Overall, I enjoyed this DLC quest a lot. 

The Lonesome Road was disappointing for me. It started out strongly with the introduction of this other mysterious courier, Ulysses demanding you show up to answer for what happened in a place called The Divide. There isn't really a strong urge to explore and it just seems to be travel from point A to point B. During that time you get to hear Ulysses drone on and on about the NCR, the Legion, and how you were the catalyst for nuclear missiles blowing up in the Divide. I like history a lot, but Ulysses made it freaking boring because he kept harping on the same thing repeatedly. It shows just how nuts Ulysses is because essentially he's blaming a mailman for something that had nothing to do with them. What happened in the Divide was an accident and while yes the Courier was delivering the package (a detonator) that awoke and caused all that, they had no idea what it was. The NCR did however and probably the Legion, so that's on them. Look, I get it. Ulysses had something very traumatizing happen to him and he needed something or someone to blame in order to be able to wrap his head around it, but when I was there face to face with him all I could think was, this whole thing was not my fault and you're crazy! I mean he wanted to punish a bunch of innocent people for the traumatizing thing for just a chance to wipe out the NCR and the Legion; that does not sound like someone who is operating at full capacity. Luckily, my speech, intelligence, and science perks were high enough that I convinced him peacefully that destroying all those people would help and even earned his respect. It's obvious in the writing that they meant for Ulysses to be a companion, but I guess they couldn't quite figure out how to make it work and this is what happened. It was okay, but it wasn't perfect and they could have made this a great story instead of a mediocre one. 

Once I finished all those, I wrapped up the game with the final quest which was the battle for Hoover Dam. I had decided to help the NCR because while they're far from perfect I felt that they were a better choice than the group of rapist slavers that represented Caesar's Legion. I also liked and respected the fact that the NCR seemed to be protecting the idea of democracy and while they had their flaws, they were at least trying to do something good. The battle for the dam was epic and because I had successfully convinced the minor factions to join the NCR I had a lot of help battling Caesar's Legion. I totally loved the Boomers with their salvaged airplane taking out Legion soldiers from the sky. We fought hard and the battle was won; the NCR still had control of the dam. The game ends then showing all the different things that happen to the people and areas in the Mojave depending on your choices. Overall, the ending was pretty good and I was glad to see that many of my choices helped a lot of people who needed it. I can honestly say that I enjoyed playing Fallout New Vegas in spite of the technical issues and I'm glad I only paid 10 bucks for it. When the game works, it is worth playing and there is lots of adventuring to do with a great main story and solid side stories. Play through it at least once is my take on it. 

A great view overlooking the Hoover Dam. 

*Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition is playable on the following platforms: PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition

I know. How could I have not played Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas? There are many games I haven't had a chance to play and as I've gotten older, I've become a little more discerning about which games I buy right away and sometimes I just miss a game or two here and there. I also wait until things go down in price and only really pay full price for a game if it's something I know I really want. Again, that comes with being an older nerd. At any rate, when I saw that I could buy Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas for 10 bucks, I did jump at the chance and I was excited to play. I started with Fallout 3 first of course and it was quite an interesting adventure.

The opening sequence was intriguing with the lone wanderer being born and of course this is so you can choose to be a boy or a girl and design your character and decide their race. I went with Asian girl and as I was picking out all the facial and hair designs, I wondered why there were several varying choices of bald. I mean, I get it. It's Fallout and with spiffy things like radiation poisoning hair falls out and people are bald, but so many choices of bald over actual hair. It was weird. I found a hair choice I liked and everything was great and I started my Fallout 3 story.

So the time jumps from baby to ten years old were interesting for getting to see how life was for my lone wanderer in Vault 101 and there was a birthday party for me where I get my very own Pipboy. Neat. Wandering around talking to everyone including a ridiculous bully named Butch (I was not nice to him and punched him. That was my freaking birthday dessert damn it!) was cool and it definitely sets the story up nicely. Then the time line jumps again and my character is 16 years old and has to take the G.O.A.T. (Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test for Fallout newbies) to decide what they'll be doing.

16 and ready to take the G.O.A.T. test. 

A last time jump happens and the lone wanderer is 19 years old and the main story of Fallout 3 begins. The Overseer's daughter and my friend Amata, wakes me up to tell me that her dad is losing it because my dad has left the Vault. Initially I was shocked and wondering what the heck she was talking about, but it turns out it was true. Dad left and didn't say a damn thing to me about it so of course I have no idea what's going on. Amata tells me she'll help me to leave because she doesn't know what her dad will do, so here I am running around trying to escape the Vault and thinking, geeze this is a messed up situation.

I was trying to play the chaotic good path, so I didn't kill the Overseer out of respect for my friend even though her dad was a freaking paranoid psycho. I managed to escape Vault 101 and here was this vast world in front of me and I couldn't wait to explore especially since the setting was in Washington D.C. a place I was familiar with having grown up in Virginia. So I set out to explore what was now known as the Capital Wasteland.  I discovered the town of Megaton and the people surviving in the Wasteland and picked up some quests as well. Megaton was definitely cool with all the different houses and the crazy atomic bomb that is just there in the center of town. 

Enjoying the view of Megaton. 

From there the big thing in Fallout 3 is finding my lone wanderer's dad and getting some answers about why he left and what exactly he was up to. There's all kinds of main quests and side quests for hours of game play giving the impression of a vast world. There's all kinds of danger in the Wasteland too ranging from Super Mutants to Mirelurks which definitely kept me on my toes. There's all kinds of weapons too and of course I liked that I could modify and build my own. You get companions who travel with you too and that includes everyone's favorite canine Dogmeat. I did like the fact that you could have two companions travel with you. I ended up choosing Dogmeat and my Super Mutant friend, Fawkes. They both worked really well together with taking down enemies. There's also two factions of the Brotherhood of Steel, the Brotherhood and the Brotherhood Outcasts. They seemed to have different ideas about what they should be doing. I did like Elder Lyons the leader of the Brotherhood of Steel though. There was a kindness and gentle wisdom to him that was incredibly likable. I did find it amusing to see Maxson and MacCready (they're in Fallout 4) as kids in Fallout 3. They seemed so different from who they are now. I actually liked Maxson better in 3 because he seemed a little kinder and a little more open.

Taking down a Mirelurk. 

My lone wanderer did find her dad and got to actually talk to him about what he was up to. Project Purity was a cool concept; the idea of clean water for everyone in the Wasteland was great and the fact that he figured out how to make it work was also great. I just didn't understand why he couldn't tell his own kid what he was up to and instead just left without saying a word and his excuse was the Vault would keep me safe. Really? Sure. I was so safe with the Overseer and his goons trying to kill me. It was hard to stay angry with him though when he was so apologetic and then proceeded to say nice things to his kid about how proud of her he was for surviving and trying to be a good person. 

Then, dad and daughter team up to work on Project Purity. I did do some side quests along the way before getting back to the main story. I enjoyed exploring the Capital Wasteland and seeing some familiar places such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. There's even a quest where you can break in to the White House to get somewhere. Granted the majority of it is destroyed, but it was still a pretty neat quest. 

Checking out the Jefferson Memorial with Dogmeat.

Of course in the main story, things don't go as planned thanks to the shady people simply known as The Enclave. That's where the Brotherhood of Steel comes in as you work towards the common goal of eliminating the Enclave who apparently have an issue with the idea of everyone in the Wasteland getting pure water that isn't irradiated for free. Again, I ran around and did more side quests for more level grinding and more things. I did like that I got a free house for helping the people of Megaton by quietly disarming that atom bomb before it blew everyone sky high. One of the vendors there sold themes for the Megaton house and I went with pre-war which was nice with a 50s retro feel.

Cool, I got my own house!

Did I enjoy Fallout 3? Absolutely. That isn't to say there weren't flaws. This is Game of the Year Edition so there was no excuse for a lot of the issues I had. This included all the DLC titles and these were fun to play. I especially liked the Broken Steel and Mothership Zeta quests. I also liked the nod to the Cthulhu mythos with the Dark Heart of Blackhall quest. The big thing was the constant game freezes. Mothership Zeta was especially bad with this and it got incredibly frustrating. I did all the tricks suggested; turning off the auto save and clearing some data. That helped a bit, but every once in a while the frame rate would drop and the game would freeze. It turned out this was a common problem on the PS3 and I found myself annoyed with it. Sure, it wasn't a big deal because I could just reload my last save and it would be fine. However, it does take away from the atmosphere of the game when that happens. There would also be odd glitches like Dogmeat walking up in the air above me or my character would disappear and there would be bits and pieces of me visible such as my hair and my hands. That was incredibly weird. The controls were a little clunky and I actually had to change the difficulty to very easy until I got used to them. It wasn't a big deal, but it was noticeable. 

I love the Fallout series and there's so much to enjoy about them. However with things like this happening, Bethesda should be embarrassed. For as long as the game has been out, there's no excuse in not fixing known issues especially when it comes to dropped frame rates and the game freezing. It made me glad that I follow my mantra of save my game and save often.

Technical issues aside, I did have fun playing Fallout 3 and liked the story a lot. The characters were good and the different paths I could take for the storytelling  were great because it did make me really think about what choices I wanted to make during my adventure. I'm glad I finally got the chance to play it and it was a great game. Now, I'm ready to check out Fallout New Vegas! 

*Fallout 3 is playable on these platforms: PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360