Friday, November 18, 2011

Olly Moss - movie posters extraordinaire

This guy is an outstanding artist from the UK and I need to start buying his work. Check out his site:

Behold the awesome!

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) Bethesda Games - My first ten hours (give or take)

Achtung!  This post doesn't have plot spoilers but does discuss some elements of gameplay that you might not want to know about (especially if you didn't play Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and are unfamiliar with Tamriel and its inhabitants).  Other than that carry on:

Achtung Zwei!  The ten hours is actually probably longer since I had to load an old save file when the game glitched on me.

Here are some general thoughts, basic tips, and errata:
  • Keep multiple save files in case of glitch or data corruption.  By multiple I mean at least three in addition to the autosaves.  Basic entry level stuff but seriously I lost about four hours of gameplay because an game progressing item became lodged in a mountain.
  • I've been joking about alchemy and the like with some friends on teh FB (switch to G+ suckas) and I realized that I have an "inner Renfield".  I basically go cross-country eating things I catch and find.  The purpose of doing so is to learn the alchemical qualities of these items and thus brew potions and tinctures.  This boils down to running across fields chasing bugs, ripping their wings off, and eating them (or splashing around in a river catching fish or gnawing on bones or just eating random things).  Kill Screen's Gus Mastrapa "Things I Ate in Skyrim" is a brilliantly hilarious article that really does the whole insane process justice.
  • The three main crafting skills are kind of awesome.  Alchemy, blacksmithing, enchanting (every single time I use this skill I say, "Enchantment?  Enchantment! a la the idiot savant in Dragon Age: Origins) are useful and since I'm the kind of player who is constantly gathering, stealing, and collecting crafting items I can put them to use and never have to actually pay for anything.  The skill that I am kind of unimpressed by is the cooking feature.  It's not even really a skill since you don't gain any higher competency or bonuses.  You make various items into food and then the food has effects (health boost, etc) but the effects are kind of worthless compared to alchemy.  Additionally food by itself often fetches a higher price than prepared dishes so there's not much point in cooking and then selling the junk.  There's probably some side side quest where someone want you to make them a mammoth steak but other than that cooking in Skyrim is kind pf pointless.
  • One thing you can do with produce is sell it to farmers who will pay you as some kind of day laborer farm hand.  Wait what?  I AM DRAGONBORN!  I mean sure I'll help you gather fucking cabbages for a pittance.  Bloody peasants.
  • Speaking of dragons, THERE ARE FUCKING DRAGONS IN THIS GAME!  And not just there's a monster at the end of this dungeon boss dragons.  The fuckers are flying around at random.  Two favorite encounters with dragons so far.  I was on walkabout with my retainer up in the mountains out in BFE and was heading out of a village when people started screaming.  Yup, dragon breathing ice breath on the poor shit shovellers.  So I stealthed into a copse of trees and started ranging the scaly fucker.  I got over-confident and tried to close range for a clearer shot.  Dragon spotted me and levelled the trees around me.  Fuuuuuuuuuuu.  The other encounter involved me walking around the countryside chasing butterflies when a shadow passed over head.  I promptly ran like hell towards the nearby windmill and pretended to be Brave Sir Robin.  Wish I had a rocket launcher and Matthew McConaughey driving me around.  That'd be sweet.
  • I have already contracted vampirism.  Seriously?  Vampirism already?  In Oblivion it took me at least longer than a dozen hours.  So much for seeing the sun.
  •'s Robert Brockway "5 Personality Flaws Skyrim Forces You to Deal With" is pretty funny.
  • Jeremy Soule's score is kind of better than awesome.  It's so fucking awesome it comes on four cds.  Epic, sweeping, grand, amazing yeah yeah yeah all well and good.  Stopping what I was doing in an inn to listen to the bard?  How's that for impressive?  I'll be picking this up (unless I should wait for Christmas?  ahem).
  • Mark Lampert's sound design is equal to the score. 
  • The voice acting is as solid as it should be.  Plus Max Von Sydow and Vladmir "Should Have Been Thor" Kulich are on the roster.  Too bad they couldn't get Mads Mikkelsen.
  • Many, if not all, of the reviews talk about the scenery and vistas and their quality.  I could quibble about how trees and bushes don't look all that great and and some of the draw could use some work and say I bet this would look better with GTX560 GPU but then I'd be one of those guys.  Skyrim's landscapes and world really shine when you least expect them to and the game really does an excellent job of immersion.  For example I was coming out a dungeon crawl in the mountains and it was night.  Across the night sky were the northern lights and the town in the valley had flickers of light, near the base of the mountain was a bonfire belonging to giantsI wish I had been able to get a screen cap.
  • In addition to the pretty vistas Skyrim is a kind of bizarro trip to Skandinavian lands I have never been to except seen in movies (I have Swedish ancestors too).  I really, really dig the vibe of the meadhalls, jarls, thanes, Northern gods, lycanthopic berserkers, and all that good skull splitting bludgelt stuff*.  It's more than a welcome change from the typical fruity Elven Land of Summer rpg though it does dovetail nicely with The Witcher.  Plus I'm enjoying playing a non-Nord Imperial so the NPCs treat me as more of an outsider and this kind of deepens the game experience for me.
And those are the long and short for the time being.  I'm enjoying the hell out of just wandering aimlessly but really that's the primary reason I pick up Bethesda games. 

Hope you folks are well.  Keep your blades sharp and your wits sharper.

* I predict, and you've heard it here first folks: Skyrim is going to make mead sales in America skyrocket.  I shit you not.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Skyrim impression #1 and something to make you feel old.

Skyrim is awesome, very awesome, vast and filled with things to eat.  It also has a bug that is forcing me to restart after four hours of gameplay because the corpse I need to loot to progress the story has fallen into the scenery.  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu...

Skyrim note:  To all those mouth breathing paste eaters who are unable to pronounce the title of the game - you are fucking idiots.  It's not skeeram or skreem or skeksis it's fucking SKY-RIM.

In other news:

We are old.  Legend of Zelda celebrated its 25th Anniversary.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Witcher - closing remarks and assorted nonsense

I finished off The Witcher this last week and I have to say, well that was satisfying but I'm not sure if I'll be playing it again.  I ended up polishing off the game and side quests (a vast majority of them) at around sixty hours which, for a game that didn't boast a vast world is a good run.  The game ends on a high note with an awesome cinematic that sets up the next game.  The way I played through the game awarded me with a solid "good" ending.  I few suitably proud of myself for making the "right" decisions though during the game I had some second doubts.  All in all I'd have to give The Witcher a middle-high 8/10 B+.  The story and character development was excellent, I was really impressed by some of the story arcs but the denouement, fairly dull combat system, and lacklustre skill development made the game less of role play and more of follow the story.

In other assorted news:

After receiving a higher than average paycheck thanks to working Halloween I was able to take care of mid-month bills and have a little extra to put towards Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.  Plus I already overstocked on groceries so be expecting a post about my initial squeeing over Bethesda's new set of load screens, uh, game.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Manly Monday: Paul Newman in short shorts.

I've always dug Paul Newman more than Robert Redford.  In any case, as a counter-balance to Foxy Fridays (Gillian Anderson in a cat suit is my highest viewed post in the history of HYR), here's one for from the collection.  L'chaim!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Witcher 2 Video Review Video - PC - IGN

Remember, remember...

Ellen Barkin
to set your clocks to standard time this weekend.

In other random news:

Beverly Garland gets ogled in It Conquered the World (1956) also starring Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef

"And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott...
Anne Francis Forbidden Planet

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Witcher - Enhanced Edition (2008) - PC - CD Projekt Red Studio

About two years before the much feted Dragon Age Origins  appeared on the scene The Witcher had been getting the love PC RPG fans.  At that time I didn't really give much thought to PC gaming so it fell in the cracks for me (I was all about Elder Scrolls Oblivion anyway).  Last month I saw The Witcher: Expanded Edition for $15 on Steam and figured what the hell, I'll give it a shot.  I'm now about twenty-ish hours into the game and I have to say I'm pretty impressed.  Is it the world's greatest RPG?  No but it's really good.

The basic premise is you play Geralt, a Witcher, who supposedly died (I keep waiting for the game to make the same Snake Plissken jokes I've been making) and has returned from the grave with amnesia.  Witchers are basically humans who, through alchemy and somethin somethin, have become more human than human in order to combat monsters, gribblies, and undesirables.  The downside is Witchers have been broken as a cohesive force and there are less than a handful left.  Regular human beings have taken their defense into their own hands and now view the Witchers with fear and contempt.  Yeah it's a well worn theme but The Witcher makes it work.  Geralt has to deal with humans and nonhumans (elves, dwarves, etc) and is constantly getting shit from all sides.

What I like about The Witcher is that it somehow manages to breath some new life into dark fantasy.  Truth be told, playing this makes me wonder how many of the Dragon Age creators we fans of The Witcher.   While some of the side quests involve "get me ten of this" some of the side quests are actually kind of intense and long running.   CD Projekt Red Studio is a Polish designer/distributor out of Warsaw and I think there's an Eastern European flavor to the game as well, a certain hard edge that Western games try for but miss 95% of the time.  This certainly is not a Peter Molyneux fantasy romp.  Plus The Witcher is certainly one of the more adult games I've played in awhile, not cheezy Kratos boot knocking, but this is an adult themed game.  Geralt is kind of like Ian Fleming's Bond, he's very good at killing things, drinking heavily, and having sex with bodacious chicks.

Now if you haven't played The Witcher and give it a shot you might be put off by its graphics.  It's not Battlefield 3 and there are times when it makes Dragon Age look pretty.  Really though the graphics are pretty solid and everything looks the way it should.  There's no character customization or party set up - you've got Geralt, which is okay since he's fuckin bad ass.

Controls are, well, never really having played a PC RPG actioner before it's taking me some time to get used to the keyboard & mouse control set up.  Now I know why the trackball mouse is so popular among PC gamers.  I guess I could go through the effort of mapping a controller but that would require effort.  I like the quickness of accessing menus and hot keys of the keyboard but exploring and camera control still kind of pisses me off sometimes.

This game looks like it might have some legs on it since I'm twenty hours in and only in the first or second chapter of the game.  I've been surprised that actions have consequences - a doofus statement I know but how many games promise this and the consequence is worthless or absurd?  I saved a cat from a tree later I received a sandwich from the cat's owner.  Derp.  Not all the secondary quests have blinky lights over their heads so tracking them down makes for some fun in the game.  There are one or two parts I've gotten a little frustrated at but I figure answers will be forthcoming.

The Witcher worth picking up if you're in the market for some dark fantasy PC goodness.

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