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12:02 AM on 08.07.2013

Monthly Obsession: Rymdkapsel

I've wanted to do a weekly blog, but my laziness wouldn't allow it. So here's a monthly blog about games I'm currently adoring.

Rymdkapsel is a colorful, minimalistic RTS for iOS (and other mobile platforms) made by Martin Jonasson. It's $3.99 USD on the App Store and happens to be the most addictive mobile game I've played in 2013. Everything about it is amazing, from the soundtrack composed by Niklas Ström to the nail-biting tower defense-style micromanagement. 

Before I rave, rymdkapsel is Swedish for space capsule, which is cool. Anyways, in Rymdkapsel you manage a small space station, adding new rooms and corridors to accommodate your hunger for exploration. You can expand your capsule by dragging a room to the location of your choosing and making your appropriately named minions build it for you. Corridors add... corridors to you capsule and allow for more rooms to be added, as rooms can only connect to corridors, not other rooms. This adds an interesting Tetris-esque management to where you place your pieces. 

There are seven types of pieces: corridors, extractors, reactors, gardens, kitchens, weapons, and quarters. Corridors, as I've already explained, expand your capsule's space. Extractors must be placed next to energy fields and will produce square things (I picked that name myself!), one of the game's three resources. Extractors will continue to produce their resource until the energy field is depleted. Reactors produce cube things, another resource. Unlike extractors, reactors will use light to produce their resource, which allows for much more flexible placement. Gardens produce sludge, which can be put in a kitchen to make food (the pyramid things), the third and final resource. Weapons allow for two of your minions to defend the capsule against waves of enemies that appear on a timed basis. And finally, quarters allow you to create two minions at the cost of food. 

You control the minions by sliding your finger along the task bar at the bottom of the screen. There are five tasks: research (not shown in my screenshots, sorry!), engineering, food service, construction, and defense. Research, which can be performed once your capsule builds a pathway to a space monolith, allows your minions to research said monolith and discover the secrets it holds. Engineering will have your minions produce resources at a faster rate. Food service allows for the production of food (wow!) and will supply a quarters block with food to produce more minions. A minion assigned to construction will construct any of the blocks that you've chosen to be built on the capsule. And finally, defense, which will send the designated minion to a weapons room to defend your capsule. 

A red bar constantly fills at the bottom of the screen and when it caps off, your capsule will be attacked by an ever-increasing number of enemies. They will target your minions, so make sure they're well-defended. This adds periodic terror to your list of things to deal with and  will keep you determined to be as productive and smart as you can. One second lost in Rymdkapsel can be deadly. One wrong decision can screw your capsule, every choice counts. You'll be destroying old rooms to allow for better ones, but at the cost of precious time lost. Managing your minions' tasks is very important, as you have to decide what needs to be done as quickly as possible and what doesn't. Should you send them to defense now or finish building that reactor? Should you put all your manpower into research at the risk of losing time to expand your capsule? The game ends when your crew has been eliminated. Can you beat Rymdkapsel? I have no idea. There's a lot to discover. It's crazy how much depth is in Rymdkapsel. 

Rymdkapsel is an incredible RTS tower defense game with a unique Tetris-style block system. I sunk a solid hour into my first game without any breaks, and like a game of Civilization, you're always telling yourself to play just a little bit longer. I absolutely love Rymdkapsel and I look forward to my next game. Maybe I'll get a little further and finally discover what the monoliths do. Maybe I'll build a fortress that'll keep me protected from my foes. Or maybe I'll do both. I won't know until then, but it's things like this that keeps me coming back to Rymdkapsel. If you have an iOS or Android gadget or even a PlayStation Mobile device, download Rymdkapsel. Its addictive gameplay and unique art style will keep you coming back, day after day.   read

9:58 PM on 07.18.2013

Monthly Obsession: Cave Story+

I've wanted to do a weekly blog, but my laziness wouldn't allow it. So here's a monthly blog about games I'm currently adoring.

A while back, I purchased my first Humble Bundle. It was the Humble Indie Bundle 7 and it came packed with a plethora of great titles. One game that caught my eye was Cave Story+. I knew very little of it and the only previous contact I had with the game was the WiiWare demo. I figured I'd try it again and booted it up.

I was greeted by a lovely main menu with a catchy chiptune playing. The + version of Cave Story is my personal favorite, as you can switch between original and enhanced graphics, and multiple soundtracks. The music is wonderfully composed and one of my favorite soundtracks in a game. I started a new file and away I went. Many nights were, and still are, spent as the silent protagonist Quote, shooting enemies with my Polar Star and crossing large gaps with my Booster 0.8 jetpack. One thing I love about Cave Story is the varied environments. One moment I'm in a desert-themed part of the cave, another I'm in a zone filled with dragon eggs. Each location in Cave Story has its own distinct feel, which is nice considering the game takes place in, well, a cave.

Cave Story is primarily a platformer shooter. Thankfully, the combat is addictive and rarely tiresome. My favorite combat mechanic is easily the ability to level up and level down weapons. Enemies will occasionally drop experience triangles that will level your gun up. Weapons have a total of three levels and with each level comes a new perk for that respective weapon. If Quote is damaged, he'll lose HP and the weapon he has equipped will lose XP. This adds an interesting incentive to avoid enemy fire. You start to plan out what weapons you need to keep at high levels and what weapons you can take hits with. You can't run guns blazing into a group of enemies because you're bound to lose a gun level, which can easily lead to your death. Who wants that? No one does, that's who. 

Cave Story's plot is also a thing, and it's a very cool thing. I found it quite entertaining and delightful, and after a rather slow start, the game never slows down. It features multiple endings, each of which is obtained by small choices you probably won't realize you made at first. Things like talking to a character before you talk to another can affect the story, which I find really interesting. The first playthrough of Cave Story is best done without any walkthroughs, but I advise using them afterwords so you can see the other endings. 

Those are just some quick thoughts on Cave Story. I like that game a lot and I can see why it's highly-praised. Among my ever-increasing library of Steam games (it's really only 19 games, but I'm getting there), I often find myself going back to Cave Story. It really is a charming game that I'm sure will continue to be loved for years to come.   read

7:10 PM on 02.11.2013

Fallout 3: Reality Horror

Fallout 3 is widely known as one of the greatest games of this generation, and possibly all time. It is simply described as a perfect balance of combat, story, and environment. Fallout 3's main stage is the District of Columbia, or Washington, DC. I live in DC, and absolutely love it. Nice people, Obama, great food... it's all so nice. But Fallout 3 gave me a horribly accurate vision of my home. Fallout 3 managed to do something no other form of media has been able to do. Fallout 3, quite literally, made me feel unsafe in my own home.

What if you were to return to your house after a long trip, only to find it destroyed? That's sort of how I felt when playing Fallout 3. Here was a recreation of a place I knew so well, but everything was torn apart and destroyed. The White House, an image of hope, was barely standing. The Washington Monument was in shambles. Everything I knew was gone.

Seeing landmarks I was so familiar with like that was one of the most unnerving experiences I've had. I have always enjoyed immersing myself in a video game's world, but upon playing Fallout 3, I found myself trying to escape. I loved the game dearly, but I almost hated it for the way it made me felt. Nights were spent staring at my ceiling, nearly petrified at what I had seen.

Even recalling my experiences years later scares me. I've always been afraid of my country being attacked. I guess growing up with diehard American parents does that to you. But Fallout 3 not only amplified that fear, it made it feel like a reality. I would pass by the Washington Monument on my daily runs and flashback to Fallout 3's depiction of it. I would see the Capitol Building on my way to work and would think about it crumbling.

Every time I would boot up the game, I would quickly find myself in a hostile environment, with my former symbols of hope surrounding me. I could barely play the game without a slight emptiness in my chest and lingering fear in my heart. That is true horror. Horror is not a jumpscare in a corridor. Horror is not a flimsy ghost story. Horror is unnerving fear removing your sense of security. I have never felt so absolutely alone than after playing Fallout 3.

I applaud Obsidian for what they were able to accomplish. Fallout 3 is a masterpiece. Fallout 3 is also one of the scariest games I've played, and I'm not too sure if any other game will make me feel the same. That game was able to legitimately terrify me for months, and part of me is still scared. Am I overreacting? This is just a videogame, right? Yes, but in the same way Silence Of The Lambs and The Exorcist are just movies. Sure, they're not real, but that won't stop you from being terrified.

But would I like to revisit this chilling wasteland? Yes. While in those few months I experienced terror, I managed to come out stronger. I've mentioned before that I've lived a sheltered life, so maybe seeing my home like that strengthened me. Fallout 3 might have possibly made me a stronger man, like when you brave a roller coaster or watch a scary movie in the dark as a kid. Afterwards, you feel better. You're glad you went through what you did, and it's rewarding. That's what Fallout 3 made me feel.

I'm not too sure if many people consider Fallout 3 when they think of horror games, but that game managed to tear my home apart and remove my sense of security. Who knew a game could do that? Who knew a game could strike pure terror into an adult's heart and also make them feel stronger afterwards? I sure as hell didn't.   read

5:37 PM on 12.20.2012

Ken Levine answered my question on his AMA today on reddit!

So, my secret Internet crush and one of the greatest minds behind BioShock Infinite answered a question of mine on his Ask Me Anything today on reddit. I'm posting this solely for bragging rights and now I'm probably better than you. Naturally, I fanboyed to the largest extent.

ISN'T HE THE BEST??? So, um, yeah. Bragging rights. I do love his sense of humor and he (vaguely) answered my question. I'm having a great day. Woo. Sorry if this is too short for a blog, I had to post it.   read

8:22 PM on 12.05.2012

Death Of A Dog

Yeah, yeah, this isn't gaming related. Sorry. I just need to vent to anyone willing to listen. Well, read. Not listen. You don't listen to text. But that's not the point.

I've been alive a while. My life, described in a single word, is sheltered. I'm sorta introverted, and I have some flaws that I'm ashamed of. I'm not too fond of physical socialization, but I absolutely crave it. To me, there's always been someone I could talk to; someone whose sole purpose was to love me. That someone was my dog.

His name was Bailey. He was a Yellow Labrador who loved bread. He liked bread lots. Bailey and I were the best of friends. We played. We laughed (he barked, I laughed). Hell, we slept together (not like that, perv). We had the best of times together. We were friends.

Anyone who has had a dog knows that there is a special kind of love they give. Humans love, but dogs at times seem to be only capable of love, and it is a love so unparalleled by anything else. Getting yelled at by my boss for eight hours was bettered by knowing my dog was waiting for me when I got home. The sheer joy he expressed when I walked through the door was wonderful. Here was someone who was genuinely happy to see me. And I, human, master, best friend, was genuinely happy to see him.

A week ago today, I was notified that Bailey didn't have much time left. He was getting old. He was slowing down. He was losing his spark of life. I was shattered, but determined to make the most of it. So we played, ran, and slept some more. I haven't felt that happy since I--- well, I've never felt that happy. I could almost hear him saying, "Chris, stop sulking, man up, and let's play." He probably wasn't saying that, but pretending helps.

Two nights ago, at exactly 9:50 PM EST, Bailey collapsed. He started to grow cold, and was rapidly losing his ability to move. I cried. I cried a lot. We took our final drive together to the Vet, where we went our separate ways.

So here I am. Staring into space. Thinking of how I'm going to put my feelings into words. I've always liked to believe that people don't really leave when they die, but that they are merely invisible to human eyes. I've never coped with death well. I'm not coping with Bailey's death well. I am truly trying to pull myself together, but it's harder than I thought it would be. My friend is gone.

(I'm sorry if this seems like nothing more than some clickbait sob-story. I'm venting to you.)

Losing a friend may just be the hardest experience any human can go through. But as I'm starting to really recall the great times I spent with that lump, I'm starting to realize that he pulled me out of depression. That dog took me from the circle of Hell I was trapped in and brought me into the light. That dog, and I'm not exaggerating one bit, changed my life.

The universe may or may not have been created by an omnipotent being. I have my beliefs, and you have your own. But when the dog was made, things slowed down for a while so that perfection could be nearly achieved. Dogs are truly man's best friend, and I'm glad I've had one of my own.

Thanks, Bailey.
(and you, reader)   read

12:24 PM on 10.16.2012

Mirror's Edge 2: My, well... Our Wish List

Mirror's Edge 2 is easily the one unannounced game I want most. I want it more than Half-Life 3 and Battlefront 3. Hell, I want it more than a sequel to Jet Set Radio Future. I want it badly. There are so many things EA and DICE could add to this anticipated sequel, but I'll list the features I would like the see the most. Note: This list was made up most entirely in a community chat, so I do not take full ownership of the ideas, except for Freedom Mode, which my wonderful imagination did birth.

1. Linear, and entirely similar, structure for campaign
That may not sound that great, but anyone who's played the first Mirror's Edge will know where I am coming from. The campaign was brilliant. It had an interesting story, challenging levels, and it flowed beautifully. If DICE were to take these from the first game and mirror (pun intended) them into the sequel, it would yet again have an amazing single-player experience. Of course, adding new mechanics into the campaign will be needed.

2. Art Style
One of my absolute favorite things from Mirror's Edge was the art style. As shown in the picture above, it was all white, blue, red, and orange. Other colors would pop up here and there, but those four were the primary colors. Buildings, plants, and things you generally didn't have to care about would be white, while things you could freerun on were red. If ME2 were to use the exact same, and I mean exact, I'd be happy. Also, keep the amazing character models and it will be a visually stunning game. I hope it runs on the Frostbite 2 engine, because that engine can produce stunning visuals on consoles.

3. Freedom Mode
This is what could make ME2 one of the best games in a while. Freedom Mode is simply a selection of open-world maps, and a shitload of collectibles hidden everywhere. Think Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, but with parkour instead of skateboarding. Imagine a giant city block, with hidden passages and special NPC's to give you "quests". Maybe there's a collectible you can't reach because you don't know the correct technique to get there, you could find an NPC and have them teach it to you. I could see Freedom Mode being the most played part of ME2. And, why not have the techniques you unlock carry over to the single-player campaign? They will not be necessary to complete the story, but the techniques could help you get to secret areas within the campaign. This will add a ton of replay-value to the game. Throw in some secret Achievements and Trophies to Freedom Mode, and you got yourself a game worth replaying. DLC could be implemented into Freedom Mode and add new maps and techniques. EA's business practice of bombarding a game with DLC could actually work well with ME2. Hell, add leaderboards too. They'll track how many collectibles you've discovered, and show you how you compare with the rest of the world.

Those are the main things that could make Mirror's Edge 2 a fantastic sequel. Most of it would be keeping what made the first so great, fixing what needed to be fixed, and adding new modes and mechanics. But what about things that could break Mirror's Edge 2? Well, here they are.

Fail 1. Kinect/ PSmove Integration
ME2 is just screaming for motion controls. It's a game based on movement, and what would be better than actually moving yourself? A lot of things, actually. You see, while Kinect and PSmove were great concepts, they haven't been the greatest products. Imagine waggling the controller to run, or jumping in place to wall-run. Motion Controls would have to dumb down the entire game to work properly, and that is something I'd hate to see. Mirror's Edge worked great with a controller, and the second would be great with one too.

Fail 2. Multiplayer
I can see multiplayer being added to ME2, and there is no chance in hell it should be. Games these days LOVE tacking on multiplayer to extend a game's replay value, but ME2 needs to stay single-player only. Freedom Mode already has the social and replay EA craves in a game, so there's no reason to add what could be a colossal failure of a multiplayer component to ME2.
EDIT: SephirothX brought up a great point about having some sort of race and/or co-op mode. Thanks for the great point!

Fail 3. More First Person Shooter, Less Fun
The original Mirror's Edge had light gunplay, which added a different way to take down opponents. But EA could easily add a ton of guns to the game, and make it necessary to use them. Ask someone who's played the first ME, and they'll tell you the best way to enjoy the game is to avoid using guns and use CQC almost religiously. ME2 should be the exact same way.

There you go: that's everything DICE and EA needs to do and don't do to make Mirror's Edge 2 more fantastic than the first. Liked what you saw? Hated it? Am I missing something, or being incredibly ignorant of a key feature? Be sure to tell me in the comments. I'd love to hear your feedback.   read

5:59 PM on 07.30.2012

Apple Vs. Google: A Neutral Approach

In the modern world of today, we are surrounded by technology. We check our Twitter feeds on our smartphones, read the newspaper on our tablets, and get our daily dose of information on our computers. It's fantastic when done in moderation, and I can't imagine life without my iPhone by my side, ready for me to check into foursquare. I can bet that you, the reader, love technology. Everyone on the Internet does, or so I hope.

Lately, I've seen a lot of threads in which one guy says, "OMG, guiz. Apple fucking sucks. What have they ever done for the benefit of technology?" and then a response that goes like, "WTF, dude? Apple is the best! Google is the one that sucks ass." and those two comments sadden me greatly. Why are so many people this biased? Why do I find that their opinion is false? Well, I found the answer.

It seems like with the greatness of technology, that one can only enjoy a single company's products, and no one else's. Well, honestly, that's utter bullshit. Why can I only like one company? Why aren't I allowed to enjoy the products of more than one company? Is it so wrong to admit that I like the competitor's designs?

You can go onto any tech forum, and post a thread that either says, "I love Apple" or "I love Google", and the Internet will come swooping in to tell you that you're wrong, and that you should die. You'll see comments very similar to the ones that I posted above. Now, in their very basic form, those comments are merely opinions stated. But, those extremely biased opinions are clouding up the thoughts and actions of the poster. You see, both Apple AND Google are amazing companies, run by amazing people. They make wonderful products, and you know it.

For starters, Apple has made extreme innovations to the technology world. They revolutionized the computer, music, phone, and tablet industries. You cannot deny that. You know you can't. The iPhone was the first smartphone to say, "Hey, I can do more than basic web and email!". The Mac, iPod and iPad said similar things. Apple is a wonderful company, and even if you don't agree with their "patent-everything" style, you can still admit that the world would be an incredibly different place without them. And not in a good way. I'll admit that Apple should be a little less aggressive when it comes to patents, and that suing isn't everything, but I don't run the company.

A second thing about Apple that I hate hearing is that they never upgrade their products fast enough. People always say that Android phones are always more feature-packed than iPhones. But guess what? Apple does that on purpose. I hate it, but it's a brilliant move. They know that if they do upgrades in slow, yearly bits, people will be compelled to buy their latest product, because it's better than the last. Look at the iPhone 4S. I have one, and I love it, but it's not really a new phone. It's a simple spec upgrade made to the iPhone 4. But tons of people still bought it, loved it, and will upgrade to the next iPhone. Android manufacturers slam the latest stuff into their phones, which results in a lot of similar phones.

Now it's time for Google's pros and cons. I love Google. It's the search engine I use daily. It's my source for the best viral videos through YouTube. And it'll soon be my home Internet and TV provider with the newly announced Google Fiber. Have you seen Google Glass?! It's incredible!

It seems like Google does everything with the consumer in mind, and that's something that has led to their stunning success. They have an open source phone OS with limitless possibilities. That same OS, Android, will soon be powering our Ouya's, which hopes to revolutionize consoles. I feel like Google could own any market in goes into, and that's pretty awesome.

But there are a couple things about Google that piss me off. They want my information. They want to know everything about me to make my experience more "personal". Ads catered to my likes and interests, being found easier on Google+, etc. Google wants to manage our daily lives entirely, and while that's fine on paper, I find it incredibly scary knowing that they want my credit card for a NFC-based payment option is kind of scary. NFC is still new to phones, and getting into it might be easier than one thinks. Google needs to back down just a bit when it comes to my life. The only other thing I hate about Google has to do with Android. Due to the fact that there are multiple companies who make Android phones, there are obviously a lot of Android models around. You can buy the latest and greatest Android phone, but the scary thing is, you'll never know if you're going to get the latest update. People say if you always want an upgrade, buy a Galaxy Nexus. I shouldn't have to worry about getting an update, though. I should be guaranteed it. Yes, Google can't do much about it, but it still makes me mad.

I hope you can see why I love both Apple and Google now. I also hope you understand why hating on another company only because you love their competitor's stuff is stupid. And lastly, I hope you understand that both are incredibly amazing, albeit flawed, groups.

I believe that in a crazy way, Google and Apple coexist, and thrive off one another. Compare Google's tablet, the Nexus 7, with the iPad, and you'll see a lot of similar ideas, both in the hardware and software. I love that. They might not, but as a tech junkie, I do.

Thanks for reading that rant. I seriously needed to get that off my chest.   read

8:15 PM on 07.15.2012

Gaming Confessions

In my introductory blog, I had a section where I confessed my "gaming sins". These were things like not ever playing a JRPG or any Half-Life games. So, I thought I'd expand that section into a full post.

For starters, I have never played Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. That may not seem huge, but I used to play my N64 non-stop, so not having those games is a pretty big deal. Now, I have played Ocarina of Time 3D, which I loved to pieces. I've also never played a single Mega Man game, which everyone else probably has, and therefore I feel tiny.

I never enjoyed Borderlands. I don't know why, which is the worst thing about it. Maybe it's that I feel that RPG's and FPS' should stay separate. I want to like it, but I just can't. I also never enjoyed the Mass Effect series. Yes, Mass Effect. There is something about the tone of the game that I just hate. It's not comical. At all. I have never played a single part of any Mass Effect game without feeling utterly depressed. Sure, the story is a serious one, and the gameplay reflects that, but I have never found a cheery moment in the series. The one time where I guess I did feel a bit good was at one of the Extended Cut's endings. I think it was called Control or something like that. The ending of Control was where I felt a tiny bit happy.

I love mobile games. I just recently upgraded to a smartphone, and before that, mobile games seemed like the evil growth on the foot that is the games industry. But once I turned my iPhone on and went to the App Store, all of that vanished. I consider myself a "hardcore" gamer (whatever that means anymore...), so being addicted to casual games is really weird.

I could seriously go on forever talking about my hideous confessions, but I won't because if I did, you'd all hate me. I would, however, like people to make their own gaming confessions. They can be whatever you're ashamed of when it comes to video games. The stuff that I confessed may not seem big, but I've seen them as some horrible crime that I've committed. And, also check out the linked introduction I made, if you want to see the rest of my confessions...

Cheers!   read

5:08 PM on 05.07.2012

My "I've been here for a while, time for an intro" introduction

(I'm not into BBcode [and I'm incredibly lazy], so photos will not be included in this blog) (Actually, scratch that. I'll be inserting red panda photos)

Hi there! My name is L3ED and you may have seen me around on this lovely site Destructoid. Although I've been on Dtoid for a bit, I didn't post my first blog until recently. Veteran community member Elsa suggested that I do an introduction, so, well, here you go.

I've been on this earth for 27 years and I am to some extent, a hipster. I have a beard, I wear plaid, and I do frequently use Instagram. Yeah, I am ashamed of that. Like, a lot. But that's who I am. So deal.

I am American and live in Maryland. Ah, Maryland. To be honest, the only reason I like Maryland is because Bethesda Softworks is located 5 minutes away from my living quarters. I enjoy dogs, running, and listening to alternative rock. My favorite band currently is Muse. You may have heard of them.

(Isn't that picture adorable?) Gaming has been in my life since the start. Well, it really started when my amazing brother gave me a Game Boy Color with one of the greatest games of all time, Pokemon Yellow. I was addicted to that game. I've sunk many hours into that game and I continue to today. Eventually I upgraded to a Nintendo 64, which housed three more of the greatest games ever, which were naturally Goldeneye, Star Fox 64, and Pokemon Snap. To this day, I do not understand why two of those games have been remade, but not Pokemon Snap.

I soon started playing our Nintendo Entertainment System, which helped my love for Nintendo grow. After that, I got an Xbox (original one, mind you), then a Xbox 360, and then a Wii. Those are all the home consoles I own. If you noticed that I've never owned a PlayStation, then you can guess that I really wish I had purchased one. But, I also really love portable gaming. In my life, I have owned a Game Boy Color, a Game Boy Advanced, a GBA SP, a DS, a DSiXL, and lastly, a 3DS. Yeah, I really love Nintendo's handhelds.

Some of my favorite games ever, besides the bits that I've mentioned, are Jet Set Radio Future, Call of Duty 4 (the one before CoD became what we know it as today), Battlefield: Bad Co. 2, LIMBO, all of the Super Smash Bro's, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and every Ace Attorney game ever.

And here's the part of my introduction that I've been dreading to write: my gaming confessions. Let's see... Oh! I've never played any Half-Life games. Ever. In fact, it'd be really cool if someone gifted me the original Half-Life on Steam (my username is L3ED, and I'm trying to hint at anyone being kind enough to do that). You don't have to. I'm not like that. But, seriously. I want that game. Secondly, I've never touched a JRPG (Pokemon doesn't count). Now, those may seem like they're not that big, but it feels like everyone's played those.

I forgot to mention that my PC, and pardon my French, is utter shit. Like, 1.8 GHz Pentium, 2 GBs of RAM, integrated GPU. If your eyes are bleeding, I apologize. I didn't mean for you to read that. And the best part? My job heavily relies on Photoshop CS5 (CS6 is almost here, hnnnng), which can take quite a lot of power sometimes. Yet somehow, I deal with it.

I really wouldn't change a thing with my life. Things have gone the way I've wanted and I am happy with who I am. I really love Destructoid and I have never met a community who is as amazing as the one here. I've laughed with you, argued with you, and agreed with you. Here's hoping that we're all gonna be friends. (Insert White Stripes song)

Oh, and a parting gift, for reading the whole story of my wonderful life.


6:27 PM on 05.04.2012

Review: Skyrim Kinect Commands

(Please note that due to my excessive laziness, no photos will be included in this blog)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been out for several months now, and we've all gotten our fair share of play time. Serious players have logged in weeks into the epic RPG. When Skyrim initially released, critics praised it for its rich plot and content. But, after a while, Skyrim may have bored you and you probably left to play other games. With the newly announced Dawnguard DLC headed for Xbox 360's this Summer, we all have a fairly good reason to get back into the game. To prep Xbox owners for the awesomeness to come, Bethesda has added new Kinect Voice Commands to Skyrim. And, honestly, they're fantastic.

I have never used my Kinect the way I thought I would when it was first announced as Project Natal. I've played some lackluster tech demos and the occasional gem that dies off relatively fast. Yeah, I somewhat regret spending my money on that little sensor. But lately, I've gotten a kick out of using the Voice Commands in games like Mass Effect 3 and now, Skyrim.

Over 200 (!!) commands have been added for you to use in Skyrim. Whether it's shouting Fus Ro Dah at your TV like you've always wanted, or simply sorting your weapons by weight, you can pretty much do it all. There is also a nifty hotkey feature where you can assign items in your Favorites with names such as 'Fire' or 'Sword', which allows you to access it anytime you wish.

The commands make Skyrim a whole lot more easy to navigate. All item menus can be sorted by weight, value, or name. They also make combat a lot more accessible. Just by saying "Equip Sword", my character pulls out his Orcish Greatsword immediately. Commanding your allies is a breeze, and with a simple "Ally Wait", your friend will stop moving.

But, the coolest feature is easily the ability to use your Shouts. There are twenty Shouts in Skyrim, and equipping them can be a hassle. Chances are you don't like having to press the B button, sliding on over to Magic, scrolling to Shouts and equip/favorite them. Now, you can simply speak the Shout you wish to use. By default, the game recognizes the english name for each Shout. But, honestly, who wants to scream Whirlwind Sprint at their TV when they can just say Wuld Nah Kest? To use the dragonspeak version of the Shout, simply hold the RB button and speak. A little dragon indicator will replace the on-screen microphone to notify you that you are using dragonspeak. If you prefer the old-fashioned way of Shouting, just hold LB and press RB to use whatever Shout you have equipped.

To be honest, the only problem with the commands is that there is a slight input lag. When in the menus, this isn't much of a problem, but in combat, it can be frustrating. If you need to switch to your sword fast when being chased down, you'll have to say "Equip Sword" and wait about half of a second to equip it. In the time it takes to switch weapons, you might already be killed. I recommend mapping your favorite weapon to one of the D-Pad buttons just to be safe.

Input lag aside, the commands are flawless and they greatly improve the overall quality of Skyrim. They make it more enjoyable and I prefer using them over the traditional controls. If you own a Kinect, I advise you enable the commands. If you do not, well, you might want to pick one up, considering how many "core" games support it.

For the list of full Kinect Commands, click here.   read

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