KOTOR or Knights of Baldur’s Effect

Back in college when I didn’t need sleep to live I powered through this game in a weekend.  Me and my boys HK and Canderous sowed evil across the galaxy and showed up the sanctimonious assholes on the Jedi Council what was what in the time it took to cram for a midterm.  I loved it. The setting (free of the constraints of the films) and the mechanics made the game fresh. When I fired it up a second time I wondered if it would hold up.

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KotOR: Romancing

As usual, I’m leading the charge for the game.  Maybe we need a new blog name to reflect that?  Tiamonster and Friends!  We could have an animated logo of everyone’s spirit animal, where my raccoon is pulling these slackers in a red wagon down to a pond for a picnic.  But, when we get down to the pond, a splicer jumps out and I’m the only one who can defend us because I played the damn games.

Because I wrote the summary post for KotOR, I discovered the plot twist before I even installed the game.  (Woe is me.)  I had to bide my time somehow while surrounded by so much foreshadowing, so I decided to play the BioWare dating game.

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KotOR: Notice from a BioWare Fangrrl

I hated BioWare before it was cool to hate BioWare, so I guess that makes more of a BioWare hipster than a fangrrl.  I’m talking before you ranted on Facebook because you didn’t like the ending of Mass Effect 3.  I didn’t even play Mass Effect 3–that’s how hardcore I am.  I don’t know what happened to Shep, but apparently it really sucked.

This is our second BioWare game for the club and my seventh (not counting expansions and DLC).  Neverwinter Nights was one of the only games I bought during my poor college days, and, by the time I finished Mass Effect in 2007, I had chibi animations coming from my face at the sheer thought of BioWare.  (And let’s not even discuss the squees anytime I got to talk to Joker, voiced by my 15-year celebrity crush, Seth Green).

I found out about Dragon Age: Origins.  Five separate plotlines with hours of play before the game even begins and made by the same crew that gave me Neverwinter and Mass Effect?

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Game #5: Knights of the Old Republic

Hey there, GG readers.  How has your summer been?  Ours has been pretty busy.  Stylist tied the knot, SirMike clocked five weddings in June and July, Blinky moved, and I went to Maine.  And we all played a good amount of Diablo 3 in the meantime.  I hope you feel lazy now.

We didn’t meet to discuss Diablo 2, so let’s just pretend we did and move right along to the next game.  I’m excited because I never actually played this one, and let me tell you how much nerd cred you lose when you tell people that you never played KotOR (hint: a lot).

Release Year

Your character has to piece together their past amidst a war between the Sith and the Republic.  As you train to become a Jedi, you can choose to join the dark side or fight it.  Like most BioWare games, KotOR won ALL OF THE AWARDS, but, for modern gamers, it introduced us to their popular two-path system: will you choose the good path (save the babies and help grandma cross the street) or the evil one (eat the babies and trip grandma after you pickpocket her).  Its plot twist is one of the most notorious in gaming history, and its reception paved the way for the Mass Effect universe.

Start Date
August 13

Where You Can Get It
You probably still own a copy for your Xbox, but, if you don’t, Steam has it for $9.99.

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Still Alive

Oh, hey there!  We’re still alive.

See you in August?

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Diablo 2: All My Friends Are Playing Diablo 3

If you are reading this blog right now, chances are you’re here for one of two reasons. Either you are googling Ico art, and were led to this page. If that’s that case, stop searching for Yorda pictures you creepy man-child. If you aren’t here for that, chances are you’re here for Diablo. It’s launch day, and I’m sure 99% of you are downloading Diablo 3 right now and are just looking for some last-minute info before you start battling demons. But this post isn’t for those people, it’s for the other 1%, those poor bastards NOT getting Diablo 3. 

First, let me say how sorry I am.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow knowing everyone else is logging in for the first time, all giddy and full of promise. Believe me, I know. Let me take you back 12 years.

June 29, 2000, a Thursday.  It’s the summer before 12th grade, and I have no job so I’m fast asleep at the crack of noon. The phone rings. It’s my older brother calling to troll me while he’s installing Diablo 2. He holds the phone up to the speakers as the opening cinematic plays, laughs, and hangs up the phone, leaving me with my parent’s ancient PC and Diablo 1. So you know what I did? I played Diablo 1. I terrorized The Butcher and basically farmed Diablo for loot all day. I sucked it up. Which is my advice to you, 1%er.

Diablo 2 is just as awesome now as it was all those Thursdays ago. Let everyone else have their crashed servers (no line-waiting for Diablo 2), fancy graphics (IT’S ALL RAINBOWS), and real money auction houses (put that money in a 401k you boob), you’re about to play one of the greatest games of all time. Embrace it. Stylist is here for you, in fact, allow me to help you pick a class.

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Diablo 2: Hell is Where the Heart Is

Tomorrow’s the day of reckoning, I guess, and that makes this a good a time as any to post what I think of Diablo 2.

Still brilliant. Twelve years did nothing to diminish the appeal of whacking things until other, shinier things come out. Big surprise there. I did my best to level a necromancer and smite the armies of Hell with my own little ghoulish brigade. It got to the point where I attempted no action save gathering loot in the trail of my summoned mob and that was still deliriously addictive.

I’ve also tried out some other action RPGs in the time intervening my rehash of the classic and The Big Day:

  • I was invited to the closed beta of Path of Exile some time ago but only just recently jumped in feet first. I’m technically not allowed to talk about it, except to say that I’ve spent some ludicrous amount of time leveling my witch. At least as much time as I spent playing Diablo 2 these past weeks.
  • I played Borderlands some more and that really needs the sequel to come out. The aRPG mechanics in an FPS are guaranteed to flip everyone’s switches, but the obnoxious field of view is crippling. WHY AM I IN A BOX. HOW DID I GET HERE.
  • I went back to Demon’s Souls for a few hours, even though it’s not strictly the same kind of aRPG as Diablo. I suppose it’s been said enough by just about everyone in the world, but I love that game. Can’t wait for the PC release of Dark Souls this August.
  • Also not explicitly similar to Diablo, but I gave Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World a shot and decided that I would rather not continue the manner in which I played it. It is a good game. Give me your Wii.
  • I reminisced about my time with Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath when Stylist insisted that no one has taken advantage of the glaringly obvious design portfolio Blizzard laid bare with the Diablos. Local, same-screen co-op in those games was a blast. I wish I had a PS2 to play them right now.
  • I contributed to the Grim Dawn kickstarter!!! Those guys freaking nailed it with the dual skill trees thing in Titan Quest.

So, yeah, I think that’s it. Seven out of ten. Probably I’ve gotten more out of Diablo 3 than was intended or imagined by the development team or my Graveyard cohorts, and isn’t that really what gaming is all about?

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