REVIEW: Just Buy Transistor Now

immagine-90

I saw Transistor a while ago but it dropped off the radar until recently where I saw it was finally available so I decided to pick it up.

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Modding Skyrim Part 1

Work

Real life work commitments have kept me from playing anything in the last few months save from 90 hours of Bravely Default which still remains unfinished and Lightning Returns, however, this week I must have pumped some considerable time into modding Skyrim and tweaking its system files.  I thought I would share the results and briefly run through what it is I have done to get it looking this good.

Skyrim

I’ve recently rebuilt a gaming PC so first off I’ll drop the specs just so you can gauge what I’ve done, with your own rigs, and maybe tone it down a bit / up a bit give or take.

  • Intel I7 4770k 3.5ghz
  • MSI Radeon R9 290x Gaming Edition
  • 16Gb DDR 3 2133mhz

When you come to start looking at mods and tweaks the first thing that will ultimately come up from any google search relating to this is the nexus mod manager and the nexus modding community: http://www.nexusmods.com/

Simply put, this is one of, if not the best modding sites for Skyrim.  Everything is in order, rated, comes with its own download manager/mod installer/launcher and makes the whole modding experience pretty smooth and requires no additional technical knowledge to get everything up and running.

So first, Nexus & the mods I am using:

The program itself is only in beta and crashes on me frequently but that still doesn’t stop it from being the best.  Crashes have never resulted in any data loss or mod corruption, only 30 seconds of wasted time waiting for it to re-open.  When you first install it the program will setup your mod folder where you will need to be saving all of your mods or alternatively you can make you own one and have the program read from there, whatever tickles your fancy.

The screenshot shows what I currently have installed

Mods

 A Matter of Timehttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/44091/?

This mod will give you an in game clock letting you know what time of day it is.  That’s essentially it.  If you’ve been in a dungeon a while and you’re wondering whether or not you’ll be emerging in darkness or day light then this mod is going to let you know.  This is almost untaxing of any computer so installing this won’t bring your system to a crawl.

A Matter Of Time

 A Quality World Maphttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4929/?

This mod enhances the visual appearance of the standard world map and will show you where the main roads are.

Map

Audio Overhaul For Skyrim 2http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/43773/?

Very difficult to take a screenshot of this one however this mod seems to enhance, add or replace many of the sounds in the game with better quality or more appropriate versions.  I’ve not played the original enough to gauge whether or not this makes any significant difference but if modders have deemed it necessary to “Overhaul” the sounds of Skyrim, who am I to argue with their work?

Bandolier Bags & Pouches: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/16438/?

This mod enables you to do more with hides you skin from animals and makes it worth doing a spot of hunting any chance you get.  Essentially this is a very similar mechanic to that found in Farcry 3, skin some animals, turn their leather into pouches.  The pouches you craft can add, 25/50/75 extra points worth of carry capacity and can be customised in a variety of greys, up to 3 can be equipped and are visible on your character in 3rd person.

Bads02Bags01

 

Book Covers: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/35399/?

Essentially pointless but hey, if you’re wanting the exterior to look nice you might as well make the interior nice as well.

Books

Ceramic Style Potions / Poisonshttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4259/?

Very similar to the book covers, makes potions and poison pots that little bit more shiny.

Potions

Cloaks of Skyrimhttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/12092/

A couple of the screenshots above show the cloaks.  These can come in a variety of colours and display the emblems of different factions.  Cloaks can be enchanted like any other item and can be equipped in addition to the usual equips although it doesn’t add anything to your armour value.  If you are using this mod in conjunction with Frostfall which I will talk about later, cloaks provide you additional protection from the environment and make you look a bit like Ned Stark.

Enhanced Distant Terrain: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/1598/?

Pretty straight forward – allows you to see further into the distance

Enhanced Night Skyrimhttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/85/?

I can’t remember what the old skies looked like but this gives you a lot more to gaze at.  What goes on in the sky will change and depending on what is happening way above you, may give you a red/green hue on the scenery around you.  Unfortunately for this screenshot I was only treated to a collection of stars.

Stars

Frostfall – Hypothermia Camping Survival:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11163/?

This is one of the best mods I have installed.  Wind rain or shine this mod will track whether or not you are wet, cold, hot and affect your character’s performance, vision, health, stamina accordingly.  To counteract this, the mod comes with its own built in Ray Mears crafting simulator which will allow you to collect firewood, ruined books, torches, build campfires, different tents, walking sticks etc.  This mod will make climbing mountains in the cold feel like a real trek and make you think twice about running out in the rain or jumping off a waterfall.  The mod will also take into account what armour you are wearing.  A complete set of fur armour will offer you the best protection from the elements but by the same token won’t offer you a great deal of defense if you are attacked by a bear.

FXAA Injector: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/131/?

This mod will enhance the overall sharpness of the onscreen visuals, better lighting and shaders.

Enhanced Terrain: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/29782/?

Enhanced terrain makes the overall look of the outside world that little bit more real and sharpens up some of the objects in the distance

Immersive Armours & Weapons & Cretures:

 http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/19733/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/27644/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/24913/?

I would recommend clicking the links for these two mods as I’ve not come across anything like what is shown in their screenshots yet but essentially, the immervise series makes old weapon and armour types look new and adds a range of additional weaponry and armour types as well.  Immersive creatures will add additional enemies to the world, dictate when and how they spawn and also modify their difficulty.  Some of them are right bastards early on.

Lush Trees & Grass: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/27644/?

The lush trees and grass mod is exactly that, adds more leaves to the trees and blades to the grass. This is a matter of taste though.  While the trees in your immediate surroundings do indeed look lush, the game itself struggles to maintain this level of detail when looking over long distances the lush trees resemble levels from Fez.

Climates of Tamriel: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/17802/?

Adds additional weather systems, storms, sounds and visuals to all areas of Skyrim.

Pure Waters / Pure Weather:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/1111/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/52423/?

Skyrim

Pure water and weather again enhance visuals and immersion.  The above screenshot shows just what it can do with water.

Real Vision ENB: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/30936/?

If you’re wanting to improve your Skyrim experience by improving the visuals then you are going to want this mod.  Screenshots won’t do it justice.  Visit the link and watch the videos.

Real Ice & Snow: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/13466/?

Another “Ronseal” mod that enhances ice and snow effects.

Flora & Fauna Overhaul: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/141/?

This is my mod of choice when beautifying the outside world.  I prefer the way the trees look in this mod over lush trees and grass due to the distance factor mentioned above.

Skyrim HD: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/607/?

Download all of these.  This will improve every texture in the game for all areas to 2k resolutions.

 SkyUI: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863/?

UI

The normal UI of Skyrim is relatively unintuitive and cumbersome, this mod replaces that and makes everything viewable in a user friendly menu.  If you really enjoyed how the originally UI got things done then give this one a miss as it really is only down to a matter of preference

Sounds of Skyrim, Dungeons & Wilds:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/8601/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10886/?

The sounds of collection adds additional sound effects when you’re wandering through the relevant areas.  Nice touch.

Static Mesh: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/8655/?

smm

The screenshot the author of this mod uses sums it up perfectly.

 Sword Of The Ancient Tongue: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/52700/?

Now I’m assuming that this mod adds an awesome looking sword, however, as I am still yet to to craft it, I have no idea how good it is.

Unofficial xxxxxxxx Patch:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/52700/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23491/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31083/?

Fixes a number of bugs that Bethesda are yet to address

Wearable Lanterns: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/17416/?

Bit dark at night?  This mod allows you to attach lanterns that burn oil, which can be bought from shops, or, collect the glowing bugs and stuff them in a jar!  Whatever takes your fancy.

Winter Is Coming: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/13486/?

Adds a number of additional wearable armour types to make your trip through Skyrim a tad warmer

Xenius Character Enhancement: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/2356/?

Makes faces more face like.  Not that you view your own too often but everyone else looks a tad better because of it.

 

That’s it for the complete run down of mods I have installed although that’s not all you can do to make Skyrim that little bit better.  My next post will concentrate on the editing of the system files, again, to improve system stability, frame rates and further graphical enhancements you can squeeze out of notepad.exe.

Cheers

Review Scores & Bioshock Infinite

10star

The last two major triple A releases, Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite, have both received heaped praise from pretty much every media source on the planet, and yet there seem to be an isolated few of us, stranded and forgotten, who seem to disagree.  As with any release you get the people who love the game, hate the game and simply do not care.  Games that score a 10 would indicate to me that all three of these categories are catered for, and that universally whoever you spoke to would agree the same.

With that in mind, I’d like to just state that, I lovED Tomb Raider up until the most recent entry, and that now after three Bioshock games, none of which I have enjoyed enough to finish, all still fail to capture my imagination and I find them to be dare I say it? Boring.

Now I can’t be the only one in the Bioshock boat, yet, with all the magical 10/10 reviews floating around I thought maybe this would be the one that finally turned the tide.  Not a chance.

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REVIEW: Tomb Raider

tomb_raider_logo_by_lubeans2011-d544tdk

Lara Croft is back, younger then ever and slightly resembling Cheryl Cole.  The new Tomb Raider endeavors to tell the story of how our iconic explorer came to be the woman we have known and loved over the past 16 odd years.

Review scores have been overwhelmingly positive about the much touted reboot of the franchise which is a shame because I’m about to piss on that parade because quite frankly I see very little to merit.

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Requests Anyone?

 

Sadly the above picture doesn’t come close to what I have or even what I would like to achieve in my lifetime, although I’d like to think my collection has some significance.  I’ve posted a few pictures of my bits and bobs before and have even compiled a video game database to keep track of what I have and what I’m missing.

Rather then throw out opinions on the new blockbusters hitting the shelves, I thought it would make a change to take a look back at the games I have in my collections and why they are there.

Feel free to comment a letter, game or genre and I’ll pick something from the collection to write about.

Here is a list of my current collection

Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I’d never heard of XCOM and gave it a wide birth at Eurogamer, which in hindsight probably did it some favours as playing XCOM in an expo environment wouldn’t do it justice.  Never the less, persistent mention of it on Twitter peaked my interest and i’m so glad it did.

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REVIEW: Dear Esther

 

Probably the best £3.49 I’ve spent in a long time and I had KFC today.  Going into it I knew nothing about it, I just watched a portion of the trailer and though that it looked amazing.  An hour later it was over and I came away feeling 100% satisfied with my experience having done absolutely nothing but walk around an island and listen to a man talk.  So why should you buy this game?

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