weekend recap: holiday 2011

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful, loot-filled holiday season.  I certainly did.

Lots to cover today, so let’s get to it:

1.  I finished the main story in Skyrim – almost by accident, similar to what happened at the end of Fallout 3 –  and I think I need a little time away from it.  Certainly I need to wait until a new patch comes out, because a whole slew of my side quests are bugged, and the problems they’re causing are rather serious.  For example:

  • There’s a civil war-related quest where one of the Jarls gave me an axe to give to another Jarl.  Problem is, there’s no dialogue option when I talk to that other Jarl to give him the axe; furthermore, the axe is heavy, and because it’s a quest item I can’t drop it.
  • There’s another quest where I need to retrieve a Forsworn heart in order to concoct some sort of recipe, and I need to kill a specific Forsworn dude in order to get it.  I killed the dude.  I looted him.  I didn’t get the heart.  His corpse is now listed as “empty.”  There’s a gaping hole in his chest, implying that I’ve already taken it.

As much as I’ve enjoyed my time with the game, there’s a reason why I couldn’t put it at #1 in my GOTY post.  Bugged quests are a pretty serious offense – especially since they’re still there, after 2 significant patches have already come out.

2.  I’ve hardly touched The Old Republic since I bought it, but that’s not the game’s fault – it’s my wife’s, as she is a full-blown addict.  She’s gotten her Jedi to (at least) level 10 – she crafted a light saber, acquired a companion and made it off the first planet, if that means anything.  It’s gotten to the point where it’s useless for her to ask me any questions, because at this point she knows more about how the game works than I do.  I’m thinking about running an interview with her, actually, since she’s a prime example of the audience that Bioware was hoping to reach – that of the hard-core Star Wars nerd who doesn’t play games.  This is my wife’s first real game-playing experience, actually – I mean, she’s played DS puzzle games on airplanes and she’s played Rock Band and You Don’t Know Jack, but she’s never actually said “I’m going to play my game now – see you in a few hours” and then strapped in and just straight-up disappeared for an entire afternoon/evening.  She’s never binged, I guess you could say.  But she played 2 or 3 marathon sessions this weekend, and last night she had some Star Wars dreams, which means the addiction is in full effect.  It’s a shame that her laptop doesn’t have a graphics card, too; there’s only one computer in the house that can run it, and it’s mine, and so we can’t play together.

3.  My wife got me a really nice pair of wireless, 7.1 surround headphones for Christmas.  This is great for everyone involved – it means I’m not keeping the house up late at night, and it also means that I get to truly experience the audio side of games for the first time.  As such, I kinda raided my library, wanting to hear the ambient soundscapes in Red Dead Redemption, the ferocious engine roars of Forza 4, and Cave Johnson’s cantankerous baritone in Portal 2.  But ultimately, I spent the most amount of time playing Rayman Origins (which my dad got me for Christmas).  I’d rented it previously and loved it, but I was so focused on Skyrim that I never really gave it proper attention.  And honestly, that game’s got one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard, and the headphones truly give it justice.  (This Kotaku feature is an excellent primer – correctly noting the brilliance of the Sea of Serendipity music, and “Lum’s Dream” in particular – and it should be noted I found and downloaded the official soundtrack this morning – for free, no less.  Do a google search and you’ll turn something up.)

4.  I should remember to start my 2012 GOTY post with a category called “The Best Reason to Wait Until January Before Starting a GOTY Post.”  For one thing, I’d be able to talk about The Old Republic at least a little bit, and I’d also be able to correct a glaring hole – that of Battlefield 3.  One of my oldest and best friends bought an Xbox360 last week, and he’d asked me what to get – he thought about picking up Modern Warfare 3, and I said “no no no, if you want to play that sort of game online, you should get BF3.”  And then I felt like a hypocrite, since I hadn’t yet bought it (and hadn’t yet planned on playing it, actually).  Anyway, I bought it, but none of my BF3-playing buddies were online, so I didn’t end up playing very much.  I gave the single-player a whirl, mostly just to learn the control scheme, but I don’t plan on sinking too much time into it – the general consensus is that the single-player campaign is pretty bad, whereas the multiplayer is the best thing going right now.  As I’m not really an online-shooter kind of guy, I’m not expecting to have that great a time, but certainly playing co-op with friends is always fun for a little while, at least.

5.  Finally, I decided to clean up some side missions in Saints Row the Third.  That game’s post-story world isn’t really all that compelling, but it’s still fun in limited doses, and some of the side stuff is fun in and of itself.  I’m not sure I’m ever going to 100% it, as I hate the Snatch missions (and some of the Mayhem missions are fucking impossible), but I’m certainly down for leveling up my dude and making him impervious to everything.

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