Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dungeon Siege and Wychwood Hobgoblin

Let me tell you about a game and why I like it.

Box art from Wikipedia
Dungeon Siege came out for the PC in 2002. You play as a farmer who gets pulled into a greater historical and military drama that threatens the kingdom of Ehb. The story progression is linear, but hey it was 2002. I can act out the hero's journey with as many or as few companions as I want. Characters level up in skills on their own simply by using them (strength and ranged weapons, nature and combat magic). The flavor of the enemies and the attention paid to the set dressing are great; there is a cohesion to the environments and a sense that even if the topography is a bit unnatural, the towns and such had a reason to exist apart from your quest. Dungeon architecture is closer to the real world engineering than the Mario franchise, for instance. The interface is intuitive for me; not too busy in design, not too many new symbols to learn. I don't have to click for every single attack or coordinate too many effects with hotkeys. I'd played through the game and the expansion a few times before I took a chance on the 2005 sequel. I'm still in the beginning, but so far the graphics are better and everything else is just a bit worse. The introduction and development of the player character is different, combat is less intuitive, the design is too World-of-Warcraft-y. The world building aspect of games has always been important to me, maybe moreso than the gameplay. When I was younger, I pored over the well-wrought manuals for D&D 3.5 and Warhammer 40k, but hardly ever played the games themselves.

I didn't have a plan or point for this post, but if you can recommend a more modern game that's in the same vein as this, I'd surely give it a look.

In other news, today was Sarah and my 2nd anniversary! I bought her tulips and we went to IHOP (as per tradition).

Wychwood Hobgoblin

Hobgoblin is labeled a "Dark English Ale," but it didn't have as big an "English" flavor as I was expecting. I'm not sure what exactly I mean by that, though. There's just something Anglican in Boddington's and Wells Bombardier that's beyond the mailing address of the brewery. Beeradvocate calls it a Extra Special Bitter, but it came off as a roasty brown ale to me. Pretty tasty, unique bottles, and fun labels; I'd get it again for a party or entertaining at home.

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