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Battle of Bethesda: Oblivion vs. Fallout


In 2006 Bethesda Softworks released Oblivion, the much anticipated fourth game in the massive RPG series The Elder Scrolls. Two years later, they came out with the third game in the FPS roleplaying Fallout series, which was also raved about even before its release. The two newest games in these role playing series have a lot of things in common, but which one has better stats overall?

Story: Oblivion

No spoilers here, but Oblivion’s many quest lines are much more involving and lead to much nicer perks than Fallout, especially compared to its somewhat disappointing final cutscene. Fallout’s story is not without intrigue though; quests often involve more options based on your character’s ethics, such as the quest chain involving Megaton and its unexploded atomic bomb.

Character: Fallout


The ethical system in Oblivion, based on Fame and Infamy points, has been improved with Fallout’s  spectrum of Good vs. Evil. With dialogue, rather than having to play a simple Speech mini-game, Fallout’s options are based on a character’s morality and also stats, and, and there are often many hilarious exchanges possible with the survivors, which include children and zombies.

Environment: Tie

A detailed landscape filled with creepy zombies, abandoned ruins, and strange creatures: this could describe either game, and both pull it off in different ways. Walking into a Necromancer’s lair in an Ayleid ruin can be as breathtaking as standing at the top of a mountain and watching the sunrise in Oblivion. Fallout’s post-apocalyptic ruins of the Washington, D.C. area are highly realistic, and at the same time the retro-futuristic 1950’s-inspired style gives us an interesting and highly detailed take on life after nuclear war.

Combat: Oblivion

As an FPS, Fallout’s combat options revolve around gunplay and, to a lesser extent, melee fighting. The V.A.T.S. (Vault Assisted Targeting System) is a nice way to make every shot count, with the option of turning battles into somewhat more turn based affairs, kind of like bullet-time. Oblivion’s options are based on stealth, magic, and melee combat. Though the V.A.T.S. system makes battle a bit easier, combat in Oblivion offers more options to combine specialties without forcing any choices.

Overall: Oblivion

Although Bethesda has definitely tweaked some of the engaging elements that made their games great, there are still some features of Oblivion that have yet to be topped. But whether or not you prefer fantasy and fireballs to zombies and Vault Boy, you’re still going to get sucked into a highly realized world where you have all the power.

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Top 5 games to play as a couple


Plus there's always rhythm games like Rock Band.

Play video games for the health of your relationship. It’s a great activity to do together—a fun, relaxing, competitive, addictive, bonding experience. It may be a habit or a hobby, a shared passion, or something you’ve never thought about before. Either way, here are some suggestions for games to play with your significant other.

Left 4 Dead

L4D is a quick and dirty zombie FPS. High customizability is a plus: choose your difficulty, play campaign or versus, play for 30-60 minutes or more, etc. Because it’s co-op, you can practice teamwork, cooperation, and communication. Isn’t every guy’s fantasy to save his girl from a Hunter pounce, the whole knight in shining armor thing?

Dokapon Kingdom

For more on this underlooked party game, click here. A little healthy and fun competition can be a good test of your sense of humor. And you can play two player versus bots. Monopoly plus RPG equals win.

Borderlands

For more experienced players, Borderlands is another good co-op that is a bit deeper for the more narratively-inclined, and is a nice combo between the shooting fun of L4D and the overwhelming details of WoW. Check out a review of Borderlands here.

You can easily make Mario Kart a little more interesting.

Mario Party & Mario Kart

Mario games are classics; most people have played them in some form, and can easily transition into the newer versions. There is also a ton of Wii shovelware games that may serve the same purpose, such as Wii Fit or Wii Sports.

Fatal Frame

It’s like watching a scary movie, only SCARIER. In this single player survival horror, players use a camera to capture the souls of ghosts. With plenty of atmospheric tension and jump moments, you can turn the lights off and snuggle up when you get scared (then laugh when your partner screams like a girl).

Bioshock: An FPS with a plot? WTF!


yourhealthislow.wordpress.comSome games have badass fighting systems, like Borderlands. Some are fun for questing and grinding, like World of Warcraft. I was surprised to find an FPS with a story that shocked me and made me laugh AND had cool combat. Bioshock is an FPS released in 2007 for PC/360/PS3 by Irrational Games and 2K Games. It has been lauded as a great game, for its “morality-based” storyline, immersive environment and Ayn Rand-inspired dystopian back-story” (wiki).

The narrative is impressive for an FPS. With FPS games, you generally think fighting is going to be the primary element, and the plot is going to be completely secondary. However, Bioshock is the opposite, and in fact the style of combat actually works with the story. It’s 1960, and your character (Jack) is trapped in Rapture, an underwater utopian city turned dystopian, broken science experiment, and you must find your way through the broken passages to escape and, ultimately, go up against the forces behind Rapture and its downfall.fanpop.com

The obstacles? Plasmid-junkies, called splicers, have taken over the city, and these genetic nightmares have become addicted to the gene-altering substance called Adam that gives you superhuman powers and, long term, turns you into a murderous monster. Along with these freaks are the roaming Big Daddies and the Little Sisters they protect.

hexus.netAnd of course to defeat these enemies, you get to use the same plasmids. Send bees to attack your enemies, freeze and shatter them, or set them on fire. Or, use the many fun weapons and changeable ammo, from a simple wrench or revolver to the chemical thrower or crossbow.

It was like watching an interactive movie for me. The narrative has nice variety in storytelling methods, especially in the nonlinear way you piece together the whole story. Because you’ve come after Rapture has basically imploded, you have the visuals of the derelict areas and all the lovely mutated residents to infer what happened. There’s a lot of good dialogue, even though the characters don’t interact; it’s mostly monologues, instructions, and recorded journals. Thematically, this game has everything from the downfalls of addiction (ala Repo: The Genetic Opera), the politics of power, and human folly and hubris.

loot-ninja.comThe characters are well-developed, especially towards the end when the plot really gets going. It’s a unique, engaging story, with lots of little details that make you want to puzzle it all out. The role of the Little Sisters is especially intriguing, as they are both enemy and benefactor. I only have one complaint; while the end changes based on your ethical decision, it was unsatisfying in relation to the rest of the plot (a common problem in game plots).

While I was not the one on controls, I will say that playing an FPS on the 360 is not ideal. Aiming is better on the PC, so it’s tougher to use the Plasmids. However, there are many opportunities to use whatever weapon or Plasmid you want. Also, the environment is seriously creepy yet gorgeous, like ancient ruins that aren’t quite abandoned.The first person perspective, emphasis on exploration, and player projection into the first person perspective adds to the reality effect and more fully involves you in the game. You are encouraged to pay attention to the environment, with the quests, backtracking, searching for items, and having to interact or push buttons or things like that.

thegamegods.net

Overall I would rate this game an 8/10, definitely a game to pick up. Strong story, characters with depth, varied combat options, high level of engagement—this game has it all. Go get lost in Rapture, if you haven’t already, before you’re left behind with the release of the sequel.

Borderlands: If Fallout 3 and WoW had a baby


A multiplayer FPS RPG. Shoot things and get better stuff. Sounds awesome, right?

Set on the futuristic planet Pandora, part trash dump, part Western movie set, part desert wasteland, it kind of looks like Fallout 3, or the planet from Trigun. Your mission is to find the way to open the mythical Vault, a long sought-after treasure trove located somewhere on Pandora. On your quest, you get to kill shit, loot stuff, level up, and, you know, help out the townspeople and all that crap.

FPS element: Pick your weapons: sniper rifle, melee, shotgun, repeater pistol, revolver, SMG, combat rifle, rocket launcher, grenades. RPG element: Pick your special power: go into invincible Phasewalk mode, throw down a turret, send a hawk after your enemies, or go berserk and pummel the mobs.

Level cap is 50, and it works much like a simplified version of World of Warcraft  or Diablo. You get points for leveling that you can put into 3 skill trees. The roleplaying elements are somewhat stilted though. You can’t expect a lot of character development in a multiplayer game, because characters are already pretty much pre-built, but you can choose how to tackle obstacles with your gun and skill tree choices.

So, if you hate dealing with complicated stats and plots (ala Final Fantasy) and like the level up system of Fallout, where it’s more like perks that add to your gun and melee killing abilities rather than learning new ways of magically disposing of enemies, you’ll probably enjoy this system.

Quests are pretty standard RPG-deals; kill something, collect something, talk to someone; nothing interesting. While the multiplayer option is cool, it’s not perfect. Playing on LAN is pretty simple, but I did have a few incidents with glitched quests. I haven’t had any luck with getting an internet game going yet. Plot-wise, I feel like the game promised more than it delivered. It had some neat ideas, but it leaves you hanging at the end without really explaining anything.

The game environments are very smooth, yet somewhat uniform (I got lost fairly often). The music is highly reminiscent of a Western, and when you’re about to fight a horde or a boss, you get a nice musical cue to let you know ‘oh crap, time to take cover.’

Upsides: good leveling system, cool powers, awesome zombie island expansion.

Downsides: multiplayer has its problems, disappointing finale, somewhat limited enemies, sometimes too similar environments.

Overall, the badass gameplay makes up for the lack of narrative elements, and the multiplayer function increases its playability and replay value. Borderlands is an awesome game to pick up and play with a friend to make you feel like you’re a couple of bandits, or to solo and feel like Clint Eastwood. Welcome to Pandora– “it’s a beautiful day, full of opportunity!”