Tag Archives: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

2023 Seems Cool So Far

While malformed and incomplete, 2023’s release schedule is already looking pretty impressive full. In the first few months alone we’re getting highly anticipated titles like Forspoken, the Dead Space remake, Atomic Heart, Octopath Traveler 2 and Destiny 2: Lightfall. While I don’t necessarily care about those games, other people seem pretty jazzed about it. But hey, let’s take a look at the announced titles that I actually am looking forward to thus far.

Hogwarts Legacy

I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the Harry Potter films or books, but even I can appreciate the atmosphere of the source material enough to want to play a game set in that universe. Considering Hogwarts Legacy is set around 100 years before the events of the film, I feel like I can get away with playing this game and not feel like a sucker for not being a diehard fan.

Based on the trailers, Hogwarts Legacy is visually impressive and certainly nails the feeling of kicking it in that old, wizardly castle that we all know and love. It also looks like its got a speedy and mechanically satisfying combat system coupled with some cool in-world RPG trappings, mostly surrounding making and learning new wizardly abilities by taking their respective classes, which to clarify all sounds pretty rad to me.

Outside of a trailer or two, I haven’t really kept up with much of the marketing blitz or promotional materials which has allowed me to live in blissful ignorance about whether or not Hogwarts Legacy is actually going to be the game for me. The one thing that does worry me and give me pause about actually buying the game surrounds J.K. Rowling being a miserable transphobe who monetarily benefits from my purchase, along with the fact that the lead designer has a history of being a shithead. I’ll wait and see how this one reviews when it eventually launches on February 10th, 2023, but I don’t know if I can justify a purchase.

Wild Hearts

On paper I really like the main conceit of the Monster Hunter franchise, but in practice I’ve found them to be clunky and unsatisfying to play. I know that I’m in the minority with those complaints but they’ve always been obstacles that have kept me from enjoying this wildly popular franchise. I’m hoping that the upcoming Wild Hearts can scratch that long unattended monster-hunting itch for me with what looks like much faster and more action-oriented combat.

The idea of teaming up with friends and setting out to hunt down some monstrous prey is extremely tantalizing as is, but Wild Hearts looks to blend in some light tower defense elements into the mix which if done well, could be a real game changer. In my mind I’m imagining a game that isn’t just about tracking creatures down, but also setting up traps and acting on what you’ve learned about said creature to use its natural instincts against it. I assume that’s something that happens in Monster Hunter, but I’ve never played long enough to know for sure. I also am well aware that this being a game about hunting legendary beasts, there might be less natural instinct to work against and more ancient magic or whatever.

If the combat and the tower defense mechanics actually deliver on their promise however, Wild Hearts might be the first monster hunting game I end up enjoy playing. Lastly, and this is a minor quibble, but if the menus in this game could be more straightforward and less of an Eldritch mystery that requires a damn cypher to decode, that would be huge for me. Wild Hearts is slated to release on February 16th, 2023, potentially becoming the second video game I end up buying in a six day period.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

While not perfect, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was one of the best pieces of Star Wars media I’ve consumed in the past few years and a fun game to boot. The characters were likeable, the gameplay was tough but satisfying, and the story, while underdeveloped, was still filled with interesting and surprising moments filled with nods to deeper Star Wars lore for the hardcore fans.

Hopefully Star Wars Jedi: Survivor will build upon its solid foundation, adding in more variety in both lightsaber and force power combat, the latter of which in my opinion should resemble the Stormtrooper flinging simulator that was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Judging by preorder bonuses, it also looks to address the pitiful lack of customization options of the previous entry by offering more character skins that aren’t just color swaps of the tunic you’re wearing.

My only real fear here is that Star Wars Jedi: Survivor leans too much into its ‘souls-like’ or ‘masocore’ inspirations, tweaking the difficulty curve to be more inline with other games in the genre. Hopefully with it being a licensed game of one of the most popular franchises ever, the game will boast a wide variety of accessibility and difficulty options that’ll let even a casual like myself enjoy it. Guess I’ll find out when it releases on March 17th of 2023.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

I feel like I really shouldn’t have to explain why I’m excited for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom considering its predecessor is probably one of the greatest games of all time, but I’ll give it the ol’ college try.

I’ve never been a big Zelda guy, but Breath of the Wild was such a phenomenal experience that dropped you into a painterly version of Hyrule with the simple goal of ‘stop Ganon.” You could always look toward the castle to see wisps of his menace swirling around and encompassing it just begging for you to come and square off against the horrors within. But before you’d even attempt to tackle that, you could see seven other interesting places to explore, all of which led to several more.

Breath of the Wild represents the pinnacle of motivating the player to explore their surroundings and all I can hope for from a sequel is more of that. More places to see with more tools at my disposal to explore them. I’d also super love to not have to worry about weapon degradation anymore. I know that’s a common complaint and hot debate topic amongst fans, but for once I’d like to see Nintendo give a shit about their players and offer some accessibility options, specifically one that lets me use the Master Sword as much as I want without having to go through hell to do it. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom allegedly comes out on May 12th of 2023, but I won’t hold my breath.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that I’m a big fan of the Suicide Squad or anything, but I’ve certainly been won over by what little I’ve seen Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Granted, there hasn’t been a ton of gameplay or anything for me to reference, but I trust Rocksteady Studios’ ability to make compelling gameplay so much that I’d play a game solely about Calendar Man if they made it.

In Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, you play as one of 4 members of the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark, or Captain Boomerang, as you square off against a Brainiac controlled Justice League that’s doing some real nasty shit. I don’t know too much more about it other than it’s cooperative, but will fill in computer controlled allies where you need them which will come in handy when you can’t find anyone to play as Captain Boomerang, a character I know nothing about aside from his dumb name.

I’m excited to play this game because I’m a big fan of the Arkham games and trust that Rocksteady is going to make something that’s fun to play. As long as they don’t add some boring but mandatory Batmobile-tank battles to Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League like some other Batman games, I think it’ll be a great time. They say it’ll be out on May 26th of 2023, but I’ve been lied to before.

Baldur’s Gate 3

This one’s interesting because I’ve already played Baldur’s Gate 3 back when it released into early access approximately 14 years ago and liked it despite its rough, buggy busted-ness. I made the conscious decision to not play it until its full release because every major update brought with it a wipe of save files and I didn’t want to deal with that, so I just put it back on the digital shelf so it could marinate longer.

But now Baldur’s Gate 3 has a projected release window for August of 2023, and once it does I’m fully anticipating losing a lot of hours of my life to what might become the best Dungeons & Dragons video game of all time, depending on who you ask. I for one have high hopes for Baldur’s Gate 3 because it represents the first real turn-based RPG I’ve ever really enjoyed, which is a colossal feat in itself.

The biggest thing for me about Baldur’s Gate 3 is that it’s using the 5th Edition rules, and since I’m fairly well-versed in those I’ve had a much easier time playing this genre of game without essentially having to learn two games at once. I just want a good way to play D&D without having to be a DM or even finding a group, and Baldur’s Gate 3 seems like it’ll fill that void for me.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

I really enjoyed both Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, so being excited for their inevitable sequel doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. Insomniac Games already proved that they know how to make a mechanically sound Spider-Man game that can also deliver a compelling narrative, and that’s kind of all I want out of a sequel.

A lot of folks are clamoring for some sort of cooperative play between Miles and Peter, which would be cool for sure, but isn’t something that I need from Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. All I want from the sequel is a little more variety, both in terms of main story missions and side quests. Sprinkle in some new abilities and costumes, and you’ve got yourself a solid follow up to one of my favorite games of 2018.

But therein lies the exciting part, cause I don’t know what Insomniac could do outside of the things I’ve already listed in order to top themselves. I’m sure they’ve got something wonderful cooked up for players, but I’d sound stupid even attempting to predict what that could be. Sure I could theorize payoffs for the last game’s cliffhangers, but I’m more excited about what mechanical changes are implemented. I suppose I’ll find out at some point in 2023.

Mina the Hollower

For those unaware, Mina the Hollower is the next title from Yacht Club Games, makers of the tremendous Shovel Knight series. If Shovel Knight was their Mega-Man, then Mina the Hollower looks to be their Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, which an incredibly exciting concept to me.

Full transparency: I backed Mina the Hollower on Kickstarter because it not only looks dope as hell, but is being made by a studio I trust. What really sold me in its initial pitch was the core mechanic of digging through the earth as a quick means of transportation, hence the ‘Hollower.’ That coupled with the variety of weapons, enemies and zones in the world made it really easy to throw 20 or 30 dollars at this unfinished product.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not really a Zelda guy, but as I’ve essentially screamed at the top of my lungs twice already, I think Yacht Club Games could be the ones to finally make that math work out for me. It doesn’t have a concrete release date just yet, but they’re aiming for 2023 at the moment, but something tells me that date wont stick.


Call it wishful thinking or misplaced optimism, but I really hope that Starfield is good. My feelings about Bethesda as a competent game maker aside, I would love for a good sci-fi RPG cause I haven’t had one of those since Mass Effect was set in the Milky Way. I guess The Outer Worlds was pretty good, but it didn’t really leave a lasting impression despite really enjoying it at the time.

What excites me about Starfield is the fact that it’s a fresh start in terms of lore. Despite enjoying some of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I could not tell you much of anything about that world because of how dense the lore was. I can’t say for certain, but it definitely felt like I was missing a lot of context for the universe by not following the series since its inception. Starfield represents a chance to get in on the ground floor and have Bethesda introduce not just myself, but everyone to this new setting.

Aside from lore, I just hope that Starfield isn’t as buggy and busted as some of its predecessors, a thing that most fans seem to find endearing for some reason. I also wouldn’t mind if the shooting was good. I get that it’s an RPG first, but there has never been anything less satisfying to me than shooting a character in the head being met with them just losing slightly more health. I mention this because as a sci-fi game, I would expect Starfield to rely more on gunplay than Fallout did, which I would hope would result in weightier combat, but what do I know? Those and other questions are bound to be answered when it releases sometime in 2023.

This list could have been a dozen or so more entries long, but these are kind of the big ones that I could think of from where I’m at in 2022. I’m sure a bevy of things will be announced and released as the year progresses that I’ll be equally excited for. There’s also the possibility that something on this list will slip into 2024 which would be insane considering most of these games already have been delayed. But hey, I’m sure we’ll talk about that stuff as it comes up during the year.

Blog: Still Waters – 07/21/21

It used to be that the summertime was infamous for its lack of new game releases, but that’s no longer the case these days. Games are being made by all sorts of folks in all sorts of different circumstances, most of which are not beholden to the fiscal calendar that demands the biggest releases congregate at the end of a given year. It means that at any point during a year, your personal game of the year could blindside you and just release on Steam on a Wednesday. Well I’m here to tell you that I have not had that experience yet this year, and I’m bored out of my mind.

So far, 2021 hasn’t really dazzled me in terms of game releases. Actually, the whole year is questionable at best, but I won’t get into that. My point is that it’s been a really slow year for me when it comes to actually playing new games. I think I can count on one hand the amount of 2021 games I’ve really liked, let alone finished. Part of me worries that this is all just a sign that as we get older we’ll end up treating video games like albums, and only play the things we liked because nothing new resonates with us. That might just be me though.

My gaming habits are starting to feel more like a stringent diet these days, where I stick with what I know and occasionally have a cheat day with a new release or something. It hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing however, because I’m actually trying more games without having to shell out 60 to 70 dollars for it thanks to Game Pass. I just blasted through a cute, albeit unremarkable 3D platformer called New Super Lucky’s Tale, which is an updated and more accessible version of Super Lucky’s Tale, which was an Oculus Rift exclusive for a while. I didn’t know this game finally made it to consoles and was playable, but once I discovered that I basically spent 4 days just blazing through it. I hadn’t played a game that obsessively in quite some time, and who would have guessed that New Super Lucky’s Tale would be the game to do it.

Aside from that, I started a new Skyrim save with the intention of making myself an un-killable demigod who can leap from mountain top to mountain top in a single bound. I feel like I’ve done this exact thing before. But the reason I’ve dived back into the game is because not only is it on both PC and Xbox Game Pass and I can snag some sweet achievements for my time spent in this dreary world, but because it’s super fucking fun to kill a boss so good and so quickly that the game literally can’t progress any further. It’s been this wonderful experiment of “how quickly can I break Skyrim,” that’s quite frankly been one of the most fulfilling game experiences I’ve had this year. It turns out that you just kind of have to cough in the direction Skyrim for it to just implode in on itself. Really a bummer that the Game Pass version of Skyrim doesn’t have cloud saves though.

But yeah, at the risk of sounding like an ad for Game Pass, the last thing I will say about it is that it’s led to me spending a lot less on video games lately. It’s not like they’re out there grabbing the hottest new releases or anything, but they are regularly putting up either new and unknown indie games, or just these titles that I’ve been curious about for a while that I’d never actually pull the trigger on and buy. The service isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s one of those “untouchable” subscriptions that I will gladly continue paying for. Unlike Apple TV, who only remains because of how good Ted Lasso is and how badly I want to watch the second season.

Blog: The Punch Wizard – 04/03/19

I’ve never been a fan of the Bethesda styled RPG.  They always felt cumbersome and clunky in a way that I just couldn’t get into.  Despite having known this for over a decade, I still do a thing every year that defies my internal logic in an attempt to have fun.  I started playing Skyrim once more.  But this time, I’ve done something different.

See, there’s this video series that I very much enjoy called Monster Factory.  It’s the brainchild of the McElroy brothers, known for their various podcasts and work at Polygon.com.  They take character creators in games and make the most horrific being that they can using the tools at their disposal.  I really like it, but that’s not why it’s important to my latest Skyrim endeavors.


In an episode of The Monster Factory, they take on Skyrim and do their dark magic to the avatar they’re creating.  But once they finished making their monster, they played in the world as it.  They abused the console commands to give them incredible speed, unfathomable power, and the ability to punch people so hard that anyone near them dies as well.  It was the first time I’d seen Skyrim being played that made me want to do the same.

At first I thought this would sound weird, and while maybe it does, I also did this exact same thing in The Witcher 3 and had a fantastic time because of it.  So, being the adult I am, I set out to emulate a thing that I saw on the internet.  And you know what?  I’m having a fucking blast.  All it took was me breaking the game to enjoy it; who would’ve guessed?


After this photo was taken, I sent this fool to the moon.

Contrary to how I felt about The Witcher 3, I don’t give two shits about the story in Skyrim.  Thalmor?  Don’t give a shit.  Dragons?  That sucks.  Dragonborn?  Nah, I got console commands.  And harnessing the awesome power of the console commands has allowed me to give birth to the unstoppable Punch Wizard.

You see, the Punch Wizard has the ability to launch giants into orbit with a single punch, bring down a dragon with a single shout, and cast a spell that literally kills everyone around me for 15 minutes.  Learned a lesson about that last one in the worst possible way.  My apologies to the people of Whiterun.

The Punch Wizard is an agent of chaos who not only wields the power to destroy life, but can bring the fallen back to life by typing the word, “resurrect” into the console.  He is truly an ambivalent god among mortals, never casting judgement, only spells.  And that is why I write this blog, to honor my lord and savior, the Punch Wizard.

We love you Punch Wizard.

Blog: The Skyrim Debacle – 06/06/18


A few days ago I got it in my head that I wanted to play Skyrim again.  I had this craving for some archery-based mayhem, and this seemed like a good way to quench that particular thirst.  I had it in my mind that I was going to try and “get” Skyrim by picking a character archetype and role-play my way through the story as if I was an archer who had no patience for anybody’s bullshit.  However the game instantly pushed back on my story with its own.

I thought I remembered how slow the opening of Skyrim was, but boy did I underestimate it.  First you’ve gotta escape your questionable death sentence.  Then you end up at Whiterun to talk to the Jarl, shortly followed by you getting that stupid golden claw and a tablet or something.  Then it’s time to kill a dragon and eat its soul.  All culminating in you climbing a godforsaken mountain to talk to these four hermits in hoods so they can teach you to run fast, then make you go find a horn or some shit.  This is all made even more unbearable when you’re trying to be an archer, having to fight against the busted shooting system they have in place as well as health regenerating trolls.

Seriously, trying to hit anything more that 20 feet away is basically like playing the lottery.  I’ll aim at a bear, put the cursor over its big dumb face and let my arrow fly.  What I would expect is either to feed that bear this arrow, or have it fall slightly and hit his big bear feet.  But how about the secret third option of, the arrow defies gravity and slowly aims itself up towards the sky.  That’s what being an archer in Skyrim is like.

Initially I thought that maybe because I had a low archery skill, the game was doing some cool RPG math to throw things off.  So I used the power of console commands to level that skill up and unlock everything on its skill tree.  Weirdly enough, nothing changed.  Here I was, expert archer with the power to paralyze dudes with a good enough shot, if only I could hit something.

Ultimately I decided that my character was comically near-sighted which is why he was such a terrible shot.  Because of his crippling ailment, he would pull out a sword and shield to finish off bad guys who somehow managed to close the distance on me.  I became the Mr. Magoo of Skyrim, bumbling my way through dungeons.

It’s shit like this that makes me wonder why the entire internet is so in love with Skyrim.  Maybe the story is better than I remember, or maybe people just really like role-playing and Skyrim is a good enough sandbox for them to mess around in.  But as someone trying to do just that, I felt like the introduction and lackluster combat mechanics kept me from ever really enjoying my dip back into the Skyrim pool.