Category Archives: Games

Retro Gaming – BioShock Remastered, Metro: Last Light Redux & Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition

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It’s been raining non-stop (for at least a month now?!) and I’ve been gaming a LOT! I’ve geeked out (when do I not?!) and dug up some more older games that I probably should have played when they were first released. Fallout 4 (2015) has to be my favourite game of all time; the post-apocalyptic theme, deep lore, companions, the massive open world and balanced RPG and action gameplay. I’ve been hanging for Fallout 5, and that’s been primarily the catalyst in searching for other games which might fall into the “Open World Action RPG” genre.

After much research (the best bit!) I put my money into BioShock, a dark and atmospheric first person action shooter with RPG elements which many still say is their fave game of all time, and definitely a game of the year back in 2007. Metro: Last Light, a hardcore post-apocalyptic Ukrainian first person shooter and Fallout 3.

What’s awesome about buying these old games now is that A) they’re damn cheap! And B) They’re remastered versions which feature bug fixes as well as better graphics than release. Getting old games to run on the ZEN PC has been a lot of fun too. There’s a tonne of support out there when it comes to PC’s and gaming so finding others with the same issues was pretty easy.

So what did I think of these 3 games?

BioShock Remastered was a hoot! Really creepy, fast paced, intuitive retro fun. I loved the retro Art Deco style and especially LOVED the emotional ending I got (the good ending). I had no issues running it on Windows 10 either. When I finished the game I was left feeling super satisfied, so satisfied that I’m happy to put the series to rest (IE: not bother to play BioShock 2 or 3).

Metro: Last Light Redux looks and runs great (2013 so not that old). It came up a lot in searches when looking for games with a post-apocalyptic theme. It’s Russian, it’s hardcore with no HUD or crosshair too (I love that as HUD elements always ruin immersion for me). I’ve only got a couple of hours in to this game and I’m dying a LOT. Love that, but it’s just a little too intense for my liking. You can’t save when you want, only at check points. I found out the hard way as I tried to bail out of a mission half way, only to cause a corrupt save and have to start the game all over again. That pissed me off enough to just put the game down, for now. I’ll be sure to give it another go at some point.

Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition – in the end I just had to return to Fallout! Getting Fallout 3 to run on the PC has been super hard. I crashed out a billion times during the main story playthrough, sometimes I’d have a good 1-2 hour run with no issues, other times I’d be crashing every 15 minutes, or every time I went through a door or jumped to another scene. It was super frustrating, but fixing these issues is part of the fun of retro gaming too (geek out!). The mod community has come to the rescue again here, and this guide helped to get the game going (albeit still with random crashes every now and then).

Fallout 3 is on Nexus Mods too (oh noes!), so playing it with high res texture packs and a few other convenience mods has been a lot of fun. The game itself is a LOT like Fallout 4! I feel it’s as if Bethesda just took Fallout 3 and remade it with better technology, much like how Hollywood would take an old film and remake it today. I can see that if you were a Fallout 3 fan you could have been super underwhelmed with Fallout 4 as you might have been expecting a whole lot more, but as a huge Fallout 4 fan I was just so happy to be getting more Fallout, period!

So on that note, there’s Fallout (1997), and Fallout 2 (1998) I’ve yet to play. I’m eyeing the bundle on Steam right now… hitting that ‘buy it now’ button is inevitable!

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The Witcher 3

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Running in 4K on the 65″ Sony x ZEN PC. Static screen grab doesn’t do this any favours though, got to see this on my screen in real life for major WOW factor.


That some games developers let the community mod their games is just truly UNBELIEVABLE! Check out the high res textures one fan has created to replace almost every texture in the game. So impressive (and mods are free!).

Horizon Zero Dawn left me wanting more. I felt like I was the only person out there that didn’t love it. I thought about that some more and started searching around for others out there who also didn’t fall in love with the game, that lead me to a few reviews which suggested that Horizon felt more like the best bit of a whole lot of games in one.

One of the games that Horizon was compared to was Witcher. I judged that game by it’s cover and never looked into it, but as I looked into Witcher 3 reviews I found that it won more game of the year awards than any other game in 2015, and at $40 (on Steam) with all DLC’s I couldn’t refuse.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action RPG. It’s open world, which I love, the world looks and feels like Skyrim only it’s not your world, you’re not you’re own character either; in Witcher you’re the white Fox Geralt of Rivia, who’s a mature and super witty guy (some of his dialogue literally had me laughing out loud!).

Witcher 3 is all story and all graphics. Where Horizon had great action gameplay, Witcher really comes across as more of an interactive movie than an action game, but it does the interactive movie thing better than any other game I’ve ever played that”s for sure. And the graphics, WOW! It turns out Witcher 3 has mods on Nexus. I instantly downloaded a high res texture pack and man… this game, though a couple of years old now, is WAY better in ultra on a PC than Horizon on a PS4. WAY BETTER! I’d go as far as saying it also has the most detailed world, and most amazing sunsets and sunrises of any game I’ve ever played.

PS: As usual I’ve completed the main story line first, and I’ll move onto side quests later on. The main story ending is a motherfucker! I played about 40hrs or so to finish the main story and I amazingly got the good ending. Oddly it’s because I was just being “me” in the game (I made some rebellious choices that let my “daughter” in the game have fun, as opposed to over fathering her), that said most playters would have sunk more like 100 hours into the game to get to the end, they would also have made “good guy” choices, all of which would have served them up the sad ending, which is so fucking sad that heaps of Witcher 3 fans out there necked themselves.

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Horizon Zero Dawn


Official Trailer.

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Entering a Cauldron. Cauldrons are very much like Skyrim’s massive underground caves.

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Lara Croft moments actually got more and more enjoyable.

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One skill lets you call a ride whenever you like. Riding beasts lets you travel large distances fairly quickly. It’s a lot like riding horses in Skyrim (you can even set your ride to auto pilot), great mechanics and I found myself riding around quite a lot.

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You get to make choices in the game, but they don’t seem to have any consequences. I assume because it’s a much smaller game in reality than say Fallout 4 (where choices completely change the outcome of the game), but at least the choices you make let you play Aloy how you like (which is strangely satisfying).

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The skill tree is super easy to max out (in comparison to Fallout 4 or Skyrim where some players still have yet to max out their skill trees years into the game). I went for all the convenience skills to begin with as usual and it played out nice.

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Loved using the map (hate using crap maps in good games!). Fast travelling costs you, which is pretty cool, and end game you can buy yourself an unlimited fast travel pack (very clever as this further encourages you to discover the rest of the world).

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Yup, had to do whatever it took to get the secret shield-weaver armour! I used the photo mode to capture all these shots too (nice feature with on the fly camera panning, depth of field adjustments and more).

Horizon Zero Dawn is Playstation’s latest “Hollywood Blockbuster”. The hype on this game is HUGE, with pretty much every single games reviewer out there (both big and small) giving it a near perfect rating.

I watched a fair few trailers a while back, didn’t do anything for me stylistically (even though I love robots!), and the gameplay footage of the main character Aloy climbing up a huge giraffe like robot (in reality it’s one of the more fun things to do in the game) just put me off as that kind of dynamic story telling puzzle solving Lara Croft stuff just isn’t my thing.

The game came out last week. I tried to hold it at bay for a few days as Ved and I have been playing Ghost Recon Wildlands, but the hype train got me so I pulled the trigger.

I’ve just finished the game over the weekend. I stuck to the main quests and have kept the side quests for end game play. The game is super slick, and smooth as, but felt more like an interactive movie than a true open world action RPG. Much of the praise has been on graphics, open world, gameplay and story. I never felt like I was truly in an open world, in fact I always felt like I was on a track (unlike Fallout 4’s huge open map, or Skyrim, or Ghost Recon Wildlands). And regarding RPG, it’s light, very light. I didn’t do much RNG at all and still finished the game just fine with low end gear. Regarding the action; killing various robots was pretty fun, but shooting arrows isn’t so fun. I love shooters, but with an arrow you’ve got to press the trigger to draw it back, then let go of the trigger to let the arrow go, which makes fast shooting of big robots feel really really silly (as you’re shooting every time you let go of the trigger) so I’ve ended up setting my character up to be much more of a melee warrior (it’s nice that you can).

All in all I enjoyed the game (and I’m still enjoying some end game activities like clearing out cauldrons, which are set in huge Skyrim like caves) and story (especially loved the ending scene). Lots of reviewers out there are comparing Horizon to Far Cry, but I feel it’s more like an easy/commercial version of Fallout 4 (especially with the secret suit above, it’s setting is pretty much exactly the same as the overpowered X-01 Quantum Power Armour in Nuka World DLC), except I didn’t get anywhere near as emotionally involved as Fallout (Fallout 4 really really got me, especially the soundtrack).

Graphically it’s just a huge let down as I’ve been playing games on the PC in ultra. Horizon is just full of super low res textures on the PS4 (yes the graphics are meant to be better on the PS4 Pro) and I just can’t get over that fact, but the cut scenes (typically where you talk to characters in the world) have got to be the best looking cut scenes I’ve ever seen in a game (many have complained about strange lip synching but I still think it’s some of the best), controls are great (crafting arrows on the fly mid battle actually ends up feeling 2nd nature), the detailed map, and using it (especially zoomed in) is great and the costume designs, and character designs in general were awesome (especially love how they use rope, string and leather materials to tie emblems in place).

My PC really is the “console killer” in that I just can’t look at console graphics as being anything but bad, jaggy and low res now. I’d LOVE to see what Horizon looks like on my new Sony HDR 4K TV with a PS4 Pro, but I’m not ready to buy a Pro just yet. Having said all that, Horizon is one super polished game. If you’ve got a PS4 you’ve pretty much got to buy this game. IE: If the PS4 only came with one game, this would be it!

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Destiny – All 3 characters at 400 light!

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Using up my luck on gaming lately. RNG loves me. In the 3 years that Destiny has been around there are the more casual gamers and solo gamers who never got to light level 400, then there are a lot who have, but haven’t managed to do so for their other characters. I got to 400 in a week, and on the 8th day I got my other 2 characters to 400 light too! Next! (Destiny 2 here’s looking at you!).

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Destiny – 400 Light in a week

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400 in a week, WHOO!

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Find your Zen.

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Top of the charts (a rare instance). Early on, in PVP I thought I was getting good, but in the end game I’m horrible! The other guys are just SO awesome (PS: it’s amazing how they’ve balanced PVP and PVE in this game).

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Hanging out in orbit is a thing in Destiny. The loading screens are always sequences of your spaceship travelling to your destination. They’re great! Way better than a loading bar (if anything I wish they were slightly interactive like the spinning models are in Fallout 4’s loading screens).

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My first Raid (I had no idea what was going on!!!).

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Now onto my Titan! Couldn’t get the character looking like me at all… no facial hair in the future apparently.

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He’s armoured up nice though!

I’ve heard that getting to light level 400 in Destiny isn’t easy. Over the past week I’ve met quite a few players online who have been playing Destiny for 3 years now and they’re still stuck on 399 (or less). I googled, and youtubed, and found so many frustrated players out there who just couldn’t get to the max light level.

All along I was quietly confident that I could get to 400 in a week (when I get into something I get into something!). I love the grind plus I’m also pretty lucky in general (great for RNG!) … it’s been an insane week but I got there in the end.

1 week 4 hours 58 minutes.

For Destiny players; I did this mostly solo. I had a friend help with raids and a few story missions (and advice! Here’s looking at you Tendy!), but none of that dropped anything I couldn’t have gotten through strike chests. I got all my drops from using skeleton keys, and that left the legs and chest which I had to get through exotic engrams (not easy). I had some heartbreaking RNG moments as expected, the last piece (chest) was the hardest to get. With everything else at 400 but the chest (397) I was convinced I’d have an exotic engram decrypt at 399, which would leave me stuck forever, but luckily I got a 400 chest piece today as an Iron Banner bounty (first day of the Iron Banner week too!)

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Back in Bolivia last weekend

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Dynamic Duo.

As a disabled player who’s lost an arm Ved uses a controller with his feet to move his character in-game. Ved had issues with using both a controller and keyboard/mouse setup at the same time in the Closed Beta, he reached out to Ubisoft Support and amazingly they got back to him!

The dev team confirmed that they were testing additional controller support based on Ved’s suggestion and that they hoped the patch would be ready day 1 of game release, what’s amazing is that in last weekend’s Open Beta the controller/key/mouse issue was fixed! That’s a huge win and beyond impressive work whichever way you look at it!

Feature: http://www.zengarage.com.au/2017/02/ghost-recon-wildlands-a-weekend-in-bolivia/

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Destiny

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Always late to the party; I’ve finally given Destiny a go (got banned off Facebook for a week for posting this Rosamina vid, so I had plenty of time!). I’ve heard a LOT about Destiny, my cousin Nicholas raved on about it a while back and it’s made by Bungie too, the guys who made the 1994 hit ‘Marathon’, which I absolutely loved and used to run on my Mac (playing lan pre-internet with uni mates).

I first tried the demo on PS4 and I liked it enough to then just buy the full game. My initial impression of the game was that the graphics weren’t so great. I looked for a PC version to see if I could run it in ultra (that ultra life!), but nooooo, this game is only available on console. Shame! That said, the game FELT good. Gameplay feels like the new Doom, fast and glossy (but not as glossy as Doom on the PC in ultra!), and the clean visual interface looks and feels like a well polished EA game (think Battlefront).

You’ve got to get to the end-game (level 40) in order to unlock beast gear, and I found myself grinding pretty damn hard, much like I would do in The Division. IE: Yes, Destiny is an RPG, not as complex or detailed as The Division (it’s so much friendlier!), but those hook elements are still there, enough for me to WANT to grind to level 40, which I have done so solo (except for joining a few randoms for a couple of strikes) in 3 days of pretty intense play (!).

The next step is reaching light level 400, which is a bastard to do, but knowing me… I’ll get there.

It looks like there are still a LOT of players in the Destiny community. Now that I’m at level 40 end game, and close to 400 light (I’m on 394!) I’ll be sure to get into the more hardcore raid missions (some which can take days to complete apparently!), as well as multiplayer modes.

My love for Bungie has been rekindled. It’s The Division, but in space! Destiny 2 comes out later this year apparently. I’m glad I’ve managed to get my head around Destiny 1 first and I’ll 100% be getting into Destiny 2 as soon as it comes out.

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR)

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Actual screen grab. Old school cool!

I’ve spent the weekend in Bolivia, playing Ghost Recon and it’s been AWESOME fun! The closed beta mission was short lived and the map was small, replayability wasn’t that great but I did find myself logging in again and again just to fly around and check out the world, which looks absolutely awesome from in the air, and amazing on the road at night, especially when it’s raining. That said I had a lot of discussions with players comparing Ghost Recon to The Division, and what we love about The Division is that it’s an Role-playing Game. Out of curiosity I did a little search for the best RPG’s of all time and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) popped up time and time again for being the best Star Wars game ever made, period. I’m a Star Wars fan, but this game came out in 2003, that makes it 13 years old!

I did a google on running KotOR on Windows 10 and quite a few people had succeeded in getting it to work (though many couldn’t even get past the loading screen). I pulled the trigger on the game (it was $10 on Steam), and had no issues getting it to run on my new PC (it’s only crashed once and sometimes the audio stops but a quit and reload fixes that). It’s so old school the video cut scenes are tiny 640 x 480 vids! I can’t use the controller so I have to use the keyboard and mouse, but I’ve been playing a little Unreal Tournament as well which has been great fun (I’m so much better on the keyboard and mouse than the controller still!).

Loving the story so far! Love it that old school games make you work for it; I didn’t get a lightsaber until at least 3-4 hours into the game! Gameplay is super old school, but the fact that it is adds to the charm. I usually hate music in games (I always turn it off), but this is Star Wars, and the soundtrack, as well as SFX blasting out of my bass heavy Logitech surround system really does make the game feel more current and immersive.


If you’re a Star Wars nerd you’ll love the Knights of the Old Republic story. As with all games, there’s a lot of gameplay and walkthroughs on YouTube. Try watching THIS movie.


Or if you prefer commentary, this guy does a great job. If you like what you see 10 minutes into either video, stop it and just go buy the game!

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Ghost Recon Wildlands Beta

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Screen grab of my character in Ghost Recon Wildlands (running in ultra!). I’ll be in Bolivia all weekend! Uplay: zengarage

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Welcome to the Wildlands

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We’re in!!!

Ved and I have scored access to play Ghost Recon Wildlands BETA before release. We’ll be jamming on it tomorrow, should be sick! For more info, visit: www.ghostrecon.com

PS: Ubisoft are creating a doco as a companion piece to the game. Directed by Colin Offland, Wildlands explores the war on drugs in Bolivia and South America. Check out the trailer below.

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