My couch, my castle

When I started studying I wanted to do an internship at LucasArts, didn’t care which department. I loved the games, be it the classic Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, the legendary Monkey Island or Jedi Knight. I remeber scouring the Website for fitting openings and fantasizing what it would be like, living alone in the US and being a part of creating these worlds, these stories. In the end, I stayed back home, and, years later, turned my back on the world of PC games and went running instead. Today I am assassin, cyborg, ranger, spec ops-agent, an empress’ luckless bodyguard, master-thief or witcher, depending on which story I want to play. I own two consoles and a growing collection of games, some of which I know by heart, others of which I am only beginning to explore. Mostly I play loners who have to deal with baddies and conspiracy in various ways, though stealth is my passion. I love the worlds, ranging from Renaissance Italy to cyber-punk Detroit, being part of a story in a way no book or movie could let you experience them. Here you will find reviews of the games I have played or am currently playing as well as  my views on the world of gaming in general. Comments are welcome.

Here’s a list of games I have recently played or am currently playing

Assassin’s Creed
I played my way through almost every installment of this series, but Assassin’s Creed Unity was and is the last I will play. Tempting as the tantalizing trailers for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate may be, I have become a little bored of the story Assassin’s versus Templars.

Deus ex- Human Revolution – Directors Cut
This was the first Deus ex-game I played and it was an eye-opener in terms of influencing the game by your own choices. I remember how sad I felt when my loyal pilot sacrificed herself so I could escape an ambush. Later I learned that there actually is a possibility to save her. Needless to say I played it numerous times to try out every possibility and am very much looking forward to Deus ex-Mankind Divided.

Having played Thief and Deus ex-Human Revolution I was looking for another stealth game and sought reommendations online. Splinter Cell, The Blacklist was one, Hitman another, but I decided to go for Dishonoured first. Playing the mute hero Corvo, an intriguing mix of swordsmaster, assassin and wizard, was an interesting experience, yet, to me, the city of Dunwall was the true star of the game.

Dragon Age Inquistion
Open world RPGs don’t come much bigger, I guess. The world of Thedas is impressive and rich in history, the characters lovely if clichee, the party banter truly hilarious at times and the choices one can make meaningful. At some point, though, the story became boring, and I found myself disappointed by the lack of real influence my choices had on Thedas itself. Interestingly enough, my second play-through proved more thrilling because now I knew I was fighting alongside one of the most fascinating hero-tragically-turned-villain I have encountered in games so far.

You can either be the hunter or the monster. I have played as the monster so far, but only got started, so I cannot write much at this point.

Shadow of Mordor
As a fan of the Lord of the Rings-movies I expected more in terms of story, landscape and characters. Yet the nemesis-system, which pitches the vengeful undead human hero, who is incidentally possessed by an elven spirit, against Ork chieftains who gain rank every time they manage to kill him, is exceptionally entertaining and engaging. And taming and riding big cats that look like saber-tooth tigers is fun.

Splinter Cell, The Black List
I confess: I bought it just to see Elias Toufexis in another role than that of Adam Jensen in Deus ex-Human Revolution. And for the stealth, of course.

The Last of Us
Hard-boiled, ruthless survivor Joel and the equally hard-boiled, if not so ruthless, girl Ellie have to survive together in an apocalyptic setting, where humankind is being reduced to zombie-like creatures. A classic setting with an exceptionally emotional story – the prologue alone is heartbreaking – that made me shed more than just one tear.

The Witcher III – Wild Hunt
Geralt of Rivia and Cirilla (Ciri) of Cintra are bound together by destiny. Having been her guardian since she was eleven years old the witcher, a mutated monster-slayer, embarks on saving her from the Wild Hunt, an eerie elven commando travelling between worlds. The world is fantastic and stunningly large, the story and side quests dramatic, the gameplay truly satisfying. Another great game, yet not quite as emotional as The Last of Us. The Witcher is based on the novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, but if you haven’t read the books, you can still play the game and enjoy it. Read the books and you will enjoy it even more.

When I first started playing Thief I thought “This is everything Assassin’s Creed should have been and never was.” Until Unity  Assassin’s Creed had no true stealth mechanics, and by then it was too late for me. While fans of the original Thief-series may condemn this reboot, I have the advantage of never having played the original. And while the story itself is not that engaging, the game is utterly thrilling. The knowledge that guards or civilians are oblivious of your presence, while you steal every valuable in sight, is deeply satisfying. And the fact that master-thief Garret is no fighter and hiding places are scarce, enhances the thrill of remaining undetected immensely.


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