I sure hope everyone’s having a great time playing Dishonored, because I keep hearing nothing but great things about it. Did that come across as bitter? I hope it did, dammit! I haven’t gotten a chance to play it, yet. Which makes sense, because I don’t actually own it, yet, either. Fall is such a great time of year for games, because game makers know we’re all getting ready to hibernate for the winter, and obviously have nothing better to do than to crank up the heat, bake a pie or two, and avenge the deaths of murdered family members. But fall is also difficult because it’s time to buy fuel for heat, and because it’s almost Annual Gift-Giving Holiday; that means spending money on things and people besides your own damn self.

So, in a nutshell, I do not yet own Dishonored, but I hope to relatively soon. Perhaps after Annual Gift-Giving Holiday. I was, however, weak and selfish enough to score a copy of Sleeping Dogs on Steam for half-price this weekend, because I had also heard many good things about that game as well. I only just cracked into it, but thus far, I am not disappointed; not one bit. I feel like the open-world, sandbox-style, gameplay popularized by Grand Theft Auto is this close to being overdone, but it’s not overdone yet. Sleeping Dogs does it very well. In fact, it very much outdoes GTA 4 in the melee combat department. Melee in Sleeping Dogs reminds me, so far, of Arkham Asylum/Arkham City, with it’s effective use of context sensitive attack and block buttons. The grapple function is great, too; I find myself grabbing bad guys and eagerly looking for the nearest red-blinking phone booth, AC unit, or glass table, in the hopes that I can smash them into it. Since I’ve only played for a few hours, I haven’t gotten to use any serious weaponry yet. But honestly, I’ll be perfectly happy if it sticks to melee for most of the rest of the game; it does it well. And although the GTA style of gameplay is very tried-and-true at this point, one definite good thing about the formula is that it’s easy to jump in and start playing a game that uses it. It’s honestly quite nice to not have to memorize an entirely different control scheme before I can commence kicking triad butt.

Since it’s actually been… holy crap… like, over 2 weeks since I’ve written anything  Mass Effect-related, I suppose it’s time to air out that dead horse and give it a few more punches. I kid because I love; say what you will about the ending (I’m okay with it as-is), Bioware has done an impressive job keeping people interested and talking about it. By most accounts, the multiplayer stuff is really good, though I wouldn’t know; I made get to it someday, but to me, Mass Effect will always be a single player game. I’m not avoiding multiplayer specifically… it’s just that I have plenty of other games I want to play now that I’m not playing Mass Effect or Skyrim constantly.

Anyway. I wanted to share a very interesting piece of info I found while I was lurking around on the Clever Noob forums: it’s a leaked schedule of upcoming Mass Effect DLC, going from roughly now until early Spring next year.  Is it legit? I have no idea. But whoever did it nailed the Retaliation DLC, which is definitely worth considering. I’m bit skeptical that they called it the last multiplayer DLC, but the fact that Retaliation is by far the biggest multiplayer DLC pack to date suggests that they might be right about that. Only time will tell, I guess. There’s no mention of Omega, which is a big omission, but names for releases can change, so it could be the Guardian one they mention for November. Again, only time will tell. Leviathan contained files for Omega station levels and Citadel levels, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see both locations in the upcoming Omega DLC. At any rate, Omega sounds really promising, no matter what the larger plan for DLC might be; I was disappointed Aria was not featured more in ME3, and I’m happy to see more of her. But if Omega plays out anything like the brief description given for Guardian in the leaked schedule, I think it’ll be safe to say that the leak is legit. Now, as to where it’s all going? Who knows? But if Bioware has figured out to tie in all the ME3 DLC together and make it worthwhile for a game that we’ve all already finished, I say bring it on. Like I said, the very fact they’ve been able to keep people interested in the game for this long is worthy of note. But I also agree with those who say they shouldn’t have to pay extra money to get the full experience of the game. I can only say that I truly believe Bioware wanted first and foremost to make a really excellent final chapter in the trilogy, and that the realities of producing that game for a large studio interested in making gobs of money made them do things that they wouldn’t have done otherwise. I still think they were rushed for time, and we all know that DLC is basically a requirement for any big game these days. Electronic Arts wasn’t going to pass up that cash cow for a game with this much buzz behind it. So DLC for ME3 was a must, but how do you finish off an epic storyline and get people to buy extra content after the fact? And what do you do when the studio is pushing for a spring 2012 release and you’re not ready yet? Honestly? I think Bioware may be trying to kill two birds with one stone here. It’s a great solution to both problems. Flesh out the story through DLC over time, and give your dev team enough time to complete the game they wanted to make in the first place. Is it right, or fair to the consumer? Probably not. Is Bioware trying their damn best to do right by their fans, given the larger situation they’re in? I think so.

A short spoiler paragraph here… One last thought about Omega: The Illusive Man wants that base for a damn good reason that he has so far only kept to himself. Did anyone else read the Invasion miniseries comic? I just did a couple weeks ago. After Aria gets booted off Omega, the writers make a big point of foreshadowing the fact that The Illusive Man has ulterior motives, which he is keeping strictly to himself. I think it was set up in Invasion specifically to be concluded during the Omega DLC. It should be interesting to uncover, whether or not it has anything to do with Indoctrination Theory or Project X or anything else floating around the Internets. I, for one, will be glad to play more Mass Effect. Okay, spoilers over.

And speaking of Skyrim… there’s another leak going around that the next DLC will be called Dragonborn, and that it will take place in Solstheim! That means a whole new huge chunk of land to explore, people! Exploring new land in Elder Scrolls games is like heroin to me, just so you know. Anyone else remember Solstheim? If you played Morrowind, I’ll bet you do; it was in the Bloodmoon expansion pack (that’s what we used to call DLC back then), and it let you roam Morrowind and Solstheim as a werewolf. The Elder Scrolls games have a long and cherished history of including werewolves and vampires in their games; they know their audience, don’t they?

Aaaaannnnddd speaking of Morrowindan awesome team of modders is re-making Morrowind using the Skyrim engine! How great is that?! It’s called Skywind, and I recommend you become very excited about this mod if you aren’t already.

It’s a standalone game; you’ll actually need a copy of Morrowind to play it. So dig through your boxes of old games and find that sucker! Or else find another copy online somewhere. I’m really very psyched for this… Morrowind is still my favorite Elder Scrolls game, and ever since I played that game, I’ve wished you could see the whole island of Vvardenfell from the top of Red Mountain. And for all you sticklers out there; we all know it’s not canon. So what? I’d love to play Morrowind again. Thanks, awesome mod team!

One last thing: here’s a pretty funny video of some wrestler dressed as Star Man from the original NES game Pro Wrestling. Man, I spent some hours with that game. The theme music is still familiar after all this time.

Okay, gotta go. I’m off to scrounge pennies to put toward a a copy of Dishonored.