New Level, New Hat

I'm so glad the week is over. I had an exhausting schedule change this week with my wife having to work at the office (she usually works from home). Of course I also got sick at the beginning of the week and the cold is still hanging on. Frankly I'm amazed we didn't get sick before now with back to classes and the petri dish that is elementary school.

I think I've finally tweaked enough Grand Theft Auto IV to stop fiddling and enjoy the game. I'm not going to hit 60fps at 1080p and keep the visuals where I want them, but it seems that I can average 45fps and keep most of the visuals intact.

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The ICE 3.0 mod is fairly brutal on my system and I'm not knowledgeable enough to understand the results of adjusting the hundreds of variables available. The mod creator has thankfully posted medium and low visual setting files for the mod, but I'll take the higher end visuals with the slight sacrifice to the framerate.

I'm enjoying GTA IV so far, though I never really understood the massive hype around the series. I've never finished a single Grand Theft Auto game, but I did play a fair bit of GTA III and Vice City. I certainly appreciate the freedom and the revolution the game offered when GTA III hit the PS2 but I've never really grooved on the actual game in GTA. The combat in GTA IV is mediocre and the driving is serviceable, but I've played many other open world games that offer better driving and combat. I'm liking the story and the characters in GTA IV so far and certainly the world is rich enough to keep me going, but after Sleeping Dogs and Mafia II I can't say I'm head over heels in love here.

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During my weekly session of The Elder Scrolls Online we finally hit veteran level 3 and celebrated by crafting new armour and weapons. I've finally leveled all of my two-handed weapon skills and I'm going to move on to sword and shield. I never block, so now having a shield should hopefully open up some new play styles since blocking will now be essential to my combat.

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Zenimax also gave new vanity pets (pictured above) as part of their loyalty program for users who have been playing for a while. I don't really get the whole vanity pet thing. I mean, they just eat up more performance having them enabled and they don't provide any benefit, so I like them best when they are off. Though, I guess the term vanity in vanity pet really makes the case for who will use them. I couldn't care less who knows how long I've been playing.

The current area we are in, named Grahtwood, reminds me how much I appreciate that the devs really understood how much fun the platforming and mountain climbing in the single player TES games can be. It isn't over done and certainly isn't the best simulation of traversing cliff sides, but they've retained that element of being able to jump and wiggle your way up hills and gaps that seem initially to be impassable. I really enjoyed this aspect in Oblivion and Skyrim and it really adds a lot to the exploration aspect of The Elder Scrolls Online.

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Looks like we are in for a rainy weekend here, so hopefully we'll be inside with games and movies all weekend. Likely more GTA IV and The Elder Scrolls Online will be on tap for the weekend.

What are you playing this weekend?