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Skyrim Diary 11 - Cover

This is the diary of me attempting to play Skyrim using only Illusion magic: I'm not allowed any weapons, armour, or magical items, and I can't attack anyone directly. The first entry is here, or you can see all entries to date here.

I deliver the hard-won Jagged Crown to General Tullius back at Imperial Legion headquarters in Solitude, and receive my next assignment. It's to deliver a message to the Jarl (mayor/king) of Whiterun, telling him he's about to be attacked by the rebel Stormcloaks, and urging him to side with us Imperials.

I'm not letting myself use fast travel, but this is pretty much going back the way I came, so I wouldn't mind cutting down my journey time. I wonder how much horses cost.

A thousand gold? Forget it, annoyingly happy stablemaster. I wouldn't spend that even if I- oh wait, I do have it. OK, sold!

She's a stout, mottled little number the game insist on calling "Sarah the Implausible's horse". Since I can't see a way to change that, I decide to name her Sarah the Implausible Horse. I clamber on and ride out, Belrand jogging stoicly behind us.

Sarah the Implausible Horse isn't actually much faster than me, as evidenced by the fact that Belrand can pretty much keep up with us, but somehow the journey seems to race by. We only stop when I spot a spider chasing a fox, and dismount to cast Calm on him. Less of that, nature.

It's my first time in Whiterun - I was told to race here to warn them of the dragon attack right at the start of the game, but I decided to have a long and weird military career first. After a brief argument the guards let me in to see the Jarl.

"I have a message from General Tullius!"

"Whatever it is, it'll have to wait until I've finished dealing with this dragon situation."

Oh yeah, that reminds me: "A dragon destroyed Helgen and Whiterun is next!"

"A dragon?! You're sure?"

When he eventually accepts the existence of the dragon he told me about three seconds ago, he doesn't care what Tullius has to say. This is awkward, because I don't care about the dragon or Whiterun or the world.

He tells me to give the message to his bodyguard - his 'housecarl'. I refuse - my orders are to give it to the Jarl, not the carl. The Jarl says he'll only take it if he can immediately give it to the carl without reading it. Since this technically fulfills my mission without actually achieving anything worthwhile, I agree, and give it to the Jarl who gives it to the carl and my objective is complete. Bureaucracy in action!

Unfortunately, I also need his response. And he won't read the note until I help him save his stupid city from that flying whatever. Alright, Jarl, what have I got to do?

I have to go to Bleak Falls Barrow.

Next Thursday: that
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Click upon me.

Remember Dishonored? No, you’re thinking of BioShock. Dishonored was the one with the Blinking. Yes! Gosh, those were the days. But soon we can relive them again, as Bethesda have announced a series of add-ons (not expansions, and not DLC – “add-ons”) that will be coming out in coming months. First up in December (December?! That’s hundreds of years away!) is Dunwall City Trials, and it’ll cost you €5, or £4, or whatever it is Americans use for bartering these days.


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We can look forward to three DLC packs for Dishonored during the coming year. Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials is the first. It will contain 10 challenge maps that will "test and track your combat, stealth and mobility skills." A post on the Bethblog says that an "arena battle against waves of enemy AI," a drop assassination challenge and a straightforward race will be among the challenges on offer. It'll cost £3.99 / 4.99 Euro / $4.99.

Master assassin, Daud, will "be the focus" of the second chunk of DLC, due out Spring next year. The DLC will contain new parts of Dunwall and let us experiment with Daud's weapons, powers and gadgets, which does rather suggest we'll might get to play as him.

The third DLC pack remains shrouded in masked mystery. More details are due to be announced "closer to launch next year." A single screenshot of an elevated room adorns the Bethblog post. Looks like a good tall starting point for that drop assassination challenge Bethesda mentioned.


Dishonored Receives Dunwall City Trials DLC This December, Story Add-Ons Coming Next Year Maybe you've already finished Arkane Studios' critically acclaimed stealth/action hybrid. Maybe you yearn for more blinking, possession and sneaky killing through Dunwall's cobblestone streets. This December, you'll get your wish as challenge-based and story-centric DLC starts rolling out for Dishonored.

Dunwall City Trials—which will cost $4.99 or 400 Microsoft points—will offer up ten skill-centered tests where you'll be made to battles waves of enemies in arenas, perform drop assassinations and run through point-to-point races as fast as you can.

The other DLC will hit in 2013, but don't have prices attached yet. They'll focus on story including one that lets you play as a major character from Dishonored: (Mild spoilers for those who haven't finished the game)

Daud, the leader of a group of supernatural assassins known as ‘The Whalers', will be the focus of the second add-on pack, scheduled for release in early Spring 2013. Make your way through new Dunwall locales and discover Daud's own set of weapons, powers and gadgets in this story-driven campaign. How you play and the choices you make will impact the final outcome…

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Botinacula, since you asked.

Yesterday Jim wrote a superb piece arguing that games are best when everything is going wrong. That the measure of a game’s potential for generating anecdotes, and its depth of connection to the player, is based in the amount of peril it’s able to generate. Citing games like Day Z, FTL and XCOM, Jim’s argument made one small mistake: it was all wrong. Games aren’t best when they’re stressing you out, piling on the pressure, raising your anxiety levels to breaking point! Games are best when they embrace you into their wonderful worlds, telling you great stories, and letting you get away from the incessant worries of real life.



Return To New Vegas: The One Place You Just Had To RobOver the past couple of weeks, I've been getting my open-world RPG fix with Fallout: New Vegas. Yesterday I talked about how to mod the game to look nice and pretty, and from here on in I'm going to share some things I've noticed while playing the game.

So here's a thing: The Silver Rush. I tend to play Fallout games as an energy weapon specialist. And energy weapons are scarce, especially in Fallout 3. I remember when I finally figured out that the Enclave had plasma weapons, I'd farm their locations just to have enough plasma rifles to keep mine repaired.

So in New Vegas, I was happy to find that energy weapons were easier to come across in the early goings than they had been in Fallout 3. But then… the Silver Rush happens. And it almost breaks the game.

This store, run by a shady organized crime family, is on a corner in Freeside. The minute I walked in, I thought the same thing that I bet every single other person who played this game thought: I am going to steal every mother-lovin thing in this store.

The inside of the Silver Rush is an orgy of energy weaponry. Laser rifles lie next to beautiful rows of microfusion cells and energy cells, plasma pistols lie next to a plasma defender (!) a tri-beam laser rifle (!!) and a massive, all-destroying plasma caster (!!!). There are enough plasma grenades, pulse mines, and other weaponry to equip an army. And thanks to Bethesda's notoriously weird sneaking system, you can steal it all.

It's so easy. You just walk up to the table and crouch. At some point, you'll become "hidden," and then you can just… grab every single thing on the table. This happened the first time I played New Vegas, and this time around, I was waiting for it. I walked out of Silver Rush with enough plasma weaponry to last me the entire rest of the game. I even sold back some of the stuff I sold to get some mods for my weapons.

Was this on purpose? Did Obsidian intend for energy weapon players to find a ridiculous explosion of armaments to use? We may never know. All I know is that there's no way I'm the only one who robbed the Silver Rush blind. So come on, fess up. It's okay, you're in good company.


The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of DishonoredThere's no question that Dishonored has great art. But in addition to Viktor Antonov's wonderful visual design direction and Sebastien Mitton's art direction, the game also has a lot of great art. As in, there are some really cool paintings in the game? Okay, you get it.

Bethesda has pulled together shots of all (I think?) of Anton Sokolov's collectable paintings from the game. These are sorta-spoilers, technically, since some of them are characters that turn up a little later on, but then again, as spoilery things go, they're… kind of just cool paintings of people. The paintings were done by real-world artist Cedric Peyravernay.

Have you found all of these in the game? I've only found a couple, mostly because the heart doesn't highlight them on my screen when I ask her. And if the heart don't point to it, Kirk don't go collect it. Maybe I should reconsider that approach…

The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored The Beautiful Hidden Paintings Of Dishonored

Dishonored Sololov Paintings [Tumblr]

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Taking on Dishonored's High Overseer without leaving a trace is actually fairly straightforward. The mission directly supports it, and you can see how that approach plays out in the original 'Three Extreme Approaches' video that led to this diary series. So, in the name of finding a better way I've decided to forgo the road most traveled and find a creative new way of toppling Dunwall's most senior religious authority. Using man-eating rats.

As you'll see, it took a bit of experimentation in order to figure the most effective means of ushering a man to his furry, plague-ridden demise. Along the way, there were accidents. There were regrets. There were casualties. Innocents will die. Rats will frolic. No-one will care about a dog.

Check out the prologue to No Trace for more, and check back on Friday when I'll be tracking down the Pendleton twins. You can also listen to our Dishonored podcast special to find out what Graham, Tom Francis and I thought about the game.

Having got the fancy ending for Dishonored, I thought I had some skills. Turns out my only skills were patience and cowardice. The way Flakked gets things done in this video shows me that my second, more violent playthrough might be a lot more interesting.

That slide near the end is the stuff of highlight reels.

Dishonored - Spring Razors and Messin' With Guards [YouTube, via PC Gamer]

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Dishonored stab

The more players entreat Corvo's ruthlessness in Dishonored, the more tempted I become to sully my second full-stealth playthrough with a few slit throats and holed heads. Luckily enough, Dunwall's supernatural assassins enjoy sharing their exceptional moments of glory through recorded snippets of chaos. The murder spree shown here, executed by appropriately named player "Flakked," shows off some clever spring razor usage paired with the still-in-style powerslide. Take a look above.