Desert Rangers

Taco Bell Salad

As strange as it sounds, one of the meals we used to eat all the time when we were watching our calories is Doritos Tacos from Taco Bell.  Each of them is pretty filling and only 170 calories a piece, and come in a variety of flavors now so it feels like you are eating way worse than you actually are.  For some time now I have had this idea of taking them and turning them into a Taco Salad.  Finally last night we actually did just this.  The idea is that you essentially dump out the contents of the tacos, crunch of the shells and them mix it all together with some form of a binding liquid.  I prepared my wife’s with four packets of Taco Bell hot sauce, and then did mine with some low fat ranch dressing.

The end result was really damned good.  Like amazingly tasty, and it felt and looked pretty much like a Taco Salad.  The only downside was it was a colossal mess to crunch the shells.  You know you your fingers feel after eating a bag of nacho cheese Doritos?  Well take that and multiply it by 100 because the shells themselves are not entirely dry as they’ve had taco fixings inside of them.  I need to find a better way than using my fingers to crunch them up, and if so them bam I have a brilliant fast food “hack” that was super tasty.  Three Tacos made a plate full of Taco Salad and was only 510 calories, I can totally live with that.  It inspired me to try their breakfast this morning, and I have to say it is in no way near as manageable.  In fact their breakfast seems like they ran an experiment of trying to cram as many calories into as little food as possible.

Desert Rangers

WL2 2014-06-28 08-50-25-607 Earlier this week my friend Warenwolf mentioned something about playing Wasteland 2, and as a result I decided to check and see if I had access as well.  Sure enough, when I dug out my forum link from the kickstarter project I had a steam early access code waiting for me.  Last night I intended to just pop in for a moment and check the game out, and wound up playing over an hour.  Now I knew of Wasteland, but I never really played it when it was originally out for the PC.  That predates the bulk of my PC gaming, and I was still heavily a console gamer at that time.  That said I was a massive fan of both Fallout and Fallout 2, and since Wasteland was the logical predecessor to those games I knew I had to get on board with this project.  In truth other than the fact that the original fallout runs pretty lousy on a modern PC, I can still play it for hours. WL2 2014-06-28 08-54-15-264 So far pretty much everything about this game is true to that genre and is a modern update of what feels like a classic game.  There is an over arching storyline that you can follow, or you can simply wander around the wastes looking for trouble.  You cannot however wander indefinitely as there is an interesting movement mechanic while you are on the overmap.  Each step you take consumes water, and you have a finite amount of this.  Every so often you can find an oasis here or there that lets you refill your canteens, but this keeps you from going too far off the beaten path.  Luckily if you follow the actual quest line it leads you to find a large number of Oasis spots that you can always fill up at along the way.

WL2 2014-06-28 09-09-05-758 Just like in Fallout as you wander around the world map you will come across random encounters.  The interesting thing is that each time you come across one of these you have the chance to either fight or run.  So far being the warmonger I am… I have fought all of them and it has been the source of much needed ammunition and medpacks.  Overall the combat is not super challenging, but it is tactical in nature.  Cover rules apply, so since I have a handful of ranged characters I try and place them behind a rusted out car hull or something similar and for the most part this allows me to whittle down the enemy forces.  Another strategy I have found works amazingly well is to simply wait out the enemy.  They seem to be willing to come to you most of the time, allowing you to set up from a defensive position and gun them down as they run towards you.

WL2 2014-06-28 08-55-30-666 The game allows you to assemble your own team of rangers to meet anything you might encounter out in the wastes.  For this first playing I chose to go with some premades so I have Pill the wasteland punk combat medic, Cold Eye the sniper, Bear the Native American tracker, and Big Bert the punk with a spiked bat and essentially my groups only front line fighter.  So far it seems like I assembled a fairly balanced team.  The only thing I am really missing is the ability to pick locks, but up until now I have only actually encountered a single locked object.  Cold-Eye has a mechanical repair skill, which I figure will come in handy eventually.  So far I am absolutely hooked, and looking forward to seeing the finished version.  From what I understand it is pretty much fully functional, just missing some polish.  Definitely glad I backed the kickstarter.

Hail to the Chief

SaintsRowIV 2014-06-25 06-02-34-557 I logged into Wildstar for a bit, but really was not feeling the MMO thing.  I am in somewhat of an existential funk when it comes to online gaming right now.  I am going through one of my periods where I just want to play by myself, and not be bothered with other people.  These usually last a week or two and then I have recharged and can be my charming self again, but while it is going on it is probably just best for me to play mostly single player games.  Since I had so damned much fun the other night playing Saints Row IV I decided to fire it up and attempt to make some progress.  The problem with me and big sandboxy games is that I never actually get anything accomplished.  I have been wandering around the simulation picking up code fragments and knocking down Zin shield beacons reclaiming sections of the map.  Last night I actually made an attempt to complete some of the quests.

SaintsRowIV 2014-06-27 21-18-53-685

The major accomplishment of the night was getting to the top of this tower.  This is the granddaddy of all jumping puzzles I have ever encountered.  The tower itself is so high that the game lets you save at various warp points up the tower as you try and ascend it.  I admit it took me probably a dozen tries to get all the way to the top, and when I was up there my vertigo was going absolutely insane.  The last bit of the climb freaked me the hell out, and I am just glad it is over.  That said it was pretty cool because I actually feel like I accomplished something difficult.  In addition to this there was a whole sequence of events that introduced me to the various minigames including Fraud where you throw yourself in front of cars for money, and one where you rampage through the simulation on a zin battle tank.  I only managed to get bronze rating on fraud… but damned near got gold on my first try with the battle tank.  I guess my inner rampage pays off sometimes.

SaintsRowIV 2014-06-27 22-22-31-111 I actually progressed the main storyline a bit and in the same fashion as the Matrix, unplugged forcibly and woke up on a Zin Battlecruiser butt naked needing to escape from the vessel.  I can apparently take enough time to find a gun, but not enough to take a uniform off of one of the zin soldiers and wear that.  I will admit the whole naked escape sequence thing was pretty funny, and it makes me happy I went so insane with the various tattoos.  Like I really went crazy when I found the tattoo shop as you can see in the above picture.  I feel like this is what I like the most about Saints Row, is that it is really similar in nature to Grand Theft Auto…  but does not take itself seriously at all.  In fact if there is a way to poke fun at your character, the game is going to do it by putting it in ridiculous situations.  The fact that Saints Row is in essence a parody of a parody makes this the video game equivalent of one of the “Scary Movie” franchise movies.

SaintsRowIV 2014-06-27 22-22-31-111Saints Row is one giant running “dick and fart” joke, but it works and while it is extremely lowbrow it is insanely fun to play through.  Even if you don’t normally go in for that sort of thing…  I think there is something in Saints Row for pretty much everyone.  If this goes back on sale before the end of the Steam Sale… you should totally pick it up, because it is well worth the $10.  I am also happy I went ahead and picked up all of the insane DLC, because some of the costumes are just great.  Last night I was rocking the “cloud” outfit from FF7, but I have zero clue where to find the sword that goes with it.  Instead I was running around swinging the “anal probe” weapon.  At the end of the night I had just gotten out of the “matrix” and had not really explored the “real world” much at all, so I figure next play session I will do that.  This game makes my inner thirteen year old extremely happy.

#Wasteland2 #TacoBellSalad #SaintsRowIV

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