DA:2 fin, and AFK

13 04 2011

Finally finished Dragon Age 2.

Cliffnotes version : ultimately, I was a little dissapointed. It just doesn’t have the open ended feel of Dragon Age 1. Origins felt like an adventure. This, felt like…something else. The cliffhanger ending did little to redeem it. Overall the combat is cool and fun, but everything else is a step backwards from it’s predecessor.

—-

So I quit my job about a month ago, and tomorrow , 14th of April, will be my last day.

Not sure how long I’ll be offline/out of commision at the new job. I have few illusions that I’m going to be very, very busy for the next few months, possibly more. It’s an exciting change, and a huge challenge. It means I probably won’t be blogging much, though I can’t say for sure.

Until I’m back to posting, then : Peace out.

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Bioware : Why have romance in games anyway

28 03 2011

My Dragon Age 2 playthrough is continuing, and as usual I can’t really find much fault with Bioware’s latest. It’s a bit formulaic, but I suppose after playing a slew of Bioware RPG’s you can’t help but notice the repeated formula. Still enjoyable, though how long before it all starts to wear a little thin, I can’t say.

One thing I completely fail to see the point of  : Romance in these games. It was a bit of a novelty back with Mass Effect 1. Controversial, I suppose. But after ME2 and DA:O, and now DA:2, I kind of… don’t get it really.

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Dragon Effect

22 03 2011

It’s always a  big deal when we get our hands on a new Bioware game, and this weekend I was able to get mine on Dragon Age 2.

The question everyone seems to be asking, though, is : Is This Dragon Age?

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From out of Nowhere : Bulletstorm!

14 03 2011

Bulletstorm is absolutely, insanenly, out-of-the-park amazing. It’s everything I could want in a shooter.

I got the game on Thursday of last week, and finished it 3 days later. Which is a credit to the game in itself, because I usually give up on games within a matter of hours. Inevitably with FPS shooters, I’ll play for a bit and sooner or later, my interest will wane. The reasons can vary. Uninteresting premise, dialogue, plot, setup. Boring graphics. Dreary gameplay. Dragging development.

Bulletstorm has none of these things.

more after the break…

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Dragon Age. Better late than never

7 03 2011

I finally finished Dragon Age over the weekend. About a year late, but just in time for Dragon Age 2. A few thoughts about this seminal title.

Dragon Age is clearly a callout to the game that kickstarted it all for Bioware – Baldurs Gate. The engine feels the same, the gameplay is all but identical – just with 4 party members instead of six – and it’s easily as huge as it’s ancestor. It took me 44 hours, and that’s without doing all the sidequests and exploring all the areas, or finishing any of the DLC bar Shale.

And while I was a huge fan of Baldurs Gate, Dragon’s Age left me feeling a little… empty. Oh, granted, it’s an epic yarn, one which you get to weave – I have yet to play an RPG which allows one to alter the world so sognificantly, and in that alone it deserves accolades. But what made Baldurs Gate so absolutely enthralling, was it’s incredible storyline. The dialogue, the twists and turns, the emotional tugs… Dragon’s Age doesn’t quite live up to daddy’s legacy.

Despite that, Dragon’s Age was eminently enjoyable. I found myself caring about my teammates, and the game’s finale was satisfying as a result. Although the storyline was ‘flat’ (summarised as, ‘persuade a lot of people to help you, then go beat down a dragon. You win.’), and although it had a few minor twists and plot points (such as Morrigan saving you from having to sacrifice yourself, if you so choose…), I am left missing some of Dragon Age’s mechanics rather more than the narrative it told.

As a scene-setter for the upcoming sequel, I’m glad I played it. I’m guessing dragon Age 2 is going to follow a lot more in Mass Effect 2’s footsteps, building a more human tale, with more emotion. For that reason alone, Dragon Age is worth a playthrough.

Whether DA:O will be remembered as a classic homage to Infinity-Engine dungeoneering, or simply the scene setter for ‘Dragon Effect’ remains to be seen. I enjoyed it for what it is, and for that it deserves a thumbs up.





Less Massive, more Story: MMORPG’s are Jersey Shore

28 02 2011

I find myself distanced from the MMORPG more every day, as I play less WoW and more other stuff. It started with Dead Space 2, and by the time I was finished i was so enthralled at having spent just under 2 weeks playing a game that had a plot, that had dialogue, that had actual character development… that when I was done, and looking at the WoW login screen, the only thought that occured to me was…

Why?

I’m not excited about Rift, as many of my mmorpg playing peers are. I’m still keen on The old Republic, but increasingly for the storyline aspects and less for the multiplayer. I think mmorpg’s are still great, of course, but every person goes through phases in their life, and mmorpg’s are one such phase. And here it is.

They’re the Jersey Shore of gaming.

Everybody trying to one up each other. To get with the in-crowd. To have the best ‘do’. That’s what it is. That’s what drives people who play mmorpgs. It’s about my gear/achievements/guild is better than yours. It’s about the accompanying drama and snarkiness. It’s about brandname purple handbags and dps-meter e-rep and hanging around in cliques badmouthing other cliques. That’s it. That’s everything about the entire genre in a nutshell.

I realised I wasn’t having much fun with it anymore. I enjoy some of the story aspects that mmorpg’s have, and WoW has come a long way in that regard.. but once you ding 85 and hit endgame, the story dries up, and is replaced with dailies and endless raiding tedium designed to keep us competing with all the other fabulously dressed online Snooki clones.

I miss what attracted me to MMORPG’s in the first place. Online worlds of wonder and exploration. Unfortunately, they’ve come to mirror the real-world and all it’s faults. What was once different, dangerous and filled with adventure has become the same, safe, and full of boredom.

They’ve become the online haven of e-guidos.

And it rarely matters which one you pick. They’re all the same, whether WoW or LotrO or Aion or Rift.

All you can do is try and play the games to experience content… and when that’s no longer enough, either embrace your inner guido, or move on. Sometimes a reroll staves off the content-boredom, but eventually you hit a point where even rolling a new character isn’t enough anymore. Where even an alternative mmo isn’t good enough anymore.

I find solace, now, in real life pursuits and singleplayer gaming. I’m enjoying my romps through games like Dead Space 2. I’m replaying Dragon Age:Origins – this time with the intent to actually finish it – in anticipation of Dragon Age 2. I’m looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever, and Max Payne 3… where once all I could look forward to was the next piece of epic lewtz. And i feel relieved. That this time, the need to fit in has finally passed, and I can just be me, and do what I like, enjoy what I enjoy.

And I enjoy nothing better than a good story.

 

 





Dead Space 2 is Bad.Ass.

7 02 2011

Holy crap Dead Space 2.

I’m at a loss how to approach this.

DS2 is one of those games that gets it all right. The funny thing, though, is that it does this without deviating whatsoever from the formula of it’s predecessor. DS2 is the same game as Dead Space 2, but it’s so much better.

How can this be?

And yet it is. Chalk it up to a better budget, perhaps, but there are moments in DS2 that are superior to the best that Hollywood has to offer. Calling the game a cinematic masterpiece would be a case of shortchanging it. The setpieces are superb. The artwork is stunning. The running plot is sublime, and flows seemlessly. The challenge is just right, and the gameplay feels ‘chunky’. This game oozes quality-of-design from every pore. It’s a testament to what can be done if your graphic and level designers and programmers are some of the best in the business and are given the resources and time to perfect their art.

EA and Visceral knocked it out of the park with Dead Space 2. This is, without a doubt, the finest game I’ve played since Mass Effect 2.