Posts Tagged ‘Dragon Age: Origins’

The Overwhelmed Video Gamer

Okay, okay.  So we all know how incredibly excited I am for The Elder Scrolls: Skryim to come out.  I literally cried a little when I watched those developer gameplay videos.  So yes, I am ecstatic for Skryim.

However.

You know what?  I’m also a little afraid.  Aside from the obvious ‘My social life is going down the drain for a month or so after Skyrim drops’, there’s another issue here.  Sometimes, I feel like an overwhelmed video gamer.

Oblivion's Open World

Over the river, through the woods... Damn, must've taken a wrong turn somewhere.

What exactly is an overwhelmed video gamer?  Well, since we’re talking Elder Scrolls, let’s take Oblivion, for example.  Oblivion, I’m sure, is a great game.  I own it, in fact.  I just never played very much of it.  Sometimes, when I’m playing a game with a massively open world, I get overwhelmed with the amount of sidequests and optional content there is available.  I get distracted.  I get overencumbered faster than you can accuse my character of stealing.  I feel… almost lost.  Directionless.  With no major push towards the main quest, I can look at the game as a whole and go, “Wow, I can’t see actually finishing this”.  So I don’t.  With Oblivion, you don’t necessarily have to immediately begin doing the main quest.  In fact, it’s very open ended.  Bethesda is adamant about not forcing you into doing the main quest.  But to me, in a way, that can be harder to deal with.

Okay, sooooo... where to next... ?

Bethesda is known for making their games open ended.  In Fallout 3, once you escape Vault 101, you don’t have to follow the main mission you were given.  In fact, you could walk out into that deserted wasteland and immediately being exploring the opposite direction of where you’re vaguely pointed to check out in the main quest.  And this would be perfectly acceptable, welcomed, in fact, by Bethesda.  But to me, a “I’ve gotta finish every single side quest” type of gamer, this is actually overwhelming.  I think it’s easier for me to be pushed in some way towards a main goal, and then side quests and additional content seems more manageable.  In Fallout 3, I can get easily distracted by a new quest that pops up.  Continually starting a new quest and finishing (maybe) 1 in 5 can be frustrating.

On the flip side, I feel that a game like Dragon Age: Origins or Mass Effect 2 balances the amount of drive you’re given towards your main goal in the game and still gives you freedom to go where you want, to complete optional side quests.  Despite the epic proportions of those games, I never felt overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities of where to go next, or of how many side quests I was receiving.

The Elder Scrolls Skyrim Logo

This logo strikes both awe and fear in my heart.

I’m like this in real life as well.  I have a tendency to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed by the whole thing, rather than take it and break it down into manageable chunks.  It can be enough to turn me off from large projects.  I would never make a good project manager.  A college report, for example, could be incredibly stressful for me, because all I could think was, “I need to write HOW many pages?!”.  (By the way, let it be known that I am not currently in college; the example is simply that – an example.)

With Bethesda stating that Skyrim will be loaded with additional content, packed into approximately the same size map as Oblivion, I’m scared of getting that overwhelmed, disoriented feeling.  I don’t want to end up frustrated with how many open quests I’ve started and how few I’ve completed.  Hopefully I can push through and keep playing, because Skyrim is definitely going to be incredible.

Anyone else ever feel like this?

-Kat

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Rating: 2.2/5 (51 votes cast)

BioWare Taming Down the Love Scenes in Games

BioWare.  I love you, I really do, and everyone knows it.  But something has been bothering me lately, particularly with the arrival of the all new (but less awesome) Dragon Age game.  And this thing REALLY bothers me.  Because I like to get down and dirty when I game.  I want my character in an RPG to get in some hot romance.  Honestly, BioWare, I feel like you’re slipping a bit in the romance department.  Particularly in the scenes.

Female Shepards really make Kaidan nervous. And... I guess male Shepards, too.

First, let’s take the original game that got TONS of flack for being ‘too sexual’ (but all of us who actually played it loved the romance).  The original Mass Effect game had sexual tension, kissing, side boob, and a beautiful booty.  The scene that got incredibly harsh criticism was if you choose to have your female Shepard pursue a romance with Liara, the blue skinned alien.  But it was a gorgeous realization of teammates coming together as more than friends.  My female Shepard had a strong relationship with Kaidan.  So strong, that she skipped any romancing in ME2.

Then came Dragon Age: Origins, a game that had not only hot tenting scenes, but also two characters who would swing either way.  If you played as a male, and wanted to romance the sultry male elf, Zevran, you could.  If you played as a female, and wanted to get it on with the red headed female bard, Leliana, you could.  My female hero of Fereldan Avaline pursued a relationship with Alistair, which culminated in a beautiful romance scene.  After the scene, the option to have them kiss or hop in the tent again continued to be available.  It goes without saying that every time my party returned to camp, I would have Avaline and Alistair tenting.

In the sequel to the original Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 widened the number of romanceable options for the player.  In fact, Shepard could get it on with various races.  However, in Mass Effect 2, there was no complete nudity.  While Miranda unzips her suit to reveal bra and panties and Jacob strips off his shirt, there’s no sideboob and bum reveal.  And, unlike Dragon Age: Origins, there aren’t any sex motions.  What’s even worse, if you decide to remain faithful to your flame from ME1, you get a rather cold reception on Horizon, and all you’ll wind up doing when you could be getting it on with someone else is staring at a picture of them.  Pretty lame.

Anders Has Glowing Eyes!

Who can resist those glowing eyes? Oh... maybe the people who don't want to date a terrorist.

And in Dragon Age 2, the latest game out by BioWare, some romance scenes don’t have characters in their skivvies at all, and it fades to black WAAAAAY too early.  In fact, I don’t believe there’s an actual tenting scenes in any of the romances.  There might be some kissing, some frantic throwing-against-the-wall, and hand-holding-leading-to-the-bed, but that pales in comparison to the actual sex scenes in Dragon Age: Origins.  It was a huge disappointment to those of us excited to see the new scenes.  These new scenes actually left me in a “That’s IT?!!” state.

As you can see, BioWare has continued to tame down the love scenes in their games.  This makes me incredibly wary of the upcoming Mass Effect 3, and another sequel in the Dragon Age series.  In Mass Effect 3, especially, I’m hoping this trend BioWare has gone on won’t continue.  Because I’d really like to see an explosive reuniting scene with my Shepard and her former flame Kaidan.

BioWare, you may consider this my urgent plea that the toning down of romances and love scenes doesn’t continue for the upcoming games you have in store.  Seriously.  Please.

-Kat

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Rating: 5.0/5 (9 votes cast)

Let’s Compare: Dragon Age 2 vs. Dragon Age: Origins

It can’t be argued; Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 are very different games, set in different locations, with all new (for the most part) people joining your mission.  And I’m pretty much biased into loving any BioWare game.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to like all the changes to DA2.  So let me lay it all out for you and you decide!

Dragon Age 2 Logo

Doesn't this make you feel all tingly inside?

A word of warning: As with mostly all opinion pieces on PtC, this post contains spoilers.  So go finish Dragon Age 2 before you read this.

  • Faster combat in DA2 versus the slower combat / effects in DA:O.  I consider this a good change.  I feel powerful whipping out my blades on someone, with spells swirling in the air.  The one drawback is that I tend to get so caught up in it (my character is a rogue, so she’s fast to begin with) that I tend to forget to watch everyone’s health meter.
  • A quick sidequest in the Fade in DA2 versus a hell of a long time trapped in the Fade alone in DA:O.  This is another positive.  The Fade can be a killer if you’re stuck in it for a long time, fighting against huge crowds without any companions to help you through it.  Thank goodness the Fade is no longer hours long.
  • Simplification of equipment for companions in DA2 versus having access to all gear for companions in DA:O.  This I could really go either way on.  It can get tedious to equip all your characters with the latest gear, however not being able to put gear on them at all can be aggravating.  And Wadoobie makes an excellent point; we can no longer unequip everything from our companions and have them chat in their skivvies.  DAMNIT.
  • AlistairUndies

    Essentially, THIS won't happen anymore. And that's just sad.

    Companion homes in DA2 versus everyone hanging out at camp in DA:O.  I think each scenario makes sense for the appropriate game.  In Origins, you’re traveling all of the realm of Fereldan to gather allies to fight the Archdemon, so it’s understandable that everyone should regroup at the same location.  Whereas in Dragon Age 2, you stick around the city of Kirkwall and the outer lying regions, so you and your companions can all have your own location to relax, and everyone knows where to find each other.  The drawback to this setup in DA2 is that updating your companions with the latest weapons and runes becomes tricky.

  • Smaller world and shorter game in DA2 versus expansive world and longer overall game in DA:O.  That change is clearly sad.  Just sad.  Come on BioWare, I know you like to make beautiful scenery, and I love to look at it.  And I also like to play for like months.
  • Political concerns as a basis for the story and a lack of urgency versus one driving factor pushing the game forward in DA2 versus one main bad demon dragon going to cause pain and destruction and death over the whole world in DA:O.  At the beginning of DA2, I felt a little lost, thinking, where is the urgency or the driving factor right now.  My main quest is to earn money.  Cool.  It’s nothing like Origins, where you end up leaving everything you know to join the Grey Wardens, as there is an evil spreading that must be stopped.  That feeling of not knowing what my character’s purpose was continued at the beginning of act 2.  “The Qunari are causing uneasiness in the people of Kirkwall”.  Oh, okay, that REALLY tells me what my main quest is.  While I do appreciate the difficult decisions that come when the political parties’ clashing comes to a peak, I don’t feel that those concerns had enough significance to push the game forward in the beginning.
  • Rogue Hawke

    She's sexy and fully voiced, but can't say quite as much.

    Fewer options of things to say due to main character being voice acted, fewer interactions and things to say with party members, gifts have actual scenes with companions in DA2 versus more response options, main character silent, more interactions & things to say with party members, gifts basically have the appearance of being thrown at a companion and the companion yells back their varied level of appreciation in DA:O.  Phew, a lot of differences, but I thought I’d combine a bunch of social options.  I love having a fully voiced character, and don’t even mind not having as many responses and things to say.  However I do feel gypped about the fact that it seems that there are less things to talk about with companions.  You don’t have the option of always forcing a conversation like you do in DA:O, and you can’t go into a special romance section and make out & / or get your tenting on.  I mean…OBVIOUSLY that is a huge problem for me.  I want to be able to do all the tenting and making out that I want.  However I do appreciate that a scene for giving a gift has been added in.  It’s always humorous to me when my companion asks, “And you’re giving this to me…why?”  Much better to have an actual conversation about the gift rather than a shouted “Oh, thanks”.

  • And speaking of tenting, lamer romance scenes in DA2 versus sexy half naked romance scenes and tenting movements in DA:O.  What’s up with that, BioWare?  I can’t force my love interest to do it with me every ten minutes, which completely pisses me off.  And the actual scene… psh!  What a joke!  They don’t even strip down to undies (at least for femHawke & Anders…WTF…maybe I should play as a dude)!  I feel very cheated here.
  • In all honesty, not being the catalyst of change and decisions in DA2 versus feeling very much the hero who changes things for the better in DA:O.  Didn’t you kind of feel while playing through DA2, that you weren’t the one bringing the changes to Kirkwall?  Anders has a HUGE role in the game, and it felt to me that he was the one forcing the decisions, while I took a backseat and watched it play out.  Whereas in Origins, I was the leader.  I led the attack on the Archdemon.  I recruited allies to fight with us and called them during the battle.  I made the big decisions.
  • Recycled dungeon layouts and scenery in DA2 versus thoughtfully created and unique locations in DA:O.  Wow, this was disappointing.  I knew exactly what to expect when heading to a Dock dungeon quest, and what to expect when going into a Darktown dungeon.  Also no offense Kirkwall, but your city gets kinda boring after being stuck in it all game.  And in Origins, every location was different and therefore interesting to explore.  Aside from the tedious Orzammar / Deep Roads.  And the Fade.

 

And there you have it.  The summary of the changes I found most prominent.  If you think of others, please let me know in the comments!!  And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for… THE POLL:

-Kat

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Rating: 3.9/5 (14 votes cast)

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakenings and Romance – Point / Counter Point

Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningI love comments of all shapes and sizes. As long as they are good I will pet them, hug them, and place them on my mantle for all to see. A good comment truly makes my day. I good comment is anything that it thought out and has any valid point to make. Good comments don’t always agree however they are still interesting. Usually when people disagree with something we’ve said we find it interesting but try not to engage in a debate with them. It’s their opinion and more power to them for having it. However once in a while someone else responds. What you see below is one such instance.

A while back I wrote a post that met with general agreement: Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: No Romance, No Tenting? As the title suggests it was a piece that helped answer the question “can you tent in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening?”. One commenter (ttruthbetold) had this to say on the subject:

This website has somewhat false info. For one thing it’s mission focused yes… and your character may mess around after your romances in Origins but others don’t. For instance, my favorite warrior’s romance with Lelianna continued after I finished awakening. It told me how he ‘retired’ from commander of the greywardens and never returned to the keep. Only to be seen beside his love the red head bard Lelianna. and so on so forth… So in a sense relationships do carry over.

And this problem doesn’t take away from the game. Unless you want to slut your previous char around. Where I do see a problem is if you start an ‘orlesian’ warden and you want to romance one of the characters. But it still doesn’t take away from the game IMO… unless you like to hoe around lol – if so… more power to you, but quit whining.

Well played, sir…well played. I was content to let it slide even though I disagreed, but then we received a comment that I could not ignore. Kytti, who Kat instantly became a fan of because of the name, disagreed with ttruthbetold. She says:

Actually, I believe what the issue is partly the fact that romancing and developing relationships with the other characters in the game is one of the major features of this game that many have come to love. The fact that it’s been stripped away takes away from the gameplay for many many people.

And while you may have had a relationship with someone in DAO and want to remain faithful to them is fine, there are also the people who didn’t have a relationship with any of the DAO characters, etc.

Also while you might be satisfied with a summary of who knows how many years of your character’s life, done in ONE measly paragraph a great many more are not.

I for one found the character development one of the things that made the game and story so wonderful and something to draw you in further. As a description of the games says ‘Immerse yourself in a shattered world’ and ‘Experience complex moral decisions that have game-changing consequences’ it really is not surprising that people would be heavily disappointed when a so-called expansion comes about that takes those interesting and dynamic experiences away.

I don’t know how many people will agree with me on this point, but from what I have read on several forums I’m not the only one who feels cheated. The ending of the game was so incredibly anti-climactic that I could only stare at the credits with disbelief, thinking… WTF?! I also wondered if I’d messed anything up for it to end so abruptly… but nope, that’s normal. So to add insult to injury they then teased with an ‘expansion’ that didn’t EXPAND onto the game, rather tried to stretch it out for as little effort as possible.

It’s like Bioware just gave us an incredible, and special experience, then left without so much as a goodbye. ‘Wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ if you know that saying.
Wham- you slay the archdemon, your regaled as the hero of Fereldan, your friends go off on their adventures and you are promised more time with your beloved (except for those with none, or Morrigan of course)… then… a disappointing 5 minute read of summary that while ended things left promises unfulfilled and unsatisfied…
BAM- ‘Guess what everyone, you get an expansion onto Origins using your PC (if you want) and get to go off on another adventure! But wait… several of the favorite gameplay features isn’t available anymore. Oh, and sorry none of your favorite characters will actually be around besides cameos’
Thank you ma’am!

And piling on yet another disappointment, this expansion isn’t even fully canon to the storyline for everyone. For those who became ruler of Fereldan… How the heck did you get away from court, WITHOUT bodyguards or troops to go adventuring? Or, using my first ending as an example:
Alistair and my character are together, and while he isn’t King, we both decide to stay with the Grey Wardens, together. Even the one paragraph summary at the ending states that Alistair never left her side except for the short time to make a memorial for Duncan. So, I ask… if he never leaves her side, then how can Awakening be canon if he only shows up for a short time for a conversation, and then the PC goes off galavanting… and without any other wardens as well for help, since she is the Commander? It can’t be. So, forgive me for feeling betrayed… but that IS what has happened to myself and many many others.

As someone pointed out in one of the other forums I read, and with which I agree, the other DLC’s are sexist. Witch Hunt- revolves around Morrigan and that is only 1-2 hour advertisement for DA2 it seems. And Leliana’s story is a prequel.

Bioware wake up and smell the coffee! Why are the characters being made 2D in personality after giving us ones with so much more depth first? It certainly can not be for the sake of money making, since every character has tremendous potential to have a continuation afterwards… like a TRUE expansion! And I would bet, despite the fact I have terrible luck, that those continuations would make a lot of money since people would want to experience them for in the very least their favorites. And most likely a lot of fans would want to experience them all. While there was a go made at expanding on things for Morrigan, that was cheapened, and the others, Zevran, Wynne, Shale, Leliana, Oghren, Sten and (my personal fave) Alistair were abandoned.

As a writer myself, I cannot understand how easily Bioware’s writer could do this to their own characters as well. It’s like killing them off, without really doing so and leaving many loose ends unsatisfied. Honestly, I hope that the writer is haunted by these characters until they are given the respect they deserve.

And Bioware, don’t you think your fans at the very least deserve more then a void of dissatisfaction left in DAO’s wake?

I’m not against DA2, but while it sounds like another good game to come it’s like another slap in the face to many of the good people who loved DAO so much. You would think that with each game that comes along in a series there would be more features, or at the very least the same. But DA2 takes away from them, the biggest that I know of so far is taking away our choice of PC race. Personally I dislike being forced into playing a human when there are other races available. Truly is it giving us the chance to build our PC around a fantasy version that we want when you have no choice? I don’t believe so. I know that it wouldn’t get changed anyways since it’s so close to when it’s supposed to be done, but I hope that this is something Bioware will consider if enough people voice their opinion regarding it.

Perhaps fellow Canadians that live near Bioware should do a protest there XD That would be hard to ignore!

But seriously, I think it’s in poor taste if they abandon DAO altogether after such disappointing continuations. They should not tease with promises that they give up on so easily.

Anywho, that’s it from me, just had to get that all off my chest. Join me in crossing your fingers in the hope that Bioware will wake up and realize the injustice they are doing to themselves, DA and their fans…

So now the question is….who do YOU find yourself agreeing with?


(polls)

Both parties raise very valid points. Both opinions have merit. Both opinions are thought provoking. Let us know below if you have more of an opinion. Who knows, your comment may wind up in another Dragon Age: Origins – Awakenings post. One thing however is certain, don’t touch Oghren’s junk.

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Lionhead versus BioWare: The Emotional Battle

I’ve got to hand it to Lionhead Studios.

They’ve done it.  They really have.  I’m quite proud of them.

This Dog Smells Spoilers Ahead

What, exactly, have they done?  Well they’ve finally, FINALLY managed to really tug on my heartstrings.  With a human, that is.  The dog in Fable II was adorable, but doesn’t quite match an attachment to a human.

And yes, this post is spoileriffic.  If you haven’t finished Fable III yet (or Dragon Age & Mass Effect 1&2, for that matter), you won’t want to keep reading.

The thing about Fables I and II was that you never really felt a human connection, and emotional pull towards anyone, or any type of loyalty.  Of course Fable gave you the option to marry and have children; however all the characters you could marry were flat, one dimensional, cardboard cutouts that could easily be replaced by the next guy or gal.  I would have no qualms over leading my husband through Wraithmarsh or along the Bandit Coast and having him be killed in some way.  The characters that were unique and interesting (the far and few between) didn’t have the option of marrying.

But Fable III, I’m happy to say, has gone beyond the boring and identical characters (although plenty of them still exist).  In the very beginning of this game, you will encounter a person of opposite gender named Elliot or Elise.  You’ll learn that this person is your lover of sorts.  About 2 minutes later, you’ll have to decide if you want to kill your lover or a group of villagers.  If that doesn’t sound too bad to you, imagine letting your lover live, only to end up being apart from them.  That is, until you embark upon a quest to find a kidnapped fiancee…only to find that the fiancee missing is your former lover!

And at that point, you’re given the option to choose if that person should stay with their betrothed, or if they should move on…to you.

You really want to kill him?!

Yeah, it’s a tricky choice you’re given, and while there aren’t a whole lot of repercussions (a few good or evil points, depending on if you ask them to leave their betrothed or not), I want to applaud Lionhead Studios for giving us gamers such a difficult decision.  Even though I played a good character the whole way through, after re-meeting Elliot and hearing him talk about how he still loved me, I couldn’t bear to give him up.

However, I want to point to my favorite video game developer, BioWare.  BioWare REALLY knows how to manipulate emotions and make the player feel connected to characters even though they aren’t real.  For example, in BioWare’s game Dragon Age, when you go to fight the final boss, it is inevitable that the boss will kill someone, and you have to decide who it will kill; yourself, one of your comrades, or, in a strange twist of events, you can have someone sleep with and impregnate a witch in order to save everyone.  Imagine, if you will, you play as a female, begin a romance with your fellow team member, and then, if you want both yourself and him to live at the end, you have to force him to sleep with the witch.

Yeah, that’s painful.  See this post to glimpse the depths of my despair when I decided I wanted both of us to live.

Or what about BioWare’s epic space game, Mass Effect 2, when finally meet up with your lover from the first Mass Effect?  You were separated for two years, imagine the pain you put your lover through… and the anger they throw back at you.

So, congratulations Lionhead Studios, for finally instilling some powerful [human] emotion into the Fable series, but you’ve still got a long way to go if you want to make a true mark in that area.

-Kat

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