Dragon Age Inquisition – First Glance

As I should have known (and predicted), I spent the first hour or two (or three, cough) in DA:I without getting past the first two minutes of the intro.

The first character I made was Qunari and looked ok in the creator but I didn’t like her one bit after that, and not just because someone varnished her lips when I wasn’t looking. Maybe if I’d called her Maleficent (instead of Malice – close but no cigar) I’d have felt more of a bond with her.

DAI Maleficent

So I went back to the main menu and made another character. I didn’t want to remake my characters from DA 1 and 2, but the Qunari just didn’t feel very connected to the whole thing for me, so I went with an elf this time. Enter Sorrow #1.

Sorrow1Sorrow1_2

I really liked her in the creator, and she wasn’t bad in the cold harsh light of DA:I, though she did have a bit of a gormless look to her and she was made up like an Abba fan from 1981.. but then I realised that a) I hadn’t changed her hairstyle, which was clipping through her ears in a totally kickin’-it-2005 kind of way and b) I’d picked dual-wield rogue instead of archer. Had I known that the initial weapon choice doesn’t really make much of a difference I might have kept her, but I didn’t.

Enter Sorrow #2. There are complicated emo RP reasons for her name and I’ll share those with you as soon as I nail them down, I promise. (Or I just think it’s a cool name.) She’s blonde, which is a colour choice I almost never make in games, but it fit her, and I liked her feral look in the prologue (which is before the intro but after char creation).

Sorrow2_1

Giant spiders? I’ve seen CRABS bigger than you guys!

No spoilers, but the story grabs you by the hair from the first and doesn’t seem to want to let go – as far as I can tell, which isn’t very far because I’m super, suuuuuuuuper slow about new games like this. Sorrow introWhen I discovered I could run around and up hills and JUMP OVER STUFF I of course had to do that for a while, with Ms. Stickupherbutt trying really hard not to tell me to hurry, the fate of the world depended on blahblahblah.

Sorrow intro 2

It’s not YOUR hand that’s turning into Soylent Green!

So yeah, we made it past the Intro sequence without hating on the disgusting console-driven UI and the disgusting console-driven movement and the disgusting console-driven gameplay too much (seriously. I’m tired of shooting arrows at the landscape in front of me whenever I try to move by holding down both mouse buttons, and I am beyond in loathe with the ‘ping’ your surroundings mechanic. You basically have to ping your surroundings every 3 seconds if you’re like me and dread missing a piece of lore or that 138th elfroot harvest, so… anyway, tangent over).

I lied. I’m totally hating on it. The ‘tactical’ view lets you zoom out about as far as a gnat’s backside if said gnat were up your nostril, which blows. Combat is weird and not like it was in DA 1 and 2. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough and wonder how I ever did it differently, especially since for me, combat is like the 189th thing on the list of Interesting Things About Dragon Age. But it definitely is weird if you’ve played the other 2 games.

Character progression seems to be a lot like in DA2, which I can live with. The Inventory is another disgusting console-driven element and basically SUCKS for those of us who, you know, have a mouse and a keyboard and can see more than 3 things on the screen at once because we’re not sitting 10′ away from a crappy-resolution television – but I’ll probably get used to that too. It’s not like I’m playing Diablo here, and items are probably the 197th thing on my list of Interesting Things About Dragon Age.

But the graphics are pheno-freaking-menomenomenal, the voice acting isn’t bad (though the facial movements… we won’t go there), the animations are fun, combat is quick and painless if that’s what you want (which I do), and it might be worth the price of admission just for the landscapes.

DAI landscapeI doubt I’m the only one to note that DA:I has a distinctly Skyrim vibe to it, perhaps because you start out in the snow surrounded by ginormous scenic mountains, but also because the graphics for this installment are much grander and more cinematic in general. This is definitely a good thing.

DAI Landscape 3Dark corridors are actually DARK, to the point where I got all chicken and turned up the gamma a bit (it didn’t help much), and distant vistas are distant and, er, vista-like. Also good.

And finally – is it just me, or does Solas look like Arnold Vosloo? You be the judge:

Solas Vosloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Smiting Time!

I managed to avoid staying up late for the US launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition and couldn’t play it yesterday, but now I think it’s time.

LET US SMITE SOME BAD GUYS.

This had better be good. And maybe I’ll actually finish a Dragon Age game one of these days…*

And for you UK readers who are still waiting for the release: NEENER NEENER.**

Opening screen

*Note – if you’re like me and never finish a game, you can still go to the Dragon Age Keep and put in what you *have* played, or what you wish had happened, in DA 1 and 2. Thanks to The Blogger Formerly Known as Lum for the pointer.

** It’s been that kind of a day.

Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – The Last Straw?

The arrival of Gen 4 might just have sounded the death-knell for any desire I have to play this legacy family.

Gen4 twinsStacey just had twins. So let’s recap:

Gen 2 – Single: Holdem | Twins: Slapjack & Ratscrew

Gen 3 – Triplets: Baccarat, Poker & Canasta

Gen 4 – Twins: Piquet and Gin-Rummy

Out of four birth events, only ONE has been a single birth and none of the parents ever had any kind of fertility treatment. And out of eight children, only 2 have been female.

I’ll be blunt: it was funny the first time, funnier the second, but now I’m simply not f-ing amused anymore. Add in the bugged relationships which mean that people who have lived together all their lives suddenly don’t even know each other anymore, not to mention the plants that have suddenly stopped evolving (just when one of my Sims gets a gardening-related aspiration), and it might be time to start a new legacy family.

In MMO circles we call that /ragequitting, and I might just do it.

Choices? Choices!

There’s a lot going on in my game and MMO world right now, and in the next couple of weeks.

There’s The Secret World’s Halloween event, which I’ve mentioned with a few screenshots; I did a few related bits and pieces but they’re intended for more powerful characters (or characters with help), and I’ll get to them next time. I don’t want to get into the ‘must do everything right this second’ craze, because for me that inevitably leads to burnout. The events will be available next year.

There’s my Sims 4 legacy challenge family, which I’m playing a little less these days and which therefore has only just reached the point of conceiving generation 4. I suspect the double whammy of twins in gen 2 and triplets in gen 3 burned me out on that a bit too – it was just a LOT of Sims to keep track of, especially for a control-freak like me.

Then there’s the EverQuest 2 expansion, Altar of Malice, that launches tomorrow for super-special (i.e. subscription) people like me. I haven’t logged in to EQ2 in a couple of weeks, what with TSW and WoW and everything else. I should log in and claim my monthly Station Cash, however. And I will log in for the expansion, if not necessarily tomorrow, because the Isle of Refuge is back and anyone who played EQ2 in the early days knows what that means. I think I’m a few months off getting it as housing from the veteran reward, though buying expansions usually adds some time to one’s account, but it’s going to be awesome! (Meaning I’ll get it, plonk my research assistants down and never do any decorating, even though I’ll plan to decorate every time I log on. I predict this with absolute certainty.)

Speaking of World of Warcrack, Warlords of Draenor launches on Thursday (the 13th) — and while I’m not much of one for WoW’s endgame content, their levelling content is usually a lot of fun. It’ll give me a chance to hook up with guildies I’ve hung out with for 10 years now (and more if you count the original Asheron’s Call lot who went to WoW), and I’m also looking forward to the new garrisons. If it walks like a house and talks like a house, it’s a really laboured metaphor – but still, it’s housing.

And THEN there’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, which launches on the 18th. We’d originally splurged for 2 collector’s editions of Dragon Age: Origins, 5 years ago (man, that long already?!) but those got lost in one of the 3 moves we’ve done since then, so when the game was offered for free on Origin I went ahead and downloaded it. I’ve been playing it here and there for the last few days, just to see if I want to get DA:I when it comes out, and I think I do. I had forgotten how good some of the cut-scenes are, and how funny a lot of the dialog between Alistair and Morrigan is; Steve Valentine was truly inspired casting. I recreated Antimony, the mage I played through the Origin story back when the game launched, and although it’s not my favourite class to be playing (rogues and rangers 4 eva!), I’m enjoying the replay. Plus I think her Sinnead look is boss.

DAO Banter

It’s a good thing work is relatively light at the moment, so that I may fully appreciate the quandary of having too many fun and interesting games to play. Now if only I could stay awake enough to play in the evenings, I could get some truly epic sessions in (long story, boring, suffice to say I tend to wilt pretty much right after dinner and am good only for Netflix binge-watching). Sadly it is not to be, and I’ll have to content myself with what I can cram in during the day. Yes, it truly sucks to have so many choices and so many good games to look forward to. Life is tough.

Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – gen 4 on the way

Haven’t had much time to play Sims 4 lately, but the major event is that Stacey got pregnant. I was pondering whether she and/or Baccarat should get a job (mostly so their elders stop looking at them like they’re mooching, which they totally are) or whether they should just go ahead and start a family, 0r do both, when they decided to try for a baby. I honestly don’t recall picking the option, though I didn’t think it was something Sims do of their own accord so maybe I’m just senile.

At any rate they once again chose mum & dad’s bed — I REALLY don’t get this: they have exactly the same bed in a nice room upstairs! — and a quick pregnancy test afterward confirmed success.

Stacey seemed pretty stoked.

Gen 4 on the wayIn other news, I am drowning in games to play and not enough time to play them all. I just relaunched Dragon Age: Origins. Then there’s The Secret World. Then there’s the EQ2 expansion next Tuesday (for subbers) and the WoW expansion a couple of days after that. And DA3 on November 18th.

#firstworldwoes, right?

 

Sims 4 Legacy Challenge – Move out, move in

Following the epic birthday party / wake event, I finally got Poker and Canasta moved out. They moved in with Heriberto Coronado, Canasta’s beau, and from now on I don’t need to worry about them anymore. I do keep running into them here and there, but that’s normal and welcome.

There were many tearful farewells and promises to call Mom every day…

Tearful farewells…and Holdem moped about for a week solid, alternating between crying over his empty nest and crying over the lady who died at the party (whose name I still can’t remember and likely never will).

Holdem sadMeanwhile, Stacey enjoyed her space-woohoo so much she refused to change out of her spacesuit for days, and then she talked Baccarat into eloping the second they went on a date away from the house (and Elise’s stern gaze). They celebrated Stacey moving in with the family by following the tradition of woohooing in his parents’ bed. I’m still not sure what makes it so attractive…

Baccarat elopes

Mom and dad bed

Slapjack found his young lady again (yay!) and asked her over to the house. Things went swimmingly up until the first kiss, and then he discovered she’s noncommittal, mostly because she suddenly decided she just wasn’t that into him. He hasn’t given up yet, but I can tell you from experience that noncommital Sims are a major pain in the backside when it comes to anything beyond flirting; might as well call it ‘hard to get’ and be done with it.

Slapjack kissHe took her to the gym on a date, which in hindsight might not have been the most romantic location but did allow me to witness a couple of fun things.

First, this guy, with the same expression I’d be wearing if the Grim Reaper were following me down the street.

Being followed

Second, it turned out that Mr. Reaper was simply heading to the gym himself. I guess that svelte figure doesn’t look after itself.

Death at gym

Finally, I fell to my usual curse of altoholism and decided to start a legacy where I try to be as uncontrolling as possible, which is not an easy goal for me. I therefore made Liberty von Frei, a feisty young lady who, as it turns out, bears a startling resemblance to the Joker. Or maybe it’s just me? That guy should be looking a lot more scared, though as of the end of the first quick play-session, Liberty is either bi, gay, or just a total narcissist (having got it on with 2 people and currently preferring the young lady who is also called ‘Liberty’). Not sure I’ll keep playing her, but it was entertaining.

VF_Harley Quinn VF_Joker