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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret World – Kickin’ it Halloween style

For Halloween 2014, The Secret World store offered goodie-bags that you can open and that will share the bounty with up to X (10? 20?) people around you. I bought a couple of those with my piled-up veteran reward cash and stood around in Agartha with everyone else hoping to catch a few other-people goodies of my own. And I did. I mostly got clothing items, but I’m ok with that and Mysericorde now has an almost complete Baroness Samedi outfit, along with a Bloody Wolf pet (but no spectral cat).

Mys_Samedi

Some of the goodies include make-up options that open up, including one Goth-chick Mys is likely to wear for a while:

Spider makeup

As well as a Crow-style makeup and a Death’s Head:

Corbie stare makeupDeaths head makeup I’m probably not going to look for groups to take me through the Halloween content, because grouping (I’m in heavy hermit-mode these days), but also because I don’t mind missing out. It’ll be back next year, by which time I might be able to take it on.

Better Off Dead

More Samhain greetings from the monsters and NPCs of The Secret World…

winters quoteAnd the Bogeyman, who finally ate my claws and bought the Henderson farm.

BogeymanPossibly the creepiest monster I’ve encountered so far (granted I’ve not been farther than the Blue Mountains).

Bogeyman2Last but not least, reliving Innsmouth Academy with Mys — I’d forgotten how funny some of the NPC dialogue can be. Gotta hate those accidentally-intoned death curses…

Bookish child

 

 

The Secret World – new pages

I’ve added a 2014 Screenshots page for posting a bunch of screenshots. TSW seems to demand that I take screenshots every 5 seconds — if my internet were better I’d probably stream it, but it isn’t so I can’t. Also, I spend way too much time AFK or looking at the Skill Wheel to stream. But I guess I could record… eh. Screens are enough.

In fact, here’s one. Just because.

Too cool for school

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL

The plan right now is to futz around with Mysericorde (above) when solo and keep Ysharros 2.0 for group play once a week. But mice, men, ganging aglay – you know the drill. Mys is blade/AR at the moment both because Syp mentioned it and because it was the build I was aiming for a couple of years back and never got round to really trying. Ysh may end up the same but that might be too boring, and an AOE-heavy build might not be the best thing for group play. We’ll see.

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