MAN! I am two for two this week of just being inflammatory, borderline rude, in my post titles.
I saw this post by the Geek Force Network (check ’em out, lots of great content, but only after you read my blog, please don’t leave my blog, sob) and then proceeded to read the comments and was once again struck by the overwhelming popularity of the Dragon Age series. Based on the hype alone, I bought Dragon Age: Origins in a Steam sale ages and ages and ages ago (truly, I think it was one of my first Steam purchases ever). At the time, I tried to get started on it, but my laptop struggled so hard the game would just quit after about an hour of play, so I just shelved it until I knew I could get a better gaming rig.
Enter last summer, after I built a sweet-a gaming machine, and told you guys that yes indeed-y, I would inaugurate the beast with Dragon Age: Origins, to really get back into the story that so many gamers I respect, really love. I started. I tried so hard. And yet, I got to the first city area, and I just . . . can’t care. I just . . . have so few f—s to give (hi, Mom).
I think in this last attempt, I got to the camping waypoint after that first town, after I handle the thugs on the road heading out of town. I’m pretty sure my lack of interest stems from the difficulty of combat in that first town. The story, when I stop and think about it, is legit. Trying to save the world, recruiting people and help on the way, rich conflict between “races” if that’s how the magic-users are designated. I have multiple characters die in the first few battles. I often have to go back to previous saves to try again, so I don’t lose my power house when fighting that thing at the top of the first tower. And perhaps that’s the only reason I haven’t gotten really invested?
On a side note, I think another aspect of my lack of caring is that I am way out of practice of managing character parties. That was THE THING of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, all those wonderful SNES RPGs, but lately, I just play who I play and who has to come with me is who has to come with me, and I like getting off easy in that regard. The little bit you have to do in Mass Effect 2 doesn’t even matter that much (for the most part . . .). So getting all of these characters in the beginning and having to immediately use them intelligently? Also adds to the difficulty, even though I’m just playing on normal.
That’s sad and troubling to wonder if that’s really the reason I don’t love this game. Am I so lazy, such an entitled gamer, that unless I succeed for the first half of the game, I can’t appreciate the experience? The thought really terrifies me. Enough to dive into Dragon Age yet again to try to find the joy in it. Also, I recognize I’ve devoted very few hours to the game, and where I am is not very far at all, so it deserves from me (if for no other reason than I should get my money’s worth out of it).
So educate me, friends of the internet! What do you love about Dragon Age? What do you hate about it? Worth my time, or should I finish Tomb Raider, and AC3, and Saints Row III, and To the Moon, and my million other Humble Indie Bundle games first? Rant at me in the comments!
Too much gaming, no time to write! So, here’s a quick run down of thoughts on all the gaming I’ve done since I built my PC:
First, building that thing was so fun. It was the best of both worlds – getting to work with my hands and getting to work with a mouse and keyboard. I had a few problems getting the motherboard to recognize my GPU, but I figured it out and now it’s running like a champ. I will say, I used the stock thermal paste that came on my stock heatsink, and the CPU runs pretty hot sometimes. My first update purchase will probably be thermal paste. Then maybe more fans (the case only came with one! My one complaint about that Cooler Master case). Aside from that, I think the weak link in my setup is my motherboard but that’ll take me longer to replace just because I don’t know if I want the hassle, particularly because my rig is running like a CHAMP! So true, it’s worth saying twice. I’ve never seen games run on “Very High” graphic settings in real life before. Only in videos. Beautiful. Also, all on my 32” HDTV. This is heaven, as Jimmy Eat World once said.
The Friday that my final PC pieces arrived, I was geeking out checking the shipping logs online at work and my boss asked me what game I would first christen my system with. I had never even considered it! I logged into my Steam library to give it some good hard thought and settled on Dragon Age: Origins. It’s my oldest game in my library that I still haven’t played because I bought it when it was on sale and my laptop could barely run it. As I built my machine that night, I was getting bored waiting for Windows updates and I opened a game of Mahjong, which I later realized was truly the first game I played on the PC. Highly disappointing, unless you’re my mom, then it’s really great.
Anyway, Saturday morning I was troubleshooting some last software stuff when I finally got to business playing Dragon Age Saturday afternoon. I had attempted to play through this game when I first bought it, but my laptop was struggling so hard I didn’t get very far. But after a few hours of play, I’m just about where I stopped the first time around and let me say: it is slow going. I’ve heard great things about this game, so I’ll power through. The combat I enjoy because although there are some really tough bosses, the strategy aspect of being able to pause and assign characters actions helps a lot. I’m also looking forward to trying out a different race at some point to see how different things really are.
But while I was playing Dragon Age, I made sure I was downloading other games at all times. But every time a game was finished downloading from my library, I thought “Oooh, I wonder how that will look” and I’d take a break and start playing another game. I finally downloaded and tried out StarCraft II (which is the first StarCraft game I’ve ever played). I enjoyed it so much that when the starter edition ended, I straight up bought the rest of the game. The original World of WarCraft games were RTS and I remember loving those so even though I didn’t have a lot of time logged to justify my $40 purchase of the rest of the game, I am nearly positive I’ll enjoy the time I get out of it. Plus, it was more of a social purchase. Everyone I know and their dogs play SCII so I need to start getting my game on. Anyway, great graphics, very fun voice acting, I have no idea what’s going on in the story in relation to the original SC but . . . great graphics!
I had to check out Team Fortress 2 on the big screen (big by my standards . . .) and with a faster processor. Holy. Crap. It’s like a different game! No lag, just blowing people away without hesitation! Seriously fun. The problem is becoming that I have too many awesome games to play, and now am always in a conundrum of what to start.
I should make this useful, instead of commenting on old games. I did try out a demo for A Valley Without Wind which . . . I somehow thought looked amazing from a gameplay demo I saw months ago. False, it is not. Boring, too much going on, a really expansive world but constant hints throughout tell you not to waste your time exploring everything . . . ? More time should’ve been spent on the graphics and gameplay instead of the map, frankly. Don’t waste your time on it. I didn’t even finish the demo, I just quit after a few hours.
But! Best demo of the week aware goes to A Book of Unwritten Tales! I saw this on Steam a few weeks ago and thought it looked pretty cute, lots of tongue-in-cheek humor about gaming and fantasy tropes. I downloaded the demo and finally played it last week. Hilarious! Superb voice acting, a highly polished visual presentation, and humor all over the place. The gameplay is your standard point-and-click adventure game, lots of repetitive walking and puzzling, which I’m not a big fan of. For that reason, I’ll wait until this goes on sale (it’s currently $20) but it’s available on Steam and gog.com so . . . go nuts if you’d like! I highly recommend at least trying the demo, which had me laughing out loud.
Reviews you can expect in the future now that I can play some old gog.com and Steam purchases: Myst! (never played it, we’ll see how much I can do without googling like an idiot), Commander Keen! (this game IS my childhood. All Commander Keen games were just $4 during the QuakeCon sale on Steam last weekend), and if I can ever kill that ——- piece of —- devil —— stupid —– DURIEL, I’ll write about Diablo II sometime soon (also beautiful on the big screen, if for no other reason than I can see things for once, instead of squinting at a 14” screen. Also need to finish and write about Lands of Lore, so I can get rolling on Legend of Grimrock! (thanks, Steam Summer Sale!)
Ugh . . . DURIEL.