Posts Tagged ‘DLC’

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Played Lately: Week At A Glance

June 29, 2012

Well, this has certainly been a busy week for gaming, I’m sure my Raptr feed has not seen action like this in months. Here’s what has been occupying my time:

The Secret War

I’d originally planned on going into this “blind” but I caved during last week’s beta 4 weekend. My husband and I played a couple hours just to get a feel for it, and in the words of Mr. GC, “‘Ignite gas cans and draw zombies into the fire?’ God, I love this game!”

Zombie killling-wise, I’d say my sentiments echo his, but I do have my misgivings about the clunky feel of combat. Still, it’s something I can see myself easily getting used to. More importantly, I feel it’s a small price to pay to experience this unique game with its mystery-driven story and incredibly atmospheric setting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where Funcom has focused most of its efforts. I’ve seen people describe themselves as getting “lost” in TSW, and I have to agree with that feeling wholeheartedly. I look forward to playing in the early access this weekend — Templar on Arcadia.

TERA Online

I’ve been dabbling in this MMO ever since I bought it for half-price earlier this month. I have to say combat in this game is drastically different from all other MMOs and is very engaging. Graphically, it’s also a feast for the eyes.

Still, I’m not feeling the motivation to play it much. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m not making the connection because I don’t think the reason has much to do with the gameplay, which I actually find quite enjoyable. It galls me to admit that it might be due to the art style. Maybe I’m just being shallow, but you’d be surprised how much something that could have an impact on my experience. I’ll probably go into it a bit more in a separate post at a later date, but for now I plan on getting the most out of my free month and we’ll see where I’ll go from there.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

This is still my MMO of choice, and will probably remain so for a while even when newer games this year will come out and vie for my attention. Patch 1.3 was released earlier this week on Tuesday, and I had been looking forward to checking out the updates it offers.

I haven’t really had a chance, though. For the last few weeks, I’ve been playing on the Imperial side almost exclusively, concentrating on leveling up that Bounty Hunter I’ve always wanted, the class I’d dreamed about ever since the game was announced. Coupled with my husband’s Sith Warrior, we’re steadily making progress towards level 50 and I hope we can keep up the pace, as level-capping her is currently one of my MMO goals. Right now we find ourselves on Hoth, on the cusp of wrapping up Chapter 2.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I swear, I’ve had this game and AC: Revelations sitting on the to-play pile still in their original wrapping since…damn, I think November of last year. In fact, I think I picked them both up during a Black Friday deal, telling myself that I’d better get it now at a good price since I had definite plans to play both at some point anyway. Famous last words. Incidentally, that’s also how I ended up with my unmanageable Steam to-play pile.

Okay, so it was probably a terrible, terrible idea to start this game Monday on the eve of the Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC and Mass Effect 3 extended cut releases, but I had a feeling deep down that if I didn’t open that box like right now it was never going to happen otherwise. And so, I spent the day playing Ezio and getting used to climbing walls and shoving around civilians again. I also discovered something about myself: I am way too impatient and bloodthirsty to make a good, stealthy assassin.

Mass Effect 3

No spoilers. I downloaded the extended cut for the ending first thing Tuesday and fired up my last save point that afternoon in order to see the changes. However, this time around I decided to choose a different ending, opting for red instead of green. Then, I watched the other endings on YouTube.

As you may know, I’d just finished the game earlier last week, with the original ending. I had a friend tell me that I should have waited for the extended cut to arrive before I did, but after seeing the new ending I’m glad I didn’t. Having played the original version so recently made me appreciate the new one all the more. It really emphasized for me my problem with the old one in the first place — not the actual events of the ending itself, but instead just how lazily the entire sequence was executed.

The new ending fleshed out the story, explaining some of the ramifications and the fates of my squadmates and friends. More importantly, it had feeling — which was what I felt was lacking in the original. I was almost brought to tears in the final moments, and that’s when it hit me: the storytelling is what I like most about these games, and the emotions they evoke. It’s not the what but the how, as in this was how the story should have been told, in the BioWare way that I know and love.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard

No spoilers. This week, I made my return to Tamriel in order to play the new DLC (I own the game for the Xbox 360). Thanks to the new content, I get to be a vampire lord! Er, a very nasty and ugly vampire lord, as in no one will be swooning over me anytime soon. Disappointed to say that playing as a vampire lord is a bit of a pain though, and I’ll probably only do as much as it takes to get my vampire perks, then go back to fighting and adventuring in my Nightingale gear.

I also get to ride a new flaming undead horse, which to me was a very timely addition, seeing as how one time these bandits shot and killed my last horse almost the instant I quick traveled and loaded into the zone. I wasn’t even on it! I’m not kidding, that actually kinda pissed me off, damn cowards that would shoot an opponent’s horse…

Uh, back on topic, so far I’m liking Dawnguard. Still, I’m not sure if it will be worth the money for some. As most expansions like these go, there seems to be one main quest line driving the entire thing, spruced up with some goodies like new weapons and locations, etc. on the side, but not much else. It also makes the gameplay feel more linear than I’m used to getting from Skyrim. You do, however, get to go deeper into the lore of the game, which is one of the strongest aspects of the Elder Scrolls series and incidentally something I happen to really enjoy.

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Dragon Age: Origins – A Run Of The Mill “Witch Hunt”

September 9, 2010

Note: Rest assured, no spoilers until the second half of the post, after the warning and the image.

It’s been a busy week, but somehow I managed to find the time to play the Dragon Age: Origins – Witch Hunt DLC. In preparation I had allotted myself ample time, but in hindsight, I need not have bothered. It was so…short. The whole thing couldn’t have taken me longer than 2 hours to complete, even with a few breaks in between. Granted, I have never before purchased any DLC for this game so I have nothing to compare it against, but for $7 I had expected a longer campaign.

Issue of length aside, I’m not disappointed, but I’m not impressed either. I’m frustrated by its mediocrity more than anything else, considering the fact Witch Hunt was proclaimed as the final DLC for Origins. The gameplay felt needlessly rushed and took us to many areas that were previously seen before, reused for this campaign. The story behind the adventure itself was intriguing and well put together, but was quickly overshadowed as soon as it became clear that it was only a means to end — that is, to find Morrigan. After that realization sunk in, it was hard to continue the game without feeling like I was trudging through a chore.

There were plenty of things to like, of course, such as the companions. Your trusty Mabari hound rejoins you for this adventure, as well as two new characters: Ariane the Dalish elven warrior and Finn the human mage. They both grew on me, tough-as-nails Ariane who is actually quite adorable and charming, and Finn with his over-the-top sense of humor. Between the two of them, you have enough funny banter to last a lifetime. Many other humorous gems are scattered throughout the content, if you care to look.

Regardless of how I feel, I’m not sorry I purchased Witch Hunt. Like it or not, it did bring closure — Bioware’s own brand of strange and messed up closure, maybe, but it’s still closure. I hate to be cryptic about it myself, but in the end, whether or not Witch Hunt delivered all that it promised really depends on who you ask. Only read on if you don’t mind spoilers.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

After aiding me on my quest to destroy the Blight in DA:O, Morrigan revealed she had been manipulating my human female noble PC all along to further her own gains. She slipped away and then — and I quote — “was never heard from again”. That is, until now. A paltry year later. Yeah, never say “never”.

Before she left, Morrigan made it clear she did not want to be found, warned me not to follow her. That would have been fine with me (the two of us were hardly BFFs) but of course that was before I knew she had her way with Alistair, who is now my king and husband, and conceived a demon baby. That’s not something you can ever let go, no matter who you are.

Witch Hunt promised to yield answers to the mysteries of Morrigan, but not surprisingly, for every question answered, two more took its place. In this way, Witch Hunt felt more like an intro to Dragon Age 2. “Change is coming” is the message to take away from the conversation you have with Morrigan at the very end. I am told her child is safe and “innocent”, and that Flemeth is my true enemy. It is hinted that both of them may play a big role in the future of Ferelden, if not my own.

I don’t know if the answers I personally got were adequate. To be fair though, by this point there are so many possible outcomes for the player character, the resolution I was expecting  may be wildly different from another player’s. My PC’s main motivation for hunting the witch was to find out what happened to her child and what her plans with him were (at the time, it appeared the baby was left on the other side of the Eluvian by himself. Way to parent, Morrigan). For others who may have played a male character and got to romance her, their goal might have been simply to reconcile with their lost love, which apparently, you get to do if you play your cards right. After reading what happens in that ending, even I have to admit it’s a good satisfying and heartwarming (again, in Bioware’s strange and messed up kind of way) conclusion.

For me, Morrigan and I exchanged a few words and parted ways. I believe I could have killed her, which would have been an awesome ending too, but I was not out for her blood when I started this campaign. After all the chaos we’ve been through, it’s enough that the two of us ended things on good terms.

After contemplating what I know, however, I’ve decided that Witch Hunt seems to have a strong bias for PCs that got to romance Morrigan and take part in her dark ritual. It’s a path I’ve always wanted to take myself, if my character hadn’t been a female. Perhaps that’s a goal for my next playthrough.

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Fine Day For A Witch Hunt

September 7, 2010

I was all prepared to write a positively happy post brimming with excitement over Witch Hunt, the new DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, and I still want to, but for the time being I’m distracted by a sudden and blinding hatred for Microsoft and Xbox Live. The kind of burning rage that can only really be alleviated by doing something like throwing a very large TV off a very tall building. Alas, ever since I’ve moved trekking up the CN Tower is no longer an option, and not that I have a TV to spare anyway, so I’m just going to resort to complaining on the internet.

Anyway, I own both the PC and Xbox 360 versions for DA:O, but since my favorite character and the playthrough where I managed to marry Alistair and shamelessly muscle my way up to the Ferelden throne is on the latter, that’s where I decided to make my DLC purchase. Waiting for it to be released for 360 wasn’t the problem, because I can be patient. What made me want to tear my hair out came afterward when I tried to buy Microsoft points and found my billing address stuck to Canada — except I’m in the US now with US bank accounts. From previous experience, I’ve known that the country associated with your Xbox Live account can’t be changed once it’s created, and with media distribution rights and laws differing so much internationally, I can even kind of understand why. I guess I should have foreseen this, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier that buying points online with a credit card might present a problem, but it did. Come on, I’m trying to give you money!

So I guess I’m forever stuck buying point cards from retailers like Best Buy every time I want to make a DLC purchase, or just take the plunge and create a whole new Xbox Live account — thereby losing all the saved game content, my friends list, achievements etc. associated with that gamertag — an idea I don’t want to think about right now, and wasn’t going to help my predicament anyway. I ultimately resolved the problem without having to do either, but it’s not a permanent solution so it’s still an issue that’s going to be hanging over my head, but I figure I’ll deal with it when the time comes (most likely when account renewal time comes at the end of the year).

For now, I’m happy enough that the DLC is on its way, the green bar slowly chugging along thanks to my pathetic connection speeds (my husband just now goes, “What, complaining about our internet again? Does someone want instant gratification?” I’ll go bite his head off later). As far as Dragon Age DLC goes, I haven’t been too interested in most of them. But Witch Hunt is different because ever since I finished the main game, I’ve been plagued with the question of what happened to Morrigan. I’m hoping this campaign will finally shed some light on that, and I’m very, very excited to play it, so much that I’d cut through a thousand more miles of Microsoft red tape if I have to.

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Thoughts on Mass Effect 2 Companions Pt. 1

January 31, 2010

I’ll admit, this post is mainly here because I promised a friend of mine that I would write up a bitch-fest on my thoughts regarding the character of Zaeed Massani, the Mass Effect 2 DLC character that was available at launch. And well, with the Star Trek Online servers down for maintenance once again, I figured, why not now? I’ll update my progress in Mass Effect 2 while I’m at it, though I haven’t had much time to spend with the game since my husband has commandeered the Xbox 360 for Modern Warfare 2 this weekend. I’ve started working on gaining my teammates’ loyalty by doing their personal quests, so I’ll throw in my thoughts on a few of the other characters as well.  Once again, Bioware has succeeded in introducing gamers to a fantastic bunch of characters (though *ahem* some are clearly better than others). As usual, this post may contain spoilers, but I’ll try to keep them out and focus on the characters themselves.

Miranda Lawson

Two words: ice queen. Plus she’s arrogant to boot. For someone working for a pro-human organization, Miranda sure seems eager to distinguish herself from the rest of her species, never missing an opportunity to let you know just how perfect she is. That said, while my Shepard may be nasty towards her while I’m in roleplay mode, in real life I’ve never hated a character simply for their negative qualities. In fact, I actually quite like Miranda as a character, and I think Bioware has certainly done an amazing job with creating her. Being able to see her character unfold before you like a book has really made her grow on me, especially once you hear her story and start to understand the motivations behind her actions, and doing her personal quest was the turning point.

Garrus Vakarian

I was cheering when the first preview videos of the game came out revealing that my favorite Turian with the cool last name will be back. Garrus’s abilities meshed well with mine in the original Mass Effect, which made him an exceptionally reliable companion to bring along when I did my missions. I also viewed him as a sort of kindred spirit to my Shepard character, as his way of thinking and doing things closely matched the way I sought to play my own character. Granted, he’s no longer the same Garrus in Mass Effect 2, but in my opinion he’s changed for the better. He’s also currently one of the love interests that I am actively pursuing in-game, and I’m so glad I made that decision. During his romance arc, Garrus delivers what is quite possibly the best line I have ever heard in a video game: don’t click if you don’t want Garrus romance spoilers. Oh, Garrus, why are you so damn awesome?

Thane Krios

Thane has a pretty intriguing and unique personal quest and I think he’s pretty cool, though I had expected to like him a lot more. I understand what they’re trying to do with his character but I just can’t get into him, probably because I’ve actually known and dated people with personalities just like his, and let me just say this: tall, dark, handsome and brooding isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I enjoy hearing the stories about his life and I appreciate his presence as a crew member on my team, but that’s as far as it’ll go. I romanced him for about thirty seconds before I realized there’s just no way this is going to work–I can’t listen his whole sensitive-yet-deadly act without thinking about Edward Cullen in Twilight! That’s just so…wrong.

Zaeed Massani

Okay here we go. Oh boy, where to start? If this was Survivor: The Normandy, Zaeed would be the first one voted off Team Shepard. This is just my opinion, but I have to say I’m extremely disappointed in his character. I never expect much from DLC content, but sometimes they can surprise you. Bioware has impressed me in the past, with the character of Shale in Dragon Age: Origins. This was a companion who, like Zaeed, was a DLC companion available for download at launch to those who purchased the game. Shale was great from the get go–the character actually had me laughing out loud on several occasions. Zaeed, on the other hand, just made me want to knee him in the nuts.

First of all, it doesn’t feel as though Bioware tried very hard to integrate him into the game. Yes, he’s DLC content, but even the tiniest things could have gone a long way in making him feel like part of the Mass Effect 2 story, the same way Shale felt like part of the Dragon Age story. But as it is, Zaeed feels completely separated from the rest of the game content. He stands there like a tool blurting out random stuff at me, and with the exception of a single comment made about him by Kelly Chambers, no one else on board the Normandy seems to know or care that he exists.

This is all something I can deal with if the character is done well, but I don’t even think he’s all that interesting. It’s almost like Bioware wanted to save up all their good ideas, and for the DLC they just decided to fish into their big box of cliches and happened to pick out “angry tough guy”. Still, even the most boorish of tough guys can become memorable characters if done right. With Zaeed, maybe if they had gone with a little more Clint Eastwood and a little less Crocodile Dundee meets Steven Seagal. And perhaps it’s appropriate that his room is adjacent to the trash compactor, because I want nothing more than to crush him into a little cube and eject him out the airlock.

Go on to Part 2 or Part 3!

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