Gaming Backlog: Dragon Age 2

My feelings towards Dragon Age 2 could best be described as highly ambivalent. After finishing Dragon Age: Origins I decided to hold off on buying the second installment mostly out of budgeting then anything else. However in the interim complaints and grumbles began to emerge that further caused a delay in purchasing. Once it was below $8 I could see no harm in giving the game a chance.

For the first few hours I was in love. Jacqueline Hawk was adorable and a smart ass, sometimes she combined the two, and I found myself far more attached to her than my mute, philandering, elf mage. Not to say the latter wasn’t adorable in her own way, but a voice really does make a difference.

Dragon age
Hawke and her lady love

The combat felt snappier, although I can’t make a direct comparison since I went with the rogue class this time around. Not to say combat is perfect with teammates doing god knows what half the time and the camera getting in the way the rest of it. Further along in the game I found the stats progression to be a touch too restrictive and not in a logical sense; a mage who can’t wield a two ton ax, ok, a rogue who can’t use a bow and arrow? Eh, strange. But in the beginning I was still in awe of a hero who speaks, could kick ass, and woo the sexy pirate.

Getting Isabela to fall in love was easy, getting her to admit it and fully commit was a mini game into itself. But it was fun! And unlike Origins I had no temptation to have my hero fool around with everyone (thanks PC mods!). Now, is this because Isabela is just that well written or because everyone else is lacking? I’d probably have to do another play through to see which side I’d fall on, but I think it has more to do with Isabelle striking all the right cords for me, which admittitly Bioware male love interests seem to rarely do with me. But I digress.

Around a quarter of the way into the game the shine had worn off. I had now entered the same dungeon five or more times, and was starting to see the same “grand hall” and dilapidated mansion environments being abused. This is a decently sized game in terms of length, but when you can count on one hand the amount of unique environments you encounter it gets very annoying very fast.

The ending had a mild “wtf” moment for me but not even remotely close to the mess that was Mass Effect. It had more to do with a character going all militant crazy than anything to do with the plot. I was left with a feeling of wanting to know what happened next.
But those environments…! It was repeative enough to negate a lot of the goodwill the characters/story had managed to create.

I refuse to get excited about Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy it. I’m just hoping it’ll be worth more than $8, but we’ll see.

Birgitte Shepard: The Awesome

birgitte shepard
Birgitte Shepard

I have been promising Payal a post on my Shepard from Mass Effect and so, here she is! I also have a male Shepard (Gavin) but I consider FemShep to be my canon version. Anyway.

Here is Birgitte Shepard. Vanguard. Spacer. War Hero. Asari lover. One of the things I loved about my Shepard in the first Mass Effect was that she wasn’t a beauty queen. Unfortunately Mass Effect 3 seems to have had a prettying effect on her, but she’s still Birgitte.

Her love of Asari came about with the death of Kaidan. For whatever reason during my first playthrough  I had determined that Kaidan was to die, no matter what. I was a bit upset by it because that was Birgitte’s “man” but for whatever reason I wouldn’t kill Ashley off. Yeah, I don’t know. Anyway. I then went through the whole process of making Birgitte and Liara form a bond, using an older save. She’s been loyal to her ever since (mostly) and I think they are adorable together. 🙂

Birgitte is a Paragon but sometimes she lets her temper get the best of her. Dealing with all and handling people’s daddy issues while also trying to save the galaxy isn’t easy.

birgitte shepard

As mentioned before, Birgitte is mostly loyal to Liara. This in part is due to the lack of romance options FemShep has, especially in the lesbian department. Jack seems to swing both ways, but she’s only for BroShep. Miranda would have been fun, but she’s off limits too. Kasumi is off limits for both which makes no sense and is plain unfun. There is Kelly Chambers, and Birgitte may or may not have spent an evening with her. But that’s so fleeting. And then there is Samara.

Asari addict
Asari addict

Mutual attraction but alas, it is not meant to be. Which is probably for the best, because homeslice is crazy and not in the sort of cute way injured puppy way of Jack.

So there is no making out with Samara or any other Asari, actually. It’s all very disappointing. The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC makes up for it. That’s probably my favorite section of the Mass Effect games.

liara and shep

So yes, ignoring Kelly Chambers, Birgitte was most faithful to Liara and through all the frustrating friendzoning going on in ME3 they do finally rekindle their romance and I turn into a complete sap every time. Especially with the Extended Cut. Ugh. Payal, you need to hurry and finish so I can discuss spoilers.

So there you have it, my Shepard. And yes this post is mostly a bunch of words for the excuse of looking at screenshots.

Commander Awesome
Commander Awesome

A Memory of Light Review

memory of light
A Memory of Light

A Memory of Light. The end of what has been a very long journey (although not so much for the characters), and what a disappointing ending it is. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy it; it was by far a better read than the previous tome, but that’s not really saying much, I suppose.

The book is fast paced, I will give it that. Upon further reflection, however, it feels as if the pace is there to mask underlaying faults. Not to mention, more time could have been spent on characters and characterization/interaction if we hadn’t wasted so much time in the previous two books. More specifically the huge Perrin love fest that went on in Towers of Midnight. Even so, the fast pace helped give the battle scenes a sense of urgency which could be very exciting at times. Every few pages the point-of-view would change so you were constantly hopping from one battleground to the next. There was a point when I realized that the breaking up of chapters seemed to be almost arbitrary given this type of set up.

The action does take away from The Wheel of Time‘s strong point, that being the characters. Little time is spent with anyone, including Rand. So I might as well go ahead and gripe about the lack of Moiraine.

There was no reunion between her and Lan. We know they are distant with one another but not really why. Oh, we can guess, but that’s not the same. Besides, given the crap load of Lan point-of-views we get you’d think he would reflect on the Aes Sedai once. But nope. Nothing. Moiraine thinks of nothing important ever. Not of Lan, not of Thom, not of Siuan, not of hugging Nynaeve. Oh yes, Siuan. No reunion there either and that tingle they had I suppose was just pointless like so much else.

Speaking of Siuan, here is a death that left me shocked. I had never considered whether or not Siuan would die. She just didn’t seem important enough to kill off. Turns out, her and Egwene were pretty much it for deaths. Well and my girl Romanda. 🙁 Clearly I do not care about Gawyn. Or Bela. If Bela was a cat I would be a bit sadder. I was, however, sadder about Bela than Gawyn, so there is that.

But yes, no one really died. For a moment in the book I thought this was it, that Jordan/Sanderson were going to go all George R.R. Martin and kill everyone. When Egwene bit the bullet I actually had to re-evaluate my belief that Moiraine was safe. But I got over it as I realized she and Nynaeve were in the safest spot in the book: the Pit of Doom. I have to give the writers credit for at least making the rest of the world look like it was in such dire straits that being at the literal end of the world was a safety zone.

But they didn’t do anything! Moiraine and Nynaeve clung to rocks while everyone else fought and not-died. Nynaeve helped Alanna who somehow was in the cave. And who released Rand’s bond without there being any downsides. Which then makes one (ok makes me) wonder about what the heck happened with Moiraine and Lan’s bond. Anyway. Alanna died. But it was so anti-climatic I just don’t care. And I liked Alanna. Even if she was a mind-rapist.

Elayne got kidnapped again. How many times is that now? At least this time she realized she could in fact die and wasn’t so over confident. I have a tiny hope she will not remain queen of Cairhien. I also liked how Egwene recognized that Elayne could be just as power hungry as any other ruler. But she is dead now, so she can’t tell that to the ninny’s face.

There were some very nice moments. Lan riding his way to battle a Forsaken with sword and the Two Rivers men lighting the way with Trollac corpses. Very cinematic. Very strange that Lan didn’t die. Also, this was Demandred’s third sword fight. It felt like a video game: Let me keep throwing players at you to wear you down, then summon my mighty fighter to finish you off.

Perrin vs Slayer was interesting but way too long. Perrin vs Lanfear was more interesting, because for a second I actually thought she found the Light. And then he snapped her neck.

Rand not dying and living to be a harem master. Mmm.

One pleasent surprise was Androl/Pevara. I had no interest in them in previous books but I loved them in this one. Yeah, the telepathy was a bit strange. Okay a lot strange. But they were adorable enough and human enough I didn’t mind. Apparently there are other readers who hated their sections. But again, I usually skimmed or skipped them previously so that might be the difference: I had no expectations besides boredom.

Nynaeve and Moiraine being buddies is cool. And Thom actually did something useful during the Last Battle. Color me surprised on both fronts. Now they can all have babies and the babies can marry each other and there’ll be Moiraine/Nynaeve grandbabies. *cough*

Cadsuane becoming Amyrlin made up for a lot of disappointment for me. First off, she lived! Hahahahaha! YAY. Second, that scene when she realizes she has been selected for the job she wanted least was just great for me. I can now admit to myself that she is my favorite Aes Sedai and character. Yes, Moiraine has been booted and has been for awhile. Cadsuane Melaidhrin is just awesome. AWESOME.

Okay, anyway. After finishing the book I felt rather elated. I knew it wasn’t a home run but it was still fun. Now approaching a month after I can barely remember what happened. I liked it better than Towers but less than The Gathering Storm. If I had to give a number score it would be 7/10.