Category Archives: Gaming

I Finished Dragon Age: Inquisition…

…and don’t know what to make of it. The ending is not the mess that was Mass Effect 3 but that’s a pretty low bar to jump. The best I can say is that after 70+ hours of playing is “meh”. There were only two times were I felt “whoa” and one of those times I can’t even remember. The one I can recall happened pretty early in the game and was never matched or surpassed.

Early awesome moment.

 

Most of those hours of playing were really more like games of fetch on repeat. The item sometimes changed, but I was basically running around finding elfroot and dog meat. Heck, I didn’t even complete all the side quests and rift closings because I just wanted it to be done with. I don’t even really mind fetch quests, but after awhile they all started to blend in together and it really is just way too many of them. There needs to be something besides errands for the Inquisitor to do.

Of course first I had to actually get the game running. The first twenty hours were filled with crashes, and only my desire to get my money’s worth made me keep reloading. It crashes when you go to the War Room, it crashes during cutscenes, and sometimes it just decides it doesn’t like you. During the latter part of my playing the crashes became few and far between, but upon a new, second, play through they came back in force. Clearly there is something wrong here in the code itself and it’s annoying as all get out. I have a decent card, and in fact there are those with cards a generation older than mine having no problems. Those with higher end cards cannot say the same. This is the first game I can remember that those with higher spec’d rigs have more issues than those without.

Also, the game is quiet. Too quiet. Music is supposed to be playing, apparently, but I hear nothing more often than not. The party banter is minimal, so for the most part you don’t even realize you have anyone traveling with you.

The party members are also borderline stupid and useless, given there is no true tactics in the game. I cannot tell Cassandra to go for an enemy who is down to 40% health, defend so-and-so if they are down to 50% health, etc. There is no finesse, and although I didn’t make heavy use of the tactics in previous games (I tended to set them and forget them) I still mourn the loss of them. I will not even bother touching on the poor tactics camera.

The games UI is finicky and ill thought out, especially for PC. In the journal/quest menu, what should take two clicks takes a minimum of four. Why? Because for whatever reason, it always clicks on the wrong heading, and then in an attempt to get to the right one, the wrong quest under the wrong heading gets selected. Later in the game as more and more areas are opened up, the game got more and more determined to open the wrong thing. The whole thing looks like it was designed for a controller, but I have heard using a controller doesn’t really make it that much better. And yet the journal is still 349058934x better than the one in ME3.

<3

In terms of content, well. I don’t know. I like the companions, and the environments, and the story is just sort of there. I felt more engaged in the previous games, and didn’t really “bond” for lack of a better term, with the Inquisitor. My second attempt at the game, where I am making an effort to roleplay, seems to be going better in that regard. I enjoyed Dragon Age 2, but the reused assets make it hard for me to justify replaying, so in that sense DA:I has a leg up. But I liked Hawke a lot and her romance with Isabela, and would rate that relationship higher than Inq/Josie. Even though Josie is cute.

I feel like I’m rambling, but basically I don’t hate the game, but I wish I hadn’t bought it so soon: it is far too rough around the edges and feels like it is missing content and things for you to do. Besides collecting roots and shards.

Overall I would not recommend this game for the PC player, at least not yet. It needs more patches, and hopefully either BioWare or players will fix some of the UI issues. The keyboard controls leave much to be desired (why can’t I bind something to top row numerals and numpad?) and the crashes will drove you bonkers.

P.S. The mounts suck, don’t bother using.

My #Gamergate Is A Purple Unicorn

unicorn
Not purple but good enough.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this “war” between gamers, industry, bloggers, journalists, basically everyone, has lasted so long. From the sidelines it all looks like a giant cluster. I keep thinking the boil will burst and this will all subside but alas, it just keeps going.

For a brief moment it did feel like things would cool off: since I began drafting this post The Fine Young Capitalists managed to get fully funded. I decided some days ago to not contribute to their campaign but not because I wish them any ill will. My heart does want some good to emerge from all this mess, but I wasn’t convinced this group could handle/manage what they’re promising. As I’ve said before, whilst I understand the desire to respond in kind to hate, and the frustration of a seemingly media blackout, I feel that official channels should be kept as professional as possible. The lack of ability to maintain a business tone in the face of adversity does not bode well, in my humble opinion.

TFYC’s Matthew Rappard was interviewed by APGNation, which was…interesting. He named dropped two journalists that haven’t written about his organization despite speaking with him. Jason Schreier of Kotaku I don’t feel was a big deal, only because Schreier himself had stated he talked with Rappard. Schreier has since reveled why there is no article on Kotaku about TFYC and probably won’t be anytime soon. Freelancer Choli Rad is a different story. Unlike Schreier there had been no public statement prior about talking with Rappard, and undoubtably the interview led to hate-filled spew flung her way. Even so, she handled the situation professionally (there’s that word again!) and maturely. She, too, gave an explanation for the lack of coverage. Her explanation makes perfect sense: it was a bunch of he-said-she-said drama and she wanted nothing to do with it.

The problem is a number of sites did decided to document the drama, just without the TFYC angle. That was a mistake. The omission of the campaign by nearly all major gaming sites gave credence, false or not, to some of the gamergate claims about journalism ethics and integrity. By treating Rappard and the capitalists as persona non grata, the press created a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” situation, thus TFYC’s strange allies/bedfellows.

It’s possible that if the gaming press had given TFYC enough rope they would have hanged themselves, but instead the press has created a rallying point for gamergate that is now a bit hard to dismantle, if not imposibble.

As far as the rest of gamergate, well, there really isn’t much to say. While sympathetic to the affront felt with all the “death to gamers!” posts going up, there is no denying I am a feminist, and on the left side of politics. As such, upon seeing the hashtag/movement/whatever become so… MRA, right-wing, and anti-feminist, I had no desire to be associated with it. I do agree there are issues with the gaming media, but these are probably growing pains. So yes, be critical of the press and force them to be more accountable and transparent when such things are needed, but this desire to remove all politics and social awareness is just backwards.

The Fine Young Capitalists and the Death of Gamers

The gaming press has been proclaiming from the hilltops these last few years how games and gaming studios need to be more diverse and inclusive. So I find it a bit surprising that an Indiegogo project aiming to do just that has received no press from any of the major gaming outlets. I’d wager most people were unaware of The Fine Young Capitalists until after the ridiculous drama/harassment kerfuffle that exploded across Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. these past weeks.

I had hoped now that the hatchet seems to be, at professionally, buried that maybe now those big name sites would say something, anything, about TFYC. It is not as if it is impossible to write about them without mentioning the unmentionable. If the fear is people talking about said issues in the comment sections, they are already, so you might as well do some good.

It irks me and feels two-faced: we want more women in gaming but we won’t mention a project designed to bring about such because of reasons.

As far as the other issue that has sprung up recently, the “death of gamers”, well that’s just silly. It seems to be two different camps proclaiming this: one is speaking of a specific demographic and the other of the term itself. The latter I can agree with, there really should be another term to distinguish between someone who plays a game, any game, and someone who is heavily invested/involved with the hobby/community/whatever. Unfortunately I can’t think of any better terms at the moment so I’ll keep calling myself a gamer, thanks.

The other argument, that what studios, media and the like often think of as a “gamer” is out of date…well, yes that is true and has been for awhile. And while I understand the idea is to separate games from the cesspool of the internet, I have never been a fan of hyperbole and that is what a number of these articles are starting to feel like. Lumping everyone together as such is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I support feminism but I do not support saying internet trolls are worse than ISIS, and if we’re going to yell at people for slut shaming please stop hurling “virgin” like an insult. When you sink down to such a level you don’t make your opponent look like a bigger fool, you just make yourself as mud-covered as them.

The loud misogynistic trolls make me as angry as the next person, but getting into screaming matches with them isn’t helping anyone. It sucks being the bigger person but if you want to make someone appear childish the best thing to do is to act like an adult yourself. I feel like both sides of this “debate”, if you can even call it that, have behaved poorly.

Update 9/3/14: To date I have yet to actually donate money to TFYC myself, for wanting more information. So far there has been only one, rather slanted, article since my original posting. I also find the campaign’s response to this media blackout and now critique to be rather human and understandable, but not exactly professional. Not that there is a whole lot of professionalism going on in general these days, but it does give me pause. Still, I would like to see the gaming press actually do some reporting on this game jam, positive or negative.