QuickRecs II

Not to get anyone’s hopes up, but the next Fate post is like 75% done.

In the meantime, though, here’s some stuff. Fable series, Dragon Age series, and a book.

Dragon Age: Origins
PC wRPG
So I ship me and Alistair really hard.

Anyway, Bioware’s been knocking it out of the park lately and I figured it was time to work my way through their library. I didn’t want to start with Mass Effect because everyone loves it and I’m a contrarian asshole I was in the mood for a good fantasy wRPG, so I started here.

I really, really enjoyed this game. It had an engaging story, a colorful, varied cast, a shit ton of choices and endings, and just about everything you could want from a wRPG. It treated women like people, and there were a lot of them, of all ages and creeds, everywhere. My only real complaint was the dimorphism in costumes, but even that wasn’t too too bad. They actually managed to make a woman dressing sexily be a character statement! The only other time I’ve seen that succeed was in Borderlands.

I think the most annoying thing– and this is a warning– is that after completing the main story you couldn’t go back and finish up side quests. It kind of makes sense narratively, but if I had known I would have gone and turned everything in before the final battle. I just assumed you could go back afterward. The reason they did it was because the endings were dependent on which quests you’d done, but I wish there had been a clearer warning.

Though TBH I still don’t understand why it was called “Dragon Age.”

Dragon Age II
PC wRPG
We’re going to talk about Anders.

I think, narratively, the strength of this game was how it demonstrated how oppression can become cyclical. Mages are being driven to desperate, dangerous acts by the way society treats them, and then the dangerous things they do are justified to shorten the leash even further, making them more desperate. (I believe Orsino says this at some point.) I played as a mage, which I think ended up really affecting my perception of the story– me!Hawke had lived life as an apostate, but mostly free, and suddenly she’s seeing what it really means to be a mage in the rest of the world.

Bringing this back to Anders, it was exactly this desperation that led him to playing host to Justice in the first place, and the same that warped them into Vengeance. I think they did a really good job of taking Anders from who he was in Awakening through II and into someone who would do something that was essentially an act of terrorism. When he won’t look Hawke in the face and says there’s no longer any delineation between him and Justice, it’s obvious he’s no longer the person who babytalks kittens and uses a healing gift to treat the poor. There even seems to be a degree to which he knows that and wants to be punished for what he’s done. Adding in the romance angle, as I did, complicates him even more– it’s clear he loved Hawke, at one point (the same one where he was still putting out milk for kittens), but he ends up making her unknowingly complicit in the killing of everyone in the Chantry.

I think there would be a part of me!Hawke that would still think he could be saved, and spare him, and stay with him. And I think that’s a massive credit to the writers, because what he did was objectively terrible, but it was pitiful, too, and for me at least, it made me!Hawke want to help him even more than before… and want to help other mages who may be driven to that, which was probably Vengeance!Anders’ goal in the first place.

Basically I’m really excited for Inquisition.

Also they played Florence over the credits so it was like FEELS x a million because Florence <3333 she is my queen.

Fable I
PC wRPG
I have this weird, stems-from-my-OCD need to play all franchises, read all series in the order of release, and that was how I got to Fable I. I’d read that Fable II was really progressive on the women front, but the idea of picking up II before I made me twitch uncontrollably, so I downloaded the original.

It came out in 2004, and has some for-its-time issues like the lack of a female PC and now-overdone story, but overall it was a fun, different, interesting and just plain enjoyable game. And despite there not being a female PC, the game is overstocked with awesome women. Your rival is female, your dead mom is the badass parent who matters, your sister drives the entire story, and everyone is dressed like a normal person.

I would def get the all-in-one anniversary version that has the DLC, because a) the DLC is fun and b) you can really see how the devs responded to fan crit. The biggest problem with the story was how it just kind of stopped without offering resolutions for major characters, and the final boss battle was really random and anticlimactic. The DLC attempts to address both of these things with varying success, but I did appreciate the effort.

The game wasn’t particularly deep, but it was fun and unique, and some quality escapsim. Go play it!

Fable II
PC wRPG
This, on the other hand, was just an amazing game.

It’s really one of those instances where it’s hard to say much because it was just a lot of fun. I think the best thing, though, was the outfits. It’s so rare to be a girl and be able to play a game where you just feel like a complete fucking badass. I was shooting bandits with a beefed-up pistil in a men’s dress shirt and hiking slacks while I had a bow in my hair and I was fucking awesome.

I did every side quest, bought every property, and God dammit I got each gargoyle (seriously that was my favorite part). The world was big and ever-changing, the characters were deep and varied and I loved all of them for different reasons, and also wow does Reaver’s backstory demand fanfic.

I wish Gareth had gotten a little more exploration. We don’t really know much about Samarkand or how he came to Albion, and what we do know is pretty interesting. I thought the DLC was fun if a bit shallow, so I’d say getting the all-inclusive version is probably worth it.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Novel by Anne Bronte

I’m just going to pull a quote from her forward to the second edition and leave it here:

“As little, I should think, can it matter whether the writer so designated is a man, or a woman, as one or two of my critics profess to have discovered. I take the imputation in good part, as a compliment to the just delineation of my female characters; and though I am bound to attribute much of the severity of my censors to this suspicion, I make no effort to refute it, because, in my own mind, I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.”

46 Comments

  1. illhousen says:
    “Though TBH I still don’t understand why it was called “Dragon Age.””

    Because there are dragons in there. you don’t need a reason for dragons.

    OK, so I’ve stated my problems with DA before: I dislike the relationship system because I think it encourages you to parrot your companions’ opinions back at them. It also sometimes reduces their personalities to the old good/evil dichotomy, most notably with Morrigan who disapproves about everything remotely heroic even though the personality we see in her dialogues is more deep than that.

    I also dislike the ideal resolution for demonic possession. I think choosing that option leading to the death of a few characters would be better: it’s a logical consequence of leaving the demon unattended.

    Overall, though, I liked it well enough.

    DA II… There are good things and bad. I mostly like it, it’s an ambitious project that isn’t afraid to deal with some heavy issues (even if they use fantasy filter to do it – but hey, that’s what it is for).

    However, there are a few issues.

    First of all, I feel there are not enough changes between the timeskips. Your situation changes, new conflicts arise, but the world remains largely the same. Given that the game covers about a decade of time, I think it’s an oversight.

    Most notably, many of your companions remain more or less the same.

    I am also divided about every romancable character being a bisexual. On the one hand, I like the option of romancing anyone I like. On another… there is no comment on that in the game. The dialogue is the same regardless of your character’s gender, as I recall. It feels less that the characters are bisexual and more that your avatar is genderless.

    I mean, I am fine with the sexual orientation being not an issue within the game world, but I want it to exist.

    1. actonthat says:
      I felt the same way about the time skips. You just pick up all your relationships and plots where you left off, and the result is everyone’s like, “Oh, it’s been five years! Remember that thing we were talking about exactly five years ago? Time to follow up on that conversation.” It just felt awkward.

      I understand what they were going for with the time jumps– they wanted the story to have more scope, and to make it clear this was a big deal that would have lasting effects– but I thought it could have been done just as well over two or three years total and a lot of issues would have vanished.

      [I am also divided about every romancable character being a bisexual. On the one hand, I like the option of romancing anyone I like. On another… there is no comment on that in the game.]

      They’ve fixed this for Inquisition, which I like! Each character has an orientation now. I didn’t really mind the way it was, but I think it’ll be one of those subtle things that adds depth to the new cast.

      I also missed the “camp” setup where you could chat with the cast anytime you wanted, and am happy to see that returning. I get the thought process behind killing it, but ultimately I felt doing so did flatten the companions.

      Like you said, II was a really ambitious project, and overall I think it’s a really solid sequel/middle child. I did think Origins was better overall.

      I also liked the Warden better than Hawke, though I can’t really articulate why.

      edit: I think part of it is that the Warden being a silent protag made her really feel like “me,” while I felt more like I was piloting Hawke than that I was her. As I understand it the choice system in II is the same as in Mass Effect, so I imagine it’s here to stay, but there’s something to be said for filling in your own mental dialogue in an RPG.

      edit II: Really II should have had its own post, but I’m so behind right now I wanted to push the review out and at the end of the day I did enjoy it so it probably wouldn’t have been that interesting anyway.

      1. illhousen says:
        “I also liked the Warden better than Hawke, though I can’t really articulate why.”

        I think Hawke falls into an uncomfortable place between standard for wRPGs flat protagonist and a fleshed out character.

        He/she isn’t deep enough for you to really emphasize with, but not empty enough for deep immersion.

        It’s not too bad, but the dissonance is here.

        1. Roarke says:
          I would definitely agree with this. Having that middle ground is the hardest thing for an RPG to achieve as far as character-building goes. I would point to the Nameless One as a successful example of it. It was even sort of a plot point that he was a blank slate, except not really.
          1. illhousen says:
            Yep. Planescape: Torment is just generally the best RPG there is (barring its battle system).

            And yes, the Nameless One is the amnesiac protagonist done right: his history is engaging and important, but there is still enough room for immersion.

            The protagonist is both the culmination of past events and his own person.

            It is actually interesting to compare with Neverwinter Nights II: the Mask of Betrayer.

            While I enjoyed the game, I felt that the protagonist was kinda… well, meaningless. I was just a guy who happened to get the curse, it was really the story of that other dead guy.

            1. actonthat says:
              Did you rec this game to me at some point? The title and Diablo II-like graphics seem very familiar.
              Reply
              1. illhousen says:
                I mentioned the game once or twice before, but I don’t think I specifically recommended it.

                You may be thinking about Daemonica.

                That said, I do recommend Planescape: Torment now. It is a really good game when it comes to characters, dialogue and plot. It is also based on a very cool setting, sadly not supported anymore. The gameplay is rather meh, though.

              2. Roarke says:
                I second this recommendation, on the grounds that it is a goddamn awesome story. In fact, a great deal of later wRPG’s were probably influenced by it.
              3. illhousen says:
                Not really. While there are some traces of influence here and there 9most notably, Neverwinter Night II was clearly influenced by it, there is even an obvious shout-out), it didn’t have the major impact on RPGs.

                Baldur’s Gates was a bigger influence.

                It’s still a great game, though.

              4. actonthat says:
                Baldur’s Gates is another one I’ve heard of forever and never actually played. Didn’t realize it was Bioware! Something to do this weekend, maybe.

                I’m about to get a huge influx of birthday-games, though (including World Ends With You, which I believe you requested!), so maybe that won’t happen. xP

              5. Septentrion Euchoreutes says:
                A thing to note about Baldur’s Gate is that the steam version takes elements from Baldur’s Gate 2. Baldur’s Gate 2 was a much more fun game than the first one.

                The first Baldur’s gate relied on randomness for it’s difficulty and can be a bit unfair. It has to do with being based on D&D dice rolls and your character being at a low level.

              6. actonthat says:
                I’m a bit of a purist with these things, so I’d probably seek out the original version, even if I have to emulate it. That’s an interesting thing to keep in mind if I’m finding it tough to get through, though.
              7. illhousen says:
                Yes, TWEWY was my recommendation. It’s a neat game. Not without its flaws, but enjoyable, with a distinctive artwork and intriguing plot.

                About BG, as Septentrion Euchoreutes said, BGII is overall a better game. There is just much more of everything there than in BGI, and the characters are much more fleshed out.

                On the other hand, it’s a direct sequel that builds on what was present in the first game, so it’s still a good idea to play the franchise in order.

                I would strongly recommend you to play it if you like Bioware games: BG was pretty much the foundation of their enterprise. You can see the beginning of many persistent archetypes and ideas specific to Bioware there.

        2. actonthat says:
          I also disliked that sometimes my interpretation of the actions was different from Hawke’s. When I would choose a line thinking it’d present one way, she’d sometimes respond in a way that felt totally different, and it would throw me out of the scene.

          I wish they’d go back to completely-silent protag, but like I said, it seems unlikely. Hopefully it’s done a bit more smoothly in Inquisition. It was in some ways worse for being a small problem, because the times the dissonance was there were more noticeable, if that makes sense.

  2. Roarke says:
    The answer to why it’s called Dragon Age is in the Codex, somewhere. Speaking of which, what did you think of the Codex? I felt like it was a really nice divergence from the usual RPG-protagonist journal, since it gave you backstory and stuff the character doesn’t know about. Sure, that breaks immersion, but it made the world feel bigger. I suppose it’s filled with stuff the character potentially knows, at any rate.
    1. illhousen says:
      As I recall, it’s the Age of Dragon according to the in-game calendar, which foretells great change and so on. The usual fantasy stuff.

      It still doesn’t have much to do with the plot. I mean, imagine if all Japanese stories set in, say, Edo period were called Edo Period: Something or Other.

      The name is fine, mind you. It invokes the feeling of classic fantasy, which is what developers were aimed for, since DA was advertised as a game inspired by old-school RPGs.

      It just doesn’t mean much of anything.

      1. Roarke says:
        Basically they name each new century or whatever after some major event. This time the major event was an adult dragon burning people to a crisp, making them go “holy crap, dragons aren’t extinct.” Not the people who were burned obviously, other people. Although the people who were burned might have also said something to the same effect, it just wasn’t recorded.
      2. actonthat says:
        [It still doesn’t have much to so with the plot.]

        Yeah, this is why I found it do weird. The entire series is named after an arbitrary event that occurs offscreen and has nothing to do with the story. It was a bizarre choice.

        Though yeah, it does have an understandably epic feel to it.

    2. actonthat says:
      I liked the Codex! It gave you all the info that the books of Elder Scrolls do, but organizes them in one place so you know what you’ve seen before and can always go back and check. I agree that it makes the world bigger.
  3. Shadows says:
    Edit: I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have posted anything without thinking about it, like that post was. I won’t do that again.
    1. actonthat says:
      [I don’t want to assume that you do or do not have OCD or OCPD]

      Let’s be honest here: Yes you do, and you have. But as someone who knows someone who has an anxiety disorder, you are a special snowflake who is undoubtedly qualified to make these distinctions and attempt to silence others. This is your right and you should exercise it whenever you can without regard to other people’s history or backrounds, because it makes you feel better about yourself and that’s what’s really important.

  4. Goldreaver says:
    “Not to get anyone’s hopes up, but the next Fate post…”

    TOO LATE
    HOPE STATUS = MAXIMUM

    Also I’ve heard nothing but bad things about Dragon Age II… but I’ll give it a spin now.
    Are you gonna try Fable III?

    1. illhousen says:
      DA II is not bad, exactly, but it is one of those ambitious projects that tries to do new things, but isn’t sure how to do them well.

      There are a lot of rough spots where you can see what developers were aiming for but didn’t quite reach.

      1. actonthat says:
        It seems to have also rubbed people the wrong way in how big a stylistic departure it was from Origins, which makes sense. In Origins you fought monsters and killed a dragon while becoming the chosen one; in II you dealt with political intrigue. I can see how, as a sequel, people expecting more high fantasy were annoyed, but I think it’s a complaint that sells the game short on its own merits.

        It was also a much smaller game, map and story-wise, than Origins, despite having more breadth, and I think that probably earned it a lot of ire as well despite those things not being inherently negative.

    2. actonthat says:
      Good new everyone! It’s set to go live Saturday morning.

      I’m not surprised people were ambivalent about it. It was a big departure in a lot of ways from the previous one, and there were a lot of instances where you could see what they were going for but not quite get it, but taken on its own merits I thought it was a solid game and a good bridge between Origins and Inquisition, which seems more similar in style to Origins.

      I wouldn’t call it high art, and it doesn’t really have replay value for me, but it was enjoyable. “Solid” is really the best word I have for it. 3/5, that kind of thing.

    3. actonthat says:
      Also I have a huge rant about Fable III coming up. I did not like Fable III. I want Fable III to not have happened.
      1. Goldreaver says:
        Looking forward to it!
  5. 13thlemur says:
    Are we warning about spoilers for any of these games? Cause I mean, you mention Anders blowing up the chantry so I assume this is an all spoiler zone… General SPOILERS warning anyway just in case?

    Anyway, I’m really surprised you gave the gender dynamics in
    the Hawke family a pass. I mean, you’ve got the dead father who was so super awesome – he pretty much get a DLC detailing what an amazing mage and upstanding person he was (and if you get any of the item DLC either from the packs/promotional stuff most of it is from your dead dad with some info on his past adventures). Meanwhile Leandra doesn’t do crap except be sad. When people in the game bring up her past in Kirkwall it’s largely about how pretty she was (with like one or two token mentions of her being a scholar though we never hear in what field and Leandra never mentions any desire for research/books). And of course what ultimately happens to Leandra which is just classic fridging.

    And your siblings aren’t much better. Your brother is a warrior, your sister is a mage. Your brother is pretty pro-active, your sister is incredibly passive. Your brother’s personal gift motivates him to try to find a new/his own path in life, your sister’s gift involves her cooing over how your mother was so pretty and happy. If you side against Carver in the final quest he’ll eventually try to protect you standing up against his superior, side against Bethany and you need to protect her (and she doesn’t even really try to protect herself – she just gives up and waits to be killed). Shit, you know how you get some conversations with party members when you speak to your dog? Carver’s is about how cool mabari are and how more could’ve helped them out in Lothering. Bethany’s conversation
    is about how much Carver wanted a mabari. I’m not the only one who saw this, right? …right?

    1. actonthat says:
      I figure for single-post reviews spoilers is a given.

      [Your brother’s personal gift motivates him to try to find a new/his own path in life]

      I think that’s pretty generous. I was a mage, so I had Carver, and I didn’t do a second playthrough. He was just the most obnoxious, whiny little brat. All my Carver did was bitch and moan about how unfair it was no one was kissing his feet, and he was forced to go be an ass to someone else after he got the Taint. He was an awful character. I assume Brittany at least was actually capable and not terrible.

      The dynamics between the four or five characters in the Hawke family were kind of typical, but looking at the game as a whole the treatment of women was actually pretty damn amazing. There were actually more women NPCs overall and MANY more women in positions of power than men. I can do a post on this if you’d want, but I actually went through and counted and the results were incredible.

      In fact, the game did so well that googling “female characters in DAII” leads you to threads of fanboys going on and on about how there were too many women in the game, which is really how you know you’ve won.

      It’s hard to feel justified harping on Brittany being a mage and Carver a warrior when there are so many powerful female warriors (and mages) elsewhere.

      1. illhousen says:
        It is actually a good demonstration how such issues are heavily colored by context.

        Taken in isolation, the family gender dynamic is pretty meh at best. However, the abundance of female characters in the game makes the issues less noticeable and more forgivable.

        In other words, you can afford a damsel in distress when you have a couple of strong women around as well.

      2. 13thlemur says:
        The point about Carver being a warrior and Bethany being a mage is that RPGs have a long standing stereotype of men being the heavy hitters/tanks, while women take stand-offish support roles. And if the classes were it I wouldn’t complain, it goes along with how utterly stereotypical the two are and especially how passive Bethany is. And Carver explicitly mentions how he wants to go his own way, looking forward, and his gift is about being a link to the future which cheers him up considerably. His little brother complex/annoying factor/any kind of likability aside he blatantly expresses these ideas so I don’t see how it’s being generous it’s just in the game.

        You do seem to enjoy the game more then I did anyway so you might consider a non-mage play through at some point if you have time. If you do only get one play through mage is probably for the best. Though bonus points if you play as female Hawke warrior in heavy plate steel and still sway your hips like Isabela (which bothers me yes – I don’t care how nitpicky it is Aveline gets to walk like a normal person I don’t see why Hawke can’t either).

        1. actonthat says:
          I’m more than aware of the trope, the thing is that it doesn’t hold true for the game at large. The family dynamic in isolation would be problematic, but it’s not reflected over the entire cast. It’s not “women should never be spellcasters and men never tanks,” it’s “there should be variety” which the cast here has in spades.

          Carver wasn’t an ambitious character, he was a petulant one. He wanted to have praise heaped on him for no reason and resented Hawke for the praise she got for actually doing things. He was utterly passive with the horrible addition of being a complainer.

          Like I said, I didn’t play Bethany, and the game doesn’t really have any replay value to me, but I really don’t see how her being a shitty character could have sexist undertones, because even if the sexes were swapped she still would have been a horrible, whiny, unambitious character. It’s not like Carver got to be awesome while she didn’t; it seems like neither of them were particularly well-rounded characters.

          Yeah, though, the hip-swaying was annoying.

          1. 13thlemur says:
            With a mage Hawke pre-Blight Carver is the only sibling to have a career (as a soldier). After that first year in Kirkwall he sends in an application to be a guard. When that doesn’t work out he seeks out templar training and if you don’t take him to the Deep Roads he is accepted. How is this passive? He complains yes but he also seeks out ways to get away from the position he doesn’t like. As a counterpoint, Bethany doesn’t really do anything and if she’s not taken to the Deep Roads she gets discovered as a mage and taken to the circle. Carver does stuff while Bethany has stuff happen to her. Like I said, if it was one thing like the mage/warrior dichotomy it wouldn’t be a big deal (I’m not gonna complain about Wynne or Morrigan) but this stuff just piles up. I doubt it was with malicious intent but that doesn’t mean it’s not present.

            And having other characters defy stereotypes doesn’t change the ones there. To me that makes the ones present so much worse since we know the writers can do better. The human noble origin managed to give you more information about your mother in like five minutes then hours of Leandra hanging about your house did. Shit, Mama Cousland even got a fairly badass death while Leandra… yeah.

            ….yay we agree about something.

            1. actonthat says:
              I just thing you’re reading Carter a lot more amiably than I am. He spend the first part of the game whining incessantly about everyone liking Hawke without bothering to go out and accomplish things himself. Hawke literally does everything, but he still complains that she gets recognition. If you take him into the Deep Roads, Hawke is then the one whose connections and knowledge get him saved and shipped off to the Wardens; he had no say in that. In fact, when he next shows up, he’s *still* whining about how much people like Hawke! If you don’t take him he does join the templars of his own accord, but I honestly can’t see that as anything but petulant– without Hawke to blame for his failings, he’s forced to actually take action. It’s not really a shining moment of individualism to me.

              [And having other characters defy stereotypes doesn’t change the ones there. To me that makes the ones present so much worse since we know the writers can do better.]

              I disagree with this in that I don’t think tropes are inherently good or bad. Yes, the two siblings conform to the girl mage/boy warrior trope, but in the context of the narrative that’s not part of any kind of greater pattern or indicative of a statement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a *good* thing, but I also don’t think it’s a bad one, it’s just a thing. The bad comes when all women are mages/sorceresses, or there are no women at all (and there are most definitely games like this).

              The goal is balance, not eradication.

              I just don’t see what you mean by it piling up. There are a ton of female warriors and (male mages) in the game. There’s no greater pattern here– if anything, Bethany and Carver are the exception to the rule. Would it have been interesting to see their classes inverted? Sure, I guess. But I don’t think it would have had any overall effect on what the game had to say about gender roles.

              Reply
        2. actonthat says:
          Actually, if you want to talk Unfortunate Implications, the thing that rubbed me the wrong way the most was Meredith turning out to be driven insane by the one ring the lyrium idol. It was just a liiiiitle to close to “women are too irrational and cray-cray for power” to me.

          Again, though, in the larger context, it’s not a *huge* issue, because I honestly think the implications were completely accidental and not related to Meredith being female. (We also see men being driven insane by it, for example.)

          (IMO the easiest fix here would have been to make Cullen a woman as well, so you lose the “sane man stepping in to calm crazy woman” issue.)

          1. 13thlemur says:
            That actually did kind of bother me. Honestly, I’m not sure which women you count as leaders but most of the ones I can think of really suck. Elthina barely does a thing (she has so little baring on the plot you can totally miss talking to her until like late Act 2); Petrice is pretty much evil; Marethari risks dooming her entire clan for the sake of one person; Aveline’s guard pretty much get wiped out against the Qunari, she harbors a rapist, there are several corrupt guards, she doesn’t do a thing about the many, many gangs that come out at night… It kind of undermines the fact there so many of them (quantity not quality). Though I don’t really consider it sexist or anything because the male leaders are pretty terrible in their own right (Orsino turning against a Hawke that allies with him and protecting blood mages, the Viscount is really useless, the Arishock takes forever to actually do anything etc.etc.). It’s part of what makes the game arduous to play for me. It’s like I’m constantly surrounded by assholes and do nothings (and that frequently includes Hawke).
            1. actonthat says:
              Yeah, I agree. I think it’s kind of an “ehhhhh” thing, but she’s totally in line with how the male characters act, so I don’t think it was meant that way and it’s pretty easy to write off.

              Orsino was a bizarre character. It’s like they forgot they didn’t have anyone to be the figurehead for the mages so they threw him in at the last second. The result is we barely know him, so all his actions look insane. He seems legitimately unbalanced, right up to the out-of-the-blue betrayal thing at the end.

              I agree that the backgrouond characters were pretty unremarkable (except the Arishok, I heart the Arishok), but I generally found myself really liking the companions and finding out what was going on with them was my main enjoyment in the game.

              Except Carver, screw Carver.

              Reply
  6. guestest ever says:
    On one hand, I somewhat want to comment on Dragon Age. On the other hand, as a veteran hater of Bioware and almost everything they’ve ever done, any comment I’d make would be tiresomely cynical and I’m bored of all the BW bashing I’ve done (and seen) over the years and don’t wish to type out the same walls of hatred again. So instead I’ll do the opposite: The best thing Bioware ever made is Jade Empire and you should play that if you want an above average CRPG.
    1. actonthat says:
      It’s hard to be into Bioware if you don’t like the traditional wRPG. Jade Empire is one of those things where I’d look at the cover art and immediately NOPE away, but maybe I’ll check it out.

      Out of curiosity, what wRPGs do you like?

      1. guestest ever says:
        Why would you nope away from something that’s clearly not yet another medieval europish tolkienesque claptrap? It does not compute.

        I happen to like most nonBW RPGs actually. Secret World, Fallouts, Witchers, Baldur’s Gates, Planescape Torment, Alpha Protocol, Arcanum, Might&Magics, everything Spiderweb Soft has ever done, Shadowrun Returns, KotoR2, Jagged Alliance is kinda sorta RPG if you squint and probably other stuff I’m forgetting. In fact, I wRPG is my favorite kind of game, it’s specifically Bioware and their unique brand of player fellating power fantasies and scumsmuggy internet presence that I despise.

        1. actonthat says:
          “Half-naked women posing on cover” is not the way for games to win me over. My escapism does not involve being a sex object.

          Incidentally, Baldur’s Gate is Bioware.

          [ and scumsmuggy internet presence]

          All I’ve seen of their internet presence is them talking about how the industry needs to be more inclusive of women and gay people, so their internet presence is basically why I got into their games in the first place.

          1. illhousen says:
            To be fair, everyone in Jade Empire is half-naked. Including your old mentor, as I recall.
            1. actonthat says:
              A cursory look at the PC costuming isn’t winning my favor.. It’s pretty typical male power fantasy/male sex fantasy.

              But if you all can vouch for the treatment of the characters being fair, it’s something I could look past, like the ridiculous female Dalish armor in DAO.

              Reply
              1. illhousen says:
                Fair enough.

                I’ve played JE back when I didn’t pay much attention to gender dynamic or other issues, so I can’t say one way or another. I do recall there being much more male characters than female ones, though.

        2. actonthat says:
          Though you’ll be happy to hear that between you, how much I liked the book, and how improved the sequels look, I’m probably going to power my way through Witcher.
  7. Sazuka57 says:
    I love love love LOVE Dragon Age Origins. It never gets old, and it’s one of those few games that doesn’t have glitches so high up it’s butt that it’s a turnoff (unlike DAII, alas). I love Alistair and Zevran. I really like Liliana, and I all but worship the ground Wynne walks on. She’s soooo fantastic!! All of the character are really deep in that game, even Sten, and he can barely talk! And did you get Shale? Shale’s AWESOME.

    DAII is…pretty decent. Honestly though, Aveline and Varric are the only characters I like in them. I especially dislike Merril and Isabela, which is odd because I liked Isabel A LOT in DAO. But they just feel…so one dimensional to me? I don’t know. Anders and Justice are just sad, though I wish there was a way for us to predict what they would do…or SOMETHING, I don’t know. Still, that chantry exploded gloriously. I did hate how Orsino goes out of character at the end and becomes an abomination. That was not cool. They did a bit to foreshadow it, but it still wasn’t cool. My biggest problem with the game though is how much it glitches for me. Invisible enemies that only one part member can see. I get stuck on a rock thing and have to reset. Oh and the copy-paste dungeons. I don’t like those either.

    Oh, also, the series is called Dragon Age because, from what I’m seeing, the whole series will take place within that one century–the Dragon century. So it will make sense in the long run, hopefully…..

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