Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Charity Backfires (with Thoughts on Some Recent Games)

No one in my industry does any work between about December 15 and January 15, so quite happily, I'm never on the road during this period. Theoretically, it's a good time to catch up on reading and writing in my field. Functionally, it becomes a time that I binge on RPGs. I gave the entire period to Skyrim a few years ago.

This year started out promising. I started a second play-through of Fallout: New Vegas, determined to get a foothold in Dark Souls and Dishonored (the latter not quite an RPG, but whatever), and planned to finally finish Dragon Age II. I know that this will make many of you cringe, but I had the Xbox 360 versions of all of these. On a blustery wintry day with 10 hours of game playing ahead of me, I want to be relaxing on the couch, not sitting in my office chair.

Alas, the couch is shared space, so I have to bend slightly towards what Irene prefers, at least when she's around. She preferred Dragon Age II. I didn't love it, but I thought it got better as it went along. We finished it in a few marathon sessions, by which point she'd heard about Inquisition and was eager to check it out, which I didn't mind at all. She goes back to work on January 5, but I don't, so I have another week, I reasoned, for Fallout et. al.

The trouble started on Saturday, December 27, the date we were scheduled to do Christmas with her family. They were coming at 14:00. She headed out early to do some last-minute shopping for them. After she'd been gone about an hour, I got a text from her: "At Wal-Mart. They have DAI, but only XB ONE version. Will that work?"

I texted back, "NO. We have a 360. Won't play it."

"Oh." I could feel the disappointment.

Meanwhile, in Fallout, I suffered my 35th consecutive death at the hands of a deathclaw. As I waited for it to reload, I had a thought.

"Do they have Xbox Ones?" I texted.

"YES."

"Screw it. Buy one and the game too. We'll have to get one eventually."

$480 later, she came home, and I had a new console to set up. Alas, I had no time to do it. The in-laws were coming in a couple of hours. I put it aside and started looking forward to the evening, when they'd leave, and I could enjoy much faster reloads after deathclaws killed me.

From that sentence, some of you already know where this is going, but you don't yet know how bad it is. Later that afternoon, I caught my brother-in-law eying the new console.

"You like the Xbox?" he asked. "I'm thinking of switching from the Playstation. Why did you go with the Xbox in the first place?"
  
I didn't offer the real answer: that I hadn't done any research at all; that my decision came down to feeling ashamed for owning a console in the first place, and for that reason deliberately purchasing the one that sounded least like a toy.
  
"Why don't you take my old one?" I said to evade the question. "I don't need two. Check it out and if you don't like it, give it to a charity or something."
  
"Really?"
  
"Sure. Just give me a few minutes to copy my profile and saved games to a USB."
  
I did that, deleted the profile, and boxed it up for him, along with disks of Red Dead Redemption, several Assassin's Creeds, and Fallout 3.

It would have taken about 5 seconds of Googling to realize that the Xbox One isn't backward-compatible with the Xbox 360, and that the games I held in reserve were now worthless, but for some reason I didn't do the search. Later, the revelations escalated in a manner that would have been comical if they were happening to someone else. At first, I was just pissed that I would have to re-purchase my old games for the new platform. Then, I realized that my saved games probably wouldn't work with the new versions. Finally, I realized that Xbox One versions of Fallout, Skyrim, and every other game I enjoyed playing don't even exist. With two weeks of binge-playing to go, I managed to end up with a platform that only has about three RPGs to its name.

This was good news for my Wizardry III playing (more on that soon) but not so good for my overall vacation plans.

I do like Inquisition, though. It took me a while to warm to the Dragon Age setting. Origins was a decent game, but it felt overly "assembled," with a game world and lore that was a little too manufactured and tidy. I liked the NPCs, dialogue options, and multiple paths you could take through the story, but I never warmed to the combat and the maps felt too confining, with lots of artificial boundaries. I also didn't like the way monsters leveled with the party.

Dragon Age II had most of the problems of Origins, plus more besides. I didn't like that the PC was voiced, or that the dialogue options didn't match the actual words spoken by the PC. The reuse of environments was justly criticized, and I thought the combat was worse. But the stuff that BioWare does well came through: memorable, fun NPCs, an interesting overall plot and story arc, and lots of decisions that affected the nature of the story.
  
Inquisition fixes almost all the problems I had with the previous games. Enemies don't seem to level with the party, and they respawn, so grinding is possible (though I haven't had to do it). Combat, while still not great, is a much better console experience. The ability to pause, zoom around the battle field, and advance time incrementally puts the game close to Infinity Engine territory. The environments are much better, allowing much more open exploration. I don't love the "search" mechanic, but I like it a lot better than having every chest or piece of loot sparkle in the distance. The plot has been fantastic so far, and BioWare managed to top themselves on NPCs. If I had to name the 10 most memorable ones from any RPGs I'd ever played, Sera and Iron Bull would be two of them. Perhaps most important, the setting has evolved a more complex lore since the first game, with numerous factions that go beyond simple good and evil, and plenty of historical mysteries, all fleshed out in numerous tomes and bits of dialogue. It has a long way to go before it can rival The Elder Scrolls in these areas, but it's a distant second.

One of the features I like most is the ability to set up the "world state" based on your decisions in the previous games. You do this on a special EA Origin site called the "Dragon Age Keep" rather than by importing your previous saved games. I can see why this would annoy some players, but it ended up working out quite well for me, and I think Bethesda could take a lesson from this system for the next Elder Scrolls game. I otherwise don't know how they'll handle it. They did a clever trick with the "Warp in the West" to integrate Daggerfall into later games, but I can't see that working with the events of Skyrim (Arena and Oblivion had almost no player choices in the main plots, so there wasn't much need to incorporate player decisions). Unless the next game is set so far away in distance and time that Skyrim doesn't matter (which would be too bad), or they choose one of the many paths as the official canon (which would be even worse), the Dragon Age model is the best.

I also like Inquisition's "war room" concept, where you view a map of the kingdoms with your advisers and send their agents on various quests to collect intelligence, scout areas, retrieve artifacts, obtain resources, and resolve disputes. When I first heard about it, I inwardly groaned. I thought the analogous systems in Assassin's Creed were silly and boring, and I thought it would be an excuse to shoehorn some multi-player nonsense into a single-player game, like they did in Black Flag. But it turns out to work quite well, with more interesting plots and more meaningful decisions than we ever saw in Assassin's Creed. The war room missions are well-integrated into the main campaign and not just silly side quests.

Anyway, if you want to discuss Inquisition in the comments, please avoid spoilers past the first chapter. My party just went to Orlais for the first time, so I'm not very far into the game.

In past posts, I alluded to playing New Vegas but didn't really offer much commentary. I'll say now that I loved it. I would put it among the top 10 RPGs I've ever played, and I can't tell you how much I wish Bethesda had learned from Obsidian in designing the game world for Skyrim. I love the combat system, which straddles the line perfectly between action-oriented and tactical. I love the plot, the factions, and the multiple ways the player can navigate the story and game world. I love that no NPC is unkillable, and yet the game world manages to continue on anyway. In my first play-through, I went to Caesar's Legion camp on some quest or another, but ended up in combat when I refused to surrender my weapons. Instead of reloading, I just went with it and ended up wiping out the entire map, including Caesar himself. I couldn't believe the game let me do that. 

It fails with NPC companions, though. I don't find any of them terribly interesting, there was hardly any dialogue with them, and it's far too difficult to find the path to some of their side-quests without looking up spoilers.
Oh, and the level cap is way too low. If I hadn't bought the four major DLCs, I would have hit it about halfway through the game. As it was, I hit it the first time with only three DLCs completed and a bunch of side quests unfinished. The second time, I decided to avoid Old World Blues and Lonesome Road (which I didn't like anyway) and save the levels for the core game. I also deliberately took a perk at the beginning that reduces experience point rewards so I'd be less likely to hit it.

In my first play-through, I supported the NCR and fought on their side at Hoover Dam. The second time around, I was determined to go through the "Wild Card" option and take control of the New Vegas Securitrons myself. I'm disappointed that my only option to see how that plays out is to wrest my old Xbox back from my brother-in-law, who by all accounts is enjoying it immensely.

By the way, in case you didn't notice when they appeared, I finally got an index of games by title and an index of games by year posted. Like the FAQ, they appear as "pages" accessible from the top of the mobile browser or the sidebar in a regular browser. I hope they make navigation a little easier!

139 comments:

  1. I'm very gratified to hear that you liked New Vegas as much as I did. In my opinion, it's the best Fallout.

    I'd like to add one tiny bit of praise for the game - the names of quests are at once evocative and enticing. I know this sounds unimportant, but stay with me. I once took Veronica as a companion. Her companion quest is called "I Could Make You Care". Every time Veronica died and I got the little "Quest Failed: I Could Make You Care" notice, I found myself puzzling over the title while waiting for the reload. The title hinted at violence in her character and tragedy in her past. I wanted to know more about her, but she was always cagey in dialog.

    When I finally found the quest triggers and completed the quest, I was disappointed, of course. As you said, the companion quests are almost all disappointing (except Boone's). But there are a lot of quests like this, with names that hint at much more than is readily apparent.

    Love it.

    Regarding Dragon Age: Origins, the first time I played it, I was not particularly impressed. Luckily (I suppose), I encountered a game-breaking bug in the third act and had to start over. On the second play-through I realized how much depth I had missed. Three or four play-throughs later, it's also in my top ten CRPGs.

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    1. I like how so many (all?) of the F:NV quests are named after songs from the era I really like. "I Could Make You Care" is an old Sammy Cahn tune recorded by Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra.

      I agree that DA:O improves on a second playing. Much like the Elder Scrolls games, you have to understand the world before you understand what's at stake in some of the quests.

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    2. New Vegas's quest names were a great way to continue the series' love affair with old tunes.

      It may be my #1 rpg. I agree that a few more 'hints' from your companions would have gone a long way to making their quest lines easier to fulfil.

      Companions were overpowered though, between Arcade and ED-E, you rarely had to pull a trigger. The only things that could get through them were the various melee monsters, so it was a case of either trivial combat or 'you're dead'. Not enough combats existed between those extremes. I think playing sans companions probably results in a better combat experience (easy or not, I confess that I do really enjoy watching a wave of energy projectiles turn a bunch of hapless raiders into glowing mush).

      I just can't get into DA:O. I like the NPCs but Darkspawn are just such a bland enemy, you cap your primary combat skill really early on and the loot is just not fun to sift through. Oh awesome, a new sword that looks basically the same and does marginally more damage than my last one. Compare that to getting the +3 frostbrand in CotAB or one of the special lightsabre colors in KotOR. The Human origin story was pretty strong though.

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    3. I like doing the quests a lot more than I like seeing the names of the quests. They could be named Quest #1107 as far as I'm concerned and the game would be as good. The names are an afterthought.

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    4. In my own GIMLET, New Vegas is the number 1 (though Baldur's Gate II sort of matches it). The original Fallout 3 is now like a bland copy in my mind. The Obsidian people knew better than Bethesda how to design the plot and the quests. The assimilation of the Fallout series was the impulse Skyrim needed to overcome the limitations of Oblivion.
      I would also say that the biggest weakness of New Vegas is the limited dialogue. That's the disadvantage of voicing every single sentence, it just gets too much work at some point, so you keep the dialogue simple. I think it takes away some 'poetic' quality from the games. I guess it's going to take a while until someone attempts another Planescape: Torment with the visuals and sounds like Skyrim.

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    5. @Harland, I guess that's my point. For most studios, quest names are an afterthought, but the Obsidian crew put quite a bit of time into using their quest names as a way to enhance the quests themselves.

      @CRPGAddict, I really love the music in New Vegas as well, and playing it so much got my wife into it too. We used the quest names as a way to discover new songs. Our favorite discovery is Webb Pierce's "There Stands the Glass".

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    6. It's worth mentioning that Obsidian was formed by a lot of the key people behind the original Fallout games at Interplay's Black Isle Studios. This made them the perfect people to make New Vegas, as they were able to tie it into the lore of the original games better than anyone else could. That actually made up for my disappointment with Bethesda's Fallout 3 feeling so disconnected from the original games.

      I've scoured every inch of all 4 Fallout games (Fallout Tactics is still on the TODO list, and the XBox game that I won't name is by all accounts a travesty that I'll probably never touch) and enjoyed them immensely. I even finally got into modding with New Vegas and made some useful mods: http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/users/777844/?tb=mods&pUp=1

      I have to say that there were a few things I didn't like as much with F:NV: it was a bit more linear, and the main quest went through a jarring change of pace halfway through. The DLC also varied in enjoyability, although each was at least as well-conceived as the Fallout 3 DLCs.

      I also found that the choice of endings was a bit unsatisfying, and I think it was intentional on the part of the developers, who were probably trying to show that there sometimes is no perfect solution. I skipped a quest in Fallout 3 that was built on the same premise, in which choosing either the "good" or "evil" approach resulted in NPCs screwing each other over.

      I'm curious about what Bethesda will do for another Fallout game, but I'm guessing it will build on their east coast pocket world and not tie any more strongly into the original games and/or New Vegas.

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    7. Addict: "I like how so many (all?) of the F:NV quests are named after songs from the era I really like. "I Could Make You Care" is an old Sammy Cahn tune recorded by Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra."

      I hated that, because it made it extremely difficult for me to remember which quest was which, and what I was actually supposed to do in those quests. The names were so similar and tangentially related to quest contents that they might as well have been "Quest #100", "Quest #101" and so on.

      I also intensely loathed Old World Blues and rushed through it as fast as possible (while 100-percenting the rest of the game), because all of it was pure joke/parody territory. On the other hand, I loved Lonesome Road, and though Ulysses was an incredibly cool character that deserved better than being stuck into the last corner of the last DLC.

      Opinions.

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    8. First time I played New Vegas with the DLC, I wandered into Old World Blues at around level 8. By the time i managed to complete it, I was so overleveled (particularly since I had to put more points into weapons than I normally would have to get through) that I simply stopped playing due to the lack of challenge.

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    9. I guess I'm weird for installing all of the DLC in games but waiting to do the story DLCs until I've completed as much of the main game content as possible.

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  2. Never understood why people have to use an office chair when using a PC. Isn't the whole point of a laptop that you can put it on your lap? And even for a stationary it's no problem to use a comfy chair with armrests and neck and head support, and keep the mouse of the armrest and the keyboard on your lap. It certainly works well for me; I get back pains and "mouse hand" if using an office chair.
    But these days you can run user made content on consoles if I'm not mistaken, so I guess the computer is not quite as superior for the serious gamer as it once was.

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    1. Or plug the laptop (or other computer) into the TV and grab a wireless mouse and keyboard, or even use an Xbox360 controller if you prefer. It's a lot easier to copy your New Vegas saves from one PC to another than it is to screw with consoles...

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    2. I think consoles are getting better and better (and there are some great games for them too). However, even a mid-ranged pc will give you better graphics than a console and there are some games which are much more suited to being played on something with a keyboard rather than just a gamepad.

      Having said that though, a laptop will of course not give you the same capabilities for your money as a desktop.

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    3. I actually have a PC attached to my TV, but I don't find that it's very good for gaming. I just haven't found a comfortable way to use a keyboard and mouse on the couch. I've tried to play a few PC RPGs that way nonetheless, including The Witcher, but the text ended up being too small even on my large screen.

      As for using my laptop actually in my lap---no, I just don't find it comfortable. Also, I really mourn the loss of the second monitor whenever I have to take my laptop out of my office.

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    4. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get a big lapdesk and put a mouse and keyboard on it.

      My problem is that there is no time to use the TV for gaming, as there is always something that one or more of us wants to watch (especially with two kids). I usually use my laptop while watching the TV, and don't even get much time in the office with my gaming desktop any more :(

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    5. There are products for that, actually.

      https://ranger-technology.com/products/ranger-wireless-keyboard-handy-with-trackball-2-dot-4GHz-rf

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    6. You could buy a wireless controller and use it just like you do a console. Steam even has Big Picture mode for that. You've got lots of options, from your favourite of Xbox 360, XBONE, PS3 or 4, to some rather fancy pro controllers with extra bottoms on the back that cost a small fortune to $10 ones from cheapousbcontrollersRus.

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  3. You don't know how much i love posts like this one, or like the 10 most annoying enemies or any post about your life and your passions.
    This may sound a little creepy, but i live very very far from you, so you don't really have nothing to worry about

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    1. You sound like you even know who and where he lives. Way to go in sounding less creepy, yo.

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  4. I really don't like the world limitations of Dragon Age: Origins. I want to jump over obstacles or to climb hills...but the game doesn't let me. I am playing it right now (about 2-3 hrs a day so it's going to take some time), and it's a good game, but not quite at the top. I guess it also has the problems of first games in epic series. You just don't know yet it's epic, in fact, you can't. Should I read all these notes? Does it have a pay-off? At least I know now that eventually, I'll get to Orlais...
    Obviously, there's a huge similarity to the Mass Effect series, so I feel somewhat at home, and I think I prefer Mass Effect I over Dragon Age: Origins, but let's see...

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    1. Origins does well in interiors and closed spaces- cities, dungeons, and keeps. The outdoor maps are usually pretty bad.

      What I like about DA:O, though is the depth of the combat system, coupled with a pretty solid fantasy story. Stick with it. It really picks up around the time you leave Lothering.

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    2. I have finished Lothering now, also defended Redcliffe and the Circle of Magi, now doing some side-quests... the world limitations really annoy me in the Brecilian forest. Exactly because of the reason you cite, I consider Mass Effect better, for now. The maps of Mass effect are almost all closed spaces and interiors, especially in Mass Effect I. You have the Mako missions there, so basically an open world, with the 'real' fighting taking place in space stations, which are limited by design. Bioware's movement system makes more sense there. For some reason, I am more hesitant to direct my companions during the fights than I was doing that in Mass Effect. I really haven't looked at this system of tactics slots. I guess if I want to get the best out of my companions I should take full control over them. That said, the characters are the strong point Dragon Age I.

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    3. You nailed it. The outdoor environments feel too much like dungeons. There was nothing more frustrating than encountering a stupid, simple obstacle, like a single line of rocks or a low wooden fence, and being unable to proceed.

      DA2 managed to screw up even the interior spaces by re-using its environments over and over--but only part of them. So you're constantly coming up on mysteriously closed doors or rock barriers when the map shows a corridor or room.

      By simply adding a "jump" ability, DA:I does a lot more to make an open-world feel than its predecessors.

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    4. Yeah, Dragon Age: Origins really isn't an exploration RPG - at least not anywhere near the level of Bethesda RPGs.

      There really isn't any excuse for it either. Even the original Wii has some MMORPG-style exploration RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles.

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    5. My main problems with DR:O a) The relentless grimness of it all. It was like someone read George R. R. Martin for the first time and tried to make an RPG. Not my thing. b) MMO derived combat. You know how you stop monsters attacking your caster? You have a fighter use an ability on them that makes them all turn and attack the fighter. Not, move the person away, not set up a defensive line. No, you use a taunt ability, which drives me crazy.

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  5. I had a similar scenario to you, except involving theft instead of charity. My house was robbed when I was around 80% through Red Dead Redemption and I think that the thing I was most sad about losing was my saved game, the game was decent but not good enough to warrant playing through again. Fortunately these days you can YouTube pretty much the entire plot of games if you want, which is what I ended up doing.

    I am glad you loved Fallout:NV and I will be absolutely fascinated when you finally get to play Fallout & Fallout 2 on this blog for the first time. Fallout 2 makes it in my top 5 for pretty much all the reasons you love about New Vegas. I also encourage you to persist with Dark Souls, I know that it has arguably the steepest learning curve of any game out there, but everyone I know who has played it has a "breakthrough" moment where everything just kinda clicks and it becomes one of the best games ever. If I was to rate it on a gimlet scale it's the only game I can think of that I would give a 10 for combat.

    A question about Dragon Age, I played Origins and enjoyed it a lot, even the combat which people seem to criticize a fair bit, but I have never gotten around to playing number 2 and it seems to have lackluster reviews, people saying it has decent characters but copy-pasted environments and repetitive game play. Should I skip it and go straight to Inquisition, or is it worth playing through at least once?

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    1. In my opinion, DA2 has a few stand out moments hiding in dozens of hours of tedium. The combat is pretty bad. The engine really punishes you for thinking tactically. Waves of bad guys teleport into almost every fight making positioning your guys pointless. There's a decent combo system buried in the button-mashy combat, but it's difficult to really make it work.

      And the story is... offensively bad (again, in my opinion). We'll have that conversation when the Addict reaches 2011.

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    2. I have to disagree with Daniel on the story. I think it takes a while to get moving, and until Act III (the game has 3 major sections), it's hard to tell what the main story actually IS, but it's fun in Act III to see how the decisions made in earlier acts define the outcome. It also introduces two major DA:I characters and sets up several key DA:I plot points. Unless you're really pressed for time, I encourage you to play it before DA:I.

      I agree with Daniel on the combat, though. Then again, in the console version, you don't really "position" your characters in the first place (combat all three games is notably worse on the console than the PC), so I didn't feel it as acutely.

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    3. I'd like to second the Youtube mention. I did the same two F:NV endings that Chet mentioned and then watched the other ones on Youtube (there are at least 4 major possible endings due to all the factions) because I wasn't interested enough in them to backtrack.

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    4. I thought the first two acts were quite good, from a story perspective. In act one, you have a refugee family settling into a big city, taking on odd jobs and eventually one crazy risk to make it big. In act two, you're dealing with conspiracy, maneuverings, and the alien culture of the Qunari, not to mention familial tragedy. Then in act 3 everyone carves out their own brain and throws it in the trash. It's an astonishingly rapid shark jump.

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  6. I enjoyed both DA:O and F:NV, but I'm not sure I'd put either in a top 10 RPGs.

    It was the final parts of the game that I found disappointing for DAO, the big boss fight in particular was underwhelming. It was a shame, because the earlier parts of the game had some great moments.

    New Vegas just felt a bit too much like FO3/Oblivion to me, and although I enjoy it in parts, overall I get frustrated with them. The combat in particular I dislike, and NV was no exception. In part there is far too much of it, and I feel like it got in the way of me enjoying the interesting parts.

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  7. So i gather that you chose the Xbox one instead of the PS4 because of the "backwards compatibility" issue?

    It's really a shame that this feature isn't implemented this generation of consoles, and i think in the long run it will only make many gamers migrate to PC.

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    1. I'll be very interested to see how Steam Machines fare. I can envision a future where a single box is tied to a monitor, mouse and keyboard on a table in one room and to a television and controller in another. Actually, I guess this is possible now with a bit of work.

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    2. I originally chose the Xbox (the first one) because "Playstation" sounds like something you give to a child. But it turned out to be a good decision because all the games I wanted to play had Xbox releases. I kept going with the X360 and Xbox One because of this reason and overall familiarity with the platform.

      I simply assumed (and I realize now it was a dumb assumption) that X360 games would work on the Xbox One, the same way that original Xbox games worked on the X360.

      This is one of the drawbacks of console gaming. How long before an X360 emulator shows up for a PC, do you suppose?

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    3. Um, the original Xbox games did NOT work on the 360- people that traded in their Xboxes on that assumption had the very same rude awakening that you had :) The only reason there are ANY Xbox games that work on the 360 is because the Microsoft team had to go through and, on a game-by-game basis, write software emulation wrappers. THEN you could play the game, because the 360 was running an Xbox emulator to run the game. Maybe... 1/3 to 1/2 of the original Xbox games got "the treatment", then they just- stopped. They promised they would do it for ALL games, then just- got tired of it partway through it and said, "screw it. We're done."

      Sadly, the more powerful the console/computer, the more exponentially powerful computer you need to run it. Right now, they are just getting PS2 and Gamecube emulators to run CLOSE to normal speed because computers are getting stronger, faster.

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    4. Also, do you know the history behind the name 'Playstation'? They didn't just choose that name at random because one day they thought Chet would think it sounds like a kids toy; It has "Play" in it because that's what it is for- Play. It's not an EveryThing Box, it's for PLAY. Enjoying yourself. Like a kid does :) And the "Station" part is to indicate at the same time that they are taking their play SERIOUSLY. You don't play at a WORKstation- you play at a PLAYstation.

      Whereas, what's the history behind- XBOX? That's a marketing name. And the Xbone? Marketing DISASTER from beginning to end.

      And before I get tagged as a Sony guy, I have an Xbox, a 360... and a PS1, PS2, and a currently defunct (sigh) PS3.

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    5. Xbox is named because it uses Microsoft's DirectX hardware abstraction layer to handle graphics and sound (the same method Windows uses) to make development cheaper and easier. DirectX Box was turned into XBox for marketing.

      Meanwhile, the Xbox One is so named because it was intended to be your ONE stop center for home entertainment, filling the functions of game machine, movie rental device, DVR, etc.

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    6. Not all XBox games worked on the X360. I believe most of my favorite ones didn't: Morrowind, D&D Heroes, Gladius, LOTR 3rd Age...

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    7. Xbox 360 emulation at comfortable speeds might be 3-5 years away. By that point, Microsoft could conceivably have its own service that turns the One into an emulator.

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    8. I had no idea some original Xbox games didn't make the transition. Every single one of mine did, so I didn't notice that anything was amiss. Morrowind was one of them, by the way, Pedro. I played a little of it just last year and it worked fine in the X360.

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    9. At least Sony avoided calling the Playstation "Playbox" - imagine the incredible amount of "typos" this would've caused...

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    10. Playbox? Sounds almost as bad as "joystick".

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    11. " Maybe... 1/3 to 1/2 of the original Xbox games got "the treatment", then they just- stopped."

      If you have a JTAG/RGH hacked 360, there's a hacked version of the backwards compatibility emulators where the number of games that work is slightly higher, as some games (but certainly not all) will work even though they weren't technically worked on and approved by the BC team.

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    12. Glad to know Morrowind works! Perhaps some of the X360 updates had to do with it? I couldn't get it to work back in 2011.

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    13. That might be the case. I bought the Xbox 360 in early 2011, but I don't think I tried Morrowind on it until late 2012. I do remember that Star Wars: Battlefront II worked immediately, though.

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    14. I don't think Microsoft had worked the "save backup" thing by then, had they? Otherwise I'd love to port saves from the old XBox (that is lying in storage somewhere).

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    15. I don't remember it being an issue for me, probably because I wasn't dumb enough to switch platforms while I was still in the middle of three games.

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  8. If you play the PC versions of games, you get to play with mods. Want a better companion in New Vegas? Pretty much everyone agrees that Willow is where its at (http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/41779/?).

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    1. "Error
      The site has run in to a problem, please look at the error message below...
      Adult-only content"

      ---

      Yeah, sure.
      But contrary to popular belief not all gamers are still in puberty...

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    2. Nexus is fairly liberal about using its adult filter. While it flags stuff like nudity, it can also block things like profanity. For all I know the mod is terrible, but faulting it for the website's policies seems silly.

      Delete
    3. The Willow mod uses one of the popular body replacers (which are generally nude (this is done to expand clothing options, as well as a lot of the modders finding the painted-on-underwear that started in Morrowind offensive), and is known to conflict with a prostitution mod. Both of these will likely set off the "adult only" filter.

      Delete
    4. Speaking of nude mods, I'm not sure if I'm alone... but I derive certain pleasure by stripping every mook I killed and then pile them on top of one another as an after-death punishment for trying to do me in.

      Is there anybody else who does this? Anyone?

      Delete
    5. I'll admit: I installed a nude mod in Fallout 3, but only due to the immersion breaking way raiders would sudden be wearing MORE cloths when you took their armour off. They'd go from bare-chested to wearing an undershit and it would knock me out of the game, and it was early enough there weren't many good underwear mods. In fact, I think the only one was valut-tech underwear with a winking vault boy or somesuch. So I went with a nude mod, a fairly modest one that doens't need skeleton replacers or jiggle-physics mods.

      Delete
  9. You said your old games didnt exist for xbox 360, surely you mean they dont exist for xbox one?
    xbox 360's are very inexpensive these days.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's what I meant. That typo removed the entire point of my story. I fixed it.

      Delete
  10. Since you have a XB-1 already, and you seem to like actiony pseudo-rpgs (this is not intended as a derogatory term), you might like Dead Rising 3 (Dead Rising 1 is 360 exclusive, DR2 and the spinoffs are multi-platform and PC).

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    1. It's not that I LIKE that kind of RPG, but it's primarily what's available for the console.

      Delete
    2. Not really.There's several menu-based games out there, although many of them are PS exclusive.

      Delete
    3. Your evidence that "several" unnamed games exist for a single platform does not change my perception that console RPGs are primarily action-oriented in combat.

      Delete
    4. Fine, I'll give you concrete examples. Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 (Xbox 360, PS3, and PC) are principally menu-based, although those particular entries are heavily AI-based. The Lost Odyssey (xbox 360) is purely menu based in combat, as are Disgaea 3 and 4 (PS3), Persona 4 (PS3), and Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD (PS3). This, you understand, is purely off the top of my head, without research.

      If you go back one generation (PS2 and Xbox original flavor), the list widens greatly. Final Fantasy XII (as well as the original editions of X and X-2) (PS2), Persona 2 and 3, Disgaea 1 and 2 (I suggest you never play the Disgaea series, as the extremely open ended mechanical character development is extremely addicting and it has too great a chance of turning into a black hole for your time), Shadow Hearts, Suikoden 3-5, Xenosaga 1-3, and a few others.

      True action RPGs are a minority, while the modernn "pseudo-rpg" or "game-of-another-genre with RPG Elements" such as Mass Effect or Bioshock are a rarity until the last 2 console generations.

      Delete
    5. I'm not sure what a true action-rpg is.The genre covers everything from LoZ to Ultima Underworld to Diablo.

      I think the genre includes Mass Effect and doesn't include Bioshock.

      It's fair to say that RPGs on consoles are more likely to be ARPGs and less likely to be turn-based or RTwP than RPGs on the PC.

      Interestingly, the current kings of PC are the RTS/ARPG derived MOBAs.

      Delete
    6. Until we add them all up and do the quantitative analysis, I suppose it's all just perception, but the number of action-oriented RPGs that I could list outweighs the number of turn-based RPGs that you listed. I'm not sure it's even a console issue; it's tough to find turn-based tactical games for even the PC these days.

      Tristan, I agree that the distinction isn't clear. To my mind, an "action RPG" is one in which your controller dexterity is the primary mechanism for determining whether you hit your enemy or evade your enemy's attack. On the other side of the scale is a tactical RPG, where you issue the ORDER to attack or defend, but success is entirely determined by attack rolls.

      Note that even in an action RPG, when you DO connect, the damage you do is affected by your level, attributes, and skills, as is the damage you take when hit. Otherwise, it's not an action RPG at all; it's just an action game.

      Delete
    7. Shin Megami Tensei, Mother, Dragon Warrior, Lunar, Destiny of an Emperor, Breath of Fire, Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Fire Emblem, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Grandia, Suikoden--these are just off the top of my head.

      Delete
    8. Chrono Trigger and especially Xenogears (which was so awful that it nearly smothered to death all interest I could muster in JRPGs) have action-y bits.

      Shining Force is one of the early TBS-JRPG hybrids, and a quite good one. I think Fire Emblem is similar but I never got into it.

      Mother/Earthbound, Dragon Warrior, Phantasy Star, and probably several of the others are pure menu driven JRPGs.

      My personal issue with JRPGs is that the early ones tend to be little more than grindfests, while the 16-bit and later ones are often little better than interactive books/movies with insufferably inane/cliche plots/dialogue (fans seemed to be able to look past this by hyping about the unique gimmicks of each particular game's combat system, but that was never enough for me).

      Delete
    9. You guys are mixing up a lot of things. The comment was about games that I've purchased recently for my Xbox, so clearly in making the comparisons I was talking about games on the recent market (as was Noman). We're not surveying the history of all RPGs on any console platform.

      Delete
    10. "Until we add them all up and do the quantitative analysis, I suppose it's all just perception, but the number of action-oriented RPGs that I could list outweighs the number of turn-based RPGs that you listed. I'm not sure it's even a console issue; it's tough to find turn-based tactical games for even the PC these days."

      I'm not trying to turn this into a thing, but I'd like to make one more comment here. There is an entire genre of RPG that, for all intents and purposes no longer exists on PC (outside of occasional indie projects that aren't very good) that is flourishing on consoles, particularly the handhelds. This is the SRPG (strategy RPG) (examples at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNheq8DFE58 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clfcV6Mjn54&list=PLF67450BED77E6C35&index=28, mute your sound) that are grid-based tactical games similar in concept to the middle ultima combat systems or the Gold Box games, but on steroids.

      Delete
    11. Chet: I think you are being a bit biased by your XBox-owning habits. There are a metric ton of JRPGs on the PS2,PS3 and now on the Nintendo DS (Do handhelds count as consoles). Now, I will say, if you count WRPGs and JRPGS as different genres (as say, Extra Credits does) then yes, most console RPGs have action elements. If you count them as the same genre, then on Sony and Nintendo products it is probably pretty close.

      Delete
  11. Great to see the new index pages, especially the year-based ones! One thing that looks a bit odd is that Quest for Glory shows up in 1992, two years after QfG II, and with no other game in 1991 or 1992. Is that a mistake?

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    1. Quest For Glory is a remake of Hero's Quest. Sierra was forced to change the title of the Hero's Quest series starting with the second game because there was a boardgame on the market titled HerosQuest, and the first game was not rereleased until a new Sierra engine came out and they remade all their old games for that engine.

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    2. Basically this. I struggled between appending QFG1 to the HQ list or giving it its own entry. I probably should have done the former.

      Delete
    3. I'm pretty sure the game was renamed before the VGA remake in 1992. I know, for instance, that my copy of the original 1989 game has the "Quest for Glory" moniker and not the original "Hero Quest." I suppose it's possible that the EGA original was rereleased after the VGA remake (which wouldn't be the strangest thing Sierra's ever done), though....

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    4. Either way, it was the VGA remake that I played.

      Delete
  12. Can't you just upload your saved data to the cloud and play it on a new Xbox 360?

    Xbox One does it automatically, which means you can delete saves locally and easily get them back once you start the game again, so at least you won't have that problem again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, of course. I could solve the problem by spending buying another Xbox 360. I have the old profile and saved games on a USB drive. But having just spent all that money on the newer console, the idea of purchasing the older one AGAIN doesn't fill me with happiness.

      Delete
    2. It may be sound dumb and defeats the purpose of having owned an XBox 360 in the first place but... an XBox 360 emulator on the PC could, at least, allow you to continue on the saved games on your existing platforms.

      http://xbox360emulator.net/

      Delete
    3. That site is a well-known scam, and the downloads are dangerous malware. There is only one each of PS3 and Xbox 360 emulators, and neither are anything more than a proof-of-concept at this point.

      DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANYTHING FROM THAT PAGE

      Delete
    4. Whoa. Damn. Sorry about that. I don't play XBox 360 games so I didn't download the emulator to try it out personally. Good thing for your warning.

      Delete
    5. As a general rule of thumb, you can emulate two console generations back on standard hardware. Anything newer is likely to be a scam.

      Delete
    6. As I understand it the Wii can be emulated even though it was only 1 generation back, since it was so weak, for an exception.

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    7. The Wii is close to 2 generations back technologically, being little more than a an overclocked GameCube with a little bit of extra RAM. Nintendo tried to get a jump start on the new generation while keeping costs very low to attract untapped markets, with the result that the Wii is so similar to a GameCube that it was a matter of months before the most popular GC emulator was expanded for Wii capability.

      Delete
    8. That seems true. Oddly enough back in the Playstation era there was a commercial emulator called Bleem! that came out while PS1 was still current. Lazy Game Reviews talks about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv02rzt85yM
      It never worked super well, but did work --It got an advantage by being written in very tight assembly code, much like video codecs or the very first N64 emulators.

      Delete
  13. I have trouble deciding whether I like Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas better. New Vegas has a much better story, but Fallout 3 had a much better setting. It was a lot more fun to wander around DC and recognize streets and landmarks than it was to wander around the desert and not recognize anything.

    Fallout New Vegas also didn't have as good of a soundtrack. Three Dog and Galaxy News Radio were the best part of Fallout 3, IMHO.

    My favorite Fallout is still the original Fallout, especially now that all playable versions have all those nasty bugs fixed. The original Fallout was open world without being too big. You could finish the game relatively quickly, but the game never felt too short. Fallout 2 improved the combat and NPC system somewhat, but it was way too big. Some of the areas were needlessly padded with extra levels (most notably the endgame area), and the big bad was probably the most uninteresting boss I'd fought in a long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I have trouble deciding whether I like Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas better."

      I have the same dilemma, both games are really amazing, so it's hard to pick one.

      That being said, I think 3 is probably better as a "gateway" game, and NV is better after you've played through 3 a bit. In 3 you become powerful pretty fast. In NV I feel like the challenge level stays higher, longer.

      NV also feels more like an RPG to me, as there's a bit more depth to all of the systems.

      Both are amazing games, regardless.

      Delete
    2. The first moment you walk outside the vault in F3 is one of my favourite moments in gaming. Your eyes slowly adjust to the sunlight and reveal an amazing, appalling vista. The problem with F3 is a problem shared with many Bethesda games. Seen one corner of the town, seen 'em all. I've never explored large tracts of the game because new content (incl. character gains) per hour was simply too low, I already had max small guns and repair and my combat shotgun was sufficient to waste anything.

      Fallout 1 is definitely a tighter, fairer experience than 2. F2 is still good, but it rambles. F1 also contained one of my most memorable gaming moments: The first time I emptied an SMG clip into a nearby goon.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. @TsuDohNihm.

      *Mild spoilers for Fallout 3*

      I enjoyed the exploration in FO:3, but I couldn't get past all the glaringly stupid design problems. Why are there still packaged goods in grocery stores 200 years after the bombs fell and 150 years after the vaults opened? Why do so many of the towns have like 2-5 NPCs? Why is every location based on one, single, ridiculous theme? Why did no vault manage to get a GECK working?

      Take Girdershade, this is a town on the edge of civilization - populated by two people and surrounded by Death Claws. How and what do they eat? Why are they even there? These questions would have answers in FO:NV. In FO:3, you just get one crazy lady obsessed with collecting Coke cans, and a guy who really wants to score with her. I shut the game off in disgust the first time I got there.

      It's like the designers brainstormed a list of everything that was cool in the 1950s and then created one location or character for each item on the list: Comic books? Canterbury Commons. Check! Schlock Horror? Arefu. Check! Leave it to Beaver? Andale. Check! Soft Drinks. Girdershade. Check! Rock And Roll Radio? Three Dog. Check!

      I'm groaning as I think about it.

      (I originally marked this post for spoilers, but the spoiler tag didn't show up, so I deleted the original and reposted.)

      Delete
    5. Obviously most of these are technical limitations or plain bad world design, but the thing about GECKs, at least, is they were meant to be duds from the start. Given how Vault-Tec used the vaults, people were just lucky the GECKs weren't secretly nukes or something.

      Delete
    6. The GECKs worked perfectly in FO2.

      Delete
    7. If there's no GECK, there'd be no Shady Sands. If there's no Shady Sands, there'd be no NCR. If there's no NCR, well... you get the idea.

      Delete
    8. I figured out the towns are abstractions. It is an awkward combination of realistic exploration and combat with highly abstracted towns and NPCs. Two people represent the town since the engine isn't good enough for the actual town.

      That did bug the hell out of me as well, to be honest.

      I really like how Baldur's Gate and The Whitcher did a better job of this, where you'd have dozens of generic NPCs walking around.

      Delete
  14. Your Rogue Part 3 links to Bard's Tale instead.

    (feel free to delete this comment after you fix the problem)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks. I don't know how that happened.

      Delete
  15. I am really sorry to hear about the story with the xbox one. The lack of backward compatibility is the reason for which I stick to the 360. I believe this choice might hurt Microsoft as people might decide to move to, say, PlayStation when they are not bound by their previous purchases.

    Anyway, it is a pity that you will miss Dark Souls, I was frankly waiting to hear your impressions on it.

    Dark Souls is hands down one of the best games I have ever played. Its combat system is perfect. Every weapon is unique and affects the gameplay immensely; armor and trinkets as well. The combinations of character builds are basically unlimited.

    It has also a fantastic lore, fascinating and mysterious. Even better, the lore is something that you need to discover for yourself as you play, putting tiny pieces of observations together. The game world is magnificent, interconnected, full of secrets and rendered in a gorgeous way. If only I could be so grossly incandescent... Praise the sun :)

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    1. It seems that Nintendo is the only company amongst the big three that still cares about backwards compatibility. I think that every one of their handhelds from the GameBoy Color onwards, and consoles from the Wii onwards is able to play games from one generation back.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, PS users suffer the same issue.

      One of the worst parts though, is that PS3s originally came with PS2 backwards compatibility, and Sony removed it to cut costs after the 1st or 2nd gen systems.

      After doing that, they started re-releasing those games as DLC, with the emulator built in. Since folks wanted to play them, and had little other choice, these games sold quite well as DLC.

      Now that we've established that consumer pattern, e.g. we are willing to re-buy our games on a new system, Sony and Microsoft are just going to continue the model.

      It's a bit frustrating, and outside of keeping both systems there's little recourse we have.

      Delete
    3. "It seems that Nintendo is the only company amongst the big three that still cares about backwards compatibility. I think that every one of their handhelds from the GameBoy Color onwards, and consoles from the Wii onwards is able to play games from one generation back."

      Yeah, but they often remove it in later models. Like the Gameboy Micro only plays GBA games, not GB/GBC, only the first model of the Wii was able to play GC games (without hacking, anyway). DSi could only play DS games, etc.

      Sony's been almost as good as Nintendo with BC, up until the PS4 anyway. Even when they started putting out PS3 models without PS2 compatibility they still kept in PSX BC. A lot of people don't realize all PS3's had that.

      Delete
  16. This is one reason why I simply cannot get into consoles. Not trying to start a PC vs. console debate, but it just makes me uncomfortable thinking I need an original Xbox to play Jade Empire, a PS3 or 360 to play Dragon Age I and II, Witcher II is a 360 exclusive, a PS4/XONE to play Inquisition....I like the comfort of having one system that does it all.

    With that being said, I love the old 16 bit beat em' ups and platformers, but they just don't stay with me very long. I really love them for 30 minutes or so, but then yearn for my CRPGs.

    ReplyDelete
  17. To someone new to the DA series, would you then recommend picking up this new one or starting with DA:O?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Chet said "Unless you're really pressed for time, I encourage you to play [DA2] before DA:I."

      I'm not going to play DA:I till I go through the first two. I want to be maximally invested in the world.

      Delete
    2. Play DA:O first, and then import into DA2. Bioware took a lot of time setting up a world, and I doubt you'd appreciate the scope of the conflict if you jumped into DA:I (there are also so many good 'in jokes' that require knowing what happened in the games).

      Just roleplaying wise, I think the most interesting character to play through DA:O is a human rogue. Dwarf Noble origin is also very nifty. If you want to play through at higher difficulty, I'd suggest a mage starting out, and remember that glyph bombs and frost are your friend. Play through Awakenings, and the other DLCs as well or you'll miss meeting some important characters/enemies etc.

      For DA2, Warrior is the easiest to play through at high difficulty. The main character decision for role playing decision is mage vs not-mage. I would tend towards a male mage Hawke (hilarious sibling rivalry), a female rogue Hawke, and a male warrior Hawke (the animations for a female warrior Hawke are odd to the point of distraction).

      I think that the DA games hold up a lot better at higher levels than the Elder Scrolls Fallout 3/NLV, and I disagree with Chet about enemies leveling with you in DA. If you've designed a decent character, you're mowing through enemies in the later stages of the game, and the challenging combats should be challenging.

      Delete
    3. Fully agree with Wanax. DA:I has some fun uses of previous characters and some intriguing plot developments that you won't be able to appreciate without having played the previous games.

      Delete
    4. Ah is there an import system between the 3 games? I normally find that encouraging :)

      What I don't find encouraging is that DA:O is on steam, yet neither DA2 or DA:I are.

      Delete
    5. @Pedro that's because EA decided to use the DA sequels to plug their own Origin digital download service/client.

      Delete
    6. The import system to DA:I is a little round-about, but it's there. Instead of importing directly into the game, you import your saved games to a special web site called "Dragon Age Keep." There, you can manually adjust the decisions you made in case you want to start with a slightly different world state.

      The import only works if you signed into EA's servers from your consoles during DA:O and DA2 in the first place. But you don't really NEED to import--it just makes things faster. You can manually set every aspect of the world state (including your DA:O and DA2 characters' names and profiles) from scratch.

      Delete
    7. I have about 35 hours in Inquisition, so I can't swear this will hold true in light of the full experience, but so far I would still rate Origins and its expansion Awakenings as the best game in the Dragon Age franchise. It's just the complete package. Great combat, great characters, great lines, great worldbuilding, great quests, etc. And the really brilliant idea of the origin sequences that firmly define your character's place in the world. It's no Baldur's Gate II, but what is?

      Dragon Age II retains a lot of the quality in writing (until act 3 - see my comment further above) and characterization, but drops a lot of what I liked about Origins' gameplay - the character building is much less satisfying, the conversations less predictable and with fewer options, the value of gear diminishes dramatically since you can't equip most of it on your companions, the combat is far less tactical and far more sloggy thanks to mid-combat reinforcement spawns in virtually every fight, there's reused environments all over, etc. Still marginally worth playing, but, ugh.

      Inquisition, unfortunately, is clearly modelled primarily on Dragon Age II in terms of gameplay systems. The levelling is very similar (if better balanced), the combat remains barely tactical (although at least the spawning waves are a thing of the past), and the loot is mostly dull. It also takes way too much of the really stupid late game plot developments of DA2 (as well as relying crucially on a character introduced in a DLC I never bought because it was overpriced and released well after I was done with the game) and way too little of Origins' plot, so far. And while the areas are enormous and gorgeous, a lot of early quests are pretty perfunctory and filler-y. That said, I'm really digging the actual plot missions and as one gets deeper into the corners and higher level parts of zones like the Hinterlands there's more interesting stuff to find. So we'll see.

      By the way, the Keep doesn't import your game state at all. If you want it to reflect your decisions, you will have to go through and manually set them. If it happens to default to decisions you made, that's coincidence.

      Delete
    8. I apologize for the misinformation on the DA Keep. I could have sworn when I first logged in that there was an option to import your saved games from DA:O or DA2, but only if you signed into EA Origin while those games were active on your console. Now that I re-check, it appears that you have to do everything manually no matter what.

      Malkav, I suspect you played DA:O and DA2 on the PC, where I understand the combat is much better. The console versions didn't support the tactical camera, which makes DA:I combat better on the console in my opinion, although the tactical camera has issues.

      I had to stop playing a few weeks ago when I was only about 50% through the game, so I can't decide if I like the plot of DA:I better than DA:O or not. By the time I get enough free time to return to the game, I'll probably have to start over. That's too bad. I was looking forward to seeing how several plot threads resolve, and I've managed to avoid spoilers so far.

      Delete
    9. You can import data from your EA account, but it's just achievements and the cosmetic appearance of your Warden and Hawke. It doesn't actually import any of your story decisions.

      And yes, I play everything on PC. As far as I know the disparity in gameplay is only a factor with Origins, though. Dragon Age II's combat is pretty much the same on both platforms and much the poorer for it. Same goes for Inquisition, come to that. The UI's a bit different - more hotkeys for spells, mainly - but as you say, the tactical camera has serious issues and I find that I get better results from just manually controlling my main character in over the shoulder mode and letting my companions do their AI thing. It's not like any of the fights have been hard so far (on Hard) unless I was trying to take on level 12 enemies with level 5 characters. Not that I particularly value challenge, but I felt like Origins had a good thing going and it's a shame to see them abandon it.

      Delete
  18. "I managed to end up with a platform that only has about three RPGs to its name"

    Welcome to the Nintendo experience, post-1996.

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    1. in terms of home consoles sure but there's a high amount of amount of RPGs on their handhelds (or at least the GBA and DS; the 3DS seems to be reaching there).

      Also, Chet, would you consider pirating those games on PC? I get that you won't have your save files and that piracy isn't legal (though I don't see any moral argument against pirating a game that you own on an another platform). You might not be able to run on the highest graphical settings, but I think most semi-recent desktops/laptops can run games adequately.

      Delete
    2. I would consider PLAYING those games on PC, but I wouldn't see any need to pirate them. I try to avoid modern gaming on my PC for a couple of reasons. First, I only use laptops, so a game needs to be several years old before it will run. Second, most modern games are so huge and addictive (irrespective of whether they're any good) that I worry I'll get even less work done than I do now.

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    3. It's still probably a better option for revisiting things like New Vegas than reacquiring a 360 for the handful of games you held back. Especially since you could then run mods.

      Delete
    4. Gamecube, 3DS and Wii had a number of excellent R.P.G.s: Baten Kaitos: Origins, Little King's Story, Xenoblade Chronicles, Sin Megami Tensei 4, Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Last Story, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, Bravely Default WiiU is getting Shin Megami Tensei versus Fire Emblem, X, Binding of Isaac Rebirth, Citizens of Earth, Zelda--when those come out, it may have the best R.P.G.s of this generation.

      Delete
    5. Baten Kaitos: Origins gets my award for best art and music in a game, period.

      The Last Story I've talked about before, how I love playing dress up with my characters, and love that better armour = more dress up options so I can fiddle with belts and such more.

      Delete
  19. "Xbox is named because it uses Microsoft's DirectX hardware abstraction layer to handle graphics and sound (the same method Windows uses) to make development cheaper and easier. DirectX Box was turned into XBox for marketing.

    Meanwhile, the Xbox One is so named because it was intended to be your ONE stop center for home entertainment, filling the functions of game machine, movie rental device, DVR, etc. "

    --------------------------------

    Remember how much a disaster the PS3 launch was because they tried to make the PS3 the EVERYTHING box for the living room? And no one wanted that? That's why the PS4 stepped BACK from the EVERYTHING box idea- Sony tried that with 3 and it was a disaster.

    Weird that the very next iteration, MSoft tries to make THEIR console an EVERYTHING box... Sure, they are catching up, but remember, last generation, Sony came up from behind to outsell the 360 in the end. Does that mean the Xbone will take off? Dunno- the PS4 is already more powerful than the Xbone, right out of the box...

    And the whole "directx" to "Xbox" thing almost sounds like a Marketing "after the fact" idea. I don't think it is :) but it ALMOST seems like this kind of thing:

    If a company came out with a box called called the LINtel, and the CEO's initials came out to LIN but the company INSISTED the box was named after LINux becuse that's what it runs on, so buy it...

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    1. The PS3 was being bought and sold for 3x the cost by people, it made some a few bucks. It became the least expensive bluray player at the time and sold very well. I remember it being sold out and nigh impossible to find at launch, then sales slowed and the price dropped and it picked up again.

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    2. I recall it the same way that Bryon does, sorry william.

      Also: I think they went with XBoxOne to avoid being Xbox 2 while PS3. People *will* actually just by the one with the higher number, thinking it is better.

      Delete
  20. Hey Chet, I know that advertising, especially advertising like this :) might be agin the rules- if it's bad, just let me know or delete the comment but I HOPE this is relevant :)

    On my channel ( https://www.youtube.com/user/williamroeben ) I am Let's Playing 'World of Aden' THUNDERSCAPE, as well as LEGEND OF GRIMROCK, HERETIC, ZIGGURAT, and SANCTUARYRPG :) THUNDERSCAPE you know is that just-pre-2000 CRPG by SSI :)

    Hope to see you all there! I got VERY silly in this last episode of Grimrock- I think it's funny as all get out, you should take a look. I get stuck in a box at one point- in real life, not in the game :)

    William.Roeben

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    1. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesOctober 26, 2015 at 1:31 PM

      I am going to play Legends of Grimrock 2 next month, after I finish Suikoden 2, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse and Apotheon, which are all great games. How is Legends of Grimrock?

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  21. I like the Legend of Zelda myself, so sticking to Nintendo consoles is an obvious choice for me. But I guess the Wii, and especially the Wii U sound like toys. Is that why it's selling so badly? I think that the story in Ocarina of Time and some other Zelda games are awesome, it's too bad that they're not rpgs . Maybe Nintendo should make an rpg, they already have a platformer; Mario and an action adventure; Zelda, so why not add an rpg to the mix? Almost any game could benefit from experience points and leveling, and it's easy to integrate. In Warlords 4, an otherwise horrible game, I liked that your Warlord could gain experience and levels and unlock new abilities. In Civilization 4 I loved leveling up my units. So far The Adventure of Link is the only Zelda game I know of in which you have experience points and level up abilities, but I'm not sure if that makes it an rpg since the outcome of battle depends much more on dexterity than level. The level just gives you more life, damage and spell points. And there's no inventory to speak of.

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    1. "Maybe Nintendo should make an rpg, they already have a platformer; Mario and an action adventure; Zelda, so why not add an rpg to the mix?"

      They did. And it made them a ton of money. Kept the company afloat, if you will. Their flagship RPG series is now in its sixth generation. It is interesting that the consoles only get the spin-off games, while the core series is all on handhelds.

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    2. Nintendo also has the Fire Emblem rpg series, though they were Japan-only for a long time. And then Smash Bros happened and everyone was like 'Marth is cool, I want to play the Marth game.'

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    3. I can't believe it took me a few minutes to realize you were talking about Pokemon. I'm a failure as a gamer :(

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    4. I was thinking about Pokémon, but to me it doesn't really feel like an rpg. A game like Princess Maker or Long Live the Queen, except more fleshed out with game play and dungeons, that would feel more "real", than just training bugs to fight each other. Maybe that's why it took time to think of it, in an rpg you usually level up yourself, in Pokémon you level up your bugs. And as far as I know there's no good multiplayer in it. Maybe Nintendo needs to make an MMORPG. Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma and Kouji Kondo are geniuses, Nintendo should take advantage of that. I appreciate the games they're working on right now, for instance two Zelda titles coming up in 2015, but I just wish they could do so much more.

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    5. They've also been making Mario RPGs since SNES. Well, Super Mario RPG was Square, but I'm pretty sure Paper Mario onward were first-party.

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    6. I never understood why they didn't make an RPG out of Legend Of Zelda. It basically has everything in an RPG except attributes and character growth based on experience.

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    7. Zelda II - The Adventure Of Link was an action RPG, with your health, magic, and damage based on your levels in those categories for which you collected experience, along with a spell-based magic system, towns, an overworld map similar to Ultima or Final Fantasy, towns, etc. It wasn't well received because those elements made it not Zelda enough.

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    8. There are quite a few people out there who categorize all the Zelda games as RPGs. Needless to say, I disagree with this assessment.

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    9. Actually I love The Adventure of Link, it's an awesome game. Those who hate it just don't understand. But to me it doesn't really feel like an rpg since you'll usually be max level in all three categories long before the end of the game, and leveling up just gives you more hit points, magic points and damage. You don't get new abilities by leveling up. Instead you get new abilities in a way characteristic to adventure games; you get abilities when you reach a certain point in the plot.

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    10. "It wasn't well received because those elements made it not Zelda enough."

      Huh. Really? How do you figure? Seeing as there was exactly one Zelda game released at the time, and no more, how can anyone say it "wasn't Zelda enough"?

      Zelda wasn't a series. It was just one game, and then there was a sequel. The reasons it didn't sell well have nothing to do with how it was perceived as part of the "Zelda" franchise, because Zelda wasn't a franchise and customers had no expectations. One might as well say the Balloon Fight and Ice Climber franchises weren't well received.

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    11. That's exactly WHY a game that was so different was a problem. People wanted a improved Zelda with different dungeons, maybe some new items, and a few new monsters. They got Zelda II, and there was a lot of backlash for it. Castelvania II had the same problem. Note that both Zelda III and Castelvania III went right back to their first game's formula , because that's what the customers demanded.

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    12. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJune 24, 2015 at 12:16 AM

      Nintendo also made Mother, the R.P.G. that is by far the weirdest game series ever made.

      Delete
  22. Silver lining for the Xbox One purchase - Microsoft cut the price $50 for the holidays. It's going back to the regular amount after today.

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  23. Oof, that backwards compatibility. :(

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  24. Stuff like this is why I feel lucky I held onto my PS2 after upgrading to PS3.

    Then it turned out I didn't have enough time to play all the JRPGs I collected on both systems anyway. (Inbetween mixing weird stuff to cook up magical shoes in Atelier Ayesha, Skyrim and of course my PC-strategy games I ran out of play time long ago. But I still have a dozen PS2-games I someday want to try out.)

    As a protip: Never refer to a Playstation as a Playstation. Always call it by it's acronym. "Playstation 3" sounds like a toy, but PS3 sounds acceptably futuristic. You just have to get evasive if someone asks what the acronym stands for.

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    1. I think "PS3" sounds like school district.

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    2. Weird as it sounds, the Playstation started out as a joint project between Nintendo and Sony for an SNES CD-ROM add-on/console. And it was called the "Play Station". So basically the name from a project Nintendo was heavily involved in, and in fact Nintendo originally sued to not let Sony use the name.

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  25. I don't know if you already heard this, or if it's still relevant to you, but it was announced today that the XB-1 will soon be fully backwards compatible with 360 games, with all titles being available for download Soon, and it will be possible to use 360 discs to get the games at no cost.

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    1. It'll be relevant eventually, probably this fall, when I can move back into my house and get my TV and Xbox out of storage. Thanks for the update!

      Delete
  26. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJune 24, 2015 at 12:14 AM

    Why did you get an XBox One after that horrible press conference in 2013? Why bother getting a console at all when you refuse to play console games?

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