Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fallout 4: The End Of The World Never Looked So Good

I just finished my first play through of Fallout 4 on the PS4 and my overall impression is that it was amazing. I truly had fun playing it especially when I got to run around in power armor. We'll get to all that in a minute. First you start with the usual creation of your character. You can play as male or female. I chose female and let's just say the hairstyle choices were interesting. Again I ask, why were there several types of bald? At least there were some long hair choices, but I went for a fancy updo. There are a lot of choices for the face also and you can add scarring if you want or different facial features.
Once that was done, I started the story and the world seems like it's a nice place, you even get a cheerful talking robot by the name of Codsworth out of it. Then the Vault-Tec rep shows up at your door informing you that you and your family are approved for entry into Vault 111. A few minutes later a news report warns of a nuclear attack forcing you and your family to rush to the vault and as you're waiting to go in a nuclear bomb detonates in the distance causing even more panic. The platform you're on then lowers everyone into the vault and everyone is put into cryosleep. Years later, events cause you to be awakened and then your adventure in Fallout 4 begins.

Entering Vault 111

Things are not as your sole survivor remembers in their little town. Signs of war, desolation, and destruction are everywhere. You do run into your old pal Codsworth and he becomes your first companion. This also gives you a tutorial on the game controls and the crafting aspect of it i.e. rebuilding settlements. The controls are fairly easy to manage and you can go back and forth easily. Of course the big thing is to loot everything everywhere you go because salvaging things like metal and copper are important to building many things such as water pumps that give you purified water or radio beacons for recruiting settlers.

The old homestead isn't what it used to be. 

After the tutorial is out of the way, you're instructed to head to Diamond City as part of the main story quest. Of course, you can explore other areas as you go which leads you to new characters and companions one of the first after Codsworth being your canine companion Dogmeat. There are 12 companions in all to find in Fallout 4 as you progress in your adventure. There are also 4 different factions that you can join and do a ton of quests for, but bear in mind that as part of the main story you are going to have to pick one and this affects your relationship with the remaining factions. 

Just a sole survivor and their dog.

There's a lot to do in Fallout 4 with the various faction quests and radiant quests. There are also side quests from various cities and settlements which can keep you busy while doing the main story quest. Factor in the quests that you can do for your companions and there's at least 100 hours of game play or more. There are a ton of dangers while exploring the world of Fallout 4 like Queen Deathclaws, Super Mutants, and Raiders just to name a few. The SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck) system is here too and it's quite streamlined in the way your abilities are managed and each skill requires a higher rank to unlock as you progress via the perks chart. 

Taking out some raiders.

The power armor was a great plus for me because it's like running around in a tank and kicking lots of ass and it was awesome! And while I liked the first power armor set I found, the best one to me was the X-01 power armor I found while doing  a quest and it was a complete set too. This thing could stand up to all kinds of things even suicider Super Mutants. Walking away from explosions virtually untouched in the X-01 power armor was all kinds of amazing. 

One of the first power armors I found.

Behold! The X-01 power armor in all its glory!

There are glitches of course, but not a lot. I only experienced a couple. One was with being stuck in the elevator in one building and the only fix was to reload my last save and start over. There was another one where I was floating above the ground and the game froze completely. Again, reloading my last save seemed to do the trick. Another thing that bothered me was all the radiant quests mainly from The Minutemen leader Preston Garvey because after a while they become tedious especially with the kidnapping ones when it seemed like the same NPC settler got kidnapped three times. I started to think that perhaps they were getting kidnapped on purpose just to screw with me. I also wish there had been a way for the factions to work together against the scary villain instead of forcing you to pick one and depending on your actions, the other factions would become your enemies. I wish there had been a varied path with some options instead of you had to be on this set path and there's no other way around it.

That being said, I enjoyed Fallout 4 a great deal. There's lots to see and do, tons of things to build, and plenty of adventure to be had. It's worth checking out and definitely worth having in your gaming collection.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Holidays Are Upon Us!

So I have been busy knitting for Christmas and my birthday is coming up. In the downtime, I've been enjoying Fallout 4. When things die down a bit (see after Christmas and everyone is stuffed from all the pie) I'll be posting more Mother Gamer posts. We'll start with Fallout 4 yay! That will be followed by some backlog gaming posts. I still have Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Destiny to play.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and has a wonderful time with their friends and family. Until next time everyone. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Backlog Gaming Review: Assassin's Creed Unity and Dead Kings DLC Vive La Revolution!

I waited to buy Assassin's Creed Unity because of all the glitches and problems the game had upon its release that I kept hearing about. I'm glad I waited because it seems they addressed and fixed many of those glitches. There's a ton to see and do in Unity besides the main story such as side quests, puzzle quests, murder mystery quests,  and co-op missions that you can play with friends or privately. I liked the character of Arno Dorian (much more than I liked Shay in Rogue) and it was interesting to see a lot of his interactions with his friends and a variety of historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and Marquis de Sade.

Introducing Arno Dorian

The viewpoints in 16th century Paris are stunning, showing off a beautiful thriving city with a lot of people. The scenes with the Revolution were also interesting to see and interact with because of the people and I found I would stop and just listen. This also had me remembering all the French I learned as I listened to various conversations. At times having a lot of people could be frustrating when having to chase a target for a mission or spy on someone because they would get in the way causing a mission to fail if you didn't get to where you needed to be in time. There were also times where the controls would be a little wonky and Arno would grab a wall when I wanted him to just run or jump. It didn't happen often though so I didn't mind too much. I also didn't see the point of the game having four different types of currency. I'm not kidding. You had the livres, (what francs were first called) sync points, creed points, and helix credits. I felt this all could have done with just one currency. Instead you have money to buy stuff, the sync points and creed points are used to upgrade gear and skills, while the helix credits you use real money to buy things via UPlay. All of it is completely useless. UPlay is not only pointless, it just screams of greed. The game really only needed one currency and nothing else.

A spectacular view of 16th Century Paris

 I do understand that Arno's tale of revenge with the Assassins vs. Templars has been done before, but I found I did like the story for what it was; an entertaining adventure with some pivotal history and interesting characters in it. Yes, they did take a few liberties with some of the historical aspects, but it flowed really well and was done in a subtle way that made all the events mesh well together. I liked the character of Elise also, and I wish there had been a few more main missions with her because she offered a different point of view and also showed that not all the Templars were power hungry insane people. There's also the factor that she and Arno together were intriguing and they made a great team.

Elise and Arno 

There are several different ways to do many of the missions which I found to be fun. You could either sneak in a window or disguise yourself as one of the soldiers and just walk right in the front door. The AI for the enemies is more aggressive here so I found myself relying heavily on smoke bombs often. At some points it got a little frustrating especially with the final memory sequence because I had to be a certain distance from the target to finish the mission. There were a couple of glitch issues such as a location on the map for a quest not showing up and an odd one where Arno got stuck in a wall and it looked like he was swimming on the wall. Those were the only technical problems I ran into which isn't too bad. Overall the game itself is fun to play with lots to see and do. There's even a mission with a hot air balloon that's very cool.

Hot air balloon over Paris is awesome

Once I had finished up the main story of Unity, I started the Dead Kings DLC. This happens a week after the events of the main story and in Franciade (now Saint Denis) and Arno  runs into the Marquis de Sade once again who wishes for Arno to help him find the manuscript of Nicoleas de Condorcet which is rumored to be in the tomb of Louis IX. Arno agrees to help him in exchange for a ship to take Arno to Egypt. After that you get to explore Franciade and while not as big as Paris it's just as beautiful and there's lots to explore above and below.

A bird's eye view of some of Franciade

Arno runs into some tomb raiders who happen to be working for Napoleon Bonaparte and we see him once again throughout the area. Napoleon is looking for something in a Precursor Temple. While we all know what that could mean Arno does not, but he knows that whatever it is can't be good. He also befriends a young boy named Leon and they work together to figure out exactly what it is Napoleon is after. There are a lot of side missions here too along with some murder mystery quests and a few more co-op missions as well. There are even a few take over the enemy fort missions that are fun to do as well.

Some of the missions could be a bit frustrating because a lot of them were in the catacombs and it could be very hard to see with how dark some of the areas are. I had to use Eagle Vision a lot just to be able to see where I needed to go. Luckily there were only a couple of places that were difficult to see in. You also get some new equipment that is pretty awesome like the guillotine gun basically an axe and a grenade launcher melded together. While not the stealthiest of weapons, it's a ton of fun to unleash all that firepower on your enemies.  The lantern on the other hand, annoyed me. Yes, the catacombs are dark and yes you need a lantern, but it seemed a lot of the puzzles relied heavily on the lantern and it was a bit clunky and tedious. I mean having to use a lantern just so I could scare away roaches to jump on a ledge was a bit much. 

The Precursor Temple was interesting to explore with a few lighting puzzles and brazier puzzles. The scenes with Arno and Leon chatting together were nice because it showed Leon gradually getting Arno to see that there is always hope and even caused Arno to change his mind about a few things. With the main story and side missions Dead Kings is only a couple of hours, but it's a couple of hours worth playing. 

Arno in the Precursor Temple

Overall Assassin's Creed Unity (which includes the Dead Kings DLC for free) is a solid game and it is fun to play. There's a lot to see and do on your own and plenty to do with your friends via co-op missions. It's worth checking out because of the fun of the missions and because of the fact that the main character is actually pretty likable.

Note: I played this game on the PS4.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Backlog Gaming Review: Assassin's Creed Rogue, Not Perfect At All

*Note: There's going to be some spoilers in this review, so if you haven't played it yet and don't like spoilers you may want to wait.*

Next in my gaming backlog was Assassin's Creed Rogue. I was curious about the story because it is told from the Templar perspective via the assassin turned templar character Shay Cormac. It started out promising enough and then it was a long frustrating adventure in disappointment. There were just so many issues that I had with this game among the story and mechanics. 

Shay Cormac, the protagonist of Assassin's Creed Rogue

Shay starts out as an assassin who seems full of promise, but is brash and quick with his temper. We see Achilles from AC 3 as a much younger man and he seems a little more aggressive here because of all the anger he has inside him from losing his family. He has high hopes for Shay however and things seem to be going fairly well until a trip Shay takes to Lisbon to get an artifact, yet when he took it he discovered it wasn't a normal Piece of Eden but an artifact that kept the world together. When Shay removed it, it caused a huge earthquake that killed a lot of people. 

Of course Shay was angry and there is a huge fight between him and Achilles about it because he was convinced that Achilles set him up. In fact, Achilles had no idea that would happen and it makes things worse when he doesn't believe what Shay has told him. This is when Shay leaves the Assassins and joins with the Templars. The game is all about Shay's story in this moment and what he does to try and stop the assassins from getting more artifacts that will essentially destroy the world. 

This is when the frustration, issues, and annoyance with the game come into play. Let's start with the ship controls. Yes, we're in the Americas again a la AC 3 which drove me up the wall with all its issues. I didn't mind until I tried sailing The Morrigan. This was clearly a copy and paste of Black Flag (which I loved) and I could forgive that if only the ship controls hadn't been so damn clunky. I couldn't understand why they were this clunky and awkward when in Black Flag they were practically flawless. There was no excuse for these controls and it made me miss Black Flag and the Jackdaw which was a much better ship.

The Morrigan, woohoo clunky sailing

Then there are the battles that involve running. It got pretty old fast when Shay would constantly be trying to climb buildings or trees when I didn't want him to. The controls for combat were clunky as well, plus there were moments where the game would freeze or Shay would be hanging in mid air for no reason at all. A few times I would get a black screen and the game wouldn't load at all. With all those issues, I truly don't understand how AC Rogue got all these great reviews from others and makes me wonder if we had played the same game, because it is not perfect at all. 

Shay never doing what I want him to do during battles

The story started off interestingly enough, but then it just flops around and makes me despise Shay. I understand the story shows you that there really is no good or bad on either side and that both are flawed although they both claim to want the same goal of peace. I thought Connor was bad in AC3, but Shay is a whole new level of emo asshat. For someone who claims he doesn't want to kill innocents, kill others, and wishes the assassins and Templars would talk to each other he does a lot of killing of his former comrades and practically no talking at all. It's a lot of yelling bravado about how he wants to protect the world which is all well and good except for the part where he hunted down his fellow assassins and murdered them. I will never forgive the writers for him killing Adewale who was one of my favorite characters in Black Flag. 

At the end it's not even satisfying when you realize this is all over a misunderstanding on behalf of Achilles who didn't believe Shay until the end when he sees for himself and realizes that he was right about the artifacts and telling the truth about what happened in Lisbon. There's the usual final battle and of course Shay kills his best friend who still believes in the assassins to the very end. Achilles is the only one left and of course Haytham Kenway (poor Edward Kenway would have hated to see that his son joined the Templars and became a total jerk) shoots Achilles in the shin making sure he'll never be able to get in his way again, but we know how that turns out later. 

Here's the thing, Shay does question some of the things the Templars do as well and yet he still stays with them. Yes, the assassins aren't perfect but so many of the Templars are evil sadists and he thinks he's going to protect the world with them. Really? Rogue just ignores so much of the already established lore and gave me a character that wasn't likable at all and in fact made me want to shove him off a cliff at so many intervals. Even the side quests with taking over gangs wasn't enjoyable because of the frustrating game play mechanics. This was as disappointing as AC 3 and that says quite a lot. So this isn't worth it at all. You can just skip it and get the back story with Unity which I will be playing next. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Backlog Gaming Review: Why I Loved The Last Of Us

I have been slowly but surely going through my backlog of games, so I chose The Last Of Us Remastered to play next because I have been curious about it and many of my friends have been telling me I needed to play this game. To them I say you were right. I did need to play this game because it wasn't just fun to play; it was phenomenal story telling. When a game's story has me getting choked up about something within the first few minutes, I know it's going to be a heck of a ride and be great. 

I couldn't help, but like Joel. This is a character that has been through something that is so devastating to him and yet somehow he's kept going on and had to do things that are not necessarily good, but that he felt had to be done in order to keep surviving especially since the world as everyone knows it has ended and a post-apocalyptic world is the new normal. 
Is Joel a good person? No, not really. He's not really a terrible person either. His partner Tess was interesting also and she's another character that's not really  good or evil. The Last Of Us really showcases that this world isn't really that black and white; there are varying shades of grey and not everyone is completely good or bad and that many of the people are just trying to survive any way they can. 

It wasn't long before the story progressed to meeting Ellie. I loved Ellie. She was this mouthy 14 year old kid, but you come to realize that a lot of why she's like that is because she's scared of losing those she cares about and having to parent herself. In spite of that, Ellie always managed to dig down deep and find the courage to do what needed to be done and I admired and respected that level of strength in her. The interaction between Ellie and Joel at first was rather terse, but I understood that was normal especially for Joel because he just wanted to finish the mission and not get attached. 

I really got into it because the game was that good for me. The combat controls are great; not clunky at all. Sometimes I would get nailed by an infected and have to start over from that point (I really HATE the Clickers and Bloaters, they're terrifying), but I didn't really mind because I was enjoying the story and wanted to know what happened next. There are human factions as well such as military, the Fireflies, and Hunters.  This is definitely a game for adults because of how dark the story can be at certain points and because of the harsh violence. 

Infected are scary!

The environments in the game are beautifully done. I found myself stopping and just looking at everything often. From riding a horse in the woods to an abandoned college campus with a herd of giraffes, all of it looks great and really stands out. The music in the game is perfectly done as well with some hauntingly beautiful melodies that add to the emotions of moments in the story.

Horse riding in the woods
Even an abandoned campus can be pretty
There were points in the story where I got pretty emotional because I came to care about the characters. I had to remind myself it was just a game, but it was difficult especially when it came to the characters of Henry and Sam. I actually had to walk away for a few minutes because I was so saddened by what happened to them especially with Sam because he and Ellie were close to the same age and they had bonded and became friends. 

The big thing that stood out for me is the relationship between Joel and Ellie. I loved how it slowly progressed from Joel being reluctant about getting to know Ellie to during some slower moments like navigating an area to look for supplies there would be a bit of talking between them back and forth about different things such as what a type of video game was like or that an ice cream truck was a real thing. I also found myself chuckling at some of the awful puns that Ellie would read from her book of puns. 

As I got further in the game I recognized that Joel is a very angry and desperate man, but when it came to Ellie he could have these moments of kindness and really seemed to look out for her. The story isn't in your face about it and it becomes this gradual evolution of Joel treating her like a daughter and her coming to trust him while they both support each other in a situation that is pretty dangerous and exhausting on many levels. It's poignant and the emotions from both characters is so incredible that it draws you into the story fully which shows how fantastic the voice acting was in this. 

Joel and Ellie watching some giraffes.

When I got to the ending of the game, it made me think about a lot. It made me ask questions like could I do what Joel had done? Was the leader of the Fireflies right about sacrificing a few for the many? It brought up a lot of ideas about the choices that people have to make in this world and not all of them are easy; much of it involves hard choices. I liked the ending, but it definitely wasn't a sunshine happy ending because that's not the kind of game The Last of Us is.

I played the Left Behind DLC also and I thought it was interesting to get a chance to see what Ellie was like before she met Joel. It also shows you some moments that are pivotal in the main story line that focus on Ellie which are also great.  I liked the interaction between her and Riley because it brings some lightheartedness to the game with them just being kids and having fun, forgetting about the dark things going on in their world for a moment. It also shows some great emotional moments between Ellie and Riley that don't feel forced and seem to happen quite naturally. Of course the cheerful stuff only lasts for so long and then it's back to some very sad things happening. The final conversation between Ellie and Riley just before Left Behind ends had me choking back some tears because it was this heartfelt moment between two characters that truly cared for and loved each other. 

Ellie and Riley having fun in a photo booth.

This is exactly why I loved The Last Of Us. It is hands down one of the best games I've ever played because of how intelligent the writing for this was creating a game that is perfectly story driven with some very memorable characters; characters that you find yourself caring about a great deal. The exploration of the various relationships are wonderfully executed making for a fantastic gaming and story experience. The game play is excellent and it shows that a lot of thought was put into getting things just right. The Last Of Us is a game title that I am thrilled to have in my gaming collection and it's absolutely worth playing.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below Fun To Play Once

Let me get this out of the way first. I do like games like Dynasty Warriors and they are fun to play when I just want to relax and do a few minutes of hack and slash, so I didn't mind that Dragon Quest Heroes seemed to be a mashup of Dynasty Warriors, Tower Defense, and Hyrule Warriors. It was different and not like Dragon Quest 8 and 9 which I loved, but I did find myself having fun with it. The graphics are beautiful and you have over 10 characters from the various Dragon Quest games to choose from to be in your party. There are a lot of references to the Dragon Quest lore which is fun as well.
First fight with a dragon!

The tutorial for the controls is easy to follow and the game play controls handle really well. The battle system for the most part is pretty decently thought out and you can play a quick mission here and there. You can switch back and forth between your party members with a quick press of a button which is handy. The story isn't as good as previous Dragon Quest games with a pretty thin plot and a rather sub-par ending. The thing that really shines is the various special battle moves characters can do and the tension gauge. As your heroes land hits on monsters, the tension meter builds up and once it's full you can unleash a chain of powerful attacks that will defeat your enemies.

Tension attacks really pack a punch.

There are side quests you can do while doing the main story; mainly fetch quests or defeat a certain number of monsters. That can get tedious after a while because you revisit some of the same dungeon areas. There's a lack of exploration as you basically just go from one dungeon crawl area to another. Sure the airship town is cool, but I would have liked an opportunity to at least get to check out areas freely rather than have a go from point A to point B situation. Level grinding is pretty easy especially with the live weekend events they have where you can get extra EXP for your heroes (20% this weekend), rare items, and bonus gold. With all the battles your heroes do you can earn more than enough gold to buy weapons and gear for your party which is pretty great. The addition of monster medals is also a plus. Monster medals drop off any monsters you defeat and you can use the medals to summon those monsters to fight alongside you.

A town with everything you need all on one ship!

While I did like Dragon Quest Heroes, I did not love it the way I have the previous games. It is good, but it's not perfect. I understand they went in a different direction and for the most part it works and is fun up to a point. In many of the missions there's usually an object that must be protected from the onslaught of monsters and strategy is crucial here as well as deciding your party setup and which monsters to summon. However, sometimes the strategy isn't enough because there can be hordes of monsters that can overwhelm your party and as you're struggling to zip to and from different areas, it can be frustrating as you try to read a very cluttered map. Sometimes you will fail a mission and have to try again from the beginning. The one good thing about that is all your EXP and items you've gained carry over. It can get repetitive and I did find myself a little bored as I progressed. I tried different tactics if I had trouble with a mission and trying different things does help to an extent. The AI can also be incredibly stupid. There were a few times where I had a party member just standing there doing nothing while they would be attacked by enemies. 

Early dungeons start out okay and then it gets complicated.

The game play overall is good, but it's not great. Dragon Quest Heroes is fun to play once and not at full price especially with only 30 hours of play time. I'd suggest waiting until it goes on sale or buying it used. It pains me to say that because I love the Dragon Quest series, but this game could have been better and it just felt so much like a Dynasty Warriors/Hyrule Warriors clone in places which left me a little disappointed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, Endless Fun

Happy clients are the best!

I love the Animal Crossing games because for me they are a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I didn't like some of the time constraints that were involved. Plus that Tom Nook really has a racket running the town. I was pretty excited for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer the more I read about it. Then I started playing it and I absolutely loved it because there are no time constraints and it's so much fun to play. In the game you are an employee of Nook's Homes and design homes for the various animal villagers based on their interests and suggestions. You can also decide where to place a client's home when the map pops up. A mountain home, a beach house, or a desert oasis are just some of the choices. You don't just design homes however. You can also design a variety of buildings for the town such as restaurants, shops, and a school. Dragging and dropping items is a nice change from the pushing and pulling items to move them. This also makes it easier to fix mistakes or undo something. It's also easier to customize colors and patterns and as you progress you can unlock even more items for your designs.

Oh, a cute little cafe design!

You can also decorate the outside of a client's house, choosing a variety of roof colors, house colors, and items for their yard like gardens and swings. You can also revisit clients and do things like a house upgrade or even redecorate their home for them. Another cool thing is the Happy Home Network. You can upload any house or building you've designed and you can visit other people's homes and rate them. You can take pictures of your designs and post them to social media as well showing off your creative skills which is pretty neat too.

You can design an awesome yard for your clients.

There are also themed contests via the Happy Home network such as a candy house or a Halloween house. There are also Amiibo cards which look like Pokemon trading cards and they work exactly the same way that the Amiibo figures do without all that extra bulk. The Amiibo cards work exclusively with the New 3DS and New 3DS XL. If you want to use them with the old 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS you can use the NFC Reader/Writer accessory.
 After you've designed a couple of homes, you'll get the whole introduction to the Amiibo cards and how to use them as well as having an Amiibo phone in the Nook's Homes office. You'll be prompted to use an Amiibo card and when you do you'll be sent to the client's home where you can design to your heart's content. Each Amiibo card has different characters that you can design for. Another cool feature with these is if you have friends who have Amiibo cards, you can share furniture simply by visiting a client by tapping the Amiibo card to your friend's screen and if you do it twice the character will remember all their furniture. It's a fun way to socialize and get more items for your designs. 

A forest of books!

I do wish you had your own house to decorate as all the designing only happens in town or in a client's home. That's not a big deal though because you can design the buildings any way you want and I put a lot of my own personal touches in things like the school and a concert hall. There's also lots to choose from with the designs and items making for a unique and entertaining experience. This is all about creativity and just having a good time with it. I'm still playing the game, trying out all these different things as well as checking out other people's awesome designs. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer overall is a great game full of endless fun. 

Designers unite!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition Trespasser DLC Review: All The Bells, Whistles, and More

 Many folks know I was deeply disappointed with The Descent DLC for Dragon Age Inquisition, so of course I was skeptical about the Trespasser DLC. Then I watched the teaser trailer for it and then watched it again. It gave me hope because it not only looked interesting, it promised answers to many of the questions we were left with at the end of the main story line and as this is the final DLC it promised to give an ending to the story. 

The beginning of Trespasser took an interesting perspective setting the scene two years later after the events with Corypheus. What happens when a world that needed saving no longer needs saving? is the main question of Trespasser as it begins at The Winter Palace for a meeting with the Exalted Council. 
The Inquisition on parade at The Winter Palace

 I played this DLC on my female Qunari Inquisitor. For the first few minutes I enjoyed actually getting to run around different areas of the Winter Palace and catching up with old friends. There are some really nice revelations with them; one of them with Cole caused me to smile a lot. My Qunari had romanced Sera and there is a scene with them that had me grinning from ear to ear because it was so sweet. There is also a nice moment with whichever character you chose to be the new Divine. 

 The story then moves on to the Council meeting and the debate over the purpose of the Inquisition when the Inquisitor and friends discover that their actions and meeting have drawn the attention of the Qun and they must work together for one last mission to save everyone in Thedas again. Their quest brings them through the Eluvian crossroads and as you travel through many Eluvians you learn more about the history of the Elves and how a certain old friend is a big part of it. 

Eluvians, a faster way to travel!
 As your journey continues, there are new abilities with the Anchor for your Inquisitor, but the mark on their hand is also slowly killing them. It puts into perspective for the key members of the Inquisition the possibility of the Inquisitor dying and what that could mean for everyone as well as what the future could hold. Many of the conversations my Inquisitor had with her friends pondering what it could mean had me smiling sadly, because these were characters that I had come to care about and it is always hard to say goodbye, but goodbyes happen and people move on. 

 The environments in Trespasser are beautiful making for fun exploration. There are a few interesting puzzles as well. You pick up more lore and hints about various characters which include some insights about your current mission. There are highlighted spots where you can listen to observations from people in your party; some are touching and some are humorous adding more to the story. 

Exploring areas behind the Eluvians

 The battles with the Qun while a little trying which included a boss battle, (seriously, why does everything have so much health?) were not nearly as frustrating or impossible as some of the battles in Descent. You also learn some things about the Qun and the threat to Thedas. And of course it wouldn't be Dragon Age if there wasn't at least one fight with a dragon, but that had an interesting twist to it too which actually gave you a choice about the situation. 

Inquisitor and friends battling Qun soldiers

 As you get to the end, there are some big reveals in Trespasser. A lot of the big questions get answered and it does give a sense of closure to the Inquisition story. Without spoiling it, there is even a hugely deep conversation with an old friend that brings to light many things and hints at what the future may bring. Trespasser does wrap things up very neatly and gives you a sense of finality to the game with a proper ending. Whatever you decide to do with the Inquisition's fate, you do get a lovely moment with artistic sketches that shows you what happens to all who were involved in the Inquisition. The one with Varric had me giggling, because it seemed so hilarious and yet it was perfect for him. 

A gorgeous view for the Inquisitor and an old friend

While it was sad to say goodbye, I wouldn't have it any other way. Trespasser did a great job of giving a solid ending to Dragon Age Inquisition and setting up the next location for the possibility of Dragon Age 4. So perhaps it's not a permanent goodbye and we may see the Inquisitor and their friends in one form or another in the next game. Trespasser definitely redeemed the Dragon Age Inquisition DLC in my eyes after Descent because it had all the bells, whistles, and more. It's definitely worth checking out and absolutely worth playing. Just a little side note, sit through the credits because there is a hysterically funny and adorable moment with Cassandra. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition Trespasser DLC

While I was disappointed with the Descent DLC, the trailer for the Trespasser DLC does look promising. I also enjoyed that some familiar faces appear in the trailer. I felt some of that excitement that I had for Jaws of Hakkon which I loved. I really hope that they improved on the play through and learned from some of the mistakes that were made in Descent. You can check out the awesome trailer here:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dragon Age Inquisition The Descent DLC Review: Wait Until It's On Sale

I really liked The Jaws of Hakkon DLC. It offered a lot of new lore, some great story insights, and awesome items for my Inquisitor. I was very excited about The Descent when I saw the trailer for it because it showed a lot of the Deep Roads. The Deep Roads was one of my favorite explorations in Dragon Age Origins because it was quite creepy and added that atmosphere of danger to the adventure. So of course I got The Descent DLC. It started out pretty well, introducing a couple of new characters for this part of the story. There's even more interesting lore about Dwarves and their history. 

Riding the elevator down to the Deep Roads  

Basically there are earthquakes happening and The Inquisition is sent to The Deep Roads to investigate. There are all kinds of side tunnels and rooms to explore with a ton of great items for your party members ranging from weapons to upgraded armor. One room had a puzzle that was a familiar one because it was in  Mass Effect which was interesting and it gave you a pretty nice item once you solved it. The other areas you get to see are vast and colorfully beautiful. I spent a good few minutes just looking around at all of it. The designs for it are rather impressive. 

The Inquisition ready to explore the Deep Roads

Then the fun stops. I'm not kidding. I wish I was. Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love the Dragon Age series (yes, even Dragon Age 2 in spite of its many many flaws) so it is really disappointing to me to have to write a less than stellar review especially considering the fact that I greatly enjoyed Dragon Age Inquisition and the DLC Jaws of Hakkon. The Descent just doesn't quite have the bite that Jaws of Hakkon did and there are many frustrating moments in it as well. 
 The separate war table for the Deep Roads is not only impractical, it makes no sense. I didn't understand why you couldn't just have the Deep Roads missions on the war table map back at Skyhold. Having two separate war tables just seemed like a convoluted way of doing things. I also found it mildly irritating that when my party would unlock an operation we would have to go all the way back to the top level just to do the mission from the war table. I did like that you got more influence as you sent your scouts on the various missions and sometimes you would get a few good items also. I did unlock the fast travel areas on the area map as quickly as possible so it made going back and forth easier. 

Oh look, another elevator for traveling all the way back to the top. Again.

There's hardly any Darkspawn. When I think Deep Roads, I think tons of Darkspawn. That's what makes the Deep Roads so frightening; the thought of hordes upon hordes of Darkspawn coming for all of Thedas. With the exception of one pretty epic battle, there's practically no Darkspawn at all. The combat is uneven. In some areas it's alright and in other areas, it's ridiculously hard and I had the game set to casual. When a game's combat is uneven like that, it makes for some pretty annoying boss fights (more on that later) and a ton of frustration. Let's talk about this Bioware. Let's talk about how you need to look up the meaning of casual and learn that when a game is set to casual i.e. the easy setting that's what it SHOULD be! I had horrifying flashbacks to Dragon Age 2 and the Last Straw battle as I played The Descent. Yes, it was that bad. I don't mind a challenge, but when it's on the easy setting, I expect it to play like it's on the easy setting. I actually had to check the game settings to make sure it was on casual because I really thought for a minute I had accidentally set it to Hard or Nightmare mode. It was on casual, so no I wasn't crazy, but I think you guys might be because you don't know what CASUAL means!

Believe it or not, this is one of the easier battles.

This brings me to the boss battle in The Descent. Bear in mind, the game was on the casual setting as I attempted this. My party wiped three times and every time I tried to revive a party member the boss would slap them dead. I even had Vivienne in my party who is basically unstoppable as a Knight Enchanter and still we got spanked hard. I swore. A LOT. I tried different party members, different strategies, and even invoked Cthulhu to help me win that damned boss fight. (The last part is a joke. Don't invoke Cthulhu, that's how you get sea monsters.) The one consistent thing was Blackwall. If you do this fight, bring Blackwall. Blackwall is by and far the best tank in Dragon Age Inquistion because he's crazily overpowered especially if you fully unlock his Champion skill tree. Out of all the fights I lost, he was the only one standing right until the end. Eventually after a ton of swearing and one more try, I did beat the boss. Did I feel good about it? No, not really. I felt pissed off that it had taken that much damned effort for one freaking boss on the easy setting. 

At least the scenery and surrounding areas are pretty.

 The story ending to the mission did not make me feel better either. It left me sitting there wondering what just happened because it gives you more questions than answers. It did not have that sense of closure that Jaws of Hakkon did. It also made me want to slug one of the characters. I wondered if the writers just got bored or deliberately left it like that as a possible opening for more DLC stuff. Either way, there is too little reward for too much effort with The Descent. While I did find the history and revelations about the Dwarves interesting, I wished for just a bit more. Without spoiling it, I did like the one character who was introduced a lot and I was pleased to hear David Hayter doing the voice acting for them. The areas further down are pretty and add some great atmosphere. However, I did not have as much fun playing The Descent as I did playing Jaws of Hakkon. In fact, it was downright frustrating at times and I feel it's not worth paying full price for. Jaws of Hakkon is on sale right now and that one I highly recommend buying. With The Descent, you're better off waiting until it's on sale. I really hope that the next story DLC will be better than this because The Descent was really not up to snuff.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Dragon Age Inquisition DLC: The Descent Teaser Trailer

Dragon Age: Inquisition has went above and beyond my expectations. I'm currently doing my fifth play through (I know, but it's fun for me!) and enjoying it just as much as the first one. The Jaws of Hakkon was a great DLC because it had a lot of interesting lore and you finally got a chance to see the Avvar and learn more about their history and culture. I have to really like a game to purchase any DLC at all, so I was glad this first one was great.

I am pretty excited for the next DLC titled The Descent. I watched the trailer twice. It looks like you get to explore the Deep Roads which is very cool as I liked the creepy atmosphere of the Deep Roads in Dragon Age Origins. This looks even better and it looks like you may get some more Dwarven lore and history which is also fantastic. I can't wait to play it!

You can check out the trailer for Dragon Age Inquisition: The Descent here:

Friday, August 7, 2015

Final Fantasy XV Malboro Trailer

I played the demo on the PS4 for Final Fantasy XV and it looks amazing. Seeing the teaser trailer with a Malboro fight is even better. I can't wait to play this game because I'm a fan of the Final Fantasy series and this looks great. You can check out the video on their Facebook page here:

I for one can not wait for the game to get here. The release date is December 31, 2015. It looks like it's going to be an awesome year for my gaming! In the meantime, I have a lot of games to play. I still have to finish Final Fantasy Type 0 and a couple of Assassin's Creed games to play. So I'll have a lot to keep me busy until Final Fantasy XV arrives. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

EA Strikes Again, Fork Over Your Money (Bioware, This Is Your Fault Too)

So I raved about Dragon Age Inquisition and its DLC. I played on the 360. Yes, we have a PS4, but at the time when we got the game we didn't so I had the 360 version. Our old 360 died and there was no way for me to play. Then we replaced the 360 and we got a new PS4. I know. Everyone is wondering why we didn't just get an Xbox One. Honestly, we couldn't justify spending almost 400 dollars on that thing. If it was cheaper, then sure maybe. Perhaps when it goes down in price, we can upgrade to it.

This brings up the next thing. I have actively tried to ignore the fact that EA has Bioware in its clutches. I know my husband is still sore about what they did to Westwood Studios (for you young people; they created a pretty cool space game called Earth and Beyond) and how they totally sucked all the funding from their game, dismantled it, sent the developers to other projects, and shut everything down. I say actively because I do love the Dragon Age series. I wasn't fond of Dragon Age II but Inquisition has made up for that. I have mixed feelings with DLC. On the one hand, some of them are worth it. On the other hand, why can't developers just give you a full game with all the bells and whistles like the gaming days of old? It completely reeks of give us your money with no thought or respect for the gamers who already bought their game. I get it. There's money to be made and we're just the cash cow they want to milk to death, but there has to be a limit. Also the exclusivity DLC for Jaws of Hakkon (I was lucky I had a 360 so I got it) for 360 and Xbox One that actively excluded PS3 and PS4 gamers and gave them the DLC at a later date was bullshit and let's be honest, you knew it was bullshit.

So then I read this article which you can read here:

That's right. If you have an older console such as a PS3 or Xbox 360 and you want to play the upcoming new DLC at all; you have to upgrade to the new consoles. This is the biggest damn bait and switch I've seen in a long while. As they spoke about how there would be new DLC earlier; they claimed it would be for all the consoles and now they're singing a different tune. Now it's only for the PC, the Xbox One, and the PS4. This is a huge F- You to the very gamers that buy their games; to gamers everywhere. DLC in general is giving the middle finger to gamers.

Look, I understand that it's much easier to code for the new shiny next gen consoles. I understand it's time to move on to the next BIG thing. What I don't understand is actively punishing those who still hang on to the old ones. I don't understand effectively lying to people saying something is going to be for all of the consoles when it really isn't. If EA/Bioware had been upfront about it from the beginning, I'm sure it would have gone over a lot better. Sure, there would be people who would be angry about it, but it would not be nearly this level of fury that I'm seeing on their social media pages.

The other thing I'm wondering is when did it become a bad thing to be old? Yes, new things come along making the old ones obsolete, but when did it become acceptable to take your old console out to the woodshed and go Old Yeller on its ass simply because it wasn't new anymore? I still have my PS2 and Gamecube and they work great. I still play games on them and enjoy them. There are a lot of other gamers who feel that way too. So no, it's not completely ridiculous to get rid of your old consoles and upgrade to the new ones if that's your choice. What is foolish is to expect gamers to not be furious with you for essentially pulling a bait and switch and flooding your social media with just how much that pisses them off.

Bioware this is your fault too. You went along with this nonsense. I get it. The money is good and EA is the sugar daddy of your dreams, but how much more of your soul can you really sell? The founding members saw the writing on the wall and they quit when they had the chance. That was probably the smartest thing they could have done considering how this scenario is playing out. Many of the gamers are older people like myself who remember that first thrill of playing our first video games and how much we loved it. We love it still which is why it's frustrating that companies like yourselves seem to forget it wasn't about the money for us. It was about having fun and playing a truly amazing game with our family and friends. The younger generation understands that ideal too and it's great for us to see them enjoying some of the same games we grew up with and discovering new ones. It seems all that money has blinded you to that side of things and it's a damn shame.

I still love the Dragon Age games and I'll always love gaming. What I don't love is how greedy some of these companies have gotten and EA seems to be the biggest offender in that situation. They seem to be a repeated constant when it comes to running games into the ground or milking it for every last cent it has to further their own agenda which is making as much money as possible even if it means they disrespect the gamers because they do not care. I know that sounds harsh, but I'm cynical about this kind of stuff because I have seen it happen way too often of late. I want a full REAL game that shows that it was created by people who are gamers themselves and love games too without having some soulless corporation who thinks they "know games" telling us to fork over our money for every DLC that comes along. I think all of the gamers in the world deserve that. If you want us to buy your games, then at least show you care enough to make a great game that everyone will enjoy; not bleed us dry for every single penny.

*Note: Keep discussion and comments on here civil and polite. Anyone that trolls or is out of line with comments, it will be deleted, blocked, and reported. Thank you.*

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dragon Age Inquistion Jaws of Hakkon Totally Worth It

 I'm already on my third play through of Dragon Age Inquisition (as a female Dwarf rogue this time) and having as much fun with the game as I did on my first play through. I realized I haven't reviewed the DLC Jaws of Hakkon yet, so here it is!

Jaws of Hakkon opens a new spot on your war table map and unlocks a new area, the Frostback Basin. While it's not the largest wilderness in the game, it's quite stunning with autumnal valleys, sheer icy cliffs, and hauntingly beautiful swampland. There is also the rather cool factor of establishing Inquisition camps in the trees making for some nifty tree house forts. Bear in mind that Jaws of Hakkon is meant for high level characters, so it's best to do all the main story things for Inquisition first before tackling this. I personally explored this area before the final showdown with the main villain Corypheus and that was the right decision as my characters were at a level where they could handle all the battles.

Incredible scenery like this abounds in Jaws of Hakkon

 The story is that your Inquisitor is following a tip searching for information on their predecessor Inquisitor Ameridan who disappeared 800 years ago and the search has led to the Frostback Basin. You get to chat with everyone's favorite scout (she's my favorite at any rate LOVE Harding), Scout Harding about the surrounding area and she mentions an aggressive group of Avvar who call themselves the Jaws of Hakkon and are wreaking havoc on the surrounding area and on the Inquisition soldiers.

One of the best scouts in the Inquisition, Scout Harding

 Scout Harding also informs your Inquisitor that there are friendly Avvar also in a place called Stone-Bear Hold. The Avvar over all are quite interesting. Think a mix of Wildlings and Vikings. I enjoyed the fact that you actually get to really explore and learn more about the Avvar here whereas in the previous Dragon Age games you only got to read a variety of lore about them. With Jaws of Hakkon you actually get to interact with both factions; the self proclaimed Hakkonites (the Avvar who want to kill your Inquisitor and conquer the Ferelden Lowlands) and the peaceful Avvar in Stone-Bear Hold.

Stone-Bear Hold is another gorgeous area that offers some great exploration where you can learn more about the Avvar culture and history. The interaction with the Avvar of the hold is great too. You discover that they are in conflict with the Hakkonites as well due to them wanting to resurrect their God of war in a giant dragon to destroy everything in Thedas, so they wish to work with your Inquisitor towards a common goal of stopping that from happening.  I particularly liked the character of their Thane Svarah Sun-Hair because 1. The name is amazing and 2. She's an incredibly intelligent, pragmatic, and strong woman. Just from the conversations she has with your Inquisitor it shows that she not only thinks about the interests of her clan, she also considers how certain actions will affect the outside world as well.

Thane Svarah Sun-Hair 

The world for Jaws of Hakkon is fairly open leaving you the freedom to explore while doing some of the usual Inquisitor things such as closing Fade Rifts, finding Oculara shards, and doing a myriad of side quests. The main thing I really liked was uncovering the history of Ameridan and his companions. There are a lot of things that come to light about various things such as the Seekers and the mages. It appears that a lot of thought and detail went into the history and lore for this particular DLC and it works on many levels.

Another plus is the new gear that your Inquisitor and friends get. You can also find some nice schematics for new armor and weapons which work in nicely with the crafting system. Your Inquisitor also gets a new power that is quite handy during all those battles. While the battle system hasn't really mixed things up that much, it doesn't interrupt the flow of game play or detract from the sheer fun of playing. The price of $15 may seem a bit steep to some people. However, for what you get from the content of Jaws of Hakkon, it is totally worth it just for the unique story and characters alone. I know I do not regret my purchase at all and had a blast playing it and I will enjoy playing it again with my current play through. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a dragon to hunt!

Amazing view of Stone-Bear Hold

Monday, June 15, 2015

This Makes Me Happy

Anyone who knows me, knows that Final Fantasy is one of my favorite RPG series of all time. What they don't know is how much Final Fantasy VII means to me. That is a game along with Suikoden II that I play again and again and I always love it. So when I saw this news announced on The Nerdist I was ecstatic:

Yes. A Final Fantasy VII remake for the PS4. Just watching the short trailer alone made me excited. I am thrilled by this and my husband Ron who has never played the game was actually excited too. He saw how happy this makes me and he has promised he will play the game with me when it comes out. In the meantime, he's going to play the original Final Fantasy VII with me and it's going to be a blast!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dragon Age: Inquisition Now With More Dragons and Adventure!

Note to readers: This blog post will have  some spoilers, so if you have not played the game yet or you do not like spoilers, do not read until you have completed the game. Final warning, spoilers ahead! There is also some nudity, so you have been warned.

So our Xbox 360 died and I couldn't play Dragon Age Inquisition right away since I got the Deluxe Edition for the 360. I was bummed, but went on to other games for a bit. Ron and I were finally able to replace it and I was ecstatic about being able to play the game. I finished my first play through of Dragon Age: Inquisition and let me just say that it is an incredible game and I loved every minute of it. It really appears that Bioware took what the fans said to heart, really listened, and worked very hard to make an incredible game for everyone to enjoy. With side quests alone, you can rack up at least 100 hours of game play and with crafting added to the game, there's plenty to do. 

 You can't  import your saves from the first two Dragon Age games directly, but you can  use a browser based tool called Dragon Age Keep that lets you recreate all the choices you made and import them to your Inquisition game.  It also lets you create and save more than one world state which gives you a variety of interesting options. My first time playing, I went with a female Elven rogue. I know, but I love my Elven rogue characters. You can play as an Elf, Human, Dwarf, and a Qunari. That's right, you can play as a Qunari in this game. The character design choices do offer a variety, but not as much as the first two Dragon Age games. I was also a little disappointed to see that so many of the choices for female characters are bald or super short hair. Yes, there are a few shoulder length hair style designs, but no really long hair styles. I understand that it probably is difficult to do long hair right for a video game, but I would have liked to see at least one or two very long hair options rather than Ron Burgundy Anchorman mullet. I'm not even kidding. That's not a deal breaker for me and I'm not against bald women or short hair. I just personally prefer long hair and would have at least liked that option available. But enough about hair. The voices for your character are pretty good and with my starting of my second play through, my Qunari sounds a lot like Michael Dorn (Worf from Star Trek for you young kids) and I'm definitely okay with that!

It's mullet time!

 The story starts with you stumbling out of the Fade with a strange green glowing mark on your hand and you meet Cassandra and Varric (yay, my favorite dwarf after Oghren!) Leliana is there too, but she's not a playable character simply an advisor to you. This offers you an initial introduction to the game with a tutorial of the game controls which seem to have been streamlined to be more efficient. This brings me to the tactical camera. The tactical camera allows you to pause the game and position your party members where you want them and make it feel like a turn based game. I've been told this is necessary for Hard and Nightmare mode. However, I found that I HATED the tactical camera. There are times when you can't see around things because trees or rocks would get in the way. I really only used the tactical camera to check the level and stats of enemies my party was fighting. I personally preferred just having the flow of combat happen without the tactical camera and I was fine. Others may prefer to use it and that's perfectly alright. It is nice that I wasn't forced to use the tactical camera and it was an either/or option.

The tactical camera at work
 Once your introductory mission to the game is finished, you can start exploring the world of Thedas at your base of operations which starts out in Haven. The Hinterlands is your starting area so you can get used to combat and exploration. This is also where you can get the starting side quests that gain the Inquisition influence and you can recruit agents to your cause as well. With the influence points, every time your influence levels up, you get what are known as Inquisition  perks points which can be used to increase things such as your armed forces, equip better healing potions, and gain more experience with battles. You also get a mount for your Inquisitor here with a quest. Mounts are great and you get a variety of choices other than just a simple horse. When you're back at Haven, you can go into the chantry and go to the war room which gives you the summon your war council option. This brings your advisors which consist of Leliana, Cullen, (yes THAT Cullen from both Dragon Age games), and new character Josephine. You can bring up the war table map which has several markers that show a variety of tasks and quests that the Inquisition can do. You can direct your advisors to take care of certain tasks that pop up on the map and it shows you how much time each task will take. This is also where you can unlock new areas to explore for the main story and for more side quests. You can only do the ones located in Ferelden at first, but eventually you do get to expand your horizons to Orlais. I like the war table map, because it allows you to pick and choose which quests you want to do and it does let you know if a quest is going to lock you in (usually the story oriented ones) so you can not do anything else for a time.

War Table Map

For me, the big thing is the story and that's where Dragon Age: Inquisition really shines. You run into Corypheus from The Blood of the Hawke story line in Dragon Age 2 and he is the main villain in Inquisition and ready to destroy all of Thedas and bend everyone to his will. This is the big goal in the game, to stop Corypheus from becoming a God and destroying the world. On the way you need to close the rifts which are tears in the Veil and keep demons from pouring out of it. You seal the rifts with the mark in your hand which is now known as the Anchor. Of course, you need help from your friends and you get it in a variety of interesting characters ranging from warriors to mages. You also get a spiffy castle where you can run your campaign, Skyhold. Morrigan and Flemeth make an appearance that is pivotal to the story and this is where you get to see how the decisions you made in the previous Dragon Age games affects things. For example, if you did the ritual with Morrigan in Origins, she has a son named Kieran and you get to see how that has changed Morrigan and how it affects her and Flemeth.

Corypheus full of evil villainy
Of course you don't reach that point for quite a while as there is a lot to explore in the game. You even get to go to Orlais for some of the quests and it is a lot of fun to see. There is even a quest with a masquerade ball at the Winter Palace with the empress Celene. The environments are beautiful with great details that shows a lot of thought and effort went into this game. Of course it wouldn't be a Dragon Age game without dragons and there are a ton of dragons. There are wyverns, varghests, and the big bad high dragons. There is a quest where you hunt all 10 high dragons. Yes, there are 10 high dragons for you to take down for bragging rights. Even on the casual setting, these dragons are no joke. You have to plan out everything including having the right armor and weapons to ensure your victory or be chomped to bits by these gorgeous and incredibly ruthless creatures. The payoff is worth it however, because you can get some powerful armor pieces, weapons, and accessories for you and your party members.

One of the many dragons you can battle

There are romance options in Dragon Age: Inquisition as well and out of your 9 companions you have your pick of 6 to have a romantic relationship with. The dialogue does give you options to flirt and rack up approval from them. My first play through I went with Cullen and I really liked him a lot. Cullen's romantic interactions were definitely swoon worthy because he was very sweet and you got to see the softer side of him. Note: Only a female elf or human can romance Cullen. There are a lot of great cut scenes with him that just made me smile and say, "Awww, that's so sweet!" There's also something rather cute and charming about that happy little smirk he had every time he kissed my Inquisitior.  There is something for everyone romance wise. While I didn't romance the mage Dorian this time around (I couldn't anyway as a girl, Dorian is gay), I found I liked him a lot as a person. He was funny and sarcastic, yet had real moments of compassion that really made me respect him and want to know more about him. That's just a taste of some of the people you can romance and it definitely leads to some interesting places for the story. There are sexual scenes with the romances, but they are not lewd or raunchy. They're actually tastefully done and it gives you more insights into your romantic interest.

Oh, Cullen. Such a sweetheart!

Now, lets get to the things that aren't so great. Don't get me wrong, I love Dragon Age: Inquisition. However, there are a few flaws. My biggest complaint are the quest glitches. For as long as the game has been out, there's really no excuse for not fixing the quests the developers have been told repeatedly are bugged. Case in point, The Trouble with Darkspawn quest. In this quest you are supposed to talk to the mage Servis and either kill him or bring him back to Skyhold for judgement. The problem is there are three known bug issues with this quest. If you claim Echoback Fort before starting the quest Servis won't spawn, Servis may not spawn at all, or after judging Servis it will still be shown in your quest log as an active quest. I got the Servis doesn't spawn at all quest bug and while not the end of the world, for a completionist gamer like myself this was incredibly frustrating. The only solution is to do a hard save before starting the quest and if you do get the glitch, you have to reload and hope it works. To me, that is a ridiculous work around and frankly, it should be fixed.

 The weird choppy frame rates are insane. It doesn't happen often, but with a couple of the high dragon fights I noticed the frame rate becoming very stilted and choppy as well as the sound. That's not okay and that's downright aggravating when I'm trying to not die a horrible death by dragon. Another thing that didn't happen often, but was equally irritating were the game crashes. I would be in the middle of a quest or a cut scene and suddenly the entire game would freeze and I would have to reboot the game and start over. It's a good thing I stick to my mantra of save and save often, because that really was a nuisance.

 The fact that with some of the quests, none of your actions matter. With Origins, you had interactions with certain characters that could direct the story to a certain path and while you can do that in Inquisition, it's not as in depth the way Origins was. A lot of the quests are fetch this thing or kill that thing. Where are the quests that involve hey kill the kid so he doesn't become a demon or go into the Fade and kick the demon possessing him out? It's not a big deal, but I miss that aspect of the game.

I couldn't stand the use the Oculara, find the shard quests. I also couldn't stand the Astrarium puzzles. These things were an exercise in futility and aggravation for me. With the Oculara, you have to look through the skull telescope and scan the area for glints of light to find the shards. In certain areas like Emprise de Lion if the weather was bad with lots of snow and white, good luck finding anything. It took me several tries before I found that darn shard. With the Astrarium puzzles, you have to look at the stars through the device and you have to match the lines exactly without crossing over them twice to form constellations. I had to restart over so many times, I actually took breaks from it and went on to do other things until I felt less frustrated. With the Oculara quest you get some perks such as resistance to cold magic. With the Astrarium puzzles you get locations that lead to treasure. Granted, I know I didn't have to do these quests, but I wanted to get everything done in the game so I finished them, but I really didn't like them.

An Oculara, the bane of my Dragon Age existence

And the other object of my frustration, an Astrarium

 The lack of healing spells for mages with the exception of a specialization heal spell for Knight Enchanter is total crap. Look, I understand that the barrier spell and healing potions are the way to go in the game, but the Knight Enchanter heal spell is a joke and barely does its job. It barely works and barrier doesn't last that long. I realize this makes you plan out your strategies more carefully and really makes you go balls to the wall with your battles, but at least one sound healing spell that WORKS would have been great. I found all the schematics, recipes, and herbs I could just so I could upgrade my healing and regeneration potions to the maximum potential and have a fighting chance with the harder battles. Again, that's the dragon fights.

 Those flaws aside, Dragon Age: Inquisition is an amazing game and a noticeably vast improvement from Dragon Age II. It is beautifully crafted with brilliant characters, an intricate story, and a world that is definitely worth exploring. Most importantly, it's fun to play. I'm playing through a second time with a Qunari character and enjoying it just as much as my first play through.  Dragon Age: Inquisition is not only a game worth playing, it's a game you should be playing. If you are a fan of the Dragon Age games, if you love RPG games, and if you are ready for more dragons and adventure than you can shake a stick at, then Dragon Age: Inquisition is a wonderful choice.

No one expects the Inquisition!