Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Worst of the year 2014

It appears to have been a reasonable year for console games as there are only two stand outs in my list that are worthy of this year's award. I am quite sure that there are many, many terrible PC games that I have not played but there are only so many hours in a day and I need to play something good once in a while lest I lose the rest of my mind. The well of unplayable Steam games is bottomless and already being plumbed by more talented individuals so I will remain loyal to my fellow console luddites and choose my worst from our platforms.

First, the honorable mentions.

Driveclub was frustratingly unfinished. Large sections of the game did not work while I was playing it. The racing itself was okay save for my favorite crutches, the racing line and rewind, being left out. It certainly looked modern but it played like a game that was in development for so long that the genre moved on without it. I hope that when Sony finally gets around to a new Gran Turismo that it does not suffer the same fate.

Escape Dead Island is making many worst of lists. It is not undeserving but my quarrel is with its wasted potential rather that its actual offenses. Someone involved had a good idea that was lost either to cowardice or interference but the game itself is not terrible. It is an average adventure with a tacked on license that would have been better without the burden.

In a neck and neck race for the bottom spot of the year are Magus and Enemy Front. Both are representatives of how not to make a game in their respective genres. The prize, as it were, goes to Enemy Front.

It should be impossible in the modern world to make a terrible shooter. Example of average ones come out monthly (Shadow Warrior) and good ones come out only slightly less often (Wolfenstein). All one has to do is browse the discount bin at GameStop for innumerable examples of how to make a mediocre shooter. Enemy Front ignored all of these.

I am sure that I do not speak for myself when I say that World War II fatigue has reached critical mass. I am fucking tired of it. Call of Duty and Battlefield had this realization at about the same time and made the wise move to modern/future times. This happened years ago. Enemy Front hopes that surely there is space for one more. They at least picked a theater that could have been interesting and that had not been done before. The Warsaw uprising was intriguing, to the point that I did a little research after the fact into what it actually was. To no one's surprise there were no Rambo-esque American journalists who single-handedly saved the resistance. The pandering in this game to the lowest common bro-nominator is disgusting.

Enemy Front did what I did not think was possible: it was an ugly game running on Cryengine. Had in come out in 2012, when it was originally supposed to, it would have been less ugly, almost acceptable, but in 2014 with other games that used the same engine available for comparison it is unacceptable. There was astounding incompetence in its creation. Pop in should be a thing of the past. I am not talking about texture pop in, I am referring to entire parts of the level snapping into view from nothingness. This is something that I had not seen since Darkest of Days and I played that in 2010.

There is no reason for Enemy Front to exist. It was close, as Magus is a prime example of how not to make an action RPG, but Enemy Front was the worst game that I played and finished this year. Hell, it is the worst game that I even started this year. It also has the honor of (probably) being the last worst game for the previous generation. The Xbox One and PS4 are entering their second year and it is about time for the shovelware to arrive.

I look forward to the pain.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Effort grades don't pay the bills

Escape Dead Island is not that bad. It's not that good, either, but its failings are specific to its execution of what could have been, or rather, what almost were, interesting ideas. I would place a fair some of money on the fact that the second draft of the story, the one right before it was passed through the Dead Island filter but after it was salvaged from a moist bar napkin, would have made an excellent budget title. I mean no disrespect by using the word budget. Not every game can be Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed, nor should they.

Picture this: a small scale open world action game that sees the player wind up on an island overrun by zombies. The player's companions are killed off but in a way that never shows the actual perpetrator. As the player explores the island things do not add up: voices of his dead friends beg him for mercy, then taunt him. Zombie appear and disappear at random. The play is 'killed' over and over, but keeps coming back. The island itself begins to mutate into an enemy. The twist is that the player was infected as soon as he arrived, killed his own friends, and everything else has been his remaining consciousness trying to escape the zombified body.

Escape Dead Island was almost this. It was buried under one note repetitive combat, atrocious voice acting and writing, annoying characters, a disastrous decision to use cell shading for a comic book feel, and innumerable other bad decisions but it was there. Small clues like zombies becoming little more that shambling shadows and the main character waking up in impossible places are cleverly used alongside silly, what the fuck moments, the best of which being a rainstorm of shipping containers. This game would have been awesome if it just wasn't so terrible.

But it wasn't awesome. The twist would only have worked if the main character was sympathetic for the player. He is written in such a way that no one, and I mean no one, will like him. Even when he finally cracks and fights the zombie version of himself I was unmoved. No feels for the douche bag. The game is not so much an open world as it is a few areas connected by narrow tunnels that the game engine uses to camouflage insane load times. Navigation was so difficult that I had to use the pop up, 'go here' arrow for everything. It's just poorly executed on every front.

Worst of all, the game backs away from its own idea in the end. Yes, the hero was a zombie, but he gets better. There is a cure and he sends off a message in a bottle as a warning. Escape Dead Island was this close to being an interesting turn on the zombie game. All it had to do was not be bad and finish what it started. I can forgive a game for being of poor quality because it is not always the game's fault. Wasting a good idea due to cowardice is a cardinal sin.

Escape Dead Island is not that bad but I despise it for not being better.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The end of the good stuff

Time for the Christmas week update!

Dragon Age: Inquisition was the most complete RPG I have played in a long, long time. The main story was good enough to provide a general direction for the player but did not prevent wandering. Side quests were both abundant and productive. Combat was as difficult as you wanted to make it. I left the difficulty at normal and sailed through all encounters, including dragons (assuming I had the appropriate potions equipped). There were greater difficulties available but I was content to let my tanks do the tanking, my mage do the annoying and my personal rogue take cheap shots from the back row.

Did I mention that the game looked good? It looked really good. Most of the time.

Because I am an ass there are a few grievances that need to be aired, but know that I levy them out of love. The game did indeed look good most of the time but suffered when characters were talking. The lip syncing was not very good, almost to the point of being a distraction. The characters themselves were not as interesting as in previous Dragon Age games and the appearance of Morrigan late in the game made it all the more apparent. Without spoiling too much my favorite characters were Cassandra, the tortured seeker (and my inquisitors target for romance), Blackwall for reasons that I will not explain (do his loyalty quest and you will understand) and Iron Bull.

Everyone seems to love Iron Bull. He was never in my party but I was always seeking his approval.

Aside from those few the rest blended into the background. Thus my party was static for the entire game. As soon as I had a second fighter Varric was shuffled out. No need for two rogues. I can see the other characters being of interest for a second play through but I do not have another 65 hours to dedicate to the game.

65 hours is a long time for me to spend on anything but I will absolutely not say that the game was too long. When the final story mission appeared I did all I could to avoid it. As far as I am concerned the game us not big enough. I never stopped looking forward to the time I spent on it and my evenings have felt a bit empty since its completion.

This feeling will pass. There are terrible game to play, terrible games like Escape Dead Island, which is actually not nearly as bad as you may have heard.


Guilty Gear Xrd is a bit of a mystery. It is very much not Street Fighter. There are very few invincible reversals so I have no idea what to do after I have been knocked down other than block and pray. Throws are the fastest move in the game, hitting on the first active frame, but there is no way to tech a throw. Roman cancels are the gateway to real damage, most of them ending with air combos, and the air combos feel more difficult than they should be. Most difficult of all is figuring out when it is your turn to play.

Street Fighter flows in a predictable manner. One player gets a hard knock down and then the guessing games begin. Whose turn it is to attack is usually obvious. Guilty Gear moves much faster and the 'turns' are less defined. The closest comparison I can come up with is Marvel without the assists., only my character of choice, May, basically has assists in the form of beach balls and dolphins.

Yes, I said beach balls and dolphins. I cover my approach with beach balls and dolphins while wielding a giant anchor. Seeing May fight Sol Badguy and his flaming sword or Zato and his grim dark shadows is wonderfully incongruous. I need to learn the game well enough to appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

65 hours

I have spent more time on Inquisition than any game (other than Street Fighter) since Skyrim.

More went down in the last few hours than I am prepared to talk about yet. Morrigan showing up was enough of a twist. I don't trust her, never did. But Flemeth appearing, freaking everyone out, and being the host for some ancient god, and then leaving without killing anyone blew my mind.

More later. It's Christmas and I have a few days off. Escape Dead Island will actually get played this year. A half hour tells me that it is indeed really, really bad but it will be definitely be in the running the my terrible prize.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Inquiring minds

For a game that I have put almost fifty hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition certainly hasn't been talked about much. I am almost always thinking about it but what is going through my head isn't terribly interesting. There is a middle age grocery list of things to do/kill that is constantly being updated that I worry about in my spare moments. For example, last night I unlocked Varric's quest and I need to return to an old area and find a cave that is being used to mine red lyrium. Since I am there I might as well try to find the landmarks I am missing. And I still haven't picked a sub class because I haven't figured out how to.

And I need to check in with Cassandra whenever possible because reasons.

It sounds like a chore but it certainly is not. Collecting minutia can and will become boring eventually. There is just the right amount in each area that I am moving on to the next just before I get tired of the current one. Areas differ so wildly in look and difficulty that just walking around in them is enjoyable. Going back to old areas and killing much lower level enemies does cease to reward XP, something I don't agree with, but they die quickly and messily when hit from behind with a 4000 point critical.

Boom. Splatter. And Iron Bull approves (even though he is never in my party).

There is no hard level cap in the game but what I have read makes it seem like getting much past 21 or 22 is not likely. My rogue is level 19 and I have not been exactly cleaning out areas. Most of the quests get done, the interesting ones anyway, and then I move on. The only major one left hanging that I can think of is in an area so large that riding around on horseback is the only way to get around. It's too big and the cave I am supposed to find is too well hidden for me to bother with it. There are plenty of other places to go, other dragons to kill.

That is the brilliance of Inquisition. Get bored of one thing? There are a dozen other options, each more productive than the last. Nothing is pointless, nothing is filler. The only thing the game does wrong is prevent me from playing anything else.


This means that the worst of the year award will need to be decided soon.  Escape Dead Island is making many lists and it is sitting next to my television, waiting. I will play but not until next year so it is out of the running. It's been a bad year for bad games, which is good if you like good games, but bad when you like to take a break from good games with bad games.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A brief confession

Mario Kart 8 is really, really good.


I laughed way to hard at this.

Having relinquished my place in the PC master race I will have to make due with the ten or so games on my GameFly queue. It's going to be okay....

Maybe just a peak...

God damnit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Comparing sticks

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to fighting games: arcade stick and d-pad. I used to be a pad warrior. Many years ago when I spent hours at work practicing Tekken 5 when I should have been working a PS2 controller was all that was available so that is what I used. I developed a strange claw like grip: my right thump was hooked under the controller and my index and middle finger worked the buttons. This is half way to an arcade stick style so when I made the jump with Street Fighter IV it was not difficult but trying to play Guilty Gear Xrd on a pad proved that it will be impossible to go back.

People usually don't move back and forth and the initial transition from one to the other is honestly painful. Even moving from one stick to the next is fraught with difficulty. My primary (and favorite) stick is my Qanba Q4. This guy:

This is an exceptional stick. All Sanwa parts, Sanwa being the default option for quality buttons and joy sticks, a compartment for the cord, a solid heavy build and a handle. I have loved it from day one, going so far as to purchase an adapter to use in on my XBox One. I had thought that said adapter would allow me to use it on the PS4 as well but it has turned out to not be the case. Guilty Gear Xrd and the Street Fighter V announcement have forced my hand and a Christmas present for me was in order. Meet the new stick:

This is the Madcatz TE PS4 (and PS3) stick. I am not wild about the background but the stick is designed with modifications in mind so I can replace it. The entire body opens up providing easy access to the internals. Should a button go replacing it will be a simple task. Replacing the graphic is not much worse. That catch is that I don't like it as much as my Qanba. That stick feels like home. This one feels like a hotel bed.

The throw on the stick itself feels longer. This will be an issue when you spend as much time in the down back position as I do. There are most likely modifications I can make, specifically a more restrictive gate, but out of the box it just doesn't feel quite right. The buttons are the same exact brand as the Qanba but they have a strange, hollow feeling when struck. Plus, and this is real nit picky, take a look at the black border around the graphic. That border is slightly raised and is in exactly same place that my wrist lays when playing. It's irritating.

It's a good stick, it just isn't my stick. I will get used to it. Strike that, I have to get used to it. There is no choice in the matter. Now that I have thrown (my money) in with Madcatz purchasing an updated Qanba, should one come out, will be difficult to justify.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Critical mass

Now I've done it. I went and bought a new fighting game (Guilty Gear Xrd) whilst playing a very long, very good RPG (Dragon Age: Inquisition) and a significant update and new mode just hit for my primary fighting game (Ultra Street Fighter 4 balance patch plus Omega mode). There is only one thing left to do: quit my job and game 24/7 until the money runs out, then die happy.

Simple math tells me that would only take a few days. Unemployment is not an option. All I can do is sleep less, play more, and hope that Dragon Age isn't quite as long as I think it might by. Forty hours in and I have barely touched the story. Damn, it might even be longer.

I have put all of thirty minutes into Guilty Gear Xrd as my new stick will not be arriving until today. It was just enough time to touch a few characters and to pick out my project: May.

No laughing. May is pretty much Blanka with a command throw, projectiles and a big fucking anchor. Yes, the projectiles are dolphins or beach balls and yes, one of her supers summons a giant whale and yes, she is in no way intimidating looking. But she is, at least partially, a charge character, and that is just how my brain works. I have not put any time into Guilty Gear since the first game on PS1 so I might as well be starting over. It is exciting and I wish I had more time for it. I doubt I will move much past 'noob' but it is the first next generation fighting game and I (foolishly) plan to acquire as many as possible. Depending on netcode they may all end up being on the PS4, but that remains to be seen.


Dragon Age soldiers on and has yet to stop being entertaining. I have started to come across areas that I should have done earlier. The XP rewards are minimal at best, but seeing enemies explode into a fine mist after a critical hit makes up for it. Enemies do not level with you so being completely over powered is both possible and very enjoyable. It is the final reward for emptying out previous zones of both quests and monsters.

Story? Um, I have lost track of it. Something, something, big bad, something, darkspawn. The overarching narrative has been completely usurped by sub-quests and adventuring for the sake of adventuring. How can I be expected to keep track of the big things when I am encouraging Varric to finish his soft porn book series for Cassandra, the pent up seeker? 


Thursday, December 11, 2014


There is a down side to the slow progression in Dragon Age, namely that it is very possible to play the game for extended periods of time and have almost nothing happen. This does not mean that the player is not doing anything. On the contrary, I have spent the last six hours cleaning out an area that has no significance to the plot whatsoever. But nothing happens. No new characters, little dialogue, just my party killing its way from one end of the wilderness to the other.

This may not necessarily be a bad thing. Elder Scrolls games work because the journey is always more interesting than the destination. Fetch quest? No problem, there are a dozen caves, two towns and innumerable sub-quests between here and there. The player is allowed to build his or her own narrative based on their own actions, not the beats that the game has planned out. Dragon Age does this but six hours between plot events is a bit much. Another dragon or giant would be enough to break the monotony of closing rifts, killing demons and collecting stuff.

At worst this is a half hearted complaint. I have taken up residence in Dragon Age's world and will be sticking it out for the long haul. The games on the list will simply have to wait their turn. Guilty Gear Xrd could be an issue, and it would have been one today if the store that held my preorder would have allowed me to purchase it. Street dates, blah blah, they have been broken everywhere else, let me hand you money for the game!

A shrug was all I got and then I remembered why I left that business.

At least this way the game and my new stick will arrive around the same time. The demo of Guilty Gear Xrd on a pad was torture. I am not going to be any good at the game but I at least want to be in control of my terribleness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I killed a dragon!

Progress in Dragon Age continues to progress at a pace that makes every victory feel earned. Case in point: two night ago I ran into my second dragon. The first killed me as soon as I walked into her area, first by sicking her children on me and then by toasting the lot of us over a rather warm fire. This dragon was sitting on top of a decimated keep, not paying much attention, so I was able to get a look at it before approaching.

Yes, it's a dragon.

My first attempted was a total failure as I was low on potions and had no plan. I did just enough damage to convince myself that it was possible at my current level so I retreated to the closest camp and prepared. Regen potions for the rogue and mage, area of effect healing potions for the fighters because they are usually close to one another. Fighters tank, mage and rogue plink from afar, everyone runes the fuck away when the dragon takes to the air.

Success was imminent. Then a giant buffalo wandered into the melee, aggro'd on me for some reason, and the plan was ruined. That buffalo was pissed and did not care that after my party's death he was next. Seeing my poor mage get rutted to death in the distance while my fighters struggles to stay alive was much to funny to be mad at.

Third time was the charm. That buffalo was still in the area so I killed him first. The dragon was engaged from a distance, potions were used, there was a close call that saw my rogue get literally stepped on, but I killed her and got some nice armor to boot. It was difficult but possible and the victory was earned. It was quite satisfying.

Later, still high from that victory, I turned the corner in a tight canyon and ran headlong into a giant. I killed him, too, but it was time to call it a day. My luck could only hold out for so long. It reminds me of the text MUDs I used to play in college. Specifically the first time I solo killed Tiamat...

There is a story here. I and about half a dozen other slackers played in a text MUD called 'Hidden Worlds' when we should have been studying (and weren't playing pen and paper D&D or Magic). For the uninitiated (read that as young) MUD stands for Multiple User Dungeon. Think World of Warcraft but only text.

I don't know if I would call it popular. Out MUD had at most 500 people on at a time, usually much fewer. It was small enough that people knew each other and knew what they were good at. My character, Leven, was all about the damage roll. He didn't hit as often as other characters but when he did it hurt. I would often be dragged along in groups doing Hell runs for just that reason. The leader would enter a room, back stab the target and then tank while I beat on the demon until it died.

Trust me, it was fun.

As I grew more confidant and learned my way around I started to do solo runs to the outskirts of hell. Right past the entrance was Tiamat, a dragon that took around three or four people to kill. I was foolish and feeling lucky so I gave it a shot. To this day I can remember the commands.

rem sword (The sword a kings, a high damage level 30 sword)
wield lightbringer (The lightbringer dagger, stolen from the south side of heaven. The standard max level dagger)
bs tiamat

Your backstab ***DEMOLISHES*** tiamat!
Your backstab ***DEMOLISHES*** tiamat!
Your backstab ***DEMOLISHES*** tiamat!

(Triple back stabs were rare, but not unheard of)

rem lightbringer
wield sword
c demonfire (the best offensive spell I knew)

From there on it was a battle of attrition. Tiamat and I traded ***DEMOLISHES*** until I was just about out of mana. No more heals, no more demon fire. And then she died. I was so surprised that I recalled home and logged out. It felt like I had broken something, like I had cheated. Then I got excited but there was no one in the computer lab who cared. It was the middle of the day and everyone who would was in class. All hyped up and no one to tell about it.

Edit: My god, it still exists. My character is long gone, but the MUD is still there...

Monday, December 8, 2014


A good barometer for how much I am enjoying a game is the amount of time away from the game that I spend thinking about it. When my Street Fighter switch is in the on position I think about it all the time, to the detriment of getting anything done. It is currently in the off position, which is good, as there are quite a few other games that need to be played. When I was playing Skyrim it so dominated by mind that I made a very ill conceived foray into fan fiction. I will not link them, they are that embarrassing, but in my imagination my character had more to say and do than could be contained in a few hours of playing every night.

Dragon Age is approaching this level. I have thought about the end of the first act for several days. It was the perfect act break and signaled the game world opening up to the player to a greater degree and it was already huge. The bad guy was bad, my hero started to believe in himself, there were tragic deaths, last minute rescues, and the whole inquisition up and moved to a new base.

And there was a giant dragon that I will undoubtedly end up fighting in forty hours. It will be epic.

It's not just the big things that keep coming back. I think about my party and who my character wants to hang out with. It has been relatively consistent for the first third and may remain so as I have already picked out my favorites. There are more characters that I don't like than there were in previous games, like the obnoxious elven rogue or the snooty mage who will never see time out in the field. The ones that I do like more than make up for it. There is the conflicted seeker who started the inquisition and had to had all of the power over to the player, a loner grey warden and an apostate mage who I keep around because he is basically Spock.

Old school Spock, not that wierdo from the new not-Star Trek movies.

My little away team wanders from area to area, avoiding main quests whenever possible, sometime hitting the difficulty sweet spot and other times wandering into the teeth of enemies that I shouldn't even look at for five more levels. There is no death penalty, a decision that I appreciate as the first warning that you are not in an appropriate area is usually the party dying.

I could do this for a long, long time.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Finally, a carol I can get into

The good kind

Dragon Age did something absolutely brilliant last night but I cannot discuss it without spoiling a few things. It is still early in the game, but regardless, you have been warned.

I have never been a fan of time travel as a device central to the plot. It never holds up to scrutiny and is a cheap way for a story to do what it wants without it having to make any sense. A wizard did it becomes so and so is from the future, come back to warn someone else about something. Dragon Age has both wizards and has begun to dabble in time travel, the double deus ex machina.

It had the potential to be really, really stupid. Without going into too much detail, it was used sparingly and to great effect. The player is shown what the price of his or her failure will be and indirectly introduced to the game's big bad by being thrown forward in time by one year. In that year the world has basically ended, the other party members who survived have been physically and emotionally broken and it is the player character's fault. From their perspective you died and with you all hope.

This is the most interesting thing that has happened in about fifteen hours of playing. I thought only Final Fantasy games were allowed to have tutorials that long.


Something, something, Street Fighter 5 exclusive to PS4, something.

Do I believe it? Not really. But I have both systems for a reason. This also provided a better reason that just Guilty Gear to get a PS4 stick.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

+1, but only just

I buckled down last night and crafted myself a nice new bow in Inquisition. It was just slightly better than last bow. The improvement was such that I was not sure that it was worth the time and effort but that is how everything advances in the game. Weapons don't move from mundane long sword to sword of god slaying in a single drop. It is much more akin mundane long sword to slightly sharper mundane long sword. This does two things, neither of which are bad if you have patience, One, when I finally get the long sword of god slaying it will be fucking sweet and it will actually mean something. Second, I have to be very careful about where I go and what I do because running into encounters that are significantly over my is both easy and fatal.

Individual areas are large enough that they contain sections for different levels. I was exploring the first area, fully intent on cleaning it out before advancing, when I hit a fade rift populated by demons a full four levels higher than my main character. Another corner of the map was guarded by a dragon and her children.

I ran away from the dragon. The demons killed me because hubris.

Yes, it is certainly a slow paced game. It does not feel very 'Dragon Age' yet, either. The open areas really do resemble an Elder Scrolls game, only with a party and more unforgiving combat. This is not the game that I had psyched myself up for and it will take a few more days to pull my head around and not be annoyed that the game will not be over in thirty hours. Taking a break in the next few days to play Game of Thrones will help.

...and I could always practice Geometry Wars 3.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's the little things

There is one tiny, seemingly insignificant design choice in Dragon Age: Inquisition that is, at present, only mildly annoying. In forty plus hours I will probably be made irrationally upset by it because that is what I do, focus on the minutia and allow it to color otherwise exceptional experiences. This may be a symptom of something larger. I will never know because shrinks are expensive and who has time for that, anyway.

Inquisition is intent on pressing the player into crafting items. I do not enjoy browsing menus and have managed to avoid it in every game that has every featured the mechanic. Weapon drops in Inquisition are not very good and I am finding myself behind the curve, DPS wise. There is little choice in the matter. Add to that weapon upgrades that can be attached and removed and a good ten minutes of every hour are spent playing excel spread sheets, the game.

This is already annoying. What makes it almost intolerable is that none of this can happen in the field. You have to travel back to your home base, walk to the blacksmith, and only then are you allowed to be bored. I am not pleased with this scenario. If the game is going to force me into crafting at least let me do it when I find the items I need instead of losing even more time to load screens and fast travel. Screw realism, this game has fucking dragons and zombies in it. If I can suspend my disbelief long enough to appreciate them surly being able to attach a pointy hilt to a sword without a roaring fire and anvil present will not break the game's immersion.

Breath. Breath. This game is good, I will enjoy it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Too much, too much

Long, holiday weekend and much to catch up on.

Assassin's Creed: Rogue almost had an ending. Almost. Rogue occurs concurrently to Assassin's Creed 3 so we get to see Haytham Kenway being a bad ass before Connor kills him. I am having a hard time connecting what happens to the assassin Achilles at the end of Rogue with 3 but that is most likely because I played 3 several years ago. Achilles doesn't die, so I am not spoiling anything, but Haytham does something much, much crueler than killing him.

Rogue degenerates to the standard Assassin's Creed confusion when the game jumps forward quite a few years, bringing Shay to London. He kills someone who is no doubt important in Unity, says things that don't make sense, and then the credits role. I must say that I was satisfied, both with the game and the fact that by the time I play Unity it might actually work.


Help me, I am a sucker for Tell Tale games. Tales from the Borderlands was impossible to resist. It has proven two things. One, Tell Tale is capable of much more than the depressing narratives of The Walking Dead and The Wold Among Us. Tales from the Borderlands is laugh out loud funny and very true to its source. Choosing Patrick Warburton as the voice for the evil business man antagonist was a brilliant move.

It plays just the same as the previous games and will probably be no different than this weeks Game of Thrones. The strength of these games is in the story and the illusion of control over it. They are great ways to kill an evening when I have been working on another game for days and/or weeks.

Speaking of games taking weeks...

I am never intimidated by a game's content. Strike that, no game that doesn't have Elder Scrolls in the title has ever made me look slack jawed at a menu or map while I tried to figure out what to do next. Add Dragon Age: Inquisition to that very short list. Someone over at BioWare heard all the complaints about Dragon Ago 2 and decided that the best way to answer them was to build a goddamn world for the player to run around in and fill it full of interesting, productive things to do. I have yet to leave the first area.

It has been almost six hours. In the same area. And I am far from board.

I almost can't get my head around it. The game appears to have no end. I am sure it does, there are a finite number of places to unlock in the war room, but when the very first one is as large as some games I begin to worry. Not about this game, no, I worry for other games that aren't going to played any time soon.