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.

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