10 Things About Dragon Age 2

Posted in Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age Origins Awakenings, Dragon Age: Origins, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on March 14th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Dragon Age 2: Kinda familiar, nicely different, still freakin’ BLOODY.

Back in Ferelden… NOT! In Dragon Age 2, you play as Hawke, a human refugee fleeing The Blight when it destroyed your home in the village of Lothering. Along with what remains of your family, you end up in the City of Kirkwall in the Free Marches, where Fereldens are actually discriminated against. Somehow you gotta work your way from unwanted refuse to city hero, no matter what heroic or black deed it takes. Wowers!

All Too Human. Unlike in Origins, main hero Hawke can only be a Human in DA2, but you can still choose to be either female or male, and one of three classes- Warrior, Mage and Rogue. Though there are only three classes, each has very varied skill trees that you can choose from to fit your party member’s role. The Warrior and Rogue also got new skills aplenty to make them as formidable as the Mages were in the first game.

Familiar Stuff. There are nice nods and references to the original games, and you can set much of that up by importing your Save Data from the original Origins and subsequent expansions. Even if you don’t, you can still set the general atmosphere of the land by choosing from three conditions on how The Blight was defeated.

Hey, I’m talkin’ here! In contrast to the original DA, your main character is now fully-voiced, which is a nice change from being silent nodder to active influencer. The old dialogue system is now gone, replaced by a Dialogue Wheel that has varying intentions behind every line of response- from olive leaf goody-goody to fist-rattling I’M GONNA KILL YE retorts.

Friends and Rivals. Nice bit of change, whether you please or piss off a companion, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re aching to leave or knife you in the back. Your dialogue choices will make your allies go for either Friend or Rival, each of which has their own advantages and abilities to be unlocked. Even if an ally is a Rival and hates your bloody guts, they’ll still respect you unless you do something really bad to make them up and leave, or start a fight to the death.

Fight to the Finish Line. Combat is now a LOT faster-paced, almost to real-time action game levels. Mages zap off bolts from their staves like ray guns, and warriors cut down hordes of enemies wholesale. For the most part it’s easier but still mashing away without thinking will get you the dreaded Red Screen of Death. As usual, you can still pause the action to set up more detailed strategies and commands, and you can cycle to any companion to control them directly.

Sex, Sex, SEX! Yeah, you can still romance some companions, and apparently all of them can become lovers whether you’re playing as dashing male or ravishing female Hawke.

What’s Old is New Again. There are a few redesigns here and there, mostly for the better. The Qunari now look more beast-like and inhuman compared to the ones in DAO… think of the change along the lines like the Klingons from the original Star Trek to the movie versions. There are also some subtle changes among the Elves and- hey, is that a beardless dward???

This is Your Life. Unlike the more cut-and-dried quest in Origins, DA2 has a more personal saga in the making. There’s no more Blight thanks to the Grey Warden Hero, so what’s the big brouhaha behind everything? For the most part new hero Hawke is just trying to find his own way and make a name for himself in Kirkwall, but rest assured there’s something big behind it all. Maybe.

Stay Awhile and Listen! In actuality, everything you see onscreen is initially just a retelling of the mysterious events that occurred in the past that shaped Hawke into the Champion of Kirkwall, from the mouth of one loquacious dwarf who is prone to exaggerating. What’s the truth? Where’s it all going? These are the things you’re gonna find out as you put on a hero’s boots and walk the shadowy path of Champion in Dragon Age 2.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… gotta get back to adventuring. I’ve got me Sovereigns to earn! Dragon Age 2 is now out for PC, PS3 and Xbox360.

A Game of Thrones Trailer

Posted in Dragon Age: Origins, RPGs, Uncategorized on January 18th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Winter is coming… and so is this Kick-ass series.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is coming. Why, oh why would I be writing about some high-brow dark age drama series when this is a game blog? Well, the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels (of which Games is but the first part) is one of the sources of inspiration of the very popular Dragon Age franchise.

The novels are a rich tapestry of conspiracy, war, betrayal, power struggles, politics and subtle sorcery with characters that you just get addicted to following through their often bloody paths to either the throne or the grave. Granted, I’m not that hot with quite a few of the characters, but for the most part it’s bliss to read about this dark fantasy world fashioned by George R.R. Martin. Magic is just incidental in this saga, and monsters or supernatural creatures few and far between, at least at first, but surely this show should have watchers spellbound from episode one.

The series will supposedly take on one book per season, which should lock this franchise for the next five or six years, depending on how successful it turns out. As a fan of HBO’s Band of Brothers, I’ve got high hopes for this, and any gamer who loves RPGs and fantasy epics should too. A Game of Thrones kicks off this April on HBO.

Dragon Age: Origins Final Chapter Coming!

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Dragon Age: Origins, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on August 25th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Morrigan’s just desserts are about to be served.

Bioware’s hit RPG, Dragon Age: Origins, has seen a lot of expansions since the release of the debut game, and they’ve ranged from okay (Return to Ostagar) to meh (Leiliana’s Song). But really… if there’s any loose end worth chasing down post A.D. (Arch Demon), it’s… finding out where your dog went. NO! Obviously that’s the issue of SPOILER ALERT the fate of Morrigan and her (your) baby. For the benefit of those who didn’t play it (you should have, really)- things happened and you ended up bedwrestling with the Claudia Black-voiced enchantress and conceiving a child. No ordinary child this, but a child with the soul of an ancient god. After the final battle with the Darkspawn, Morrigan left and was never seen again.

Well, till now. Or, will be. Witch Hunt, the final DLC chapter of Dragon Age: Origins prior to Dragon Age 2, will tie up this hanging thread and reveal what happened to Morrigan, her child and what YOU as the Grey Warden Hero, are going to do about it. Will you reconcile and live happily ever after? Or will this all end in tears and bloodstains?

I absolutely loved DAO, so I’ll be picking this up posthaste once it releases on September 7 on both the PSN and Xboxlive Network for about $7. Till then, keep those Dragon Age save files ready!

Dragon Age 2 Confirmed, Coming Next Year?

Posted in Dragon Age: Origins, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on July 8th, 2010 by thelonegamer

More adventures in Ferelden, or perhaps somewhere else in the world of Dragon Age, are coming. Well, that’s no surprise, but at least now it’s official. Dragon Age 2 has been confirmed.

I’m actually still working on finishing Awakenings, but surely this is cool news for me. Haven’t gotten into the other expansions (Leilana’s Song is kinda interesting, but I don’t know if I can spare any points), but I’ll most surely get into the next disc-based chapter. Apparently you’ll be taking the role of an all-new hero, with all-new adventures in a never-before-seen part of the DA World. So say goodbye to Ferelden for now, and get set of a whole new Age of… Dragon Age.

Getting into Dragon Age: Origins Awakenings

Posted in Dragon Age Origins Awakenings, Dragon Age: Origins, Gaming, RPGs, Xbox360 on March 24th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Welcome to Amaranthine, Grey Warden.

Over the weekend I started playing the just-released RPG DLC/expansion, Dragon Age: Origins Awakenings. Though there are some bits that I wish the game had pushed through more on, overall this is a good return romp to Bioware’s Dark Fantasy gaming realm.

It is highly recommended that you finish the original Dragon Age: Origins first before tackling Awakenings, simply for the continuity. You are given the choice of transferring over your DAO character into the game, conferring your status as the Hero of Ferelden for some satisfying interactions and reactions from some of the folks you’ll encounter. For those not caring about their avatar’s past, you can start off Awakenings as an all-new character, a Grey Warden from the neighboring land of Orlais.

You start off the adventure running, your Hero just arriving at Vigil’s Keep in the new land of Amaranthine. This region, or Arling as its called, is actually connected to the original game; It was the former domain of the late Rendon Howe, ally to Teyrn Loghain and murderer of your Hero’s family (if you played the Human Noble). Obviously, your arrival as the new master of the land and commander of the Grey Wardens comes with pros and cons.

On the pro side, you’re literally THE Boss… how the land is governed or cared for goes by your decisions, and people will hop to your will as you command. On the cons side, there are daggers hidden behind some of the pasty smiles around you, so you’ll have to watch your back else you get yourself nailed. You’ll make good decisions, bad decisions and probably lose a bit of your innocence (in case you still have such going into Amaranthine from Ferelden), but then, everyone in Dragon Age accepts that Not All Heroes are Pure.

Continuing your career in Amaranthine plunks you straight into a freaked-up new workplace that Leon S. Kennedy would feel right at home in. The Grey Wardens’ new HQ has been invaded by Darkspawn, who apparently used subterfuge and strategy… something they never did before. In fact, you soon encounter TALKING Darkspawn, which is apparently a big thing. Eventually in between ruling your new land, dispatching bandits, uncovering conspiracies and gathering new recruits into the Grey Wardens, you’ll have to find out what is behind all the talkative baddies and bring peace to the strife-ridden county. To help you on your way there are new skills and talents, new weapons and armor that will make your Juggernaut Plate Mail look like old junk, and new creatures to use them on. The level cap has been bumped up to 35, so this adventure is really for the big boys now (entry level heroes start at 18).

So far I’m enjoying my romp back in Dragon Age; there’s a pleasant vibe of being kinda familiar and respected, though really- I wish that there was more from the previous game that carried over. SPOILER WARNING! So far I enjoyed having Alistair- scratch that- KING Alistair show up for an all-too-brief reunion and chitchat, although I understand that your former Grey Warden bro can’t go waltzing around Amaranthine with you since he’s busy as the new monarch. Irritatingly they had to pick the one companion from DAO that I liked the least to be your returning ally. To be fair, Ohgren has so far been entertaining (his Joining ritual is priceless) but really… I would have preferred they had given us a choice of two or three of your previous gang to pick, depending on the class of your main Hero. Oh well.

Anyway so far it’s been cool, though I have no idea so far what’s going on with The Architect. Who is this creepy new villain? What is he? What are his plans? Awakenings doesn’t seem to be anywhere as big as Ferelden, but I think I’ll be in for quite a bit of gaming in my first run, and surely I’ll be playing again in repeat plays with other characters soon after. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s a Peasant Revolt I have to put down somewhere…

Dragon Age Origins Awakenings: Nathaniel Howe

Posted in DLC, Dragon Age Origins Awakenings, Dragon Age: Origins, Game Advertising, Gaming, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on March 16th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

The last recruitable character in Awakenings comes from a surprising background.

Anyone who’s played through Dragon Age: Origins surely knows the name Rendon Howe. He was the hatchet man to Teyrn Loghain, the game’s main non-demonic antagonist and, for the players who used the Human Noble origin, the man who killed your parents. Now, the tables are turned as Rendon’s son, Nathaniel, whose life was trashed in the aftermath of his sire’s downfall and subsequent disgrace, has come to collect on his grudge from you. Ain’t revenge sweet indeed?

As this game is wont to do, you’ll probably have some leeway on how to deal with the young Howe- you can probably kill him quite handily, but surely he may also become a strong ally and find redemption for his disgraced house. Since two of my DAO characters are human nobles, this will be pretty interesting for me indeed. Will the son be cut from the same block as his treacherous father? Or will he become a true and valued friend and ally? We’ll just have to see…

Dragon Age Origins Awakening is now available for PC, PS3 and Xbox360 in both disc or DLC. I hope to get my copy soon and continue my romps in Ferelden by the weekend.

The Disciples are Awakening…

Posted in Dragon Age Origins Awakenings, Dragon Age: Origins, Game Advertising, Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on March 5th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

The Dragon Age Origins: Awakening expansion is set to arrive in a week or so, along with a slew of other big titles. But this has a special spot for me since I can’t wait to transfer my Grey Warden Rogue into this new adventure. Maybe I’ll try to finish up the game with a couple other characters. Taking off from where the story ended in the original Dragon Age: Origins, Awakenings sees the Grey Wardens extending their attention to the new land of Amarinthine, combatting threats both internal and external. Along with recruiting new comrades and taking on various duties as the new Grey Warden Commander, players will have to contend with The Disciples- a new breed of smarter, more dangerous Darkspawn who have the ability to speak.

Bring it on, I say. The best thing about talking Darkspawn? Now I can understand their last words right before I kill ‘em. Heheh. Awakenings drops March 16.

Dragon Age Origins: Awakenings Update

Posted in Action Adventure, Dragon Age Origins Awakenings, Dragon Age: Origins, Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on February 19th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Some Spoilers Ahead!

1Up has just posted a cool article regarding the upcoming expansion for Bioware’s epic dark-fantasy RPG, Dragon Age Origins: Awakenings. As mentioned in previous reports, this extended journey into the world of Ferelden and the new continent of Amaranthine will let players either take control of their existing Grey Warden hero from the first game or start with a totally new protagonist, a Grey Warden from the neighboring land of Orlais. Also mentioned before was that one of your old party members from the first game will be available to join your party for this second outing.

Well, in the videos shown in the preview we can see at least two familiar faces. There’s of course Alistair, your hero’s fellow Grey Warden and ultimately (at least in canon, apparently) the new King of Ferelden. Now, as much as I’d enjoy having Alistair’s wry company again, I seriously doubt that his majesty will be allowed to sally forth for a prolonged period of time (although if he can, I’d love it), so most probably the returning party member is someone else. Also appearing in a vid is the leathery dwarf warrior Ohgren, so he’s probably the one you’ll be taking on again.

The new members that you’ll be able to recruit in Awakenings include Anders, a somewhat sneaky mage who is constantly trying to evade the Circle; Velanna, a Dalish Elf mage with a hatred towards humans and Sigrun, a female dwarf rogue and member of the Legion of the Dead. Each one is supposed to be your tour guide to an extended look at more elements of the Dragon Age world. You can check out the whole 1Up preview article, with vids, here.

Still there’s very little solid info on this expansion, other than that you’re off to strange lands to both strengthen the Grey Wardens’ forces and investigate the rumors of intelligent, talking Darkspawn. I can’t wait to get my high level Rogue hero from Origins into this new adventure. Awakenings gets up and about in mid-March.

Return to Ostagar, Returned!

Posted in Action Adventure, DLC, Dragon Age: Origins, Fan Service, Game-related Events, Gaming, RPGs, Xbox360 on February 2nd, 2010 by thelonegamer

If you’re still playing Dragon Age: Origins, you’ll be glad to know that you can wring an extra hour or so of play with the Return to Ostagar DLC adventure once again. The DLC episode, which was taken down from the Xboxlive Marketplace shortly after it appeared the first time some weeks ago, has finally been re-upped and is now working perfectly.

RTO lets players revisit the scene of the Grey Wardens’ and Ferelden’s greatest defeat and a veritable murder scene. Ostagar is where the Darkspawn horde massacred the army of King Cailan, your mentor Duncan among the many lost on the field. Now you can go back and mop the floor with the monsters still squatting on the ruins, and recover valuable artifacts such as Cailan’s armor and sword.

The episode is pretty brief, with about three stages, and enemies mostly consisting of Darkspawn. Depending on your characters’ levels, it can take about an hour or less to finish up the DLC, as it’s pretty straightforward. The challenge isn’t that hard, while goodies and loot are pretty good, although you may be underwhelmed by some of the stuff- though some tricks can upgrade the stuff to more impressive levels. It’s better to go after this adventure early on in your quest, so you can perhaps use the equipment found.

Dragon Age fans would do well to get this little bit- it’s a nice little extra and loose end which I think is enjoyable for those who really get into the story. At just 400 MS points, it’s cheap and quick but sweet.

Dragon Age: Endings and Beginnings

Posted in Dragon Age: Origins, Gaming, My Stuff, RPGs, Xbox360 on January 25th, 2010 by thelonegamer

As right as rain, I called it correctly and was able to finish off the main quest in Bioware’s RPG epic, Dragon Age: Origins, over the weekend. I did it with my male human noble rogue, twice- each with a slightly different take on the resolution of a certain character but both making sure my adventurer lives to quest again another day. I certainly am looking forward to the sequel/expansion, Dragon Age Awakening this March.

For now though my questing isn’t over in Ferelden even- right afterwards I started off another human noble rogue, this time female, with my eyes on the throne (heheh). I’ll also start off quests for elven and dwarven characters as well. It would be safe to say I’ll still be playing this weeks and weeks still from now. It’s really been a while since I’ve played an RPG I’ve been driven to actually finish, and then want to replay again and again and again, just to see the various aspects and sides to the story. Games like this don’t happen all the time… I’m gonna play this to the bloody hilt. Later then!