Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: Anders the A**hole

April 20, 2010 2 comments

Thanks to one of our readers, I took the leap.  I did it.  I started Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.  Remember how scared I was to start, thinking based off Wadoobie’s experience, Alistair would be distant and unfeeling towards me?  Well, he wasn’t.  All I have to say is, it made me want to run right back to court to get with him.  Thanks, Asperity!

Awakening has me remembering everything I loved about Origins.  Although I’m a little disappointed with the lack of being able to interact with party members when you walk up to them.  That bothers me.  A lot.  So now I have to run around looking for statues and casks and portraits to click on?

Anders

Anders, you're NOT Alistair. Stop trying.

Speaking of those characters, what is up with Anders?   I suppose he was meant to be sort of an Alistair replacement, with the similar-colored hair, the accent, the somewhat sarcastic attitude.  Even his name, Anders, is similar to Alistair.  But let me just point out one thing clearly.  ANDERS. IS. NOT. ALISTAIR.

First of all, what is up with Anders’ womanizing-type attitude?  He seems to want to get with anything female that moves – or even females that don’t; case in point: the Andraste statue – yet I haven’t seen him make a move.  Nor have I heard about any of his fabulous womanizing adventures like I did with Zevran.  But again, it’s not like I’ve been able to talk to Anders much.

And furthering that point, WTF?!  Am I, the hero of Fereldan, the slayer of the Archdemon, a human noble Leliana look-alike, QUEEN, not good enough for him?  While he has commented on every other female likeness or body around, he hasn’t said anything at all to me.

Avaline Take 2

Avaline still isn't Leliana. And I still think she's hotter.

Granted, Alistair did make it clear while Anders was nearby that we were together.  He kissed me goodbye.  I think that might have thrown Anders off a bit.

But still!  He could have said something before he knew all that!  But noooooo, nothing.  I guess BioWare is just making it clear that they’re not having any tenting this round.  …and that makes us at Polish the Console very, very sad.

Secondly, yes, the kitten (Ser Pounce-A-Lot) is adorable.  I love cats!  But isn’t it kinda weird that Anders’ only company while locked up in the Circle Tower was a cat?!  And the way he talks to the cat while you’re adventuring…is, to quote Alistair, “a little creepy, that”.

And…*shudder* the gold earring.  Anders, sorry, but you’re not a pirate.  Get that earring out.  That’s disturbing.  Only pirates should wear a single gold hoop, a low ponytail, and fur.  Except…wait, I forgot that Duncan has a very similar appearance.  Eh, Duncan gets a pass because he’s so badass.  And he’s not wearing fur.

Finally, if freaking Jowan can escape the Circle Tower, Anders should be able to.  If he’s worth his mana, that is.  Come on.  For shame, Anders, for shame.

I get the feeling that Anders is really all talk and no game.  Particularly when he has a super hot babe who stopped the Archdemon running around and fighting with him.  Therefore, Anders appears to be an a**hole.

Ah, well, I suppose it’s better than being introduced as a major character, only to die in the first hour of gameplay.  *ahem, ahem* Mhairi *ahem*

-Kat

Final Fantasy XIII: The Review

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Final Fantasy XIII - Lighting and Logo

I’m a huge fan of the entire Final Fantasy series. I’ve played almost every one since the first (I know, not ubber fan) and I’ve been mesmerized each and every time. My fiance refers to the release of a new Final Fantasy as “The Vanishing” since I disappear and only occasionally pop my head out and say hello.

Oerba Yun Fang - Final Fantasy XIII Party Memeber

Nothing says lets take on an army like blue silk and a sports bra

I’m going to try to sum this up without giving away any spoilers so wish me luck:

Final Fantasy XIII takes place in a world governed by a militaristic force that is ruled by a magical being/force called a fal’Cie. The game begins as people are being “exiled” on board a train. Suddenly all hell brakes lose and some chick with sword/gun starts picking a fight with a group of soldiers. Behind her is a man with a bird in his hair.

This is how we begin Final Fantasy XIII. From here out there is never any down time. The entire game is a fast paced adventure through a foreign world where innocent people get branded by a magical being (the fal’Cie) and have to complete a specific goal (or Focus). If they don’t succeed then they turn into a monster, if they do they are granted eternal life. Pretty easy decision, gimme the eternal life.

Our party is one such group of people, for whatever reasons brought them together on a journey to meet the Pulse fal’Cie what binds them together is their common Focus.

While they attempt to complete their Focus they are constantly sought after by the Sanctum military PSICOM. Wherever they run to they are pursued by an army until they decide they just have to bring the army down.

Final Fantasy XIII: Graphics

Graphically Final Fantasy XIII is no slouch. It is outstanding beautiful to the point that my non-gamer fiance even stopped and exclaimed amazement at what was before her eyes. From the minute the game starts up you are left to look upon the most visually stunning Final Fantasy to date.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Gameplay

Many people have a problem with the lack of towns in Final Fantasy XIII but, honestly, they simply wouldn’t fit. You are a fugitive attempting to stay ahead of an entire army. Either that or you’re running through a base/airship/military campaign attempting to accomplish…something. Quite frankly I wouldn’t have the time to stop and chit chat with the townsfolk and sip sweet tea if I were in this position. Who am I kidding. I always have time to sip sweet tea. To that end there really are few townspeople to interact with thanks to the military occupation. The lack of mulling around in towns helps to create the sense of urgency that Final Fantasy XIII is all about.

The lack of MP is a delight for me since it now means I will actually take the time to use and develop my magic. I mean really, I don’t use points when I have to heat up soup, or cool off my coffee. I don’t use points for any action I’ve learned. Never have I ever had to drink something in order to have enough juice to open a can of beans. For that reason I shouldn’t have to make sure I have enough MP to make lightning appear out of nowhere.

That being said pausing after each battle really detracts from this goal. The battle summary (while entertaining and useful) continually causes an otherwise hurried event to be stopped and mulled over.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Controls

The controls are exactly what you have come to expect from Final Fantasy. They don’t throw anything new at you here. You have your attack, your technical abilities, and your items. Nothing new. What they do give you that makes it exceptional is the Paradigm system. Being able to set and combine Final Fantasy party members’ roles until you find that perfect unstoppable match is fantastic. That, coupled with the fact that you can swap Paradigms on a whim to fit your need whenever you need to make battles a fast and exciting display of reflex and quick thinking.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Story

Eh, what can I say. It’s a Final Fantasy. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s a damn site better than other’s I’ve played. To be honest, I really don’t give a rats ass about Hope and find myself wishing from time to time that Lightning would have left his ass when she had the chance. He’s really the only one though. Every other character has something interesting to say or contribute.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Overall Score

I just can’t bring myself to give it a perfect score. It’s missing that certain….something that compels me to declare “Best Final Fantasy EVER

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Don’t like this review? Feel free to voice your opinions below.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening Fear

April 13, 2010 3 comments

Well, well, well.  First of all, I have to say a huge thank you to my sister’s fiance right now.  He let me borrow Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, because he knows I love DA:O so much.  In fact, he would tease me about how much time I spent playing it.  Look, I’m just a very slow RPG gamer.  I like to explore, enjoy, and of course, most importantly, tent.  These things take time.  Anywhos, so I have the Xbox 360 version of Dragon Age, and when you’re friends with someone, it shows what you’re playing, so he always knew when I was Dragon Age-ing.  (Dragon Aging?)

So Saturday I took home Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.  It’s brand new.  Unopened, even.  I stared at it, in its clean, unopened case, for several minutes.  I hesitated.

Yes, while I thank BioWare greatly for making the best RPGs known to man (and woman!), I still hesitated.  Some strange fear was growing in my mind, a dark shadow of doubt.

While I was ecstatic to see Alistair again, I was also a little afraid.  I remembered Wadoobie’s post about no tenting in Awakening, which upset me because I knew that meant I would be seeing much of Alistair this time around.  I also heard that he would be a little…distant.

I don’t know if I can handle that.

Alistair

Alistair looks...distant

What if…what if Alistair doesn’t love me anymore?  What if he has had continued fantasies of Morrigan from the Dark Ritual night, and is now wishing he hadn’t decided to (agreed to, rather) marry me?

Plus, how will my royal subjects respond to me leaving on a quest?  I mean, I’m the Queen now.  And, granted, I was the hero of Fereldan when I battled and killed the Archdemon, but still, won’t people be rather upset when I go off questing again?

You know how Pirates of the Caribbean wrapped the first movie up nicely, and everything was happy and good?  Well then you watch the second and the third movies, and you’re like, ‘WTF just happened?’  They basically ruined a good ending.  It kind of shatters the happy image you had of Will and Elizabeth.

I’m just hoping my happy ending (*ahem* no pun intended) between Alistair and Avaline isn’t destroyed.

-Kat

Fable III – Now with Multiplayer Baby Makin’

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment
Fable 3 - Touch Mechanic

I wonder if they're going to try to make a baby too?

Bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “Touch Mechanic” Fable III is going to allow co-op partners to…well…partner up. The Official Xbox 360 Magazine UK reported that Fable III will allow co-op partners to get intimate with one another and sire an online child.

The team seems committed to ensuring the [co-op] experience is in no way compromised,” writes Mike Channell. “You’ll be able to enjoy, ahem, intimate moments with your co-op friend and eventually produce offspring together.

Personally I can’t wait to see the overreactions and watch as relationships end because one person had a online pixel baby with another behind their IRL partners back. What? I’m a dick like that. Fable III is the new Facebook!

Check out the article at Fable III: You can ‘get intimate’ with co-op partner on OXM UK.

Final Fantasy – Possible Main Character in Final Fantasy XV

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

In recent years Final Fantasy protagonists have been traveling down a path that can almost lead us to predict the exact personality of the main character in Final Fantasy XV. Before I share this conclusion with you, let me state that I am a huge Final Fantasy fan and pretty much love most aspects of every game ever since I put the original Final Fantasy cartridge in my old 8-bit Nintendo. They are an enjoyable escape into a color world of magic and turmoil with rich stories and characters.

Typical main characters have a personality that is rather reflective of a stereotypical teenager because in most instances they are in fact teenagers. They are angst ridden uncertain individuals who undergo a great change. Essentially we watch them grow from adolescence to adulthood through great struggle and personal reflection.

Cloud Strife - Final Fantasy VII

So much angst

With Cloud Strife we saw someone lose all identity. He was a SOLDIER 1st Class who helped bring justice to the one responsible for the tragic events at Nibelheim. Through out his journey we find him wrestle with the facts that he isn’t who he believed himself to be. He was never a SOLDIER 1st Class, he was never a hero he believed himself to be, in fact he was really little more than grave robbing sword stealing materia junkie (and you thought Yuffie had a problem with materia).

Once he discovered that he was not a hero, could not even save a flower girl, and may in fact be a clone he pretty much lost all grip of who he was. He lost touch with himself, with his friendships, and almost helped in destroying the world. He became full of self doubt, self pitty, and self deprecation. My god he became annoying. Throughout the entire middle portion of the game you just wanted to take away his oversize sword with fear that he may cause oversize slits in his wrists.

Squall Leonhart - Final Fantasy VIII

Oh so much angst

Then we have Squall Leonhart who can best be summed up in one word: “Whatever.” The other party members even mock him in-game for this being his signature catch phrase. He never shows much emotion throughout the course of the game. He typifies Emo and gets to carry around a large sword attached to a revolver for a mercenary army. Apparently they don’t have mandatory psychological evaluations in the army.

Throughout his journey we come to learn that he’s an orphan who suffers from Guardian Force induced amnesia and is prone to narcolepsy . What makes it even more fun is that he has some form of super narcolepsy that causes those around him to fall asleep. In college we called it Economics. Perhaps I’m wrong and it wasn’t a contagious disease but merely his party members attempt to escape the ever vibrant personality that was Squall.  When asked about this Squall responded with:

Whatever

When we first see him (before we even get to take control of him) we see him get beaten by his rival Seifer Almasy who was a confident, gifted, natural leader that was not afraid to make tough decisions. He was charismatic, sure of himself, and would take on any challenge that came his way. He was a man with goals and with vision and, more importantly, the gumption to see it through to the end. All in all a much more interesting fit had he been chosen as the main character.

Zidane I’m going to skip over. I never really finished nine. Yes I know, Vivi was awesome but I just couldn’t handle the sickeningly cute money man with shirt cuffs with a sleeveless shirt. I still wonder why this fashion trend never caught on.

Tidus was a promising character. He was a popular athlete on a popular team. Sure blitzball was a strange game that left me wondering either 1.) where were their gills and 2.) how long could they hold their breath but it’s still a popular local sport so it gets credit. But then a few minutes into the game you come to find out that he has serious daddy issues. Yes Jecht was a horrible father who verbally abused his son and abandoned his family, but come on…he became a monster that tried to destroy the world. That’s gotta count for something right?

Vaan - Final Fantasy XII

Less angst just more annoying

Now we have Vaan. A boy raised in the desert, who lost his parents to the plague and his brother to a war. By rights he has every reason to be upset, but instead of being all angsty and annoying we find him optimistic and full of hope…and annoying. I spent most of the game asking myself why the underage boy wouldn’t put a shirt on and wishing that he would. Thank you Square-Enix for adding Balthier because otherwise I may have stopped playing.

Vaan signature flaw is that he was very childish. He wanted to be a sky pirate (which he just wouldn’t shut up about) and live free and because of this he tended to distance himself from all attachment. He had a wonderful friend in Penelo who was willing to overlook his thievery and life of crime and befriend the person that was inside. She could see the dreams and the hope and she liked what she saw. Perhaps it was the fact that her other close connection in the game was the lizard man who gave them work and by comparison Vaan is a refreshing breath of fresh air, but she stuck by him though he attempted to isolate himself to a life of piracy.

Looking at the four characters we have mentioned we have very specific characteristics that bring us to the modern Final Fantasy Protagonists:

  1. Lost family on all four accounts
  2. Isolation
  3. Angst
  4. General unpleasantness
  5. Fleeing some form of authority/army/group
  6. Are/were a soldier in an army

If we combine them we have:

Lightning - Final Fantasy XIII

Lighting is a culmination of Squall, Cloud, Tidus, and Vaan. On a side note – Square-Enix next time please make the adult female the one in the open vest, not the underage boy. I spend my time in this game hoping Snow and Fang come back soon. They are caring, thoughtful characters who have a clear goal and desire to help others. Lightning is an unpleasant bitch who tells Hope, a whiny weak recently orphaned child with what appears to be a rather substantial Oedipus Complex, that he’s a burden and she’s going to leave him.

Her sister (and last surviving family member) tells her “I’ve been chosen to be an L’Cie, oh yeah and I’m also engaged” and her response is essentially  “If you have been chosen to be an L’Cie then I’m going to kill you”. She then choses to verbally and physically abuse her future brother in law for attempting to keep her sister alive and well. We see this all go down on Lighting’s birthday where her sister gives her a knife and she channels her inner Comic Book Guy and declares “Worst birthday ever”. I really hope she undergoes the signature Final Fantasy transformation into adulthood soon because she is really starting to get to me.

But where does this take us? Well Lightning is a little too abrasive. They attempted to combine aspects of all characters that they thought would work but they overdid it. They need to scale it back a bit for the next one. This can only lead us to one logical conclusion. The next main character in Final Fantasy (not Noctis) will be:

And for those keeping score, yes, I said that Kim Jong-il was a scaled back version of Lightning.

Let us know what you think the next Final Fantasy Character is going to be like. Bonus points to anyone who makes a Kim Jong-il character in the upcoming MMO Final Fantasy XIV

Mass Effect 2: Space Hamster

March 31, 2010 1 comment

I know, I know.  I’m fixated on Mass Effect 2.  Well, this tends to happen to me.  I start in on a good RPG, and I’m just stuck there until I finish.  In other words, you will essentially know what I’m playing at all times based on my posts (mainly).

I also have a side note / confession to make to everyone.  This is truly, truly horrible.  Prepare yourselves, folks –

I still haven’t bought Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.

Okay, now that the gasps of horror are pretty much over, I know you’re all thinking to yourselves – and this girl says she’s in love with BioWare?!  How dare she do them the dishonor! It’s true.  I feel awful.  I really want to get DA:O-A (whew, what a mouthful).  I just haven’t yet due to my distraction with ME2.

Mass Effect 2: The Fish Tank

They will be dead next time you check on them. Seriously. They suck.

Speaking of which, has anyone noticed the presence of a rather odd, Richard Gere-inspired item in the game?  I think it’s cute that you can buy fish for your fishtank (but dammit, do they die quickly…) but the Space Hamster really intrigues me.

Has anyone determined if it does anything more than peek out of its hidey-hole and then dart back in timidly?  While adorable, it doesn’t really serve a purpose rather than being somewhat amusing.

Richard Gere

See where his hand is going...? He's got a gerbil...

UNLESS…unless this is really a…creepy indication that our Commander Shepard is rather lonely.  Lonely and willing to try a Richard Gere maneuver with a hamster.  It’s rather gross to dwell on, even by Polish the Console standards.

If you’re wondering, the kiosk description of the space hamster is really what gave me this idea.  See the incriminating image below.

By the way, you may also note in the picture below that the cost to purchase said space hamster is 7,666 credits.  That’s a mighty hefty price for something that just plays coy and peeks out at you occasionally.  This seems like it could qualify as a ‘companion of the night’ price, if you get what I’m saying.  *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Anyone else get this weird vibe from the space hamster?  And dammit, how do you keep those fish alive?  (besides treating Kelly Chambers kinda like the space hamster and getting her to do it)

-Kat

Space Hamster

The Space Hamster, aka Secret Love Companion (kinda like Kelly Chambers)

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – The PtC Review

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningYes yes, its a little late. But none the less here is our review of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.

Quickly how the Dragon Age tables have turned. When last we saw our Gray Warden they were either dead after killing the Archdemon, married with a errant step child, or single with a baby momma wandering somewhere in the forest. Parenting aside Dragon Age: Origins was a fantastic RPG. The sequel was something that Polish the Console was anxiously awaiting.  It does however leave a few questions to be answered:

Why is my imported Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening Character Naked?

When I first laid eyes on my Warden I felt as though I was seeing a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Then I noticed he wasn’t wearing anything. Basically just what happens when I see a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Why was my Gray Warden running around in his underwear? Did he lose his laundromat ticket? Is the armor chafing? Has life with an Orlesian Bard (Leliana) left him wanting a life free of the encumberments of pants?

The answer to all of these is no. BioWare just did not allow for the import of any DLC armor or weapons. While this didn’t deter me in the least it was certainly comical. How am I supposed to take The Withered seriously when Oghren is mocking him and I’m naked?

However this may be the first time my Warden openly showed off the taint to everyone. Yeah, cheap joke, I know.

Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Party Member Mhairi

You can't keep her

Can you save Mhairi?

No. Just like you couldn’t save Daveth…and Jory was a whiny bitch so who cares about him. But no, Mhairi’s death is to signify that the Joining is in fact dangerous and potentially fatal to the wrong person. The Gray Wardens Joining is kinda like dodge-ball; you gotta have gumption to make it through to being a Gray Warden. You can’t just want it, you gotta be good enough.

Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Sandal the Enchanter

Have you seen me?

Where is Sandal?

Seriously…I loved that little guy. Where is he BioWare? He killed an army of Darkspawn by himself so please bring him back.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The Good

This video game is fun. The story is well thought out, the characters are rich, the setting is fantastic, and the gameplay is spot on where it was the last go round. On top of that you can further expand on your character making the bad assness even more full of bad…and with the naked start its also full of ass.  WOO!!

The new darkspawn and eight boobed Brood Mother have me anxiously awaiting to find out what their plot is, where they came form, what they want, who they are, and where they get their snappy wardrobe.

I am absolutely hooked.

By the way: Oghren’s lines still have me wetting myself with laughter.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The Bad

It certainly seems to hiccup a lot. You can tell when you’re in a big battle because everything slows down. It only froze once on me though (way to beat Heavy Rain). Starting naked wasn’t terrible, it just ruined the congruity of everything.

Even though tenting would seem totally out of place in setting of Dragon Age it would still be fun.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The Score:

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4 / 5

Its an expansion. It’s not going to be groundbreaking, overly inventive, or totally new. However do you think they could have fixed the naked start problem? That just seems like a HUGE oversight.

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