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4921  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Killer Whale may get the chance to kill again on: March 30, 2011, 02:51:57 PM

Quote from: Zekester on March 30, 2011, 02:42:53 PM

I agree with this, but swimming with that whale honestly doesn't seem like fun to me  icon_wink

Riding a motorcycle doesn't seem fun to me, but then again, we're all different.
4922  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Killer Whale may get the chance to kill again on: March 30, 2011, 02:34:27 PM

Quote from: Zekester on March 30, 2011, 02:28:35 PM

I wouldn't even jump in the water with that thing wearing King Arthur's body armor. LOL

Good, because that armor would drag you under and cause you to, you know, drown. Like the person who died in the whale accident. Not bitten to death. Not even bitten in the first place. The whale was playing with the trainer, not trying to kill him/her.
4923  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Killer Whale may get the chance to kill again on: March 30, 2011, 01:52:11 PM

Quote from: Zekester on March 30, 2011, 01:10:03 PM

You go ahead and convince yourself of that.

Why the need for the insulting tone? I didn't attempt to offend you in any way.

You know why. Don't act like you don't.

No, I really don't.
4924  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Killer Whale may get the chance to kill again on: March 30, 2011, 12:56:38 PM

Quote from: Zekester on March 30, 2011, 12:33:04 PM

You go ahead and convince yourself of that.

Why the need for the insulting tone? I didn't attempt to offend you in any way.

I know I wouldn't be getting anywhere near it again.

That would be understandable and your choice, but still is no fault of the whale itself. Keeping it locked away because you're afraid of it and because the park failed to observe proper safety procedures isn't really a very humane thing to do.
4925  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Killer Whale may get the chance to kill again on: March 30, 2011, 12:27:10 PM
How is that an epic fail? From what I've read the whale had little fault for the death, whereas SeaWorld put its trainers in dangerous situations that could have been avoided.
4926  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The destroyer of threads thread - A Warning on: March 30, 2011, 06:08:59 AM
Pfft! Use a real browser! Opera survived. smile
4927  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 30, 2011, 05:57:51 AM

Quote from: leo8877 on March 30, 2011, 12:09:47 AM

Man WTF is up with the enemy AI...if you uncloak and an enemy is in sight lines, even if they are forever away, they all start shooting at you.  It's so ridiculous.

It's actually a little more nuanced than that. You can uncloak in front of an enemy, shoot him with a loud weapon that makes everyone on the map hear you, then cloak again and nobody will be any wiser. They'll probably come investigate, but they won't start shooting. It also takes enemies a moment to spot you from a distance. You'll notice this on your threat meter when it rises slowly as an enemy looks towards you. They'll see you instantly at close range, of course.
4928  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 29, 2011, 09:20:41 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on March 29, 2011, 09:09:23 PM

My first impressions are a bit mixed.  It's probably just me but the 3D doesn't work as well as I expected.  On the one hand I can clearly see a lot of depth looking into the 3DS but nothing has really appeared to POP out for me yet.  That aside I'm not disappointed. 

The 3D isn't supposed to pop out as that won't work well on such a small screen. I've seen it work only once within my few hours with the system. Power poles and the cables running between them were lifted slightly off screen. If these objects intersected the edge of the screen, the effect collapsed and I got vaguely uncomfortable looking at it. The 3D you should be expecting is things going into the screen, not out of it.

After a few hours with my 3DS tonight I feel slight pressure in my head, as if I'm just about to get a headache. I'm not sure if this is just a transition stage before I get used to the effect or if this is how it's going to be.

I discovered a fun, somewhat subtle thing about the system however: It actually defaults to surround sound, and it works since you'll have your head in one place because of the screen anyway. By doing certain tricks with the sounds it can make your brain think they are coming from all kinds of directions (one of the main menus had birds twittering off to the right, and the sound really felt like it was coming from the windows in my apartment). If you're playing in 2D mode, you might want to set your 3DS to stereo mode so you won't get sound artifacts.
4929  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Futuristic Stain Remover on: March 29, 2011, 08:14:05 PM

Quote from: ibdoomed on March 29, 2011, 07:43:56 PM

You can see the video 'hiccup' and the lighting changes between mixing and picking up/putting back. I'd say it's some sort of hardening goo that they mix up, let dry, put back, yadda yadda. It's definitely a scam.

Then explain how the video shows the goo being picked up, put down, smeared out a bit more, shoved with a different tool (that just smears it further across the surface), then picked up again?

I'd say the "scam" part of this is more related to the product probably only working well on a very limited subset of surfaces.
4930  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [3DS] Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars on: March 29, 2011, 08:11:06 PM
I've played through the tutorial mission as well as the first 3 regular missions in this game now, all on the highest difficulty. It's been a lot of fun so far. You never seem to be fully aware of your objectives at the start of a mission, and receive them only after certain criteria have been met. For example, in the second mission your only objective as you start is to have your only troop, a medic, reach cover in an empty house before a bunch of soldiers converge on her and kill her. Once you get there, you get a new objective: Defend the house and stay alive. Once the attack has been stopped, a specific soldier in your team must plant a bomb at a certain spot on the map. Once that is done, all your troops must escape the map in a certain direction. All the missions I've played so far have been like this, with additional goals popping up depending on circumstance (for example: in one mission my heavy trooper was wounded, and I received a secondary goal to heal him fully, which earned me a star to spend on unit upgrades after the mission). The whole thing is very tactical and requires careful planning, at least on the highest difficulty.

The people who say that the 3D effects don't add anything to this game are jaded as hell. The graphics are bland in 2D mode but look a lot more compelling in 3D. Effects like dust blowing through the air suddenly look a whole lot better when that dust clearly isn't just dragged around a 2D-terrain but actually flies above it. Cover and heights are easy to spot with a third dimension available to you.

Even though I get somewhat dizzy from playing with the 3D on for a while, I can't see myself turning it off.
4931  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 29, 2011, 07:40:57 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 29, 2011, 07:34:41 PM

Quote from: The Grue on March 29, 2011, 07:33:19 PM

In other news, why is TiLT the only person putting their friend code in the code thread?  I would like a proper friend list, please. smile

I don't recall seeing anything on the 3DS about a friends list, but I may not have hit all the icons yet.

It's the fourth icon in the upper row on the Home screen.
4932  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 29, 2011, 07:29:10 PM
The hinges on mine are "loose" in that the upper part of the console might wobble if I shake the whole thing... but I don't do that, so it's not a problem at all. I didn't even notice it until I checked. I've also played through 4 levels of Ghost Recon without having any of the reported crashes. The first two missions were played before the system update, and the last two after.
4933  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Batman 3, aka Dark Knight Rising on: March 29, 2011, 05:08:12 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 29, 2011, 04:15:28 PM

according to Gary Oldman, the ending of the film isn't in any script being handed out.  He says Nolan is verbally telling the actors about it in an attempt to keep it secret.

let the speculation begin!

Catwoman is Batman's father!

You heard it here first.
4934  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 29, 2011, 04:34:56 PM
I'm impressed with the tiny speakers in the 3DS. There's a lot of oomph in them compared to what I remember from the DS. The thing actually vibrates in my hands during the brass themes in Ghost Recon.
4935  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Jurassic Park & Back to the Future by Telltale! Back to the Future Facebook game on: March 29, 2011, 02:42:52 PM

Quote from: spigot on March 29, 2011, 02:41:33 PM

it's getting a little disappointing to see the same tiny area of Hill Valley ad nauseam.

To be fair, the movies did the exact same thing.
4936  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 29, 2011, 02:02:10 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 29, 2011, 01:56:14 PM

How well does the 3d camera work?

It works and is in 3D. It's pretty low quality as pictures go, but the 3D effect is unique and fun to play around with. More of a novelty than anything else. Took a couple of pictures with it, and they feel very real in a way that ordinary pictures don't.
4937  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 29, 2011, 01:53:57 PM
Bought a 3DS today, and I'm pleased with it so far. The 3D effect was a little weird at the beginning (in the same way as when you watch a 3D movie in the theater). It takes a few minutes to get used to it.

I only got Ghost Recon for it and have played through just the first mission on the highest difficulty, which was fun. I'll save my impressions of that particular game for its own thread though. smile

The 3DS feels a lot more complete as a system than the DS ever did. The new way to use friend codes means it can be set up to have online functionality in much the same way as any other console, and the functionality in the system itself is expandable and flexible. I can't wait to see what else they do with it over time.
4938  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age II - Impressions! Mods! Live Action Fan Film revealed on: March 29, 2011, 01:14:51 PM
Don't be afraid to buy a bunch of respec potions from the Black Emporium to try different skill sets too. Each of your characters may be very effective on his or her own, but that is far less important than having them be effective together.
4939  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: 3DS Friend Codes on: March 29, 2011, 10:46:58 AM
4940  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Finally a REAL way to determine which country is best! on: March 28, 2011, 06:24:42 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on March 28, 2011, 06:17:29 PM

I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the average dick size map.  I bet we'd win that one easily.

Here you go!
4941  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 28, 2011, 06:06:38 PM
I think I figured out the lost nano catalyst bug btw, though I haven't been able to test it. When you quit the game, your nano catalyst count isn't reset to 0. It's set to the sum you had... negative. So when I quit (crashed actually, though it was my computer overheating, not the game) with 10 000 catalysts, the game probably thought I had -10 000 when I started up again. I saw this most clearly in action when I quit with 80, started up with 0 (or so the interface said), and after picking up 200 catalysts had a grand total of 120.

If none of you others are seeing this bug, it might be that it's caused by some regional setting that Crytek failed to test for. Just speculation, but I've seen worse things happen from that kind of stuff.
4942  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 28, 2011, 05:49:53 PM
Just finished the game, and the ending confused me a bit:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Were we actually playing Prophet all along? Did he find the dying Alcatraz and set himself up to believe that he was that man (by leaving Alcatraz dead on the floor and pretending that he was Prophet) so that he could confuse the suit and take back control over his own body?

If so, that's brilliant!
4943  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 28, 2011, 05:45:39 PM

Quote from: leo8877 on March 28, 2011, 04:42:06 PM

Quote from: Roman on March 28, 2011, 04:36:04 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 28, 2011, 04:17:31 PM

You're using your HUD, aren't you Roman (up on the d-pad)?  You can click on a marker that shows up, and it'll be highlighted in your main view, IIRC.
Yes I am using the HUD. But perhaps not correctly? I can mark ammo and guns and troops but no 'markers' per se. Case in point - when I am trying to locate the tunnel at the church early on in the game - there is no marker letting me know where the tunnel entrance it.

Marker?  Church?

The irony here is that the alien structures in Crysis 2 actually look a lot like The Marker.
4944  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Finally a REAL way to determine which country is best! on: March 28, 2011, 12:56:48 PM

Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum on March 28, 2011, 12:38:52 PM

Average cup size is larger than a D cup? That probably just means they have a lot of fat people. A real scientific measurement would be a ratio of breast size:BMI. That would be more, uh, informative...

Yes to the last part, no to the first part. Obesity is way more common in the USA than in Scandinavia and Russia, but there is a certain amount of truth in what you're saying even so. Take a walk through the streets around here and you'll see very few fat people, and those that are fat are usually not obese.
4945  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Finally a REAL way to determine which country is best! on: March 28, 2011, 12:13:20 PM
Scientists are great! They get funding to do all kinds of crazy research... like the map linked to below. This should lay all arguments to rest about which countries are best.

Scientific proof that Scandinavia (and Russia) are genetically superior! slywink
4946  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo's 3D House of DS on: March 28, 2011, 11:30:45 AM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 28, 2011, 11:27:37 AM

Wait, what about Kid Icarus?  Is that no longer a launch title?

I think a lot of the titles that were described as launch titles actually were "launch window" titles, which means they will be out in the next few months.
4947  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 28, 2011, 11:28:21 AM
What? You turn off motion blur? That's one of the things that really made the original Crysis stand out, in my opinion.
4948  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [3DS] Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars on: March 28, 2011, 07:57:24 AM

Quote from: The Grue on March 28, 2011, 03:55:06 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 28, 2011, 01:51:41 AM

gah!  almost finished with a mission, about to complete the last objective, and BAM! the game gives me an error and I have to restart.

Whoa!  That's not good.

That raises an interesting question: Can 3DS games be patched?
4949  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age II - Impressions! Mods! Live Action Fan Film revealed on: March 26, 2011, 10:34:54 PM
I just read the Dragon Age II - Final Thoughts at GameSpot, and it both frightens me and pisses me off. I can sum up the interview like this: "This is the right way for the Dragon Age franchise to go, and it only needs a little tweaking now to be perfect. Anyone who complaints about this game is either obsessed with Origins or doesn't know what he's talking about.", in a slightly more diplomatic tone. There's almost no signs of humility or admitting that certain design decisions were wrong. I also find it interesting that when asked about how they listen to fans, he only mentions two examples of feedback they look at: Players who disliked Origins and loved DA2, and players who disliked Origins and disliked DA2. It's like he doesn't care about the players who actually loved Origins in the first place.

Bioware truly have become blinded by their own success and are now growing arrogant. I hope it backfires, and judging by public opinion of DA2, that process might already have started.
4950  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 26, 2011, 09:38:49 PM
Yay, I lost over 10000 nano catalysts on my last game exit. Not only that, but I'm in the negative by an unknown amount (it says 0, but anything I earn doesn't increase that value yet). Fun!

It's a good thing the game is so damn good, because this kind of bug is inexcusable.
4951  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age II - Impressions! Mods! Live Action Fan Film revealed on: March 26, 2011, 03:24:30 PM

Quote from: The Grue on March 26, 2011, 02:39:39 PM

Quote from: Turtle on March 26, 2011, 02:17:34 AM

Didn't they change things so that in Awakenings, if you tried to pick a lock with a non-rogue character, the rogue in your party would move over and automatically try and pick it for you?

Not that I remember.  I also remember, though, that thee rogues would make comments in the first game as well when you tried to open a chest with your main and they didn't have skills.

Yeah, they definitely did. I think Leliana's line was "I can do that for you".
4952  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 26, 2011, 09:55:44 AM
The save system in general seems to be very buggy, but the rest of the game is mostly fine. Issues with saving I've seen so far:

- You lose nano catalysts when you exit the game. I've always started at 0 every time I've started the game so far, regardless of what I had when I turned it off.
- A sniper rifle I really could have used was available on my first run through an area, and I used it to good effect. Then I died and had to restart from the last save, but the rifle was no longer there. In other words, reloading while in the game might not refresh the world state exactly as it was when you saved.

The game also fails to save your cd key in the PC version unless you enter the multiplayer menus, type in your key, go back to singleplayer, enter the multiplayer menus and type in your key again.
4953  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 25, 2011, 08:04:46 PM
Couldn't stop myself from playing some more, despite the nano catalyst bug. I'll just make sure to spend everything I have and then reaching a new checkpoint before quitting the game. Hopefully that will help.

I love the Nanovision mode. It's like right out of Predator and has been done really well. Click the picture for the full resolution version.

4954  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Fringe Premiere on: March 25, 2011, 07:03:53 PM

Quote from: ericb on March 25, 2011, 06:47:30 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on March 25, 2011, 04:04:06 PM

Great news!  I was worried this season would be it.

I actually prefer the red episodes because the cast dynamic is more interesting (it's better with Charlie).  Introducing the red side fringe team lead as a new character on our side last episode was a great move.  He adds a good dynamic, and offerred a much needed humor outlet for Peter.     

Yes, and I hope they make him a new "regular" now that he's been brought in to our side.

They welcomed him to Fringe division and told him his security clearance got upgraded, so I assume he's formally a part of the team from now on.
4955  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis 2 on: March 25, 2011, 05:37:31 PM
I just ran into a different game-breaking bug. With that I mean that I'll have to leave the game alone until it's patched. Nano Catalysts (the game's version of XP) reset every time you restart the game, and can get locked at 0 as well (which seems to have happened to me now). This means you'll never be able to collect catalysts or upgrade abilities. This sucks.
4956  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Game of Thrones TV series starts April 17th! on: March 25, 2011, 08:50:18 AM
Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish.
4957  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age II - Impressions! Mods Starting to Appear on: March 23, 2011, 10:36:40 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 23, 2011, 10:28:13 PM

- The NPC selection is out of whack. There are only two warriors (the arguably most important class), one of whom is hidden inside an unassuming sidequest that is easily missed (I know I missed it), yet there are three rogues? It can be rough to play a mage when you've got only one available warrior to protect you, and what if you don't like that NPCs personality? What if the story makes that NPC leave you, temporarily or permanently?

I guess that depends on what class you are playing, but in the base game there are only 2 rogues (not including the DLC NPC who people aren't guaranteed to have):

Spoiler for NPC class breakdown:
3 warriors: Carver, Fenric and Aveline
3 mages: Bethany, Anders and Merril
2 rogues: Varric and Isabella

then there's Sebastian the Rogue, but like I said not everyone may have him.

so technically you could have 3 warriors, 2 mages and 3 rogues, or 2 warriors, 3 mages and 3 rogues.

No. What you're saying is technically correct if you count the number of NPCs included in the game, but that's not the same as what's available. Here's a corrected list:

Spoiler for NPC class breakdown:
2 warriors: Fenris and Aveline
2 mages: Anders and Merril
2 rogues: Varric and Isabella

You have access to one additional warrior (Carver) in act 1 if you're a mage, or one additional mage (Bethany) in the same act if you're not. After act 1, they are no longer available. Sebastian is also a rogue and should be counted as a third character there, particularly since he feels just as vital as Shale did in the first game.

Seems balanced, right? Wrong. One of the warriors hates mages, which can be a real issue when you play one (I don't know how rivalry factors into these things since I didn't go that route, but there are several situations in the game where it looks like certain NPCs may leave you for good).

It also doesn't help one bit that a large amount of quests in the game (all companion quests, for instance) require you to use a certain character or leaves some of them unavailable. This can hurt really bad when you depend upon them, such as during one quest where there were no warriors available to me whatsoever. I had to turn down the difficulty just to survive filler battles.
4958  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age II - Impressions! Mods Starting to Appear on: March 23, 2011, 10:08:31 PM
Okay, having spent a few days kicking around a document with my thoughts on Dragon Age 2, I think I'm finally ready to post it. Everything below should be reasonably spoiler-free, with the exception of things in spoiler tags (duh!).

My finishing thoughts on Dragon Age 2

I'll start with the conclusion since many people like to skip the foreplay and go straight to the climax. Naughty!

Dragon Age 2 is a game filled with lots of good intentions and very little understanding of the medium and the fans. This is very surprising, as we all know Bioware is a legend when it comes to RPGs. Mass Effect 2 last year was a masterpiece, and the first Dragon Age, while also with its fair share of flaws, was a fantastic experience and a love letter to those of us who miss the deeper RPGs of yore. The whole experience feels rushed, with a lack of polish and forethought that reminds me more of amateur developers than of Bioware.

On the whole, there were some great moments in the game, particularly at the end of each act where the Bioware magic was most apparent. It's what's between these moments that makes up the meat and bones of the game however, and this is where the flaws rear their ugly faces. The combat is different than Origins yet fun in its own way, but it grows repetitive and stale after the first half of the game.

I'm annoyed that I paid full price for this game, as it was definitely not worth it. It's worth playing, but only if you can find it cheap. To put it into perspective, I don't think Bioware has ever made a worse RPG than this (their release dates considered). Not that it's saying much considering their track record of excellency.

Now onto the details:

The Awesome:

- The story might vary a bit for each of us who plays through the game. This is a good thing and makes the events more personal in typical Bioware fashion.

- There was one section near the end that hit all the right notes and was very emotionally fulfilling. I don't think this is something that will happen in all playthroughs. Description of the event in the spoiler:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Anders used me to blow up the Chantry, killing everyone inside and escalating the templar/mage-conflict beyond repair. The whole sequence when his plan comes together was masterfully wrought, and despite not liking what the developers did to Anders' personality in this game, I was conflicted and sad when I decided that the only rational course of action was to personally execute him for what he had done. That my entire team was there to lend their opinion on the situation was great as well.

The Good:

- Being able to instantly change between night and day on the city map is a brilliant idea that I hope more games will use. It gets rid of the trite time-scaling that almost all games use where each day and night seems to last just a few minutes, and gives the player control over the passage of time so that they don't have to sit around waiting when all they have a quest that requires them to be present at a certain time of day.

- The combat is different than Dragon Age Origins, but fun in its own way (though there are some major caveats, see below). Setting up powerful attack combos is satisfying and demanding, and it rewards planning and tactical play, even if these tactics have little flexibility. I enjoyed it on Hard throughout the entire first act, at least.

- The more I think about it, the more I love the character of Bodahn and his relationship with his adoptive son, Sandal. I have no idea if it was accidental or not, but I've rarely seen a relationship between game characters that has felt so genuine and real. Bodahn's actor is also very good at what he does. I just hope Bioware don't think the charm of these two characters entirely consists of Sandal saying "enchantment!", because that would mean they've missed the point entirely.

- Tons of sidequests. You always feel like you've got plenty to do at all times. Some of the sidequests escalate into larger quests too, which is both cool and can have some nasty
consequences, such as missing out on companions because you didn't do the unimportant-looking sidequest that triggered their appearance.

- Repeat appearances by select companions from Dragon Age Origins and Awakening. Anders doesn't really work because they changed him too much, but the others that appeared in my game were a breath of fresh air and brought a smile to my face. I felt they have more charm than the ones in DA2, but I'm not complaining too much about that. The companions here are all interesting enough in their own way, even if they can't reach the level of greatness that was Morrigan, Leliana & co.

The Neutral:

- The race redesign is hit and miss. Mostly hit, admittedly. I really like the way they reimagined the Qunari, and for the most part the elves as well. Making them more fey-like is a good thing. The issue with the elves is their idiotic ears, obviously inspired by WoW. While traditional fantasy elf ears are merely a cosmetic change from regular humans to give them a bit of an exotic flair, the ones in this game would actually impair their hearing. It makes no sense.

The Bad:

- The story. To clarify, the basic elements of the story are good, but there are some serious problems in terms of pacing, hooks and foreshadowing that make the whole thing fall apart at the seams. To begin with, the story lacks a good hook to get you interested. It tries with its dwarf storyteller motif, but it doesn't put things into context and appears so rarely that you quickly forget about it and start wondering what exactly you're trying to accomplish. That gets even worse at the end of each act when it feels like you've already accomplished everything Hawke would want, which makes it hard to accept that he's still heading out adventuring and that his companions are still following him around. There is a lack of structure to the story, and while the groundwork for each act is laid down in advance and there are a few common threads, each act is still a completely separate story from the others.

- The action and style is way over the top. Sure, you can use the excuse that it's all because the dwarf is exaggerating, but that is beside the point when this is all we get to see as the player. People summersault through the air to land blows with swords that wouldn't look out of place in an Anime. Enemies explode into gory chunks when hit by arrows. It's all a bit much for a setting that started out as pretty low-fantasy except for the magic. I get the distinct impression that the developers are big fans of Anime in general and wanted to do something like that. That may work for some, but I'm not a fan of that at all. I expect a certain degree of believability in an RPG setting for me to get absorbed in it (which is why games like Zelda don't work for me, for example), but Dragon Age is heading in the opposite direction of that right now.

- Timed trap puzzles that are hopelessly bugged. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when you actually take damage by running across these traps. Sometimes you can run across unharmed while the trap is active. Most of the time you'll take damage when running across it when it's inactive. I still haven't figured it out, but it seems very clear to me that the whole thing is totally bugged.

- Speaking of bugs, the game has a lot of them for a Bioware title, some of them game breaking or at least storyline-breaking. We've seen mention of the slowdown bug and the one that messes up Merill's story and quests (more on that in the spoiler below). There's also stuff like the game pausing for minutes at a time (when this happens in the middle of an important cutscene it can be infuriating), blank faces, quests that are outright broken (like one in act 2 that never disappears from your quest log or one in act 3 where the quest objective can't be found) and your dog becoming completely unresponsive until you reload a saved game. The Merill bug had hilarious consequences for me: (end-game spoiler)

Spoiler for Hiden:
Merill's quests and story got bugged for me, so certain parts never appeared while others appeared out of order, in the wrong act, or had no effect on the rest of the world. This culminated in me romancing both Merill and Isabella at once and having the game let me do this. During the final preparations for the end battle, when you get to talk to each of your companions, both Isabella and Merill proclaimed their unending love for me while standing next to each other, each giving me a passionate kiss while the other one watched with no comment. It was bizarre. When the game was over and Varric mentioned who stuck with who, the game seemed to ignore Merill's romance and said that the Champion stayed with Isabella.

- The combat, while interesting initially, turns out to have little depth beyond how you construct your party (and some basic, repeatable tactics). I was having fun with the combat until I got a little bit into Act 2 and realized I was doing the same (effective) things every battle, against the same limited set of enemies with the same repetitive sort of encounter design. I turned the difficulty down to Normal to make things pass by quicker. In Act 3 I turned it down to Casual so I could ignore the combat completely. There was way too much fighting and way too little effort at making each encounter interesting.

- Reinforcements. Yeah I know, we've been all over this already, but I'd like to point out what's wrong with the concept. If you look at any one particular battle in Dragon Age 2 in isolation, the reinforcements can look interesting, even fun. However, they are used in almost every battle no matter how unreasonable the setup. Why is this guy's personal guard (who count in the dozens) storming in from different city blocks? Aren't they suppsed to be close? And who warned them about the attack? Why are fully armed templars jumping out of windows in private residences? Why are Qunari reinformcents teleporting in from nowhere? Why are dragonlings suddenly digging out of the ground? Why are darkspawn appearing from a wall with no openings in it, the floor or the roof? Why are reinforcements storming in late when I'm being ambushed? I mean, weren't they lying around waiting for me? Were these people off urinating or something? Reinforcements can be fun when used in moderation and when it makes sense. Dragon Age 2 uses them all the fricking time merely as a way to extend play time and artificially increase the difficulty.

- The boss encounters are ridiculous. I can't imagine that more than a small subset of players would ever enjoy this kind of thing. Who wants to fight the same, singular enemy for more than a minute or two? There's nothing as frustrating as failing a boss encounter after 15 minutes of non-stop fighting only to have to do it all over again. Then there's the way these encounters encourage you to die several times while you learn the attack patterns. This is NOT FUN, no matter the genre. I routinely turned the boss encounters down to Casual difficulty just to get them over with, and even then they lasted way, way too long.

- The NPC selection is out of whack. There are only two warriors (the arguably most important class), one of whom is hidden inside an unassuming sidequest that is easily missed (I know I missed it), yet there are three rogues? It can be rough to play a mage when you've got only one available warrior to protect you, and what if you don't like that NPCs personality? What if the story makes that NPC leave you, temporarily or permanently?

- The recycling of maps is horrible. I know this has been discussed to death already, but I think it needs repeating. Each type of environment in the game has only one map, and that map is repeated every time you visit that kind of environment. In other words, if you visit a cave, it will be the same exact cave as the last time you did so. They don't even bother to add background objects for ambience. The only stuff that changes is what they use to block off passages. Most of the time that's just a grey concrete wall. To make matters worse, the game is split into three acts that have almost no new scenery from the previous ones. By the time you've finished Act 1, you've more or less seen every map the game has to offer. Roleplaying games like Dragon Age should have an element of exploration (the first one had plenty), but there is no such thing in DA2. It's a damn shame, and quite possibly the game's biggest weakness.

- Mouse targeting is bad. Really bad. Really, really bad! For one thing, it can be nearly impossible to target the enemy you wish to attack. Each character seems to block off anything behind it, so if your warhound is standing between you and your enemy, you probably won't be able to target him without fiddling with the (locked) camera for a while, and maybe not even then. This is even though your warhound doesn't block the enemy visually at all. Even if the enemy isn't blocked, you may still have issues. Try targeting a moving Shade, I dare you! Those are the worst of the bunch and can only be targeted by clicking a specific point of their tail, which is way outside their targeting circle. At one point I couldn't target an enemy without clicking a random point high in the air about 2 meters away from him. Took me a minute or so of fiddling to randomly figure that out. Then there's the issue of invisible walls. The game is crawling with them. Even a tiny fence is considered a solid wall by the game engine, so it won't accept you targeting anything through it even though it's clear as day. Sometimes you won't even know these walls are there and become frustrated that the game won't accept your orders. In the first game you could get around this problem by moving the camera closer to the enemy, but here the camera is locked to your character, often making it impossible to attack certain enemies without manually moving closer. It may sound like I'm exaggerating. I'm not.

- The passage of time is only paid lip service. NPCs don't even change their clothes during the 10 or so years the game lasts, and nobody ages visually. It was particularly jarring when a character from DA:O appeared near the end of the game:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Leliana was probably between 25 and 30 years old in DA:O, I'd guess. This means that she's between 35 and 40 when she appears in DA2, but she still looks 20.

- I find the graphics to be dull and dated. This seems to be a point of contention. Either people love the graphics or they hate them. In my opinion, the graphics here are comparable to Lord of the Rings Online in many ways, yet that is a MMORPG and was released 4 years ago! Most areas consist of large, empty spaces with little detail. The city is blocky and bland. The ceilings (remember these? The very same ones Bioware told us were one of the reasons they got rid of the overhead view?) are particularly bad, to the point that Something Awful wrote an article making fun of them. Some characters do look good, and facial animations are certainly more than passable, but they are more of an exception than the rule. Bioware seems to have confused "cartoony" with "dated".
4959  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age II - Impressions! Mods Starting to Appear on: March 23, 2011, 09:30:51 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on March 23, 2011, 08:43:47 PM

I can't imagine a mage build without picking up mind blast with the stun upgrade, it's a lifesaver against rogues.  They may take half a mage's health on the first strike, but then they get stunned and knocked back, and then take your pick on either locking them down with petrify, crushing prison, or horror, or just killing them.  Stonefist also launches them across the screen to provide some breathing room.  Rogues are really no problem at all with...wait for it...the right tactics and abilities. icon_wink

I found Mind Blast to be quite useless, actually. It takes a little while to charge, so more than half the times I tried to use it I ended up getting interrupted by enemy attacks. This was especially bad for those situations where the spell seems like a perfect fit, in other words when you're surrounded. Good luck casting any spell at all when you are though! I ended up just respeccing my mage to get rid of the spell and use the points on something more useful.

The safest way to handle the enemies that pop out and do massive damage (and any other melee enemy, actually) is just to make your character run a few meters away when the enemy starts to attack. Their animations are so slow that it's easy to get out of reach before they hit you. Not very realistic, but it works.
4960  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: [WTF] Republicans propose bill to "reaffirm" motto of "In God We Trust" on: March 23, 2011, 06:05:22 PM

Quote from: hepcat on March 23, 2011, 06:01:44 PM

Quote from: TiLT on March 23, 2011, 05:58:38 PM

I'm just annoyed because it has become impossible to discuss politics and religion in a serious way in this forum any more. Whenever Zekester replies, the discussion derails into a "look at the midget!" freak show event.

to be fair, some of us gleefully jump into the mud and are equally to blame.  But R&P is pretty much dead without the freak show.

The R&P forum at Octopus Overlords is reasonably active, and they have a considerable overlap in members with GT. If people have a choice of places to post their opinions, they're going to disregard the forum where their thread will derail within the first dozen posts. I believe people like Zekester may be just the reason why there isn't much activity in R&P here.
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