Video Game of the Week

I like video games. I enjoy playing them by myself and with friends and (pretending this is Monday) every week I will be playing a new one. I have decided to announce which one I will be playing and then the next Monday, report on it.

Since this is the first one, I decided to get back to my roots and play Half-Life 2 from the Orange Box. The Orange Box is a compilation of 5 games: Half Life 2, HL2: episode 1+2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal (best game ever). And I’ve played the original Half Life 2 but I recently stole the Orange Box from a friend so I’ll probably be playing those games from it in the weeks to come.

He's pretty much the biggest badass ever...

But the game I just finished is Dragon Age 2, a fantasy epic with fewer dragons than the title implies. I’ve played Dragon Age: Origins, which I sort of liked better. The character development is better in 2 and there are more character quests and your relationship with them is more complicated. But you are also set in like one city, Kirkwall, and the surrounding area. It just gets really repetitive with the same dungeons over and over. Sometimes they use the exact same area and just change the name of it, which is very irritating.

Sorry Dragon Age 2, these are the same dungeon...

This complaint is double-edged cause I appreciate a bit of complexity in my storyline but some of the choices you get are a bit ridiculous with both choices causing mass chaos and a lot of killing. As a side note, I made myself a diplomatic character but I still seemed to solve almost all my problems by killing the person I disagreed with… Anyway, back to the storyline. Sometimes you find yourself in a bad situation that has a diplomatic solution but the game doesn’t offer it for you and even though I am loathe to looking up solutions that’s what I ended up doing. They informed me that in a lot of these situations there is no way to avoid mass murder…  You have to kill the poor mage driven to blood magic by the Templars. I should probably state that I sided with the mages and Fenris deserted me cause he’s a little bitch and I didn’t get his rivalry high enough (there is rivalry and friendship: doesn’t really matter which one you max just as long as you do) Fenris is an awesome character but it annoyed me that he didn’t really evolve as a person throughout the game. He goes through all these life-changing events and I took him with me during all my adventures and he still comes out hating mages like nobody’s business. The other characters change… maybe its cause I couldn’t bring myself to kill random mages but I’m still kind of a dick so he didn’t always disagree with me.

He's kind of fucking awesome

It was a good game but very long especially if you like completing quests cause there’s a fuck ton and I ended up just ignoring some by the end of the game. Also, word of advice, don’t ignore  Isabela. I pretty much never used her cause Varric was funnier and I was a dual weapon rouge and 3 rouges would’ve been ridiculous. Without spoiling the game, make friends with Isabela before the end of Act 2. Cause I didn’t do myself any favors by never talking or interacting with her.

I'm pretty sure you can romance her too...

The game also uses an interesting story telling device with Varric retelling the tale to this crazy woman trying to figure out how Kirkwall got so fucked up. It intersperses game-play with beautiful illustrations and the occasional lie from Varric that adds some humor.

Final grade: B+

Its a good game with intricate story telling and character development but suffers from repetitive dungeons and a lack of diplomacy.


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