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Topic: What PS3 game(s) are you currently playing?

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Gremio108

@RogerRoger That was something I noticed about the game too. I got Shale early on, out of curiosity (and,if I'm honest, in the hope that having a golem in my party would allow me to cruise through most of the battles) and I kept finding that she had interesting things to say about even relatively early-game stuff.

I've been meaning to re-buy Inquisition ever since I got my PS4. It's going for about 2p now as well. Of course, a Mass Effect collection would have my immediate attention, as you know. One day!

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

RogerRoger

@Gremio108 I did a little spoiler-free reading about Shale. Apparently, she was meant to be included in the game at launch, but she'd constantly get stuck in doorways (because all golems were originally the same size as the giant one from the end of that storyline). They had to ship without her and worked extra time on fixing the problem, essentially reducing the size of her and all enemy golems; it's why her DLC is free.

The reason my friend jumped on getting me Origins now is because it was £3.99 or something over the Christmas period; it's now back to £15.99 and so, alas, is Inquisition. I kept seeing it in sales for years, but always ignored it before. My luck means it'll never be included in a sale again!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

Okay, so I've played nearly four hours of Dragon Age II now, across two sessions.

Early impressions are strong. Quite how that's gonna pan out, now that I can see the game's basic structure, remains to be seen but I've loved every minute thusfar. I think that's in large part thanks to my character actually speaking this time, and the dialogue options being the clearest in any BioWare game I've ever played; excellent considering there's a much greater focus on character interaction and storytelling. None of the action has dragged on. It feels sharp and punchy, eager to get back to spinning an epic yarn (rather than some parts of Origins, which offered endless corridors of gameplay and then quick, minute-long resolutions).

Whilst none of the characters beyond Hawke have felt as immediately brilliant as the cast of Origins, it's early days and I can see potential in a couple, plus I'm starting to get hints dropped about meeting a few familiar faces down the line. I love that the focus has been on Flemeth to get things started; her redesign is stunning and her entrance was instantly one I'd put in contention to be gaming's greatest.

I'm playing as a male warrior this time, so it's two-handed broadswords and direct assaults instead of sneaking around as a rogue. Combat itself doesn't seem to have changed all that much, especially with the optional toggle meaning I only have to press X once to keep attacking a foe until it falls, but just feels a little faster, a little slicker. I've also started on Casual this time, having learned my lesson from Origins, and maybe that's got something to do with how my opinions are taking shape. I'm not really here for the fighting anyway. I'm here for the story, and so I'm happy with the new balance.

Was going to play more Star Wars: Battlefront II this evening, but now I think I'm gonna return to Kirkwall and see about some more of these side quests.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

Dragon Age II might be my favourite BioWare game ever.

I'm into the second "year" in Kirkwall now (despite it actually being Hawke's fifth) and I'm having an absolute blast, way moreso than I'd ever thought possible from a fantasy setting. It's because the characters talk like actual, real people and they talk, like, A LOT. It feels like this game was made by frustrated television writers, or novelists, and I love that. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I'm not interested in stat-management, or tactical inventory allocations, or any of that "game" nonsense when it comes to Dragon Age. I'm here for an awesome story, for getting to know well-written characters and for running at things with a really big sword.

For all those reasons, Dragon Age II is hitting every note perfectly. I think Kirkwall is gorgeous, too, which helps because it's the primary sandbox location for the game (and yeah, I can understand how that might annoy some people, but I love it because it's making me feel like the city itself is another character, making me attached to what happens around me and my impact on events). Crafting a handful of levels to perfection works for me, far better than giving me more places to go, but making them look all drab and samey (which Origins did at times, despite a few notable exceptions). It helps that all of the quests, whether side or main, are relatively short as well. If I'm doing something slightly boring, fetching an item or an NPC from some bit of coastline, it doesn't matter because it'll be over in minutes and I'll be moving on with something new. No more "endless, identical floors within a tower" nonsense.

The characters are awesome, too. I love Hawke, mainly because I'm using the purple "sarcastic joke" answer almost every time, which has made him an adorkable jerk, kinda like Han Solo trying to guest-host Have I Got News For You. I'm also very happy to have a choice of romance partners this time, and was immediately bowled over by Anders (sorry Fenril, you're just a bit too much "Zevran 2.0" for me) so I can't wait to see how that relationship will pan out, because it's sure got potential to get complex. Everybody has that slight edge of unpredictability; for example, Merril is wonderful, but I'm still unnerved by how I met her and her connections to blood magic. It can't all be perfect; once again, the dwarf character doesn't interest me in the slightest, and whilst Isabela is obviously a badass in some respects, she's also a couple of negative female stereotypes as well, but that's okay.

As much as I was surprised by Origins, there were still moments where I was a teensy bit bored, either by the gameplay or by the pacing issues. I haven't been bored by Dragon Age II at all, and I've put over 14 hours into the game. In fact, I've had to force myself to step away at certain points, otherwise I could've seen myself staying on until my controller battery ran dry. It's everything I want from BioWare; more story, more character, less game. I love it.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Th3solution

@RogerRoger I’ll be really curious how you respond to DA Inquisition. I’m assuming that your DA experience has been sufficiently positive that you’ll want to go for the latest installment. Since I didn’t play DA2, I can only go off of hearsay, but the general consensus was that it was the lesser of the first two games so there seemed to be a reaction to the criticisms and BioWare went a different direction with the third. I don’t want to taint your mind before you give it a chance, but there is a lot more ‘game’ in it, although plenty of story also. So it will be interesting to see if it holds enough charm to make you endure all the fantasy based combat and crafting.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RogerRoger

@Th3solution Your last sentence about enduring "fantasy-based combat and crafting" literally made me recoil slightly, so I'm hoping my investment in the ongoing secondary characters and storylines will see me through. If the new characters are half as good as those who've come before, and if my own character can be presented in a way I enjoy, then I'm sure I'll be alright.

Because yeah, as soon as I've finished DAII (and taken a short break for a few outstanding bits and pieces in other games, like the new Elusive Target in Hitman 2) then I'll be playing Inquisition on PS4. It's currently in the big EA sale over here anyway, so I've got no excuse!

As for DAII itself, I've now played over 24 hours and am into the third act. There's far, far too much to say about everything that's happened and how I've reacted to it all, but any game that has me gasping in horror, laughing out loud in delight and getting all misty-eyed with sadness (all in the space of about an hour) is doing something right. I've even stopped picking the purple "sarcastic joke" answers in dialogue from time to time. I care too much about Kirkwall's fate to just keep being a jerk to everybody.

If they stick the landing, this game could topple Mass Effect 3 as my favourite RPG... and that's saying something, because Mass Effect 3 carried the weight of concluding an entire trilogy of ongoing characters and storylines and is a near-perfect experience in my mind.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Kidfried

@RogerRoger Inquisition is my favorite, as it struck the best balance between gameplay and story of all three games.

It also has some of the series' best characters.

Like @Th3solution, I am interested to see whether you will agree, hearing you so positive about this game...

... which I never finished.

Kidfried

RogerRoger

@Kidfried I'm amazed that we agree as often as we do, y'know.

The thing is now, I care enough about the world and the franchise to see it through. Before, I was hesitant because I'm not a "fantasy RPG" fan and hey, I'm still not... I'm simply a Dragon Age fan. I still have no intention or desire to play The Witcher III or Shadow of Mordor because I still don't like elves, dwarves and mages; I just love Merril, Varric and Anders.

It's an intangible quality I can't quite describe. All I know is that, whilst I'm sitting here waiting for my controller to recharge, I'm actually worrying about Anders' wellbeing, even though it won't change until I start playing again and even then, he's just a collection of polygons and voice clips.

So I've got to finish it, for my own sake. Otherwise I'll just worry about him forever!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Thrillho

Can we introduce a "neg" feature, just so I can use it on @RogerRoger for his comments on Witcher 3?

Thrillho

RogerRoger

@Thrillho Don't worry, I think you've sufficiently registered your disgust.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Th3solution

@RogerRoger Your excitement makes me almost want to go back and finish DA Inquisition with you. It’s a rather enormous game. And one I was enjoying right up to the point that ... well, the point that I didn’t. I think it was largely my fault and not the game’s though. It became one of the many games that overwhelmed me a smidge and copious side questing got me burned out. But unlike Horizon Zero Dawn or Red Dead 2, games which probably didn’t have much smaller open worlds per se but attracted me to return, in the case of DAI - I didn’t go back after a break and now it’s been so long.
I think it was Robert who wrote an article on the site that I’ll never forget about open world fatigue. It was one of the earliest Push Square articles I read a few years ago and one of the best that I can recall of the many excellent articles on here. I’m not sure if you read it, as you came a little after me I think (or at least started posting a little later), but in it he talked about some of the chore that open world gaming has become — that having so much to do, so many places to explore, and so many side quests and markers to chase can sap a game’s soul. Dragon Age Inquisition was his case study. He reported playing the game again with the specific plan of just hitting the story missions and ignoring side content and that he enjoyed the game so much more by playing that way. That article resonated with me because I thought maybe there was something wrong with me when I ran out of gas playing DAI. Apparently it was a common issue. But a streamlined approach apparently makes the game a better experience. Anyways, that just food for thought. I think you strike me as a personality like mine whereby you try to hit every marker and see every side story so you might consider Robert’s experience. I have tried to implement it with open world games since that time have been largely unsuccessful, but I am a little better about staying on track.
But ...the way you are gobbling up and savoring Dragon Age plot points and characters now makes me think you might be just fine doing the whole 130 hour run.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RogerRoger

@Th3solution Thanks for writing that and considering how I might approach Dragon Age: Inquisition and its epic length. Even I'll admit to a slump during Horizon, where I booted it up to "get stuff done" and it felt like a bit of a chore for a couple days. You're right, like you, I do tend to make sure I've cleared a given list of side quests before activating the next story mission, and there was a brief moment where Horizon dropped the ball on pacing for that specific approach, so it can happen to me and understand how it could equally have happened to you with Inquisition. I also do recall that article you mention, I think, although thankfully not too many of the specific details regarding Inquisition itself (spoilers!) but I'm already aware that it's a large game (so your quoted figure didn't send me into shock, as it might've otherwise done).

I think I'm ready. Right now, I'm invested in the world and the characters. It also helps that Dragon Age II, which I just finished the core story of, ends on a cliffhanger and deliberately leaves a few questions unanswered. Whilst I know that I won't be playing as Hayden Hawke again, at least not beyond the DLC which I plan to grab next week, I still feel that it'll be more of a continuation if it picks up and carries forward those plot elements. Origins ended with such finality (since I sacrificed my Warden to defeat the Blight) and then DAII picks up a totally separate story, with periodic cameo appearances and a few winks and nudges, so I'm now curious to see how they're gonna handle a more deliberate and unavoidable story connection.

For all my praise, however, there are things I disliked about Origins which still continued to frustrate me in DAII. As is always the case with choice-based games (and BioWare games in particular) some of the context is sorely lacking. A conflict triggered by a tragic cultural misunderstanding, which I tried desperately to avoid, still resulted in a giant statue of me standing on the severed head of my enemy being erected; I shook my head at it every time I walked past, and would've liked the option to tear it down. Also, speaking slightly more personally, my hatred of spiders is well-documented and, whilst the smaller eight-legged enemies were just on the right side of the line between "cartoonish" and "realistic" (meaning I could deal with them okay), dropping in the giant room-sized ones and making them lunge at the camera as I fought them wasn't an experience I cared to repeat... and yet it happened twice. In the same way I adore Tomb Raider Underworld, this game will always carry a "but I wish it didn't have to have spiders in" rider. Finally, the post-credits return to Kirkwall was disappointing; there was no final extra scene with Anders, no epilogue to speak of (probably because of that cliffhanger ending) and just a single pop-up direction to buy the DLC. Maybe that'll fix it but, as of right now, I'm left with an empty mansion and nowhere to go.

Those three issues aside, by delivering a tightly-focused thirty-hour experience, stacked in favour of story and cutting down on all the boring gameplay nonsense, DAII won me over at every single turn. The grand finale was spectacular, the narrative arc was compelling and the payoff to all the seemingly-disconnected plot threads had me gasping and grinning in equal amounts. Truly a masterpiece.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Gremio108

@RogerRoger Only just realised you've finished Dragon Age II. You're not messing about with these games are you?

I thoroughly enjoyed the second game. I liked the way Kirkwall felt like a real city. It felt alive. It was grand, sprawling, proud, corrupt, impoverished, seedy - it was all of these things at the same time and it was fascinating to watch it change. I think what they were trying to do was quite ambitious and I can see how it didn't work for everyone, but I enjoyed watching a city evolve and grow through the seasons and years, its citizens with it.

Hawke was a great character and Anders' story was pretty incredible. I loved the guy, although my wife hated him. He really divided opinion in our house, did old Anders.

Enjoy the third one!

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

RogerRoger

@Gremio108 Oh no, when I realise I like something I tend to get a little, er... let's say "intense" about it. Might die tomorrow and I wanna see what happens next, gosh darn it!

I agree with everything you said about Kirkwall. That's what drew me in; the feeling that I was making these decisions and then, fast forward a couple years, I'm seeing and living the impact they've had on the city. I haven't felt connected to an environment like that in a long time. Kirkwall became almost as important to me a character; I cared for it, wanted to keep it safe, wanted to help it.

As for Anders, well... apologies for what's probably about to become a wall of text.

Toward the end of Act 2, I lost Isabela. When she revealed that the relic she sought (for her own personal gain and protection) was the Qunari artefact, and that she was putting her own welfare above that of Kirkwall, I got really angry. I demanded that she surrender and explain everything to the Arishok, so she (naturally) stole the relic and fled. I never saw her again. I was pretty amazed that BioWare had done something so bold, made a choice so stark; I'm used to Mass Effect, where it's pretty difficult to make enemies and the extremes, like character deaths or departures, are almost hidden like Easter Eggs. But I also thought that'd be it, in terms of seismic shifts in the storylines of my friends.

All the time I was with Anders, I thought he was adorable. I totally fell for him; he was an oppressed minority, somebody who was fighting to survive against an uncaring social structure fearful of what he represented (parallels much?). He spoke about his love of cats and dreamed of a better future, where we could be together. He was sweet, a little cheeky but mostly just a kind-hearted, self-deprecating soul who'd been touched by tragedy. And yeah, there was the whole Justice thing, but having seen what a positive impact such an experience had on Wynne in Dragon Age: Origins, I thought that'd be where the minor complications came from; he'd maybe struggle to deal with that for a bit, make a decision, I'd say a few loving words and then hurrah, romance complete.

Like so many of the Mass Effect romances, I thought it'd be pretty straightforward. I didn't even listen when he directly told me, multiple times, that I shouldn't love him because he'd do something terrible and betray me someday; heck, I say stuff like that all the time to my partner, mostly because I'm insecure and have low self-esteem... not because I'm actually planning on blowing up a church, killing hundreds of innocent people and sparking a Civil War.

When that actually happened at the end of Act 3, I was properly in shock. It was Isabela all over again, except dialled up to eleven. I started selecting dialogue options to support and defend Anders, because I thought it's what I should do; I was kinda on autopilot, always looking for the heart icon when talking to or about him. Sebastian demanded I kill Anders and left when I didn't, and Fenris stormed off as well, only returning to fight me before the final boss. The only reason Aveline stuck around is because I'd managed to get her to maximum friendship, but even she was hesitant.

But, perhaps worse than all of those reactions, I could see that Hawke was frowning, recoiling and talking in near-disgust every time I chose dialogue that supported Anders. Once I'd finished the game, I broke free of my autopilot and gave it some thought; specifically, if I'd been so angry at Isabela, why wasn't I furious with Anders? Why didn't I abandon him? Heck, why didn't I kill him? I should have; he was a terrorist, he killed innocent people to make a political statement, and (okay, despite those brief, periodic warnings) he lied to me... and had used me to plant the bomb. I'd been a little nervous when he did that, but I rolled with it, thinking he'd maybe stolen a forbidden spell to help him remove Justice or something, but now? Now I was complicit in terrorism.

Broadly speaking, throughout the game's very clear narrative arc of Templars Vs. Mages, I was on the side of the Mages anyway; it's just where my personal politics fall, even though I've never and will never play the Mage class myself. But I'm both a diplomat and an honourable man (or so I like to think) and so, reflecting on my decisions post-credits, I actually felt a little ashamed of my blinkered support for Anders.

For a game to make me question my decisions is one good thing; for a romance to end up going down such a path is something else. Kudos to BioWare; I totally didn't see it coming.

This morning I played the Mark of the Assassin DLC (and loved it, especially since it had shades of Kasumi's DLC from Mass Effect 2, one of my all-time favourite DLCs) and took Anders with me, just to see how a post-launch, post-credits approach to his character might change. Perhaps because I stuck with him and made the autopilot decisions I did, he was back to being adorable and sweet and a little cheeky.

And y'know what? That was fine with me, because I totally "get" him and still love him. But someday I'll replay the whole game and when I do, knowing what I do now, I don't think I can romance him... because next time I get to the end, I'm probably gonna kill him.

In other words, I totally get why he divided opinion in your house!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Gremio108

@RogerRoger What they basically did with Dragon Age II was put a terrorist in your party, say 'here are the reasons for doing what he did' and ask you to decide how to deal with it. Unbelieveable. Did you play the Awakening DLC? Anders was an absolute powerhouse in my party throughout Awakening, so I was already pre-disposed to like him. As for Isabela, well I don't think my Warden from Dragon Age Origins will ever forget his night with her and Zevran in a hurry

Edited on by Gremio108

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

RogerRoger

@Gremio108 Yep, and it's slightly terrified me that I didn't see it coming, especially when it was so freakin' obvious in hindsight and his behaviour throughout is almost textbook. I guess I just didn't expect it from a game, especially one about witches and magic powers and dragons and whatnot, so I wasn't even looking (until it was too late). Adding the romance on top is what made it particularly effective; otherwise, if we were talking about Varric or Sebastian, it might not have had quite the impact.

Nope, I haven't played Awakening yet (because I totally intend to go back through all three games once I'm done, exactly like I did with Mass Effect, and that's when I'll add it in). It'll be interesting to see how I react to Anders in that DLC now, and whether it'll change my determination to avoid him and kill him at the end of Dragon Age II when I get there again.

Eew. I take it that means you were sympathetic towards Isabela then?

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Gremio108

@RogerRoger My DA:O Warden was basically up for anything. I picked the dwarf underclass story and decided from the off that he was going to be an absolute animal. Because I didn't expect to enjoy it, (my wife's a fan and wanted me to play it to see how much our playthroughs differed) I didn't take it entirely seriously at first, hence the horny dwarf. I later took my DA II and Inquisition characters much more seriously. I even went for mage for Inquisition, something I never do with games like this. I was really into the series by that point.

I didn't take much notice of Isabela until the second game. I thought she was brilliant in it, although I'll admit her constant side-switching did get a bit tiresome. But she eventually became my 'fifth team member', filling in for Varric when I fancied some double-dagger action.

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

RogerRoger

@Gremio108 Same boat; my best friend got me Origins and urged me to play it, so my Warden was quite the jerk to begin with, because I'd never pushed a choice-driven game to extremes before (my Shepard was the consummate diplomat and hero) and wasn't taking it too seriously either. Most conversations ended with me throwing a knife in the back of somebody's head. I helped people out, but for a price. Totally took that poor homeless kid's family sword and everything.

I've just done the Keep online, after uploading my completed DAII save last night (Legacy was a great DLC, really enjoyed it, although not quite as much as Mark of the Assassin, but they were different beasts) and have tweaked a good few choices from Origins, because in hindsight (having fallen in love with the franchise thusfar) I regret my terrible actions. It's also why I had no problem with my Warden sacrificing himself to save Ferelden in the end; it was totally penance for being such a stone-hearted, murderous bully (although I'd make the same choice for different reasons if I were playing as a true hero).

Glad you grew to like Isabela, even though I didn't. My friend is outraged that I got so angry with her and drove her away, because she's one of her favourite characters (and her usual romance partner, too). When I play through the series again, I'll make different choices and spend more time with the folks I've been sidelining thusfar. That's when I'm sure I'll "get" her.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Strathnaver1

@RogerRoger

I could be wrong but I think Isabela leaves the game at that particular point regardless - in my first playthrough I romanced her & she still took off and I'm pretty sure I didn't push her away. Was expecting her to show up again at the finale but she never did - don't know if that's just the way the game was written or something but it did seem strange that she never reappeared again? Maybe someone out there who knows more about it can enlighten me perhaps.

Strathnaver1

RogerRoger

@Strathnaver1 I spoke with my best friend, who loves Isabela, and she confirms that Isabela can return under specific circumstances. Providing your Friendship with her is above +50 (or ideally maxed out; it isn't tied to romance, because you can romance a Rival) and you tell her to "take the relic and run" to save her own life, she'll make a dramatic entrance whilst you're talking with the Arishok and confess, returning the relic in an attempt to prevent any violence. She then runs away, but can be found back in the Hanged Man at the beginning of Act 3, at which point she can rejoin you for the rest of the game. It's your friendship and willingness to let her save herself that guilts her into being a hero; if you aren't friendly with her but tell her to run, she just runs and never returns and likewise, if you demand she returns the relic and confronts the Arishok, she gets defensive and runs for good.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

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