Tag Archives: xbox

Xbox, How I Missed Thee

This post is going to kind of work as a supplement to my “Broken Addiction” post from a few days ago. Among the things I mentioned that I have time to do now, considering I no longer have to think about WoW, is the ability to enjoy some other games. I’ve been playing the crap out of “Dragon Age: Origins,” but I decided that I should give some other stuff a try too. So I finally picked up “Assassin’s Creed II” and started digging into that. This is also from some pressure from Lando to play it because it’s his game and I’m sure he’ll want it back soon.

This game is so very awesome so far! The original “Assassin’s Creed” was a fantastic game but it also had a lot of shortcomings that I believe they fixed in this one. The old game got pretty repetitive pretty fast, which was really unfortunate because they put an awful lot of work into the style. The guys at Ubisoft, the company that developed the game, said that they just didn’t have as much time to flesh out the content as they really wanted. They spent tons of time working out the game engine, which explains the excellent combat and free-running system, but didn’t have time to really give you a whole lot to do with it. All of that changed with “Assassin’s Creed II.” They already had the framework done so they spent a few years really fleshing out content and adding some features. More missions, more climbing, SWIMMING, and plenty of other stuff has been added to make this game so very enjoyable. Loving it so far.

So I dug into Assassin’s Creed but I also downloaded a couple demos of some games that I’m interested in playing. One of those is “Dante’s Inferno.” There is a ton of controversy surrounding this game, and I totally understand why. Having played through the first couple scenes, you get a really good grasp on just what a “Mature” rating can mean in a game. There’s boobs within the first 10 minutes! BOOBS in a game! Who would have thought? It’s about time if you ask me. The ESRB, the ratings board for games, is way too hung up on nudity when they are willing to let somebody entrails me ripped out and spread across the floor without even a blink. This is a fundamental problem in America that I think needs fixed. I’d rather kids be shown a boob or two than some poor guys head getting ripped off, spit on, and then shoved up his rear. Anyway, I’m going way off topic. This game is so very gruesome. It’s got a quick, button mashing style of gameplay which I really dig. A lot of people have compared it to “God of War”, which I actually can’t do because I’ve never played that game. The closest thing I could think of to it is “Ninja Gaiden.” Yes, I have to go back that far in order to find a game in my memory with a combat system similar enough. Clearly I don’t play enough games.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a crazy romp through Hell where you slash the crap out of demons and have to deal with the sins you committed in your life all to save your wife who was struck down and taken straight to Hell so very unjustly. There, done! The guys who made it based it on “The Divine Comedy,” which I’ve never read because it’s all Old English and probably way over my head anyway. Kind of like reading the original “Beowulf.” It’s just not something I’m going to run out and do, although I’m sure the original story is fantastic. Somebody tell it to me someday.

So the next big adventure for my Xbox after I finish “Assassin’s Creed II” will hopefully be “Army of Two: The 40th Day.” Steph and I played the original together and have never had so much fun with a console game. I love marrying a girl who is into video games. She’s amazing, our future is going to be so very grand .

Morality Games

My big addiction for the past few days has been a wonderful little Xbox 360 game called “Dragon Age: Origins.” There is a good chance that if you are a gamer in any way shape or form that you’ve either played it or at least know someone who has. This game amazes me. I finally beat it the other day after about 40 hours of gameplay. To sum it up, it’s a game where you play a strapping young hero who gets pulled into an elite army of “Grey Wardens.” These guys are responsible for taking down an army of “Darkspawn.” These evil beasts descend from mages who tried to break into heaven and “The Maker” was all like, “heck no! Get out o’ my house!” So he cursed them and sent them back to earth distorted and monstrous, just like they were inside. Every so often there is a “Blight” where these Darkspawn come back and attempt to kill EVERYONE. In true RPG tradition, you are the only one who can save the world.

The real interesting thing about this game is the morality engine they use to gauge the choices you make as you interact with the team mates you find, and the world around you. Every one of your team mates has a different idea of what kind of hero you should be. Some think you should stand for all that is right, other’s want you to go for money, and some just want you to shrug off everyone and be as ruthless as possible. I played through my first time being as good as I could be. I helped out everyone who needed it and did it all with honor. I never asked for a thing in return. The fun thing about this is that it didn’t turn out as awesome as one would think. Believe it or not, sometimes making the right choice can really cause some poor consequences. By the end of the game, I’d lost two people I care about, and I’m pretty sure an entire nation of dwarves hates my guts. Keep in mind this all seemed well and fine while I was making these choices throughout the game.

What makes this game different is that there is no “black and white” morality. You make the best decisions you know how to, but you still have to deal with some great or sometimes really gnarly consequences. After beating the game trying to play the upright enforcer of law and order, I decided that I wanted to give it a go at being as utterly ruthless as I could possibly be. One of the first opportunities I had to be evil, and I mean REALLY evil, was when my bride to be, cousin, and her friend were all kidnapped by human diplomats who wanted to do HORRIBLE things to them. This is a very dark game by the way. So I wander into the castle to save them, because, hey, even evil heroes have standards. I was given the opportunity to walk away from the whole situation for 40 gold (very hard to come by at early levels), but I couldn’t save the women. The intense part of this is that my cousin was on the floor crying for help. How can you walk away from that?! What the heck kind of person do you have to be to leave a family member crying on the floor of some horny diplomat’s palace!? I realized then and there, that I could NOT be evil in this game. This game puts you in too many extreme situations to lean completely to the dark side. I found myself caring for these characters even though I know good and well that they aren’t real.

Bioware, the game’s developer, has done an amazing job at making you feel the weight of each and every decision you make. Sometimes no choice seems right, or you just don’t know which choice is the best. There are very few clear cut scenarios in this game where you can say this is right, or that is wrong. I LOVE IT! I’m going to attempt to be an evil dude, but thus far I’m failing pretty bad. I may have to settle for snarky A-hole with a tender, caring soul. Kind of like Dr. House.