Playing Dragon Age gave me a relatively frequent sense of déjà vu. Although the game portrays a number of different nations and societies, there are recurrent features that speak to underlying ideas about the psychology of its inhabitants. One such motif is the tendency for its denizens to solve their problems through segregation. At several levels, the people of the continent of Thedas like to resolve issues by pushing problematic groups into isolated areas and pretending, as much as possible, that they no longer exist.
Still on my quest to play all the "big" games of 2009, I've almost got Uncharted 2 wrapped up… only two or three more sections to go. Having already put together a rough list of the year's top ten, I was wondering which title I might have to bump to make room for it. That concern is now moot, since it's not going to make the list.
In DLC news, extra content has been announced for both Dragon Age: Origins and Assassin’s Creed II. In the case of Dragon Age, the new mission is titled Return to Ostagar. Those already familiar with the game will certainly remember that Ostagar is the location of the intense Lord of the Rings-style battle that basically kicks off the adventure proper.
Sadly, the adventures of both Altair and Ezio fall far short of what I would expect from such a rich, promising premise. My review is complete, but I'm going to sit on it for another day to make sure that I'm not letting it go too soon—with such a high-profile title, I'm really making every effort to ensure that the piece says what I'm trying to say. Readers can disagree with me all they like, but I want them to disagree because they actually disagree, not because they misunderstand what I'm saying. (Inevitably, both will happen.)
In spite of my dismay, I held out hope that Ubisoft would take the copious amounts of player feedback and apply it towards the sequel, finally crafting a title that lived up to the promise. The early word was good, and practically everyone I spoke to said that the developers had seen the error of their ways and had delivered a game that "kept all the good stuff and got rid of all the bad". I wanted to believe. Oh, how I wanted to believe.
Getting closer to the end of my "must-plays" of 2009, I just wrapped up Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PS3 a few minutes ago. I've got to say, this is one of those extremely rare times when I felt that all of the praise and accolades given to the game were well and truly deserved.
Bonjour class! Welcome to Ludology 101. Matthew Wiese of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab talks about his work and his experience on the academic side of games. Is ludology as sleep-inducing as it sounds? No sir, and in fact criticism and academia may have more in common than you think. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth. Happy Thanksgiving to all our listeners!
News has started to trickle out about the upcoming Shiren the Wanderer for the Wii. Set to release on February 9, this is absolutely one of my most anticipated games for the foreseeable future. In case you missed it, I picked up a copy of Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer on DS a while ago and blogged about it obsessively for a few days.
I knew very little about it except for the fact that it was a Rogue-like, but it didn't take me long to fall in love. More than anything, I admired the unyielding discipline of the developers and the way they implemented the rules of the game consistently and fairly from start to finish. It was certainly difficult to be sure, but it was one of those rare games that never felt unfair or cheap.
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