Unreleased

My enthusiasm for Dead Island was recently curbed due to a screen shot in a look at the game over at Kotaku.com.au (found here) showing an electrified machete.

After viewing the screen shots on the official site, I mentioned that the samurai sword was a bit gimmicky. However, in the light (so to speak) of electrified swords…  I suppose the gimmick will instead be a flaming samurai sword.

I had hoped that Dead Island would evolve to be a more realistic and terrifying zombie survival game. Now it seems to be shaping up as another fantastical take on humans surrounded by the undead and, while I look forward to seeing more of the game, I doubt that it will live up to its incredible cinematic trailer.

I’m sure that there are numerous people who are thrilled by the prospect of crafting weed whackers with flaming barbed wire on the end, but I think it’d have to be one boring zombie apocalypse if a survivor had the time and desire to do that sort of thing.

Dragon Age was a great RPG. Some may not have liked the constant cut scenes, but I found they added a lot of character to the, err… characters and enjoyed the chance to stop hitting action buttons and swap witty repartee with Alistair or make advances on numerous members of the party.

So, I already intended to get Dragon Age II when it was released. I don’t expect demos of games nowadays (as opposed to back in the day when everything had a demo) and was therefore a little surprised when I saw it on Steam.

I downloaded it and quickly ramped all the graphics up to full (because that’s the first test of any game) and sat through the introduction. The voice acting is up to par and the cut scene animations convey the characters well. One thing I particularly liked is that, when you converse with a party member, you character speaks whatever line you choose. In the demo, you seem to have only three choices whenever you’re prompted to speak: A good, a neutral/cheeky, and a cold/dark one. Each have a fairly different air about, so it seems a little character breaking to be a bold, serious and good character one moment that then says something witty – unless your character is bipolar.

Breasts grant an AC bonus in fantasy games. She’s also your sister, so don’t get any funny ideas.

Two negatives: the first is the camera controls. I instinctively held down the middle mouse button to turn the camera, which didn’t work. Holding down the right mouse button rotates the camera in Dragon Age II, but it seems to flick back to a default angle when you right-click to move somewhere, which is a bit frustrating.

Secondly, and this could be due to me pushing all the graphics up, the occasional and awkwardly placed ‘loading’ breaks. A couple occurred in the middle of a cut scene and, due to the length of them, really broke the flow.

In fact, I thought that it was actually one of those lengthy and out-of-place loads when the game crashed.

So I decided that this was the chance to try out another class.

Combat is pretty fun in Dragon Age II. There’s a lot of gore spraying about, and you really feel the effects of using your abilities. Combat animations seem a bit anime, and the rogue looks like he’s being driven by clockwork when he’s attacking normally.

I got past the area I’d crashed in previously only to die due to forgetting to level the rest of my party up (I didn’t even notice until they were dead).

Time to test out the third and final class in the demo: the mage.

Targeting seems a little difficult if you’re not pausing the game to issue commands. There were a few times when I was left wondering whether I was actually casting a spell or not. I have a feeling that this, like the camera controls, would be something that you’d get used to after a little bit of playing. However, I got to the same huge demon that killed my rogue and died again.

So, I went back to the warrior (the easy class for any game) and finished off the demo, meeting the stripperific Isabella and the chest-bearded dwarf who seems to be narrating your tale.

Low-cut tops aren’t limited to the ladies in Dragon Age II.

The demo holds back some pretty tantalizing stuff; character customisation and access to your inventory, both of which are big components of an RPG. But it gives you a look at the visceral combat, interesting characters, some very smooth and refined visuals and a story that, while not thoroughly gripping (as such), still leaves you wanting to know more.

I wasn’t at all bothered about Dragon Age: Origins when it was released but when I finally played it, it turned out to be a compelling and refreshing game. Now, having played the demo of Dragon Age II through, I’m going to go back and complete Origins while I wait in anticipation for its release.

The all-powerful tomato sauce attack.

There’s been a lot of speculation about the next Sims 3 expansion pack (due to some leaked info on the main site, et cetera). Dubbed “Generations”, the leaked info promised to add such incredible and game-changing things like “Kids can hang out with friends in tree houses. Teens can pull hilarious pranks. Adults can suffer midlife crises”!!!!!!

 

I’ve loved the Sims games since the very first. To the point that I’ve even bough most of the expansions (I don’t give a shit about the stuff packs. They’re like buying a box of French fries and having to pay half the price of the original box to get five more fries thrown in). But I have to say that, while Sims 3 added an incredible open world to play in, it also seems to lack something the first two games had. And, as for the expansions for Sims 3… well, in comparison to the incredible amount that the expansions for the other games added, they just seem half-hearted cash makers.

 

So, hanging out in tree houses and pulling ostensibly hilarious pranks and midlife crises don’t exactly seem like much. In the previous three expansions are anything to judge by, there’s not going to be much more added that isn’t advertised.
Just reading through the comments, I see many people wistfully hoping that pets and weather are going to be included in the expansion. But it’s called “Generations,” a title which has minimal climate and animal implications, and EA always knows better than fans of its games.

Quite frankly, I think a better title for “Generations” would be “The Sims 3: Getting Old” because, without the creative genius of Will Wright, it really is.