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This year Microsoft’s media briefing did not disappoint as Phil Spencer promised to devote the “entire briefing to games!”  Immediately, you could hear the applause around the theatre.  Last year, there was a lot of disappointment as Microsoft spent a lot of time talking about other features on the Xbox One like the Kinect and the TV features.  They seemed to learn from this mistake as they enthralled us all with game after game!

Further excitement came when Spencer stated that all the games shown during their media briefing would first get add-on content on the Xbox One!

The briefing began with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We saw new footage that included gameplay.  I’m not a huge fan of the Call of Duty franchise, but I may just check this one out.  It also helps that Kevin Spacey is in the game. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be out on November 4, 2014.  Here is the gameplay that was showed:

Dan Greenwalt, Creative Director, came onto the stage to talk about Forza Motorsport 5 and unveiled the “nuburgring” which is available TODAY for free to those that own the game. Ralph Fulton, Creative Director, presented Forza Horizon 2 which will be available September 30, 2014.  The game will be in 1080p, have 200+ cars, include various weather conditions, and drivatars.

I’ve been highly anticipating with glee, Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Microsoft and BioWare unveiled a new trailer for the game, which will be available October 7, 2014.

Another game that garnered a lot of excitement from the masses is Sunset Overdrive. We saw a bit about this game last year, but this year we got to see a lot more of this game!  Ted Price, the Founder and CEO of Insomniac Games, came on stage to talk more about the game.  Sunset Overdrive will be available October 28, 2014 and  is exclusive to Xbox One.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a new IP from Moon Studios that looks absolutely stunning.  I’d love to see more of this game before it comes out this fall, but so far I like what I see.  Ori and the Blind Forest will be available Fall 2014.

A Microsoft briefing wouldn’t be the same without some Halo for us all! Bonnie Ross, Studio Head at 343 Industries, presented a spotlight on the much anticipated Halo 5:

Then we were presented with the Halo: The Master Chief Collection.  The collection will include Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4, Halo: Nightfall, and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta.  Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be out on November 11, 2014.

A very nice surprise to the mix was the Rise of the Tomb Raider world premiere! We will get to follow Lara Croft after the last installment to see how she rises from what she went through to become the character we know and love.  Rise of the Tomb Raider is expected to be available Holiday 2015.

Ken Lobb, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, expressed his passion for reviving games that garner cult audiences as classic games.  He then presented Phantom Dust, an absolutely beautiful game.

Scalebound is a new IP that shows a lot of promise from Platinum Games.  This game is one of my favorites so far from what I’ve seen at E3. It is absolutely beautiful and I would love to see more

Microsoft wrapped up the media briefing with Crackdown.

Other games that were shown included Evolve, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Dance Central, Fantasia Music Evolved, Fable Legends, Project Spark, Inside from Playdead, The Witcher 3, and The Division.

I’m VERY impressed with Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing. They brought it with the games and I even got a look at new games that definitely interest me.

To look at the rest of the trailers that were shown at Microsoft’s media briefing, check out their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjBp_7RuDBUYbd1LegWEJ8g.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

By otakuman5000 On 19 Jan, 2014 At 10:35 PM | Categorized As Editorials, PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarI’ve been doing a rerun of Dragon Age: Origins the past couple of weeks and it has me thinking about a few things. First of all, when I initially played this game I loved it. The story, the character development, the choices and their consequences, the looting, just about everything. DA: Origins is one of those games I can come back to time and time again and never feel bored. This go around I played as a Dalish Elf for the first time and found new things you can’t find in other classes. It’s amazing.

However, this game has frustrated me beyond all reason. To begin, I own an physical copy of this game. I bought it the year it came out and have since bought all the DLC. Of course, games don’t last forever and I uninstalled it to make room for other games. When I came back to it this time I expected to have access to all that DLC. Well, Awakenings wasn’t available. I went looking, the Bioware website has in my profile that I own it but doesn’t give me the option to download it. I would have to buy it again. Full price. I got lucky Steam had the DA: Origins Ultimate Edition on sale for about eight bucks, so I bought that.

Next, I made a mistake. I entered a console command. I had just started my trek through the circle tower and made a wrong pick in my party. I decided a quick command to pull up the party screen and switch out that character would be fine. It wasn’t. This caused a number of bugs I never ran into when using the old copy of the game. I don’t know what the differences are between the version on my disk, with all patches included, and the downloaded Ultimate Edition from Steam, but they are vast.

But I worked around the bugs. Had to use a few more console commands to do it, but I managed. Still, my frustration abounds. Why? Because I ran into spots where the game became impossible. I’ve taken time to explore the strategy of DA:O and, compared to my first play through where I never even looked at the tactics screen or another characters skills, vastly improved my skill but still failed time and again. On “normal”! I’m not a big fan of playing a game just for the difficulty, I don’t think games should be so simple as to let a gamer walk through, but at times this felt less like a game I needed to be good at and more like a game I needed to type in “runscript pc_immortal”.

I know what you’re thinking, I’m a grumbling little baby. Why am I even writing this?

I could rant all day about what’s wrong with the world, why I am depressed and anxious about everyday life. I could prattle about how terrible it all is. When I play a game I do so because it isn’t the real world. This game isn’t telling me I have to pay $1,200 to take two college courses. It isn’t telling me I can’t face the cashier at the grocery store. It isn’t telling me I’m going to spend the rest of my life broke and jobless. This game is supposed to be the one place I can go that tells me the opposite of all of that.

Again, you’re calling me a babbling fool. But I’m simply trying to express what’s broken in the industry. Gamers don’t run it. Games are made for profit alone. The news today is about Steam Boxes, Titanfall not having modding capabilities, and the terrible prices attached to games. I can’t give you physical proof (I’ve never been a good researcher but request it and I’ll do my best) but this industry has floundered. Steam Boxes are simply Steams version of the console. Titanfall without modding capabilities is EA’s and Respawn’s way of keeping the profits in their court for longer. In game purchases and sky-rocketing prices are about the industry raking in more money. Go back to Watch Dogs being delayed, and I’ll bet you almost anything it was because they wanted to extend profits for both Assassin’s Creed 4 and Watch Dogs as far as possible. The list goes on.

I have spent the last two weeks raging at a game I once loved so much I played too many times to count and the reasons I’ve been raging are outside of the game itself. Sure, difficulty is relative, but even that changed from the original version. I love gaming, but we’ve become a bit delusional as gamers. For some crazy reason we think the people in charge really care. There are plenty of gamers in the industry, plenty of artists and writers and developers who do care, but the people at the top don’t.

I’m a bit cynical. I’m part realist, part idealist, part beaten by the world. I’ve been cheated by this game after years of it being mine. I’ve been cheated and I’m not happy. I believe in gaming, believe that Indie and AAA games alike can do amazing things if we let them. However, I think it’ll be a bit of a time before I can stop feeling cheated by these games I’m supposed to dedicate so much time and money to.

By SarahTheRebel On 8 Jul, 2013 At 11:28 AM | Categorized As News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarRecently, Tor Books announced the fourth novel in the Dragon Age series. Patrick Weekes, senior writer at BioWare, will pen Dragon Age: The Masked Empire for publication in April 2014.

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As you know, the previous three Dragon Age novels, Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, Dragon Age: The Calling, and Dragon Age: Asunder were all awesome, but were also all written by David Gaider. I’m a little nervous about the change, as well know how horrible the latest Mass Effect book was purported to be, and it too was suddenly helmed by a new writer, William C. Deitz. As Patrick Weekes has written other successful novels, I’m hopeful that everything will turn out awesome!

As for the plot, it looks like it is continuing storylines begun in Asunder, with the action taking place in Orlais. You can also bet it will be a lead up to the clash between Templar and Mages in the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition!

Plot

Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now, the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages. Even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves to save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.

Fighting with the legendary skill of the Orlesian Chevaliers , Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress, but has he fought in vain? As the Circle fails and chaos looms, Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings will keep the empire safe. Perhaps it is time for a new leader, one who lives by the tenets of the Chevalier’s Code, to make Orlais strong again.

Briala has been Celene’s handmaid since the two of them were children, subtly using her position to help improve the lives of elves across Orlais. She is Celene’s confidante, spymaster, and lover. But when politics force the empress to choose between the rights of Briala’s people and the Orlesian throne, Briala must in turn decide where her true loyalties lie.

Alliances are forged and promises broken as Celene and Gaspard battle for the throne of Orlais, but in the end, the elves who hide in the forests or starve in the alienages may decide the fate of the masked empire.

By SarahTheRebel On 3 Jun, 2013 At 01:10 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarFirst appeared on Nerdy But Flirty

Concluding the final series in a trilogy of Dragon Age comic series, Dragon Age: Until We Sleep #3 was just released today. As you know, Dragon Age was one of my favorite video games, and the first Dragon Age series is what launched me back into my love of comics. I’ve been following them ever since, from the awesome Dragon Age: The Silent Grove, followed by Dragon Age: Those Who Speak, with the story arc leading up to this final series.

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Click the link to check out my review of Dragon Age: Until We Sleep #2.

As the finale to the arc, this issue packed a punch, but the pacing seemed a little off. Anyone who is familiar with David Gaider’s writing already knew what the conclusion would be, so they went for no surprise twists. Instead, you’re left with an emotional tableau, a small disquiet that leaves you thinking, much like the choices in the actual game.

The artwork was very bloody and vibrant. While I think it matched the graphics of Dragon Age 2, I also feel that the characters were missing a little heart as a result.

Overall, I recommend all three of the series as a great addition to the Dragon Age canon and to add even more mysteries for you to ponder about Fereldan.

Plot

Willing to embrace an evil that once nearly shattered reality, Magister Aurelian Titus must be stopped. King Alistair and his allies have traveled to the realm of nightmares to do so, but if the cost of victory is to sacrifice his father, will Alistair be able to pay the price?

Deets

Writer:
David Gaider, Alexander Freed
Artist:
Chad Hardin
Colorist:
Michael Atiyeh
Cover Artist:
Anthony Palumbo

Buy Dragon Age: Until We Sleep #3 here!

My guide to all Dragon Age comics can be found here.

By SarahTheRebel On 20 Nov, 2012 At 03:29 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga | With 0 Comments

No GravatarFirst appeared on Nerdy But Flirty.

Eagerly awaiting Dragon Age 3? Why not check out the Dragon Age comics in the meantime? They’re great fun and the art isn’t bad at all. Below is a guide to the different Dragon Age series, cuz I know you really wanted one 😉

Dragon Age

The Dragon Age comic was a monthly publication written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, with art by Humberto Ramos and Mark Robinson. A total of 6 issues were published by IDW Publishing and was available in both print and digital forms.

The first Dragon Age comics are about a young female mage named Gleam. I love this series because of the bitter sweet storyline and the fact that the main characters looks so cool with her dark skin, silver hair and light eyes. Though the storytelling isn’t as great as the later series, it is still an enjoyable series and I recommend checking it out!

The Silent Grove

Dragon Age: The Silent Grove is a digital comic series by BioWare and Dark Horse Comics. It is written by Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider and illustrated by Chad Hardin. The six-part comic series was released biweekly, starting February 22, 2012.

The Silent Grove focuses on Alistair and his search for his father. Along for the ride are Varric and Isabela from Dragon Age 2, snarkily joining a king on what they feel is a fools errand. Need I say more?

Having read all of Gaider’s Dragon Age novels, I was really excited to see King Maric’s mystery finally unraveled. Of course, Gaider had other plans for the mystery -_-

Those Who Speak

Dragon Age: Those Who Speak is a three-part comic series by BioWare and Dark Horse Comics. It is written by Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider and the senior writer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Alexander Freed.

It also features a female Qunari!! <3

A continuation of the storyline from The Silent Grove, this series focuses mostly on the viewpoint of Isabela, the pirate queen. There is also an AWESOME cameo from a party member from the first Dragon Age. Don’t be put off by Isabela’s outfit in the first comic… she is trying to dress fancy. She quickly goes back to her normal outfit.

Until We Sleep

Upcoming “Until We Sleep” will finish the comic series trilogy, focusing on Varric’s point of view. Be prepared for a trip to the Fade, since Gaider made a mention of “dreams” in a panel at NYCC (and… you know… it’s called Until We Sleep).

I spoke with Gaider at the SDCC and he mentioned that he was probably going to stick to writing comics as opposed to writing any more Dragon Age novels, so hopefully this third series doesn’t mark the end of his comic forays.

What are some other comic series based on video games that you like?

By SarahTheRebel On 26 May, 2012 At 02:27 AM | Categorized As Movie News, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWhen I first found out about this event, I was floored. Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker was going to be played in four theaters around the U.S. and Canada and one of those theaters was only a twenty minute bus ride from me? I quickly snatched up a ticket and made plans to be there early enough to be one of the first 100 people to receive a free T-Shirt.

Finally, the day came. Yesterday I visited the Downtown Independent to be a part of this historic Dragon Age moment. I arrived about thirty minutes early so I could be sure to snag a shirt. I needn’t have worried. I would say less than 50 people actually showed up. They only had size Large through XXL which made me a little sad, being as I am a petite 5 ft tall lady. Ah well, only five or six other ladies showed up so FUNimation could feel safe in their choice to go with men’s sizes.

Pre-Show Shenanigans

Linda, from FUNimation seemed to be in charge of the event, passing out T-Shirts and running the small giveaway before the movie started. A few lucky people had red stickers on their tags, and got to go to the front of the theater. They were each given a very random DVD (ranging from Full Metal Alchemist to Girls on Bravo) and then a bright orange envelope. One envelope contained the winning ticket to get a free Blu-Ray copy of Dawn of the Seeker.

It was very small and kind of cheap but Linda had a lot of spirit, and tried to make it as fun as possible. Interestingly enough, she also mentioned that the writer was there, but that she wasn’t going to reveal him, obviously at his request. I figured he was one of the two old guys in the front, since they both were old and acting suspicious. As old folks often do.

Finally, the movie started. Everyone let loose a little ‘squee’ of joy as the blood soaked logo with it’s familiar bass sound flashed over the scene.

Dawn of the Seeker

Official Synopsis

“In the land of Orlais, where battles are fought with swords and magic, a young heroine rises as templars, mages, and dragons clash. Cassandra, a brash and beautiful Seeker, must stop a conspiracy that threatens the realm’s most powerful religious order, the Chantry of Andraste. Accused of treasonous crimes and hunted by friend and foe, Cassandra must clear her name and overcome her raging emotions in order to save the day and take her place in legend.”

Plot

The plot was fairly stable, but entirely predictable. It was as if they made an extremely gory cartoon for kids. Everything was spelled out and heavily foreshadowed. It was nearly impossible to reconcile this plodding, simple plot with the vast conspiracies for the Dragon Age games and books. All of the mystery, humor, and complexity are missing in this film.

Art

The art was by far the weakest link. It was horrible. The rendering looked half-finished, the lighting was off, it was ugly, and it looked like it was made by amateurs to be honest. It was a style that was neither anime; nor cartoon; nor traditional cartoon CGI. Instead it was some sort of CG cell-shaded anime hybrid.

Characters

All of the characters are one dimensional. Even the growth of Cassandra isn’t really a growth. It just magically happens at the end of the movie. I liked that she was a strong female warrior, but her hot-headedness was overplayed, shown more by people specifically saying “you’re so hot-headed” than anything else.

The worst character was the main evil mage. He was so one-dimensional that every line out of his mouth was a direct quote from some other bad guy in some other movie.

I can’t say that I really grew attached to any of the characters at all. The ending scene with all the heroes was so bad that half the audience LAUGHED at the ridiculousness of it all.

Voice Acting

There was a little bit of flap going on. Even more annoying: the Orleisan accent Cassandra is known for kept going in and out! It was very distracting. Also, not all of the characters had the accent, which was strange and unexplained.

Some of the voice acting was also just plain bad. They sounded like people on a stage, over-projecting their voices and tones. It was almost as if someone worried we wouldn’t get the “complicated plot” and so had to throw some “sneaky traitor” voices on us.

The acting was not at all helped by the stiff and childish dialogue. I swear to you: one bad guy even said “Well, well, well.” 0_o

Fight Scenes

If there was anything good about the film, it was the action. The fight scenes were awesome. The camera angles would switch around so you really got the feeling of flying through a battlefield. Cassandra mowed down her foes like a warrior on Speed. There’s even a moment when a surprise Darkspawn appears, and I was literally on the edge of my seat in excitement as it began to tear through the heroes.

The ending battle is also spectacular, although if you are a Borderlands fan you may find yourself, as I did, yelling, “CATCH A RIIIIIDE.” Again, it was wholly predictable, but very fun to watch nevertheless.

Overall

Overall this movie seemed like it was written for five-year-olds. Where was the dark humor (or humor at all)? Where was the horrible decisions, and heartbreaking story? Where were the layers? And dear Maker why was the dialogue straight out of a James Bond movie? I wouldn’t have been surprised if they suspended her over a vat of man-eating sharks next!

As it says in my notes: the people behind me were more entertaining than the film. After the movie I asked everyone I could how they felt about it. All of the opinions were negative, with words ranging from “boring” to “unintentionally funny”

I even managed to catch up to the writer, who, as I predicted, was one of the elderly gentlemen in the front. He said he didn’t think the movie was bad but that the director cut most of the humor out of his script.

All was not lost, however. I met some great people, and we’ve promised to stay in contact. And I got a free pajama shirt!

YAY! PAJAMAS!!!!

Now what?

So what are you to do? Should you give up on Dragon Age outside of the games? No! The latest book by David Gaider, Dragon Age: Asunder, is excellent, as are his two previous books, Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne and Dragon Age: The Calling. The comics are also great, both the new one Dragon Age: The Silent Grove and the first round Dragon Age. Or, if movie format is really what you’re after, try Felicia Day’s mini-series Dragon Age: Redemption which, while short and with cheesy effects, is great fun, and definitely made me wish it was longer. Redemption stayed much truer to the heart of the Dragon Age universe.

By SarahTheRebel On 18 May, 2012 At 03:08 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBioware is starting a monthly forum to find out what fans really want. Fans will have a week to reply to a given question in the Bioware forum.

The forum is called the Dragon Age: Question of the Month” series. Bioware will pose a question to the community and promises to consider taking them into account for future Dragon Age worlds, including novels, anime, pen and paper RPGs, video games and comics.

This month’s question is “What would you like to discover and learn about the Dragon Age world.” Although many are not following the format of the forum and are simply using it to complain about issues or game mechanics (which I also gripe about, but in the correct forum dontchyaknow!), others are going wild with hopes of exploring the rest of Thedas. Another person asked for more time in the Fade (but without the blurry bits). I would like that person to never speak again.

Anyway, if you’ve read the latest novel, Dragon Age: Asunder or heard the PAX hints then you can already guess where the next Dragon Age game will take place. I wonder if they are actually gathering data for the codex and random items you can pick up and interact with?

To participate in the forum and give your own answers, click here!