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by Ethos

Scatter Storming. Issue #046

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Well folks, I’m tearing myself away from the INFINITE AWESOME that is Pokémon: Smugleaf Version to give you all a Scatter Storming. I actually have lots to get to, so let’s do it!

Updated Dragon Age 2 Hype

So since its addition to the hype list, I completed the Dragon Age 2 demo and then went back and played a good 5 hours more of Origins. After that experience, I’m a lot less worried about the series getting the Mass Effect 2 treatment.

By that I mean that the battle system hasn’t really changed at all. I mean, the moves are flashier, but you’ll still die if you just mash “attack”, you’ll still do a lot better if you manage your abilities and your party’s abilities, but now being a mage is completely badass.

Not just that, but – unlike Mass Effect 2 – the leveling up actually seems to be MORE complex when compared to its predecessor. A level will still just produce 3 skill points to be distributed how you’d like to your stats, but the skill tree is more interesting now. Or at least it seems to be at first sight. This IS just a demo we’re talking about.

Also, the demo doesn’t allow access to the inventory screen, so I hope that hasn’t been nerfed. Based on the other menu screens, and the loot I was picking up, I’m not too worried about that.

What I’m not too found of is the switch to the Mass Effect style main menu. I never liked it in the Mass Effect series and I don’t like it now. The old menu interface sufficed just fine.

One double-edged change is the new graphical style. Playing the two games so close, I have to say that while there’s not a huge difference in the visuals, Dragon Age 2 is slightly more stylish, and it’s largely the better for it. Environments seem to have the potential to be more interesting, and character models have a bit more flair.

No. I mean, yes, but no.

Although that’s where the other edge comes in. I’m a boob guy, anybody can tell you that, but when every female character has a bust that could have kept the Titanic afloat, I’m taken out of the experience a bit. Stylish is cool, guys, but let’s have a small sense of believability please.

Anyway, the final noticeable change is the dialogue wheel. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the dialogue wheel, and that I prefer that the main character talks now. However, I did like that Dragon Age was different from Mass Effect in the sense that “good” and “evil” wasn’t really the point of your decisions. It had way more to do with how the people around you perceived you and individual relationships.

And while upper choices will still tend to be noble and lower choices will make Hawke (the protagonist) be a prick, each decision had a symbol to accompany it. And there were more than 3 different symbols. This not only implies that there’s more than just “good”, “bad”, and “neutral”, but will hopefully alleviate some confusion if you’re not sure how your choice is going to be perceived.

My dive back into Origins made me really excited for Dragon Age 2, especially after that promising demo. The demo didn’t seem to run too much better than the original – despite Riddles’ claim otherwise – although the framerate definitely didn’t screech to a halt at any point like Origins had a habit of doing. Speaking of Riddles…

I’m cutting him some slack

Yup, it’s true. I know it’s fun to poke fun of him and call him a lazy fuck, but the truth is that he literally works twice the number of hours that I do during the week. It’s nice when he’s able to show his face around here, but it’s understandable that I’m going to be posting a lot more than him when he’s working this much. I love the little guy and don’t want him to break his spirit!

PokéParty Update 01 – Smugleaf Edition

Yup, it might be Pokémon Week next week (don’t worry, Dragon Age is getting its own week after that), but I got the game today and so I’m giving you the first update now, bitches!

Purrloin lvl 13 – Oh man! A dark-type this early in the game? Sign me up, cuz! Maybe it’s a cute little cat, but I’m sure it evolves into some ugly badass dark type. Or if I’m lucky, it’ll still be cool-looking. And don’t let me know! I know I might be spoiling to even have this list, but I’ve been so good at evolution spoilers. I’ve only looked up the starters to make sure that Smugleaf turned into the best one too. It did, of course. By far. Smugleaf for president.

Panpour lvl 13 – I was just given this fucker. Like, I didn’t have to catch it. I didn’t have to battle for it. It was handed to me by an apparently very stupid character. It’s a water-type, so I’ll take it. Not sold on her yet, but we’ll see. I’m sure she’ll stick around until I either warm up to her or find something way more badass.

Smugleaf lvl 12 – Smugleaf now. Smugleaf forever. Smugleaf is the greatest starter Pokémon and will be until the end of time. Nothing could have ever convinced me to go with a Grass-type starter until Smugleaf’s existence. Smugleaf evolves into some certified badasses, but even then, it will still be Smugleaf. Do not fuck with this Pokémon. Smugleaf will take you out and give you a permanent and significant inferiority complex at the same time. Do you hear me? You’ll be concussed and convinced that hobos are better at life than you. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Lillipup lvl 13 – What a cute li’l guy! Because there are no older Pokémon mixed in with the over 150 new ones during the main quest, there are all-new replacements for the typical Rattata-esque Normal-type dudes you catch at the beginning. There’s no way this guy and his inevitable evolution will stay in my party for long, but it’s my first playthrough. He’s getting his 15 minutes. Plus, I like him a lot better than…

Patrat lvl 13 – This guy is the new Bidoof, but somehow not nearly as ugly. She’s just as strong though, and actually my current go-to powerhouse Pokémon if I want to end a battle quickly. Still, just like Lillipup, Patrat will only be around until it evolves. Especially because I’ve already caught the most badass Pokémon ever, just waiting to join my party after I’m done with my OCD training of these two normal types.

Pidove lvl 13 – I’m assuming this is the new Pidgey/Starly, and I’ll keep him around until the Elite Four after which it will have evolved twice. It’s cute, but I’m doubtful that it will top the Starly trio. Sorry Pidgey. I know you have nostalgia on your side, but Starly kicks your ass. We’ll have to see about Pidove, though. I can’t imagine how this thing will evolve into something that rivals Pidgeot, not to mention Staraptor.

Anyway, unlike a typical second playthrough, my party is maxed out. I’m too excited about the new creatures. I can’t wait until my next update when it will include the badass Pokémon I talked about. Plus ones I have no idea about! Smugleaf forever!

Ethos’ Hype List: Mass Effect 3

Wow, I’ve already written a lot, so I’ll keep this semi-brief.

I really liked Mass Effect 2, and it was my favourite game of last year, but I easily prefer the first entry. Better worlds, better exploration, better near-end game, better RPG mechanics, the Mako dune buggy, and deeper battle system. Especially if you play as an adept, like me.

Still, the second game had incredible writing, a much stronger cast, better pacing, and some jaw-dropping moments.

Make Mass Effect 3 the best of both worlds, plz.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that it’ll just be even more watered down. That would suck.

Anticipation Level: 21/27

Oh man, that’s it for me. I wrote more than I expected, and I think I had more planned. Still, that’s a lot and I was taken out for dinner by a friend half-way through, so I’m pooped. Seriously, he treated to me to a delicious feast. Talk about unexpected and amazing. Goodnight, assholes!

Ethos’ Hype List: Dragon Age 2

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I admit I like the logo for Origins better.

I haven’t even beat Dragon Age: Origins.

While I’d like to think otherwise, it’s very unlikely that I’ll beat it before I buy Dragon Age 2. Still, somehow I find myself very excited for this sequel.

I forget what exactly distracted me from Origins, but I adored my time with the game, and Riddles’ demo impressions have revved me up for the changes made.

Still, going in blind comes with downsides. While it might mean that nothing is holding back my fanboyish excitement, it also means that I’ll be less prepared for any disappointments.

Either way, I’ve been really enjoying a lot of bite-sized titles recently, so I think I’m ready to sink my teeth into something, and Dragon Age seems to be the perfect choice to fit that bill. I’m going to play the demo tonight, but I want to get the ball rolling with this list, so here’s my Hype Rating:

Anticipation Level: 20/27

Welcome to Most Anticipated Games Week

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I don't really even care about Batman, but I'm excited for this game.

Well Riddles got his chance to write about Back to the Future: The Game, but only came up with a video of his friend playing it. So I’m moving on.

This year is fucking insane for us gamers.
This is the calm before the storm. Quite literally. Because next week both Pokémon and Dragon Age 2 will be released, then Infamous soon after, then the 3DS, Team ICO collection, then nonstop blockbuster AAA titles until all of our faces fall off.

This week – at least – I will talk about the games I have unbridled excitement for (see: Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3, Pokémon White, Batman: Arkham City). I will talk about games that I am excited for with hesitation of varying levels (see: Uncharted 3, The Last Guardian, Infamous 2) and games that I am tentatively excited for (see: Skyward Sword).

That last category probably wouldn’t even exist without the latest gameplay trailer for Zelda. I’m all for a little context sensitive swordplay, but based on that trailer, it looks like the entire thing is motion gimmick after motion gimmick. It’s like Nintendo hasn’t realized that their controller sucks and is really, really old. Even with the expensive fix.

There’s actually a lot more I have to say about that, but I’ll leave it to the specific article. I hope to write one for at least each of the games I’ve already mentioned. Can you feel it? Gaming is going to give a hell of a year before the 2012 apocalypse.