Category Archives: Games

Dragon Age: Origins – That BG feeling is back

Every single journalist on the interwebs has already chanted praises for this game. And I intend to do exactly the same.

Last week I optimistically bought a copy of the PC version of Dragon Age. Optimistically because I realised only after the purchase that my PC at home was an old AMD 2.2GhZ with 1GB or RAM and a puny geforce 7900 GTX (or something like that).

It took some compromising but the game runs. More then my computer being able to deal with it I suppose it’s the game caring for my PC as you would with a senile pensioner.

Nevertheless I played for a few hours yesterday and I have this to say. They got it just right.

Dragon Age Battle ScreenshotI was a huge fan of the original Baldur’s Gate series and played it over and over. Mostly because I was at school at the time and spare time was plentiful and cheap.
Why was I fan? Because of the storyline. It was stupendously enthralling.
After BG I stuck with BioWare and bought Neverwinter Nights. Everybody raved about it yet I didn’t like it. Very little control over the whole party. And the little you had was spoiled by a  slightly awkward control system.

The toolset they released with Neverwinter Nights was also mightily impressive. You could see that was the start of a revolution in the way RPG were played and content was created for them. Unfortunately, as most first editions/tries, it lacked in functionality and flexibility.
This, as far as I’m concerned, also put a cap on game designer’s creativity when they were writing the main campaign story.

I’m glad to see they have worked all these things out. Everything I didn’t like in Neverwinter Nights is now fixed in Dragon Age.
The game just flows.
This is thanks to a beautifully written and very compelling story, a more intuitive and usable control system and a fantastic toolset. Which I believe put the power back in the game designers’ hands and allowed them to really go to town with the storyline.

It’s a fantastic game. If you don’t know it watch the trailer video, buy it, lock yourself in your room and start playing.

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Starcraft 2 still far away

I wrote a couple of posts about the game at the time the official announcement was made. I was and am still very excited about it, can’t wait to take control of my armies again and start wasting countless hours of my life.

Ever since the official announcement Blizzard has worked hard to keep the hype going by revealing small portions of the gameplay at a time on their site. Not that they needed to considering the extremely morbid and dedicated community of fans out there.
During the E3 2007 conference a new gameplay video was released. The video was narrated by Chris Sigaty. Note that the label on the video at the time was “internal alpha”. He does mention it will be playable at Blizzcon though and also says there will be a beta (though it might not be a public one).

In case you needed any more reasons to want to go to BlizzCon, they’ve just announced that convention-goers will be treated to a playable demo of StarCraft II. Of course, who knows how much “playable demo” there is to the game yet, but but Blizzard tells us that “attendees can sample the new units and gameplay elements for themselves in multiplayer battles.” — WoWInsider

So Starcraft 2 may not be “that” far away after all. But I want it now!

Blizzard has now release a Terran gameplay video (embedded low-res here). A high definition release of the video is available for download here (roughly 600MB)

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PS3 Magic

PS3 GrillI’m a PlayStation fan, have been ever since they launched the first version in 1990 something. However I have decided not to switch to PS3 because I don’t really like what Sony is doing.

The PS3 doesn’t bring anything new to the market, unlike a certain big N console which is kicking its arse all over the world, just powerful hardware and, most importantly, crippled backwards-compatibility. I honestly don’t understand why anybody would go outright against gazillions of gamers wourldwide who bought boatloads of PS2 games!

Even The Company of the 2000 different versions of the same crap OS for dummies figured out that maybe, just maybe, it was smart to keep its new console compatible with old games.

Now luckly the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO explained us why oh why they did something like that -

Jack “Daniels” Tretton is here to dazzle you with mathematics: according to Jackie, the consumer actually benefits from Sony’s move to cut emulation, because now you have the opportunity to buy both a $399 PS3 and a $129 PS2, for a grand total of $528, which is — wait for it — less than the original 60GB PS3’s price of $600!

– News found on Engadget

Nintendo opens up the Wii

Good news for all Nintendo Wii fans and indie game developers.

Apparently Nintendo, learning from its mistakes in the past, has decided to open its newest console (the Wii) to developers.

Engadget has a brief article on the subject.

Starcraft 2 continued

I spent most of my Saturday working and discussing Blizzard‘s announcement with some friends. The very same people with whom I met up almost every week for a LAN party between 1998 and 2003, and of course our favorite was… Starcraft.

You can imagine how excited we are now about the release of Starcraft 2, already organizing big matches over the internet (at the time we all lived in Italy, now some of us are in the UK some in Spain and others are still in Italy).

Amongst this Starcraft-junkies collective there was one voice who spoke against the praising choir. This friend of mine was a bit disappointed because as far as he can see there is no innovation in Starcraft 2. Just a few new units but the formula is basically the same of the original game.

I am not disappointed, but I’d be lying if I said that I’m not a bit… bemused. Arguably we don’t know all the facts yet and most of the details of the game haven’t been revealed yet. I’m eagerly refreshing the movies page on the website to sneak a peak at the gameplay video. Blizzard may very well have some more surprises in store for us.

Blizzard’s probably decided to take the safe way, why would you go and alter a winning formula which you’ve seen work for almost ten years now. Furthermore as I said in my previous post Blizzard has not missed one shot so far, all their games have been incredible splashes, and I don’t expect Starcraft 2 to fail.

I haven’t been playing allot lately and haven’t really followed the videogames scene, but it seems to me that this industry is totally lacking pioneers. Don’t give me the “there’s nothing more to invent” speech because I don’t buy that, there’s always a brilliant game designer waiting for a developer to pick up its smashing new idea.

Hopefully with the new wave of indie game developers we’ll be able to see something capable of putting to shame the painfully cloying and endless series of sequels from companies like EA. And I’m glad that a system like Steam exists, which I believe to be one of the main propellers for indie games distribution.

This is the end of my ramble.

Stefano… the bored player.

Oh… just found this on Youtube.

…and here it is!

Starcraft 2 Artwork

Finally, everybody knew it was coming and it’s here! STARCRAFT 2!

There’s little details on the website except for an incredibly spectacular cinematic trailer and a good number of screenshots to keep us fans salivating till the release date!

Apparently they’ll continue with the tactic of unlocking new material on the site day by day to keep building the hype, and tomorrow we’ll finally be able to watch the gameplay trailer and see if it’s exactly as we wanted it!

And now bad news for those of us who wanted an additional race. According to the FAQs on the site we’ll have only the three old races (Protoss, Zerg and Terran).

It’s going to be tough for Starcraft 2 to live up to all our expectations, after such a long wait and all the hype, but Blizzard hasn’t failed one so far so I’m confident we’ll see a great game!

Rejoice RTS fans, Santa may be early…

Starcraft screenshotRather poorly timed entrance for Santa but very welcome nonetheless.

It’s been almost 10 years since the original Starcraft was released, and people today are still enjoying every single mission, map, game of it.

Whether you know it or not Starcraft was initially release in 1998 and by 1999 Blizzard had already registered the domain starcraft2.com.
Well, something happened on the sequel’s domain during the last week or so. On the 14th of May the site went live and started “unbarring” one Blizzard game every day. The 17th of May was Diablo II, today is World of Warcraft. I bet that by Sunday we’ll have some big news from the folks at Blizzard.

There’s been rumors floating around about the possible release of a sequel to the original game since the day after Starcraft itself was released. Lately with WoW being released and all those rumors started ebbing away, until last Monday.

I personally can’t wait to take control of my hyper-upgraded carriers and start wrecking havoc in a human, apologies… terran, base!

Take it easy,

Stefano

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