Nick's Gaming Blog

“Game In Progress” #2

Looking back at the different series’ that I’ve started, I noticed that in terms of the sheer amount of feedback, the last “Game In Progress” actually fared quite well, so I figured I’d bring it back.

Because I miss hearing from you guys.

(But…mostly…because I’m still working on finishing up a couple games…ergo, no “game review” material as it stands.)

As always (and as it is with all other aspects of life) let’s begin with me.  What have I been playing?  Perhaps the better question is, “What downright stupid security protocols/glitches have I been forced to encounter while playing Dragon Age: Origins?”

Allow me to begin with one very very simple bit of advice: If you’re downloading DLC, or just flat out downloading anything off of Xbox Live, make sure you do it on YOUR system. I’m not just talking about ensuring that it’s your hard drive that’s attached when the action is performed (though, why you’d be dumb enough to download the content to someone else’s hard drive is beyond me).  Unless you are already rigged up to Xbox Live all the time (something that, some of us, due to our room set-ups/configurations, do not have) you’ll have to have downloaded it with your console to ensure offline play.

Pre-order Dragon Age: Origins, and you'll get this ring. It was only when I couldn't get any of the female companions to warm up to me that I realized it was one of those Promise Rings that The Jonas Brothers apparently have.

In the past, specifically with Xbox Live Marketplace titles, I might originally download it at a friends to allow for play at that moment, but then redownload it with my Xbox 360 when I got home.  Problem solved, every time.  As for Dragon Age: Origins DLC?  My little “redownloading” trick doesn’t work.  Turns out that my “Magical Wolf Bracelet” and “Ring of Something or Another” were linked to the serial number of Kurt’s Xbox 360.

Well, that’s fine, you think, “So just play Dragon Age: Origins without the DLC.”  However, once you download that content, it embeds itself into your save game files, and once it’s in your save files, it checks whether or not the Xbox 360 playing such is the one that downloaded the DLC…if it isn’t, and you aren’t online, those saved games are off limits.

So…what do you do, if you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate scenario that I find myself in?  Kill yourself. I haven’t done this yet (mainly because it sounds like a lot of work) but you’re going to have to reallocate your licenses to all the content you’ve downloaded off of the Xbox Live network.  And don’t think of this as something you can fall back on whenever you repeat the bumbling process I’ve discussed above.  Microsoft only lets your reset your licenses every…umm 6 or 7 months.  I don’t remember which.  Bottom line: You can’t make it a habit.

So, where was I?  Ah, yes, Dragon Age: Origins.  As per usual with games of this nature, let me once again state that “There Will Be Blood Spoilers.”  And, like before, because the order in which one tackles the main quests in Dragon Age: Origins varies, if you haven’t completed the game/plan to play the game…it’d just be best to skip over this part.

"Heads, and your game works fine, tails...and you'll be forced to relicense all of your Marketplace downloads in a teeth-pulling manner. Oh, and I'll kill you."

You know what kind of character I need in my Dragon Age: Origns party?  I need a personal shopper, someone who knows just what sorts of trinkets and do-dads to purchase for my fellow party members.  Indeed, until I snuck a peek or two at Kurt’s guide to said game, I was at a loss.

To begin with, I’d stockpiled enough booze to fend off an average night out on the town for Nick Nolte, yet none of my characters seemed in need of the “12 Step” program.  I’d also come across a wide selection of statuettes, but nobody in my party appeared up for playing with dolls.  Throw in an odd selection of reading materials, silver jewelery, varied necklaces and the like, and I have no idea who’s supposed to get what.

Oh, for those who don’t know, in Dragon Age: Origins, you come across items that are given to party members, and, when given to the “intended” party member, will improve your relationship with them.  This, in turn, opens up quests, romance options, and the willingness for them to teach you new specializations (think “job training”).  Mostly, however, they’re used to get Alister to leave you alone, and to get into Morrigan and Leilana’s pants.

But Dragon Age: Origins loves to do something that I abhor in gaming: giving you a Sam’s Club worth of items without spelling out who they’re for…or, more importantly, whether or not you can just sell them if they’re not relevant to your character/play style.  I’ve got love letters, ancient scrolls, keys for one thing or another, plants, gems, etc…  In regards to the “gift” issue, I can’t figure out whether the gift is something for a character I already have…or one I have yet to acquire.  And…because of this, my character ends up belonging on an episode of Hoarders.

Furthermore, even when I look at the guide, the logic behind “who gets what” isn’t always that evident.  Why does Alistair want a white runestone?  Since when did Sten have an interest in paintings?  (Though, I so infrequently use Sten, that perhaps he professes his love for brushes and paint, were I to allow him into my party)  Why can’t my whole party just set up some archaic “gift registry” with that ever-present Dwarf wares dealer at my camp?  That would at least sort out some of this mess.  Now, I know some of you are going to point out that when you, say, attempt to give any Hot Topic related paraphernalia to Leilana, she’ll suggest you find a more brooding and angsty gal to bestow such items upon, and this is certainly true.  But, like many awkward gift-giving occasions in my real life, this doesn’t tend to make me feel any better.

I've got enough items to keep this placed stocked for years. If only, because I have no idea what most of them are for.

Other than that, I’ve been dabbling in a couple smaller games.  Perhaps the most time-consuming has been Lumines Live! Think Tetris, but you’re assembling 2X2 squares instead of lines.

New rule for my life: if anyone begins the description of a game with, “It’s like Tetris,” I am not touching said title.  That simple.  If anything would be capable of inducing a rapid-fire downfall into casual gaming, I can say with great certainty that it’d be Lumines.

Besides the soul-sucking puzzle title listed above, I’ve been playing BLACK, the shooter from Criterion Games, those best known for doing the Burnout series.  And (surprise, surprise) it would benefit one playing to do such in a Burnout mindset: an eye for destruction, no doubling back for one reason or another, and a “hanging on for dear life” sense of survival.

On that note, were I to find any health kit lying around my house, I’d likely immediately run up to it, and begin rubbing it all over my body in a failed attempt to consume it into my body, as one does in the game.

Finally, I’ve recently downloaded The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, a Marketplace Xbox Live title.  One of those 2D puzzle/platformers with a delightful aesthetic reminiscent of black and white silent films, and a 1920′s Jazz/Ragtime score to accompany it.  More importantly, because of your ability to make clones of yourself, you can…wait for it…kick yourself in the ass.

In general, the plan is to fix/finish Dragon Age: Origins, finish BLACK, and then probably tackle GTA IV or Mass Effect 2.  With Dante’s Inferno underperforming and Alpha Protocol delayed, it just got a whole lot easier to dig into my ever-growing backlog of games.

Well, what have YOU been playin’?


    Hey Nick,
    Right now I’m working on Wild Arms 3. I like the game, but I fear it doesn’t want me to by brining science into it’s boss battles. Let me give the one example I have. In the dungeon Ka Dingel(sp). There is a boss whose name begins with a T and at the beginning of the battle the game gives you some info on this by telling it has a protective shell and physical attacks don’t work. Well that FINE I can use magic and that goes fine until the FUCKING boss counter each attack and then after he’s done that he attacks someone special and poisons them, so every turn you will be using an antidote. Well to make a long story short I found after using ice magic and a fire summon, that destroys it’s armor and then game tells you,”Any hard substance can be made brittle through repeated heating and immeadte cooling,thereby inducing degradation of matter.”

  • Haha, you got shown up the one boss I knew would trip you up. It never fails to trip up anybody that I show that game to, and I thought that was a very smart change of pace for the battles.

    I’m still swamped, game-wise. I still have 1-more playthrough of Mass Effect 2 to finish, and on INSANE mode to boot :( After that… I need to finish Little King’s Story, Dead Space Extraction, actually PLAY No More Heroes 2, and FFIV The After Years. By then, I’ll probably also get my hands on Bioshock 2, so add that onto the list, and possibly an MMO here or there, and then… Huge DS games list… O.o

  • Ha! I agree Jordan, science shouldn’t be a part of video games, or any type of school topic for that matter (unless it’s a trivia game). It’s like when those Sonic games (and other games) give you grades at the end of levels. Screw you Sega! If i wanted grades i’d be studying instead of playing video games.

    For the last week or two i’ve been marathoning Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age in between film shoots on the weekends. With both of those games mostly behind me now, I’ve been going back through Resident Evil 5 as well as the new DLC for that (that my roommate Jake bought on launch), and GTA BoGT. You should really start GTA4 nick, it’s really good. ^~^’

    I was originally saving my monies for Splinter Cell: Conviction, but since that got pushed back, i picked up Mass Effect 2 instead. I was sort of surprised when i found it was a two disc game… and that after only a couple hours playing it i had to switch to the second disc. I don’t know exactly what that means for the games length, but i’m going to put that on pause for a bit. Don’t want to rush through it too fast and ruin it for myself… like what happened with Borderlands.

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