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Dragon Age II is Brilliant, but Lacking

March 8th, 2011. 9am sharp. I was standing outside the Gamestop store pacing back and forth waiting for them to open. As I sipped on my iced carmel mocha from Starbucks, there was only one thing on my mind … Dragon Age II! I had been waiting impatiently for a while now and I wanted my addiction appeased after so many months of foreplay. I was eager for Bioware to take me in again and thrill me, rapture me, seduce me, and enthrall me. I was at their mercy!

Dragon Age II

After two days of thrills and kills, I still can't get enough. I've tried every ****with different backgrounds and each time the outcome has been different. The whole story embodies your character and her history. Every outcome is different depending on your selection of responses and the way you handle situations. The game'slearningcurve and user interface is very user friendly for those new and old to the Dragon Age series. The combat is explosive, the graphics are phenomenal, the background integration is exceptionally brilliant! I love how the game wraps itself around you and makes you feel like your character.Bioware has a knack for making their fans feel so loved and they certainly put extensive time into making the game addictive,but I can't say I like Dragon Age II better than Dragon Age Origins. In fact, I am a bit disappointed in their creativity this time around. The game in itself is still addicting, but it has yet to pull me into the world as much as I was in Dragon Age Origins.

Let me explain why Dragon Age Origins enthralled more than Dragon Age II.

NO LOVE? I miss the love scenes. I really felt that the relationship, intimacy, and love story brought a sense of closeness for the player. Maybe I'maskingtoo much out of a game since I'm a female, but I truly believe that the love story made the background for Dragon Age Origins. I enjoyed being a part of their lives and reallymakinga difference. The relationshipdecisionsI made with my group mates really spiced up the RPG part of the game and Dragon Age II lacks that intimate feeling you get in Dragon Age Origins.

HAWKE ARMOR RESTRICTIONS? I wish Bioware didn't change how we could dazzle up our NPC group mates in armor. I'm certainly aware of how it saves time and money and storage, but I think the way we equipped and geared our NPC teammates, really made a difference in how we perceived our "friends" to be. I hate having to toss out an awesome dagger because it's restricted to my character who happens to be a mage and can't use it. I enjoyed being able to give that to another character if I had to.

WHERE'S THE GIFTS? I also miss giving my group mates gifts. Finding these memories and giving them to the players made it unique in the storyline aspect because we learned more about the player and their past or what they would like to have accomplished. This is what gave the game it's storyline basis and enthralled us into their lives.

CHARACTER INTERACTIONS? What happened to the traveling interactions, stopping halfway in between towns to get ambushed or because another character wanted to talk? I enjoyed learning how each character played a significant part in the game and how their background and my friendship with them could or could not effect the ending. This seems to have disappeared along with the thrill of pursuing a relationship.

I still enjoy the game enough to toss those things aside and continue to play, but Dragon Age II seems more repeatative with the same ending no matter what outcome I select. It has been two days of quest after quest with a "do this" and "get gold" status. I don't look forward to equipment or gear since 80% of what I drop gets sold anyways. In Dragon Age Origins, the game really made YOU and enthralled YOU! I find that Dragon Age II was brilliantly developed more like an expansion rather than a sub merging game. Iknow Bioware could have done better.


Magister's Orders (Rogue)

The Bone Pit (Mage)

Free Realms Family Fun

My husband and I are avid computer gamers. We've been gaming for over 20 years now and have been fanatics about multi-player games like World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed, etc. Just recently my husband found an online game called FREE REALMS by Sony Online Entertainment (SEO).

Free Realms

Free Realms is a cartoon-ish multi-player family game with everything from Fishing, Cooking, Adventuring, Soccer, Questing, and more! It's definitely not a game my husband and I would normally participate in, but as a family, we love it! We were especially happy that our 7 year old daughter finally found a game she could play with us as well. Usually she will stick to her DSi or the Wii while my husband and I game on the XBox 360 or the PC with our sons, but Free Realms offers some pretty nifty entertainment for all ages.

What is Free Realms?

Free Realms is a free 3D virtual world where you can do whatever you want, whenever you want! Jump in straight from your web browser! Once you create your character, you'll be in and playing in just a few minutes.

Decorate your house, then invite your friends over for a party! Teach your pet a new trick or dress them up in a sweet costume! Battle enemies as you search for lost treasure or duel other players, mine for gold, cook up a meal, or race your car! When you're ready for a different kind of challenge, play a wide variety of fun minigames, jump into the trading card game or check up with your friends on your profile page. Free Realms is the place to join up with your friends to discover, explore, compete, chat, share achievements and just have fun! In Free Realms, YOU RULE.

Free Realms Jobs:

When you enter Free Realms, you are given the option to take any JOB that you want, and once you select that job, you aren't limited to playing just that job. You can change jobs anytime you want and then level that job up by participating in quests and mini-games as that particular job. The jobs include the following:

Free Realms Jobs

Parental Controls

Free Realms have a variety of parental controls and safe chat methods you can set for your child. You can have your child's own login for the game and then your parent login to manage their account.

Membership and Station Coins

Free Realms is just that ... FREE! But, of course, if you want access to higher levels, more gear, pets, mounts, and more, then becoming a member is your best bet. However, I guarantee your child will enjoy it and you might enjoy it too! You can also purchase Station Coins to buy your items without becoming a member.

Free Realms Is Family Fun!

All in all, I'm almost positive you'll want to become a member. Our family is full of gamers and this makes a great way to spend time together online, especially since daddy is military and he has to travel a lot. We can't game on the Wii or XBox with him while he is gone, but we can certainly log into games like Free Realms to hang out for a few hours. If you're ever on Free Realms, look me up. I play Breeja or Ella Briarwick!

Fable III (PC) is like a cheap blind date

Fable 3

For my 19th wedding anniversary, my husband was generous enough to get me Fable III (PC). I'd been wanting it for a while now and as usual, he delivered! Now, mind you, I am NOT a fan of Microsoft LIVE Games for Windows! In fact, I shiver when I see Microsoft games meant for console that are "adjusted" for the PC, but I enjoyed the Fable series and I'd much rather play my PC than a console, so I bent over backwards and gave Microsoft a chance. However, in return, Microsoft screwed me over and gave me a bad headache instead. (I should have known better than to trust Microsoft and prepared myself with lube earlier on).

My first and foremost complaint with Fable III (PC) is the motion blur movement and camera auto-centering! I basically cannot play this game because I get SERIOUS motion sickness! The fact that the characters move in a blur and the camera tries to re-center itself every time I move it, was enough for me to vomit on the case while cursing Microsoft the whole time. While I did open the VideoOptionsConfig.xml file and changed MotionBlurEffectsMinimumDetail to 6 (anything above 5 disables Motion Blur in PC), it still did not fix it completely, although it did minimize the blurriness. However, there is absolutely no fix for the camera auto-centering. The keyboard and mouse game controls are pretty lame and standard too, with very little customization is enough to drive a PC gamer INSANE! They seemed to keep a majority of the game focused on the console aspect! Having to click 1-2-3 for choices gets pretty annoying and movement controls are awful!

I am also disappointed in the quests and environment variety. I think I did the same "delivery" quests for random citizens, walked the same mountainous path, while killing the same wild wolves and mercenaries about 100 times! I got sick and tired of running around the same scenes with very little action.

Another negative is the character customization. Seriously Microsoft? The Princess looks as if you copied the Prince's face and slapped a ponytail wig on her **** head! The faces are butt-ugly, the clothes are horrible, and character expressions are extremely weak.

I find the PC version of Fable III a rather cheap and lazy way for Microsoft to make more money with little brain-power involved. If Bioware can make games for both the XBox 360 and the PC (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.) and keep the controls, graphics, RPG selections, voice-overs, and quest perfectly adjusted to suit both types players, then you would think Microsoft could do the same! All in all, Fable III (PC) is like a cheap blind date you met online: it sounds intriguing and seems like it has a lot to offer, but it's idea of entertainment is a trip to McDonald's via taxi cab and you have to pay for it all!