Derf Reviews: Dragon Age Inquisition

January 9, 2015 at 11:57 am | Posted in Article, gaming | Leave a comment

After 70 hours over the span of a month, I finally finished Dragon Age: Inquisition. Since this is the first game in a long time that has taken up this much of my time, and because it’s the first time in almost a year I booted up my console, I decided to put down a few quick thoughts on the game.

Positives:

Combat – Combat is fun as hell. Whether you’re a charging Vanguard or an immolating Mage, you feel powerful whenever you fight.

Character Customization (Gear and abilities) – There’s no shortage of ways to create your own playstyle. And between loot drops and crafting, there are always new upgrades for you to get.

Scale – Although it isn’t truly open-world, Inquisition does a great job of putting you in the shoes of someone who has to save the entire world.

NPC Dialogue – A big part of enjoying Inquisition is talking to your party members, listening to their dialogue and doing their personal quests. Don’t skip these!

Side Quests – Every campaign area has a ton of quests to do, and will likely take up the bulk of your play time.

Dragons! – There is an achievement for killing all 10 high dragons in the game, and I highly suggest you complete it. In addition to getting the best crafting materials in the game as well as sweet loot, dragon fights are unquestionably the most epic and fun encounters. Yes, even more fun than the last boss.

Environments – The majority of the game is gorgeous. Skyhold is awesome, the Emerald Graves is awesome, and I personally liked the snowy atmosphere of Emprise du Lion (although that might just be because I’m Canadian).

 

Negatives:

Bugs – I made the misplay of getting Inquisition for a prev-gen console (the 360). Graphical glitches detracted a bit from my play experience: hair, clothing and metal textures sometimes rendered improperly, or not at all. Occasionally sound would desync and environments would take too long to populate.

Redundant Endgame – You will progress to the point (around level 19-21) where exploring any new map area will find you massively overqualified and under-challenged, making its quests pretty unexciting. You will also get to the point where you have a huge Power surplus (100+) and nowhere to spend it. It would be nice to have a few resource sinks for Power (to get gold, for example), but I don’t know if there’s an easy way to fix the over-leveling issue.

PC Dialogue – I didn’t find that many of my dialogue choices mattered. Yes, there are game-altering decisions to make, but your responses in conversations are kind of lackluster. As a side note, I also found the romance quest line (with Scribbles at least) to be underwhelming and a lot less involving than DA: Origins.

War Table Access/Inventory Management – While your home base is pretty awesome, running to the War Table every half hour or hour gets tedious and annoying. I wish there was a more time-efficient way to access this part of the game, like from a base camp. Inventory juggling was also a pain but manageable. It’s at its worst when you have all the game’s party characters and are trying to gear each one up whilst trying to sell off your obsolete crap.

The End of the Main Quest – Most of the main quest is pretty entertaining, but the final two quests are incredibly lackluster and definitely felt rushed. This doesn’t ruin the game, but it does feel a little disappointing. I spent more time on one of the mid-game quests than these last two combined.

All being said, Dragon Age Inquisition is definitely worthwhile and may warrant a second playthrough after a break. Go fight some dragons!

Happy Holidays from Misty!

December 24, 2014 at 11:54 am | Posted in Art post, mtg | Leave a comment
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2014-holiday

The Angel of Verdun and Drawing Styles

October 7, 2014 at 11:10 am | Posted in Art post, Article | Leave a comment
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sketch-vrataskiI recently caught up to the rest of the world and watched Edge of Tomorrow, then promptly read the manga it was based on, All You Need is Kill (which I assume is a grammatically awkward yet appropriate play on “All You Need is Love”). I enjoyed both renditions of the story, although the manga’s ending kind of sticks with you longer because of the twist. In any case, I felt compelled to sketch up my interpretation of Rita Vrataski while on the train home from work. I preferred Emily Blunt’s older, toned-yet-graceful appearance as a believable basis for the character.

For most of you, I’m known for drawing hyper-cartoonish characters with big eyes and heads and stubby fingers and limbs. For some, it might surprise you to hear that I only started drawing this way when I started Durdling Around. I don’t know why I decided to stick with it, but I know it started with Tezzeret, Agent of Cups. That it got such a positive reception was likely no small factor, and despite how crude the artwork looks to me today, I’m still really happy with the execution of that comic.

My natural style is much more of this gritty, sketchy manga-ish look. If I’m drawing to pass the time on the subway or to unwind, I’ll sketch out character designs in this style. I never really see myself as an actual comic artist (i.e., an artist who draws comics), rather an artist who draws portraits and character designs in a comic-y style. That makes Durdling Around some kind of happy miracle, as I otherwise would never have drawn comics for this long.

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