Geeks and Gamers of the world UNITE!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Episode 17 or The Relevant Wife Strikes Back

Do not adjust your eyeballs and have no fears. Just relax and the take over will be through before you know it! Don't worry, I'll be gentle.

This was good timing for my take over. There's actually been quite a bit of intrigue around women gamers in the past few weeks. Have you seen this guy and BioWare's response to him? (http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/304/index/6661775&lf=8) Kudos to BioWare! I'm not sure if I can be a bigger fan. It was a great point of relationships being for everyone. I really can't muster up any empathy for the guy. Let's face it the 'straight male gamer' is not going away and there will always be plenty of material out there for you. Japanese game makers will have that covered for you for a loooooooong time. 

Then there was the article in the latest Official Xbox Magazine called "Inclusive Games with Exclusive Marketing." The author does give credit to games for having more realistic female leads. Though I was a bit baffled that she had such a hard time figuring out if she could play as a female Hawke(Dragon Age 2). They were pretty up front about that and even had Lady Hawke pictures at one of the conventions. I think one of the best things BioWare games do for gender differences is have different things show up when you play as a female. My personal favorite is the Batarian mistaking FemShep for a stripper right before you go after Archangel. That's right FemShep has bigger balls than you'll ever have! And if you don't believe me... I'm up here.

But I have mixed feelings about wanting or feeling the need for more females included in marketing. Maybe, I'm just not sensitive to it anymore. In all honesty, I'm pretty used to playing with the boys. (Did my husband ever mentioned I have a Master's degree in Structural Engineering? That's right, he got the whole package and then some!) So, I get pretty tired of being pegged as someone to be marketed to or being specifically targeted. 

There's really no magic trick to getting me interested in buying a game. Make a good product, in this case, an engaging story, superb characters, and good controls and I'm there. Oh you can be sure I'll always play as female, that's just my particular preference. 

But the ultimate question asked by the article, would I be less or more likely to buy a game simply because it had a female on the cover? No, probably not. In fact, we just went through our games and we only have one with a female on the cover. Rock Band. I do like the new remake of Lara Croft they're doing. While she was one of the first iconic female game characters, she was always a bit too perfect and guy-fantasy-come-to-life. But I will be more interested to see how the game and story play.

So keep the good games coming. Because that's what we'll buy. Good games and good stories that pull us in. We won't buy just because you put a female on the front. You have to have substance behind it!

Now on to the review! Thanks to the excellent timing of my take over, I get to do a review of the latest addition to the BioWare epic Mass Effect 2! That's right the new DLC that just dropped this week: Arrival!

Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead!

Commander Shepard! Commander Shepard! Save the galaxy!

That's right there's another poor soul that needs Commander Shepard's help. Not that anyone is going to help Shepard this time. Shepard has to go this one alone and I tell you what, I missed my buddies occasionally. Sneaking into the prison was neat and now I have an achievement The Irrelevant Gamer doesn't have yet. Yep, got that one all on my own. Full disclosure, it was on my second play through. I have two characters I'm bringing into Mass Effect 3 (one romance for Garrus and one for Thane, sorry Kaiden, you were too much of a pussy). 

So after the sneaky, sneaky is over then you go find out if this scientist you went to pick up is telling the truth about the Reapers and the coming invasion. It quickly hits the fan and now Shepard has to fight for her life again. Plenty of 'awe hell' moments and a nail biter at the end as you try to out run an asteroid while flipping off Harbinger. 

It's a great side quest for ME2. But all it did now is whet my appetite for more ME! Really, I've decided that waiting for ME3 is like walking around horny all day and not being able to do anything about it.

Pros: More Mass Effect anyone? Hell yes!

Cons: Ummmm, does anyone want to talk to me?? I just blew up a whole system for crying out loud! Destroyed a relay... Joker? Garrus? Thane? Anyone? Buller?

Final verdict: The Relevant Wife's Seal of Approval

Next time: The Irrelevant Game's take on Nintendo's 3DS

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Episode 16 or Why Dragon Age 2 Is Better Than Whatever You Are Playing!

I think I need to change my pants...

Wow, it's been awhile!  Sorry for the delay folks.  Some serious gaming has gone down since last I posted!  Finally finished a single playthrough of FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS.  I also discovered just how awesome Anarchy Mode in Bulletstorm is(P.S. It's Awesome!!).  Thanks to Xbox Live's House Party, I now have a game to scratch that Diablo itch!  It's called Torchlight, and more will be said about this gem in our Review section!  I also tamed the city of Kirkwall in Dragon Age 2.  This game will also be reviewed this episode.  Oh, and I bet you noticed that pic up top.  That's NOT an ad for MASS EFFECT 3.  It's for the new ME2 dlc: The Arrival!  Not much is known at this point other than it's the last dlc for ME2 and will bridge the Game of the Year and ME3.  Let's get to some news, shall we?

  That right there should make you squee with joy!  Gearbox software, the company who bought the rights to the-now-defunct 3D Realms franchise, and creators of the amazing BORDERLANDS game has announced the release date of the return of everybody's favorite macho man: Duke Nukem!(Sorry Randy Savage.  Have a slim jim.)  The date that Hell freezes over: May 3rd!  Not too much longer.  Of course those who purchased new copies of the Borderlands Game of the Year Edition, and/or pre-ordered DNF, get early access to the demo!  Plus, there is THIS:
I will be giving you my hands-on preview once the early demo drops!  Movin' on!


BioWare has done it again!!  Seriously, is there no end to this company's awesomeness?  I thought not!  I absolutely loved DA:O.  Easily in my top 10 games of all time!  But then DA2 rolls in like it owns the place and starts to awesome!  From the stylized loading screen and epic soundtrack from Inon Zur, to the beautiful new graphics and new combat system.  I played through the campaign as a mage.  Those who don't know me, I hate mage classes!  HATE THEM!  I hate being outside the fight.  I always gravitate to the warrior or dual-wield rogue.  Why the change of heart?  I saw the power the mage class held in the demo.  We're talking throwing the powers of the Maker Himself at darkspawn!  Plus, I wanted to do that epic-bloodmage-hells-arms-rips-Arishok-in-half spell as featured in the trailer.  Alas, that power is nowhere to be found(at least by me).  But I still enjoyed the class and would recommend everyone try it!  In fact, there is not much about this game I didn't like!  The story was fantastic, as was the idea of a framed narrative.  The last game I played that spanned 10 years was Fable 2.  Going from refugee to the Champion of Kirkwall was a fun storyline that took me about 40-45 hours to play through.  I missed a lot of quests, loot and achievements!  I've already started on a second playthrough as a warrior to get a different ending.  I also used a different import to change the game up a bit! There is another awesome point for this game!  You can import your DA:O save or choose from one of three pre-loaded arcs!  Unlike Mass Effect 2(for 360), if you don't want to import, you actually get a choice!!  I assume this will also go into ME3.

DA2 is loaded with humor and pop culture references!  Name me another game that references Sir Mix-A-Lot, South Park and Joss Whedon!  Oh yes!  Plus there is all of the innuendos dropped by the pirate queen Isabella.  In fact, the cast of the game is like people you knew in high school!  There's the troubled loner(Anders), the jock(Aveline), the mousy girl(Merril), the slutty girl(Isabella), the emo(Fenris), the pious(Sebastian), and then there is Varric the Storyteller.  This dwarf is the source of the whole experience!  The tale he weaves will also inevitably play into DA3, which in my opinion will bring back The Warden.  Of course, BioWare does have a habit of sending it's hero's away and never bringing them back(Darth Revan from Knights of the Old Republic).

PROS: The new combat system is a joy to use, and the improved graphics are easy on the eyes, as is Isabella!  Now that Hawke has a voice, the immersion is much greater.  Great story and characters!

CONS: A bit slow starting, but picks up towards the end of Act 1.  No Giant-Arms-Rips-Guy-In-Half spell. That's false advertising...unless I just haven't found it...in that case SOMEBODY TELL ME WHERE IT IS!!

GRADE: 9.5

DA2 Gets the Admiral Ackbar Award!


It's no secret that Diablo is one of my all time fave PC games.  Hell, I loved it on the original Playstation!  The ultimate dungeon crawler will always have a special place in my heart.  That's why Torchlight is so awesome!  It IS Diablo!  Everything you loved about the original game are there...EVERYTHING!!  From the scrolls of identify to socketed armor to randomly generated levels!  Torchlight was developed for Xbox Live Arcade by the makers of Diablo(duh) and Fate.  Is it any wonder this game rocks?  It even has the same basic classes as Diablo!  But Torchlight gives us a bit more that the original PC game.  The first and most noticable is the addition of a pet!  As a fan of the Fable and Dragon Age games, I love having my faithful dog by my side!  The addition of a pet(and the ability to send it to town to sell your stuff while you keep exploring) is epic!

PROS: It's freakin' Diablo in a new skin!

CONS: No co-op!  Feels like a missed opportunity.

GRADE: 9.0

NEXT TIME: The Relevant Wife Takes Over!