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11:40 AM on 11.05.2009

Written While at Work: My Rebuttal to Jim Sterling's Dragon Age Origins Review

Hey Destructoid community. What follows is a short email to a friend regarding Jim Sterling’s Dragon Age Origins review. After spending a good portion of the 9 o’clock hour at my job on this rebuttal, I felt like it was just good enough to post up on the community blog. The comments in parentheses are more of a commentary that has been added after the fact.

Hey man,

Having put a real decent amount of time into Dragon Age, I went back to re-read
Jim Sterling's review.

While I would say some of his complaints are valid enough, the long
short of it is that he played through the game on console, which seems
like a pretty rudimentary mistake. When he was given the option to
play a game that you know is an update of older PC RPGs, simply put,
he should just know better. Clearly this game was meant for mouse and
keyboard controls. To think otherwise would seemingly get old
incredibly fast, as the game challenges the player with some nice
chaotic micromanagement. Having just been given a party of four
characters, I suppose I have not encountered some of the hardships he
was complaining about. (Just to point out, he praises the first 15 hours of the game. A part that I am just now nearing the end of) However, finding things like possibly getting a
war-hound to take into battle with me, (Thanks for ruining that one, box art!) I find myself just so enthralled with the game. The good solidly outweighs the negative points that he mentioned. As far as RPGs on PC go, I would consider this game to be one of the best since the original Knights of the Old Republic. (I have not played the Witcher, yet…)

Yes the difficulty spikes here and there, but that is just a demand
for better tactical prowess. For instance, there was a part when I
was playing last where there was an ambush on my two characters by a
squad of 6-7 skeletons. They killed me a handful of times, before I
managed to best them through the use of cleverly placed spells.
Sterling viewed this as an unfair spike, but I really welcome a
challenge in an RPG. Having just played through FF7 again, there is little to no
challenge in that game until the very end when you are fighting the
optional gigantic bosses. The rest of the game is just a walk in the
park. (Prove me wrong, FF13! Yes, I realize that 12 had a more balanced amount of challenge) It is nice to be challenged to succeed from the very beginning of a game. This is largely the same appeal with Demon's Souls. (Which I own and is sitting on the shelf unplayed… Damn full time job!)

For now, Dragon Age is like candy. Its fantasy world is super
creative, it is uber violent (Good God, the blood!), and the production values I have
encountered are through the roof (We all float down here!!!). Additionally, my PC has no problems at all running the game.

In conclusion, it is not that I completely disagree with Jim's
critique. This is largely because the console versions would be a pain to
manage, and with no real surprise. In the end, he rated it a 7.5 and
recommended to the readers to buy the game (Good show Jim, good show). However I hope he recognizes the need to pick up a game on the console that allows
itself the most ease of use (Goes for all of yas!). Games like the RTS genre and this sort
of RPG will play better 100% of the time on a PC. Even a game making
powerhouse like Bioware can't change that broad opinion.


And there you have it. One gamer’s opinion now being thrown to the masses. What do you all think? Think I’m way off? All I know is that I’d rather debate video games than be at work right now? Who’s with me!!!   read

11:02 AM on 10.23.2009

Re: Best Video Game Music Ever

Hey Destructoid,

In response to copilotlindy's top ten video game music list, I wanted to throw my proverbial hat into the ring. Obviously filled with my own biased opinion, I hope that this top ten list can continue further conversation on a subject that we the video game community loves: great music in our video games.

For your consideration:

10. Balloon Fight - Balloon Trip


Simplicity is key in the first entry on the list. Balloon Fight is a great example of not only excellent co-op play, but also extraordinarily catchy 8 bit music. The "bass" part in the song is my personal favorite, adding that much more personality to the song.

9. Skies of Arcadia - Boss fight music


The feeling of turning the tide in a battle is sheer bliss in a video game. This is emphasized by the upbeat turn right at the 2:00 mark. Is it cheese? Sure! However, great choices such as dynamic music choices in the game draws the player that much further in. It is almost like the game is urging you to win. For the love of God, let's see a sequel to this great game, so we can have more experiences like this.

8. Castlevania 4 - Theme of Simon Belmont


Yes, Castlevania 4 has some of my favorite music from the SNES era. When your main character has theme music this bad ass, how can things possibly go wrong? This song really showcases the added instrumentation on the Super Nintendo. From the organ like passages to the freaking amazing percussion in the song, it grabs at all the right tools to make it one of my personal favorites.

7. Chrono Trigger - Corridors of Time


Video game music featuring a Sitar (Or at least a sample that sounds a ton like a Sitar)? Awesome.
The song provided an excellent backdrop as you explored the wonders (And horrors?!?) of 12,000 B.C. I always looked forward to getting to this point in the game just to hear this music over, and over, and over again. Again, props to the SNES's ability to process advanced music for the time.

6. Ikaruga - Stage 1 music


Maybe the key with me is excellent first level music. If you could get past all of the multicolored bullets in this game, you could find a soundtrack that rocked pretty hard. I almost feel like this one would go hand in hand with a cheesy cop action movie from the early 90s, and that only adds to its charm. I can solidly say "I'm not regret" when placing this choice at #6.

5. Valkyria Chronicles - Opening Theme


When showing off this game to a good friend of mine, he noticed the subtle irony that the song was extremely beautiful, and it was accompanying scene after scene of destruction. Beauty is certainly a theme in this game, from the art style, and certainly in the music throughout. While it does not happen all that much with games, this was one game that I would keep finding excuses just to watch the intro every time I turned it on. Sega nailed this one on the head. I honestly wish I could say that phrase more often.

4. Dragon Quest 8 - Strange World ~ Marching Through the Fields


There are certainly plenty of RPGs out there with plenty of over world music. There is something magical about this particular song, as it portrays the innocence of starting a brand new epic quest perfectly. You step out of the first town, and you are not hit by a massive fanfare, but by this gorgeously arranged piece. *Fun Fact* When buying my new car last year, this was the first song I listened to through the nice sound system. I am just that nerdy.

3. Mega Man 2 - Wood Man


While the game is filled with incredible themes, this one made the most lasting impact on me. While Wood Man himself is kind of frumpy, and his weapon isn't even that great, Capcom threw it all on the table with this awesome song. When just listening to a song makes you really want to play the game, it is a pretty good sign.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - Hyrule Castle Theme


As I can recall, this is some of the first music you are faced with in Link to the Past. From the first cymbal hit, you can instantly recognize adventure is afoot. Nothing like such an awesome anthem to make you want to take up sword and shield and rise to the challenge.

1. Super Mario World - Credits Theme


The list comes to an end, but it might as well come to an end on a high note. Listening to this song consistently puts a smile on my face. Just think of it, you just beat an incredible platformer, and then you get to sit back, relax and watch Mario go on vacation with all the little Yoshi spawn. Also, it is a great example of showing all of the enemies from the game. A grand cast of characters, if you will.

I hope you enjoyed the list! I know I really enjoyed taking a walk down memory lane compiling it. Thanks to copilotlindy for giving me such a great idea to blog about. Enough of what I think, what are your thoughts, Destructoid community? See you next game!

Honorable Mention Section

PaperBoy - In game music


This song will be stuck in my head for days! I love it!   read

12:55 PM on 09.09.2009

That is some twisted...

Gamers are a twisted lot. The hours we have spent gaining one more level, saving/taking over the city, slaying the next boss, and getting just one more head shot has warped our minds. Mind you, I am not saying this in a Jack Thompson, negative light. Simply that the gaming world has desensitized us to a level of violence that your average non-gamer would most likely find extraordinarily shocking.

Leading me to my point!

The expanding world of games gives us an almost unlimited amount of freedom to explore this dark side of the human psyche. With more and more games flooding the market, we the gamers get the ability to go, do and act however we want in games. As black and white as it sounds, you can be very very good, or very very bad (Or anywhere in between if you so desire).

Case in point:
(Mind you, this situation went down roughly a year before the remake of Inglorious Bastards came to theaters)
A good friend and I were playing Commandos 2 co-op, when a maniacal idea sprang into my mind. The game gives you an excellent level of freedom to the extent of knocking out and tying up live prisoners (These of course being Nazzies). I collected between 20 to 30 nazi soldiers of all ranks, and aligned them into their most recognizable symbol, the swastika. After all the bodies were carefully in place, I instructed my friend to bring the Sapper to the middle of the enemy's most solemn symbol, light up the flamethrower, and spin. What resulted (When viewed from the air) was a burning swastika of nazi bodies.

I think this picture sums up the sheer mortification of any Nazi soldiers so unfortunate to stumbled upon that very spot...

They would probably be all quiet from then on from the shock alone.

I know I cannot be alone in this way of thinking, which drove me to this post in the first place. So I pose a question to you, Destructoid community. What is the most twisted, shocking thing you have ever done in a game? It does not matter what generation, genre, or platform the game is on, but indeed what heinous deed took place in that particular game.

Not to be too preemptive here, but lets keep the judging to a minimum here guys, as (As fucked up as it is) I would prefer this generate conversation over argument.   read

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