Heroes of Dragon Age sees EA taking the deep backstory of the Dragon Age series that BioWare helped to create and allowing players to create armies of characters throughout the series’ history, taking part in famous battles throughout the mythology. It’s a free-to-play game currently in testing in Canada, and we’re featuring impressions and a video of it in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!
All the combat is automatic, with players having no real say in what happens: just sit back and watch as everyone takes turns fighting. Players set up their lineup of fighters and then hope that they are advantageous in battle. Although there are strategy elements: using an army of the same type of character will give everyone a boost, and upgrading a character by consuming other ones can help turn even a poor fighter into someone who might help win some battles.
Yes, consuming other characters. Getting new characters is done through a card system, and consuming unused characters (really just a card system without much of the card metaphor) can upgrade a character’s stats. It’s kind of disturbing when it’s characters consuming other characters.
There’s an asynchronous battle element, too. Players can take on other players, or at least their current army, to get rewards. Of course there’s the lengthy campaign to take on as well, which takes players through various challenges with the ability to repeat them to get additional rewards, including premium currency. There’s energy systems for both multiplayer challenges and the singleplayer campaign.
Interestingly, for those who haven’t had much experience with the franchise the game’s language and characters are virtually indistinguishable from a brand new intellectual property, so don’t think that there’s a need to be previously exposed to the franchise to enjoy this one. The type of automatic combat is seemingly meant for a more casual, laid-back experience: it’s something seen in other mobile MMORPG type games as well.
Heroes of Dragon Age does have a high learning curve early on, though – there’s a lengthy tutorial section, which I explore in the video below. If all goes well this should be available internationally very soon, but soft launches are an art, not a science!
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a huge game. Especially when starting out, you will get lost. Here’s some tips to help you out on your way early on.
Choose wisely, padawan.
Choosing a class and starting attributes without having ever gotten to play the game is rough, because it really takes getting in to the game and playing it a lot to realize just what is possible, and the path you might want to take with your characters.
If you’re the type that prefers beating people down and being the tank, then the Soldier class is for you. Scoundrels are best at most non-combat abilities like Persuasion and Security, meaning Jedi mind tricks and breaking in to doors. Scouts provide a balance between the two. However, there’s two things to consider when choosing a class early on: one, it’s possible to travel with a party of three, so even if one play style is preferred, it’s possible to have party members fill a different but useful role. Two, the main character is always gonna be there, and there’s certain skills like Persuasion that only they can really use. So, why not have them focus on that? Use the wookiee to beat stuff up.
Focus, you must.
Jack of all trades, master of none. That saying is a warning in KotOR. You’re going to get the best effects and stat bonuses by choosing to focus on particular paths, whether it be a certain set of combat skills, or going down the Dark or Light Side path. Have a plan and stick to it and you’ll get the best results. Again, if you’re worried about any deficiencies, remember that you have three party members and can control any individual character, so you can cover most any area of expertise at any time if your party is set up accordingly.
Blow it up like Alderaan.
Your first playthrough is going to be one giant mass of confusion. Taris, the first planet, is big and confusing and you will get lost often. Plus, you won’t quite know what everything in and out of combat is until you experience it in the game.
By the time you’re ready to leave Taris, you’ve gotten to experience the gist of the game’s elements, so this is time to make a decision: do you want to keep going with your selected main character? Don’t be afraid to start anew at this point. It will take significantly less time to get back to where you started, and odds are, you’ll be far more satisfied with the results. And if not, hey, there’s multiple save slots for a reason. Use them!
Exploit the game like the Death Star’s exhaust port!
Need a quick heal? If you can warp out the area on the map screen, you can get healed instantly and for free. And unlike on the Xbox, loading is so brief that you’ll save yourself thousands of credits on medpacks.
If you have a tough Persuasion roll, know that some characters can be re-rolled by going through the conversation again. This doesn’t always work, but consider it. Just quicksave before making any important decisions.
The structure of the game isn’t perfect – you’ll discover the gaps and how to take advantage of them as time goes on.
Of course, part of the fun of KotOR is the ability to dig in and find a lot of this stuff out yourself. Don’t just follow the guides. Experiment! The quicksave and multiple save slots are there for a reason. Explore! There’s a lot to find, and when you discover it yourself, it’s the most satisfying.
You know you’ve made it big today when you’re showing up in memes. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (aka KotOR) while not a modern game by any means, is still one of (if not the) most popular Star Wars games of all time.
It’s not surprising, then, that the internet has taken its own inability to refrain from putting big blocky letters on top of images and mashed that up with images and references to this most geeky of geek games. Here are several of the best from around the ‘net. Click on each image to go to the original source.
Let’s start with a meme from a popular series of beer commercials, the world’s most interesting man.
Yeah, it’s a bit obscure for us, too.
And, keeping within the classic meme concept, here’s a good one, referencing KotOR, the new Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, and, well, Xzibit.
Seriously, dawg, we did.
Of course, no meme bank would be complete without actual images from the game itself. Here’s one of the main characters, Bastila Shan, who apparently has a bit of a judgmental attitude.
Voiced by Jennifer Hale, no less.
Then there’s the angry droid companion, assassin HK-47, who refers to all non-droids as, well, you get it.
I can haz Jedi-burger?
Darth Malak has Bastila up against the torture table, and leans in close, menacing. Suddenly…
A new fragrance from the maker of “JediPassion,” Darth Malak.
Ah, wasn’t the weekend nice? Unfortunately, Monday is here. At least we get some sales as a consolation prize, right? As usual, here are the daily goods from EA Games’ 25 Days Til Xmas sale as well as the Appvent Calender.
First up is Mass Effect Galaxy from EA, which is on sale for $0.99, down from $4.99. That’s one heck of a price drop, especially from EA. The basic premise, as outlined in our review, is as follows:
The fate of the human race is at stake; alien terrorists are plotting to wipe humanity from the face of the galaxy with a deadly biological agent. You assume the role of Jacob Taylor; a biotic-powered super soldier who must intervene in order to preserve mankind’s right to exist.
Bioware intended the iPhone game to bridge the gap between Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2, and though it’s by no means a necessary buy if you want to understand the second game’s story, it does add some background information. It’s a third-person shooter complete with dialogue and cutscenes. We gave it a 3.5 / 5 back in June. Be sure to read the full review for more a more detailed look at the game.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-06-22 :: Category: Games
Meanwhile, today’s Appvent Calender release brings us Polyhedra, a pastel-colored take on the “fill-em-up” game. (Fans of “Just Fillin,” an early App Store success, will find extremely familiar gameplay here.) You start each level with a colorful screen, empty except for a few bouncing particles. Tap a spot, and a bubble/polygon grows around your finger; release to complete the polygon. If your polygon hits a particle before it’s complete, it pops. You’re given a limited number of polygons per level, and you have to fill at least two-thirds of the screen to progress. As you beat more levels, other “zones” are unlocked with different polygon shapes. There’s also a “toy box” mode for just playing around. If you’re looking for a good casual game, this is one to grab; while it might not be an original game concept, at least the execution is solid.
Last week, a member of a focus testing group broke his NDA and provided Joystiq with information and images of a previously unknown title called Mass Effect: Jacob’s Story for the iPhone and iPod Touch. What was made available at that time was that this game would follow right behind the highly anticipated Mass Effect 2 story-wise. You’ll be taking the roll of Jacob Taylor, “a biotic-powered super-soldier who stumbles across a plot to terrorize civilization’s greatest beacon of hope.” The final bit of information we were left with was that the game would last about 2 hours and cost $2.99. Continue reading Mass Effect: Jacob’s Story Officially Confirmed »
Five and a half years after launch and with well over 60 billion downloads, the US App Store has reached the 1 million apps available for download. While Apple announced 1 million available apps at their last press event, that number was including apps available in all countries in the App Store. At that time […]