Mass Effect 3

I been playing the entire Mass Effect series of games since they debuted years ago back in 2007. Like many players I fell in love with the game style and the near perfect story line of these games. So it was only natural that I went out and picked up a copy of the latest installment of this game series Mass Effect 3. In all honesty, I preorder this game a couple of weeks prior to its release date, as you can tell I am a big fan of this game series.

The fallowing Images on this page will be in no particular order. These images are from the first couple of level of Mass Effect 3.

StoryLine

We return to the role of Shepard in Mass Effect 3. But this time, instead of trying to prove that there is going to be an all out invasion of Reapers to exterminate all advanced civilizations, the Reapers have attacked not only Earth, but other worlds in the Mass Effect Universe.

Like previous Mass effect games, Mass effect 3’s story line is absolutely beautiful played out. They were surprises to our choices we made, and tough choices we had to make in order to achieve our objective. One the most disappointing parts of this game was some of the lack of dialog we had to choose from. I been using the same character from the first Mass Effect to the second Mass Effect to the final installment of Mass Effect, and I did not have all of the chat dialog opened up. There were other options to the chat dialog, but a majority of the time it was greyed out. This is not a major thing, but if there are other options available they should be fully accessible, and not just greyed out.

While the main story line had its own surprises, the other alternative story lines (back story) ended up being repetitive which did not truly add anything new to the Mass Effect story line that we hadn’t already learned from the previous two Mass Effect games. And I ended up doing some of these side story lines out of habit, not out of curiosity.

GamePlay

Game play of Mass Effect in its own right felt repetitive, nothing was truly brought to Mass effect 3 that really stood out. It had the same feel and same actions of the previous Mass effect games. I played Mass Effect 3 on a normal setting and I pretty much flew right through this game title in about 27 hours, I spent a good portion exploring the planets, and doing a few side story line quests (I also occasionally went AFK while leaving the game still playing on the computer). It seems that Bio Ware made everything so simple a child can burn through this game with incredible ease.

As for the combat sequencing, there was nothing truly new that we already gotten used to in the previous Mass Effect games. The bad guys (Reaper forces) were a bit more fiercer, and did present a challenge now and then. But, all in all it was a bit too easy, and predictable in my honest opinion.

Online Play

I haven’t tried online play yet on this game title, but I am pretty sure it fallow the same suit as the single player game style of play.

Graphics and Performance

 

I will have to say that this is where Mass Effect 3 fully excels in. Not only did this game look great, it fully supported my extended resolution of 5760 x 1080 (AMD’s Eyefinity, Nvidia’s 3D Vision Surround (Nvidia truly needs to change the name of their multi-monitor gaming set up)) right out of the box. As you can tell from the Screen Shots on this review.

Bio Ware went all out on the overall presentation of Mass Effect 3, I did not notice any real glitches or major issues while playing Mass effect 3. Granted, I did not spend the entire time looking for any anomalies, or glitches I just played the game. other then the occasional getting stuck at a wall, or corner that is typically associated with new games, my game play was extremely smooth.

Ending Thoughts

Other then needing a sense of closure with Mass Effect 3, there was nothing really earth shattering, or attention grabbing with this particular game title. While most people gonna rag on about the ending of this game title, I am not going to go there in this review. But, instead base my results on other aspects of this game title that I listed above.

There is more to gaming then great graphics smooth performance, and excellent story line. There are other aspects of gaming that actually determine game play; fore instance, combat sequences, back story, dialog, etc. etc. that a lot of people don’t really take into consideration. These other areas is where Mass Effect 3 completely falls in on its own face, as it doesn’t have anything truly new that we as gamers don’t already know, or haven’t already done on previous games of this series. Which is to me kind of sad, and pathetic.

I am going to implement a new style of grading each game/item I review here at the DGC. That is breaking down each review down into 4/5 basic sub categories and give you a score based on each one of them; then, base the final score on average on basic category. There is room for error on this, so please allow for this.

Storyline : 9 out of Ten

Gameplay : 5 out of Ten

Combat: 4 out of Ten

Graphics : 8 out of Ten

Performance : 8 out of Ten

Overall scoring of  6.5 out of Ten and the:

Copper Dragon Award

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Call Of Duty MW3 (Modern Warfare 3)

When I think of this particular game, I do not even know where to start. Personally this game fallows in line with, “You played one, you played them all” category. The only real need for playing this game is to get a sense of closure from the other 2 Modern Warfare games story line. But, even then it is seriously doubtful if this game is even worth the 60 USD price tag. I wont be including any screen shots of this game, I will list the reasons why below.

Storyline

I am only going to do a quick introduction of the storyline, no real point into getting involved with the story line as the single player campaign was really short.

The only thing that I did like from the Modern Warfare series of games is the storyline itself. MW3 starts off where MW2 left off, with the Russian and United States battling each other. The Russian’s fighting the United States for retribution for the Slaughter of countless innocents at the airport, leaving the U.S. defending itself from the Russian invasion. Which we all know from MW2 who the two individuals who actually caused this War. In MW3 the United States successfully repelled the Russian invasion on American soil. Then we are reunited with the original heroes of MW1/MW2 who are now on the most wanted list from several different countries, trying to uncover or capture the true person who started this War between Russia and the United States.

Game Play

What can I say, there is really nothing different in game play, that we already did with other COD series of games. You shoot baddies, they die you move on to the next one. Pretty much simple as that.I should mention that it only took me roughly 5.5 Hours to complete this game on normal setting.

Online Play

Since the single player campaign mode for this game was pretty much the exact same as other COD types of games, I pretty much had a feeling the online play was gonna be exactly the same as previous COD series of games. All about perks, and no real skilled players. This type of online gaming is for sissy’s who cannot play online games because they lack SKILL, or they do not really want to put any true effort into online gaming.

My hunches about the online gaming was pretty much dead nuts on, as I talked to a few people who played this game online telling me it is exactly the same as COD Black Ops. Oh gee whiz, that sounds like fun……(insert sarcasm)

Graphics and Performance

The graphics of this game were nothing new that we already seen with previous COD series of games. COD MW3 offered nothing new to us PC players, you console users do not have the capability of spanned gaming, Direct x11, so you would not see anything new. Like previous COD series of games MW3 did not span across my Eyefinity set up of 3 monitors (for a introduction of Multi monitor gaming see this link HERE). This also added a bit more of the sour taste I had with this game title.

Performance wise this game did run extremely smooth, but then again it would run smooth with out dated engine types, and not adding any new features graphically wise.

Ending Thoughts

The only thing I liked about this game was the storyline. What kills this game is everything else, graphics, short single player mode, repetition of AI, also that “You played one You played them all” feeling I had with COD MW3.  I cannot see why people even remotely like this game, the only thing I can see is that it is easy made for a 3yr old to be able to come in pick up a weapon and start shooting. This game offers nothing new online/single player that even remotely that will challenge a SKILL SEASONED Player.

I give MW3 an overall rating of

1 out of 10 and no award

Well it is better then a 0, as I gave Brink.

Deus EX Human Revolution


The original Dues EX game back in 2000 raised the level on how we gamers interacted with our games (this was way before Mass Effect came out). Unlike most games back when Deus EX first came out, these games only had one outcome and no matter what we gamers did the outcome/ending was always the same. Deus EX allowed us gamers to choose the outcome/ending of this game, which gave us gamers somewhat more freedom when playing the game on what we wanted. Then A few years later Deus EX Invisible War came out, which again the story line fallowed or mirrored what made the original game Deus EX so popular, that being the game allowed us gamers to choose on how we wanted it to end. Now here it is in 2011, we have the next installment of the Deus EX series, Deus EX Human Revolution. Deus EX Human Revolution does not happen after Deus EX, Deus EX Invisible War, instead this game is placed some 25 years in the past before the game Dues EX. So if any of you gamers are familiar with the Deus EX Series should have a good understanding on the game play. Deus EX Human Revolution gives us gamers more of a back story of the Deus EX series, and how things came about.

All of these images are in the full resolution of 5760 x 1080, and they are not in any particular order either.


Story Line

The story line of Deus EX HR, has a interesting twist to it. The main plot (or actual reasoning) is actually buried under sub plots, and sub sub plots. We are never really told what the full purpose of Deus EX HR until the end of the game, like the previous Deus EX games we have to make 1 of 3 choices, (in HR we are giving a 4th choice) in order for us to complete the game.

We all start off as a normal everyday person, Adam Jensen. Who happens to be an ex-cop (Swat) who found himself working as Chief Of Security for one of the major corporations that happens to make, and sell human augments, Sarif Industries. As an normal everyday normal person working for a large corporation that sells and manufacturers augments, Adam Jensen’s view point about augments is neither good or bad in the beginning portion of the game. But that view point quickly changes as we find Adam Jensen facing a life and death situation, the only way to keep Adam alive was by using augmentations. Which of coarse, Adam did not have a choice in this matter. And the mission of Adam Jensen was to find out who attack Sarif Industries, and bring these culprits to justice. And this is pretty much how the main story gets told during our game play, but in reality the main plot is far more deeper then just finding out who did what. And, the only way of gaining insight into the main plot, is to talk to other NPC’s, read E-Books, and to do all of the missions in this game (Main missions as well as the side quests). But, even then the main reasoning of this game is somewhat blurred, until the absolute end of HR. If you want to know how the game ends, you will just have to purchase and play the game, because my lips are sealed.


General GamePlay

The story line was fairly easy to understand, and easy to know what needs to be done on each mission. Eidos, gives several ways to keep track of our missions by giving a point on a hud or access to a map, also access to the main objectives screen. The main story line missions are in gold, while the side quests (or side missions) are in a green color. The only way to get a good feel for Deus EX HR, is to do all missions and talk to everyone. The side missions do more then give you a bit more insight on the story of HR, you are giving opportunities on getting much needed Praxis Points. The one area that makes Deus EX HR difficult is the choice of augmentations, granted we are giving a few of them already opened up and jeu requires upgrades, there are some augmentations that require to be activated. And, if you choose to upgrade/activate one type of augmentation it may make your gameplay easier or harder. Even if lets say you upgraded/activated a wrong augmentation for that specific mission you are still giving choices on how to complete that mission. Also remember in HR you have to think outside of the box, and the direct approach is not always the best choice. There are no puzzles to figure out, or funky maneuvers you have to do, you just have to think out side of the box.

Combat

For a game based around giving the player choices, Deus EX HR play style is based more around stealth then running and gunning. Because, in some situations, I found my self in more trouble then I knew what to handle. Basically my ass over loaded my capacity of handling the situation; which, caused me several times to restart that level or go back to prior save points. You are not giving enough ammo to actually go right in there and start blasting away, but you are giving chances on carrying multiple weapons, determined by if you can carry them as well as the ammo with you.  Also you can pick up the enimies weapons to continue your rampage if needed, but as I stated earlier Deus EX HR is based around stealth. You will find yourself in a lot of trouble if you go waltzing right in there and start blasting away. The Ai was pretty competitive, and reacted fairly quickly to any giving moment. But, again at the same time the Ai was predicable on their movements. If you timed everything right you can go unnoticed quite easily. If you happen to do the wrong thing, you will be in the middle of a massive firefight. Boss fights in Deus EX HR was not by no means easy, in fact I found the Level Boss fights in the game harder to kill then the final boss. During these boss fights you will be using everything in your arsenal to kill your opponent, and there is no thinking outside of the box, it is all about guns, more guns, lots of ammo, plus running.

Graphics and Performance

Graphically speaking Deus EX HR is fairly clean looking, I just feel that since this game uses DX 11 it could be a bit better (This is a personal preference, so your thoughts may vary from my own). I am pleased to say that this game fully supports muti-monitor configurations, Nvidia’s 3D Vision Surround, and AMD’s Eyefinity. So there is no need for us having to find hacks or cracks to get this game to span across all of our monitors. The only problem I noticed is that the cut scenes are set at a fixed ratio (which is typical of all games)

The performance side of things is a bit different story. There were times while I played Deus EX HR, the game played smooth as silk, no issues what so ever. But there were times when this game would start stumbling all over itself, even though the frame rates were in the 40’s, my frame rates were fluctuating anywhere between 40 to 120 FPS, and these slow downs were not happening during heavy graphical usage but in rather odd times during my game play. Which made this game feel like a port, and not an actual PC game. And I freaking hate ported games, as the only person who wins is the manufacturer, leaving us gamers with games that skip and stutter constantly. As porting games is just pure unadulterated laziness of the game manufacturer. I do not consider my machine exactly small, as it totes a Intel Core i7 970 running at 4.2 GHz, with 2 x 6970’s in crossfire running at 950/1450 MHz, but when I looked at MSI Afterburner to see the GPU usage, Deus EX HR was only using 60-80% of my video cards, WTF? Normally a game should max out both of my GPU’s, or at least one of them (the primary GPU). But, not with Deus EX HR it would only use about 60-80% of both video cards. SO having this performance issue definitely does not help the scoring of this gamer title.



The Wrap Up

Deus EX Human Revolution does have a solid story line, and decent gameplay. This game also is fairly long, meaning that I could not complete it withing a few hours that it took me roughly 20-30 hours to fully complete it as I was talking and doing all missions possible. Another area I feel that Deus EX Human Revolution has that few games do, is re-playability, we can choose how to act during one gaming session, then on another gaming session choose a completely different way to act. The three area I feel that Eidos could have done better on were, Graphics, Combat, and the Performance of this game title. I feel the graphics could have been a lot better and more clean looking then what is currently being used on this game title, as I have seen what Direct X 11 is fully capable of. Combat could be improved upon by allowing us the gamer flexibility in if we so choose to go all out guns blazing, we are forced to play the “sneaky pete”. Granted at times I did like this type of game play, but there were times that the “sneaky pete” approach was not the best, that a all guns blazing would be the best choice on those types of missions. Performance wise, most definitely Deus EX Human Revolution can be improved upon, No need to go into great detail as I said enough in the Graphics and Performance section of this review.

I am going to tweak the rating system a bit, I will still have the final rating, but I am going to add a score based on each sub category I have listed on this review. These scores may, or may not coincide with the final rating, I will do what I feel is fair and impartial to keep things as close as possible.

StoryLine : 9.5

General Gameplay : 9

Combat : 8

Graphics : 7.5

Performance 7

I give Deus EX Human Revolution a 7 out of 10 and the:

Silver Dragon Award

Some extra images of Deus EX Human Revolution





Duke Nukem

I remember back almost 12 years ago, when I was first introduced to Duke Nukem. Duke became quickly known as a Manly mans game, because of quick one liners, and seeing half naked females used through out this game title. Here it is 12 years later we get reintroduced with Duke. And just like the first Duke Nukem game, the developers did not change a thing to what made Duke Nukem so popular among us Gamer types.

These images on this page are in my Native resolution of 5760 x 1080. So if you want to view these images, be prepared. For those who are looking for some Extreme Wide Screen wallpapers, check out this link HERE.

StoryLine

The storyline of Duke Nukem Forever is a pretty simple one. Aliens come back to invade Earth, and enslave all of human kind. And the only person going to keep this from happening is, Drum roll…….. Duke Nukem. At first I was kind of stunned by the simplest form of a story line. The more I think about it, it is actually kinda nice to just have a simple story line that does not get all confusing as we play the game.

General Game Play

The game play on Duke Nukem Forever is fairly simple. None of this having to flip switches, timed runs, or having to figure out overly complicated in-game puzzles. Just grab a weapon and start preying and spraying. Since Duke Nukems storyline is a pretty simple one to follow, the game play pretty much follows suit. There is a lot of interaction with Duke Nukem and the other characters in this game title. Being this is more geared towards men, there is a awful lot of swearing going on. Duke Nukem and the other characters also have this Macho Man behavior just like in life when it comes to the men talking, the shit gets really DEEP. So if you are sensitive to swearing, or are allergic to the typical Macho Man attitude then Duke Nukem is not the game you should be playing.

Graphics And Performance

This is the area I was rather disappointed in with Duke Nukem, after “12 Fucking Years” I expected to see mind blowing graphics. The graphics I consider to be about like COD series of games, decent but not all that great. Now I will have to say that this game title utilizing the Unreal 3 engine actually supports both AMDs Eyefinity, as well as Nvidia’s 3D Vision Surround right out of the box. So no need to tweak, hack, or curse to get Duke Nukem Forever to span across our unique large screens. Performance wise Duke Nukem plays fairly smooth, I have had no real performance issues even what I spanned this game across my rather large screen size of 5760 x 1080.

Combat

I feel that the developers could have put more thought in to the combat; more specifically, the opposing AI. I found the AI to be repetitive, and somewhat predicable. Now Duke Nukem does at times overwhelm you with large mobs of bad guys. So the thoguht of going right in and start shooting away is not going to work. At the same time though, if you pace yourself through out the combat sequences you can go through out this game with out ever dieing The boss fights in Duke Nukem were not overly hard. All that is needed to kill a boss is to run around, time your shots, and when you bring it down walk up to it then perform a double tap. If you fail to do so, the boss will get right back up and continue the fight.

Wrap Up

All in all Duke Nukem is a decent game title, The areas I feel that the developers could have spent more time on is the graphics, and on the AI. These two areas actually kill this game title, and it is a shame. I like the simple game play, and simple story line Duke Nukem proves that we do not need to have an overly complicated story line that requires way to much thinking for us gamers to play it. Now I do not recommend this game title to any one who is below the age of 16/17 and any one who is easily offended by the use of swearing, or graphic nature of some of the scenes used in this game title. Duke Nukem is only meant for MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY. Again if you are easily offended PLAY SOMETHING ELSE.

Time to hand a rating, I feel that Duke Nukem earns a well respected:

6 out of Ten and the:

Copper Dragon Award

Brink

With a game being released every month this year, I could not have waited to see what else was coming around the corner to us gamers to play. I particularly been paying close attention to Brink, I been watching the game trailers, and waiting impatiently for this game to finally hit the shelves, so I can throw it on my computer and start playing it.

Playing games like Portal 2, Dragons Age 2, Crysis 2, Medal of Honor, and finally Dead Space 2 I had some rather high hopes for Brink. No sooner than I started this game, I wanted it off of my computer. Brink proved to be a complete and total nightmare. I would rather endure pain and suffering on the XBox360 and play Halo 3 on a controller; then, actually sit down and play one more minute of Brink. I am not going to lie to any of you, I am not a console player never have been, and never will be a console player. Not to mention I think the entire Halo series is not much better than Call of Duty Black Ops.

Storyline

I could not sit down and play Brink long enough to find out the story line, so I cannot tell you what it is all about. I got bored with this game fairly quickly because of major issues I was having with this game kept me from actually being able to enjoy this game title.

Graphics & Performance

When I watched the game trailer of Brink, I was absolutely flabbergasted of the graphics that Bethesda Softworks used for this game title. Like may other gamers, I expected to see stunning realism of people, buildings, and weaponry. But what did I see? Something much, much worse than what was portrayed in the game trailer. I call it something between Halo 2 and Call of Duty, and most of us all know the Halo 2 for the PC looked like absolute shit. Not having anything worth looking at with the graphic side of things, the performance was not much better. Brink is a prime example of a ported game from XBox 360 (I do not mean it in a nice way either) to a PC; it skips, studders, stumbles, and stops during game play. And this is playing the game using a low resolution of 1920 x 1080, I mean come on. Brink does not accept or utilize multi-monitor gaming period, the only maximum resolution I had available was 1920 x 1080. I even tried adjusting the visual details of this game to the lowest setting and use a crappy resolution of 1600 x 900, and Brink still refused to play smoothly. Now before and of you console users laugh, keep this in mind. My computer is far from tiny, it totes the mighty Core i7 970 Intel Hex core CPU @ 4.3 GHz, paired up with 2 6970’s in crossfire, with 3 24″ 1920 x 1080 monitors giving me a combined resolution of 5760 x 1080. So my computer is more than capable of playing this game even on its off day. Reconfirming that Brink is definitely a ported game. Oh I should mention that Crossfire does not even work on Brink, I even tried turning off Crossfire to see if “Maybe it was because of my Crossfired video cards causing my performance issues”. Nope, this game still played like complete and total SHIT!!!!

The Wrap Up

Being plagued with performance issues, and bad graphics I have nothing nice to even say about this game title. As your mother always told us as we were kids, if you ain’t got nothing nice to say; then, don’t say anything at all. Well I have one thing to say about Brink, and nothing comes to mind.

I give Brink, the lowest score I have ever gave on a review a:

1 out of 10 and the

Nothing Award

Portal 2

A few years ago, we gamers were introduced an interesting concept of solving puzzles in our games. Normally when developers put in puzzles for us to solve in the game we are playing (Assassin Creed, and Tomb Raider are a couple of many games out there) they require the gamer to operate some switch, then hurry up and run through a door, or flip another switch so we can proceed on. Portal changed our perception on how to solve puzzles, instead of a 2D problem solving, we now have to think in 3 dimensions, floors, walls, and ceiling. Another interesting weapon that Portal introduced us, that is not really a weapon at all, it is hand held device the game is named after a Portal Gun. This gun gives us gamers the ability to make portals for us to solve some rather complex, puzzles, and manipulate objects that will be needed for us to solve the in games puzzles (Portal calls these Test Chambers). Not to forget about the little portable turrets that we have to take out in order for us to complete that Test Chamber that are thrown in to make things really interesting.

Portal 2 builds on the original game Portal 3 Dimension problem solving with the Portal Gun, but adds/builds on the back story into 1 specific character who was our “Arch Revival” of Portal. This character that Portal 2 builds on, is none other then GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System). If you are a veteran Portal player then you should already know that GLaDOS was not exactly nice, and never gave us our Cake…. Yes, we did destroy her in the first Portal game, but in our return to the Aperture Science compound we managed somehow to revive her, and she is not exactly happy that we destroyed her.

All these images are based off of AMDs Multi-Monitor gaming configuration Eyefinity at a full resolution of 5760×1080 (for more information about the technical details of Multi-Monitor gaming configuration please visit this post HERE.

Storyline


Normally when we get told the story of the games that we play, the story normally will tell the story of the character we are playing as. Portal 2 does things a bit different, this time the story is not about us, and goes into the backstory of GLaDOS and how this AI came about. We also get a chance to peer into the past history of the Aperture Science compound as it was before it became as we know it with GLaDOS running the compound. Portal 2 starts off several years after the ending of the first Portal game, but we start off in a “Housing” unit and we are woken up to do some quick exercising (As the announcer stated, every 50 days it is Federal Mandate that each subject goes through a mandatory exercise) and we are quickly put back to sleep. Then we are woken back up by a knock on the door, and we are introduced to a new character Wheatley, who looks similar to Halos “Guilty spark”. Wheatley is a robot that does not seem to be firing on all eight cylinders, as he try’s to help us out in the world of Portal 2. Now as he attempts to help us escape Aperture Science’s compound we inadvertently reawaken GlaDOS, our arch rival from the previous Portal game. Just before we are reunited to GLaDOS once more, Wheatley breaks you out of the housing unit, and places us gamers right back into the Aperture Sciences test chambers once again. Which ends up separating us from Wheatley, after his failed attempt of a rescue. As we complete a few test chambers, we are finally reunited with Wheatley, and he gets us back on track with our escape from Aperture Science compound. Wheatley states that the way out of Aperture Science compound, is that we have to go through “Her” chamber. We both enter a cylindrical room that has a bunch of switches on the wall looking for an escape switch, he inadvertently elevates us to “Her” chamber and manages to flip on all of the switches. Which of coarse revives GLaDOS from her death.

Gameplay

Portal 2 uses the same in game physics that the first Portal game gave us, we have to use a Portal Gun to manipulate our way through the chambers in our small and futile attempt of escaping from Aperture Science. For the most part most of these test chambers were not overly hard (at least the beginning portion of the game itself), they were easy for us to figure out what was needed to be done per test chamber. We are introduced to a couple of new attributes in Portal 2 that we did not have in the first Portal game. I won’t get into great details of these newer attributes, you will have to play both games to figure that one out for yourself. I mentioned earlier that we are able to peer into Aperture Sciences past, well during the game play we are forced to go way underground into what was Aperture Science long ago. This just builds on the back story of GLaDOS, and how she came about. During this point, we not only learn a bit more about Aperture Science as well as GLaDOS history, we are once again introduced to the much earlier forms of sciences that Aperture Science was developing. This is when our game play starts to take an unusual twist. We no longer need to worry about lasers, and turrets, we now have to use substances that give us unique capabilities that will help us solve some rather perplexing test chambers. We still have the Portal Gun, just we have to manipulate substances to our advantage instead of lasers, turrets, and walkways. This is when I actually had to start thinking on how to use these substances to help me get out of the underground, so I can escape Aperture Science for good.

Graphics and Performance


Valve Software went all out on the presentation of Portal 2, it looks absolutely beautiful. I did not notice any serious graphical anomalies; fore instance, objects getting stuck in the walls, me getting trapped in the walls or flooring, or any other strange graphical anomalies that happens when we play a game that has first been released. There was a rather small and annoying problem I kept having that deals with Graphics, was when I decided to span the game across all three of my monitors, which I do on every one of my games, once spanned the game would lose the center retical/crosshair. The crosshair would just disappear from my screen completely gone, poof, not there, this missing crosshair did not bother me too too much, but it did get annoying for those times when I needed to be perfectly centered to a wall in order for me to complete that test. I would end up being slightly to the left or right of a small wall and when I make a portal it would either miss it completely or it would make the portal but I was not centered to the portal and I ended up missing the portal altogether. Not having a crosshair did make things rather interesting for my gameplay.

Performance wise Portal 2 ran fairly smooth, There were times when the game would cause occasional studdering when I would make a portal, pass through a portal, or when I throw objects through the portals. It was not everytime, and only happened occasional, it still caused me to shake my head at those times because I was in an area that had minimal graphics (such as a room) and it did not happen in the same place twice (basically it was completely random, which was completely odd to me).

Combat

Portal 2 does not use combat in a sense we are used to in FPS games. So there is no real need to even mention combat sequences because there were no real “Combat” taking place.

The Wrap Up

Overall, Portal 2 is another prime example of a game to just play the single player campaign mode. I did not try out the “Co-Op” game mode myself, because no matter who you have in your team (either family, friend, foe, or an random asshole) no one can ever really pull together when they need to to complete a single task. So I avoid Co-Op games (well because true fully speaking, I am that random Asshole, LOL) at all costs. I personally likes on how Valve Software told the back story, Valve Software did not focus on the “main Character (you)” it focused a bit more on telling the backstory of Aperture Science and how GLaDOS became how she came about. Valve Software also informed us gamers the reasoning behind the “test chambers” and the reasoning behind why GLaDOS was so intent on continuing her “Science Testing” even though Aperture Science did not exist anymore. (Now Aperture Science is not just a random game, this game actually ties it self into a much greater picture that allows us more insight into the entire Half Life series of games) So to gain a much greater picture of this game, you have to also play the Half Life series of games as well. This franchise is much larger than “Halo” ever was, or ever will be, and been in the making since the later part of the 1990’s (1998 was when the first Half Life game was introduced).

Other then having the magically disappearing crosshair once I started playing in AMD’s Eyefinity, I have had no real problem playing Portal 2 and I give Portal 2 a well earned and very respected:

9 out of Ten and the:

Golden Dragon Award

Dragon Age 2

I am not much of an RPG (Role Play Game) gamer type, I normally found these types of games to be boring and repetitive; with the exception of a few RPG’s out on the market today. Never sitting down and actually wanting to play the first Dragon Age game I was somewhat hesitant on purchasing the second game of this series Dragon Age 2. Granted at the time of Dragon Age release it had great graphics and a good storyline, I just got turned off by the constant interruption of the cut in scenes that BioWare put into the first Dragon Age during the beginning portion of this game. So when Dragon Age 2 came out I did not just go out and purchase it, I put it on a list of games that if I need to play a game I will get it then. About a week ago I decided to just bite the bullet and pick me up a copy of Dragon Age 2 at my local Wal Mart store. I figured if I did not like it, it would end up just sitting on my shelf collecting dust for eternity. I also decided that if Dragon Age 2 had the same cut scene interruptions of Dragon Age I could always just skip through them (I ended up doing this through my first play through, more about this later). I will have to be the first to admit that my first perceptions of Dragon Age 2 were completely off. That after finally physically sitting my ass down and actually get involved with Dragon Age 2, I found myself getting addicted to this game, to the graphics, the characters, and the in depth story line that Bio Ware uses for this great game title.

These images you see on this page are in no particular order. These images also are at a combined AMD Eyefinity 5760 x 1080 resolution, so if you are having difficulty on viewing the images properly please right click each one and then open the image in a new tab or window of your browser.

Storyline

As I mentioned earlier, my first play through I ended up just skipping (hitting the ESC key) the first portion of the cut scenes of Dragon Age 2. Also during the first portion of this game, I just ran through it, pretty much skipping most of the side quests, not paying any attention to the story line, and just pressing buttons. As I played through Dragon Age 2 I kept finding myself as I kept playing that I was starting to actually get more and more involved into the story line, watching the cut scenes, paying closer attention to comrades who I selected to be on my team. Because of my just running and gunning in the first portion of this great game I ended up actually missing a huge portion of the storyline. As I proceeded further into the game I found my character was literally getting its ass handed to me on a silver platter (sorta speaking). So I decided to delete all of my old save game files, and start all over and actually pay attention to the storyline and get more involved with the other characters that BioWare used in Dragon Age 2. Now in a twisted form of sense, I was kinda glad that I did do a quick rough play through with Dragon Age 2, because I found something out about this game title that i would not have known if I just did a single play through.

I am not going to go into great details of the storyline of Dragon Age 2, if you want to know the storyline then go out and buy the game. I will be referring to both times I played Dragon Age2, so please read carefully.

The way BioWare tells the story of Dragon Age 2 is rather unique and quite interesting. It starts off with one of your team members who is a dwarf by the name of Varric talking to another individual and she referenced by the name of Seeker. Now what makes this story that Varric is telling the Seeker unique is that he maybe telling the story of you the main character (who you play the role of Hawke), you as the main character as you play Dragon Age 2 determines the way Varric tells his story. Varric story telling is pretty much adaptable to the way you play Dragon Age 2, this is where playing this game twice showed me this adaptation of the game. As I mentioned i pretty much just ran through Dragon Age 2 fairly quickly the first time around, even though I did this quick run through I still paid particularly close attention to some of the parts of the game as I progressed further into the storyline. One of the choices I made and as Varric told this portion of the story (first time) I brought along my sister on one of the most important quests of Dragon Age 2 that you will perform, this quest is known as the “Expedition” (last part of Act 1). After Choosing my sister to come along and just before our small band of treasure hunters left, Dragon Age 2 breaks into a Cut Scene with Varric telling the Seeker the story of the Expedition and he kept referring my sister in a “past tense” as if she died on this quest. As I continued playing Dragon Age 2 on this most important “Quest” about the last part of this quest my sister ended up dieing on me. Now back to my current new game I started with Dragon Age 2, On this most important “Quest” I had to perform, I decided to not to take my sister with me because I did not want her to die on me. I also wanted to see if Dragon Age 2 would adapt to my new choice or would it force that I had no choice but to take my sister along (predetermine course of action that no matter what we did we had to take that action). To my Surprise, not only did Dragon Age 2 allowed my new choice of not taking my sister with me, Varric’s story changed as well. Varric no longer referenced to my sister as being “dead”, in fact he did not even mention her before we took off on the Expedition.

One more point that Varric story telling that stood out that this games story line was adaptable to my game play, was during the ending portion of Act II when you need to fight the Qunari (or also known as the Qun) to retake the city of Kirkwall after the Qunari decided to do an all out assault. Again i did a quick run through of Dragon Age 2 on my first play through, no matter what I did in the game of Dragon Age 2 I still ended up fighting the entire clan of the Qunari who were in control of Kirkwall. It did not matter what I said or did I still ended up fighting. Now on my second turn playing through Dragon Age 2, I decided not only will I take my time and listen to the cut scenes, I also wanted to know more about the back story of Dragon Age 2 as well, so I did every quest that was available to me. Now on the second play through I ended up finding a rather interesting twist to Dragon Age 2 that I did not know about, or was completely clueless too. I found out that Dragon Age 2 gives us players two extra new players that are “not part of the norm” but play key roles on the main plot of Dragon Age 2. one of these “Key” characters (I need to remind you these two extras, we have to basically stumble upon them and are not a give me) is the voluptuous Pirate/Gypsy Isabella, and a Knight by the name of Sebastian. I am going to stick with Isabella key part of the story because she really determines the out come of a key specific point in Dragon Age 2. As I mentioned earlier that at the end of Act II I had to fight the entire Qunari clan during my first play through of Dragon Age 2. Where Isabella comes into play on my second time playing through is that she stole something from the Qunari a long time ago, she mentions that she did something a long time ago and that she stole something but never clues you in on what exactly it was, and if you had her in your party when you went to go see the head Qunari leader, she always bailed out on you. Just before you go out and essentially “start a war” with the Qunari, you are supposed go to your house to talk to Isabella and Aveline. After going to your house, you will see both Isabella and Aveline arguing with one another, after you of coarse settle things down you are told by Isabella that she is in “grave danger” and she requires your hep and that she can help you with the current “war” you are about to start with the Qunari. Aveline steps in and tells you that you should just go to the leader of the Qunari and go kick ass and take names (what happened the first time I played through the game, reminder though I did not have Isabella with me at the time either on the first play through). You are giving options to choose who you will help or what you will do first, I decided to help Isabella first (hey I could not help myself, either goto war, or look/stare at Isabella some more? Hmm this is a really hard choice to make). Low and behold now Isabella tells us that why the Qunari stuck around in Kirkwall for so long, that she stole a book from them. And that by helping her, you can possibly advert a war between you and the Qunari, a rather interesting twist.

I will end things here for you, I do not want to spoil all the fun if I tell you what happens.

Performance and Graphics

Performance wise with Dragon Age 2 was perfect, even while spanning this game to my extremely large resolution of 5760 x 1080 this game played smooth as butter. Whether I used  my Crossfire’d 6970’s or while I played in a single video card mode. I should note that while I used a single video card while playing Dragon Age 2 at the increased resolution there were times of noticeable slowdowns it was sporadic and occasional, especially when there was a lot of things going on like magic bursting through the air, smoke, and when there was a lot of enemies in a small area of the battle field. Keep in mind that having to push 6.2 Million (roughly) on a single video card is no easy tasking. Take 5760 x 1080 = 6,220,800 pixels, a standard 1080i monitor only pushes 2.07 million pixels, 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels. So I am pushing three times the amount of pixels that a normal 1920 x 1080 monitor while using a single video card. Your performance will vary greatly on what size of monitor you are using, and type of machine you are playing on. For those of you who cannot comprehend this, simply imagine that I am playing Dragon Age 2 with three of your High Definition 1080i Televisions while spanning Dragon Age 2 across all three of these 1080i HDTV’s with my computer, as far as resolutions is concerned I am evenly matched so; therefore, I can use this comparison as a referencing point. More information about multi-monitor gaming please feel free to look at my Article HERE.

Graphically Dragon Age 2 looks and feels clean, the only real gripe I have is that I wish BioWare took some extra time and used some of the more advanced features of Direct X 11 (not available to Console users) in this great game title. The one key feature I wished that BioWare used on this game is tessellation, this feature alone can and would have made Dragon Age 2 graphically stand out. I did not notice any graphical anomalies, problems or anything in general that would hurt this game title. I could tell that BioWare took there time on the development of this game title, and it shows.

Combat and General Play Through

Dragon Age 2 in the combat portion was not much different from other RPG’s I played. the only real differences I noticed was that if and when I was in combat (which is an awful lot) if my main Character died, it would switch me over to the next party member so I can continue on with my game play. This is not nothing new to us gamers as I seen this tactic played out on a few other games as well. You also have to keep track of your party members health and stamina while you were in combat, normally this would be an easy task for those that use a single monitor, but for me on my extended resolution proved to be quite challenging, because not everything was in the center, it was being displayed on the far left side of my screen (look at the images I posted and blow ’em up to full actual size to get an idea of what I am talking about). Even while using a High DPI mouse (a Razer Imperator that utilizes a 5600 DPI) proved to be rather slow on them times when I needed to react fast because I neglected my “duties” as a leader, Oops. Now there is an advantage to a multi monitor configuration with Dragon Age 2, besides of adding peripheral vision, we Multi-monitor gamers can add more attributes (or spells) to our bottom scroll bar then those who only use 1 single monitor (again refer to the screenshots for more information). there is only one more thing I will mention about the combat portion of Dragon Age 2, that is this game can and will unindate you with a lot of enemies at varying points of you game play. Even though most of the “fighting” is done automatically, you still have physically keep selecting your targets, and these targets will vary on the need of how many shots it will take to bring them down. Also Dragon Age 2 allows you to use all four of your team to target one specific enemy that you selected, now if you don’t (and there will be times that it will be needed) your team members go off on tangents and will start attacking anything at will. So use your judgment if and when it is appropriate.

The general play through of this game was again smooth, during most of the quests I did not experience any major broken quests. There was only one quest (and it is a minor quest) that seemed to be broken to me, this quest is when I went out to find all of the “blood magic” books and either had a choice to keep them, read them, or destroy them. I could get to two of these books (there are four in total) while the other two seemed to be missing (I went online for a quick walk-through on the locations of these books and when I went to go find them I could only gain access to two of them not the last two). Another thing that really stands out with Dragon Age 2 was the playful banter that happens while you walk through the towns or areas with the other members of your team. Most of these banters were quite interesting and fun to listen too, I found myself stopping (before I warp to a new area) and listen to their playful bantering with one another. BioWare went all out on Dragon Age 2, and gives us gamers something else to break up the monotony of the long traveling we will be doing as we play Dragon Age 2.

Ending Thoughts

Time for me to wrap things up with this game title.

Dragon Age 2 shows us gamers that there is more to a game then just blowing apart enemies. That this game also contains a highly inter-actionable environment that we gamers can determine the way the story gets told by Varric to the Seeker. We can also change the over all attitude of our character as we play Dragon Age 2, we can either be heartless, to being a nice person, or even being a little bit of both. We have a lot of free will to do what we feel is necessary and can accustom our specific gaming style to this game, and it dynamically changes as we make these choices on our actions. Dragon Age 2 also gives us gamers something that a lot of games don’t, and that being re-playability. Meaning even though there is a predetermined out come on quests or story line telling that we have to take, we can replay this game and take another approach to it each time we play and tweak the story line each time we replay this game.

Dragon Age 2 earns a very well earned a respected score of

9 out of Ten and the:

Golden Dragon Award