As a parent of a young child I’m all too familiar with the eternal struggle of bedtime. After many sleepless nights, I discovered a nightly ritual of a lullaby playlist worked wonders. I’m a huge fan of video game music and many official soundtracks, orchestral adaptations, and remixes work amazingly well as beautiful lullabies, especially if you’ve grown tired of Enya and classical music. Here’s a collection to get you started.
Every once in a while I dive into a more recently released game in my backlog. This whole season of Rogue’s Adventures is mostly made up of games released in the last few years, and The Banner Saga is the second most recent game I’ve played and written about since Shadowrun Returns last year (which was backlogged for all of a few weeks).
The Banner Saga was part of the original wave of Kickstarter games in 2012, alongside the likes of Broken Age and Wasteland 2, and benefited greatly from that initial excitement and draw to the crowdfunding platform. It was also one of the few games I didn’t actually back (along with Shadowrun Returns, ironically) in my attempt to be choosy when picking my supporting projects. The Banner Saga was a first indie project from a new studio (broken off from BioWare’s MMO division) and the gameplay structure seemed a bit confusing.
But the hand-drawn art style was beautiful and I’m always up for a game with tactical turn-based combat – thus The Banner Saga remained on my radar for years until finally picking it up on the last Steam sale.
If I had to describe The Banner Saga in a single ‘elevator pitch’ sentence, it would be: An apocalyptic Oregon Trail with life and death choices, tactical combat and RPG stats wrapped up in a unique fantasy world based on Norse mythology.
So here we are with the long-awaited third installment. Unlike Dragon Age II, which was pumped out in a little over a year (while they were working on ME3), Inquisition has been in development for several years, and from what we’ve read of previews, interviews and most recently reviews, it looks like a huge step in the right direction. Taking feedback from fans, combining the best parts of Origin, DAII and the Mass Effect trilogy as well as looking at the insane success of the most recent Elder Scrolls game Skyrim have created a winning formula.
After navigating the panels of Dragon Age Keep I’m full prepared to dive back into Thedas – but first I have to decide on my Inquisitor.
Ever launch into a game you are unsure about, and then a few hours in you think ‘Oh crap, this was a terrible mistake?’ Maybe you preserve and stick with it, enjoying some elements despite some deep flaws and annoyances, and slowly emerge into a semi-enjoyable experience. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings garnered a very mixed reaction from me, not just of the games I’ve played on Rogue’s Adventures, but of any game I’ve played.
Usually when I add a game to my backlog it’s because I want to play it (obviously) but it wasn’t quite high enough on my limited priority list to immediately play it. For The Witcher 2, my motivation was based entirely on how awesome the upcoming third game looks. I played the original Witcher back in 2007-08 and didn’t actually care for it, never finishing it.
I skipped the sequel for years based on that experience and only finally decided to dive in based on how critically acclaimed it was (not to mention a devoted fan base). But mostly, it was the third game showing really well in all its trailers and previews. Yes, I’m a sucker for hype sometimes; I love games.
I don’t love The Witcher.
Like many RPGs, Dragon Age: Inquisition will feature a secret base where heroes can rest and recuperate. Here are the top ten strongholds in games.
Home is where the heart is. In games it’s also where you stash all your loot, craft some supplies and chat with your fellow party members and allies. Most games are about the journey of the hero, and precious few allow you to kick up your feet and relax at a safe haven you can call your home.
Bioware’s upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition promises one of the biggest player bases we’ve ever seen in Skyhold. Skyhold will serve as you primary stronghold and base for the inquisitor and his or her allies, improving over time and aesthetically customizable.
Of course, Skyhold certainly isn’t the first player base to feature prominently in a game, and I’ve gathered my ten favorites (in no particular order).
As violence between Maroni and Falcone continues to escalate, Penguin reveals a new component of his manipulative strategy, forcing Gordon to deal with the consequences of his decision to spare Penguin’s life.
Last week’s excellent episode left us with an exciting cliffhanger – Oswald Cobblepot reveals himself at the police station just as Gordon and Bullock are getting arrested for his murder. As the payoff episode to the longest running plot thread of the series, “Penguin’s Umbrella” falls a bit short in the end, but still gives us some supremely fun moments – including our first encounter with Batman villain Victor Zsasz. Gordon is forced to take some rather extreme measures in an attempt to save his skin, allegiances are tested, betrayals revealed and Carmine Falcone gets to come out as one of the smartest, most socially and business savvy people in Gotham, as he should be.
We begin with Penguin looking decidedly more penguin-y: he’s got his own mini-entourage to go along with his limp and over-sized shoes. Fish Mooney is less than enthused at the sudden news that he’s alive, and orders her right-hand man Butch Gilzean to bring her Jim Gordon.
Our hero, meanwhile, is entering full blown panic mode. I’m disappointed that we don’t pick up directly after the final moments in the previous episode as it was set up to give us a satisfyingly dramatic scene, but it also would’ve necessitated a lot of info dumping which we already knew. Gordon is clearing out his locker and giving Barbara the old ‘pack your bags and get out of town’ phone call when Bullock arrives with a sucker punch and holds Gordon at gun point. Jim lying about killing Oswald also puts Bullock in rather hot water with the mob, and he’s understandably furious with Gordon.
We were on Floor 11, and we were in trouble. Our supply of Dust was reduced to dangerous levels after the most recent wave, and we could barely power the rooms around our crystal. Our healthy buildup of Industry and node access was crippled by our lack of power. We spread our heroes around to deter as many enemy spawns as we could, but still they came as we searched for the exit.
Finally we took a gamble and opened several rooms at once, starting off a terrifying chain of enemies that would be our doom. Except one of the rooms contained the exit to the final level. We grabbed the crystal and ran through hordes of foes, using our last remaining food supplies to keep everyone alive until they reached the exit. We made it, but only just, and if the final floor was any indication there was a good chance we wouldn’t make it out alive.
The scenario above is only one such experience from playing through Dungeon of the Endless, the latest game to explore the Endless Universe created by Amplitude Studios. Whereas their previous games, Endless Space and Endless Legend are Civ-like 4X empire management games, Dungeon of the Endless is, *deep breath,* a cooperative rogue-like tower defense dungeon crawler. If any of those terms spark your interest you may discover one of your favorite games of the year in this unique mash-up of genres.