Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Of Scrolls and Dragons

So in the past week, two of the major western RPGs of the year released some sort of material. Bethesda graced us with the first look at actual gameplay for Skyrim, the fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls series. And not long after that, Bioware released the demo for Dragon Age II. Now, completely ignoring the fact that DA2 comes out in less than a week, it was still a pretty good couple of weeks for us RPGers. Even Nintendo came out of their shell of secrecy and showed the people of the Game Developer's Conference (and subsequently the rest of the internet) a little footage from Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. 

Let me start with the trailer for Skyrim, because that was the one that made my jaw hit the floor. Any skepticism I had at the purely pre-rendered trailer shown at the VGA's evaporated like water in the Sahara. Sure, a good deal of the footage was reused from that very trailer, but what they did show of in-game stuff looked amazing beyond all belief. I can only hope that the rest of the game is in as good shape. Depending on how long they've been developing it, it probably is. At the same time, I'm still not holding them to the release date they've been proclaiming. Yeah, I'll be a bit disappointed if it's delayed, but that's life.

On now to the Dragon Age II demo. Combat: Improved a hundredfold. Hawke's voice (female anyway): Not actually all that bad! Graphics: Could be better. Text: Completely illegible. 
If you're like me, and all you have is a standard definition TV, forget it. You will not get so much as a single moment of enjoyment out of Dragon Age II. Since it's coming out for both Mac and Windows, I'd honestly advocate getting the PC version. That said, they didn't release a demo on the Mac, so I played the X-box version. I spent most of the time squinting to make out what I was about to say or what the tutorial text was trying to say. Probably time for me to upgrade my boob toob anyway, but it's still irritating. After such negative response from the same problem in Mass Effect 2, I would have thought they learned better. Oh well. It's a small issue.

Last but not least, the Skyward Sword footage. Not much, but still just enough to keep the game on the fan's radar. It's pretty clear that they're making pretty extensive use of the Wii's motion control for more than just sword-fighting or archery like in Twilight Princess. I'm still a little on the fence on that one, but I know I'm in the minority. I have to say, I love the art style. A perfect fusion of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, with a bit of classic art thrown in. Nintendo still hasn't put a release date on it, which I actually think is a good move.

Couple more days of the Game Developer's Conference left to go! Still hoping to hear something from my other favorite studio that begins with a B (Bungie!), but so far it's been fun! Probably back to Ship Porn next time, so keep a lookout!

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