Dragon Age: Inquisition Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Dragon Age: Inquisition RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network PlayStation Store Kicks Off Games Under $20 Sale https://www.gameskinny.com/83ci3/playstation-store-kicks-off-games-under-20-sale https://www.gameskinny.com/83ci3/playstation-store-kicks-off-games-under-20-sale Wed, 29 Apr 2020 12:26:09 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

The PlayStation Store is launching yet another sale today: a PS4 games under $20 sale. As you can imagine, everything on the list is under $20, and it includes a good mix of old and new classics too, ranging from Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair and My Time at Portia to Dragon Age: Inquisition's massive DLC bundle, and Star Wars Battlefront 2: Celebration Edition.

Here's some of what's on offer. The sale is live now through May 13.

Game Sales Price Original Price
Assassin's Creed: Origins $14.99 $59.99
Blasphemous  $16.74  24.99
Call of Cthulu  $9.99  $39.99
Cities: Skylines — Premium Edition 2  $17.49  $69.99
Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin  $9.99 $39.99
Dead Cells  $16.24 $24.99
Diablo 3: Rise of the Necromancer  $7.49  $14.99
Dishonored 2  $11.99  $29.99
Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC bundle  $7.49  $29.99
Fallout 4  $14.99  $29.99
Far Cry 5  $14.99 $59.99
Hello Neighbor Bundle  $9.99  $49.99
Human: Fall Flat  $6.74  $14.99
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files  $17.99  $29.99
Lego DC Super-Villains  $17.99  $59.99
Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds $11.99  $19.99
Metro Redux  $8.99  $29.99
My Time at Portia  $14.99  $29.99
Outer Wilds  $18.74  $24.99
Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition  $12.49  $49.99
Saints Row 4 Re-Elected: Gat out of Hell $3.74  $29.99
Slime Rancher $9.99 $19.99
Star Wars Battlefront 2: Celebration Edition  $19.99  $39.99

 

That's just a portion of the PS4 games under $20 sale going on now. You can check out the full list over on the PlayStation Blog, and the sale page is on the PlayStation Store.

If nothing here piques your interest, remember the second Big in Japan/Golden Week sale is still live as well. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more video game sales as they pop up.

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9 Xbox One Titles That Should Get X Support https://www.gameskinny.com/15eoc/9-xbox-one-titles-that-should-get-x-support https://www.gameskinny.com/15eoc/9-xbox-one-titles-that-should-get-x-support Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:28:05 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

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Batman: Arkham Knight

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The last of the Arkham Trilogy, Arkham Knight delivered a satisfying conclusion to the series with the same great combat and stealth that the series is known for, the best depiction of Gotham City in any digital form, and the Batmobile for the same added pleasure. That said, it was still prone to slowdown and screen tearing. However, all screen tearing seems to be removed for games while running on Xbox One X. Batman's world may be dark and gloomy, but with the benefits of HDR and 4K resolution, it could look even more spectacular. 

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If you have a game that you'd like to see updated for the X that wasn't featured here, leave a comment down below.

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Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

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As the last of the original MGS series, Metal Gear Solid 5 went out with a bang. While some fans lament the fact that it was missing an important chapter, it was still an amazing game in both gameplay and open-world design. While a patch was made for PS4 Pro, it did very little. With the power of the Xbox One X, we could, at the very least, see an improvement to resolution, seeing as how it's still locked at 900p on Xbox Consoles. 

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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Deus Ex continues to have some of the most interesting settings in modern gaming. Its dark, neo-noir world may have borrowed a few things from other noir fiction, but it's distinctly its own creation. Mankind Divided continues this trend, with its unique depiction of Prague. While the 4K and HDR would be nice, it'd be more interesting to see if we could get an option of better frame rate, similar to what we got in Rise of The Tomb Raider. Deus Ex started its life on PC, so it would be interesting if we could get either the visual quality or frame rate to match Mankind Divided's PC version in some way. 

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Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

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Gears of War 4 already saw a patch for the X that allowed for improved textures and visuals as well as the ability to play at 60FPS, so it makes sense that this graphical remake should receive the same treatment. With its improved cut-scenes, beautiful artwork, and bleak world building, it would be interesting to see one of the most influential games of all time get that same treatment. Gears of War 3 saw an update for Xbox One X, so it would make sense that we'd get to see Marcus and Delta Squad's first adventure in 4K and at 60FPS for the campaign.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

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It's still hard to deny how influential the original Modern Warfare was to online gaming. Its tight, close-quarters map design and RPG Perk System helped reign in a new dawn of online shooters. That's not even mentioning its excellent campaign, which features some of the most iconic moments in gaming. Wouldn't you want to see this in 4K? 

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It's a bit shocking that Infinite Warfare received an X patch but not Modern Warfare Remastered, especially since MWR was originally locked to an $80 version that had both of them. So, why not do both? MWR already supports PS4 Pro, so it'd be a mistake for it to never get an update on Xbox's newest machine.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Before Mass Effect Andromeda tarnished Bioware's good reputation (whether you liked it or not), there was still hope when Bioware released Dragon Age: Inquisition. Taking all the feedback that fans had with Dragon Age 2, Bioware created a game that balanced the storytelling and scope of the first Dragon Age with an improved version of the sequel's combat system. Inquisition's gorgeous art design and powerful effects were limited to only 900p on the Xbox One version (though it does run better than the PS4 version), so having it in 4K and HDR would help bring Bioware's last great RPG to life. 

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Halo: Reach

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Yes, this isn't an Xbox One game, but seeing how Gears of War 3, Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed, and even the original 360 version of Halo 3 have gotten a bump in improvements, it would be interesting to see how Bungie's last and, arguably, best game would look with X enhancements. Better lighting and a steadier frame rate would help this 2011 title stand tall, and with no word on if this title will ever get a remaster, we just have to hope that 343 Industries won't miss out on letting us play this fantastic prequel to the Halo franchise with Xbox One X improvements. 

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Grand Theft Auto 5

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It's one of the best-selling games of all time, so why wouldn't Rockstar want to put Michael, Franklin, and Trevor in 4K? GTA 5 was already a great-looking game on 360 and PS3 when it first came out, and when it was later ported to current-gen systems in 2014, it looked even better. So imagine how it would look in 4K? GTA 5 on Xbox One has already seen frame-rate improvements on Xbox One X, but it still would be nice to see some improved textures and a better drawing distance. Rockstar may be working on Red Dead 2, but that doesn't mean it can't have any of its other studios working on it. 

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Sunset Overdrive

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Released only a year after the Xbox One's Launch, Sunset Overdrive sadly didn't live up to the what Microsoft was expecting in terms of sales. That being said, it's still an absolute joy to play, with the same wacky guns and clever humor that Insomniac games has become known for with its Ratchet and Clank series. Even though it only runs at 900p, Sunset Overdrive's colorful, mayhem-filled world exudes so much personality and would benefit even more with a bump in resolution and HDR.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xbox-one-c0363.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xbox-one-c0363.jpg","type":"slide","id":"177164","description":"

With the arrival of the Xbox One X, games are getting huge updates for Microsoft's powerhouse machine, from looking even better by taking advantage of 4K and HDR to playing better with improved frame rates for each title. Even if you still have an old 1080p TV, it's been proven that games like Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 are benefiting from the higher tech. Third-party titles, like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dishonored 2, have also been updated with enhancements that make already-great games look and sound better -- and there's more to come. 

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With more all that extra horsepower, it'd be interesting to see what other Xbox One titles would benefit from getting this treatment. Here are just 9 games that would be even better by getting an update for the X. 

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The Importance of Story-Based Games https://www.gameskinny.com/b7099/the-importance-of-story-based-games https://www.gameskinny.com/b7099/the-importance-of-story-based-games Fri, 24 Nov 2017 11:01:43 -0500 Sarah Elliman

Narrative and good storytelling are integral aspects for creating an engaging, high-quality game. There are games where the story is less important, Minecraft for example, but a large number of games rely on writing and story to drive the game. This emphasis on narrative directly involves the player and immerses them further into the world the developers are trying to form. You can interact passively and experience a more linear story like Alan Wake or create your own story out of the choices you have made.

Story is the first thing I look for in a game; graphics, game mechanics, and multiplayer are all secondary. It was the intriguing stories of Assassin’s Creed and Dragon Age that drove me to discover more games and made gaming become a hobby of mine.

However, to some, story is not as important as other aspects of a game, with many believing that stories should be left to films and books if one wants a deep and emotional experience. Ultimately, though, video games are there to tell a story, and even Call of Duty has to have some coherence in its plot to drive the game forward. But violence and other factors take away from the depth of the story, some argue. However, these are minor bumps that can be overcome by truly great games or even made to further the narrative immersion. Not all game stories are created equally, but the stories that remain in our hearts are worthy of being recognized.

Not Just for Point and Clicks

Some believe that the very nature of action video games mean they can't carry a storyline as well as other mediums. The argument goes that powerful narratives should be reserved for point-and-click games or text based games. Far Cry 2's creative director, Clint Hocking, says "that there is a market for narrative games that spontaneously generate stories according to the way they’re being played." Hocking is not alone in this belief, as Guy Gadney, the creator of The Suspect, an interactive thriller, hopes "we are entering a stage, now, where writing shifts from being a monologue to a dialogue."

We are already seeing this shift, with more and more games implementing choices for players to make that directly affect the story. This is most prominent in the success of TellTale’s The Walking Dead.This sort of immersion provides us with something that films and books can’t by putting us directly in the middle of the action. Despite opinions to the contrary, this mechanic is not reserved just for point-and-clicks like The Walking Dead.

Nine months after Gadney's and Hockings's statements, Dragon Age: Inquisition was released. Although far from the procedural generation of Hockings's world, Dragon Age implements multiple choices and different possible endings for the game. To a certain extent, you could experience the story your way and make it entirely your own. Almost a year later, this was further improved on by The Witcher 3. It was a game praised for just about everything, but most importantly, it was praised for meaningful side quests that actually added something to the overall story.

Immersion is important with these games if they are going to succeed, as you are meant to experience the journey with the characters. For example The Walking Dead, wouldn't have been able to make grown men cry if they weren't invested in the story. It's important for developers to try and immerse players, since they are working with fictional worlds. You have to believe the world to enjoy the game, and to do that, you have to feel you are a part of it.

Should We Leave Stories to Books and Films? 

As befits one of the most important and enduring storytelling mediums, novels deal with deep issues and explore every side of humanity. One infamous opinion from Gamespot's forums declared that "novels deal with humanity in all its wonder, flaws and the problems that arise from human relations" but argues video games don’t have that depth. Yet that's not entirely accurate, as Dragon Age and The Witcher show.

Dragon Age

Two of the issues raised in Dragon Age are class and race, important issues that continue to affect the real world. The segregation of the mages and the treatment of the elves is a continuous theme throughout. These are fantasy species and classes, obviously, but they warn us of the issues in our own world. By removing ourselves from the natural prejudices and stereotypes we cast on people in reality, we can begin to see clearly how these attitudes cause great harm, and it does tell us something about the problems within our own relationships to others. After all, when you have no preconceptions of elves, then all you see is the horrific nature of their treatment rather than some attribute or other perceived as a problem.

One reviewer believed that "the ways in which the dialogue and gameplay decisions allow you to express your own views of faith make Inquisition the most personal game in the series." When a game allows you to project yourself that way in the story, it creates an incredibly deep experience. Even the original Dragon Age was praised for it's decision mechanic and its fantastic writing. Kotaku, reviewing the game back at it's release in 2009, expressed this idea nicely by saying "kingdoms rose and fell and important people lived or died based solely on my whims," and this continues to bring players back to replay the game again and again.

There are Dragon Age books, yes, but the books were created after the game and add to the world that was already created. Our ideas of how this world should be and what makes it special come solely from the video game, with all the features that make a good piece of prose work.

The Witcher

The entire Witcher franchise is based on a series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Yet most people I have spoken to don’t know the books even exist, and the games convincingly deal with the central problems of power and the soul-consuming search for it. You constantly see kings, sorceresses or sorcerers, knights, and essentially everyone all vying for power, one way or the other. You witness the horror of war that accompanies that search and the devastation it causes for the people. True, the books give you extensive background knowledge of the major players in the story. But those key components that tell--and teach--us something fundamental about human nature translate perfectly into game form, bringing those messages to a wider audience than the books could.

The Witcher was a smash hit, not just with gamers, but developers too. Hajime Tabata revealed that "one of the games my development team played a lot last year was The Witcher 3," stating that they had gotten to know the game really well. Everyone wanted a piece of the series' success, even to incorporate it into their own games, and the story elements were a major part of that. Even reviewers believe that The Witcher captured the essence of the stories. Oli Welsh with Eurogamer said

Sapkowski's universe is built on basic fantasy foundations - dragons, elves and magic in an alternate medieval Europe - but has a distinctive flavour. You'll find the politicking and grim brutality of Game of Thrones here, but also the lusty derring-do of Conan and the creepy allegories of the Brothers Grimm.

In short, the game is a synthesis of all the very human elements that have continued to capture people's imaginations for centuries.

When Games Get It Wrong

When a game's story just doesn't cut it, we all notice--something that couldn't be said if narrative in games wasn't important. Think back to games like Remember Me that held such promise with it's intriguing storyline. Ultimately the game had fantastic concepts, but it's execution was incredibly flat. IGN reviewer, Daniel Krupa believed that:

'Remember Me is brimming with promise. It desperately wants to play up some big ideas...sadly its best ideas don’t really find their way into the gameplay itself,' 

Remember Me is incredibly forgettable, as it couldn't create a cohesive plot that ran through the entirety of the game, even though it had some solid story devices that could have made is great. The frailty of memory and how people's minds can be used for corporate greed are startling and interesting ideas to present in a video game. People are manipulated by the powers above, just as we are today, only it's slightly more subtle in the game. Remember Me could--and should--have pulled from our world more and actually focused on that provocative narrative, integrating it into the action sequences. But it doesn't, and that's what keeps it from being a truly amazing game.

Even though I loved Infamous: Second Son, the story falls flat and doesn't pack the punch it should . Delsin is likeable, in a roguish sort of way, but the other main protagonists, Fetch and Eugene, are boring stereotypes. I also just couldn't engage with Fetch, probably as a result of her being such a static character; she was infinitely irritating, and I hated the missions with her. There were some scenes that should have been more powerful than they were, too. Reggie's death, for example, happens too fast, and you never have time to think about it. It always seems like Infamous  tries to pack a punch with it's story, but it just doesn't know how to get there.  

Films Vs. Games

So where does that leave us? Could we still say, as The Atlantic's Ian Bogost does, that "the best interactive stories are still worse than even middling books and films?" In short, no.

National Treasure got a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a good candidate for a "middling" film, and I wouldn’t put the narrative's quality anywhere near something like The Last of Us or Banner Saga in terms of engagement, value, or insight into human nature. Games are their story. Otherwise, games like Witcher and Dragon Age wouldn't get game of the year awards. There are examples where a game's story doesn't hold the same power, but this is the same for any art medium. 

Violence Doesn't Solve Anything

One opinion often expressed about how story isn't important in games is that the violence detracts from the story being told. For example,  BioShock Infinite has an incredibly deep and well-thought out storyline, but is interrupted by Booker DeWitt running around shooting ravens at multitudes of enemies. Grant Howitt argued that "BioShock: Infinite’s sumptuous world, fascinating plot and metaplot – and its series of nonsensical gunfights augmented by mad-science superpowers" conflict with each other, with the action sequences throughout the game undermining the strong story.

Basically, the argument goes, the fact that you have to interact with the story is sometimes what stops you from experiencing it. Whether it’s your AI partner running into a wall or a part of the map you can’t get to, these incidents take away from the story.

But if the violence and action scenes take away from the power of the narrative, then it should be true for films as well. For example, one could easily say the exceedingly long runway in Fast and Furious 6 detracts from any presence the story has, though others would say it's part of the story.

It all depends on how the story is carried out. For example, the original Jason Bourne trilogy merged the action scenes with story fantastically because the action and violence make sense within that world. The Last of Us has gut-punching emotional segments in the narrative, where the danger of enemies was imminent, and any violence or suggestion of it made sense within the universe. Carried out well, the interactive action scenes, should, and do, advance the story, rather than hinder it.

As far as the argument that action scenes and violence mean you don’t get the same flowing experience as you would with a film--that’s the beauty of video games. You don’t passively sit and absorb the story; you are part of the story. Even with a less story driven game, such as The Sims, people take joy from creating their own story in the game. You are directly moving the character through the story and in some games making their choices. You’re still experiencing the artists' vision while making the story your own.

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A lot of gamers want strong story elements in their games, and the power of the narrative cannot be overstated. Games tell a story that will never leave you, just as a favorite book or film won’t. The important difference, though, is you’re in the action--you live the story and learn even more from it as a result.

Do you think the story in a video game is important? What's your favorite narrative-centered video game? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Top 7 Gaming Subscription Services for Your Money https://www.gameskinny.com/0i56a/top-7-gaming-subscription-services-for-your-money https://www.gameskinny.com/0i56a/top-7-gaming-subscription-services-for-your-money Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:22:02 -0400 Sarah Elliman

We’ve all heard that cliché, the unavoidable "Netflix for gaming," phrase, but who can really take the top spot? There are surprisingly more gaming subscription services than you would expect that can offer you different services. But which ones offer you more bang for your buck? What subscription offers you the greater variety of games? We’re here to answer your questions and give you the top 7 list on gaming subscriptions.

7. OnePlay

This service mainly came in dead last for me as it felt less clear on what services it offered for your money. There are a variety of options from a basic package, to VIP membership, then to renting and buying. It appears you get some games for free as part of your subscription, but other titles you buy at a discounted rate. The distinction didn’t appear to be very clear when browsing through their site.

OnePlay does boast one of the most extensive list of video games with over 2,000 titles and new games added weekly. Furthermore, it is both a PC and Android games subscription, so you get games for both platforms within the bounds of your subscription.

The price is pretty good at $9.99 for the month which also gives you 10% off your purchases. If you’re not sure about the service than you have a 7-day trial to give it a go. However, the confusing nature of the website and the lack of clarity on what titles are playable, rent-able or to buy is worrisome. There are other gaming subscription services with greater transparency and with a similar number of games.

 

6. PlayStation Now

PlayStation Now is a great subscription service if you want to play PS3 classics or perhaps don’t have access to a PS4. PlayStation Now features over 500 games for PS4 and PS3 with more being added every month to the gaming subscription service. However, it is the price that lets this service down.

As you will see throughout the article, PlayStation Now is the most expensive service going. A one-month subscription will set your bank balance back by $19.99 and a three-month long package will take you back by $44.99. Compared to other gaming subscription services, PlayStation Now is incredibly pricey.

The saving grace for the service is being able to use it without owning a PS4. You can use PlayStation Now on PC and even on some smart TVs if you have a compatible controller. This is perfect if you want to experience those PlayStation exclusives like Uncharted or The Last of Us without investing in a console. Furthermore, for as long as you hold your subscription you have unlimited access to PlayStation Now’s library.

Sadly, with the higher price tag and the 7-day trial it puts PlayStation Now in second to last place. The range of games and cross platform play is fantastic. However, there are other services that offer a similar range for a less expensive price.

5. Xbox One Pass

The Xbox One Pass ranks slightly higher than PlayStation Now simply because of the pricing. The service is relatively new, which is why you have a much more limited selection of games. The service boasts only 100 titles, which is the second lowest of all seven.

Nevertheless, Microsoft are slowly adding new games to the roaster which include both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Additionally, when you have a 14 day free trial and a monthly subscription for $9.99, you get way more for your money.

You will receive unlimited access to the Xbox Games Pass library and get discounts on select games and season passes for Xbox One games. Fantastic titles like Halo 5: Guardians and Payday are already available with Xbox Game Pass, with more to be added along the way.

The Xbox Games Pass saves you money while still offering you the chance to play classic Xbox games. The price tag is on the lower end of the scale and once the games roster has been bulked out, it’ll be worth more than the money you pay.

4. GameFly

GameFly offers you a gaming subscription without having to buy an expensive console. No PlayStation, no Xbox, no PC? Don’t worry because GameFly has got you covered.

GameFly works through certain smart TV’s and through Amazon Fire. All you need is a compatible controller or your handheld device and you’re good to go. This is the perfect service for anyone who can’t purchase a console for any reason, but still loves gaming! The app is applicable to certain Samsung, LG and Phillips TV models, but if you don’t have that model then don’t panic. An Amazon Fire Stick will turn your TV into a smart TV and you can access the app there.

The subscription service is less than $10 a month with a growing list of games and unlimited access. It is one of the best gaming subscriptions out there. GameFly also saves your data to the cloud so you won’t have to worry about losing all the hard work you put into a game. There are already notable games on GameFly, such as Borderlands 2, the Batman series and the Bioshock series.

GameFly is the perfect middle ground gaming subscription service. It allows for flexibility without burning a hole in your wallet. You can play some great games as much as you want without having to fork out the cash for a console.

3. EA Access

EA Access is a personal favorite of mine, mainly because of the incredibly cheap price tag and the access to games you receive as part of your subscription. If you haven’t already guessed, they are all EA games which is why it is in third place. But, the type of access you get for the price is astounding to say the least.

For a one-month subscription you will pay $4.99--this is the cheapest subscription price yet! Even better is that if you invest in a year of EA Access it will only cost you $29.99. It feels like you're practically stealing from the company, especially when they throw in a further 10% discount on digital EA purchases on games not included as part of Access. You really get incredible value for money. You can access the service through Origins or through Xbox One, giving you more freedom of movement with the service.

When you sign up to EA Access, you will be able to play games from the EA vault. These games are free to play and for an unlimited period, as long as you keep the subscription. I personally downloaded all three Dragon Age installments for free and all the DLC’s came with them. It really gave me incentive to re-play this beloved series. If Dragon Age isn’t your style then other games in the vault include Mass Effect Andromeda, FIFA17 and Battlefield 1, with many more that I haven’t listed. You don’t just get old forgotten games nobody wants to play anymore, but hot new releases as well. If that wasn’t enough, you also get to try EA games before they are even released!

EA Access has incredible value for money with some fantastic AAA titles to keep you entertained. However, because it is simply EA games it won’t be to everyone’s taste and that’s why they only win the bronze.

2. Jump

Jump is a wonderful gaming subscription service if you’re mad for Indie games. Jump specializes in giving their customers access to award winning Indie games; you won’t find an 8-year old's attempt to make their Halo fan game here. It’s the perfect way to discover magnificent pieces of work that you may not have heard of before.

Jump offers you a 14-day free trial which then turns to a $9.99 charge after the trial period ends. With that subscription cost you get unlimited access to their Indie collection. The only negative is that their roster is just over 60 games. It is the lowest roster in our list, but is comprised of high-quality games. A lot of services may throw in a lot of titles that don’t give you the quality that Jump does. Some intriguing titles that have been added recently include Along the Edge, The Bridge and Always Sometimes Monsters. Furthermore, you can also submit a game to the company that you think should be added to the list.

Even though Jump offers the lowest number of titles, it is still a fantastic service. Indie games are the soul of the gaming community, and Jump brings the best together for you to play. Without any constraints as well. It may not be the most extensive, but the quality of the games is the highest.

1. Utomik

Last but not least by any means is the grand gaming subscription service Utomik. Combining a low price with a larger roster and a high number of quality games puts Utomik in the top spot. They have partnered up with companies such as TellTale Games, SEGA, Paradox and even Disney to bring you quality games at a low price.

 So how low can Utomik go? For one user you will pay $5.99 for the month and this will give you unlimited access to Utomik’s library. This consists of over 640 games, with 20 new games being added every month. You’ll never be able to get through them all! Even better if you’re in a family or you and your roommates want to join than there is a family plan. This is only $9.99 a month and allows 4 users unlimited access and for any family’s parental controls as well. You even get a 14-day free trial to test it out!

Saint’s Row, Dead Island, Borderlands are just some of the games you can access through Utomik. They also have a whole host of Indie games that are ready at your disposal. Kid’s giving you hassle? Roommate won’t budge from the couch? Throw in Utomik and you’ll be able to enjoy the gaming subscription service too.

My Verdict

Utomik, to me, is the best service out there. It combines a great price, range and quality of games with unlimited access to those games. Why not check them out for yourself? All services have been linked so you can see which one is right for you.

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Do you agree with the list? Did I miss your favorite gaming subscription service? Comment below and let us know what you think!

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Does Map Size Really Matter In An Open World Game? https://www.gameskinny.com/so6ak/does-map-size-really-matter-in-an-open-world-game https://www.gameskinny.com/so6ak/does-map-size-really-matter-in-an-open-world-game Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:50:20 -0400 Stephen Brown

Open world games seem to be everywhere. More and more developers are latching their new and already established franchises onto this style of gameplay, for better or worse. The reasoning is clear since the open world format proves beneficial from a design standpoint and is also hugely popular among gamers (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fallout 4), so this leads to better sales and more money.

However, as each new open world game is released, developers boast about how "vast" and "dense" their particular game is. The question therefore is: "Is an open world's size really important?"

Since so many games nowadays adopt the structure and design of an open world, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish themselves as better than the competition. It seems that because of this, developers believe that by further increasing the size of the open world, the game is all the better for it.

Part of a developer's job in creating a game is to try and make it as good as possible to sell. As consumers we get drawn to bigger numbers. We make excuses that a larger game world means more content, therefore equating it to better value for our money. What we really should be doing is actually examining the quality of the content on offer. It's a dangerous predicament as it can potentially encourage developers and publishers to focus on making pointlessly large open worlds instead of other aspects such as level design, story and side content. Unfortunately, the former regularly feels more attractive in the end. On the other hand, if done well in tandem with everything else, the larger open world can indeed work extremely well, an arguably brilliant example being The Witcher 3

CD Projekt Red was able to balance a large and varied open world in both the main game and the Blood and Wine DLC alongside an intricate story, characters and quest design. The Witcher 3 was able to handle the size of the game world with ease and filled it with truly meaningful content that never felt like filler. There was still the odd issue, though, such as the sluggish nature of Geralt's movement in small spaces, however the developers truly worked wonders in raising the bar for the RPG genre and open world games as a whole.

On the flip side, so many other games fall victim to focusing too much on the vastness of their open world that in order for it to not feel empty, developers drown the game in idle and unimaginative 'fetch' quests.

How many glowing feathers scattered across a city do we really need to collect? Is it really necessary for complete and utter strangers to ask me to pick them flowers that grow in a certain cave miles away just for a few pieces of gold? Common games that get this wrong are the Assassin's Creed series, Skyrim and Dragon Age: InquisitionThese games aren't bad -- in fact I still really like them -- however, too often we are given a massive open world that's littered with collectables and fetch quests to provide us with content that adds no real thrill to the experience. I would happily have a smaller map size in favor of quests and other side activities that were engaging and worthwhile, instead something that amounts to numbers and a completion percentage.

I understand that a bigger open world is paramount to a game's success in some instances, such as the Just Cause series, where the world is supposed to be a playground designed around the protagonist causing destruction and explosions. In this regard a large open world works just fine. For many others, though, specifically RPGs, side activities and story are more important than having the largest open world imaginable. However, it is also possible for a big open world and meaningful content to work well together if the developer really puts in the effort so that gamers can fully appreciate the game, like the previously mentioned The Witcher 3.

Don't get me wrong, I love an open world game that lets you get lost in the setting. However, what's the point if the content in the game is side-lined so that the map's size means nothing anyway? Hopefully developers will soon realize that the sheer size of a world isn't what ultimately sells; it's what the player can experience and do within that world that's crucial to its design.

What's your take on open worlds? Are today's games getting it right or wrong? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!

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5 Most Loving and Compassionate Mothers in RPG History https://www.gameskinny.com/stha4/5-most-loving-and-compassionate-mothers-in-rpg-history https://www.gameskinny.com/stha4/5-most-loving-and-compassionate-mothers-in-rpg-history Tue, 02 May 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

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There you have it. Each of these gaming moms have shown us something different in what it means to be a mother, but all of them are portraying the same thing -- the love they have for their children.

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Mother's day is coming round once again, so with that in mind, why don't you take the words from the picture above and say them to your mom. I think it's fair to say that we often don't say them enough, and this time of year is a great reminder of everything they do for us. If a person in a game is able to resonate love more so than we do in the real world, then we need to step up! I challenge you all to give your mother a hug today. Go on, do it.

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Are there any mothers in games that you love? Heck, you may just want to tell everyone how much you love your own mother. Sound off in the comments, and happy Mother's Day!

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Bonus: Jun Kazama - Tekken Series

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Jun may be from a fighting series rather than an RPG, but that doesn't make her any less of a great mother, so she manages to sneak in at the end of this list as bonus entry -- yes I know I've cheated a bit, but she is a bonus mom.

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At face value, Jun plays an extremely minimal role throughout the series, as she only appears in one canon game -- Tekken 2. However, this role portrays who she was as a person and what she meant to her son, Jin.

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The Mishima/Kazama saga throughout the fighting franchise has been one of hatred, evil plotting, bloodshed and devil related mishaps. Both Jin and Kazuya have been plagued by the devil gene for the entire duration of the series, but sadly Jun, the only ounce of purity and goodness in the family, died, or at the very least, disappeared.

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Jun was determined to guide Jin and Kazuya through their struggle with the demonic gene. So much so that her very presence kept it at bay. As a character she is wildly juxtaposed to her family as a nature loving, calming influence.

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A lesson to be learned here is that amidst the chaos of our lives, a mother can sometimes be the only source of happiness in our lives. Don't take that for granted.

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Allie - Ni No Kuni

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Allie is an example of a mother who puts her life in extreme danger for the sake of her son.

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Spoilers incoming. Although she ultimately dies from a heart condition, Allie is quick to rescue Oliver from a river before he drowns at the start of the game. For a mother to put her own life on the line and do something like this is the ultimate sacrifice. It's a personification of the love that they have for their children.

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Throughout Oliver's adventures, although Allie is not physically with him, she is what keeps him going. He may not see her, but on a transcendental level, she has never left. It is this that makes Ni No Kuni a truly touching story.

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This game teaches all of us an important and heartfelt lesson. Even when our mothers might not be with us, the legacy they leave behind always lives on. It sounds cheesy, but it's most definitely true. Through our memories and abundant love for our mothers, they will always remain close.

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Lara - Chrono Trigger

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Lara is a mother who, while not doing much herself, indirectly represents a loving mother through the actions of her daughter, Lucca.

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Once Lucca is able to time travel with her friends, the option to revisit her mother in a heartwarming side quest becomes available. Lara is a paraplegic who unfortunately became paralyzed after a tragic incident with a sewing machine but Lucca is able to erase any memory of this happening if you are quick enough.

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This quest in Chrono Trigger will take you back before the moment occurred, and if Lucca enters a specific password (L-A-R-A, for the record -- how touching), history will be rewritten and her mother will be forever cured of paralysis, or rather, it will have never even happened.

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For a child to go to lengths such as this to help their mother is proof enough that they love her to pieces. Going back in time to save our mothers from something is probably out of the equation, but doing something to relay that love will always be received with adoration.

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Ness' Mother - Earthbound

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Whereas a mother's love is able to keep the mother herself going in King's Quest VII, it is also what keeps the child going, as Earthbound alludes to.

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Ness' mother, who has no name, will regularly feed Ness' favorite food and give him a place to sleep so that he can be fully rejuvenated for the next fight. It's the simple stuff that counts, am I right?

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Better yet, if Ness doesn't come by and say hello to his mother enough, either through visiting or a by calling her, he will eventually become homesick. This can occasionally cause him to miss a turn in battle, so it just goes to show that a child needs their mother in order to keep enduring the hard times. 

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Without our mothers, we aren't a strong as we should be. They can do a world of good for all of us, so just remember, if your mother makes you some food, be sure to thank her for it afterwards.

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Valanice - King's Quest VII

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Queen Valanice was proclaimed as a compassionate soul to just about everyone she met. Her loving heart relayed to her own daughter, and when she was sadly kidnapped, Valanice leaped into action to save her in King's Quest VII.

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Being the protagonist of the seventh entry in the series, Valanice braves harsh climates and environments in order to be reunited with her daughter. A face of beauty couldn't quite cut it when going up against giant scorpions and other nasties, but Valanice's sheer love and desperation to see her daughter again won the day.

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It's a clichéd term, but love does conquer all. In Valanice's case, it allowed her to courageously venture across dangerous lands for the sake of her child. Would your mother do that for you? You may be inclined to say no, but when push comes to shove, you'd be surprised at what a mother would be willing to do to keep their child out of harm's way.

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Lirum - Lost Odyssey

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Now we're moving on from Flemeth and going right to the other end of the spectrum. Lirum is a shining example of a mother who loves her children unconditionally despite having a truly hard life.

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After being separated from her parents when she was only a young child, Lirum spent almost her entire life searching for them so she could be with them once more. In that time, she bore children, Cooke and Mack. The quirky twins may have opposing personalities, but they both love their mother more than anything else.

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Once Kaim was able to be reunited with his daughter, it was too late to conventionally cure Lirum from the condition that she had been stricken with. Get ready for some gut wrenching spoilers here... In her final moments, Lirum wearily addresses her loved ones saying how much of a joy they were to her, before passing away in front of them.

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If this isn't enough to have you crying yourself to sleep, then do yourself a favor and go and tell your mother how much you love her. Seriously. Do it right now. Lirum's final moments in the Lost Odyssey compels you to!

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Dishonorable Mention: Flemeth - Dragon Age Series

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As a bonus before we begin, let's take a lot at a mother who acts as a very bad role model for every child-bearing parent across the globe.

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Morrigan's life was made much harder thanks to this witch. The not-so loving Flemeth literally absorbs the souls of her daughters in order to extend her own life. That right there is not a compassionate act of motherhood. 

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Morrigan fortunately escaped her, much to our delight, and then sees her somewhat estranged mother once again in Dragon Age: Inquisition. She isn't too thrilled with this reunion, and spares no expense in showing her disgust but Flemeth toys with her nonetheless.

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We still have to give Flemeth a little credit. She recognizes Morrigan's potential and isn't villainous to her outright, but if you're looking for a mother brimming with compassion, this isn't the lady you should be seeking.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-loving-mummy-8a3e9.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-loving-mummy-8a3e9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"157443","description":"

Who doesn't love their own mother?

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The very person who brought all of us into this world is someone we should always look up to. A special bond between mother and child is something to be cherished and with Mother's Day just around the corner in the States, it's something that should be on many people's mind right about now.

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Although it may not be seen as important in the world of gaming, RPGs throughout the years have given us a glimpse into the (sometimes harsh) reality of being a mother and how their love for their child resonates with other characters, whether it's through their words or actions.

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To get us into that Mother's Day spirit (not that we should need it anyway), here is a list of 5 mothers in RPGs whose love for their children is too big for words.

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The Top 8 Open World Games So Far https://www.gameskinny.com/udwie/the-top-8-open-world-games-so-far https://www.gameskinny.com/udwie/the-top-8-open-world-games-so-far Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Stephen Brown

For many people, a big draw for playing video games is escapism. They allow you to break away from the monotony of real life for a few hours a day. And they give players tons of freedom -- freedom to choose how they play, freedom to be someone else, freedom to explore a huge and vivid world.

That's why open world games have become hugely popular over the last 10 years or so. In fact, they've become so popular that the genre is starting to feel oversaturated -- especially with lots of both sub-par indies and AAA games crowding the market. But in the myriad of open world games out there, there are several that really get their game worlds right.

Here are a few of my favorites. Let's see why they're the best of the bunch. 

8. Dying Light (2015)

From Dying Light: the Following

Big open spaces, slaying hordes of zombies, parkour, what more could you ask for in this undead recipe for incredible fun. Dying Light got so much right when it comes to freedom and exploration. The maps were huge (especially the map in the Following DLC), combat was extremely satisfying, particularly when you unlock new moves and upgrade your weapons allowing for more unique fighting situations.

The first person parkour system was a great design choice in allowing for greater immersion and heightens the scarier sections, more so at night when facing the fast and deadly volatile. Even though the main story is nothing to write home about, the rest of the game more than makes up for this plus, the DLC improves the game even more with the addition of having a vehicle to roam around in.

7. Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014)

Being a huge fan of the Dragon Age franchise, I was cautiously optimistic when Dragon Age: Inquisition was announced to be open world. Although yes, it is not fully open world as the world is split up into sections, however those sections are so massive, I believe it still counts.

After the mixed reception of Dragon Age 2 (I personally liked the game despite its flaws), the move from linear corridors to open environments was a huge breath of fresh air. The locales are rich, vibrant, massive and greatly varied. I found the combat the best in the series, a good mix between the tactile Origins and action heavy second game. More importantly, the story and characters. Storywise it was better than 2 but not as good as Origins, I found the main villain to be a bit weak and not hugely threatening, however he does the job competently.

The characters on the the other hand is one of the game's standout aspects, Characters like Iron Bull, Dorian, Varric, Vivienne, and Cassandra are all very likeable and hilarious. They all share banter between each other adding to their personalities. Also, Morrigan makes a return who makes the game 10 times better by herself.

6. Red Dead Redemption (2010)

I've never been a fan of Grand Theft Auto but I appreciate their significance in the open world genre. Red Dead Redemption on the other hand I absolutely love, from its world, the wild west setting and its strong cast of characters to the gripping and ultimately sad ending.

The main character, John Marston, is a relatable and highly likeable anti-hero. A man wanting redemption for his past criminal actions in order to provide a better life for his family. With a wide range of side quests and activities to indulge your time in such as playing poker and bounty hunting, you'll be kept busy for a long time.

The online play was massively fun and only added greater value to this wild west masterpiece. Also having one of the best DLC's ever in Undead Nightmare, is just the icing on the cake as it allowed you to fight the undead horde on the back of a horse from hell.

5. Final Fantasy 15 (2016)

A game 10 years in the making. For gamers and fans of the series, 10 agonising years of delays and waiting. Well, Final Fantasy XV finally came out and luckily, it hardly suffered from the development cycle hell of those painfully long years.

It's visually stunning game with a massive open world that you can traverse by walking, by chocobo or by literally cruising in your car which is made better by the fact that you have a radio that allows you to listen to a huge selection of songs from the entire series. The strong cast of main characters are enjoyable to have on the adventure and the main villain is arguably one of the most complex and intriguing in the entire series, on par with the likes of Sephiroth and Kefka.

Having an action combat system similar to Kingdom Hearts is a much welcome change for the franchise, being tactical, fast paced and engaging. Having watched Kingsglaive and Brotherhood beforehand added to the story and together, make the overall narrative one of the best in the series.

4. Minecraft (2011)

One of the best selling games of all time, Minecraft captured the hearts of gamers worldwide with its simplistic art style and premise, complete freedom to create whatever you want.

Do you want to just build a small house to store things while you go off exploring, you can do that. How about turning to agriculture and slowly building the biggest farm you can think of, sure go ahead. Perhaps you want to go in creative mode with unlimited resources so you can design and build an explorable Hogwarts, by all means, if you have the time just do it.

Giving this much freedom of choice to the player is what makes Minecraft arguably one of the greatest open world games ever created. Just watch out for a faint hissing noise while building and near explosives as you might just see your entire creation destroyed by a creeper.

3. Fallout New Vegas (2010)

With this entry in the series, it is arguably the best in Bethesda's side of the franchise. Don't get me wrong, I like Fallout 3 but New Vegas improved so many aspects, making it stand out much more than the others. Furthermore, Fallout 4 was such a disappointment for me but I won't get into that in this list.

What made New Vegas so good was the focus on player choice leading to such diversity in its factions and endings, however my only major gripe with the game was that you could not continue after the final mission. You had to reload a previous save, but it wasn't a big enough deal, just a design choice.

The companion system was improved, allowing you to receive experience if your follower killed something making it a better plan to have a companion with you. Overall, I liked the setting of Nevada and the interesting story and side quests, the DLC wasn't as good as Fallout 3 but were still good additions.

2. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)

What?! How do I think Oblivion is better than Skyrim. Well, frankly I genuinely feel that Oblivion added to and improved the Elder Scrolls series much more than Skyrim. It drastically improved the combat from Morrowind, however Bethesda, no matter what entry in the franchise still hasn't got a magic system that works very well.

This game feels more Elder Scrolls for me than Skyrim, it has more heart and soul. The plastic skinned characters actually spoke as if they were interested in what you had to say whereas most citizens of Skyrim sounded tired and depressed. The guilds were mostly better, offering truly unique side quests such as the murder house quests, where you're tasked with assassinating everyone in the mansion whilst watching them slowly go mad and accusing everyone else but you.

It was moments like this that made Oblivion stand out as my favourite Bethesda RPG. It also helps that it has one of the best pieces of add on content, the Shivering Isles, which was such an incredible adventure to experience.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

Well, what can I already say about this masterpiece of an RPG that many others haven't already said. The Witcher 3 truly and drastically changed my expectations for what an open world game can achieve. Its main narrative kept me hooked throughout my total 90 hours in the main game.

This was only amplified by the diverse, interesting and multi-dimensional characters that inhabited the world. I felt so invested in these characters that when anything bad happened to them, it made me really emotional (even actually crying at some points). Its combat was addictively fun and strategic, where boss battles really tested your skill and reflexes, particularly on harder difficulties.

One of the most important positive aspects of this game is that it has arguably the best side quest design in an open world game, where I really wanted to find and complete side quests just for the story that accompanied them and not for the prospect of a reward.

The generous price for quality DLC, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine are some of if not the best DLC ever made, with the former really experimenting with the narrative, culminating in one of the most creepy and well design boss sections I've played. The latter added a massive and visually different region to the main game, which I spent roughly 30 hours exploring and finishing to completion.

I would love to go into greater detail about how much I love the Witcher 3, but I can't, so I will say this last thing. Long after the credits rolled and months after my second playthrough on the hardest difficulty, I'm longing to go back right to the beginning and start again. I want to see all the characters and experience the amazing side missions all over again.

My Final Thoughts

I definitely believe that open world games have that certain quality that makes it easy for us gamers to become hooked and invested in these games. But it is when these incredibly designed worlds are joined with impeccable storytelling and relatable and interesting characters that make the journey/experience all the more worthwhile and memorable.

When a game makes you think about its story, world and characters long after finishing is when you know that the developers have made something truly special. For me, The Witcher 3 did this with such ease and grace and that's why it is my favourite open world game ever so far. Thanks for reading.

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6 RPGs With Terrible Animations That Are Still Worth Your Time https://www.gameskinny.com/kkfw6/6-rpgs-with-terrible-animations-that-are-still-worth-your-time https://www.gameskinny.com/kkfw6/6-rpgs-with-terrible-animations-that-are-still-worth-your-time Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

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Most RPGs

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You don’t have to look far to find bad animations in the RPG genre. RPG’s have often been at the forefront of the industry when it comes to pushing new gameplay types, as they often abstract new ideas and concepts into creative gameplay. But extra breadth and depth of systems have often left RPGs lacking in the artistic departments. After all, creating high-quality art for 60 hours of content is harder than for 10 hours of content.

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It’s undeniable that games like Fallout 4 do not have the same polished gameplay, including animations, as games like Call of Duty. But that’s not the draw of RPGs, it never was.

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Do you even care if RPGs have bad animations? Or do you think that RPGs need the polish in gameplay and animations? Let us know in the comments below!

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World of Warcraft

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Blizzard is too Busy Counting Benjamins to Care About Animations
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There are a couple big reasons that WoW’s animations are bad:

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  1. WoW is an old game - sure it has overgone some makeovers, but it at its core it is still an old game.
  2. \n
  3. It is an MMO - fancier graphics make it harder for people to run the game, thus reducing your viable demographic. It is a balancing act.
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One of the aspects that make MMO animations look so bad, WoW’s in particular, is the way characters move. They hop and spin in mid-air in a way that is unnatural even for video games. They walk through other characters. Bulky armor often clips through level geometry, particularly in buildings. Attacks track an insane amount.

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Alas, bad animations have not derailed this behemoth MMORPG as it has aged well over a decade plus.

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Tales of Berseria

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Cutting (and Clipping) Corners!
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It can be hard to watch footage and get the feeling that the animations in Berseria are bad (they just don't look it). But playing the game conveys a huge lack of polish.

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When you press the analog stick forward it feels like your character instantly starts running at full speed; the transition between standing and running is not smooth at all.

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Your character also doesn’t rotate smoothly when running. It often looks like you are merely running straight and then your character is just rotated when they change direction. The character does not bother to lean towards the direction they are moving as they shift their weight.

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It's a lot of subtlety that was not there in the PS2’s generation, but which was brought into animation on the last gen of consoles.

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Moreover, many of the attacks in Tales of Berseria yank your character around, removing them from their “center of gravity” so to speak. For instance, there’s an attack where your character hops right of where she was standing and leaps from right to left while swiping. She starts in the middle, jumps off the the right, and then yanks over to the left before unnaturally resetting in the middle. In short, the animations feel low budget.

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Thankfully the anime style helps save the day. Character models don’t need to be as detailed because of this. A lot of the dialogue that’s delivered via text blurbs is also accompanied by anime portraits. And the fully animated cutscenes are honestly gorgeous.

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Final Fantasy XV

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Beauty is a Beast (to Control)
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One of my first impressions/concerns of Final Fantasy XV after watching gameplay footage was, ”this looks fun but sluggish.” It looked as if there was so much concentration placed into making an attack feel weighty that it ended up making it feel slow and unresponsive. Similarly, some of the animations were made to look so aesthetically beautiful that they don’t actually feel all that good, like jumping.

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When I first played ME:A, I wasn’t in love with the look of the jump --  although it wasn’t bad --  then I realized it felt great, and this made me love it way more. This was the opposite reaction I had to the jump in FFXV.

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That being said, FFXV is a fun road trip with your pals, especially the earlier parts. And there’s something cathartic about that.

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Salt and Sanctuary

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Picking on the Little Guy
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This game is really easy to suggest. Do you like 2D platformers? Do you like the Souls games? If you answered yes to both of those questions then you will almost certainly enjoy this game. In fact, one of the main knocks on the game was not that it did a poor job copying the spirit of the Souls games, but that it was so close to those games that it lacked its own identity. Something that wouldn’t actually be a problem had the developers in question been From Software or their past employees.

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Salt and Sanctuary's jilted animations are more forgivable since it was developed by a small team, unlike the other games on this list. It is reminiscent of stop-motion paper animation. So if you like that art style then you will probably like this game's style.

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Fallout 4

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Bad, but Not Oblivion
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Bethesda is similar to Bioware in that they have also helped drive the RPG genre in recent years, but they also have some pretty bad animations in their games, and their name also starts with the letter ‘B’.

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Now let’s not pretend that Fallout 4’s animations are great. The characters often look stiff when moving. And enemies in particular either don’t react to being shot, or they completely overreact by flying 15 feet upon getting hit with a kill shot.

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I would even go as far to say that facial animations look less natural in Fallout 4 than in ME:A. However, I think that most reactions have smoother transitions and are less jarring than what happens in ME:A at times.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

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All in the Family
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Bioware’s strong suit has never been animation. While it did not suffer from the same degree of bad facial animations as the likes of ME:A, it's combat animations were arguably worse.

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A common running theme you will find on this list is that half of what makes an animation good is how the character controls. This is to say when you have the controller in your hand does the action you are doing feel like it matches with the actions on screen. Does the character move in sync with your button presses? Is the character responsive? Etc.

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While ME:A’s combat feels smooth and responsive, DA:I’s can feel like a weird mashup between action game and RPG. It is not quite as action-oriented as a full blown ARPG, like Darksiders, but it is definitely not as rooted in RPG tradition as Dragon Age: Origins was.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda’s animations have been complained about and mocked ever since early pre-release footage. In the days leading up to release the noise only got louder with the bubble finally bursting a few days later.

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Having played the game a good deal, I can agree: the animations aren’t great; facial animations, in particular, are pretty bad.

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Humans make odd faces, many of which are not very natural. Often characters look like you pulled someone off the street and asked them to act. Many times the animations wouldn’t be bad per say, but would be jarring. For instance, a character might quickly transition between exceptionally happy and profoundly sad. The game’s heavy emphasis on storytelling means bad facial animations are immediately evident.

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There are much smaller animation problems in other aspects of the game. For instance, when your weapon is put away Ryder’s movement feels like you are moving on ice.

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In spite of some wonky animations, I’ve found ME:A to be thoroughly enjoyable when combat is at its finest. So I decided to gather some other RPGs with bad animations that also happen to be pretty darned fun.

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Sex and the Shitty: Why RPGs Should Break up With Relationship Quests https://www.gameskinny.com/1t6l5/sex-and-the-shitty-why-rpgs-should-break-up-with-relationship-quests https://www.gameskinny.com/1t6l5/sex-and-the-shitty-why-rpgs-should-break-up-with-relationship-quests Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:00:01 -0500 Rob Kershaw

If you've watched RPGs develop over the last twenty years, it won't have escaped your attention that the relationship dynamic has changed. Once studios moved away from creating adventuring parties filled with clichéd D&D classes and started developing them into more nuanced groups with thoughts, feelings and actual conversations, role-playing improved dramatically in almost every aspect. Except romance.

BioWare should be applauded for dragging CRPGs out of the wilderness in the late 90s, resulting in a thriving gaming genre which continues to innovate with each new release. But with Baldur's Gate II they were also responsible for bringing relationship quests to western gamers. A well-meaning act, to be sure, but as we look at almost every similar party-based RPG since (and even some single-character series), a horrible picture becomes painfully apparent. Relationship quests have failed.

A Modest Beginning

In truth, it wasn't the most auspicious of starts for romance. In Shadows of Amn if you played a male character, you were given the option of hitting on Aerie (an elf who would throw herself at you almost immediately), Viconia (an evil elf) or Jaheira (an elf who had literally just lost her husband in a horrible murder but, you know, romance). Female characters got one option: Anomen, a misogynist. Not the best way to represent a user base which -- depending on the poll you consider -- is either equal to or greater than the male base.

If you wanted to hook up with someone in your party, you needed to wait until they initialized a conversation with you, and then pick the "correct" response to continue to keep their attention. It might have taken a dozen or so interactions over the course of the game to fully complete the relationship quest (namely, get down and dirty), but that was the problem -- the end goal wasn't a relationship, just sex. You could argue that Jaheira's sub-plot was slightly more rounded than that of the other two female characters, but only because she didn't dump you after the deed was done. 

There are two factors here that fundamentally destroys relationship quests: the writing, and the mechanic that delivers it.

What Makes A Relationship, Anyway?

When you program a relationship -- for that is what any game developer is doing -- you're immediately restricting a player to whatever you believe that relationship should look and sound like. By their very nature, relationships are incredibly complicated connections. They rely not just on what is said, but what is not said. How people look at each other. The way they move. Their body language. These are all factors which a dialog-based role-playing game simply cannot emulate.

As such, the only tool available for the player to use in order to win over the object of their affection is words, spoken or written. And in every mainstream Western RPG to date, the only way that tool has been implemented is in the form of a selection of words or sentences, from which your response can be chosen.

Whether you believe that the romantic relationship is developing accurately is therefore entirely dependent on the quality of the writing that makes up each portion of the conversation -- both what your prospective paramour says, and your response. Is it believable? Are the options open to you completely representative of what you would want to say, or happen?

The answer -- regardless of the game you play -- will always be no.

A Difference Of Opinion

The reason that this method of delivering relationships in games will never work is because they are condensed into a mechanic which is far too simplistic to be able to cope with their nuance. What works narratively for one gamer will seem laughable to a hundred others. There is simply no way of creating a relationship quest that everyone will find realistic, thus dooming its inclusion in a game immediately.

What these quests fail to consider -- amongst many other things -- is the effect that they have on characters not involved in that relationship. In earlier BioWare games you were either involved with a character or not, and the opinion of others in your party was rarely offered, if ever. If you started a romance with one character, you immediately cut off ties to every other potential partner.

Are relationships never acknowledged in real life by anyone mutually connected to the two people involved? Do people who are dating immediately commit themselves to the first person they are attracted to? Of course not, both of these scenarios would be ridiculous. Yet, here it is in digital form, and gamers are expected to swallow it as a real representation of life? Come on.

In addition, the balance of sexuality was also dubiously weighted. Take Mass Effect for example -- in the first two games, female protagonists were able to romance both male and female partners, whilst male protagonists were offered strictly heterosexual relationships. It almost seemed as though the games were catering for the stereotypical adolescent male gamer, failing to accurately represent societal progression and acceptance. You could almost hear the drooling masses salivate about the prospect of seeing digital girl-on-girl fun times. Yet the awkwardly rendered scenes that depicted almost every coupling (and which game artists still haven't resolved) make it a hollow experience, regardless of the genders involved.

From the Mass Effect imbalance we moved to the extreme opposite in Dragon Age -- especially in the second game, where over half of the recruitable characters were bisexual and able to be romanced by either gender. It felt like overkill in the other direction, as if BioWare had decided that sexuality itself was the problem with relationship quests, rather than the way in which relationships themselves were portrayed.

Other RPGs fare no better in this regard. The Witcher was notorious for giving Geralt a series of ladies to bonk his way through, and the mechanic of offering gifts (also used in Dragon Age 2) came across as a little tawdry. The po-faced nature of the scenes in CD Projekt Red's offering stood in stark contrast to games which lampooned the very idea -- like the Fable series. Partners were simply window dressing, as superficial and gratuitous as every third scene in an episode of Spartacus.

But What Have You Achieved?

Even if the way romantic relationships were approached and developed in games was represented in a realistic manner, they would still fail. Why? Because in pretty much every respect, they have been reduced to a mere facet of the game rather than an essential and pivotal part of the story. To return to Mass Effect again: your relationship reaches its climax when you do. Literally. The entire purpose of this quest is to get your target into bed, regardless of what superfluous dialog surrounded that escapade. After that? Meh. Don't worry about it -- we'll just repeat the same thing for the next two games. Oh, and if you happen to have the same player character on your team in the next game, forget any meaningful carry-over of romance. It just gets reset, and you have to woo them all over again.

It reduces the relationship to the equivalent of a trophy -- another step towards platinum status where you can congratulate yourself on achieving... what, exactly? The plot hasn't been altered in any significant manner. There's no mention of you not wanting your significant other not to get involved in the forthcoming war because you don't want them to get hurt. There's no remark about your future plans together once you've killed whatever Big Bad is currently threatening the world. It's a superficial side quest, nothing more, and treating it as such undermines the entire purpose of including it in the first place.

Maybe the sands have shifted in that direction after a failed couple of decades of experimentation in the arena. Both Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny jettisoned relationships of this kind altogether, and their absence certainly didn't hurt either game. Similarly, the forthcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera will also be steering clear of them.

And until romantic relationships can be represented in a realistic manner in RPGs, they're frankly better off without them.

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5 Greatest RPG Love Stories in Gaming History https://www.gameskinny.com/0rw5t/5-greatest-rpg-love-stories-in-gaming-history https://www.gameskinny.com/0rw5t/5-greatest-rpg-love-stories-in-gaming-history Sat, 11 Feb 2017 16:06:02 -0500 Emily Parker

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No matter how you like your love story in an RPG, there seems to be a game out there for all of us. 

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As gamers continue to get more diverse, so will our stories. It will be exciting to see what kind of love stories the next generation of games will tell, and which will be remembered form this generation. 

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What are some of your favorite love stories in RPGs? Is there a story you would like to see told that hasn't been?

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Dragon Age: Inquisition -- A whole lot of people

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There needed to be a choose your own love story RPG on the list, and DA:I has plenty of great ones. It was almost a toss up between this and the Mass Effect series, but the character writing in Dragon Age: Inquisition arguably pushes it over the edge. 

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Shout out to Bioware for having two major franchises with hundreds of potential love stories that are effortlessly charming and refreshingly inclusive.

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Shout out to my girl Josephine as well, look forward to picking back up where we left off in Dragon Age 4 someday. 

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Final Fantasy X - Yuna and Tidus

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A refreshing break from the traditional JRPG love story, Yuna and Tidus are friends and allies first and lovers eventually. The story also veers away from the typical approach by heavily focusing on Yuna and her journey, especially if we factor in Final Fantasy X-2

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Depending on your point of view and whether you play the sequel, this story can be a real tear-jerker. Lucky for you, both have remasters available on current gen consoles. 

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The Witcher 3 Triss or Yennefer

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Maybe one of the hardest decisions all year, The Witcher 3 had two fierce and unique love choices for Geralt.

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Unlike other games where romance options often feel like making a selection off a take-out menu, these two women are fully developed characters. As such, there are real consequences if you screw it all up.

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True to the rest of the game (and franchise), the believe-ability of either romance comes from creative and humorous writing. (We're Team Yennefer, by the way!)

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To the Moon - Johnny and River

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If you like a heavy dose of realism and melancholy with your love story, go add this masterpiece to you Steam queue right now. 

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It is heavy, and painful and sad and somewhat hopeful. Sometimes, though, that's exactly the kind of story you want to play through on Valentine's Day. 

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To The Moon is a story a driven indie game with no combat. In fact, it's one of the very best adventure games in a very, very long time -- a love note, if you will, to adventure games of yesteryear. 

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Xenoblade - Fei and Elly

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Xenoblade's story is incredible for many reasons, but at its heart, it's a love story that spans centuries. 

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If epic is your speed, there may not be a more epic love story ever told. Fei and Elly find each other over the course of several lifetimes. Through all of the years of political, religious and social unrest, their partnership is a reliable constant. 

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The reality of a love story is that it will always be a deeply personal experience, just like the subject matter itself. 

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Whether it is relateable to the player or not depends heavily on the player. This list is an attempt to pull quality examples from several types of love stories, from light-hearted to devastating to epic.

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We'll leave out the (big) spoilers as well, so you can pick out something to play through for Valentine's Day.  

"}]]]>
All the Feels: Does Story Really Matter in RPGs? https://www.gameskinny.com/og0r0/all-the-feels-does-story-really-matter-in-rpgs https://www.gameskinny.com/og0r0/all-the-feels-does-story-really-matter-in-rpgs Fri, 03 Feb 2017 12:21:49 -0500 Emily Parker

Most of us can remember a time when a great RPG and complex storytelling went hand in hand. Games like Dragon Quest V, Xenogearsand Final Fantasy 9 are all famous for their stories and how well they were told. Their intricate story lines held these games and their worlds together. 

As RPGs have become incredibly popular, studios continue to look for ways to make them increasingly accessible to the masses. One of these ways is to condense the main storyline, so that those more interested in gameplay, or a quick run, are more likely to enjoy their playthrough. This is a largely unpopular move for dedicated RPG fans, and sometimes lends to new gamers skipping so much of the world around them they end up disliking the game.   

Separating story and lore is a daunting task in older RPGs.

The main story forced you to learn about the world around you, sometimes in very time intensive ways. Newer RPGs, such as Skyrim and Dragon Age: Inquisition take a slightly different approach. While the stories are still pretty consuming and interesting, they are just cliff notes compared to what you can learn about the world around you by exploring it. 

Giving players both options, in my opinion, is a step in the right direction. I understand the nostalgia and desire for story driven RPGs, and I hope they will continue to be available. I also get that distilling the story is a push towards including a more casual player base, which is largely frowned upon in the gamer community.

While it is difficult to imagine our most beloved RPGs without their stories, I would argue that removing the main story (for whatever reason) is a step towards unlocking an RPGs full potential. 

In a well-designed RPG the main story line does not matter as much, because the player creates their own. 

The most important aspect of RPGs is choice. From the character customization screen to the last skill points you spend, people love the genre because of what their character can become. This does require a world to explore and challenges to meet, but creating a story for them is not always necessary.

It's interesting to wonder how some games would be different if more technology was available when those original RPGs were created. Would they even be focused around a main story line? Would they instead be more solidly products of player creation?

The ultimate player control is removing a pre-narrated story and allowing the player to craft their own. The overwhelming success of MMORPGs relies heavily on this tactic. Many still include a story to follow, but their lasting success comes from the community driven stories those game allow players to create. Every guild war, auction house upset, raid boss takedown, and in-world discovery creates a lasting connection to the game, especially if you accomplished it yourself. 

In a first-person and primarily single-player world, this requires a different approach. Not just a multiple endings type effort, but a seamless experience from beginning to end. I hope that it's only a matter of time until AI and procedural generation will be able to take on first person RPGs in more impactful ways.  

As RPGs head into the future, I'm excited to see more reliance on innovation and less reliance on story. There is a place in all genres for a well-told story, and maybe we'll even see a genre emerge that is specifically for this purpose. But pushing the limits of the RPG genre's capabilities and creating the most memorable role-playing games will come down to customization and player choice, not storytelling. In many ways, a good story is holding us back.

Story matters, but is not the most important thing in a great RPG. Do you agree? Where do you see the genre heading in the future? Let me know in the comments!

]]>
Greatest RPG Buffs and Debuffs -- and Their Real World Counterparts https://www.gameskinny.com/qpfuq/greatest-rpg-buffs-and-debuffs-and-their-real-world-counterparts https://www.gameskinny.com/qpfuq/greatest-rpg-buffs-and-debuffs-and-their-real-world-counterparts Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Emily Parker

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Buffs and debuffs are an integral part to pacing and difficulty of RPGs. Try to think back to your favorite playthroughs and what a difference these modifiers can make in the experience.

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What are your favorite status modifiers? Do you have any that made a game? Broke it? Let us know in the comment section below.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/u/l/luluposter-863f7.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/u/l/luluposter-863f7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"147642","description":"
Final Fantasy X - Focus
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While not the most glamorous choice from Lulu's moves list, stacking focus five times powered up her magic and made her quite a bit more durable. Opposite of a war cry or cheer, Lulu's buff was about looking in for power.

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Meditation is no joke. A recent shake down of old meditation studies (to verify that they were conducted true to the scientific method) still left several incredible findings unscathed.

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In some instances it can be as effective as medication in treating depression and anxiety. Closer to Lulu's uses, meditation has been proven over and over to positively affect concentration.

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A recent case study, specific to concentration, showed participants sent to a meditation retreat performed significantly (eventually 10x) better on performance tests than the control group.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f09e0af67af3d43bf1b628b5cb7af215.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f09e0af67af3d43bf1b628b5cb7af215.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"10213","description":"
Dark Souls 3 - Toxic
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Troll Video by: Fighter .PL

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Toxic and poison were nerfed in our newest installment of the Dark Souls franchise, but it is still the RPG to check out if you take DoT effects seriously. While poison is serious, Toxic can be devastating. The effect causes damage every second for 300 seconds.

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Poison and Toxic in Dark Souls can be caused by a variety of items, and poison in real life is no different.

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The history books are full of people poisoning entire armies with different plants and, more recently, chemical concoctions. This may be the one thing video games have to re-create more modestly, or a poison build would be the only way to go. 

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Three women serial killers of Ancient Rome, Locusta, Canidia and Martina, are rumored to have taken out several nobles and even emperors. They preferred nightshade, but were skilled with several types.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/e/f/definitely-aatxia-upload-halorith-d951em7-8d784.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/e/f/definitely-aatxia-upload-halorith-d951em7-8d784.jpg","type":"slide","id":"147405","description":"
Skyrim - Ataxia
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Comic by: Halorith

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Diseases in RPGs are often based on real life ailments. Why create something brand new when we have such a long list of ailments to choose from? It would be difficult to imagine anything worse than what humans already suffer with.

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For instance, Ataxia is actually a neurological symptom characterized by loss of control over voluntary movements. Those suffering from Ataxia may have trouble buttoning their shirts, using eating utensils or using a keyboard. This is closely aligned with Skyrim's Ataxia debuff, which lowers the player's pick pocketing and lock picking abilities.

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Real life Ataxia is caused by severe head trauma, often from car accidents, so it's easy to see how the Dragonborn might end up with the debuff.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition - War Cry
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There's nothing better than letting out a battle cry before charging into your enemies in an RPG. Dragon Age: Inquisition's War Cry affords your warrior some more health to work with in the upcoming battle.

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A particularly well known battle cry came from the Ancient Grecian Phalanx. Directly before charging into battle, the Greek warriors would bang their shields and yell, “Alala!” or “Eleleu!” With thousands of hoplites crying out, the sound resembled a flock of birds. This served a dual purpose of sounding pretty terrifying and also invoking Apollo, to lay some sweet buffs on them right before battle.

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More likely, they were affecting their own adrenaline and pain tolerance. War cries have been proven to have uncanny effects in both of these areas, but without years of psychological case studies, a hoplite would likely think they were being blessed by Apollo.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/u/m/tumblr-mfdz0bf0pm1qdch9co1-500-106e9.gif","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/u/m/tumblr-mfdz0bf0pm1qdch9co1-500-106e9.gif","type":"slide","id":"147321","description":"
World of Warcraft - Polymorph
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The most iconic of all the debuffs, the CC to rule them all and sometimes the funniest thing to happen all battleground is a mage's polymorph spell, or "sheeping."

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History is riddled with tales of humans being turned into animals for the caster's convenience. The most famous of them all is a Brother's Grimm tale: "The Frog Prince." There are several replications of the tale, but the general idea remains the same. You never know if that's just another sheep, or a prince inconveniently polymorphed into one.

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A more literal interpretation of real life polymorphing and other video game shifting could be extracted from our views on evolution. Nothing quite this time efficient happens visibly, but on the nano level it's easy to see rapid morphing and mutating.

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Viruses are constantly evolving to survive, and the majority of changes occur to their appearance. The more a virus differs visually from it's predecessors the more likely it is to go unnoticed by pathogens and thus rapid evolution, or morphing.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/a/praisethesun-3c1cd.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/a/praisethesun-3c1cd.png","type":"slide","id":"147420","description":"

Status effects are a standard in RPGS and have been for some time. They can make or break a boss battle, grouping effort, or new dungeon attempt.

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Pulling from each category, here's a list of buffs and debuffs that really stand out in their respective games and some speculation on where the ideas for them came from.

"}]]]>
5 Most Useless Party Members in the Most Popular RPGs https://www.gameskinny.com/co7mp/5-most-useless-party-members-in-the-most-popular-rpgs https://www.gameskinny.com/co7mp/5-most-useless-party-members-in-the-most-popular-rpgs Wed, 04 Jan 2017 03:00:02 -0500 StraightEdge434

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1. Any Companion from Skyrim
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Watch out Lydia fans, cause we're coming for you! Companions (no, not the group in Whiterun...) suck. All of them. Yes, each one is different, with a different arsenal of skills and weapons, but at the end of the day, they'll simply ruin your experience.

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Traveling through a Draugr dungeon, being careful enough not to set off any pressure plate traps (or any other traps for that matter)? Don't worry! Those brainless fools will take care of that, ignoring the trap completely and setting it off for you! Or, wish to avoid a more powerful enemy, and not engage it in combat, knowing that it'll annihilate you? No fear, your awful companion is here! They won't care who the opponent is! Brave, or stupid? Probably the latter. By them fighting a stronger enemy, they are increasing the chances of their own death, and are dragging you into the fight, hoping that you'll rescue them...or most likely die a stupid death.

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----

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Did you ever have any terrible party member experiences during your playthroughs of RPGs? Who were they, and what did they do? Let us know down below!

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2. Unknowns (Pokemon)
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Pokemon games are full of Pokemon! There are hundreds of them, so why this thing specifically then? Simple. Unknowns suck... even Magikarp is better than them (if used properly. Oh, Magikarp also evolves into Gyarados!)! Their stats are terrible, they don't evolve, and they can only know one move -- Hidden Power, a move that literally any other Pokemon can easily learn.

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Besides their lore in the Pokemon games, don't ever have one on your team! They won't be able to defend you, and will drop like flies if you try to tackle a gym, Pokemon League, your rival, and more adversaries. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/r/strong-3bcfe.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/r/strong-3bcfe.png","type":"slide","id":"145714","description":"
3. Strong (Fallout 4)
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Strong disliked this! Strong disliked that! Strong dislikes everything! Oh, what's next? I stop to tie my shoes, and Strong will probably dislike that as well! We are serious when we say this... Strong HATES everything you do! If you are the type of person that shows sympathy, and doesn't want to harm innocent people, Strong will despise you for that! Seriously, why is he even in the game!

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In combat situations, his giant size not only makes him an easy to hit target, but he'll probably get stuck in narrow areas, thus forcing him to find an alternative route, meaning that he won't be able to watch your back. Speaking of watching your back, his default weapon of choice is an Automatic Pipe Rifle, a laughable version of any automatic weapon in the game. He would be better off with a water gun!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/i/caitsith-ffviiart-70993.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/i/caitsith-ffviiart-70993.png","type":"slide","id":"145713","description":"
4. Cait Sith (Final Fantasy VII)
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An easy argument can be made here in regards to all Final Fantasy companions -- all of them have their ups and downs. So, why are we picking on this guy, right? Well, it's bad enough that that damn cat is riding on top of a fat/stuffed Moogle, a somewhat of a mockery of a beloved Final Fantasy character that many fans hold dear, but it also has reduced number of limit breaks.

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The choice here is very obvious. Don't want this thing to be in your party? Switch it out! We are certain that there are many other companions that are far better and more powerful than Cait Sith.

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5. Solas (Dragon Age Inquisition)
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Rude, arrogant, full of himself, disrespectful, belittling -- these are just some of the words players can describe this elf with. Just look at that mug! Seriously, do you expect this clown to say something nice to you, or offer words of encouragement and support. He looks like one of those people who would tell you something like, "Told you so!" He always has a response to everything that is said to him, and thinks he's better and more superior than you. 

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As far as him in combat goes, let's just say that there are much better and more suitable choices that could easily replace him. Sure, he's a mage, but if you can find a replacement for him (which you can!), do so quickly...

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/d/s/udscop-ac969.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/d/s/udscop-ac969.jpg","type":"slide","id":"145710","description":"

Did you ever suffer through a terrible gaming experience, when it wasn't actually your fault, but the fault of an NPC? You tried your best, but got screwed over by artificial "intelligence," right? 

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Let's be honest. Though a lot of RPGs have useful sidekicks and companions, that will stand by your side until the very end, there will always be a bunch of ignoramuses who will screw up your journey and let you down!

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This slideshow talks about some of those "companions" who think they are trying to do a good deed for you, but end up making your life miserable instead. They were selected from RPGs far and wide for their foolishness, lack of situational awareness, and just not being helpful whatsoever!

"}]]]>
Let's Go Raiding: How MMOs Took the RPG Party System to New Heights https://www.gameskinny.com/xrz4b/lets-go-raiding-how-mmos-took-the-rpg-party-system-to-new-heights https://www.gameskinny.com/xrz4b/lets-go-raiding-how-mmos-took-the-rpg-party-system-to-new-heights Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:00:01 -0500 StraightEdge434

If you played an RPG or MMO, or both, then you most likely know what a party system is. If you don't, it's basically a group of characters that set out for a quest, dungeon, etc. in an effort to work together, and emerge victorious. But, why is it special? Each character contributes a certain skill to help the entire team, thus making the challenge a bit easier. 

The most typical party system is the tank system. One character is the tank, who faces a potential threat face to face, taking hits, thus taking the aggro away from the rest of the part. Then, there is the healer, who makes sure that the tank does not die by healing them. And finally, the attacker, who obviously tries to take down the threat. Everyone must be in synergy in order to be successful. Just think of the A Team!

RPGs have implemented that party system in games like Monster Hunter, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and even Pokemon. But so have MMOs for that matter. Before talking about MMOs, let's examine the RPG genre and how it has used the party system.

Party System in RPGs

Monster Hunter has been using the party system since day one!

As mentioned before, Monster Hunter is an RPG that has been using the party system for quite some time now. In the game, the player assumes the role of a monster hunter and embarks on quests to slay beasts of all kind. Past titles only allowed you, all by yourself, to embark on quests in single player. However, since Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, players could take helpers with them on quests. Those helpers would assist you through buffs, healing, distracting the enemy, etc. Basically, just the way a party system should work.

As far as multiplayer goes, players could embark on online hunting quests with three fellow hunters (four total). Depending on what type of monster players would encounter, they had to construct the proper team in order to do well. For example, two melee builds would fight the monster head on, third player would be the gunner build (archer) and would assist by using various arrow or ammo types against the monster. And finally, the fourth player would be support (Hunting Horn. It plays various melodies that buff all players). Combine that all together, and you got yourself a great synergy team!

Party System in MMOs

A party of players taking on Vorago in Runescape.

Any modern MMO uses the party system to do well in raids, dungeons, against bosses. Unlike RPGs, which most (if not all) have a party system comprised of NPCs since they are single player, MMOs have taken it one step further with communication.

Unlike Dragon Age: Inquisition's single player (yes, it has multiplayer, but the focus here is the single player party system), which only has you, and a bunch of NPCs as the rest of your party, and whom you have to manage, MMOs are mainly controlled by everyone!

When you make a party in an MMO, you get the chance to communicate with fellow players, devise a plan, and do what you have to do in order to do well. Another good thing is is that fellow party members are conscious individuals who know what they are doing. Unlike RPG members, who just charge into battle, MMO members are more careful, know what they are doing, and will ensure the success of the entire party.

Also, it doesn't hurt to communicate with others in an MMO. Through communication, you know what is going on, and what needs to be taken care of. In RPGs, you can only issue commands (even if such a luxury is possible), and hope that they command is carried out by an NPC.

Final Thoughts

Guilds are great to make a party system!

From a personal standpoint, the party system is executed far better in MMOs rather than in RPGs. You get to interact with other players instead of artificial programs. And since MMOs are MMOs, the possibilities for the party setup are almost endless -- you can be the most unique party or the most trusty and generic -- unlike with RPGs, where the party systems are fixed... unless it's Pokemon!

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Mass Effect: Andromeda Looks Suspiciously Like Dragon Age: Inquisition https://www.gameskinny.com/br1bs/mass-effect-andromeda-looks-suspiciously-like-dragon-age-inquisition https://www.gameskinny.com/br1bs/mass-effect-andromeda-looks-suspiciously-like-dragon-age-inquisition Fri, 25 Nov 2016 07:00:01 -0500 Sergey_3847

Earlier this month BioWare has celebrated the N7 Day -- an event that has been solely dedicated to the Mass Effect universe. It also has been a great opportunity for the developers to show off the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda -- which left many fans worried. What they saw could be proof of a theory circulating the web since the announcement of the game.

The theory states that Andromeda will play just like Dragon Age: Inquisition, and now there are many indications suggesting exactly that. Although, BioWare has debunked all such theories, the fans aren’t buying it and keep speculating about how similar the two games are.

So, if you want to know how these two games could be copying each other, here are a few reasonings from the Mass Effect analysts and fans.

Open, vast, but ultimately boring locations

Every other Mass Effect game had beautiful well-designed locations that didn’t strike you with the size, but with the sheer attention to detail. Every corner of each location was filled with cool little things that made everything feel authentic.

But at the same time the world of Mass Effect seemed huge without actually showing its size. The opposite happened in Dragon Age: Inquisition -- when BioWare decided to actually show a giant open world, which at the end turned out to be rather empty and lifeless. The original goal was to make an MMO, but as you already know that didn’t happen.

This is what the fans of Mass Effect are afraid of -- they don’t want to see these vast open spaces in Andromeda, as that would be contradictory to the feel of the franchise. Many people have already said that this one change could ruin the series for them, and if BioWare doesn’t come up with the solution to try and make the open world interesting, then that would mean a complete disaster for both fans and developers.

Hundreds of pointless side quests

Throughout the entirety of the Mass Effect series players could take on many interesting side missions called “Assignments,” if they needed a break from the main campaign. However, the open world of Andromeda suggests that it’ll have those boring endless side quests that were a huge part of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

The developers have stated after receiving the complaints from the fans that they have been working on the solution to the quests in Mass Effect: Andromeda. Aaryn Flynn, the vice president of BioWare, has stated the following in the interview for PC Gamer (#296):

“We learned that there were some quests in Dragon Age that didn’t resonate and were kind of flat – fetch quests and stuff. The nice thing is, you take those lessons, you package them all up, and you talk to the Mass Effect team and say, ‘These are the things you should do, these are the things you shouldn’t do.’ And the Mass Effect team get the pencils out and they build all that into it.”

Let’s assume that this is happening and that Andromeda will have lots of cool side quests in an open world environment. People really don’t want to experience hours of pointless exploration again, as it was the case with Inquisition. So, let’s just keep our fingers crossed for this.

Multiplayer and microtransactions

There will be a multiplayer mode in Mass Effect: Andromeda that includes the Horde mode, Active Strike Team, Deployed Strike Team and some others that haven’t been revealed yet. The Horde mode is very similar to the multiplayer mode in Dragon Age: Inquisition. It will be a classic co-op shooter mode that will earn you in-game currency.

Now, this mode will also have microtransactions available for those who want to buy in-game stuff with real money and without the usual grind. The developers said that the co-op in Andromeda will have a significantly lesser effect on the main campaign than it had in Mass Effect 3, which is probably a good thing. However, this doesn’t mean that the experience itself will be as rewarding.

Multiplayer in Andromeda is a gray area for many fans. The closed beta should start sometime before the official release, meaning it should happen during this winter. Then, we will know if the co-op is worth the investment or is it just another way of distracting the players from the underwhelming single campaign. It’s a tough question, which will get cleared closer to the release of the game.

Relationships and the lack of cutscenes

We all remember boring and unimaginative conversations between characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition that have been using free camera instead of the more exciting cinematic cutscenes -- which would probably double the production budget of the game. It seems that we should expect the same lack of quality cutscenes in Andromeda, too.

BioWare loves the romantic relationships in their games, and Andromeda is no exception. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to flirt and develop feelings between the characters in a slightly more simplified version than that of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

The new set of response types includes Heart, Head, Professional and Casual. So there will be none of the Paragon/Renegade dilemma anymore. The question is: Will this all result in more interesting conversations? Otherwise, we’re going to be stuck with the same ol’ “camera-switching-between-two-characters” dialogues from the Inquisition. Nobody really wants to see that anymore.

Customizable skill trees

There won't be a typical choice of classes in Mass Effect: Andromeda. The developers have sacrificed it in favor of the customizable skill trees that you could all see before in Dragon Age: Inquisition. This means that you will be able to pick-up specialties in the beginning and interchange them any way you want throughout the game.

For example, you can pick up one specialty and play with it by gaining experience points. Later in the game you may find an item that will allow you to re-spec all of your skill trees. This means that you will be able to change your specialty at that point in the game to something completely different.

Another theory suggests that BioWare will go as far as implement a hybrid class system from the Inquisition, as well. With this in mind you can work on one specialty, and then add up another one on the top of your main one. If all these changes will be present in Mass Effect: Andromeda, then this would probably be a step in the right direction.

Graphics engine and animations

The last and the most significant point that unites the two games is the graphics engine -- Frostbite 3. All three Mass Effect games that have been released up to this point have been based on Unreal Engine 3. They all had the same look.

Now, Mass Effect: Andromeda will look different, and actually it will look a lot like Dragon Age: Inquisition. Is this good or bad? It’s definitely a matter of taste. The early gameplay videos do look very good, but all of them are recorded on the consoles.

High-end PCs will most definitely show the maximum capabilities of the Frostbite engine. However, if your main interest is multiplayer, then it is better to have the game on a console. There is a bigger chance that the number of players on consoles will be much higher than that on the PC platform -- just like it is with such games as Battlefield and Call of Duty.

On the other hand, if your goal is the single campaign, then playing it on a PC would be more preferable due to better graphics and number of settings. Also, the PC platform will guarantee you the possibility of installing mods, including the ones for VR.

Conclusion

With all that said Mass Effect: Andromeda will be a huge game and a huge success, as was the case with Dragon Age: Inquisition a couple of years ago. It had its problems and it was criticized justly so. There has never been an AAA game in the history of gaming without any problems, so expect those at the launch of Andromeda, too.

Remember to tune in on December 1, 2016 for a live Andromeda gameplay showcase at The Game Awards 2016. It will be an actual gameplay from the finished game that will answer many questions that are currently hoarding in the minds of the fans.

What do you think about the similarities between Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition? Check back soon after the gameplay reveal at The Game Awards 2016 and leave your feedback in the comments section.

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Gift Guide: The Most Gamertastic Gifts on Think Geek https://www.gameskinny.com/9ke23/gift-guide-the-most-gamertastic-gifts-on-think-geek https://www.gameskinny.com/9ke23/gift-guide-the-most-gamertastic-gifts-on-think-geek Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:00:01 -0500 StraightEdge434

[{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/i/u/n/iunn-vault-tec-111-backpack-c0aac.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/i/u/n/iunn-vault-tec-111-backpack-c0aac.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140359","description":"

Vault-Tec 111 Backpack

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Price: Currently on SALE for $48.99 (was $69.99)

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek 

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This is definitely a one-of-a-kind backpack designed after Vault 111 from Fallout 4!

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This backpack has adjustable padded straps, a spacious interior with a laptop compartment and many pockets for many things! It's also 100 percent polyester. 

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Considering the amount of compartments this backpack has, it's great for almost everyone! Enough room for books, laptop, pens and more. And on top of that, it's currently on SALE!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/i/v/u/ivup-doom-cacodemon-bank-68e15.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/i/v/u/ivup-doom-cacodemon-bank-68e15.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140357","description":"

DOOM: Cacodemon Bank

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Price: $19.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek 

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A pimped out piggy-bank modeled after the Cacodemon from the classic DOOM games. The coin slot is located on the back of the head, while the coin release is located at the bottom (no need to smash the thing into pieces!)

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The awesome design, combined with a meaningful purpose, will make a very unusual (in a good way) and awesome present for any DOOM fan.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/i/l/m/ilml-dragon-age-inquisition-stein-6cdfb.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/i/l/m/ilml-dragon-age-inquisition-stein-6cdfb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140356","description":"

Dragon Age: Inquisition Stein

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Price: $14.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek

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A stein that can hold any beverage of choice (doesn't necessarily have to be alcohol-based), this stein has the symbol of the Inquisition from Dragon Age: Inquisition on one side, with the name of the game on the other side.

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Made out of ceramic, it holds up to 22 oz. An interesting gift for fans of the game or series! 

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/i/t/h/ithj-zelda-leather-watch-fix-7bd66.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/i/t/h/ithj-zelda-leather-watch-fix-7bd66.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140347","description":"

Legend of Zelda Leather Watch

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Price: $59.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek

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Yet another fantastic gift for any Legend of Zelda fan in your life. This watch has a unique design based on the game and is made of stainless steel, with a genuine leather strap.

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The watch will fit wrists that are 6 3/4' to 9'' around, so if you plan to get this as a gift, be sure you know what size to get!  

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(Also comes with batteries!)

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/h/n/jhnl-skyrim-skeletal-dragon-kit-a863e.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/h/n/jhnl-skyrim-skeletal-dragon-kit-a863e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140346","description":"

Skyrim Skeletal Dragon Kit 

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Price: $29.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek (LIMITED EDITION).

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This particular gift is great for anyone who likes to work with their hands and build plane models, boat models or really, anything in between! 

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As far as this kit goes, it's designed after a dragon from Skyrim. It comes with 25 pieces as well as a base to support the statue after it's finished.

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It's safe to say that this is not intended for anyone under 3 years of age since there are small parts involved.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/i/t/o/itog-street-fighter-chun-hoodie-300e7.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/i/t/o/itog-street-fighter-chun-hoodie-300e7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140345","description":"

Street Fighter Chun-Li Hoodie 

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Price: $49.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek 

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A careful and well-designed hoodie that mimics the iconic Street Fighter character. This hoodie pretty much resembles the actual outfit: puffy sleeves, hair buns and of course, the yellow design across the chest and back!

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A cool gift idea for any Street Fighter fan. Can be worn outside, as well as inside.

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(See website for size details)

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/m/q/jmql-fallout-shelter-post-war-lunchbox-96c8a.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/m/q/jmql-fallout-shelter-post-war-lunchbox-96c8a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140344","description":"

Fallout Shelter Post-War Lunchbox

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Price: $14.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek

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A standard lunchbox modeled after the popular game, Fallout 4! Includes the little handle, hinges and everything else that pertains to a lunchbox. 

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The withered and beat-up look gives it the classic Fallout feel of surviving 200 years after a nuclear explosion! 

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A fantastic gift for kids, fans of the series or anyone who is not embarrassed to carry a lunchbox around (but why would they? It's Fallout!).

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/i/p/jipm-loz-triforce-light-ccb4e.gif","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/i/p/jipm-loz-triforce-light-ccb4e.gif","type":"slide","id":"140343","description":"

Legend of Zelda Triforce Light

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Price: $35.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek

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This is basically a lamp that illuminates in very dark places and is powered by three AAA batteries, or the USB cable that comes with it. 

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However, there is more to it than that! When illuminating dark places, the lamp projects the Hyrule Wingcrest from its sides (as seen above)!

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This gift can be used as a nightlight, a piece of decor or as a regular lamp. An ideal gift for any Zelda fan!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/g/i/jgiq-super-mario-bros-heat-change-mug-5e157.gif","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/g/i/jgiq-super-mario-bros-heat-change-mug-5e157.gif","type":"slide","id":"140338","description":"

Super Mario Bros. Heat Change Mug

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Price: $9.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek 

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Okay... it's a mug that changes color based on the temperature that is inside of it! Who wouldn't want something like that?! 

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When it's cold, the mug's landscape is all black. When it's hot, the mug reveals the classic landscape of the original NES title! This thing is worth it based on the nostalgia factor!

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A perfect gift for any Super Mario fan, or NES fan for that matter. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/g/p/jgpo-poke-ball-serving-bowl-set-0a7d3.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/g/p/jgpo-poke-ball-serving-bowl-set-0a7d3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"140337","description":"

Poké Ball Serving Bowl Set

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Price: $19.99

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Buy it on: Thinkgeek 

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Who's that Poke- ...nevermind, it's just a serving bowl set. But you have to give credit for the unique design and purpose of this item. It's a giant Poké Ball that splits in half and can be used to serve various snacks at parties, events, etc. Or, if one really wants to, a giant cereal bowl! Why not?

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If you know anyone who loves Pokémon, this might be a nice surprise for them!

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P.S. Don't throw the Poke-Ball at pets or animals. Chances are, they won't be caught...

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/9/2/9/92990983-4312-4c65-9196-19515823ca47-01871.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/9/2/9/92990983-4312-4c65-9196-19515823ca47-01871.png","type":"slide","id":"140336","description":"

A wise man once said, "The greatest gift you can give someone is something you would want yourself." With the holiday season approaching us, numerous people will flock to stores and the internet to purchase gifts and such for friends, family, loved ones, etc. 

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If you know anyone who is a "geeky" type of person, who likes gizmos or video games for that matter, then ThinkGeek is the ideal website to find that perfect gift! From gadgets to clothing, the website has everything to suit anyone's needs.

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So, what are some of the gifts that you might consider giving? The following list will talk about some of the most interesting items found on the site.

"}]]]>
Dragon Age: Origins Versus Dragon Age: Inquisition https://www.gameskinny.com/195kw/dragon-age-origins-versus-dragon-age-inquisition https://www.gameskinny.com/195kw/dragon-age-origins-versus-dragon-age-inquisition Wed, 26 Oct 2016 06:00:01 -0400 Sand Snake

With news from Bioware about the possible creation of Dragon Age 4, a continuation of the RPG trilogy series, what better time to compare the new and old. From the moment we were introduced to Thedas in Dragon Age: Origins, we all knew how great this game would be and how much greater it could be become. A feeling that has only grown stronger with the release of the expansion pack. However, that has all changed with the arrival of Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition

First lets take a look at the first game in the series, Dragon Age Origins. Which is by far and away the best game in the series. Not only for its tactics, strategy and combat, but also because it is a true RPG game. There are hundreds of games out there that claim the title of RPG, but Dragon Age: Origins is one of the few which actually can say it is a real RPG game. Proof of this is shown immediately at the very beginning of the game, where you can choose your gender, your race, your class and whether or not your nobility. But that's not all. You get play through a unique storyline for each of those races. Plus, there will be many moments in the game, where the choices you make at the beginning of the game will affect your future interactions with NPCs.

But I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, which is that a lot of the decisions you make in Dragon Age: Origins will appear in both Dragon Age: Origins Awakening the expansion pack and Dragon Age 2. Not to mention the skills you acquire as you level up can be geared towards, whichever battle style you prefer. Assassin, Battle Mage, Warrior, Duelist, Archer and dozens more. Added to all of that are the thousands of dialogue choices that are presented throughout the game, which is probably my favorite part of the game; choosing what my character says and how they react. I often compare this against other games, and there are none that I know of that can offer such a varied, and solid, amount of dialogue choices than in Dragon Age Origins. Each choice you make in dialogue is followed up by more dialogue options, making your choices extremely adaptable and unique.

All of these options give you the greatest amount of control in the game, thereby making it a true RPG game. Whereas, in games like Dark Souls, Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate, the RPG factor simply rests upon choosing the type of character and fighting style; and sometimes if you're lucky a few dialogue options. Now while these games are great in their own right, they are not true RPG games.

Which brings me to Dragon Age: Inquisition, the game that has been the greatest disappointment of my life.

My biggest frustration with Dragon Age: Inquisition, is that it's no longer an RPG game anymore. All the options and control you had in Dragon Age: Origins has been hacked and slashed away to leave behind an exceptionally boring game. Thousands of dialogue options, ripped out. Dozens of unique background stories, shredded to tiny gobbets of background information. Unique fighting styles, replaced with generic attacks. Great battle tactics, replaced with a useless strategy interface. And most importantly, the impact of your choices on the world, has been reduced to droppings on the battle map.

After playing Dragon Age Inquisition just once, I can definitely say I will not be picking it up anytime soon. Hell, it's more than likely I won't even bother buying the follow up game if there is one. The game deliberately burns your brain out with useless quests, so that after only playing the game for half an hour your brain goes into meltdown from sheer boredom. 

All the control you had over the character's build and gameplay has been taken away. The only positive that I can see in the game is graphics, dragons, and the crafting system. Everything else is a complete waste of time, dialogue with companions, don't bother unless you want to fall asleep. Quests, you're better off going outside and getting some fresh air -- it will probably be more interesting. Choices, well lets just say you get to choose between dumb and dumber. 

There is only one aspect of the game that has truly stunned and captivated the entire world and that is 'hype'. After all their big talk and explanations, we got to see a world full of nothing, and we got to do nothing in that world.

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6 Things Which Make a Game Great https://www.gameskinny.com/bshgd/6-things-which-make-a-game-great https://www.gameskinny.com/bshgd/6-things-which-make-a-game-great Mon, 24 Oct 2016 02:00:01 -0400 Sand Snake

[{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/2/5/6/25671091354-f9240f5a3c-bd919.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/2/5/6/25671091354-f9240f5a3c-bd919.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136570","description":"

Good gameplay, interesting storylines, quests which offer choices, deep companion characterization, and innovative ideas all play a key role in making you enjoy any game you play. These are my top six aspects of gaming, and that will most likely change as games become more advanced. But what are some of your ideas for what makes a great game? Or what would make a game even better for you?

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/2/5/6/25657427793-9581a9ccdf-2b737.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/2/5/6/25657427793-9581a9ccdf-2b737.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136566","description":"
6. Innovative Ideas
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Too many games are getting caught up in imitating other games. Now while that can lead to better quality versions of that particular game, it can also lead to overuse of those mechanics. Most people, while they like a certain kind of game and will usually buy similar games, will usually stop buying them once they realize they are pretty much buying the same games again.

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Games need to be freshened up every once in a while, otherwise as gamers grow older many will drop off the radar, because they have seen it all and played it all. If the gaming industry is to increase in growth and expand, they need to hold onto every single gamer and attract more with innovative ideas that keep those older generation excited and hungry for more.

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Two games that stand out, and deserve some type of award for having achieved that very goal is Fallout 4 with its Settlement System, where you can build a settlement, and Dying Light for its extremely fun parkour mechanics. These two games have transformed their relatively simple and average gaming experience, into something truly epic, simply by adding two complex innovations. Building settlements and watching people come in to fill them up, although quite time consuming it can be quite fascinating. I can usually spend hours building a settlement, just so I can have a base in the area to get supplies, and have some sort of safe house from the wasteland. Which can be very useful, when playing survival mode.

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The Parkour system is the same way, you find yourself stomping, killing, jumping, and running all the time because it is so much fun to watch your character do it. It's even more thrilling when you have Night Hunters chasing after you. Nothing gets your blood pumping like the sound of Night Hunters detecting you in the middle of the night, and being chased through a zombie infested city.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/4/9/7/4975821863-fdfec99706-ed52a.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/4/9/7/4975821863-fdfec99706-ed52a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136564","description":"
5. Interesting Companions
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Companions and great voice actors are another important tool in making a decent game, into an epic game. While some people might undervalue this aspect in comparison to graphics and other areas of gaming, it does play an essential role in drawing people into their world. By having unique and interesting companions with you, makes you look forward to every piece of dialogue or conversation in the game, it makes you want to learn more about them and in doing so learn more about the world around you. Having characters that act like your wing (wo)man just generally makes you want to play the game just that little bit longer, especially if you're able to level them up and watch them gain new abilities. 

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But what would really take games to a whole new level of amazing, would be to see games break the restrictions on romance options, get rid of companions that give long tedious explanations about their lives, give companions actual dialogue that relates to each main quest so that you can engage them throughout the game, design companion side quests that will have a genuine impact on the results of the main quest, and be able to befriend anyone you meet on the road, not just companions you have to use because they're part of some main quest or side quest. I think by doing all that, games could become a lot more immersive.

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Lastly having voice actors that are good at what they do, by conveying emotion through their voices or bringing the characters words to life can play an important role as well. A good example of this is Ezio in Assassin's Creed Series, his voice is constantly being adapted to show his age and his maturity. Now while you might not be able to notice the subtle difference, the way it gets deeper and gritter in each Ezio game in the series does affect the way you perceive your character.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-illusive-man-artpolly-8d692.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-illusive-man-artpolly-8d692.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136558","description":"
4. Choices with Consequences
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I have recently begun to notice a growing trend of games providing choices that can have immediate or future consequences. This, by far, is the most exciting development in gaming history. Having choices that matter, makes you truly think about, and weigh up, each decision you make. It adds that extra spice to every single action you make, and forces you to question every single decision you make -- in a futile attempt to get some type of foresight into what is about to happen next.

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But the absolute greatest thing about having choices is replayability. This allows for a whole new side of the story each time you play, and that makes you far more likely to start the game again. Plus it's nice to see, after hours of game time, the impact you have left upon the world -- whether it be good or evil.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/2/4/1/24158749081-a118b1b7fa-e5256.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/2/4/1/24158749081-a118b1b7fa-e5256.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136556","description":"
3. Quests that matter
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I cannot stress enough how important quests are in making an average game extraordinary. To do that games need to follow four simple pieces of criteria I always find myself using.

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1. The side quests have to play a relevant role in supporting the main quest, whether that is subjugating rebel tribes in order for you to ascend to the throne, or simply helping you to build your reputation in the provinces. In either case those side quests have to impact the main quest in someway to give it meaning. Otherwise completing those side quests can become a tedious chore, which most people will only do because their either completionists like me or want to gain some extra experience.

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2. All quests have to fit in line with what the character's role is in the game. A bad example of this is Fallout 4's Minutemen quest line, where you become a General, a rank where you would assume all you would have to do is dictate what needs to be done and assign duties. But instead we have repeat quests of you rushing to defend a settlement, rescue hostages, and clear settlements. Which would make sense for the first few settlements, because you're rebuilding, but once you have three fully functioning settlements, you should be able to use to some type of map to have your followers do some work for you. I mean what's the point of being a leader, if a lot of your time is spent doing the same stuff you already do everywhere else in the game?

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You see the same problem appear in Dragon Age Inquisition, you're the inquisitor, a person with great power, and yet you are constantly reduced to a mere servant. Collecting and killing a certain amount in nearly every single side quest, except for friend quests. While the map is an excellent addition to the game, which I hope future BioWare games use, why are there only three people to assign tasks to?Surely the Spy, Commander, and Adviser all have hundreds of people under their command, yet we never get to use more than three. Why?

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3. Make every side quest unique and interesting. In all honesty I would prefer to have fifteen good long side quests, rather than having hundreds of filler quests, where the only purpose is to waste your time and keep you occupied. Witcher 3 again is an excellent example of side quests that are not only useful for experience but excellent to play. It's the only game where I actively go around searching for side quests, because I don't want to miss out on anything they have in store for me.

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4. The last, and most important, rule for all quests is the pacing. I hate it when a ton of quests are dropped on top of me in the first few minutes of the game. Way to make me feel the weight of the entire world resting on my shoulders! It would make so much more sense for those games with only a few good side quests to spread out the quests to places the main questline will eventually take us too. There's no need to be immediately inundated with quests that make us feel like we are being steam rolled.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/1/14189639628-d6472a89ce-7062f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/1/14189639628-d6472a89ce-7062f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136552","description":"
2. Thrilling Storyline
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The best games I have ever played, like the The Last of Us, have this incredible storyline that makes you feel every moment of it. Every heartache, every moment of joy, and every close call to death. There is no other game in my opinion that comes close enough to eclipse The Last Of Us by Naughty Dog. The story truly entrenches you in their world and makes you a part of it. You feel the pain of their loss, you feel their growing affection for other characters. You practically feel everything; the fear, the panic, and the excitement of delving through an apocalyptic world.

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If the story is that good, you don't care where the story is leading you, all you can think about is how you want to see more of this world, you want to know what happens next. That's what really makes a game truly immersive and enjoyable to play.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/1/6/1/16162594648-2655e0c03d-7388c.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/1/6/1/16162594648-2655e0c03d-7388c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136551","description":"
1. Awesome Gameplay
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The best games in the world have amazing gameplay that challenges gamers to devise new strategies to defeat their opponents. They also give you dozens of ways to complete a single objective. A great example of this has to be Witcher 3, where you can take out enemies with melee weapons,spells, potions, track down enemies using your senses, and you can even bewitch people and bribe them. It makes playing Witcher 3 so much more exciting knowing that you have so many options to choose from. Not to mention the quests in this game are unique and extremely well crafted, you don't get a ton of repetitive quests asking you to go and kill someone or collect an object. There are only two things that are repeated and they are contracts and quests to find armor pieces, both are optional and both change slightly each time.

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But coming back to my original point that gameplay is important, you only have to compare Witcher 3 to Dragon Age Inquisition's immensely boring world to realise how important it is to be able to choose the way you complete your objectives, and the way you fight each battle. Doing the same thing over and over again can get old very quickly.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/h/q/d/hqdefault-4ca89.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/h/q/d/hqdefault-4ca89.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136550","description":"

This slideshow is going to dive into what makes a game great. There are six main aspects which join together to achieve the best games, things like gameplay, interesting storylines, diverse quests with lots of choices, engaging characters, and innovative ideas. But, how do these make games great? Read on to find out!

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*Beware this slideshow will contain some spoilers*

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Game Deals: Dark Souls III, Fire Emblem Fates, Resident Evil 6, Dragon Age Inquisition and More! https://www.gameskinny.com/cmyie/game-deals-dark-souls-iii-fire-emblem-fates-resident-evil-6-dragon-age-inquisition-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/cmyie/game-deals-dark-souls-iii-fire-emblem-fates-resident-evil-6-dragon-age-inquisition-and-more Wed, 21 Sep 2016 11:13:40 -0400 Kat De Shields

Now is your chance to stock up on recent releases and classics at a serious discount. Take advantage of some sweet savings and check out the best video game deals of the day. 

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition 

If you haven't had a chance to play this Lord of the Rings classic yet, then now's the time to buy at 25% off list price. Also available for this price on the Xbox One. 

Resident Evil 6 

Considered to be the most expansive Resident Evil game to date, take advantage of some epic solo and co-op play at 25% off the list price. 

Dark Souls III

If you're looking for a good old-fashioned ass whooping, look no further than Dark Souls III. If you're a rage-quitter or easily frustrated but are curious to try the game, snag it now for 46% off the list price. If your controller doesn't go flying across the room from time to time, we're sure you'll have quite a few moments like the one below. 

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest 

This wildly popular turn-based strategy game can be yours for 25% off the list price. Face the impossible decision of choosing between your bloodline and the family who raised you and watch the consequences unfold. 

Dragon Age: Inquisition 

At 45% off list price, now's a great time to buy this game if you haven't played it. This is the third installment of an epic role-playing series where the choices you make define your experience. 

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I’m always looking for new awesome products, so please send me your favorites at commerce@LaunchMediaNetwork.com. Also, sign up for our Launch Commerce newsletter to receive the best deals of the week right in your inbox. 

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Top 3 Companion Quests in Dragon Age Inquisition https://www.gameskinny.com/mni8s/top-3-companion-quests-in-dragon-age-inquisition https://www.gameskinny.com/mni8s/top-3-companion-quests-in-dragon-age-inquisition Mon, 19 Sep 2016 11:51:35 -0400 Alex Anderson_0905

I loved Dragon Age: Inquisition. It looked nice, the gameplay was fun, and the story was engaging. But a big issue with the game was it was filled to the brim with content. While that may not seem like a problem, it was common for players to stay in the first area for hours just trying to complete all of the side-quests. Many of the quests end up being fetch-quests which send you across the expansive map and back again—and are tedious.

Still, some of the quests were super fun, and some of the best were the companion quests. All of the characters were deep and complicated, which is one of the best parts of the Dragon Age series. The companion quest gave insight into their lives and development that you couldn’t get from just doing the main story quests. Here are three of my favorite companion quests in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

1. Well, Shit

Varric is easily my favorite companion in any of the Dragon Age games. He’s charismatic businessman who’s always there to give a joke or two. If you ask him about himself or any of this adventures, he’ll spin you a fantastic story for the ages, but the one story he won’t tell is why his crossbow is named Bianca. In Well, Shit, you finally get your answer.

Bianca is a female dwarf who is a part of the Merchant’s Guild. She and Varric had a relationship in the past but now cannot be on the same continent as each other due to an incident they caused. They still write letters to each other, though, and now she’s here asking for the Inquisition’s help clearing out darkspawn from a vein of red lyrium.

This quest tells you more about Varric’s past and lets you how he interacts with Bianca. She clearly cares about him as well, even though they can’t be together. It’s nice to see a softer side of this lovable dwarf.

2. Subjected to His Will

Subjected to His Will is Cole’s companion quest and lets you shape his character while scoring some approval/disapproval points from Solas and Varric.

After you learn that spirits can be controlled and corrupted into demons, Cole fears that Corypheus might try to control him. Solas tells you of an amulet that can protect spirits from this type of manipulation. One War Table operation later, you give the amulet to him, but it doesn’t work. Varric proposes it’s because Cole is more spirit than human, but Solas thinks Cole needs to confront something that tethers him to this world.

This quest is great because it allows you to not only learn about a character’s backstory but also shape who this character will be as the story progresses. Will Cole deal with his feelings and just let them hurt, or will he forgive, fulfilling his spiritual purpose as a spirit of compassion? This choice changes his character for the rest of the game and how he interacts with others in banter, sometimes revealing more about other characters in the process.

3. The Verchiel March

The Verchiel March is one of Sera’s companion quests and, like the other two gives a more in-depth look at her character. Although, it reveals less of her backstory than her last quest. This quest reveals more about the world of Thedas than anything.

Sera asks you to lead a march through a town, just to scare the nobility. She received a tip from someone outside of the Red Jenny circle that two nobles’ land squabbles were causing common folk to injured. If you agree, you have Cullen lead a march through the middle of the town, and Sera asks you to go pick up her reward with her. When you arrive, however, the contact is killed, and you are ambushed. After defeating the enemies, a nobleman by the name of Lord Pel Hammond will offer you a truce. You can either accept his offer and let Sera “handle” him in a pretty funny cut-scene.

Through this quest, you learn why Sera sees the Friends of Red Jenny as a necessity because of the corruption among the nobility. You also learn that the nobility in Thedas will literally kill their servants to get their way, which little to no remorse. It’s an excellent way of worldbuilding and allows for players to be involved in the process.

There are literally tons of side quests and companion quests in Dragon Age: Inquisition and some of them are more rewarding than the main story at times. They help flesh out the game and make the level grind much more enjoyable. Did you have any favorite companion quests I missed? Comment what they are and why you loved them!

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