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TWIG – Geek Gamers – Borderlands, Dragon Age: Origins, Nostalgia

Normally we’re known here at TWIG for doing reviews in an audio format, but for today I’ve decided to do something a little out of the ordinary by doing a written review or three of the more recent games we’ve received here at the TWIG Headquarters. Why you might ask? because I can! Anywho, on to the reviews!

Dragon Age: Origins

First up is Dragon Age: Origins for the PC. Set in your typical medieval world, Dragon Age: Origins sets you on an epic quest to save the world and discover who you are, but along the way you’ll make choices and encouter situations that do not, the purest soul make. You’ll begin the game by creating a character from the gorund up by choosing Either Human, Elf or Dwarf races, and then either Warrior, Rogue or Mage classes which then determine one of two possible origin story to start your journey on. There are six possible origins to choose from, but your choice of race and class will reduce it down to only 2, or sometimes even only 1.

The game itself plays a lot like most MMO’s today, what with the HUD displaying your health and mana and a quickbar for your items and abilities. The HUD will also display the health and mana of your other party members so you can keep tabs on them. As you roam around, you only control one party member at a time while the rest will follow you anywhere you go, but during battle they will fight on their own and act on their own, but if you wish to take control of someone you can simply click on them or their HUD icon and presto, instant control over that person. During battle you can also pause the fight in order to issues commands for each party member, that will be executed once you unpause the fight, but sadly, you can only issue one command at a time, so in order to get someone to keep casting a spell or using a certain skill, you either need to take control of them or keep pausing the fight every so often to re-issue the command to them.

Anyone who plays Dungeons & Dragons will very quickly see how much the game is influenced by it with references to it via the in-game terminolgy such as Damage checks and the like as you go about choosing stats, skills, and gear for a character. As for the plot, it’s progress is influenced by quests completed, the game of course has the usual main quests and side-quests to complete for additional fun, but as you go about the game, many choices you make will influence how the plot progresses in a certain direction and why, even if the influence of a choice you make isn’t apparent immediately, it could have still have some interesting or even severe consequences much later on in the game.

Overall, this is a very fun game, and if you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons or a fan of epic RPG games, do not let yourself pass this one up, it’s worth every penny.

Borderlands

Up next is Borderlands for the PC, the first thing you’ll notice is the presentation of the game, which is a mix of hand-drawn and computer generated graphics, which makes for a fairly unique visual aesthetic to the game. You begin the game travelling on a bus heading to the Borderlands of a planet known as Pandora ins earch of a legendary vault which is said to contain riches beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. While on the bus, you get to pick one of 4 classes, the Soldier, Siren, Hunter, or Berserker.

Regardless of which class you pick, the game will remain the same in terms of plot and quests to be completed, but as you level up you’ll be able to equip better guns and also earn skill points that will allow you to tune your characters skills into one of 3 sub-types, for example, the Soldier can become a combat medic, where he can simply shoot a partner to heal them while any enemy that gets in the way will still take damage, and the Berserker can have skill points added into a particulr skill so that while in his berserk state any critical hits he lands on an enemy earn him money.

Now the game is best played with up to 4 players, but is still quite enjoyable when playing solo, but sometimes a situation might call for a team mate, especially with some tricky bosses, but a bit of level grinding can help with that if you’re so inclined to do so.

As you progress throughout the world of Pandora, you’ll come across many weapons, each with some very unique attributes, for instance, some weapons cause elemental damage such as fire or electricity upon scoring a critical hit on an enemy, while others wil have a faster reload rate then a similar gun of the same type. Apart from that, you also have your own weapon proficiency levels for every type of gun in the game, and as you kill more enemies with a certain type, you’re proficiency level will rise allow you better reload times and other perk while using those weapons which are separate bonuses from the guns themselves.

Overall Borderlands is well worth the price tag if you decide to get it, especially if you and a few friends all play together.

Nostalgia

Last up is Nostalgia for the Nintendo DS. Nostalgia takes place in an alternate time line of the 1900’s where airships rule the skies and being an adventurer is considered by many to be the greatest profession one can have. You play as a young Eddie Brown who sets out in search of his father Gilbert Brown, known as the world greatest adventurer, after he goes missing.

Soon after your journey begins though, you and your fellow companions who you meet along the way get caught up in an evil organizations bid to take over the world, with you being one of the only few who can stop them.

Does the above paragraph sound familiar to you? well, you’re right, Nostalgia, as the games very name suggests, is filled with references to the old RPG games of the SNES era of gaming, but with a few modern twists thrown into the mix. At times, these nods to the past are fun and exciting to see implemented the way they are, at others it’s can make things see overly cliché or cheesy, but the game never truly goes too far south in how well it’s presented.

Just like any RPG game, there are of course, random battles, during the battles, you and the enemies are displayed on the top screen with your party’s information and turn order displayed on the bottom screen. The biggest asset you have is the turn order list. Take advantage of it, and you can really lay the hurt down on your opponents before hey get a chance to take their turn. How you might ask? well, before you make choices on wether to attack, cast a spell, or simply defend, it shows how choosing that action will affect the turn order by moving the characters icon up or down the turn order lis tto show whent hey will next be able to attack. So taking advantage of this, could allow you to get a character to attack twice before one particular enemy, or een allow you and your party embers to kill a specific foe before it even has a chance to attack. Now at the end of a battle, you’re given a Rank of Either S, A, B, C, and depending n what rank you receive, you can earn bonus experience points and gold, or SP.

SP allows you to customize your party members various abilities by leveling them up, whcih makes the particular ability cause more damage, use less MP to cast or decrease the wait time so they can act again sooner in battle. Every character learns their various abilities as they level up, but the abilities themselves won’t level up unless you spend your SP in them, so if you like using one particular spell or ability, consider throwing more SP into it then another less used skill.

Overall, I would say this game is more suited for someone who is a Fan of old-school RPG’s from the past, but even someone who hasn’t played many RPGs can enjoy it, but they might find things a little dull compared to other of today’s more recent RPG games. All in all, still a decent title if you pick it up, but I would recommend you look into the game before buying it if you’re unsure.

So, this wraps up this session of the Geek Gamers written reviews, we’ll see you next time, wether it’s more of this, or back to the usual audio. See you next time!

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