Dragon Age Legends: Remix 01

Whilst indulging in a little Dragon Age Legends on Facebook I decided to search for any new codes for the game, entitling me to gold, items and such. Instead I found a flash developer remix of the game, turning Dragon Age Legends into a hack and slash. Essentially you’ll use the mouse only to move, jump, hack, slash…whilst the idea of using the mouse for all this sounds a bit bizarre it actually handles pretty well, feeling more like a cross between a motion controller and a gamepad. There are 5 levels to play through, each containing a mass of enemies to slaughter as well as a big bad boss…and boy do I mean big…

Why play? Well first off it’s fun, secondly…and most importantly to me is the ability to unlock items for the main Dragon Age Legends game, including potions and exclusive gear you can equip at level 10. If items arent your thing these exclusive items also sell for 1000g each!

You can check out the game in the Bioware forum post below:

Flash game developer Pixelante has created what we think is the very first video game remix: We gave him the assets to Dragon Age Legends and told him to make his own game with them. The result is the hack ‘n slash Dragon Age Legends: Remix 01, available now at http://www.ign.com/free2play/.

By playing the game, you’ll unlock up to 15 items in Dragon Age Legends (you’ll get 5 random items per session, so you’ll have to play through a few times if you want them all. =))

Have fun! If this is successful, we hope to do more remixes in the future!

It would be interesting to see these remixes intergrated into the game on Facebook in order to spice up the base Dragon Age Legends game. Give it a whirl and don’t hesitate to let me know what you think of the game!

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Game-A-Week: Jade Empire

Title: Jade Empire (Special Edition) (PC)

The Gist: I love playing the occasional RPG, I especially love playing a Bioware RPG, having said that I’ve left it way too long to get round to Jade Empire! Jade Empire is one of the lesser known RPG’s they’ve released between Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (can a get a woop woop!) and Mass Effect. You start off sparring at some sort of Japanese school of martial arts that contains slight magical undertones. You’re soon informed that the schools master wants a word, blocked by your rival for a few seconds and then rudely interupted by someone claiming the village is under attack from a nearby boat. You spring into action, grabbing a legendary weapon (sword or big stick), and introduce yourself to the invaders with a little pew-pew. Generally you’ll be playing an RPG similar to other Bioware games except that it’s a little less turn based and a little more realtime, allowing you to go all street fighter on your opponents asses, combos and all. You’ll soon discover that mere mortals arent all you’ll be contending with, further down the line you’ll be greeted with ghosts and monsters.

The PC version of Jade Empire differs from the Xbox edition by enchancing several aspects of the game including higher resolutions, improved AI/difficulty levels, extra fighting styles and a few new monsters and enemies to spice things up. For those of you cursing the thought of playing this game with a keyboard and mouse you’ll be pleased to know they’ve added gamepad support. I took advantage of this during my hour on the game and was thankfull for it when it came down the the combat! As Super Meat Boy put it, “‘Gamepad VS Keyboard, You be the Judge’ (Spoiler: Gamepad Wins!)” even though I find it fine playing Super Meat Boy with a keyboard…you have been warned!

Pros: I liked the idea of leaving guns and the depandancy on weapons behind for a litttle (you can use weapons if you wish!) and going back to basics, whoever said hand to hand combat wasn’t cool probably got roundhoused in the face a lot. The game lets you choose various forms of fighting that can be slow and heavy hitting or lightning fast and agile, allowing for a fight you like the feel of. The fantasy world around you is rather beautiful, being similar to that of the green locations in Knights of the Old Republic if the Japanese had set up shop. The fights really involve the player and quite literaly come off like you’re playing an RPG Street Fighter, further into the game you’ll be dependant on learning combos in order to combat better and more numerous enemies. The voice over work was pretty good, whilst obviously not Japanese like the characters themselves you’ll be treated by the likes of Nathan Fillion (Captain Malcom Reynolds of Firefly!) and even John Cleese!

Cons: Whilst the enemy AI has been upgraded your allie’s AI severely sucks. During my hour of gameplay I encountered three seperate situations where my AI partner got stuck behind a bit of scenery and left me to fight alone. I found that the combat was a little bizzare and that generaly felt that my character simply ignored my god like control over him, leaping in the wrong direction or simply remaining infront of an enemy instead of retreating. The combat also felt a little difficult to get to grips with as it uses three types of bars. The dependancy on focus and Chi bars during a fight, having to avoid enemies and heal up constantly using your focus or…chi…im not even sure which was which…was basically annoying (just checked…Chi can be used to replenish health).

I also found that during combat, specifically towards the end of the starting area went on too long without a break. There were basically three waves of enemies you have to fight in order to win, stats generaly die out toward the end of the first wave, are non-existant at the end of the second and get you killed during the third. The only way to survive at all was to jump out of harms way constantly, allowing your AI partner to slowly wear enemies down one by one and hoping that the idiot man in charge of these waves hit his own troops with his cannon. There was actually a very simple way to counter this insanity, set your AI partner to ‘support’ meaning some of your bars will slowly replenish over time whilst the AI parner stays out of harms way. I wouldn’t have minded doing this had it been suggested to me…and if it was it was obviously way to subtle for me to remember, either that or I’m an idiot. (e-mail your comments regarding my idiocy to bitemebitch!@blackvinculum.com – Psst! Not a real e-mail!)

Musical Note: The music is somewhat generically Japanese that obviously sets the scene well but fades into the background all to easy.

Hunger Level: Even with the overcomplicated combat this game was rather fun and in fact I’m assuming after playing a bit longer it’ll be a lot easier to handle. Something I’ll get round to playing when I fancy a dash of RPG and another Bioware game I must conquer before the release of The Old Republic.

Conclusion: RPG with a different feel to most, as said comes off as Street Fighter meets an RPG and gives you a nice world to explore. Not much else to say other than give it a go as you’ll find this game fairly cheap these days, and makes a change from playing the more famous Bioware games such as KOTOR or Mass Effect. Enjoy!

One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-A-Week’ @ Black Vinculum

Before the Dark Times, Before the Empire, There were Darker Times

The Old Republic, MMO descendant of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic won’t be in a galaxy far, far away for too much longer. The game’s set three hundred years after KOTOR itself and features the Sith Empire knocking on the Republic’s door for vengeance. It’s your job to either protect the Republic from the Sith, or impale it on the end of your glowing-red lightsaber.

Having followed the game since its announcement I’ve been picking apart any information I come across, re-watched every cinematic, every documentary and digested as many stories as I can find. It’s about time these recourses came together so I’d like to provide what I’ve found so like me you can get your fix of the Old Republic prior to launch.

The first points of call are the cinematics. We’ve two so far, the first ‘Deceived’ depicts the Sacking of Coruscant where basically Jedi were drawn away on peace talks whilst the Sith invaded the capital Republic system. The second trailer ‘Hope’ gives us an insight into the ongoing battles between the Republic and the Sith Empire throughout the galaxy, this fight in particular taking place on Alderan. Both trailers feature Jedi and Sith clashing lightsabers and scream epic.

They might not be as flashy as the trailers but there are also two series of web comics, Threat of Peace and Blood of the Empire. Each tells a story from the creators of The Old Republic itself spanning several issues available for free on the Old Republic’s website.

Accompanying the pre-release content are a few novels, the first and only available at time of writing being Fatal Alliance which has both the Republic and Sith Empire racing to claim a treasure that will aid their cause. There are more novels on the way such as Deceived which tells a tale featuring the main Sith from the deceived trailer.

If you’re the sort who prefers watching something to reading, or you’re just wanting as much information on The Old Republic as you can get, there are also a series of Galactic Timeline videos voiced by Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Aliens). These are intended to be content of a vast Jedi archive and have a new addition from time to time.

Those interested in the making of the game itself can follow both the Developer Dispatches (video), and the Developer Blogs (written blog). These typically consist of world design and Class creation for various sections of the game.

It seems that these pre-release aspects of the game will continue to grow, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a third cinematic not too far from now too. It certainly gives people something to talk about, The Old Republic has had the floor at many a gaming even such as E3, allowing people to observe the game, test the game and generally crave the game’s release.

I’m glad that the MMO has stuck to the concept of choice as I’m wanting to be as dark as I can be in this game, my first mission is to construct or claim a double-bladed lightsaber (red of course) and learn how to use force lightening to fry my enemies. A famous Sith once said, “Join me and together we can rule the galaxy…”, this galaxy’s about to become mine, and I don’t plan on sharing.