torsdag 29 mars 2012

One year of dragons

I just realized today that on Saturday Amanda and I have been running the Champions and Heroes comic for a full year. The updates have varied between once a week to twice a week, depending on how much time and inspiration we've had, but even so it has kept updating regular as clockwork. Neither of us were sure we would be able to keep it up for so long in the beginning, but by the look of things it will keep going for quite some time still.

That being said, there's going to be a bit of Mass Effect in the next couple of updates from me at least, due to the release of ME3. It was a lovely game, up until... you know... everything past Marauder Shields and the three Husketeers. Which was essentially the last ten minutes of a lovely series that made multiple gameplays feel pointless and added plotholes for no good reason. Which is a damn shame, because I was halfway through ME2 with a male paragon Shepard, hoping to see how different that experience would be.

In other news, I'm working on a fairy comic (another collaboration with Amanda) at the moment, which is looking to end up somewhere between 12 and 15 pages. I still need to finish the layout, but I much rather just get right to the drawing XD
To do this, I've chosen to start to upload the Red Planet alternative universe/potential future comic Substitute, which was published in Swedish Comic Sin 2, rather than making new comic pages for the Red Planet. That will run until the end of June, at which point I should be done with the fairy comic (well, this part of it). So, more updates to follow :)

And in a completely unrelated note: Game of Thrones season two is coming! Whooo!

torsdag 1 mars 2012

And now for something completely different: Fable 3

I like games. The Dragon Age comic Champions and Heroes that I do with Amanda has been running for almost a full year now, so that is a pretty big hint. And I feel that it's time for an update here...

So... I played Fable 3 a while back. I haven't played the first two games, but it is very friendly to people unfamiliar with the series.
It starts out with your older brother, king Logan of Albion, being an asshat. Now, Logan looks like this:

So, black hair? Check. Backslick? Check. Sallow skin? Check. Villainous beard? Check. Grumpy McGrumpypants expression almost constantly? Check. Position of authority? Check.
So, evidently, he's the villain. And, evidently, he's my favorite character. It doesn't hurt that his hair strongly reminds me of Rui from Eyeshield 21, who was one of my favorite characters.

King Logan gives you an offer of killing either your friend/boy- or girlfriend or a bunch of rebel leaders. You have to pick either, or he insists that he'll kill both of them. In other words, a lesson in how you can't save everyone and how to make hard choices, the asshat way. You make your choice, and someone ends up dead. Jolly good. At this point your main character decides that this is unacceptable and s/he has to flee and lead a rebellion against Logan. Cue adventures.

Now, there are some serious issues with this game.
- To even get to play the game that you've paid for, you have to jump through hoops, because it really, really wants you to take part of Windows Live. Regardless if you want to do so. I was on the brink of just saying 'screw this' by the time I managed to get everything sorted out. Unacceptable.
- It's buggy, and I ended up abandoning my first character and started all over again because I suddenly couldn't interact with anyone.
- Interacting with people is awkward, to say the least. You act like a buffoon, but that is the only way to make friends, apparently. It is also so time demanding that it's not really worth it.
- Interacting with major characters is 100% scripted. You can marry random npcs, or several at the same time if you house them in separate cities, but they have no personalities worth mentioning. There is no way of actually getting to know any character, and everything is kept as superficial as possible.
- One should not be able to save the world by playing the lute well. Really.
- No real replay value, because:
- The script railroads you, and it's not even shy about it.
- The game calls itself an RPG, but it is not.

Roleplaying actually involves making choices for your character and determining his/her personality. This game is so determined to railroad you that it refuses to let you do anything of the sort.
While the prince/ss is outraged and believes his/her brother to be a monster, I the player can't help but to feel that all of this could be solved if the protagonist and Logan just sat down and had a long talk. As the game goes on, you learn things which put your brother in a more favorable light, yet the protagonist seems determined to paint Logan the darkest black.

Some attempt at convincing you that your brother truly is as evil as he is designed are made, but they all fall flat. The main offender is a magical vision that a blind seer, Teresa, gives you. We are supposed to accept it as the truth, but it is a magical vision. It could easily be made up, or simply taken out of context. But no, the main character trusts this Teresa blindly, despite never having met her before, and condemns his/her brother instantly, despite having grown up under his guardianship and evidently lived a comfortable, sheltered life.

Now, in my eyes Logan has the best design and is the most interesting character in the game, and I would like the princess to simply marry him in true Targaryen fashion and rule Albion as king and queen. I even adopted a child and named him Logan II, hoping that the game would take a hint. It did not.
However, only half of the game is about the rebellion, the other half is about actually ruling the country. Which was the selling point of this game to me, because so many games are about taking the throne, but practically no games care about what happens afterwards. The scene where you finally confront Logan was absolutely lovely, except for the fact that I wanted to smack my main character silly. Because, again, there is no roleplaying happening here. Your character has decided how this will go, and you are just there to observe, apparently.

On the other hand, it's got some good things going for it:
+ It has beautiful clothing designs. Clearly borrowing heavily from 1700s and 1800s, they are really, really inspiring. The clothing designs is actually one of the most appealing aspects of the game for me.
+ The loading screens have pretty and funny posters, which I must say I really enjoyed. Probably the best loading screens I've encountered.
+ The quest 'The Game'. It didn't really fit the game, but since I giggled right through it I am more than happy to forgive it for that. I fear, however, that as a game master I am Jim.

Characters of note:
Logan - Easily the best character in the game. Best design, best writing, best development. Shitty ending.
Teresa - The blind seer that appears in visions and guides you. I strongly suspect her to be the main villain in the series, and I don't trust her one bit. Voiced by Zoë Wanamaker though, which is a total plus.
Reaver - Probably the funniest character in the game, in that 'necessary evil' kind of way. Also, Stephen Fry. Can't go wrong with Stephen Fry.
The Crawler - Yes. Yes, yes, yes. The oozing black goo - a thousand times yes. But it's still a very 2D villain.

When I really like a game, I make fanart, search for fanfic, and back in the day I'd also write fanfic. There's a period during which I am involved with the fandom, which may stretch on for years. Fable 3? I was pretty over it after a week.

5/10. Would have been a little higher, but I cannot forgive Windows Live.