Archive for the Upcoming Entertainment Category

Return to Form – DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS Character Creator

Posted in Upcoming Entertainment on October 14, 2009 by DTB

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It’s been quite a long time since anybody’s updated the LBR.  I can’t guarantee the frequency of updates, as we’ve all had some crazy real-life happenings going on.  Still, I told you all we’d have periodic updates.  My hope is that we’ll soon have regularly scheduled posts.

 So what grabbed me enough to post?  Well, it’s not my compilation of “Movies I’ve seen since Harry Potter 6” (which is still in development).  It’s not the latest “Song of Ice and Fire” casting buzz (another work in progress).  It’s not even my book review of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (coming soon).  

 No, it’s the brilliant Bioware release of the Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator.

 I’ve gathered from Bioware’s official DA:O website that this game is going to be EPIC.  Derivative as all hell, but what fantasy isn’t?  We’ve got demons invading, a last bastion of defenders in need of reinforcements, blood splattering in magnificently artistic spouts, a seemingly diverse, original and quirky team of companions and an incredibly detailed bit of world building.  With the game’s release delayed to later in the year, Bioware has released a FREE Character Creator tool to entertain all us RPG freaks that need to tweak the perfect character.  And let me tell you, I am HAPPY with what I’ve seen so far…

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 “GAMEPLAY”:

I can’t exactly review the ACTUAL gameplay of Dragon Age: Origins, but the character creation process is easily amongst the best of any RPG I’ve yet played.  Mercifully simpler and more streamlined than Oblivion but with significantly more options than Neverwinter Nights 2, the process is somewhat similar to character creation in Mass Effect, but without the obnoxious “loading” and “decoding”.  The tool is detailed enough for those who prefer to micromanage every facet of their character’s facial structure (like me), but it’s also potentially speedy enough for those who just want to jump right in.  Statistic distribution is fairly standard, depending on the race and class you’ve chosen (there are only three starting classes).  We have a glimpse of special powers your character can acquire throughout the game.  I also like how there is a list of voices to select for your character.  Overall, it’s a very solid character generation system.

 

GRAPHICS:

Graphics look pretty dang spiffy.  I’m especially impressed with the eye options.  They’re vastly better than those provided by Bioware for Mass Effect.  My only quip is that the lighting seems a tad too dark.

 

SOUND:

There is no in-game music played in the character creator, but selection sounds and voiceover work seems top notch.  However, there is a sampling of music that plays at the game’s menu which is absolutely out of this world.  It’s epic, but not overly so.  There’s subtlety to it.  Can’t wait to see what the rest is like when the game’s actually released.

 

CONCLUSION:

This is a solid character creator and has served its purpose of whetting my appetite until the game itself is released.  For a free download, it’s worth checking out if you plan on buying the game itself.

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Early Casting: A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE HBO Series

Posted in Upcoming Entertainment on July 20, 2009 by DTB

I know we generally write reviews of things on this site, but I just found out about some absolutely exquisite casting for an upcoming fantasy project.  As such, I will deviate away from my usual ranting and raving into the world of heightened anticipation.

 The series A Song of Ice and Fire by American novelist George R. R. Martin altered my perception of literature.  Not since Lord of the Rings had a book impacted my personal tastes and goals as an aspiring fantasy writer, and the book I’ve been working on sporadically for two or so years owes a great deal to Martin.  The world Martin creates is dark and foreboding, medieval, gritty, but extraordinarily compelling and entirely original.

 For some time, HBO has owned the rights to ASOIAF but little to no casting has been revealed.  Today, we finally have a first slew of actors cast in the production, which starts filming in October.  Reactions begin NOW…

 Boromir

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark:  Sean Bean is one of the most underrated actors working today.  He has this uncanny ability to gain genuine sympathy for every character he portrays, from IRA terrorists to broadsword-wielding Gondorian warriors.  His Odysseus was amongst the most memorable characters in Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy.  His casting as the noble, Arthurian tragic hero Ned Stark is as perfect as one could desire.

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Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister:  Dinklage has had memorable bit parts in countless films.  I loved him as the grumpy dwarf in Prince Caspian.  His casting as the lusty, scheming, vulgar Tyrion Lannister should fit like a glove.  I just hope he looks good with a blonde wig.

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Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon: I haven’t seen much of Mark Addy, but from the few clips I’ve seen of him on YouTube, he has a decent “battlefield voice” and quite an impressive screen presence.

 Kit Harrington as Jon Snow:  Harrington is a young actor of the British stage.  That’s where his experience lies.  I’m glad they went with a relatively unknown actor for Jon Snow, who is hands down my favorite character in ASOIAF aside from Ned.

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Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen:  I need to ask those friends of mine who watch the Robin Hood BBC series about Harry Lloyd, who portrays Will Scarlet.  He has the look of Viserys, and from the few YouTube clips I’ve watched, he seems to have acting chops as well.

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Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Lannister:  Jack Gleeson was the little slum boy in Batman Begins that Batman gives his binoculars to.  He was quite good in Begins, and that was 4 years ago!  Hopefully he can play rich, spoiled, snotty and arrogant.

 

So there you have it.  My early appraisal of the A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones casting.  I’m extremely excited about the series.  Too bad I don’t have HBO right now.

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