The Return of Pu Onyu

It has been a long time since Pu Onyu last roamed. I’d say it’s been at least 15 years. Now he’s back, hopefully to save the world once again.

You see, whenever I play a video game that lets you put in a name of your choice, I always (as long as they allow enough letters) put in something goofy. The name Torr Nupp (from my Star Wars fan fiction series) was originally a name I had used on KOTOR. I recently played through a dark side campaign of KOTOR 2 as a female named Krushen Yernutz. As the people who stood in her way could testify, if they were still alive, she lived up to her name.

Pu Onyu was a name that I used on the game Jade Empire. It was made by Bioware (the company that also made the KOTOR, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect games) and was released on the original Xbox system. I honestly remember very little about the game other than the character name I made up. The story is kind of a blank to me right now. All I really remember is that it’s a martial arts RPG and that I enjoyed playing it.

So, I was a little excited when I was looking around on my Xbox One and saw that I could buy it from their store (Yes, I realize that it’s been up on Steam for a while, but I don’t really like playing games on the computer. Personally, I prefer consoles). Using part of a gift card I got for Christmas, I bought it, which was an ordeal unto itself.

First, it wouldn’t let me use the gift card from the One so I tried my PC. Again, using the card was not an option to buy it. It said it had to be a credit card. Then, I went to Microsoft’s website and it said that it should work from my 360 (although I don’t see why the console or computer I was using made a difference. It’s all connected to the same Xbox Live account). So, I tried it from my 360 and it kept throwing up an error message about communicating with their server. I gave up for the night and tried it again the next morning.

It finally worked.

After every time I download a new game, I’ll play it for a few minutes to make sure it works correctly. For Jade Empire, I played the first half hour of the game before turning it off. I learned 2 things during that 30 minutes. One: Nathan Fillion (probably most known for his role as Private Ryan) does one of the voices on the game. Two: it plays differently than I thought I remembered. Not that it being different is a bad thing. I’ll just need to get used to playing it again.

That will have to wait for now, however. I’m still going through my light side playthrough of KOTOR 2 and I want to finish that before I start getting back into Jade Empire. For now, it’s enough to know that Pu Onyu is out there again and he will soon go back to kicking bad guy asses.

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It Shouldn’t, But It Does

I’ll admit that when I was younger, I was a very bad sore loser. I would get incredibly angry when I’d lose at something. It was especially bad when I’d lose at a video game against one of my brothers. This was especially vexing for me because they’re both better at video games than I am. Well, in general, anyway. I’m sure there’s a video game out there that I’m better at.

As I’ve grown older, that sore loser streak in me has lessened and, for the most part, is gone. I still have those moments, though, where it rears its ugly head. Take this morning, for example. Well, the morning I’m writing this. Not the morning it’s being published…

I was playing Madden.

I called a pass play. None of my receivers were open, so I had my quarterback start running the ball. He gets a yard or two past the line of scrimmage and a defender comes up to him. In an attempt to evade the tackle, I hit the button to spin away.

That’s not what happened.

Instead, despite being past the line of scrimmage, he threw it to the receiver assigned to that button where it was immediately intercepted. Plus, to top it all off, they threw a flag for me illegally throwing the pass. On every other Madden game I’ve ever played, it wouldn’t let you throw it once you got past the line of scrimmage. Now, it penalized me for doing it even when that’s not what I wanted to do in the first place.

I know that it shouldn’t have bothered me. After all, it’s just a video game. Plus, I was winning by a pretty good margin at the time. It ended up not making any difference in the game, but I still found myself yelling at the TV screen. Thankfully, I had already dropped Baby E off at school, so she didn’t hear me tell the Xbox what it could do to itself.

It only took me a moment to regain my composure, but I still felt crappy for losing my cool like that, especially over something so trivial. It shouldn’t have bothered me, but it did.

Pay Attention to Your Companions

The title of this post is good advice in general. Whether those companions be friends, family, or coworkers, it’s generally a good idea to pay attention to them. It’s an even better idea if the companion in question is a significant other. Then, not only is it a good idea, it’s a necessity.

I’m not referring to any of those people, though.

No, the companions I’m talking about are the characters that video games give you to help the main character complete their quest. Generally, these companions come in RPG style games, which are the ones I tend to gravitate towards. And, as anyone who has played these types of games before can tell you, those companions can be the difference between beating the game or giving up in frustration.

Recently, I found out that I did not pay nearly enough attention to my companions.

I’m playing through Dragon Age: Inquisition again. I’ve already beaten it, but I’m playing it on the Xbox One this time around instead of the 360. There is some DLC available for the One that I couldn’t get for the 360. So, at least there will be some new content for me during this playthrough.

I went to fight one of the game’s dragons. This is where I learned that I had spent too much time focused on the main character and not enough time on his companions.

About 15 seconds into the fight, every single one of my three companions was dead. Somehow, through luck (and using every potion in my inventory) I was able to defeat it by myself…. barely. Had it not been one of the weaker dragons in the game, I probably wouldn’t have been able to.

After the fight, I went to my inventory and looked at the weapons and armor they were equipped with. It wasn’t even close. The equipment for my main character was much, much better than theirs. It was as if I was wearing steel plate armor and they were wrapped in toilet paper.

Needless to say, I have made more of an effort to upgrade their gear. Since then, I have fought, and killed, a couple more dragons and my companions have fared a lot better.

Hopefully, you learn from my mistakes and pay attention to your companions. Otherwise, the next ass the dragon fries might be yours.

D.C. Universe Online

My wife and I finally got an Xbox One about two months ago. One of the first games I tried to play for it was one you could download for free called Marvel Heroes Omega. It is a MMORPG. They give you a list of characters to choose from, you pick one, and then you play the game as that character. I chose Blade.

The first hour or so was cool. It played a lot like the Ultimate Alliance games, except you only had a one character party, instead of four. Then, I read up on it a little bit. Now, maybe I just read it wrong, but the way it sounded to me was that the game was free to play, but if you wanted to level your character past level 10, you had to pay for it (if anyone out there plays it, please tell me if I got it wrong).

It wasn’t worth the hassle, nor the amount of space it took up on my hard drive, so I deleted it and moved on. Then, my nephew told me abiut DCUO. I was hesitant about it after the Marvel game was so disappointing, but he assured me that while you would have to pay if you wanted to get the best equipment in the game, there were no pay restrictions on leveling your character up. Plus, you are able to make up your own character on the D.C. game instead of using one of theirs.

I tried to create my character DICO. It didn’t go well. His power is…. unique, so I didn’t think I’d be able to get close to it (although, in retrospect, I probably should have looked to see if you could specialize in throwing Batarangs, which would be pretty close). Instead, I gave him hand blasters, kind of like Iron Man. I also tried to name him DICO, but, surprisingly, the name was already taken. After a couple more failed attempts, I was forced to settle for Detective DICO. 

I like it so far. 

The combat is smoother than I was expecting. The story, while not great, isn’t bad. I’ve been able to level up fairly quickly. So far, the only thing I don’t like about it is the PvP (player vs. player mode). There doesn’t seem to be a system in place to ensure that the two people fighting are at similar levels. The one time I tried it, I wailed on this guy with everything I had and barely made a dent while he could kill me in three hits. Fortunately, PvP is optional, so I don’t have to do it again if I don’t want to.

For now, I’m going to keep playing it.

What about you? Have you played either of them? What are your thoughts on them?

Versus: Season 2 Episode 2

Ok, I’ll admit it. The first post of the second “season” of Versus didn’t go as planned. Matticus and I both made our pitches and waited for our awesome readers to vote in the poll. Then, the time came for the poll to end…. only it never did. At last glance, which was about a week ago, it was still active. I’m still not sure what happened there.

At some point, Matt and I are going to go to battle in the virtual arena that is Versus again, but I need to iron out the kinks in the system first. So, with that in mind, I’m going to subject you all to some of my regular Versus posts, only I’m going to start including polls on those. That way I can practice, and hopefully figure out what I did wrong the last time, before we have our rematch. Unlike my older Versus episodes, however, I’m only going to be doing one matchup per post.

Let’s try this poll thing again. Onto the matchup!

MORE ANNOYING VIDEO GAME PARTY MEMBER: CARTH (STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC) VS. SERA (DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION) VS. LOUIS (LEFT 4 DEAD)

We’ve got us a three way battle. I also had a Three Way for dinner (which means nothing to you unless you’re from the Cincinnati area), but that’s beside the point. This matchup consists of three characters from video games that I have spent a lot of time playing. I’m pretty sure that I’ve logged over 100 hours on each of them. So, these characters have had a lot of time to get under my skin. Let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

Up first is Carth. He is the first actual party member you pick up in KOTOR. Then, he spends the rest of the game annoying the crap out of you. He goes on some whiny tangent about how he doesn’t trust anyone anymore because he was betrayed before. If you take the time to ask him about it, he gets defensive and snaps at you. As the story progresses, if you keep asking him about it, he reveals that the person who betrayed him was his mentor and the betrayal was the bombardment of his home planet which led to the deaths of his wife and child (Although, you find out later in the game that his child survived and turned to the dark side). Granted, if my wife and child were killed, I’d be devastated, but I don’t think I’d be a whiny ass and blame it on everyone I meet. I beat this game at least 5 times and I think the only time I talked to Carth enough to get the side quest that involved his kid was the first time. I couldn’t take it for any of the others.

Next is Sera. In Dragon Age, certain people have accents that mimic those that are on Earth. For example, the Orlesians all speak in French accents. Sera, on the other hand, speaks in a heavy British accent. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me. When Sera speaks, however, she goes 100 miles an hour. I can’t understand most of what she says she’s usually talking so fast. Even when you have the text appear on the screen and read it, most of what she says is still nonsense. She uses metaphors that just don’t make sense to me. Her answers to questions are usually vague and leave you with more questions than when you started. I won’t even talk to her anymore unless it’s absolutely necessary to complete a quest.

And last is Louis. Quite frankly, Louis is a little bitch. When any of the other characters from either of the Left 4 Dead games get entangled with one of the special infected (a hunter/smoker/jockey/what have you) they cry out for a teammate to help them out. Louis just cries. I looked for an audio clip so I could show you what I mean, but I couldn’t find one. The most annoying one is when he gets pounced on by a Hunter. He screams, “Get it off me! Get it off meeeeeeee!” while sobbing. Literally sobbing. If it wouldn’t lessen my chances of survival, I’d let the little bitch die every time.

But, who is more annoying? That is for you to decide, dear readers. I’m going to put up this here poll thing and hope it works correctly this time around. Cast your vote and let me know who you dislike having in your party the most. If I get it right this time, I’ll post a follow up with the winner in 8 days.

RPG Sequels 

I’m sure this has happened in many other games, but the one I’m focusing on right now is the Dragon Age series of games. And not just the games, but the books and the movie too. Specifically, I’ll be talking about the characters that inhabit these things. 

In the first game, everything is fine. There are no problems because it is what is starting the continuity. Then the second game came out. Sure, depending on what you did in the first game, there were some cameos from people in the first game, but none of them played a big role in the second game…. except for Isabella. 

It’s easy to forget that Isabella was even in the first game. Hell, I forgot it until she interacted with another character from the first game who was making a cameo. In the first game, you could play some type of card game with her, but I think she always won because she cheated. The other thing she did in the first game was teach your character a class specialization. Now, I don’t remember what level you needed to be on in Origins to gain a class specialization point, but I do know that in the second game you got them at levels 7 and 14. Which means at the time of Origins (according to the game mechanics), she had to be at least at level 7. Although, if you look at it logically, someone proficient enough to teach others a skill would be of a higher level. So, I would venture that she had to be closer to level 14 than 7, during the time of Origins. 

Yet, when you first get to play her in 2, she starts off at your level. I’m pretty sure I was at level 5 when she first joined up with me. That means that sometime during the 2 years, or so, of the time between the end of Origins and that part in 2, Isabella managed to lose at least 2 levels of experience. As I said, though, it would probably be closer to 9.

How does that happen?

And that one isn’t the one that’s bothering me the most. It’s two characters from Inquisition: Cassandra and Varric.

Out of the two, Cassandra is the more forgivable one. After all, her skills aren’t shown in Dragon Age 2. They are, however, shown off in the CGI movie Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker. Within the first five minutes of the movie, she kills a dragon pretty much singlehandedly. I don’t know if you’ve ever played any of the Dragon Age games, but, like in most mythos, they’re hard to kill. Not counting the Archdemon at the end of Origins, there is only one dragon a piece in each of the first two games. The dragon in the first game is a giant pain in the ass. I hated fighting that thing. In the second game, the dragon was easier to beat, but it was still tough.

In Dawn of the Seeker, they explain that she’s good at fighting dragons because she studied under a group that specializes in killing them. Ok fine. If you take the time to talk to her in Inquisition, Cassandra tells you that she was a teenager when Dawn of the Seeker happened and that it was 18-20 years ago. That would put her somewhere between 36-39 years old. She’s still in the years to be in prime physical form. Yet, when you fight dragons, she does just as much damage to them as she does to everything else. Shouldn’t she do more damage to them since she’s a trained dragon slayer? Maybe double or triple as much? Shouldn’t I do more damage to them if she’s in my party? It would be very easy for her to point out its vulnerable spots are.

The worst offender of the bunch, though is Varric. He is a member of your party almost the entire game in 2. I beat the game, while doing most of the side quests plus the two DLC missions, and I was level 25. At most, he was one level lower than me. So, according to the game, in between 2 and Inquisition, Varric managed to retain the memory of all the events that took place, yet somehow forgot how to fight.

Once again, how does that happen? 

At least in the KOTOR games, there’s an explanation for why the two main characters, who were badass Jedis before the games started, found themselves learning how to fight and/or use the Force again. Here, there is nothing but questions.

WTF Bioware?