GeekendIn this week’s Geekend, Michael reaches back to play last gen’s Bioware titles while Jimmy and Dan look to the future, checking out new and upcoming releases. Join in, and tell us what you’ve been playing down in the comments!

Michael Riel – Staff Writer

I’ve been playing Mass Effect. Oh right, there’s supposed to be a bit more. Okay, well, for most of this week, I’ve been revisiting the Mass Effect series and the Dragon Age series. See, ever since the announcement for Dragon Age: Inquisition at E3, I’ve been pumped up to play it, but it’s not getting here for a while, and that’s hard to deal with for me. To satiate my hunger, I’ve been trying to replay every inch of both Dragon Age and Mass Effect so I can unlock every ending, every scene, every line of dialogue because the replay value of these games is insane. In the case of Dragon Age: Origins, you can start off as a child of a wealthy land owner, be aggressive to every character, get one to fall in love with you, save the world, kill your closest companions and then dump your love interest to marry the Queen of Fereldan and become supreme ruler. Or in Mass Effect, you can be an alien enthusiast, get the main alien romance option to fall in love with you, then turn your back on everyone and let the Reapers kill the council so the humans then take control. It’s kind of freedom in games that I love. You can be the nicest person in the world then immediately turn your back on your morals and just give the universe a giant middle finger. Dragon Age: Inquisition is promising the same kind of freedom we have come to expect from BioWare games, with much much more added in. And that’s why I just can’t sit still for this game. Oh, and I’ve been continuing to log game hours on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but that’s nothing new.

Jimmy Stephenson – Staff Writer

My 3DS has been feeling a little lonely, now that I’m through with Bravely Default, so I decided to hit up the eShop and see what I could find for a budget. First, I tried out the demo for the JRPG Conception 2, which combines features from traditional RPG’s and dating sims. The dungeon exploring and battles remind me a bit of the more recent Persona titles, although not quite as polished. While not overwhelmed by the demo, I thought it still might be interesting to try it out. Then I noticed that they called the creation of the Star Children “classmating,” to which I said “No, thank you.” I also downloaded two interesting experiments in free-to-play gaming. The first, Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, gives players the opportunity to haggle on the prices of the baseball-themed minigames. I’m not a big fan of baseball games, but it was quite polished, and the hitting demo had a Rhythm Heaven feel to it. The other game, Steel Diver: Sub Wars, is a submarine combat game which gives players the chance to try out the multiplayer for free. I must say, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. The controls take some getting used to, but offer a lot of options to try out. The maps were large and varied, with trenches and tunnels to hide in. The best thing, though, was how well the multiplayer worked out. I never had any trouble finding a full lobby, and while voice chat wasn’t a option, people could type out messages in Morse Code, which I think I liked even more. I think I’ll probably end up buying the full game, but in the meantime, it wasn’t a bad deal for the low low price of free, huh?

Dan Furnas – Editor-in-Chief

Like Jimmy, I spent most of this week on my handhelds. I picked up a copy of Pokémon X and put in a handful of hours or so. I like that the game started out by showing off mostly new monsters, but now that I’ve reached the fossil lab, it’s been a lot of older ones. I’m also really enjoying the Wonder Trade system; I got a couple very helpful pokémon early on from it. Definitely going to be putting some time into this one long-term. Now if I could just get around to transferring all of my old pokémon to get them into the bank for use post-game. I also played some of Conception 2 on the Vita, and I agree with Jimmy that it does have a bit of a Persona vibe to it when you’re dungeon crawling. While the “classmating” joke is a pretty bad pun, I don’t really think it’s any worse than Agarest‘s “soul breeding” system. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but as a stopgap while I’m waiting for more Persona to play, it might do. I also played a little bit of Life Goes On on Steam, as well. It’s a puzzle-platformer where you play as a series of knights who must die to various traps in order to let their brethren finish the level. It kind of reminds me of the old Super Karoshi flash game except death isn’t the end goal, it’s just a tool to get to the goal. Definitely worth checking out when the full version goes live next week.

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