Jaws of Hakkon, DA: Inquisition’s first Expansion, is Beautiful

Inquisition camps are now tree houses.
Inquisition camps are now tree houses.

If you’re a Dragon Age fan and didn’t purchase the Jaws of Hakkon dlc immediately, I’d be surprised. I’d love to hear from you as to why. The fan base for Dragon Age just seems so loyal. As for me, Inquisition was my first Dragon Age game, and I’ve reviewed it here. I wasn’t totally impressed, and after playing it through a second time, I’m very bored with it. But . . . I did very much enjoy the Jaws of Hakkon as an expansion.

First, a mild complaint. This dlc cost about $15, which is ¼ of the price of the original game. Perhaps I’m being picky about pricing, but the expansion doesn’t contain anywhere near ¼ the content that the main game has. It doesn’t really tie in with the main quest and it doesn’t have much new in the way of dialogue or cut-scenes, so I don’t know . . . why not charge $10? If Bioware can make the game with the huge amount of dialogue (and with all the options), relationship choices, maps, and more, then why charge so much for new content that has minimal dialogue and game integration?

Other than that consideration relating to the business of gaming today, the new map is gorgeous. It’s called Frostback Basin and it’s the only Inquisition map that has day and night. Well, it’s always day before you defeat the dragon, and apparently always night afterwards. Which is an odd concept, right? But I LOVE this map at night. It has burning lamps here and there and they naturally look better at night. There are crickets chirping and other delightful and mysterious noises and lights to experience at night there. Otherwise, Frostback Basin differs from other maps, too, in its vertical dimension. Instead of having lots of dungeons the region is filled with giant trees; the movement is upward instead of downward. The walkable roots are giant, too, and many inquisition camps are actually little tree forts. Who wouldn’t like that?

Regarding game play and content, they’re the same as in the main game, but some enemies are generally (and a couple are much) harder. The dlc’s story is a fun and engaging one, in my view, but I don’t want to spoil it for you so I won’t say more about it here. As with the main game, there is humor in the dialogues and codexes. As mentioned earlier, however, there is no real connection with the main game’s story. There are no new “romance” related scenes or added dialogue. It’s too bad that this additional Inquisition content isn’t integrated more, but it’s a fun way to continue playing this third Dragon Age game nevertheless.

Avvar enemies and weapons
Yep, there’s weird enemies to combat, so weird that they are mud-painted yet have glowy glowy weapons. This is the Avvar.

A Christian’s View of Dragon Age: Inquisition

Solas
Solas: good, reasonable, rational, mysterious, sometimes annoying, and . . . .

The review below was originally posted (by me) at Christian Entertainment Reviews.  Since that site is up but no longer active, I decided to place an edited version of it here.  Enjoy!  A short review of the dlc is now up, too:  Jaws of Hakkon, DA: Inquisition’s First Expansion, is Beautiful.

If you’re familiar with the Dragon Age franchise (by Bioware), you’ve probably already made the decision to play or not to play these role-playing games.  For some, a game with swearing and “sex” scenes is simply crossed off the list of playing possibilities, and Inquisition (2014; rated M17+) is no different from its predecessors in that arena (except that the “sex” scenes are more “human” than ever before, according to fans).

But with a name out of Catholic history, perhaps you’re curious.  I was, and, having been fairly unfamiliar with the franchise (I didn’t know about the personal relationships aspect), decided to check out the newest installment.  Let’s clarify something up front before we move on, though:  viewing possible “sex” scenes is not part of any quest except voluntary “romancing”—a player can romance certain characters, or not—and avoiding romance has little impact on the rest of the game.  This game is not anything like an “X” rated film–more like an R in parts.  Certain characters who make up your party can be pretty much ignored, too, if desired.  On the other hand, there is no sex shown when romancing the traditional and humble Cullen, who is an example of someone who wants a healthy and permanent relationship.

Continue reading A Christian’s View of Dragon Age: Inquisition

“You don’t deserve a job” is like “You don’t deserve to live.” Christian based, really?

To the Cross with trans base mod - Copy
Art and design by Vicki Priest. “In truth, no human alive can fathom how much, how sweetly and how how tenderly, our Maker loves us,” Julian of Norwich.

I’ve come across this idea a couple of times from a well-regarded Christian university website:  Don’t think that you deserve a job.  The first time I saw this, I was dismayed, and after coming across it again, I had to think about it more (remember to count to ten before responding when angry!) and organize my thoughts. The statement didn’t advise that you shouldn’t think you deserve a certain job, just that you don’t deserve a job.

Most People Need to be Employed in Order to Survive in Our World

In our urban day and age, most persons rely on a job (or multiple jobs) to live.  Very few of us (and probably none that are able to read this) are hunter-gatherers anymore, and sadly, very few of us are even farmers.  Most all of us have jobs because those with the means control the land and wealth, and today, a very few people control a vast amount of wealth.  There used to be movies made about the rich, the banks, the industrious turned industrial, taking over family farms (and the like) by any means necessary.  These weren’t just movies, of course, but were made to show an unfairness and a harm in our “free” society. As our society became more and more industrial and urban, fewer and fewer people were left the dignity of working out their own livelihood.

Continue reading “You don’t deserve a job” is like “You don’t deserve to live.” Christian based, really?

Does DA: Inquisition’s Imshael having anything to do with Ishmael and Islam?

Imshael at Suledin Keep, with goat head-like statue and Red Lyrium   (unknown online source image).
Imshael at Suledin Keep, with goat head-like statue and Red Lyrium (unknown online source image).

The role playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition won Game of the Year for 2014, which no doubt increased the Dragon Age franchise’s already large fan base. At its base is a typical good vs evil theme, and good morals as well as faith are included, but it is also incredibly relativistic at its core. This is very typical fare for games these days. After all, it’s more about having the largest customer base and making the most money possible. The game even has romance in it (of all sorts)—a major draw for a segment of the fan base.

Should Christians Play Dragon Age: Inquisition? is my review of the game, but there seems to be something in the game that is not relativistic, something that finds Bioware (the game’s developer) out on a little limb, that I’d like to explore here. And this something is what the demon Imshael can be seen to represent: Islam.

Who is Imshael?

Continue reading Does DA: Inquisition’s Imshael having anything to do with Ishmael and Islam?

DA Inquisition (+ DLC): Crafting Materials Tables, Organized by Map

Weapons crafting sample.  From INCgamers.com.
Weapons crafting sample. From INCgamers.com.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Crafting Materials Locations by Map (nonvendor)

When known, cloth types are included.  Rare and Unique Items are Highlighted; Fade Touched Items are in Same Locations but rare. If a common item comes up rarely on a map, it is not listed for that map as it would much easier to find it on a map where it is common.

About Dragons:  Most of the main maps have one dragon, except Emprise du Lion, which has three, and the Fallow Mire, which has none.  All dragons drop the following on every map:  dragon scales, dragon webbing, dragon bone.  Therefore, the tables below list which maps yield dragon teeth and the different blood types only.

[For review of DA: Inquisition, see A Christian’s View of Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Thanks!]

Map: Haven
Item Region on Map Notes
Elfroot Temporary town
Iron
Nugskin From piggish rabbits
Ram Leather  
Druffalo Hide Open area outside town Buffalo-like creatures

Continue reading DA Inquisition (+ DLC): Crafting Materials Tables, Organized by Map

Destiny’s Story: the Nature of Evil and Its Corrupting Influence

A Hive wizard in Destiny
A Hive wizard in Destiny

“I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain.”
The Exo Stranger, unwittingly (or jestingly) explaining Destiny’s lack of in-game story

Destiny (2014), the wildly successful multi-player shooter video game made by Bungie, hints at having a story behind it, but so far it’s pretty much a mystery. Sure, as you go through the short-lived “story” missions in order to open all the game maps, you hear some people speak,[1] but you are forced to come to the sad conclusion that you’re being kept in the dark as to the meaning behind all the fighting you’re doing. I think it’s safe to say that most people, even professional game reviewers, were shocked and disappointed by the real absence of a story in Destiny.

Based on the Beta, which I played, I thought there’d be more of a story and perhaps it would even have more of a recognizably Christian basis. My hopes were deflated after playing the released game, however. Bungie’s own activities jaded me more to the idea of any Christian basis to Destiny, like: insulting XBOX users online and going out of their way to give Playstation users more product for the same cost, and celebrating Halloween but ignoring Christmas (EA’s Garden Warfare, in contrast, was a virtual Advent Calendar that freely gave players fun stuff every day before Christmas during December).[2] My point is, I was biased toward an anti-Christian story before researching Destiny’s lore more, so I found myself surprised at some of what I found.

Most story information, or lore, is found in virtual Grimoire cards that are unlocked, but not readable, as the game progresses. If you want to know what’s on the card, you must read it online. Most, if not all, of these cards’ texts are online so you don’t have to unlock them in-game to read them (but as many fans reasonably complain, who wants to take all the time to go somewhere else and read them?).

These Grimoire cards, in-game dialogue, and other sources were used to construct the story information here, but a note on “lore” language and quality–not much of it is written in a straight-forward kind-of way. Instead, there is poetic and mystery religion sort of texts, official reports, cryptic messages, and broken up conversations. The wide variety of information styles, considered alongside the absence of dates and characterizations, make deciphering the story difficult and very time consuming. The excuse for the dearth of relevant information is that humanity lost it between the Collapse and the present time.   However, humans are flying around in little space ships at warp drive, tiny flying robots called Ghosts in-game can reflesh humans and materialize and dematerialize things, Ghosts can access centuries old data, etc. . . . never mind, Bungie, never mind.

A bit about the game itself before getting to the story. Destiny is a shooter, not an RPG or adventure game, so shooting enemies as well as other players is what this game is about. And showing off rare gear—especially, it’s about showing off. But, why does everything in the game attack you? Why does no one ever try to dialogue with you? Why is it that everyone on “your side” is so mum about the history and meaning of it all? It doesn’t much matter, apparently, as long as you’re a good soldier who is willing to get his or her own gear. When it comes down to it, the in-game story seems to be nothing more than a loose construct to name enemies; but, considering the religio-philosophical web content and that at least one more sequel is coming out, maybe it’s worth trying to figure out the Destiny universe. “The Story of Things: The Basic Story” is followed by “The Story of Ideas: The Philosophical and Religious Underpinnings of Destiny’s Lore.”

Continue reading Destiny’s Story: the Nature of Evil and Its Corrupting Influence

New Testament Views of Women: 1Timothy 2:11-15 (Part 2)

Happy In Church

This is the second part of New Testament Views of Women: 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Due to the length of this study, I decided to divide it up. Please see Part 1 here [forthcoming] as they relate to each other.

1 Timothy 2:13-15

For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  But women [or she] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

There is so much seemingly wrong with this passage in relation to basic Christian doctrine and belief that it seems hard to take it seriously. If the epistle is authentic—which not all early church leaders believed was the case–Paul surely wrote it for a specific local situation and/or a particular false teaching. Verses 13 and 14 read: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” There are at least two implications here, so let’s go through them in detail.

Eve was Deceived: Why?

Continue reading New Testament Views of Women: 1Timothy 2:11-15 (Part 2)

Broadchurch (Season 1): Christianity, Male Affections, and What the Slug Said

And so did Christianity fall.   Detective Alec Hardy

I passed the word. Maybe the word was good.   Vicar Paul Coates

Christianity is a dirty word. Trying to find the Christian history of things, or the Christian basis of science, or information on Christian scientists, philosophers, etc., seems to be getting harder by the day. Christianity is being erased from history, and you’d be hard-pressed to find entertainment industry professionals who discuss their faith openly. There are some who do, like Denzel Washington, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, and John Rhys-Davies, and it was easier to find out Broadchurch AusDVDabout their faith than any direct information about the religious aspects of the BBC TV show Broadchurch. Considering that Broadchurch is chock full of things Christian, this lack of discussion still seems surprising.

Despite the (seeming) decline of Christianity in the United Kingdom,[1] or perhaps because of it, the 8-part murder mystery contains more on the Christian faith than many people no doubt experience in a year. Hearing actors quote bible passages was happily shocking. These days, when show business types are generally afraid to mention their faith, how did this show even get made? In an interview (Ng 2013) with one of the main actors, Arthur Darvill, he responded to a question with what may be a partial explanation:

It was written because [Chris] wanted to write it and he wrote it the way that he wanted to write it. It’s a real testament to people having ideas and people not interfering with those ideas. You can see it hasn’t been meddled with by people who are pulling purse strings, if that makes sense. I think a lot of TV you see is made in a way that’s quite cynical because it’s made to make money or made to be a hit, and this wasn’t.

There’s absolutely no reason to think Darvill was referring to the murder mystery part of the story, since that is a very ordinary, accepted, and desirable show genre. But besides Christianity, there are other meaningful issues, or themes, in Broadchurch that aren’t obviously discussed in mainstream media either. You’d think that the murder mystery was the only aspect of the 8-week long story, but my impression is that the story (which was interesting but not great)[2] was written solely to express these themes: Christianity; the supernatural; male affection vs. male perversion; grief; and, the question of how or why people closest to criminals don’t know about the criminal activity. Below is commentary on themes and subthemes, excepting that on grieving (the family slug shows up near the bottom, in “How could you now know?”).

Continue reading Broadchurch (Season 1): Christianity, Male Affections, and What the Slug Said

“Which Libtard said That?” (hint: the Bible is involved)

Detroit. Perfect example of greed gone amok.  Unsourced photo of abandoned Detroit packing house; quote added.
Detroit. Perfect example of greed gone amok. Unsourced photo of abandoned Detroit packing house; quote added.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  James 3:9

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  James 1:22

Why this Post

Far more often than is good for me, I see people cursing other people on the internet. I see this most often on Twitter, but it happens everywhere (I just happen to be on Twitter . . . too much). Most disturbing, of course, are the instances of this that come from those who claim to be Christian. Now, I’m not referring to heat-of-the-moment squabbling. I’m referring to the pre-meditated and consistent cursing of people “other” than themselves, like conservatives calling liberals “libtards,” liberals calling conservatives “homophobes,” and liberals (mostly, from what I have seen so far) saying moderates are stupid and/or smug (apparently for rejecting them).

People have always had a problem with the “us vs them” mentality, so I don’t know if it’s worse now in the U.S. than before (it seems so), but, followers of Christ ought not to be in this worldly way. We are to reach people for Christ’s kingdom, not push them away. With these thoughts in mind, I have read conservatives curse people who have a concern for others, concerns and desires that God Himself commands us to share.   There are liberals who also curse conservatives for being pro-life and anti-gay, and no doubt this is why some conservatives can’t see anything good coming from the liberals. Part of it, though, is that some conservatives either don’t know the biblical teachings regarding the poor and wealth, or they choose to ignore them. This only serves to add fuel to the anti-Christian fire.

In fairness, however, “What homophobe said that?” will be posted as a separate article (due to length). Many liberals either ignore God’s teaching on physical love and marriage, or else try to explain it away (even some liberal Christians do this). However, God’s attitude toward homosexuality from the old to the new testaments didn’t change, and passages about its sinfulness are not taken out of context, despite what critics say. That article will include passages supporting the “pro-life” stance as well.

Here are “140 characters or less” quotes, but more often paraphrases (those entries with no quotation marks), of biblical passages along with the actual passage reference and who uttered them. Feel free to use them on Twitter or elsewhere, but it would be nice if you shared my article url.

Continue reading “Which Libtard said That?” (hint: the Bible is involved)

Tales from the Borderlands at Christian Entertainment Reviews

Not all of my video game articles will be at Christian Entertainment Reviews, but when they are, I still want you to know about them here.  Over Christmas break my son and I decided to get the new episodic video game series from Telltale Games, Tales from the Borderlands.  Here’s my review of it – thanks for reading!

Beautiful, and therefore raider-free, town image from Tales from the Borderlands.
Beautiful, and therefore raider-free, town image from Tales from the Borderlands.

Tales from the Borderlands: A New Episodic Graphic Adventure Series

“Please stop shooting me.” Loader Bot

“If you have a pulse and aren’t easily offended, you’ll love it.”  VB|Gamesbeat (96/100 gamescore)

Most Christians may not be all that familiar with the Borderlands series of games, considering that they’re quite violent and gory. I’m not here to review or warn you away from the regular Borderlands video games, but I can tell you about the first episode of the new interactive story series, Tales from the Borderlands. This first installment of the five-part series came out on November 25, 2014, with the next episode (“Atlas Mugged”) planned for release during the last week of January 2015.

. . .  Episodic games are sort-of like a cross between reading a book or watching a show and playing a role playing game (RPG). The player is given choices in dialogue as the story moves along, and these choices define which branch of the storyline tree the player continues to move along. The storyline tree makes for built-in replayabliity.

To read more, please go to Tales from the Borderlands: A New Episodic Graphic Adventure Series.

Christian Things and Things Seen Through Christian Eyes

Everything&AnythingFromMe

everything from articles to scriptures to my favorite prayers and thoughts about everything and anything

SevenFlorins

Casual Reviews

eatpraylove(mom)

a mommy blog about the things i love most - God, family, food and the simple life

The Nerd Nebula

The Nucleus of the Universe for all Nerd Hacks!

Rad or Shite

Is that game rad or shite?

Chronicles of a kid next door

I am what I am by the Grace of God

BCNN1 WP

Black Christian News Network | Wordpress Edition

eyesOfOdysseus

my cat does the proofreading.

StopWhiteGenocideInSA's Blog

85 000+ White people have been MURDERED in brutal GENOCIDAL attacks UNDER THE COMMUNIST ANC’S, “MANIFESTO,” And still continues in South Africa... #StopWhiteGenocideInSA

Thomistic Bent

Apologetics, Philosophy, Theology, Culture

Human Effort

Everything Depends on God's Mercy

hessianwithteeth

This site is all about ideas

UK Media Watch

Promoting fair and accurate coverage of Israel

Raven's Coffee Chat

really authentic stuff here

The Wholly Blog

With all the problems in the world its time to get back to the basics. This blog will center on a new perspective, one person at a time.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers

%d bloggers like this: