KOTFE: The Battle of Odessen

So the final chapter of Knights of the Old Republic has come, and somehow, I expected it to feel a little more … final.

First, my review: I liked this chapter. Thoroughly. Unlike some of the previous chapters, some which felt like stalling and some which felt like three hours of walking in circles, and even unlike the previous chapter which had all of the action and plot moments I craved — but delivered nothing of the romance I longed for — this outing provided both the action and character development to sate me.

There were lots of character moments and moments of reflection, and the game didn’t make me grind through a million sky troopers to get to Arcann. It provided some minor bosses to slow me, but not frustrate me – and it even pulled out some new fighting mechanics to make the final showdown seem fresh.

KOTFE battle of odessen

What it did not do, however, was provide a thorough wrap up to the previous sixteen chapters. At the end of the chapter, some things have changed and there are some nice revelations, but when I zoom out I see that all of the same players are in the game and not much has changed for my character directly. I expected a little bit more of a shake up in the final chapter to help me feel like I’m progressing.
After the chapter is completed there doesn’t seem to be any new things to do around the base either, which was a bit of a let down as we wait for the new DLC.

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KOTFE: The Gemini Deception

Finally, a chapter worth playing.

Forgive me for forgetting — or at least ignoring– the fact that chapter 14, Mandalore’s Revenge, preceded this one. The only thing 14 gave us was this adorable creature:

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I admit I had no idea he was a returning character, I am even more excited to continue my new bounty hunter play through.

Ultimately, I’m more interested in skipping ahead to Chapter 15: The Gemini Deception.

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GDX Edmonton Highlights: Narrative in Games

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Sunday at Game Discovery Exhibition Edmonton, (GDX). It was a mad crazy weekend, followed by an insane week so I’m sitting down now to write some thoughts about the conference.

The second panel I was able to attend was the Narrative in Games panel. Moderated by Matt Dykstra, the panel included Bioware lead writer Patrick Weekes and lead editor Karen Weekes, Beamdog writer Andrew Foley and Madsoft writer Corina Dransutavicius.

It’s always a pleasure to attend panels that bring writers together! I took a lot away from this one. General take away on how to break into the game writing world — go find Dave Gross, who was the pivotal connection that got Patrick and Andrew their jobs.  Actual take away, go join writers groups, stay connected with other writers.

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Highlights from GDX Edmonton: Inclusion in Games

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Sunday at Game Discovery Exhibition Edmonton, (GDX). It was a mad crazy weekend, followed by an insane week so I’m sitting down now to write some thoughts about the conference.

The first panel I attended was Inclusion in games, moderated by Emma McDonald, the panel included Bioware vets Sarah Hayward and Sarah Beck, programmer Sagal Adam, Designer Bree Emmerson and activist Emily Dutton. All of these amazing women gave fantastic advice.

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KOTFE: Profit and Plunder

New chapter #13 of Knights of the Fallen Empire, Profit and Plunder, opens with some continued saltiness between companions. No one likes each other here, and it makes sense because hey, wasn’t it just yesterday we were all on different sides? Not only that, but everyone knows lack of money is the number one cause of fights in relationships and apparently we are, in fact, underfunded. Plus, there’s the matter of Kaliyo and Aric Jorgan missing in action since we sent them on that quest last chapter (you know the one… they’re doing… something important). Everyone is worried, and we need something to keep us busy.

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Why Diverse Games: “Ask Why”

Today I’m interviewing another awesome gamer who responded to my call for interviewees. She would prefer to remain anonymous to protect her privacy.

K: What do you think makes you a ‘gamer’?

E: For me, a gamer is someone who is passionate about video games. For me it also means I spend an ungodly amount of time gaming; whether that can be considered a pro or con depends who you ask.

K: What attracts you to videogames over other forms of entertainment?

E: Books, movies, plays, and art – all of these are mediums for telling stories and creating incredible worlds, but video games allow you to be an active participant. You aren’t just watching a story unfold, you’re immersed in it. In many cases, you also have a direct impact on your environment. That’s not something you can find anywhere else, and that’s what makes games such an exciting and invaluable medium.

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Short Fiction: Garden of Nothing

There isn’t a lot of good to be had in the wastes.

Not a lot of gentle, not a lot of care.

There’s a wealth of harm. Rough edges, sharp corners, dirt and grit. Sand ground into your skin, under your eyelids, in the backs of your teeth. How do you get clean when the dirt is inside you?

When I meet another traveler it’s a careful dance. A glimmer of blue eyes peeking out between sheathes of fabric, framed with dark, grime crusted skin. The clothes are like mine – brown, layered, worn but practical. Packs strapped on with belts, carrying everything on our backs from water to shelter.

We’re crossing within five feet from one another in the semi dark and maintaining eye contact the whole time. This person is as likely to shank me and steal my water as I leave, as he is to let me go. I want to shout after him as his form retreats. I won’t harm you – I’m so lonely it’s killing me faster than the radiation is. I want to run after him and throw myself at his feet. Take everything I have but say my name before you go. I haven’t heard my name spoken aloud for so long.

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Why Diverse Games: “Do Your Research”

Today I’m sharing an interview with a fellow gamer (and Dragon Age lover) Elizabeth. She’s got some great insights! Here she is to introduce herself in her own words:

E: My name is Elizabeth, I’m a white, bisexual woman in my twenties, and the very first gaming device I ever had was Nintendo 64 followed by a Game Cube and a Nintendo 3DS for my 16th birthday. Pokemon Stadium and Quest 64Quest 64 were my first introductions to video games. Considering how horrible a game Quest 64 was, I’m surprised I decided to stick with it! I didn’t purchase an Xbox 360 until the Xbox One had already been released, since I had to buy it for myself on a retail salary. I did, however, recently buy a PS4 and I’m super excited to finally play Sony exclusives.

K: What do you think makes you a ‘gamer’?

E: It really depends on your definition. For me, a gamer is someone who plays many types of video games. Focusing on one genre would be like calling yourself a wine connoisseur but only ever tasting white wine. It’s OK to have a preference, I’ll admit I’m far more into RPG’s than I am first person shooters for example, but gaming is much more than just one game, or one genre. I feel like limiting yourself does a disservice to the variety of games out there.  So, I guess what makes me a gamer is that I enjoy a wide variety of games, from GTA to Journey.

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Why Diverse Games: Lisa Lindsay Art

I’m fortunate in life to have met some fantastic people who are passionate about gaming, and even a few who are currently in the industry.

Lisa is a professional game artist and illustrator with over seven years of experience. She has contributed to more than 16-shipped titles including StarForge, Office Jerk and Atari’s Asteroids Gunner. She also participates frequently in Global Game Jams. In her spare time, Lisa is working on personal projects including a comic about women in Mexican wrestling. (Adapted from her member profile on boneshakerpress.net)

K: What do you think qualifies you as a ‘gamer’?

L: I would say that anyone who plays games can identify as being a ‘gamer’. Even though these days I can only play an hour or two of games each week, I still identify as a gamer because I’m very passionate about games and the industry.

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KOTFE: Visions in The Dark

I’m a huge Star Wars: The Old Republic fan, I’ve been playing it for several years and I have a few OC’s in the game that I love very dearly. What I haven’t loved? The new expansion that claims to be returning to “Bioware storytelling” and “choices that matter”. Knights of the Old Republic, Chapter 12: Visions in the Dark became available recently and it was another disappointing outing for my beloved Sith Inquisitor Gossamyr and her team of rag tag force wielders, Jedi sympathizers, gunslingers and smugglers.

When KOTFE is doing things right, it’s really right. There have been some excellent highlights since I started playing these extended chapters. The amount of female badassery, for example, spread between NPC’s like Lana Beniko, Senya Tirall, Scorpio and Vaylin is particularly impressive, especially when paired with a female PC.

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In fact, I quite liked the first 5 or so chapters of KOTFE, meeting new characters, recruiting to your cause, coming to the new alliance base — it felt like the first third of Dragon Age Inquisition, complete with feelings of real vulnerability and the triumphant reveal of your new home. The latest chapters, however, have been somewhat lackluster.

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