March 16, 2011

"Dragon Age II": Pared-down, yes, but it's got the original's soul (and it's still fun)

I was a huge fan of Dragon Age: Origins; indeed, I’ve playing it through two and a half times in a little over a year, and I would still be hacking and slashing had I not lost all my saved games following a botched PS3 hard drive swap. (Yes, I know, I need to move on.) Needless to say, I’d been eagerly awaiting Dragon Age II for many months, with the game finally dropping into stores—and into my anxious hands—last week.

Unfortunately, the new Dragon Age hasn’t been greeted with the same acclaim as its predecessor, with furious fans of the first game bemoaning the sequel’s pared-down scale (rather than an entire world to explore, you’re confined to a single city, named Kirkwall), the simplified character abilities (no more “skills,” such as persuasion and trap-making) and inventory systems (you can’t customize the armor of your companions), and the gratuitously recycled environments (expect to see the same dungeons, neighborhoods, and hallways over and over again).
In fact, anyone who’s played Mass Effect 2, a wonderful, sci-fi-oriented gaming epic, will notice more than a few similarities between that game’s “action”-style RPG gameplay and Dragon Age II—not that surprising, perhaps, given that both titles come from game developer BioWare.

March 11, 2011

Bidding farewell to Yahoo!

It’s been a blast, but as I wrote in my farewell post today … change is good.

I’m proud of my four-year tenure as Yahoo!’s resident Gadget Hound, and I’ll miss the Yahoo! News team. It was a great experience—one of the best of my career—but it’s time to move on, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

I’ll be taking a (much-needed) break for a few weeks, but after that, I’ll be back in the freelance game … so drop me a line if you’d like to talk about an assignment. I’ve also got a couple exciting projects of my own to roll out in the coming months—stay tuned for more details.

My Yahoo! farewell post follows ...

March 02, 2011

iPad 2 gets unwrapped. Yes, I want one.

Here's my coverage of today's iPad event on Yahoo! News, along with a comparison of competing tablets. And yes, I'm getting one—the slimmer, lighter form factor and dual-core processor look too good to resist. Too bad about the non-"retina" display, though.

As for the dual cameras ... meh, not that interested anyway. Indeed, I've yet to place a FaceTime video chat on my iPhone 4, and I don't envision myself starting anytime soon.

So, are you thinking about the new iPad, or will you stick with the original — or will you go for one of the iPad's tablet competitors?