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Game played: Dragon Age: Inquisition

I love roleplaying games, always have, ever since I was introduced to Baldur's Gate. I had been playing table top roleplay with friends before, so I was familiar with the concept of RPG's and the setting of Baldur's Gate. Now, to my great shame, I have never finished any of the Baldur's Gate games, nor have I finished Planescape Torment (which is also fantastic). I am just a casual and these games are rather difficult. I need more healing potions than the once they offer at the start.

So when I heard that Bioware had developed a new game that was inspired by those games, I knew I had to play it. My boyfriend (who is currently my husband) bought Dragon Age: Origins on PC and he was raving about it. However, the gameplay mechanics on PC were to intricate for me (I really am a casual gamer). I only really started playing it when we moved in together and bought a PS3.

i must say, I adore Dragon Age: Origins. I think it is still the best of the Dragon Age games. The party members are well rounded and memorable, the gift system is a nice touch. The dialogue is well-written and it was a stunning game for its time. I have been replaying the game after Dragon Age: Inquisition, and it still holds up. (I played Dragon Age: Inquisition on PS3, since we did not have a PS4 when it came out. We do have a PS4 now, so we bought it for the PS4 as well.) Origins might not look as good as Inquisition does, but it is still beautiful. And I prefer spamming healing spells and regaining health and stamina after battle, but that is just me.

And then there was Alistair...Collapse )

I only finished the other Dragon Age games this year. I started Dragon Age: Awakenings because I knew I wanted to play the other games and, of course, I had to do it in order. Awakenings is indeed a good addition to Origins, a fun and quick playthrough. The additional party members are not as well rounded as in Origins, but still likeable and interesting. It was a good thing to play Awakenings before Dragon Age 2 as it is a good introduction for Anders and Justice.

However, Dragon Age 2 was a bit of a let down in comparison to Origins. The character were not as well rounded, because there were fewer possibilities to interact with them and fewer dialogue options.Though the gameplay mechanics were simple, the lack of customization of your party members was a shame (this weekend, somebody told me he preferred games like Skyrim that do not give you a party, because he does not like all those options for customization, so I guess not everbody would complain about the lack of customisation).

The story was okay, if a little bit too predictable. You know exactly where the story is headed. However, this is what bothered me the most.Collapse )

Apperently, many fans have criticized Dragon Age 2. It is not without its merits, but I don't think I will ever play it again

Bioware took the fans' criticism to heart when they developed Dragon Age: Inquisition. In addition, they had looked to other franchises, notably The Elder Scrolls. Now, I did try to play The Elder Scroll games. They are very engaging, but the open world gives me too much freedom to go to the difficult parts of the world at level one and die. So... not for me. I did watch my husband play the games and I must say I found them very entertaining.

I did lose my way at the beginning of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Everything before the attack on Haven, I apparently did everything out of order. So I was quite overlevelled when I actually started the main quest. I put 120 hours into this game, because I'm a completist. I did everything that was possible for me to complete in this game. (I'm not good at jumping or walking straight on narrow pathways so a few small side quests were out of my league). Anyway, this game was loooong, but I know that was partly my doing.

The characters were great and I was actually glad to see Varric return, because he was without a doubt the best thing to come out of Dragon Age 2. The conversations were lively again, finally some characters to get invested in. And even a possibility to see Alistair again! The game has also great replay value thanks to the DA keep. The story has different branches and choices you have made in previous game and Inquisition do influence the story heavily. All in all a good sequel for the Dragon Age games.

The gameplay has again changed, which means more strategy is necessary. No more spamming healing and resurrection spells, nor more regaining health and stamina/magic after battles. Although this seems daunting, I can assure you it is manageable, because I finished the game. I even completed the sidequest in which you had to hunt all high dragons in the game. I am definitely going to replay it, when I have some time (and when I have finished a bunch of other games that are on my to do list).

Maybe i should try to do this

I'm on the train home from work. For some reason or other, people are standing in the walkways between the seats. The train is full and I'm feeling a little claustrophobic today.

Someone is reading a book about the Higgs-Boson particle, I wonder if it any good. The train is full of commuters, so you can hear the rustling of the papers they are reading, soft snippets of conversations they are having with each other or on the phone. People typing on their mobile phones.

I have to go to a dentists appointment and afterwards the Hubby and I will go to the community hall to register as official citizens of our new home town. I guess it will be a very short evening. I would like to post more substantial entries about all kinds of things, but I only find inspiration when I can't post or jot it down. Inspiration will bubble up when I am driving or working and I try to suppress it and focus on the task at hand.

Well, we're almost at the station so I'd better wrap up!

Still dusting off my journal

Oh boy, it's been a while again.

I still want to do the Dragon Age Inquisition review, though.

In the past month, we have moved to our new home, cleaned the appartment, settled a lot of paperwork. I just could not find the time to write. Even today, being Sunday, was a busy day. We got some cleaning done (we still have to adapt to having a house instead of a flat). I cleaned the rabbit cage.

We have a small garden now, so Usagi (our pet rabbit) can go outside in a little pen. Although she likes being outside, she does not like the pen. She know where the door is, but luckily she has not figured out how to open it yet. It will happen, though, she has figured out how to open her cage, although she just uses it to look smug. She doesn't really want to escape.

Classes have started again. I'm in the fifth year for Japanese and in the second for Finnish. So Tuesdays and Thursdays are very long days.  Especially with the train ride... I'm still getting used to my schedule. I suppose it will take some time.

Well LJ, I haven't forgotten about you, but I suppose I will have more time to post once I get settled in the new home.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a very interesting story about one of the first American serial killers who has been recognised as such. Simultaneously, it is also the story of the great World's fair in Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century. The narratives are interwoven as the story of H. H. Holmes killing spree occurs at the same time as the organisation of the World's Fair. Indeed, it is believed that the World's Fair somehow facilitated H. H. Holmes gruesome activities.

It is clear that Larson has sunk a lot of hours into his research. He has managed to create a coherent narrative based on numerous sources. He has coped well with all the problems that occur while using sources from the nineteenth century, when forensic science was still at its early stages. He tried to reconstruct certain crimes of H. H. Holmes based on the available information. Sadly, the authorities were never able to extract a full confession from H. H. Holmes. Nobody knows how many families lost loved ones at the hands of Holmes. Yet if I think about it, I might not have wanted to read or know all those details.

The narrative about the World's Fair was very interesting, particularly the importance it played in the social movement. I do not think people in general have a grasp of how much work and planning goes into the creation of such an event. I certainly did not. If you are not in the habit of organising events, you kind of know it's a lot of work, but you don't have a sense for the scope of such an event.

I was, however, a little disappointed at the end of the book. I would have loved to have had read a little more on the H. H. Holmes' trial. I think Larson chose not to tackle the trial in great detail, because other sources had covered it adequately and exhaustively. I thihk he was more interested in the reconstruction of Holmes' activities than the aftermath. In the end, I wanted to read more, but that does not take anything away from the book itself.



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Moving....

This weekend we kind of moved to our new house.

Well, we moved our mattresses and some other necessary items. Almost all our books had already been moved over the course of 10 evenings, but there was (and is) still a lot of stuff to move. Yesterday, we had thee helping hands: my parents and my sister in law. I really appreciated the help and they did a LOT.

However, at one point it felt as if my life was being lived for me. People decided where my furniture would go, how my cutlery and other kitchen utensils should be stored... I did not have a say in anything. My hubby was feeling the same.

We are really happy to have some time on our own. Usage is adjusting well and exploring the live room and kitchen. We still have a lot to do.
The Monster of FlorenceThe Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


After discovering that Thomas Harris based a small side-plot in his book Hannibal on a true serial killer who operated in Florence, I wanted to know more. Douglas Preston's and Mario Spezi's personal involvement in the case, I though that this book about the Monster of Florence might be the one I should pick up.

And I was right.

I must admit, I usually do not read thrillers or crime novels. I was aware of Preston's career and novels, but I never read them. The Monster of Florence is a smooth read. If this is the standard for Preston's prose, I might look into his novels.

I was a bit daunted by the list of characters at the beginning of the book. As I was reading the book on my Kindle, it was not as useful as in a physical book, but it gave me a good idea of all the characters involved. However, the book was well-structured, so I had not trouble following the history of the case and the characters involved.

I must admit, that I was most interested in the parts about the investigation and the media circus around the crimes and the investigation. The crimes were gruesome and I thought that Preston handled them skillfully. Though he described the crime scenes, he did not try to put too much horrific detail into his descriptions (though he does make it clear that the crimes were horrible, you cannot avoid gruesome details in a story about a serial killer with the Monster's preferences).

The fact that Preston was involved in the investigation gives the book an extra dimension, though I think the author had rather not been involved in it at all.



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*blow dust off*

So, It's been 1,5 years since my last post... yeah... I thought it might be time to take up blogging again. I'm not going to make any promises, though, I do not have a good track record for blogging.

The hubby is playing Shadow of Mordor on the PS4 and I'm watching the Pokémon World Championship on Twitch.

I planning to post a review of Dragon Age: Inquisition, which I finally finished after +120 hours... Too many sidequests, but I just wanted to try them all!

But we are moving to our new house tomorrow, so it will probably have to wait until things have calmed down a bit. There is still a lot of work to do.
A Wind in the Door (Time, #2)A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A nice novel on how Meg's love for her little brother Charles Wallace enables her to overcome her own dislike for the principal of his school. You see little Meg growing up before your eyes with the help of Calvin and Proginoskes.



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Read: Franz Kafka by Jeremy Adler

Franz KafkaFranz Kafka by Jeremy Adler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is a great book for a quick insight into Kafka's life. It combines information from various exhaustive sources into a nice quick read, accompanied with some photographs. I needed something quick to prepare a class on Kafka, since I hadn't got much time in advance.

It can serve as good starting point for people who want to research Kafka's life, since it includes a quite elaborate bibliography.



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A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold (A Song of Ice and Fire #3, Part 2 of 2)A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It took a while before I could start reading this book. I was already spoiled for the Red Wedding, so I guess I just could not work up the courage to read it. However, I wanted to have read the book before I saw the third series and since I had pre-ordered the dvd, I guess it was time to read the book.

It was a bit disorienting to start reading the second part of the third book after quite some time, because you get thrown into the action right away. The Red Wedding, having finally read the chapter, was not as bad as I had imagined. I also like a few of the nice twists that G.R.R. Martin wrote and I cannot wait to read the fourth book!



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