CODE VEIN | brief look /// Dragon Age: Origins, "Witch Hunt" | game play
Blood and magic.
CODE VEIN | brief look
Game summary: Set in the near future, where the earth's crust was pierced by the "thorns of judgment" and everything fell to ruin. The setting of the game is "Vein," a closed society where a people known as "Revenants" just barely managed to survive. (IMDb)
Unfortunately, CODE VEIN left Microsoft's Game Pass service just a few days after I downloaded it and, while I managed a couple of hours of playing time, I don't think I experienced enough of what the game has to offer to justify a post as a review. What I will say is that I definitely enjoyed my time with the game and would happily pick it back up if it ever returned to Game Pass, was part of a Humble Bundle or had a super-deep discount on Steam.
In other words, you could say that I enjoyed what little time I spent with the game very much. It does throw a lot of information and systems at you very early on, but you can always 'rest' at the assorted checkpoints and respawn the enemies to practice as much as you'd like and get used to how your character controls. It's a neat workaround, but still a pretty major design flaw when it would've been easy to introduce each new piece of gameplay by itself as you started the story.
Still, the controls felt very responsive for the majority of the time - there are some animations that are frustratingly uninterruptible and can leave you open for attacks - and there's a wide range of play styles available from the start, so there should be something for everyone to enjoy. There are enough options it might take you a while to figure out which is best for you, but the perseverance might be worth it.
I also really liked how CODE VEIN looked - much like the game itself, the character creator is detailed enough that the sheer number of options available may mean you spend a lot of time at this point before even starting the game (please note that my couple of hours of playing time does not include creating my character, which took quite a while!).
The game felt very smooth, and the anime-style appearance of the game was perfectly enhanced by the fluid animation and excellent lighting. I also enjoyed the look of the world in general and was looking forward to finding out how and why everything ended up as it appears, even if the individual areas felt a little uninspired themselves - hopefully, things would've improved later on.
I can't really recommend any game that I played for as short a time as CODE VEIN, but it was at least interesting enough that I would give it another go if given a cost-effective way of playing it again. Those couple of hours trying it out weren't amazing enough for me to want to buy it right away, but I'd certainly suggest trying it out if you can find a way of doing so without paying full price for the privilege.
Dragon Age: Origins, "Witch Hunt" | game play
And so Elissa's story finally comes to end after years of following her exploits - admittedly a big gap was due to technical issues which prevented me from progressing for about a year of actual time - and it's another small piece of story to help round out a dangling plot thread from the main story of Dragon Age: Origins and set things up for the future.
Just a word to the wise: it's best to leave "Witch Hunt" until last out of the story-related DLC as it is possible for your Warden to leave with Morrigan at the end, which doesn't really fit with them continuing to show up if you play something like "Golems of Amgarrak" afterwards unless you make a mental note to consider them as flashbacks to earlier adventures.
While Elissa had got on reasonably well with Morrigan, the latter's dark nature meant that the two were never close and it's pretty obvious that this story was written with a relationship between a male Warden and Morrigan in mind. As a female Warden, there's not really the emotional connection there or even any real motivation to leave with her, making the ending somewhat anticlimactic.
This feeling isn't really helped by none of the other companions from the base game showing up either, other than your Mabari hound, who can't exactly contribute any dialogue to proceedings! This lack of connective tissue hampers "Witch Hunt", but doesn't make it a bad piece of story-telling, just not something particularly memorable - although what happens here does have an influence later in the Dragon Age series.
For Elissa, it was simply a case of wanting closure over Morrigan's fate thanks to her disappearance after the Battle of Denerim against the Darkspawn. Thanks to that lack of romantic involvement, things do stay a little mysterious for the Hero of Ferelden, but Morrigan is sent on her way to influence a later game and Elissa departs with her new and completely forgettable allies for this DLC, presumably heading to wherever Leliana is so they can resume their relationship.
One last piece of DLC to go now, even with the Grey Warden's story is over, and this one is very much in the style of a Marvel What If...? adventure.