A tribute to Thedas, the world of Dragon Age

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I finally finished a video project I had been working on for a little over a year. In preparation for DragonCon 2013, my friends over at Tuatha Armory built a fantastic Tallis (Dragon Age 2 DLC character) cosplay for me. I had been introduced to a group of people who specialized in Dragon Age cosplay and every year at DragonCon, they hold a large gathering and walk in the official DragonCon parade.

This was the first time I cosplayed in a very long time, so I felt rather scared and lonely. Lance Hayes (creator of Tuatha Armory) wanted to take some shots of the completed armor and I thought I would document the project. I started arranging words in my head, mapping out feelings regarding my new cosplay and how I felt about Dragon Age in general. So I wrote a poem. I love narrating, so my main thought was to write a snippet about Tallis moving forward with her life as Tal Voshoth (one who has left the Qun). Lance and his wife Misty filmed a few scenes of me doing random things in the mountains and then I thought about the cosplay group I would be seeing in the months to come.

So I took to Facebook and asked various cosplayers if they would be willing to let me film them in different scenarios and they were very gracious with their time. I had a rough cut of the poem and overall idea of the film, but I didn’t have enough footage. So I waited until I could gather just a few more seconds, yes seconds, of new footage at this year’s DragonCon, and I am glad I waited. inquisition’s new soundtrack and video that BeatDownBoogie took of our group allowed me to complete the project.

Once I had the visuals, I had to write and narrate accordingly. This whole project began with my feeling lonely and then it evolved into feeling accepted by this cosplay group. It got me thinking about the Dragon Age community as a whole. The DA team at Bioware created this huge, beautiful world and it has been expressed time and time again that the team loves their community. They love seeing cosplay, writing, video and other projects done by the community. Our gender, our race, and our backgrounds never mattered to Bioware. If we had a love for Dragon Age, then by all means, we were encouraged to show it. And in turn, they respond with a love for us. That’s what I wanted to express in this video.

As a character in Dragon Age, we experience so much. We develop friendships and make enemies, we take down monsters and armies, and we gather people together to fight for a cause we believe in. What we experience on an emotional level in the Dragon Age games is not much different than real life. I’ve made genuine friends with the people in this cosplay group, so this is also my thank you to them.

I don’t know what my life would like without Bioware and without these people. I’d rather not imagine it because surely, it would be a boring life.

A Dragon Age Tribute

The adventures of Nugget the Nug: PAX East 2014

Meet Nugget the Nug. 

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She was a gift to me from a good friend, and I decided to take her with me to PAX East so that we may experience our first PAX adventure together. Whenever I could, I documented Nugget’s journey to Boston, and here is what came to be.

On our way to Boston! Wheeee! 

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Waiting for our ride to the airport!

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I don’t like flying, but momma is going to protect me! 

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Planes aren’t so bad after all!

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Delayed flight in the land of Chicago. What in Andraste’s name is a CharDog?

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Made it to our hotel! I wish I was a High Dragon. I want to flyyyyyy~

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These bath towels are comfy. I shall sleep here for the whole convention.

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Actually right here is nice. So much better than being underground! 

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Some friends came over and we wrestled. I won! Nug bite = -150HP

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This is a tavern, people! I’m too young to go to strip clubs. 

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Great way to start off PAX… *hic*

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Helping momma edit the Mass Effect Cast Cosplay video for Auntie Karissa’s panel. 

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Minutes before the panel! I was so nervous! 

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I did an amazing job taking this pic of momma and Auntie Karissa. 

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There was lots of good food! So much better than what I normally ate in Orzammar.

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The panel was a success! Achievement unlocked! Now I can take on the Archdemon!

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And since we were at PAX, we did some Street Passing. 

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One day, I was bad and hid from momma. She had no idea I was in Auntie Karissa’s suitcase. But I showed up the next day to surprise momma and hopefully not get grounded. 

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Momma forgave me. Look how proud she is of me! 

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And I got A LOT of kisses at PAX too. Of course from my momma… 

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But also from Luciano/Kaidan… *swoon* I’m his number one fan now.

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Since PAX was drawing to a close, we decided to go sightseeing. 

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I even met people who made me! Wait.. does that mean they’re my mommas too? 

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And then eventually, we had to go back home via Southwest flying machines.. home to the Sauron eye chairs. 

 

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I have fond memories of PAX. And I shall miss it dearly. Goodbye, convention center. Goodbye new friends. Until we meet again next time.  

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Feel free to follow along with my adventures! Just look up #adventureswithnugget

Hmmm.. think I can convince my mom to give me my own Twitter account?

 

Go for it! A fantastic chance to lend your voice in Dragon Age: Inquisition!

This week, Bioware’s lead community manager, Jessica Merizan was quite busy launching Bioware’s new Youtube Channel and social site. Along with the awesome new look Bioware is getting, the Inquisition team is also having a voice over contest, allowing Dragon Age fans to submit audio recordings or videos to win a chance to have their voices immortalized in DA: Inquisition (being released later this year). The rules are simple and can be found here.

Will I be participating? Hell yes. After my fangirl moment died down, I took a step back and wondered why I was even interested in this opportunity in the first place. Five years ago, I would never have imagined that I would allow my voice to be heard on the internet. Now here I am, almost impatient to record the lines needed for this contest. I’m not a professional by any means, but I do like to have fun and dabble in areas that are creative in nature.

Years ago, I was involved with the creation of a machinima series and we were looking for voice talent. It was a simple set up: here’s a script, here’s your direction, show us what you got. For fun, I submitted my own voice for one of our male characters, and it was surprisingly well received. I, of course, did not get selected as the lead male because I have a very feminine quality to my voice, but the project lead did want me to lend my voice as an A.I character. I was hooked on voice/audio work since then. Just for fun, I narrated my favorite children’s book “The Giving Tree“, one of my favorite poems by Frost, and helped out on a friend’s radio ad parody for a podcast. All received positive feedback, and it has boosted my confidence tremendously. For the record, I still dislike my voice, but I am learning to accept it, love it, and work with it because it is a part of me.

And this was all done because I just wanted to try it out. I learned how to use the basic functions of Garageband on my Macbook Pro, bought a decent mic, and pushed the record button. I cringed at the sound of my voice the first time, I choked on air, I swore at my AC unit for kicking on at the wrong time (that mic picks up EVERYTHING), and I barked back at the loud dog next door. But all of this was experience and it has served me well. And the best part is, I found another piece of myself to love through these experiences. My point to the wall of text above is if you are interested in something, just go for it. Who knows where it might lead? You may love it, you may hate, you may be indifferent, but at least you will have satisfied that curiosity.

If by some miracle, I am one of the chosen voices for the DA contest, I have my machinima project and my curiosity to thank for it. If I am not chosen, I am still thankful. Why? Because they created my confidence to try. And making that first step on a journey is precious. So go forth, warriors of Thedas. Lend your voices and conquer.

Video game character poems for Valentine’s Day!

It is the month of LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE! And I understand that some of us may be spending that special day with that special someone and others may be enjoying just another day of February. Last year, I decided to have some fun with the corporate holiday and I created poems on Twitter for people that wanted to express their V-day love for their favorite video game characters. I intend on doing more this year. If you want me to create a short ABCB for you, please comment here or let me know on Twitter! Here’s what I came up with last year.

Hawke from Dragone Age 2:

My love for you is red,

the steel I carry is blue,

I’ll be your Champion forever…

Want a sandwich?

Fenris from Dragon Age 2:

Hatred of magic burns red

Lyrium in veins is blue

I hate those damn apostates

But I’ll make an exception for you ❤

Anders from Dragon Age 2:

I’d see all Templars dead

Our fight is strong and true

Because someone like me

Could love someone like you

Garrus from Mass Effect:

Either on the Citadel

Or as a shining star

Whatever happens to me

I’ll see you at that bar

Caboose from Red vs Blue:

Sarge is red

Look, I’m blue!

Muffins are good

Sheila I made one- Touch.

Master Chief from Halo:

The war zone is red

We fight for days anew

I’ll do anything for peace

Even take my helmet off for you

Link from Zelda:

Rubies are red

Sapphires are blue

Hyrule, the Triforce or love?

I’ll always choose you

Legion from Mass Effect:

We may not be with you

But stray not from your goal

My thanks, Shepard Commander

For I now have a soul

Grunt from Mass Effect:

IN HONOR OF THE FALLEN

AND THE MANY THAT DIED,

THOSE REAPERS WILL FALL

SINCE YOU’RE BY MY SIDE. *WARCRY

Leliana from Dragon Age:

I’ll sing for you forever

If that is what you desire

but come, it’s warmer in my tent

Than it is by the fire

Varric from Dragon Age 2:

Enough drink for me.

Oh, I can beat you at your game!

But I’ve a maiden awaiting me,

Bianca is her name

Chrono Trigger:

Saving the world across times,

we make a fantastic pair.

Won’t you join me, fair princess

at The Millenial Fair?

Cortana from Halo:

Lacking human form

I cannot touch or feel

A.I form be damned

I know this love is real.

Zevran from Dragon Age:

What if Isabela joins us?

She is a fantastic lead!

Ouch, I am joking!

You are all the warden I need ❤

Isabela from Dragon Age 2:

A captain without a ship

I suppose it is fate

At sea I wouldn’t have found

my charming first mate.

Wesker from Resident Evil:

Red wine, candled dinner

Relax. Unhinge.

Heard of Uroburos?

Oh, don’t mind the syringe..>=]

Sebastian from Dragon Age 2:

Vengeance has blinded

but Andraste made me see

War’s victory means nothing

If you are not with me

Sten from Dragon Age:

Your ways are strange

I’ve the Qun, and you your creed

But when I go to battle

You and Asala are all I need

Samus from Metroid:

Bounty hunters don’t love.

But if you fill that void,

will you be here forever

for me and little Metroid?

Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3:

For you Ill set aside my mission

I’ll resist the Templars’ call

Based on one condition

Mind the tricorn hat is all 😉

Allistair from Dragon Age:

Of all our companions,

It’s you I enjoy most

I thank the Maker daily,

that I’m your lamp post.

There you have the 2013 Valentine’s Day poems. So let me know what you all want to see!

“Understanding” A Dragon Age 2 fanfic written for my friend, Sunrise feat Fenris x FHawke

I debated whether or not to post fanfiction I’ve written up here, and I eventually landed on the “what the heck, why not?” decision. I wrote this for my friend “Sunrise” about two Christmases ago, and I realized I never posted it up anywhere. She requested a Dragon Age 2 fic with a Fenris x FHawke (Mage) pairing. This is what I came up with. 

Fenris made short work of the straw target in front of him. With one swing of his broadsword, the target was demolished and only splintered wood and debris lay at his feet. He had been practicing for the last three hours or so completely oblivious that night had set upon Kirkwall and the moon was his only source of light. He was quite grateful that he had the abandoned mansion all to himself. He could destroy everything in his path and not a soul would disturb him.

His brow furrowed slightly when he saw the blue lyrium markings on his arm glow brightly. His blood tingled and his heartbeat sped up. He didn’t understand what caused these outbursts, but they came and went so quickly that he chose to ignore them when they happened. Tonight however, the markings were particularly annoying. “Damn you, Danarius,” Fenris gritted through his teeth

Hightown had settled into its nightly routine, and Fenris felt like venturing out into the city. Thanks to Aveline, his presence wasn’t known, but he still needed to be discreet when he left the privacy of his temporary home. He easily stayed hidden in the shadows, avoiding guards and nosy merchants that were closing shop.

His eyes scanned over the horizon of Kirkwall and he let his mind slip into the very few memories he had of the city. It was at the alienage where he first met Hawke and her very odd followers. His blood boiled when he realized she was a mage, but even he could not deny that her heart was true and pure. He had to admit that she was one of the first mages he met that made him believe magic was not pure evil.

Another memory cut into his mind. They were all at the Hanged Man, and they were actually enjoying themselves. It was the first night where they were free to be themselves and not worry about blood mages or slave traders. It was the first time he had a conversation with Hawke that had nothing to do with his past.

The first thing he remembered was smelling the alcohol on her breath. He had never seen her so relaxed and … happy. “Has no one ever told you that your eyes are beautiful?” she asked, directly looking in his eyes. He welcomed her company and conversation, but she had never so physically close to him before now.

“It has never been brought up,” he admitted, slowly leaning back, trying to anticipate her intention

She lazily leaned on her right arm attempting to keep herself from falling from the table.  The music was light and cheerful, and Isabela was doing her best to rile up the others in dance and song. He and Hawke remained.  Movement from Hawke’s hands caught his attention and he stilled when her fingers wrapped around the metallic guards around his own. “Well they are, and you shouldn’t be so quick to hide them.”

Fenris decided that Hawke was a very puzzling woman, but all women were to him. It wasn’t until he met Hawke and Isabela that he believed his appearance held any value to a woman’s taste. He had been at the mercy of Hadriana and she was no woman; she was a monster. Hawke gently squeezed his hands and she smiled at him. Fenris never thought he would feel such affection from a mage, but he did and he could not say he did not like it. “I will do my best to hold my head high,” he said returning the smile, “at least around you.”

“I’d like that,” she responded.

The memory faded and Fenris continued on his walk. The air was crisp but not fresh. Kirkwall was corrupt no matter which part of the city one resided. A faint bark rooted him momentarily. It sounded like Hawke’s Mabari. Fenris didn’t care for the hound, but he was at least accustomed to the different sounds the hound made and what he heard caused alarm.

Discretion be damned, Fenris broke out into a sprint heading straight for the Hawke family estate. The closer he came to the main entrance of Hawke’s home, the more troubled he felt. The Mabari was now wailing. Fenris saw the large wooden door that served as the entrance to the estate was destroyed. He ran faster, relying on his ears to pick up any sign of Hawke and her Mabari.

The inside of the estate was a mess but he did not see any blood. His hurried steps lead him to the courtyard. No torches were lit, but he could easily see light and fire spells being cast and hurled into unknown trespassers. To his horror, he saw Hawke barely holding herself up. She was on the ground, using one arm to summon spells while the other clutched her abdomen. Three men descended upon her, but Fenris swore they would not touch her.

“Fenris!” he heard Hawke’s desperate cry. His heart sank when he heard how tired and weak she was. His only thought was for her safety. Hawke’s attackers didn’t even have a chance to see who it was that would end their lives. He took them down without mercy. Fenris could feel the heart of the third man give out in his grasp and seconds later the courtyard became calm once more.

That is until Hawke’s Mabari whined helplessly. Fenris found the Mabari lying next to Hawke. She was almost motionless save for the unstable rise and fall of her chest. He hurried to her side as panic seized his body. “Hawke…” he said in worry.

She was gasping for air trying to sit up. He wrapped his arms around her careful to avoid any contact with the wounds that covered her stomach. “I’ll take you to Anders,” he said, but she stopped him.  She clutched her stomach and he could see faint blue light illuminating under her palms. She was attempting to heal herself.

“Help me,” she pleaded in a heavy breath.

“I can’t,” he admitted in defeat. He was no mage and she knew that. He had nothing with him to help stop her bleeding.  All he could do was watch and that tore at his heart.

“Lend me your hand,” she gasped.  Her head was now resting against his chest and every shiver that shot through her body he could feel against his own. He complied without a second thought. Her slippery fingers, wet by her own blood, wrapped around his and he felt an odd sensation in the pit of his stomach.

It was very similar to the feeling he experienced when called upon the power of the lyrium in his veins.  It was powerful and it spread throughout his body evenly before focusing into one single point.  He felt that sensation leave his body, exiting through his hands. If he had not been present to witness the exchange of power, he would not have believed it. All the energy he had felt a moment ago had transferred to Hawke and her wounds were mending right before his eyes.

She let out a small cry of pain and he instinctively hugged her tighter wanting to ease whatever discomfort had plagued her. Her brow was covered in sweat and her eyes were shut tightly closed. He could only assume that it was a tiring ordeal trying to heal oneself, but when the host’s body was so heavily damaged to begin with, he wouldn’t be surprised if she passed out in his arms

Hawke let out one final gasp before the blue light vanished.  She relaxed in his arms and slumped against him completely.  “Are you all right, Hawke?” he asked when her breathing had become stable.

She swallowed hard and barely managed to answer him. “Yes… ambushed… never saw… thank you… here…”

He ran his fingers through her matted hair and gently cupped the side of her face. “No need to exert yourself. You’re safe now. And I’ll make sure you will be for the rest of the night.”

He carefully picked her up and carried her back into the estate. The Mabari followed close behind them, its tail wagging wildly left to right, obviously happy that his master was safe and alive.  When they reached Hawke’s room, Fenris gave a curt nod to the hound. “No one gets in, understood?”

Woof! Woof!

“Good boy,” Fenris said in approval. The Mabari sat right next to Hawke’s door at complete attention.

Fenris realized that Hawke had fallen asleep in his arms and he took the opportunity to observe her a bit more closely. He had said once before that she was a beautiful woman, but he had no idea when she had transformed from beautiful to goddess like. He gently set her down on her bed, but he stayed close to her. With minimal movement, he found a comfortable position sitting next to her.

Perhaps when he was able to let go of the fact that Hawke was a mage that was moment he could see her for the woman she was. He was guarded when they first met and even when she visited him weekly.  He half expected her to undergo some traumatic event and resort to blood magic like so many of her kind. But the life altering changes came and she stood strong. She lost her brother and sister though thanks to Anders, it was possible that Hawke would meet her brother again one day. Hawke’s mother was murdered by a blood mage no less, but Hawke remained true to herself.

He reached out again and stroked her hair, memorizing how the auburn strands rested against her cheek and shoulder. He contemplated the utter fear he felt when he saw her unmoving body on the ground. Where had that panic come from? What was it that terrified him?

He would miss her.

Simple as that. He had grown accustomed to her visits, her conversation, her companionship.  She was the only one of their group that seemed to truly care for his wellbeing. When he and Anders were at each other’s throats, she always took the side that was most logical and reasonable at the time. She didn’t see their arguments as mage versus slave. She saw them as friends fighting against one another. Maker, she didn’t even care that he was an elf. Hawke was the most unusual woman he had ever met. Maybe that’s how she stole his heart without him knowing.

Since he could remember, she was the only person alive that treated him as an equal. There were times when she regarded his life a higher priority than her own. Such a foolish notion, and he did not know how to react to that treatment.

‘You’re important to me, Fenris,’ she had explained with a sweet smile. He couldn’t respond to her, but he knew full well his heart fluttered when he heard those words. ‘I know you don’t have memories of your past, but perhaps you can learn to cherish the ones you have now?’

Leaning down, he kissed her forehead feeling unbelievably grateful that she was in his life. He would have to be careful with his newfound feelings, but for a moment he had managed to let go of his hatred for his former master. It was liberating. “Sleep well, Hawke,” he whispered in her ear.

He stood and quietly left her room. The Mabari hound’s ears perked up and he jumped up from the floor.  Fenris held a finger to his mouth and the Mabari quieted.  “I’m going to clean up the mess in the courtyard,” he told the Mabari. “I trust you have everything under control here?”

The Mabari gave him a meek arf!

“It’s up to us now to protect her, you know,” Fenris added. He smirked when the Mabari nudged his nose into Fenris’ palm. Had someone told him a year ago that he would have a full conversation with a Mabari hound, he would have called that person an idiot. Had someone told him that he would be falling in love with a mage, he may have killed that person outright. His life had taken such a wild turn and it was all because of one woman. He took one last look at Hawke’s sleeping form and decided, magic abilities be damned, she was worth leaving his past behind. Suddenly, the future didn’t seem so dark.

Heroes of Dragon Age mobile game receives 3/5 stars from me!

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I was so excited when Bioware/EA launched the Heroes of Dragon Age mobile app back in early December. That and another replay of Origins and DA2 would hold me over until Inquisition is released later this year.

What is the point of the game? You acquire various “heroes” and journey through the history of Thedas starting with the First Blight. There are ten maps to clear (that I have seen so far), and each map contains five areas that must be unlocked by destroying the enemies that stand in your way. The heroes that you control range from familiar faces like Morrigan, Sebastian, and Anders to Desire Demons, Revenants, and Abominations. Yes, you can have characters that are normally known as enemies and villains in your party.

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To start off, you are given four heroes and a large animal or magical creature as a fifth member. The picture above shows a typical PvP match. The blue bar on the top left displays the party’s overall level, the yellow meter (energy) divided into squares indicates how many times you may visit a map and battle , and the pink meter (stamina) shows how many times you may participate in PvP matches.

How do you acquire more heroes? After each quest battle, you win gold and experience in typical RPG fashion. Head on over to the store and you can purchase a hero pack. Each hero has a colored pedestal that indicates the rarity and quality of said hero. Here is a basic breakdown of those colors:

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Brown = Common Hero

Silver = Uncommon Hero

Gold = Rare Hero

Red = Epic Hero

Green = Legendary Hero

The common and uncommon heroes can be purchased with gold while all other heroes can be purchased with gems. There are two ways to gain gems. One, you can win them by clearing challenges and maps in the quest lines or you can (you guessed it!) buy them with real money. It is extremely difficult to get an epic of legendary hero if you are not willing to spend real money. I have been playing the game since it launched in December and I have yet to get a legendary hero. It is, however, possible to get a rare hero by purchasing the uncommon pack; the chances are just very slim.

The heroes have their own stats and unique abilities that come into play when you create your ultimate party, but there is a feature in this game that really surprised me.  The actual fighting is on autopilot. When you enter battle, you click and watch. You don’t control your party in any way. This feature really takes away the experience of the classic turned based battling system in an RPG and it sometimes makes me rage quit in PvP matches. I somehow lost to parties ten levels lower than me, and I have no idea how that was possible. The only option you are given during battle is to fast forward through the battle and pick up your rewards seconds later. A positive to note is that your party’s health is completely restored after each battle.

The only other downside I’ve experienced with this game is the unbalanced leveling system. It takes quite a long time to level up and once you believe you can progress in the game, the next challenge in your way knocks the ice cream cone out of your hand and leaves you crying in a corner. Not literally, but you feel that way. I just cleared map five, barely surviving the boss battle at level 30 and the first battle (the easiest on every map) on map 6 has level 50 enemies. Sad face.

I believe in the Oreo effect, so I will end this review on the positive note. You do get a camp! Here you can have your primary heroes “consume” ones that you will no longer use and in turn you gain more experience! There is also a combining feature as well in case you happen to have identical heroes. Again, this helps your hero gain more experience and become even more badass.

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Overall thoughts.

Visuals: LOVE THEM.

Characters available: LOVE THEM

Music: Loops a bit, so I use my own playlist. HUZZAH INON ZUR.

Gameplay: Good

UI: Nice. Easy to use.

Battling System: Bioware, you owe me an ice cream cone