I never expected to like Saints Row the 3rd as much as I did, but underneath its silly surface was an incredibly polished action experience drenched in creativity, mayhem, and fun. When we got word that Volition games was booking appointments for Saints Row 4 at this year’s PAX: East, I couldn’t wait to see what new trouble the Saints had gotten themselves into. Wow, I’m a fan of this franchise?
This week Bioware hosted a screening of Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker in San Francisco and other locations. I’ll admit, I had no idea this movie was going to be even shown in theaters, much less anywhere where near I live. So, I braved rush hour on the Bay Bridge and headed into the city to take a peek.
Viewers are quickly introduced to protagonist Cassandra Pentaghast, in her days prior to smacking Varric around, a young, headstrong Seeker. The plot of the movie revolves around her quest to foil a blood mage conspiracy against the Chantry in Orlais. She’s eventually joined by a Circle Mage, Regalyan D’Marcall, in her efforts to rescue a young elf from who is key to this blood mage plan. I can’t get into much more without spoiling things, but I will say there are plenty of sword fights, murder, treachery, and dragons to keep Cassandra on her toes as the story unfolds.
Overall I enjoyed the movie! We got to hear more of Cassandra’s back story and her motivations which helped flesh out her character nicely. The other person we see quite a bit of, Galyan, is the classic snarky Dragon Age mage (think Anders in Awakening). I wouldn’t have minded getting to know him a bit better, but I’m glad that the focus stayed on Cassandra. The Chantry conspiracy plot is enjoyable, though nothing fans have not seen elements of before in the Dragon Age universe (see Asunder Review).
There were some stylistic things that bothered me, but I attribute that to my lack of enthusiasm for anime and not an issue of quality with the film. There are some pretty awesome fight sequences though; the writers and animators did an amazing job portraying Cassandra as the, forgive my language, badass she’s implied as being in Dragon Age 2. Come to think of it, this was the audience’s first glimpse of Orlais, wasn’t it? Admittedly, a lot of what was shown was forest and rock, but Grand Cathedral was spectacular.
My quibbles with it? Minor. Cassandra pretty much chews up a group of blood mages in the beginning, but is taken out by a cut to the leg in a one-on-one sword fight? That kind of perplexed me. Also, given the extensive power demonstrated by mages in the games, there weren’t a lot of spells getting tossed around. I was sort of surprised that the Seekers quelled a blood mage ritual at the beginning of the film as easily as they did. Then again, they are the elite warriors of the Chantry; perhaps I need to work on my suspension of disbelief.
The movie was a nice addition to the non-video game media expanding on the Dragon Age universe. Cassandra was, to me, a compelling figure in Dragon Age 2 so it was nice to see her in the spotlight. Additionally, and in my humble opinion, its fantastic the story focused on a female protagonist. The books, and comics, while featuring some amazing, strong, female characters, to date have focused primarily on men in Thedas. I wouldn’t mind seeing more solo adventures for some of the women of Dragon Age, if time permits.
Natalie currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she tries to balance full-time work and various nerdy hobbies. While being a huge Bioware fangirl, she also enjoys other video games (i.e. Arkam City, the Fable series) as well as comic books set in the DC universe