Tag Archives: tiny text

Dragon Age: Inquisition is concerned with the fate of the world, not text size

Dragon Age Inquisition GD early thoughts 2

Like many, the millisecond I saw that one of Amazon’s major Cyber Monday bargains was for $15.00 off the very still new Dragon Age: Inquisition, I dropped whatever I was holding/doing and purchased a copy…for the PlayStation 3. It arrived a few days later and sat on my kitchen table, waiting patiently for me to finish up some artwork projects, as well as Suikoden II. Here’s a quick life lesson for y’all that I’ve learned over my thirty-one years of doing this grind called living: don’t start one massive RPG before completing another.

Anyways, over the weekend, I put about an hour and a half into Dragon Age: Inquisition, and all I got to show for it is this t-shirt that says “Leave the Hinterlands” in big, bold, bloody lettering. Nah, that’s not true. What I actually got is a female dwarven warrior named Girgna, who likes to charge right into the thick of things and even taunt enemies as she swings a sword into their necks. This style of fighting is very much the opposite of my usual path, but my friend Tom is also playing the game, walking the good, wholesome path of a nice wizard lady named Dandelion, and I wanted us to have different experiences to talk about.

Dragon Age: Inquisition evidently picks up immediately the events of Dragon Age II, where mages and Templars are finally at ends with each other. However, there are talks of a peace treaty in the works, but those deals and promises are interrupted by a magical explosion, leaving a single survivor. Yup, that’s you, the one with the green-colored hand. Some believe you caused this explosion, while others think you’re a blessing from the prophet Andraste. Either way, demons are now emerging from the rift in the sky, and you are the only one who can do anything about it. Get ready to age a dragon or something.

So far, I’m finding my return to Ferelden…a bit underwhelming. Granted, I’ve not touched the series seriously since Dragon Age: Origins, deciding after trying the demo and listening to the Internet that Dragon Age II was not for me. Now, I really really liked Dragon Age: Origins; it had characters and scope and deeply integrated lore and tough, but rewarding combat. It also had some problems, such as tiny text, glitched Achievements because I know I killed at least 500 darkspawn (though not 1,000), clunky inventory menus, and that whole side quest surrounding the Fade. Still, the good outweighed the bad, and that banter while wandering around towns or the forest really gave me the warmest of warm feelings.

However, in just an hour and a half with Dragon Age: Inquisition, I’m experiencing a ton of issues. The graphics on the PlayStation 3 version are sub-par; I mean, it looks like the first game, which came out four years ago, and I know we can have nicer visuals at this point thanks to Grand Theft Auto V and even Destiny. Many textures are garbled and flat or late to load in when a cutscene starts. Again, graphics are certainly not everything to me, but working graphics is a whole different issue. Audio sync is also off, and there was one moment where characters left the scene, but the camera remained fixed on the forest for a few extra seconds, while nothing happened. And this all brings me to the thorniest of roadblocks: the tiny text. I cannot sit on the couch and read most of the text, which is, y’know, frustrating for a roleplaying game where you make important decisions. I cannot read weapon descriptions or newly added lore blurbs. I cannot see the numbers for my character’s experience bar. Sounds like it doesn’t matter if you have an SD or HD television either, and I’m not the only one upset about this.

I’ll hold out hope (but not much) for a future patch to increase the font size. Until then, I’m relying on other elements to tell me what’s going on. When you examine an item, you’ll see some bars below your character go up in green or down in red, thus telling you if it is helpful or not. That said, I don’t know exactly what each bar is measuring. Some dialogue choices are accompanied by a small graphic, indicating what kind of response you are about to give, even if you can’t read it. Girgna has now finished the prologue section and been told about the Hinterlands, but I’m still hanging around the opening area, trying to find some crafting items to make weapons and armor before I move ahead to the zone everyone says to not linger in. Plus, there’s plenty of hairless nugs running around, begging to be target practice.

Not the best start for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Call me crazy, but I like reading the text in my videogames, even if it is badly translated.

An update from beyond the Wall

I am still here, you just can’t see me. Walls, they work wonders.

My absence on Grinding Down as of late has been both a choice and a consequence. My day job–which, if you’ve paid attention, is something I rarely discuss here on my videogaming blog–has turned the level of busy up to eleven, and I am trying my best to not go insane from it. The days are long and stuffed, and there is only so much quiet time, during which I’ve chosen to not spend writing silly words about the silly games I’ve been playing, such as Minecraft and Metroid Fusion and Rage and so on. Also, I have a secret art project in the works–and it’s a doozy. A lot of work on my part, but I think it’s going to pay off and just be fun through and through. “Like” my page on Facebook to find out more, as I’ll be revealing it very, very soon.

But I’m making an effort. See, this is efforting. I’m putting down my numerous thoughts to e-paper and publishing it for all of you to skim past. You’re welcome.

Yesterday, after work ended, I popped over to the local GameStop to see if they had that game that everyone was clamoring for on May 15, 2012. No, not Diablo III. No, not Max Payne 3. No, not even Akai Katana Shin. I’m talking about…Game of Thrones. Yeah, that’s right. It came out in all its quietness. The store had copies, just not on the shelves; they were behind the counter, which I found odd as I went to the shelves first and was surprised to not see them right underneath the NEW RELEASES sign.

Anyways, as it turned out, like nobody pre-ordered a copy–myself included–and so the store had a bunch of extra art books from Atlus to give away. That’s both awesome and sad, but whatever–I got my book, which is neat, if filled with some inaccuracies, like a picture of Jeor Mormont with the name Jorah beneath it. At least it’ll help me come up with some better clothing ideas for my drawings at All of Westeros.

The game itself…well, I will reserve a lot of judgment until I’m much farther in, but so far it’s been highs and lows. Game of Thrones is sick with a terrible case of tiny text syndrome, as well as a knack for using white font on light-colored backgrounds, making said font unreadable. The combat is surprisingly bland, like watching broken robots hacking and slashing until their commands run dry despite the promising look it presents. I do like a lot of the story bits, especially the Night’s Watch stuff, and the lore and tone seems to be right. I just wish I could read a lot more of the menus, but whatever. My fault for not having an expensive HDTV, right?

Some Achievements then after an hour or two of play:


Winter is coming (10G): Finish chapter 1


Family is hope… (10G): Finish chapter 2


Merciless (20G): Mete out 5 deathblows

The majority of Achievements are labeled as “secret” and hidden away behind locked text. I kind of appreciate that as it definitely helps to not spoil story beats. As someone who always peruses the lists of unlockables before playing, it’s nice to not know everything or even the hint of something to come.

All right. Time to go back behind stone and brick. Maybe I’ll resurface soon again. If not, knock the secret knock, and we’ll work something out.

This Mass Effect 2 Achievement certainly isn’t missing in action

I unlocked an Achievement before I even began playing Mass Effect 2, and this left me momentarily confused, wondering if I’d ever escape game glitches or if I was doomed to be trailed by them until biological aging takes me down into the dirt. I have Tara as my witness that this Achievement popped on the main menu’s screen after selecting to start a new game with my simian character from the original Mass Effect:


Missing in Action (5G): Save your crew from an overwhelming attack

Blinking back into reality, I then realized that my save data from when I gave the demo version of Mass Effect 2 a spin back in June 2010 had been accessed. That demo consisted of the very beginning stage, and then a stage much later in the game wherein Shepard and company were trying to rescue a biotic named Jack on some crazy, floating prison. I remember a message popping up that told me my data for the first chunk of the demo was being saved, but nothing further than that would get collected. Okay. So, in the demo, I saved Joker and as many crew members as I could as the Normandy tore asunder, earning me the above Achievement without it actually popping. Then, when it was clear that I had a full copy of the game, a year and some months later, the Achievement pops. Yet I still have to play through that opening part again because I loaded up an older Shepard character and not the one I used in the demo. Weird, but whatever.

Disappointingly, Mass Effect 2 suffers from tiny text syndrome, which the original game did not. Most of the dialogue is spoken, making this not a problem, but the dialogue choices left to Shepard are not said aloud, meaning a lot of squinting and sitting directly in front of the TV to make sure I’m going the Paragon route and not the dickhead one. And I can forget about actually using the Codex, which, like in Dragon Age: Origins, is just brimming with cool lore and details, but is no use to my bad eyes/lame TV. So yeah, that’s that.

Otherwise, it’s fun so far, with interesting characters and crazy-looking aliens. At this point, I’ve changed Shepard’s armor and casual attire, learned how the hacking mini-games work, and got a fast-talking alien scientist to join the cause to stop the Collectors. Seems like there’s plenty of others I need to recruit, and I’m looking forward to it. Not sure where to go next, but I’m sure Shepard doesn’t mind bumbling along across the galaxy; also, I totally forgot who I saved–and let die–in Mass Effect, so it was nice that I got a little refresher before the game began. Refreshers are great. Saves me time from reading wikias and getting spoiled prematurely.

Hense, the Goddess of Pain and Pleasure, loves this blog post about Bastion’s difficulty

Suddenly, the Kid died three times in a row, unable to stop the swarm of Squirts and Gasfellas from overwhelming him with their lethal attacks. Up until that point, the Kid had never fallen in battle; sure, he’d come close, exiting the battlefield just barely, chugging his last bottle of health potion, wiping the sweat from his brow, quietly ignoring the narrator’s snide commentary. So, what had changed? Did the Bastion developers decide to ramp up the game’s difficulty without rhyme or reason?

Nope. What happened was that I built a shrine at the Bastion and turned on all of the god-like idols, thinking they were there to help and bestow great benefits on the Kid. Actually, they do the opposite of that. They make the game a whole heap-load harder, rewarding the Kid with more XP, but chances are that XP won’t be gained due to the fact that these enemies are now faster, stronger, and more deadly. Some even drop exploding bombs upon death, one last eff you before the darkness takes them. Because Bastion suffers from the tiny text disease, I couldn’t read the flavor text that went with turning on each idol and decided that surely they existed to help us on our journey to rebuild the Bastion. The idols also stack, meaning you could turn on a dozen and really wish your thumbs never existed. I believe I had turned on Acobi, Pyth, and one other idol before heading out to find Shards. Eep.

So, to help me and my bad eyesight out in future adventuring, here’s a table of all the idols you can unlock at the Bastion’s shrine, as well as what they do to ramp up the game’s difficulty:

Idol Description
Hense (Goddess of Pain and Pleasure) Foes are more ferocious
Acobi (Goddess of Oath and Abandon) Foes drop a live grenade when defeated
Lemaign (God of Hope and Despair) Foes’ attacks slow down the player
Pyth (God of Commotion and Order) Foes are quicker, both with movement and attacks
Jevel (God of Health and Atrophy) Foes are more resilient
Yudrig (God of Impulse and Bravery) Foes cause damage on contact
Roathus (God of Thirst and Plenty) Foes never drop Health Tonics or Black Tonics
Micia (Goddess of Loss and Longing) Foes have regenerating health
Olak (God of Chance and Whim) Foes occasionally turn to air, making them invulnerable to attacks for a short period of time
Garmuth (God of Purpose and Folly) Foes are more capable of deflecting attacks

Yeah, imagine all of those idols turned on at the same time. Can’t even stomach it. Thank goodness there’s no Achievement tied to utilizing these idols or anything; they are just there if you, the player, really want a different experience. I think I’m content with the default difficulty for now and will not be going back to the shrine any time soon.

Hard to say how far along in Bastion I am, but I’d wager either halfway done or a little more than halfway done. I’ve been using the machete and the scrap musket religiously, and haven’t really done much with secret skills. I constantly forget that I have a third attack. Oh well. Here’s to remembering things and reading important text then!

Tiny text is the plan, the plan is death

The Xbox 360 version of Torchlight was my breaking point, and so I wrote a little editorial about tiny text in videogames, which is one of the worst new gaming trends currently invading this industry, and you can read my sophisticated rantings over at The First Hour. I’ve also linked the image above, which will hopefully help you with your clicking.

And thanks goes to the late and great James Tiptree, Jr. for help with the article’s title.

So, yeah, read on. Don’t worry; the font size over at The First Hour is perfectly fine. Let me know what you think. I can’t really imagine there’s many people out there in the world that actually enjoy squinting at their TV screens, but hey…some people are oddjobs.