Dragon Age: Thoughts after the finish.

I finished Dragon Age last night, and I must say the ending was somewhat disappointing. I mean the actual ending, not the events leading up to it and the final fight with the Archdemon (did I just spoil that for you? Sorry, and enjoy the rest of your first RPG). For a game with some much talking and cutscenes, the ending is some written text and a few pictures? Weak. Plus aside from one little “but wait, there’s more” hint, nothing else really gets progressed significantly.

The game itself though is, IMO, a masterpiece among single player RPG games. It’s technically very solid (crashed once for me?), looks great, sounds great, and has a familiar yet interesting and lore-deep story. I laugh whenever I read a complaint that the game is too linear or predictable, because in part that’s exactly what the RPG genre is built around. I’d compare it to complaining that an MMO requires you to play with others, but well, yea. You ALWAYS fight the big bad guy at the end to save the world here folks. It’s not about changing the outcome, but rather the journey you take to arrive at that outcome, and in that regard DA is excellent.

You can actual ruin a good part of the game if you ‘game’ it too much. By that I mean it’s easy to destroy most of the challenge if you stack your party with Cone of Cold-tossing mages, kit mobs around, or save/reload to make sure you get the ‘perfect’ dialog responses every time. Once I shut the gamer part of my brain off, and just played the game as it was meant to be played, it was a far more enjoyable ride that still remained a good challenge.

I don’t think I’ll be playing it a second time just yet, even with the option to change the outcome of major events. My plan is to allow the mod community to expand and refine the game, and perhaps take a second trip through once things have changed ‘enough’ to make it worthwhile. That and DarkFall is going to return to dominating my game time with the new expansion, so the pull to jump right back into DA is just not there. If you like traditional RPG games though, it’s hard to find a better way to spend $50.

5 Responses to Dragon Age: Thoughts after the finish.

  1. Adam says:

    hah… I meant to pick Dragonage up in February’ish but the Darkfall expansion (latest is they are actually fixing ships and swimming!!! :D ) is probably not going to allow it.

  2. Bhagpuss says:

    I’ve stopped playing it for now. I didn’t even get off the first “map”. I am currently Level 10 and about 14% completed on that Achievement thing.

    I will go back to DA and over time I will probably even finish it. After the initial rush, though, I found I just didn’t look forward to logging in. It is somewhat linear, but I agree that that comes with the genre. That wasn’t the major problem.

    It is artificial and feels “off” because you can tweak and game your group, your decisions and your fights until you get the result you want. But again, you don’t have to and I knew that before I began. That also wasn’t the major problem.

    The major problem was the narrative. I just found the plot increasingly dull, the story familiar and the voice acting uninvolving. The characters seemed washed-out, bland, unconvincing. I found myself thinking, repeatedly, that if I was going to spend time so much time and effort on a tale, I’d much rather read a book or watch a movie.

    It just seems like a painfully slow and awkward way to deliver a story, and it’s not even much of a story at that. It’s convinced me that Bioware’s Star Wars MMO is likely to be a one-way trip up a dead end street. Whatever MMOS are “for”, telling stories is not it.

  3. Derrick says:

    I loved it. I’d have prefered a less cliched overall story, but regardless the game was a great experience for me.

    The challenge issue certainly exists: The game can be very, very challenging or extremely difficult depending on how many mages you take. Class balance just isn’t there at all: Mages are better at every single thing than any other class, including tanking and melee dps.

    While class balance isn’t terribly important in a single player rpg, with the power gap that exists in DA it makes the resultant game difficulty effectively random for the new player.

    In the end, I loved it. I wish the very ending was more cut-scene oriented too, but I don’t mind the text – there are a LOT of different ways all that stuff can go down, after all.

    I played through with one simple mod – a raven in your camp that allows you to respec characters (I just didn’t feel like restarting to correct early poor choices in spell/talent selection), and seeing how very easy it was to modify the game so, I think the mod community will do some amazing things.

    I can’t wait!

  4. [...] the ending left me with a ho-hum feeling. I see SynCaine over at Hadcore Casual had some of the same thoughts as I do, and Tipa at West Karana also had some more thoughts in her review of the game. Don’t [...]

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