8 hours, 30 hours, Dragon Age is still awesome

Still drooling over Dragon Age here, now being over 30 hours into it (thanks Xfire). The challenge has really held up, and even though I now have more options in terms of party members, gear, and abilities, many of the encounters still require a few tries before I see success. The mental reward for such a challenge is also nice, because when I do come across an easier encounter, it just feels like it’s easy because my guys are heroes with some real power, rather than it being easy for the sake of easy. Hopefully that makes sense… I’m also very interested to see how Hard mode plays on a second run through, or even Nightmare mode.

I also want to address something I mentioned in my review concerning the story and the layers of gray in the choices you make. Having dug a little deeper, there ARE some tough choices to be made in the game, and things don’t always play out like you would expect them to. Even though the main enemies you face are evil demons, at times even they make you pause and consider options beyond just killing them, or the option to kill them is not always the ‘best’ option in terms of being a good guy. When you start factoring in how your party members are going to react (and this depends on who you have with you at the time), things can get gray very quickly.

Finally, I’ve completed both DLC additions (included in the pre-order CE edition), and while nice, they felt a little tacked-on, and if I had to pay for them now I would elect to skip them. It’s decent-enough content, but it does not really add a whole lot to the game’s story overall, which is generally one of my issues with DLC. I think (hope) more happens with the keep, but the golem party member for me is very meh in terms of abilities and function, although the little side quest to get him was interesting. He is also limited in gear selection much like your dog companion, which is a negative for me. At least he seems to have an interesting personality, but I wonder how much he integrates into the overall story, considering he is a ‘tacked on’ extra.

Not to spoil anything, but the entire quest line around getting the mages circle to help you, wow. Just wow. I was up till 1:30am last night because I simply could not walk away without seeing the conclusion, and it was worth every sleepless (ba-zing) minute.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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24 Responses to 8 hours, 30 hours, Dragon Age is still awesome

  1. Scott says:

    I’m in the middle of that quest line now. I’ve gotten up to the Burning Man form but as soon as I go into the next area those two mages mop the floor with me with all their crowd control plus heavy damage spells. Eventually gave up and went to bed last night.

    • SynCaine says:

      I was stuck on that for a bit too. Remember that the spirit form has that OP cage spell, and that the burning man’s fireball is an AoE knockdown. I’m also a rogue, so I was able to sneak up to them and almost insta-gib one from stealth.

      • Draglem says:

        “…insta-gib …”
        Finely illustrating why you are not having a problem with the difficulty, opposed to (undoubtedly) the reset of the consumer base.

        Stop power-gaming and re-roll Human warrior.

        • adam says:

          what does being a rogue have to do with making it easier? when you’re fighting 10-15 guys all at once, you seriously think that insta-gibbing ONE regular guy at the outset is really going to make the entire fight easier? not hardly. i’m playing a rogue with no stealth abilities, pure damage output and high dexterity for survivability. it’s a difficult play-choice, but rewarding. my brother is playing a mage with fireballs and various other AoE abilities. he often kills groups of enemies before the rest of his party can even get to them, and you want to talk about power gaming as a rogue?

        • Draglem says:

          Clearly I stated that Rogues are OP regardless of specialization, play style, or situation. I also aimed with consideration that you have not spec’d correctly in attempt to burn you based on your prior posts and my vantage point outside your window, across the street.

        • Draglem says:

          If I missed your point, then what was mine?

        • adam says:

          that syncaine was power gaming as a rogue, and switching to a human warrior would change that.

          having played all three archetypes, i happen to wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment.

        • Draglem says:

          Well, I may have written that, but I did hope to imply that he should try to sweat his decisions a bit less and enjoy the game a bit more by making a baseless statement; unless he is a masochist (which would explain a lot) in which case I was breaking his balls much to his own enjoyment.

          Should I have said Elf warrior?

        • SynCaine says:

          Well the insta-gib was on a white-difficulty caster-type thanks to a backstab crit. If my guy is not backstabbing, he can’t hit a damn thing. And in all honesty, he is somewhat gimped in skill selection. If I could re-roll him, he would be a monster (which is why I think Hard or Nightmare will be interesting to play)

        • Draglem says:

          Good to see a game where the player and their avatar gain experience points.

          Bioware, beyond EA corruption? I thought I would never see the day EA’s touch of death was resisted. Then again, my PC still has an APG GFX card, and a solid layer of dust.

        • adam says:

          missing my point, draglem. my point is that rogues are not power-gaming or easy-mode no matter their specialization or playstyle. part of the reason is that the only CLASS with easily-accessible AoE damage-CC is a mage. rogues get virtually nothing. warriors get virtually nothing. you can easily spec a warrior to get an insta-gib once per fight, just like a rogue. Dragon Age is a much more difficult game if you’re forced to fight your enemy one at a time, and that playstyle is practically forced on you as a warrior OR a rogue, provided you don’t have an AoE-centric mage in your group.

          in fact, if memory serves, two handed warrior spec has a top tier ability that gives you a sweeping damage-knockdown. rogues get nothing of the sort.

          that said, i had basically 0 problems with the entire Fade sequence. doesn’t mean i’m OP. means i took my time and strategized and maximized my character’s and forms’ abilities.

  2. Draglem says:

    Finally, I’ve completed both DLC additions (included in the pre-order CE edition), and while nice, they felt a little tacked-on, and if I had to pay for them now I would elect to skip them.

    Here’s to hoping DLC will feel that way for many years to come. As soon as DLC becomes integral is when you realize you have not purchased the license for the full game initially. And that makes me a Sad Panda.

    PS. Xfire is awesome.

  3. Scott says:

    I’m a rogue too and the best I can do is *hope* I get one of them stunned before they turn me into an icicle and kill me. I’ve tried the Spirit AoE to no avail; haven’t touched Burning Man yet.

    /sigh… back at it. This is usually when I start burning out and losing attention in RPG’s, when I keep banging my head against a brick wall and repeatedly can’t get past the same obstacle.

    • SynCaine says:

      The exact way I did it was to put poison on my weapons, sneak behind one of them, attack (hope for big damage), quickly stun, change to Spirit form and case the Cage spell on the other mage (Spirit form has higher magic resistance, so hopefully you won’t get stunned and killed here), switch back to normal form, finish the stunned guy, caged guy will die on his own. It did take me 5-6 tries to get it right.

      You can also attempt to open with the cage spell, and then hide behind the door/wall and let him die. It’s cheese, but it works.

      • adam says:

        my suggestion: be burning man form all the time. there’s a buttload of fireballs and firey areas throughout the Fade sequence and the casters become cake when they can’t fireball you to death because you’re immune.

        my usual strategy with areas like the one in question is to hit one of them with a fireball as burning man, go after the other and start cutting him down (try to get close to him so that if he does fireball you, it knocks him down as well), then move to the other. or fireball the closest guy and slice him up. the other will be fireballing you but big deal in BM. if you find yourself overwhelmed, like syncaine said, use the environment to your advantage. open doors, aggro guys, shut doors and hide next to the doorway. that way the mages are forced to come close to you (whatever spell they started casting when the door was open will probably still hit you but then they’ll come after you, usually). use the veins if necessary. that’s why they’re around.

  4. Scott says:

    As soon as DLC becomes integral is when you realize you have not purchased the license for the full game initially.

    How so? DLC is either additional stories or extra stories after the end of the full game. Either way, it’s not the same as “I didn’t get the full game.”

    Another way of looking at it, aren’t content updates and expansions for MMO’s DLC? They contain Content and are DownLoaded…

    • Draglem says:

      I was simply stating that conclusion dependent DLC translates to payment plan license purchasing, circumventing the “I’ll never pay over $X” mentality with the approach of pricing the rest of the game in the “might as well now” level.

      The same does not apply to a game with no conclusion, story arc or even barring said content from 99% (or even an infinitesimally small group) marketed as a feature; finality is not optional nor should it be when you shell out a pre-order.

      Its questionable if it was cut due to deadline. Assuming you purchased KOTAR II, would you have paid more for the whole game because they shipped the box and beta instead of the product you bout with penultimate collectors limited metallic numbered certified authentic version? Doesn’t Windows catch flack for the same practice? (No I am not splitting hairs.)

  5. user@example.com says:

    The Stone Prisoner is less tacked-on than the other DLC, yeah. It was originally part of the game, cut due to time constraints, and polished up and integrated properly when the release date was pushed back, whereas the other DLC was originally designed as DLC.

  6. I give up on pre-judging games :/ I’ve been wrong on almost all of them since my decision to fanboy-mode /on with WAR.

  7. Derrick says:

    I haven’t started yet (picking it up on Friday), but I desperately hope there are really tough choices to make, and choices that are more complex than “this is the good choice” and “this is the bad choice”.

    Morality in video games has always frustrated me. The world isn’t a simple place with easy right and wrong answers, and doing the right thing can often lead to worse results than doing the wrong thing.

    It bothers me that so many game writers can’t seem to wrap their heads around more complex moral dilemmas, but I’d really love to see a game where there isn’t really a defined good and evil at all; rather just choices in shades of gray.

    Unexpected consequences. Hard choices. No easy answers. That’s what makes a RPG memorable, and draws you into the story. Not just clicking the obviously good guy/bad guy responses without really paying attention to them.

    So, that’s what I’m hoping for.

    • SynCaine says:

      I’ll try to keep this generic so it’s not a spoiler, but one choice that has stuck out to me so far involved a demon-possessed knight. You are given the choice right away to kill the demon, or you can talk to it. The longer you talk to it, the more certain members of your party object to trying to bargain and reason with a demon. However, the knight that is possessed is of importance to another character, and if you don’t talk to it, you don’t get to learn some of that characters history and in turn open up other options. Ultimately you can elect to let the demon leave and allow it to continue to posses the knight, or kill it, and whatever the choice there are some negatives and positives either way.

      That stands out because your entire mission is to kill demons, and yet this one makes a rather convincing argument to be left alone.

    • adam says:


      one of your party members has a quest in which someone close to them turns out to be a dangerous threat to that party member and you’re tasked with removing the threat, ostensibly by killing it. you can engage in dialogue with the threat and you’re forced to make a decision–TRY to kill the threat (not easy, very powerful boss creature) or leave the threat alone and go lie to your party member about it, making him/her feel safe. or, i suppose, tell him/her the truth. with the consequence being the threat is still lurking. which i suppose means the party member may become upset with you (and leave?). or the threat may re-emerge at some point in the future to kill your party member. who knows? i ran through the dialogue and decided to leave the threat alone, as i am incapable of defeating it at this stage. who knows what might happen now? NOT an easy choice to make.

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  9. Marchosias says:

    From what I’ve seen, the choice you make can have a direct impact on how the end-game plays out, and can also have more immediate impact on either your party’s feelings towards your character, or how you feel about your character.

    [trying not to be a spoiler]
    Let’s just say on one of the quests on my 2nd time through the game, I played it slightly differently and got a totally different, and upleasant surprising outcome. I was not pleased with my choice after that – and it didn’t even effect any of my party standings. Just someone unexpectedly died due to my actions that didn’t die the first time through.

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