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.