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In Defence of Dragon Age

In Defence of Dragon Age

  08:23:10 am, by   , 448 words  
Viewed 6993 times since 11/04/10
Categories: Games

I just read Dave's comments about Dragon Age and since my Internet connection seems a bit better today, I thought I'd add my own thoughts.

The comment about cutscenes and dialogue resonated with me because I had exactly the same thoughts when I started playing the game. The game seemed to involve large amounts of watching the screen separated by short periods of looking for things to click on. Later, this became large amounts of watching the screen separated by short periods of running around holding the TAB key down because I finally discovered that it showed me what was clickable. I played for about half an hour and then quit because I was feeling annoyed with it. The game seemed linear and dull compared to other RPGs.

The next day, I got the "I payed £30 for this thing so I'm damn well going to play it" feeling and reloaded. After a while a strange thing happened... I actually started to like it. Fast forward to the current and the Steam community page informs me that I've logged 136.9 hours playing it - including time spent on Dragon Age - The Awakening, for which I shelled out another £20. Given that I also bought the DLC, what changed my mind?

First, the combat. At first it seemed fiddly and annoying and, having had my backside spanked solidly by the darkspawn several times, difficult. Once I got the hang of it and stopped throwing all my characters into the fray whether they could handle it or not, it became lots of fun: which spell to use next; had my uber-attack become available again? Some might argue that a combat system which requires you to press pause all the time isn't very good, but I've always been more into strategy than action games so it worked for me.

Second, the story. It's well-written and succeeds in drawing you in.

Third, the other NPCs. They all have their own stories and after a while I genuinely felt warmly towards them.

Fourth, the voice acting. It's only when you see other games do it so well that you appreciate just how bad the Oblivion voice acting is. Not all of it's perfect, but it beats "You know, I saw your fight against the Gray Prince" into a bloody pulp.

Finally, I realised that it's not TES. This may sound obvious, but I often go into RPGs expecting Morrowind or Oblivion and that's not fair. When I started judging DAO on its own merits, I quickly decided that it's a good game.

I won't be spending as much time on it as I did with MW or OB, but I'm definitely glad I bought it.


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