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Old 01-13-2010, 02:46 AM   #1
CerebroDragon
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Join Date: March 2, 2003
Location: Ballarat, Australia.
Age: 39
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Sunglass Man First playthrough complete (impressions thread) *spoilers*

After the last game I completed (Fallout Tactics) took me a month or so on and off to finally beat (the last mission itself took a couple of nights or so!) it was with vigorous enthusiasm that I looked forward to Dragon Age's potential to provide long drawn out nights of RPG gameplay over the summer holidays. I'd had a break from the traditional high fantasy fare as well and was keen to see what BioWare had come up with after holding the game in development now for some years. I haven't played either of their last two games Mass Effect or Jade Empire, but I still felt the company was going to struggle to live up to the much touted "spiritual successor of Baldur's gate" moniker.

After now having dedicated some sixty hours to the game (and enjoying good portions of it) before reaching the game's very tepid finale, I decided to compile a thread to collect my thoughts on the game and to invite some further discussion on the board. I will make my disclaimer here in that I am quite critical of the game, since it did disappoint me overall, however I also had a rampagingly good time with the game.

Pros:

- Slick, easy to use interface.
- Character system that is immediately accessible - manual not really required. (could also be a con to the hardcore!)
- Addictive and compelling gameplay with a fine array of challenging combat scenarios.
- Reasonable depth to be found in what is provided.
- Attractive art and locations (especially indoors)
- Some choices with consequences are implemented with some key plot based morally grey moments. (Although not as well done as in the Witcher)
- Circle of Magi Fade location (Was a break up of the monotony)
- Army deployment mechanic. Reaping the benefits for your hard earned treaty advocation.

Cons:
- Plays like a mutant-offspring of NWN2 and Kotor, with some impotent sprinklings of the Witcher here and there.
- The "spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate" concept seems misleading and more like a cash-grab aimed towards nostalgic gamers.
- The tactical pull-back camera is an improvement from the awkwardness of NWN2, but the inability to queue actions in combat balances that praise somewhat.

- Lack of originality and rife LotR comparisons despite the IP being BioWare's own. (**Final battle resembled a set piece ripped straight out of Dungeon Siege II.**)
- Many familiar moments or elements from previous Bioware games.
- Four party members maximum wasn't enough dynamically and led overall to far less complexity than BG2. Six definitely required here!
- Lack of collision detection making tactics at doorways and other narrow entrances impossible (enemies walking right past strategically placed blocked entrances etc).
- Cut-scenes destroying many tactical opportunities.
- Consolised elements (inability to drop or store items, simplification of most familiar rpg elements
- Weak consequences for death. (although perfectionist moments would lead to a simple reload and the injury system is a good idea)
- Lack of deeper puzzles in dungeon crawling (all but one...the Gauntlet, which was not that difficult)
- Banter wasn't particularly memorable (though that might be a reflection of my character choices/combination than anything else.)
- Lack of text descriptions in combat.
- MMO-ification - the reduction of the single-player experience to a hamster walking grind machine.
- Level Scaling (Some strange difficulty spikes found throughout the game. Ser Cauthrien for example I found was a harder fight to beat than both the Loghain and Archdemon encounters.)
- For a game with the word "dragon" in its title, most encounters with this classic creature of myth felt quite unremarkable and appear weak compared to predecessors. (Firkraag vs High Dragon for instance.)
- Lack of information in Orzammar or convincing reasons for choosing a new king. Even from a dwarven origin persepective I found this disappointing, especially combined with the long arduous crawl of the deep roads.

Overall:
Inferior to the Witcher and Mask of the Betrayer.
Not as dynamic or memorable as the BG series.
Great potential for further improvement.
Good solid hours of challenging combat.
Replayability enhanced by wanting to experience each of the origin stories and make alternative choices.

I finished up my first play-through with a male dwarven warrior/champion from the commoner background. I'll probably go for more of a DPS oriented mage next time.

That'll do for now. But I might edit this thread as more comes to mind or based on further discussions here.

Cheers!
CD
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Last edited by CerebroDragon; 01-14-2010 at 04:26 AM. Reason: added some more stuff!
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