Finally, I’ve completed Dragon Age… all of it. Origins, Awakening and the expansions… I’ve saved Ferelden more times than I care to remember, and killed countless darkspawn. (Actually, you can see the count right here.)
Ugh. Ferelden isn’t *that* awesome that it needs to be saved ten-thousand times. Maybe my character should just move to an island somewhere.
Bet on Black
My character for Dragon Age was a female, elvish mage named Black. Sorry I couldn’t come up with a more interesting name or appearance, but I didn’t care to waste much time getting into the game and kicking darkspawn ass.
By the end of the series, Black was an an astonishing force. A combination Blood Mage / Combat Mage, which explains why in the picture my character is able to wear heavy armour (lifted from a dead king, btw) and carry a sword taller than she is. Like I said, pretty damned powerful.
I went the good route with this character. I tried being evil before in Neverwinter Nights, and it was a lot of work. I liked how very simple and straightforward a Lawful Good character is to play. There weren’t a whole lot of ambiguous choices in Dragon Age, the only real decision in the Awakening expansion is whether you choose to believe what the Architect tells you or not. Simply save the game and play it out both ways. That’s what I did, and there really wasn’t much difference.
It has to be tough to write a game like Dragon Age without being compared to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. When the dwarf says “A fight with little hope of success? Don’t even think of leaving me behind!” you will be thinking of Gimli. I almost expected the elf to say, “A red sun rises. Blood has been spilt this night.”
The Awakening expansion does attempt to stretch beyond the standard trope of The Bad Guys Look Ugly And Therefore They Must Die… but it certainly doesn’t stretch very far.
Oh well, it still works. Don’t mess with a good thing, right? I think I said the same thing in my review of Neverwinter Nights.
Comparisons to Other Video Games
Dragon Age derives nicely out of Neverwinter Nights. The gameplay mechanics are similar, the world and story are similar. Dragon Age is a better game than Neverwinter, but not by much. Dragon Age has lots of awesome cut-scenes that make you feel like you’re controlling the lead character in a movie, and its skill and inventory system are much improved over Neverwinter Nights (MUCH MUCH Improved, and Thank You Bioware!) But Neverwinter allowed for multiplayer and public-created content. Dragon Age does not.
I hate to say it, but the game Oblivion from over four years ago is still a better game than Dragon Age. Oblivion’s skills system and open world simply blow Dragon Age away. Oblivion also allowed players to shift into First Person, which is huge for me, and while it just requires a few more pixels of camera movement, the game designers refuse to do it.
Don’t get me wrong, Dragon Age is a marvelous game. I loved playing it, and I look forward to Dragon Age II, but the game could be better. Come on guys, Open world. Multiplayer. Open source content. First Person POV. Skill system = Oblivion, not Dungeons and Dragons.
Anyway, Dragon Age was a lovely distraction from all the First Person Shooters I’ve been playing lately. Now, I’m looking forward to a bit of Sci-Fi horror rehash when Dead Space II comes out in Jan 2011.