dragon age

Right before Thanksgiving, I picked up a copy of Dragon Age on Amazon so I’d have something to do during the holiday weekend.  At first I wasn’t sure whether to get it for the PS3 or for Windows.  I’m trying to phase out my gaming on Windows boxes so I don’t have to dual-boot as much, and it’s so nice having a console system dedicated just to playing games where I don’t have to worry about patches randomly breaking old games.

Buying it for PS3 had me a bit unsure of what to expect though, because this was a full-blown RPG, and I’d only ever played those on my computer.  One thing I know about them is that there are a *lot* of commands you can issue, and I couldn’t imagine not having a keyboard to do that.  Still, I decided to go with the PS3, and hope for the best.


When trying to describe this game, the first word that comes to mind is bloody.  Man, do these guys love absolutely destroying people and making blood splatter everywhere.  Even the backgrounds and maps use blood with an artistic effect.  It’s pretty crazy in that regard.  Generally speaking, I hold off on the M-rated titles, because I’m somewhat sensitive to gore and violence.  Not to mention I’m not a big fan of nudity and swearing in games.  In fact, I think this is probably the only M-rated game I have.  There’s probably another one, but I can’t remember what it is.  Generally speaking, though, I usually make wide reservations for fantasy RPGs because I love them so much.

Anyway, I’ve been playing this game for a while, and it’s taken me a while to understand what the heck is going on.  At first I totally expected something more along the lines of old school RPGs, where they just dump you in an area and you clear it out of monsters (a la gold box games).  That’s not the case here at all.  There is tons and tons of dialogue and story to go through.  It had me surprised and confused, really, until I realized that’s how the game is *supposed* to be.  It’s more like Knights of the Old Republic where the fun in the game is the character interactions and the story.  I made it through 20% of the game already before I figured that, out, though.  Before now, all I kept thinking to myself was, “man, there’s too much talking in this game.”  Like I said, I’ve never had a real RPG on the console before — I’m used to general hack and slash games.

The controls aren’t as annoying as I thought they’d be, either, which I’m glad to report.  In fact, it’s quite easy to use and I never get stuck.  Sometimes I forget which button to push to change characters in which menu, but most of the time I’m okay, and that’s seriously my biggest complaint anyway.  There is so much info available to you, but the menus allow you to easily access it quickly.

Another thing I really like is how it lets you save the game anywhere you’re at.  This has always been a nitpick of mine in console games, and one reason I was always slow to adopt to using them — I hate the idea of having to reach a checkpoint or kill a boss before you can save your progress.  Thankfully, with consoles having harddrives in them now, it makes them much simpler to use that space liberally so save points is becoming less of an issue.

As to the game itself, it’s really interesting.  I buzzed through the first part of it so fast, expecting to just run out and kill things endlessly, that I totally didn’t pay any attention to the storyline, and so now I’m a bit confused as to what’s going on and why it’s important.  That’s okay, though, since it’ll just make my second run pretty fun. 🙂

I’m just *now* starting to get really addicted to the game.  The story is starting to pull me in as I pay attention, and I really love the simple controls when it comes to fighting.  And battles on the big screen TV are a lot more fun than on my comparatively tiny computer monitor.  I think I made the right move getting it for PS3.

There’s a lot about the game I don’t understand yet that I’ve been kind of ignoring.  Things like crafting and weapon … specializations or whatever they are.  I’ll figure it out later.  As is, when I usually start a new RPG, I’ll just create a dumb-as-bricks fighter and pound my way through the adventure as a method of trying it out.  My favorite character to play, though, is always an incredibly annoying and fun thief that can just do whatever he wants, generally roleplaying as chaotic neutral.

One really cool thing about this game is that there are very real consequences to the game depending on your decisions.  I’ve heard about this, but I’m not sure how deep that vein runs.  For instance, there was one town I visited that was getting slaughtered by creatures at night.  They wanted my help, and I decided to come back later.  Well, once I left, they got attacked again at night, and the town is wiped out.  Whoops.  Now I can’t go back there.

That is actually a really cool feature that I like — your actions have actual consequences in the game.  You can’t just say, “Uh, I’ll be back later in the game when I’m stronger.”  You either do it right then or not at all.  Craziness.

I do have one small caveat about the game — levelling.  They give you so many points to attribute when you level, that it makes it kind of hard to know what to do with them.  And for a fighter that is just sword and shield, I’m not interested in a whole half of the skills they offer since they have to do with archery and two-handed weapon fighting.  I haven’t really seen any penalties for lack of attributes, either, other than strength, so that’s what I’ve mostly been dumping my points in, and spreading them across other ones that look low otherwise.  With the other characters, I usually just auto-level them up since I really don’t see much advantage to picking them myself.  Still a bit lost in that area.

Fun game, though.  I think there’s also some DLC, I’m not sure, which could really add some potential for add-ons.  I can see myself getting really hooked on this game.

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