Bigredcoat

Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Dragon Age is Really Darned Good

Posted by nfinit on November 28, 2009

So I don’t know if Dragon Age: Origins is my game of the year or yet, but I do know that I never ignored hunger and personal hygiene for ten straight hours of Arkham Asylum, much less repeat that process four days straight.  Admittedly, that’s largely because Arkham would have ended about six hours into the first day.

Still, Dragon Age: Origins does that one very rare thing that instantly tells me I’m dealing with a spectacularly good videogame– while playing it, I lose track of time.  I’m not perusing messageboards, I’m not paying attention to instant messenger, I’m not listening to a podcast in the meantime– I’m just playing that damned game, and usually when I look outside again it’s turned dark and I realize I probably should have spent the day writing or buying groceries or maybe have taken a shower.  Still, I shrug, turn back to the screen and bang out one more dungeon before I succumb to my need for self-preservation.

Also, there’s stuff like this:

Cool werewolves hang out with naked wood elf chicks and have nothing to do with Mormon vampire porn.

Just all over the place.

That said, Dragon Age carries with it some of the baggage Bioware seems unable to leave behind.  The game is rife with wierd graphical glitches, for instance– While this is nowhere near as bad as Mass Effect’s constant, jarring texture pop, it does make you wonder if Bioware’s been using the same graphics engine since the first Knights of the Old Republic.  And while the inventory management is miles better than anything in KOTOR or Mass Effect; Bioware has yet to gain a firm grasp on the concepts of  “elegant interfaces” or “hey it’s nearly 2010 maybe limited bag space is a bad idea”.   I mean, this is stuff the guys making Torchlight got right on their very first game; Bioware’s been doing this for the better part  fifteen years now.  Also if I run into a single goddamned Tower of Hanoi puzzle in this game I’m going to kidnap Bioware CEO Dr. Ray Muzyk, ram a sliding picture puzzle up a cat’s lubricated ass, then hold him at gunpoint until he solves the stupid thing and see how he likes it.

Still, the combat is fantastic (If brutally harsh at times, I shudder to think of the prospect of playing this game with Friendly Fire on); the dungeon design is top-notch and the writing, as usual, can’t be beat.  And really, you can’t ask for more than that in a western RPG.

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2 Responses to “Dragon Age is Really Darned Good”

  1. Theodosia Skye said

    Theoretically, I really ought to want to play this game. It’s got everything I love: a dungeon party of folks that you get to have come along with you, interactions with lots of different personalities, options about how you progress through the story…but there’s just something about the way it looks that really puts me off. (Maybe I saw too many of the really, really awful promo movies for it). In any case, I am sure I’ll get it eventually and maybe there will be mods by then to make it less dreary-looking for me.

  2. nfinit said

    The promo movies are wholly detached from the game itself. I don’t know who’s doing Bioware’s advertising as of late, but they’re horrible at it, they’ve made both Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 out to be loathesome.

    But the world itself is pretty good, if it does feel a bit like a fill in the blanks Tolkien universe– Best I can describe this game is it’s if someone took Neverwinter Nights and attached a good single player game to it.

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