So.. DRAGON AGE: INQUISTION!!!! (DA:I)
ERMAGERD! Actually, ERMA-MERKER!!!
I’ve been pondering posting about my replay’s through Origins and DA2 ( not quite Electic Boogaloo, but better then many say,) but with the DragonAge Keep up – a website that allows you to build up the games back story to match your game play.. and, well, IT LAUNCHES TOMORROW!!!!!…. well, well..
Screw that. Quick thoughts.
1) Background: DragonAge: Origins-Awakening, and Dragon Age 2 were the fantasy counterpart of BioWare’s ‘Mass Effect'(ME) series.. great, but with some rougher patches than the ME series.. yes, including the outrage over ME’s ending.. which didn’t really bother me, and was even better after BioWare’s mea culpa DLC. Basically, it’s a multicultural, multispecies vaguely European smorgasbord where everybody kind of hates everybody else, when not hating demons and the Darkspawn.. a race of subterranean killing machines who make Orcs look down right diplomatic.
On top of that, you have war between Mages and the Templars- the religious knights tasked with controlling them.
2) The series started strong with Origins. DA2 was criticized, both fairly and unfairly. Fairly, for too much recycling of locations, arguably for simplifying some of the mechanics, unfairly regarding the over all story. Characters you grow to care for, suffer. In the end of DA2, a party member does something horrible, with or without your character’s involvement, that not only breaks the world, but breaks expectations of the player/creator contract.
Players expect to the center of the world. They expect everything to be under their control. And well, somethings aren’t. Some big freaking things aren’t. And I respect BioWare for reminding us that/
3) The Dragon Age Keep concept was brilliant. Since there were too many technical difficulties in porting games from differing generations, it was all brought to a website. And, like in ME, things were calculated to effect the world you start playing in. I’m irritated about one small detail.. it seems that the number of achievements unlocked may have lead to points gained and lost. In ME3, there was a Galactic Readiness score. I expect something similar in DA:I.
If so, a little forewarning could have lead to more frantic replaying to get more points. Perhaps I’m misreading this, perhaps they don’t want to encourage the point scrounging you know will happen, and they kinda want, but we will see.
4) As you can guess, I’M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS GAME! It’s been a bit note in the #GamerGate idiocy… the assholes who want games to about straight white dudes and the busty women who are dominated by them… have picked EA/Bioware as the companies they want to boycott. And, the game is absolutely everything they have… story as important as mechanics, diverse characters, and the effort to make it more than just really white people saving the world.
And trust me.. I’m a really, really white guy. You may have noticed that. I like saving the world.. but I don’t always need the character to be ME doing it.
I look forward to BioWare doing it right. I look forward to the scope. I look forward to the exploring, and the save scumming, and my wife trying to get me to go to sleep, GODDAMMIT!!!, and the uproar as they take characters we love, and show the affect of time and apocalypse on them.
5) I will be really interested to see how much I want to replay it. DA itself was very replayable– the fact that you could play the game as so many different characters, you would at least play the origins. Me, not counting the replay I did to prep for DA:I, I played through DA three times.
DA2, was less replayable, if only because the character choices were limited to ‘gender’ and ‘class.’
And, to compare Dragon Age to BioWare’s other trilogy = Mass Effect, by the time I finished ME, I was finished with the story. I had followed a single character through a quest, a through line, and his end was a good one. Dragon Age has been three distinct chapters, with three different leads.. will that make me want to play through it more?
We will see.