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#41 Crazee

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 08:56 AM

Agree with a lot have been said also. I don't know what was wrong with the combat - there probably wasn't anything wrong with it - but it never really felt that fun. I can't remember who said it, but they hit the nail on the head when they complained that there was never anything special about the combat. Often, the bosses were simply beefed up versions of creatures you've already encountered. Then again, combat has never exactly been fun for me, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

The codex was too much, agreed. I didn't read quite a few of the entries. Don't know how it works in other games, but I think there could be some improvements. That said, I do really, really like the setting. I don't know what it is, but I really got into it. Much moreso than any other game I've played.

I, however, really liked the story throughout. I don't want to comment on Gaider's writing in particular, as most of the games I've played have had him involved in some way or another, but I enjoyed the plot immensely. The origins were great, though the Human Noble one was awkwardly tied into the main Grey Warden story. I don't know, I felt connected and engaged almost constantly.

Still, I enjoyed the ride. Love the game - if only for the fact that I had high expectations and I wasn't entirely crushed!

#42 berelinde

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 11:11 PM

Well, I beat the game today, after well over a hundred hours of playing time, but then I play slowly. I didn't even make the achievement where you complete 75% of the side-quests. Maybe next time.

And yeah, not a big fan of the Codex, either. Lore is great, but there's such a thing as too much lore.

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#43 theacefes

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 12:40 AM

There can be such a thing as too much lore, but if it's interesting then I wouldn't consider it "too much". Unfortunately I just don't find the setting of Dragon Age very interesting. I think for being Bioware's 1st attempt at a original fantasy world, it's not bad, but considering what they gave us in Mass Effect, it could be waayyyy better.
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#44 WeeRLegion

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 02:59 AM

Agreed.

I think the setting could have used more racism (and, well, everything, except lore, to be honest).
As much as the elves are supposedly considered thieves and second class citizens, NPCs that would actually hold onto any racist ideas when questioned (even in a friendly manner), are a rarity (most seem to actually be fairly excited about seeing someone different for a change).
Where are the grumpy geriatrics and their pointing fingers, where are the hateful mobs?
Sigh.
You just don't get that bottom-of-the-dungheap feeling that everyone want's to experience while playing an elf. .P

And where did the 'low-magic' go? Damned if I've seen it anywhere. A shame too, as that could really have set the setting apart from the genre mainstream.


And, well. They really should have kept their color palette better in check. The graphics look very much like BG2 would in 3D; cheery and clean.
Most parts of the cities look like there would be street-sweeper teams working on them 24/7. Where's all the filth gone?
Ah, screw that low magic, the people of Ferelden have magical trash bins. .p

#45 EvaineDian

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:04 AM

Glad to hear that many of you agree - everybody seemed so hyper when it came out and I wondered what was wrong with me because I didn't enjoy it as much. ;)

I like the idea behind Dragon Age, a "dark", "adult" fantasy world, but it isn't well implemented. I agree that it looks so bright and cheerful and most of the dialogues didn't give me the feeling that this world was about to be destroyed. The gore was nice the first few hours, but the longer I played, the less I noticed it. For it being an "adult" game, there is just too little of everything - too little blood, too little sex, too little darkness/despair/pain/fear/etc., too little racism/poverty/other bad stuff.

#46 Grunker

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:20 AM

Glad to hear that many of you agree - everybody seemed so hyper when it came out and I wondered what was wrong with me because I didn't enjoy it as much. ;)

I like the idea behind Dragon Age, a "dark", "adult" fantasy world, but it isn't well implemented. I agree that it looks so bright and cheerful and most of the dialogues didn't give me the feeling that this world was about to be destroyed. The gore was nice the first few hours, but the longer I played, the less I noticed it. For it being an "adult" game, there is just too little of everything - too little blood, too little sex, too little darkness/despair/pain/fear/etc., too little racism/poverty/other bad stuff.


It's forced, that's why. They went deliberately after it, and they didn't get it. The Witcher, for all its flaws, nailed this aspect perfectly. DA stills beats titles like Oblivion easy, but it's... It's really trying to hard.
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#47 WeeRLegion

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:25 AM

Oh, I very much think it's the best game of the year for me, and I've bought a few, but still, it could have been so much... MUCH better.

I think the Witcher does and awesome job at dark fantasy. Even when the setting is gorgeously beautiful, it is beautiful in a haunting and distant manner. Considering how some say that the whole enslaved elves business is borrowed from the Witcher world, I think Bioware could have done with learning some other tricks from it too.

Another little thing that I think could have easily been improved with DAO is the soundtrack. Excepting the start-menu tune and some of the cut-scene backgrounds, I think it completely fails at supporting any kind of an mood whatsoever. t_t

Now, the origin stories start out good, and Ostagar looks epic, and the Korcari wilds are neat enough (though they could have been more threatening, what with an cannibal army supposedly camped somewhere nearby).
And the business in Redcliffe is definitely a memorable event.
But then it quickly turns into standard issue favor-for-a-favor questing, until it picks up again in the Landsmeet.
The Dalish and the Dwarves being the worst; for the mages, at least their reasons for not being able to offer assistance right away seems highly valid.
With the dwarves on the other hand, you'll just get told to do this and do that, and then 'omg, we might still be outplayed! git me a paragon ASAP!', fergawddssake... what moronic runts, shoulda sent me after the paragon in the first place.
And then come the irritatingly hostile Dalish*, who are suffering only because their leader is a retard of an illegally high caliber.
* Tndeed, the Dalish come off as probably the most bigoted racist bunch in the whole game... After all, all other racists are individuals and exceptions from the norm, whereas the blasted knife-ears here seem to embrace the hostility wholeheartedly... xD

It's fun enough though, at least for a while. 4th playthrough starting now. .p


Damn, I'm rambling.
But it's only because I really like this game. I do, if I disliked it nearly as much as you may now think I do, I certainly wouldn't bother writing about it. xP

Edited by WeeRLegion, 19 November 2009 - 04:35 AM.


#48 EvaineDian

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:42 AM

Oh yes, the soundtrack. When I first listened to it before the game came out, I liked it very much, but during playing, I hardly noticed there was any music. Music is very important to me in a game, I can vividly remember all the beautiful BG tunes - they were memorable and they really set the mood. I get sad every single time I listen to the ToB soundtrack, not only because I know it's the (not so good) end of an epic saga, but because the music is so beautiful. The Dragon Age soundtrack is just bland.

I've started my second playthrough with a female human noble, and I've noticed some differences in how people treat her. Nothing major, I think it could be improved, but the difference is there.

@ "adult" game: The best "adult" game I've played so far was a NWN1 mod, A Dance with Rogues. It has violence, it has (loads and loads) of (very graphic) sex and a compelling plot. The PC was also supposed to be in grave danger of being caught and killed, and I think it really came across well. If I remember correctly, the whole mod was created by one single person, and it beats professionally made games by far.

Edited by EvaineDian, 19 November 2009 - 04:54 AM.


#49 theacefes

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:53 AM

It would be nice if Bioware released some kind of developers newsletter or something geared to serious players to explain why Dragon Age took so long yet failed to live up to its hype. Did they have to restart? Was the origins portion added in much later? I think there is a reason behind why we didn't hear anything about the characters or the story very very late in the development process, especially with the misleading marketing. And I'm really curious as to why they chose Zur to do the soundtrack when the last game of theirs he did music for was Throne of Bhaal..of course this is my opinion, but I couldn't stand the ToB music. SoA's music was way better.

Edited by theacefes, 19 November 2009 - 11:54 AM.

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#50 Kulyok

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 12:42 PM

I finally got to see the epilogue where I refused the secret offer, to see what happens. It's very easy to be the one who kills the archdemon, by the way: simply not to take Alistair with you to battle Archdemon.

Spoiler!


And Alistair hasn't even come to my heroine's funeral afterwards! And left the order of Great Grey Wardens! With the darkspawn bands still roaming the lands! Hmph! No sense of responsiblity for this one, it seems. Spoiled child he was, spoiled child he remains.

(Besides, how can you be a Warden and leave the order? We've been told hundreds of times Wardens are tainted: you either end up in Deep Roads or battling the spawn on the surface: you're drawn to them, they're drawn to you).

At least Shale returned her proper form and got to kill pigeons. Lots of them. :)

#51 Lysan Lurraxol

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 02:07 PM

Finished it a couple of days a go: here be spoilers.

Bland is the word, I think. I loved the first half of DA (I played as a Mage), from the Origin, through to Lothering, Redcliffe and the Circle. I was more than prepared to consider this Bioware's best game since bG2 - interesting story, which had already thrown me twice, good, well-written companions and NPCs, relatively entertaining combat. And then I hit Orzammar, and it all went down hill from there. Both Orzammar and the Dalish camp follow the standard bioware formula to the letter: go to x number of places to find x macguffins. Of course, at each of these places there'll be a problem already occurring, which inexplicably only you can solve, before getting the macguffin. Redcliffe and the Circle averted this by tying the crisis into the main plot. The Dalish and Orzammar offer no such reason. You have to break the political deadlock (the reasons for the deadlock are never explained) because, and it can only be you because. The Dalish Camp is little better.

Which brings me onto the second major problem: the moral choices aren't . Again, the Circle and Redcliffe gave you a fairly wide range of options, all of which could be justified by the player. The Deep Roads, Branka's clearly nuts, so helping her is obviously the wrong thing to do. Which it didn't have to be: the anvil is an immense power, which could have been used against the Darkspawn, but this isn't her motivation. She doesn't seem to really have one, other than she's crazy, which removes any moral or political incentive to help her. Same with the Dalish, Zathrian's obviously in the wrong, bitter and vengeful. Helping Witherfang is clearly the morally correct action. Loghain, like Branka, is clearly insane, and with no motivation beyond his paranoia. He is clearly in the wrong, his actions unquestionably heinous, and never really delved into by the narrative. Helping him is not an option, nor is even understanding him. He is mad, bad and dangerous, and must be removed.

This brings me onto the final problem: the plot. You are told exactly what you need to do after Ostagar: get the treaties, remove Loghain, kill the Archdemon. You do exactly that. It's predictable, dull and lazy. The Archdemon and the Blight are the standard ancient nonredeemable, unsympathetic evil who must be stopped. It's lazy, third rate fantasy - you are the chosen one who must stop the darkness, you do, the end. It's not interesting or surprising, morally complex or deep in any way. Add to that a bland faux medieval setting with a spraypainting of George r R Martin (though without his actual moral ambiguity, subversion of fantasy tropes, genuine dark and gritty tone, or actual portrayal of a genuine medieval setting, the things DA was hyped as doing), abysmal sidequests (find/ kill/ speak to x number of y. Rinse and repeat), and very average writing, and DA is sadly a bland and disappointing affair, and falls very short of the high standards Bioware set themselves, and promised in their marketing campaign.


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#52 Ascension64

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:56 PM

Well, thank goodness I'm done! It took me 68.5 hours to get through according to my Epilogue save (minus all the reloads). This includes the Stone Prisoner and Warden's Keep addons, both of which I found was understandibly shallow compared to the rest of the game. As a person who just sits back with no expectations and enjoys the game, I found this to be one of the most touching games I've ever played. I like the way that you were put in difficult decisions on multiple occasions and the choices you make appear to be pivotal to what follows, and full voice-acting really adds the emotional aspect to the game, while facial expressions are still in their infancy. I developed my role-playing personality as I played the game, and most of the time the choices were reasonably concordant with what I had in mind.

My character if anyone is interested (spoilers)
Spoiler


However, I think that as the game went on, it started to get a bit tedious, particularly in the Deep Roads where you were thrown in large areas running around killing things. I found this drop in emotional intensity quite significant and it turned into a hack 'n' slash for a bit. The fate-changing decisions near the end of the game made up for it though.

I agree with what is said about the Codex. While the articles are in alphabetical order, it takes some time to find what you want and if the system was kept, could be done better if at least the titles of the numbered items were displayed as a tooltip.


Wihle the engine and combat are commendable, my major quirks lie with these two areas, and really should be areas to focus improvement.

I had to replay the final battle 5 times because the game kept randomly crashing during the middle of the battle. Not to mention that the game crashed randomly in other areas as well, including Denerim Market District and the South-West Brecilian Forest. Very annoying.

Combat could be improved so much. There are strange bugs with the tactics system that left characters standing around doing nothing much of the time, and there was no general script behaviour that worked well with fighters. Skills like Dual Weapon Sweep and Holy Smite don't activate properly when used in tactics. One significant improvement to tactics could be to introduce AND and OR, because you just can't generalise all tactics. And it really annoys me that a lot of sustained talents do not turn off automatically after battle. The only one I noticed turn off was Berserk, everything else stays on.

Spells really shouldn't be able to be cast through walls - the A.I. doesn't do that so how can a player? There are also some strange ways to manipulate the A.I., one such involves triggering only a few monsters in a battle by staying at the limit of vision and firing an arrow at them. And then casting lightning through walls doesn't cause the A.I. to respond at all.

Line-of-sight should be maintained on platforms if the platform is tall enough. It is silly how you can pick a raised platform to fire arrows off only to see the archer run down the stairs so they get line-of-sight, even though it is clear you can see past the fence/barricade/railing.


Overall, I am a big fan of stories and DA:O was the first game that really thrust upon a lively world where choices have consequences and drew out my emotions from a role-playing perspective. The presentation was very impressive.

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#53 WeeRLegion

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 09:24 PM

Mmmm. I suppose a somewhat edgier character would get the most RP-value out of the game.

It's sort of flattened though, when you play a goody two shoes, and realize that most of the 'hard choices' provide no real incentive for picking the colder, more practical approaches; there's about never any tangible negative consequences for doing the right thing, even when it supposedly risks something.
Spoiler
.

A shame, but I do think it works much in the same way as traditional RPGs; being mean will generally only make you miss out.
The level scaling allows some leeway with that though, so for a change, you CAN be ewul and refuse all kitten-rescue-quests if you want to, and still not get completely mauled by the creeps, so that's good, as weird as I find it calling level-scaling good. o_o



But WHOA, man, sounds like you've got yourself a whole slew of configuration specific bugs or something. xD
I've only had the game crash a few times, and it's usually after hours of gameplay, or when I'm tabbing out from a loadscreen or a cutscene, and that's what I've heard many people testify to as well. x]

#54 Kulyok

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:04 AM

(spoiler about Alienage elves)


(spoilery!)

I'm going to try this evil choice thing with the Alienage elves, myself. I'm not there yet, but I'll try.

My current playthrough is a City elf female, who is very, very angry for being treated like a slave(=forced marriage with an elf she never met, which, in practice, means many bad things, including being raped regularly for the rest of her life), who naturally doesn't like her fellow city elves and will make all possible choices to make their life worse. Except that I'm planning her to be (King) Alistair's concubine, which means better life for city elves in general, but one can't have everything, I suppose.


P.S. And, yes, completely agree about Connor - if player goes to the Circle Tower to get mages, why the hell Redcliffe and Redcliffe Castle stay intact? It means several more raids of undead = dead village.

#55 Ascension64

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:38 AM

Very true. There is something to be said about unequal consequences when you compare a role-playing mindset trying to be in character to a practical mindset where you want to be able to see as much content as possible. The most obvious ones are the ones where you simply choose to attack. Yes, you may be an enraged dwarf on too much ale, but the person playing the game isn't (hopefully...). And,
Spoiler


Quite a few decisions allow you, and not necessarily in an obvious manner, to progress the dialogue to the next prompt without fully exploring the situation, and a number of them also allow you to choose only one option of many different ones and you do not get a chance to pick another one. I realised after a while that I would always get more information about a particular quest so that I knew what I was missing out on if I said no. However, it isn't always a bad thing. One of my favourites was
Spoiler
Unexpected things happen, for good or for worse.

Well, perhaps it is all a replayability tactic. You can play with your mind if you want, but some may get more enjoyment out of playing with the heart. Or you can set up a character so that you get the most out of the game in one hit - sounds efficient to me.

I would support a run-through with the vengeful City Elf. I decided my character would seek penance over vengeance, using his tongue more than his sword. So naturally,
Spoiler


I have a feeling my system is starting to get dated, which might explain my instability issues - AMD systems don't operate well with a number of games and a GeForce 7900 GTX might be choking up a bit. I never managed to find the cause of the crashing though, even after playing around with settings.

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#56 WeeRLegion

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:48 AM

@Kulyok
Mmmm, expecting a leveled village might be a little over the top, considering that most of the corpses available are quite badly hacked up by that time. Even if they could still be raised, they wouldn't be quite so dangerous.
But yeah, some kind of an backbite would be awesome.

@Asc
Mmmm. Sure the game works fine enough if you just RP it, I've done that on a few runs, pretend you're blind to all the options you don't choose.
But when you take it as a whole (and I swear, after 5 runs through you can little else... .p), the lack of choice-specific consequences, and thus occasionally the lack of any real choice whatsoever... Well, it does get a bit annoying. xP

Yeahh, the landsmeet is. Well, I bet it was great, pure awesome up until the point someone in the office yelled "THAR MUST BE A BOSS FIGHT!";
Spoiler

Of course, Loghain is the real evil main boss of the game, he's the only ewul boss that the player (excluding human nobles) will have some form of an vengeance in store for, the Archdemon is just big and mean, and it's got flappy wings and hordes of pawns, but that's about it...

Edited by WeeRLegion, 09 December 2009 - 02:49 AM.


#57 Crazee

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:24 AM

I had been expecting a really, really dark campaign after loitering around the forums before the game was released, but I was disappointed in that regard. I played my first character very fearfully, wondering if my good-but-naive warrior would be stabbed in the back for trusting so easily.
Spoiler
I guess I wanted to be punished for being good, for once. I wanted my character to learn the hard way that not everyone is worthy of trust - aside from Howe, no one betrayed him far as I'm aware. Oh well.

#58 WeeRLegion

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 09:49 AM

Mmmm.
Spoiler
can backstab you if you
Spoiler
. Which is about as much fun as I've ever had with getting backstabbed, come to think of it. I think I pretty much roared with delight the first time that happened. xD
Just a shame the rest of the event plays out so stiffly, so while it has an effect on the NPC responses, it's still quite railroaded, whatever then happens.

#59 Ascension64

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 03:58 PM

So true. Most responses converge on a single point, and technically all that happens is...

You Say A - They Say Z
You Say B - They Say B - They Say Z
You Say C - They Say C - They Say Z
etc.

I really wanted to see if it was possible for
Spoiler
- I went through most of the scenarios and couldn't get it to happen, even after
Spoiler
. Even the romances end up working in a linear fashion -
Spoiler


I think my best backstabbing moment (which may sate your goodness, Crazee) was
Spoiler

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#60 darlarosa

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:24 PM

I read almost all of the codex entries(because I REALLY like Thedas ). I finished the game four or three days ago after a really nice play through as a mage...IN ARMOR.*rolls around in happy foam for a while*. Honestly The best character to play combat wise is the mage(in my opinion). I understand various disatissfied comments though, but personally I perfer story over combat. I was quite satisfied with the game in general.

Yet I think the most disappointing thing was the lack of reaction from characters in the game. For example I played an elf, people did little more than say "Oh an elf---insert line here---." To me there seemed to be a lack of reaction for a game where thats part of the key aspect. Yet again thats just me
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