Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dragons Age. The End :-(

I finished Dragons Age last week. And by finished Dragons Age, I mean I played every last DLC and Expansion pack ever released. I had bought the Ultimate Edition of Dragons Age: Origins so I had it all.

I have few critiques, it's just one of the best games out there, period. I will say that DLCs are hard to do, I've noticed that even in the Borderlands DLC. It always feels like they get a second-rate writer for them, or that they lose sight of who the characters are. In Dragons Age: Awakening (the expansion pack), Oghren suddenly becomes nothing but the most annoying, crude comic relief character possibly imaginable. And unfortunately for me, he happened to be the strongest warrior on my team so I kept having to bring him along with me. I can have a sailor's mouth just like anyone else, but I wish I'd written down just how many times Oghren mentions his "junk" or his "dangly bits" in his ingame dialogue. Actually it would have been easier to write down the lines that he didn't.  It got to the point where I was removing him from my party just so I wouldn't have to hear his unfunny crude jokes. My question is, when did that happen?  In Origins, he was a drunk and little crude and brash but not disgustingly so.  In Awakenings, they cross the line with that character and are downright offensive. And I'm not one to get offended, believe me. But I do get offended by stupidity, and that character design is stupid in Awakening.

By contrast, Leliana's Song is really good. Sure it's blatantly linear, but I think a lot of DLC is by nature.

The real achievement with Dragons Age is that it draws out the story all the way through to the last DLC. My character declined Morrigan's offer at the end of Origins but I felt like he and Morrigan had developed a relationship, so it pained me that Origins had ended in that way. I understood that life happens that way, sometimes, but it was hard to accept.

Until Witch Hunt. The story comes full circle in the final DLC, and as usual with Dragons Age, you can choose how it ends. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that I was so satisfied with my ending of that final DLC that I felt like the whole world had just shifted back into place for me. Every wrong was righted.

It's games like Dragons Age: Origins that confirm for me that video games are the new movies and books, especially if you relish them and spend time to get to know the world you're immersed in.  This is probably especially true for RPG and RPG-like games, because you can go into your inventory and read the scraps of papers and books that you discover. You get the whole experience, and the experience takes 145 hours. It's not like a movie where everything is compressed into two hours of generalities. It's a month or two of living in that imaginary world, experiencing the details of every possible aspect, discovering new things and new ideas and new characters.  And potentially even playing it again as a different character and having a new version of that experience.

If you have not played Dragons Age: Origins, go out and get the ultimate edition as soon as possible. It's well worth it.

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