Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bioware's Return to Sword and Sorcery

I had originally intended to leave Dragon Age: Origins until after Christmas. One thing was niggling in the back of my mind though. Dragon Age is meant to be huge, and next year we also have Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol all arriving on the RPG scene and that's going to take up a lot of my playing time. When would I get to fit it in?

However, I ended up getting it as an early present and after some minor surgery left me off my feet for nearly two weeks I thought it would be the perfect time to get started with it. Thank God I did, over a week of playing and I'm not sure I'm even half way through. Got a month or two before Mass Effect 2 so should be plenty of time for me to enjoy the game, although the announcement of even more DLC for Dragon Age doesn't fill me with hope.

I'm playing this on the 360 and I know Bioware said it (every reviewer going has) but Dragon Age really is made for the PC. However, since my PC isn't up to scratch for gaming these days, and I still have an uncompleted Neverwinter Nights 2 on there, as soon as it was announced for 360 I knew that's how I'd be getting it. I told myself it'd be fine as normally Bioware's good at porting They held Mass Effect back at least 6 months to make appropriate changes so it worked better on the PC. It looks like EA doesn't care about this though and sped Bioware up so they could have a multi-platform release. The game is set up for pause-and-plan-style fighting, which is a bit difficult to pull off with a console but thanks to a Mass Effect-style menu on the left trigger it more or less works. What's slightly annoying is you have to change some options to get it working properly.

Also the game needs a quick save key. Maybe I've gotten lazy with all my console playing but I expect autosaves when you switch areas or finish an important battle. Not in Dragon Age. I lost an hour of game play because I died in a fight. I am now used to it, but I'm stopping every 5 minutes just to save so I don't lose any progress, breaking the flow of the game.

This game is extremely addictive though. During my recuperation I'd start playing pretty early on in the morning thinking I'd just do a little bit of a quest but I happened to start a questline that beautifully fed into itself to keep you going and I kept telling myself 'just this next bit' and before I realised, the majority of a day had passed.

What's really worrying me is how likely I am to replay this game. Apart from the numerous different starting adventures you can have, there's also the fact that I'm currently playing as my usual good guy and there's certain side quests I can't touch, especially with the party I've assembled. I want to see this game from a total git's perspective.

The party is one of the best I've seen in a long time and I think Bioware have finally pulled off the like/dislike function they've been trying for since Knights of the Old Republic. It’s another reason I think I'm likely to replay this game as an absolute bastard. I want to do the side quests I've missed out on and experience life with the other party members who are a bit less pious then the group I'm wandering around with now.

The problem remains that this is going to take ages, and with the news that Mass Effect 2 is coming on 2 disks I'm starting to wonder when I'm going to get round to all of this.
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