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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Dragon Age » Dragon Age: Origins » Just finished. My thoughts… (Minor Spoilers)

Default Just finished. My thoughts… (Minor Spoilers)

November 18th, 2009, 20:59
These are just my random thoughts on the game after finishing it on the Xbox 360:

Individual character controls are great. Party controls are non-existent. This makes the tactical battles a pain in the ass. If you have to play on 360, just swallow your pride and put the difficulty down to casual.

I don't know about PC version but on 360, textures are very bland. The technology shows it's age. Although, a dozen hours into the game you get used to it. And, am I the only person that ends up making a butt ugly face in those creator/slider things? Not just DA but any game that lets me customize the face.

There were only a handful of bugs that I ran into.

1. Some of Loghain's lines were inaudible. His mouth would move but nothing was heard.

2. I ran into a Deep Road area and Alistair breathlessly says that we've found the Urn of Sacred Ashes… even though he knew damn well that we'd already found the Urn a few days ago.

3. And my favorite bug: After some battles, my character would walk around like he shit his pants. It even carried over to a dramatic cutscene, making it unbearably hilarious.

Characters, story, setting, atmosphere were all great.

It was as close to a Baldur's Gate as a 3D game can get.

I loved how the end summarizes what happens afterward. It gives a sense that the world really can go on without you.

Level pacing was just about perfect. I hit level 20 just before I got to the end.

If Genlocks are dwarven darkspawn, why can they use magic?

Well, that's all that I've got for now. Overall, it was a damn fine game.
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November 18th, 2009, 22:19
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I don't know about PC version but on 360, textures are very bland. The technology shows it's age.
If by dated technology you mean the 360, you'd be right. Especially the textures are much better on PC, very crisp, whereas on the consoles they're a blurred mess in comparison.

The only bug I can remember except a crash was this:
Spoiler – Big Ending Spoilers!

Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum
Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe
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November 19th, 2009, 02:41
Actually, I meant both the 360 hardware and the engine used. Although it does it's job perfectly the engine just feels like it spent a little too long in development. But, well, that's just my opinion and it may very well be that I'm just retarded.
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November 20th, 2009, 06:33
Finished the game as well as a level 23 mage.

Maybe this could be a general "I finished Dragon Age!!1" thread, no?

Anyway, here´s my chaotic stream of embarrassingly positive conciousness:

The game clicked with me right at the start and kept me greatly entertained for the whole of my relaxed, but thorough 100 hours long playthrough.

The long development paid off really, really well, I´d say.
Game has just about every feature one could wish for in a party based crpg and their design/implementation quality always ranges between good to exceptional. Not a single major aspect of this game sucks.

The whole world is well put together, breathes with life and intrigue, and thanks to the abundant in-game lore and competent writing, it´s not really that generic as it may at first seem. Nothing mindblowingly original, for sure, but the whole world is a believable place easy to get immersed in.

Characters aren´t paragons of uniqueness either, but in the context they´re believable too and are never reduced to just giving quests or moving the plot forward.
Companions have distinctive personalities and just about the right amount of personal content. Few cringeworthy moments, but mostly fun to interact with. The gift giving mechanic works well as an additional way to involve player in interactions.
Camp is a welcomed feature - it offers relaxing breather after tough boss battle and it´s nice being able to access all companions in one place.
Thanks to easy access to companions, experimenting with different party is very viable and player´s tactical and roleplaying options thus expanded.

While there are only 3 base classes, character development is surprisingly complex and involving, offering a wealthy amount of possible builds.
Spell system offers a good amount of tactical choices, rogues have a very diverse portfolio of functions, both in and out of combat and warriors are far from the usual swing or thrust dudes.
However, some talents/spells are a bit unbalanced compared to the others, descriptions are sometimes too vague.

Most of the skills are useful and relevant, I´m particularly glad that having the social skill is well supported in dialogues.
I only wish game supported lockpicking more - it´s quite good to earn some money but not really exciting given mostly generic chest content.
Having the amount of tactics slot skill-based is plain retarded though.

There´s quite a lot of interesting "generic" combat scenarios, boss fights are usually rather creative and memorable, random ecnounters make travelling more exciting and add to the world´s sense of liveliness and the optional supertough guys certainly don´t disappoint.
Regenerating/not-really-dying is merely a convenience by no means diminishing game´s "hardcore" combat nature.
Monster placement makes sense most of the time, monster leveling is done quite sensibly - keeps the player on toes and mostly feels natural.
Enemy AI is mostly believable, can´t comment on party AI since I haven´t used it.

Outdoor art and design is a bit on the bland side overall but for game´s needs suffice more than enough. Interiors, however, are some of the best made for a crpg, both in details and art.
Ambient sounds are immersive and nonintrusive, music mostly generic, but fitting.

Voice acting is mostly of very good quality which is quite a feat given the amount.
Game´s cinematic aspects carry dramatic points well enough and aren´t overused.

Origin stories are really nice touch and I was glad to see they matter here and there throughout the game.
Side quests are mostly simple, just adding a bit more ambience to the whole picture, especially those sprawling all over the map. Artifact huntery via clues along the main quest paths is a nice diversion.
Main quest itself is involving, offers decent amount of C&C and with the exceptions of beginning and the end, doesn´t force player on the railroad.
It´s also very long, but not unjustifiably so. Environments and subquest circumstances are varied enough so things only rarely get boring.
Few areas are a bit overdone and sometimes there´s unnecessarily many combat encounters, but most of the times, things are steadily interesting.

With a solid amount of C&C, origin stories and amount of possible character builds, I´d say, for such a long game, replayability factor is unusually high.

What´s also unusual is the game retains the high quality up until the very end.
Even the best games from recent years like Witcher or Bloodlines fizzled out in the last 1/3 or so.
In game´s ending stages, there´s a wealthy amount of intrigue, plus suitably epic showdown to boot and ultimately ends on a very high note.

GUI is well arranged and convenient, controls easy to grasp and functional and the camera system is just about the best solution for a 3D party based rpg.
The in-game journal is the best of its kind.

The game is almost bug-free and I´ve yet to encounter a crash.

Dragon Age simply offers a whole lot and while a lot of it is certainly nitpickable, nothing is deeply flawed or broken.
It´s quite a wonder that in the sheer volume of quantity, developers managed to retain such persistently high volume of quality.

Truly a complete package of CRPG and by far the biggest surprise of the year for me.

Would I be forced to give it a rating on 1-10 scale, I´d most probably ended giving it 10/10. Don´t laugh .

What you think about most, is what you become.
Last edited by DeepO; November 20th, 2009 at 15:57.
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November 20th, 2009, 10:02
Finished it twice so far, working on a 3rd now.

- Elven Mage, Spirit Healer/Arcane Warrior. Somewhat interesting, though I messed it up a bit by going Magic/Willpower/Strength instead of Magic/Willpower/Dex. Dex is far more beneficial, since Strength doesn't stack with the Magic buffs anyway (Dex will not only add Def, it will also allow you to use good 1H weapons). Ended up playing as a pure caster most of the time, which is a lot of fun. Definetly playing another mage soon, one focusing on spirit damage and similar instead of elemental.

- Human Noble Rogue. Dual wield, redicilously high Dex (and about 38 Str due to items, free bosts and similar, so he could wear good armor). Somewhat overpowered, since he was hard for enemies to hit, and had incredibly high damage. Used Assassin/Duelist as subclasses (both maxed out). Started out being fairly weak though.

- My third character is a Dwarf Noble Warrior with two handed weapons. So far it's interesting, but not as powerful as the dual wielding rogue. Combat feels somewhat sluggish compared to the fast dual wielder. He is currently a Berserker, and I intend to make him a Templar or Reaver as well.
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November 20th, 2009, 21:51
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
If you have to play on 360, just swallow your pride and put the difficulty down to casual.
I can't agree with this more. The ability to just ignore friendly fire is *huge*.

Also, the Arcane Warrior is amazing. Not so fun to play because you don't really have the mana for spells while sustaining all your defensive buffs (shimmering shield, rock armor, miasma, arcane shield), but they make you pretty much invulnerable.
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November 21st, 2009, 20:16
Completed it as a 21st level Human Rogue. Playtime around 55 hours.

Sadly, the game didn't quite live up to the impression I got initially, but it's still damn good overall. Definitely one of the best CRPGs in many years.

Here's a bunch of my primary complaints - and avoid if you don't want my bitching or spoilers.

I played on hard, and had only a handful of difficult encounters - but must say I didn't like some of the combat setups, because they were obviously little puzzles meant to kill you once or twice before you knew what to do. Also, the way you "pull" enemies feels off and too tempting to exploit, and some fights seem to require that kind of lame strategy - though thankfully most fights are straightforward and fair.

What ultimately pulls it down from "Superb" to "Great/Good" is a combination of:

Extremely trivial side quests - ala Mass Effect
Forced NPC sequences
Too many drawn-out samey combat scenarios
Too many balance issues with the character system
Flawed loot system

The side quests are almost all very bland and fedex-like. The chantry boards, Blackstone irregulars, and the Mage Circle liason thing are at the top here. Really, really dreary quests with mostly bland rewards. Either make interesting and worthwhile side quests or simply don't do them and focus on a linear experience. There were exceptions, to be sure, but the majority just sucked - sorry.

The forced NPC sequences are those that REQUIRE you to have a particular NPC for an extended period of time, which totally messes up your tactical setup, not to mention name-specific tactical slot assignment. What's worse, is that I experienced at least one sequence where a main NPC left me and I couldn't get that person back. Which meant I had to fight the entire end-sequence without a VITAL character due to the story setup. That's a HUGE problem with this kind of game design.

The combat sequences were generally fine and often great, but some areas - particularly the Deep Roads and the very final sequences simply needed fewer encounters.

The character system is quite flawed in many ways. It's bad enough that they dumped the multi-classing aspect of D&D - forcing you into simple roles, but when they mess up basic stuff like rogue skills it's a problem. You don't make lockpicking a primary talent area - only to make every single non-story bit of loot be trivial and boring. You're basically asking the player to give up important combat skills for zero incentive - and you don't know about that until it's too late. The obvious remedy is to make lockpocking/trap disarming skill-based - not talent-based. One would have thought they'd pick this up from D&D.

Also, making critical hits be meaningless due to the backstab mechanic is just moronic game design. As a rogue, you have next to no incentive to build critical hit chance - and several talents deal directly with that.

In the end, the rogue deals MUCH MUCH more damage as a strength based dual wielder and since lockpicking and cunning is meaningless - you're simply a fighter with backstabbing capacity and so-so stealth usefulness.

The loot system is actually great in terms of mechanics - but random loot is beyond horrible. How much crap loot can you assign to your loot tables? Through the ENTIRE game, even the most powerful enemies and difficult locks yield the same crappy loot that's entirely worthless. Only the story-related stuff is good and that makes for a very dull and annoying looting aspect.

—-

Anyway, beyond those significant flaws - the game REALLY is terrific. The story/lore is fantastic, the NPCs well-written and the experience quite well-rounded. Decent variety of locations, and moving sequences. Tons of great dialogue and even a few interesting puzzles. Also, a VERY long game that never dips below the "good game" stage. Despite my complaints, everything is of a very high quality and it's definitely a challenge in terms of combat.

I highly recommend it.

9/10.
Last edited by DArtagnan; November 21st, 2009 at 20:36.
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November 21st, 2009, 21:26
I'm almost through and I agree with your observations. My score would be in an undefined meta state between 8.9/10 and 9/10. On first sight it's awesome, on second sight some things drag it down a notch. On third sight it's terrific, on fourth sight some things are annoying or could have been so much better. And so on, and so on. I'll write a bit more later.

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November 22nd, 2009, 03:38
I don't understand how people are claiming to have finished it in 50-55 hours, unless they skipped a lot of the quests in the game.

I'm still not 50% through yet, and I'm at 40:34 according to the in-game stats.

8.0 - 8.5 to me so far, although I am starting to like it more the further I get. I could easily see this being a 9/10 game if it had better maps and a *much* better random loot system.
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November 22nd, 2009, 06:36
I keep changing my mind about this game: I started being a little negative about its similarities to NWN2 but after the origin and through the fade quest, it started to pull me in. Now, after 20 hours or so ( and about 12 hours on a second character) I'm having a hard time continuing. In fact, I think this may be it; I'm done. I'm going to give it a few days to consider but I think this may be a seriously over-hyped game. I'm not enjoying it at all right now.
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November 23rd, 2009, 11:37
I've just completed it, so I can share my opinion with you.

Bioware have tried to make a game that appeals to their old fans and new oblivion-generation players. I'd say they achieved the middleground. OK, as one of the fans of their old (but not new) cRPGs I'd try to say whay I liked or not.

First of all: story. Horrible, stupid, predictable. Forces of ugly-looking evil forces (can't be more boring, retarded and cliche than that I guess) are attacking and you are chosen one to destroy them.

Dialogues. I have mixed feelings about them, they vary from bad to good. Overall the dialogues are mediocre with some bad or good exceptions.

Characters. While NPCs outside party are not interesting (and you can tell by look if they are going to be your "evil" enemies [ugly ones, ie. Loghain] or your allies, which is also stupid), the party members vary and can be interesting. Some of them I disliked because they were pissing me off (Allistar!), others I liked (Sten!). Every one of party members has his/her own story which is more than just "I raised here and worked as that". I'd say Bioware is on the good way but still has a long way.

Choices and Consequences. There are some but not much. Probably less than in The Witcher or about the same quantity. There are better writen than in other Bioware games - no good and evil shit anymore. I guess they have learned from CD Projekt's The Witcher that people don't always like to be retards… I mean heroes saving kitties from the tree and breaking their own arms falling on the way.

Atmosphere was very high-fantasy. Bioware said this will be dark but it is not and it is far from it. Compared to this The Witcher is very dark. I don't want even want to think how dark is Troika's Bloodlines when compared to this… a black hole?


Now some less important things.

Fighting in this game is okay, though it suffers from lack of (at least optional) turn-based combat. There is too many fighting, unfortunately. Especially in late parts of game when all you do is fighting for around 5 hours. But even before that there is just too much combat. And the blood looks hilarious, so I turned it off.

Voices are good, nothing outstanding but they are still good. I think I'll remember voice of Sten, Zevran, Leliana and Morrigan for some time.

Music is mediocre with nice main theme. I won't listen soundtrack, nor I was pleased in the game but it didn't bother me and I did not turn it off. And there is still nice song in the main manu and at the end of the game.

TPP camera is pretty useless, except running around, in combat only izometric view is useful (and really nice, I never got annoyed by the camera). The game is also very polished. I had one crash to desktop, one graphic issue which not allowed me to play but that's all for the whole game. Cool as for modern game. The loot system sucks, you kill someone with two-handed sword and in full armor and when you search him he has… nothing. MMO-like menus aren't good too.

Graphic is good. Sceneries are nice, they remind me of Temple of Elemental Evil sceneries. Characters look good as well. From technical side of graphic I'd say it is good too - looks like a modern game (well, I never care about techinal side of graphic really, just the art direction is important to me). Too bad it's 'just another fantasy'.

Well, I'd say it is the best Bioware game after Baldur's Gate series. It is good in general but suffers from many flaws and retarded story. It was enjoyable playing this except the parts with too much combat. If Bioware will continue making games like this but improve them I may like that company again

<3
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November 24th, 2009, 15:32
First of all: story. Horrible, stupid, predictable. Forces of ugly-looking evil forces (can't be more boring, retarded and cliche than that I guess) are attacking and you are chosen one to destroy them.
I find it interesting, with the concept of the blight, the ancient corrupted gods who have been corrupted and transformed to archdemons. Sure, it's cliche, but I found it different enough to find it interesting. "Horrible and stupid", wew, are you sure you played the right game?
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November 25th, 2009, 04:39
I thoroughly enjoyed the game, but I do have some gripes about how cliche the story is. It sometimes felt like the story had somehow coalesced with Lord of the Rings. I guess I'm a bit disappointed that this is what they came up after 5 years of development.

Don't get me wrong, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat for it has been one of the better RPGs out there in a long time, but I suppose I was expecting a little more than your standard fantasy with anti-magic, drunk dwarves and the evil horde that is conquering the world.

I'm playing through all the other origin stories now (I finished the game first with my human mage, which took me around 98 hours) and I do want to play the game again. I'm just debating which Origin I'll use for the second play through. My wife and I keep comparing it with Mass Effect and how that game was much more innovative story-wise. Sure it's a space rpg, but it neither resembled Star Wars or Star Trek or anything close and was thus quite refreshing. I wish I could say the same of Dragon Age origins. Again I can't reiterate enough times that I did enjoy it a lot, but it didn't quite live up to the expectations. Although in other ways it did as the entire commercial hype that was being built around it had severely lowered my interest. I was all too glad to see that at least that part didn't come true. ;-)

Some of the side quests were very Fed-ex like, but I didn't pay particular attention to it as I got those done while I was looking into other quests. The previously mentioned (by others) loot issues were indeed a bit disheartening. Yay for slaying an alpha ogre and oh… wow, look here, yet another lifestone. Awesome. If only I could telekinetically shoot it towards those other two ogres, then at least it would be useful. Anyway, the loot tables are indeed poorly organised. I liked my equipment, but it would have been nice to occasionally get something truly useful rather than having to buy it (whether that's in game or through DLC).

I'm not entirely satisfied with the ending either (neither was my wife with hers), but that's for another time.
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November 28th, 2009, 15:05
I played the common Dwarf storyline, a rogue and using ranged weapon (bow). Finished the game at level 22 and near 81 hours mark. Overall DA:O contents played = 51 %, with 90% game world explored.

In gist i found the game as one of the Bioware's best, better than Knight of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. It's pretty much at the same level as BG series. It has high production value, solid gameplay mechanics, high replayability, very good main-quest design, good interface and audio-visual as well as technically stable game.

One the negative side, the dialogs and story could be better or more original. And the loots are okay, i think it's really difficult to make it interesting without effecting the equipment and game balancing.

*Warning some spoilers ahead*
————————————————————-
The ending was done well enough, although other would argue otherwise. It show people and game world actually effected by your actions and decisions. Yeah i am one of the those player that piss-off Alistair and let him go (who care if he become a drunkard? it's his own doing if it's so). All in all i'm very satisfy with the ending. All of my companions gone their own ways, although in dialogs Zervan said he would hang around with me if i go for further travelling… i do miss shale though, who would like to walks at the bottom of a sea…
Last edited by Remus; November 28th, 2009 at 15:20.
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November 29th, 2009, 06:38
*****Storyline Spoilers*****

I really liked it, it is one of my favourite games. But my main personal issues were.

1)
I really enjoyed Ostager. I found what happened emotional and intriguing. But the focus in the mid game quickly shifts away from Loghain and what happened there.

I expected there would be more of a mystery and doubt behind Loghain's actions. There could be some strategic reasons behind it. Or him to convince me that there really was a plot by Orlesians. Or the signal came too late to save the King. I expected him to be presented as a grey ambivalent character who you don't know whether to trust or not. But in the mid game he has the role of an obvious distant villain responsible for a lot of bad things.

I found the structure of his storyline a bit conventional. You deal with his plots and henchmen in the mid game. Then fight him at the end. I remember watching the cutscene at Ostager where his general Ser Cauthrien protests against his decision. I was expecting her to be involved in the mid game and there would be more twists and mystery to the Loghain storyline. But we don't get to interact with those two until right at the end.

2)
My second issue was I thought Denerim was bit small compared to the major cities in Baldurs Gate. Some of the mid game DA:O locations and issues are a bit exotic and not reflective of everyday Ferelden life. Like Elves, Werewolves, Dwarves, Zombies from Redcliffe Castle, Cults, chaos at the Mage Tower etc.

I thought you needed a substantial location that grounds you in the reality of Ferelden routine life. I would have liked Denerim to have more areas, sidequests and stuff going on. Or have Highever as a location to give a sense of a Noble estate with associated farmlands, village, forest and peasant issues.
Last edited by SeanM; November 29th, 2009 at 08:23.
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