As the title says, I bought it on release and finally finished it today.
I played the Infinity Engine games and enjoyed the Baldur's Gate series quite a bit. I bought this game hoping it would have the same feel. It falls short on that end, but I cannot deny it is imo the best single player RPG released in some time, and thank goodness it isn't yet another hackneyed Diablo clone.
Here are things I liked that come to mind at this writing:
It's party based.
Between the PC & NPCs every type of role needed in the party can be met.
Isometric view can be acheived.
Large world and lots of quests.
There was at least some C&C. Not nearly as much as days gone by, but these days we must take what we can get.
There was some openness in terms of where to start the main questline.
Interaction with the recruitable NPCs was gratifying, and I liked their sidequests.
Here's what I didn't like:
Really hated the cutscenes for every dialogue with any amount of choices. I don't need to see the expressions on the NPC's face as it does not seem to have an effect on further choices in the conversations in DA, unlike Fallout.
All this attention to romances was marketing hype and it annoyed me. As a result I did not actively pursue the romance options. However, I did sleep with Morrigan before the endgame sequence, and the cut scene was absolutely ridiculous. Her 'seductive' walk to the bed with me in my loincloth made me laugh out loud.
The loot sucked in general. That is, chests always contained vendor trash it seemed. I don't think it should have been some Monty Haul lewtfest either, but give me a break. Clearing a room after a tough fight and getting a Studded Leather Helm?
The lack of variety of monsters is one of my biggest dislikes. I would have liked more named bosses. Even the end boss was called 'Archdemon.'
I know this is the wave of the future, but dear Lord do I hate the movable camera on my RPGs. Sure, I can zoom it all the way out, the trouble is then not much of the map is on the screen as it was in the IE games. Plus, walls often got in the way doing that. The other departure from the IE games is the maps not being hand rendered. It just makes it a lot less pretty imo and certainly less repetitive.
This game needs a combat log. Also, a better way of showing buffs and debuffs. The player should also be able to see those on the monsters imo.
I heard someone in another forum describe the buffs on the players from various auras and songs as making the players looks like Christmas trees. I agree. This looked silly. Not only that, I couldn't have told you which of the purdy lights flashing were which buff. Even fuinnier during the cutscene with Morrigan, as I awaited her arrival in bed my PC was glowing with red and yellow sparkles from whatever buff I had on me. From what I hear there is a mod to turn that nonsense off.
The blood spattering on the party was a little silly too, especially when it has no bearing on the game whatsoever. It was funny to go through some room in Denerim soaked in the blood of some hapless servant, then strike up a conversation with the owner as though nothing was wrong.
The slow motion kills in combat. Ugh. They weren't distinct enough to make it seem like I was playing Max Payne. Rather, I thought maybe my hard drive was thrashing. At one point the slow motion kill cost partymember's lives because they were busy jabbing a sword through a head and all the while being tagged by arrows.
Scattershot. Way OP.
I know, I know, more stuff in the dislikes. After playing the game I became fixated on them. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the game and intend to play through again. Is it the next BG? No. Is it the best SP RPG? No. It was, however, lots of fun and has lots to offer.