Friday, August 5, 2011

Dragon Age: Lessons - Assume Nothing

(c) EA/BioWare
Look at me not updating my Blog! Truth is, I've been rather busy with a few things. I have a bunch of articles drafted, but nothing complete. Now I'm on vacation. Time to catch-up on a few things.

Throughout the year so far, I've been catching-up to a bunch of video-games that came out last year. There have been some good surprises. And then there's Dragon Age: Origins.

I admit, it was an impulse purchase. Seeing the expansion Dragon Age: Awakening for $30 and then seeing on the row above, three games to the right the Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition for the exact same price. I was tempted.

I did try to look at reviews and asked a bunch of questions to gamers I knew to get a feel for the game. I had expectations. Just the usual out of an Action-RPG.

That was my mistake. Everything I saw and read looked like it was an Action-RPG. The HUD, the quest-driven gameplay, and the battles looked in real-time. But, as I soon discovered, real-time battles is not synonymous with Action-RPG. Yes, you press X to attack and your character does attack, but he will continue attacking, even if you put down your controller, until the you or the enemy is dead, or until you give another command. Very similar to some MMORPG's like World of Warcraft

The game is extremely tactical-focused. Unlike what EA/BioWare's David Silverman said on Kotaku, you have to be tactical in your gameplay. If you're anything but a run-and-slash character (Dwarf Warrior), you cannot just play it like an Action-RPG.

In my mind, Action-RPG goes hand-in-hand with "exploration". Since I expected an Action-RPG, I assumed there was going to be a deep level of exploration. While there's some exploration inside an area, the flow of area's to another is pretty linear. If it wasn't for secondary quests (which seems to often follow along the main-route you're supposed to be taking anyway), you'd think you'd be playing Final Corridor XIII (Final Fantasy XIII).

Do not get me wrong, the game is gorgeous, the story is Epic, you really have a feeling that every decision you make is important to a degree... essentially, everything about the presentation of the game is amazing. It's the gameplay I have a problem with. And it's really just because it's not my cup of tea. Critical Reception was very positive. If you're into Epic but slower-paced/tactical RPG's you cannot pass this game. As for me, I will move on to other games.