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Review: Dragon Age: Origins

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the blood-spattered-goodness dept.

Role Playing (Games) 452

Since the release of Baldur's Gate in 1998, BioWare has cultivated a strong reputation for quality role-playing games, exploring various aspects of the genre ranging from traditional D&D roles and rules to space marine and Jedi Knights. Dragon Age: Origins is a shift back to traditional swords-and-sorcery standards, unashamedly embracing the archetypes that made RPGs what they are, and using them to tell a complex, interesting story in a familiar yet unexplored world. In addition, BioWare has done yet another iteration of their combat system to make it deeper and allow the player to dictate the level of engagement. The result is that Dragon Age: Origins is one of the best RPGs in recent history. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.

  • Title: Dragon Age: Origins
  • Developer: BioWare
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • System: Windows (Also: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 8/10

Character creation starts you off with a few simple choices that have far-reaching effects. There are three races (Human, Dwarf, Elf), and three classes (Warrior, Mage, Rogue), and they are much as you'd expect if you've ever played a fantasy RPG before. Depending on what you pick, one or two of the 'Origins' stories becomes available. These are short scenarios which detail the introduction of your character to the main plot line. For example, Human Rogues get their beginning as part of a noble house. Dwarf Warriors can choose either the dwarf noble or dwarf commoner starting areas, and both Elven and Human mages share a starter-story due to their class. (The only race restriction is that Dwarves can't be Mages.) These decisions affect how NPCs interact with your character throughout the game.

While only having three classes may seem limiting, your characters will have a high degree of customization as you start leveling up. You have talent trees (well, not so much 'trees' as 'lines') and each level gives you a talent point to spend. The talent lines are divided up into major fighting categories. The categories for Warriors are Dual Weapon, Archery, Weapon and Shield, and Two-Handed. Within each of these categories are sets of activated and passive abilities that grow progressively more powerful as you spend more talent points in that line.

The result of this is that you can easily have multiple Warriors in a group, each performing a different role and having different gameplay. One can swing a massive axe and lay waste to whatever he touches, and another can grab a shield and take on the tank role, utilizing a host of defensive talents. Mages get a similar selection of roles, and are able to play as elemental sorcerers, healers/buffers, or dabblers in the dark arts. On top of all this, each class has a set of four Specializations, which confer certain bonuses and unlock another set of abilities. Rogues can choose to become bards, which grants them songs to buff their party and mesmerize their enemies; they can also choose Assassin, making them better at finding weak spots, or Ranger, which lets them summon forest creatures to their aid. You get to pick a specialization at levels 7 and again at 14, but perhaps the most interesting part is how you acquire them. Some you can purchase, some are trained by various NPCs or party members, and others are unlocked by quests.

The stat system will be instantly familiar to anyone with experience in the genre; strength makes you hit harder, constitution makes you tougher, etc. It's quite simple, and the tooltips explain everything you need to know. Every level gives you three stat points to spend as you will. Various items and talents will have a stat requirement to use or acquire, but it's a fairly smooth progression. You won't typically have to wait very long to use that shiny new sword you picked up. There's no single, monolithic alignment system, but your actions will have an effect on how NPCs treat you. Perhaps more importantly, your actions will have an effect on how your group members feel about you. Each of them has an Approval Rating, which is a measure of how much they like you. Extreme ratings can unlock side plots — friendship and romance for high ratings, mutiny and abandonment for low ratings — and they can have an effect on the characters' stats.

The Approval system is a fun way to learn about each of your companions. There's a surprising amount of story to be told for each of them. Surprising, at least, until you realize how much story there is in the rest of the game. I was impressed by how often I had a meaningful choice in how the plot unfolded. That is, when the dialogue allowed for different options, they didn't feel like window dressing. (e.g. Do you want to kill him? Yes/No Yes. Are you sure? No/I Guess Not Damnit.) I just picked whichever option I felt like picking, and the plot still worked.

The story succeeds, by and large, for two reasons: the writing and the voice acting. BioWare made a lot of noise about getting some big names for Dragon Age: Origins (and they did; Kate Mulgrew, Claudia Black, Tim Curry, Steve Valentine, and Tim Russ, to name a few), but that isn't a guarantee of good voice work. Virtually all of the NPC dialogue in this game is spoken (you can skip through it if you care to; I rarely felt the need to), even when you're asking them about mundane things, so poor voice acting would be hard to tolerate after a while. But this cast turned in a performance that (sadly) I don't tend to expect from video games. What helped a lot in this regard is that the characters are very well written — which is to say they actually seem fleshed-out and believable, with a personality that's consistent from one scene to the next. The details of how the characters react to events and interact with each other are spot on. Your companions will occasionally trade jokes or insults at random times throughout the game, whether you're in the middle of dialogue or just wandering through a city.

Now, don't get me wrong; the plot itself is interesting too, but it's hard to tread new ground here (Doom threatens the world; a hero arises; things go wrong that the hero must put right), and the writers don't really worry about doing so. They're just trying to tell a cool story. Without spoiling too much, the Mage Tower story in the main plot is particularly fun. The writers leave you a trail of breadcrumbs to figure out what happened, dump you into fantasy land for a few puzzles and a different way of fighting, then top it off with an epic battle, all while maintaining an atmosphere of hopelessness and dread. What's more, all the different portions of the main plot are completely distinct, each with its own moral dilemmas, level layout, look, and back-story.

In addition to countless hours of dialogue, one big way BioWare goes about establishing their game world is through books, scrolls, and notes scattered around the areas you visit. When you click on them, they'll put a page or so of text in your Codex explaining who's who and what's what, so you're not inundated with a flood of made-up, fantasy-world names at any one time. The Codex entries are relevant to whatever task you're currently doing, and vary in form from dictionary-style explanation to diary entries to poems.

So, how about the gameplay? Many RPGs have met their downfall on the weakness of their combat mechanics, or have succeeded in spite of it. (I'll name no names, but one such rhymes with Moblivion.) Like several other BioWare games, you can pause the action and queue up an ability that will fire off when you un-pause. You can also take control of any other party member(s) whenever you please. Group size tops out at four, which allows a fair amount of micromanagement without becoming tedious. For general commands like attacking or movement, you can control multiple party members at once. There's not a lot of movement during combat. Rogues have bit of an incentive to move behind their targets, and mages will occasionally have cause to kite a monster, but most of the running you do will be to get your melee in range to hit something. My only major gripe is that melee classes tend to run out of stamina quickly, so for long battles they spend a lot of time auto-attacking.

Even with just that, it would be a solid combat system, but there are three other major features which allow you customize your level of engagement. First, there are four difficulty settings. Easy will let you basically just point-and-click to win. Normal will require some planning and pausing, and some potion use on the tougher fights. Hard makes you do a lot more micromanagement, use consumables often, and watch out for friendly fire. Nightmare is for people who should probably be medicated. Second, you can set generalized behaviors for each of your party members; this will make them run to seek a fight, run away, ignore it altogether, or a few other options.

Third is your Tactics page. This lets you set up responses to a large variety of actions or game states. For example, you can set a Mage to cast a heal when somebody drops below 50% health. Or, you could have your warrior tank run over to attack whatever monster is beating on your rogue. There are hundreds of trigger conditions neatly laid out in a set of drop-down menus. You can set some some fairly complex behavior if you'd like to, or just automate the basic tasks. When you put this whole system together, you end up being able to tailor the fighting to your personal preference for involvement. You can micromanage as much or as little as you want.

The UI is very streamlined and responsive. The camera is over-the-shoulder, and if you zoom out far enough it pulls back to an almost top-down, "tactical" view. (The console versions are restricted to over-the-shoulder.) For using your abilities, you have a boilerplate action bar, and your group portraits are off to the left for monitoring health and mana. If I were nitpicking, I'd say the health and mana bars should be somewhat thicker; they're a bit small to take in the whole group at a glance. Click-able bars pop up on the bottom of your screen whenever you get quest or codex updates (and a few other things), which makes it very easy to keep track of what's going on with the plot. You can hold down a button to highlight everything on screen that you can interact with (chests, NPCs, monsters, loot-able corpses, quest items, doors), so finding what you're looking for is dead easy.

That streamlining carries over into the gameplay as well. Any of your party members who fall in battle come back to life if the remaining characters win the fight. It's silly from a realism perspective, but at the same time it saves me from spending 30 seconds casting Resurrection every other battle or keeping 500 Phoenix Downs in my bags. (Though, oddly, characters come back to life with injuries — minor stat debuffs — that require an item or a visit to base camp to heal.) Itemization is perhaps a victim of this streamlining. As I leveled up, I naturally picked up better gear, but it never felt like the items made a significant difference. On the other hand, stat gains from leveling were constant, and new talents provided obvious improvements. Quests are sometimes quite simplistic because of the interface as well, but those quests mainly exist to serve the narrative. I expected this to bother me, but it didn't; I just wanted to see where the story was going.

Dragon Age: Origins has a ton of (quality) playtime in it; even more when you consider replayability. I'm sure I could go through the entire game again and have a largely different experience, both in story and in combat. (I tend to stick with a group configuration I like, so one of my potential companions has been sitting on the sidelines the whole time, and I slightly killed another one. Not to mention different talent choices and specializations.) BioWare didn't blaze a new trail within the genre, but they succeeded in their effort to create a game that presents a new, fun take on the familiar with elegance and polish. (And Claudia Black.)

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Black Isle (2, Interesting)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034720)

Hopefully next year Black Isle or whatever they're called these days will get hold of this engine and make an absolutely amazing game

...

with a minimum of 4 game ending bugs forcing us to wait at least 3 years for the modding community to fix them all.

Re:Black Isle (1)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034818)

Black Isle Studios is LONG dead, killed by the once-mighty and now defunct hand of Interplay.

The closest remaining to BIS is Obsidian Entertainment, which was founded by some of the old BIS people. Their credit is Neverwinter Nights II, while some would also argue that Obsidian has shown it is Full of Fail with KOTOR II.

Re:Black Isle (1)

Chaotic222 (1114981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034948)

KOTOR 2 was unfinished, but still good until the end. With the missing content restored by a modding project, it's great. And MotB, the first expansion for NWN2, was also great. Both games are similar to Black Isle classics like PS:T. For someone who misses Black Isle, Obsidian is pretty much the only substitute nowadays.

Re:Black Isle (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035112)

KOTOR II was good IMO. It was more of the same, but more of the same when the original was good isn't bad.

Re:Black Isle (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035858)

Did you finish it? Did you (not) notice the absurd truncation and lack of ending? Multiple party PCs just DROP OFF THE FLIPPING PLANET, never to be mentioned again. The main PC suddenly makes a few leaps of location and status and is fighting the Big Bads. This was the result of Obsid. getting the 'release now or never' deadline from the publisher, after delays. There are tons of now-unused voice and animation clips left in the data files, from the very raggedly axed endings.

I would mind this less if they patched it up and restored it in patches, then released a completed GOTY edition, or somesuch, but instead they all scattered and ran as KOTOR2 flopped, besmirching the KOTOR brand near-fatally.

Re:Black Isle (1, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034826)

how about "maybe they'll actually release a complete game and not ask people to buy an addon with the original release". [penny-arcade.com]

I'll pass, pass, not buying this for this exact reason. Oh and slashdot's sellout here is disappointing. The more people try to milk a game beyond it's cost the longer before they actually develop something new and interesting.

Re:Black Isle (3, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034902)

You're implying they didn't developing something new and interesting to begin with which is wrong IMHO. The game is very well done and they have spent almost 7 years developing it.

Re:Black Isle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034944)

I was also disappointed by the requirement of buying additional content for the game right out of the box. They don't even tell you straight up that you need to purchase it - the game justs asks that you register or log in to your account so that you can download the content. And THEN they tell you that you need to buy it. I was annoyed, though not surprised, about this.

The game is excellent by itself though. You don't need the extra special content at all. I wouldn't boycott the game over this issue, just choose not to buy the extra content. I'm sure that there will be some fan-made content that will be just as good, if not better, though lacking in the voice acting department. (o:

Re:Black Isle (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035284)

It's not required. Stop trolling.

Re:Black Isle (4, Insightful)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034956)

It is very much a complete game. I hate DLC as much as anyone else, but it's not like they hacked pieces out of the original game and offered them up for sale. The DLC is extra, totally unnecessary, and IMHO not that impressive. I'd try not to confuse hating DLC and hating the original product, if you do that you risk missing out on enjoyment you could otherwise appreciate. ;)

Re:Black Isle (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035210)

from what I heard, they actually offer the DLC content as a quest in game that you'll get a "you must buy this to do it" type thing.

that's about as hard a sell short of in game/loading screen advertising that you can get.

Re:Black Isle (3, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035674)

So instead of a ? over the quest givers head there is a $

Re:Black Isle (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035078)

The more people try to milk a game beyond it's cost the longer before they actually develop something new and interesting.

It's a shame that game companies actually have to, you know...make money...if they want to survive in the industry.

Re:Black Isle (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035142)

if you make a, oh you know, not a shitty game in the first place, that money part is not an issue.

Indie devs happen to make serious money that way too, as an easy aside world of goo and gratuitous space battles are two games that have been successful and done by indie developers.

Re:Black Isle (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035374)

How is the Gameplay/storyline shitty?

Re:Black Isle (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035438)

This sort of money grab is inevitiablly countered by my own purchasing tactics: Wait till it's on a 50% off sale.

The more expensive the game, the longer they have to wait to get my $30. And lets face it, no matter how orgasmic it is, there isn't a dereth of good cheap games waiting to be played out there these days. The age of "you better buy it now because they'll stop selling it in six months and you'll only be able to find it used on ebay then" is long dead now that digital distribution is around.

Re:Black Isle (2, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035616)

Oh and slashdot's sellout here is disappointing.

I don't see how "slashdot" are selling out as the dude posting the review is writing down his personal opinion.

Personally I don't mind DLC, if the game is good I'll happily shell out a few bucks for a bit more gameplay and/or shinies.

They're called "bankrupt" these days (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034928)

Unfortunately :(

Re:Black Isle (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035558)

Hopefully next year Black Isle or whatever they're called these days will get hold of this engine and make an absolutely amazing game.

I for one would not object to a remake of Planescape: Torment.

Re:Black Isle (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035660)

The problem with game remakes is rights. My only insights here are from working with Bioware briefly, but I understand that the rights to a lot of their older games are all over the damn place. In order to re-release a game like Torment they would have to track down everyone with rights to the game and secure permission. It sure doesn't help that the gaming industry is absurdly unstable, with small companies being bought, swallowed or merging left right and center. My understanding is that these days rights are handled a lot more solidly, but that a lot of old material is going to remain unavailable. (Thank god for torrents or some of them might vanish entirely.)

At least Digg is a bit more obvious about it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034756)

Slashvertisement much?

At least Digg makes it excessively obvious...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2618/4086238747_2685a73ac1_o.png [flickr.com]

Review my ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30034758)

Way to be a sellout Slashdot.

For shame.

Obligatory Defense (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034960)

Way to be a sellout Slashdot.

For shame.

I can only think of three Soulskill reviews that I know of to rate this review against others. To be fair, he gave Lord of the Rings: Conquest [slashdot.org] a bit of a bad review. Whereas Halo Wars [slashdot.org] and Resident Evil 5 [slashdot.org] were for the most part positive. Give him time to post some more reviews before you accuse the over doting as a Slashvertisement. Scores of 5, 7, 7 and 8 are pretty fair if you imagine they're trying to cherry pick to begin with (who wants to play Madden 20XX? over and over?).

My biggest complaint is not the Slashvertisement but actually the lack of reviews. Is this the fourth review since Soulskill took over from Zonk [slashdot.org] ? I was hoping for more frequency ... granted Zonk wasn't that great at hitting all the major games. I guess the most difficult thing is just the amount of free time a fellow has. While Slashdot seems to promote user based book reviews [slashdot.org] , it never seems as though users are promoted to review games. I guess I would have liked to see a review of Braid and I have just finished up everything in Eufloria.

Hell, if any Slashdot admins are reading this, are non-editor game reviews accepted ever?

Sounds good (5, Informative)

dusanv (256645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034768)

I was a huge fan of the Baldur's Gate (got both PC and Mac versions of all of them) series so I'll be getting this. It also helps to know that there's no DRM [gamespot.com] other than the disk check. So Bioware have come to their senses after the excursion into the DRM land with Mass Effect (that was using the dreaded SecurROM).

Re:Sounds good (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034906)

Good to know, this plus Left 4 Dead 2 and Borderlands are all making compelling cases for me to finally build out a gaming PC.

Re:Sounds good (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035002)

Good to know, this plus Left 4 Dead 2 and Borderlands are all making compelling cases for me to finally build out a gaming PC.

I went over the top with mine and I have to say it was certainly worth it 100%. Nothing beats being able to play a game like Fallout 3, Dragon Age, Fear 2, all at full specs. You can budget it and still play them very comfortably for about $1200 (Including keyboard, mouse, case).

Re:Sounds good (0, Offtopic)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035050)

That and laughing at all the kiddies playing their games on consoles!

No really though, once you get spoiled to the high fidelity of a well built gaming PC, it's hard to go back to consoles.

Re:Sounds good (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035104)

That and laughing at all the kiddies playing their games on consoles!

No really though, once you get spoiled to the high fidelity of a well built gaming PC, it's hard to go back to consoles.

Once you get used to a keyboard and mouse you can't go back to a console. I had trouble adapting. Not to mention the number of other things you can do with a high powered computer. I donate my spare cycles to Folding@Home [stanford.edu] .

Re:Sounds good (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035514)

Once you get used to a keyboard and mouse you can't go back to a console. I had trouble adapting. Not to mention the number of other things you can do with a high powered computer. I donate my spare cycles to Folding@Home.

Congratulations, I honestly don't know if you are trolling or just ignorant of the fact that the PS3 lets you do the same. That said, I do think PCs are still the high end of the gaming quality spectrum.

Re:Sounds good (3, Funny)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035304)

Except you can only play it on high fidelity for a relatively short window of time compared to consoles. That's why people get consoles - because while you "only" get the resolution of HD, you never have to worry about upgrading anything.

After you get to a certain age, you care more about having fun and playing the game rather than higher pixel counts and running on the upgrade treadmill.

Re:Sounds good (1, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035474)

Last I checked, an 8800GT from 2 years ago can still run any game released today at very high quality settings. Except Crysis...

Re:Sounds good (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035606)

On the flipside, as you get older you can afford the upgrades, and you care more about having fun than about learning the complex and finger-breaking control system on the controller to play the game that uses your tv preventing your partner from watching it while you play.

Not to mention the riotous joy of 4 person Borderlands in full 1920x1200 beauty with mouse aiming and in-game text chat.

Re:Sounds good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035110)

sorry if this is a noob question but is there PvP in this game? I played the baulders gate series a long time ago, and i can't remember...

I went to their site but didn't find it after reading all the FAQ's

thanks

Re:Sounds good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035294)

It's strictly a single player game, so no.

Re:Sounds good (2, Funny)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035320)

Do you even know what the hell the game is? It's single player. PvP in single player? Only if the other player is the AI, which is called PvE.

No PvP (1)

PincushionMan (1312913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035386)

Kinda hard to have PvP when there's no multiplayer [1up.com] ...

Re:Sounds good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035868)

I bought my version off of Steam. No need for a disk check, and the install is rather streamlined.

Also, Steam had a $10 off discount on today (Nov 8), if I recall.

No coop or multiplayer? (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034770)

It's a shame this game has no coop or multiplayer. I know a lot of you will say there is nothing wrong with a well-done single player game, and I agree with you in spirit. But, in practice, a part of me looks at a game like this in 2009 and can't help but see it as, well...old-fashioned.

It seems that this would have been the ideal game for coop, and whatever Bioware's justification for not including it, I can't help but wonder if it wasn't just laziness or "We'll just do it the way we've always done it" obstinance. Bioware one proposed foray into multiplayer gaming seems to be Star Wars: The Old Republic [wikipedia.org] , and even that (with it being PC only) seems kind of old-fashioned (made even more bizarre by the fact that KOTOR I and II made most of their sales on a console). I give them kudos for what they've done with single player games in the past, but I'm not confident they're adapting well to an online future (DLC aside).

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (5, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034862)

The game is solidly single player, for the folks who like single player RPGs.

I really don't get the need for people to have coop/multiplayer in EVERY GAME they come across.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035236)

I really don't get the need for people to have coop/multiplayer in EVERY GAME they come across.

It's a bit of a vicious cycle. GP demonstrates that well: old fashioned? Justification for not including it? Que? People are putting multiplayer into almost every game, so players come to expect it from almost every game, which justifies putting multiplayer into almost every game. A game is old fashioned if it doesn't include multiplayer? Multiplayer is pretty old, I had the option of multiplayer for Marathon (the FPS) 15 years ago. Shoot, Mario Bros had multiplayer. Not having multiplayer feels old fashioned only because so many games have multiplayer tacked on. Justification wise, they probably didn't want to delay release to make a good multiplayer system. I've heard there's constant pressure to get the game out as quickly as possible, for obvious reasons.

If they didn't spend much time on it, and slapped one out that was weak, they'd get dinged in reviews. If the multiplayer option is pretty terrible on a game that is clearly for single player, I think that's alright, that's not what I bought it for. Crappy multiplayer on a great single player game is a little bit better than just the single player game by itself. Even if I only play the multiplayer once as a novelty, that's more use that I'm getting out of it than just the single player mode. But that's not how everyone else thinks apperantly. Reviewers would point out the bad multiplayer and game sales would suffer.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035828)

Multiplayer makes sense for some things but for some things less so.

Multiplayer RPGs in the fashion that Bioware makes their RPGs would be sufficently different from current multiplayer models that it would require alot of thought and effort to make even a cursory system.

At the worse, you'd just be playing seperate characters in a party, one where the entire story is geared towards the idea where your main character is "The One". That isn't plot details concering the most recent game, that's just what BioWare games are about, single character going through the universe righting or doing wrongs along the way to defeat the big bad guy after having a couple of 'bonding moments' with their sidekicks. So who gets to be "The One" and who is the sidekick. And when your teammate starts the romance sideplot with you, are you going to feel uncomfortable about the sex scene?

Or perhaps that isn't the worse, how about two competeing parties. "I'm sorry, you would have been able to save our village from the bandits, if your friend hadn't rolled through town last week and killed all the NPC's himself! Hope you didn't need that XP for leveling!" "Yeah, all the cool NPC's have joined your rival's party. Here are the NPC's no one ever plays with if they can help it.."

Really, a multiplayer version of a Bioware game would need a completely different story structure (not to mention tech) than the one they use. Sometimes just because you can bolt a jet engine to a car, doesn't mean it's a good idea to do so.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035428)

But, as the game describes itself, it's focused around a party of four members. It doesn't seem too unreasonable to allow at least one of those characters to be a PC, even if it's just during battles. It's not like having a co-op option would ruin the 1-player aspect of the game.

That being said, they couldn't easily modify the main story of this game to be co-op. The interface and statistics are too focused on one player (the relationship ratings, decision points with NPC reactions, and tactics). It could probably have been done, but with some sacrifice to the customization of the current system.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (5, Insightful)

Reibisch (1261448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034874)

I'm all for being a social animal, but every now and then I like to retreat to my own private world and enjoy a game crafted around the single player experience.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034954)

... part of me looks at a game like this in 2009 and can't help but see it as, well...old-fashioned.

"Old-fashioned" is a lucrative market niche in and of itself. I like DA:O because it reminds me if NWN and BG so much. I'm sure many others do, as well.

As a side note, speaking of single-player only... have you seen this tiny but awfully addictive thing called Torchlight? Yes, it's 2009 - and these things still sell like hot cakes. And where there's a buyer, there's a seller.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035258)

As a side note, speaking of single-player only... have you seen this tiny but awfully addictive thing called Torchlight?

I have considered buying it after trying the demo, but a friend of mine says the game quickly loses its charm and there's no replayability. There's about 10-12 hours of play inside, and once you're done, there's nothing left to do except roam in some endless dungeon and collect uniques that are worse than your enchanted basic gear... That, and the classes are supposedly all mages in disguise.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035764)

once you're done, there's nothing left to do except roam in some endless dungeon and collect uniques that are worse than your enchanted basic gear... That, and the classes are supposedly all mages in disguise.

Sounds a lot like Nethack.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

omi5cron (1455851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035778)

yes-got it nov. 1, played ~35 hrs. this past week while on vacation, finished it saturday. great game of dungeon crawler type. not much story, but cool effects. frankly, i haven't played a game straight through in many years. this was like diablo 1 , diablo 2, sacred, and WoW had an orgy, and torchlight was the unlikely off-spring. totally addictive!!

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035000)

Ive actually been craving old school single player Computer RPGs recently. Was trying to hunt down possible ports of the old Ultima series, to no real success... so, this product appeals to me..

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (3, Insightful)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035062)

It's a shame this game has no coop or multiplayer. I know a lot of you will say there is nothing wrong with a well-done single player game, and I agree with you in spirit. But, in practice, a part of me looks at a game like this in 2009 and can't help but see it as, well...old-fashioned.

Coop or multiplayer only works in a game where the story is completely linear. This game has so many different plot twists and the story can change so dramatically that there is no real way you could do coop; the story would have plot holes all over the place. Also, what would happen if two people tried to play completely different in the same game world? One person could go around killing NPCs that the other person wanted to keep alive. It would be complete and total chaos.

If you played the game you would understand why coop wouldn't work. Also, the combat in this game, while it can be played in realtime similar to WoW, is deep enough that it requires pausing the game to give command to your party members. Have you ever seen a coop game that allowed one person to pause the game? It would be a nightmare because one person would be pausing the game when then other wanted to play it.

I don't fault Bioware at all for not having multiplayer in the game. This game is meant to be played like a well run pen and paper RPG, or a great fantasy novel. You need to take the time to read Codex, immerse yourself in the game world, and that just doesn't come through in a "twitch" oriented action RPG.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035524)

If you played the game you would understand why coop wouldn't work. Also, the combat in this game, while it can be played in realtime similar to WoW, is deep enough that it requires pausing the game to give command to your party members. Have you ever seen a coop game that allowed one person to pause the game?

I sure do. It's called Baldur's Gate (you should try it - BG2 is an amazing game!): all coop party members were allowed to pause and unpause the game, at any given time. Only the host was allowed to save the game, though.

Both Icewind Dale games have the same feature, and I'm pretty sure that Planescape: Torment would also allow that, but I'm not sure it has a MP component.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035852)

I don't see why Co-op wouldn't work, it worked fine in Baldur's gate. Where, if I recall correctly, one was the "main character" and the other(s) basically played sidekicks.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035070)

What online future? Even for mutliplayer oriented games, the majority of players will never go online. Over half of Dawn of War 2's legally sold copies have never created a GFWL account to play their game. Over two-thirds of Demigod's players, a game expressly designed for online play, have never created an account to go online, much less actually played a multiplayer game. There is no online future for all games everywhere because the vast majority of gamers don't want it. By leaving off unwanted multiplayer options in their games that only satisfy the minority, Bioware keeps down production costs for all players.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (3, Insightful)

vga_init (589198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035120)

I agree that multiplayer games are great (especially cooperative RPG's), but not every game has to fall into one genre. There are many things that can be done with a single player design that you simple can't do with multiplayer, so expect Dragon Age to offer a unique and comprehensive experience you wouldn't otherwise get if they included multiplayer. Sometimes games get torn between the two and end up suffering the most that way; they want to be both a single player and multiplayer game, but ideally you'd pick one since it defines how the entire game plays out.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035480)

Baldur's Gate 2 which has very similar gameplay and combat mechanics had a multiplayer mode, which was ... well, not used very often.
Bioware probably learned from that.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035726)

Well - if you haven't played Mass Effect - you don't understand how BioWare tailors their Single Player Experience.
And if you have played Mass Effect - and you didn't like it, you are the first person I've encountered who didn't enjoy it.

The thing with these SP RPG's that Bioware makes is that they are more or less trying to put you inside of an interactive movie, almost moreso than they are trying to make a game. Don't get me wrong, they have always been solid in their gameplay elements, but whenever anyone talks about Mass Effect, and now Dragon Age, the things they generally tend to mention are its incredible story and how well they get immersed in the game, usually through dialogue.

The Trend that Bioware and myself are noticing is that when you make something Multiplayer - Pretty much the whole story element gets shot out the window. Its no longer about you being a hero to save the princess, its more about you and your friends having a fun social experience trying to kill the biggest badest thing you guys can find. Which is fine for some games, like World of Warcraft. But How many MMO RPG players read the quest text? How many players on Halo 3 consider themselves the heroic Masterchief when every other player in the game is just as equal?

As for Co-op, there are always limitations to Co-op, and in my opinion they always detract so heavily from the game that I wouldn't even Bother. Fable 2 is an excellent example of how Co op ruins the experience. You can have 2 people in the same world, for sure, but they can't venture further than 20 feet from each other, and whoever is in the lead ends up running into an invisible wall and can't move forward. Meanwhile slowmo over in the back can't get around this fence because his buddy is so far ahead it restricts his lateral movement. And even if they managed to sort out those sort of issues, it still always feels like 1 person is the Hero and everyone else is just side kicks.

  The only games which seem to properly implement Co-op are First Person shooters, like Left 4 Dead, or ODST, where everyone is essentially Equal and MUST work together. Mass Effect (and probably Dragon Age) While approaching the FPS kind of gameplay, are still more Roleplaying games then they are shooters. You got levels, stats, and gear. Once you take those out, your gameplay is fleshed down a point and shoot. Which not everyone wants. There are plenty of Fantasy co op games out there, where you can get with your party of 5 and do an instance, get your gold and get your gear. Bioware wants to tell a story. And they do a hell of a job doing it.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035756)

It's a shame this game has no coop or multiplayer.

Multiplayer DA:O would be as bad as multiplayer coop solitaire.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035760)

Neverwinter Nights is multiplayer. Not massively (100+ player per server limit with certain NWNx plugins), but it is multiplayer.

Re:No coop or multiplayer? (1)

filekutter (617285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035880)

I have been pondering the lack of coop and multi in the game since buying it, but, I also haven't enjoyed singleplay this much in any other RPG since NWN 1 (which just doesn't hold up in comparison). I do wish I could play this on a social server, but I"m perfectly happy to enjoy the level of writing depth in exchange. Absolutely gorgeous game.

As long as you love cut-scenes... (3, Informative)

Degro (989442) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034832)

You can't go two minutes in this game without being thrown into a long cut-scene. I like to play my RPGs, not watch them.

Re:As long as you love cut-scenes... (2, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034884)

The intros are heavy on cut-scenes due to them being "intros". They're not really cut-scenes, anyway, due to you having to make choices in the middle of many of the dialog sessions.

It's nowhere near as cut-scene heavy as MGS4, though, so I'm happy enough.

Re:As long as you love cut-scenes... (2, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034934)

The intros are heavy on cut-scenes due to them being "intros". They're not really cut-scenes, anyway, due to you having to make choices in the middle of many of the dialog sessions.

It's nowhere near as cut-scene heavy as MGS4, though, so I'm happy enough.

It's also not as bad as your average Final Fantasy game which you can't skip through at all.

No, it doesn't run on Linux.. (4, Informative)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034846)

And I haven't had much luck trying to get it to run on Wine. 1.1.31 from wine1.2 package on Kubuntu 9.10, hangs at the end of installation when it tried to install Nvidia PhysX. I'm using an ATI 4770 with FGLRX drivers, running the game gives me garbage on the screen.

Had to boot back into my WinXP partition that I haven't touch since April.

Looking at appdb, it seems not many people have much luck either, but some have managed to get it to run. Wonder what I'm doing wrong.

No demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035044)

Thanks, that was what I needed to know. I have already spent more than two hours looking for a playable demo (and failed to find one, of course).

Well al least now I won't have to reconsider my Electronic Arts boycot ..

Re:No, it doesn't run on Linux.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035562)

Wonder what I'm doing wrong.

You're trying to play a video game on Linux. Just stop it already.

Re:No, it doesn't run on Linux.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035644)

Had to boot back into my WinXP partition

Oh noes the sky is falling HELP HELP! BAWK BAWK BAWK!!!

Wonder what I'm doing wrong.

Trying to play a Windows game in an OS other than the one for which it was designed.

New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (5, Informative)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034866)

First of all, let me just say that I'm loving this game so far (about 10 hours in). This game has all of the rich storytelling and character development that Bioware are famous for, with an updated graphics and combat system that really works well and is extremely polished.

With that out of the way, let me just say one thing: EA, keep your fucking money grubbing hands off of Bioware! You can see their "mark" on this game in the DLC.

In your party camp, there is a quest-giver that actually tries to sell you DLC! I started chatting him up, since he has a quest ! above his head. He starts talking about how Duncan of the Grey Wardens owes his family a debt, and would you be so kind as to assist him. I get 3 minutes through the conversation about how his family needs help, and just when I'm about to agree to help him, it gives me a menu option that says something like "Help him - Purchase Downloadable Content."

Let that sink in for just a minute... there is an NPC quest giver that tries to sell you content that is available on the day of release! This makes me think even more that EA intentionally stripped content out of the game to try to nickel and dime you. Tycho and Gabe talk about this and have a hilarious comic strip at Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] .

I'm still enjoying every minute of the game, but it kills the immersion when I have a quest giver try to hawk DRM laden "premium content". What makes it even worse, in order to get a storage chest, you have to purchase this content. No thanks, I'm not going to buy it. You already got my money, and that's all you're going to get.

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034970)

Thankfully the toolset for the game has been released and the game will fully support FREE user made mods.

Although as for myself I did purchase the Digital Deluxe Edition which includes the DLC.

DLC Abuse - (5, Informative)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034976)

I bought it pre order, the game has already had it's first Patch for the PC and it's still buggy. All that but the game itself is awesome, completely awesome. Now the DLC - Downloadable Content stuff is not making me happy. I've bought it all but apparently it's not actually mine if my internet connection goes down. WTF? That's not acceptable, I bought it, give it to me, don't make me a prisoner of my internet connection. That particular aspect of the game is a true 'bend over and prepare for your surprise' moment. I don't know why they felt it necessary to do this either. I'm reading also that you need your 360 connected to the internet to be able to play the downloadable content and not just to download it. Another slap in the face of the fans. So I'm torn, love the game, hate the crap surrounding it.

Re:DLC Abuse - (1)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035456)

I don't know what kind of copy you bought. I got mine from D2D, got the 2 "free" DLCs and I bought Warden's Keep, all day one. I then proceded to to play the game, all while disconnected from the interwebs without any issue, AND use the DLC without any issue.

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30034986)

That content had development/testing deadlines that came AFTER the cert date of the game itself. It was developed separately. I'm not a fan of DLC either and find it jarring that it's not handled entirely outside the game, but I don't believe that anything was hacked out of the game to facilitate it.

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035346)

That content had development/testing deadlines that came AFTER the cert date of the game itself. It was developed separately. I'm not a fan of DLC either and find it jarring that it's not handled entirely outside the game, but I don't believe that anything was hacked out of the game to facilitate it.

I know they said this, and I can believe it, knowing how the software dev lifecycle works, and how different content teams can have different schedules, however, they still had to have someone QA the quest-giver that hawks the DLC, and they had to know that it would be ready on launch day, or the quest-giver would have to be removed.

So you see, this story is not completely true. How can you certify the quest-giver is in the game and working properly unless you're confident the DLC he links to is working properly as well?

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035560)

Planning Ahead?

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035586)

Oh, they always intended to have DLC start rolling out the day of release. The quest giver was in loooong before the content he linked to was completed. It certainly shows their intent. But for the content he triggers to have been included as part of the core game, they would have had to push back the cert date. Cert isn't very forgiving, especially for consoles. (ESPECIALLY for PS3) I totally agree that there are a lot of scuzzy things about the way DLC works, but I don't think that it stole content or resources from the core game. ;)

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035758)

How can you certify the quest-giver is in the game and working properly unless you're confident the DLC he links to is working properly as well?

They chose to risk it. On the off chance that they did not hve the DLC ready in time, they would have to field your exact same comment in relation to putting the quest-giver in without the DLC being ready.

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035244)

Let that sink in for just a minute... there is an NPC quest giver that tries to sell you content that is available on the day of release!

...

Your actions have shifted your alignment 5 points toward evil

Re:New and more disgusting DLC abuses... (5, Funny)

denton420 (1235028) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035310)

I laughed pretty hard when I was going through the dialog for the DLC. I thought the guy was trying to pull a nigerian inheritance scam on me, talking about family debts and assisting him to unlock untold fortunes!

Well, screw that then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035632)

I am not paying $60 for half of a game. Either sell me the game or don't.

DLC made scary (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035866)

I was going to say exactly what you've said, basically. Firstly I'm definitely going to buy the game (for the Xbox 360). And I may buy the DLC if it's worth it. But I won't buy the DLC straight away and I'll consider not buying it at all. The excuse is that the DLC couldn't have been put into the game during time constraints - I say, fair enough, but if you have expansions coming out on the same day of release you are Doing It Wrong. If you deliberately end up with DLC that's ready for release day, you look like a cynical nickel-and-diming businessman - don't do that. If you accidentally end up with DLC that can be ready for release day, consider expanding the scope of the DLC, that way it'll be better value for gamers (though you could even charge more and profit) and it doesn't look really really cheeky. There's nothing that forces them to release DLC at the same time as the retail box.

Whilst I'm sure, based on BioWare's previous record, that it'll be an excellent game and excellent DLC I really want publishers and developers discouraged from making the mental link "DLC = printing money". The equation should be "Good DLC, with reasonable restrictions and decent value for money = happy customers and more profit". If they continue the nickel-and-diming trend, I'll move to playing games I can afford. Which probably means instead of buying the DLC for a single retail game, I can buy three second hand games which will provide me with a more varied and enjoyable experience. Yes, that's right EA, you're encouraging the second hand market - well done.

There's a direct link to the Penny Arcade strip here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/11/6/ [penny-arcade.com] (nb. contains profanity, as you'd expect from PA)
Also, Tycho's take on the situation is here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2009/11/6/ [penny-arcade.com]

Control Scheme Differences? (2, Interesting)

vga_init (589198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035068)

I've always played PC role playing games, but nowadays my computers don't cut it for games even though they are perfectly good for everything else. I don't want to buy a new computer (upgrading existing hardware would also entail buying a new motherboard/case/everything). For this reason I've been tempted to buy a console just to play games like Dragon Age, but I have a hard time imagining how you would adapt a computer RPG to a console control scheme. Isn't the game crippled without a keyboard and mouse? I have similar concerns over the upcoming Final Fantasy 14, which is supposed to be an MMORPG (but how do you communicate with other players if you can't type?).

If anyone could share their insight on this issue, I'd be grateful. I don't have a lot of experience with PC->console migration.

Re:Control Scheme Differences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035182)

Final Fantasy 11, the precursor to Final Fantasy 14, has been available on PS2 and the 360 for years and it manages. That being said, it's virtually impossible without an added keyboard, but that's why usb ports exist. You will manage moving to console, but it'll feel strange and take time to get used to. But that's just part of the game if you're not interesting spending the money need to update your PC.

Also, this one lacks any multiplayer content, so there should be no need for a keyboard.

Re:Control Scheme Differences? (5, Informative)

Alexpkeaton1010 (1101915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035246)

According to the reviews and talk online, the PC version is the superior version by a significant margin. Some of the advantages of the PC version are better graphics (obviously), a better UI, and the ability to put the camera into isometric view similar to the old infinity engine games (i.e. Baldur's Gate et. al.). For control, on PC you have a standard spell bar and can click the ground to move, but on console you have a radial menu for your skills and have to move using standard 3rd person controls. This means that in combat, on the PC, you can queue up all parties members exactly where you want them to go without controlling them manually. But the biggest advantage to the PC version, in my opinion, is the toolset that Bioware just released to create user campaigns that you can download for free. They talked about porting some of the best ones to PS3, but on PC you will have access to everything.

Needs more death traps (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035126)

As far as I've gotten, it seems all too easy to live. I think extensive foreknowledge of intricate mechanics and game events as a prerequisite for mere survival makes for some interesting gameplay. Then again, the totally unrestricted save/load capability would pretty much negate that.
Maybe I just played ADOM too much...

Healing mages? Rogues with pets? (4, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035152)

Why didn't they just call the classes Plate, Cloth, and Leather?

Re:Healing mages? Rogues with pets? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035234)

That's a very good point, I was rather amused to find that the Bard class was part of a Rogue's progression

Re:Healing mages? Rogues with pets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035504)

why is that, bards in almost all fiction have been rogues at heart, pickpocets and traveling scountrals with a tale to tell, its fairly rare that they have magical talents.

Re:Healing mages? Rogues with pets? (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035276)

Because those are materials, not classes.

Re:Healing mages? Rogues with pets? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035354)

It simplifies things when the abstraction is completely unnecessary. With the way magic works in the game, anyone with magical abilities is technically a mage - that includes healers.

Also, I'm perfectly fine having an archtype that you can later expand on. I may know I want to play a healer in WoW, but how do I know if I want to be a Druid, Paladin, Priest, or Shaman? I like that in Dragon Age I know I want to play a magic-using character of some sort, and I can pick how I want to specialize later.

On a side note - there are no restrictions to what kind of armor you want to wear. I gave my mage a high enough strength to wear plate armor because it just looked awesome. Tank mage ftw.

Re:Healing mages? Rogues with pets? (3, Insightful)

smartaleq (905491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035360)

Arcane mages (a specialization) are mages that wear plate. Shapeshifters are mages that spend all their time in animal form. Warriors specialized in ranged weapons are equally competent at it as rogues.
It isn't as simplistic as the review makes it, and I've been quite happy with it.

Content Galore (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035168)

While I too, like many of the posters here, was a bit annoyed by the $7 "Warden's Keep Tax" - the sheer breadth of the game has won me over.

I'm over 20 hours in and (except for the opening Origins section) I've barely touched the main storyline. I've just been doing sidequests and experiencing the huge amount of dialog options your companion characters have.

In other words, I suppose I'd rather pay $57 for a fantastic game than $50 for a mediocre one.

Re:Content Galore (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035804)

"In other words, I suppose I'd rather pay $57 for a fantastic game than $50 for a mediocre one."

But weren't you supposed to pay $50 for a fantastic game when you bought it? DLC is basically extortion, when you buy a car and it's missing it's doors, would you be happy if they sold you the doors after you just laid down 20 or 30K for a car? I didn't think so either.

When you buy a product it should be the WHOLE product. DLC has shown itself to be nothing more then ripping off gamers everywhere and these stupid gamers keep this crap afloat.

Cut Scene Overkill!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035328)

I'm shocked no one is talking about this. I like the game...in face I'm a HUGE fan of Baldur's Gate, NWN, Diablo, WoW, etc, etc. Even the old school Bard's Tale. Most of the aspects of this game are top notch...however I'm surprised no one else is talking about the cut scenes. I honestly feel like I am not playing a game as much as I'm watching a movie. Every time I walk into a new zone I get a new dreaded cut scene and more dialogue. Please, let me just control my character for five minutes. Let me do something rather than sit back in my chair and watch something. I'm watching more than interacting. I applaud the effort but for as much as people are crying about DLC...how about the obvious hint of a real attempt at creating a hybrid game/movie? We've all been hearing about stories of these two generes being converged at some point in the upcoming decades...but this truly feels like the first feeble attempt at doing so. (Albeit VERY first and feeble). Please tell me I'm not the only one.

I know I'm in the minority (0, Offtopic)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035404)

but I have to yell anyway :)

Fantasy RPGs are so boring. I can't handle the whole elves and goblins and swinging swords thing. I'm not saying other settings are automatically more interesting but fantasy just seems to tired, kind of like WW2 FPS games. Futuristic settings at least seem to offer more possibilities (even if they're not always used) and what about a modern day RPG? Persona did it with a J-RPG series.

Swinging a sword with a leather clad character versus some dumb goblin makes me want to retch.

360 Owner's POV (2, Interesting)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035490)

So far 20 - 25 hours in and the game is pretty good. Few complaints:

1. Seems every 10 hours or so the game locks up and have to restart the 360. 2. If you tell a person no who wants to join you then you can never get that person again. It would have been nice to get a warning or something like "Hey if you say no one more time you will never ever see this person again". I did this to 2 characters before I found out. Crap. 3. Triggers for battles drive me nuts and you better save often. For example walking down a hallway in a dungeon you get attacked by a few skeletons. You bet them and as you recover 8 more rise up around you and attack. Game over every time. I've encountered a few places like this and it is frustrating. I think to truly to get into this game a 2nd replay is in order but not sure if I will have the time to do that

The Ugly Bat (1)

STRICQ (634164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035510)

I would play this game except for the fact that it's impossible to make a character that hasn't been hit with the ugly bat.

WTF... Gameplay and Story suck (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035518)

How is this game getting just a love fest?!?! It's just the same old can of crap.

Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035590)

My main gripe with it is lack of detailed talent / spell tooltips, paired with a lack of a "respec" ability.
It is no fun to play a game, and upon reaching lvl 2 have to read through 50 spells to decide which "tree" you want to delve into, especially when the spell's descriptions are vague or don't give you an idea of real world usage.
EX: Arcane Mastery

        * Passive
        * Requires: Level 10

The mage has gained keen familiarity with the arcane arts, granting a permanent bonus to spellpower.

This is one of the top tier spells, but it gives 0 indication of how good it is.

compare to a typical wow tooltip. . .

Arcane Empowerment Rank 1
Increases the damage of your Arcane Missiles spell by an amount equal to 15% of your spell power and the damage of your Arcane Blast by 3% of your spell power.

I can make a decision based on numbers, i do not like to have to make alot of permanent decisions, based on adjectives such as "moderate" or "skilled" alone. Not to mention specializations that give you no clue as to the abilities they unlock.

I do not think it unreasonable to let people respec mid game. Let it cost gold + time, but people trying new things and trying different specs is a big part of keeping it fun, having a character that you feel comfortable playing without having to start over 5 different times is key.

just my 2 cents.

Realistic Review (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30035608)

Start up game, oh christ it's not been QA'd on AM2's kill the 2nd core with affinity settings, alt tab back. MMMM pretty intro, a little choppy but still good.

1 Hour in:
Jeezus it's choppy as hell on my 8500 GT on the lowest settings (AM2 3800 w 4GB ram and Windows XP Sp3 + 28 minimal running processes). I'll stick with it and see how far I get. Wife's card looks fine, and it's not much newer.

OMG fight scene is 4FPS on Lowest Res and Lowest Textures can't move, thank god for space bar pause.

Ok Fine, it's an old card, time to Upgraaayyyyyd

5 Hours in:
New 9500 GT can handle fight scenes at modest resolution, running 18FPS now. Oh god giant fight scene, laaag, ok caught up. *sigh* half a processor not very fast, when will these game companies start writing software that works on my AMD?

Storyline is engaging, game is fun, can't save stupid dog picked up herb but was the wrong herb aargh... Moral imperative's fun to mess with, evil babykilling monster seemingly quite possible as protagonist... intriguing.

10 Hours in:
My wife has now nearly completed the first half of the game and I'm finally a Warden. Going to get bored with this game soon as she beats it, must get some more playtime out of it before all the cut scenes are ruined for me.

Nerf... not debuff. (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035626)

The opposite of a buff is a nerf.

I LOVE THIS GAME! (1)

CraniumDesigns (1113153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035634)

I LOVE THIS GAME! Been hooked on it all weekend. Best RPG in a LONG time.

Neverwinternights engine = fail (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30035766)

The game uses the same base engine of previous neverwinter games and you can tell when you look at the combat mechanics of the game, go play some quick battles in NWN1 and NWN2 and you can still feel how the never got rid of the clumsyness of battle system itself.

Dragon ages would have been better as an ARPG instead they tried to stuff it into Neverwinters moldy engine. The only thing that keeps the game going is the art and interesting characters and dialogue.

I must admit though the art direction is what really makes this game, it's a miracle they got decent art finally out of the abortions in terms of ART that Neverwinter 1 and 2 were.

You can still feel the sluggishness of the aged aurora/NWN engine though, even on the latest and greatest it will chug in some area's.

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