Dragon Age: Origins

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DJGamer
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Dragon Age: Origins

Postby DJGamer » 28 Apr 2012, 18:27

I've recently gotten Dragon Age: Origins since after finishing the Mass Effect trilogy I've gotten on a bit of a Bioware kick (haven't finished Mass Effect 1, but I'm taking my time with it because I recently watched a complete LP of it).

Like Mass Effect, I'd already played DA on the PC, and bought it for the 360 in order to save myself the trouble of having to install it and potentially deal with computer issues. It also sort of helps that I usually can't use cheat codes for console games so I can avoid that temptation.

In any case, here's a few things I've noticed playing it so far:

  • The textures can look really terrible in places-trees in-particular. It's painfully obvious that Bioware didn't put enough work into optimizing the game visually for all three platforms. It doesn't ruin the game but it can be distracting, especially with the LOD trees.
  • Speaking of distracting visual elements, a problem that I've found on both versions of the game is how whenever some kind of spell or buff/debuff-type thing (I haven't bothered to figure out exactly what it is) is cast on one of my characters-the visual effects of it are visible in dialogue scenes and it just looks-odd. The game feels like it needs an option similar to what they added for helmets in ME3. lol
  • Something that bothers me a little bit is just the way combat is set up. To be fair, growing up I was more of a JRPG guy. I didn't have a PC until I was in high school, and I also never tried my hand at D&D stuff until that time either. My primary exposure to Western RPGs is obviously the Elder Scrolls series, so I'm used to a more straightforward and direct Action RPG-type experience. The way it controls just feels so much less direct and not quite as satisfying overall for me. The best way to put it is that it feels less like I'm controlling my characters and more like I'm just telling them what to do. Perhaps ironically (or hypocritically?), I still enjoy turn-based JRPG-type games where you're literally just telling the characters what to do in combat. :scamp:
  • I do like the characters and story, though I've never managed to get far enough into the game to get a good grasp of Logain's motivations (don't spoil anything!) and it bothers me to have this character who is so much of an asshole with so little of a reason why given up-front. I suppose though that it's sort of meant to bother me. It is perhaps a unique way to present this sort of antagonist because I think in a lot of other stories their motivations are presented early on, but in Dragon Age we only get bits and pieces-like it's enough to get some idea of where he's coming from but not quite enough to make him actually feel sympathetic. This day and age the "sympathetic villain" is starting to become a bit cliche anyway.

I am somewhat curious as to how much the gameplay might be refined in DA2, despite all the bad things I've heard about it.
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Helena » 28 Apr 2012, 21:49

I've been playing Dragon Age recently as well, and this article pretty much perfectly sums up my feelings about it. Don't get me wrong, I'm having fun with it - enough to play it through a second time, at least - but for all the gratuitous blood and gore and stuff, it's actually a pretty generic Bioware fantasy RPG. That said, I loved the Orzammar sections and the Landsmeet - honestly, if the entire game had been set in Orzammar, I'd probably have loved it.

I actually quite liked the combat once I finally got the hang of the tactics system (which took a long time, I have to admit). But then I've always been a fan of slow-paced, strategic turn-based combat. The buff/debuff visuals are really annoying, I agree, but I eventually realised you can get rid of them just by deselecting the spell after a battle.

Teyrn Loghain is an interesting character, but I actually ended up feeling less sympathetic towards him as the story progressed (you'll probably see why as you play further into the game). Even so, he's definitely a lot more complex than your average CRPG villain. My favourite character was actually his daughter Anora, who gets more involved in the plot near the end of the game (no spoilers), but I get the feeling I'm distinctly in the minority there. OTOH, some of the recruitable party members annoyed the shit out of me - though I have to give Bioware props for actually giving their characters distinct personalities, even if they're really irritating ones.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby DJGamer » 01 May 2012, 20:52

Two other things that sort of bother me in Dragon Age:

  • Item weight appears to be based on the number of items you're carrying rather than the logical weight of the items. Also, because items stack you can potentially carry an unlimited number of one item that should be really heavy.

    For the most part I wouldn't say it's terribly exploitable since I only occasionally pick up multiples of one piece of armor or a weapon. For healing items, it doesn't bother me terribly-I have a strong feeling it was intended to work that way in any case. It bugs me most when I've got a handful of items that should be incredibly light. It doesn't help that the game doesn't display an estimated value for items either.
  • Looting corpses is annoying. On the 360 version it can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes for fallen enemies to indicate whether or not they're lootable. This may be a console-only issue but I seem to recall the same problem cropping up on the PC version as well. On top of that not every body can be looted-so when there's only a few bodies around it can be difficult to tell which ones just aren't lootable and which ones just aren't showing up as such yet. It also seems to depend on when they die to some extent-because I'll loot a few at one point then come back to the spot later to find more lootable bodies.

    I'm not sure if it's a bug or just some sort of performance issue. Either way, it's really annoying and I wish Bioware would've gone the extra mile to find a way to fix it.

Despite these issues, I'm still managing the enjoy the game more and more as I continue to play it.
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby TerrifyingDaedricFoe » 01 May 2012, 21:47

Never played Dragon Age, but it sounds a lot like KotOR. There you could carry unlimited amounts of equipment (although, to be fair, you did have a spaceship to store it all). Looting corpses was a bit of a pain as well, but (on the PC) you'd just click on the corpse and if it was lootable you could loot it and if it wasn't, then you couldn't. The thing that annoyed me was that you couldn't loot everything, just the occasional item. I suppose it was to stop you stockpiling hundreds of the generic baddie guns. But I always thought it would be nice if you could take everything from a dead body, including clothes, armour etc. Then I discovered Morrowind...
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby DJGamer » 02 May 2012, 01:01

Another thing that bothers me: The effects on the "ghosts".

Basically you can see their eyes and teeth through their skin. It's terribly immersion breaking because even if it's meant to be a sort of "spooky x-ray effect"-why don't I see their skulls as well? It's like they made the textures transparent rather than the model. It just feels lazy and immersion-breaking to see these eyeballs and teeth floating in mid-air.
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby DJGamer » 03 May 2012, 07:33

I imagine I'm now roughly over two-thirds of the way through Dragon Age: Origins, and though I'll have to do Awakening and some of the other extra DLC-I'm giving some strong consideration to getting Dragon Age II once I'm sure I have enough money to spare.

So of course I have some questions about it. I'm going to kind of go out on a limb and guess it's not all that terrible. The Gamestop website has around 7.9 in reader reviews which puts it well above average. From what I remember seeing in the Angry Joe review the main complaints revolved around how radical the changes were.

I think as long as it's a solid game with the typical Bioware charm I'll probably be satisfied with it-and hey new copies are only $20 now.

My other perhaps more important question would be what's the best DLC for it-or which are the best to have right away?
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Madness? THIS IS THE SHIVERING ISLES!!!...Of course it's madness!!

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Tarius » 03 May 2012, 16:30

DJ, mabe you should try saving your money sometime.
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby alex25 » 05 May 2012, 08:11

DA:O is considerably better than DA 2 so don't come with too high expectations. It's not that DA2 is bad but it's very shallow in a lot of places.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Praedator » 05 May 2012, 10:28

I have the series, yet have to play them :P

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby DJGamer » 08 May 2012, 02:45

Here's another thing that bothers me not only about Dragon Age, but seemingly every Bioware game since Mass Effect:

It seems they forgot that it's possible to present sex scenes with full nudity in a tasteful way after the "controversy" with ME. Since they it seems as though they've opted to go with half-nudity in every single game they've released.

I feel ashamed to be part of a culture which can produce games with such excessive violence yet holds back when it comes to showing some skin. Hell there are PG-13 sex scenes more graphic than the ones shown in these M-RATED games.

It also feels just a tad immersion-breaking. Take the scene with the Yeoman in Mass Effect 3 for instance-who the hell showers with their underwear on?! You do know you can use certain camera angles and careful framing to hide "naughty bits", don't you?!
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Tarius » 08 May 2012, 06:10

DJGamer wrote:Here's another thing that bothers me not only about Dragon Age, but seemingly every Bioware game since Mass Effect:

It seems they forgot that it's possible to present sex scenes with full nudity in a tasteful way after the "controversy" with ME. Since they it seems as though they've opted to go with half-nudity in every single game they've released.

I feel ashamed to be part of a culture which can produce games with such excessive violence yet holds back when it comes to showing some skin. Hell there are PG-13 sex scenes more graphic than the ones shown in these M-RATED games.

It also feels just a tad immersion-breaking. Take the scene with the Yeoman in Mass Effect 3 for instance-who the hell showers with their underwear on?! You do know you can use certain camera angles and careful framing to hide "naughty bits", don't you?!

They dont want the NC-17 rating.
Tarius: I have now conquered the galaxy twice and am working on a third. Once thats out of me, I will be back to work.
TDF: Which game is that(I assume its a game and not real life)
The Khan: If it was real life, we would know about it. And I dont think he means this Galaxy.
Tarius: Yes, I really lead a secret double life where I am a galactic overlord.

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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby Scamp » 08 May 2012, 15:26

DJGamer wrote:Here's another thing that bothers me not only about Dragon Age, but seemingly every Bioware game since Mass Effect:

It seems they forgot that it's possible to present sex scenes with full nudity in a tasteful way after the "controversy" with ME. Since they it seems as though they've opted to go with half-nudity in every single game they've released.

I feel ashamed to be part of a culture which can produce games with such excessive violence yet holds back when it comes to showing some skin. Hell there are PG-13 sex scenes more graphic than the ones shown in these M-RATED games.

It also feels just a tad immersion-breaking. Take the scene with the Yeoman in Mass Effect 3 for instance-who the hell showers with their underwear on?! You do know you can use certain camera angles and careful framing to hide "naughty bits", don't you?!


Yesh!
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Re: Dragon Age: Origins

Postby DJGamer » 26 May 2012, 18:03

Playing Dragon Age II and while it's not particularly bad, these things stand out to me as problems:

  • When I'd heard in Angry Joe's review about dungeons being re-used I'd assumed he meant that I'd just return to the same dungeons over and over. Now I see I was a bit too optimistic. It now appears that a fair number of the dungeons in the game use the EXACT SAME LAYOUTS with certain areas sealed off. I can see how returning to the same dungeons over and over can get repetitive but this is repetitive AND immersion-breaking. I understand that there are budget and time-constraints involved but from what I've heard there was only roughly a year and a half between the two games. If anything, I'm impressed that this is the ONLY area in the game where that really shows.
  • The overall plot seems to lack a sense of overall direction. In some ways, this is just a different type of story from the first game and I can appreciate that to an extent. However, the lack of a central threat or particular end-goal makes me feel not quite as motivated to keep playing.
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I used to walk when I could ride, then I took an arrow to the knee.

Madness? THIS IS THE SHIVERING ISLES!!!...Of course it's madness!!

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