While thats what the Bioware guys claim, this is the same old shit they have been doing since KotOR.
A “consolized” Action RPG with pretty linear progression (which sometimes splits and you can choose to do some quests in different order to look like you have freedom) that usually comes with the possibility of playing as either a moralfag or a douche. I didn’t like the combat in KotOR, but as RPG was superior in my opinion.
As I said, they have been making the same game since then, doing it worse each time and with a different theme. Even the plot of the games is similar: You belong to a secret/special group (Jedi, Spectres , Grey Wardens) that fights against an evil ancient force. Can’t they come up with anything new? Seriously?
Well at least RPGs in space aren’t as common as RPGS with a generic Fantasy setting, you fight orcs with funny faces, the Darkspawn. And you have all the well known fantasy races: Human, elf and dwarf plus a non very original new one, the Qunari. Pretty much big humans.
This game is called the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate 2… well, my ass.
I am actually playing Baldur’s Gate 2 now, I started before DA:O was released, and I cant relate both games in any way without insulting Dragon Age, but anyway, let’s continue.
One thing I’m really glad is that the game is better than the marketing guys made it seem. It’s not a grim-dark tit fest with gore for teenagers. But is close.
The blood thing is a little exaggerated since you end up full of blood after each battle and when you kill someone there is only a pool of blood left.
On the tits side, only Morringan’s sexy outfit and the Sucubbi show meat, sadly the bra was invented in that place and curiously Morrigan doesn’t wear one except when you are going to fuck her…
There are only three classes: Mage, Warrior and Rogue, very straight forward. and the three races mentioned above, this doesn’t let room for a lot of replay value, since you will probably have all these roles covered in your party and the races don’t make that much difference. They try to solve this with the backgrounds.
You have different backgrounds depending on the race or the class, even if some don’t make much sense, like Noble rogue.
The background will change slightly some conversations in the same way that you will get some different conversations depending on your race, but it’s nothing important. What really matters is that you begin in a different way with each background. This involves a boring tutorial that you cannot skip and a little quest. I played as Mage Elf and i don’t know about the other beginnings but this certainly was boring.
After that you en up being a Grey warden destined to fight the Darkspawn with other three guys, animals or even golems.
Until you get past the beginning of the main quest you don’t really have a true party, but you will have some temporally companions. Then you start to meet people and they join you, forming a group that will be with you everywhere but only four, well, three (as you must be in the active party) may follow you physically and fight.
There is not a lot of combinations that are viable for all the combat you are going to have. Most of the time you will have two warriors, the dog and the golem are good tanks for example, and then you can have a mage / rogue, or two mages. I think that three warriors and one mage will work too, but since mages are overpowered things can go really easy with them.
The party you currently have may comment their opinion in conversations and may get happy or sad depending on your choices, this is pretty much important if you want to have bed action with a companion and a good way is to make decisions he / she likes.
Also they will have some chit-chat and little discussions, most of them are dumb and unnecessary while others can give you an idea of how lived the character before.
The conversation system and morals are pretty much just like Mass Effect, moralfag or douche. You can be the good guy or a asshole just for the shake of it. Though sometimes you can get some profit from being a jerk just getting a little penalty with one companion and getting better with another.
The conversations often come with options that don’t do anything, most of the time you will end up in the same way no matter how you are. And sometimes you get the option to evade fights if you select the correct options while you talk.
Combat. This game is all about combat, its an action RPG so you should expect that, and is not as good as it seems.
First of all I’m playing on Hard and is strange but the difficulty just jumps around in the game, easy fights followed by very hard ones, you can never know what to expect, you will be usually outnumbered and there is little tactics in this. Since you get recovered after each battle, you pretty much cast everything you have. First you try to do a aoe attack before they get near, because you will kill your companions easily with friendly fire. then you concentrate your attacks on the leader, the guy with yellow name, and then try to defeat the rest of meele fighters to proceed to do so with the archers, this pretty much how tactical you can be here. Oh yes and how many potions you quaff, because really, you will do this a lot and I don’t feel right doing that, I mean if you have enough potions you are invincible, I never like to take a lot of potions in games, yeah you can take the potions of resist fire when you are going to fight a dragon, but I hate that being quaffing potions all the time is how you survive here. For example, the first Boss you fight, the Ogre. Its impossible to win without perfectly picked skills or without enough potions, seriously.
Another thing that doesn’t help much is AI, you get a tactics menu, where you can program characters to act on different situations. Thats the AI the game has.
Without that your characters will stand still, if you order them to attack they will stop after they are knocked once, for example. The tactics thing isn’t complex enough to work and you will find situations when your party members act like idiots. And you cant make them run to keep using ranged weapons automatically, they will just stay like idiots, or switch to melee.
The problem is that you will end up controlling them manually, but you can’t turn off tactics unless you want an autistic party.
What i did was just a custom tactic that made warriors attack and little more, I had to control all the spells / skills they use manually to succeed. On the bright side i could automatize them to quaff potions when they were low on health.
Other thing I hate is the camera. Its nice that they added “oldschool” camera for us PC users, too bad its fucking shit. You cannot see most of enemies, that, will start battle out of the range of that isometric camera, so you will be exploring in 3rd person camera, then if you need a little control over battle you zoom out to control you men, but damn, I’m on a dungeon and these things on the walls don’t let me watch my men, I will zoom in a little, oh damn, now it gets on 3rd person and I can’t see everyone. Its also annoying that you still move your character like in 3rd person mode when you use the isometric camera, it would be much better than you could move the camera with WASD, and it would be even nicer if you could move it in 3d, not this hybrid shit.
While warrior and rogue abilities aren’t anything special, mages have a nice array of spells, and its cool how you can make combos using some spells or abilities after other spell. Like nightmare on asleep enemies, or shield bash on frozen ones… It adds a little deep on combat, on the other hand attacks just hit no matter how far from the foe doing it you are, like in the other fucking side of the room, it makes moving characters around almost useless, you cant defend you mages by blocking the way, there is no such thing. Foes will just pass through your guys.
A little less important thing for me. Graphics are good on player models and scenarios, but the game is unoptimized. The graphics aren’t that great for the requirements, though I can run it perfectly, but sometimes it gets some fps drops, mainly after loading a new area.
The music its good, but not the kind of music you will remember. It does his work right.
On the other hand, voice acting is mostly bad, sometimes you skip conversations due to this and it feels a little weird that your character doesn’t has voice.
The interface is very MMO like and it works well, the shared inventory also helps but I like grid based ones more.
So here it comes, a little summary of the shitty parts.
- Uses the same shitty console RPG Bioware has been using since KotOR.
- Conversations feel like you don’t have much choice but follow the path the devs have for you, lacks freedom.
- None of the NPCs are memorable, much less the PC that doesn’t have even voice.
- Most of the battles feel the same, most of the time you fight against big number of foes and you will be using the same tactic every time.
- You auto regenerate after battle, so you don’t have to worry about the next thing you will encounter, making it repetitive and boring.
- The setting is nothing new and the story is very generic.
- The difficulty can get really high at some points, even at the beginning. Its not very balanced.
- DLC on day 1, seriously what is the fucking point of that.
The game can be played if you don’t ask much for an RPG, but if you want a Baldur’s Gate 2 successor keep waiting… FOREVER !
It’s actually better than I expected so i will give this… Two big shits.
Have a good day.