Tag Archives: Dragon Age

Games of the Year 2011, Part 1

I’m getting this up a little late this year, but it’s just as well since I played a couple of qualifying games over the holidays that definitely deserve their spots on the list. To explain this list: I play games on a fairly idiosyncratic schedule, and tend not to play a lot of games just as they come out. So to give as many games their due as reasonable, I do these lists on a one-year delay. So these are my favourite games that were released in 2011. Continue reading

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Amalur, Dragon Age & Elder Scrolls: On the Appeal of Western RPGs

Kingdoms of Amalur comes out this week and I find myself almost totally uninterested in it. I want to spend this article trying to unpack why I feel this way. Even though both series have their faults, I’m a big fan of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games, and of Bioware’s Dragon Age games. I feel like Amalur is falling into this weird gap in between the two where it apes elements of both franchises but misses out on the core elements of what draws me to them. Continue reading

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Oblivion and Dragon Age 2

I’ve been playing a lot of Oblivion recently. I’ve had the game since it’s release, but I didn’t get into it in the past because it didn’t run well on my old PC, and because I kept getting distracted by the quirks of the leveling system, and because the whole thing felt too big and aimless. I re-bought the game on Steam some time last year, modded out anything I didn’t like, and now I’m having a ton of fun. Continue reading

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Dragon Age 2: Conclusions

Like I said last time, Dragon Age 2 presents strong companions who are, at times, fanatically committed to their various causes. My greatest complaint about the game is how weak Hawke seems in comparison. Continue reading

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Dragon Age 2: Companions

(Spoilers for the entire game)
I did a lot of complaining last time, and I’ve got some more to come next time when I talk about the overall narrative of the game, and the structure of Act 3 in particular, but this time I want to talk about an element of the game that I really liked – so much so that it just about outweighs all of the negatives. Companion characters have been a highlight of every Bioware RPG going back to Baldur’s Gate. Dragon Age 2 continues in this fine tradition. In addition to being well-acted and written, the companions of Dragon Age 2 particularly distinguish themselves by being strong personalities. They’re willing to defy Hawke, and take initiative to solve their problems even if Hawke won’t help them. They believe so strongly in their causes that they’re willing to kill for them, and to die for them, or worse. My big complaint in this context is how weak and uncommitted they make Hawke look in comparison. Hawke may be the person every calls when they need something done, but she never takes the initiative herself. She’s perpetually reactive, unwilling to even try to get out ahead of events, to take radical action to further the causes she supports.

After the jump, I go through the companions one by one: Continue reading

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Dragon Age 2: Miscellany

This is the first of probably three Dragon Age 2 wrap-up. The other two are going to about the characters and the story, but before getting into the heavier stuff, I though I’d do a catch-all wrap-up post addressing all the various other issues about the game. Continue reading

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Isabella and the Arishok

I’m still trying to unpack the concluding events of Act 2, so I’m going to be more descriptive rather than proscriptive. The sequence of events left me feeling unsatisfied, but I’m not sure if that’s because the game successfully subverted my expectations, or because there’s an actual flaw in the design. Continue reading

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