I decided to get one new game, and since I was a little overdosed on Mass Effect, I bought Dragon Age Origins. 

It’s pretty good, full of the usual Bioware goodies: big ol’ world, excellent voice acting, interesting characters, romance.  It’s basically– and surprisingly for a 2009 game– medieval KOTOR, with better graphics.  Also it’s huge, did I mention that?  I’m some pitiful fraction of the way through it; this is just a set of first impressions.

Nothing acessorizes like blood

First, some stuff I like about it:

  • Pretty girls.   This surely isn’t that hard to do, but compare Oblivion.  You can make your character quite good-looking, like mine above.  And then spend most of the game covered in blood.
  • Auto screenshots.  Nice idea.
  • Leliana’s accent.  Some quick Googling shows that many people hate her.  Well, tough.  It’s different and I like her somewhat flippant tone.
  • The dog is fun.
  • I hate to have to pick between companions, which says something about their attractiveness.  I like Morrigan and Sten though at this point the feeling is not mutual. 
  • No Good ‘n Evil moral system, thank the Maker.

And plenty of stuff I don’t like:

  • The combat.  I hope it improves at higher levels; right now it’s mostly “watch the health bar and quaff health potions when needed”, which is absurdly dumb.  This is a huge step backward: in Jade Empire you had to at least dodge and move around a lot, and Mass Effect required actual aiming.
  • It’s 2010, can I please jump and get over curbs? 
  • It’s really annoying to have locked chests above your skill level, in early places you won’t be able to get back to. 
  • Sloooooow loading.  Getting into a house or a dialog takes an eternity, such that I start to dread doing it.
  • In-game characters hawking paid DLC?  Tacky.
  • I love a sandbox game, but it seems hard to do much without reading the wiki.  Example: what looks like an easy, early side quest (finding recruits for the Irregulars) requires access to an area you can’t enter till far later in the game.  But in fact if you started it too late, you couldn’t access one of the recruits anyway.  This just seems clumsy.

There’s also stuff I’m unsure about… there’s things like runes and training I haven’t even got to yet.  And I still feel I have little idea on what weapons and armor to shoot for.

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