Dalisclock plays through the Dragon Age Trilogy and makes a lot of running commentary along the way. Spoilers abound.

Samtemdo8

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My beef with the Dragon Age franchise is that it ended at the first game for me, because the sequels went in a completely different direction in art style, tone, story, and most egregiously for me gameplay direction.

Nothing has since recaptured what Dragon Age Origins offered.
 
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Gordon_4

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My beef with the Dragon Age franchise is that it ended at the first game for me, because the sequels went in a completely different direction in art style, tone, story, and most egregiously for me gameplay direction.

Nothing has since recaptured what Dragon Age Origins offered.
What? Boring story and janky gameplay buoyed by decent character writing?
 

Dalisclock

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Started the fade portion of the game. This is about the point one of my runs ended and man, I remember why now. I like the idea of it but it comes right after you've slogged up the mage tower(which you can't leave once you start) and now another dungeon on top of that which you also can't leave once you start, so basically two dungeons in a row. I only have my main and have yet to find any other party members so far which is GREAT because that means all of the fights are solo ones against crowds. At least I have the shapeshifting thing which sometimes helps a lot. Though the fact one of the characters is called BURNING MAN feels like a joke and I can't help but chuckle

Aside from being another dungeon right after the previous one and having to do a bit of it solo, there's also the fact it's sometimes confusing to navgate and most of it is rather boring. It either looks like Xen from Half Life or it's recycled bits of the mage tower stuck together differently. So basically it feels like I'm doing the mage tower again but with a wavy "dream" filter over the camera and yeah, I really remember why I didn't end up getting past this point on one of my playthroughs. What's worse is that American McGee's Alice did weird dream areas better then this years before this came out(One of the things that game did very well) and Half Life came out a decade before then but man, someone decided "Hey, let's copy XEN!" and everyone just decided "sure, why not?" because apparently it was 5 o'clock on a friday and it was time to get to the bar for happy hour. Those $2 Hurricanes aren't gonna drink themselves.

And I've got like an hour or so left before I can clear all the areas. At least I've got most of the forms but I need to go back to all the maps and make sure I've checked all the rooms because of the glowy bits that give me stat boosts. I've found 3 and apparently like are like 15 more of them. Apparently there's a mod that allows you to skip the fade and still get the stat upgrades and....yeah, if I play this game again then the fade is going bye bye because it's pretty shitty.
 
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Gordon_4

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I like the pause and play because I grew up on games like Starcraft and Warcraft 3
Yeah that sort of think works better in Warcraft and StarCraft because you’re doing it on the macro level. Moving whole battalions, fleets, air wings, armoured divisions etc. I don’t find it to be an intuitive way of controlling four people. The tactics menu is pretty great but the RTS style screen is just garbage for small squad tactics.
 

Dalisclock

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Yeah that sort of think works better in Warcraft and StarCraft because you’re doing it on the macro level. Moving whole battalions, fleets, air wings, armoured divisions etc. I don’t find it to be an intuitive way of controlling four people. The tactics menu is pretty great but the RTS style screen is just garbage for small squad tactics.
Yeah, RTS games tend to give you far more units with far fewer abilities per unit. Trying to do the same with 4 characters with half a dozen to a dozen actions each in real time feels notably harder. I grew up on RTS games and occasionally enjoy one but the pace in Dragon age, where battles can be over in seconds tells me it does not work to play this like an RTS.
 

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Yeah, RTS games tend to give you far more units with far fewer abilities per unit. Trying to do the same with 4 characters with half a dozen to a dozen actions each in real time feels notably harder. I grew up on RTS games and occasionally enjoy one but the pace in Dragon age, where battles can be over in seconds tells me it does not work to play this like an RTS.
*Thinks of StarCraft II, where battles can end in seconds if you're not careful*

*Cries in corner.*
 
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meiam

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I wish more RTS had pause function, at least for single player, I hate micro but rather enjoy macro.

But I rather liked the pause and play feel of the DA game, although its true that tougher fight are over in 20 sec in real time but can take 20 minute in with all the pause.
 

Hawki

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I wish more RTS had pause function, at least for single player, I hate micro but rather enjoy macro.
In what sense? I mean, most RTS games you can hit pause, at least in singleplayer. Some multiplayer games even allow play to be temporarily held if the opponent agrees to it.
 

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I finished the Fade and soon after the Mage Tower, which officially puts this as the most progress made on any Dragon Age attempt so far. I'll give it credit, the fade gets better once you have the different forms so you can shift from one to the other to win fights better. Such as Spirit to cast Crushing Prison and Winter's Breath then to golem to punch things to death as a big rock man. The little sections where you get your companions back from their personal nightmares is pretty good, with the best one being Morrigan's by far, since hers is being stuck with DemonFlemeth, but she's completely aware it's a fake and keeps pointing this out. At one point, DemonFlemeth slaps her and Morrigan goes "That's more like it, but far too late". Which says a lot about Morrigan and Flemeth, really. Nothing much good, but a lot still.

And once the fade is over, it's only a few short fights to the top of the tower and the boss, who arguably isn't that bad if you can keep him from turning the captive mages into abominations who join the fight. Despite the urgings of the templar right before the boss door, I took Irving downstairs and let the head Templar decide what to do about the blood Mage situation, which felt like the right call, as far as anything can be the right call here.

Definitely seeing where the Templar Vs Mages thing is being set up here, especially for Dragon Age 2, which I already know it's a big theme in that game. Gonna roll down to Redcliff next, because I did most of that particular quest long ago before I was sent off to the mage tower because something about demons in the castle. I'm hoping because I've finished the Mage tower already I just need to do the Redcliffe stuff without further complication(I remember a village fighting zombies beforehand as well, but that's before you reach the castle).

Arguably this is one of the weaknesses Dragon age has in it's narrative structure. IIRC, Alister pushes you to go to Redcliff first thing because he grew up there, which is essentially the game is pointing you in that direction as the first main quest. Except at some point you get to a point where there's a demon involved and you need to go to the mage tower to deal with it(I forget the reason but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough), so you have to break off from Redcliffe to go do the Mage tower, which you get locked into and then once you go through 90% of that, you get the Fade, so you basically do 3 dungeons in a row without any real payoff until you finish all of them because of the constant goalpost shifting on the game's part (To be fair, God of War 2018 pulls something very similar and it's annoying there as well). It feels immesely frustrating to get most of the way through not 1 but 2 major undertakings only to have to divert attention yet again, and sure, you can see it as just step 1, 2, 3, etc of a larger quest but the game specifically outlines them as separate quests and the fade is basically a nested Dungeon inside a dungeon so it doesn't feel like that

On a side note, I went back to camp after the mage tower and Liliana immediately tells me about her past because I'd been chatting her up. And its interesting, but what's more interesting is she tells her how she ended up in the chantry and her life as a bard. The story she tells kind of fits with the events of her DLC but there are enough differences in the details that it feels off. Not little details but the story feels strangely different and having already played the DLC, either she's still lying here or the DLC was a distorted version of events, either way one of them is wrong. I know more likely the DLC was written way after the base game was written but it still feels like it could have been synced up a little better then it is.
 
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Samtemdo8

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Yeah that sort of think works better in Warcraft and StarCraft because you’re doing it on the macro level. Moving whole battalions, fleets, air wings, armoured divisions etc. I don’t find it to be an intuitive way of controlling four people. The tactics menu is pretty great but the RTS style screen is just garbage for small squad tactics.
Works for Baldur's Gate 1 and Icewind Dale, and that uses 6 Party Members.
 

Samtemdo8

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Yeah, RTS games tend to give you far more units with far fewer abilities per unit. Trying to do the same with 4 characters with half a dozen to a dozen actions each in real time feels notably harder. I grew up on RTS games and occasionally enjoy one but the pace in Dragon age, where battles can be over in seconds tells me it does not work to play this like an RTS.
That's why they pause it.

So you can plan out your strategies.
 

Dalisclock

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I don't mind some puzzle solving/brain twisting aspect of the game

Otherwise it be just battles and dialog
I don't mind the idea, it's the fact it suddenly becomes a totally different experience, essentially a solo dungeon crawl in a lot of really repetitive environments and you still have a bunch of battles in a game that's been set around Party battles and management. Being a nested dungeon inside another dungeon which possibly was a detour after redcliffe just adds to the pile.

The shapeshifting is the saving grace to the fade, really. Without that it would be just some world building in a bunch of recycled maps with a wavy filter over the lens. Doing the mini-metriodvania thing isn't a bad idea but it's really just "go get forms, come back to grab stuff you missed" and it's only for this one bit so it ends up feeling more like a gimmick then anything amazing.

Not unlike the Leliana DLC where you're presumably a spy, but the sneaky doesn't really work in this game so you just run along killing dudes as usual and they handwave it as "Create some chaos" but then have a mechanic to hide bodies which doesn't really make a difference as far as I can tell.

Works for Baldur's Gate 1 and Icewind Dale, and that uses 6 Party Members.
Debatable. Baldur's gate really hasn't aged well and it's really for P+P RPG players who want a computer campaign, as it makes very little accommodation for anyone else. For people who love that sort of thing, BG is your jam. For everyone else the gameplay is something they tolerate for the story beats, characters and environments. Apparently the Enhanced edition added some Quality of Life features like nobody really dies unless the party wipes, so you don't have to drag people off to the healer to revive them Reload your last save.

And when was the last time anyone talked about Icewind Dale? I'm sure it's a fine game but it's probably telling that people talk about KOTOR and Balders gate and Dragon Age while Icewind Dale just exists.
 
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