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

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Feb 9, 2008
11,270
7,059
118
A Barrel In the Marketplace
Country
Eagleland
Gender
Male
So contemplating this whole thing. it feels like it's been a very long road from starting Dragon Age Origins 3 months ago and finish last night(even moreso if I factor in how my first attempt at this game was back in like 2009 or 2010 and the 4th attempt was finally the charm here). The entire series covers about a decade and man it kinda feels like that coming to the end here.

Origins finally showed why it's considered a classic of CRPGs but not without some jank and other parts that haven't aged well. Once I got into it I really did enjoy it despite the rough edges, though the game and the dlc, most of which felt....meh, got kinda tiring and dragged out the experience. Awakening was the high point of all that and helped pave the way for DA2 and showcased some concepts that would show up again later on(Like an upgradable home base).

I was dreading Dragon Age 2 and considering skipping it but was glad that I didn't in the end. The game did have an interesting story, some different theming worth exploring and added to the worldbuilding in different ways by setting it in kirkwall and focusing on the Qun and the Mage/Templar conflict. Unfortunately, the 18 month dev time really started to show on DA2 with the infamous 5 dungeons you'd see over and over again and the fact while the story presents you with what seem to be big choices almost none of them end up mattering in any substantial way. The game feels like a telltale game with RPG elements in how illusionary some of the choices really are.
Fortunately, the companions were fun to hang around with and the DLC were more interesting, with Legacy a massive bit of foreshadowing for Inquisition.

Inquisiton is perhaps the most polished of the 3 games and still looks really good, but also feels like a weird bit of ambition outrunning ability. The world in DAI looks amazing and feels big, but there's entire zones that feel like they exist merely for the sake of existing and no other reason. The game tries to cover a number of bit plot points but very few of them feel like they get nearly enough attention, while in the meantime probably a majority of the content feels like MMO busywork meant to fill time and space in the zones. I don't mind so much that there's only like 10 or so main missions, but it feels like those are the only parts of the game that are really meaningful outside of companion quests and maybe a few zone specific quests like the ones in Emprise du Lion and Crestwood. Also the fact that once a plot point is resolved it's pretty much never really relevant again and like DA2, big choices like siding with the Mages or the Templars or how to deal with the Grey Wardens don't seem to mean much later on. Like all these plot points exist in isolation to each other.

The whole game is like this. You get to meet Hawke again, Hawke helps you deal with the Wardens and then you pretty much never see Hawke again no matter what happens to them. Skyhold is an amazing player HQ, but most of the improvements are merely cosmetic and even at the end there's still parts of skyhold that feel like they should have been fixed but never were for reasons not explained(the wall near the war room). You get cool moments like Cory wiping out Haven and forcing the inquisition to flee into the mountains in a moment of despair, but then you find skyhold and from then on that desperation is gone and you're always getting stronger. The inquisition never really seems to feel like it's on the back foot except for the very beginning of the game when the breach is steadily growing larger and you're pressed into service and the destruction of haven. And Cory himself is never really developed very much either, being a rather one note villian who has a grand total of 3 plans that are thwarted handily and then he's killed.

DAI feels like it should be the best of the three and in some ways it is, but there's so much stuff like that which holds it back from being better then Good. Even the ending is merely fine, though arguably not on the incredibly phoned in level that ME3's ending was in that it was competent, just nothing more then that. The DLCs help bring the experience back up, with Jaws of Hakkon being a pretty good diversion and the Descent being an arguably good version of a dungeon crawl with some fun lore drops. Trespasser is basically the true ending of the game and while locking it behind a DLC paywall was shitty, it is much more satisfying on so many levels that "Doom upon the World" wasn't. and properly sets up a bunch of threads for the next game. And I'm gonna be really annoyed if Dreadwolf fucks up here so those plot threads aren't dealt with properly.

Also the fact that your Race doesn't seem to matter that much considering. Playing as a Vashoth Mage got me surprisingly little pushback from anyone. Even the Viddasala from Trespasser never so much as accuses me of being a fucking traitor to the Qun or something along those lines.

Anyway, I appreciate all three of you who stuck it out this long because somehow you haven't been driven completely mad by my inane ranting and awful jokes as I chronicled my playthrough of this series. From here I'll let this rest, 3 months and 481 posts after I started, but I'll still be around to answer questions and discuss as long as people are interested.
 
Last edited:

meiam

Elite Member
Dec 9, 2010
3,389
1,691
118
The franchise is really flawed and honestly I can't shake the feeling that the only reason it stuck around is because the classic fantasy story paradoxically hasn't seen many games in the last 2 decades. So if someone want to run around with elf and dwarf in a single player RPG there's not really that many choice. Otherwise its by no mean bad, but I can't shake the feeling that if there were more game like it around it would be considered barely above mediocre

World building is definitely the franchise strong point and I honestly would like if they dial down the main quest a bit and instead but more polish on side content use that more as a way to spend more time in the world exploring and meeting strange culture, that's probably why I liked DA2 the most of them.

Character wise its kinda all over the place, you have real standout like Varric and Morrigan to a certain extant and a couple of controversial one like Anders, but after that my memory of them really fade. I swear reading the DAI post I had forgotten most of the cast outside of iron bull and Sera (for all the wrong reason). Like ME has great character with a few forgettable one but for DA its the opposite.

I liked the gameplay of origin and 2, but DAI just dumped everything down so much that I couldn't care for it, even on highest difficulty setting I was steamrolling everything by just button smashing, even under level. The companions were just dead weight for the most part and their Ai was atrocious since they abandon the programmable behaviour.

I'll probably play the next game, but I'm not eagerly awaiting it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dalisclock

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Feb 9, 2008
11,270
7,059
118
A Barrel In the Marketplace
Country
Eagleland
Gender
Male
Half life re play confirm?
If and when I'm ready to play through Black Mesa and Half Life 2, it'll totally let you guys know my feelings on it.

I honestly don't know what the next big threadworthy playthrough is gonna be since it needs to be something big/interesting enough for me to talk at length about and something I'm gonna roll with for a while.

Maybe the Pathfinder games? Those are pretty hefty though I'm not up for another long RPG, let alone two of them just yet. Or maybe I'll get around to playing the Legacy of Kain series since all of those are available on PC now.

Really the next month or so is gonna be eating through some of the backlog I accrued. I started Project Wingman and after that, who knows? Probably Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. I also need to get back on Outer Wilds at some point too since that deserves another shot.
 
Last edited:

Asita

Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later
Legacy
Jun 15, 2011
3,199
1,038
118
Country
USA
Gender
Male
Anyway, I appreciate all three of you who stuck it out this long because somehow you haven't been driven completely mad by my inane ranting and awful jokes as I chronicled my playthrough of this series. From here I'll let this rest, 3 months and 481 posts after I started, but I'll still be around to answer questions and discuss as long as people are interested.
Bruh, I'm usually champing at the bit for an excuse to dive into the nitty gritty of any story I'm familiar with, so thank you for giving us an outlet :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dalisclock

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Feb 9, 2008
11,270
7,059
118
A Barrel In the Marketplace
Country
Eagleland
Gender
Male
Bruh, I'm usually champing at the bit for an excuse to dive into the nitty gritty of any story I'm familiar with, so thank you for giving us an outlet :)
I'll probably talk about absolution a little bit once I get a chance to watch it. Which maybe will be this week but my kid is on christmas break and that doesn't look like a show I can watch with a 5 year old running around.
 

meiam

Elite Member
Dec 9, 2010
3,389
1,691
118
I'll probably talk about absolution a little bit once I get a chance to watch it. Which maybe will be this week but my kid is on christmas break and that doesn't look like a show I can watch with a 5 year old running around.
Ah my dad used to watched some messed up shit when I was a kid, I turned out mostly okay though XD.

I think I saw heavy metal around 5 year old.

If you really want to do more complete series breakdown you could try homeworld from what you said (3 is almost out too iirc), sadly cataclysm is almost impossible to find. Or since you do assasin creed before and played trough most of the ace combat why not do more AC and play trough the armored core franchise, in time for 6 (maybe).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dalisclock

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Feb 9, 2008
11,270
7,059
118
A Barrel In the Marketplace
Country
Eagleland
Gender
Male
Ah my dad used to watched some messed up shit when I was a kid, I turned out mostly okay though XD.

I think I saw heavy metal around 5 year old.

If you really want to do more complete series breakdown you could try homeworld from what you said (3 is almost out too iirc), sadly cataclysm is almost impossible to find. Or since you do assasin creed before and played trough most of the ace combat why not do more AC and play trough the armored core franchise, in time for 6 (maybe).
I haven't been great ti be sure since my kid has seen Legend of Korra through several times a d that has terrorism as a main plot point but I know we'll enough there's a lot of messed up I
Shit in Dragon Age. *City elf origin has entered the chat*


I am interested in AC but I think I'd have to emulate at least a fair bit of it or track down XBOX copies of the game. My PS3 is dead for real and there's no PC ports.

Probably wouldn't be ready in time for AC6 though. Depends on how long the games are.

Home world cataclysm got a remaster or something a couple years back under a different name and presumably runs better on modern systems though. I have been meaning to play that one though. I honestly wouldn't mind playing HW again either.

HW2 I'm probably never playing again. It's too frustrating and the way it wants to be a military campaign and a religious.... something didn't mesh very well.

I'm kinda surprised this many people want to hear me go on another long-winded ramble as opposed to "At last he shut the fuck up".
 
Last edited:

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Feb 9, 2008
11,270
7,059
118
A Barrel In the Marketplace
Country
Eagleland
Gender
Male
Since this thread is still here, I'm gonna ahead and throw Dragon Age Absolution out there as well.

It's a fun 6 episode show about a group staging a heist in Tevinter for a magic doohicky that can raise the dead at the Black Divine's Summer Palace. Things go wrong, people die, trust is broken, all the usual from a heist gone wrong story.

Not a lot of meat but considering it's already thrown a bunch of shit at the viewer from the beginning thoroughly making sure anyone who doesn't know this series will be confused as shit, sure.

The most interesting Lore bit is that the very end of the season(Season 2 might happen, who knows? It's fucking Netflix) you find out the Crimson Knight wanted the relic and turns out, it's Knight-Commander Meredith, who is currently a big cluster of Red Lyrium somewhere under Kirkwall and apparently Lucid and leading the Red Templars. Oh, and she apparently wants to start a War with Tevinter, for reasons not stated.

It's not as bad as I feared because I heard she was back from the dead and I assumed she just got better from being dead/lyriumfied. No, she's even more Lyriumfied. And there's a bit to unpack there.

So either someone who has turned into Red Lyrium can keep their mind in some cases(though we saw nothing like that in DAI, everyone seemed to just get more and more monstrous and feral) or somehow the Red Lyrium that used to be her is speaking with her voice and maybe her memories. We know Lyrium is organic and the blood of a massive primal being. It's also toxic and can easily kill people, but also gives magic powers to mages and Templars(or anti-magic for Templars). And somehow, Red Lyrium can corrupt organic things, notably humans, first driving them crazy by singing to them(not unlike the taint of the Wardens) and eventually crystalizing them into more Red Lyrium. And this shit is invasive, where some Red Lyrium just grows into more red Lyrium(RedLyriumMeredith is a much bigger crystal then she was at the end of DA2). And apparently it can be Sentient, though why Meredith has a particular grunge against Tevinter other then she hates mages THAT MUCH feels unexplained. Or, as mentioned before, Maybe it's the lyrium speaking and somehow the voice we're hearing is the singing Red Lyrium/the blight is known for.
 
Last edited:

laggyteabag

Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
Legacy
Oct 25, 2009
3,302
983
118
UK
Gender
He/Him
So I have been replaying Dragon Age 2 over the last couple of weeks, and I am always surprised by how much I enjoy this game, despite its reputation. That isn't to say that the game is by any means perfect, but I do genuinely think that there is a lot to be enjoyed.

Firstly, the writing. Generally, I think the game is quite well written, at least in comparison to some of the other things that I have been playing or watching, recently. For example, my girlfriend has been playing a lot of Hogwarts Legacy as of late, and Dragon Age 2 is just leaps and bounds ahead of that game's comparatively very dull characters and story.

In terms of the plot, I am generally interested in just about everything that is going on, and I really enjoy the game's three-act structure. The game does a really good job of setting up each conflict early on, and slowly escalating each one, before their respective eventual boiling points. Nothing ever comes out of left field, and I enjoyed reading about or hearing about certain characters, long before I would eventually meet them, like Knight-Commander Meredith.

One other thing that Dragon Age 2 does, is it really expanded the Dragon Age world. Dragon Age Origins excelled with its characters and some political intrigue, but whilst its setting had some interesting ideas, it was quite focused on its more arguably generic aspects. You must unite the Humans, and the Dwarves, and the Elves, and fight off the evil horde of Orcs Darkspawn. The Elves live in the forests, the Dwarves live underground, etc, etc. Nothing you haven't seen before. But then there were some really interesting aspects sprinkled in, like how mages were vulnerable to being possessed by demons, and how the church had to control them through an order of warriors called Templars. Also, one of your companions was from this strange society known as the Qunari, with a very interesting straightforward, and straight to the point view of the world, and way of communicating - but these aspects were never really greatly explored in Origins. Dragon Age 2 takes these, and runs with them.

Your companions are all also pretty great. I would say that some of them are definitely more likeable than others, but they are all generally very interesting. I feel like this is one of BioWare's biggest strengths, and Dragon Age 2 really flexes, in this department.

The only real conceit from a writing perspective, is how the game handles mages in your band of companions. Again, in the Dragon Age world, mages outside of the control of the Templars are viciously hunted. In Origins you had an excuse, because the Grey Wardens operate outside of their control, but in Dragon Age 2, you, and/or up to three of your companions are constantly launching fireballs from your fingers, often right in front of Templars, and they often do not even acknowledge it, or just wave it away, and never bring it up again. It is admittedly pretty daft.

Though I think one of the biggest criticisms of 2 comes from the locations that you visit, and occasionally that Dragon Age 2 doesn't feel like much of a sequel, because of its drastically smaller scope. To the latter point, I think that there is a lot of value to telling a smaller scale story, that focuses on a small group of characters, in a smaller location. This allows you to become intimately familiar with the places that you visit, exploring all of the secrets than can be discovered, and really getting to know all of the characters that you meet along the way. From a story perspective, I think that Dragon Age 2 succeeds quite admirably in this aspect, but from a gameplay and visual perspective, it fails quite miserably.

Dragon Age 2 takes place almost exclusively inside, and around, the city of Kirkwall. "The city of chains", once a hub for slaves and slavers, named for the obvious, and also that giant chains hang in Kirkwalls harbour. Whilst this is frequently mentioned in dialogue and in codex pages, from a visual perspective, this is not used at all. As a city, Kirkwall is incredibly dull. Hightown is just grey stone buildings, Lowtown is just brown mud buildings, and there are almost no points of interest, or landmarks across the entire city. What is worse, is that the city never changes at all, over the years in which you inhabit it. There are no opportunities to improve the conditions of the more impoverished districts, and the city doesn't bare the scars of any previous battles that occur in it. One of your companions even inherits a mansion; it looks haunted when you first arrive, and after 6 years, it still does. It is both static, and dull - the worst combination.

It is also worth mentioning the constant re-use of environments for its various dungeons. There are a few different ones that show up every now and again, but the same cellar could be a secret passage out of the city, or a criminal gang's hideout, or the secret lair of a crazy mage. It is more than a little distracting, especially because the way the game of blocks off unused passageways is less than obscure.

As for the combat, I do generally have positive things to say about it. Compared to Origins, each spell has more depth, through the use of various upgrades - like the ability to add stagger, disoriented, or brittle debuffs to enemies, which other classes can then exploit for extra damage - but there are less spells overall. Combat animations and audio feedback are also much improved over Origins, which is definitely welcomed. As a result, combat feels much more energetic, and is much more interesting to watch. I do definitely miss the tactical camera, though.

The biggest issue with the combat, in my eyes, is how the game handles enemy spawning. In virtually every encounter, you walk up to a group of enemies, and initiate combat. Halfway through the encounter, or just as you are about to kill the last enemy, a new group of enemies will just appear out of nowhere - jumping down from an invisible ledge, or appearing from around a nearby corridor. Combat encounters can often contain two or three times the amount of enemies than you initially thought would be there. There is no way to predict or prevent this, which makes it difficult to anticipate when to use any abilities with long cooldowns, and it also makes it tough to appropriately position your companions, when enemies can suddenly appear in your backline at any moment. Sometimes, you end up barely surviving one group of enemies, only to have a fresh group appear almost out of thin air, and finish you off.

Also, enemy mages are pretty absurd. They particularly favour three abilities, one of which is some kind of area of effect death ball that will kill you in moments. There is no obvious telegraph of this attack, It just appears on the floor, and immediately starts taking chunks out of your health. Combined with the previous issue of enemies just spawning out of thin air - and sometimes it is a mage - it can be really annoying to deal with, and is probably my number-one cause of death for this entire playthrough.

Overall, I do really like Dragon Age 2, but in almost every regard, there is one crippling aspect that prevents the game from reaching higher highs. Still though, it is a miracle that Bioware managed to pull this off in around 16 months of development time, warts and all.
 
Last edited: