Welcome to the BURN CENTER!

Hey folks, Jonny Napalm here welcoming you to my charred little corner of the sky. Here I will be sharing views on all the things I love and adore and loathe with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Be aware.. my views tend to the nerdtastic, so... you are warned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Returning to the Age of Dragons...

So hopefully all the folks who checked out my previous post on the Game of Thrones did themselves the service of at least giving it a try, they may have guessed my reason I'm RETURNING to the Age of Dragons with this post (in more ways than one).  The primary reason?  I'm going to be covering my thoughts on Bioware's recent project, Dragon Age 2.  Since that's really the only reason I need... I'm going to keep quiet about the second.... but the observant from Game of Thrones will likely be able to figure it out.  
Now, Bioware has become the dominant force in Story driven RPG's lately.  A format that has been one of my favorites since I first picked up an AD&D book.  Set in the world of Thedas (literally, THE Dragon Age Setting), the first Dragon age story told of the rise and potential fall of the Fereldan Grey Warden as he attempts to halt the hostile Blight from destroying his home nation.  The game boasted deep story, excellent characters, and lots of great potential game play in a fast tactical environment.  The sequel on the other hand changes a number of the aspects of the original game.  Not all bad, but not all were terribly favorable...
The new game gives you great customization of Hawke... the primary protagonist, but makes customization of ALL the other characters involved in the game with you a challenge.  Generally speaking in an RPG, customization of the parties weapons, armor and capabilities the means of optimizing the survivability of your characters.  My primary issue DA2 over 1 is that the decision to completely eliminate allies armor in DA2 makes them immensely vulnerable and problematic to keep alive in the higher difficulties of play.  And while the "custom" skill slots possessed by each of your allies in the game are interesting, I'd have greatly preferred that they had more comparable skills to the variations of Hawke... in particular the ability to have more Healers available than Anders from the DA: Awakening expansion.  Now, I played the game on the Xbox360 and PC, and while both formats work well (the game was made much more action oriented for the gaming platforms) the tactical format works much better on the PC, much like the predecessor.  And while I'm sure there will eventually be some great DLC for the game, with the moding community online there is SO much more depth of game available to PC players it's ridiculous.
While I didn't enjoy ALL aspects of the game... I did LOVE the story.  Bioware is going all out with their games and crafting full rich stories for their customers and this one is no exception.  It will be really interesting to see how the implementation of the story aspects of the Star Wars: Old Republic game is going to be.
The primary lesson here is this:  If you're looking for a good RPG with a lot of action to it Dragon Age 2 is a great place to go.  Most folks will get by with rental or Gamefly... but for those of us who REALLY love our RPGs... Its a solid purchase.

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