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29 November 2009 @ 08:15 am
He doesn't have green hair, but he makes me laugh  
I started playing this game the same way I started playing Mass Effect - it boasted a complex character generation as an opener, and I just wanted to play with the chargen. But then after I spent an hour (possibly more) getting her face juuuust so and really grooving with the background and class options, I don't just want to throw her away. So I have to play a little and save. I could have saved right out of the gate (not so in Mass Effect), but as usual, I just wanted to look at a few things. Next thing you know, I'd spent hours playing.


And now it's been days. Distracting me from writing! I'm still on target to finish by the 30th, so it's not a terrible distraction. But it is delightful. I may be a more forgiving game player than most, as there are some clear fails in the plot line (an assassin of a reknowned assassin guild sets up an ambush... where he stands out front and smiles before calling out his men and announcing that you must die. In broad daylight) but I don't mind them overmuch.

The Fade, the magical sub-realm of the world, is fantastically interesting. I really want to go to the Black City floating off in the distance, but I've (as yet) no indications that it will happen. The graphics are decent. The characters are bloody awesome. Listening to Morrigan and Alister bicker is delightful.

For my closet romantic, it's a game with an optional romance subplot. An optional romance subplot with the gender of your choice, I might add. Though, apparently, you can only woo the smarmy girl if you're a dude. Ah, well. When I read about the option for wooing Leliana, it made my little shoujo ai heart (it's in the closet romantic heart, on the left side, if you're looking) go glee! And she is adorable. And she has a fantastic accent (Seriously, someone stop me from trying to play this game multiple times just for the damned subplot). But, then I started talking to Alister. Clearly, I am a sucker for the shy goofballs. That man is funny. I've happily replayed several conversations to get the best approval score, as he is delightful to listen to. Charming voice, well-written shy jokes.

Which brings me to the next part: what does it say when I want to progress the plot just so I can get to the next conversation tier with my party members? I've spent more time talking to my peeps than anything else. Even just interacting with the dog (whom I named Story, in the hopes it would remind me to get back to work) is great fun. The dialogue is the best part of this game. Evenly standing beside the tragic backstory and dramatic righteousness-inducing plot schemes.

In the interest of completeness, I should offer some opinion on the battle system. I like it. It has a lot of parallels with the Final Fantasy XII system (which I loved), including a gambit system (called Tactics in Dragon Age) and being able to switch the character you have control of. Dragon Age actually makes the switching easier - just a tap on one of the shoulder buttons and you're whirled away. You can do it in action or while paused on the radial menu, which is great for speeding through the characters to make them drink potions. It took a little while for me to remember that I could do it and then start memorizing everyone's skill lists. But the radial menu pauses combat, so if you forget anything, you can pause and search through it all.

I like that changing gear changes my characters' appearances. I've heard some people complain that it's unnecessary and, more often, that it makes them look silly. And indeed, the headgear looks ridiculous. Fortunately the game designers had the wisdom to auto-ignore headgear during cutscenes, because I don't think I could take me seriously in those cowls. I like to imagine that it's a world where, whenever people are talking to one another, they are so socially accustomed to ignoring ridiculous hats that they just stop seeing them.

So far my only major gameplay complaint is that I learned cool Fade shapeshifting abilities in one story arch, but in the next they seem to be gone. This makes me very sad. I may well get over it quickly, but for now - sorrow.

Unfortunately for you, you'll likely read a lot more about this as I play on. For now, I'm going to rush into folly to find a token for sweet Alister to remember his father figure by. And then - novel finish!

Sleep is for the... adjective fail.. those other people. You know the ones. ZzzzzZZZzzz*snort*