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When are you going to play Dragon Age?

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Well, I decided to go buy the game, and I'm loving it. My computer barely meets minimum specs, but apart from some slowdown during the storming of Redcliffe Village, it's been able to handle it so far.

 

SPOILERS!!!!

 

Graphics: Better than NW2. I haven't played Oblivion, so I have nothing to compare it to. The armor shapes seem less polyhedral, and they were a little more sensible about facial hair, so when a bearded man bends over, his beard doesn't disappear into his armor. The areas so far are a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are uninspired towns like that first one you hit when you leave the Wilds, and then there are towns like Redcliffe Village, which are OMG, frickin' awesome, even though I kept getting lost on the way to the lighthouse. The backgrounds are breathtaking. The woods aren't very wooded, as in there aren't many trees, but that's probably just as well, because my guys get stuck in corners enough as it is. Alistair got confused by a bridge.

 

Animations: I'm running with the settings cranked way down, so maybe I'm missing something, but it's still awesome. When the ogre picked up Alistair and pumped him up and down like he was shaking a can of pop, I just about fell out of my chair. And then my HN female ran up the ogre's legs and stabbed him in the chest, complete with a spray of blood. Wowsers.

 

Items: Not much in the way of magic, which is a refreshing change. The runes are a nice touch. The armor is all fairly mundane and non-magical, but it means that my guys are getting pounded a lot. I like the "tier" system of the weapons. If you have Tier 2 combat training, you can use Tier 2 weapons, regardless of your class. I like that. While we're on the subject of items, you can give your companions gifts to improve your standing with them. Nifty.

 

Dialogue: Cmorgan, be fair. OK, so you wanted to tell your father not to call you pup in front of his mates, but I've found the dialogue choices to be far more comprehensive than unmodified BG2, where you have a choice of two answers that will pretty much lead to the same outcome and one that will piss off the listener. I get to tease my love interest. How cool is that?

 

Banter: They seem fresher that BG2, but that's probably because the dialogue, in general, is more mature. I like the fact that the banters don't open a dialogue window. The two companions just talk to each other. If you have the subtitles for ambient conversation turned on, you'll see the floaty text. Otherwise, if you miss it, you miss it. And I like how the other NPCs are aware of the relationship building between you and your love interest.

 

Romance: It's built on approval rating, and doesn't begin until they like you. Remarkably realistic. The only one I've got so far is Alistair, but the dialogue is light years beyond unmodified BG2. It's better than most mods, really. I'm not thrilled that I have to give the guy gifts all the time to show my regard for him, but that's OK. It's a small price to pay. And they have same-sex love interests! They finally did that right. OK, the female is Lelianna, and I'm iffy on her, but it's the thought that counts.

 

Sex: You can have flings with people besides your love interest. How novel! Makes me think that maybe the devs tried Romantic Encounters...

 

Combat: I play on easy, because I don't like dying all the time. In the beginning, the combat was way too easy. I'd barely have to take any healing potions, because the characters heal pretty much the moment the combat ends, but now, I'm having to work harder. I've had to reload once already because the whole party snuffed it. Death works, in this game. OK, you don't die unless everybody in your party dies, but you do wind up with debilitating injuries that take an injury kit to mend. Coolness. The death's head face you see when one of your party dies is truly creepy. And that's about all I really want to say about combat. It isn't my thing, so I'll let somebody talk about it whose thing it is.

 

Party management: The "open party" approach is novel. I can swap out companions anywhere at all, and companions I haven't seen in ages magically appear. I don't know if they level with me whether they're in my party or not. Haven't really checked. The method is kind of unreal, though. In BG1, you had to remember where you left your companions. In BG2, you could go to the Copper Coronet or some other sensible place. In NWN2, they were waiting back at home base and you had to return to home base to change your party. In DA, apparently, they're ethereal stalkers.

 

Companions: There's probably something for everybody, here. I feel the same way about Daisy, my war dog, as cmorgan does, but I'm probably going to have to leave him behind once in a while when I get Zevran because I want to see conflict dialogue, if there is any. That, and Zevran puts out right away, whereas Alistair doesn't. And then there's the need for a thief. My character is a warrior, and neither Lelianna nor Zevran is much good at picking locks. It seems the devs realized that the lack of a lock-picker would be a problem for some, though, because plot-critical items aren't in locked containers. As I said, I adore the war dog. Alistair seems to be the butt of every joke, but I adore him. I'm have no real opinion on Lelianna. She's just kind of there. I like Morrigan, to a point. I like her personality well enough, but her accent makes me want to strangle her. Yes, I realize this is Ferelden, but why is the plummiest-sounding character in the game from the Wilds? I don't like Sten. It's hard to believe a character could be laconic, stoic, angsty and emo all at once, but he manages it. And that's about it, so far.

 

Linearity: You get lots and lots of wiggle room. You can have any of six different backgrounds, and the opening of the game is different for all of them. Cool!

 

Save and load times: The load times are a bit long, but nowhere near as bad as they were for NWN2. The save times are short, which is awesome.

 

Controls: It's taking me a while to learn to work them. I had to switch the mouse buttons because I couldn't get out of the habit of left-clicking to move, but I'm getting familiar with them. That little "hints" box that you see all the time in the beginning is a royal PITA, because it partially blocks the text in the journal.

 

Plot: OK, I'm out to save the world... again, but that's OK. I'm the hero of this story, so it's right that I should be out saving the world. That's what heroes do. It's more compelling that NWN2, I think, and maybe even BG2.

 

Quests: So far, they've mostly been original. Not a lot of FedEx quests at all, or if they are, there's usually a decent story in there. I like how you can fail them. They sent me to recruit a dwarf for the militia. It didn't work out, and I was forced to kill him. Quest ended, journal entry made, and life went on.

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SPOILERS!!!!

 

Dialogue: Cmorgan, be fair. OK, so you wanted to tell your father not to call you pup in front of his mates, but I've found the dialogue choices to be far more comprehensive than unmodified BG2, where you have a choice of two answers that will pretty much lead to the same outcome and one that will piss off the listener. I get to tease my love interest. How cool is that?

 

Agreed :blush: I have discovered more and more options - get higher levels of cunning, and more choices appear - as your other stats or skills increase - the more I play this game, the more I realize that by "choice", the devs were working multidimentionally. The level of detail is not quite Jastey's Ajantis, but darned close - and influence matters to dialog in a good way. I have also found out they have set up the dialog options to scale, so I had 7 choices at once on one dialog - so blasted awesome, because it was a level of detail i only expect from a very few BG2 mods. I like the teasiong, and the fact that while I may want to be a paladin type, Morrigan gets itchy when I go around saving the world for no good reasonm. Honesty wins, and things she sees as sentimental crap make her itchy, and she responds quite realistically. If I come off as a sanctimonious church lover, no kisses... and quite right, too. She needs to develop a relationship with Sten, perhaps.

 

Banter: They seem fresher that BG2, but that's probably because the dialogue, in general, is more mature. I like the fact that the banters don't open a dialogue window. The two companions just talk to each other. If you have the subtitles for ambient conversation turned on, you'll see the floaty text. Otherwise, if you miss it, you miss it. And I like how the other NPCs are aware of the relationship building between you and your love interest.

I like that alot, but that will make it blasted hard to integrate new things with the old. So perhaps companion "packs" will become the wave of the future. What I love the most is the range of topics and the number of banters flying about. If they keep up at this rate for the whole game, it matches or exceeds IEP + Friendships + mods - and I have not had any drivelly ones.

 

Sex: You can have flings with people besides your love interest. How novel! Makes me think that maybe the devs tried Romantic Encounters...
Heh! Is that a French accent on L? Nah... but I am looking forward to more of that. The opening HNO knocked me for a loop the second time when I propositioned the Lady-In-Waiting - and there was (limited) follow through. I will need to go find a graphic artist to make shifts or nightdresses of some sort to swap in, though. Hey, when your one-night stand gets whacked due to plot considerations, at least she could die with a cute little floaty bit of silk covering her modesty.

 

Party management: The "open party" approach is novel. I can swap out companions anywhere at all, and companions I haven't seen in ages magically appear.

 

I like it. I can pretend I have a huge gathering of companions all defending our gear, running errands, and gathering information, and doing all the stuff that a real warparty would also have to do, and that as a result of all that going on the "strike team" available for any given mission is just one to four people. But I can talk to them in camp.

 

Quests: So far, they've mostly been original. Not a lot of FedEx quests at all, or if they are, there's usually a decent story in there. I like how you can fail them. They sent me to recruit a dwarf for the militia. It didn't work out, and I was forced to kill him. Quest ended, journal entry made, and life went on.

I like them alot. I am even ok with quests not spawning until after they are given, and then going back to places i have already cleared and finding new stuff that wasn't there a minute ago. I still clear everything I can one map at a time, so that is just playstyle :D

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I also like how quests aren't "Go do this, once you have done it, report back to me.", with the eventual gain of experience points. :blush:

 

Also, the ability to turn on and off the little arrow-guide is nice as well.

 

Icen

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DA sounds like a really great game! We've took a look at the minimum requirements, and we will need to upgrade the video card. We are not sure if we'd rather buy a console instead, which will require a new TV. So, for our winter vacation we'll be finishing as many of the old games we haven't played yet (or played together). It's a bit of a dissappointment for me, but DA is not going away, and I am so glad it's living up to all the hype! :blush:

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I'm on Vista Home Premium here, as an Administrator without UAC. I got it on Steam, loaded first time. :blush:

 

 

Icen

Edited by Icendoan

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I'm really enjoying it too (bang went 2 days of reasearch for my discertation before I could crowbar myself away from it). The ladies have covered pretty much everything, so I'll just add my thoughts...

 

 

...Lelianna is a bard, but she's really a rogue-she starts with some lockpicking iirc and you can put points into it, which is what I ended up doing. My rogue is very much more attack orientated. Her accent seems to be french going off certain words and NPCs from Orlean but it seems to be constantly slipping on and off, a nice little touch I feel. If you pay attention she usually shows the accent when she's talking about something important to her or that excites her, or certain words. Reminds me of a welsh girl I met at university. Speaks with a perfect english accent until she gets upset/excited and then the welsh accent's back with a vengance!

 

I adore her stories though, especially the one about the stars. I'll definately be romancing her next playthrough; Alistar won by just a hair. (If I'm brutally honest first girl (or in this case guy) syndrome really. Though to be fair, I love him alot. I rather like Anomen after I got to know him. He seemed very believable, albiet annoying, and Alistar gives me the same vibe, but in a different way. Basically he's Anomen done right. Plus his snarky humour matches my own, so I'm always playing along/teasing back during the talks.

Healing is quite the pain in some parts; the healing potion/poultices you get are fairly rare and it can be a pest to make them.

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Windows 7 Professional. And yes, I've noticed slipping accents in several of the characters.

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I play a Mage, and they get Herbalism by default, so the moment I can buy myself a stack or so of vials and loads of elfroot, I do, and make them all into poultices then and there.

 

However, my latest playthrough (I'm already having restarter's syndrome :blush: ) I'm playing a Healing mage, specializing in Creation magic, so lots of heals, buffs and wards to generally make my party more effective. I also took Poison Making to throw Grenades, and if I can, Trap Making to use as well as Glyphs for maximum effect (Glyph of Paralyzation + Barbed Trap + Acid Bomb = lots of easy damage). Perhaps to use snares properly I might take some Primal magics, probably fire or water.

 

Icen

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So far:

Playing as a female elf mage. Only as far as I am still in the tower and I am now taking on the Jowen quest.

 

Graphics are too cartoonish and not realistic for my tastes. Controls are sloppy. No first person view, can't swivel around with the mouse like you can in a lot of games unless you have a far away top down view. Have to use the A and D keys instead if you are using the over the shoulder view. No crouching or jumping in this game, how archaic can you get? That is standard in most recent games. The controls are so far ruining the fun factor.

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I'm fairly certain you can adjust the control configuration in the main menu.

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Like in Fallout 3. Press W and moving the mouse guides in to your destination. I hate keyboard movements. Its hard for old minds to comprehend.

Edited by CoM_Solaufein

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You can play it like BG with a top down view as well and just click on where you want to go.

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