Dragon Age: First Impressions

Posted by Tiluvar at at 3:42pm on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

BioWare really needs to sort out their "login" system. You have the BioWare Social site, EA's site, and apparently I made a KotOR account at some point, and somewhere in between all those I've managed to log into my Dragon Age Profile which for some reason hasn't updated yet. Don't even ask which account actually ended up working, because I have no idea.

Setting that topic aside for another time, the game itself so far (I'm about 8 hours in) is very good. The storyline is interesting and well paced, with solid enough voice acting that I want to continue to see how it progresses, and the game is fun enough that I'm not rushing through it to advance the storyline. It's a nice balance.

Playing through on hard as always, I'm having a lot of fun learning the ins and outs of the combat system. You can customize the AI of your party members so specifically, it's like leading a raid in an MMO, but everyone does exactly what you tell them to! My only complaint would be that the "trash" fights feel a little bit zergy, thankfully so far the only boss fight I've had was quite challenging, tactically.

All in all, I'm really enjoying it and am already getting attached to the characters and their individual personalities. I think the last RPG that I was this enthralled by was Final Fantasy X, so it's been a while. The world seems very much alive, and the flavour NPCs are helpful and interesting, not just there to take up space. It is clear that an immense amount of effort was put into making each area feel unique, and arousing curiosity, not just being another quest hub.

The one glaring negative in all this is the technical aspect of the game - performance is bad. On a really high end PC it's acceptable, the graphics are quite nice, but not quite nice enough to justify the shabby performance. There's also a fairly large number of graphical glitches. Mobs/Players just seem.. fragile.. as if they could fall apart at any time, combat animations are frequently very poorly timed, and they can't seem to properly interact with objects, or each other. There's a lot of hands through, or floating above tables - stuff like that.

It's certainly not game breaking, but it's a bit distracting at times. I feel like if the graphics/engine were more solid it would drastically improve the experience.

If the game manages to stay this interesting throughout, I think it may end up being one of best RPGs in a very long time. It's hard for a single player game to hold my interest, but so far there is so much to do that it never feels boring, and thankfully it doesn't make you feel like you missed parts if you don't do every single little side-quest, so the completionist in me is happy I wont be stuck killing rats for 4 hours just because a random peasant asked me to. Definitely worth your money if you're an RPG fan and have a PC that can handle it.

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