Dragon Age has, to some degree, restored my faith in the ability of developers to make good single player games.
I'm not talking about storyline, although that is very important, I'm talking about the challenge.
It seems that somewhere along the way single player games started becoming more movie, and less game. Something you're supposed to just sit through and idly press buttons when required. Upon eventually reaching the end you're rewarded with downloadable premium content to prolong the game you already bought. They're all about "Epic Fights!" and "Realistic Enemies!" but what about difficulty that slowly ramps up as you get further into the game? This is how video games started, and it's what made them so fun in the first place.
Lately only online games have been able to provide these challenges, because they're built around steadily increasing difficulty (Unless we're talking about WoW, where the opposite is true).Now I'm not looking for a challenge like "Find this obscure item that's almost impossible to see and use your camera!" - "Great! Now find 5 more!" style of challenges that have been popping up lately, or the "PUSH X NOW-YOU FAILED! too slow.." that is, on some level what almost every game is about, but I mean actual tactics, use of proper abilities at the right times, thinking ahead, and preparing before hand, and having the encounters that require these tactics get more complex as you progress.
It is so refreshing to summon a Dragon in Dragon age and watch it completely rip my party to shreds, but know that if I play just right, and with the right character classes, I might be able to do it. Sure I could have just come back five levels later, but what's the fun in that?
Beating my head against this wall of fire and scales I came to realize that it's this sort of challenge where when I lose it was because of a poor decision and not a failed reaction or a "You're not supposed to do this yet" artificial limitation, is what I really enjoy in games and something that sadly, isn't around much any more.
Well, here's hoping that more developers follow in the footsteps of Demon Souls and Dragon Age, and make games that are balanced around being hard, and cheapen at "normal" difficulty, instead of the reverse that is true of the majority.
And yes, this is also because I'm proud of myself for killing a Dragon. I'll upload the video later.