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Dragon’s Age: Ferpect

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Some have claimed that Dragon’s Age is something akin to the fantasy RPG messiah, descending from the heavenly gates of Bioware in robes and sandals, to part the waters of JRPG androgyny and repetitive everythingness to deliver unto us a pristine and flawless gaming experience.

Bioware has also been blessed with a near mythical reputation and thus is given praise of the highest order for no other reason than because they are Bioware, so these claims  hold absolutely no water to me.

I’ve played 4 origin stories, and a smattering of what else the trivial story has to offer afterwards, and my opinion couldn’t be any more meh.

People praise it for having awesome gameplay, but its lifted almost verbatim from Final Fantasy XII, so I can’t respect Bioware for innovation unless somebody in the know that will stumble here via wordpress tag search can enlighten me as to whether Baldur’s Gate 2 had a Gambit system.

Until further notice gameplay =  fail

The story is supposed to be good or something, but there’s a reason that as soon as I’m removed from the origin stories (which are fun and interesting, unlike the rest of the game) I immediately lose interest.

Stories have main characters for several reasons, and one of them is because he is tailored for the story in question or vice-versa. Shoehorning 6 different people of both genders with different backgrounds from 3 different races into a single story is a poor decision. Problems arise when I can’t even relate or sympathize with my own character.

The other characters in the world are more interesting, and the dialogue isn’t boring. Some of it even qualifies as good, but it’s too verbose and gets annoying after a while. Succinct dialogue wins over extended speeches.

The dialogue choices are nice, and I appreciate being able to tell my arranged wife that I wish she had died when the human noble kidapped her, but Bioware needed to work a little harder on making the choices less obviously split into their categories of “nice/honorable”, “angsty/eager”, “concerned/worried”, or “asshole”. The west truly has some work to do before they can make dialogue trees like they do in Japan.

Gamespot mentioned how the decisions carry weight and it is true that you can catch yourself staring at the options thinking really hard about which one to choose, but the only reason I was motivated to care was because the choices would open or close quests, unlock codex entries (which you earn EXP for doing), or affect a characters standing with me, which the game barefacedly tells me the results of after I’m finished. the dialogue was irrelevant and even with character standing, the only thing I cared about was the bonuses that come attached to a good standing.

The voice acting was praised by others as well. It was alright. At least it was better than an anime dub. Apparently I’m the only one that noticed or cared, but the inflection all of the lines sounded really off. As good as the actors were, or how well they were placed in the roll, I can’t bring myself to care if the dialogue sounds stilted and weird because every line is being interpreted differently than in my head. Let it not be said that there aren’t positives to text-only stories as well.

Story/dialogue = fail

The reason I gave up time in my day to write this is because it alarms me to see people get so sucked up in the hype and fire surrounding a game that they forget to criticize it. No matter how good a game is, it isn’t exempt from being judged.

I’m obviously a pessimistic twat, and no doubt a bunch of people wholeheartedly disagree with me on a lot of these points. Some of them may even have good arguments. The game is far from horrible, and it even does some things I can commend. How it handles your AI allies’ deaths is cool, and as much as I insist the gameplay isn’t innovative in any way, its solid.

All I want is for people to look at games from a level deeper than fanboyism and media hype.


Written by PIR

November 13, 2009 at 02:32

Posted in Games

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] think it’s easy to see that Bioware is not my favorite developer. In fact I think they are quite terrible. On top of the […]

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