I’m pretty late to the game with this–literally–but I just finished playing through both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, so I wanted to write a post about it! I’m pretty bad about playing video games as soon as they’re released since they’re so expensive, but I always get to them eventually!
Being a HUGE fan of the Mass Effect series and knowing how much my friends love it, I wanted to give Dragon Age a shot.
Dragon Age: Origins: I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I really loved the characters, especially Morrigan and Alistair. (I accidentally got Zevran killed, oops!) The story was detailed, involved. The places were vivid. And I love that Bioware gives you the opportunity to get very involved in your characters, go to brothels, go to bars, etc. It just draws you into the world so much more. (And maybe I just think that stuff is pretty hilarious…)
On the other hand, I hate the battle system more than any battle system I’ve ever encountered. A lot of people say it’s much more intuitive if you’re playing on a PC, but it really frustrated me to no end. I have also played the Game of Thrones RPG and the battle system was almost exactly the same–one of the main reasons I have not completed that game. And don’t even get me started on how awful the Fade is. Once I got to that part, I just stopped playing for a month. But I kept truckin’ along and eventually beat the game.
My other beef with Origins was the disconnect I felt with my Warden due to her lack of voice. Hearing your character respond is just more powerful than selecting your comment choice and watching them stare blankly at whomever she’s talking to. And it’s generally much more amusing if you’re like me, who always chooses sarcastic response options.
My Origins decisions: My Warden did not romance anyone. She made Alistair and Morrigan sleep together, hahaha. And after I killed Logain, I let Anora rule by herself since Alistair complained so vehemently about ruling.
Once I beat it, I jumped right into Dragon Age II. And from the very first encounter, I felt so much better about the battle system. It was a little more intuitive and, as a Warrior, I felt each of those sword strikes! Bam! And, of course, I loved that my Hawke had a voice in this game; I felt so much more attached to her and cared more about her stake in everything. And because I cared more for Hawke, I cared more deeply about the storyline as well.
Although I missed Alistair & Morrigan, I really loved the new characters in DAII. (Well, most of them. Not so much Fenris and Anders.) Varric was fantastic (and it took all my strength not to call him Dale since they are basically the same people…). Isabella made every encounter hilarious, plus she’s fiesty and hot. I may have been biased with Merrill because I love Eve Myles, but she was adorably awkward and made a lot of the missions more amusing. That tended to be my general party: Hawke, Varric, Isabella, Merrill.
I liked Aveline once I got to know her better. Not to mention, her companion quest is probably the best thing ever. More wingman quests, please, Bioware! Bethany was all right, but she didn’t last long in my game (since I made her stay behind for the Deep Roads).
And that leaves me with beef with Fenris and Anders. One of the first things Fenris did was say something mean to Merrill since she’s a mage, and since she is my homegirl, I was already on the defense with him. I didn’t develop any kind of relationship with him and remained more or less neutral–until I killed him at the end. Anders, although useful as a healer, is one of the whiniest characters I’ve ever encountered. Maybe if I treated him differently than sarcastic, he would have been less obnoxious, but god, I dreaded having to take him on any missions as he spent most of the time complaining about templars. We get it, dude, you’re mad at them. My friends assure me he is much better in Awakenings, but STILL. His only redeemable quality is that he had a cat named Ser Pounce-A-Lot.
I know a big criticism of DAII was that the world was not expansive enough, but I really love city atmospheres. So, I really enjoyed the fact that the majority of the game took place in Kirkwall. I got to know the areas well and nothing was too confusing to navigate. However, I could have done with a bit more variation on some of the mission areas; all the caves/sewers/etc were more or less the same outline.
Overall, Dragon Age II was much more fun for me. Origins felt a bit more like a chore just to get to DAII. Although some of the missions and encounters in Origins were fun, I was always looking forward to playing DAII.
My Dragon Age II decisions: I boinked Isabella in Act I; romanced my dear Merrill in Act II and she moved in with me. I sided with the mages at the end. I killed Fenris since he opposed me. I wanted desperately to kill Anders since he, you know, STARTED A WAR, but he ended up being very vital in some of the tougher final battles.
So, there you have it! Now I join the rest of you anxiously awaiting Dragon Age: Inquisition this fall. Enchantment!