Dragon Age is not perfect!

So I’m about 16 hours into my current game, with enough in other characters that I can probably safely say I’ve put 20 hours into Dragon Age: Origins so far. I’m growing ever more sure that this is my personal Game of The Year, which frankly surprises me given how much I enjoyed Infamous and Uncharted 2.

But no game can stand up to 20 hours scrutiny without revealing some imperfections and Dragon Age is no exception. Of course, no game is perfect. The title of this post is intended to provoke.

Anyway, here’re two things I’d like to see changed/added to Dragon Age: Origins.

First up, inventory. We’ve got a fairly limited amount of inventory space, and I’m not 100% sure why that is. Plus, there’s no way to put something down (unless I’m missing something); if your pack is full and you want to pick something up, you need to destroy something you’re carrying. When I’m in a large area with no vendors and no way out and my inventory fills up, it can be a little annoying. Granted there have to be some limits. But I hate that I’ll have to throw away, for example, a kite shield in order to make room for a silver ring.

Why not let us pile up extra gear somewhere in the corner of an area, so we can come back for it later (there could even be a chance that by the time we get back, someone or something will have rummaged through our loot).

As a sort of corollary to this issue, here’s a more controversial issue. I’d like to have a different inventory system. The way things are now, you get X inventory slots and every item (or stack of items) takes one 1 slot.

I get why they did this: to keep things simple. But Dragon Age isn’t a simple game. Now don’t be alarmed, I’m not calling for a “Tetris” inventory system. Rather, I’d assign a number of “burden points” to every carryable item, and then I’d give the party a set capacity for burden.

An example might make this more clear. Currently you start the game with 70 inventory slots. Instead of 70 slots, give the party the capacity to handle 700 encumbrance points worth of stuff. A ring would have an encumbrance value of 1. A shield would have an encumbrance value of 10. A plate chestpiece might have an encumbrance value of 20.

So now when you’re at capacity and want to pick up a ring, you can throw away a shield and get the ring and have some extra room to spare. Or you could throw away a salve and swap in the ring and still be capped. On the other hand if you find some plate armor you want to lug around, you’re going to have to make a number of sacrifices to fit that in.

Honestly that’s a “thinking out loud” idea. But I do think it’d be nice if we could drop items. This isn’t an MMO where we have to worry about lag from items being dropped by hundreds of parties, after all.

Until we get changes to the inventory system, you can head to Spinksville where Spinks talks about a mod that gives you some storage space in camp. That’ll at least help you squirrel away all those rings, statuettes, bottles of wine and other giftable finery you’ll pick up in your travels (but that each take up the same space as a piece of platemail).

Second, I have a feature request. I want a combat review camera. I love the combat system and I love the spectacle of combat. But I feel like I miss a lot of cool stuff because my back is turned, so to speak. This is particularly true while playing as a rogue, since you’re in the middle of battle and constantly moving to get in some back stabs. It may not be as bad for mages or other ‘back line’ characters.

Too frequently something will happen in a battle when I’m not looking. Suddenly two of my party will fall and I’m not sure what caused it. Or a Tactic condition will be met causing a mage to cast a spell that levels half our enemies and I’m not really positive which spell it was.

Enter the review camera. This gizmo lets you rewind time to the start of a battle and then gives you a free floating camera that lets you observe (passively…I’m not talking about a retry) the combat from whatever angle you feel is best. You can watch from the position of that enemy mage who lurked in the shadows until we sent our hound after him, for instance. Or you could just fly around the battle, watching it from all angles; maybe even add a feature so you could save “films” of epic battles in this way? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to edit ‘combat films’ and then save them in an online album to show off to friends?

Anyway, that’s enough for today. Can’t wait for the weekend to arrive so I can put in more serious Dragon Age hours. Sneaking in 30-45 minutes on a week night is almost worse than not playing at all!