It’s Dragon Age season!

As anyone interested enough in gaming to be reading this blog knows, Dragon Age: Inquisition releases in a few days. A lot of my friends are excited and apparently for good reason. EA didn’t embargo reviews so we’ve seen plenty of those and they’ve all (at least all the ones I’ve seen) been favorable. On the Xbone EA runs a service called EA Access that let members start playing DA:I a few days early, and reports from those players is also positive. So as much as we can ever be sure of anything, DA:I seems like it should be a solid game.

I won’t be playing at release. In fact I’m an EA Access member and could be playing right now, but I’m not. And man is it ever tempting but I’m holding out.

I only finished Dragon Age: Origins at the end of this summer. I wound up playing it on the PS3, which was a mixed decision. It was bad because OMG what a crummy port DA:O is on the PS3. Angela joked that from her observations I spent more time looking at loading screens than I did playing the game and she wasn’t far off the mark. The graphics are poor and the gameplay got kind of butchered because of the limited controls available on a gamepad (a lot of encounters got trimmed down for the PS3 version). But it was a good decision because I finished it. I’ve started playing DA:O on PC half a dozen times but never stuck with it.

For whatever reason I never finish games on the PC. I think the platform just offers too many distractions. I need to check twitter and G+ and see what’s on the RSS feed before I play and again every 10 minutes during my gaming time. If I get the least bit stuck it’s super easy to jump to a browser and look up a hint and then I see a link to get into the beta of Super Awesome Amazeballs Game so I follow that link and sign up for an account and fill out the form and what IS Super Awesome Amazeballs Game anyway, maybe I should watch a YouTube video of it. Hey look in the related videos is a teaser for some other game and also boobs! So let’s watch a few more videos and OMG is it midnight already? Time for bed. What was I meaning to do tonight? Oh yeah, play Dragon Age. Well maybe I can do that tomorrow.

So whenever some self-righteous “PC Master Race” blowhard starts spouting off I just hit the mute button. Different platforms work for different players. I have plenty of friends that have a lot of trouble getting “TV time” from their families and for them PC is the perfect platform because it’s all theirs all the time. Yes, the PC version almost always looks better and has all the mods and stuff, but it doesn’t matter how good a game is if you don’t play it. I play and finish games on consoles; on the PC I kind of dabble and leap from game to game and never get deep into anything.

Ahem, OK tangential tirade done.

So I liked DA:O but I didn’t love it as much as many people did. I felt the pacing was pretty bad and some sections just dragged on for way too long. I’d always heard that Dragon Age II was terrible but at some point I’d bought it for $10 or $15, so I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a go. And I liked it, but I didn’t get far before Destiny launched and when that happened DA 2 was forgotten.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I got an invite to Dragon Age Keep, the web-tool that lets you set up a ‘history’ for yourself for Dragon Age: Inquisition. I started working through that and during the process you get a recap of the events of the earlier games. Before the major DA2 spoilers came up, I just stopped. I realized I wasn’t ready to give up on DA2. I asked my Twitter peeps whether I should push forward or just skip it and response was about 50-50.

So I booted up DA2 and started playing again; it took a little while to pick up all the threads but before very long I was having a blast. I’m not sure why everyone says the game is terrible; I’m really enjoying it. I find the pacing is way better that it was in DA:O and most ‘sections’ are easily consumed in one sitting. I will admit the combat feels pretty button-mashy but I don’t really play these games for the combat so much as I play them for the story. Maybe that’s why folks didn’t like it. If I wanted really challenging combat I guess I could bump the difficulty up.

Dealing with inventory is nicely streamlined as well. I pick all the bits for my main character but companions come with their own armor so I just give them a weapon and trinkets. This means I switch up companions all the time, sometimes just to watch them interact, which is super entertaining to me. There’s a TON of lore here in the form of the codex. I tend to save those entries up and read them in batches, usually at the end of an evening while I’m stretched out on the couch with a puppy snoring beside me. It becomes my ‘before bed’ reading material.

At this point I’m a bit over 30 hours in, somewhere in Act II, and I’ve played through the Legacy DLC (which a friend recommended I play and I’m glad she did). There’s no way I’ll be finished by Tuesday when DA:I comes out, but that’s OK. I was going to rush through DA2 in order to get it out of the way, so to speak, but I’m enjoying it too much to rush. My one fear is avoiding DA:I spoilers since I know so many friends will be playing.

What’s odd is I looked around online and plenty of people have beaten DA 2 in 30 hours and I’m about half-way through at this point. I am doing all the side quests and as mentioned I read all the lore. Maybe I’m just a slow player. /shrug

I’m still really excited about Dragon Age: Inquisition and I think playing DA2 first is just ramping up that excitement. I know, in general terms, what DA:I is about and I can see how it is getting set up in DA2; that also adds to the fun.

If you’ve never played DA 2 because you heard it sucked, I’d suggest you snag a cheap copy and try it. Depending on what you look for in Bioware games you might be pleasantly surprised. I sure have been.

2 thoughts on “It’s Dragon Age season!

  1. I took twice as long on DA:O to finish as the ‘average’ time said it would take. Even if you take away all the hours I let the game sit, paused, I was still WAY over. I enjoyed myself playing it, however, more than almost any game I’ve ever played. That’s what counts to me.

  2. Oh yeah you finished Legacy. I’m glad you liked it. Also I promise not to post any DA:I spoilers on google+. I will probably only post pictures of my character and scenery screenshots. I can’t speak for everyone else tho. 😛

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