Mar 14, 2011

In which I fight darkspawn in my pretty dress.

I missed this week's Pretty of the Week, and believe it or not, I do have actual reasons. It wasn't only Dragon Age and Pokemon eating my life and free time. But I can't deny that I've fallen in love with both games all over again. And, since I've already spoken a little on the Pokemon subject, I figured I would make a post about the other.

To be fair, I can't really write a decent review yet. I've been slightly sick and rather busy learning new systems at work besides, so the time I've spent playing has been a bit shorter than I'd like. But from what I've seen so far it's going to live up to the original, even tough the pacing is entirely different.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the first game, why? And also, a description. The game takes place in and under a country called Ferelden. It's a country that's both similar to every fantasy country and entirely different. Mages are rounded up and locked in a tower unless they're needed to fight in wars. Elves are only recently freed slaves or are hiding in small groups in the woods. In this country there are also gray wardens, who exist to defend the world from darkspawn, which are similar to orcs but with a much darker history you learn as you play. Every so often they find and corrupt an old god and swarm up to take over the surface. Your character is recruited to join with the wardens and in short order becomes the one that's in charge of saving the entire world from the hordes of demonic orcs and their corrupt god leader. Along the way you recruit others and can then gain approval or disapproval that changes they way they act towards you. Some of these characters may fall for your character over the course of the story.

Some of them are adorable and horribly frustrating.

The game gives you many choices about what you want to do, who you help and who you work against.  And most of these things will change the game as you play or will affect the ending of the story. It's a great game, and I was thoroughly excited about the sequel that came out a few days ago.

The first thing I noticed about the new game (aside from the new and improved visuals) was the difference in storytelling. And I do mean that literally. The first game is straightforward, for all the different ways you can get to the end. There's an army of bad, you raise armies and you go off to slay the bad god. It also thrust you into a fairly important position early on. It's your duty to save the world and if you don't then no one else will and everything dies. The second game takes a different route. You open on a dwarf being interrogated. There are many legends about you, but he's the only one that knows the truth of things, because he was your companion. You don't know what the legend is or what it's about - just how it begins and that at least the dwarf is alive to talk about it when it's over.

This time there is only one origin. You and your family are fleeing one of the cities that were overrun in the first game. You make it to the city of Kirkwall where, as the oldest child, you have to see to your family's survival. And that's it for the beginning of the story. You don't join any sacred order and you aren't trying to save the world. You're just trying to keep everyone you love together. The story also spans a period of ten years, rather than the single year of the first game, which means that everything happens a bit more gradually. I rather enjoy this, myself, as I'm not picturing my character rocking back and forth in fetal position trying to cope. This seems so far to be a fantastic game for those that enjoy character development and letting a story unfold naturally rather than along a planned line.

I don't want to go too far into the story or the characters, as I know many people dislike those sorts of spoilers. I will say that I'm loving everything about it, I've seen a few familiar faces I didn't expect, and also, Bioware seems to think men that glow are the next best romance characters ever.

Because if your lover can't double as your nightlight, then what's the point, right?

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