I’ve been playing Dragon Age for about a week and a half now. I’m not going to dance around my opinion of Dragon; it is one of the most amazing games I have ever played. The beautiful thing is I don’t have to qualify that statement with any exception other than I haven’t finished the game yet.
Dragon Age is the first Role Playing Game where I really felt my decisions mattered. In most RPGs I’ve played you are typically living out a story that has already been laid before, much like a book. That doesn’t make a game any less any entertaining because of it, much like a book. However in most RPGs since I know my decisions matter very little I typically make intentionally stupid decisions just to see the outcome with no fear of negative repercussions. Dragon Age is not that way.
After about 6 hours of play I hadn’t really experienced any point where I felt I could ruin the game… until I left a town to go buy more potions somewhere else. When I came back the down had been burnt down and everyone killed because I didn’t stay and defend it. That is when I realized I needed to consider my decisions carefully in this game.
A few hours later I was in my main camp talking to my ally NPCs and I ended up taking a conversation in the direction that nearly made one of my favorite party members walk out on me. Each member in your party has influence points and if they get low enough they will leave your group.
This could all be an elaborate blanket Bio Ware is pulling over my head to fool me into thinking my decisions matter but guess what, it worked. In the end that is all that really matters, the illusion of control. Even if I’m not really altering how the game is playing out I feel as though I am and because of that I’m considering every decision I make more carefully.
Bio Ware has succeeded in drawing me into Dragon Age in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been drawn into a game before. I love the game so much I’m intentionally not rushing through it. I’ve gone out of my way to play Left 4 Dead 2 a few nights this week with some friends just to ensure I can enjoy this experience longer.