|Protip: play power metal during sessions|
Victor Vran (PC)
I forgot to mention that I started this game recently. I'm not far, though. I reached the inside of some dungeon and turned the game off. I'll resume it later.
Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
I reached the temple that held the urn of sacred ashes and fought my way through dozens of gangs of cultists. The going wasn't always easy because a lot of them had mages in their parties. Dealing with the mages was easy at the start of this mission, but it grew more worrisome before long because some of them could freeze and nuke any characters threatening them.
After many furious battles, I ventured far enough into the temple that its halls gave way to caves. Dragonkin, especially babies and drakes, began appearing regularly. After killing an arcane horror, I entered a cavern with cultists standing guard. Their leader, Kolgrim, had a proposition for me. I first told him to get bent and fought him, but his forces were much stronger than my own. I decided to go along with his plan and lied to him about my intentions to aid in resurrecting Andraste.
He led me to a portion of the temple that smacked of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (I think they even referenced that movie at one point, where you find a desiccated corpse holding a fancy chalice). After speaking to the guardian of the temple, I began what was referred to as "The Gauntlet." The first challenge consisted of a series of simple riddles posed by ghosts. A wrong answer resulted in a fight, but I managed to answer all of the riddles correctly. After that was a basic pressure plate and bridge puzzle that required little brain power to solve.
Finally, I reached a point where I had to fight my party's shadows. That. Fight. Sucked. I died numerous times before tinkering with Morrigan's logic to get a proper setup. I also messed with my dog's AI commands so that he attacked whoever was attacking me. Together, the two of us slew Shadow Morrigan, who was the main problem my party faced. From there, Shadow Iggy, Shadow Me and Shadow Alistair didn't last long.
I reached the ashes and didn't pour any of Kolgrim's blood into it. I took a pinch for the arl and left, meeting Kolgrim outside. Once again, I found myself tangled in a tough battle. Kolgrim only had two other bodyguards with him, and they were a nuisance. In my first few attempts, I tried ignoring them and going for the boss, only to realize that they can pose a huge problem if you don't deal with them right away. I did that, slaying both bodyguards before moving on to the man himself. He ignored me and went after Morrigan, killing her. Without a healer, we were forced to resort to potions, which were in limited supply. I eventually decided to let Alistair and Iggy perish, leaving only me to deal with Kolgrim. Luckly, he only had a smidgen of HP left and I had the cooldown on my stun ability had subsided. I stunned him, and hit him with everything I had avaialable. He had me on the ropes until my character plunged her dagger into his chest and sliced his head off with her main hand weapon.
With that, we resurrected Arl Eamon and completed that segment of the storyline. It was time to visit the elves.
I entered the Brecilian Forest and spoke with Zathrian. I agreed to take care of his werewolf problem, though something didn't seem right. Modern W-RPGs don't always deal in absolutes like this, so I could only imagine that the werewolves were not entirely villainous. I spoke with a few other Dalish and entered some side quests before moseying onto the forest itself.
Werewolves, darkspawn and anthropomorphic trees called sylvans died, and I eventually spoke with a lycanthrope named Swiftrunner. As it turns out, the wolves can speak and Zathrian hasn't been much of a diplomat. Go figure. I tried to be as diplomatic as possible, and that lasted for a little while. I reached a point where I couldn't go any further because of a barrier, but overcame that by returning an acorn to
Treebeard The Grand Oak, a sylvan who isn't an asshole. He gave me a branch that allowed me to cross the barrier, where I fought Swiftrunner. The battle didn't take long, as I aimed right for the wolf and brought him down without trouble. He ran away and I entered his fortress.
It just wouldn't be Dragon Age: Origins if you didn't have to push through a huge dungeon full of unrelated enemies. Not that I'm complaining, honestly... I killed all of the undead and spiders that approached us, and took on a dragon boss. Having killed that, I reached the center of the werewolves' society and met with the Lady of the Forest, who also happened to be linked to a monstrous wolf called Witherfang (whom I was sent to assassinate). The Lady told me everything about Zathrian and I agreed to bring the man to her. Shale regaled us with a mental image of Zathrian's head crushing in its hands. As luck would have it, Zathrian was right outside the chamber waiting for us. I talked him into speaking with the Lady, and that resulted in a scuffle.
Zathrian was not diffuclt. He had a couple of sylvans with him, and they were the main source of trouble. I dealt with them before charging full steam into Zathrian. Against my quartet, there was little he could do except sling the occasional spell and die.
I watched the ensuing cutscene and ended up gaining the support of the Dalish. Cross off another segment of the game.
Lastly, I headed to Circle Tower to meet with the mages, only to find them under siege from abominations. I recruited Wynne and promptly gave her all the gifts I'd been saving for her, then entered the tower. The going was mostly easy, consisting of various minor demons and bewitched templars. I soon found myself under the spell of a sloth demon, who sent me into a dream world.
The dream segment felt like filler. Sure, any RPG worth its salt needs to last long, but it should avoid content like this, too. There were only two neat things about this segment: 1) you learn transformations that work when you're in the Fade, and 2) there's no way to earn potions while you're in the dream world, so you'd better make what you have last. Thankfully, there are ways to heal yourself in the dream without using potions.
Long story short, I made my way through all of the tiresome levels, earned a bunch of permanent stat boosts and killed the sloth demon. Following that, my only remaining business was to ascend the tower and take care of the antagonist.
The boss, Uldred, transformed into a massive pride demon with extremely thick defenses. I had to die a few times before figuring out how to defeat Uldred. For one thing, I had to deal with his cronies first. That allowed my AI-controlled troops to focus on Uldred, plus it reduced the damage everyone took. That, in turn, made Wynne's job as healer smoother. For another thing, I had to prevent Uldred from turning the other mages into abominations by using an event item. That wasn't difficult, but sometimes the game didn't allow me to use the item for whatever reason. To top it all off, I had to make sure Wynne had plenty of mana. I tried to modify her behavior so that she used a mana restorer every time she was below 25% mana, but it didn't seem to work properly. Instead, I kept an eye on her mana and took control of her when it was low, then told her to use a restorative. That did the trick, as it maintained my party's HP and allowed use to slowly whittle Uldred to nothing.
With those three chunks of the game complete, I decided to take on some side quests, and that's what I'm doing now.
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