Dragon Age first impressions
January 05, 2010

Combat system I like a lot. Yes, it's a lot like KOTOR, but I feel like the fat has been cut off the abilities. Actually, much of the game so far appeals to me.

My one gripe is an aesthetic one. The voices of the characters just don't seem to match the models. Anyone else notice this? I think it's because most of the body models are the same with just different heads mounted on them, so old men with scratchy beards and hoarse voices stand as straight as youths and have the lung capacity to speak more... less... old...

But it's also the stiffness of the animations and lip movements and the surprisingly poor textures.

EDIT: This just in. Dragon Age females have massive camel toe.

Most recent blog posts from Jonathan Stark...

WilltheGreat WilltheGreat - January 06, 2010 (12:22 AM)
Really? I had the exact opposite reaction to the combat, I thought it felt too much like an MMO where you open with your most powerful ability/spell/whatever and then use your second, then your third, and by that time your first has finished its cooldown timer and you use it again. Not to mention the AI's tendency to beeline for your PC, which once again underlines that BioWare thinks everyone should only ever play a warrior/fighter/soldier type. A rogue PC is unwieldly to say the least, and a mage is an exercise in sheer frustration.

Point is I felt combat was easily the game's weakest point(and Alistair its strongest). Hence my surprise.
- - - January 06, 2010 (05:57 AM)
Will, the reason why the enemies go for the PC is because you attack them/they see you first. You could temporarily control someone else to make them do the first hit, but I found a better remedy. In my game, Alistair is always targeted as he uses Threaten and Taunt. Heal Alistair when required and let him soak up the damage. It works a treat, and is ideal for my rogue archer character. There's also armor that reduces hostility, which helps. I've honestly had few problems on Normal difficulty so far (except for one particular side-quest boss fight), though I'm about halfway through the game.
zippdementia zippdementia - January 06, 2010 (09:30 AM)
See that doesn't bother me so much because it hearkens to dungeon crawlers of old (minus all the trips back to the inn). I like the simplicity of Dragon Age's classes and how some are meant to soak damage and others, well, aren't. They are back row hitters.

In my game, I'm playing a mage, and very rarely do the enemies target me. I make a lot of use of the tactics, though, giving NPCs precise formation orders. My rogue is set to run in first and use debilitating abilities while my mages use more powerful spells. Generally the result is that the enemy is stunned or starts to come for my mages but can't get there before they (who are set to keep distance) back away and the rogue immobilizes it.

I think people didn't quite GET the combat system. But I just came from replaying FFXII so it's all very "gambity" to me.
WilltheGreat WilltheGreat - January 06, 2010 (11:32 AM)
I suppose I did like the customization, and being able to specifically tell party NPCs what to do in a given situation, but I'd have been more happy if the tactics system were a guideline, rather than a strict playbook assumed to be all-inclusive. Some basic behavior apart from the player-written AI would not have gone amiss, nor would a larger and more flexible library of commands to draw on - if I'm going to be expected to do the programmers' job for them, I should at least be given a full set of tools.

Having to unlock more slots by character level struck me as aggravating, too. But I understand the reason that meandered its way to that design element, because giving the player a limitless tactics page for each character is...wait, why would that be a bad idea? It might actually be awesome.

Wait a minute here. Players having to write their own character AI, combat that feels too much like a WoW knockoff...these are the reasons I disliked FFXII. Zipp, you may have helped me uncover why I was unhappy with Dragon Age.
zippdementia zippdementia - January 06, 2010 (04:05 PM)
It's true. Dragon Age is the Western version of FFXII.

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