I think this is interesting. It’s given me the chance to see and watch games evolve. Usually, I find the first game in a series to be a bit more difficult to get into and I don’t usually like them as much as newer games. The older games usually make me appreciate the newer ones more. That’s not always true though as my favorite Final Fantasy games were made around 20 years ago.
Of all the series I’ve played most recently, the first game in The Witcher series was the one I disliked the most. I liked the characters and story, but one particular sound in a town at night bothered me. Once I moved on to The Witcher 2, I was able to appreciate it more, but I was still left some what unimpressed. This succession, however, again made me appreciate The Witcher 3 more, which I loved. Now, when I play a game series, I often think of my experience with The Witcher series and I mentally compare the experiences.
Dragon Age: Origins was similar to The Witcher in that it was difficult to get into. In fact, it wasn’t until my third attempt at playing it that I finally made some progress and finish it. The combat system was definitely something I had to get used to. The graphics weren’t quite up to par with today’s normal, but they weren’t horrible either. In the end, I enjoyed DAO. I’ve seen some replay value in it, so there’s a chance I may play it again.
One of the things I’ve loved about the DA series is the ability to import saved games. I was able to do this for DAO DLC and for the next games in the series. Apparently, I was able to import my DAO save into DA2, which would reflect my DAO game play, including decisions I had made. Decisions seemed be a large part of DA2, I was often given choices about what to do and I saw the consequences of those decisions that I made. I thought that was refreshing and entertaining. Of course, DA2 is a pretty big visual upgrade over DAO, which was impressive, until I started playing Inquisition.
The visual difference in all the games in this series is obvious. DAI is so much better looking than DAO or DA2. It was released only a few years ago and it certainly still looks like a “new” game. I noticed that at least one returning character from DA2 even looks different. Honestly, I think the beauty of DAI reflects the beauty of the game itself. I’m only just less than 30 hours in and I’m loving it.
As DA2 offered a variation of the battle system in DAO, DAI does that for DA2. I agree with something Scrypt said in that DAI is a bit of a mix of the combat systems in the two previous game. In fact, there is a learning curve, even if you’ve played the other two games. That’s because combat feels more active. You can still pause combat and issue commands, but instead of right-clicking on an enemy for your character to attack, you actually left-click. In DAO, you only had to click once and your character would attack the enemy, but in DAI, you have to click for each attack, or hold down the mouse button.
There are recurring characters. I assume that they are there whether or not you’ve imported your save from DA2, but I’m not sure. The story seems pretty good and seems to be related to the events of DA2. The story doesn’t feel completely original though, because it’s basically much like Oblivion. Portals to a bad dimension spawn in the world and it’s your job to close them (you’ll find out why when you play). This game actually reminds me of Oblivion even more by various other things, including herb collection.
You could argue that the DA series is an open-world RPG, but to me, it seems DAI is more open. The world maps in these games doesn’t look very big, but you can choose where to go and what to do. Granted there are limitations, but the story doesn’t tell you to first go to one location, then the next, etc. You can do many things in whatever order you wish. In DAI you can even ride a mount around, which isn’t necessarily a horse. In fact, I recently killed a Higher Dragon and unlocked a mount that’s a dragon that acts like a horse. It’s shaped like one, but the head and coloration are different. There’s a lot to discover and do. You can also fast travel between campsites or the world map.
There’s a war going on in DAI between the mages and templars and the Inquisition is working towards peace. Apparently, at one point you have to choose a side, but I have not yet made that choice. There’s a war room in which you get to see the game map and both sides of the war. There are mission markers on the map for you to select a mission to work on. Then, you can assign one of your allies to a mission. Each ally (I think there are 3) has a specialization. One has connections, another is a spy master, and another is a military commander. Each will affect a mission differently and you can choose how to approach a mission. This is just a brief, basic description, there’s more involved.
DA is truly a fantasy RPG. It contains elements that are in so many fantasies and RPGs, some of which can be see in stories like Lord of the Rings. There are mages, dwarves, humans, elves, dragons, monsters, etc. There are different classes of characters, mage, warrior, and rogue. Mages deal with magic, warriors with sword and similar weapons, and rogues who specialize in stealth, bows and arrows, and other useful things such as lock picking. Like The Elder Scrolls, this series doesn’t force you to be a particular race or class. So, there’s definitely freedom and replay value.
While I experienced stability issues with DAO and DA2, DAI has never crashed. I haven’t run into many issues, the ones I can think of are a bit minor. One of the issues is so far my biggest complaint and that is the volume level. The game is too quiet. I’ve ensured that loudness equalization is enabled (in my Windows volume mixer settings), which definitely helps, but it’s still not enough. Perhaps that’s also because I’ve decided that this is a game that I should have my PC fans running at maximum while playing, since this it is so graphically intense.
So, once again I’m currently playing the last (for now) game in a series. It reminds me of the other times I played a series starting with the first game. Those first games aren’t usually all that wonderful, but I believe they help increase the enjoyment of playing newer games in the series. I’m thinking about checking out the Mass Effect series next.
If you like fantasy elements, open worlds, and RPGs, then DA may be for you. I would recommend playing DAO then DA2 and then DAI. I now see why one of my friends raves about this series all the time. It is good, even if it’s a rough start (with DAO), it’s definitely worth it (to me).
Feel free to add to the conversation here. Let me know if you’ve played DAI, what you think about it, or if this is something that might interest you. This, to me, definitely feels like a really good game and I can now see why it seems to be very popular. Unfortunately, it’s not yet on Steam.