Some years ago, I received a recommendation to play the Dragon Age games. I ended up buying the Ultimate Edition for PS3. Want to know how much time I spent with it? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s less than 10 hours, definitely less than 20. I’m not sure why I stopped playing it. Perhaps it was the battle system. I’m not used to characters acting on their own, thus removing the need for me to keep pressing buttons (or keys for the PC) to keep attacking. You can even pause the action and issue commands to each party member. This felt new and odd to me, but I am now a bit more comfortable with it.

Years later, Origin offered DAO for free (without any DLC). I was glad to have the game on PC (having a kick ass PC has made me an almost exclusive PC gamer). Again, want to know how much time I spent with it? I could possibly find out by opening up Origin now, but that won’t be necessary. I’m sure I’ve spent less than 20 hours. This comes as a surprise to me presently, because it felt like I had spent more time with it.

In recent years, a friend has often raved about DA and strongly recommends the series. I did download a demo for Dragon Age Inquisition, which allows only 6 hours of game play. I tried it out, but I was still uncomfortable with the battle system, so I hardly played it. However, I recently decided to buy the DA series. I got DAO’s Ultimate Edition on Steam and I believe I have DA2 and DAI on Origin.

Steam says I’ve spent 21 hours playing this time, but I know that doesn’t actually reflect my current saved game. I made it to the tower in Ostagar and decided to lower the difficulty from normal to easy. Now it’s a much more enjoyable game. The funny thing is that in this third time of starting out the game, I am now further into it than I’ve ever gotten. I still feel close to the beginning. I may be ¼ of the way through it, I’m not sure, because I don’t know how many hours this game has. I imagine it’s a lot, but the map looks small, so I’m not sure.

In my three attempts (one currently successful) to start the game, I have always chosen to be a noble male warrior. I’m not sure what weapons I used in the previous two attempts, whether they were one- or two-handed swords, but now I’m using one-handed swords with a shield. Once again, I did rescue Sten. I have him using two-handed swords and right now he has the beautiful Butterfly Sword which came as a free gift due to one of the game’s DLC. I love it!

I never reached specialization in any of my other attempts to play this, but my main character now has the Berserker specialization. I chose this because of the health bonus. I had Morrigan in my party until I did the quest for the Circle of Magi and met Wynne, who is now the mage in my party because she’s a healing mage. I also have Zevran in my party, because I need a rogue to help me open locked chests. Unfortunately, he still has “insufficient skill” to open almost everything I try to open, so I need him to level up. What I love about him is that he sounds like an Elder Scrolls Khajiit.

The game is about 8 years old now and I feel like it’s aged well, in other words it still looks decent. I’m not saying that the game’s graphics are exceptional, but to me it doesn’t look bad. I find some games are difficult to play after they’ve aged a while as the graphical quality is often hard to “get over.” The modern games I play put my GPU to work, I can definitely tell by how much noise is coming out of my fans, since I have them set to “auto.” However, I also have manual settings that I switch to when playing games like Ark: Survival Evolved and No Man’s Sky.

Anyway, if anyone wants to jump in here and discuss the game, your comments are welcome. I may update this post (via comments) as I progress and think of more things to discuss about it. My future DA path looks like this; finish DAO, then check out DAO’s Awakening and other DLC, then play DA2, and then play DAI.

Feel free to let me know what you think of this game and the others in the series. I may create other DA posts as I progress to each different game.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/23/2017 at 01:01pm

Your attempts to start this sound like my attempts to start Mass Effect. It took me three times to get past 6 or 7 hours. I'm thrilled I finally did, but that first game was a slow burn. I gather Dragon Age is as well from other people's comments. I have played about an hour of it so far and it looks really interesting.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 03/23/2017 at 06:12pm

Interesting. I can't really think of many other games I've started this many times and failed to make significant progress. On the contrary, I've played Skyrim 3 times, but I believe I completed it each time. I seem to recall Jon saying his experience w/ DA's battle system was similar to mine.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/23/2017 at 07:35pm

It's very strange/unique. It's not even turn based, it's weird. But it works! I haven't put much time in at all, I just needed something to take my mind off waiting for Andromeda so I fired it up. I plan on diving into that series next.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 03/23/2017 at 09:15pm

Cool! Maybe you'll post something and I can join your conversation. I might do the opposite, play ME after DA. I'm not really sure what I'll play when I finish this series. I do want to hop back into Ark to check out the latest patch, but I don't want to do that while playing one of these DA games, because I'm afraid I'll forget what's going on and feel like I have to start over again. Ark can wait, for now.

DAO just crashed on me. It's done that at least once before. That reminds me that this is one of those games where saving often is definitely something you want to do. I just lost some progress again. Ah well.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/24/2017 at 04:50am

DAO was recommended to me years ago and I started playing and walked away about when you did. I absolutely __LOVED__ Neverwinter Nights which this is a spiritual successor to. Again, very similar to NwN which I loved but somehow, Dragon Age Origins didn't hit me quite right. I think it was the combat too and at some point the difficulty spiked and it was already feeling like work so I stepped away.

It's one of those games I bet if I came back to i'd enjoy in bursts but I think it might also be a game for another kind of gamer or another version of myself. Back when Neverwinter Nights came out that was the only new game I had that could run on my college laptop. I had played WarCraft III so much I wore out the CD's(not really but I played it a crazy amount) and I was looking for something else. Neverwinter Nights offered a metric junkload of gameplay and I really enjoyed it and bought the two expansions that came out for it.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 03/24/2017 at 05:20am

I've never played NwN, but DAO reminds me of Lord of the Rings and The Elder Scrolls. Since you mentioned it, I haven't played WarCraft III either (although I do have a demo of it on my PC).

Did you ever lower the difficulty when you played? I feel no shame that I'm playing it on "easy" now, it (to me) certainly makes the game much more enjoyable. That doesn't mean I don't get my ass kicked, but it's usually not so bad or often.

The game offers a variety of choices. For example, in the quest I'm working on now with the dwarves, the king is dead (trust me, not a major spoiler), and I can choose which of the two sides to support. There are other choices to me made as well. I can recall at least one bad ass kicking you can avoid, by saying the right thing. At another point, there's a dragon, which you clearly see, but it won't attack you unless you blow a certain horn (or hit the gong for the console version).

There are also plenty of gifts you can give to your party members, which raises or lowers their disposition to you (how much they like you). I haven't run into it yet, but it seems "romancing" certain characters is a very popular thing among DA fans. You can do this via gift giving. If you do decide to "romance" a character, you're not limited to herterosexuality.

One of my biggest annoyances so far is trying to righ-click on (to open) something on the ground (like a chest) and instead right-clicking on a character, which initiates a conversation. So, sometimes while my characters are following me, they get in the way. Your party members don't have to follow you every where as you can have them stay put or "move freely."

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/24/2017 at 02:21pm

> I feel no shame that I'm playing it on "easy" now, it (to me) certainly makes the game much more enjoyable.

I play a lot of games on easy these days. I had more patience for it back in the day but I just don't have time to master a game the way I used to. If I'm getting home from work, then relaxing a bit before/after dinner, then getting maybe 2 hours of gaming in, I don't want to spend half that time repeating stuff because I died.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 03/27/2017 at 12:33am

Wow, Steam says 40 hours. Even on easy the last part was extremely difficult. Luckily you can use your army allies and call them into battle. In the final battle I used golems and when they died I called in the dwarves. Now I have Awakening and the DLC to do.

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