Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ferelden Blues: A look back at Dragon Age and the Journey to Dragon Age 2

*Presses Start*

Let me start off by saying that I love RPGs. I love them all, and a ton of them rank up there as one of my favorite game experiences of all time. It's just not the normal Final Fantasy, Either. 3 of my top RPGs of all time aren't even Final Fantasies at all (Chrono Trigger, Star Ocean: The Second Story and Persona 4). That's not to say that I dislike them. There's very few that I can say I really just don't like, and even then, that's not to say that they're terrible games, that's just saying that there was something in that game that I couldn't get into (I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy XII) and caused me to be slightly disappointed. That's also a huge gamble in RPGs today. You have to be emotionally invested in your character and in your team. If not, you're risking having your pride and joy in the bargain bin. A little company called BioWare understood and complied with amazing force.

Back in 2009, BioWare released a game that sucked up over 100 hours worth of game play from me. Dragon Age origins told the story of a man who fought the darkspawn. The back story and the character was entirely up to you. This was one of the first games that I played that let you build up your character from scratch (Save for Fallout) and unleash havoc on the world that BioWare created. For me, I was living the high life until my castle was ambushed and killed my family, leaving me to become a Grey Warden and eventually save the world from the Blight. YES. The way that they told the tale for this game was amazingly well done and enough for me to drop everything that I was doing to finish this game. A year later, While my Dragon Age lust was still hot, they announced Dragon Age II, coming the following year. Now, usually I'm alright with sequels as long as the first one is done correctly (See Bulletstorm review) But what I'm not a fan of is announcing a sequel of a game that is still relatively new. I can understand striking while the iron is hot, but that may have been a bit TOO quick. Bioware was quick to piss people off, and the next announcement wasn't going to be any better.

Bioware announced that they were going to make DA2 more "streamlined", "faster" and "less tactical". For a fan of the first game and how tactical it was, I was kinda upset. I didn't want streamlined. DA:O was for the hardcore gamers who wanted to take control of everything, and that's where I wanted it to stay. Then they announced that the character that you took control of in the second one couldn't be ported to the second one. Why? Because they were giving you a person to start off with, instead of making him your own. That's right. Wanted to be a elf blood mage? Out of the question. You had to be a human. That was the most upsetting thing that I've read. I was a human to start off, but I loved the Elf's back story that was created. If I wanted to replay the game and start off completely new, I couldn't do it. As if all that wasn't a big back stab to the fans, BioWare also made a completely new battle system. You wanted to press X and let your character duke it out while you kicked back? Not anymore. Everything was now in real time, taking away the tactical portion of the game.

Pissed off isn't a way to put it. Fans were fucking LIVID.

It seemed like BioWare had turn their back on their fans. I have to admit, I wasn't 100% sure that BioWare still had it anymore. They cut out what seemed to be major portions of their game for a faster and quicker experience for everyone. Like the selfish fanboy I was, I didn't want the game for everyone. I wanted it for me. Of course, as time goes by, I settled down. I decided that the very best I could do was give it a shot and hope for the best. The trailer looked cool, so at very least I could scoop it up and say "Hey BioWare, I have faith that you'll do me proud". Did they disappoint?

Part 1 of Dragon Age 2 coming really really soon. Until then,


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