More Dragon Age 2


… So apparently there has been controversies surrounding Dragon Age 2 now. People have written about it – people who are professional writers and have already covered most of what I could add, so I will try to keep this brief. I should mention that I tend to side with the developers in cases like this since what usually boils down to “You didn’t make the game I wanted to play!” is not an argument for anything – I make no claims of being objective.

The game has been criticized for being derivative, dumbed down, a cash-in sequel failing in both high- and low-level design and whatnot, I can agree with most of this to some degree. The game design of Dragon Age 2 has not been tweaked for a smooth experience at all times. Some of this might be because of studio issues stemming from lingering problems from the recession – the game may have been hurried or people may have been moved to the team because of lack of work rather than a need for manpower. The games industry, like any other creative endevour turned into a billion dollar business, is more than anything a matter of compromise.

But I think that a lot of it is simply because the important part of the game is the story, more specifically the characters and the relations between them and the issues presented. I am reminded of a quote by Chris Hecker;

People who are putting aliens and orcs into their games right now are not Philip K. Dick, Gene Roddenberry, nor Rod Serling, and do not need to resort to sci-fi and fantasy to deal with important social issues lest they be censored and not allowed to work in their chosen form. People who are putting aliens and orcs into their games right now just like aliens and orcs.

… My point being that the supernatural elements in the Dragon Age universe manage to be just that; a veil to tell a story about important social issues. When you take stand on an issue it will affect characters – it will affect gameplay both directly through AI actions changing, and indirectly through the storyline changing and characters saying different things to you. By trying to stay true to your own ideals, you cannot make every character like you, and the game treats you differently for it. A friend and I spent lunch discussing our experiences with Dragon Age 2 and the game really grew for me. Even though we had played the same class and sided with the same factions, the difference in how the story played out was remarkable – he had solved situations I had thought impossible and vice versa. In the end, the things I remember most from both Origins and Dragon Age 2 are how going into a situation with good intentions could produce results that you really did not want. It felt wrong, but having a game invoke that feeling was special.

So I think most critique against the game is backwards; I would personally consider it a failure if a Dragon Age game did not make you feel uneasy. In the words of Tycho;

That feeling, the one that you’re feeling? That is the game.

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Posted on Apr 02/11 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »