Played through as a city elf warrior. Had trouble balancing the party at first, Eventually found that three melee fighters and a healer makes a good party for my play style. I do agree with you AG, the mage is definitely stronger than the other classes. I also experienced some technical issues, but that might just be me.Good
-Firstly, the writing is excellent. The story is very well told, and the choices you have to make affect the game world tangibly. None of them are the kick the puppy /pet the puppy of most RPGs. All choices are grey and never fall into clear good/bad. Playing against and for the many factions is really satisfying. The plot was incredibly engaging throughout, And due to this, the game has immediate replay value to see how different characters/choices would work.
-Companions are very well written, with good character depth. Alistair in particular is very responsive to your choices. Dialogue throughout is also excellent, and the party banter is genuinely funny. The Companion quests are actually worth it. I also like that the time spent talking to your companions is rewarded by stats boost, and in the case of wynne, a very powerful ability.
-Tactics screen is very useful. I wish more rpgs would take this as an example of how to manage parties.
-I agree with you AG, the atmosphere is really well done, and the settings are great. I look forward to more from these writers and from Ferelden. The ruins in the Brecillian forest are great, as is Orzammar. I wish I could have seen more of Denerim. Its seems like a lot could be going on in such a city, and I feel a lost opportunity
-A minor point is also the lack of levelling enemies, so that enemies that are bosses at the beginning (eg: ogre) will become easier to kill as you progress, giving you great feedback on how far you've come. (some sidequest can only be completed easily at higher levels). I'm pretty sure this is only for side quests though, so you can enjoy the main quest at any level.Bad
-I am very disappointed and a little angry at having extra content advertised in-game. It is a cheap trick to get me to spend money, and it feels like it. If the content was ready at launch, it should have been included in-game. I have no problems with add-ons, but this marketing strategy is antagonistic to players who have spent their money on your game. Big No. (1/10 lost because of this alone)
-Technical problems and long load times cause suspension of disbelief. I had particular problems with large rendering artefacts during cutscenes, where I couldn't go and change the AA settings to force a re-render. (At one point, duncan lost his facial texture, and was left as a pair of eyballs and a scalp, which while funny, distracts from the storyline somewhat) Load times seem to be proportional to how long you have been playing. After playing for a while load times between scenes were enough to allow me to go down two flights of stairs, make tea, and come back up.
-Disappointed by the mage origin story. The human noble, dwarf noble and the city elf origins have great emotional depth, and really set the character, but the mage origin seems bland.
-Some Mook grind in places. Being the illegitimate offspring of baldur's gate this shouldn't be too surprising, But I got used to a different pace. A lot of rooms are unrealistically filled with mooks, seemingly for your blade's enjoyment alone. It gets distractingNeutral
-Expected a different gameplay/system. The system is what has already been seen in many other games before. This isn't good or bad. I had simply expected something else. Character system is simpler than previous DnD based games, but doesn't really stand out. The specialisation classes are fun to obtain though.
-Engine/Graphics decent, but does not excel in comparison to other contemporary titles. This never detract from a great game though.Conclusion
While technically not innovative (In fact somewhat old fashioned), this game is a gem in term of the beautifully crafted storyline and emotional engagement. The writing is superb, and the plot has a real depth which is indeed rare in modern games. it does not patronise the player, and responds surprisingly well to choices. Great replay value too.
Would happily recommend to anybody.
As for the citadel being used by level editors/plot authors: That would be great! Just wish they'd post some of their "cut in production" stories here as a token of gratitude for the inspiration. I wouldn't mind reading more about Ferelden. In fact, a pen & paper RPG was build side by side: http://greenronin.com/dragon_age/
. I can definitely see things like the chantry and the legends being born here at strolen's.