I love the Dragon Age games. You get hours and hours of play time with the in-depth story line and multitude of locations that you need to visit. I enjoy the character interactions and their storylines, along with the main quest story being so well thought out.
I remember when I first played DAO. As with any role playing game, I tend to want to do the heroic thing, who doesn’t, right? So first play through you make all the (right) choices, or the ones that at least seem the most heroic. Save the elves, help the dwarves, free the mage users, depose Logaine (was that the name of the guy who took the throne?), and let his daughter rule. So Mages, Dwarves and Elves show up at the end battle. Then once I’ve played the game, then I really play the game. First time is usually, for me, learn the mechanics and finish the game. Second play is to really look deeper into the game, find things I didn’t on the first play through, I mean this time, you know what you’re doing so you can really pay attention to a lot more. Second play through I also have a tendency to do the opposite of what I did the first time through. The character is more “out for themselves” . Help the werewolves, make more Golems, side with the Templars (so you have these guys assisting you at the end), make Logaine a Grey Warden so Alister storms off and leaves. Funny thing about that last choice, in DA2 you see a drunk Alister in the bar where Isabella hangs out mumbling about how he is supposed to be king. The romancing is fun also. First game (heroic) I romanced Morrigan, second game (roughish) I romanced everyone (yep I wanted to sleep with everyone), and Leliana called me out in the game. She confronted me about it and told me to choose, so I chose her.
The replay value of the game is off the charts. They are long games to begin with but when you switch up your character, it is well worth the $60 price tag of the game. I’ll usually play dual blade rogue first, then sword/shield warrior, then magic user offensive, bow rogue, and finally magic user healer/defensive. Not to mention playing as different races during all of these character changes. Noble human, gutter dwarf, woodland elf, noble dwarf, city elf. The way NPC’s, as well as your companions, and the story itself changes because of this simple choice is truly astounding. I think this was also one of the first games, where what you wearing, what armor you had on, is what you saw during the cut-scenes, and that astounded me. I would wear lower ranked armor at times just because it looked better.
I also tended to keep my team (in all games) fairly static. If I liked a companion they were in my group, which usually consisted of 1 rogue, 1 warrior, 2 magic users (1 being a healer). Depending on the AT I was playing would mean who I was swapping in for. If I played an archer, Leliana was sidelined, playing a healer, Wynne was sidelined. It’s usually not until my 3rd or 4th play through on DAO that I also really got into the advance tactics mode. Setting up your companions to act a certain way in combat really advanced the game. Telling Wynne to heal someone when they hit 25% health, Morrigan to use a dispel spell when enemy defensive magic was in the air, etc. That’s also when I came to appreciate the Mabari war hound. I found him useless the first few times I played, but once the hounds skill tree is expanded on (he was like a mini-tank), and you used advanced tactics, he became indispensable. I set him up as my mage killer, since you are dealing with a lot of blood magic the first game. If a mage was in the battle, he went straight for him, interrupting his spell casting and taking him down.
And then there are the companions, conversing with each other as you walk the land. When I had the hound in my group finally, I heard Leliana start to talk. “I think I will write a story about this, about you. How brave you are for doing this, your fearlessness.” *WOOF* “You have strength, and you are extremely loyal, not to mention handsome.” *WOOF* It took me a bit to realize she was talking to the dog.
In DA2 I think my only disappointment was that a lot of the action took place in Kirkwall itself. That and having those one on one discussions with a companion meant running around town and find them, as opposed to DAO where everyone was just around the camp fire. I did like a lot about the game though. If you take Bethany (or the other sibling )to the deep roads, also take Anders, so when she gets attacked by the darkspawn he will rush her to a Grey Warden he knows who performs the ritual on her, and she comes back at the end game to help the town. I like Merrill a lot, as well as Isabella (and romanced both in separate games) and of course Varric. Sebastian became my mage killer in that game, he had a powerful one shot power.
For DAI I tended to romance Cassandra or Sera. Bull was always on the sidelines, didn’t care for him, and Vivian only came with me for Dragon Slaying, her Knight Enchanter shadow blade ?? (some power that formed a blade) was a must have when fighting the dragons, it totally decimate the dragon’s guard power, other than that I couldn’t stand her, she was too haughty. As much fun as Dorian’s banter was, I kept him sidelined as well. It was usually my character, Solas (I like his veil powers), Cassandra and Sera as a team, with Varric in once in a while for Sera’s spot. Blackwall sometimes in place of Cassandra, and Cole always sat out.
My biggest complaint (not against the game, but fate) is how after DAO, when you played DA2 it see the saved games from DAO and ask if you wanted to import you world decisions. Yes of course. In DA2 they came out with Dragon Keep so you can store all your saved games there, but fate was cruel and my PS hard drive crashed wiping out all my saved game data from both DAO and DA2. So when I played DAI I didn’t have anything to import from prior games decisions. Talk about being bummed out.