Lately I’ve been feeling a bit listless with my gaming time — LotRO and DDO are all well and fine, but I’ve needed a bit of non-Turbine games to even out my play. Unfortunately when it comes to other MMOs, I either don’t feel a pull to go to them (my re-entry into City of Heroes lasted a mere week) or I know that they require far more time from me than I currently have.
So, for right now, that leaves single-player titles. Again with the listlessness, because nothing’s really appealing. I will go back through Mass Effect 2 some day, but it’s too soon for that, so I reinstalled Dragon Age for another run-through.
This time around, I’m a psychotic yet cute dwarf named Echoes who never hesitates to say the worst thing or make the worst decision and giggle about it later. I had fun tormenting an elf servant who was trying to deliver a sword to his master — I first lied and said that I was there to pick up the sword, then blackmailed the elf into giving it to me, and finally killed the elf just because. You know, elf.
(It’s hilarious to me that Dragon Age tries to make elves all sympathetic by having them as a secondary class — something The Witcher did as well. It’s about time someone put them in their place.)
Anyway, Dragon Age isn’t really thrilling this time around, even with crazy dwarf taking the lead. While BioWare did an excellent job in Mass Effect 2 with giving us tricky moral dilemmas and two approaches — nice guy or ruthless — that equally worked, Dragon Age’s situation is much more cut and dry, and obviously tailored for the nice guy approach. Listen, I understand that it’s easier to come up with reasons for nice guys to accept quests pro bono and help out the world just because, but I’m still looking for the game where characters of other personalities (evil, insane, quirky, anti-hero, self-centered, etc.) are rewarded with as rich of a story and gameplay. BioWare’s heading in the right direction with ME2 and (hopefully) TOR, but Dragon Age wasn’t it.
Being bad in Dragon Age does one of three things:
- I get away with doing something awful with little or no consequence, and benefit only slightly through it.
- Makes most of your party grouse at you and force you to feed them gifts so they won’t leave.
- Takes away dialogue, options, choices and even quests.
This last part is what annoys me. If the game punishes me for being bad by taking away content, then I have no incentive to roleplay that style, and every incentive to go the Nice Guy route. I haven’t seen quests open up because I’m a jerk, and often have to reload the game due to a botched conversation that ended up screwing me.
Anyway, I’m 1/5th of the way through a new campaign and have lost most, if not all, interest in finishing simply because the bad guy route is so lackluster and narrow. Maybe Mass Effect 2 does deserve another look…