It has been sitting on my shelf for months. Every time I pick it up and insert it into my xbox I find some excuse why not to start the damn thing. Excuses that range from “I need to wash the dishes” to “I better find some space of time when I can dedicate more than x hours to it…” or “let’s just play 20 minutes of COD/Ruse/Total War/Battlefield etc and THEN I ll start Dragon Age”.
Getting into a game like Dragon Age takes long, lonnnng hours. Now I don’t mind spending long, long hours in multi-player rounds of almost any FPS, but I go into each session with self-deluding claims like “bah, I’ll just go for a few rounds until it’s time for fencing…” and then extends over the next few weeks or months of obsessive compulsive trials of every skill, weapon and attachment the game can sport. But a game like Dragon Age demands commitment right up front. You know there’s no way you can play this game on the casual one to two hours here and there basis. This is serious commitment - and I’m hugely phobic of committing my leisure time to anyone or anything that expects more than 2 or 3 hours of my attention.
Then there was the added de-motivating factor of extremely linear environments. If I am going to spend long hours in a game-world I want it to be one that lets me go where I please; that gives me props, characters and events to populate MY internally generated narrative, or biography. Linear plot-lines squeezed into corridor-like environments sends my imaginative input sobbing in a corner and brings out the annoyingly critical git in me that is notoriously intolerant when it comes to narrative segments shoved down my throat by cliche-ridden [fill genre here] characters reminiscent of the most basic examples of writing found in the respective genre.
But Dragon Age has really been a surprise. The narrative is palatable, if utterly ripped off stock fantasy classics. More importantly, the quests attached to both the main story line and side-quests are not as repetitive as one would expect from the genre. There’s a bit more than mass-chicken-killing and gullet-collecting going on here that keeps one interested in the story surrounding the quests.
[to be continued…]