Nov 29, 2009

Dragon Age - How The Dwarves Met Their Fate

Recently I played - and enjoyed quite a bit - Bioware's recently-released Dragon Age: Origins, which can best be described as a cross between Baldur's Gate and Mass Effect. The NPCs are particularly well-written, with what seems like hundreds of different, unique personalities, most of them convincing. It feels less like Fun With Excel or Pong 2009, and more like a novel - a rather well-written one, at that.

Which leads us to my main complaint about it - the enemies. Now, the enemies are rather typical fare - evil, twisted monsters, bandits, Ladies & Gents Of Questionable Morals, animals, and the like. Problem is, the world feels real - and so my real-life morality kicks in quite heavily. I found that the main fault of the game was that I had to kill these people and animals, most of whom didn't really deserve it. I felt less like "Hey, whatever, I'm gonna level up!" and more like "But... I don't wanna kill him! Let me talk him down... He attacked!"

This is particularly bad because the game follows the good, ol' tradition of having more enemy NPCs than friendlies - as such, during my murderous rampage through Ferelden, my kind, compassionate, goody-two-shoes ended up murdering more people in her heroic quest than she saved by completing it. The Dwarves, in particular - their numbers already depleted to the pain threshold - suffered, as I killed the 2/3 of their numbers that consisted of criminals. Without getting any choice, because the main quest would not advance until they were dead. Sigh.

Bioware, you guys make great games, but... pacifist option, please?

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