I’m at the 5.5 hour mark, or so. I went through the Harrowing, I helped a Blood Mage escape, and then I traveled to a camp site with Duncan. There, I met Alistair.
When I last played Dragon Age, it was a module made with the Neverwinter Nights toolset. The campsite was small. When Duncan told me to find Alistair, I was like, “Uh, he’s right there. He’s literally 10 feet away.” But in the now-completed Dragon Age, I spent an hour wandering the camp — feeding a prisoner, trying to find booze for a guard, persuading a bodyguard to set up a meeting, tending to a wounded dog, picking flowers, and talking to everyone I could find.
To this point, I was having fun — but I didn’t quite feel “hooked”. That changed the moment I stepped out into the wilds. Leading a party of three (Alistair, and two other recruits like myself), we slayed wolves and archers and helped a dying man (fun note: I re-loaded to see what would happen if I didn’t immediately tend to his wounds; he died. That was awesome) while exploring and picking more flowers. And then I foolishly wandered in front of four archers up on a hill. I was dead before I realized where the arrows were coming from. I switched to a fighter and — realized I had no idea how to “fight”. I hit [x] a bunch of times, since that’s what my mage uses as a basic attack, but that left my guy standing there getting beat on by the archers. By the time I realized I had to press [A], the battle was over. Oops!
There, despite my increasingly-demanding desire to keep playing (in that session of Dragon Age in the Neverwinter engine, I think I cleaned out the ruins but I don’t think I played beyond that — so I’m almost caught up to the extent of my knowledge of the story’s progression), I decide to call it a night (to be honest, I’d decided to quit playing an hour earlier. My how times flies). More tomorrow, though — for certain.
Random Side Note 1: The Xbox controls seem to be, ah, loose. That is, I’ll hit [X] to go into steady-firing mode. And I’ll basically put the controller down as I watch my guy fire away. But sometimes my guy will stop shooting and walk to the right — even though I didn’t press the left-analog stick. I remember that happening in KotOR, when it was still in development. And I think I remember telling that to one of the programmers and the programmer making it so that input of less than, say, 10% of a full press resulted in no command. I wonder why that’s not in place for Dragon Age.
Random Side Note 2: I love the light highlight on the characters and their overall appearance. It’s stylized, but very lightly so. It’s, like, 80% realistic, 20% stylized. I dig it. The world is pretty monotone in regard to color, though.
Random Side Note 3: I’ve noticed a few different sites talking about hoops that make no sense. That is, “you can’t hop over this 3′ tall gate. You must, instead, do these three other tasks to get the item that you’ll then trade for a key to get through the fence.” I’ve been trying to pay attention to that kind of stuff and, so far, no problems.
Random Side Note 4: I’ve also been trying to pay attention to the overall, big picture story. Too complicated? Too simple? So far, it seems fine. Generally, I’m joining the Grey Wardens to fight the evil that wants to corrupt the world. That’s basically it. Moving into the details slightly more, there are some who are worried about a potential Blight (an organized attack by the Darkspawn). Others assume there’s nothing to worry about, that nothing is going on more than the usual random raids by the Darkspawn. The “army” wants to do their best to secure the defenses, just in case. And I’ve been sent to recover some treaties to make sure all our allies come to our aid, if needed. A nearby tower is being repaired to provide a better defense, but it’s been discovered that it has bottomless caverns; I’m assuming that when I return from getting the treaties Duncan is looking for, I’ll find out that the Darkspawn poured up into the camp.