A while back I posted my first impressions of Dragon Age. I have to say that since then, my opinion of the game has only improved.
Let’s start with addressing my biggest complaint from the first post- yes, you can skip dialog. (I believe it’s the Y button on the x-box.) This is extremely useful in follow-up playthroughs, or big boss fights preceded by a lengthy dialog tree. However, I found I’m using it less with Gaston, my new character, than I had expected to.
The end game is suitably epic. By around level 20 or so, your character is an ultimate badass, and you fight swarms of lower level characters. This is a great feeling. The endgame area is hugely awesome, with the stakes being high and the opposition being just as badass. I don’t think it can hold a candle to Mass Effect in terms of badass endgame sequences (after all, it’s just the world that’s at-stake, not the galaxy), but damn is the boss-fight more memorable (minor spoiler: it’s a Dragon. And a tough one.) The ending has a recap/epilogue for all the plot seeds and the choices you made, so it’s nice to have a reminder of how your decisions play out.
I’m currently a good chunk through my second playthrough, this time playing as a Blood Mage and taking delight in seeing my enemies literally explode, and taking the choices I didn’t the first time around. With four more character backgrounds to go, I’m still looking forward to my next playthrough.
Also, this time I took advantage of Dragon Age’s downloadable content. The decision to have day-one DLC was rather controversial, though given the design parameters, it’s less of a money-grab than it’s being presented as. (The in-game reminders are perhaps a bit tacky, granted.) Shale is a badass golem ally, and Warden’s Keep is pretty darn fun. The price tag on Shale is a bit steep, but Warden’s Keep is fairly cheap, and so far seems like the better bang for the buck, generating another dungeon and unique special abilities, 2 per class. (My mage gained the ability to trade health for mana, and a spell that damages me a little bit, but my enemies more.)
The verdict: Truly epic fantasy roleplay.