Words by Calasade

Keep in mind I’m playing as a human noble and we’re still in the origin part of Dragon Age. After my player-character (PC) “leaves” Castle Cousland, he goes to Ostagar with Duncan, leader of the Gray Wardens. In exchange for saving my PC’s life, Duncan has conscripted him into the order that fights Darkspawn in lieu of the upcoming Blight.

Now, DA:O is supposed to be a role-playing game, but here, just like in the previous chapter, we’ve precious few, if any, opportunities for actual role-playing. And again, similar to the previous chapter, this one is slow, though not quite at the snail-crawling pace of Castle Cousland. Perhaps you’re wondering why bother with a RPG that offers little to no role-playing in the beginning which starts out slowly.

Trust me, DA:O is worth a bit of patience. Though it is an effort, as is true from the beginning, getting past the floating weapons, which leads me to ask:

What the hell, Bioware, would EA not foot the bill for your basic sheath and harness???

Don’t even get me started on the bows missing STRINGS…

Or that you’re given arrows which NEVER run out.

Guess the ridiculous, never-ending projectile supply idea was stolen from Legolas in the LOTR movies. For a movie to do that is bad. Far worse for a game, which should be about challenging the player. Atrocious, the hand-holding that goes on. Course this is nowhere near as bad as the Witcher 3 wherein CD Projekt blatantly show their belief that every gamer out there lacks the smallest iota of intelligence, but—

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yes, that’s right.

First, before you approach the rewarding parts of DA:O, you go on an errand with the wisecracking Alistair and two other blokes. The other blokes aren’t important, but get used to Alistair as he plays a large part in the things to come. The errand for your PC and these three non-playable characters (NPC) is to venture out into the Korcari Wilds, fetch some Darkspawn blood you will later consume for the Gray Warden ritual (potentially deadly), and some Gray Warden treaties that demand certain factions help the Gray Wardens in the upcoming Blight.

The challenges aren’t difficult and the terrain…the Korcari Wilds are not imposing and are rather fake-looking. Graphics are not a strong point for DA:O.

Still, while you’re here, poke around a bit in this area that leaves a lot to be desired for extra quests and kills that add to your experience for leveling up. You will discover the chest empty that is supposed to contain the Gray Warden treaties, but never fear, here is where things at least get promising.

Enter Morrigan, voiced by the incredibly talented Claudia Black and one of the best, most interesting NPCs in this if not any game. She won’t join your party now. Not yet. But soon.

After you’ve returned from the Korcari Wilds, you begin the ritual. I think Bioware meant for this to be dramatic, but really, it’s a bit boring. While the ritual can be deadly, you know it won’t be killing your PC.

Yawn.

Just drink the damn juice already, so I can get to where there is some meat on the bone.

After you survive the blood-drinking and the two blokes die, you’re charged with lighting a lantern atop a tower. You will be going with Alistair given that Duncan wants Alistair to avoid the fighting at all costs. Why is supposed to be a surprise, but if you’ve an eye for detail, you can’t help notice how much Alistair resembles a certain someone…

The tower is FUN. Breakneck pace, lots of fighting, really suspenseful. A big, ugly baddy at the end is a challenge, especially if you’ve not played the game before. You will be surprised with what happens upon killing him.

In the next chapter, our raven-haired witch of the wilds reenters the story. :)

20 out of 40 points

 


PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:

Leliana’s Song | Castle Cousland

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