So… Dragon Age

Dragon Age is currently rocking my world.

The main reason why? Final Fantasy XII’s Gambit system is here.   As I mentioned last year, I loved the gambit system.  It always annoys me that in RPGs that you can’t set up a bunch of standing orders for obvious situations – no brainers are not the kind of micromanagement that makes for a good game. For example:

    * Low on health? Drink a potion, stupid.
    * For most spells in any RPG, it’s usually obvious in what situations you should use them, so do it.
    * If you’ve got this ability that does a little extra at no significant cost (e.g. the usual Warrior “kick” ability) it’s pretty obvious you should hammer out that ability as much as possible.

And so on. The Gambit system (“Tactics” in Dragon Age) is all about this – you can set up certain conditions that certain abilities, items, modes are activated. All the unnecessary micromanagement in the RPG is streamlined while your involvement as a player is not eliminated because, after all, you set up the rules in which they happen.

On a whole other level, the main reason why is Dragon Age is rocking my world is because the storyline rocks. It’s very solid, and delivered in a very compelling manner. Bioware is known for presenting a cast of characters you can really connect with in their game, and the ones in Dragon Age are perhaps the most potent yet. The custom fantasy world they created for this game is also quite interesting in the minor details they introduced to the usual fantasy fare – the Darkspawn are really an excellent set of ultimate bad guys. Like Sauron’s Orc legions (LOTR) if he had twisted divine providence going for him. (No, that’s not a spoiler, that’s pretty much the entire intro movie.)

Those who say Dragon Age is a good substitute for Baldur’s Gate are suffering from nostalgia. This game is way better than any Baldur’s Gate game, it has whole new levels of mechanics and refinement that make Baldur’s Gate look like crap in comparison. It’s not just the gambit/tactics system (though that is a big selling point for me) but little things like having a unified party inventory.

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