Unlike some video games that are out there it’s available on multiple platforms; Xbox, Playstation, and on the computer, so that everyone that wants to play the game can without having to have the right console.
The game’s main character is one of the user’s choosing, and there is a different introductory origin story for each choice that forms the basis that the rest of the game is built on.
This isn’t to say that the story line is different depending on what choices you make, because over all you go through the same storylines no matter how you interact.
The difference is how you get the tasks done; you may be able to diplomatically diffuse a situation, or you may talk your way into a fight you didn’t have to have. The right discussions with the right characters can lead to rewarding side quests.
Some courses of action will annoy your group, because each character has their own set of morals, and may disapprove of your decision to help, or not help, a certain NPC.
You can affect how the characters feel about you to the point of forming a romantic relationship with them on one extreme, to having them abandon the party on the other. Each character that can join your party has their own unique traits, and the more they like you the more likely they are to impart that knowledge to you.
The plot is the typical one for most RPGs; the world is in grave danger and only you can help save it. Each character has a rich history and a full set of character traits and personality. Morrigan is a mage that lived in the backcountry with her mother learning the art of magic in a way not taught by the Mage Circle of Ferelden. Alistair is a Templar turned Gray Warden who had an interesting childhood.
These two are particularly interesting, because Templars are sworn to hunt down Mages that don’t conform to the Mage Circle standards, but they’re both in your party for a higher purpose. This is another area that the depth of the game comes in, because as you’re walking around town, these two will sometimes start bickering with each other.
There is witty banter, non sequiturs, and comic relief all interspersed in a long and intricately developed game. If you like RPGs even a little bit, this one is a can’t miss.
The actual gameplay is good too. The combat is of a real-time style, but does allow you to pause and control your party’s actions. You can set up tactics so that your teammates will heal when they need to, or pick off a weak enemy, or use a debuff on a strong one. Movement is easy, switching between characters is a snap, and the camera control is excellent.
The best part of the game is that you can pretty much set your own pace. You can speed through things, minimize boring storyline and get to the action. You can also delve into the deep storylines, plots, and history laid out at every turn. You can interact with your party to learn more about them, unlock different abilities, or blow them off and learn nothing about them except how they can help you annihilate the enemy. The game is a long one, but when it’s over you wish there was more. Luckily all signs point to a sequel.
Last week, when I reported that Turbine was allowing people to play Dungeons and Dragons Online for free, I only briefly mentioned the negative press that Role-Playing Games received in the early eighties and late nineties.
As a kid who used to play D&D and other role playing games, I heard stories of people who committed suicide when their Player Characters had died, and I didn’t really give it much thought. However, when many Christian groups began to equate the game as some portal into Satanism, I often wondered if they were talking about the same Dungeons and Dragons game.
I remember reading one Christian pamphlet that was supposed to be an expose on RPGs, but some of the information in it was just plain wrong. I mean, it said that the He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. I’m sure there are a lot of geeks out there now who are thinking: oh come on! Do your research.
I’m sure the person who wrote that pamphlet just didn’t get their facts straight. There was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon that ran for about two seasons. They probably just heard that there was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, and just simply assumed that the He-man cartoon was it. It’s an honest mistake, but it shows how much conservative groups never actually researched, much less played the RPGs that they criticized.
There must have been some sort of anti-D&D bandwagon that was happening, and those who never played the game were creating a boycott for those who played the game. In the same manner, gamers who heard the argument against RPGs could not accept the facts as given any more than I did.
The alienation of RPG gaming eventually led to a very strong gamer counter-culture which is no doubt the target audience of most MMO and other RPG video games of today. Still, there seems to be a strong pervasive stereotype that says that gamers are guys who still live in their mother’s basements, and are completely incapable of living in any reality that is real.
For this reason, gaming continues to have a negative slant in today’s media. There is yet to be a movie based on a video game that has been a huge success, and most video games portrayed in movies tend to be negative. That is, you always see the geek characters playing them while the cooler characters apparently have better things to do.
Another negative portrayal is due out this Fall that is simply called Gamer. It takes place in a future world where gamers can somehow play other people, like puppets, apparently. Their puppets are actual prisoners put in violent scenarios, and the public just sits back and watches. Think of it a better version of The Running Man, but it has Gerard Butler instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yes, Gamer confirms all of our fears about video games taking over the world, turning into a hellish place. Once again, the video game industry gets another bad spotlight since The Ultimate Gamer. Could someone make a film that put video games in a positive light? Something that isn’t like The Wizard, which was some huge ad for Nintendo. You know, video games do inspire people once in a while. Every thought about doing a film about that, Hollywood?
Over at Good Old Games, where you can buy DRM-free classic PC games that are compatible with modern hardware, they’re having a 15% off sale on a host of RPGs.
Each game costs either $5.99 or $9.99 before the discount, and the sale ends on January 20th.
The RPG classics included in the sale are: Arx Fatalis, Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Gothic, Invictus: In The Shadow of Olympus, Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader, Sacred Gold, and Stonekeep.
Good Old Games has released a couple games for free before, and their site is an all around great place to find classic games without any hassle, and for a modest price. Plus their catalogue is constantly growing, with more classic games added almost every week.
So if you’ve never played the original Fallout series now’s your chance to grab the fantastic games on the cheap!