Final Thoughts on the “Dragon Age” Series … So Far

So, let me talk about my overall thoughts of the “Dragon Age” series so far: as a fantasy RPG series, it’s … good. I’m not sure that I want to replay the series again — especially since I don’t think I ever want to replay “Inquisition” again — but it was worth playing. And while I’ll do a full comparison later, I think there are some parallels between it and the “Mass Effect” series: an excellent first game with a deep and engaging story, a second game that takes things in a different direction and gets more personal, and a third game that tries to bridge the two … and fails. I think Inquisition suffered more from the move to an open world game than it did in trying to make a personal story inside a deep story, and it had the benefit of having no need to actually wrap up a long story arc, but the simple length of the game hampers its attempts to, well, do anything. It’s hard to feel a deep and personal attachment to what’s going on in the world while you’re searching for shards and running errands, and it’s hard to really get into the story when most of the time you spend in the game is spent doing things that aren’t directly related to that story at all. The story and the characters get buried under the weight of all the things that you can and maybe even need to do to be able to beat the game.

Dragon Age: Origins, then, has the best story out of all of the games, and it is no coincidence that it also seems to have the most interesting choices to make … even if many of them don’t seem all that momentous, and thus seem like tough personal choices. Ultimately, though, I think I like Dragon Age 2 the best, but that’s mostly because its gameplay fits exactly into my preferred way to play a game: run through all available side quests and then advance the next story quest secure in the knowledge that I’m at the right level to take it on. Inquisition just has too many side quests for that style of play to be fun, but also encourages you to do just that to ensure that you have enough levels.

I also strongly dislike the move to Dragon Age Keep, and hope that in the next games they rip that out and move instead to an in-game way to configure the world. But I think that’s a lost cause.

Anyway, the series was good, and I’m just more happy to finish the latest game than I am disappointed in how it ended.

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