Sunday, April 18, 2010

Making me feel at home

I've finally started Dragon Age, prepared, this time, to give it a chance.  Last time, I was disillusioned by different dialogue choices that led to not only the same outcome, but the same line of dialogue.  This time, I'm finding it a lot more enjoyable to simply backchat the NPCs when necessary and enjoy the rest of the ride.

I must admit, though, that despite some odd rhyming moments (I'm playing City Elf, and the Arl's son seems to inadvertently assonate [assonance - newly created verb form - plus he's an ass, so I figured it fit] all over the place), there are some funny and meaningful moments so far.  Despite my best wishes to play the cynical bitch, I've found myself genuinely concerned about some of the characters, including my intended.  There are a couple of little touches that have made me feel like I belong, more than simple dialogue choices.

Spoilers to follow, but only to the end of the Female City Elf intro.

As soon as I met my betrothed, and he met the Arl's son, I knew he was dead.  Well, both of them.  I just figured my husband-to-be would be the first to die.  I was right.

What I didn't know was that, when looting corpses in the inevitable bloody aftermath of killing the Guard Captain and his cronies, I would accidentally loot Nelaros' body.  And he would have a Wedding Ring as his only possession.  Out of the 20 or so words he ever spoke, one of those sentences was, "I will spend every waking moment finding out how to make you happy."  Needless to say, my character is wearing the ring.  Despite perhaps not wanting to get married in the first place, I now find it hard to imagine her ever taking the ring off.  Of course, the future may be full of romance and betrayal, and I doubt wearing the Wedding Ring item would bring me any bonuses later in the game, but somehow it just seems right.  We'll see how long my storytelling wants can override my gamer needs.

The other thing that made me feel warm and fuzzy was that, when I was looking for my cousin after returning from the Arl's estate, the tooltip on the door says, simply, 'home'.  Despite the fact I'd been told I was leaving everything behind, that made a difference, too.  Of course, you can act brash and say you're just glad to get out of there, but the more I played, the more I found myself sympathetic toward the characters I had 'grown up with', and I don't believe that's simply my good (haha *coughcough*) nature coming to the fore.

The last thing, and, corny as it sounds, the thing that made me feel most strongly about this whole intro was that, when I visited my female cousin before leaving, after saving her from the Arl's son and declaring only myself responsible, is that she told me she loved me.  I've known this woman for all of half an hour, and only a little at a time, at that, but before I could even think to say otherwise, I'd clicked on, "I love you, too."  Oh dear.

The voice acting in Dragon Age really stands out against its competitors, including Mass Effect.  I hope greater things are to come, but for now, it's time for bed - my cat is pawing at my cursor.

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