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Editorial Examining Choice in Dragon Age: Origins

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age

    <p>Even sites like GameCritics are anaylyzing the subject of C&amp;C now. <a href="http://www.gamecritics.com/guest-critic/examining-choice-in-dragon-age-origins" target="_blank">Here they take a look</a> at BioWare's application of C&amp;C in Dragon Age: Origins.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Dragon Age succeeds:</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>I'll discuss the game's choices by talking about the good ones first. My first major quest was at the camp of the Dalish. You are given three options, side with the werewolves and kill all the elves, side with Zaithran and kill all the werewolves, or break the curse by killing Zaithran (and by extension, the Lady of the Forest) and allow the elves to live and the werewolves to live on as humans. If you were playing as a "good" character, there are basically two less than ideal options, and one choice that allows life and freedom to flourish. On the surface, this seems like typical choice, but to bring about the scenario that allows you to kill Zaithran, you have to go through a rather specific set of dialogue options. Good-guy characters are initially confronted with choosing between two terribly unjust massacres, and are rewarded for taking the time to negotiate a new solution.</p>
    <p>The game's most complex and varied choice occurred in Redcliffe, where I actually had three sets of choices. The first was to kill Connor or free him of the demon possessing him by entering the Fade. If you chose to free him, you could do so by sacrificing his mother or by gathering more mages to increase the power of the spell. "Gathering more mages" is dependent entirely on the Mages tower quest, and if you sided with the templars, this option will not be available to you, since all the mages will be dead. It's a nice touch that makes the whole world seem very connected, and helps you realize that your choices matter. Regardless of how you choose to free Connor, at the end of the Fade quest, the Desire Demon gives you yet another choice. If you let her live, she will give you either the Blood Mage specialization, or an extra spell/talent point (there are two more options for gifts, but they're not as compelling). Even though I was playing as a good-guy, I couldn't resist the call of another spell since talent allocation was permanent, so I let her live and took my reward. I set out to play a good character, but I was successfully tempted by the demon, making this an unforgettable quest that set the standard for temptation in games (at least for me).</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Dragon Age fails:</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>The Mages' Tower contained the most polarized choice in the game. I could either take the risk of some mages being turned into abominations and fighting against me (an event which can be prevented by using an item during the boss fight), or I can slaughter dozens of innocent men and women. Since I was playing as a good-guy, the choice was so obvious that by the end of the game I had literally forgotten that I had another option. The situation is made even less compelling by the fact that the second most important character in the game, Alistair, constantly voices his dislike for the templars, and any mages you have encountered previously have done the same. A below average ending to an otherwise interesting quest.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>and they conclude:</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>All things considered, the game had some of the best characters and choices in gaming, and <em>the</em> best villain.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Well, I think that's worth a hearty r00fles, coming straight out of the depth of my intestines. Anyway, C&amp;C is quite the topic among professional gaming journalists as of late. What's up with that?</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/98802-examining-choice-in-dragon-age-origins.html">GB</a></p>
     
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  2. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    The best villain and some of the best characters? Just like that? For granted? I thought "critics" are meant to have solid ground to support their claims - where are those?

    Why is the villain the best villain in gaming? Why is he better than, say, TTO? And are they talking about Loghain or about the dragon here? Loghain is, after all, a sub-villain, the main foe in the story is the thing controlling the Blight.

    The article sucks.
     
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  3. bonch Educated

    bonch
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    The best villain in gaming? What the fuck?
     
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  4. Konjad High on potatoes Patron

    Konjad
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    BEST RPG EVAR!
     
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  5. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    Uh-huh... DA2 has been announced, so the hype machine kicks off again with DA1 praising, even though barely anyone gave a huge fuck about it as far as I remember.
     
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  6. adure Scholar

    adure
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    i hate this forced c&c crap in newage rpg´s !

    no matter what they do. MY opinion is mosty NOT covered by the gameplay design.
    so nevermind what i do, i hate the game and ragequit after a couple of this forced c&c shit game moments.
     
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  7. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
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    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Da has the best villain evar? WTF is this shit? I can understand someone being stupid enough to think the villain(s) in DA are good, even great but best ever?

    DA must be the only game this so called 'journalist' has ever played. It is the only solution.
     
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  8. Raghar Arcane

    Raghar
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    Because you have beaten up Flemeth, but she didn't die.

    Of course the princes from Touhou was better.
     
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  9. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
  10. chzr Scholar

    chzr
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    :what:
     
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  11. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Jesus, I thought even taking recent consoletard games into account, then the Joker in AA has been the best villain in the last few years. Like how he's always there, taunting you, goading you etc.

    Never mind real villains like Shodan from days of yore.
     
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  12. Elzair Cipher

    Elzair
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    WHAT?!


    This. Is. Insane. Seriously. Who the fuck is supposed to be the main villain anyway? Loghain, the ArchDemon, what? Loghain is simply a deluded fool, so it is hard to take him seriously as the main villain. The ArchDemon is a worse villain than fucking Mondain or Werdna!
     
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  13. circ Arcane

    circ
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    Kefka blew up the fucking world. The archdemon lands on a fort and roars a bit. Yeah, that's some villainy there.
     
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  14. Gylfi.Fenriz.Conquests Augur

    Gylfi.Fenriz.Conquests
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    Fallout had very simple choices. Help one of the factions with hits or do the best choice, the goodie one.

    Problem was, you had to find it. It was hidden.

    It's not important what kind of sentiment there is behind choices, as long as it's hard to do it, with a PUZZLE.

    in Deus Ex OBVIOUSLY the non-violent choice is the best one, but it was a long and hard job to do it that way.

    Puzzles make an obvious choice obscure... may require a lot of interaction and consideration.
     
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  15. Overweight Manatee Scholar

    Overweight Manatee
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    DA had a villain? It had bad guys, but Villain implies to me some kind of scheme or intelligence behind the evil other then 'lolbadguysbeheretokillall'.
     
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  16. Konjad High on potatoes Patron

    Konjad
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    True words. The biggest problems with today's choices and consequences are:

    1) You know all your choices from beginning (or at least at the moment you have to choose)
    2) You know upcoming consequences (exception: The Witcher)

    Every mainstream cRPG game made after 2004 suffers from these (well, The Witcher is exception to point 2, still greatly suffers from point 1 though).
     
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  17. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    "the best villain. "

    :what:

    ... Loghain is a solid villain that could have been betetr, and while the Big Bad Dragon is okay as final battle it surely sin't much of an actual 'villain'. Tsk, tsk.

    Anyways, some of DA's best C&C has to do with the companions.
     
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  18. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Sceptic
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    I love it how everyone praises the "everyone lives happily" solution in the forest as "not obvious" or "for those who take the time" and all that shit. It's so fucking painfully obvious Zaithran is lying from the minute he opens his mouth, and the game almost puts a big flashing sign saying "not all is as it appears to be!". There's no subtelty at all, no difficult dialog to negociate. Just use your head. Something most gamers and all reviewers obviously can't do anymore. The Connor quest is even more pathetic. I love it that he talks about how compelling the choice is just because he's a dirty munchkin who couldn't resist an extrea talent point. You can get about 30 in the game, FAR more than you'd ever need, and he "couldn't resist" one more? Really? I also find it funny that he constantly talks about the "most complex and varied choices". That's true. Lots of choices. If only any of them had actual consequences...

    Oh look, the choices in a Bioware game are painfully obvious on the Good/Evil scale. How surprising.

    R00flicious.
     
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  19. Serious_Business Best Poster on the Codex

    Serious_Business
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    you are a learning animal
     
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  20. Gylfi.Fenriz.Conquests Augur

    Gylfi.Fenriz.Conquests
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    Absolutely.

    Point is, they forget there must be a problem somewhere among those choices, that affects your decisions.

    Could it be the ending scene? What will happen to me if i do this?

    So if you know all the choices, you may not know the consequences, but if you know the consequences, you may not know the choices(clearly not the case with Bioware).

    You can't criticize a whole game if "mystery" is absent in the choices, it could be in the consequences.

    In the end it always comes down to how much you're required to reason.

    I'm playing Mass Effect, and i know i don't have to reason because nothing WRONG can happen to me. I can't loose my life, i can't loose my companions. I remember Avellone talking about it, how he played, and the fun he was having, while making choices, in THINKING what the consequences COULD be.
     
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  21. random_encounter Educated

    random_encounter
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    I gotta agree with Volourn on this point. Loghain was a far more interesting villain than the foozle at the end; a wasted opportunity of choices that treated him like a tacked on branch of last minute possibilities.

    Still, I have to laugh at "the best villain." At least they didn't say it was the "best villain ever" in the same way mainstream journos referred to the story in ME.
     
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  22. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    "I'm playing Mass Effect, and i know i don't have to reason because nothing WRONG can happen to me. I can't loose my life, i can't loose my companions."

    r u dumb?

    wut me game did you pay?

    sure u can't 'loose' your life but you can lose it. sure you can't 'loose'
    your coompanions but u surely can lose them.

    FFS

    At least if you are gonna bash soemthing, stick with eithger facts or things that can be whitewashed as opinions.

    FFS
     
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  23. Silellak Liturgist

    Silellak
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    VoD arguably missed the even-more infuriating statement of:
    Now, I'm a Loghain fan. I think he's a pretty solid, interesting character, and to some extent, the story of Dragon Age is almost more his story than the Warden's story. That said, he doesn't even come close to being the best villain in gaming, much less the best villain ever conceived.

    Gotta love online "journalists". That's the sort of statement that requires a thesis-sized argument to justify, not a simple "Well he's not really evil so that totally makes him the best villain ever made."
     
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  24. Trash Pointing and laughing.

    Trash
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    Shodan was the best villain in any computer game as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  25. janjetina Arcane

    janjetina
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    The hype machine is starting to roll and nobody is talking about the horrible encounter design and level design as the first things that are to be improved in DA. It seems that Ferret's endless filler filled dungeons will feature another installment in DA 2.
     
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