First Thoughts

I’m playing two Dragon Age 2 games simultaneously right now, thanks to two extremely generous and kind compatriots of mine. I have to use their computers, and since these devices are dear to them, I don’t have access all day every day, so it is a bit of a slow going but no less fun. I’m only at about level 7 on the first game, and just started the second. Here we go.

Pros:

Environments

Kirkwall is a delight to run around in. I was thinking the other day that it’s a lot like what I always wished Hyrule Castle and surrounding town was like: multi leveled, huge, interesting, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes dangerous. The progression into slums is aesthestically refreshing since, as a one of the aforementioned computer lenders pointed out, one can get tired of straight lines. I am about to go to the Deep Roads in one game, so that’s all I can really talk about so far, although the view from the very top of the mountain near the Dalish camp was pretty breathtaking.

Voice Acting

Captain Janeway steals the show. I cannot WAIT till the next time I run into Flemeth, or as my friend calls her, “Dragon Lady.” Everyone else is pretty great enough for me to not really notice, which says a lot, since I have cringed at a lot of really bad voice acting before.

Combat

I’ve played as a rogue and a mage so far. The rogue was delightful, since I love to be fast, slashy, and evasive. Just be patient enough to get abilities like Backstab and Evade and you’ll be terribly gleeful. I just started playing as a mage and BOY. Usually I’m a sword-or-go-home kinda girl, but the mage is FUN. The range is fantastic and the spells are so cool I get a little grin on my face whenever I use the fun ones. The Tarantino-style gore is a hilarious touch, and I am often laughing out loud as I run up to someone, kick them, and they explode.

Cons

Racism

I was pretty excited to mess around in the character creation bit for an extended period of time, only to discover that the character I wanted to make, who would have been black, could only attain a sort of Spanish-style tan. All of the hair choices are only Caucasian textured, and the most horrible part is that even if you do choose a darker skin colour all the model bodies are white as a day lily. This goes for in-game characters as well. In close up dialogue it becomes particularly obvious, as the stark contrast between the colour of their chin and the pale Scottish white of every character’s neck and hands becomes embarrassingly obvious.

Sexism

This can also be filed under lack of body variation, but since it’s women-only it gets put under here too. Every female character you meet has the exact same size cans: enormous. Not that this is surprising in the least. But good god. A little variation would be nice. In the opening scene your mother (or sister, I can’t remember) is running and trips. My first thought was that she had tripped over her surely monstrously weighty boobs. In honour of this characteristic of the game, I named my rogue save file “Boob Tiem.”

Dialogue Wheel

I’ve found the best way to approach this is to concentrate only on the little icons that the text is represented by (Peaceful Leaf, Middleway Diamond (huh?) and Angry Hammer). Do not go by what the text itself says, unless you are Investigating, because a) you won’t actually say the line you clicked on, you’ll say something else, and b) you might read the aforementioned line in a tone that does not match its Icon Tone, and be terribly surprised. For example, while trying to get into Isabela’s pants I wanted to joke “Do I look like a Charity?” and ended up screwing up my chances so badly that she refused to talk to me again. AWESOME.

Anyway, those are my impressions for as far as I’ve got. I realize there are as many Cons as Pros but I do actually really love the game. I find it fantastically fun. I hope everyone else is enjoying it too!

If one notices how some individuals know how to treat their experiences (their insignificant everyday experiences) so that these become a plot of ground that bears fruit three times a year; while others (and how many of them!) are driven through the waves of the most exciting turns of fate, of the most varied currents of their time or nation, and yet always stay lightly on the surface, like cork: then one is finally tempted to divide mankind into a minority (minimality) of those people who know how to make much out of little and a majority of those who know how to make a little out of much; indeed one meets those perverse wizards who, instead of creating the world out of nothing, create nothing out of the world. – Nietzsche, Man Alone with Himself

4 thoughts on “First Thoughts

  1. You confuse me! Here you totally recognize the implicit racism of the character creation options, which is so great, yet you went and made your Isabela all pale!

    • Thank you for pointing that out! I hadn’t actually realized I’d done that. I think what happened was that when I needed details from the very low quality Demo screen captures I hiked up the Brightness so that I could see details more clearly, and forgot that it ever was any darker.
      I was also simultaneously using Bioware’s own (as you rightly point out, paler) original design as a reference as well, which probably didn’t help either! (That design itself is interesting–she is definitely Caucasian there, and it makes me wonder how late of an afterthought darkening her skin tone was, since everything else seems to have stayed the same!)

      Thank you again for catching that, I’ll be sure such glaring irony doesn’t happen in future pieces!

      • Your defense seems valid to me, especially given your observations in this post. You’re right about the dark skin yet European features; I tend to see that as them not really broadening their “standard of beauty”, but instead trying to “exoticize” Isabela.

        It’s also not lost on me that “exotic” also translates into overly sexualized, not just in the size of her breasts, but her entire personality and literally ALL of her dialogue.

        If it’s not exclusion, then it’s fetishism. Wonderful, that.

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