Dragon Age: Twitter Review Pt. 5

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Dec 9, 2009

Filed under: Game Reviews 58 comments

While I avoided posting spoilers to Twitter, I’m going to talk openly about events in the third act here. This post is intended for people who have played through and want to discuss plot specifics. I was planning on tagging spoilers, but I don’t think there would be much of the post left afterward.

#DragonAge has a hidden town with 3 houses, shop, temple, and about a hundred cultists. Houses must get really crowded at bedtime. No farms.

The town of Haven is hilariously mis-named, given that it’s an isolated den of bloodthirsty killers, located far up in the mountains.

Can they still be called cultists if they outnumber everyone else? Well, they outnumbered the other factions until I came along. #DragonAge

The town of haven is small. But what isn’t small is the massive complex of caverns next to the town, which is packed to the ceiling with cultists.

Dude, I just killed everyone you’ve ever known. Are you SURE you want to offer me a quest? #DragonAge

I met the cult leader, and he wanted to try and cut a deal with me.

I said no.

I do wonder how things would go for him if I accepted. He was the last person left. Was he going you walk over the pile of corpses back into town and sit there all alone for the rest of his days?

The entire cultist village in #DragonAge was disappointing. What a horrible case of dungeon logic.

We’re here to get the ashes of the Prophet Andraste, which are rumored to have healing properties. The Arl of Redcliff is in a coma and will die unless we can get a pinch of the ashes.

Haven is a minuscule town, far up in the mountains. It is isolated from the outside world and has been so for generations.

They do not have a single farm or other obvious means of supporting themselves.

You meet exactly one civilian in the village. He’s a shopkeeper. Everyone else is a highly trained warrior, mage, or assassin. An isolated town with dozens and dozens of assassins?

The village is tiny, and the purpose of the village is ostensibly to guard the ashes. So the inhabitants spend all day hanging around inside of their massive cave complex.

Whoopsie.  In the upper-left there’s cluster of polygons where the uv coordinates on the texture mapping are hosed.  So of course I’m showing you a picture of that, instead of the hundreds of screenshots I have of gorgeous scenery, wonderfully designed buildings, and evocative vistas. I’m doing this because I’m a jerk.
Whoopsie. In the upper-left there’s cluster of polygons where the uv coordinates on the texture mapping are hosed. So of course I’m showing you a picture of that, instead of the hundreds of screenshots I have of gorgeous scenery, wonderfully designed buildings, and evocative vistas. I’m doing this because I’m a jerk.

Beyond the caves are wonderfully built ruins with statuary and marble columns. It’s a massive structure with traps and puzzles and inhabited by guardian spirits who test you through conversations and riddles. The ruins are nicer than anything the cultists have, although it’s clear they never set foot in the place. It’s also not clear who built the temple, considering what an undertaking it must have been.

Then you get to the room with the Urn of sacred ashes. Despite their incredible “get out of dying free” properties, you can’t actually do anything with them aside from taking ONE pinch. Not two pinches, much less make off with the most important artifact in the world.

But back up a second…

The Arl of Redcliff is an old man. The only reason we need him awake is to ask him to give us troops. (He does more after that and becomes crucial to our efforts later, but at this point in the game all we’re looking for is a guy who can authorize some soldiers to fight a demonic horde which is right on the doorstep of the town anyway.) Surely there are rules of succession in place? Is this really the best use of time? To quest for an artifact that most people don’t even believe exists? And which is only rumored to have healing properties, even if it’s not just a legend?

There is some weak justification about needing the Arl in order to convince the men to ally behind you, but it’s pretty thin in the face of what you’re up against.

You’ve faced the monsters.  You’ve beaten the assassins. You’ve solved the puzzles. You’ve answered the riddles. But nobody can withstand the dreaded Guardian Who Will Ask You Highly Personal Questions.
You’ve faced the monsters. You’ve beaten the assassins. You’ve solved the puzzles. You’ve answered the riddles. But nobody can withstand the dreaded Guardian Who Will Ask You Highly Personal Questions.

If the U.S. President (any of them) fell into a coma and Canada launched the attack we all know they’ve been planning for decades, would it make sense to sit around and do nothing while we wait for a team of people to see if they could track down the Ark of the Covenant in the hopes that it will make him better, because he’s so much better at inspiring the troops than the veep?

So we’re doing quests that don’t make sense to obtain an object of questionable utility so we can talk to a guy. This is not quite as bad as the Neverwinter Nights 2 Plot Door of Inanity, but the writing here still comes off like an air horn in the middle of a concerto. There are just too many plot hacks here and the whole thing leaks like a battleship made out of chain-link fencing. I know a lot of games suffer from this sort of thing, but this is really uncharacteristically sloppy for a BioWare game and it really stands out in a story with so much gritty “realism”.

Dear lady running the brothel in #DragonAge: Pick an accent – or a FAMILY of accents – and stick with it.

She kept switching between upper and lower class accents. Now, she was ostensibly a madame of a whorehouse, so maybe this is part of the… sales pitch. But if so, someone should have at least taken notice or remarked on it in-game. When her voice changes and nobody seems to notice, it sounds like the voice acting is hosed.

Slavers are the Nazis of the Middle Ages. People to kill, guilt free. #DragonAge

There they are. I thought we were going to get all the way through a BioWare game without bumping into slavers.

Slavers always ask for mercy in BioWare games. I’ll bet they don’t get it very often. (I’d love to see the numbers, though.)

The writing on this slaver leader was excellent. He was both believable and loathsome. An opportunist and a businessman. He was fun to hate.

#DragonAge has an effect in “haunted orphanage” area to make the screen look like 4 bit color mode. That’s progress for you.

This effect must have been designed by a young person, because anyone over 30 will look at this and see CGA color mode.


#DragonAge has a realistic response to PC generosity to beggars: Give, and you attract MORE. Worth the money just to see what happens.

I meet a guy on the street, begging. Looks healthy. Claims to be a “veteran”. I give him some coin.

Next time through. He’s got a couple of friends. All young, healthy men. All claiming – unconvincingly – to be veterans and orphans. What the hell? They amuse me and I’m rolling in cash right now. I give them some coin.

Next time through. There is a crowd of “vets”. Their lie is so transparent that it’s kind of insulting. This is the best lie you could come up with? A reasonable response might be to try to get them to do some sort of token work for the coin and see how many are actually willing to bother, which will separate the needy from the lazy. But this is a computer game. If I was playing my character, I would have sent them packing, but I wanted to see where this went. So I gave them money again.

Then I forgot to go back. Drat.


From The Archives:

58 thoughts on “Dragon Age: Twitter Review Pt. 5

  1. SolkaTruesilver says:

    To all Canucks: the goalie has seen the shot! I repeat: the goalie has seen the shot!

    Time-out for the next 3 periods, and then put the lines on the ice for the next game. Don’t forget to keep your puck warm.

  2. Chris Arndt says:

    Hey! I’m only 28 (and a young 28 at that) and I recognize CGA color mode… first thing.

    Although my first computer was a Tandy 1000 HX… so I have a real reason. I miss using that every day for some reason. Deskmate was my word processing program and my printer ran off a spool and was not color.

    Then I went to a Windows system with internet and life got complicated.

  3. Patrick says:


    From this series and my own playthrough, it seems that almost the best thing you can do for the world is to actually be a bit of a hardarse jerk. Sten, I understand your pain, now! Nice guys just screw everything up!

  4. Henebry says:

    Love the story about the veteran beggars. And that’s probably just what they are””veterans of the street.

  5. Doornail says:

    Why didn’t you slay the dragon? You ring the gong and she immediately comes to eat you so unlike other boss encounters you can set up all your people beforehand. Andraste was my favorite encounter although my Xbox died before I could make it to Act III.

  6. Coffee says:

    Woah woah woah!

    You can’t just go killing dragons! There’s a strict hierarchy to be followed!

    First off, you’ve got your obvious choices – saints, kings, princes, that type of thing.
    Then level two – your prospectives, so we’re talking knights, princesses, dwarven psychopaths, where it’s obvious they could kill a dragon, but it’s not always obvious why.
    And finally, and most importantly, you’ve got your plucky young upstart, no armour to speak of, carrying his old dad’s sword which may or may not have mystical qualities, who manages to slay the dragon by deus ex machina, and goes on to become a tier 1 candidate in case of further dragon attacks.

    And if you don’t fit into one of those, you’ll have to take a number. Dragons don’t grow on trees!

  7. LintMan says:

    The Haven bit was ridiculous, especially with the temple being a clown car full of cultists. And also – the one “civilian” in town, isnt. If you go into his back room, he attacks you and you then discover there’s some dead redcliffe knights back there. But it’s more than just the town full of cultists: they’re so widespread that they were able to set up the agents at Brother Genetivi’s house, and also the watchers and the trap at the Spoiled Princess. But as far as the cultist leader’s offer: it makes sense. Clearly, he has an ever-flowing supply of new cultists and assassins – they even sometimes backfill parts of the temple you’ve cleared out.

    To be fair, though, the Arl is more important to save than you make it out to be, and it’s fairly apparent why: You’re not just asking for his troops – remember, he doesn’t really have much in the way of troops anymore: they were wiped out by the demon/undead and by the cultists/urn quest. What you need is ALL the human troops you can get, from all the other Arls. His brother doesn’t have the clout to get that backing. (Heck, even WITH the Arl of Redcliffe’s support plus all your proof of Loghain’s evils, you STILL get shafted in the Landsmeet unless you have Anora’s support.) No one (besides Teamon) would have backed you without the Arl of Redcliffe there.

    As for the ruins where the Ashes are, I thought it was pretty clear that they were built by Andraste’s original supporters: the people who actually collected the ashes. (Of course, why they’d have all those lethal traps guarding something he said he wanted people to make pilgrimages to doesn’t quit emake sense either.) Also, if you took up the cult leader’s quest offer, you would have an alternate choice when you got to the ashes. That’s your evil option if you don’t want to take the good (one pinch) option.

    As for the slaver, if the only way I could have gotten the evidence Loghain was guilty was to have let the slaver live, I would have cut the deal. Fortunately, you can kill him and still get the evidence.

    Also, did you notice the 1.02 patch notes mention a fix saying that the game difficulty scaling was broken, causing some battles to be much harder than they should have been? I wonder if that will fix the uneven difficulty everyone’s been seeing.

    Lastly, off-topic a bit – two of my favorite NPC bits (paraphrased):

    Ohgren (to Wynne): I’d give ya a roll.

    Wynne: I suppose I should be flattered…

    Ohgren: Well, I don’t know if I have the equipment for that, but whatever works for ya.


    Morrigan: Your mangy dog left this half eaten animal in my dainty unmentionables!

    Me: It can’t be any smellier than what normally goes in there.

  8. Taellosse says:

    FYI, the shopkeeper in Haven is a cultist, too (so’s everyone else in the town, actually). But he won’t go hostile on you unless you force your way into the back room he tells you is private. He warns you once, and then if you try again, he attacks, and you have to kill him. In the back you find one of the Redcliffe knights, dead in the corner. Then when you leave the shop, you get attacked by (previously invisible) cultists, and the handful of villagers you talked to have all gone hostile, too. I love how you can kill someone in a closed, windowless building, and suddenly the entire town knows and is after you.

    Also, as a mildly amusing FYI, if you actually accept Kholgrim’s quest, and follow through by destroying the ashes, if Leliana is in your party, she immediately gets pissed and attacks you (along with the spirit Guardian), forcing you to kill her. I did this from an old save (though I didn’t in the “canon” version of my playthrough) to unlock the Reaver specialization, which you can only get by doing as Kholgrim asks.

  9. I had upwards of 200 sovereigns at the point with the beggars, so I did the same as you. There’s a funny part when they’re all together and your character points out that one of them is wearing noble clothes, and the guy just goes “Fair enough” and leaves. When you give them coin after that they never come back.

  10. Old_Geek says:

    The haunted orphanage was like DesertBus. You were doing it for the children. Dead ones in this case.

  11. Magnus says:

    I didn’t get that experience in the haunted orphanage, possibly because that blind bloke you take with you died about half way through.

    I never got to see Retro-o-Vision(TM). I feel sad for this.

    Haven definitely felt like a slog for me, it was a bit long for the reward of an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade moment and a dragon to kill.

  12. chabuhi says:

    I ran into a (seemingly) pointless little boy in Haven as well. I went through a couple of dialog branches with him (after a reload) and neither seemed to lead to any meaningful quest or even information (or maybe I wan’t paying close enough attention).

    So that’s TWO civilians in Haven, Shamus! ;-p (Er, unless of course you don’t count those who are not of voting age?)

  13. Mousetrap says:

    I thought CGA was either R-G-B or C-M-Y; so you couldn’t get both Red and Magenta on the screen at the same time.

    1. Shamus says:

      This is the CGA mode I was thinking about:


      And yes, you couldn’t get red and magenta together. It was more the small number of super-saturated colors that made me think of CGA more than the actual colors being used.

  14. @SolkaTruesilver: we’ll catch them on the power play, over.

  15. itches says:

    ‘I do wonder how things would go for him if I accepted. He was the last person left.’

    He really wasn’t the last one left. Come back to Haven after finishing the quest and there are more people there. As to what he would do? Uh … they tell you that the dragon can’t leave because of the Urn. I rather imagined that they would go and spread the cult.

    ‘They do not have a single farm or other obvious means of supporting themselves.

    You meet exactly one civilian in the village.’

    Sections of the town you can’t access. I just played it, there are some people in there who aren’t super powered Reavers or Mages who attack you, seemed like civilians to me. To be fair I didn’t stop to check before murdering them. Besides the folk who are there on your return trip I mean.

    ‘The Arl of Redcliff is an old man. The only reason we need him awake is to ask him to give us troops.’

    The thing about this is that … well they tell you before the quest why you need him. And it isn’t just to get troops from Redcliff to fight darkspawn. You need him to unite the Landsmeet and stop the massive civil war that is going on so you can get the entire nation to face the darkspawn.

    He is the only one respected enough by the Banns to have a shot at this. They tell you this, that’s why you’re there.

  16. chabuhi says:

    “They do not have a single farm or other obvious means of supporting themselves.”

    The town does sit next to a largish lake, so you could argue they subsist on fish.

  17. Macil says:

    I figured the cultists were cannibals, given their cultist disposition, the seclusion, that no one heard of the town, the blood, the bones, etc. That first guy you met — I’m sure he was getting ready to cook himself up some Templar.

    I also thought it was ridiculous I couldn’t gobble up the ashes myself. I figure enough of that stuff ought to make you immortal. If not immortal, than maybe you could just tote the bag around and snuff some of the ashes while battling Darkspawn — a nigh unkillable Grey Warden sounds like it would be pretty effective.

    The ashes also seem like a good torture device for evil aligned characters. “You want me to run what stupid errands for your support against an army that’s coming to kill you?” *stab* *sprinkle* “How about now? No?” *stab* *sprinkle*

  18. James says:

    If the U.S. President (any of them) fell into a coma and Canada launched the attack we all know they've been planning for decades, would it make sense to sit around and do nothing while we wait for a team of people to see if they could track down the Ark of the Covenant in the hopes that it will make him better, because he's so much better at inspiring the troops than the veep?
    Ya, but that wouldn’t take that long, it’s in a large warehouse being examined by “top men”.

  19. someboringguy says:

    The Haven quest…I remember it.Remember it because I’ve spent soooo much time trying to finish the damn catacombs that I’ve searched on the internet for the solution and a map.Also, I think that the temple has one of the most annoying and pointless puzzles I have seen, the one with the bridge.

  20. Jeff says:

    You appear to have missed a fundemental plot point. You don’t want Arl Eamon’s army, though that’s nice. You want his political support against the traitor Loghain who has blamed you for his regicide. This is your objective from Square 1, post-tower rescue. Hard to do that while in a coma. Listen to Flemeth and Alistair. ;)

    Also, “My parents are still dead!”

  21. Danath says:

    If you have Sten with you when you enter Haven he WILL bitch about why you are wasting time there chasing something that has been impossible to find, and asking why and such. If you’re approval with him is not high, he even ATTACKS you. (Although you don’t kill him), so yeah, the writers even take a minute to acknowledge this in case you were curious.

  22. I really enjoyed the bridge puzzle – just get one character to stand on each square at a time, noting down what it activates. Then get overlaps to make them fully solid, quicksave before moving people as you go and just reinforce the squares ahead of you whilst weakening the non-irrelevant bits

  23. JW says:

    Don’t spread false rumours and alarm, the president of Canada himself insists that they’re experiencin a very ordinary storm.

  24. Audacity says:

    I don’t know about the designer having to be young, I’m 19 and still know what CGA is. Though I think he must have been blind, because that screenshot makes my eyes want to bleed.

    Regarding the pending Canadian invasion, it’ll be awhile yet. They’ve coveted our superior weather for the last twenty decades and still haven’t made a move. Besides, we could probably buy them off with a generous donation of hockey pucks if it ever comes to that. ;)

    EDIT: @JW: Since when has Canada even had a president?

  25. AnZsDad says:

    If the U.S. President (any of them) fell into a coma and Canada launched the attack we all know they've been planning for decades

    Damn you, Shamus. I really enjoy your work, but now you’ve ruined it. I am required by Canadian law to report you to Sgt. Preston of the Yukon who will send the Toronto Maple Leafs (Canada’s top ninja squad – you thought they were just a crappy hockey team) to “silence” you.

    Btw, if (God forbid) Shamus should happen to be put into a coma by a mysterious ice-related accident I expect it will be necessary to have me detained by your US authorities. I’d like to put in my request that you send Dana Scully (X-File Department) or Olivia Dunham (Fringe Division) rather than that drunken dork from the Mosaic Project. Thanks much.

    Nice callback, JW. Well played. :)

  26. SteveDJ says:

    I’m certainly enjoying reading this series – but today for a minute I thought I was reading another Let’s Play Champions Online series. That is, I’m seeing the same style of poke-fun-at-the-game humor that is in both series.

    Now, don’t get me wrong – I love reading these. And even though I don’t play either game, I do get plenty of laughs.

    But, I’m kinda missing the old, classic game “Reviews” that you used to do. :(

  27. Jarenth says:

    @Macil: While those are both good ideas, they could easily be done with regular healing potions or Spirit Healer magic instead.

    Really, why couldn’t I just have forcefed Arl Eamon some healing potions every hour? Or just let him die, then resurrect him? It worked for literally every other danger I’ve encountered thusfar, up to and including séveral dragons.

  28. Phil says:

    That Orphanage thing with the half-blind Ser turned out to sort of be one of those Escort missions I’ve heard some people rail about. Only, I didn’t know that until after I’d finished the orphanage, and found out he’d died and the quest failed. Naturally, the only previous save being a few hours prior. Sigh. Stupid NPCs. I too would have liked to have seen this spooky CGA thing (assuming the 360 did it as well).

  29. ehlijen says:

    The slaver was well written? I didn’t think so. This is how it turned out in my case:

    Angry City elf rogue, 3 of her buddies and 2 brown bears barge through the door.
    Elf: Where’s my father? What have you done with him?
    Slaver: Allow me to leave and I’ll help you topple Loghain.
    Elf:…Er what?
    Slaver: That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?
    Elf: No. I’m here to free the slaves.
    Slaver: Oh…
    Slaver: Wait, I can suck the life out of these slaves to make you more powerful if you let me live! Please?
    Elf:…What the hell is your problem?!?!

    Also, I could have sworn haven had some vegetable gardens? Apart from that, I hear dragon droppings are nutritious.

  30. Shamus: Could you, perhaps, do that thing where you have to click a link to see the full story, and just leave the “this has spoilers” paragraph?

    1. Shamus says:

      Ergonomic Cat: Thanks for the reminder. I hadn’t been on the front page in a while and didn’t realize how out-of-hand it had gotten.

  31. Joel D says:

    20 years old, saw the resemblance to CGA :)

  32. JKjoker says:

    the Dwarves are so much worse than Haven, there is not a spec of logic or common sense in the whole quest:

    (im going to spoil the whole dwarf quest)

    first of all, the casteless, wtf is up with that ? you have a bunch of ppl, they are born poor and you forbid them from doing anything, what else are they going to do other than being assassins and thieves ?, if you are going as far as forbid them to have any useful, legal role in the society why giving them a place in town ? it makes more sense to kill them, turn them into slaves, banish them to concentration camps or just exiling them into the deep roads, whats the point of allowing “criminal town” to exist and even protecting it with guards ?

    then there is the whole Crowning thing, they spend 2 years fighting about who should be the successor then some random dude comes with a crown he claims comes from a Paragon (who hasnt been seen for years in one case and centuries in the other, they have only his word for it and the crown that looks really cheap) and they go all “oooh, the ancestors have chosen him, give the crown to whoever you want”, nothing you did to help your candidate matters, the whole thing rest in your hands, and while the game only lets you choose between the two candidates, the way they put it you could give the crown to anyone, ANYONE, yourself, a non dwarf, go outside and give it to the first random dwarf, whats the point of the assembly, just give the choice to the guy that can get the best treasure from the deep roads… wtf!?

    and last, i killed 90% of the dwarves during the quest, i have turned them into an endangered species, i killed more dwarves than darkspawn, i fought on the street, inside houses, in caverns, even inside the palace and nobody said anything, there is no way to avoid this, no matter who you choose or what you do, you are going into dwarven genocide, how the hell does this help me against the darkspawn ?

  33. Mazinja says:

    Sadly, I don’t think you get any more beggars after you after the third time you give money to beggars. Of course, by that point I -was- close to get my angry character to tell them off, but since she was a CITY ELF angry character… yeah, she gave them money instead :p

  34. Smirker says:

    In regards to the slaver – Yea I killed him as well. I wonder what the effect is if you DO let him ‘power you up’.

    In regards to the bridge puzzle – I found it slightly annoying — but it beats the Tower of Hanoi puzzle Bioware is so infamous for (Think of the Pillars in KOTOR or the computer core in Mass Effect). it could be argued this was a simplified version of that – but that puzzle always annoyed me. I could do it, but it was a bit of a hassle.

  35. GABS says:

    Hmm.. took some time to realize, but.. you being a jerk is really getting annoying. I wish you would have gone down another path, but that’s not your problem, but mine :) Guess it’s good bye then, has been fun following your blog since DMOTR.

  36. Erik says:

    On the whole i think you’re overanalyzing things, but i guess thats what you do :)

    The whole ashes thing never bothered me in any one of my (3!) playthroughs, and you can do other stuff with the ashes if you do the quest for the cult leader.

    Also, if you give them money for the 3rd time, they dont come back. they just call you their hero and savior or somesuch.

    Its kinda like neverwinter nights, where are some point a young girl runs up to you and wants to become your apprentice. if you agree, she asks for money to get outfitted, and if you agree to that, she just keeps asking for more till the only dialogue option thats left is to say “get the hell away from me you golddigging bitch” .. or something similar anyway. Wich is kinda silly. especially in the beggar’s case, i would’ve loved to see the whole square filled with people begging for money.

  37. someboringguy says:

    But Shamus, you seem to forget something.
    The blood mage!!!
    The great immersion breaker.
    People keep telling you during the whole game about the forbiden magic of blood, about how crazy and nasty blood mages are, how they are a danger to everybody and need to be killed on sight.
    And when you become one nothing happens.People just, don’t seem to notice or they don’t care or they are hipocrites and actually say those things when…their boss is near enough to hear?!?!

  38. Shamus says:

    someboringguy: I never picked up blood mage. Do people really say NOTHING? Not even members of your party?

    It seems like at LEAST Wynne and Lel should have something to say about that. Actually, after what happens in the tower, Wynne should probably leave if you go down that road.

  39. Old_Geek says:

    The only thing that really pisses Lel off is siding with the cult in Haven. And surprisingly not when the Cult Leader asks you to do the spiritual equivalent of putting the Ashes down your pants and dancing the Macarena. She’s two feet away from you when the Cult Leader spells out his evil plan and you agree, and she doesn’t say a word. She waits until the ashes are actually in your buttcrack before freaking out.

    Metaphorical buttcrack, that is.

  40. Draconbits says:

    Well, in Lel’s defense, she’s an Orlesian bard. Which means she’s used to lying to bad people to do what you want. She’s religious, but she’s not a Lawful Stupid Paladin. So if you -say- you’ll help him, that doesn’t mean that you’ll help him. She’s fine with you lying to people to do the right thing.

    And as for the blood mage thing, I’d think Alistair would also have a huge problem, what, with being an ex-templar and all.

  41. someboringguy says:

    I didn’t have Leliana nor Wynne, because Lel left when I finished the cult leader’s quest and I didn’t want to load and play.Also, Wynne was dead, because I have killed her in the mage’s tower.I didn’t know that she would be a companion, and later, you know load-save, it takes a lot of time.Really, the loading that goes when you travel on the map is so horrendous that I ussually take something to read.It reminds me of the Witcher, despite the fact that the Witcher’s problem was the frequency of the loading times…they were actually very short, but so many.
    Anyway, Alistair says nothing, other people you talk with during the game, including the mages, say nothing.
    Nobody is at least preoccupied that you are a wielder of dark and forbidden magick.
    Also, blood mage in my opinion makes the game too easy.Imagine, crushing prison-aoe.Makes enemies unable to do anything, and they take damage for a while.
    Also, turn an ogre into an ally.Makes the game a breeze.

  42. GABS says:


    Err sorry, didn’t want it to sound that dramatic, but there are more than enough “jerk-reviewers” on the internet, and I find myself increasingly bored with a “jerk-y style”. It’s just too easy, and not very funny (to me) after some time.

    1. Shamus says:

      GABS: Yeah… but I’m not getting where you’re getting this “jerk” vibe from. I didn’t think this review was any different in tone than any of the others I’ve done.

  43. someboringguy says:

    It’s a type of reviewing GABS, it’s called acid review or something.
    It’s great reading something like this instead of “OMG this game is great because those people made all those great games”.
    Really, I don’t need someone to tell my how good is a game, I usually look at the drawbacks, because they matter.
    Like in the ME, imagine that someone talks about the characters, the interaction with them, the possibility to explore planets, choose your own path.
    but when you play the game you see the problems that interfere with your playing.Like planet exploring is a chore because of how difficult is to drive over rough terrain and there ussualy are mountains between you and the target.

  44. DKellis says:

    Spoilers about the dwarves in this comment.

    @34 JKJoker: The dwarves have the caste system because of Tradition. The casteless are allowed to be servants, in the “slaves in all but name” kind of way. And at least one deshyr, Lord Helmi, thinks that the caste system needs to be changed. (“How does the caste system work?” “Badly. Oh, wait, you were actually asking a serious question… (insert infodump)”)

    And they haven’t been arguing about the succession for two years, they’ve been arguing about it for three weeks, since King Endrin Aeducan died. The line of succession here was short-circuited: the original heir Trian was murdered by Bhelen, the second sibling (the Dwarf Noble origin) was framed for it, and now Bhelen wants the throne, but Harrowmont (the king’s former advisor) refuses to let Bhelen take the throne.

    I figured the Assembly accepted that the crown was Caridin’s work because the crown was crafted to be Just That Awesome. This is only speculation on my part, though.

    What I didn’t like about the Orzammar questline was that I couldn’t explain in dialogue why I chose the candidate I did: I hated Bhelen’s methods and attitude, but I felt that he probably had the best chance of being a better king in the long run than Harrowmont. Instead, it looked like I was supporting the underhanded tyrant.

    It probably says something about a game where I find myself wishing I could justify my actions and choices to NPCs.

  45. GABS says:

    It’s not that different, true, but I realized what I said earlier while reading this one. Don’t ask me why, no idea.
    @Someboringguy: Thanks, english isn’t my native language and I didn’t know that particular word ;)

  46. Blackbird71 says:

    @GABS (48)

    I’d point out that there is a huge difference between being a jerk and being honestly critical.

    As Shamus has said, he’s just giving his impressions and reactions while plyaing the game. There is no attempt at malice here, only an attempt to share his personal experience, which is a lot more than most game reviews will give you.

    If English isn’t your native language, then maybe you should stop and consider that you may have misunderstood some of what Shamus has written. To just call someone a jerk when they have been no such thing is pretty insulting, so if I were you, I’d want to be certain there was no mistake on my part before making such accusations.

  47. Xavin says:

    @Blackbird71 (49)
    (and, I guess, Shamus as well)

    I’m guessing that GABS is using the word “jerk” because Shamus used it to describe himself, in the caption under the first image (referring to the texture mapping)

  48. Old_Geek says:

    I think Shamus’s style of game review is a natural reaction to the completely biased “Gee I’d better give this game 5 stars because the publisher spends a ton of money advertising with my magazine” type of review found in mainstream publications.

    And for the record, I don’t think Shamus is as acid as others. If you take Yahtzee at face value, not only will never buy another video game again, you’d throw your computer/ps3/xbox/wii down a deep well and hire an exorcist. At least with Shamus, his genuine love of video games comes through as well as his frustration.

    1. Galad says:

      “If you take Yahtzee at face value, not only will never buy another video game again, you'd throw your computer/ps3/xbox/wii down a deep well and hire an exorcist.”

      I absolutely love that comparison, since I only watch Yahtzee’s ZP for its comedy gold :D

  49. Michael says:

    JKjoker it’s crazier than that.

    Its like saying you’d found Leonardo Da Vinci, who’d stayed alive by transforming himself into a robot, and he’d forged this really neat crown for you right before he commits suicide, instead of, you know, COMMING BACK WITH YOU.

    The whole Kerridan thing was just idiotic on a scale the game hadn’t been able to achieve earlier.

  50. GABS says:

    Final one.

    Xavin is right, if anyone (especially Shamus) thought I called him a jerk, I apologize.

  51. Electron Blue says:

    Although the Caridin plot was stupid, the scene of him falling into lava after reciting a dwarven saying made me get goosebumps. That was an excellent scene, worthy of a movie, and especially good because there was no music. It was worth the plot stupidity to watch that scene.

  52. Jeff says:

    Others have pointed out your timeline is wrong. Also, given that both of the two political parties actually send you (someone they trust) to find a Paragon, and the fact that the Grey Wardens are very highly regarded in Dwarven society, the fact that you actually return having encountered a Paragon isn’t something they’d disbelieve without cause.

    With regards to the casteless, you only have to look at “Untouchables” in human history – in numerous cultures.

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