CompanionshipFebruary 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Posted in Dragon Age, rpg | 2 Comments
The companions in Dragon Age are pretty good. They all have lengthy back-stories, some more interesting than others, but at least deeper than your average game. You can actually feel like you get to know your backup in a Bioware game, where in other games they are merely tools or plot devices. Possible spoilers ahead.
Bioware even uses their henchmen to flesh out the world. Virtually the only place you learn anything about the Qunari, is through Sten. There’s a few books here and there about their invasion, and the war, but Sten is your main source for everything Qun related. He’s not a plot device, he’s a character with a history and a people.
A lot has been said about the change in Bioware’s favor system. Instead of solely being based on morality choices, it has zeroed in on being more about individuals. You can easily build up favor with just about every companion you have.
Now I must be terrible at this part of Bioware games, I rarely get all the companion quests. So far in Dragon Age I’ve done 4. Morrigan, Ohgren, Zevran, and Wynn. I missed out on getting Leilana’s quest because I forgot to talk to her before her favor was above 25, therefore eliminating any chance of getting it. I never did quite figure out what Sten’s favourite gifts were, until it was too late. I finally got Shale’s favor up, but it was at the end of the game, and couldn’t follow through. I think Alistair hates me. That’s ok though, what a fucking whiner. For some reason the dog, who I named Grimlock (after my desktop), was at 100 favor the entire game. Not sure how I managed that, if it was a glitch, programmed that way, or an option through dialogue.
Of the 4 quests I did, they were all…. extremely shitty. One of the few times I’ve been let down by Bioware writing. I guess they just didn’t have the manpower for anything other than simple dialogue. With Ohgren you visit a potential love interest. Emphasis on visit. They insult each other, it’s mildly amusing I guess. Wynn visits with a long lost student. Not in any way entertaining. Morrigan’s is probably the most interesting, with the right dialogue options you get a sweet dragon boss fight. That’s it though, show up, talk, dragon boss fight. Zevran’s is straight forward. It ends up being a Random Encounter in Denerim, the Antivan Crows ambush you, and Zevran shows up whether he’s in party or not. That fight is yet another “let’s pile on as many melee fighters as possible!” fight.
Those criticisms aside, the back stories of these characters are quite good. Leilana’s faith is interesting. Zevran’s ‘trapped as an assassin yearning for freedom’ is (surprise) slightly cliche but at least cool. Morrigan’s is unique and interesting, even if the quest itself from her is one note. Ohgren’s is boring lets face it. A drunken dwarf? Who’d have figured. Wynn’s backstory is boring. It’s like talking to someone elses grandmother.
Overall they did a really good job. No other game fleshes out real character history like a Bioware game. Even the best games I can think of don’t go to this extreme to present a full picture of a character. They may rely on cliche to get through some of the extensive histories they have to present, but at least there’s something where other game studios would have absolutely nothing.
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