Dragon Age 3: 5 Ingredients For A Great Game

Posted on Features

Dragon Age 3 has been teased by EA for a while now without any real info regarding the game. What we do know is that the game is being prepared for next-gen consoles, so we should see a pretty big leap in terms of visual quality for the Dragon Age games. Outside of graphics, Dragon Age 3 will need to take a number of steps to convince gamers that returning to its universe is worthwhile. For the most part, Dragon Age: Origins was met by critical acclaim however, Dragon Age 2 fell short in the eyes of many people. Dragon Age 3 needs to rekindle the love that gamers felt when initially playing through the first Dragon Age game, and here are 5 ways to do it.

5) Showcase More Cultures

The lore and culture within the Dragon Age universe is very unique and diverse, yet for two games, we’ve essentially been left to witness only one piece of this multicultural pie. We traipsed in Ferelden and Kirkwall, two very similar areas, all the while neglecting other interesting cultural hubs like Orlais, Northern Qunari Lands, The Tevinter Imperium and the Grey Wardens’ Weisshaupt Fortress. These lands should be as large, if not bigger than Ferelden and more importantly, Dragon Age 3 should not restrict itself to one nation in much the same way Dragon Age 2 did. We really want to see more of this world. Word has it that DA3 will take place largely in Orlais, which sounds good to me.

4) More Interactivity With Party Members

Interacting with your party members is one of the highlights of any WRPG, and it is the same in the Dragon Age series too. The one thing I think WRPGs can learn from JRPGs is that all party members should always be present at major (and minor) story events, so that gamers don’t have to constantly replay and shift out characters to see what others have to say in certain situations. This would also help each party member to flesh themselves out, as each member gets his/her voice heard. At a minimum, the inactive party members should be present around towns you visit minding their own business. They could then be interacted with, which is always fun in JRPGs. Dragon Age 2 had a little bit of this, but you were kinda stuck in one city for the whole game anyway.

3) Return To Turn-Based Mechanics

This might be contentious, given that a few people found Dragon Age: Origin’s combat boring and preferred Dragon Age 2’s more active battle system. I honestly got drawn into Dragon Age: Origins turn-based system, especially playing the PC version of the game. I would love a return to that, as I feel party-based RPGs feel better with turn-based mechanics whilst solo-based RPGs like Dark Souls and Skyrim feel better as action games. Party-based RPGs are akin to RTS games where micromanagement is important, making the games more strategical than action games, but on a smaller scale than an RTS game. I feel like turn-based games are slowly diminishing too, so it would be nice to have a good game that still utilises those mechanics.

2) Return Of Previous Cast

Since the Dragon Age series is set in a specific time period, previous cast members should still have a vital role in the story. From the soft-spoken Grey Warden, Morrigan and Lelliana in DA:O to Champion Hawke, Bethany/Carver and Varric from DA2. Even some of the other characters introduced in DA: Awekening should be revisited. Most of the party members you come across in the Dragon Age games are very, very good characters, so it’s a shame when they get sidelined. Meeting Lelliana in DA2 brought back so many memories, yet the meeting was so brief and inconsequential that it left me ultimately unsatisfied. We, as gamers, spent a lot of time with these characters, so please Bioware, give them some good roles in DA3.

1) Dialogue Wheel (Conversations) Overhaul

One of the most disappointing elements in DA2 was the dialogue wheel stolen from the Mass Effect series. For the longest time, I’ve hated the dialogue wheel system because it added nothing of value, but took away a lot. Many times during gameplay, chosen dialogue options weren’t clear and ended up not being what I, the gamer, wanted to say. The system in DA:O worked, even if it was clunky. Luckily, one game showed promise, and that was Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Another briliant RPG that gave a superb handling of the dialogue wheel. Every choice I made in that game came out the way I wanted it to. It didn’t feel shallow or cumbersome. If DA3 can take notes from that game, and build upon it even more, then there’s hope for DA3. One of the worst things about Da2 was that you chose responses based on an emoticon rather than the dialogue itself, because the written dialogue wasn’t always clear. The other problem was that it diluted the romance options in the game. Romancing in DA2 felt simplistic and too easy. The dialogue wheel is a dangerous tool that can sabotage a good game. All previous Bioware iterations of it have been failures, so they need to make sure they properly implement this feature in DA3.