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Dragon Age Legends – Beta: A Resounding ‘Meh’

Written by Josh “JP” Perault

Starting up Dragon Age Legends, I was already hoping they would not ruin Dragon Age and actually keep true to the original game.  It really bothers me when video games come out with sequels or minor release titles that just plain suck.  Understandable, it is a Facebook game, so a little slack may be needed to properly judge the title.  After the game loaded, it jumped right into a combat tutorial and it reminded me of Heroes of Might and Magic, a game from my past I was quite fond of.  In short, for those playing the home game that never experienced Heroes of Might and Magic or may be interested in the combat system, let me explain.  Your character (a mage, rogue, or warrior) partners up with a few recruits on one side of the screen while your enemies are positioned on the opposite side.  In a turn based style, you can choose to use potions, attack, use abilities, throw bombs, defend, or one of few other actions.  The goal, obviously, is to defeat the opposing side of Darkspawn (at least they kept that the same) before you get killed.  After the combat is over and there are no other waves of enemies, you pick up your loot continue to the next quest area, go back to your castle to expand it, or hang yourself (in real life, not in the game; that would just be morbid).  Hanging yourself is an option because it seems like the best activity to do while you wait over two hours for your recruits to be ready to fight again, but we’ll come back to that.
Steering away from the combat, let us discuss the inventory.  After my countless (five or so) battles, I decided to look at what equipment I received so I can become a stronger mage and also strengthen my recruits.  Wait.  You mean I can’t let my recruits equip anything?  You mean that all the stuff that I collected and can’t use I can’t equip to people who can?  I really hope that is just a beta thing because if I am playing an RPG and my buddy next to me has a crappy rusty short sword and I have a phenomenal magical replacement, I would love for him to use it, not shake his head and tell me it is all good.  Other than those unusable items, you can pick up health and mana potions, along with shard bombs and energy potions.  Health and mana potions are just like any other game, they replenish health and mana.  Done, moving on.  The shard bombs are a weapon that do a set amount of damage and also allow you to attack in that turn.  Against bigger baddies, these help tons.  The energy potions are used to increase your…well…energy.  The energy you have directly reflects the amount of quests you can take on per sitting.  As a personal side note, I am not a fan of this system because once you are out of energy and can’t purchase anymore, time to go play another game.  As a heavy gamer, I am used to playing games for hours upon hours at a time.  Once a game tells me “no” after a half hour, my desire to play the game is chopped way down.  For those who only have time for little spurts of gameplay, this system may not even be noticed and the player may enjoy their gaming experience.
After questing, sometimes it is necessary to work your way back to your castle, kick back, and expand your home.  With the money you collect, you may expand your castle by adding different rooms that help you with different tasks.  For example, you can add an apothecary to craft potions for your quests or add an Alchemy Lab to craft bombs.  Again, reminded me a bit of Heroes of Might and Magic when you returned back to your kingdom and added different buildings to increase your productivity and units that you can bring into battle.  You can also visit the castles of your recruits, but so far I have seen absolutely nothing useful about doing so.  Again, could just be a beta thing, but as of now, it is a very useless feature.  If you want to build more or spend your play money on something else, you can invest (or waste) your real money on Crowns, which can be converted into the game’s currency.  Not a personal fan, but seeing how many Farmville game cards fly off the shelf, it is highly possible that others will do the same with this game.
According to EA, quoted from JC Fletcher’s article on Joystiq about Dragon Age Legends, “’players will take on challenging quests within an engaging storyline, earning loot, sharing rewards and growing their kingdom.’” EA 2D General Manager Mark Spenner hopes to ‘raise the quality bar’ of Facebook games with this offering, in order to draw traditional gamers.”
Personally, after playing this game, I have to say the only reason I can see traditional gamers playing the game is to unlock items for Dragon Age 2, which if anything like the original, will be phenomenal.  I did not feel any real substance to the game; it was disinteresting, and as a fan of the original, I feel as if it was an unnecessary addition to the Dragon Age storyline.  The one main thing I would change, if I could, would be the time limits for having your recruits help you in battle.  It irked me and turned me off of the game completely.  If you, as a Facebooker (new word of the day, use it), enjoy those style games, hop on this and try it out.  If you do not like waiting over two hours in order to continue playing a game after only playing for an initial thirty minutes, do yourself a favor and just play the original title Dragon Age rather than this Facebook addition.

3 comments

  1. I love how you complain about free things.

    Get over it – if you want to "marathon" this game, you will need to fork over the $$ – just like you have to pay for any other disc based game worth it's salt.

  2. Is Facebook as a requirement part of the beta or will the full game make you have a FB page?The last one ,"Journeys" I believe wasn't like that

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