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Having not played Oblivion, Jade Empire, or most of the other games others are talking about, I'm just going to have to add what I know about this.
This game rocks.
While people might complain it's a Cliche Storm to beat all storms, the game itself is pretty much an affectionate parody of those cliches, and manages to do a good job deconstructing them as well, a la A Song Of Ice And Fire. The politics are brutal, the characters are very frequently snarky, and the tone is somewhere around Grey And Black Morality. As a troper that really, really liked A So Ia F, this was absolute gold compared to other games that don't spend as much time on character development.
The opening was pretty standard for any high fantasy sort of setting- go beat the orcs, save the kingdom, and put a new king in power. However, as the plot moves on, a lot of time is spent fleshing out the characters and the setting, which really makes up for some of its shortcomings. The script writers were channeling something awesome when writing party dialogue. Compared to most other games I've played, this is another little slice of awesome that Dragon Age has. It's a real credit to the game when you're able to actually like the crazy religious rogue, the bitchy mage, and the emo templar, who would be easy to hate if it weren't for how they were handled in development.
However, the quests can be very, very long. One thing I wish they had spent more time on was adding more sidequests and other non-main plot stuff to help expand the environment more. Tackling the Deep Roads can be awesome, but sometimes there needs to be a bit more variation to keep it interesting.
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