So yesterday, I bought Dragon Age Origins. Being a fan of Mass Effect, and up until now lacking a PC to play Dragon Age on its native platform, I decided the deal Amazon was running on it was too good to pass by. I am really quite enjoying my time with it so far, save for a few little quirks – mainly that following battles your entire party looks as if they spent an afternoon in Dexter’s blood splatter room while he did his best Jackson Pollock impression.

I know I’m late with this criticism, as I remember this specific element being mentioned when the game was first released, but it is just as baffling now as it was in 2009. Every time a character appears as a bloodied mess, it takes me immediately out of the world as I am starkly reminded that I am playing a video game. Does the reality where Dragon Age exists not have familiarity with towels? Whenever someone fails to mention the blood covering every square inch of your party I get utterly confused as the first thing I’d say is “Well I have something important to tell you, but you all look like blood thirsty maniacs. If you need me I’ll be cowering in the corner.” It is almost as if everyone in Dragon Age is really just Harvey Keitel in disguise.

The narrative tone and world that the writers at Bioware were able to craft is simply amazing, but to preface almost all dialogue with a laughable moment is an utter waste. This isn’t an isolated problem as I also had some of the same immersion breaking problems in Mass Effect with your helmet carrying over into conversations. Dragon Age does away with helmets in cutscenes, but doesn’t really solve the problem because of the buckets of blood that they are replaced with.

Be it to make the game seem more “edgy,” or simply to create a world where dudes covered in blood is just a part of everyday life, Dragon Age doesn’t do a very good job, narrative wise, of justifying such a common occurrence. The alternative of having characters freak out at your appearance would more then likely become just as annoying as them staying silent, which makes the case for leaving it out alltogether. Which makes the blood all the more baffling.

So yeah, Dragon Age is pretty good. The blood effect is not.

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