Review Excerpts

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We Were On a Break!

I'm still taking a little breather from writing, and yes, still playing games. I finished the main part of Dragon Age: Origins, finished DA: Awakenings tonight, and I have one more DLC to go. I'll probably play through a couple more of the origin stories, but I don't know how many times I'll replay the entire shebang.

Now that I'm (mostly) finished, I stand by my opinion from the last post, which is that while the game is a lot of fun to play and has its good qualities, I am not completely in love with it. The main game actually got pretty good near the end (more on that in a bit) and some of the characters did grow on me a little more. Awakenings started off pretty well and there were some pretty cool sections, but truth be told, I thought it fizzled out a bit at the end.

Okay, now to tie it back in to storytelling, as this is my writing blog. When working on The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions, I had a conversation with friends about foreshadowing. Specifically, in that book, I wondered if it would come across as if I were foreshadowing events that wound up not happening and whether that's a good or bad thing. There were two things that really surprised me in DAO.

Before I go any further, I'll point out that when it comes to foreshadowing and/or picking up on hints, I'm really hit or miss. For example, it really annoyed my mom when she told me to watch The Sixth Sense and I figured out the twist right away. On the flip side **SPOILER ALERT FOR DRAGON AGE 2**, I did not see Anders blowing up the Chantry in DA2 coming AT ALL, and in retrospect, it seems so freaking obvious.

So onto the two surprising plot points from DAO. I really, honestly thought that the death of one of the characters (one of the ones I really liked, actually) was being heavily foreshadowed throughout the entire game. I was expecting a touching scene where she finally dies...and then it never came. On the one hand, I was just as glad not to lose a character I liked, but on the other, I was anticipating that moving, cathartic experience. (See: character deaths in Mass Effect 3). And then that made me wonder why I thought her eventual death seemed so obvious and how I could have been so far off. Interesting.

Right near the end there's a twist which I won't describe in detail because it would take too long, and for me, that one came out of nowhere. And DAMN, it was a good one. Just about on par with that aforementioned spoiler. I was really impressed by how it totally took me by surprise while still being coherent with the rest of the story. Some twists feel cheap and overly dramatic (and I'm sure there are some who would put this plot event in that category), but I had a completely enjoyable "OH SHIT!" moment.

So I still haven't come to a definitive conclusion on foreshadowing, how to do it properly, and what the right amount of it is. At least my opinions on the games stay strong.


  1. I think it's good to surprise people. I love twists! I had a lot of foreshadowing to do in my current project. And I do wonder how much of it people see coming because I want it to come out of nowhere but I still want it make sense you know. Lol!

  2. I think foreshadowing is hard to do, but fun when done correctly.