I have finally met the remaining companions, or at least I assume I have. In order:
Velanna: Oh look, it's Morrigan without the charm. No, actually, I don't mind her that much, but she's just so angry and earnest all the time. Also, I accidentally went down into the Silverite Mine with the three boys before I finished the above-ground plot in the Wood, so I have a feeling that I may have screwed up in terms of unlocking all of her story. I was never able to get into the Architect's office, either, so my sense of what's actually going on with him is very vague. But more on that in a minute.
Justice: An interesting concept for a character, although sometimes he veers a little too far into "What is this thing you humans call love?" territory. Also, I was very happy to finally pick up a sword-and-shield fighter, after losing Mhari almost right away.
Sigrun: I like her from a story perspective -- fun, a good balance for the grim seriousness of many of the other characters, I find the Legion interesting. But in terms of gameplay, she duplicates the skills of my Aeducan rouge a little too closely, so she's not that useful. It was fun from a story perspective that she recognized Aeducan, though. I love it when this game doesn't forget that my characters have a past that interacted in many complex ways with the other characters.
At this point, I seem to be settling into a party of Anders (because damn is he a powerful healer, with some good offensive capability as well -- thanks to Crushing Prison, we pretty much walked all over The First), Justice, and either Nathanial or Velanna depending on whether I want more magic or a sniper. I expect I'll probably take Nathanial into Amaranthine (for story reasons more than anything else -- the idea of giving him an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of his father's former subjects appeals to me greatly), so that we can have at least one mage left at the Keep. The game seems to want me to bring Sigrun, but a party of three rogues and a healer seems beyond unbalanced. On the other hand, battle hasn't been all that challenging so far, except for a few tense moments in the Silverite Mine, so maybe that doesn't matter so much.
As for the story, as mentioned above, it would help if I understood what was going on with the Mother and the Architect: why they are going up against each other, what their goals are and how they are different. I wouldn't mind if I didn't think I was *supposed* to understand, but since I missed that key intel in the Silverite Mine, I have this niggling fear that I really missed something. On the other hand, by all reports we do have about half the game to go, so we'll see if more information is forthcoming.
The conflict of the city versus the country is more interesting. The assassination attempt made for a pretty shocking reveal, although the fact that it came so soon made me wonder if I didn't screw up the politics somewhere along the line. I am definitely going to have to play through this again at some point, either as Cousland or, more likely, the Orlesian Warden, since I suspect that will make character reactions and interactions more different. On the other hand, forcing Cousland and Nathanial to work together could also be very interesting. So we'll see.
There's a part of me that feels like I ought to apologize for the "all Dragon Age, all the time" phase I'm going through here. I haven't had a shiny new fandom in so long, so I fear I can't really help it. But I promise I will write about other things again. Someday. Eventually. ;)
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