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TriplZer0 avatar 3:11 PM on 03.28.2011
In Pursuit of Platinum: My Journey Through Dragon Age II


On March 8, my copy of Dragon Age II arrived. Little did I know that this title was going to change my life.

Dragon Age II is not a perfect game. It’s not even close to perfect. But since it came out, I haven’t taken it out of my PS3’s disc tray. I’ve sunk hour after hour into Hawke’s story and the city of Kirkwall. And as I continued to play, something peculiar happened. My trophy count went higher and higher. Then I realized what was happening. I was on my way to earning 100% of the trophies. Before I knew it I was in pursuit of platinum.


Ellie Hawke--the most badass 2-handed warrior Kirkwall has ever seen

Right off the bat, I have to say that I don’t care about gamer scores or trophies that much. I know how other Destructoid writers feel about them and that's fine. I like earning the points/icons/what have you, but in no way do I think that they mark me as a better gamer. If somebody has more points than me, it just means that he or she has probably played more games than me. Simple as that. My gamer score is not how I measure my e-penis. (True story: I do that with an e-yardstick, ‘cause it’s e-normous.)

I enjoy getting trophies and achievements because I treat them as little extra challenges the games throw at me. Beat a level and find all the little collectibles hidden inside it? Okay, will do. I’m a completionist anyway, so these kinds of tasks appeal to me.

Dragon Age II wove a spell over me (Chantry approved of course. No blood magic here). Unlike Mass Effect 2, which I believe to be a superior game, it forced me to role play. I wasn’t choosing dialogue choices because I wanted to max out my Paragon or Renegade scores. I was choosing the dialogue options that I wanted, usually the “smartass” responses because that’s how I respond in a lot of situations. Say what you want about Bioware “dumbing” down the game and the conversation choices, but I had to think more about what I was going to say in this game than I did in both Mass Effect’s.



Towards the end of the game I did a brutal companion quest for Merrill. Not because it was hard, but because of what was happening on the screen—things my character, my Hawke was doing because of my actions. I couldn’t change them. Merrill had decided her fate, and for better or worse, I was a part of it. Hawke had to reap what she sowed, and by extension so did I.

I’d never felt like that from a game before. I’ve seen things from all ends of the spectrum—from touching to horrifying. For example, the twist in Bioshock really hit me because even though I played it for the first time in 2009 I managed to avoid spoilers. Dragon Age II actually forced me to feel for the characters and experience the consequences of my actions.

After I beat it for the first time, I willingly dove back into the rapidly deteriorating city of Kirkwall for a second playthrough. I wanted to do things differently. It was only by accident that I saw that I was only a handful of trophies away from obtaining the platinum.



I’ve gotten close to platinum before, once with inFamous and once with Assassin’s Creed II. But I really only kept playing those games to satisfy my completionist tendencies. Dragon Age II is a game I wanted to play again so I could experience everything. And if doing everything gets me a platinum trophy, then I had to go for it. This flawed, rushed game compelled me to conquer it. This wasn’t a chore like some other games I’ve played. This pursuit of platinum was a joy.

(Note: I’m 80% of the way there, but I only have 6 trophies left to get. I’m in Act III right now and will easily get them before I beat the game again.)

(Note 2: As of 1:02 am on Saturday I beat the game for a second time. The trophy is mine. Now hopefully I remembered to keep saves for both sets of clear data.)

Addendum: Apparently this is not meant to be. The trophy “Epic” is known to have bugs. There are other threads where people are having the same problem. You’re supposed to get it if you either: beat the game once and import a save from Origins or just beat the game twice. Since I don’t have Dragon Age Origins, I went the beat the game twice route. I guess I’ll have to wait for a patch. It really doesn’t matter in the long run. I know that I got 100% of the achievements. I know that I squeezed every single drop of entertainment from the game. That’s what matters more than a little icon in my trophy list. I just would’ve liked to see the little thing pop up, but that’s life.

 
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