Hey anyone bothering to read these! So I took the time to go through the Dragon Age Keep and customize my worldstate as I think I said in the previous entry, and I've restarted my save, with a few minor changes. I went for roughly the same female mage inquisitor, though with paler skin, and a bit more thought put into makeup, because good lord do characters look strange without it on the PS3 version.
I have no idea what the default worldstate is, but here are the details of my custom one. So for starters, Anders is alive, sadly. I wanted to see which NPCs from the previous games might show up, so literally everyone I could possibly spare has been spared. Second, I aimed for an all female mage batch of protagonists as a middle finger to the templars, but failed on Origins. I wanted to have a female mage romance Alistair, have him and Morrigan get freaky for the god baby, and then offer him up as tribute to Anora, because that's one of the more interesting romantic routes through Origins. But, Loghain had to be spared in case he shows up, so I just went with a male mage romancing Morrigan. Disappointing, but it's whatever.
This time around I was much more thoughtful with how I progressed, actually managing to do things before being thrust into the Hinterlands, and finding things I mysteriously managed to miss in the default world save. Such as shards, and the Fobidden Oasis. Guys, I loathe the Oasis. It's confusing to navigate, and has a buggy quest you have to travel out of and back into the Oasis to fix. But, I've done everything but the doors, and can easily reach the temple without issue, so for now, I'm done with that horrible place.
I also visited Val Royeaux, and had the pleasure of seeing a smug Chantry drone get smacked upside the head, this pleasure immediately being taken away by an even more smug templar declaring independence and marching away, without being smacked upside the head. I'm likely going to side with the mages. They aren't that smug. Yet. I wish I had visited Val Royeaux earlier, because it opens up three quests to collect companions. Vivienne, Blackwall, and Iron Bull.
Speaking of companions though, I don't think I've talked about them much. I'm finding myself quite fond of the default three the game throws at you in the tutorial. I initially thought I'd hate Solas, but he's proven to be a true bro, and most likely a permanent addition to my party. Varric is as he was in Dragon Age II, a fountain of humor, wit, and chest hair. Cassandra is a bit like Aveline, a proud warrior in a position of high authority, though unlike Aveline, things don't really go her way. Ever. So far the writing has been good, the party interactions have felt much more organic, and there's nobody I clearly hate among the inner circle yet.
So far on this reset, I've nearly doubled my hours logged, and have found playing much more carefully and thoughtfully to be a more rewarding, enriching, and enjoyable experience. Except the Oasis, I don't look forward to navigating to the shards on that map on future saves. Anyway, I'll actually be doing the stormy place soon, so do look forward to me drooling over Iron Bull and his weirdly shaped head.
To wrap things up, my impressions. As limited as my experience is, almost all of the 24 hours I've logged into the game have been spent in enjoyment. The writing is good, the gameplay is good, the art direction is excellent. This is a high quality product Bioware has made, and like Isaac Rebirth, I personally feel it's completely blowing away what I've felt about the previous entries. This is more than likely going to be one of those games I log a few thousand hours in.