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The Importance of Being Sterling

Forgive the false literary allusion but do allow me to inject some "earnestness" into the whole fiasco surrounding Destructoid's abysmally low review of Dragon Age. As my username suggests, I play RPGs, not only that, I am the RPGIST, a unique blogger whose nature encompasses the entire scope of the genre. This is my forte, my publishing niche, and I am grossly offended by Jim Sterling's deprecation of Bioware's latest and possibly greatest entry to their already reputable pedigree.

I believe Jim might be suffering from fatigue as he is responsible for reviewing a wide range of titles not just the limited experience with RPGs. It takes an unusual amount of patience to enjoy more
"old school" RPGs which is offered by Dragon Age. Though, rest assured, I am constantly drawing parallels to Bioware's magna opus: Baldur's Gate 2. One must not only craft a compelling story, but a vast and interesting world with an addictive combat and multifarious customization system. Is Dragon Age better than BG2? Doubtful, DA is more scaled-down to the "mainstream'd" younger generation of 360 owners. For example, there is no more dice rolling in the character creation menu, and the allocation of skills appears to be more abundant.

Barely worth a purchase *scoff*

In all honesty, the review staff at Destructoid overall, and it's self-ascribed "non-lenient" review policy is appalling. I am new to Destructoid so I went back and looked at the Burch's review debacle of Mass Effect. It was given a 7.0 with strong caution against buying a 50 hour game with top-notch production values. I am beginning to see a disturbing trend where reviewers play games they genuinely do not want to play apparently. If one approaches a game with a half-assed attitude then one's not going take out a whole lot of the overall experience. This is probably why I would never agree to review games in genres I typically do not appreciate. I would underestimate the value of the game and my review score would be terribly biased and deflated as a result.

Suppose for one second that say "Two Worlds" was accidentally programmed onto a Dragon Age disc, I could understand the shock of playing a terribly underdeveloped title with a nonexistent budget. However, my impression of DA is an overly pleasant one. The graphics may not be great, in fact, that may be its greatest pitfall on the 360. However, the art-direction clearly makes up for the technical flaws in this game. Just take the city of Ostagar, it sits near a range of mountain which reminds of the splendor in Lord of the Rings. This stunning vista was clearly not implemented in the graphics department but the soul of the idea is still there. Lastly, I find Sterling's attack on the difficulty level absolutely absurd. In fact, IGN's review clearly stated that it was significantly LESS difficult than on the PC version. You can probably play through 80-90 % of DA without using tactical pauses on the 360 version. If difficulty is suddenly a "bad" thing then why is Demon's Souls metacritic so high? I can't wait for that review to appear on Destructoid.

My recommendation is simply to add more enthusiastic staff who are still able to balance objectivity with their own expectations and biases. If this is simply a matter of pro forma policy, then I would never, as a publisher, send out advanced review copies to this site. In fact, I would ban it from metacritic.

Jim Sterling, astringent connoisseur or fatigued ribald?
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About The RPGistone of us since 11:11 PM on 10.01.2009

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