Introduced my wife to Dragon Age: Origins last night. Here I was hoping for something that would impress Ms. “I’ve got books by Tennessee Williams and Dylan Thomas in my collection and you don’t”, but it didn’t go so well.
She really disliked the talking intermissions. Or rather, she disliked how frequent and long they were. Also disliked the interaction via multiple possible answers, I imagine because she couldn’t completely gauge the result of the choices before selecting a response. And I can’t say I blame her too much. On the length issue, I mean. There is such a thing as too much sometimes, particularly when the player actually wants to get down to, you know, adventuring, and not having to listen to merchants say their 5-10 second peace every damn time you want to access their goods.
Now, I understand this is story-driven, and the vehicle chosen to deliver that story is voiced NPCs. That much is fine, and actually experiencing the level of narrative in DA:O fills my geeky heart with a joy I cannot explain. You don’t get this kind of steak often, and the voice acting sauce it comes with is supreme. But, that said, the inconvenient truth behind this is that there is a ton of it, whether you like it or not. Voiced NPCs work great but only up to a point where they start becoming an annoyance for many players. I think future titles *coughstarwarscough* have to be mindful of this and teach their NPCs how brevity really is the soul of wit.