Games like Dragon Age
January 19, 2010 11:21 AM   Subscribe

What other games are there (for the Xbox or PC) like Dragon Age? More details below.

I bought Dragon Age for Mrs. Monkey and she is totally engrossed. While I regret that she has basically disappeared for the last few weeks with this game, I am curious what else is out there that is similar that she may also enjoy.

What she likes about it is that the story is good (a little romance, a lot of killing), the AI characters are very engaging with entertaining dialog and the game is fun.

In the past, she was a fan of Morrowind (but oddly, not Oblivion). She is a casual gamer and that drove her away from Warcraft and other MMO games. She prefers the fantasy over sci-fi so Mass Effect is out (plus, ME is kind of boring when compared to Dragon Age).

posted by GrumpyMonkey to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (30 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Fable II is pretty good, but if she did not like Oblivion, then it may be worth a rental first.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:22 AM on January 19, 2010

jade empire and knights of the old republic! (which were made by the same people who made dragon age, i think...?)
posted by raw sugar at 11:25 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd suggest BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic. It's a bit old, but a great game.

Also, the Final Fantasy series, though I don't think many of them made their way to the Xbox.
posted by mkultra at 11:25 AM on January 19, 2010

The old PC BioWare RPGs are great, but may be a little dated: check out Baldurs Gate 1,2, or Planescape:Torment
posted by theDrizzle at 11:27 AM on January 19, 2010

While I bow to no man in my man-love for Planescape:Torment, I'm not sure that's the best suggestion for Mrs. Monkey. Despite being the greatest cRPG ever.

I would strongly suggest Neverwinter Nights 2 plus the first expansion, Mask of the Betrayer. Those are exactly what you are looking for. Full stop.
posted by Justinian at 11:35 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Jade Empire. I believe it can be purchased on Xbox Live and downloaded to your HD.
posted by lore at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2010

Justinian has it right. P:T is the king but not quite in the vein of DA.
posted by zennoshinjou at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2010

Fallout 3 deserves a mention; it's post-apocalyptic though, so more sci-fi than fantasy.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2010

I think Fable II meets the three things she likes about Dragon's Age: Fun, Engaging Characters, Love Interest (you can have lots of wives!). But it is a different game than Dragon's Age, for sure.

Knights of the Old Republic, 1 or 2, are similar types of games but if she won't like a Star Wars game then those are out.

Maybe she would enjoy Fallout 3? Similar to Oblivion, but it depends what she likes about them both.

I'm trying to think of others, but coming up blank. Guess I don't play as many RPGs as I thought.
posted by bDiddy at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2010

I would definitely convince her to give Fallout 3 a try, despite her preference of fantasy over sci-fi. Probably the most memorable gaming experience I've ever had.
posted by jbickers at 11:58 AM on January 19, 2010

Response by poster: She tried Fallout 3 and did not love it. I tried to explain how great Fallout was but she wanted nothing to do with it.
And is Fable II better than Fable was? For me, the first Fable was only so-so...
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 12:04 PM on January 19, 2010

You may want to look at the history of Bioware games. DA:O is pretty much the direct successor to Baldur's Gate II. Many of the elements from DA:O are there in a rudimentary fashion (interactions between party members, for example), and of course the graphics are a bit more 20th century, but it's still a great game.

In the same vein, but a bit less plot and more slashing, is the Icewind Dale series, which are more DA:O-ey in that the atmosphere is a lot darker than in BG. Since you create your entire party yourself there, there's less plotted party dynamics, but I still think they're damn fine RPGs.

I found NWN less fun for lack of a real party, but just found out that this may be remedied in NWN2.
posted by themel at 12:09 PM on January 19, 2010

Ok, I'm going a different direction with this. Try the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights games! They are VERY much like Dragon Age Origins, in fact, they directly contributed to everything you see in Dragon Age - they have aged very well over time.

Just avoid the expansions to Neverwinter Nights and NWN 2. They aren't very good.

For XBox360, try Lost Odyssey. It is like Dragon Age Origin in a lot of ways too, but more closer akin to VERY GOOD old final fantasy in game play.

Also, I HATED Fallout 3 - it is NOT like Dragon Age at all in game play. It is a shooter, even if it does pretend to be turn based.
posted by strixus at 12:11 PM on January 19, 2010

I've only played Dragon Age enough to get access to the world map, but I think there is a ton of similarity between Dragon Age and Final Fantasy 12.
posted by ripple at 12:31 PM on January 19, 2010

Your wife may enjoy The Witcher. I've found it to be pretty similar to Dragon Age (in the somewhat limited amount that I played either. Some day I'll get back to them!).
posted by DiamondGFX at 12:31 PM on January 19, 2010

I don't think there's a need to rent Fable 2 as it has been broken down into an episodic download, the first part (of 5) should be available for free on XBLA.

Infinity Engine titles (the aforementioned Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Planescape:Torment) are great games, but although to those of us exposed to them early on they may "have aged very well over time" they're probably still a bit of a tough sell for someone whose initial exposure was to Dragon Age. If you do go this route, the Icewind Dale games are imo not as good and I'd recommend giving them ago only after BG/PS:T.

My votes would probably be for Jade Empire. There's issues running it in Vista and it's no fun playing with keyboard/mouse imo, but if you have a gamepad for the pc and are running xp, it should graphically be much nicer than the xbox version.
posted by juv3nal at 12:43 PM on January 19, 2010

N’thing Baldurs Gate I and II along with Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale: All of them are extremely similar to Dragon Age in terms of gameplay and general storyline-without the massively overpowered mages.

Planescape: Torment’s a weird beast- it’s dark (more fantasy-horror than fantasy), and there’s a ton of story. Your only option in playing is as a giant undead male hunk of flesh, which may or may not be her thing. But you do have a chance for romance, and since you’re undead, ‘dying’ in game usually means waking up on a slab somewhere with a little less gold and experience-great for a casual gamer who forgets to save*. If you think she wouldn’t mind fantasy-horror setting and the occasional talkyness, I would still recommend it-it’s an amazing story and has some of the best secondary characters out there.

If she didn’t like Fallout 3 because of the combat, you can try Fallout 2.

I wouldn’t go with Final Fantasy games-which a lot more linear than any of the other games mentioned here. There’s usually a romantic plot in the game, but you don’t get any choice in the matter, and the battle system tends to suck most of the fun out of killing. Also, half of the games are more sci-fi than fantasy. And I say that as someone who likes Final Fantasy.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:55 PM on January 19, 2010

Fable II is pretty good, but if she did not like Oblivion, then it may be worth a rental first.

No idea on the merits, but the first chapter of Fable II is available as a free download from XBox Live.
posted by grobstein at 1:15 PM on January 19, 2010

Oh-Fable II is better than the first Fable, but still not quite up to par with Dragon Age. It’s a pretty shallow game: a lot of save the puppy vs. eat the puppy sorts of morality questions, most of the areas are pretty much the same, and no good supporting characters (though you can have threesomes and kill random townspeople!).
posted by dinty_moore at 1:34 PM on January 19, 2010

Nthing Jade Empire and KotOR! Those are totally up her alley. I can vouch for it because these kind of games are my particular kind of crack too.

Fable would be good, though it's less narrative directed and the romance/dialog is MUCH more shallow. If she liked the character dialogue and love storyline, then Fable and Fable II are going to be a disappointment. Perhaps Final Fantasy X and XII, though Square's RPGs are a very different flavor from Bioware's works.

If you're going more the classics route, just start throwing anything previously made by Bioware at her. :D Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights...Bioware is the king of story-driven RPGs in my book.
posted by ninjakins at 1:44 PM on January 19, 2010

I don't think there's a need to rent Fable 2 as it has been broken down into an episodic download, the first part (of 5) should be available for free on XBLA.

Oops. Saw xbox in the original question and assumed 360. Fable 2 is for the 360.
posted by juv3nal at 1:54 PM on January 19, 2010

> Just avoid the expansions to Neverwinter Nights and NWN 2. They aren't very good.

I'd have to disagree. Personally, the original campaign for Neverwinter Nights bored me to tears, and I never finished it, but the Shadows of Undrentide and the Hordes of the Underdark expansions were great. Same thing with NWN 2 - I've heard a lot more about Mask of the Betrayer than the original campaign.

The other great thing about Neverwinter Nights is the mass of free modules online. I'd suggest Stephen Gagne's Penultima campaign.

Also seconding Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur's Gate 2.
posted by dragoon at 2:27 PM on January 19, 2010

Response by poster: juv3nal - I did mean 360 and not the original xbox. That is pretty important - the original did not even cross my mind.
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 2:46 PM on January 19, 2010

Knights of the Old Republic! Engaging story, romantic subplot - sure it's sci-fi-y but it fits the bill perfectly otherwise.
posted by Xany at 7:00 PM on January 19, 2010

I'd suggest The Witcher, but I can't imagine her not being put off by the games obvious mysogyny. It's a good RPG though, if rough and bizarre in that way only eastern european games are.

As for Neverwinter Nights 2, I think the base storyline there is decent enough. Mask of the Betrayer (the first expansion) is actually significantly better. Those two would be a sure bet, I think.

I really can't second the Infinity Engine games (Planescape, Baldur's Gate). I loved them in their day, but I think these days only die hard gamers can handle the dated game engines and interfaces.

KOTOR and Jade Empire are good too. Play too many Bioware games, though, and their formula might get tiresome.
posted by malphigian at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2010

OK! Apparently I have been told off on the NWN and NWN2 expansions. I hated them, and thought they were boring and buggy.

And I have to respectfully disagree, ripple, FF12 is only as like DragonAge Origins as a muscadine is like a durian. That is, very very superficially.
posted by strixus at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2010

With what you have said in mind, I would suggest Neverwinter Nights plus expansions, Icewind Dale plus expansion, and Baldur's Gate 2. For the latter two games there are mods that allow you to play full screen.

Though they are great games, I think you might want to stay away from NWN2 (oblivion to NWN1's morrowind), BG1 (very dated at this point), Planescape: Torment (best game ever made, but much more time and though goes towards talking than fighting for what people expect of the genre today IMO), or KOTOR (if Mass Effect is too SF, this probably is as well).

I don't think Final Fantasy, Jade Empire and Fallout 3 quite meet the goal here.
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2010

This might be a weird suggestion but I played Mass Effect right after Dragon Age and found both very similar, even though the combat is entirely different.
posted by wolfr at 9:12 AM on January 20, 2010

I came here to suggest Mass Effect and Fallout 3 in the current generation, and the KOTOR games one generation back. If sci-fi is for sure out, I'm afraid I've got very little to offer- most fantasy RPGs are much more linear.

Fable II is fun, but frustratingly shallow. It gave me just enough to want more and to get annoyed when I couldn't have it - you can woo an AI character and marry one or more of them, and even have a child- and you actually can get fond of them - but then you come back from questing and your spouse is all "Oh, honey, I missed you!" but all you can do to interact with your family is use the stupid "emote" system- like, here, baby, I've been gone for months, I'm going to stand in front of you and play the banjo to show my love! Not to mention the much-vaunted "moral choice" system is the diametric opposite of nuanced. The choices are always things like "save the children from the fire / sacrifice the children in a dark cult ritual."

It is fun, though, and there are some solid voice actors (Stephen Fry!) and I did enjoy the ability to become a virtual real estate tycoon, though once you've bought all the stuff there isn't much to do with it. If they'd added a bit more of the Sims-type gameplay they skirt the corners of it would have had much more replay value.

Just for a data point, as a female gamer, one of my favorite things about both ME and Fallout is the ability to have a female character who is not turned into eye candy or an insipid love interest. ME especially won me over because it's a third-person game so I got to SEE Sheppard and HEAR her speaking, obviously female, and then got to see the other characters react to her *as a person, based on her actions and character rather than her appearance*. And she wears armor that actually covers up her vulnerable areas, and is thus actually useful for its ostensible purpose. In video-game land, this is a vanishingly rare situation.

Anyway. My long-winded point is that even though I have always preferred swords and magic over shooty games, and even though I HATED shooters for the longest time, I was able to adjust enough to play both Fallout 3 and Mass Effect, and the story and character development and such, and adored them both and they both ate my life for some time. Any future people searching this thread with similar tastes who are willing to go sci-fi can't go wrong with either title, especially as both have ways to ease into the shooty parts (VATS in Fallout, Casual difficulty on ME).
posted by oblique red at 10:34 AM on January 20, 2010

I just wanted to let you know if you didn't already, there are expansions on the way for Dragon Age. I believe the first major one will be available in April. I just finished the game myself and will most likely play through again (its impossible to see everything with one or even two characters I would wager).

If she did not care for Oblivion, Fallout 3 is "to me" VERY similar as far as game play goes but with guns.

I was going to recommend Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 (on the 26th?) both done by Bioware so she might be willing to give it a chance.

If she is strictly against any sci-fi I will say The Witcher looks right up her alley.
posted by Mardigan at 12:25 PM on January 20, 2010

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