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The last Prima guide I purchased was for Fallout 3. THAT guide was excellent. Great maps, full, multi page guides for every quest, excellent pictures. It made it possible to find every quest and item in a huge world.
THIS guide is nothing of the sort. The maps are very small, (3 or 4" on a single page small) and monochromatic, with difficult to follow legends. The quest guides and walkthrough are short, bullet point summaries. They contain virtually no information you wouldn't otherwise know if you're doing the quest.
The sidequest guides are literally a paragraph long, and are basically summaries of the in game quest text. No map, maybe a single screenshot. They are useful only in finding quests you didn't know about. However, in exploring areas, you easily stumble upon all the sidequests. The guide is packed full of spoilers with no warnings. It's easy to flip through looking for something else, and spoil a story point for yourself as you glance over the text.
The "full equipment section" is utterly useless. It contains a full list of unique weapons and armor in the game, but absolutely no location information, so it gets you nowhere. You may see something you'd like to use, but with no location listed, you are left hoping you find it, or looking online for where to get it.
On the plus side, the character creation and class guides are useful, helping you identify the best abilities and where to put your ability and talent points as you start out. The companion guides are also handy, helping you figure out who likes what gifts, how to pursue a romance with a particular character, and how to build them. However, this information is largely available for free on the Dragon Age website and official forums.Read more ›
Yes I've read the other reviews. I almost didn't buy this because of them. But in the end I figured "something is better than nothing". I'm glad I did!
What's useful to me? How about:
a) A discussion of all the races and classes. Statistics, theories, backstories, descriptions and discussion of different ability choices and so for.
b) Information about setting up a party. A list and discussion of all the NPC's that you can recruit. What's good about them, what's bad, how to influence each one. Information about stuff like possible romances and how that effects the game, and how to pull it off. Suggested settings for the tactical window. Suggested builds (tank, ranged dps, etc) both at a class level and at a party level.
c) Lists of spells and equipment, along with relevent statistics about each one. Others said this is not useful, I disagree. Just having this to read "offline" lets you strategise about how you want to try to equip your characters, and gives you an idea what to buy from merchants and what to "hold out for".
d) The walkthroughs. Ok, so the walkthroughs are high level. I kinda like that. Not useful? Pfft, hardly. For example, I was just in this fight that I had no idea how to win. I walk into a courtyard and seemed to be immediately set upon by an insurmountable force. I had pretty much given up. But the book gives you just enough that now I'm ready to give it another try, with much more of an idea of how I can win it.
e) information about all the quests. One thing that I frequently wonder while playing a game like this was "what did I miss?" when I leave a region. Now I can know that!
In short, I find this guide to be just what I need, and definitely enhances my enjoyment of playing DAO. After reading it myself I really can't fathom why others dislike this book so strongly.
The character sections and walkthrough are pretty good. But if you are looking for more information about spell damage and duration, combat mechanics, etc, you'll find that a large chunk of the guide is simply ripped straight from the in-game tooltips.
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I've been buying strategy guides for almost every RPG I've played in the last 10 years. I have 2 bookcase shelves dedicated to them, so I feel I can speak intelligently about the issue. This guide is useful only for those wishing to go through the main storyline, and NOTHING else. If you have any interest in completing any side quests, this book will not help. Many side quests aren't even in the book, and the ones that are consist of only the name of the quest, the type, and the task (all of which you can find in the game itself). It also contains "quest tips", which are no more than 3 sentences that summarize what the game itself tells you. I also must mention that I'm currently in the first main city, and I've already have 3-4 side quests that aren't even mentioned in the guide. One of them is how to get a companion character in your party!
Absolutely pitiful excuse for a Prima guide. Lazy graphic design - every single page uses the exact same template / layout, often at the expense of the information. In fact, that's my biggest problem with this guide - information is extremely hard to find and parse. The second biggest problem is that the information provided (assuming you can find it) is extremely vague. For example, most of the information provided for side-quests are exactly what's in the quest log's description. No instructions how to complete them, no map locations, and worst of all - no information on the consequences of your actions. There are a lot "moral" choices in Dragon Age, and this guide gives you NO information on how your choices affect the game. You could make the arguement that this leaves the game more "fun", but there's very little point in buying a guide that gives you no information. VERY dissapointed, especially at a [...] price point.