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Series: Prima Official Game Guides
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Prima Games; 10.4.2009 edition (November 3, 2009)
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.
First I want to make it clear that my disappointment with the guide in no way reflects on the game. I love Dragon Age and will probably play it through multiple times.
I remember when strategy guides went out of the way to be spoiler free, and had actual strategy information that wasn't obvious. Old Prima guides, such as FFVII, are good examples. I think back then they were "unofficial" guides and were not created by the people making the game while the game was in development. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of independently written guides these days.
I have had so many plot points needlessly spoiled by this guide. It is not necessary to describe in detail the plot point that happens late in the game that your current decision affects. There are ways to get around that. It is also not necessary to actually name the unexpected party member you *might* get based on certain decisions, at least not in the table of contents. But I get the impression they just wanted to pump out a $25 guide book to make more money off the game.
The combat strategy is basic. Most of it is actually just repeating, word for word, descriptions and information found in game or in the manual. The only useful information I found is revealing all ten spell combinations, which could easily be found on the internet.
Even information you would expect isn't there, such as how each follower will react to certain decisions you make in conversation with NPC's. There are only basic guidelines to the followers personalities and a handful of actual conversation examples, leading the player (the OCD player, anyway) to do trial and error to get the desired response, which buying the damn guide is supposed to prevent.Read more ›