Last week, we announced the advent of Dragon Age Journeys: The Deep Roads. Crafted by the newly founded EA2D production crew, Journeys is a flash-based Strategy RPG that can be played in your web browser. I don’t usually tend to scrutinize Flash games too much, but having spent several hours with this title, it is clear to see that this is not your average Flash game. Read on to find out how the game makes the grade and how it has shifted the paradigm of Flash-based entertainment.
To start, the player creates their character from a fairly straightforward character creator which is essentially a much simpler version of Origins‘ creator. The player’s character begins on a journey with their unit to the Deep Roads to do battle with the rising number of Darkspawn in the area. Barely escaping an ambush by an unusually large force of Darkspawn, you escape to the Dwarven capitol of Orzammar and attempt to rally support against the Darkspawn threat. Throughout the game, battle goes down on a hex grid in a style similar to the Might and Magic series. As you gain experience, you can level up your characters and assign their talents, giving you a little bit of insight into the way characters will advance in Origins.
For a program constructed in Flash, the visuals are fantastic. Characters and environments contain a high level of detail by Flash standards, thanks in great part to Adam Phillips of Brackenwood fame. My only beef with the visual design of the game is that the dungeons one must crawl through are quite mundane, repetitive, and flat. Some effort could have been made to at least throw in the illusion of vertical depth. One assumes that a massive series of underground caverns would not be a perpetually flat plane. All things considered, the visual experience is quite refined for a platform that is primarily used as a workplace time waster.
On its surface, Journeys is a pretty unassuming strategy RPG with some solid dialogue and graphics. As mentioned previously, EA2D has employed some distinguished veterans from the field of Flash gaming, so the game doesn’t mess around. Where the game truly shines is the way it factors into the overall Dragon Age marketing plan. For completing surveys, unlocking achievements, or accomplishing certain quests, one may unlock equipment which can be downloaded and used for your characters in Dragon Age: Origins. In this way, a continuity is created between platforms, and the IP gains integrity as a well-constructed, connected mythos. This manner of storytelling and multimedia integration is truly an epoch-making endeavor.
In terms of replayability, the game will take up several hours for each playthrough. Also, considering that the greatest of the unlockable items, the Helm of the Deep, requires an achievement that demands playing through the game as each of the three classes, it will take multiple replays of the game to unlock everything. The multiple dialog choices and varying talent specs for each class allow for a fresh experience each time, making the replays quite enjoyable. Overall, between the immaculate crew of flash authors, brilliant marketing tactics, and superb storytelling, Dragon Age Journeys is a franchise that I look forward to seeing more of. Keep up the good work, EA2D.