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games research

Characterization and Subtlety: Signs of Sophistication (Research Blog5)

I’ve found an expertly written article curiously focusing on the decently-received, slightly divisive XBOX360 RPG, Dragon Age II. At first, the author essentially derides the game for its shortcomings in many of the traditionally valued areas that reviewers look at—the graphics are unspectacular, the music is nothing special, and the plotline is predictable. In a demonstration of how evaluation of games has elevated into something more complex, the writing points to Dragon Age II‘s uniquely powerful characterization and skillful subtlety. To quote the latter: “A game which can create high drama from these moments, the smallest of actions, is rare stuff indeed.”

The level of sophistication involved with such deep analysis is telling of the evolution of critical evaluation. Efforts towards subtlety were dramatically limited, for example, when games were presented in sprites rather than hi-def graphics. There’s more to explore here—what games succeed in this, and how do they achieve that? How does achieving these effects heighten the experience of playing the game?

Ligman, Kris. “Dragon Age II: Making the Case for “Quality” Games | Dire Critic.” Dire Critic | Kris Ligman. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2013. <http://direcritic.com/2011/03/27/dragon-age-ii-making-the-case-for-quality-games/#more-68&gt;.



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