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Dragon Age Legends
Dragon Age Legends is a new Facebook game that plays sort of like a slimmed-down version of Heroes of Might & Magic. Even if you aren't familiar with the Dragon Age series of PC and console games, it's still a fun browser-based RPG that is much more detailed than your average Facebook game.
If you are currently playing Dragon Age 2, you can unlock special items in this game that you can use for your character in Dragon Age 2. It's worth playing just for those bonus items, because you can't get them any other way. After you have unlocked an item in this game, just go to your house in Dragon Age 2 and they'll be waiting for you in a treasure chest.
Read more about the game and how it plays in this Dragon Age Legends review.
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Dragon Age Legends was done entirely in Flash animation you don't have to download or install anything to play it. The game window takes up almost a full screen, so it tends to run very slowly at times. It is constantly popping up load screens, plus sometimes it can get sluggish when opening windows. It also seems to be a little buggy when dealing with inventory and it's not very clear which items can and cannot be used. I'm hoping this will eventually get patched later on. I did find the game a bit smoother in the new Firefox 4 than it did in the previous version.
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You begin the game with the option to tie it into your current Dragon Age 2 account, and I highly recommend doing so if you are playing the game on your PC or console. I'm playing the PS3 Dragon Age version. After that, you choose a character class (warrior, mage, or rogue) and begin your adventure.
The core gameplay involves you moving about spaces on a map and you have a limited number of energy points to spent on battles and other encounters. Like most Facebook games of this sort, the energy points keep you from playing non-stop, so you have to wait for the energy to regenerate so you can come back later. You can spend real money to beef up those points, otherwise to keep things free you have to deal with the limits.
While playing, you'll spend the most time on the map where you progress by clearing paths and picking up items. You can then go back to your home castle and build improvements to make things like health potions. You also have a limited inventory where you can pick up extra weapons and armor to outfit your character in battle. As you earn enough experience points to gain levels, you'll gain access to better weapons, stronger abilities, and so on.
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I thought this game had good graphics for a Facebook game. It features animations for each character, plus spells effects often fill half the screen. A good example would be when a mage (see screenshot) casts lightning and you see large bolts of lightning flash down over each person affected. You will encounter a handful of different enemies in the game and they are somewhat articulated with attack movements, though the battlefields all look basically the same. When outdoors, the overhead map looks nice with detailed trees, waterways, and so on. It reminded me a little of Puzzle Quest when you are viewing the map part as you go from location to location.
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This game is complete with music and sound effects, which is sort of a rarity in some Facebook games. While the sounds are decent enough, I found them to be repetitive and also distracting, so I opted to turn all the sound off while I play. Even so, the music and effects add a little something extra to the gameplay and that's what makes this game stand out from so many others on Facebook.
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Since Dragon Age Legends is a browser game, everything is controlled by the mouse with menus that appear when you hover over the characters.
Battles in this game are played with backup, sort of like how you have companion characters in Dragon Age 2, and this is where it is important to get your Facebook friends to play. You can have extra help in the form of random NPC's, but your friends can also be called in. Since your friends level up faster and have better weapons, you're much better off recruiting them than using an NPC. If your friend dies in battle, it won't hurt their own account at all, so no worries. If they help you to win a battle, they will also earn gold so it's mutually beneficial.
The battle system is a little like Heroes of Might & Magic where you have two sides facing each other. Everything is turn-based, plus you can see the order of who goes next to help determine which attacks to use. There is not much strategy involved, other than saving your most powerful special attacks until the end. Just make sure you have enough health potions on hand and learn to focus on the most powerful opponents first when dealing out attacks that temporarily disable the victim.
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All game performance issues aside, you really should take the time to play this if you are playing Dragon Age 2. The unlockable items you gain are worth the effort, plus the game itself is actually pretty fun.
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Author's personal experience playing Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age Legends
Image credits: Game screenshots taken from author's own game session on Facebook.com