Web Review – Dragon Age: Redemption – Cairn

‘Dragon Age: Redemption is a six-part web series set in the world of the EA/Bioware RPG Dragon Age. The series tells the story of Tallis, an Elvish assassin, who gets a last chance at redemption when she’s sent to capture a rogue Qunari mage intent on wreaking havoc in the world.

Dragon Age: Redemption

With Bioware’s Mark of the Assassin receiving generally positive reviews, their multi-platform strategy with Felicia Day seems to be working fairly well. But will Redemption live up to fans expectations, or be remembered as a failed experiment?

The second episode of the series opens moments after the end of the first, and immediately the dialogue (my biggest problem with the first episode) seems to have improved. Tallis (Felicia Day) and Cairn (Adam Rayner) seem to have some pretty good chemistry, and the episode continues to build that chemistry throughout. It’s the classic tale of two completely opposed characters putting aside their differences for a common goal, and I’m sure we’ll get to see a lot more fun banter between the two of them. There are still a few awkward lines here and there, but overall the improvements have been significant.

Also joining the party (in another genre cliché), is the young Dalish mage Josmael (Masam Holden) who is searching for his missing girlfriend. We now have a party for the quest (although the Dragon Age mechanics would suggest there’s one more to come) and things can really start moving. The characters all seem interesting, and the interactions between them should be a lot of fun going by Felicia Day’s track record.

The show continues to do a great job in making itself look like a much more expensive show, the locations look great, and the great use of framing makes the world look a lot more populated than it really is. The costumes also continue to impress, although I have to wonder how comfortable Day was in her rogue armour. Female character armour in games has long been criticised for its focus on looks over practicality, and I don’t envy anyone who has to wear the live action interpretation of a baked leather corset.

One thing that does continue to bother me about the series is the text at the opening of each episode. I realise that I’m nitpicking here, but it really looks cheap and it feels unnecessary. While I realise that the show has to cater to new viewers, I think that there could have been better ways to convey the necessary information. Even having the same text show over action in the background rather than a dirty scroll graphic would make things more interesting. It’s a minor quibble, but it puts me into the wrong frame of mind right from the start of the episode.

Dragon Age: Redemption has definitely improved from the first episode (as hoped) and I’m looking forward to see what it has in store over the next four episodes. There are still some problems with the show, but they are to be expected with an undertaking like this. I really hope that Redemption succeeds so that it can serve as an example of what is possible with the medium.

For those of you interested in behind the scenes information, Felicia Day has posted up details to talk to the cast and crew of the show over at her blog.

What I Liked – Great costuming. Good use of framing to make the world feel more populated. Great soundtrack.

What I Didn’t Like – The introductory text feels unnecessary. Some lines of dialogue still feel awkward.

Rating – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)

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