So far... I don't know how I feel about the game!
I mean, I'm not totally in love with the new combat. It's just a little too fast and disjointed, which kinda kills the immersiveness. It doesn't look like combat, it looks like a Wuxia flick.
Also undecided a bit on the new crafting system. I think I like it overall, since at least you don't have to lug around reagents and crap all the time. On the other hand, it makes the world feel less... big and involved to not have all that extra stuff to find/buy/play around with, and I also don't like the related cutting-back on talents, to make them all combat-based and no outside stuff. I mean, I like personalizing my characters!
Not sure about the friend/rival system, either. I think I generally like it, but it'll depend on how it all plays out further down the line. I do miss the ability though to be able to talk your party members down, so to speak - I mean before, if you were doing something that would piss them off, often you could say something (with a high enough Persuade usually) to convince them that you're right, which would negate or at least lessen the penalty. I haven't seen any of that here though, possibly because, well, there's no Persuasion.
Also not sure on the whole different symbols to mark different tones thing... I think I generally approve (+2) because a) sometimes a line could be taken more than one way, and I've been caught out before picking one thing, and having it bite me in the butt when the tone was totally different, and b) the manual implies that later on, what choices you get depend on how you've acted up til that point. If I'm reading it right. I'm curious how that works out!
I'm *not* as much a fan of having your party all spread out, so that you have to go through like half a dozen loading screens just to talk to, say, two party members. And definitely not a fan that you can't talk to them on the road, so to speak, or get into long involved conversations on things just by talking to them. Or the lack of gifts for that matter. One of the best parts of the first game was the deep character system, and it feels like they did away with a lot of that. Although maybe it'll get deeper as the game goes on, I don't know.
I do approve of generally making the start menu more simplified though! Equipment is a bit easier to wrangle I think, and it's easier to jump to your quest notes when you want them, vs. your equipment, vs, your talents and so on... not sure how I feel about the weird way they do specializations though. And I miss trying to unlock things like that, as in the first game. :(
Another thing I'm of two minds about is the revamp of some of the models and so on. I mean the Qunari look interesting and all, but it's also really throwing me, after having Sten around all last game!
And speaking of which... daaamn I'm not liking the Qunari much. I mean, at this point Sten seems like sunshine, roses, and the epitome of bending to another's wishes. Bloody hell. (But that's a "not liking them much" on a personal level, much like you don't like a well-written villain, rather than not liking them from a more meta standpoint. Which I thought I should point out.)
And as for the characters... I'm a bit sad that we don't have the wider variety like in the first game, where it was a few humans, a golem, a Qunari, a dog, a dwarf, and an elf. Here we have a bunch of humans (some of them rather bland), two elves, and a dwarf. Whee. And we are forced to play humans as well! Grr. Which makes sense given the fact that it's following specifically one human family... but I'm not totally in love with that decision. Hrmph.
But at least Fenris makes up for it. Except that I've gotten the sneaking suspicion I'm not going to end up romancing him this first time around, since I've been generally mage-friendly, and in that case he's like the Morrigan of DA2. If it were the old character system, it'd be "Fenris disapproves (-5)" every two minutes. Yeesh. But we'll see how it goes. And at least he still looks nice standing around in my party.
At least they left the inter-party chatter in, as you're running around. And with Anders, Aveline, and Fenris generally in my party... yeah, that could get interesting. Poor Anders.
I am wondering a bit about all the old characters popping up in this one city all of a sudden, though! I mean, I can see where they would want to have some familiar faces as callbacks to the first game, but it's just weird. So far we've got Isabella, Cullen, Anders (well, him from the expansion), the dwarf merchants... seems like I'm forgetting some people, too, but those are off the top of my head at least. Hrm.
So anyhow, I guess the theme of the day is.. we shall have to see how it goes! But I just wanted to do some discussion of the game after playing it up til this point. :p