Dragon Age Legends got me hooked on Facebook companion games

Dragon Age Legends
Before we begin, I must make a confession: I haven't touched my English Countryside farm extensively for almost a week. In fact, I haven't been playing any Facebook games in lieu of one: Dragon Age Legends. Sure, your eyes could trail on as I droll about how surprisingly impressive the game is and lie that it was the story or gameplay that kept me hungry for more. This just isn't the case. It was the Unlockables that hooked me, or the items I unlocked within the game for use in my adventures in Dragon Age 2 for Xbox 360. But now that I've collected them all, why am I still playing?

The draw of granting my band of stalwart adventurers with rare and powerful relics was hugely appealing in Dragon Age Legends (DAL). After playing in the closed beta of the game with the rest of the fine Games.com editorial staff, I lost interest in the game quickly. This was mostly because of the disconnect: I had never played a Dragon Age game before, and there simply weren't enough people to play. (Alright, the Unlockables were nowhere to be found because the official game had yet to release.)

But after popping in Dragon Age 2 and seeing the things I could get my mitts on by just clicking around for a bit, I gave the live build of DAL a go, and now I'm here. Still questing with my lowly Level 6 Mage, which happens to have over 50 friends after a small adding spree this weekend. At first, my only concern was to get as many friends as possible so I could wait as little time as possible to get the next item. Yet now, I just want to see what happens. And who wouldn't after watching an intro like that?

So, would I have invested this much time in the game had I not been playing the console game? Admittedly, probably not. So, this must be the power of companion Facebook games. You know, the games that companies release just to stir hype for a more elaborate/expensive/impressive project? Well, by golly, it works ... if done right. Sure, it works, but can they make for a good game? That's a subjective matter, but in EA2D's case (the EA studio behind DAL), yes they certainly can.

Dragon Age Legends map
This isn't of course without good design. Dragon Age Legends is, for all intents and purposes, a fantastic example of what's possible on Facebook right now. However, this could probably be the greatest Flash or Facebook game of all time and I still wouldn't play it if not for the collectible items. And I think I can speak for a lot of players in saying that this is also the case. However, how many of the game's measly 713 thousand monthly players are dedicated Bioware or Dragon Age fans? Probably a large majority, which is likely the point.

Companion games serve an extremely specific (if seemingly nefarious) purpose, but that goal can be worked around to create a truly engaging experience. Their work is an example that not all advergames have to be terrible. EA2D took the goal of hooking as many fans as possible through enticing items and turned it into a game that's both beautiful and can stand on its own well into the console games' lifespan. Through more Unlockables, of course. (These are starting to get rusty in Kirkwall.)

Have you ever been roped in by a companion game or advergame and enjoy it? What are your thoughts on advergames and companion Facebook games, generally speaking? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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