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Marceror's Dragon Age II Review

Discussion in 'Dragon Age 2' started by Marceror, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    [​IMG] • Game: Dragon Age 2
    • Developer: Bioware
    • Publisher: EA
    • Platform: Xbox360, PS3, PC, Mac (I chose to play on the PC, as usual)
    • Rating: Mature

    OVERVIEW
    Dragon Age 2 picks up during the events of Origins, but follows a new hero, Hawke, down a very different path than that of the Hero of Ferelden. While the hero from Origins is concerned with stopping the Fifth Blight, Hawke’s concerns are much more personal. He (or she) is just trying to keep their family alive. I will assume a male Hawke in this write up, as that is what I played myself.

    The game begins at the time of the destruction of Lothering -- the village that Hawke and his family have long called home. Hawke, his mother, and his younger twin siblings are desperately trying to outrun the Darkspawn horde and flee to Kirkwall. But unlike its predecessor, Dragon Age 2 isn’t about Darkspawn. In fact, most of the action in Dragon Age 2 takes place after the Blight has ended. The game follows a 10 year period of Hawke’s life, charting his humble beginnings as a Ferelden refugee at the bottom of the socio-economic totem pole, to his rise as the Champion of Kirkwall.

    As was the case in Origins, Hawke can choose from three character classes: a mage, a warrior or a rogue. These classes are more limited in their fighting style and weapon options than they were in Origins. The warrior can use two-handed melee weapons or go sword-&-board, but can no longer dual wield or use bows. The rogue is limited to dual wielding daggers (no more long swords, axes, or maces) or using bows. A mage can only use staves, and there is no longer an arcane warrior specialization. The choice you make with respect to class will have an impact on how the game plays out, particularly if you choose to play as an apostate mage.

    Hawke is a human, so no, you can’t play as a Dwarven or Elven Hawke. You will have 2 Elves and a Dwarf join you as companions, and that’s the closest you will come to playing these races this time around.

    STORY
    Overall the story was excellent. I wouldn’t quite call it epic. This is one of the few times in a CRPG that the world wasn’t in need of saving from the nastiest-of-all-evils-ever™. BUT—in all honesty, this was a refreshing change from the norm. Admittedly, there were moments in the game where there wasn’t a particularly compelling story-based reason to keep pushing through, except to keep playing the game. There were times where the ultimate “goal” of the game wasn’t completely clear (as is often the case in, say, a movie or a novel). Some are bothered by this, but I wasn’t. It was nice to have some slower periods where I was free to explore Kirkwall and the outlying areas, get to know my companions, and slowly strive to improve my family’s situation. Most of the time in these games if I don’t rush from one quest to the next I’m worried that the world will implode on itself.

    As you move from act I to act II things start to heat up but even here the main story arc isn’t completely apparent (though it is certainly present and building in intensity below the covers). This act mainly serves to set the stage for what occurs in act III, which is where the main conflict of the story fully emerges. A number of fans and reviewers have criticized the game for having separate story arcs. Most games just have one key plot that they stick with from beginning to end. But when you consider that the game takes place across a decade of history, it’s not entirely reasonable to expect that Hawke’s life is comprised of only one single overarching struggle. It’s a different approach for a CRPG. Not every one is going to get it. I, for one, got it.

    The framed narrative approach gets points simply for being a new approach in a CRPG. The fact that it was well done gains it even more points. Dragon Age 2 takes a few chances, and while not all of them were overwhelming successes, I applaud Bioware in this regard. They continue to push the envelope. There is a part of me that would be happy if every CRPG from now until the end of eternity just tried to shadow the Baldur’s Gate/Infinity Engine formulas, but I realize that we have to progress or our beloved gaming genre will stagnate. Dragon Age 2 takes the next step in many areas.

    VISUALS/GRAPHICS
    Without a doubt my biggest beef with Dragon Age 2 is that certain levels were used repeatedly throughout the game, in a way that was painfully obvious. Apparently there are some strange monopolies in Kirkwall where if you need a warehouse built, for example, you have to contract with a single builder, and he only really has one or two models to choose from. This is effectively what you see with caves, warehouses, back alleys and certain nobles’ mansions. A particular warehouse may only grant access to a certain portion of the model, while another warehouse may grant access to other parts, giving the “appearance” of variety, but after you’ve seen a few warehouses, you can’t overlook the overwhelming similarities between them. Sometimes you’ll encounter a unique cave, or occasionally the textures of an area will be overhauled, but most of the time the lack of variety is there clubbing you over the head. If you hear scissors in the background, that’s the sound of corners being cut.

    The overall appearance has improved over Origins, especially with the High Resolution Texture pack. The architecture in Kirkwall is breathtaking. When you are in Lowtown (where the lower class folks reside) you can see the smoke and flames of massive foundries filling the sky. It looks amazing, and really sets a mood. Low-town is a place that I certainly would not want to live myself! The scale and grandeur of certain buildings blows me away. My favorite structure to stare at, hands down is the chantry. It is massive and awe-inspiring.

    It’s good that Bioware did such a great job creating Kirkwall, because you spend nearly the entire game there. As well done as this city is, I couldn’t help but sometimes miss the variety of visiting places like Orzammar, the Urn of Sacred Ashes, the Mage Tower, Ostagar, and so many other locations that were present in Origins. Remaining in Kirkwall made sense in the context of the story, but was also another clear way that Bioware was able to reduce production times. I will give them credit for finding ways to stretch those few areas out and make them feel different when you visit them during the day vs. during the night, or over the course of a 10 year period.

    The art direction changed quite a bit from Origins. While there are some triumphs here (Qunari, I’m looking at you) some changes feel like a step backward. Elves are the most notable. Some of them look great, like your Elven companion Fenris. Others look odd. Their ears are bigger, and pointed further back on their heads, sometimes reminding me of bunny ears. Whatever Bioware was going for, I just didn’t get it. The Arishok, on the other hand, is perhaps one of the coolest CRPG characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness!

    Spell effects and abilities were very well done, and enjoyable to look at. If you cast Rock Armor, for example, rather than gaining an otherworldly shimmer around your character, as in Origins, a badass suit of rock armor will actually form over your character’s body! It’s only visible during combat, as not to be overbearing. I have never seen fire based spells looking this realistic. And watching your swashbuckling rogue backflip out of harm’s way is definitely a treat! Plenty of eye candy here (and no, I’m not just talking about Isabela).

    COMBAT
    Combat is a lot flashier and moves a lot faster than it did in Origins. While mages were always flashy in Origins, aside from the occasional finishing move, warriors and rogues in combat looked very realistic, and some would say, comparatively boring. Speaking from the perspective of someone who completed 3 full run-throughs of Origins and 2 run-throughs of Awakening, I thought warriors and rogues were handled very tactfully and believably in combat. I loved the approach there. In Dragon Age 2, you will find that all of your followers now fight like super-humans. On the one hand it adds plenty of excitement to combat. On the other hand it sometimes feels over the top and excessive. A dagger in someone’s back resulting in the victim’s body exploding into a mass of flesh, blood, and guts does little for my suspension of disbelief.

    Button (s)mashing? – I played on the PC, so I can’t speak for the console experience. I have heard Dragon Age 2’s combat, even on PC, referred to as a button mash (or button smash) experience, where you do nothing but click buttons to get through combat. Let me be clear that I got through the entire game without EVER mashing buttons.

    Aside from the key differences I mention above, the mechanics of combat played out in a very similar fashion to those of Origins. My mage would select spells to cast. I often paused the game to position the spells for maximum effect. I set up tactics for all of my party members to control their combat AI and priorities. While playing on medium difficulty, most combats were very easy, with the occasional combat that required additional tactics and focus to win without any party losses, and the rare boss fight that was downright hard—very similar to Origins in this regard, actually. If you’re finding the game too easy, there are 4 difficulty levels to choose from, so you can scale the game to your taste. I’ve started a second game on hard difficulty, and it is significantly more challenging. Enemy reinforcements in combat have added a more epic feel to many combats. While you are fighting, additional foes will often descend out of windows or from the shadows (or as many would say, out of thin air) to join the fray. Overall all the effect is enjoyable, and serves to increase the difficulty of many encounters.

    Spells cast from your mages only harm enemies, not Hawke or his companions, unless you play on nightmare difficulty. In Origins a fireball burned anyone in its path regardless of difficulty level. This is an obvious area where the tactical requirements of the game were dumbed down for PC players in favor of console players. This change bothered me, but not as much as I expected. While spells have become more choosey about who they harm, they also aren’t as powerful as they were in Origins, at least, not at first. Spells can be upgraded over time, so by the time you have unlocked their full power, you have really earned that power. I adjusted pretty quickly to the change, and after realizing that nearly all of my mage-Hawke’s spells had area of effect damage (AoE), I’ll admit that to some extent I came to appreciate it. If you are really bothered by this change, but don’t want to take on nightmare mode, there is already a mod available that PC users can download that restores friendly fire.

    The loss of the isometric view is a bit of a bummer. I used it rarely enough in Origins, but when I did, I was really glad it was there. I have missed it on numerous occasions in Dragon Age 2.

    COMPANIONS
    As was the case with Origins, you will have a menagerie of companions that join you in Dragon Age 2. I would say that all of them are well done, interesting and on par with the companions in Origins. While you aren’t given as many opportunities to initiate dialogue with them, the interactions between your companions as you wander around Kirkwall and the surrounding areas are almost always worth stopping and listening to. Some of these are downright brilliant! Many have commented that the relationships with your companions feel sparse compared to those in Origins. I can’t argue with that point. I would have loved to have had a lot more one on one dialogue with my companions, learn what their first dog’s name was, and other things that could deepen my connection with them.

    My favorite companion, to my surprise, was Aveline. She was so believable, so sure of herself, and yet, so awkward, that I couldn’t help but feel a connection with her. There were times in the game where I practically fell out of my chair laughing at some of the things she did, or had Hawke doing on her behalf.

    No, I will not take off my barely there shirt so you can cover me in with full plate armor! Sorry guys, but you can’t equip your companions with armor in the traditional way. This is both good and bad. It’s bad because, let’s face it, we all like to choose the best armors for each of our companions and have ultimate control. It’s good because your companions all retain their own distinctive looks, which for the most part are very well done, rather than all ending up looking like clones of one another. Your companions are who they are. They have their clear preferences in equipment and weapon styles, and in the case of one companion, he has a special weapon that he chooses to use exclusively. He calls it Bianca, and it kicks some serious tail!

    Instead of changing armor, there are a series of armor “upgrades” that can be obtained for each companion over the course of the game. The upgrades will do everything from improve armor class, defense, attack or critical chance. Some will grant you rune slots which you can fill with any armor rune you so choose. You will want to get these upgrades as many of them improve over time will make your party members a lot more powerful. In certain parts of the game your companions will obtain new armor (the visual appearance of their armor will change), but this is something they are in control of, not you. That said, feel free to customize their rings, amulet and belt all day long, as well as their weapons within their chosen combat style (the one exception I noted earlier not withstanding).

    The friendship/rivalry system has been greatly improved upon over Origins, and now feels far less “gamey.”

    Romances – Yes, you can still romance a number of your companions. There are no longer any gender restrictions on romances, so feel free to do what you’re comfortable with here. There are still “sex scenes,” but by way of comparison to Origins, they are not nearly as sensual and everyone keeps their clothes on. I chose to romance Isabela. Let’s face it, she’s hot!

    OVERALL PRESENTATION
    The voice acting is excellent, and every single interaction in the game is voiced, including those of Hawke. While the conversation wheel is much maligned by many, I think it has plenty to offer. Really, it allows for about as much roleplaying as the old Infinity Engine Text based dialogues did. In both scenarios your dialogue options are pre-written, and you have options on how you proceed through them. In Dragon Age 2 you can choose to be sympathetic, an a$$hole, or a snarky cynic in basically every single conversation in the game. It’s about on par with the good, evil and neutral options common in so many IE games. Except that with Dragon Age 2, you get to hear the interactions spoken, see the characters emoting as they talk, and witness the conversation unfold. How a person compares this to reading silent written dialogue in Baldur’s Gate or Icewind Dale and feels ripped-off by this clear revolution in game presentation, is utterly beyond me. I guess some folks just aren’t happy unless they’re complaining.

    The game is overall shorter than Origins, but it didn’t feel overly short to me. It’s loaded with tons of secondary quests, side quests, companion based quests, so even though the stage of the game is relatively small, there’s plenty to do. As was the case with Origins, some of these quests are very involved and engaging. Others are clearly just filler (e.g. find so-and-sos lost ring and return it to them). The main story related quests and the companion quests tend to be the most memorable, so make sure you handle any quest you receive from a companion.

    Unlike Origins, you don’t have a central camp where all of your companions sit around waiting for the privilege of gaining your attention. Hawke and his family have a home base, and as Hawke’s position in Kirkwall changes, so does the location of his home. Each of his companions have their own base of operations also. To progress romances and have more personal interactions with them you have to visit them there. Sometimes they’ll pop in and visit you at your home.

    The music of the game is very well done and sets the tone for the game. That said, plenty of it is a rehash from Origins. While I didn’t mind that so much – the music is quite good – it does stand out as another area where Bioware cut corners.

    FINAL SUMMARY
    Compared to Origins, Dragon Age 2 feels a bit like I got the light and fluffy meal instead of the hungry man’s meal. EA’s influence on Bioware to turn this into a quick turnaround gaming franchise is apparent. That said, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. In spite of a number of shortcuts that were taken Dragon Age 2 is an excellent game with plenty to offer. It’s sort of like a hot girl (or guy) who’s just too skinny. You’d go on a date with them without a second thought, but you’d love to feed them some big, greasy burgers to fatten them up a bit.

    I’m now on my second date with Dragon Age II, running another mage with a different build. As DLCs are released I expect that a third date will happen down the road, but if those DLCs have me crying “where’s the beef” even I – who have been one of the most fervent Bioware supporters on these boards – will have to reevaluate whether future Dragon Age titles will be an automatic preorder decision for me going forward.

    I had hoped for the sequel that blew away the original, as Baldur’s Gate II did for me a decade ago, but that’s not what I got. In Origins I had a double-double. With Dragon Age 2 I got a single patty burger, still tasty, but definitely not the 4-way burger I was hoping for. With all these hamburger analogies, I guess it must be getting close to dinner time. So onto the final score....

    FINAL SCORE8 out of 10 – for a game that easily could have and should have been at least a 9.5, if not a solid 10. I recommend it, certainly, but in a number of regards it falls short of its potential, and that’s a crying shame. Let’s hope Bioware listens to their fans, and gives Dragon Age 3 the time it needs and deserves, and that EA gets the hell out of the way and lets them!
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  2. olimikrig

    olimikrig Cavalier of War Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Nice review, Marceror! It pretty much sums up how I feel about the game so far as well (I'm getting spanked around by the Ancient Rock Wraith atm :smash:).

    I have a much bigger beef with the loss of isometric camera, though, as I use it extensively. I play on nightmare, so the lack of a better overview of the battlefield hit me hard. It's so very frustrating when you want to try and move your mage out of harm's way, but cannot because that big monster is obscuring his entire view, and you get the attack icon wherever you point the cursor on the screen :mad:.

    You must have been very hungry when you wrote this :p.
     
  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Maybe you're just trying to make a point here, but how do you figure voiced dialogue for the PC is a revolution? We've had talking heads for a long time now, and now they've made your PC also a talking head. Seems more like evolution to me. Or a different allocation of resources - more money for the voice acting budget, less for other things.

    I don't really care if a game has fully voiced dialogues - it can be nice, but is much more prone to break my suspension of disbelief because of the uncanny valley effect. Either through poor voice acting, poor animations, some such thing. The effect of poorly written dialogue is also exacerbated when spoken out loud.

    Not that I mean to imply that I think that DA2 is suffering from any of the things I mention above. I haven't played the game, so I can't judge it - these are just general observations.

    Aside from that, I'm curious what you think of the level scaling in DA2. One of the reviews posted on the front page made it sound like it was Oblivion-like levels of level scaling:
    Or, more concise:
     
  4. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Very nice review indeed, well done!
     
  5. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I appreciate the feedback on the review everyone. :thumb:

    Revolution? Absolutely. If I compare Dragon Age 2's handling of in-game conversations to a game like Baldur's Gate 2, revolution is the only word that seems remotely appropriate to describe the progression. In Baldur's Gate II nearly all dialogue was presented over an otherwise frozen gaming screen. There was a small amount of voice acting, but most of it was just text. The experience of taking in dialogue was a lot like reading a novel.

    Compare that to Dragon Age 2's cinematic approach. I'm hearing every voice (and they are exceptionally well done and written by the way), I'm watching the character emote and interact with his/her world. Sometimes they'll walk over to a particular character and stare them dead in the eye while they speak, with an unmistakable angry scowl on their face. Sometimes they will even reach for a weapon. Or move in for a kiss. Hell, this is a lot like watching a movie.

    So I would only agree with your assessment that the progression is an "evolution" if we could agree that a Hollywood movie is an "evolution" over a novel. But I can't agree with that. A novel is something completely different than a movie. And so too, the static text of Baldur's Gate II is something completely different than the cinematically presented dialogues of Dragon Age 2.

    So yeah, again, I'm sticking with revolution on this one! ;)

    It actually feels pretty comparable to how it worked in Origins. I think that to some extent some of the new statistics that are provided in game end up causing people to give too much focus on something that really isn't a big deal. Sure, as you progress through the game you fight enemies that are progressively tougher. In order to continue to hit these progressively tougher enemies you need to progressively improve your relevant statistics, abilities, and equipment. As luck would have it, the game offers a continuous supply of stat points, ability points and progressively better equipment. So this mechanic isn't really an issue at all unless you choose to make it one for whatever arbitrary reason.

    The goal should be to find your best end game equipment. Most of that is probably obtained in Act III, but some of it can be obtained in Act II. My mage purchased an awesome staff called Cold Blooded early in Act II and used that all the way through the final battle of the game.

    I also managed to obtain my complete set of Champion's armor early in Act III, so for the majority of Act III I was using the equipment that I knew I would continue with until the end of the game. Just keep pumping your relevant stats to ensure that your attack and damage ratings don't fall behind, and you'll be fine

    I guess that if you try hard enough, you can find negatives in just about anything, so if someone feels it's worth their energy to regard this system as an "abomination" they are certainly welcome to that opinion. But to me that seems like a waste of energy.
     
  6. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    To each his own, but to me a more appropriate analogy would be to compare Baldur's Gate to the movies in the in the 30s where they didn't have spoken dialogue, but communicated through screens with text in between. Although, like most analogies, this one is also flawed, but at least it's staying within the same genre.

    You compare BG to DA2 and say it's a revolution, but you're then skipping over all the steps in between that make evolution, well, evolution. If one were to look at our ape anchestors, then look at current day humans, one could also say that that is a revolution, not evolution.

    We had text with an occasional line of spoken dialogue in BG, we had text with an occasional talking head in Fallout, we had fully voiced NPCs in Oblivion, and now we have fully voiced dialogue in DA2.

    But I suppose we're discussing semantics here ;)

    Thanks for the feedback. I suppose I won't like combat in DA2 either, then.

    To you, it's not a big deal. To me, it ruins the fun of the game. To me, it makes playing the game feel like a waste of energy. I can't even put it to words properly, it feels sort of like I'm not making any progress and once I get that feeling, I just lose interest in the game completely. It happened for me in Oblivion, it happened for me in DA:O, so I'm pretty sure it would happen for me in DA2 too. And that's a pretty big deal to me.

    I wouldn't precisely call it an "abomination", but I can certainly sympathise with the sentiment.
     
  7. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    My comparison is very specific, and has absolutely nothing to do with the other games you mention. You're more than welcome to chart the many baby steps that occurred in between those 2 games, and show a gradual evolution. And you're probably right that there is an evolution to consider when you look at everything in between those games.

    But that has nothing to do with my point, which was that when you look at Baldur's Gate 2, and then at Dragon Age 2, the change between these 2 games is on the scale of a revolutionary difference. Those other games are off topic, and have nothing to do with my particular argument.

    Or in other words, your argument in no way disproves mine, because our points are not in conflict. :idea:

    I didn't mean to make light of your opinion here, as I didn't know you felt so strongly about this. Yeah, if the level scaling concept really irks you, you shouldn't bother with Dragon Age 2. I got used to it when I played Origins, and so coming now to the sequel, it rather feels like a status quo characteristic of the series.
     
  8. omnigodly Gems: 17/31
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    The last game before dragon age 2 that was even close in voice acting/cinematic dialogue was DA:O, which was good, but not as good as DA2's. Before DA:O you had NWN2, which was pretty much identical to the BG2/KOTOR/etc. system everyone uses for RPG's. It was a pretty big jump for the DA series to come in and include a focus on non-verbal expressions, especially considering 80% of human interaction is non-verbal..


    Level scaling is always a hit or miss. To tell you the truth I didn't notice in first play-through (at normal) or in my second (at hard) until someone mentioned it. I think between stats and how often upgrades pop-up it seems moot because getting 100% damage vs. normal/lieutenant mobs is really easy when you bother to check what items you pick up as you travel around. In the end bad guys are hard to kill at low level and easy to kill at high level (except the ones that are supposed to be tough of course). Also, crit chance and crit damage aren't reduced with level. HP doesn't seem to change much (if it does, it does very poorly compared to my characters damage).
     
  9. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    A difference in context or point of view, then :)

    No problem. As with the arguement about this revolution, it's just a different perspective. And unlike the arguement about this revolution, it's one that others that read this thread may find useful when assessing if they'd like to get this game (if they didn't find out through other reviews yet) ;)
     
  10. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I agree with this. While my review is overall a positive one, I'm not necessarily trying to influence people to go out and get the game. I tried to provide an objective point of view that details the good and the bad that I encountered. I realize that some of what I might find to be a minor annoyance could well be a deal breaker for someone else. We are all looking for something different out of our gaming experiences, and DA2 certainly doesn't provide what everyone is looking for.

    I have said it before and will say it again... for anyone who happens to be on the fence about picking up the game, download the demo give it a play. That should be enough to tip the scales in the appropriate direction.
     
  11. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    I agree with what most of Marceror said.

    My biggest gripes is the change in how armor operates – armor in DAO reduce damage by the armor value, but in DAII your armor value based on level reduced the % of physical damage – meaning each level up if you don’t improve the AC of your character your protection level of your armor drops, lack of armor visuals, weapon style restrictions for warriors and mages, not being able to swap weapons – you are almost forced to play the game with one style of weapon, inventory, items – [not enough armor sets (maybe this is due to the fact that only Hawke can equip armor), gems are now junk and sell for almost nothing, etc…], and a few others I posted on Bioware social website.

    I can live with the reused maps as long as the game has a good story and an overall good feel CRPG to it; the later is not the case with this game. What made me finish the game was the story. I wanted to know more about Hawke, but in the end I was huh. Even though I was huh, the game story is good and has a total of maybe three play throughs.

    Even though I said huh at that the end, it made sense with what happened in my DAO play through, and the selections I made in DAII. In fact, I want to know what Bioware plans to do with DAII. The way DAII ended makes me wonder what truly happened to Hawke. Also, it makes me wonder if Hawke and my Warden existence are intertwined some way.

    Even though this game scored a solid 6, but close to a 7, for me it is a decent game. It is worth picking up if you want to know the DA story being told by Bioware. I honestly believe Bioware will take the feed back from users and fix the issues or things changed that users did not like with DAII, and DAIII will be a combination of DAII and DAO.

    As I stated in more than one post, play DAII for DAII, and not for DAO. They are two separate games. Don’t compare them or you will be disappointed with DAII. If you play DAII, realize that it is not a pure RPG. It is a combination of a RPG and action game, more towards RPG.
     
  12. Beren

    Beren Lovesick and Lonely Wanderer Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    For what its worth, I've decided not to put my cash down for this one. Everything I've heard about it indicates that it was a rushed cash grab that tried to hold onto the old-school rpg fans, and make inroads on the action market at the same time. There's a certain degree to which they're mutually exclusive to each other, because they reflect different tastes. Trying to please both seems doomed for failure.

    Some of the evidence, taking out two of my favorite specializations, the Arcane Warrior and the Bard. My Elven Hero and Leliana were a real team during Origins.

    I like complex rules and combat systems, with variety to boot. I hate shooters and action games mostly, but especially when they pose as rpgs.
     
  13. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    That's fair Beren. I'm among those who really still sees this game as being more of an RPG than an action game, in spite of the obvious move in that direction. Maybe part of that is due to the fact that I've only played mages for any length of time thus far. Aside from the very physical staff moves (which look fantastic by the way) the mage plays very similar to its counterpart in Origins.

    Maybe if I was playing a backflipping rogue I'd see things a bit differently.

    DA2 definitely isn't a "shooter" posing as an RPG.
     
  14. omnigodly Gems: 17/31
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    Fallout 3 was a pretty amazing mix :).
     
  15. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Having finished the game twice now, I will have to admit that DA2 has next to zero re-playability value. The only thing i can think of is to try out all 3 classes. Whatever choices you make in-game has next to no impact either. Even if you help a mage early on, the person still attacks you later, but only tosses out a few different lines than he would have if you hadn`t helped him\her earlier.

    The game also has 1 cave, 1 house, and 1 basement\sewer. Thats it. You run into the same map every time you enter a cave. The only difference is your starting point. Enemies spawn 5 feet away from you as well. Leaving tactics a no-go.

    Combat is faster, sure. But stabbing someone with my dagger, and watching their legs fall off, and the rest of their body explode, is just...In a way they surpass diablo 2 with over the top gore.

    Companions wears the exact same outfits throughout the entire game as well. A game wich was to span over 10 years, and ended up lasting for 7 years, actually. The only thing that changes in 7 years, is where your character lives. Thats it. the city, the companions, and even the NPC`s stays the same. The story, however, was pretty good. On par with DA:O, despite the lack of choices.

    DA2 is without a doubt one of the most rushed games I have ever played. By the looks of it, alot of the game got cut out as well. I suspect this is why the game lasts for 7 years, and not 10, as Bioware said it would.

    The only saving grace in this game is the story, and the interactions between companions. I liked it the first time I played it, but when I re-played it, I saw it for what it was. Kotor2 only more bugged, more rushed, and more left out. 4 out of 10 is my vote.
     
  16. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    This isn't precisely true. For example, there are at least 3 or 4 cave models that I've seen. The Qunari compound uses one of them. The cave atop Sundermount uses a different one. There was a quest related cave on the Wounded Coast (the one that wasn't marked on your map) during Act II that used yet another one. There is a cave area during Sebastion's quest that is unique. As I recall, the cave where you complete Merrill's quest was also unique.

    There are a handful of different Lowtown houses. There are a couple of different Hightown houses. And the mansion during Sebastion's quest, again, is unique.

    I've noticed that there are 2 different warehouse models.

    I'm not saying there's not a lack of variety, but to say there's only one of each isn't accurate.

    Again, not true. Aveline changes her armor twice during the game. Carver has a couple of different armor change options (not sure about Bethany because I've never used her). Merril's armor can change. Isabela's armor can change. Ander's robes change. Sebastion's armor is too cool to change.

    We just went from none of the companions armor changing to most of them changing, simply by adding accurate information into the mix. What a trick that was!

    There are a few changes in the city. Day vs. night of course. Some of the vendors change between acts. I believe there are also some architectural changes that occur in Lowtown during the game. During 2 critical points in the game there are actually some significant changes that occur in the city that are temporary (end of act II and end of act III). The changes aren't necessarily overwhelming or anything, but there are changes.

    I think "10 years" takes into account around a 6 month journey from Lothering to Kirkwall, and the time that elapses from the end of the act III until the period where the framed narrative takes place (i.e the interrogation between Varric and Cassandra, the Chantry Seeker).


    I'm not saying that many of your points aren't valid, but many of them are backed up by half-truths. This makes it more difficult for others to make informed decisions, so I hope you don't mind me rounding out some of your claims. ;)
     
  17. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    The Quanari cave and the quest cave on the wounded coast are the same. They just use different parts of the same map. Locking off certain parts, and changing the entry point. Same goes for the first cave atop Sundermount. The Merril quest cave is abit different, but it only takes a minute to explore so... The houses are the same as well. They are just decorated differently. Fenris house, the *****house, and the one where Bartrand hangs out in later in the game, is the same building.

    Aveline changes from wearing an apron to wearing a guardsman armour, sure. And then later a re-skin of the same armour. Isabela gets reskinned as well. Same textures but different colours here and there. Carver and Bethany changes, but (in Bethany`s case), you only get to see the change just before the final battle. She is unavailable from the beginning of act 2 till the final fight. And then she is wearing a standard circle robe. Merril and Fenris changes if you romance them. Anders robes changes colours. None of these things come close to what DA:O had. Since I couldn`t equip my companions, I had pretty much nothing to spend my money on all through the game.

    Sure. Some things changes. Like after a huge fight that destroys some areas in the city, but not much else. Nobody ages, grows a moustache, changes clothes.


    Actually it looks like 3 years were left out. If you look at the frames from one of the trailers, you see an army of "Morrigans", and some other stuff thats not in the game at all. And really, the game ends after 7 years, and then you get a small cutscene at the end of the game, thats supposedly takes place 3 years later. Kind of a cheap way to do it, don\ t you think? promise a game that spans over 10 years, and just add the last 3 years as a 2 minute cutscene at the end? Game was rushed bigtime, and it suffered from it.


    If you look at the user comments on Amazon, for example, and on the Bioware DA2 forums, it pretty much sums it up. Most people are very very disapointed with this game. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Age-..._3?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1301663747&sr=1-3
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  18. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Right. My point was that there are changes in clothing/armor for companions, correcting your point that there were none. I never claimed that this represented the same level of flexibility as we had in DA:O.

    Again, I was only pointing out that there are some changes, again, to correct your claim that there were none.

    If anything, it would be around 2.5 years. People routinely seem to forget (even though I mentioned it in a previous post) that Hawke and family didn't just teleport from Lothering to Kirkwall. The game doesn't specify how long this voyage took, but I remember reading a developer comment that it supposed to be about 6 months.

    I would agree that the events shown in year 10 are pretty sparse, and just end up being a setup for something else. Perhaps we'll get more answers in upcoming DLC. DA2 definitely left itself open for additional content to be inserted at the end of the game.

    Yeah, I know that the angst is very high, and I'm certainly disappointed with DA2 on various levels also, as I pointed out in my review and elsewhere. At the same time, disappointed, emotional posters often over generalize or say things that are flat out wrong (this tends to happen when people speak from their heart rather than their head).

    This is why I try to correct statements like "companions wears the exact same outfits throughout the entire game as well. The only thing that changes in 7 years, is where your character lives."

    This is overstating the situation to a point that your statement is actually false. Something like "there are few outfit changes for your companions over a 7 year period. There are small changes in the world here and there, but you would expect many more changes over such a long period of time" would get your point across without providing incorrect information.

    Again, as I mentioned in my previous post, I get where you're coming from on a lot of your points.
     
  19. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    Bioware tried to hard to make it appeal to the masses; instead, they should have developed the game to appeal to the faithful audience that enjoyed the prior chapter in the DA series. Now Bioware is treading on water with the faithful who has helped its business, and if the faithful walk so does a good portion of the revenue stream. I know if Bioware fails to deliver on a good expansion or story driven DLC for DA2 I WILL NOT buy DA3.
     
  20. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I'm with you. Now that the dust has fully settled since my DA2 playthrough, and I've had a chance to digest just what DA2 is, the level to which Bioware has been willing to compromise on quality and content over Origins is rather perplexing. And the more concerning question is, was this just step one in Sega's master plan to shape Bioware into their usual mold? Will Dragon Age 3 attempt to delve even further into mass market territory?

    A comment made by EA's CEO related to Mass Effect 3 demonstrates that EA is pushing Bioware to make that title more Mass Market friendly -- the ME series was already very dumbed down compared to DAO.

    It's hard not to think that one of the few remaining lights of the RPG world is going full speed ahead for utter and complete assimilation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2011
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