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Author Topic: Dragon Age II  (Read 6304 times)
Catherine
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« on: June 01, 2011, 02:55:43 AM »

"Another Bioware game you say?" I squeal in delight like a small child at the prospect of ice cream, even rainbow sherbert, the most fucking god awful ice cream that's always left last in the carton because it's made of 'bleh' and 'ugh'... which is to say that I'm a giant Bioware fangirl. Like the small child with ice cream (even if it's rainbow sherbert), I think that Bioware can do no wrong and whether the game is gold (KOTOR I) or just a giant bag of meh (DA:O Awakening or Neverwinter Nights, you heard me), I'll still buy it and happily consume it, disc and case ALL, and call it the most delicious meal I've ever had.

Yes, I enjoy Bioware's sequels. This coming from a person who hears the word sequel and usually runs away screaming bloody murder because 'sequel' in any profitable entertainment industry just means that the original was such a runaway success that the producers want to milk the cow for all its worth. So they hastily throw together something, stamp the original's name onto it, and then added the Roman numerals "II" after it... or maybe if they were able to hold themselves back from tripping all over the money that they're going to be making, create a cool little "subtitle" (ooo...) for the sequel. But I feel that Bioware's able to hold itself back a little to make time for the sequel, because I think they're one of the gaming companies to realize that even if a sequel is a cash cow, a rushed sequel will be treated like a mad cow disease. Even if everyone's anxious to take a bite right now, sooner or later someone's going to come down with a case of prion-induced Alzheimerís, and then nobody's going to want to eat your meat unless theyíre sure that itís thoroughly well done.

I expected Dragon Age 2 to be good. Amazing even. I loved Dragon Age: Origins and I expected Dragon Age 2 to be what Mass Effect 2 was of Mass Effect. That is to say that most of the bugs from the original would be fixed and improved upon in the second game.
So I opened up Dragon Age 2 on my laptop, squeeing with my nerd excitement. And I was disappointed after the first twenty minutes.
There was nothing wrong with the story, but the opening of the game didnít seem quite as driven as DA:O. The player chose the origins story of their hero and then was immediately thrown into the heroís footsteps, right at the foot of the action that displaced the hero from their home to the hands of the Grey Wardens. Even if you went off on various sidequests in DA:O, you always knew that the main purpose was to end the latest Blight by killing the Archdemon. Dragon Age 2 isnít quite as focused. Since the Blight is over and the Archdemon has been killed, there isnít a main purpose to the game anymore. I spent the first twenty minutes of the game with Hawke as a mercenary grunt, wondering at what time the main point was ever going to be revealed.

And it never is. Dragon Age 2 is told as a flashback by one of Hawkeís old companions, Varric the dwarf, who is being questioned about Hawkeís history. Each of the acts in Dragon Age 2 is a sequence in Hawkeís past, each separated by three years, detailing Hawkeís entrance into Kirkwall as a Fereldan refugee, and then his rise to becoming the Champion of Kirkwall. And just as disconnected is the story, so too is the gameplay.

Now I may be coming across as a little biased here, but I love story time like any other child and I get a little pissy when story time ends up sucking. I feel that the writing is integral to any form of entertainment and so Iím prone to compare the writing of video games with the writing of movies or books. That might be unfair, but nerds are douchebags and Iím the worst kind of douchebag. Iím a nitpicky douchebag.
Another integral part of the writing of a game is the dialogue. Itís obvious that the Dragon Age team was enviously eyeing the Mass Effect developers for their success in developing the Mass Effect dialogue options, and that they were thrown a bone and told to COPY THE ENTIRE FUCKING THING. The same Paragon, joking douchebag, and Renegade that Shepard could use are available to Hawke. Instead of filling up a Paragon or Renegade bar that opens up dialogue options that changes how the storyline develops, Hawke fills up friendship/rivalry bars for each of his companions. Unlike DA:O, where if you pissed off a companion enough, theyíd leave, the companions stay with Hawke through the entire journey. The friendship and rivalry bars decide whether or not certain skills are unlocked and whether or not Hawke and the companion (or rather how Hawke and the companion) play hide-the-salami. Yes, Bioware got in trouble for the racy romance options and sex scenes in their games, and they donít care. Dragon Age: gay sex now included.

Donít get me wrong, Dragon Age II is a decent game besides the trip-up in the writing. Bioware has improved upon the gameplay. At times, I thought that DA: Oís gameplay did become a bit tedious, requiring the player to pause and direct a character to do another action, particularly in the beginning of the game, when only three tactics slots are available to you. Bioware has overhauled the system so that the fighting is much faster and hack Ďn slash sequences are much more polished so that you donít end up seeing the same two animations over and over again. The class balance is also much improved. In DA: O, you were screwed if you used a warrior towards the end of the game because warriors simply couldnít put out the firepower that a mage could. In Dragon Age 2, the warrior class, although not quite as powerful in attacks as the mage, holds up pretty well as a tank.

Dragon Age IIís environment is just as immersive as its predecessor. The graphics, sound, and music mesh together beautifully to sometimes make you believe that you are standing in Kirkwall. Still, nothing is more of an immersion boner kill than to get into a giant battle and see the NPCs stare listlessly at the murder going on around them. Seriously, Bioware? None of the QA testers noticed this?
Dragon Age: Origins, in my eyes, was a classic. Dragon Age II does take a lot of its conventions and improves upon its problems, but the sequel falls flat. It may be because I have ridiculously overblown expectations for Biowareís games, but thatís a testament to the quality of their games (and please hold a moment whilst I go scrub my nose. Repeatedly.) Dragon Age II had the potential to be a classic, but DA:O was a five-year effort, and its successor was a rushed two. Not that it would impact sales, but itíll come back to kick you in the ass someday Bioware and thatíll be a damn shame, but then youíll remember your lessons and stop rushing your games.
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Drugoli
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 03:06:13 AM »

Didn't have time to read the full review, but nice Cheesy. You seem to include your own opinion in a good way! You should try and get a job at Pug Gaming as a reviewer, if you are not already.

But could you please add some titles. It would make it a bit more interesting and nice to look at Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 03:08:09 AM »

Didn't have time to read the full review, but nice Cheesy. You seem to include your own opinion in a good way! You should try and get a job at Pug Gaming as a reviewer, if you are not already.

But could you please add some titles. It would make it a bit more interesting and nice to look at Smiley
She is hence how she can post in this section Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 03:14:52 AM »

Review was good, I have a similar opinion. Maybe a few images to break up all of the writing walls. Try and do recent games as soon as they come out. That way when people search for reviews as soon as the game comes out they can know where to look. (PUG Gaming) Do you plan on doing Video reviews or just text?
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Catherine
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 03:19:14 AM »

Mostly just text for now. My microphone isn't great enough for me to record anything, and let's just say my sharp wit comes best through writing.  Wink

I'm trying to do so. Currently playing that new Bethesda game Hunted so that I can review it ASAP.

Will do about the images... sorry for the wall of text, everyone.
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Jo0n
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 03:21:39 AM »

Nice review!
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Killjoy
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 03:23:05 AM »

Mostly just text for now. My microphone isn't great enough for me to record anything, and let's just say my sharp wit comes best through writing.  Wink

I'm trying to do so. Currently playing that new Bethesda game Hunted so that I can review it ASAP.

Will do about the images... sorry for the wall of text, everyone.

text > power. therefore its a wall of power. Lol no no but sure feel free to throw images in whenever and review anything you play!
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 04:52:44 AM »

Mostly just text for now. My microphone isn't great enough for me to record anything, and let's just say my sharp wit comes best through writing.  Wink

I'm trying to do so. Currently playing that new Bethesda game Hunted so that I can review it ASAP.

Will do about the images... sorry for the wall of text, everyone.

text > power. therefore its a wall of power. Lol no no but sure feel free to throw images in whenever and review anything you play!

but people are easily bored (or rather, have adhd and can't keep their attention on one thing for long), and things need to be spiced up to keep people enticed ! D8
So I agree with what others have said, add titles, space things out and imagesss.

However, great review Smiley  Good way of writing, and getting your opinion across, while still talking about the game.
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K1eaner
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 05:56:24 AM »

Nice, like the way you relate to things in real life like meals and Ice-Cream, I prefer cake though. Good Review, Cheers.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 01:22:30 PM »

Best...review...ever!!!! thanks for the info!!!
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Prayze
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 04:51:31 PM »

Pretty much agree with this.  I'm also a HUGE Bioware fan, and play almost everything they make.  Too me the story and setting could produce such an awesome game but certain areas just fall flat.  It was especially tough knowing that you basically stay in ONE AREA the entire game.  If you do all the side quests and everything its like 60 hours!!! All in one place!! 

As Catherine said, the dialogue in my eyes is brilliant, partly because it's EXACTLY like mass effect (which is absolutely amazing).  The voice acting and animations are top notch as well.  Basically what it boils down to me is this,  They certainly know HOW to tell a story, but it seems they didn't tell the RIGHT story.   They have mastered the dialogue and character choices, but with such an awesome setting, they could have came up with a FAR greater experience. 

Combat was certainly not Baldur's Gate RPG-esque, but it seemed well paced and fun I thought.  When my warrior made contact with his blade, the sounds really enveloped you and made you feel like you were really doing damage.  Area attacks were very fun to use on groups of enemies too.

Also, I'm getting tired of all these new RPG's having VERY limited amounts of loot/equipment.  That's one of the main draws for me in an RPG game, and in this game it seemed like there were only a handful of decent weapons, and all the better elite ones u got at the end were barely any better than the previous ones.  I wish it were more Borderlands-ish, with THOUSANDS of different loot options.

Even with all the negatives I've listed, I still couldn't put the game down.  Any free time I had went towards progressing this game and squeezing every minute it had to offer.
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Catherine
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 11:22:38 AM »

Pretty much agree with this.  I'm also a HUGE Bioware fan, and play almost everything they make.  Too me the story and setting could produce such an awesome game but certain areas just fall flat.  It was especially tough knowing that you basically stay in ONE AREA the entire game.  If you do all the side quests and everything its like 60 hours!!! All in one place!! 

As Catherine said, the dialogue in my eyes is brilliant, partly because it's EXACTLY like mass effect (which is absolutely amazing).  The voice acting and animations are top notch as well.  Basically what it boils down to me is this,  They certainly know HOW to tell a story, but it seems they didn't tell the RIGHT story.   They have mastered the dialogue and character choices, but with such an awesome setting, they could have came up with a FAR greater experience. 

Combat was certainly not Baldur's Gate RPG-esque, but it seemed well paced and fun I thought.  When my warrior made contact with his blade, the sounds really enveloped you and made you feel like you were really doing damage.  Area attacks were very fun to use on groups of enemies too.

Also, I'm getting tired of all these new RPG's having VERY limited amounts of loot/equipment.  That's one of the main draws for me in an RPG game, and in this game it seemed like there were only a handful of decent weapons, and all the better elite ones u got at the end were barely any better than the previous ones.  I wish it were more Borderlands-ish, with THOUSANDS of different loot options.

Even with all the negatives I've listed, I still couldn't put the game down.  Any free time I had went towards progressing this game and squeezing every minute it had to offer.

Indeed. Bioware's writers have amazing chops. I just don't think they had much to work with here. I'm supposing they were told to write a sequel, and they all glanced at each other and wondered what the hell to do.
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Prayze
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 11:25:54 AM »

Ya, that seems to be the case..
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 06:08:49 AM »

Fantastic review. Though I still preferred Origins.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 10:56:21 PM »

Fantastic review. Though I still preferred Origins.

I have to agree on that one, I did like a few more aspects of the quicker combat though.
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2011, 12:59:33 PM »

I found this game kinda boring really :/
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2011, 01:17:05 PM »

It has some nice partsl but origins is the best.
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