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Author Topic: Dragon Age II
Aros
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A lot of people on the interwebs are saying that Dragon Age II is way too dumbed down, has a crappy story, and isn't worthy of the Bioware name. Most of the critics seem to (at least) like it.

Any Hatrackers try it and have an opinion? I'd say after playing the demo that I can't really tell either way.

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Jenos
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I've been playing it and have been less than impressed. I'm only a few hours in but I already have zero desire to go back to playing it. I've lost sight of the main story, I have no real goals. At this point in the game I'm questing to make money because the game wants me to make money. Its just silly and unengaging.

The combat isn't as bad as I thought it would be, though. Its not as button-mashy as I thought, and while its a little dumbed down, its not hugely so. One thing though is that friendly fire is only on nightmare difficulty, so if you aren't playing that you may find it much easier due to the removal of that tactical element.

But my biggest problem is story and characters. In the original DA you had Morrigan and Alistair introduced early on; while peoples opinions of those characters may differ, you have to admit they're engaging characters. Not so with any of the new party members, at least so far.

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Dan_Frank
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Haven't played nearly enough to judge the story yet.

However, the combat is, in my opinion, far better. I generally hated the combat in DA:Origins, though... it was like halfway between KOTOR and Mass Effect, and it had the most aggravating features of each (no queued actions & awkward targeting, to name the two most egregious examples.)

The new system has moved totally away from the D&D-style Baldur's Gate/KOTOR turn based system and shifted in the same direction as Mass Effect, keeping it more real-time and active. I'm sure that's why some people hate it. Me, I'm fine with this change, and would've been fine if it had moved further the other direction too.

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The Black Pearl
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Dragon Age is a much less refined version of the older is pc rpgs that Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay did, which is okay.

FF12 (Especially Internation Edition) is better.

This game looks more like Champions of Norrath or something. Meh.

I'll play Magicka(2!) instead.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
However, the combat is, in my opinion, far better. I generally hated the combat in DA:Origins, though... it was like halfway between KOTOR and Mass Effect, and it had the most aggravating features of each (no queued actions & awkward targeting, to name the two most egregious examples.)

Hm, clearly we have different tastes in combat systems.

I shouldn't play DA2 now. Should get work done, both on my real work and on hobbies, such as the second half of the SC2 campaign. So I'm not buying it.

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Geraine
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I'm not far into it, but I am really enjoying it. I am choosing every sarcastic dialog option available though. I think it is pretty funny to be honest.

I had to laugh at the beginning when Varric was telling the first version of the story and your sister Bethany is VERY well endowed, yet when he tells the true version of the story she has lost a lot of said endowment.

It does seem more like a reboot than a sequel to me though.

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Samprimary
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It's kind of a lurch to get into the swing of the 'trying to make money' portion of the game. It's a switch to go back to starting from nothing.
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T_Smith
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If this was an original title, I think I'd like it better. Otherwise, I find I'm comparing it with DA:O too much and that's making me want to go back and play the first more. I'm finding DA:O had more depth and charisma to it than DA2, not to mention my preference on the combat system which has already been discussed here. I loved story of the Grey Wardens and the blight. The chantry/mage/qunari tensions are not as endearing at the moment.

That said, I really don't hate the game in and of itself; it's enjoyable for it's own reasons. I just think it's falling short of what they originally gave us by cutting corners and straying too far from DA:O and more to Mass Effect.

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Dan_Frank
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Getting more into it I'm hating some of the retcons with a ferocious passion. Most blindingly with regards to the Qunari (horns? really?) but in general there seems to be a shift away from the gritty semi-realism towards the more common fantasy-bulls**t we see in games.

I still dig the combat, actually. I like the combat in KOTOR, and I like the combat here, though both are very different. DA:O was too much a bastard stepchild of the two styles, and it didn't really work for me.

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T_Smith
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I'm right there with you with the horns. My wife keeps insisting that the horns aren't as bad as the Elf to Navi changes they made. She also mentioned that the horns were somehow established in the first game, though I'm not recalling where.

"No really, there still are Qunari that don't have horns, but they aren't all like Sten. Sten is just different."

*shrug*

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Rakeesh
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Perhaps the Qunari with horns are the Tal'Vashoth that we've heard about? I haven't seen much of the Qunari yet at all, haven't explored that quest yet.
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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I like the combat in KOTOR,

Are you F-ing kidding me???? KOTOR is like the best game ever, but it's all because of the story. The combat is the worst. Master Speed. Flurry. Flurry. Flurry. Heal. Flurry.
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MEC
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quote:
Originally posted by T_Smith:
I'm right there with you with the horns. My wife keeps insisting that the horns aren't as bad as the Elf to Navi changes they made. She also mentioned that the horns were somehow established in the first game, though I'm not recalling where.

"No really, there still are Qunari that don't have horns, but they aren't all like Sten. Sten is just different."

*shrug*

This article explains it a bit more. In short the horned Qunari are a new development, but they simply say that not all Qunari are born with horns and some remove them, so they won't have to retcon the first game as much, since you only meet 3 in the whole game. (4 if you count awakening)

The elf changes definitely don't seem that bad though.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by MEC:
quote:
Originally posted by T_Smith:
I'm right there with you with the horns. My wife keeps insisting that the horns aren't as bad as the Elf to Navi changes they made. She also mentioned that the horns were somehow established in the first game, though I'm not recalling where.

"No really, there still are Qunari that don't have horns, but they aren't all like Sten. Sten is just different."

*shrug*

This article explains it a bit more. In short the horned Qunari are a new development, but they simply say that not all Qunari are born with horns and some remove them, so they won't have to retcon the first game as much, since you only meet 3 in the whole game. (4 if you count awakening)

The elf changes definitely don't seem that bad though.

If you take Sten into the Fade in DA:O, you see his entire platoon, and every one of them has a roughly similar appearance as he does.

Throughout the game there are numerous nameless irrelevant Qunari "mercenary" enemies, all of whom lack horns and again have Sten's body model.

It's a big retcon. If anything, the way they are pretending it's not is actually more upsetting to me.


-----


quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I like the combat in KOTOR,

Are you F-ing kidding me???? KOTOR is like the best game ever, but it's all because of the story. The combat is the worst. Master Speed. Flurry. Flurry. Flurry. Heal. Flurry.
Heh, but you don't have to do that. I wasn't referring to what you did so much as the underlying mechanics of actions. You can queue them for yourself and your allies, so it being turn based pause-based tactical was acceptable.

DA:O allowed no queuing and was very much still turn based. It made managing the whole party a huge pain in the ass.

DA2 has moved completely out of turn based combat, which is, in my opinion, a value-neutral or slightly positive move. And the combat itself is relatively fun.

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Rakeesh
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I wouldn't say it's a big retcon. It's a cosmetic decision, and I don't really mind those very much. My suspension of disbelief can sustain the little eyeroll there (because I think the change was made because they thought, "Hey, let's make the Qunari look more bitchin'-rad!") without much difficulty. They're sellin' stuff after all. That's my take at least.

As for queuing actions, I played DA:O too much, really, and how turn-based it was depends largely on what difficulty you're on and what your party composition was. So far in DA2 it's very turn-based, but that's because I'm playin' on Nightmare right from the start and haven't worked out the kinks yet.

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jebus202
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I like the combat in KOTOR,

Are you F-ing kidding me???? KOTOR is like the best game ever, but it's all because of the story. The combat is the worst. Master Speed. Flurry. Flurry. Flurry. Heal. Flurry.
You're not taking account of the differences your force alignment makes. Dark Side combat queue goes: Lightning. Lightning. Lightning. Lightning.

Still somehow incredibly satisfying though.

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Samprimary
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The entire dragon age series this one included gives you the option to make it a straight runthrough without 'turn based' combat, simply by playing at low difficulty. DA2 is exactly like DAO in that high difficulty level combat must be managed out command by command, baldur's gate style.
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Samprimary
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Oh, suddenly I understand why the first act was exactly like it was. Perhaps exploitative, but still, well played.
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Rakeesh
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I am really curious myself, but since my style is to do every single thing I can think of and explore every thing everywhere, and there are a lot of quests, it will still be a bit of time before I find out. I could move on to the Deep Roads Expedition right now if I wanted to, but I haven't done all of the secondary stuff just yet.
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Bolrog
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I read through all the posts and since i just got both the complete guide book and the game and never played DOA orignial version, I was a bit apprehensive at the purile vitriole of some toward the game.
Mostly it seems derived from the fact that it is not its father's son in all its myriad aspects.
A plus is that it says you can que actions and is similar to Baldur's gate Battle system.
I am like Rakeesh in that i explore every alternative pathway and way to do something i can in any new game i play for the first time.
I am looking forward to totally immersing myself in DOA II.
Oh, by the way, if you've played Baldur's Gate, then you definitely would love the sarcastic and tongue in cheek sequel, "Tales of the Sword Coast". My favourite character in it was the singing Goblins that mock the character at every junction of the story line. "Its baaad luck to be You." lmfao
On the serious side, I am a fundamental Baptist and have followed Orson Scott Card's writings ever since his short story Ender's Game was published. I wish OSC would also expand on his society wherein everyone was tested and put in the "perfect" job as shown by extensive aptitude and other tests. OSC rendition of a musical prodigy sticks with me to this day.
OSC is the Charles Dickens of Science Fiction.
Saying also that he is on my personal prayer list for healing and recovery from his stroke.
OSC is, in my own humble, opinion the last Hardcore Science Fiction Writer of our generation.

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TomDavidson
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*blink* How are you defining "hardcore?"
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T_Smith
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Personally, I define it based upon the flexibility of the authors skeletal structure but I realize not everyone shares the same definition.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I am really curious myself, but since my style is to do every single thing I can think of and explore every thing everywhere, and there are a lot of quests, it will still be a bit of time before I find out. I could move on to the Deep Roads Expedition right now if I wanted to, but I haven't done all of the secondary stuff just yet.

I say, do it all. Act I is like an exercise in building yourself from the ground up and making a name for yourself in town.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Bolrog:
I read through all the posts and since i just got both the complete guide book and the game and never played DOA orignial version, I was a bit apprehensive at the purile vitriole of some toward the game.
Mostly it seems derived from the fact that it is not its father's son in all its myriad aspects.
A plus is that it says you can que actions and is similar to Baldur's gate Battle system.
I am like Rakeesh in that i explore every alternative pathway and way to do something i can in any new game i play for the first time.
I am looking forward to totally immersing myself in DOA II.
Oh, by the way, if you've played Baldur's Gate, then you definitely would love the sarcastic and tongue in cheek sequel, "Tales of the Sword Coast". My favourite character in it was the singing Goblins that mock the character at every junction of the story line. "Its baaad luck to be You." lmfao

I... but... you...

If I'm parsing this post correctly, I believe you are confusing "The Bard's Tale," a game that has nothing whatsoever to do with Baldur's Gate, with "Tales of the Sword Coast."

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Samprimary
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quote:
I wish OSC would also expand on his society wherein everyone was tested and put in the "perfect" job as shown by extensive aptitude and other tests.
It's called "The Qun"
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Samprimary
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This game has an inexcusable amount of terrain repetition. It's drained all the cool out of the gameplay experience rather quickly.
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TomDavidson
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Yeah, I just made a similar comment elsewhere. It's as bad as Mass Effect in that respect.
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Jhai
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I'm enjoying playing it so far but... it's not as much fun as the Origins was for me. I think it's the city-based adventure combined with companions that aren't very interesting to me. Alistair and Morrigan's banter were so much more hilarious than what my current companions (whiny brother Carver, Aveline, and Varric) have come up with so far. The combat style makes me glad I bought for Xbox, rather than PC. So far I'm okay with the changes, although it feels like my mage's powers are a lot less powerful than they were in DA:O.
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T_Smith
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I finished the game today and the repeating graphics/area are by far my biggest complaint. Made the game feel rushed and tedious ("oh I have to go there.... again").
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Ecthalion
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im on my third playthrough, and i do like the game but the area repetittion does break you out of the immersion. I also experience alot of bugs, like freezing on a specific loading screen and tiles/testures/colors disappearing on people and buildings. I think what made me most angry is that the CD comes with achievments for DLC. That plus some rather short-cut stories and lots of hinting of other events (why does the grey warden show up for 5 seconds and then thats it... The way charachters that you have gotten rid of still interact in your cutscenes and in your story) makes me think the game was supposed to be bigger and was hastily thrown together to meet a date.

Something that does bother me that really doesnt take too much away from the game is that everyone you meet is a bit of a sociopathic murderer or just about to be, with the exception of Varric and Aveline (and your char depending on how you play.) It just seems like more people would question things if this were true, though i suppose thats a point they are trying to make.

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Rakeesh
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As for mages, well, they ARE less powerful than in DA:O by a big margin, which is fair-it was possible to solo on nightmare as a Mage, which is absurd.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Yeah, I just made a similar comment elsewhere. It's as bad as Mass Effect in that respect.
It's ten times worse. ME's reused interiors were on the open-space optional quests, but you were legitimately in a different mapset for each part of progression in the game. This one is the same five or six interiors repeated for literally hundreds of quests, to the extent where you have memorized every single conceivable path-turns-into-a-clearing point area where you will invariably be jumped by a drooling influx of badguys.

It's actually a really bad sign that they were willing to permit the game to be developed in that manner; to reduce investment into terrain and map assets so severely that you end up legitimately surprised when you're in someplace unique and original, that's not "cave," "generic city interior," "dock," "dwarven ruin," "mansion interior," "reused wounded coast exterior," and god help me that's all I can think of.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
As for mages, well, they ARE less powerful than in DA:O by a big margin, which is fair-it was possible to solo on nightmare as a Mage, which is absurd.

I remember laughing at how the guides I was reading on how to progress through DA:O on nightmare was working off the assumption that you will be playing as a mage and have stacked your party with every mage available.

class balance, am i right

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Rakeesh
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I remember in DA:O my Mage consistently did <50%dmg. for the whole party, on nightmare, and I was just casually min-maxxing. That is to say, I didn't go out and learn the exact best powers to get and everything. Didn't even respec for quite some time, for fun.
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Jenos
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
As for mages, well, they ARE less powerful than in DA:O by a big margin, which is fair-it was possible to solo on nightmare as a Mage, which is absurd.

While mages were absolutely the strongest class, I do want to point out that it was possible to solo the game on nightmare with every class, without exploiting any bugs.
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Rakeesh
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Was it? Well, I guess I wouldn't be surprised-but I have no doubt it would've been a helluva lot easier by orders of magnitude for mages.
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Destineer
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How would you solo with a Rogue? I can see Warrior because of the magic protection from Templar, but none of the Rogue specs are going to survive alone against a tough boss.
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Jenos
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The way I know relies heavily on combat stealth; googling "rogue solo nightmare dragon age" gives plenty of hits on how to do it with different specs, however.
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