Dragon Age 2: What went wrong?

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#1 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

I know people will be up in arms about this, the usual nay-sayers with their rebuttal of 'if you didn't like it, why did you play it?', will have a field day, so to initially nip this in the bud, I will say this: I am a huge Bioware fan, and I pre-ordered this game, buying it on day 1 because I believed in the developers I love. I also payed good money to get this game, so you can be damn sure I was going to play it. Also I don't give up easily, hell I've played through FFXIII. Anyway, back on point here.
 
Dragon Age 2 failed, as a sequel, to Origins, as it does not deliver the kind of epic, world changing storyline that its predecessor did. I believe that there are a few core reasons for this, so please, bare with me, and tell me what you think:
 
Storyline: In order to give us a more personal storyline, Bioware created Hawke, a rags-to-riches everyman/woman, who is the fabled Champion of Kirkwall. He/she is fully voiced, has a family, experiences tragedy throughout his/her life, you know, classic hero stuff. So why didn't this tug at my heartstrings? Well, it is actually quite simple: Hawke is the DA equivalent to Shepard of Mass Effect. The issue is that we have had two games to develop Shepard's character, and we actually care about him/her, and the people/places he/she has come into contact with. This grants us an experience, making the character an individual, fully voiced, yet still, personal to the player. Dragon Age had the Grey Warden, a classic, silent protagonist of varying race, gender and class, who we could personalise throughout the campaign, through character interactions, and many, many conversation options, involving friendships and romances, and larger, more important decisions. DA2 lacks these more personal touches. I felt at times that some of the plot twists did get to me, but more in a 'damn, that was so out of character, and might have happened regardless of my involvement anyway' kind of way. That is to say, that some of the more...personal moments, are forced by the storyline, further constraining the player and their individual choices, along with their character. We feel as if we are merely observers in the DA world, not really able to participate in the story, and not able to change the events that happen in any significant way.  The so-called '10 year storyline' is in fact, a blatant lie, as the player plays less than half of that time, with no significant changes. This gimmick only serves as a distraction to the very disjointed, and seemingly rushed story, as only minor aspects connect throughout the game. Even the party member missions seem forced and unnecessary.
 
Characters: Other than Varric and Meredith, very few characters in this game felt as important and impressive as the characters of Origins. They seemed to be a varying array of generic so-and-so, with a bland back story. They seem very black and white, with no personal investment in the goings on of the storyline. Some more prominent and well known characters, as followers of the series will note, seem to have had their personalities shifted from the previous titles, in order to feed into the storyline. It seems to be forced, and not a gradual development. At a stretch I could defend the choices made for them, but the evidence within the series contradicts the decisions of the characters in this game. They merely follow/oppose you based on the idea that 'I like you because you agree with me' or 'Screw you, I'm in a huff over a logical decision you made, regardless of how much sense you make'. This pulls me right out of the narrative, as I find more and more than these characters don't seem to want to join me, they are merely just doing what the storyline dictates. I also have an issue with giving the Dalish elves, the same Dalish elves from the previous games,  the generic, almost racist, 'auld Irish accents', that were completely out of place. Giving the Qunari horns is something I can get behind, but I do not support entirely.
 
Gameplay: This aspect was improved and made more fluid than that of Origins, yet I find that sometimes, it can become boring. The conversation options are Mass Effect in style, and don't give the player many options to follow. The combat is more involving, but I actually found myself hitting the 'A' button while not even looking at the screen, and still winning the fights I was in. The tactics are rendered useless by this combat system, so we lose yet another aspect of Origins that made it great. Whats more, the new Specialization options hinder more than help in combat situations. The ability to group heal only when you have activated the ability that allows that spec to activate, is overly complicated in the middle of a fight, especially when that spec stops you from casting offensive spells and abilities, and reserves too much mana to make it useful. These are seemingly minor, but they are, in fact, important to the core gameplay of the game. Streamlining these abilities have no made them easier to use, just more of a hassle to go through to do something that was so simple in Origins. The mission structure, as mentioned before, is disjointed, and mostly consists of doing side quests that are forced as well, and are really the only way to see any changes brought on by the file importing from Origins. This is purely lazy design and writing within the Bioware team. At one point, I found it impossible to expand on the story for a certain character because I did not bring him on a mission with me. This is single-minded, linear thought, that should have been caught by game-testers in early development. 
 
I have many issues with this game, and hopefully, this will channel all of the aimless anger/ blind defense at this game into something that we can debate in an orderly fashion. I still enjoyed parts of the game, but after 36 hours, some glitched achievements that refuse to unlock, calling into question if I had even completed the missions, and some characters missions I couldn't complete, I found that I hadn't enjoyed it as much as Origins. If it was a stand alone title, I wouldn't have as many issues with it, but this kind of disappointment really shook my faith in Bioware, and I have a feeling EA won't be too pleased with them.
 
So please, debate, respond, keep it intelligent, these are just a few ideas knocking around in my head. Review is pending.

#2 Edited by Galiant (2163 posts) -

I don't think it went wrong. I enjoyed it more than Origins, and I loved Origins. Played it at least five times over to try all the class combinations and choices. I wonder how many times I've posted this on these forums, there are so many negative threads around!
 
I hope they stick to the direction they've taken with Dragon Age 2 for the third installment. 
 
EDIT: To clarify, I've played Origins five times over, not DA2. I was on my second playthrough of DA2 when my PS3 broke down. I'm waiting for the new one to ship.

#3 Posted by PhatSeeJay (3321 posts) -

There's already a lengthy thread up concerning this.

#4 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (4852 posts) -

I think the main story is the only problem with it so far.  I have been loving everything else about it.  I think it does everything better than origins other wise except environments.  I'm so happy they fixed the frame rate issues which made combat needlessly hard since the fights would usually start by dropping the framerate to 5 disallowing any defense particularly against mages.  I didn't play on PC though so DA 2 seemed better to me combat wise.

#5 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

Most of the characters were boring, and the story was weak, but it was fun. I think that Origins was better. 
  

"The combat is more involving, but I actually found myself hitting the 'A' button while not even looking at the screen, and still winning the fights I was in."     
 
You could have increased the difficulty to Nightmare.

#6 Posted by Turambar (6485 posts) -

Lack of a proper over-aching plot and lack of variety in terrain are the two big ones.  Some characters are generic, and almost all have a brightline in terms of their morality, but I'd like to hear you defend your choice for Varric and Meredith as "strong" characters.  Both of them felt very shallow to me.

#7 Posted by Majkiboy (939 posts) -

EA is trying their best to make the game look good now. The video game industry is so corrupt that it makes me sad. But I am at least glad that users voice up to the effortss from EA and Bioware-employees to rate the game as a perfect game when it's clearly not.
There are stories regarding employees reviewing the game, but frankly you can google it yourselves if you are interested AND it is actually not a weird thing (or uncommon). There are hundreds of people working on these games, of course they are gonna review the game in a positive manner.
 
I speak of this as an employee of another company that did stuff like this with about 20 employees. So of course it is happening within larger companies as well.

#8 Posted by Bloodgraiv3 (2712 posts) -

For me? Nothing. I Loved it and prefered it to Origins. 
#9 Edited by raidingkvatch (1148 posts) -
@Bloodgraiv3 said:

" For me? Nothing. I Loved it.  "

There were words after this, but this is the extent to which I agree with the quote.
#10 Posted by Enigma777 (6047 posts) -

I'm not going to argue about the story, It's simply inferior.  
 
However the characters a lot better. You can get to know them on a lot more personal level than the ones in Origins and overall they are better developed and more complex.  
 
As far as the Spirit Healer thing goes, it's done to balance out the game. As a maxed out Spirit Healer, you're pretty much invincible since you automatically gain 100 health every couple of seconds, so it makes sense that you can't use any offensive spells (though you can still use basic attacks and often that's more than enough). Group Heal was put into that specialization because it's also an incredibly powerful spell - healing 80% of everyone's health instantaneously. Switching to Spirit Healer and then using Group Heal takes less than 2 seconds, so I would hardly call it overly complex. After all you're complaining about everything becoming boring because you only press A, so if SH was the same it would only make your complains bigger...

#11 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@Axxol said:
" Most of the characters were boring, and the story was weak, but it was fun. I think that Origins was better. 
  

"The combat is more involving, but I actually found myself hitting the 'A' button while not even looking at the screen, and still winning the fights I was in."      You could have increased the difficulty to Nightmare. "
I shouldn't have to change the difficulty of a game half way through just to make the combat more interesting, I didn't have to do that in Origins, and I actually regret not nipping that one in the bud earlier.
 
@Turambar said:
" Lack of a proper over-aching plot and lack of variety in terrain are the two big ones.  Some characters are generic, and almost all have a brightline in terms of their morality, but I'd like to hear you defend your choice for Varric and Meredith as "strong" characters.  Both of them felt very shallow to me. "
Varric was the only character that seemed to have a personality. As the story-teller, his interpretations of certain parts of the story are amusing and fun. What we learn about him, such as his stance with his brother, his hatred of the merchants guild, the fact that hes never been to Orzammar, and the untold story of Bianca, give him more depth. His over-exaggerations of Hawke's life and his reasoning for doing so give us some insight into his character. His standpoint as being an everyman, not on either the mage or templar side, makes me like him more, he has no dogmatic views, he's merely there for a good story and a good time. Meredith was interesting because of her motivations, her beliefs that all mages are blood mages, and the fact that something supernatural was adding to her paranoia, made her seem more human. She merely wanted to do what she thought was right, but in doing so, showed that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. She wasn't actually insane, or really dogmatic, she was the tragic hero of the game. Also her story and Varric's are intertwined.
 
@Enigma777 said:
" I'm not going to argue about the story, It's simply inferior.   However the characters a lot better. You can get to know them on a lot more personal level than the ones in Origins and overall they are better developed and more complex.   As far as the Spirit Healer thing goes, it's done to balance out the game. As a maxed out Spirit Healer, you're pretty much invincible since you automatically gain 100 health every couple of seconds, so it makes sense that you can't use any offensive spells (though you can still use basic attacks and often that's more than enough). Group Heal was put into that specialization because it's also an incredibly powerful spell - healing 80% of everyone's health instantaneously. Switching to Spirit Healer and then using Group Heal takes less than 2 seconds, so I would hardly call it overly complex. After all you're complaining about everything becoming boring because you only press A, so if SH was the same it would only make your complains bigger... "
In the middle of a heavy fight, the last thing you have time for is to switch from offense to healing, especially when you're fighting a particularly tough boss, who requires quite a lot of micro management. It can get quite irritating, especially when you have to change from your main character to do some quick healing with potions, only to find that you haven't enough mana to cast the group heal spell. The balance from Origins, that you could only use group heal at least once per fight, as the cooldown time was quite long, was a better system than: go to abilities, pick healer mode, wait 2 seconds too long to get group heal ready, see 2 characters die, have to use Regroup, then not being able to cast group heal, drink mana potion, micro manage, become annoyed and want to break game. I have to disagree on the character aspects, I don't think we learn anything about certain characters, like Anders, that we didn't already know, and his character shift is explained in a lazy fashion. They are mostly an array of bland, singularly motivated, generic cardboard cutouts, with weak characterization. I don't see what your last point is...in fact that makes little to no sense at all. You seem to be implying that I don't know how the game works...you would be wrong, and in fact that wasn't the point I was making at all, sorry, if you wish I'll elaborate that for you!
#12 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@PhatSeeJay said:
" There's already a lengthy thread up concerning this. "
Don't insult my writing by comparing it to that, I'm trying to get a logical argument started.
#13 Posted by Enigma777 (6047 posts) -
@Dookysharpgun said:
" In the middle of a heavy fight, the last thing you have time for is to switch from offense to healing, especially when you're fighting a particularly tough boss, who requires quite a lot of micro management. It can get quite irritating, especially when you have to change from your main character to do some quick healing with potions, only to find that you haven't enough mana to cast the group heal spell. The balance from Origins, that you could only use group heal at least once per fight, as the cooldown time was quite long, was a better system than: go to abilities, pick healer mode, wait 2 seconds too long to get group heal ready, see 2 characters die, have to use Regroup, then not being able to cast group heal, drink mana potion, micro manage, become annoyed and want to break game. I have to disagree on the character aspects, I don't think we learn anything about certain characters, like Anders, that we didn't already know, and his character shift is explained in a lazy fashion. They are mostly an array of bland, singularly motivated, generic cardboard cutouts, with weak characterization. I don't see what your last point is...in fact that makes little to no sense at all. You seem to be implying that I don't know how the game works...you would be wrong, and in fact that wasn't the point I was making at all, sorry, if you wish I'll elaborate that for you! "
You do realize you can pause the game, right? And if can't spare LESS THAN 2 seconds to switch and use an ability, I'm afraid you're playing this game wrong....
#14 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -
@Dookysharpgun said:
" @PhatSeeJay said:
" There's already a lengthy thread up concerning this. "
Don't insult my writing by comparing it to that, I'm trying to get a logical argument started. "
He wasn't insulting you. He was linking a thread so you could take your logical argument there. What's wrong with you, bro?
#15 Edited by PhatSeeJay (3321 posts) -
@Axxol said:

" @Dookysharpgun said:

" @PhatSeeJay said:

" There's already a lengthy thread up concerning this. "
Don't insult my writing by comparing it to that, I'm trying to get a logical argument started. "
He wasn't insulting you. He was linking a thread so you could take your logical argument there. What's wrong with you, bro? "
 Just because you write better than the people in the other threads doesn't change the fact that this is just a fancier version of already existing discussions.
If you consider yourself to be above them well then I suggest you put it in a blog and that review you're writing.
#16 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@Axxol said:
" @Dookysharpgun said:
" @PhatSeeJay said:
" There's already a lengthy thread up concerning this. "
Don't insult my writing by comparing it to that, I'm trying to get a logical argument started. "
He wasn't insulting you. He was linking a thread so you could take your logical argument there. What's wrong with you, bro? "
I clicked said thread, only to appear on a post from a person who had not even played the game, and was merely riding off of other forum posts that he had read. That is an insult to myself, a person who had played said game, and an insult to my writing, as he was simply bullet-pointing some points that he couldn't elaborate on. @PhatSeeJay said:
" @Axxol said:

" @Dookysharpgun said:

" @PhatSeeJay said:

" There's already a lengthy thread up concerning this. "
Don't insult my writing by comparing it to that, I'm trying to get a logical argument started. "
He wasn't insulting you. He was linking a thread so you could take your logical argument there. What's wrong with you, bro? "
 Just because you write better than the people in the other threads doesn't change the fact that this is just a fancier version of already existing discussions. If you consider yourself to be above them well then I suggest you put it in a blog and that review you're writing. "
You think my writing is fancier? Thank you, thats so nice, not to mention its more detailed because I'm not just trolling, and I do, in fact, consider myself above such individuals, who would rather rant about non-specifics than actually get  into the issues. @Enigma777 said:
" @Dookysharpgun said:
" In the middle of a heavy fight, the last thing you have time for is to switch from offense to healing, especially when you're fighting a particularly tough boss, who requires quite a lot of micro management. It can get quite irritating, especially when you have to change from your main character to do some quick healing with potions, only to find that you haven't enough mana to cast the group heal spell. The balance from Origins, that you could only use group heal at least once per fight, as the cooldown time was quite long, was a better system than: go to abilities, pick healer mode, wait 2 seconds too long to get group heal ready, see 2 characters die, have to use Regroup, then not being able to cast group heal, drink mana potion, micro manage, become annoyed and want to break game. I have to disagree on the character aspects, I don't think we learn anything about certain characters, like Anders, that we didn't already know, and his character shift is explained in a lazy fashion. They are mostly an array of bland, singularly motivated, generic cardboard cutouts, with weak characterization. I don't see what your last point is...in fact that makes little to no sense at all. You seem to be implying that I don't know how the game works...you would be wrong, and in fact that wasn't the point I was making at all, sorry, if you wish I'll elaborate that for you! "
You do realize you can pause the game, right? And if can't spare LESS THAN 2 seconds to switch and use an ability, I'm afraid you're playing this game wrong.... "
And can you tell me why, oh why, Bioware created a new, faster combat system,  just to have use pause the game and do EXACTLY what we did in DA:O, but with more hassle, as in DA:O, we didn't need to activate every ability under the sun just to use ONE spell? I believe they said that the 'pausing' of the game wasn't going to have as much importance placed on it in the console versions as the PC version. Wasn't the whole point of making the fighting more fast and fluid that we didn't have to pause the game to activate abilities? Because the way I'm seeing it, that is having quite the double-standard, that contradicts the reasoning behind making the combat more engaging.
#17 Posted by Rumour (95 posts) -
@Dookysharpgun said:
" @Axxol said:
" Most of the characters were boring, and the story was weak, but it was fun. I think that Origins was better. 
  

"The combat is more involving, but I actually found myself hitting the 'A' button while not even looking at the screen, and still winning the fights I was in."      You could have increased the difficulty to Nightmare. "
I shouldn't have to change the difficulty of a game half way through just to make the combat more interesting, I didn't have to do that in Origins, and I actually regret not nipping that one in the bud earlier.  
 
Why not? If you aren't finding the combat satisfying I can't think of a reason not to bump the difficulty up a notch. 
 
You may find that all of a sudden mashing A over and over will not win you fights and you'll start thinking more about tactics, positioning and group dynamics. Give it a shot; what have you got to lose?
#18 Posted by Wipeout (260 posts) -

I thought the game was great until the fight with the Arishok.  Game broken.  Unable to complete.

#19 Posted by S0ndor (2715 posts) -

Your core complaint is the same as everyone else's: This is isn't Origins 2.  
 
But guess what? Bioware never said it would be. In fact, all early information and screen shots indicated that this would be an entirely different experience. You could even play the demo and see for yourself just how damn different it was. The fact that you chose to ignore all that and still went into this game expecting Origins 2 is entirely your own fault. I went into it expecting something new and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.
 
I agree that they done fucked up with party heal, though that has already been remedied by modders for the PC version, at least. 
 
The only disappointment for me were the party members. They are more complex and initially more intriguing. However, none of that matters since they are a bunch of unlikeable, selfish assholes. Fenris, Isabela and Anders in particular are just insufferable jerks and deserve to die in very horrible ways. The lack of backstory was also incredibly disappointing, especially after deep characters like Alistair and Leliana. They tried to make the companions less like blind followers by making them very opinionated, but they took it way overboard. The result is a bunch of dogmatic broken records, who only seem to be tagging along with you to further their own goals. Many of them can and will betray you in some very extreme ways, even if you're their best friend. 
 
The companion quests did seem a lot more meaningful this time around though. I also really liked the shift from an epic quest to save to world to the political struggles of Kirkwall.  
 
As for the combat, it felt largely the same this time around, just with better animations.

#20 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@Ginormis said:
" @Dookysharpgun said:
" @Axxol said:
" Most of the characters were boring, and the story was weak, but it was fun. I think that Origins was better. 
  

"The combat is more involving, but I actually found myself hitting the 'A' button while not even looking at the screen, and still winning the fights I was in."      You could have increased the difficulty to Nightmare. "
I shouldn't have to change the difficulty of a game half way through just to make the combat more interesting, I didn't have to do that in Origins, and I actually regret not nipping that one in the bud earlier.  
 Why not? If you aren't finding the combat satisfying I can't think of a reason not to bump the difficulty up a notch.  You may find that all of a sudden mashing A over and over will not win you fights and you'll start thinking more about tactics, positioning and group dynamics. Give it a shot; what have you got to lose? "
My dignity? (only joking) I like to play games on the Normal/hard difficulties to get a feel for them first, so I can enjoy the story, this wasn't the case with this game. Also, if you refer to my other reply, I said that I don't see the point in making a fast & fluid combat system if you have to pause the game to think about tactics, something that even Bioware said wasn't supposed to be a big part of the game. And just to expand on that, unlike DA:O, the lack of abilities in DA2 makes it difficult to come up with any sort of strategy, because of the simplified class trees. Mages have lost many of the extra abilities that gave them their edge in combat, which can be the difference between victory and defeat. I found that even with setting tactics to as near perfect for tough situations as I could get them, the fights basically came down to me hitting things with my sword, with barely enough time to hit X, Y or B to use special moves. The point being, taking this kind of game to Nightmare is exactly what it aims to be...a nightmare, as the micro management requires a lot more fiddling than DA:O.
#21 Posted by Mysterion (159 posts) -
@Wipeout: yeah, that fight took me so long to beat as my character was a pure healer and had no offensive spells but as soon as you get him below half health he wont heal anymore
#22 Posted by buft (3298 posts) -

I loved the story, sure it lacks the single goal focus of the previous title in the series but as a fan of fantasy writing such as  Trudi Canavans black magician trilogy and Robert Jordans wheel of time series I felt that the game played out in a similar manner to this type of book where each chapter in the players rise plays out with its own ending with the overall story building throughout the various chapters before cumulating in a massive boss fight. 
 
the combat too I felt was better suited for the console than the combat system of origins, from a melee point of view it means less frustration in trying to close the distance on  enemies. The rebalancing of the classes; mages spells requiring an activated ability and then a lengthy cooldown, rogues and warriors getting their own roles with no crossover meant that you are forced to choose the right party for the encounter and leads to less reliance on spamming healing spells and mana/stamina/health pots. 
 
one thing you say " The combat is more involving, but I actually found myself hitting the 'A' button while not even looking at the screen, and still winning the fights I was in. The tactics are rendered useless by this combat system" i know for a fact that on the harder difficulties that this is not the case, a moments distraction is all it takes to lose your party one example is the fight at then end of the dark roads in the first act, i seen my 2 mages get killed in an instant because i didnt realise they had the focus of the smaller enemy, i seen my rogue 1 shotted by the boss after he draws aggro, if this is one of your main complaints regarding the game the higher difficulty will surely resolve that. 
 
i can agree with some of your points in my time with the game i had my share of lost achievements, all of the sebastion ones, gaining a rivalr and the great minds think alike achievement all bugged.sometimes even the friend/rival system is busted such as some sidequests where aveline will give rivalry no matter if you turn an offer fown or accept it and lastly the bug that makes you lose stat points when certain party members gain or lose friendship points.

#23 Edited by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@S0ndor said:

" Your core complaint is the same as everyone else's: This is isn't Origins 2.   But guess what? Bioware never said it would be. In fact, all early information and screen shots indicated that this would be an entirely different experience. You could even play the demo and see for yourself just how damn different it was. The fact that you chose to ignore all that and still went into this game expecting Origins 2 is entirely your own fault. I went into it expecting something new and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I agree that they done fucked up with party heal, though that has already been remedied by modders for the PC version, at least.  The only disappointment for me were the party members. They are more complex and initially more intriguing. However, none of that matters since they are a bunch of unlikeable, selfish assholes. Fenris, Isabela and Anders in particular are just insufferable jerks and deserve to die in very horrible ways. The lack of backstory was also incredibly disappointing, especially after deep characters like Alistair and Leliana. They tried to make the companions less like blind followers by making them very opinionated, but they took it way overboard. The result is a bunch of dogmatic broken records, who only seem to be tagging along with you to further their own goals. Many of them can and will betray you in some very extreme ways, even if you're their best friend.  The companion quests did seem a lot more meaningful this time around though. I also really liked the shift from an epic quest to save to world to the political struggles of Kirkwall.   As for the combat, it felt largely the same this time around, just with better animations. "

While I agree with most of that, I have to disagree on three  things. This game bares the name Dragon Age 2. It is the second game in the series. A different experience isn't necessarily bad, but the way it was handled really was. Why couldn't we walk into DA2 with the expectations that it would surpass DA:O in every way possible, only to be disappointed. I played the demo, but alas, the demo is what it is...a demo. It was merely to show off graphics and combat, and while I was weary that the combat could become boring, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, because you could forgive the game if its story was good, and if it was as engaging with the narrative as DA:O. I've considered all the reasons why this game should have been good, but if it bares the name of the series followed by a '2' then we can safely assume that said game was going to be similar to DA:O, and follows the elements of said story. Trying to revamp a game mid-series is all good, if you can pull it off, but when a Bioware game gets a score lower than a 9 on review sites, that could show something is wrong. I also didn't like the politics within DA2, as it felt like Hawke was just along for the ride, the messenger who should have been nameless and faceless. Hell the first  act of the game was a fable 3 style status building situation, while it was only near the end of the second act that the real conflict came into light. That is another issue I have with it. The main story is pushed aside for minor storylines, which only really effect the end of the game in a minor way. The lyrium aspect was interesting, but it wasn't explored enough, we never find out just what it was, and the abrupt end of the game, forcing the story down yet another path, makes me think that they didn't think this through completely. The combat got old, fast, I found myself turning the game off because I couldn't handle the damned four-cut, pause, repeat system they had going.
#24 Posted by ClaritySam (594 posts) -

I honestly think the only problem with it is the tiny game world/reused assets thing.  I'm liking the combat, there are some really good characters and the graphics are much improved.  Also I'm quite enjoying the story, it kind of makes a change from "oh noes, a huge monster is leading an army of little monsters this way! Collect allies/magic/weapons/levels for a bit then defeat him!"  They just needed another year to design more locations and it would be great.  As it is it's just a little disappointing, probably because I had such high hopes. 

#25 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@Wipeout said:
" I thought the game was great until the fight with the Arishok.  Game broken.  Unable to complete. "
I had to take him with my whole party, as in the fight, where I went one-on-one, he glitched and spammed health potions continually when he got to half health, while apparently he is only supposed to take one or two. The heal rates of the potions were off too.
#26 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@ClaritySam said:
" I honestly think the only problem with it is the tiny game world/reused assets thing.  I'm liking the combat, there are some really good characters and the graphics are much improved.  Also I'm quite enjoying the story, it kind of makes a change from "oh noes, a huge monster is leading an army of little monsters this way! Collect allies/magic/weapons/levels for a bit then defeat him!"  They just needed another year to design more locations and it would be great.  As it is it's just a little disappointing, probably because I had such high hopes.  "
You had every right to have high hopes. You're allowed, it was a developer you trusted. I found the character models worse for some characters than even DA:O, such as Alistair. He looked like a 3-D head model with the details placed on him with MS paint. It was disgusting. This was on the 360 by the way.
#27 Posted by TheRealMoot (283 posts) -

I agree with litteraly everything you have said Sookysharpgun. You hit on every point in this game that I did not like, though you played it all the way through and I dropped out about half-way in. I love Origins and Awakening to death, I also really enjoyed the Mass Effect games, but this game got messed up...
Online
#28 Posted by Enigma777 (6047 posts) -
@Dookysharpgun said:
" And can you tell me why, oh why, Bioware created a new, faster combat system,  just to have use pause the game and do EXACTLY what we did in DA:O, but with more hassle, as in DA:O, we didn't need to activate every ability under the sun just to use ONE spell? I believe they said that the 'pausing' of the game wasn't going to have as much importance placed on it in the console versions as the PC version. Wasn't the whole point of making the fighting more fast and fluid that we didn't have to pause the game to activate abilities? Because the way I'm seeing it, that is having quite the double-standard, that contradicts the reasoning behind making the combat more engaging. "
And  can you tell me why, oh why, would Bioware include a pausing system if they didn't want you to use it?! Pausing has always been a key part of Dragon Age, so I'm not sure what kind of double standard you're talking about...
#29 Posted by Aether (94 posts) -

All my arguments have been made already but i will chime in for the hell of it.
 
Origins was not a hard game. In the least. On normal the combat was not challenging. It was severely easy to cheese and even on the Xbox the games Hard was equivalent to the PC's normal. This was stated by an Bioware employee on their forums. Mainly meaning things like damage, enemy health pools, and friendly fire damage. 
The only time pausing was actually needed was on Nightmare and even then using a dual wield rogue build with poisons or a pre-nerfed Arcane Warrior you could literally solo the difficulty. There are enough videos on youtube to prove this. Rogues were able to cheese damn near every fight by stacking poisons. You could stack every poison and coating and get up to damn near 50+ dmg on top of your normal crits on a stunned enemy.
 
So what does that have to do with DA2? Well the combat is actually more involved. On normal they made it so people could essentially auto attack and find their way through battles. THIS IS THE SAME AS DA1. If you really had to pause on normal difficulty you must have went into each fight with no gear and no healing spells on your mages. On the harder difficulties it is required. As are using the cross class combos. Especially early on in the game on Hard or Nightmare. You will be demolished constantly if not. Normal is not supposed to be a challenge on every fight. Its normal. It isnt hard, and yes im aware that not every fight has to be overly simplistic too but it is what it is. Same as Dragon Age 1. 
 
Also please try not to complain how every fight was incredibly simple then later bring up how hard a boss fight was or how you had to use pausing or activate abilities mid fight because you were not prepared. The game is made much simpler if you stick to a role. Now you could argue that I SHOULD HAVE MORE OPTIONS AND BUILD HOW I WANT. Well this is a different combat system then DA1. You could damn near pick every spell on damage spell on a mage in the first then chug different levels of potions to keep yourself alive constantly without having to worry about much else. 
This game really doesn't allow that.  Anders can be a great healer and if you build him for pure support he is amazing. Leave him in Panacea and with the right tactics no one will ever die. Now if you want him to be a healer/damager thats when you have problems. Build to what the character has. 
 
Do not argue that it should be different. You cannot change what the game shipped with or is unless you intent to build mods. Try to figure out the game so that it works with you. There is nothing really wrong with the combat unless you really have no clue what you are doing. The trees are also fairly obvious and slimmed down so you don't have to waste points in 4 ranks of lock picking or stealth. If you want to complain about the oversimplification of the genre itself that is different. It is not this games fault and is an entirely different conversation.
 
As another poster said this is not Origins 2 .This is Dragon Age 2. It isn't about the character from the first. It just takes place in the world from the first. No where is it implied that it has to be like the first one. If it was exactly like the first one people would complain that it was stale and that they have played this game before. They changed the game, and look people are talking about it and playing it still.

#30 Edited by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@Aether said:

" All my arguments have been made already but i will chime in for the hell of it.
 
Origins was not a hard game. In the least. On normal the combat was not challenging. It was severely easy to cheese and even on the Xbox the games Hard was equivalent to the PC's normal. This was stated by an Bioware employee on their forums. Mainly meaning things like damage, enemy health pools, and friendly fire damage. 
The only time pausing was actually needed was on Nightmare and even then using a dual wield rogue build with poisons or a pre-nerfed Arcane Warrior you could literally solo the difficulty. There are enough videos on youtube to prove this. Rogues were able to cheese damn near every fight by stacking poisons. You could stack every poison and coating and get up to damn near 50+ dmg on top of your normal crits on a stunned enemy.
 
So what does that have to do with DA2? Well the combat is actually more involved. On normal they made it so people could essentially auto attack and find their way through battles. THIS IS THE SAME AS DA1. If you really had to pause on normal difficulty you must have went into each fight with no gear and no healing spells on your mages. On the harder difficulties it is required. As are using the cross class combos. Especially early on in the game on Hard or Nightmare. You will be demolished constantly if not. Normal is not supposed to be a challenge on every fight. Its normal. It isnt hard, and yes im aware that not every fight has to be overly simplistic too but it is what it is. Same as Dragon Age 1. 
 
Also please try not to complain how every fight was incredibly simple then later bring up how hard a boss fight was or how you had to use pausing or activate abilities mid fight because you were not prepared. The game is made much simpler if you stick to a role. Now you could argue that I SHOULD HAVE MORE OPTIONS AND BUILD HOW I WANT. Well this is a different combat system then DA1. You could damn near pick every spell on damage spell on a mage in the first then chug different levels of potions to keep yourself alive constantly without having to worry about much else. 
This game really doesn't allow that.  Anders can be a great healer and if you build him for pure support he is amazing. Leave him in Panacea and with the right tactics no one will ever die. Now if you want him to be a healer/damager thats when you have problems. Build to what the character has. 
 
Do not argue that it should be different. You cannot change what the game shipped with or is unless you intent to build mods. Try to figure out the game so that it works with you. There is nothing really wrong with the combat unless you really have no clue what you are doing. The trees are also fairly obvious and slimmed down so you don't have to waste points in 4 ranks of lock picking or stealth. If you want to complain about the oversimplification of the genre itself that is different. It is not this games fault and is an entirely different conversation.
 
As another poster said this is not Origins 2 .This is Dragon Age 2. It isn't about the character from the first. It just takes place in the world from the first. No where is it implied that it has to be like the first one. If it was exactly like the first one people would complain that it was stale and that they have played this game before. They changed the game, and look people are talking about it and playing it still. "

While I'd love to let this settle, and accept that argument, I'm afraid I can't because when you say 'this is not Origins 2' that null and voids all of the above. A) Origins is about the origins of specific races and characters, throughout the game it effects relatively small amounts of gameplay, while the overarching storyline is about the darkspawn. B) This is the STORY LINE I'm talking about here. It takes place in the exact same world as Origins, it attempts to follow through with some of the decisions that were made through Origins, and of course, if you payed attention at any point in this game, even during the painfully long loading screens, then you'd know that the term DRAGON AGE is a reference to what they call the actual AGE the game is set in. The idea of having Flemeth in this game was pointless, to have her in the trailer speaking of change, and then having her appear for about 3 minutes, and disappear. That's exactly what lucasarts did for TFU2 with Yoda...its a marketing ploy and a disgrace that they'd take a character from the previous game, who can turn into a dragon (coincidence of the age being called Dragon...I think not), and is apparently extremely dangerous, and give her such little screen time. I believed this game would expand on the world we had already experienced, instead of ignoring it because they were feeling lazy. You can't go from a possible world shattering event, to just a hop and skip across the water and say 'well, we don't have to pay attention to that anymore, that can't matter here', when the game spends its preachy beginnings talking about how Fereldan Refugees are being mistreated...hell even later in the campaign there are nods to this...and to make it really, blatantly obvious to you....Dragon Age: >Origins< its just the title, it allowed for some freedom creatively, let you see the world through a certain races eyes, it would be stupid to make a game called Origins 2, bring the character you made back to the beginning, and make him do something else from level one in a humble village, etc. How would that even work? Why do you think that's an argument? Why bother with an import system if they weren't going to bother making it anything like Origins? And just a final question: Why attempt to integrate the story of the Hero of Fereldan into DA2 if they were just going to do so in a sloppy way?
 
Oh and also, please don't think you can talk down to me about something you clearly didn't read. I stated that I was required to use the pause function on the High Dragon, because of the large amount of health it had, the fight itself was simple, the trick was to keep everyone alive, and as for the tactics...Anders can't heal his way out of a wet paper bag, even with tactics, because he always seems to activate abilities like Arcane Shield, reserving his mana. How can you build a chracter made for healing any other freaking way? All I have is the one option to put points into his damn character spec, but even that is abysmal at best.  Why should a SINGLE HEALING SPELL be buried underneath a certain mode you're required to activate. To object to your point about the ability for mages to have every spell or damage spell...that is untrue. Points had to be spent wisely, as the wrong spell could mean death for you and your party. We no longer have an array of glyphs or hexes to use on tougher enemies...why? Why take that out? Because, and here's the kicker...this game isn't based on strategy, the new combat system hinders more than it helps. I refuse to play on a higher difficulty when I want to hear the story of a game, and Origins did just fine in keeping me preoccupied in between that. A game should be fun, and challenging, on normal mode...its normal, average, average enemies, etc. Hard should be reserved for those who want to put a notch on their belt, and Nightmare should be for those who have a mental death wish. When they made a combat system which they specifically stated was trying to involve the pause function as little as possible, you'd think that they'd manage the enemies in such a way that this wouldn't be necessary. And if they had done it right, then I'd have no issue playing on Nightmare. All I can seem to think, however, is that
 
I have bought this game, with an understanding that it was going to span 10 years (in which I assumed I could take part in more than four of the ten) , it was going to be more character focused, and take place in one place. While I knew this could be a possible death wish for Bioware, I trusted them. I am allowed, like so many others, to be disappointed with this product, because it carried the Dragon Age title. This title bring with it some expectations. I'm sorry, but if you think that people shouldn't expect some game that is actually PART (2 indicating a sequel to the original game) of the series to come out, improve the game in every way and make some changes we could all enjoy, then I'd have to say that you don't really have any imagination, expectations, or understanding of quality control. I payed money for a product. Said product does not live up to what it should have been, what was advertised, and from what I had heard from dev diaries.. The demo of the product was a tech demo shown at E3, and since then, we can see, no improvements were made. This game failed to excite me on my first play through<-this kills the experience, if you cannot keep the player engaged, if they choose to turn the game off instead of wanting to know what comes next, then you have failed as a developer. Another EA game: Dead Space 2, loses the atmosphere the original had, only to trade it for jump scares, but the game itself is still amazing, the story informs the previous game, while continually moving forward, blending seamlessly, while DA2 shoehorns characters and events from the previous game into the storyline, and down our throats. DS2 improved the combat and gameplay in such a way that I sometimes forget that the atmosphere is gone. This is how you design a sequel. People wouldn't be comparing this to Origins if they game had completely broken off from Origins and focused on its own story, and characters, taking a fresh, new perspective on the Dragon Age world, beyond that of the first game, and didn't make such a big deal of it. They instead, couldn't decide whether to make it like Origins or make something new. Trying a revamp a series in its second game is not a good idea. If this was a stand alone story, with a good cast of characters, a combat system that was consistent and had more of the jaw-dropping plot twists and decisions you should be able to make in a DA title, then we could have had an amazing game. People are entitled to argue the point that this game disappointed them, and if you took an objective opinion, instead of blindly rushing to defend the game, you could see that the complaints people are making are quite valid. The DA title brings with it the epic storytelling of a single man/woman/elf/dwarf/otherthing triumphing over the adversities he/she/it has faced, we instead get a Commander Shepard-esque character, with no back story, a boring set of characterization options with a terrible voice actor, and companions who are the single biggest bunch of boring, selfish pricks on earth, with no direct cause to fight for, wandering aimlessly through the same areas over and over, until, finally at the end of the second act, we see the real conflict begin. Having your main conflict only come under focus in a third act is a lazy decision. It tries to have to deep, profound meaning, but instead just annoys us, because we had to follow this linear path to get to this point. When Flemeth said "some choose to fight destiny, others choose to embrace it", I thought 'yes, there is an endgame, but my choices will effect it', and then find that 'ok...the game has ended...nothing has changed...I got one cutscene and found out Hawke was a pointless addition to the franchise. Why did I pay for this again? Because what was advertised, and mentioned by the dev diaries, is not what I've gotten here'.
#31 Edited by ryanwho (12082 posts) -
@Aether said:

"
Also please try not to complain how every fight was incredibly simple then later bring up how hard a boss fight was or how you had to use pausing or activate abilities mid fight because you were not prepared. "

But its a case where one tactical loadout works great for armies and another works great for bosses, and there's no way to quickly switch between them. You have to adjust tactics by hand which is tedious. More intuitive design could have allowed for this. And also, its more about general army fights being too easy than boss fights being too hard. I thought the whole idea behind healing after every encounter was they could make every encounter a fun challenge. At the end of the day, there just wasn't enough enemy variety to make it so each encounter was challenging. Mostly I was just killing spiders and 2 brands of demon. DAO didn't have enemy variety either, but just because DA2 carries over DAO problems doesn't mean its not a problem. It just means they didn't learn anything.
#32 Posted by omghisam (276 posts) -

The biggest problem was the lack of flamboyantly gay blacksmiths.

#33 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

Bioware makes amazing games...God awful sequels though.

#34 Posted by babblinmule (1262 posts) -

I dont think it failed whatsoever - all the marketing that Ive seen has been selling it as a reboot of the series. And for the record, I beat DA1 four times, and I still think that DA2 is a far superior game.

#35 Posted by Vinny_Says (5630 posts) -

why is your profile pic of the Arishok?

#36 Posted by Nottle (1912 posts) -
@omghisam: Hell yes. 3 dudes had Wade's mustache in this game and I was so dissapointed to find out they were not Wade.  
 
@Dookysharpgun:
 I agree with pretty much everything here that you've said. Very well put.  
 What do you think of the mass effect wheel dialogue? For me thats on of the changes they really could have gone without. I felt so much more involved with my Warden and felt more in control with what was actually being said with the list compared to the wheel. I found the wheel to be pretty vauge most of the time.
#37 Posted by Maclintok (177 posts) -

It seems like I run hot and cold on this game.  I am compelled to keep playing and I generally want to like it a lot, however, when I do hit a sticking point no matter how minor it is, I instinctively turn away in disgust and do not come back to the game for a day or two. 
 
I don't feel like blathering about all the things that annoy me in DA2 because I still enjoy playing.  But it all boils down to the shorter development cycle.  I don't remember how many years Origins was in development for but it was around 5-6 years including pre-production time.  DA2 was pumped out in 2 years.  Even with the larger budgets and team sizes that is a really short development cycle for a AAA-grade RPG.  Given those constraints, I think BioWare still pushed out a pretty solid game. 
 
Frustrations rear heads now and again.  In those cases, I sometimes just dial things down to Normal. I just don't have the patience to replay an epic battle or boss fight for the Nth time.  I've cheesed my way through a few boss encounters already thanks to strange glitches or shoddy AI so all fair's in love and gaming. 
 
Visually, DA2 is a lot tighter and polished but they really hamstrung themselves by creating such a bland, humourless city like Kirkwall.  The recycled dungeon/quest levels wouldn't so obnoxious if they were at least spaced apart better (i.e. repeating between Acts instead of within).

#38 Posted by 01wilsonj (81 posts) -

I just wanted to be an elf.

#39 Posted by ikaruga (190 posts) -

The biggest disappointment for me was the recycling of dungeon, 2 hours into the game and the same dungeon already pop up. The town in the game just look so bland, there's no sense of exploration since all the npc with quest was marked and the people on the street has like 2 lines of speech. 
Another disappointment is the dialogue wheel. You only have 3 choices of being a good guy, bad guy or a sarcastic asshole. Many times during the game I couldn't make a dialogue choice that I was happy with because what's there wasn't what I wanted to say.
The combat is also a letdown, the improved graphics and faster pace are fun but because enemies appear in wave and sometimes just appear randomly out of nowhere took away some of the strategic feel of the first game.
I also don't really like the characters, they just don't click with me. In DAO I play with shale and morrigan and their chatting was awesome, your companions don't talk as much in the second game.
Overall I still really enjoyed the game, but to me DA2 is inferior to DA 1. I'm about 20 hrs in and hasn't play in a week due to school, but I don't really feel compel to go back and finish the game unlike DAO where I played for 2 days straight to finish the game an immediately create a new character to restart.

#40 Posted by Mcfart (1426 posts) -

1 - I disagree with you about the combat, but for a different reason. The combat is better in every way EXPECT the longass cooldowns on spells, which makes you rely on autoattacks more (for those buttonmashers on consoles). Also no FF on hard....
 
The combat's on Hard is about equivlent to Origins on normal.
 
 
I got to chapter 2 on my Rogue in DA2, but then went back to Origins to do all the DLC on another character. Is it just me, or is stacking fire resist on my melee then going BOOM with Morrigan is cheesy strategy?

#41 Posted by lordbazuco (378 posts) -

For me its not stretch to say that Origins, was one of my favorite games of all time. Hell its the first game i even bothered to s-rank. I was so hyped up for dragon age 2... but I am a little disappointed. Even with the revisions to combat, I'm still upset they removed arcane warrior/battle mages. Story wise, I found the whole princess bride motif, to be a bit lacking. Since the story keeps jumping around it was hard for me to get invested into the game. I'm also a little upset I never knew to find Isabella. that could have been made for obvious. 
  
But my main problem with the game is how fucking buggy it is. When reviving characters in combat  they would stop fighting and just walk around. Sometimes my guys would constantly regain all their health and mana/stamina back. During one of the final boss fights the boss got stuck in the ground and i had to reload. and worst of all. It did not give me a lot of the achievements tied with Sebastian that I 100% deserved. 

I just beat the game last night as a force/blood mage. And I have to say the ending redeems itself. I am actually interested now in playing more.  

#42 Posted by sabrestrike (6 posts) -

Being about 20 hours in to the game right now, I am enjoying it in the same "good, not great" way that I enjoyed Origins, and that's the problem. In any series, you want each game to get better and better. ME2 was better than ME1, Assassins Creed 2 was better than Assassins Creed 1. 
 
The issue I have with DA2 is that for every change they made to the game to make it better, they changed something else to make it worse, and the whole game ended up as kind of a wash. For example, I really wasn't fond of the combat in DA:O. It was too slow to really feel visceral, but I also felt like I had to either fight the AI or micromanage my party too much to make the combat fun strategically. I really like the switch to faster combat they made in DA2, even if the game arguably loses some strategic depth. However, I am not as fond of the story or the characters, which frankly, I find to be a complete bore. This is in contrast to Origins, where the story and characters were completely epic.  And although I like the new graphical style, I'm sick of the recycled environments. I like the new inventory system, but not the lack of customization options for my companions.
 
Basically, the game was "one-step forward, one-step back," and that isn't the direction you want to see a sequel go, even if you still enjoy the game overall.

#43 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@blacklabeldomm said:
" why is your profile pic of the Arishok? "
Because that was the first pic I found and I'm lazy...
#44 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@Nottle:  I found the dialogue wheel boring...I mean in Origins your choice of dialogue had a different effect on the conversations you had with characters, but in this, there isn't really any variation. Smart ass options are placed in in all the wrong situations, the same can be said with the charm options, being a dick closes off too many avenues unless you're on the railroad storyline missions, and the good options are boring. I can't understand why they needed to shoehorn the mass effect style of dialogue into the game, it was unnecessary. Even the investigation options were awful, I actually got so sick of hearing Hawke's voice that I eventually just skipped through the dialogue. Making the character mute has its upsides, as we don't have to listen the character say the exact same thing we know we just friggin' asked. The options were too vague, but I found in those moments, no matter what I picked, I'd always get the same response...it just doesn't work, I mean if we had time to see Hawke develop in the storyline then his dialogue might start to make sense, but this...was just wrong in every way, shape and form. An addition that we could live without for sure.
#45 Posted by sabrestrike (6 posts) -
@Dookysharpgun: 
 
The problem I had with this was they tried the Mass Effect system but made it too damn complex. Mass Effect was simple: you had nice, neutral and aggressive responses with maybe a persuade/intimidate option on the side. It was simple, easy to understand, and yet your responses managed to encompass most of the ways a player could potentially approach the given situation.
 
DA2 somehow manages to screw this up. You have about 12 icons for what type of "response" you are giving, which makes it hard to remember what exactly you are going to say. This is compounded by the fact the same types of options don't always appear in the same place on the wheel and the "tone" of a response isn't always the same even if it shares the same icon. And despite the added complexity, there were frequently times when none of the responses accurately represented the way I wanted to handle the situation, which I don't remember being the case in Mass Effect.
#46 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@sabrestrike: 
 
I'd have to agree with you there, there are way too many options for a single conversation, I haven't even bothered looking them up in the instructions, I just pick the good option, and some investigation bits and pieces, just like I did in DA:O. In ME you always had the Paragon/Renegade options to help control the siuation, and while people complain about them, the simple fact is that they worked. Yes ME2 had some lazy choices for the storyline, good/bad is a matter of perspective, blah blah blah. It isn't so bad when you think that in DA2 we were given over a dozen options to choose from, some that didn't even need to be put into the conversations, and oftentimes, we never get the option we wanted, or believed would be obvious. I've had the same issues, some have been simple and pointless, but other, more important situations have had either 'Agree with character X to do Y to character Z' or 'Disagree with character X and have him leave and/or attack you'. No middle ground was given, and I think it shows just what a misstep it was to attempt a shoehorning of the dialogue options from the ME series into DA, the whole point of DA being in the game was to allow the player to feel like even in the smallest situation, they had the ability to control it with certain options, even down to one character disapproving of your actions could be rectified. Mass Effect 1&2 were more about making characters like/hate you, and using the paragon/renegade system to track the players morals, and allowing them to  gain other options for dialogue. Hell they even took the coercion options out of DA, which allowed the player to come to a peaceful resolution in tough situations. In this game we just sit on our holes until the game decides which boring options from the list to choose from, and they're mostly just lazy, generic options that do nothing beyond some scripted option that we either have no choice in taking, or the minor dialogue option with a non-consequential character.
 
I have a feeling that Bioware aren't really on their A-game, and even in such a short development time, they should have produced more than this game has to offer. They'd been working on the concept for this game since before DA:O apparently, so really, they have no excuse for putting out such a piss-poor title, in comparison to what they could make in '09, which wasn't perfect, but still had enough charm to keep us interested.
 
Mass Effect and Dragon Age are two completely seperate titles, and they don't need to be alike at all. Its the whole point of having two, different, damn, titles, one formula works with one, another, different formula, works with another. Making two games with the exact same dialogue system is lazy, boring and repetitive, especially when it isn't done right.
#47 Edited by StarvingGamer (7567 posts) -
@sabrestrike: How is it more complex than the ME system? In DA2 you have nice, neutral, and aggressive. You could ignore the icons and simply pick top right because it's always going to be the nice option. And unless you want to handle the situation in ways you never considered in ME, then your bases should be covered because take away the accent and Hawke might as well be Shepard. 
 
@Dookysharpgun: How are there "way too many options" in DA2 when compared to ME? You always have 3. Guess what, in ME when you picked the top right options sometimes Shepard would be diplomatic and sometimes Shepard would be helpful. The only difference is that DA2 makes it clearer what Hawke's tone is going to be. As far as the Paragon/Renegade options, those are replaced by the Special Choice (indicated by a Star icon) which functions exactly the same and appears with exactly the same frequency. The only difference is that rather than taunt you with a Paragon option when you're Renegade, the icon ONLY appears when a Special Choice is available for your personality type (Diplomatic, Humerous, Aggressive). And after multiple playthroughs I can definitely say that there are fights that can be avoided with careful dialog choices. 
 
EDIT: Also I have no idea where you're coming from stating that different responses had a larger effect in DA:O than in DA2, it's exactly the same. You have a predetermined script regardless of what you say and an extra line or two to address your dialog choice if necessary. And what do you mean smart ass options are placed in all the "wrong" situations? That's up to the player to choose and if you don't like it, then choose to be nice or aggressive. As far as being a dick closing off too much well, I've been a dick all game on my second playthrough and after getting halfway through nothing has been closed off to me yet. Honestly the DA2 dialog system is almost exactly the same as the DA:O dialog system, they just prettied up the interface. You should go back and play DA:O again because it's not the game you seem to remember it as.
#48 Posted by Aus_azn (2224 posts) -

I prefer DA2. [/post]

#49 Posted by drgrumbles (202 posts) -

The story was pretty lame and the companions were mostly forgettable.

#50 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -
@StarvingGamer: 
 
Wow...seriously? You're working under the assumption that I didn't play either Mass Effect 1&2, DA:O and DA2 thoroughly? Dude...16 options were counted up in DA2, the so called 'Special Choice' icon? Yeah that only ever appeared for me once, and got me a very, very stupid outcome as I chose the 'top' part of the wheel for a while in the game, and the Special choice I got, seemed to take that as 'you are a dick, answer like a dick'. The fact that my smart arse option keeps changing to a charm option in situations that don't call for it, and then back again for situations that do, is annoying. There is an option to be good...fine...then theres an option to be helpful...why? Why was it necessary to make that an option...they're the same thing, but no, apparently saying that gets a different response. Giving me the option to either agree to something, or reject it...let me put it to you this way, if this game has a dialogue system that can make a special choice out of your previous statements, why can't it realise that you will always agree to help people when you pick that option for most of the game? Its giving yet another stupid option. Want to take a bribe? Yes? Then we'll stick that option at the top of the wheel where the Good option usually is, because the other to options are just generic leads to the rest of the conversation...but no, you want money, not conversation right? RIGHT? Please, to state that there are far too many randomized options is an understatement, in fact, the most annoying this is turning to your damn companions when that option comes up, because they give the most convoluted answers possible.  But I'm sure the whole bribe thing is because a really, really good character like mine likes bribes. Or could it be stupid and pointless too?
What I'm saying is simple, having a bunch on convoluted prompts is not dialogue, having them change every second glance, is useless. I've played Origins, many, many times, just to fill you in...I know how these games work, I've played through ME1 and 2 more times than I'm willing to admit, I'm aware that every game is based on a script, if it wasn't it'd be a game made by THQ, but no, in DA:O you had th ability to choose at least 7 options, maybe more, which each had their own responses and dialogue, some could be the same, thats expected, but DA2 does't even copy that, it simply says "take one of these many, many unnecessary options, and then live with the fall out. What? What do you mean your sibling has been murdered, your home lost and your life ruined, and you don't want a smart ass option right there...maybe a neutral option, you know, as you don't really want to define yourself yet? Or maybe you want to take a bribe instead of being a good guy? No? Too bad, pick one and deal with it". Having the Paragon and Renegade systems were to show how good/bad you were, and how those situations could be resolved, in fact, they were the only way at times. In DA2, the Special Choice, is random, and you never have to use the thing, because you can just pick one of the other options, yet its still there....why? Why is it there? I want to choose it...but what if what it says isn't what I get? D'oh well, who cares right, it was only just in the previous game that we had every option open to use from the start, and you say exactly that option.
 
Pretty it up all you like, but too many cooks spoil the broth, and this is a prime example of how that can work, much like DA:O with the Lelianna mission option, say something wrong, you'll never see it, miss it, you'll never get it back. In this game its; didn't get that option...oh well, take a bribe or crack a joke instead, I'm sure that'll solve all your problems. *Quickly followed by the Arishok decapitating Hawke*

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