New Dragon Age stuff, updated regularly!

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#1 Edited by Herk (198 posts) -

Dragon Age doesn't seem to be the hottest topic on this site, but Game Informer are showing some cool stuff from the next game in the series this month.

http://www.gameinformer.com/p/dai.aspx

#2 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3972 posts) -

Probably because we don't know much. I'm very excited for a new Dragon Age that hopefully takes what was good in DA 1 and 2 and just improves in general (crazy ideas I know).

Watching the video, love the shot on the horse as the environment looked very large, more so than DA 1 for sure.

#3 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4296 posts) -

Yea, that pre-alpha footage looked pretty neat! I love open-world games, so this is definitely on my list. Color me excited. :D

#4 Posted by Hunter5024 (5909 posts) -

That story development trailer was pretty interesting. It gives me a little hope that there won't be such a huge focus on Mage vs Templar in this game.

#5 Posted by Herk (198 posts) -

I'm also very excited for this!

The exploration sounds the most interesting to me. I really love finding secrets and get bonuses you wouldn't get otherwise but games like Skyrim and other sandbox games sometimes feel too spread thin when the world is overly huge. Dragon Age games are (so far at least) much more compact, but really might benefit from getting smaller open areas where you can get that extra bit more out of the game.

#6 Posted by casper_ (908 posts) -

im super excited! origins is my favorite rpg and im hoping they can recapture or expand on some of the stuff that made that game great.

also bracing for crushing disappointment.

#7 Edited by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

How many year's have passed? At least 15, I'd guess, judging by how far Morrigan's past her prime. Never cared for that character, or any of the mages in any of the Dragon Ages, for that matter, with the possible exception of the elf chick in 2.

#8 Edited by Herk (198 posts) -

@veektarius: I actually think it is about 15 years

And no love for mages, not even Flemeth? I've always thought she was cool

#9 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4606 posts) -

Very interested in where they're going with it, but Bioware has an unfortunate tendency to explain their entire game plan from the get-go, so I think I'm gonna try to avoid most of the pre-release stuff this time around. Thanks for sharing though!

#10 Posted by cbk486 (184 posts) -

@markwahlberg: They were pretty vague in the article about morrigan, so I think it's safe to read.

#11 Edited by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

@herk: Flemeth is fine, Kate Mulgrew did a good job. I was referring to party members. Wynne was patronizing and bland, Morrigan was a bitch to your other party members, Anders was psycho (but okay in that one expansion), Velanna, I had to look up to remember what she was, and then Merrill was only good by comparison to the other mage at your disposal, but was totally middle of the pack in terms of 2's cast overall.

#12 Posted by demonbear (1876 posts) -

@herk: Flemeth is fine, Kate Mulgrew did a good job. I was referring to party members. Wynne was patronizing and bland, Morrigan was a bitch to your other party members, Anders was psycho (but okay in that one expansion), Velanna, I had to look up to remember what she was, and then Merrill was only good by comparison to the other mage at your disposal, but was totally middle of the pack in terms of 2's cast overall.

Awakening Anders is the best mage in that series. Horrible in DA2 though.

#13 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12005 posts) -

@veektarius: You have a point. All of the mage party members you get are assholes. Ok, Merill is alright with the whole "Naive, slightly off-kilter elf lady who also happens to practice horrible demon magic", but Anders is the worst.

As someone who will defend Dragon Age II probably more than it deserves... I am tentatively excited to see how this game ends up.

#14 Posted by demonbear (1876 posts) -

@veektarius: You have a point. All of the mage party members you get are assholes. Ok, Merill is alright with the whole "Naive, slightly off-kilter elf lady who also happens to practice horrible demon magic", but Anders is the worst.

As someone who will defend Dragon Age II probably more than it deserves... I am tentatively excited to see how this game ends up.

I'm with you there. People bashed DA2 as one of the worst games of this generation mostly because it got caught up in this Bioware/EA hate that's been going around for a while. DA2 has problems but its, at least, an ok rpg. I liked it, finished it once, might finish it one more time before Inquisition.

#15 Posted by Yodasdarkside (293 posts) -

Said it before and I'll say it again, DA2 is one of the bravest RPGs for ages, eschewing the regular spiky-haired-hero-saves-the-world-despite-crippling-self-esteem-issues in favour of a much more character-focused adventure where the restoration of your family pride takes centre-stage, set against a convincing backdrop of racial and political tension. Only a rampant fool would fail to see that the execution was fumbled in terms of game mechanics, but the core ambition was strong.

#16 Posted by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

@yodasdarkside: I totally agree, the small focus is an example to follow. People shouldn't need to save the world to be invested in a story, and the way it handled party relationships was a big step forward for western RPGs, too. Hm. Is party-based Western RPG completely synonymous with Bioware games right now? I'm having a lot of trouble thinking of another example..

#17 Posted by Hailinel (25203 posts) -

Said it before and I'll say it again, DA2 is one of the bravest RPGs for ages, eschewing the regular spiky-haired-hero-saves-the-world-despite-crippling-self-esteem-issues in favour of a much more character-focused adventure where the restoration of your family pride takes centre-stage, set against a convincing backdrop of racial and political tension. Only a rampant fool would fail to see that the execution was fumbled in terms of game mechanics, but the core ambition was strong.

That doesn't change the fact that Dragon Age II's plot was terrible. And it wasn't particularly brave, either. Certainly not when the conclusion of the story is dependent on people necessarily being idiots.

  • Anders: Ignores all of the good in the Templars you've shown him to go full-on church bomber.
  • Orsino: Goes batshit uses blood magic, even if you agree to help him.
  • Meredith: WHAT KIND OF FUCKING MORON USES A SWORD MADE OF LYRIUM.
#18 Edited by Yummylee (22295 posts) -

I'm actually kinda happy to hear that Morrigan won't be a recuitable party member in this. For one thing she's probably super powerful at this point, enough so that may even possibly have reached God-tier or something. That, and there's the possibility that she's actually Flemeth.

I've always been intrigued by the concept of making once playable characters into NPCs, because it brakes from the boundaries of interactivity and can often make a character look more fittingly powerful or badass via the narrative, which is usually easier than through mechanics. Like how Solid Snake was better portrayed as 'The Legend' in MGS2, what with him being in the mentor role. He was always able to successfully pull off looking like he was in complete control; he had this incredible air of confidence about him, which is of course in complete contrast to his role in the original MGS.

The complete opposite of that is like in Mass Effect 2, specifically with characters like Jack who can easily charge through droves of mechs and stuff, but then when it came to the actual game she was just like every other party member.

That's not always the case, though, and I'd have certainly liked having Morrigan in my party again. But sometimes making certain characters with a history NPCs adds a bit of extra mystique to them, which can sometimes make them all the more likeable or at least interesting.

#19 Posted by EternalVigil (282 posts) -

Said it before and I'll say it again, DA2 is one of the bravest RPGs for ages, eschewing the regular spiky-haired-hero-saves-the-world-despite-crippling-self-esteem-issues in favour of a much more character-focused adventure where the restoration of your family pride takes centre-stage, set against a convincing backdrop of racial and political tension. Only a rampant fool would fail to see that the execution was fumbled in terms of game mechanics, but the core ambition was strong.

There's all great and wonderful in theory, but DA II didn't do the best at producing that role.

It may have been a conscious design decision, but not many of Hawke's actions in the game really change his family's position save for the 3 big events at the end of each act (The money from the expedition raises his status and gives him a house, Dealing with the Quarni makes him the champion of Kirkwall, and the games conclusion.) I did like the racial tension between the Quarni and the people of Kirkwall as it came off pretty well as two very different cultures clashed over what was the best way to go forward.

I have issues with the fact Hawke's character effectively gets bombarded by constant tragedies throughout the game (Sister/brother dies at the beginning of the game, Surviving Sister/brother either A: Dies on the expedition, B: Gets captured by the circle and forced in to the circle of magi [sister] or abandons you to join the templars [Brother] or C: Nearly dies and become a Grey Warden as well as your mother being murdered due to the work of an insane necromancer.) and it doesn't do a very good job of exploring how these might be affecting the character in depth.

While the massive jumps in time could be argued as to why the next time we see the character he's completely fine and such, it's quite a cop-out that the amount of hardship the character goes through never seems to affect him much after the event. There's the occasional brief discussion about it, but they don't really do anything with it, which makes it come across to me as rather forced and there just to add more drama. The Walking Dead did a similar thing to Lee, but at least in that game the people who died and the decisions you made affected how Lee and other characters interacted with one another, rather than being completely ignored after the start of the next act.

I don't understand why every side-quest in that game containing either mages or Templars ends with A: The templars doing horrible things to the magi because magic is evil or B: The Mages are comically over the top ever sadistic psychopaths who resort to blood magic to kill everyone. You could argue this is an accurate representation of real life conflict, with both sides having a valid argument, while also committing horrible acts to the other, and while yes this is true, the level of hypocrisy seen in both sides is absurd.

Then we have the endings which no sense. Anders, having gone through one of the largest character flips ever seen between Awakening and DA II, despite you spending massive amount of time with the character proving that mages and templars could live together by your actions and by helping him through his personal demons completely ignores all this development and becomes a suicidal martyr for no good reason.

Then you can either help the mages who in return for helping them, Orsino then turns around and resort to blood magic anyway despite spending all that act and the previous act trying to prove that they weren't all insane using forbidden magics and could help people. Then you go fight Meredith who's gone completely insane due to her pure lyrium sword.

Or you could help the templars who wipe out every single magic user, who most if not all end up using blood magic against you, including Orsino and then Meredith goes crazy and you have the exact same final boss fight as the good ending.

None of your choices in that end-game hold much weight as it ends up with the exact same outcomes. I suppose you could argue that they need to set a certain status quo for the next game, as it needs to set it up ready for the finale. Mass Effect 2 did a better job at it as your actions directly affected who lived and who died heading into that game, and while the whole collector base thing wasn't that particular relevant in ME3, it at least has some tangible affect on how some on the war assests you entered the game with.

I don't think a game where all the major factions involved all doing 180 turns on their previous beliefs and motivations to satisfy the plot is a good conclusion.

#20 Posted by Jimbo (9936 posts) -

@yodasdarkside: WRPGs rarely use that stereotype for the protagonist anymore (if they ever did) and DA2 is guiltier than most when it comes to packing your party full of mopey teenagers. The racial and political tension was as shallow as a puddle, and let's not forget that it eventually transpires that an evil magic sword is behind everything anyway. Like it was written by a 12 year old. The ending was only very slightly more coherent than the end of ME3.

#21 Posted by Brodehouse (10107 posts) -

@eternalvigil: I think they can't show Hawke being overly affected by the tragedy for the same reason people raged at Commander Shepard being haunted by the billions of deaths on Earth; they might not see their character as being affected by it.

As for the end, I'm going to completely disagree with Anders. I think it's good that they actually made Anders a character who doesn't just flip to whatever you tell him. Anders has goals and he's going to see to them regardless of your input; like real people. Only in BioWare games do people give up their core motivation because Shepard told them to. As for the character interpretation shift, I think you should look at that as why the entire world sees demonic possession as being objectively negative. I felt the same way at Anders before I really thought about how much of Anders is left in that body, and especially how more of him disappears in each act. The fact that Anders in DA2 seems like a completely different person than in Awakening is kind of the point.

Also, you may not have noticed, but Orsino was tangentially involved in blood magic for years. The guy who killed all those women (Quentin) and Hawke's mother was Orsino's friend, there's a letter you find written by Orsino to Quentin signed "O", and before Orsino turns into the Harvester, he mentions how Quentin's research might turn out useful after all.

If anything, I like the ending sequence because it's two wrong answers that are now inescapable because of how badly things have spiralled. It's dramatic tragedy, it doesn't work if you can convince every faction to be reasonable and avoid the tragedy. But I suppose it's also an RPG, so people expect that if they do all the side quests and get to level 30 then they win.

#22 Posted by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

@brodehouse: The problem with Anders wasn't that his actions seemed unjustified. I would have been happy to execute him for his crimes and move on from there, and hell, I would have loved the game for that. The problem is that he was my fucking healer.

#23 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3972 posts) -

That story development trailer was pretty interesting. It gives me a little hope that there won't be such a huge focus on Mage vs Templar in this game.

I hope you're right! It's really not that interesting of an angle, they pushed it way too hard in DA 2.

#24 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
#25 Edited by EternalVigil (282 posts) -

@eternalvigil: I think they can't show Hawke being overly affected by the tragedy for the same reason people raged at Commander Shepard being haunted by the billions of deaths on Earth; they might not see their character as being affected by it.

As for the end, I'm going to completely disagree with Anders. I think it's good that they actually made Anders a character who doesn't just flip to whatever you tell him. Anders has goals and he's going to see to them regardless of your input; like real people. Only in BioWare games do people give up their core motivation because Shepard told them to. As for the character interpretation shift, I think you should look at that as why the entire world sees demonic possession as being objectively negative. I felt the same way at Anders before I really thought about how much of Anders is left in that body, and especially how more of him disappears in each act. The fact that Anders in DA2 seems like a completely different person than in Awakening is kind of the point.

Also, you may not have noticed, but Orsino was tangentially involved in blood magic for years. The guy who killed all those women (Quentin) and Hawke's mother was Orsino's friend, there's a letter you find written by Orsino to Quentin signed "O", and before Orsino turns into the Harvester, he mentions how Quentin's research might turn out useful after all.

If anything, I like the ending sequence because it's two wrong answers that are now inescapable because of how badly things have spiralled. It's dramatic tragedy, it doesn't work if you can convince every faction to be reasonable and avoid the tragedy. But I suppose it's also an RPG, so people expect that if they do all the side quests and get to level 30 then they win.

I know it's a fine line between balancing between the character's reactions and the ones of the player in a RPG story, but there have been several examples of characters who while we control their dialgoue and actions, they do have a sense of identity and react to things our of the players control, such as Lee and Geralt from the Witcher.

I can respect that opinion, with the fact his views have been warped by his interaction with Justice for so long, which has corrupted him and the spirit to seek vengence, so in the end we're basically seeing a shell of the man we saw in Awakening. I just seems a little off that he's present during many events where Hawke improves the situation for mages, and comments positively to them, but in retrospect he does stay pretty solidly throughout the third act saying that more drastic measures should be taken, so it's not completely unexpected.

I do recall that note, and that line of dialogue, but even in this dire moment, Hawke just managed to cut a path all the way through the templars to the mages and he and his entire party was there ready to assist him, so it felt a little odd that Orsino felt so strongly that they didn't stand a chance and had to resort to blood magic, despite Hawkes actions to save and fight the templars in that endgame.

I get that, and the fact it's supposed to be a hollow victory as relationships between the two groups have collapsed to the point that neither side can see reason any more and won't listen to a mediating voice in between them. The Witcher 2 did a similar thing with either picking Roche or Iorveth, and both sides are shown as morally grey, leaving no right answer.

My problem is it all relies on the fact a magical sword drove one side completely insane, with Moredith have complete knowledge of what pure lyrium would do to her after she took it from what was left of Varrick's brother.

#26 Posted by Brodehouse (10107 posts) -

@eternalvigil: Saying that it worked for Telltale or CD Projekt really has nothing to do with how it works for BioWare. I don't think I have to explain that they are under a far more critical microscope than either of those companies. BioWare released a trailer that looks completely like the Witcher... to a chorus of boos and epithets. After two years of incessant talk of how the Witcher is superior in every way. There are more people who are interested in the narrative of being mad at BioWare than there are people who actually play their games. Dragon Age 2 won Most Disappointing in 2011, primarily on the votes of staff members who didn't play either DA2 or even Origins. Only Vinny played it, and Vinny's position is that it's a 3-4 star game.

I think Anders' being unreasonable was actually one of the things I appreciated. I want characters to fight for what they believe in, the worst party members are those that just do what you say like good robots. Also consider that when you're convincing Anders that the Templars are okay, he doesn't think the Templars are okay, he thinks you're okay. He doesn't grow to appreciate the Templars as an order or a political faction, he grows to appreciate Hawke and a scarce few individual Templars (all of whom save Cullen are dead by the endgame). That's not going to change his view that the current system is indefensible and hurts mages. At the end of the day, Anders still thinks the Circle is unacceptable, and realizes that even reasonable Templars and Circle mages are still going to advocate to continue it. It would be like if our modern two-party system was preventing gay marriage from passing, and you wanted gay marriage to pass. It wouldn't matter if there were reasonable Democrats or Republicans arguing for civil unions, the only way to get what you think is right is to bring down the entire system.

Agreed though about Meredith being corrupted by the sword. It would've been better if she had just been corrupted by conflict, an endless fight against a seemingly relentless foe who can be anywhere at any time eventually drives her to see enemies everywhere. Magic swords are not necessary. Unless they're planning something major for the Profane Lyrium in Inquisition. Bartrand (Varric's brother) does mention hearing a song, which is identical to how the darkspawn corruption works. And from the trailer, it looks like Thedas is in for another Blight. So at least the Profane Lyrium will have some greater connection than just a magical deus ex machina.

@brodehouse: The problem with Anders wasn't that his actions seemed unjustified. I would have been happy to execute him for his crimes and move on from there, and hell, I would have loved the game for that. The problem is that he was my fucking healer.

Hah, then you looked at an uncertain future and blinked. I executed that motherfucker. I don't care if he was my lover or my parent or the lynchpin of my combat strategy. If my tank or my rogues had just gone Osama on my city, I would stab them in the street too.

#27 Posted by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

@veektarius said:

@brodehouse: The problem with Anders wasn't that his actions seemed unjustified. I would have been happy to execute him for his crimes and move on from there, and hell, I would have loved the game for that. The problem is that he was my fucking healer.

Hah, then you looked at an uncertain future and blinked. I executed that motherfucker. I don't care if he was my lover or my parent or the lynchpin of my combat strategy. If my tank or my rogues had just gone Osama on my city, I would stab them in the street too.

Not so, my friend. I killed him as well. I fought the next several fights without a healer until I died once, waffled over whether I wanted to finish the game, reloaded a save and let him live, changed my mind because that felt wrong, and quit without ever beating it.

#28 Posted by Herk (198 posts) -

@veektarius: That execution is like 30 minutes away from the ending, you should've just lowered the difficulty and plowed through!

I also remember killing him then and having a tougher time after, especially on the DLC's, but I think Merrill became a pretty good replacement after a while.

#29 Posted by Brodehouse (10107 posts) -

@veektarius: Why not just set it to casual and laugh your way through the fight?

I might be an outlier, but I played most of 2 (my 'main' game at least) without Anders or a healer. Potions were all I needed on Normal.

#30 Edited by Encephalon (1314 posts) -

Watching Elysium just reminded me that I don't really mind thin social justice allegories if the story on its face is enjoyable. I do mind, though, when it's coming from a naive, childish place that sabotages its own message. DA2 didn't exactly leave me eager to explore the mage/templar dynamic further, but they could do something interesting with it this time, who knows.

Maybe Morrigan will salvage the whole thing? Or maybe her plotline was secretly the worst, and we'll wish she never came back?

Anyway, if that stupid red lyrium comes back, screw it, I'm out. Fuck that goddamned fucking lyrium sword.

#31 Posted by subliminal_kid (60 posts) -

I hope in Inquisition the combat is more like it was in DA:O. I think I'll install the second again to see if my initial negative reaction was unfounded, but I really liked the combat in Origins.

#32 Edited by Brodehouse (10107 posts) -

I hope in Inquisition the combat is more like it was in DA:O. I think I'll install the second again to see if my initial negative reaction was unfounded, but I really liked the combat in Origins.

I think Inquisition is going to be more similar to the Witcher, it looks like there's a big focus on your player character and something close to action choppy-choppy gameplay. 2 is actually identical to Origins combat, only it moves about three times as fast and the damage values are about a third as large.

#33 Posted by subliminal_kid (60 posts) -

@brodehouse: The speed was one of the problems I had with it, I like slower, strategic combat. I seem to remember playing as a mage in 2 to be useless too, while it was my favorite class in Origins.

Guess I'm not surprised they are chasing the Witcher crowd. I love the Witcher series but not for the combat. Definitely not going to be buying Inquisition on day one though, got burned the last time but my expectations were too high.

#34 Edited by Hunter5024 (5909 posts) -

@herk: Merrill actually can't heal, they didn't give her access to that skill tree. I remember because it drove me crazy. It felt like they were not so subtly forcing you to use Anders.

@brodehouse: While I agree the combat in 2 was more similar to Origins than people give it credit for, it felt completely different because of the way encounters were set up. In nearly every fight there was a horde of minions who would spawn from nowhere, which really undermined the strategic element in favor of making the player feel like they were playing a God of War game or something.

#35 Posted by Herk (198 posts) -

@hunter5024: Then I don't remember at all how I managed. Bethany maybe? Was she around then?

#36 Posted by Irvandus (2886 posts) -

Pretty sure I've said this six times but I will keep saying it. Cautiously optimistic.

#37 Edited by Encephalon (1314 posts) -

@subliminal_kid: Nah, they're after that sweet Skyrim money, son. I wonder if the Witcher's even on their radar. There are definitely some things they could learn from the Witcher, though, so here's hoping

#38 Posted by subliminal_kid (60 posts) -

@hunter5024: Oh, now I remember, trash mobs appearing out of thin air over and over. Definitely made encounters feel different than Origins.

#39 Posted by Hunter5024 (5909 posts) -

@herk: I heard that grey warden Bethany still shows up occasionally, so maybe, but I wouldn't know because my Bethany died (because I was refusing to use Anders, and it made no sense to bring two healers into the deep roads).

#40 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I remember little of DA2, other than having played and beaten it on the hardest difficulty setting with a Greatsword-wielding maniac protagonist, who would if he didn't take care (and regularly did), slay all his allies in one careless swing. Dragon Age is only Dragon Age with Friendly Fire ON.

Except for the god damn invisible one-hit kill assassins and a few stupid encounters with messed up spawns and the likes, I found DA2's combat to be much more engaging than in DA:O - all it lacked was a decent tactical camera. Then again most people just mindlessly hacked and slashed their way through DA2 and then complained about *bad shallow combat*, when in fact it was scaling quite well into being very demanding and fun (bar the aforementioned missteps).

But yes, the ending was shit. The asset recycling felt cheap. Some of the characters were kinda weak. The day 1 DLC scheme was a big fuck you (as per usual for Bioware). Overall though, it was a far better game than the internet gives it credit for. It was and felt rushed, and ultimately disappointing, but DA2 is still a cut above and beyond most games, if you are into Bioware's modus operandi.

I'll always have the urge to play through one of Bioware's *Chose Your Own Adventure* epics, so sure, I'm game.

#41 Edited by EternalVigil (282 posts) -

@herk: I heard that grey warden Bethany still shows up occasionally, so maybe, but I wouldn't know because my Bethany died (because I was refusing to use Anders, and it made no sense to bring two healers into the deep roads).

Circle mage Bethany or Grey Warden Bethany will show up and help you in the final battle, and send you letters occasionally in the time between Act I and Act III. You can also have her in your party again in the Legacy DLC, which gives some interesting dialogue, as it takes place after the events of Act I, and the fact the DLC is heavily linked to Hawke's father.

#42 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3511 posts) -

Duders. DA:I looks as much like the fucking Witcher as I look like Brad Pitt. We are both men. The similarities stop there.

Witcher 2 wasn't better than DA because of the combat. If that's really the horse BioWare is chasing than they've already failed utterly. The Witcher is a much, much better written game. Shocking: it's actually a grey narrative where your choices matter, unlike DA, which, as many have pointed out, tends to have incredibly binary good/evil choices that makes the game more a series of eye rolls than a complex narrative. The Witcher throws that concept into the air and pile-drives it into dust. I'm not going to say that writing for a given character (Geralt) is as hard as writing a ground-up character (DA) but *that's* the major difference between the two series as far as RPG fans are concerned. I personally love Witcher combat, but it's not what you want from a party-strategy RPG, not at all. Combat has nothing to do with what DA:I needs.

What DA:I needs is exploration with excellent optional sidequests, interesting team members, and some actual honest-to-goodness world building with real characters and non of that good shepard bad shepard shit BioWare can't seem to write themselves out of. Frankly I'm not sure they ever will so long as the people in charge over there are constantly deluded into thinking the best RPGs have storylines along the lines of "the player is a famous hero who will save the world and everyone praise them". Again, you only need to look so far as the Witcher to see how much value there is in grounding the "hero" in the world and not making them the most obviously important piece of the puzzle that the whole world bends the knee to.

#43 Posted by The_Ruiner (1123 posts) -

Said it before and I'll say it again, DA2 is one of the bravest RPGs for ages, eschewing the regular spiky-haired-hero-saves-the-world-despite-crippling-self-esteem-issues in favour of a much more character-focused adventure where the restoration of your family pride takes centre-stage, set against a convincing backdrop of racial and political tension. Only a rampant fool would fail to see that the execution was fumbled in terms of game mechanics, but the core ambition was strong.

I would totally agree that an RPG with an intimate focus is sorely needed. Unfortunately almost everything about DA 2 felt that "focus" was not in service of an intimate story, but in service of making a cheap game that they could turn around quickly. And that's how most of that game feels. kind of cheap, and turned around quickly. There are things to enjoy, the end game of the serial killer storyline, and the twist with Anders at the very end was one of the most difficult and emotionally fueled decisions I've ever made in a game. But overall this game felt rushed and that they cut as many corners as they could to just "get something out".

Also while I would love a focused, more intimate game. Perhaps the direct sequel to a huge, expansive, world saving RPG isn't the venue. Maybe as a side story? Then people would have measured expectations.

#44 Posted by Jimbo (9936 posts) -

@brodehouse: While I agree the combat in 2 was more similar to Origins than people give it credit for, it felt completely different because of the way encounters were set up. In nearly every fight there was a horde of minions who would spawn from nowhere, which really undermined the strategic element in favor of making the player feel like they were playing a God of War game or something.

I seem to recall it relying far more heavily on group combos and gambits than DA:O ever did too, but maybe that was just on the higher difficulties where 'Button, Awesome!' wouldn't cut it. DA2 also felt far more railroady about how it wanted you to setup your party which was kinda disappointing. I enjoyed the emphasis on combos in DA2, but the game just really suffered from the spawning enemies and a lack of variety in battles. It was just the same fight over and over again, but Origins also suffered from this.

Let's face it, taken out of context most of these games have pretty humdrum combat gameplay at best, it's the story and atmosphere which add the spice. If the story is compelling enough they can get away with middling gameplay; if it isn't then it feels like a grind and the game falls apart.

DA3 won't have great gameplay either, because that isn't Bioware's strength and it never has been. That's not a deal breaker though as long as they don't make the mistake of believing their gameplay is compelling enough to carry the game by itself. If they make the story and gameplay rely on and have a meaningful impact on each other then they'll be fine. That's how these games need to improve going forward and what they should concentrate on doing, not on having a button to skip the fighting or to skip the story or whatever - that is missing the point entirely. /tangent

#45 Posted by gogosox82 (428 posts) -

That story development trailer was pretty interesting. It gives me a little hope that there won't be such a huge focus on Mage vs Templar in this game.

I doubt that. The ending of DA 2 is the reason why your playing a chantry inquisitor. The chantry fell after the mages revolted at the end of DA 2 and now the world is in chaos so I'm guessing your going to be playing a chantry inquisitor, hence the name of the game, and your goal will be to travel around Thedes and try and quell all the fighting and get them to join your cause because there's probably some large threat that more of a concern or something to that effect. Basically taking the structure of Origins and placing that within the story and themes that DA 2 was trying to do but failed at b/c of the other mitigating factors like the combat, reusing assets over and over again, etc.

#46 Edited by Hunter5024 (5909 posts) -

@gogosox82 said:

@hunter5024 said:

That story development trailer was pretty interesting. It gives me a little hope that there won't be such a huge focus on Mage vs Templar in this game.

I doubt that. The ending of DA 2 is the reason why your playing a chantry inquisitor. The chantry fell after the mages revolted at the end of DA 2 and now the world is in chaos so I'm guessing your going to be playing a chantry inquisitor, hence the name of the game, and your goal will be to travel around Thedes and try and quell all the fighting and get them to join your cause because there's probably some large threat that more of a concern or something to that effect. Basically taking the structure of Origins and placing that within the story and themes that DA 2 was trying to do but failed at b/c of the other mitigating factors like the combat, reusing assets over and over again, etc.

This was my line of thinking originally as well, but after watching the story trailer, they really made it seem like your group is less connected to the chantry than everyone had originally anticipated. And the way they're talking about the mage/templar war sounds like they're positioning it as one aspect of the story, rather than the primary focus that it was in DA2, with whatever the grey wardens are up to, Morrigan, and the tear in the veil presumably comprising the rest of the narrative.

@jimbo: Totally agree. It's important to know what people come to your games for, and I don't think anybody comes to a Bioware game for the combat.

#47 Posted by Encephalon (1314 posts) -

@gogosox82: They've already told us the "greater threat": the hole in the Fade that everyone tore open by being dicks.

Honestly, my deepest fear is that the game will turn out to be the "geopolitical strife as smokescreen for DARK LORD RESURRECTION PLAN" plot that was tired even when Final Fantasy Tactics did it. I'm playing Fire Emblem Awakening right now, and that game seems to be headed there in a hurry.

#48 Edited by GaspoweR (3369 posts) -

@yodasdarkside: I actually do agree with you in terms of that aspect of the story (being a more personal journey, etc. which is similar to the Witcher's in a way) but what pretty much soured the experience for me was elements in the story, the game play and the mechanics (making the game even more similar to Mass Effect in a lot of ways) such as the stripped down customization to a single character and very limited/lacking party customization (though I can see reasons why that was a deliberate decision) and then there were recycled dungeons, some very underwhelming side quests, very strange jumps in time in the story between Acts (which felt as if they wanted to actually wanted add more but was just cut short due to time constraints) and somewhat fumbled execution with how the game wraps up.

One of my biggest criticisms was probably Anders since despite rationalizing how his character changed between Awakening and DA2, it just seemed incredibly unnecessary for his inclusion in the game. They might as well just made him a different character since the sudden change of personality was just explained away through dialogue in the game and it just contradicted with a lot of aspects of his character in Awakening. Because of this, instead of feeling for or being more sympathetic for the plight of the character (since I was actually playing a mage myself) it just made me incredibly annoyed with his character arc. The personality change felt forced upon by the writers in order to serve the templar vs mages story and it didn't click with me.

Overall, I felt that DA 2 could have done so much more especially with the change of combat and a more personal story but they weren't able to completely pull it off. The game felt that they needed another year or two in order to make it something better.

#49 Edited by Jimbo (9936 posts) -

@gogosox82: They've already told us the "greater threat": the hole in the Fade that everyone tore open by being dicks.

Honestly, my deepest fear is that the game will turn out to be the "geopolitical strife as smokescreen for DARK LORD RESURRECTION PLAN" plot that was tired even when Final Fantasy Tactics did it. I'm playing Fire Emblem Awakening right now, and that game seems to be headed there in a hurry.

Sounds about right. They have such a great setting and they continually waste it in favour of doing the dumbest shit possible.

#50 Edited by Herk (198 posts) -

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