Dragon Age II is £3.99 on the PSN January Sale at the moment and I've always wanted to check it out. I loved Dragon Age: Origins for the main reasons I liked the Mass Effect series, it's dialogue and character interactions. I wasn't really a fan off the combat in the first game and I kind've put up with it just to further the story and progress really. I remember playing the demo for II when it came out and at the time I felt the combat actually felt a bit more actiony, kind've a ME1 to ME2 transition. But then were the dialogue choices more dialled down to an ME style of things, Top Right = Good, Bottom Right = Bad, and then some sarcastic/jokey answer in between. Am I remembering this correctly? That I may not like.
So my question, Dragon Age II, is it all bad? I remember people being really disappointed with it at the time for the cut and paste dungeon design and the monotony that involved but now that the wave of disappointment is long over is it actually worth checking out if I already know to expect that going in? That's the main thing I remember from peoples complaints really, are there any other reasons I shouldn't play it? I'm also wondering if it's going to tie into Dragon Age: Inquisition this year, if the saves will carry over etc but I suspect by then I'll have a next gen console and/or PC to run it so I guess that won't matter in the long run.
Look, I'm not gonna lie, it's not game of the year material or shit like that, but I did enjoy it on my first run, when it came out.
I've since replayed Origins a couple of time (ultimately a superior game) but I've just recently started replaying II and it's a better game than I remember. Or, well, just about as good as I remember, just a lot better than people make it out to be. It's not the sequel a lot of people were hoping for, and it got a bad reputation. It does have some pretty big problems, and a lot of that criticism is justified. I would compare it to ME3. It has some problems with the final act of the story, some of the changes were maybe a bit too streamlined, but underneath there's a pretty enjoyable romp if you're willing to give its charm a chance. Unlike ME3, however, it was however pretty rushed, and that shows in parts.
What I liked (with caveats):
- I liked the characters. Most of them anyway. Varric was great fun, Isabela is ridiculous but I like big tits and girls with a dirty mouth, I felt there was a genuine brotherly love for Hawke's sister (whether you get the cool sister or the less cool brother depends on your choice of character class, I think). Merril managed to be more than a pixie dream girl with her dark side, although if you're into that whole innocent wide-eyed look, you'll probably be all up that shit. Almost all the characters have something going on for them. Except Anders. I fucking hated Anders. Maybe that was intentional on the part of the developers, but god I hated that whiny bitch. Especially after how cool he was in Awakenings. But again, I guess that wass the point - it's even alluded to in the story.
- Better, more action-y animation and the combat in general was more to my taste. On lower difficulties it can become a bit of a mindless mash-fest, it's not as enjoyable or action-y as a proper third person character action game. On harder difficulties, however, it still requires a somewhat tactical approach to combat. The combat is pretty satisfying, altough on my second run I've discovered that sometimes the enemy difficulty seems to vary a bit too much from encounter to encounter, meaning that you get used to a couple of easy encounters and then the game throws something more difficult at you without any warning. Ultimately, however, I don't play these games for the combat, and I guess you don't either, so I don't think it's going to be a problem either way.
- I liked the cinematic feel of the storytelling. It's a lot like Mass Effect 2. If you don't like that at all, you'll probably dislike the system here as well. However, where Mass Effect mostly had a choice of Paragon/Renegade and neutral/investigate, here there's also a consistently available an additional "funny/charming" choice. While I played my first run as a mostly "paragon" mage and enjoyed the mage shit, I'm now playing a warrior who's a regular comedian (though not always landing the joke as well as he thinks... which is kind of funny as well).
- It's a pretty game. Well, relatively. Looked a lot better on the 360 than Origins did. Most of the environments look pretty, with nice lighting etc. Character models are also a lot nicer than in Origins. Animation in both combat and cutscenes looks a lot better.
- The story has a pretty good atmosphere. Especially in the beginning, it really feels like the start of a grand adventure when you arrive in the city. Actually, the story promises a lot and feels pretty good up until the final act.. which...
Things I didn't like:
- ...kinda ruined the story for me, as well as for a lot of people. After the finale, there's a epilogue that again promises a lot of cool stuff. You wish the game continued from there. Not because the game is short or anything, but because of how much of a let-down the moments prior to it are. I guess they're gonna scrap most of the stuff from that epilogue for DAIII, but I kinda wish they didn't. It would be cool to get to play through that game as either Hawke or the Warden or at least get to see those characters in significants roles in the third game.
- While the game in general looks pretty, and you don't really understand what the problem with the overuse of the environments is as first, it does start to get a bit old by the last third of the game. At least there's the deep roads expedition earlier in the game to provide some variety.I wish there had been another thing like that.
- There's a lot of combat. I mean a lot. I wish there was more variety to it and they would've experimented with other kinds of "scenes" like they did in ME2 and 3. Maybe 1 as well, don't remember anymore.
So, take from that what you will. I feel like with a bit more time in development it could've been a really good game, though it still probably wouldn't have been what some people were waiting for. I would recommend it, but I can look past a lot of stuff in games if they have the right kind of character stuff, storytelling and charm.
"It sucks that it is hurting the gaming community so heavily at the moment, but it was a messy situation that needed to be resolved. For every legitimate video this is hurting, there are three or more videos using rights without permission and profiting from such uses."
Brandon Martinez. 2013
"Let there be no resentment if we bump someone with an elbow. Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away. When you chop wood, chips fly."
Jesus Christ, people. How can you even talk about the value of a service at a time like this. I don't know, it's in times like these that I'm just so sick of this neolib world where everything is reduced to its assumed monetary value.
Also, I'm really surprised they've already done a couple of fun quick looks and a great podcast this week. Thank you duders!
On topic, I'm annoyed by people who say they don't lift weights because they don't want to be too muscular. As if picking up a barbell will immediately transform you into the Incredible Hulk.
People who think Scotland is part of England.
A friend of a friend is a medical doctor who only found out in med school that men only have one scrotum, not two. Granted, she is a lesbian. There's also a radiologist in my extended family who told me that a faith healer cured his back with a prayer.
And to be fair, I only learned less than a year ago that you can't catch HIV from kissing.
People keep insisting that Mass Effect 2 has a good story. I think these people's literary experience peaks around the level of a Highlights magazine.
ME2 does have a decent story. Not the main plot, of course, but that is only part of the story. It's the character stuff and side quests. It's also how it's told, not just the main beats of it. At any rate, it has a better plot than, say, the Divine Comedy, and that's considered a literary masterpiece.
I'm not saying video game stories are approaching the best of what the history of all narrative art has to offer, but complexity does not necessarily mean better.
Oh yeah, and definitely play Jade Empire. Perhaps the fighting got a bit boring after a while and some of the mechanics were a bit rough or weird, but like Alpha Protocol, it had a lot of heart and character and definitely showed promise which could have been realized in a sequel or two but unfortunately never was. Maybe they'll reboot it or make a sequel some day....
I assume you've played alpha protocol, but if you havent: PLAY THAT GAME! The gameplay may not be great, but the plot and dialogue stuff is pretty stinking amazing
That game is amazing. It's low budget and at times a bit clunky and janky, but it's not a bad game, even mechanically. It's definitely driven by rpg mechanics more than finger dexterity, even if it isn't turn-based or paused or anything. At least I had a pretty enjoyable experience, save for one shitty boss fight. But yeah, the atmosphere, dialogue, story, characters, moments... that game had fucking heart, something in short supply in the industry these days.