Dragon Age 2 Demo Thoughts

I just played the DA2 demo again and I have so much to say, so I figured instead of starting a million different forum posts, I'd just put it all in a blog. 

I Love the New Darkspawn

 Okay, I lied, I already started a forum post about this, but I just can't help myself. The new darkspawn look is awesome. We learn in the last game that darkspawn are created by corrupting humans, elves, dwarves and Qu'nari into hideous monsters. But the darkspawn in DA:O look almost exactly like orks from any other fantasy series, specifically the Lord of the Rings movies. They're vaguely reptilian-humanoid monsters who tend to hunch over and use scavenged, corroded equipment. In this, they appear to be twisted, corrupt, insane versions of the creatures that they were originally created from, and I think that takes great steps to differentiate this from other fantasy games/books/movies.

Learning From Our Fallen Brothers

 Something I noticed in my second playthrough of the demo was that there were locked abilities for all the party members that corresponded to both "Rivalry" and "Friendship," and both were essentially polar opposites of one another. The tragically flawed Alpha Protocol (check my lists for more on why I liked that game just fine) used a similar system by which alienating your allies could be just as useful as embracing them. Alpha Protocol did a lot of things I hope to see in future RPG games, but this is one of the most interesting and I'm glad to see it used in a game that's guaranteed some level of success. Hopefully it'll catch on in other games so being a jerk can still pay off. 

Better, Stronger, Faster

 I've only played through DA:O once, despite loving the living HELL out of the game. This is because it's so laboriously paced that I can't see putting ANOTHER sixty to eighty hours into it while I still want to play other games. Part of this stems from the combat which, by Bioware's own admission, takes from Baldur's Gate 2, which was itself an extremely slow-paced game as it had to adhere closely to the Dungeons and Dragons system. That Dragon Age II is taking a much more brisk pace to the combat, including attack animations and "charge" moves that get characters into melee combat with a quick strike, is a welcome change. I understand the desire for a throw-back, but a game that was made a certain way out of necessity and one that was made that way stylistically are very different. 

Finally...

 There's nothing much negative to say about the game, other than I really hope it doesn't hitch and load as much in the final version, but I really love what they've changed. They seem to be shooting for the same tone while not just resting on the incredible sales of their previous iteration. That's something I admire about Bioware: they're not afraid to change a formula netted them great sales, even if it means potentially alienating a few users. Bioware seems to have paid close attention to the flaws of the original and taken real steps to fix them. I'm more excited for this game than ever, which is pretty much the point of a good demo.
14 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Undeadpool

I just played the DA2 demo again and I have so much to say, so I figured instead of starting a million different forum posts, I'd just put it all in a blog. 

I Love the New Darkspawn

 Okay, I lied, I already started a forum post about this, but I just can't help myself. The new darkspawn look is awesome. We learn in the last game that darkspawn are created by corrupting humans, elves, dwarves and Qu'nari into hideous monsters. But the darkspawn in DA:O look almost exactly like orks from any other fantasy series, specifically the Lord of the Rings movies. They're vaguely reptilian-humanoid monsters who tend to hunch over and use scavenged, corroded equipment. In this, they appear to be twisted, corrupt, insane versions of the creatures that they were originally created from, and I think that takes great steps to differentiate this from other fantasy games/books/movies.

Learning From Our Fallen Brothers

 Something I noticed in my second playthrough of the demo was that there were locked abilities for all the party members that corresponded to both "Rivalry" and "Friendship," and both were essentially polar opposites of one another. The tragically flawed Alpha Protocol (check my lists for more on why I liked that game just fine) used a similar system by which alienating your allies could be just as useful as embracing them. Alpha Protocol did a lot of things I hope to see in future RPG games, but this is one of the most interesting and I'm glad to see it used in a game that's guaranteed some level of success. Hopefully it'll catch on in other games so being a jerk can still pay off. 

Better, Stronger, Faster

 I've only played through DA:O once, despite loving the living HELL out of the game. This is because it's so laboriously paced that I can't see putting ANOTHER sixty to eighty hours into it while I still want to play other games. Part of this stems from the combat which, by Bioware's own admission, takes from Baldur's Gate 2, which was itself an extremely slow-paced game as it had to adhere closely to the Dungeons and Dragons system. That Dragon Age II is taking a much more brisk pace to the combat, including attack animations and "charge" moves that get characters into melee combat with a quick strike, is a welcome change. I understand the desire for a throw-back, but a game that was made a certain way out of necessity and one that was made that way stylistically are very different. 

Finally...

 There's nothing much negative to say about the game, other than I really hope it doesn't hitch and load as much in the final version, but I really love what they've changed. They seem to be shooting for the same tone while not just resting on the incredible sales of their previous iteration. That's something I admire about Bioware: they're not afraid to change a formula netted them great sales, even if it means potentially alienating a few users. Bioware seems to have paid close attention to the flaws of the original and taken real steps to fix them. I'm more excited for this game than ever, which is pretty much the point of a good demo.
Posted by ZeForgotten

Wait you started "forums" ?  
Or do you mean "threads" ? 
 
Starting a forum just for a games demo would be fucking insane. 
 
"The Official Dragon Age II Demo Forums" sounds fucking weeeeird.  
 
Sadly I'm on the other end of this thing when it comes to Dragon Age II. 
Origins was a great game but the demo (and all the other stuff we know about the game mixed in with that) makes it feel like it's gonna miss a lot of the stuff that made Dragon Age: Origins such a great game.  
 
Oh well, it was a nice read anyway

Posted by armaan8014
@Undeadpool: I'm gonna get the game in any case, but I dunno whether I should play the demo as well. I don't get a lot of time to play games, and was gonna start playing Dead Space 2. What do you think? And how long is the demo?
Edited by Undeadpool
@armaan8014: Depends directly on your interest. If you're on the fence, or excited about, DA2, then play the demo. If you have no interest at all, it's probably not worth your time. The demo is around 20-30 mins, but there's a battle near the end that MIGHT take more of your time.  

@ZeForgotten: I can see feeling that way. Bioware is one of those companies that isn't afraid to change the very fundamenls of a game from one iteration to the next (see also: Mass Effect 2), but maybe when the price comes down, you give it a shot? It seems like it's gonna be a hit. 
Edit: YES, I meant post, not forum :P And now I've altered my post so you look craaaazy. That's right, yooooou're the crazy one...not me...I'm not crazy...
Posted by Skald

Also, if you so much as poke a darkspawn they will burst like grapes.

Posted by High_Nunez
@Undeadpool: I'm with you all the way on this one. The action felt much more immediate, and it still has the tactics options so hopefully I won't have to micromanage everything, thus killing the said immediacy. Hell, even being an archer felt cool. I was happy to see Flemeth also, though I wonder how my killing her in DA:O will play out in the main game. 
Posted by probablytuna

Loving the heck out of the demo. It's strange that I'm more interested in playing as Mage Hawke rather than my usual Warrior class for RPGs but Dragon Age II makes being a mage so God damn badass.

Posted by JJWeatherman

The amount of demo impressions has been kinda insane. 
 
I guess I'll have to do my own.  :)

Posted by kitsune_conundrum

 The main thread for the demo is here 
http://www.giantbomb.com/dragon-age-ii/61-30995/dragon-age-2-demo-impressions/35-483056/

Posted by Undeadpool
@JJWeatherman: It's an exciting demo! I haven't been this on the fence about a game since...Dragon Age: Origins! (Okay, that's not true, I was waaaaay more reticent about Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and look how THAT turned ou-oh wait, it was awesome.) Bioware's trailers for Dragon Age have always been kind of a weird mix of trying to appeal to a wide audience with a game that's very much for a niche. So it's good to see them baaaasically doing that again, sneaky bastards. 
 
@High_Nunez: I haven't tried archer yet, but I have tried sword-and-shield warrior and dual-wielding rogue. I'm actually torn on which to play as when the game comes out. Oh and I really love the Dwarf's crazy, high-tech looking crossbow. 
 
@akiz_jack: Apparently there's a big plot divergence even within the demo if you play as a mage. I won't spoil it, but my roommate looooves playing as magi, and he had a pretty different demo experience. 
 
@kitsune_conundrum: And a fine thread it is! I've even contributed a bit to it. But I find posts like this in someone else's thread a little obnoxious, particularly since I like to reply to everyone who comments like I'm doing now.
Posted by probablytuna
@Undeadpool: Huh, I didn't notice the divergence when I was playing as a Warrior in the demo. Maybe I'll have to play it again... x)
Edited by newhaap

I love the demo but does anyone think the UI is kind of bland looking compared to Origins? Like just a lot of squares/rectangles and solid colors? Or is that just for the demo (which I kinda doubt)?

Posted by Undeadpool
Posted by probablytuna
@Undeadpool: Oh right that. Yeah I knew that before I played the demo. :P It doesn't make much of a difference really.