Dragon Age II: now more like Mass Effect 2

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Brother None, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. matthewfarmery

    matthewfarmery It Wandered In From the Wastes

    137
    Jun 26, 2010
    well yes, but they seemed to have removed anything tactics wise, just seems to be a bland something, not a decent RPG / hack and slash, based on the D&D rules set at all, I have Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, I really wished DA was a direct sequel, I was sad when it wasn't, but now they have ruined what's left, and just made the latest one a poor game indeed, I hope its a flop, then if it is, all hopes of any decent RPG like that will be long forgotten, and more third person / first person games will be made instead, I hope both EA and bioware burn for what they are doing

    they deserve little else
     
  2. Bal-Sagoth

    Bal-Sagoth Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    996
    Nov 1, 2008
    Dragon Age is a good game, Dragon Age II will be a good game and will have smashingly good sells, securing the franchise for years to come and becoming a commercial and critical success.

    True, DA does not compare to older titles such as Baldurs Gate (which I am currently in my yearly playthrough of) but it is in fact the best fantasy based RPG to come out in the past few years. I am sure someone in here will come out and talk up the polack trash that is The Witcher but to each his own.

    You have to accept it for what it is. Not everyone enjoys the complexity of D&D rule set games. Although granted the 4th edition rules are like D&D for retards and it is pretty much an MMO in pen and paper so I digress, the older ways were still daunting for some who just wanted entertainment.
     
  3. sea

    sea Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 5, 2009
    Personally I think the original Dragon Age had a nicely balanced and refined skill system, and while a bit geared towards "optimal" builds/archetypes and min/maxing, it removed a lot of the frankly annoying shit that plagued a lot of D&D based games like too much emphasis on getting lucky die rolls, redundant character classes (do you really need ten slightly different types of Cleric?), and so forth. It did follow the whole MMO model of aggro/tanking/DPS/nuking a bit too faithfully, but I still found it challenging and fair in places where Baldur's Gate etc. were just downright annoying. For a game targeted towards more mainstream audiences, Dragon Age hit the right balance without sacrificing too much.

    Of course, if you want to talk up story... the Forgotten Realms might be a more expansive universe and Baldur's Gate is damn huge, but the first game is just plodding and boring for about 75% of its duration, not to mention has one of the worst difficulty curves ever. I have heard the second is way better, but it's on my to-play list so I can't comment on it yet; still, next to the first one, I think Dragon Age's tighter focus and more defined characters help make it more consistently enjoyable. I guess if you're more interested in the tactics and just exploring a massive world, Dragon Age isn't quite on the same level, but frankly I'll take the better characters and stronger narrative and writing over sheer size any day.
     
  4. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    Better characters and stronger writing? Good writing? In DA:O? You surely jest.

    And that considering that BG was hardly the pinnacle of RPG...

    Just like FO3 is the best PA RPG to come out in the past few years. So we should all just shut up and enjoy what we have because there isn't any better.
     
  5. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    @ Ausdoerrt: Yes, heaven forbid we find any game having good writing except from 90's RPGs and possibly Arcanum. Such a thing as "opinions" on the matter do not exist. DA has shitty writing, all over, and finding anything good in it means you have horrible taste in life or are joking, for whatever obscure reason.

    For the record, I found DA to have pretty good writing. The main plot certainly was nothing ground-breaking, but it did its job, like in Fallout 1 and 2. Some characters were great (I particulary liked the Sten and Loghain) and the writers went out of their way to add several endings based on your choices in conversations with key characters (seriously, the ending slider possibilities are at least as vast as FO2's). Sure, it wasn't rock-solid all-around, but only Torment can pretend being that, and even then I found the Catacombs to be cheesy with all those thee's and thou's and friggin magical rats. At least DA had only one NPC speaking in olde butcherede englishe, and it was for kicks more than anything else.

    And yes, I found the characters in DA were more fleshed out than those in BG; apart from romance options who developed if you put up with them, they were all clichés (which isn't all bad; Minsc didn't change a bit in the series, and he still was a great and iconic character, just as I found Sten to be in DA). Even the characters of Fallout are more remembered for being iconic rather than fleshed out, with Marcus as a possible exception.
     
  6. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    If Dragon Age 2 will feature a similar combat like Dragon Age 1 then I dont see that much of tactic involved. I mean choosing the right spell is "ok", but actualy most spells have some kind of effect.

    What I am missing is the diversity. From the combat actually DAO was a lot closer to Kotor if anything even the way you choose the skills in the skill tree was almost same. I really hope they will rework that so many useless skills you have to take just to get this one in the end of the line.

    What I am missing is the diversity. Enemies with imunities or curse spells. I know a few dont like Baldurs Gate but I think BG2 was a lot more tactical then DAO ever was (or will be).

    If the party will be now made of 4 people instead of 3 that is a very good choice in my eyes though. But I hope the party play will be somewhat quick and working well. Not like in Mass Effect 1 or 2 ...

    The writting in DA was if anything "decent". It was not as bad like letz say in F3. But the interactin with the party and NPCs wasnt all that much better. Way to cliche and forced. Its not like Bioware has no skill around that. But I dont know. They kinda exagerated it. Something I really liked though was that you had to decide in the end between a few party members to stay and fight with you as they would leave your party eventually.

    Though nice touch how they set Dragonage what 200 `? years in the future ... so they dont have to really work with the decisions you made in DAO ... so much to non linear story. I bet the decisions you made in DAO will be rather superficial in DA2. Just like from ME1 to ME2.
     
  7. Bal-Sagoth

    Bal-Sagoth Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    996
    Nov 1, 2008

    Getting heavily opinionated there but yeah, it is for sure up there in the top ones and people can make a strong argument for it. Especially when you chain them together with mods and play them as a single game as they were meant to be, very few experiences compare to it.



    You don't have to shut up, you can bitch about it on forums all you want. It still wont change anything and keep the rest of us from enjoying it. :P
     
  8. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    DA2 actually happens over the course of 10 years, and begins in Lothering (Origins noob town) the same year as Origins happens. Saves carry out, and the devs say it will change your game; how trusting you are of them is up to you, but after ME2, I doubt the decisions will be game changing; some old NPCs returning, maybe so references here and there to the state of Ferelden. I am mostly OK with that too; DA2 is a new game and doesn't need to be bogged down in references to Origins, and it is set in another country anyway.

    They also reworked the skill trees. There are less of them, but supposedly no fillers, and each party member has his/her unique skill tree too, in addition to the base one. This is a welcome change for sure; having 100 spells but only 20 uselful ones is not depth. There was a particular line that had 3 useless spells, then a truely game-breaking one that killed almost any enemy with mana in one hit, including the Kangaxx expy that is hard to beat otherwise. Let's hope they avoid that.
     
  9. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    Considering DA:O already had pretty few skill and spell choices, I think they're trying to reach for the limits of simplification. "Having 100 spells but only 20 useful ones is not depth" - I agree, it isn't. Now if you have 100 spells, and most of them have a certain unique use in the game, that's depth. Quoting Crni, "diversity". BG2 had it, DA:O didn't.

    Not to break it to you, I'm not that much of a 90s games fan, I'm an early-00s guy. A plenty of games that have really good writing were made past 90's ;) Div. Divinity, NWN: SoUT, NWN2: MOTB, Space Rangers 2, Vampire: Bloodlines, just to name a few - just among RPG and sub-genres... DA:O isn't one of them. The story could've been called "fantasy-style save the world rehash #n", it's told in a boring tone and nothing exciting ever happens. No major plot-twists, no nothing. And most importantly, it's a story that provokes little emotional response and carries almost no thoughtful meaning. Hence me calling out the "stronger narrative" BS.

    There is ONE good character - Morgana, since she actually has a sort of interesting background and an actual personality. Most of the rest are cardboard cliche stand-ins; you knew exactly how they'd react or what they'd say just by looking at them. I would also be quite fine if we saw a bit less flesh in the "fleshed-out" part you claim is there. *ahem* Seriously though, I value originality of character and interesting image over the number of lines an NPC has. Taking one of your examples - Minsc - isn't dynamic at all, yet he is unique and interesting. Most of DA:O cast, on the other hand, was something we've seen before on numerous occasions.

    It's no FO3, for sure, but comes out as mediocre at best. The uninspired presentation coupled with the lack of a world to explore made me yawn as the game kept dragging me from one boring area to another.

    And no need to twist my words to make me look the asshole. It's your choice to take my comment as a personal offense, there's nothing in it to provoke that reaction.

    Very little of PS:T was voiced, so it had to create character and atmosphere with just text. Which it did, superbly.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Discussions on merits of a game are always opinionated. It is a unique experience, though I myself never managed to get through BG1 since it dragged too much. BG2 was great, but I found that for me it carried almost 0 replayability value. Plus, both still suffer from the "Bioware syndrome", even if not to the extent their later games do. Not to mention all the flaws of RTwP system...

    You can feel free to regularly eat McDonald's and act the gourmand, but don't get offended if I laugh at you when you do, because even if all food in the world devolved to that level, I wouldn't consider it good. :roll:
     
  10. sea

    sea Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 5, 2009
    What is it about Dragon Age's writing that's so bad, exactly? Any of you? Let's go over this...

    Baldur's Gate, at least the first, has a decent quest to start out: your foster father is murdered while defending you as you make your sudden, hurried escape from the only home you've ever known, and you must find out who is trying to kill you, while at the same time piecing together the mysteries surround the iron shortage and other mishaps along the Sword Coast. Sounds like a scenario ripe for intrigue, and to some degree it is, except... the game takes its sweet time in doing anything interesting with the setup. While the eventual reveal could have been cool and dramatic, it comes way too late in the game and the vast majority of the story is a boring slog through endless dungeons. Yes, you do get a few vague dream sequences (sigh) and some occasional letters from important NPCs who apparently did most of their brilliant scheming off-screen so the writers wouldn't have to really develop their characters or think about how they pulled things off, but there's very little there to motivate me to play beyond "I guess I've gotta explore every nook and cranny, because it's an RPG and it records my completion".

    It doesn't help that the open-ended world does a great job of sidetracking you; while this isn't entirely the game's fault, I found that just running around and exploring was more compelling than the central narrative, and it had few to no hooks in actually relating the side-quests back to the main quest line. In otherwords, this meant most of the game was spent wandering more or less aimlessly from area to area, hoping that I bump into something other than more wilderness. Sometimes this happened, and there are some interesting things not essential to the main story, but most of these feel highly underdeveloped. As for interesting characters... okay, there's Minsc, maybe Imoen, Eleminster, uh... yeah. Basically there's dozens of possible party members, but the vast majority of them have little to say beyond a few stock dialogue lines, which, though colourful, aren't what I'd call interesting or deep. On top of that, most of the core story NPCs fall into "generic evil dude" and "mindless quest dispenser" territory.

    Dragon Age, meanwhile, is much more focused. While it goes for a world map rather than a bunch of interconnected zones to explore, the world map allows for a much greater level of care and detail in every environment, as well as a proper narrative tie-in for visiting. Side-quests are sometimes incidental, but usually at least related in some way to what's going on in the story, except for those clearly marked as odd-jobs, but many of those still help to reinforce some of the lore of the game world (such as Templar corruption). The story itself is nothing special, really - the Darkspawn are boring and generic in the extreme, but it's the world around them and its extremely detailed mythos that makes the game world and characters interesting. It's very obvious from playing that people aren't just "a warrior" or "a wizard" but rather occupy very specific roles within the fiction, and are products of the environments they were raised in; their problems as individuals are things which rise out of the much larger social, political and historical situations going on in the Dragon Age world. This is Good RPG Design 101, and something I discussed in this article here: http://criticalmissive.blogspot.com/2010/10/world-building-in-games-top-down-or.html

    While it's true that there are characters who fall into the fanservice territory BioWare has been known for lately, I feel that the characters are deeper and much more fleshed out than say, Mass Effect or Jade Empire. I guess you can argue that giving gifts and saying the "right" things makes getting approval ratings up too easy, but what do you expect if you game the system? That sort of thing works in real life too - you can manipulate real people for better or for worse, just like you can do the same with game mechanics; the only difference is the range of possible responses by NPCs is constricted by the demands of the narrative and developer budgets. As for romance and general character archetypes, well... whatever, I'm willing to tolerate a little fangirl bait if it means I get deeper characters.

    Now, if you can come up with some crushing counter-arguments, by all means, go ahead, I live on debate, and it will only be beneficial. But please don't go calling me an idiot for what I think, especially when I give thoughtful reasons for my opinions, and you just sit there acting smug. That's not discussion, it's just flamebait.
     
  11. Black Feather

    Black Feather Mildly Dipped

    529
    Nov 10, 2010
    I don't think the writing is THAT bad, it's just that Bioware copied from The Witcher shamelessly and sold their game as an unique, adult experience. The story is so 1-dimensional. You are supposed to be a grey warden thing and the 3 classes (fighter-mage-rogue) are just too few to be called rpg imho. An evil playthrough doesn't really make sense either. I accepted this fact in Mass Effect because i never really saw it as a fullfledged RPG.

    Apart from that the artstyle is just ugly, inconsistent and i can't think of any other RPG which had so many annoying cardboard-cutout NPC's in it (Leliana etc.). I think the only one i liked was this elder mage woman, i forgot the name.

    Yet somehow Dragon Age manages to capture people, i don't get why. Is it that huge Battlescene at the beginning? I don't know...

    ...maybe i'm just getting old.
     
  12. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    Regardless of whether this is addressed to me or not, I can't help but mention that I haven't seen anyone in the thread resort to personal attacks. So in a way you look like you're provoking them with that overly defensive attitude when the discussion doesn't warrant it. (Un)fortunately, I'm just stating my opinion and not judgment on others'.

    For my part, I never said that it is bad, only that it isn't good. It's comfortably mediocre, hence boring, hence not sth I'd waste my time on. Ergo, I will bash it as usual but then sort of step back and say "it kind of works though, even if it's utterly unimpressive".

    You use BG for comparison - a bad example to use (or a perfect one, from your perspective) since it's designed by the same company and generally suffers from the same flaws, if only to a lesser extent.

    The game is focused on a main story that's extremely generic and boring. You say it yourself. I don't see how that can qualify as "good" in any sense of the word. You can credit the game for all the little things - like attention to detail or w/e - but the story's still boring at the core. What I hated most was the hypocrisy; how the game tried so hard to be "morally gray" (which usually just felt forced), yet the main quest was so black-and-white it hurt. The similarities to Witcher didn't help either.

    If you want to go there - the dwarven dungeons in DA:O were pretty excruciating, too. And a few other areas as well. Also, you spend most of the time in the game simply gathering troops for the final battle - hardly very dramatic, more like mundane.

    I've played a plenty of games with similar approval rating systems, and it was the worst-implemented by far in DA. The gifts simply hold too much sway and ruin what could be a nice relationship system based on reactions to your choices. What was even more ridiculous is that you could "crack" ALL the party members in one playthrough. Which suggests that the system is really weak, or that the game is on serious rails. I'd say both.

    I beg to differ. Sure, it all looks logical, but in most cases the game simply substitutes simpler cliches for more complex ones, which unfortunately does not make the cliches feel any less artificial. Instead of "warrior" or "mage" you have stereotypical variations - "silent warrior with a strict code", "berserker dwarven rogue" etc.; it's all stuff we've seen before. I actually had to go look up which DA:O character was which when people here referred to them, so unmemorable they were.
     
  13. Black Feather

    Black Feather Mildly Dipped

    529
    Nov 10, 2010
    I found it hilarious how DA:O tried to be morally grey while the devs tried to be politically correct about it. I mean, elves are treated as dirt in this game (*cough* Witcher *cough*), yet the Fereldans (roughly based on the christianized anglo-saxon english) treat women equally and even have a multicultural army with black people in it and homosexuality seems to be completely bare of any social stigma.

    Makes perfect sense :roll:
     
  14. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    Funny, I thought Morrigan was actually the one with less personality, because you can be sure as hell that whatever option is eviler, she'll advocate it and justify by some "survival of the fittest" mantra that didn't ring with me (but she definitely has an interesting background). Freeing Sten is the only non-evil option she ever considered, IIRC.

    Ogrhen, on the other hand, will get behind cutting the bullshit and smacking stuff right away, but only if the bad guys deserve it. Not to mention some of the mellower party members (Alistair and Leliana, who I agree is a bit annoying) can be hardened to accept acts that would otherwise have made them angry. That's what I call character development. And gifts are also reworked in DA2 to be more balanced and logical (throwing a meat bone at Morrigan to have sex with her was funny in its own way, but needed to go).

    Also, clichés are everywhere in media, even in Torment (reformed succubus? Agressive thug girl who actually likes you? crazy wizard? Zen warrior-mage?). Don't get me started on Bloodlines where most characters were just different interpretations on the vampire mythos. I found only Morte and Nordom to be truly original but that's not bad. Sten was The Stoic Warrior With a Soft Spot (cookies!). Wynne the Cool Old Lady (now with more game-breaking healing magic). Loghain the Fallen Hero. I still really liked them because I found them well-written and believable in their attitude, just like the Torment characters were.

    But I agree some evil options were contrived. Leaving the villagers being attacked by zombies there is just being a dick. And why would you want to kill the elves in the forest? But those are the only two options that scream Evil to me. The rest is just grey and darker grey (you have a very good reason to want to side with the Templars, for example).
     
  15. Black Feather

    Black Feather Mildly Dipped

    529
    Nov 10, 2010
    :scratch:
     
  16. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    How dare you to suggest anything else ! Everyone knows Elves are dirty and dont deserve any of our respect!

    Minsc is easily one of the best characters in BG. THough and thats the good part in it. Even if you dont like him there are many other characters with a distinctive personailty. Be it Viocnia, Jaheira, Anomen, Cernd, Keldorn etc. And the kind of interaction they have with the party is excelent. Its not to much and its enough to give you a life like feeling. And when looking at the background and the scripts behind it it feels a bit more complex then DA:O where all you have is thrust or no thrust. Heh, the best part is when you get Viconia and Sarevok (Tob) in your party and at some point Sarevok would be afraid from Viconia, god did I loved that part.

    I really miss such kind of interaction or writting in DA:O. Many of the characters there feelt either cliche, exagerated or simply like in Kotor 1. No clue if the same people worked on that. But by looking at the DA:O trailers I wish they would have tried to capture those characters and give them life. Sten (Stan?) looked also a lot better there (bulky and with muscles, not like a fatso in his 50s ... probably to much cake). The only characters which I liked in a biowaregame again have been in Mass Effect 2. Gaurus is pretty cool. The Krogans as well. I think Mass Effect is one of those games which get a lot from the "simplification". The interaction with the party is smaller and on a more realistic level. We get enough "epic" battles and "epic" NPC interaction in games. One step back from that is something fresh. I hope they will keep that for ME3.

    For Dragon Age 2 I hope interaction will be a bit better as well. I cant say the writting in DAO was bad. But it was exagerated. I can only agree with Ausdorrent. Its like they tried to squeze any possible fantasy cliche in that game. Though I cant agree that there have been no twists as the part with Morrigan and Alistair in the end surprised me (you know when they left your party depending on your choice)
     
  17. Black Feather

    Black Feather Mildly Dipped

    529
    Nov 10, 2010
    Worthless dhoine dog.



    ;)

    Nah but seriously, a morally grey, "adult" world shouldn't be unbelievably political correct. Witcher did it right. But they are poles, not americans...it shows.
     
  18. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    I'd like to join in on the head-scratching.

    See, it's a problem in an RPG game when the "bad guys" are already defined for you. I want to choose who the bad guys are. But most of the time I can't, because the game's too jaded in its "political correctness". So, to take the example, why always a berserker who's good at heart? How about something more interesting - let's see - a berserker war veteran with insatiable bloodlust who loses himself in battle; you can try to tame his aggression if you're good, or to feed and control it if you're evil... But no, they go for the cardboard option.

    And good media tries to pick some that are less used, or give a unique interesting spin on those that exist. I don't think DA:O shows an effort to do that.

    No Vhailor? Also, I hardly agree with Dakkon being the zen warrior, if you take time to explore his story, he's a lot different than that. Someone like Qui-Sai is more of a zen warrior.
     
  19. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I dont have a problem with a cliche if its done well. Movies do that all the time and actualy it is well done, in the expensive movies but mainly because the actors are good. See Ridley Scotts Legend. Its THE cliche fantasy movie. And yet its not bad (a bit cheesy sometimes, but if you like fanatasy it fitts there).

    With DAO its not just that they have a cliche evrywhere its done very bad from the cinematics in my eyes. I started 2 times with 2 humans, one a noble aristocrat and the other as mage. Both are rather "meh" in my eyes with the aristocrat beeing the worst. Maybe the other parts of the game are better. But it symbolic for the whole game because you always happen to stumble on such bad cliche stuff. But well thats my oppinion
     
  20. Black Feather

    Black Feather Mildly Dipped

    529
    Nov 10, 2010
    Same, Drakensang was also pretty cliche...even for DSA standards.

    But DA:O claims to be innovative and adult (lol) yet it fails so hard in doing that.

    By the way, was anybody else annoyed by the theme song? :lol: