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A Miserable Experience
DA 2 is one of the worst games I've ever played, it takes the strengths of Origins, dumps these strengths (Good characters, well executed Grey And Gray Morality, tactical combat system, and hordes of dialogue choices) in favour of one dimensional characters who only ever have one issue to discuss (Merrill and Varric aside), making the main conflict into a direction-less mess that ends with a fight between two unlike-able forces that you'll be unlikely to care for (With Gray Morality, I was under the impression that both sides are meant to be sympathetic), complete with both sides turning out to be evil anyway, as well as limiting you to three dialogue choices most of the time, preventing you from seeing what you're going to say, and leaving your choices having the exact same outcome for the conversation 95% of the time.

Even worse, the weaknesses from Origins (A little bit too much reliance on enemies attacking from everywhere, especially for boss fights, lackluster sidequests, and sub par environment designs) have not only been ignored, but made even worse.

For Combat, they decided to abandon all pretense of battle design and just dump hordes of enemy waves against you from all directions, making positioning and planning impossible, make you have to constantly mash the A button (Which was only just fixed in a patch....which I can't get due to no Xbox Live), and give no feedback from attacks (Or being attacked), making it feel lifeless. Sidequests are basically just "Kill that guy!", or alternately just consist of you finding a random object in Cave No.135, running around for someone it belongs to, finding them and magically knowing that it belongs to them, and then just giving it back for a quick reward, cheap, and disinteresting.

And I don't think I really need to talk all that much about the environment recycling, it's there, it's obnoxious, it's been complained about to death by everyone who lives under the sun, the reasoning for this was that Mike Laidlaw decided that the team still had enough resources to build sidequests, so they started recycling more than a member of Green Peace, to which I say, no, Bioware didn't have enough resources, because if they did, they obviously wouldn't need to force you through the same cave over and over.

Oh, and Retcons. Everywhere. They fill me with rage

Overall: Poor
you say retcons.

which retcons? I don't see any.
comment #7839 fakeangelbr 31st May 11 (edited by: fakeangelbr)
Leiliana still appears even if you killed her in Origins

Cullen is in Kirkwall even if you got the ending where he became an insane killer.

Elves and Darkspawn's appearance varies greatly between games (Qunari issue has been handwaved by David Gaider)

Lord Harrowmont gives out a sidequest despite him possibly being executed in Origins

Lyrium is no longer lethal to human or elf touch (Previously, Dwarves were the only ones who could touch the stuff), as proven when Hawke picks up a lyrium idol with no trouble.

Golems, despite being made much later, are still found in the Deep Roads Thaig you explore despite it being made before the first Blight (If my memory serves me right, either way, they're not supposed to be there)

Templars can now have wives (Last I checked that wasn't allowed)

Anders is still in the game even if you gave him up to the Templars in Awakenings.

Justice still fuses with Anders despite his epilogue stating he spent several years in Kristoff's body before dropping dead at Kristoff's wife's doorstep

Oh and the mirror from the Dalish Origin is much smaller in this one
comment #7849 lorddaddyfunk 1st Jun 11 (edited by: lorddaddyfunk)
1.okay

2.okay

3.varric's narration

4.wrong lord

5.not confirmed, as in, they don't ingest the thing or anything

6.never said they can or cannot in origins.
7.because that would be the first time he escapes the templars

8.okay

9.varric's narration
comment #7853 fakeangelbr 1st Jun 11 (edited by: fakeangelbr)
3. There is nothing he would gain from changing those details, it adds nothing to the drama.

5. Dragon Age wiki confirms that touching raw lyrium will give you serious injury and psychological problems, and will kill mages outright, only processed lyrium is mostly safe.

6.Ok

7.Never confirmed ingame, which would be fine except for the fact that they went to the trouble of adding in dialogue if he was killed at Virgil's Keep.

9.Again, fail to see what he would gain from adding that
comment #7856 lorddaddyfunk 1st Jun 11 (edited by: lorddaddyfunk)
5. It's said that this lyrium is not raw, it's pure, as in super processed

3 and 9. nothing about drama,just flavor
comment #7866 fakeangelbr 1st Jun 11
Since when is a design overall a retcon? They just changed the game's artstyle. It's like saying the sprites for the same pokemon between two different games are retcons. I personally like the new elves a lot more (altough the new darkspawn are pretty bad indeed).
comment #7930 Sagus222 4th Jun 11
They look like the putties from Power Rangers

Also I consider it a retcon because their facial structures completely differ from the ones in Origins, as opposed to the Dwarves and Humans who look pretty much the same, not to mention the sudden hatred of shoes as well as the appearance of irish and welsh accents

Also I'd consider Pokemon a poor example, since other than more detail being added, the Pokemon pretty much look the same throughout the games
comment #7935 lorddaddyfunk 5th Jun 11
dwarves also have a new facial structure.

just saying.
comment #7954 fakeangelbr 6th Jun 11
Looked pretty much the same too me.
comment #7960 lorddaddyfunk 6th Jun 11
their faces are larger and the eyes are smaller.
comment #8027 fakeangelbr 8th Jun 11
Really? The dialogue? You actually fell for the illusion of meaningful choices in DAO's dialogue? They weren't there! The only thing DA 2 really changed was reorganising the options into wheel form and giving them voice. In DAO the outcomes were always the same anyway, except in the places that could just as well have been labeled "YOU GET TO MAKE A CHOICE HERE!". And thank you for not complaining about the removal of persuasion which was an idiotic mechanic with a 100% success chance except in 1 instance. In old school CRPG's you had to navigate the dialogue carefully to persuade someone, in DAO you just click the option that says (Persuasion). DAO was only pretending to be old school while DA 2 stopped pretending and was a better game for it.
comment #10399 McSomeguy 30th Sep 11
Sigh, old school rpg gamers and their "Oh no this isn't traditional fantasy" complaints.
comment #10400 eveil 30th Sep 11
^Uhh, old school RP Gs =/= traditional fantasy. Fallout was an old school RPG set in a post apocalyptic future, for isntance.
comment #10426 McSomeguy 1st Oct 11
Conservative gamers then. Or whatever you call gamers who hate things because it's different and new.
comment #10429 eveil 1st Oct 11
Um I don't think he was saying that. He was saying that conversations in old rpgs were something that had to be navigated, you had to pick carefully what to say to get the right result. In modern (Bioware) RP Gs you pick the option that says "convince" dude and you instantly convince him.

I'm not really sure what you're saying? You're casually dismissing him because it's something that used to happen in games (which was actually a bit incorrect on his part because Deus Ex HR, Alpha Protocol etc all are keeping it up and have all been praised highly for it) when he was just making a legitimate point. Maybe there are points you could be making (although personally I hate the simplified conversation system) but you kinda forgot to make them. If you make them and they're good and we still refuse to listen to you, then sure you can follow that up with a "Or whatever you call gamers who hate things because it's different and new." but as it is you're kinda just flaming him a little by dismissing him as a conservative gamer without listening to his point.

I'm sure you didn't mean it to come across that way, but that's how it's probably going to appear
comment #10434 Tomwithnonumbers 1st Oct 11
How about the fact that most of the information here is either false, debatable and subjective, or the same as in Origins? It's obviously just a knee-jerk reaction from a fanboy who exaggerates everything they dislike and whines about anything new. Just because this reviewer does this more eloquently than most doesn't make this any less true.
comment #10437 eveil 1st Oct 11
Ah okay, the misunderstanding is on my front not yours, I thought you were calling him old school purely based on his comment about dialogue, when in all honesty he's completely right. The difference in dialogue between the really great RP Gs and the really great (old) Bioware RP Gs compared to modern RP Gs is huge and in the wrong direction. It's like they took a shooter and changed it so you that you don't have to aim anymore. Choosing carefully what you say, to try and get the reaction you want is infinitely superior to a system which has "get what you want" dialogue option that you can only use sometimes (and in the ridiculous case of the ME series, can only use if you've been bad or good enough ie haven't carefully chosen previous conversation options).

Even still, I think your criticism may be a tiny bit harsh. Environment recycling, poor enemy placement and one dimensional characters are all his criticisms of the game as a whole. The reason I guess it may come off as complaining about new things is that obviously he feels that DA:O is the superior game (an opinion held by most people from the look of it) and needs to explain why a sequel to a not bad game can be so much worse.

On the other hand, I agree with you that most of the retcons he was complaining about completely fall into what you were describing, but I hope you'll take that only as a sign of his loyalty to the first game that he feels irritated when things about the world he's bought into have changed. It's something that most of us end up doing in a series we love. (For instance the Doctor in Doctor Who just got married and because that's new to the series and it's a series I love and feel comfortable with I irrationally dislike the idea beyond justification). 'sides he's probably not alone in taking an aversion to retcons and people like him who read the review might be better informed of how they'd feel about the game
comment #10444 Tomwithnonumbers 2nd Oct 11 (edited by: Tomwithnonumbers)
"Choosing carefully what you say, to try and get the reaction you want is infinitely superior to a system which has "get what you want" dialogue option that you can only use sometimes (and in the ridiculous case of the ME series, can only use if you've been bad or good enough ie haven't carefully chosen previous conversation options). "

If you're comparing DAO with DA 2, DAO had a "get high persuade and hit the option with persuade/intimidate to get what you want", with no actual difference in the dialogue said between a failed persuade and a successful persuade. Actually, most of the old Bioware RP Gs I've played do that too. And even in cases where they do have that system, people are just going to reload until they select the right options.

"Even still, I think your criticism may be a tiny bit harsh. Environment recycling, poor enemy placement and one dimensional characters are all his criticisms of the game as a whole."

I'll give him environmental recycling and poor enemy placement (Damnit quit spawning behind my mages). But there are plenty of people who do like the new characters.

"The reason I guess it may come off as complaining about new things is that obviously he feels that DA:O is the superior game (an opinion held by most people from the look of it) and needs to explain why a sequel to a not bad game can be so much worse."

Yeah, I've seen this a million times. People complain about sequels or new games in general if they're too different from their old games. Also applies to things like anime, Tv shows, and western animation. It's the reason why there are still people who claim Pokemon R/B/Y is the best and why people claim the shows they grew up with are better than anything today. And as a sidenote, it's also probably related to at least half of all "this dub sucks" complaints (The other half is because of 4Kids). They'll point out what are debatable flaws in the new, while ignoring them in the things they like.

DA 2's biggest problem is that it's being restrained by DAO.
comment #10445 eveil 2nd Oct 11 (edited by: eveil)
Koto R did not have that system and it didn't lead to reloading. It's hard to remember actual lines of dialogue but this will have to do as an example (so sorry for the poor example). When the thingymajig presents you with the Leicester city problem (You have intelligence that the enemy will bomb a city, what do you do?) the choices are 1. Let them do it and then counterattack whilst they don't suspect because those lives are worthless to me. 2. Save the city, lives can't be lost 3. Let the city be destroyed the intelligence can't be compromised.

Bow it's not a perfect example because the evil side is lacking, but the point is that there are two different 'good' options there and you have to really think about which one you want to pick. Which one you want to pick has a profound affect.

Equally there were other situations where you had to choose between name dropping something they might know, or just questioning outright. Neither has a good evil weight but it will have a different affect in the conversation.

Of course it wasn't done nearly so well as in Koto R 2 which obviously isn't a Bioware game. Now that game really made you think about what you were saying and never just packaged the lines into "good" "bad" "win" categories. You were right to call me out on Bioware maybe, but if we're talking about overall gameplay mechanics the Deus Ex/Alpha Koto R 2 is infinitely better. I find people don't tend to reload because it's a whole conversation and not just one line/choice but some reloading is going to happen. You can still have checks in it but it leads to a situation where people feel like they've earned the win. I know I was pissed off how easy it was to just win any situation in Mass Effect. Just select a button and it "guys get along with each other" and they do. Fallout: New Vegas also using a hybrid of the better system. There are still checks, but you have to select carefully still and will often take several lines of dialogue after the check before you win.

I wasn't actually comparing with DAO though, if you read he says '. DAO was only pretending to be old school while DA 2 stopped pretending and was a better game for it. '

... actually wait a minute, that's not the same guy who wrote the review. I assumed because of the old school comment you were talking about him but he's a completely different guy. Sorry about that.

The actual reviewers comments about dialogue, well he's correct but they are more debatable problems. Bioware have a huge problem with dialogue choices just plain not saying what it suggests it's going to say (even when what's actually said is shorter (?) ) but then the wheel is an understandable progression and allows conversations to feel a lot more fluid and natural sounding (because what you've selected isn't just being read out). I think it's something they just need (and will do) to get better at. It's a trade off rather than a straight out inferior mechanic.

I guess as far as characters go it's just a difference of opinion, but I hope at least you can see that he's entitled to dislike the characters and at least it's a reason other than "they've changed it and now it sucks'

I love that you brought up Pokemon as far as the whole old school thing goes because you're absolutely right and particularly with Pokemon because it's something most of the fanbase would hate to see radically changed. I don't know about you but the idea of a fully 3d world with pokemon wondering around in real time ala monster hunter or FFXII sends shivers up my spine, but why should it? A lot of people who haven't grown up with pokemon think it's something that would make it a lot better, but I don't think I could bear the change and I hope you'll agree with me. Pokemon is a very unusual case. :D
comment #10453 Tomwithnonumbers 2nd Oct 11
I thought we were talking about persuasion, not in-game choices.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the persuasion checks to depend more on your actions rather than whether or not you can click the right lines of dialogue? I'm sure you've experienced how difficult it is to convince someone with only words.

"... actually wait a minute, that's not the same guy who wrote the review. I assumed because of the old school comment you were talking about him but he's a completely different guy. Sorry about that. "

I was talking about him.

"I love that you brought up Pokemon as far as the whole old school thing goes because you're absolutely right and particularly with Pokemon because it's something most of the fanbase would hate to see radically changed. I don't know about you but the idea of a fully 3d world with pokemon wondering around in real time ala monster hunter or FFXII sends shivers up my spine, but why should it? A lot of people who haven't grown up with pokemon think it's something that would make it a lot better, but I don't think I could bear the change and I hope you'll agree with me. Pokemon is a very unusual case. :D "

Pokemon did change. Generation II added a huge amount of balancing to the game. Generation III added natures and special abilities. Generation IV did the physical/special split. Not quite as radical as your idea (Though a 3D Pokemon game that isn't a spinoff does sound awesome), but they're still important changes to the gameplay.

Of course, there's still this group of people who hate everything after Generation I.
comment #10459 eveil 3rd Oct 11
Hello, original reviewer here, wasn't expecting this much discussion (Even if it's between two people), does someone mind narrowing down what issues you have with the review please?
comment #10464 lorddaddyfunk 3rd Oct 11
DA 2 is one of the worst games I've ever played, it takes the strengths of Origins, dumps these strengths (Good characters, well executed Grey And Gray Morality, tactical combat system, and hordes of dialogue choices)

Good characters is subjective - Plenty of people enjoyed them.

Gray and Grey Morality - Done better than DAO, considering that you don't even have a main antagonist until at the end of Act II and III, and the main antagonists aren't mindless creatures who want to kill everything for no apparent reason. The choices you get at the end of the individual scenarios in DAO aren't really gray either; kill all mages vs try to save them all, kill all elves/werewolves vs trying to save them all, kill boy or family member vs try to save them all, and help insane cultists vs not helping insane cultists. The one that was done the best was the dwarf scenario.

Tactical Combat System - Neither games had that much of this. DAO makes you worry about aiming your fireballs more carefully, but otherwise, DAO only gives you the illusion of it by making everything slower. Guess the illusion worked.

Hordes of Dialogue Choices - Same as in DAO, only DA 2 streamlines it and puts it in a wheel.

making the main conflict into a direction-less mess that ends with a fight between two unlike-able forces that you'll be unlikely to care for (With Gray Morality, I was under the impression that both sides are meant to be sympathetic), complete with both sides turning out to be evil anyway, as well as limiting you to three dialogue choices most of the time, preventing you from seeing what you're going to say, and leaving your choices having the exact same outcome for the conversation 95% of the time.

Sympathetic Sides - Subjective. Plenty of people find both sides at least partially sympathetic. By the way, having to fight both sides =/= both sides being evil. That's traditional fantasy mentality.

3 dialogue choices - Blatantly false. You have more than 3 dialogue choices most of the time. It's called "investigate". DAO only tricked you into thinking you had more by putting them in the same place as all the others. Looks like the trick worked a little too well.

Same outcome 95% of the time - False. The difference is that Dragon Age 2's decisions typically don't involve deciding the fate of an entire population of people.

For Combat, they decided to abandon all pretense of battle design and just dump hordes of enemy waves against you from all directions, making positioning and planning impossible, make you have to constantly mash the A button (Which was only just fixed in a patch....which I can't get due to no Xbox Live), and give no feedback from attacks (Or being attacked), making it feel lifeless.

Positioning and Planning - Unneeded most of the time in both games. Unless DA 2 decides to spawn an assassin behind you, you can take down the newly spawned enemies in seconds. On Nightmare.

No feedback from attacks - Blatantly false. Enemies go flying if you hit them hard enough. You get staggered or sent flying if you get hit hard enough.

Sidequests are basically just "Kill that guy!", or alternately just consist of you finding a random object in Cave No.135, running around for someone it belongs to, finding them and magically knowing that it belongs to them, and then just giving it back for a quick reward, cheap, and disinteresting.

Blatantly false - Only a small percentage of the sidequests are like that, and those are meant to be short and painless sidequests that you do if you happen to be passing by the area. Please get your information right; it's misleading.

''And I don't think I really need to talk all that much about the environment recycling, it's there, it's obnoxious, it's been complained about to death by everyone who lives under the sun, the reasoning for this was that Mike Laidlaw decided that the team still had enough resources to build sidequests, so they started recycling more than a member of Green Peace, to which I say, no, Bioware didn't have enough resources, because if they did, they obviously wouldn't need to force you through the same cave over and over.

Oh, and Retcons. Everywhere. They fill me with rage ''

Environment Recycling - Sadly, that's true.

Retcons - Also true (Like Merrill's new personality), but not a big deal, considering how many things there are and how many things they didn't retcon.
comment #10467 eveil 3rd Oct 11 (edited by: eveil)
=Indeed, I personally thought they were bland or obnoxious

And I liked them better than most of the characters in Origins, so whatever.

So? Just because there's no antagionist doesn't mean that it's done well, both the leaders turn out to be loons anyway, 99% of the mages turn out to be Blood Mages (ditto said leader) which just leaves the Templars POV proven right time and time again, sure people in game tell us that the mages suffer at the hands of the Templar, but we rarely see any of it, we never even see the Circle in which the mages live in.

Yes, well your standard of morality is a little different from the standards of most people who play the game. I'm pretty sure the point of having so many blood mages in the game was to try and give players a hard choice on whether to kill all the mages or not. But you know, that doesn't work too well if the player doesn't have much of a problem with genocide.

Origins put enemies in tactically sound positions for it's best fights, which made you have to think more than "Hack and dash", DA 2 meanwhile, has 99% of it's fights with enemies spawning in waves and surrounding you, kind of like Origin's trash mobs which everyone hated

You mean the fights where they spawned your party in the middle of a room with enemies everywhere? Because most of the fights in Origins were easy unless they did something like that, or you were facing a boss. Or you decided not to use a mage, but that would be like not using a warrior in DA 2.

Was there something wrong with the old system?

Is there something wrong with improving something? Or do you normally just lash out at anything different? And you know, it does kind of help prevent you from accidentally moving the plot forward when you wanted to ask a question rather than reloading.

I would hardly consider Meredith turning out to be insane under the influence of the Idol Of Plot Influence and nearly all the mages turning out to be Blood Mages to be not evil.

So because Meredith went crazy in the last 5 minutes of the game, the entire game failed at gray vs grey morality? Oh, and assuming all mages are blood mages because the small percentage that you saw were has some rather unfortunate implications.

Half the time you don't even get that, and without investigate options Origins still usually had more options.

1. Yes you do.

2. No it doesn't. I already told you, you only think that way because the investigate options are put in the same place as everything else.

That's not what I was referring to, 95% of the quests I played ended the exact same way regardless of what decision I made, even non epic choices.

There's plenty of quests that let you alter the way it ends. At least the same amount as in Origins anyways. Maybe you should actually pay attention while playing?

I've never needed it in DA 2, and the fights still drag out to the sheer number of enemies.

Unless they have assassins, or some other boss, or something, most fights in DA 2 should last about as long as the ones in DAO. They don't have waves of enemies in every fight, and the combat is faster anyways.

I was referring to normal attacks, even KOTOR had sparks fly off when you hit an enemy, and while I'm on the subject, the sheer amount of enemies exploding is simply put: Fucking stupid and tedious

You know even normal attacks can cause people to stagger, right? Better than in Origins anyways, where you know, there was absolutely no feedback from a normal attack.

You complain about lack of feedback and now you're complaining about too much feedback? Typical.

Really? All the sidequests I got all ended in needless slaughter.

Yes, welcome to the world of video games, where 95% of all problems are resolved by killing someone. I don't see how the sidequests here are any different than Origins in that regard, other than more killing things and less fetching items.

''I would consider it a big deal since the plot relies on a big one, i.e, Anders and Justice's fusion, since on my playthrough Anders was sold off to the Templars in Awakenings, and Justice lived for a few years/months until dropping dead on his host's wife's doorstep, coupled with the fact that I set the Ferelden Circle free, I honestly don't see the Anders in Awakening's wanting to go to Kirkwall anytime soon.
Seriously, if they want to do the import option, then ignoring your major decisions (Same with Leiliana's possible death) isn't a good way to go around it.''

Guess it all depends on how seriously you take the games then.
comment #10502 lorddaddyfunk 4th Oct 11 (edited by: eveil)
lorddardyfunk (or whatever your name is): I would not call it a "Miserable Experience", but yeah, DA II does have all the flaws you say it has. The thing is: most other PC RP Gs also have it. The reason we are being more harsh on DAII is because DA:O was so good in so many ways (specially the actual roleplaying aspects of it).

And eveil: you are overall just trying to fit his complaints into being "They Changes It Now It Sucks", even when they are not. If something that were before is changed, I can either like it or not like it and if I'm trying to write a review, I should probably fundament it.

Yes, in THIS particular case, I think Dragon Age: Origins is a much better game overall AND I also think that the old RP Gs WERE overall better than the new ones (except in things like graphics and other ways in which tecnology basically can just improve them). I also believe it has to do with the way gaming industry works now, forcing development into rushing things.

This does not mean, by any stretch that I think that fiction should never be changed or that I'm incapable of appreciating the improvements (for instance, I happen to think that TV Series are generally speaking getting increasingly better over time, as opposed to RPG videogame plots).
comment #11959 Sligh 19th Dec 11 (edited by: Sligh)
And eveil: you are overall just trying to fit his complaints into being "They Changes It Now It Sucks", even when they are not.

Yes it is. DAII was better than DAO in many ways, specifically with the gameplay (yes, even with the lack of customization and rushed parts) and story. You're only whining because the game concentrates more on the story rather than the role playing.

Ugh, this is why game developers spend most of their time banging their heads on a wall when dealing with their customers.
comment #11967 eveil 20th Dec 11
When it comes to gameplay, I don't think it was better. I don't think it was horrible either. It was just... different. It could've been better. In terms of gameplay I'd say that DA:O is a well-made game within a more limited conception. DA II, on the other hand, is a more ambitious project, has a better conception, yes, but also has so many flaws. They are probably on the same level here overall.

But in the end, I realize that our desagreement is rather about what we think PC RP Gs SHOULD be like. I'll say it: for me, Dragon Age (or any PC RPG for that matter) could just be amazing in Every. Other. Fucking aspect. If the roleplaying part is not at least very good, I'd rather not play it. It's just the kind of RPG player I am.

An important reason why I think the Dragon Age franchise, specially, should be focused on roleplaying and storytelling is because Bioware is basically one of the few companies out there that proved it can't be done and done it right multiple times. The are just SO may other games focused in other aspects out there!

Sadly, I'll just see them as less enjoyable. I'm not really a hardcore gamer, you know? If the story/roleplaying is just ok, I'd much rather play Tabletop RPG or read book. There very few games outside of RPG that I actually enjoy.
comment #11972 Sligh 20th Dec 11
When it comes to gameplay, I don't think it was better. I don't think it was horrible either. It was just... different. It could've been better. In terms of gameplay I'd say that DA:O is a well-made game within a more limited conception. DA II, on the other hand, is a more ambitious project, has a better conception, yes, but also has so many flaws. They are probably on the same level here overall.

DA:O's gameplay was outright boring unless you were directly controlling a mage, a combat stealth rogue, or a double-hasted warrior. Although Awakenings made HUGE improvements in this, and all it did was add a few new skills. DAII was much faster and funner, though controlling a shield and sword warrior was still boring unless maybe if you gave it area of effect attacks.

If the roleplaying part is not at least very good, I'd rather not play it. It's just the kind of RPG player I am.

Good for you. Now are you going to quit pretending that the game sucks because you happen to have western D&D tastes, or can we admit that Bioware just failed their marketing and targeting?

An important reason why I think the Dragon Age franchise, specially, should be focused on roleplaying and storytelling is because Bioware is basically one of the few companies out there that proved it can't be done and done it right multiple times. The are just SO may other games focused in other aspects out there!

More roleplaying = Less story. Bioware creates the illusion of good storytelling by putting small chunks of story here and there and filling everything inbetween with filler, in which the decisions you make there have little effect on anything outside of it. The story isn't exactly bad, but if you take out the filler, it's surprisingly short.
comment #11973 eveil 20th Dec 11
I never really played DA:O without Awakening installed so... yeah. I've gonne through both game and expansion 2 times. First with a 2 weapon wielding Human Fighter, later with a Elvish Mage. Both were pretty enjoyable (although, yes, mages are overpowered). And I stand by what I said before about the game play in both games.

I never said the game sucks. Just that it is "So Average It's Ok".

More Roleplaying = Less story. Sadly. Still, I'd rather have more roleplaying. Or at least a better balance between the two.
comment #11978 Sligh 20th Dec 11
I never said the game sucks. Just that it is "So Average It's Ok".

That's simply a less aggressive way of saying that a game sucks.

More Roleplaying = Less story. Sadly. Still, I'd rather have more roleplaying. Or at least a better balance between the two.

Good for you. Now stay the hell away from anything that isn't a traditional western RPG.
comment #11981 eveil 20th Dec 11
"So Okay It's Average" (I got it wrong the first time) is not not "bad work", by any means. Average is 5-6/10. Bad is 1-3/10, you see? And I do difference them. In my opinion, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is Bad. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is "So Okay It's Average." Working 8 hours/day, 5 days a week is average (in Brazil, at least), working 10 hours/day, 6 days a week is bad.
comment #11995 Sligh 21st Dec 11
This is the gaming industry. A 5/10 is effectively as bad as a 1/10. Read the "4-point scale" trope for more info.
comment #11996 eveil 21st Dec 11
I'm not operating within that logic. If your scale goes from 5 to 10, then just read my comment as a 7.5. My scale goes from 0 to 10, though.

Specially since I don't work for any review sites/magazines, receive no bribe and therefore can say what I ACTUALLY think.
comment #12031 Sligh 23rd Dec 11 (edited by: Sligh)
Good for you. That still means you gave it a 50-60 out of 100, which is pretty bad.
comment #12032 eveil 23rd Dec 11
I agree with this review. I especially disliked the Evil vs. Evil part. The game gave off wanting to create grey vs. grey but failed miserably when Orsino turned to blood magic right after we began WINNING the battle. It's what cemented the game's grave to me, after many annoyances with the story and gameplay.
comment #12170 Tzekelkan 3rd Jan 12
Okay, I don't know if me coming in late to this discussion will change anything or not, but... a few things. 1, I don't think the combat was improved at all. I don't have any issue with the different talent tree or the specializations (Though I still miss Arcane Warrior, I recognize it was removed in order to balance mages) And while I was a bit peeved that you couldn't control what your companions wore, I didn't much care. The new button mashing combat system, however, that I have a problem with. In DA 2, I actually died more often then I did in Origins, not because I was an incompetent gamer, but because it got so monotonous that my hands went on autopilot and I just zoned off in the middle of battles, not realizing it when my health/stamina/mana/magic pixie dust got low. That never happened to me in Origins. You keep saying the gameplay was improved, but if that were the case, then why was I bored out of my mind? Personal taste? Because I never used strategy much in Origins, either. One thing I did notice, however, is that I was more involved in the actual combat when I played as a rogue. Maybe it's because I was in the thick of battle as opposed to the sidelines, maybe it's because I'm crap at building a good mage, as my rogue seemed to do more damage, but I was overall more bored with the combat in 2 then in Origins. And that's typically not a sign of improvement.

2, what's with the claim that persuade was an instant win that required no forethought or careful guiding of conversations? The landsmeet in Origins is all about carefully guiding the conversation into getting the nobles on your side, and there's no persuade condition that automatically makes them all believe you. You have to be careful about what you select in order to avoid making the nobles think you're just doing a power play. Only one of the major quests could be solved via persuasion (Nature of the Beast, and honestly, the persuade option doesn't lead you to the good ending) But Orzammar, Redcliffe, and the Circle Tower could all only be solved via killing junk. All other persuade options in the game, with the exception of the one convincing whoever to do the DR, are mainly irrelevant and don't change anything beyond cutting down on time/getting a bonus. And it completely ignores the approval system, which is all about carefully choosing responses in order to maximize approval/friendship/rivalry. While there are SOME persuade options that give you more approval, that certainly doesn't apply to all the conversations, especially in DA 2. The inclusion of a persuade option doesn't automatically mean that the game requires no finesse or grace in conversations. It just means some situations have a clearly labeled "This will help you win and/or get better stuff" choice.

Thirdly, I'm not of the mind that the story is better, and no, it's not because I hate the changes because they're new or not my cup of tea or whathaveyou. I have a friend who hates DA 2 solely because the story's more personal then Origins, and I fight with him all the time on the matter. And as a note, eveil, gray and gray morality does NOT automatically equal a better plot. There's a reason we have the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy trope. The biggest complaint with this is that the game, instead of blurring morality by portraying both sides as sympathetic, portrays the flaws and evils of both sides, without adding much to redeem them. It doesn't make them seem like morally ambiguous conflicting factions. It made them both seem evil, and thus alienated players who, while maybe not looking for a clear right/wrong, wanted to be able consider the good AND bad acts committed by both sides, not just cut it down to a choice between the lesser of two evils. This was made difficult since either side is rarely shown as doing something nice. The writers were simply counting on our sympathy for the oppressed to make us side with mages, and our acknowledgement of the mages' potential evil making us side with the templars.

As for the roleplaying, people say DA 2 is supposed to be a more personal story. Roleplaying, obviously, lends a more vested interest to the player character and thus a more personal feel. Thus a personal storyline and roleplaying are a bit tied together. I care for my Warden more then I care for my Hawke. Hawke just didn't feel like mine, I felt like I was watching a movie with a rather bland main protagonist and her more interesting companions.Her sister died, her mother died, her brother went to be come a Grey Warden, and I felt nothing through all of it. I just didn't care about Hawke, it felt too impersonal. In Origins, the lack of a voice-over and more options within dialog made the Warden feel more like one's own, since they could project personality onto them more easily. Which is another thing: While in Origins, the investigate options were in the same area as the rest does not, by any means, mean there was just as many options as in DA 2. Plenty of conversations had multiple options with all of them branching out to different paths. Just talk to your companions and you'll see that. In Origins, most of the companion conversations had plenty of options to the point that many played them again and again just to see how the companion responds to different lines of dialog. In DA 2, there's only three options, which means that most conversations can only be seen three times, with only a few having more since some options branch away from others. In addition to that, many of the characters were a bit boring, though in all fairness, that IS my own personal taste. Varric, Fenris, and Merril were all interesting. All the others always harped on the same subject (Anders, Sebastian) or in general usually just had pointless conversations (Aveline, Isabella) But this is, of course, horribly subjective.

I fail to see how DA 2 concentrated more on story. Many of the story lines didn't seem to amount to much, for what is claimed to be a better plot. Act 1, for instance. With the amount of build-up it got in Varric's narration, you'd think they'd have found worse in the Deeproads. The lyrium idol was important, certainly, but all it did was exacerbate a situation and caused a conflict that would've happened eventually. It didn't drive the story. Meredith did. Which is not unlike the Archdemon driving the plot of Origins. Just because one villain has a clear reason for their actions doesn't make the plot better, especially since the darkspawn have a reason, too. (They're punishing humanity for their hubris. That's not doing something because they're evil) And Origins had more plot, if you ask me. The quests all had their own arcs and there was a clearly defined goal you were working towards, while DA 2, lacking a clear goal, had a feeling of listlessness. The Warden was after something and actively persuing it. Hawke got what they wanted after Act 1, and thus spent the rest of the game simply reacting, not to mention that DA 2 was very much lacking in the way of choices and things you could actually change. The only real choice you have, the only one that changes anything major, is the templar/mage choice at the end, and that inevitably leads to the same situation. Contrast Origins, which had massive replayability due to the choices with the Landsmeet and endgame.

And please, before you start accusing me of being a deluded fangirl upset by the changes to the game, I'd like to point out I enjoyed DA 2, and don't regret buying it. I simply enjoyed Origins more.
comment #12444 BaronessSamedi 22nd Jan 12
1. That's because you played a mage. Mages were largely a support class in DA 2, unlike the gods that they were in DAO. I don't remember DAO's combat being more interesting in any way, only the animations were more stale. Still the same cooldown based pause fest.

2. The Landsmeet needed a dialogue battle? I must have never noticed that on any of my 6 playthroughs. All I remember is doing some quests for some nobles and then they side with me. You could actually lose that?

3. Whatever shortcomings DA 2's story had, I found it prefferable to DAO's generic fantasy plot. Gather an army to defeat the great evil. How original.

4. I can never immerse myself in single player games and always end up powergaming somehow so I can't really tell if it had better roleplaying. I can just say that my Hawke's were much more memorable to me than any of my Wardens, and the companions were far more endearing and I like them all, more or less. On the other hand, I like precisely 3 characters from DAO - Sten, Zevran and Shale. All the others were either boring or unlikable, subjectively of course.

5. I don't think anyone says DA 2 "concentrated more on story" because that's what Bioware games do by default. I think some people just preffered the three arc structure that didn't have an obvious ultimate threat looming over it. Also, you don't think the Deeproads were bad? They drove Varric's brother insane and potentially killed Hawke's only remaining sibling.
comment #12451 McSomeguy 22nd Jan 12
1. Maybe? I try not to obsessively compare and contrast classes, just play around and go with whatever seems to be working better. Maybe I was just using the mages wrong. I will grant you, there's more feedback in the combat in DA 2. And the style does work for some of the boss battles, notably the Arishok and High Dragon. Almost every other battle, though, was just me whittling down health and using talents/spells without any strategy. I suppose I find the combat in Origins more interesting because of how it's... sorta like the Sims. As odd as that comparison feels. More micromanagement, which seemed more like how an actual battle would go. But in DA 2 I only switched companions because someone was dying and my mage's heal hadn't recharged.

2. Yeah. It's not that major, but they can hardly make the game impossible to win because you've got no social skills. But in the Landsmeet, you can bypass the whole battle before the duel with Loghain if you convince the majority of the nobles to side with you. All it changes is that he goes into a rant on how evil Orlais is and then you duel him, but still, it's a conversation where you have to carefully navigate without persuasion. Doing the quests for the nobles is only part of it. If you get Anora to support you and don't mention Ostagr or something, then you can just skip straight to dueling him.

3. Fair enough. I didn't. The quality of both plots are clearly subjective. Origins may have been less original, but it didn't leave plot threads hanging.

4. Once again, fair enough, because once again, subjective. The only Origins character I didn't like was Leliana. She was hideously girlish and boring to me. I know it's been mentioned before, but the characters in DA 2, with Anders and Fenris being the most obvious, just seemed like mouthpieces for different view points. And the interactions just didn't seem as real to me. In Origins, instead of asking questions as backstories came to light, you got to have whole conversations about different parts of the backstories (Take for instance Alistair, where there were conversations about him being at the Chantry, him becoming a Grey Warden, being a Grey Warden, living at Redcliffe) I know adding a voice over made it seem more realistic, but in, say, Fenris's romance path, he breaks up and you are never able to confront him about this, just make a half-hearted comment or two before he leaves and then brooch the subject again three years later. Or if after he leaves you go after Anders or Merril or whoever, there can never be a conversation about this, with him atleast hinting he's a bit jealous or happy Hawke found someone or whatever. It's just never brought up. The interactions are more realistic, what they're interacting about took a few steps back. In my opinion.

5. It's not that I don't think they were bad. It's that the one playthrough where my sibling did die, it didn't seem... I can't really think of the word. It seemed a bit like it was tacked on for players who happened to go that route. Just, they fall sick, have a line or two about this with Hawke, die, and it's only ever brought up again by Leandra. That was integral to the character, but it didn't seem very well-done. Maybe if I cared for the character more, then I wouldn't mind. It seemed like an after thought, with the developers clearly expecting the player to make their sibling a grey warden/circle mage/Templar. And as for Varric's brother... that's another improvement over Origins. Each companion's got their own quest chain, as opposed to just one quest. I do have to admit that I liked that better. But none of them, save Anders which isn't required anyway, have got much to do with the main plot. The way Varric said it, I thought that there would be something nasty down there, something that kick started the plot and turned everything into overdrive. Maybe there was... I dunno, an old god prison or something. Something that's clearly and directly responsible for the plot of the game. Instead it was just an idol that brought about an already-inevitable conflict. Varric's companion quest chain was nice, and certainly it only happened because of the deeproads, but like Feynriel, Keran, the entire Qunari conflict, it just didn't seem to amount to a real conclusion and doesn't seem to do much with the main conflict. It hinted at how Meredith takes a rocket ship off her rocker, but that's it. I think the Qunari are the biggest offender of this, as that self-contained story arc on it's own was good, but due to the game's linearity and pointlessness, seems more like something for Hawke to do and an excuse for why he's so famous. And that got nearly as much build-up as the templars. Someone here suggested that, if the Qunari, say, waited around for the mage thing to boil over and then tried to raze the city among the chaos, then I'd let it slide. It would've been a major element to the game's climax. As is, it's just sorta there.

As is, I'd say that Origins and DA 2 are about on the same level if you look at it objectively. But nobody does, as reviews are all about one's opinion and personal tastes. If they took the merits of Origins and the merits of DA 2 and stitched them together for the third game, then it'll probably be better then both of them. Not to mention that DA 2, to me, felt like it was just setting things up for a later conflict and passed up a satisfying conclusion in order to do this. Origins certainly had it's hints at bigger plots, but it still came gift wrapped with a sense of accomplishment and resolution.
comment #12454 BaronessSamedi 22nd Jan 12
That sounds about as fair as it's gonna get. You could compress those comments and turn them into a better review than this one, though there are already reviews covering the entire spectrum of possible opinions. Food for thought.

On a sidenote, what I think is actually the root of all of DA 2's problems is Star Wars: The Old Republic. Strange as that may sound, I think EA was banking a lot on it and it's astronomical budget had to come from somewhere, so they pushed DA 2 to be released as soon as possible because they knew it would sell enough, regardless of quality. That lead to Bioware having seen the problems in DAO and trying to improve them but not having enough time or resources to finish the job. This left the players with half-assed level design and a ton of cut corners. Of course, I generally percieve EA to be the root of all evil so ... yeah. My 2 cents.
comment #12458 McSomeguy 23rd Jan 12 (edited by: McSomeguy)
As is, I'd say that Origins and DA 2 are about on the same level if you look at it objectively.

No. They're not.

DA 2 has objectively worse writing (meandering plot with no real conflict for the vast majority of the story, plot threads coming out of nowhere or forgotten, inane characterization, and blatant ignoring of what the player might have done in the first game) objectively worse gameplay (removing tactical combat in favor of pressing "the awesome button" over and over again with dozens of trash enemies, the same area reused for almost every dungeon) and finally, objectively worse graphics.
comment #12462 PataHikari 23rd Jan 12
DA 2 has objectively worse writing (meandering plot with no real conflict for the vast majority of the story, plot threads coming out of nowhere or forgotten, inane characterization, and blatant ignoring of what the player might have done in the first game) objectively worse gameplay (removing tactical combat in favor of pressing "the awesome button" over and over again with dozens of trash enemies, the same area reused for almost every dungeon) and finally, objectively worse graphics.

Why don't you go learn what the hell the word "objective" means before using it, k?
comment #12463 eveil 23rd Jan 12
"not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased"

Dragon Age 2 is an objectively worse game then Dragon Age 1.
comment #12769 PataHikari 11th Feb 12
"not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased"

So you don't know what any of these words mean. Ok.
comment #12779 eveil 12th Feb 12
meandering plot with no real conflict for the vast majority of the story

So all that tension involving mages, Templars, Qunari, and Chantry was what, a hallucination?

plot threads coming out of nowhere or forgotten, inane characterization, and blatant ignoring of what the player might have done in the first game

Examples of any of this?

(removing tactical combat in favor of pressing "the awesome button" over and over again with dozens of trash enemies)

Tactical combat? You do remember that the first game is derisively called "Dragon Mage" because the other two classes are virtually irrelevant? DAO was "Everyone's an Arcane Warrior, then mass paralyze, fireball, rinse and repeat."

the same area reused for almost every dungeon

As I have noted in my review, this doesn't bother me at all, so this is definitely subjective.

and finally, objectively worse graphics

Haha, no. I recently replayed both games, and DAO's characters and environments look like wax sculptures compared with DA2's.

So no, you don't really understand the meaning of "objective" - everything you've cited is subjective.
comment #12788 Zaptech 13th Feb 12
So all that tension involving mages, Templars, Qunari, and Chantry was what, a hallucination?

The mentality is "if you're changing the world, it's not meaningful".
comment #12789 eveil 13th Feb 12
The game does go out of it's way to make you feel both completely impotent (for a game about Hawke's grand rise to power, you spend an awfully large amount of time essentially being an errand boy for everybody else, even after you become the Champion of Kirkwall) and utterly ineffectual (As Eveil noted, do you think much of the main plot would've changed an awful lot had Hawke never been involved?)
comment #13055 Mightymoose101 4th Mar 12
I have a few comments about points in the review

  • Mages were somewhat overpowered in Origins, but in II, they seemed quite a bit less effective than warriors or rogues. Their abilities take longer to cool down, they do much less damage, they're more fragile than before, and their healing is greatly reduced. If you've played an MMORPG, you will likely see that there are times when a certain class is overpowered at one point or another, then is nerfed until they become almost useless, then buffed up in response; class balancing is difficult and often, a step in the right direction can also end up going too far.

  • The party member balance seems better in this game. There are two warriors, two rogues(plus one more in the DLC) and two mages, plus one warrior or mage depending on your selection so that, unlike Origins in which Alistair essentially became your first tank, you weren't penalized for your character build (although in all fairness, the Ostagar temporary party members were a nice touch).

  • In my experience, II is easier for a few reasons.
    • More plentiful supplies of money, healing items (you don't need to worry about buying more potent poultices or lyrium potions)
    • More stamina and mana. While using most of the Two-Handed moves on my warrior, I hardly ever lacked the stamina to execute them, and when I did, I could usually use Second Wind.
    • Most of the ordinary enemies are weaker than those in Origins, and instead of getting hit with the full might of an enemy group at the start, it comes in waves, making encounters less difficult but longer.

  • Origins' morality is better than II's in that the decisions have consequences, and despite not being clear-cut, typically do not involve both options being reprehensible.
    • In Origins, there were times when your morality decisions were not easy, but in nearly all cases, they have consequences. For example, in Orzammar, Harrowmont turns out to be completely ineffectual, while Bhelen, despite his less than ethical deeds in seizing and keeping power, is better for the dwarves as a whole, especially the casteless. Another case is the main quest in the Brecilian Forest; both sides omit critical details from their stories, so you have to decide who to believe as well as who to support. And the Connor decision may seem like an example of Debate And Switch, but if you don't limit yourself to the two choicse presented, you can either save him and his mother or betray him for personal gain.
    • In the endgame of II, however very little changes based on your decisions. You are unable to prevent the Mage-Templar war, have to fight both Orsino and Meredith, and have to leave Kirkwall regardless of your choices. To make matters worse, by the end of the game, both factions' leaders have fallen into the same behavior as the extremists among their followers, so the choice hardly seems to matter.

  • The dialogue wheel in II (but also in Mass Effect) seems to make conversations more linear, with many options only affecting companion approval, and giving fewer chances to ask questions or choose which points to make.

  • Winning companion approval in Origins required more thought than in II. Does the character more appreciate sympathy or being told to suck it up? What are their opinions and how far are they willing to go for them? In II, the main characters tend to be defined by their stance on the Mage-Templar conflict

  • Not only were the areas in II often repetitive, but you spend the majority of your time in Kirkwall. It might have been nice to spend some time in another city or quest hub.

  • I didn't mind the retcons. I liked the new look for the Qunari, as it made them look more like the Ogres that came from their broodmothers. Merrill's new personality made her a more interesting character than in Origins, and helped her serve well as a main party member rather than a Guest Star Party Member.

  • If the Four Point Scale exists, it's because few people would seriously consider buying an "average" game unless they disagreed with many of the review's criticisms. Additionally, while critics would not seriously recommend buying a mediocre game, they give games in that category those scores because they are far better than a buggy, poorly-designed game with a terrible concept.

In general, as I stated in my review, I like the first game more, and think some of the changes in II removed or diluted the first game's stronger aspects. Despite its flaws, though, II still has much of what makes up a good RPG (plenty of character customization, an interesting world, lots of sidequests, good combat system), as well as some improvements (the talent system, character quests). I would give Origins a 9.5 for being a great game, and II an 8.5 for being an excellent one, and would recommend both games.
comment #13629 Valiona 3rd Apr 12
Winning companion approval in Origins required more thought than in II.

Nope. Winning companion approval in the first game required spamming them with gifts. Everything else was supplemental. Then they added the Feast Day DLC which was essentially instant 100% approval.
comment #13710 Zaptech 7th Apr 12
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