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#1 Sep 17 2012 at 10:34 AM Rating: Good
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Very few details were released, but Bioware confirmed the game today since there have been a ton of rumors flying around this summer, anyway.

And few details means few details.

Really, all they confirmed is the name, which hints at a story which I'm sure ALL of us expected from the events of the first two games. They also confirmed they are using a new engine that's based on the one Battlefield 3 uses, because it allows them to really invest in "armor and followers."

The team is composed of people who have been with the series since Origins, as well as new devs. I didn't hate DA2 nearly as much as many other people did. Honestly, all I want is a game that takes the best parts of DA:O and DA2. That, or just reinvents the franchise from the ground up.

If the way they've handled their DLC in DA2 is any hint, I'm willing to take them at their word that they've put a lot of effort into researching what did and did not work about their sequel. Everything about those two pieces suggested they listened, so I'm getting my hopes up for the next game. Hopefully, the significant delay in development for this process also means EA stopped breathing down their necks...
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#2 Sep 17 2012 at 10:59 AM Rating: Good
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I never even finished DA2, it was such a disappointment. I'll be interested in seeing what happens with this one and willing to hear people's opinions but it won't be a potential pre-order or anything I have real enthusiasm for at the moment.
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#3 Sep 17 2012 at 11:15 AM Rating: Good
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I never even finished DA2, it was such a disappointment. I'll be interested in seeing what happens with this one and willing to hear people's opinions but it won't be a potential pre-order or anything I have real enthusiasm for at the moment.


Pretty much the same for me. DA2 ravaged any excitement that I'd had for the series, so I'll probably be slow to win back.
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#4 Sep 17 2012 at 11:50 AM Rating: Decent
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I won't pay more than $5 for it.
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#5 Sep 17 2012 at 1:06 PM Rating: Good
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All of you are such downers. Smiley: mad

Honestly, I only had three problems with DA2. Now, they were big problems, and I don't blame people for not being able to get over them, but it wasn't bad enough to keep me from enjoying the game well enough.

1. Environment recycling/scale. Definitely an issue. I never felt like Kirkwall was all that real, and i definitely never felt large. And unless they can make it feel expansive, you definitely can't reuse the same three dungeon formats. DA:O has the same problem with scale, to be fair. The effects of mods like Improved Atmosphere and DA Redesigned absolutely need to become standard. But the effect was more egregious in DA2, because I was always going to the same areas.

2. Glaring design flaws when it came to parties and class mechanics. Mages were ridiculously weak, only one healer, Isabela was useless, etc. Not saying DA:O was necessarily better, Mages were ridiculously OP, and the play styles of different classes definitely had more value in DA2, but the fact that there was a much stronger strategy element made up for those issues by allowing the player to realistically plan accordingly.

3. An actual overarching story. DA:O had a strong one. DA2's was weak as hell. Fine, you're essentially playing a biographical game, but whatever. All of Chapter 2 barely mattered for DA2. Hell, Chapter 1 only loosely mattered. They wanted the overall story to really be about Mages vs. Chantry, but they definitely didn't do a good enough job of making that plotline central. I think changing Act 2 to something relevant would have solved that though. The seeds of Act 1 could have organically grown into Act 3, but since all of that happened off screen, you just don't feel that way.
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#6 Sep 17 2012 at 1:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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(1) Illogical plot inconsistencies and ret-cons from DA:O/A. They would have been better off creating a completely new story than trying to shove old characters in to make it a "Dragon Age" story.

(2) NPCs I cared nothing about. By the time I got my 4th NPC in DA:O, I was anguishing over which person I should switch out because I was attached (such as it is for a video game) to all of them. No one in DA2 grew on me at all and today I couldn't name a single NPC who wasn't a DA:O/A carry-over. I mean, I could give vague descriptors ("Dwarf with crossbow, my sister, chick who started with us and became some guard captain...") but that's it. They were all forgettable.

(3) Dull mechanics. Dull classes, character locked gear, button mashing combat, repeating scenery, yadda yadda.
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#7 Sep 17 2012 at 1:59 PM Rating: Good
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It's probably heresy to say, but I rather liked everything about DA2 except Anders. Because @#%^ that @#%^.

Edit: And the reused maps. I'd forgotten those.

Edited, Sep 17th 2012 2:12pm by Poldaran
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#8 Sep 17 2012 at 2:17 PM Rating: Good
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There's really only a single area where I thought that DA2 improved on the original, and that was in the voice-acted protagonist and expanded dialogue options. That's it.

I'd love to see that stay (and be improved upon), but I think they need to go back to the drawing board on practically everything else. And I don't know if I've got confidence in them to do it with EA breathing down their necks about how they need to add multiplayer and Call-of-Dutify the combat.
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#9 Sep 17 2012 at 2:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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The One and Only Poldaran wrote:
It's probably heresy to say, but I rather liked everything about DA2 except Anders.

Hey, power to you. I wish I had liked it because I would have wanted to expand upon the positive experience from the first game. If anyone else liked it, I'm envious rather than resentful.
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#10 Sep 17 2012 at 4:37 PM Rating: Good
I personally had a rather different view of DA2 over origins. I love the second installment of the game. I enjoyed the first one enough to pre-order the second one. The lore was great but the game-play was just uhgg to me. Not only was it unsatisfying to watch in my opinion. The glitches.. I went to play through the second time and I had to just stop becuase I was tired of watching my character just run around in circles when I was telling it to attack the enemy right in front of me.

However I have a rather different view of the "Story" of origins verses 2. Origins wins in lore hands down, no argument there.

...Yet..

When someone asks me the main difference between the two games, my first answer is not the game play. The first thing I say is "Origins was a history lesson. 2 told a story."
Now I realize I have great deal of justification to make for that statement. I will try to be brief though. When you look at the events of origin. A great deal going on and it definitely feels like your character is instrumental in the dealings of them but if step back and really look at what's going on.. It's very fragmented. Each particular crisis you have to solve before a particular force joins your cause shows a great deal of things about their culture and the state of the world. But what does it have anything to do with the "Story." The betrayal of the king, the civil unrest of the dwarves, the ancient curse afflicted onto the elves, and the cursed earl of redcliff. All very interesting stories, even stand alone story worthy. But what do any of those plot points besides the inciting incident in the betrayal of the kind have to do with the blight? What did the blight have to do with any of those sub-stories besides the first one?

All of this on top of a too blank of a slate main character. If you completely took out the "Warden" as a character and replaced him or her with Alister as the main character in a "Hawke" style role. How much of the game would of changed? Nearly none of it right? THAT'S A HUGE A PROBLEM. You completely take hawke out of the game and replace him or her with one of the main playable characters from that story. Pick anyone, and the game would of played out completely differently even if you had control of their decision making. Why? Because it was a story about two things. The completely **** life of Hawke and the situation of chantry verse the Mages s/he got dragged into. What story was "Origins" telling? It's really hard to put my finger on it..(Another problem.) Can either go with Alister's or the state of Fereldan during the "Dragon age" time period. The creators would have you believe it was of your main character but... as I've said before, I have a hard time calling it a "story."

The different acts can seem pointless but their was in fact a direction in each one setting up for act 3.

How did an immigrant in a time of crisis come into a position of power with real weight in their opinion?
At the behest of his mother he bought back his ancestors old property while she re-established political ties. Causing to gain noble status. Additionally, by chance, he was the only person who had any kind of "Relation" to a hostile entity inside the city. Viscount seeking to solve the problem used that tie and made Hawke a go-between, almost a liaison between the two.(act 1)
How did the templars, specifically, Meridith gain control of Kirkwall and why was this important?
An attempted hostile take over by the Quanari thwarted by collection of powers(Including Hawke and Meredith) left the city-state without a ruler. The templars stepped in temporarily until a new ruler was elected. Meridith took this oppertunity to extend her policies more effectively on top of which her ever growing strictness went unopposed.

All leading up to act 3. On top of which they spend every single second of the game giving you situations involving the main point of the story. So when it comes time to make that decision you fully know the weight of it.

Does it make it an amazing story? No, they beat around the bush to much. But at least it was one with characters that had arcs and a specific clear storyline instead of a bunch of different stories tied together by a loosely connected national crisis.
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#11 Sep 17 2012 at 5:26 PM Rating: Decent
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I rather liked DA2. The reusing of dungeons was my biggest complaint. I thought the story was much better than Origins. The story in Origins basically had nothing to do with the main character. You're a Warden, you have to end the Blight and you do it. The side stories were well done, but had nothing whatsoever to do with the main story of the game. In DA2 the entire storyline, from start to finish is about your character. I found Hawke to be a much more interesting protagonist than the Warden.

Some people complain about the button mashing combat, but it made the game feel more busy. Instead of placing your characters and planning their attacks, you just attacked. I prefer that type of combat. It makes me feel more engaged in the game than if I just planned out the attack and sat back watching it happen.

The characters were to me about equally well done between the two games. The only one that was mistake to have in the game is the third sibling that gets killed at the beginning. For Hawke and family that would be a pretty traumatic event, but since it happened in the first ten minutes of the game, it doesn't have any real impact on the player.

Overall, I liked both games about equally, but for different reasons. It annoys me when people dismiss DA2 for it's shortcomings and completely ignore the things it did right.
#12 Sep 17 2012 at 7:41 PM Rating: Good
Isabel useless? Are you freaking kidding me Digg? Her DPS far outshines our dwarf friend, with fewer points needed in Dexterity, which gives you more room to max out Cunning for chests. It's just a shame you get her so much later in chapter 1. Every other point I agree with you on though. But seriously, melee rogues were ridiculously OP.
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#13 Sep 17 2012 at 11:03 PM Rating: Good
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None of the retcons bothered me, really. I was able to excuse them because they were coming out of a game clearly not designed for a sequel, with relatively little to work with. For the most part, the changes really were for the greater good. Leliana being a Seeker, for instance, really does make the whole expanded universe richer, in my opinion. I think the biggest problem with Anders is that they failed to really give him the appropriate context for it to make sense that he was the voice of mages in Kirkwall, which made the very end a little jarring from a plot perspective. It seemed too much like a random act of violence--a decision in a vacuum--and not the cumulation of 6 years of conflict.

Also, I thought the DA2 cast was vastly superior to DA:O's. The characters were far more fleshed out, and far more realistic. They weren't all super lovable, but they were interesting. Then again, I'm positive you and I have different character preferences Joph. I loved Alistair and hated Ohgren, and I'm fairly certain I remember you having the opposite reaction.

@Lax, I get what you're saying, and you're not completely wrong about Act 2, but I do think you're missing the point. Act 2 was valuable only for superficial reasons. Very little about the main plot line advanced anything. Yeah, it explains how Meridith came to power. But just about anything else could have taken its place there, and nothign about the overall story would change. And that's really poor writing. Senor Bigshot could have had a heart attack, an errant group of blood mages could have killed him, he could have been corrupt, etc, etc, etc. And the Qunari didn't remain a threat into Act 3, so it failed to even explain why Meredith refused to abdicate power.

Act 2 should have been used to truly flesh out the conflict between Mages and the chantry. It should have brought Anders into the center of the story then, rather than wait until he was blowing up the chantry for you to realize he was actually important and not just some token anti-chantry companion. There are SO MANY WAYS this could have been done. They could have gone with the invasion storyline, but made it Tevinter instead. They could have had a mage-led coup.

Or, here's a crazy idea, they could have actually introduced Anders' mage pals. Y'know, the ones who are only occasionally mentioned, never appeared on screen, and were central to the plan to blow up the chantry? Had they taken Anders out of that weird vacuum they put him in for no reason, the whole story would have blended so much better.

As it stands, all of Act 2 exists for a single plot element in the main story, and the element isn't even tied to it in any meaningful way. It's really, really poor writing. I can only imagine the Qunari invasion was going to be a lot bigger and more meaningful originally, but it's act 3 story was cut because EA forced them to release it ASAP.

@Pigtails, Isabela really is the least useful character in the game. Does she have her moments? Yes. But there are really three major problems with her.

1. Survivability vs. DPS
2. AI issues
3. Complete lack of AoE.

There are two ways to build Isabela, both with significant issues. 1, you can go for the Swashbuckler, who'll try and tank enemies while dealing damage. 2, you can go for the assassin, who will try to dish out as much damage as possible.

Let's say you actually use the Swashbuckler talents, and haven't just invested for the sake of the +attack/+critd passive. Problem is, Isabela is really, REALLY squishy. She is entirely reliant on her defense to survive. But the problem with dodge tanks in every game usually comes down to health pools. When 2-3 lucky hits can down them, it's a problem. And becoming unhittable is impossible in DA2--80% dodge chance is the cap. Unless you are very actively investing in Isabela's defense, she's going to go down. And spending that much on defense really brings offensive potential down with it. Even worse, you can't get flanking bonuses for the swashbuckler, so it's amazing passive skill is actually just breaking even.

So I'm going to guess you'd go with the better build where you ignore everything about Swashbuckler except its passive and try and build her into an assassin. This works better, but not by much. Fact of the matter is that Rogue AI sucks--Isabela will attack from the front as often as she attacks from behind, for no good reason. Even more annoying, you end up taking two useless skills just to get the one good one in her personal tree. And, at the end of the day, she's mediocre compared to an Assassin Hawke (all companions are inferior to Hawke, but none come close to being as bad as Isabela, most likely because they didn't have an analog to Assasin or Shadow so they just... winged it with her).

Finally, we come to the last problem. She has nearly no AoE. Fine, she has some if you go Swashbuckler, otherwise its awful. Now, there is a place for ST damage in DA2, yes. I'm not denying that. But because Isabela is so squishy, chances are she's going to go down. And because her Swashbuckler traits require the target to be attacking her to function, it doesn't matter what you picked. You aren't going to have the boss targeting her if you can help it, so those are wasted points the one time she's actually useful.

At the end of the day, there really is no good reason to take Isabela over Varric or Sebastian. Varric's personal tree is much, much stronger than hers, and being ranged you don't have to make the same defensive concessions you need to take with her. While her potential dps could be higher (which I'm not actually convinced of), the fact is that it won't actually be higher if properly built on a higher difficulty. Add in the fact that Varric has great support and strong AoE to go with his stellar (and, I honestly believe, superior) single-target DPS and, well, yeah. Useless.

Love her as a character, but she really is far weaker than she should be. I'm not finding any dps comparisons online, but I'm doubting Isabela blows them away.

As for why I'd argue her DPS is probably lower? I'm fairly certain Hawke is built so that Archery has higher sustained damage, but DW has superior burst. However, I'm positive that, even if I'm wrong and DW has superior sustained as well, it's not by a huge degree. Thing is, Isabela doesn't get any of the amazing DW talents that make Hawke a beast. Varric and Sebastian, however, DO get awesome Archery talents that Hawke would have had access to. And because the talents in the Assassin tree actually do matter, I can only imagine her potential dps is quite a bit lower because of it. Her burst alone is worlds behind Hawke, and she has no good way to close the gap through sustained dps.

The fact of the matter, is that I find it ridiculously hard to believe that she'd come out ahead of Varric in dps in any real-world scenario, and definitely not on a difficulty where survivability matters.

And now, bedtime.
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#14 Sep 18 2012 at 5:15 AM Rating: Decent
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
None of the retcons bothered me, really. I was able to excuse them because they were coming out of a game clearly not designed for a sequel, with relatively little to work with. For the most part, the changes really were for the greater good. Leliana being a Seeker, for instance, really does make the whole expanded universe richer, in my opinion. I think the biggest problem with Anders is that they failed to really give him the appropriate context for it to make sense that he was the voice of mages in Kirkwall, which made the very end a little jarring from a plot perspective. It seemed too much like a random act of violence--a decision in a vacuum--and not the cumulation of 6 years of conflict.

Also, I thought the DA2 cast was vastly superior to DA:O's. The characters were far more fleshed out, and far more realistic. They weren't all super lovable, but they were interesting. Then again, I'm positive you and I have different character preferences Joph. I loved Alistair and hated Ohgren, and I'm fairly certain I remember you having the opposite reaction.

@Lax, I get what you're saying, and you're not completely wrong about Act 2, but I do think you're missing the point. Act 2 was valuable only for superficial reasons. Very little about the main plot line advanced anything. Yeah, it explains how Meridith came to power. But just about anything else could have taken its place there, and nothign about the overall story would change. And that's really poor writing. Senor Bigshot could have had a heart attack, an errant group of blood mages could have killed him, he could have been corrupt, etc, etc, etc. And the Qunari didn't remain a threat into Act 3, so it failed to even explain why Meredith refused to abdicate power.

Act 2 should have been used to truly flesh out the conflict between Mages and the chantry. It should have brought Anders into the center of the story then, rather than wait until he was blowing up the chantry for you to realize he was actually important and not just some token anti-chantry companion. There are SO MANY WAYS this could have been done. They could have gone with the invasion storyline, but made it Tevinter instead. They could have had a mage-led coup.

Or, here's a crazy idea, they could have actually introduced Anders' mage pals. Y'know, the ones who are only occasionally mentioned, never appeared on screen, and were central to the plan to blow up the chantry? Had they taken Anders out of that weird vacuum they put him in for no reason, the whole story would have blended so much better.

As it stands, all of Act 2 exists for a single plot element in the main story, and the element isn't even tied to it in any meaningful way. It's really, really poor writing. I can only imagine the Qunari invasion was going to be a lot bigger and more meaningful originally, but it's act 3 story was cut because EA forced them to release it ASAP..



I don't disagree that act 2 was kind of ham-handled but it was definitely important. The quanari invasion at the end of act 2 was important becuase Hawke was credited with stopping it. The Viscount suddenly was killed by a random group or disease. He have zero weight with the remaining nobles. It was the fact that you not only saved Kirkwall but you also saved the noble's lives. Although it always confused the heck out of me why someone like Merideth would send you in first while defending the door instead of doing the exact opposite. I think act 2 and the Qunari in general in 2 were put in just to give a better understanding of them. I certainly didn't have a firm grasp on their people until this game.

Having the invasion being Tevinter or any mage group would of been way to inflammatory for the point of the game in my opinion. The point, as I see it, was to show the player the good and bad of the circle and force the player to decide the necessity of it through interactions with everyday mages, templars, and the world they live in. How could you reasonably ask anyone to look past the action of something like the invasion. If I remember correctly you stated in the original topic about Dragon Age 2 that you could not forgive Anders for what he did at the end of the game. Now imagine if a group of mages invaded mid-game? That would put way to much weight on the Chantry position. It's much easier to ignore the act one person you know then a group of people seemingly representing a bigger group's will.

Also for the love of Andraste man. Could you imagine how a player would feel if Tevinter invaded? The pinnacle example of what could go wrong if there were no circles? That be a huge ball of reasons to be pro-circle. I have a hard time not being pro-circle Qunari style in that situation.(I am pro-circle if your wondering. I just think it should be govern by other mages, not templars who do not have a personal understanding of what they are going through. Similar to the idea of the circle that is put into place at the end of Origins if you were a good mage.)

As far as Anders go I don't disagree with how he was handle for the exception of him being center stage. Even at the end of the game he didn't seem like he was suppose to be the Martin Luther King of the mages. He came off more as a Rush Limbaugh(Spelling.) He only served to inflame the situation and decided to create a crisis to martyr himself in to not only for the sake of making the chantry-mage relation the main issue in Kirkwall possible the whole world. Also to force everyone to have an opinion instead of being indifferent.

Orison took the role of leader to mages and seeking their rights far better then Anders. Publicly demanding better treatment and the removal of Merideth, Trying to stop Mages from seeking reckless alternatives to freedom. Most importantly never seeking a violent solution. Having a closer friendship(or relationship) with Anders may make it seem like he was suppose to be the main speaker to mage rights. To me he came off as an over zealous activist.
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#15 Sep 18 2012 at 7:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Also, I thought the DA2 cast was vastly superior to DA:O's. The characters were far more fleshed out, and far more realistic. They weren't all super lovable, but they were interesting. Then again, I'm positive you and I have different character preferences Joph. I loved Alistair and hated Ohgren, and I'm fairly certain I remember you having the opposite reaction.

No, the only character I didn't especially like was Zev. Alistair was fine, even good for most of it, although I found his simpering romance lines to be a bit annoying. Zev felt like a one-note show, even when he was trying to show depth. Also, given the AI's inability to use a melee rogue correctly and Leliana having archery/lockpicking covered, he had little mechanical value in my party.

Contrary to the DA2 advocates, I found myself much more invested in "my" story in DA:O than running Hawke's story in DA2. I never felt as though I was personally part of the story; I was just running someone else's role. That's not important for a largely action based game or a shooter but, in an RPG, it's a barrier to me feeling personally invested. Maybe that's part of why the ME games never grew on me either (especially since I tried them immediately following DA:O).


Edited, Sep 18th 2012 8:13am by Jophiel
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#16 Sep 18 2012 at 1:39 PM Rating: Good
I think part of the issue is that I forgot that I had downloaded a mod that gave you twice the amount of stat points and twice the amount of ability points each time you level. >.> I like having more abilities to choose from, the stat point thing was more of an added perk. So yeah, that probably gave me a pretty different perspective when it comes to the battle mechanics. However, I kept all my party members leveled up, in case the story made you switch your members out (which it did pretty frequently). And I didn't do much in terms of increasing people's HP except for Aveline since she was the tank. I remember one time looking at the characters, and the stat screen said Isabella's dps was something like 115 and Varric's was 60 something. Everyone else was around 60-80 dps. I very rarely had deaths of characters. It did happen on occasion, but not very often.
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#17 Sep 19 2012 at 2:48 AM Rating: Good
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3. An actual overarching story. DA:O had a strong one. DA2's was weak as hell. Fine, you're essentially playing a biographical game, but whatever.


DA:O's story is hardly what I'd call tight. Lots of the stories are not only disconnected from the blight, they're mostly removed from its context. The Dalish questline is the most egregious. Now, personally, I don't see that as a problem. ME2 is probably my favourite Bioware game and it has the same thing going on, only you're recruiting companions rather than factions.

It's interesting to me that DA2 and ME2 both took a really character focused approach and got such wildly different responses (to that change specifically).
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#18 Sep 19 2012 at 7:52 AM Rating: Good
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In other news both founders of Bioware retire/forced out on the same day. Yeah this game is going to be a EA crash and burn. I have no interest in it except to watch the train wreck.
#19 Sep 19 2012 at 11:11 AM Rating: Good
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3. An actual overarching story. DA:O had a strong one. DA2's was weak as hell. Fine, you're essentially playing a biographical game, but whatever.


DA:O's story is hardly what I'd call tight. Lots of the stories are not only disconnected from the blight, they're mostly removed from its context. The Dalish questline is the most egregious. Now, personally, I don't see that as a problem. ME2 is probably my favourite Bioware game and it has the same thing going on, only you're recruiting companions rather than factions.

It's interesting to me that DA2 and ME2 both took a really character focused approach and got such wildly different responses (to that change specifically).


Well, it's strong in comparison to DA:O's.

As far as DA2 and ME2, the problem is that the story took a character-focused approach, but in completely different ways.

In ME2, the characters forged your emotional connection to the central story--defeating the Collectors. You were building a spec ops team, and you had a central mission in mind. The Suicide Mission is probably one of my favorite quests of all time. I CARED about the characters--I felt like a commander fielding a platoon of people I knew and cared about, and I had to make deciisons that could get them or all of us killed, and I cared.

That isn't the case in DA2. It's a character-based approach, but the characters never came into the central story really. Only Anders truly ever mattered, and characters who turn against you all die in real time, not in cut scenes, so it's not even overly emotional. Combine that with the fact that they're almost certainly to take your side (by default or through persuasion) unless you kept them true-neutral, and you really don't end up with character-based climaxes like you get in the ME2 ending. Sure, you don't get every character in the Suicide Mission, but there's still emotional closure there. Did Garrus live or die at the door? Did the Doctor make it back to the ship? Did Tali/<insert character> make it through the vents or burn up? Did your biotic hold the shield, or did they get swarmed so the rest of you could live? Etc.

All the characters did in DA2 was add some character-building for Hawke, and add their own separate story line. They never got to shine in their own right as people living and fighting for Kirkwall.
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#20 Sep 19 2012 at 11:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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That isn't the case in DA2. It's a character-based approach, but the characters never came into the central story really. Only Anders truly ever mattered

And, if you hate Anders, this isn't a good thing Smiley: grin
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#21 Sep 19 2012 at 12:48 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, it really wasn't. I'm also convinced that including missable characters was unwise if they really wanted the game to be about the cast. I never picked up Isabela in my first play-through because I had no clue she was there.

And in my second, she ditched me in Act 2, because I didn't have enough friendship/rivalry to make her stay.

Granted, no other character is quite so bad--it's obvious when they will or will not leave (because you make that choice, it's not a reaction). But still--why have a character be so annoying to pin down.

What I find particularly odd about this decision is that Isabela is one of the best characters for making the group feel like an actual group of friends (for lack of a better word). When she's in the group, the banter often refers to the way the characters interact when not out questing, like going to dinner parties at Avelines, drinking contests at the Pearl, cards, her relationship with Fenris, hanging out with Merrill, etc. Without her, you spend a lot more time with brooding jokes and bickering about magic.

It's just a really odd design decision, imo. She's such a great character* and they make it as annoying as they possibly could to keep her around.

*Honestly, I think she's one of the best characters in the DA universe. She's way deeper than what you see up front, and she's the only character whose personality can surprise you, really. My favorite dialogue from her:

Anders: There is justice in the world.
Isabela: Is there? You want to free the mages. Let's say you do, but to get there, you kill a bunch of innocent people.
Isabela: What about them? Don't they then deserve justice?
Anders: Yes.
Isabela: And then what? Where does it end?
Isabela: It's like a bar brawl. People are continuously pulled into the fray, and nobody remembers why it started.
Isabela: Justice is an idea. It makes sense in a world of ideas, but not in our world.
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#22 Sep 21 2012 at 1:29 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
(2) NPCs I cared nothing about. ... They were all forgettable.


All but Isabela. Smiley: inlove

Jophiel wrote:
(3) Dull mechanics. Dull classes, character locked gear, button mashing combat, repeating scenery, yadda yadda.


That's a matter of opinion, I suppose. I preferred the more direct and engaging combat system in DA2 as opposed to the KOTOR turn-based style they used in DA:O. You could use both styles in both games, but the flow of the real-time combat in DA2 felt much better than in DA:O. Especially if you played a melee Mage. DA:O staff animations were horrible.

My main gripe with DA2 was the short campaign and the claustrophobic setting. Part of what made DA:O so awesome was the size of the world. It was freaking' huge, man! DA2, in comparison, was like being stuck in an elevator for half a day.

Looking forward to seeing what they can do with Frostbite 2. And I hope the more direct damage style Blood Magic and melee combat for Mages remains a thing.

Edit: If DA3 features a color coded multiple choice ending, I will rip someone's head off. I'm a little worried about the two co-founders of BioWare leaving after announcing the game.

Edited, Sep 21st 2012 9:31pm by Mazra
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#23 Sep 23 2012 at 9:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I never even finished DA2, it was such a disappointment. I'll be interested in seeing what happens with this one and willing to hear people's opinions but it won't be a potential pre-order or anything I have real enthusiasm for at the moment.


I find this interesting, because I really enjoyed DA2 up until the end. It ended and I went well "Wow. I never want to replay this again."

DA2 had a few main flaws that have already been outlined here:
1. Repetition of maps
2. Futility of your choices (your mother will always die, you'll always become the champion, both the mages and the templars always have corrupted leaders, Anders always blows up the Chantry)
3. Enemies appear out of nowhere, negating any advanced tactics like traps or even taunting (short of bosses/elites).
4. Never leave Kirkwall
5. Relationship system is all kinds of exploitable and illogical. Once you become a complete "friend" or "rival" you can never lose approval? Lame.

But my personal pet peeve? The ending result. DA:O (and DA:A) both gave a short synopsis of the results of your choices; and not just the big ones (did you choose the golems or not? Did you choose Dalish or werewolf?). Even small things like "You helped that Chantry dwarf" had a result.

DA:2, no matter what you choose, came down to two "main" choices at the end... and none of the others are spoken of. You might have been fiercely anti-magic the entire game, then chose to side with the mages in the end, and you get the pro-mage ending. It would have been nice to at least have seen the results of your anti-mage personal attacks; sure you support the mages, but their efforts are severely hampered because what little bit of the circle that's left is decimated by your actions. Sure, the results might show up in DA:3 (likely will, in fact), but that makes DA2 feel like the first half of a game. And I think a game should stand on its own. DA2 didn't.

That said, I'll likely still get DA3, and hope it will be more like DA:O. Heck, even DA:A felt like more of a complete game than DA2.

Edited, Sep 23rd 2012 4:29pm by LockeColeMA
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#24 Sep 23 2012 at 12:27 PM Rating: Good
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I'm choosing to have hope for DA3 with regards to the execs leading, because to me it means it's them choosing to attach their names to the project. We have no clue where in the development process they are, and the game will almost certainly evolve more with time, but it tells me they are happy enough with what's been accomplished that they want to be remembered as being part of it.

That's my reasoning anyway. It's far from solid, but I don't want to go into it all doom and gloom because I honestly didn't hate DA2 and want to have faith that EA can keep it's satanic fingers out of my Bioware pie.
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