Zero Punctuation: Dragon Age II

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Gralian:
I actually think it's refreshing to look at a storyline that DOESN'T involve the end of the world, it's become far too cliché. At the end of the day we're trying to portray real people that deal with real problems, and some of them simply don't involve trying to stop megalomaniacal maniac XVI from trying to take over the world or destroy it. It's an effort to make the storytelling more personal. I loathed the overarching plot in Dragon Age Origins, simply because i couldn't bring myself to care about the Darkspawn or the Dragon-Demon-Thing. All i'd been told is that they like to troll about the place and kill stuff for the lulz. Then i'm taken to a battle i've only just heard about and start killing shit because i was told by an even more arbitrary character than the one that recruited me in the first place, and here's the kicker, they both get killed off within the first hour or less. The darkspawn don't even move out of Lothering, so the whole time i'm stomping around Ferelden trying to gather an army for some sort of last stand, the Darkspawn sit contently in their little Lothering without even bothering to move out or attack anyone. I greatly failed to see any sense of urgency and why i should even care about a blight that barely moved. The mooks and the big bad itself were so horribly generic that it made saving the world a really pointless cliché. I wanted to learn more about this noble house i am apparantly the only surviving member of, i want to learn about my character's life in the mage tower for however many years, about what life is like as a noble dwarf, or how an underground commoner dwarf feels in his first experience outside. I want to know how someone who's been brought up in alienages deals with his first experience outside in a multicultural world and likewise for the reclusive Dalish. Instead, i was another cardboard cutout hero going after another cardboard cutout villain.

Mate this isn't bold and the beautiful its dragon age.

I'm shocked, Yahtzee mirrors my thoughts on this game almost exactly. That's very rare when it comes to RPGs.

I hope Bioware learns from this game and does better with their next RPG to be honest. Of course since it's not Yahtzee's genere I doubt he'll appreciate it, even if it winds up being really good.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

MirrorForTheSun:
This review in a nutshell:

"BAWWW IT'S NOT IN MY COMFORT ZONE OF THE HERO'S JOURNEY, A.K.A. EVERY VIDEO GAME PLOT EVER. I'M SO MAD BIOWARE DIDN'T GO WITH THE SAME PLOT AGAIN EVEN THOUGH I'D BE MAD IF THEY DID."

No, the problem was that the game never had a defined goal and plot events were barely connected.

Yes and no. The plot and events are connected within the acts (with a bit of foreshadowing). He's right about one thing. The game doesn't use the typical hero's journey that just about every other game in the world uses. I like the change tbh. Being a lover of the Dragon Age setting I like faffing (sp?) around. I will admit the recycled environments were a pity. Even being stuck in and around one city there could have been a lot more diversity.

Also Yahtzee, your teammates are only as smart as you. Just saying'

Thespian:
Everything he said here was true, but it was also what I liked about the game. I prefer a story that's just about some Refugee guy who's life is fucked up and gets a few lucky breaks and then makes a name for himself. Why does it have to be more? Why must the fate of EVERYTHING EVER constantly rest on THE ONE LAST HOPE OF EVERYTHING EVER? Okay, so if every story was about some random guy trying to make it in the world we'd get bored, but I thought DAII was a nice refreshing perspective. There was no good or evil, just several displaced political groups and a desperate need for some coin.

Simple people are conditioned to need to be the big hero. It's not an epic rpg if you don't kill a big dragon every 5 minutes.

Calibretto:

Mate this isn't bold and the beautiful its dragon age.

Bold and the beautiful? I'm afraid i don't get the reference, but i will say this.

I understand Dragon Age as a franchise is focused on celebrating the stereotypes of major fantasy tropes, but you can't build an entire universe with underlying themes of political-religious oppression, heavy-handed racism, multiculturalism, diversity, morality etc and not expand on them. Celebration of your typical warrior, mage, stabby rogue, weedy elf, beer-swilling dwarf, nerdy caster can only go so far. If you didn't want the focus on this world you've created, then you shouldn't have gone to such lengths to create it. Bioware has taken from the Mass Effect mould, and it shows. This means it has to deal with similar themes Mass Effect dealt with. Not just about the reapers, but humanity's struggle for recognition in a, you guessed it, racist society. Perhaps not 'racist', but they do come across as second class citizens because they're so young. How can anyone not draw a parallel with the elves and humans in Dragon Age with the humans only just discovering space travel in Mass Effect? They expand upon this theme of oppression further with the dominance of the chantry and control of mages, of course. The point is these are things which are not necessarily integral to the central plot of "stop the big bad", but it's still highly relevant, and it's refreshing to see it expanded upon.

Rayne870:

Thespian:
Everything he said here was true, but it was also what I liked about the game. I prefer a story that's just about some Refugee guy who's life is fucked up and gets a few lucky breaks and then makes a name for himself. Why does it have to be more? Why must the fate of EVERYTHING EVER constantly rest on THE ONE LAST HOPE OF EVERYTHING EVER? Okay, so if every story was about some random guy trying to make it in the world we'd get bored, but I thought DAII was a nice refreshing perspective. There was no good or evil, just several displaced political groups and a desperate need for some coin.

Simple people are conditioned to need to be the big hero. It's not an epic rpg if you don't kill a big dragon every 5 minutes.

You killed like 5 dragons in the game.

Double post.

Rayne870:

Thespian:
Everything he said here was true, but it was also what I liked about the game. I prefer a story that's just about some Refugee guy who's life is fucked up and gets a few lucky breaks and then makes a name for himself. Why does it have to be more? Why must the fate of EVERYTHING EVER constantly rest on THE ONE LAST HOPE OF EVERYTHING EVER? Okay, so if every story was about some random guy trying to make it in the world we'd get bored, but I thought DAII was a nice refreshing perspective. There was no good or evil, just several displaced political groups and a desperate need for some coin.

Simple people are conditioned to need to be the big hero. It's not an epic rpg if you don't kill a big dragon every 5 minutes.

So it must mean gamers are simple minded if they want their RPG to have and epic scope. Come on.

I mean for me personally thats what i play RPG's for to be part of an epic story or tale and save the princess, slay the dragon etc etc. THATS WHAT HIGH FANTASY IS.

I agree with Yahtzee that the only time i felt the story was comparable to Origins or Mass Effect or any other of the Bioware RPG's was towards the end of Act 3.

Calibretto:

Mainly because your boring. If you enjoy your office job good for you, some people like reaching for the stars.

Please tell me what office job involves tracking down a serial killer necromancer, quelling an uprising of foreign monsters, blowing up gigantic statues representing the oppression of a race animated by a demented power hungry knight commander hellbent over a magical amulet using the statues to physically accomplish what they metaphorically represent whilst a bunch of robed monks blast fireballs at it to-
Okay, you get the point. Hawke's life was exciting but not as lamely cliché. Plus it suits Dragon Age a lot better since the game is more or less built around the "pissing around" mechanic. Think about it: The majority of Epic RPGs like this consist of side quests that have about as much to do with the main storyline as wit does with the screen writing of Two and a Half Men and yes that was forced but who cares, I hate the show :/ My point is, when you are the last Grey Warden and thus the only one capable of saving the World there's an over hanging guilt whenever I'm chasing around a thief who took a rich dwarf's pocket change, and a sense that there should perhaps be something more important to do.
In Dragon Age II however, the side quests are what make up Hawke's day-to-day lives and are weaved seamlessly into the character development (see the aforementioned necromancer serial killer quest) not to mention building up a reputation in the city of Kirkwall. The Main Quests come to you instead of vice versa and even though I have a feeling that all of this came about due to rushed dev time and hastened writing, it worked very well. If Bioware actually tried to accomplish this in a new game, they'd be dangerous. A concentrated story following the fate of Kirkwall, instead of a huge nation is much more focussed and thus, affective.
Plus, you get to live in a Mansion and have everyone call you "Champion". How is that Not aiming for the stars?

Falseprophet:

I agree, and I liked most of the companions and especially their banter. But I have to agree with the people who say it needed another 6-12 months dev time to make it great. I'm sad the brilliant storytelling potential is being overshadowed by lazy gameplay choices, and the plot kind of falls apart at the end. I found this review to be the fairest I've read.

I also enjoyed the characters more than any other non-gameplay element, as usual with Bioware. I can't deny that it could have used another year or so very well, however. The plot did seem sloppily finished, and the ending was not nearly as satisfying as one would have hoped.

This the 2nd or 3rd video with noticeable audio glitches.

What the hell guys?

Uh anyway, nice review I guess.

nicodeemus327:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

MirrorForTheSun:
This review in a nutshell:

"BAWWW IT'S NOT IN MY COMFORT ZONE OF THE HERO'S JOURNEY, A.K.A. EVERY VIDEO GAME PLOT EVER. I'M SO MAD BIOWARE DIDN'T GO WITH THE SAME PLOT AGAIN EVEN THOUGH I'D BE MAD IF THEY DID."

No, the problem was that the game never had a defined goal and plot events were barely connected.

Yes and no. The plot and events are connected within the acts (with a bit of foreshadowing). He's right about one thing. The game doesn't use the typical hero's journey that just about every other game in the world uses. I like the change tbh. Being a lover of the Dragon Age setting I like faffing (sp?) around. I will admit the recycled environments were a pity. Even being stuck in and around one city there could have been a lot more diversity.

Also Yahtzee, your teammates are only as smart as you. Just saying'

In order for me to enjoy "faffing around" the game needs to be designed with that in mind. Oblivion was just you playing around in its world. That worked because it was a sandbox game. It can't work in a game that prevents exploration of areas with certain doors that can't open until you run through the same map in a later quest. And are you trying to insult my intelligence?

Andothul:

Rayne870:

Thespian:
Everything he said here was true, but it was also what I liked about the game. I prefer a story that's just about some Refugee guy who's life is fucked up and gets a few lucky breaks and then makes a name for himself. Why does it have to be more? Why must the fate of EVERYTHING EVER constantly rest on THE ONE LAST HOPE OF EVERYTHING EVER? Okay, so if every story was about some random guy trying to make it in the world we'd get bored, but I thought DAII was a nice refreshing perspective. There was no good or evil, just several displaced political groups and a desperate need for some coin.

Simple people are conditioned to need to be the big hero. It's not an epic rpg if you don't kill a big dragon every 5 minutes.

So it must mean gamers are simple minded if they want their RPG to have and epic scope. Come on.

I mean for me personally thats what i play RPG's for to be part of an epic story or tale and save the princess, slay the dragon etc etc. THATS WHAT HIGH FANTASY IS.

I agree with Yahtzee that the only time i felt the story was comparable to Origins or Mass Effect or any other of the Bioware RPG's was towards the end of Act 3.

I did completely mean they are simple minded. The fact that we need some sort of overly epic story and can't deviate from it to show really good character development and a more down to earth story illustrates it quite nicely.

nicodeemus327:

Rayne870:

Thespian:
Everything he said here was true, but it was also what I liked about the game. I prefer a story that's just about some Refugee guy who's life is fucked up and gets a few lucky breaks and then makes a name for himself. Why does it have to be more? Why must the fate of EVERYTHING EVER constantly rest on THE ONE LAST HOPE OF EVERYTHING EVER? Okay, so if every story was about some random guy trying to make it in the world we'd get bored, but I thought DAII was a nice refreshing perspective. There was no good or evil, just several displaced political groups and a desperate need for some coin.

Simple people are conditioned to need to be the big hero. It's not an epic rpg if you don't kill a big dragon every 5 minutes.

You killed like 5 dragons in the game.

I'm very well aware of that, but the game wasn't about killing the dragons and it wasn't frequent enough for people to say "Yay my life sucks so much but I can use this to escape and make me feel better"

Pretty much word for word what I expected from Yahtzee. Kudos, EA needs to realize that they're headed down an extremely bad road and they've already lost one customer here over their recent practices.

I haven't gotten the game yet. I still want to play it, since the overall gameplay does in fact look more appealing than Origins.

And thank you for NOT including any spoilers, Yahtzee. After Fable 3, I was really worried (I'd long since beaten it by then, but I can't show that review to my fiancee yet).

(accidental double-post)

RedEyesBlackGamer:

nicodeemus327:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

No, the problem was that the game never had a defined goal and plot events were barely connected.

Yes and no. The plot and events are connected within the acts (with a bit of foreshadowing). He's right about one thing. The game doesn't use the typical hero's journey that just about every other game in the world uses. I like the change tbh. Being a lover of the Dragon Age setting I like faffing (sp?) around. I will admit the recycled environments were a pity. Even being stuck in and around one city there could have been a lot more diversity.

Also Yahtzee, your teammates are only as smart as you. Just saying'

In order for me to enjoy "faffing around" the game needs to be designed with that in mind. Oblivion was just you playing around in its world. That worked because it was a sandbox game. It can't work in a game that prevents exploration of areas with certain doors that can't open until you run through the same map in a later quest. And are you trying to insult my intelligence?

You insult it on your own. Just because I said "faffing around" doesn't mean its a sandbox game. Being a lover of Dragon Age lore there's tons to find in nooks can crannies. Just because the game recycled maps a lot doesn't mean there wasn't tons of content to explore.

Count Igor:
So. I take it he's playing on the console.
Well I can see it sucks on the consoles then.

Dragon Age 2 deals in suckage in a more universal way... it doesn't segregate or discriminate against anyone.

If only more reviewers weren't scared of taking 3 weeks to review games.

Maybe I'd trust more of them.

EDIT: And yes, towards the end I did notice a wierd woodpeckerish sound droning in the background.

Zachary Amaranth:

It probably shouldn't tease some great epic evil throughout the game if it's "just about" that. Also, it probably shouldn't be part two of a franchise where you deal with epic battles and nasty evil things.

Why not? It's different, it's a chance to flesh out the world, it shows that not everyone is the chosen one and they have their own crap to sort out, shows that when you DO save the world it actually MEANS a damn thing, shows that the world doesn't only exist within the draw distance of the chosen one, that once you're done with saving the world everything isn't all peachy and the chance to experience this powerful threat without actually being able to do anything about it would certainly add weight behind them when it is your turn to vanquish them. I mean, in Origins stuff like the Darkspawn were basically just greyish blobs with names roughly equivalent to "fighter/archer/magic thing". I never felt threatened by their unintelligable grunts no matter how often NPCs TOLD me they were frightening.
Now, as I said, I haven't played DA2, so they probably didn't use the premise to its full potential if other people aren't interpreting it like I am, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the premise. Heck, I don't even know if the looming ominous threat in DA2 IS the darkspawn.

hah!! pretty much spot on Yahtzee. story was good it's the structure that don't quite fit in.

nicodeemus327:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

nicodeemus327:

Yes and no. The plot and events are connected within the acts (with a bit of foreshadowing). He's right about one thing. The game doesn't use the typical hero's journey that just about every other game in the world uses. I like the change tbh. Being a lover of the Dragon Age setting I like faffing (sp?) around. I will admit the recycled environments were a pity. Even being stuck in and around one city there could have been a lot more diversity.

Also Yahtzee, your teammates are only as smart as you. Just saying'

In order for me to enjoy "faffing around" the game needs to be designed with that in mind. Oblivion was just you playing around in its world. That worked because it was a sandbox game. It can't work in a game that prevents exploration of areas with certain doors that can't open until you run through the same map in a later quest. And are you trying to insult my intelligence?

You insult it on your own. Just because I said "faffing around" doesn't mean its a sandbox game. Being a lover of Dragon Age lore there's tons to find in nooks can crannies. Just because the game recycled maps a lot doesn't mean there wasn't tons of content to explore.

Can you go ONE post without insulting the person you are talking to? And no, I couldn't read the Codex entries. I played on a SDTV and it is impossible to read text that small. And running down corridors with alternative paths blocked off is not my idea of exploration.

Moderator Edit: Watch the entire video before posting.

Why? No, seriously. I'm at work right now and don't often don't have the luxury of watching these until I get home, so sometimes I read the threads instead. And now, here I am posting in the thread without having watched the video. Potentially lots of other people do that as well. Why should that be a problem? I mean sure, moderate the "F1RST P0ST!! LOLZ" contentless garbage posts, but otherwise....

On the xbox version, it would pause to load during conversations. And you could make a sandwhich while loading areas (not a big sandwhich though). The loading time during conversations was annoying, especially if you'd just pressed the "skip conversation" button.

ace_of_something:
I named my guy 'Hawk Hawke' that way I felt like they were saying my first name. It stupid on paper but it's not like they ever call your brother Hawke or anyone else that name.

I also had a gray warden named "Wardin"

I named my first character in KotOR Raven (female). Imagine my surprise...

B Goy:
I'm guessing I'm the only one who got the Daily Mail reference?

Please explain,

Haha I liked the cat that would pop up in random places.

connall:

Nikolaz72:
Video is broken guys. Or is it just the HD?

Same here. I need my fix MAN!

Hit embed then when it does the drop down thing, copy and paste the javascript link into another window/tab.

It should work fine there.

Here is the link
www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/embed/2978

I've heard mixed things too, so a quick question:

Whose opinion is more on the money, camp "storyless loading-fest" or "epic introduction to something even greater than LotR"?

Deshin:
I'm having an issue with the video, is it making an odd buzzing sound every now and then (noticed around 3:20 til 4:00) or is it my speakers?

I kept having to pause thinking my fan was clogged

Same here, I paused it but it's not my hardware thank God. Glad someone pointed this out!

OT: Dragon Age 2 is a game I am glad enough NOT to have bought, those re-used environments killed it for me.

Huh. That wasn't nearly as hateful as I was expecting.

And, while I enjoyed the game, I have to admit those are fair points. Especially the copy-pasted dungeons and lack of overarching plot line.

BOOHOOO!

THERE WAS NO EVIL BADDIE WHO WOULD USHER THE AGE OF DARKNESS/CHAOS/DARK BUZZWORD!

BIG FUCKING DEAL!

am i the only one who applauds Bioware for trying something else? everyone always fucking complain about stories in video-games and how they are always the same. But then when someone finally tries something else? SHITSTORM ENSUES!

image

RedEyesBlackGamer:

Can you go ONE post without insulting the person you are talking to?

Like I said you're doing that on your own.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

And no, I couldn't read the Codex entries. I played on a SDTV and it is impossible to read text that small. And running down corridors with alternative paths blocked off is not my idea of exploration.

So its the game's fault that you have a crappy TV?

The majority of exploration comes from interacting with your companions. Getting to know them, doing their quests. Most of them had an intro quest, two or three personal quests and were heavily involved in the major plots. There's a lot to explore. Sorry its not traditional enough for you.

Did Yahtzee really just complain about having to control other characters than Hawke? Has he really never tried the Infinity Engine games (and has thus missed Baldur's Gate II)? That was a dumb complaint IMO. Also, not every game story has to present you with a world threat from the get go.

Hyper-space:
BOOHOOO!

THERE WAS NO EVIL BADDIE WHO WOULD USHER THE AGE OF DARKNESS/CHAOS/DARK BUZZWORD!

BIG FUCKING DEAL!

am i the only one who applauds Bioware for trying something else? everyone always fucking complain about stories in video-games and how they are always the same. But then when someone finally tries something else? SHITSTORM ENSUES!

Ah yes, trying the absolute brilliance of "disjointed plot #267." Their originality is breathtaking!

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