Zero Punctuation: Dragon Age II

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Ah, I must have missed him. I had Isabela there for all of occasions along with Alister in the first game which made both of those cameos priceless. Once I head assassin camped out in a cave I knew had I had to bring her... actually that play through (my second time beating it) I brought her on virtually every mission as her dialog is priceless. Honestly Sandal's shop near the end of the game irked me more than anything else because it made no sense. In the first game I could kind of wave it off, but in the second it just seemed out of place. I am looking forward to the next game taking place either in Orlay, the Imperium or Antiva because all of them have been really fleshed out at this point. I'm hoping for the Imperium so we can see some awesome Mage vs Qunari action... plus it's the only place where the actions of this game wouldn't profoundly reshape politics.[/quote]

If theres a 3, which there will, it'll be in Orleis, I can almost be certain of it. But Tevinter would be more interesting. Especially if you have the Imperial Chantry moving in on the weakened Orlesian church. Plus the Imperium is partially tropical, so that would be a welcome change of scenery. Though having "Elephant" instead of "Dog" in your party might be a game breaker. (quote thing went screwy there, ah well.)

grimner:
Bioware should take some cues from this game. Corner cutting is one, the rushed out way we were given our special skills (I too cringed a bit over the fact that I played a very pro mage warrior and ended up using the templar skill because, let's face it, berserker did fuck all. Or the fact that you can apparently be a blood mage and still be against blood magic.) There is a sense of disconnect between two very good games, the action rpg (which is quite tactical, mind) and the story (which is, as mentioned by many, a very bold move for a videogame.)

Too many corners were cut, and Bioware should revise what to do next with the franchise. I hope they don't go back to "safe" save the world story telling. Dealing with a more personal story was the biggest payoff of the game.

In the end, Bioware could have upped the ante on production values and smoothing out those dungeons and the sterile look of the city. it requires a whole new game engine, perhaps, but I keep thinking how truly great this story would have been in say, Assassin's creed's setting.

With Tactical combat.

Very true about the Berserker. That just felt like a waste of stamina and I respeced after I realized that.

But I agree with your overall point, mainly that BioWare should not throw the baby out with the bathwater for the next game. They need a perfect fusion of the two: a personal story with the great visual design and action-packed combat, but with the longer, wider-reaching quest style of the first, with more unique environments and an overall goal that ties all the main story quests together (player character VO is optional, but I like it, so whatever).

A little kowtowing to the "hardcore" RPG crowd is fine, with some more customization in terms of outfitting the party, but only if it makes sense. In DA2, all the companions are basically doing their own thing, so it makes sense they would dress themselves.

ShenCS:
Does every fantasy story need to be about saving the world from some great evil? Can't it be about some guy/girl trying to survive in a hostile town throughout the years? Now I haven't played the game (mixed reviews and obscene price tag) so I don't know how they handle it, but the premise itself certainly has potential. I understand it can seem a bit disjointed if you're not working towards something overall but doesn't mean it can't work right?
Besides, western RPG world-threatening horrors are nearly always really, really boring. If where they succeed is the dialogue, characters and execution then is there anything wrong with putting the focus on that?
Not sure where I'm going with this, looks like I've just wasted your time. Sucker.

Not when your character is supposed to be " the Champion"
It kinda defeats the point don't you think if he doesn't do something incredible to make playing him worthwhile

Dragon Age 2 is definitely a game that requires certain expectations and a certain mindset to enjoy. If you go in wanting an epic, overarching plotline, you'll be disappointed. If you play a Hawke who doesn't fit the narrative Bioware's laid out for him, you'll be disappointed. If you want traditional tactical combat, you'll be disappointed. If you happen to stumble into the weakest branches of the branching narrative or have the key scenes of the story fouled by bugs, you'll be disappointed.

Personally, I liked the departure from the epic overarching plot; I enjoyed the story less and less the more epic it became. It was nice as a story about a refugee making his way in the world and rising from abject poverty (though that said, after Act 1 the poverty problem was put to rest and your motivation gets a little hazy.)

And I have to disagree that this is just a shameless cash-in sequel. Obviously there's some of that; game design is still a business. But I have a hard time believing that Bioware doesn't genuinely care about Dragon Age or this whole world they've pieced together. I think the sloppy design comes more from a rushed development cycle than anything else - if they'd had another year to design more environments and iron out bugs, the game would definitely be much better.

Good thing the people with rants on how they disagree with THE UNEPIC STORY tend to use capitals; makes it easy to ignore.

Can't give my own opinion on the game as I haven't played it, but people shouldn't confuse capitals with arguments.

Oro44:

If theres a 3, which there will, it'll be in Orleis, I can almost be certain of it. But Tevinter would be more interesting. Especially if you have the Imperial Chantry moving in on the weakened Orlesian church. Plus the Imperium is partially tropical, so that would be a welcome change of scenery. Though having "Elephant" instead of "Dog" in your party might be a game breaker. (quote thing went screwy there, ah well.)

I hope it isn't Orleis, there doesn't seem to be as much yarn there as there is with Tevinter.

Tevinter has:
1. The magisters
2. The black chantry
3. Lots of slaves
4. Constant war with the Qunari

Orleis has:
1. Oppression by the chevaliers
2. The events of DA 2 causing the breakdown of the chantry, templars and circle.

Now I suppose the less cluttered environment would make it easier to build a new story, which might be a plus from a development standpoint. Either of these elements could easily be turned into a pretty epic story in its own right. Ranging from things as simple as you could be a peasant rising up from nothing to try to become a chevalier after being oppressed by them. To the more epic, gray warden problem involving a potential artifact related to dark spawn or the veil with all of the rest simply being backdrop. Orlies does also have an air of decadence to it that the more practical Imperium lacks that could juxtapose a sense of world changing strife and suffering with complaints about fashion nicely. So both work, but I suppose I would prefer the kind of story that the Imperium could frame more.

I loved this review, if only because this was the first BioWare game that I've invested more than 5 hours of my life.
I guess I just don't hate it as much as the loudest folks do. *shrug*

Completely agree with your review, though I think you could have gone further making fun of all the problems. Overall, while I enjoyed it, it's not one of your bests

AsurasFinest:

ShenCS:
Does every fantasy story need to be about saving the world from some great evil? Can't it be about some guy/girl trying to survive in a hostile town throughout the years? Now I haven't played the game (mixed reviews and obscene price tag) so I don't know how they handle it, but the premise itself certainly has potential. I understand it can seem a bit disjointed if you're not working towards something overall but doesn't mean it can't work right?
Besides, western RPG world-threatening horrors are nearly always really, really boring. If where they succeed is the dialogue, characters and execution then is there anything wrong with putting the focus on that?
Not sure where I'm going with this, looks like I've just wasted your time. Sucker.

Not when your character is supposed to be " the Champion"
It kinda defeats the point don't you think if he doesn't do something incredible to make playing him worthwhile

I dunno, I think

is worthy of a "Champion" title. And the various other encounters are certainly momentous enough to warrant attention.

jamiedf:
well its about damn time! ah
and yeah that goldfish racism was just aweful.
also you should have gone with then name 'hudson hawk' it never gets old

hey, i had forgotten all about hudson hawk. i need to watch that again.

rsvp42:

AsurasFinest:

ShenCS:
Does every fantasy story need to be about saving the world from some great evil? Can't it be about some guy/girl trying to survive in a hostile town throughout the years? Now I haven't played the game (mixed reviews and obscene price tag) so I don't know how they handle it, but the premise itself certainly has potential. I understand it can seem a bit disjointed if you're not working towards something overall but doesn't mean it can't work right?
Besides, western RPG world-threatening horrors are nearly always really, really boring. If where they succeed is the dialogue, characters and execution then is there anything wrong with putting the focus on that?
Not sure where I'm going with this, looks like I've just wasted your time. Sucker.

Not when your character is supposed to be " the Champion"
It kinda defeats the point don't you think if he doesn't do something incredible to make playing him worthwhile

I dunno, I think

is worthy of a "Champion" title. And the various other encounters are certainly momentous enough to warrant attention.

I think the problem is that it never FELT epic or monumental.
You just had another fight with a big guy in a grey boxy room. And then its just kind of over.

And once you are Champion? Doesnt matter. No "Power" like the trailer suggests. No influence on plot, your choices are just as meaningless.
People just call you "Champion" instead of "Hawke". Which kind of makes forcing you into being a Human even less beneficial.

Onyx Oblivion:
Not much of a story...

But I liked how the rogue actually did flips and shit. I can't recall another RPG that had rogues that actually felt nimble.

I thought I'd hate the new combat. It's actually the only reason I keep playing...

I always play a rouge its my favorite class, but the rouges were just to weak in this game. i had to play a warrior, and that was disappointing.

From what I've heard, the game feels quite rushed and unpolished but it's still a good game. Not just amazing like the previous one.

According to reports from Bioware, we can blame EA. Bioware's dev team had a good few months to go to finish the game, in both polish as well as story, and EA told them to rush it right out the door before the final tweaks could be made.

So while Bioware wanted to aim for the First category you outlined, Yahtzee, their publisher suck "Fuck that shit" to that goal and had them toss it into the second category.

crabdog62482:
I would say it is spot on, but for someone as brutal as Yahtzee and for a game as awful and incomplete as this, that was way too tame and generous. Dragon Age 2 isn't a game. It is an extended teaser demo for a game that has yet to be conceived. It has no purpose for existing and less content than a $10 dlc add-on pack from Bethesda. When Dragon Age 3 is inevitably made and released, there will be a 1 paragraph summary before the game that explains the existence of a Champion in Kirkwall who kicked Quonari arse and blah blah blah mages. That's it. That's what Dragon Age 2 will come down to; the introduction to a Star Wars movie. It is a complete waste of time with no purpose, terrible game mechanics, and nothing to add to the universe. I can't believe I bought this POS new. Sigh.

Luckily, I didn't buy it. I think your take on this is probably right. Damn the user ratings on metacritic are low. Also, the abundance of racism and xenophobia made me think, why do games who focus on this type of stuff think it is deep? Racism and xenophobia are common, everyday affairs. Recycling and presenting prejudices is not innovation, it isn't deep, it needs to be used as background filler to present something bigger.

Multi-layer the racism into something resembling a plot and backstory.

Doyle84:

hurricanejbb:
If your last name is Hawke, you must choose the first name of "Hudson".

Nah... Stringfellow Hawke is where it's at.

holy crap thats a old one.lol

Aww, Yahtzee is just mad that male Hawke sounds just like he does when Hawke makes wise cracks.

I think Bioware's A-game is off making Old Republic and their standby's made this. Its still a good game though especially on the PC. Better then the other RPG's that recently came out. But come on I don't seriously think this is a rushed ploy for money, I mean the characters and diolouge is so well thought out that this whole thing probably is just a big character study. Don't think of it as an epic adventure, just a small magical tale. If you go at it with that perspective the game becomes 10x better. I don't like it because there are TOO MANY GODDAMN SPIDERS IN IT!!

Why didn't he have the dead imps explode?

Azrael the Cat:

I preferred the days when rogues were...rogues - rather than dexterity-based fighters. Baldurs Gate series, Planescape: Torment - heck, even FO1-2 with a stealth build. You had your 'nimble melee' characters as well, because you had multiple builds for different classes, and so you could make a dagger-based dual-wielding fighter with high dexterity instead of high strength. But rogues were always stealth-based characters, with some form of invis/hidden skill, backstabs, trap-finding, lock-picking etc. They were great fun in BG2 for mage-killing, stealthing them to scout ahead of your party and act as a spotter for your mages to open up with a fireball before the enemy could close the gap (friendly fire + ability to scout up ahead of the group without everyone automatically walking their unstealthed asses up behind you + AoE spells = great use for scouting/stealth characters) and opening the combat with a 5x damage backstab to kill the enemy group's mage before they can react. Felt a LOT more 'rogue' than being another fighter with different animations - I blame MMOs for killing the class.

I'm with you. I like those combo rogues too.

SickBritKid:
From what I've heard, the game feels quite rushed and unpolished but it's still a good game. Not just amazing like the previous one.

According to reports from Bioware, we can blame EA. Bioware's dev team had a good few months to go to finish the game, in both polish as well as story, and EA told them to rush it right out the door before the final tweaks could be made.

So while Bioware wanted to aim for the First category you outlined, Yahtzee, their publisher suck "Fuck that shit" to that goal and had them toss it into the second category.

DA:O was not amazing. It was Bioware's worst game unless you were playing NWN's offline.

Great Review! Keep em coming! Though I have to say my favorite is STILL Epic Mickey (cough) DISNEY Epic Mickey LOL!!!! Sea of Grins x_x <--Died laughing

Kaanyr Vhok:

SickBritKid:
From what I've heard, the game feels quite rushed and unpolished but it's still a good game. Not just amazing like the previous one.

According to reports from Bioware, we can blame EA. Bioware's dev team had a good few months to go to finish the game, in both polish as well as story, and EA told them to rush it right out the door before the final tweaks could be made.

So while Bioware wanted to aim for the First category you outlined, Yahtzee, their publisher suck "Fuck that shit" to that goal and had them toss it into the second category.

DA:O was not amazing. It was Bioware's worst game unless you were playing NWN's offline.

Imho, that was jade empire - And I liked that game.

Dragon age 2 is certainly weaker than dragon age origins, I still enjoy it a lot, but if I'm honest it really wasn't as good, and the problem really was just the environments were boring, and the story not very interesting.

I also don't think the whole "only able to talk to people in camp" thing works as well for dragon age. I prefer being able to hold a conversation whenever.

Tontomanzz:

harvz:
he should put a big ass sign at the beginning "YAHTZEE PLAYED DRAGON AGE II ON A CONSOLE".

despite bioware attempting to tailor the control scheme to the console controls, it works much better with keyboard/mouse. also the graphics have been really downgraded on consoles. so those 2 arguments are OUT.

otherwise, i kinda agree with the rest, dungeons are repeated so many times and even when you think its a new dungeon, its just the previous one, in reverse. the story isnt to bad but very restrictive. though the characters tend to be pretty good and fairly well thought out.

That repetition just kills it for me right there, didn't even need the combat or the bugs. No, not ever, no excuse, not for a full price game.

particularly if you live in australia...which i know i do. i can kinda put up with the same dungeon over and over but then again, i enjoy really old games and repetitive dungeons were a big thing on cartridge.

i wouldn't be surprised if they end up releasing an update for it or perhaps someone will mod it but that wont win points for it.

Kaanyr Vhok:

Azrael the Cat:

I preferred the days when rogues were...rogues - rather than dexterity-based fighters. Baldurs Gate series, Planescape: Torment - heck, even FO1-2 with a stealth build. You had your 'nimble melee' characters as well, because you had multiple builds for different classes, and so you could make a dagger-based dual-wielding fighter with high dexterity instead of high strength. But rogues were always stealth-based characters, with some form of invis/hidden skill, backstabs, trap-finding, lock-picking etc. They were great fun in BG2 for mage-killing, stealthing them to scout ahead of your party and act as a spotter for your mages to open up with a fireball before the enemy could close the gap (friendly fire + ability to scout up ahead of the group without everyone automatically walking their unstealthed asses up behind you + AoE spells = great use for scouting/stealth characters) and opening the combat with a 5x damage backstab to kill the enemy group's mage before they can react. Felt a LOT more 'rogue' than being another fighter with different animations - I blame MMOs for killing the class.

I'm with you. I like those combo rogues too.

Don't forget the days of the archer specialist and the arrows of choice to take out those enemy mages. Had to be careful with AOE (if you had friendly fire on) but man it made for some fun arrow work. At the higher levels was manditory to keep those mages busy so they couldn't load up the big time spells. Once all the shields were up, was a lot more work.

It was wierd that Mass Effect 1/2 didn't have a homosexual relationship option, I'm not gay but i did find it weird that you could actually have sex with aliens.

Canadish:

I think the problem is that it never FELT epic or monumental.
You just had another fight with a big guy in a grey boxy room. And then its just kind of over.

And once you are Champion? Doesnt matter. No "Power" like the trailer suggests. No influence on plot, your choices are just as meaningless.
People just call you "Champion" instead of "Hawke". Which kind of makes forcing you into being a Human even less beneficial.

While I can understand your experience I can't say mine was the same. It's clearly been a pretty divisive game, so it has failed insofar as providing a universally enjoyable experience (at least when compared to Origins). I personally like most of the changes and don't lament any features that were lost in translation, but this is just a case where my opinion doesn't agree with a lot of others.

As for the race selection, I don't see it as being "forced" since it was done for story reasons. That being a said, the same game with more VO to support a wider variety in character creation would be cool, but to do that right, you need a lot more VO. I remember Yahtzee's review of DA:O and he pointed out how pointless the origins and race selection felt since they all merge into essentially the same story, with a few lines spattered here and there ("you're an elf!") to support it. I much prefer a game that fully supports its one race really well and ties dialogue and story points into that than one that throws a few token options in and barely mentions them. Personally, I liked the way DA:O handled it, but they weren't grappling with player character VO, so they had a little more freedom in that sense.

The problem with always thinking that more options is better is that it almost doesn't allow studios to tell smaller stories anymore. I love an epic tale as much as the next guy, but a well-crafted story with a smaller scope can be really cool too. I don't need to have unlimited options in an RPG to enjoy the world and the story, so I'd hate for BioWare to think they can never tell that kind of story. Will we as players always accuse any such story choice as laziness?

Wow, that basically covers how I feel about DA2. Good job!!

As much as I hate the button massing combat.
As much as I hate the reused maps, caves, mansions
As much as I hate that the plot is nothing but a holding pattern of random useless reasons for doing shit.
I love this game so much because no matter whom you have in your party, your characters are always having fun with each other. The bickering, the teasing, the baiting the clueless, the airing of hostilities for another - this game screams character - while some of it may be cheesy, cliche', over-the-top, stupid, mindless and maybe even pointless, at least they are alive - making this game still very enjoyable for the social aspect of it.

It's even given me and a co-worker great source material to throw into our office banter between each other and "troll" other co-workers because they have no idea what they are listening into.

That alone is why I'm a million times more invested into DA2 then I was toward ME2. Everybody felt so stiff and lifeless with only "key" view points to get anything out of your squad-mates.

Arcticflame:
[quote="Kaanyr Vhok" post="6.274071.10605146

I also don't think the whole "only able to talk to people in camp" thing works as well for dragon age. I prefer being able to hold a conversation whenever.

You had to go to the companion's house to be able to really chat with them, that actually annoyed me even more then the camp thing, at least at camp they were all in one place rather then making me hike halfway across town and back (thru 3 or 4 loading screens)

Worgen:
personally I kind of liked how you didnt have some huge world ending plot and it was more about your life.... altho they certainly could have done a better job at that and the endless baddies did get old, I mean you would think at least the dogs would have some self preservation instinct

It really did get ridiculous after a while, I would be walking around hightown with OTHER PEDESTRIANS strolling peacefully, suddenly I'm attacked and they don't even run, just continue walking quietly by while arrows and fireballs made of demon-magic-killthefuckoutofyou fly over their heads.

I was not a fan of this game, it's fine if you want to tell the story of his life and not of a world threatening event, but then don't split it so clearly into 3 sections with three big conflicts as if you're using some sort of story-stencil.

mechanixis:
Dragon Age 2 is definitely a game that requires certain expectations and a certain mindset to enjoy. If you go in wanting an epic, overarching plotline, you'll be disappointed. If you play a Hawke who doesn't fit the narrative Bioware's laid out for him, you'll be disappointed. If you want traditional tactical combat, you'll be disappointed. If you happen to stumble into the weakest branches of the branching narrative or have the key scenes of the story fouled by bugs, you'll be disappointed.

Personally, I liked the departure from the epic overarching plot; I enjoyed the story less and less the more epic it became. It was nice as a story about a refugee making his way in the world and rising from abject poverty (though that said, after Act 1 the poverty problem was put to rest and your motivation gets a little hazy.)

And I have to disagree that this is just a shameless cash-in sequel. Obviously there's some of that; game design is still a business. But I have a hard time believing that Bioware doesn't genuinely care about Dragon Age or this whole world they've pieced together. I think the sloppy design comes more from a rushed development cycle than anything else - if they'd had another year to design more environments and iron out bugs, the game would definitely be much better.

So the mindset I need to go in with is: "I didn't need that $60 anyway?"

I find it a bit odd how you say it was not a cash in, but that the sloppy design comes from rushed development

Why do you think they rushed development and cut corners? Because a wizard made them?

I'm tired of games being named after things that are only briefly discussed in the actual game.
Dragon age, Twilight princess, Mass Effect, Scribblenauts, etc.

I didn't like this ZP, most of Yahtzee's stuff makes me laugh, this just made me smile, so it didn't do it for me which is a shame, although mostly its because he said nothing we haven't heard before from every single one of the games haters (the haters were particularly numerous for this game) and threw in about 2 jokes, so once he headed with the "Agree" option you might as well have been reading one of the haters messages and pretending its in a funny accent.

Classy, as always...

Anybody else notice that the submarine at 3:45 is a greyscale version of the Beatle's Yellow Submarine?

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